Sunday, July 30, 2006

High Summer Sunday

An absolutely perfect day. No other way to describe it. We got up late and strolled the two blocks or so to the flea market where I bought some most excellent samosas. It was 25°C (77°F) and sunny; a heavy rainstorm last night had cleared the air of humidity and there was a gentle breeze.

In the afternoon we went to Harvey's Big Potato for fresh produce. "You can't get corn much fresher than that," Husband commented, as the field workers dumped ears of corn just taken from the fields into the bin. I bought beet greens, yellow zucchini, red onion, and about 3 kilos (about 6.5 pounds) of small new potatoes for under five dollars. All that healthy food for so little money. It really reinforced for me how blessed we are to live here.

And then - Husband visited a couple of stores and bought a power tool. And later, he barbequed dinner. With the mesquite chips and the whole nine yards. He's an excellent barbeque chef.

I mean, how much more perfect does a day get than that?

"None more perfect".

- ronnie

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Goin' to the chapel and...

I was really pleased and touched last month to receive an invitation to a wedding.

The bride is the daughter of a former co-worker of mine, but she is really much more than that. I first met her as an adolescent who had accompanied her family here as refugees. Later on, I interviewed and hired her for her first summer jobs as a counselor in our summer camp. (It wasn't nepotism - in a town this size we can't afford it. She is a remarkably warm, smart, and conscientious young woman with an incredible work ethic, traits learned from and shared by her entire family.) Husband got to know, a little - and, I think, very much like - her and her family too.

Later on, I got to write her letters of reference for other jobs, and for her application to her university program. (She is, unsurprisingly, in one of the caring professions.) I was unbelievably proud two years ago when she invited me as one of her guests to her graduation ceremony, as I know she had only a few invitations to hand out to guests.

She worked her way through University with part-time jobs, selling samosas and babysitting and working fast-food counters and working all the hours God sends when she wasn't in class. And taking care of her family chores, in the fashion of her traditional South American family. And somehow, in between all this, she found time to fall in love with a sweet, good-natured local boy who has been warmly embraced by her family and she his. I know him less than her, know him best for accompanying her to all the festivals and events the multicultural association organized and which they volunteered at. He, meanwhile, worked his way to an engineering degree. And now, degrees in pocket, permanent jobs secured, career paths established, they're getting married.

Tonight I went online to their wedding registry to get them a wedding gift. Their registry was so charmingly modest and practical - this couple has not set up housekeeping prior to "making it legal". (Knowing her mother and father I am not surprised :) ) A shower curtain. Placemats. Sheets and pillowcases and towels and water glasses. It was such a pleasure to choose and buy our own contribution to their brand-new household.

I am a sucker for weddings, but it is rare to attend one which gives you such overwhelming optimism and hope for the generations coming behind us.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Cause and effect

The Morgentaler Clinic, the only private abortion clinic in the province, has been vandalized.

I'm sure this has nothing whatsoever to do with the Ontario-based group "Show the Truth", which did a whistle-stop tour of the Maritimes last week displaying huge, graphic (and some allegedly deceptive) posters with images of supposed aborted fetuses on the sidewalk.

Their tour included Fredericton. Twice, as punishment for our Mayor suggesting they take their shock tactics back to Ontario.

Surely there must be no connection because after comments and letters of outrage appeared in the media from parents who were stuck in traffic on the busy downtown city street with no way to shield the eyes of the children in their vehicles, the group's leader Rosemary Connell said in an interview that in nine years "she has never seen a distressed child after one of her protests".

So we know all it doesn't inflame, shock and stir people. Or upset children.

So they took your right as a parent to introduce your beliefs on choice - for or against - in a time, place and manner of your choosing away from you. Too bad, so sad.

So they exposed your child to images as bloody and disturbing as blown-up images of any surgical procedure. Tough titty, kittie.

Civilized discourse, that's what it is. Nothing to do with intimidating women or performing psy-ops on children and teenagers.

(The one bright spot is that the tactic usually ultimately usually backfires, as it did in cities across the Maritimes where almost no one spoke in favour of the gruesome dog-and-pony show.)


Some guy in Leicester says we're happy!

Check it out. This University of Leicester study ranks us as the tenth-happiest country on earth.

The top ten countries are

1. Denmark
2. Switzerland
3. Austria
4. Iceland
5. Bahamas
6. Finland
7. Sweden
8. Bhutan
9. Brunei
10. Canada

All us socialist pinko welfare states and the oil-rich Arab kingdoms where everyone wears gold underwear are no-brainers, and the Bahamas? Hey, man :)

But who knew Austria was so happy?

