Thursday, May 31, 2007

The difference is like night and day. Literally, night and day.

Captain Fraser Clark, of the Canadian Armed Forces, wrote a beautiful piece in the Globe and Mail today about the respect given to a fallen Canadian Soldier.

He says:

I had never seen so many Canadian flags along Highway 401. From Trenton to Toronto, each and every overpass along the 170-kilometre route was adorned with Canadian flags, large and small. Some people attached a Maple Leaf to a wooden stick and waved it vigorously from side to side; others lowered the flag in a sombre salute for a solemn occasion.

This was the eight-vehicle repatriation cort├Ęge of Corporal Matthew McCully, the young Canadian soldier killed on patrol in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb last week. We had just observed the return of Corp. McCully's remains on the tarmac at the airbase in Trenton and were now on our way to the coroner's office in Toronto.

Many of them were in tears as they marched toward the hearse. The air inside our limousine was thick with emotion as we sat in silence contemplating the ceremony that had unfolded before our eyes. After the Ontario Provincial Police led us away from the terminal, our attention was quickly drawn to several dozen people lining the streets of Trenton, many holding bouquets of flowers amid the dozens of flags fluttering in the wind. Several oncoming cars pulled over to the side of the road, their occupants getting out to stand with their hands covering their hearts in quiet respect.

It wasn't until we were driving under the first few highway overpasses that we took notice of every bridge: Each was lined with more and more people, and as we drew closer to them, the people waved their flags more briskly so we could appreciate the scale of their salute. As we reached Toronto, the crowds were still lined up on each overpass and our drivers, by this time well practised in their response, slowed the limousines to acknowledge the demonstrations ...

Accompanying those special flag-bearers were hundreds of police officers, firefighters and ambulance service workers. With their vehicles parked in single file atop each overpass, sirens ringing and lights flashing, those proud men and women snapped such an impressive salute that it brought tears to the eyes for all who sat inside the limousine. The police officers who couldn't fit on the overpasses moved their cruisers into an extended line along each exit ramp, blocking oncoming traffic as they formed up on the roadside to salute.

Mesmerized by this tremendous demonstration of support, the family sat in quiet disbelief, seeing a ray of hope as they witnessed their fellow citizens sharing their pain.

Each. And. Every. Overpass.

I know that stretch of the 401 very well.

That's a lot of overpasses.

That is class.

That is how it should be done.

In somewhat related news, Fort Drum will no longer hold individual services for fallen soldiers. The services will now be held once a month.

Why am I not surprised?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam ...

Excuse my language, but ..


Montana plans to slaughter 300 wild buffalo, because those pesky little critters keep roaming out of Yellowstone National Park.



Saturday, May 26, 2007

Say it with me ...


Baby bunny hopped out of the tall grasses as I was mowing this evening.

One never knows where cute woodland creatures are hiding, so tread lightly, my friends.

You can't hold back spring

Jefferson County, NY, 26 May 2007

Hard at work

Jefferson County, NY, 26 May 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

My favourite politician!

Phyllis Morris is my new hero.

The mayor of Aurora, Ontario, is pushing the Government of Ontario to designate clothesline a service or technology under the Energy Conservation Leadership Act. In so doing, Ontarians could override subdivision property agreements that prevent homeowners from hanging their laundry out to dry.

Predictably, there are some who complain that clotheslines are unsightly. Aurora resident Will Cordingley said, "All you'd see is laundry — if everybody had one across here, that's all you would see."

I wonder if Mr. Cordingley has ever done a load of laundry in his life. But I digress...

Pop quiz: Which of the following is unsightly?

My laundry, or ..

The smog which obscures the not-so-distant hills?

Three cheers for Phyllis Morris!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lilac Day

The lilacs are fully opened today!
White ones, too!
As well as the pink and white tulips,
and the bleeding heart, and the star of Bethlehem plants.
This bird sang to me from the lilac bushes.
Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

At this hour ...

Final respects are being paid to PFC Daniel Courneya, a 10th MTN soldier who was killed in Iraq last week. Daniel was born two months after I graduated from high school. He was only 10 when my son was born.

I did not know him, but I weep for him and for his family.

And at this hour .. the banner story on The Drudge Report is the shocking revelation that one insipid tv show knocked another insipid tv show out of first place in the ratings.

America, where is your soul?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Missed opportunities, sigh!!

The phone just rang. I didn't recognize the name on the caller ID, but I answered it anyway.

Hello? said Rose.

Into my ear swam a baritone voice, which said, Hello. What are we doing Saturday?

What I said: Who is this???

What I should have said: Same thing we do every Saturday. Plot to take over the world!!

Merde. Now I'm gonna be up all night, thinking of more brilliant responses.

This was the second missed opportunity in the past week. Last Thursday morning, a stranger came knocking on my door. He wondered if I'd be interested in selling "that old rider" - aka my fussy old Husqvarna lawn tractor - that was sitting waaaaay back on my back-forty. As it happens, that perskickitty old bucket of bolts had actually started - on the first try, with stale gas in the tank, no less - and had been purring like a kitten this year. I figured that I'd be able to get one more season out of that beast. I had vowed that the next, inevitable breakdown would be the last, and then I would replace the old husky in 2008.


That very afternoon, I was feeling very smug as I neared the finish line of my fortnightly race to cut the grass. And didn't that lawn tractor decide to bust a pin or a chain or a gear or something. I don't even care what, specifically, is broken. It's probably fixable, but I will not be throwing good money after bad for this repair. A bright, shiny, brand new John Deere will be delivered on Friday. WooHoo!

And if that stranger who knocked on my door happens to read this blog, he can have that damned Husqvarna!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Economic Indicators

Loonie hits 30-year high.

Observed outside the Watertown Target store.

Coincidence??? I think not!

Side note to my fellow Canucks:
Hi there! It's always nice to see the Ontario license plates at our local commercial establishments, and it warms the cockles of my heart to hear that familiar Eastern Ontario accent, eh?

But, about this very un-Canadian littering. Did you think we wouldn't notice? Didn't you notice the nifty trash cans in front of Target? What the hell is wrong with you?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Membership has its privileges!

I've recently returned to bedside nursing at a small hospital in Northern New York. It is a unionized facility, which, quite frankly, did not thrill me at first. I've worked in both unionized and non-unionized environments, and my personal preference was the non-unionized spot. The only things that my old union ever did for me were to gouge a huge chunk out of my paycheque and guarantee that I'd be the first one laid off when the axe fell.

I'm singing a new tune these days. Membership in my current union also confers membership in the American Nurses' Association. Members of the American Nurses' Association receive a 25% discount when ordering Crocs through the company's website.

We shall overcome ... in comfortable footwear!

Monday, May 07, 2007

I can see how it might have been a little confusing ...

A few months ago, some stories surfaced about Canadian "spy coins" finding their way into the pockets of US Army contractors travelling through Canada.

As it turns out, the "suspicious" coins were specially minted Poppy coins, issued in 2004 to commemorate Canada's war dead.

We really shouldn't be too hard on these hapless contractors. How could they possibly wrap their heads around the completely foreign concept of acknowledging a country's fallen soldiers?


Sunday, May 06, 2007

A walk in the woods ...

Wellesley Island State Park, New York, 6 May 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007

Warping young minds

I think we have another tree hugger in the house.