This is an incredibly important development, struggling as we are to recover from a crushingly devastating study earlier in the month that informed us we were merely only the 111th-happiest country on earth.

Thanks to this good news, however, I believe I shall be able to go on with the struggle for another day. Happily.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Murder Unveiled

I have just finished watching "Murder Unveiled". It's the first time I've seen the movie, which debuted on February 6 on CBC Television.

As someone familiar with many of the details of the case, there is simply nothing I could add to this excellent review, which includes among its follow-up comments a post from the woman who played Jaswinder "Jassi" Kaur Sidhu ("Davinder" in the movie).

Perhaps the only thing I could add is that beyond being - in its way - a uniquely Canadian tragedy, the fictionalization of Jassi and Mithu's story was filmed as an exceptionally good movie. I mean, this is CBC's moviemaking department at its best - and when it's good, it's very, very good.

Painfully exploitive title aside (Jassi was Sikh; literal veils played no role whatsoever in her life or death), the production values, the acting, the editing, the cinematography, the sense of place (Canada and India), the pacing, the storytelling - are all exceptional.

I would, in fact, buy this on DVD should it become available - and that is something I say about very, very few movies these days.


Riley's a NoShow

Spotted this stenciled on the sidewalk on my walk home from work today. Some guerilla advertising on behalf of a local band, the NoShows.

Not sure if it's due to the comic or the animated series, but it looks like Riley's got some street cred after all - with the kids around here, at least.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Around the World with Nellie Bly

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to a young lady named Nellie Bly. Nellie is an intrepid reporter who travels the word in search of the day's most important and interesting news stories. No matter how complex or convoluted those stories might be, how serpentine their history, Nellie is devoted to condensing them into short, easily-understandable stories which are designed to educate and inform her readers, who range from middle-school aged to - well, to me. And she does a truly remarkable job of it.

Nellie is the brainchild of Mike Peterson, a professional newspaperman who is involved in the Newspapers in Education Program. NIE is aimed at introducing schoolchildren to newspapers with the goal of ensuring future generations of informed, smart kids. Mike created Nellie in cooperation with a talented cartoonist and named her for the pioneering female reporter Nellie Bly, a remarkable journalistic role model for young people.

Mike is also responsible for "Drawing Conclusions" (also available at, a feature which weekly chooses a hot topic and explores how two different editorial cartoonists address it. Like "Around the World with Nellie Bly", "Drawing Conclusions" encourages young people to think critically about the news coverage they see, and teaches them to understand that news often comes with perspectives attached.

You'll love "Around the World with Nellie Bly" and "Drawing Conclusions" if you have kids or if you have the opportunity to teach or guide kids. You'll like them a lot even if you don't.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Iron Man

I'm a huge fan of public art, and I'm really glad that Gallery Connexion and PEI artist Gerald Beaulieu are putting on an exhibit called "Superheroes" around downtown Fredericton this summer.

(Tragically, the yobs we shall always have with us; two of his sculptures were vandalized the night he put them up. Nice hospitality to offer a visiting artist indeed, and I hope those responsible are pleased with themselves. Mr. Beaulieu is repairing the damaged artworks.)

I'm particularly fond of "Iron Man", which is in King's Place Shopping Centre downtown. Because he stands against several large windows and my camera phone doesn't have a flash, it was a challenge to get a clear shot of him. but here he is. I like him quite a lot. He's tall!

I've been in Moncton for two days of professional development; we took a day-long training course on Workshop Facilitation (how to run workshops, basically) and then a day-long course on Promotion and Marketing. Very, very good stuff which was designed to train us in one particular program we'll be offering, but the skills are highly transferable across all programs and projects.

Other than that, just watching the Middle East implode :(


Monday, July 17, 2006

Oh, God. It's funny 'cause it's true!

Sent to me by my sister:

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food.The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years --canine or feline attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!



...vacation, that is...

It's, it's, it's, like, a good thing, right? That I don't want to go back to work? And I enjoyed vacation so much? And we had such a good time hanging out together, and spending time with the kitties? Right? Because that means we're real happy, right? And we have a good life? Right? So it's a good thing that I don't want to go back to work tomorrow, right?


Meanwhile, like every other teenager on the planet, Mojo now has a page on He kant spel very wel but he is prety openyonated anywa.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ask not for whom the bridge trolls... trolls for a couple of acid-soaked dudes who decided to raise money to buy a lighter for their giant spliff by charging joggers and cyclists to cross a footbridge.

Including a sherrif's deputy whose self-identification only made these billy goats gruffer.

This is your brain on drugs :)

Don't miss the video for added details.


Friday, July 14, 2006

The Island

Where to start? With a messed-up work schedule keeping us close to home this vacation, Husband and I were kind of at a loss to figure out any getaway plans at all. Then he said, "You know, I've never been to PEI except on business. I've never seen the beaches..."

Well, neither had I. While I'd flown in and out of Charlottetown for meetings, I knew as little about the tiny island-province of Prince Edward Island as - well, as anywhere. And it's only a couple of hours' drive away.

The Confederation Bridge, one of the wonders of the modern world, was completed in 1997 and connects PEI with New Brunswick. Driving over it can be a daunting prospect. I'd never driven it, having only flown onto or off of the Island. Husband had driven it a couple of times and I was genuinely excited about experiencing the 12.9-km long wonder. It is actually a freakier feeling than I expected. The realization of where you are can be quite acute. (Actually, looking at the photo of it on the linked website just gave me another "Ulp - I drove over that??" moment.)

Our first night was spent in Souris (pronounced "SurEE") on a very French part of the Island. I had spent some time investigating the Island's "Romantic Getaways" packages looking for something unique and fun, and we found this lighthouse accommodation right on the beach. The whole lighthouse was ours - housekeeping unit downstairs, bedroom and whirlpool bath upstairs, and the whole thing surrounded by a huge balcony that overlooked a very beautiful and private beach.

(Private in the sense of "no-one around"... as the young lady told Husband on the phone when he asked her if the nearby beach was public, "Sir, ALL the beaches in PEI are public beaches!" Apparently the idea of private ownership of a beach quite horrified her.)

We also got to check out the surrounding villages, which included some interesting architecture. This was a Roman Catholic Church. I have no idea what that architectural style is called... "Seventeenth-century Roman Catholic Mosque" perhaps?

The second day we spent some time in Charlottetown (the first thing you realize when you drive PEI is that the whole province is so tiny you can pretty much go anywhere within it in under 2 hours - it's only 280K from tip to tip of the crescent island). Husband got to visit Great Hobbies - the largest hobby centre in Atlantic Canada and, according to its website, "Canada's leading supplier of radio controlled models and related hobby supplies" - where he bought a whole crapload of cool stuff.

Then we headed to our second nights' accommodations in Brackley Beach. The Brackley Beach North Winds exceeded our expectations with a huge luxury suite (and of course another whirlpool bath! yum!), and the package also included a pass to the PEI National Park at Brackley Beach.

These dunes, environmentally fragile and vulnerable to the erosion of the water and wind, are protected national treasures.

The beach was absolutely gorgeous and we had a wonderful fish dinner right on the wharf. The fish we ate both days was unbelievably fresh - I haven't had fish that fresh or delicious since I was last in Newfoundland.

On Thursday evening and again on Friday morning we stopped in at The Dunes at Brackley Beach, an absolutely jaw-dropping complex of galleries, water and flower gardens, unique furniture, jewelry, fashion and art and an haute-cuisine cafe and restaurant. If you go - and if you go to PEI, by all means, go - give yourself two hours to just roam around. It is an experience unto itself, thousands of beautiful things, very reasonably priced. I bought my "treat souvenir" there - a beautiful beaded necklace - and Husband bought an outstanding bottle opener souvenir to add to his impressive collection of girlie art and kitsch. (That's a penny next to her, for scale. Isn't she magnificent????)

While we spent some time in the part of the Island known as "Anne's Land", where Avonlea and the famous green-gabled house are located, we didn't visit the site on this trip. A bit too kitschy for us, I'm afraid - and besides, we'll be back again. Husband, who didn't know much about this classic of adolescent girls' literature, got quite an education in Anne while we were there. One of the things I enjoyed most was sharing with him why certain things were named as they were ("Matthew's Carriage Rides", "Lake of Shining Waters Water Park", "Red Pigtails This and That") and the significance of some of the memorabilia for sale (like straw hats with green ribbons).

Something that isn't awfully well known outside Atlantic Canada is that Green Gables has become a huge destination for Japanese tourists, particularly young Japanese girls, attracting tens of thousands on organized tours and individual visits every year. Some tourist literature contains Japanese translations along with English and French, and a number of ads and tourist photos I saw there feature Japanese models. (The tourism department even has a Japanese website.) Many Japanese girls even plan and have their dream wedding in PEI. Why the appeal?

Anne is a self-described "free spirit"; an orphan girl who was a disappointment to her adoptive parents (who were expecting a valuable boy to work on their farm and got a red-headed, scatterbrained female chatterbox instead); she was born into a world of strict social conventions and tightly-constrained roles, which she constantly blundered through and tripped over. Irrepressible, fanciful and imaginative, she succeeds in changing the people and town around her, rather than succumbing to the pressure to conform that they try to impose on her. The attraction of the character to young Japanese ladies is hardly difficult to understand.

It was a wonderful, wonderful, much-deserved holiday. We had so much fun.


Home from Anne's Land

Just got back from three wonderful, wonderful days on Prince Edward Island. Far too tired to blog it tonight but I'll tell you all about it later.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I know what Pocky is!

For years I've seen references to Japanese snack Pocky on the web. It's almost a net-meme itself, although I'm not sure why. I have probably most often bumped into it on pages devoted to Engrish, the misuse of English in Japanese or other Asian packaging, advertising, signage or clothing embellishment (often with hilarious results). I am not sure "Pocky" is really Engrish, though, because it's hardly a commonly-used English word and may be more likely a made-up, intentionally-English-sounding word to the Japanese; "Pocky" doesn't sound terribly Japanese, does it?

Anyway, my friend "Amelie", who is teaching English in Japan, sent a very thoughtful and sweet package of gifts, goodies and postcards to her friends back here, and wasn't I tickled when one of them was a box of Pocky! Finally, I'd get to find out what Pocky tasted like.

(Mojo was mighty curious, too.)

And I did. And I'm not telling what it is. You'll either have to go to Japan or get your own expatriate friend to find out :) But it is delicious.

Thanks, Amelie!


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Ashes to ashes; dust to dust

Today we had my Father-in-Law's interment. Dad O died in February; and in Canada, if you die in February, and your final resting plans involve breaking ground, your family must wait until after the spring thaw to take that final step in their collective journey. The funeral home takes care of any ashes or remains in the meantime, until the time is right.

The time was right; of the five brothers, only three of whom live in the province, four are here now with wives and families. Most importantly, Mom O felt that this was the right time.

Two of his grandchildren were there, girls old enough to want to go and to go; and one great-granddaughter, young enough to not really understand what was happening. One of the older girls, our Goddaughter, is particularly close to Husband and I and is also the most emotional and sensitive of the kids. She asked to drive to the cemetary with us and she asked me a million questions before and (whispered) during the proceeding. Was that hole in the ground where Grampy would go? How could they fit a casket into that little hole? (Dad O was cremated, something she knew but the details of which are clearly fuzzy to her; it would not be a casket, I explained, but a small container called an "urn".)

Were we supposed to bring flowers? Were those his flowers waiting around the hole in the ground? Did everyone have to put a flower in the grave afterwards? ("I think that's more of a thing they do on TV", I said, thinking to myself with amusement that while it might be right for some families, I cannot possibly overstate how absolutely appalled her Grandfather would have been at such a dramatic demonstration.)

Would he have a stone? (Yes, Grammy would choose one.) She pointed to a compact engraved bronze plate set into the ground. Would it be like that? (Maybe, I said. If that's what Grammy chose. Or maybe a stand-up headstone, like that one, or that one.) What was that the Minister was pouring onto the urn? (Not being Anglican, I didn't know that it was the traditional consecrated sand symbolizing "dust to dust"; but I made a point of finding out after the service so I could answer her question.)

I felt the weight of her questions quite heavily, keenly aware that the things I said to her at this time of high emotion were going to be remembered by her and would make an impression on her for years, maybe even the rest of her life, just like things trusted adults told me about life and death made an impression on me. It must be absolutely terrifying to be a parent.

The service was dignified and solemn and traditional, just as Dad O would have liked it. The funny thing is that this felt the exact opposite of a "final goodbye". With this step, there is now an answer to that primal human urge for a spot, a place to visit, a locating, somehow, of the spirit of someone who has died; a place one can go to honour him, think of him, acknowledge him, even talk to him if we like. So in a way, it was not a goodbye; but the beginning of our new relationship with him.


Preserving memories and making lives

Okay, this is kind of cool - a company in Columbus, Ohio that will take a bunch of your old t-shirts and use them to create a quilt or wall hanging. There are a lot of great things you could do with that idea - a quilt made out of all your favourite concert tees, for example. I see quite a few people have made keepsake quilts out of team jerseys from school or university tees.

What makes this place so special I single them out for mention? Most of their employees are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and they promote a "deaf-friendly environment". The t-shirt quilt business is affiliated with Deaf Initiatives, Inc., an organization whose mission is to "provide initiatives that strengthen the potential of young adults who are deaf or hard of hearing".

While I strongly advocate full participation by the handicapped in all aspects of life, these kinds of workshops (they used to be called "sheltered workshops" back when I worked with Down's Syndrome youth) definitely have a role to play for some individuals. Not everyone gets the same degree of training, education and family support as they grow up; not everyone has the same degree or type of handicap; and for many people these kinds of workplaces are wonerful places to develop skills and self-confidence.

Very cool.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

And now the bad news.

How you know you live in New Brunswick:

This is a headline in your local paper.


We went to the animal fair; the birds and the bees were there...

On Thursday, we went to Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton. Neither of us had ever been to the Zoo, and I had never experienced the famous "Magnetic Hill" which has become a local tourist attraction and has spawned a theme park, water park and zoo. (And shops and restaurants - and what would a Canadian theme park be without a Beavertails stand? Hmm? I ask you?)

Magnetic Hill is one of those tourist things that every region has, things the locals rarely actually do, in spite of the fact that thousands of vacationers find them worthy. However, ever since doing the Magnetic Hill thing this spring when he was at the convention centre for a meeting, Husband was so completely floored by it that he suggested we make a day trip to Moncton so I could experience it, too. And we both really wanted to visit the Zoo, which the city and a team of volunteer "Friends of the Zoo" have turned into an award-winning facility for threatened and endangered species.

I won't clog up your computer with all the great animals we saw, but will share some of the standouts with you.

This odd creature is a capybara, or in French "cochon d'eau" ("water pig"). The single oddest creatures we saw all day; very, very weird-looking!!

A black-and-white lemur. (They also had ring-tailed lemurs.)

A bison (you should see one of these big boys taking a dust bath!)

Some absolutely adorable and hammy spider monkeys. The zoo also hosts olive baboons and white-handed gibbons.

This is Llarry (we don't know that, we just named him Llarry in honour of the Gary Larson cartoon) the exceptionally cooperative llama. Llarry strolled over to us and posed charmingly until we took several photos of him. In fact, he seemed a little disappointed that we only took several. Llarry the Llama is also a ham.

The star of the day, for us, was Tomar the Siberian Tiger.

Tomar is over 227 kg (500 pounds) - and that's not particularly big for a Siberian Tiger; they grow to over 319 kg (700 pounds).

He was dozing in the distance when we first arrived...


...but got up to stroll over to his admirers later on...

...eventually checking us out quite calmly from only a few feet away.

That is one big kitty.

A high point of the visit was watching the Zoo Crew try to round up three errant ostriches to lead them to a new area. The gate was wide open - and those ostriches wanted to go anywhere but through it.

It seems the way one rounds up ostriches is to hold onto something quite long to make oneself appear larger and then corral the beasts in the direction you want them to go. Unfortunately, the ostriches will attempt to break through the corral; so if one approaches you, you try to gently intimidate it by waving your long stick-y objects (rakes, branches, etc) up and down like ridiculous wings. In spite of their efforts, one particularly bold ostrich would screw up his or her courage and bust through the line anyway, sending zoo employees scattering - and as soon as Number One had broken free, Two and Three were emboldened to follow. The entire effect, while no doubt frustrating to the young "Zoo Crew" members, was absolutely hilarious to observe.

After spending a few hours at the park, we "did" Magnetic Hill. This is how it works: You wait in line for a few minutes, then park at the top of a hill on a quaint dirt country road while a charming young lady gives you instructions. When she gives you the ok, you drive down that fairly steep hill to a white post that's at the bottom. Then you stop, slip your car into neutral, take your foot off the brake, and...

...roll backwards, quite rapidly, back to the top of the hill.

It is a bit of a mind-blower; your brain keeps telling your senses that they can't possibly be experiencing what they are experiencing. How are we rolling uphill??? This can't be happening! The water in ditches alongside the road or from snow melting also runs "uphill"! It's not overrated, that's for sure.

How does it work? Well, there were some pretty whack folk theories, including the theory that a large mass of magnetic minerals in the hill pulled metal automobiles back to the hilltop, hence the name given to the feature by locals which sticks today; in fact there's a simple explanation, but as Husband noted, it's "not a very satisfactory one" - because you just can't believe the perfection of the illusion.

Good day, fer shur!


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July to all my American friends and readers!

Beyond that, anything I could add has been said, and said better, in The Nellie Blog.

God Bless America!


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Best Canada Day Ever.

This is Mr. William "Willie" O'Ree. If you're Canadian, or a hockey fan, you probably know who he is. He is a real, true personal hero of mine, and has been for a long time. And on Canada Day, I got to meet him and get my picture taken with him.

Willie O'Ree was the first Black player to play in the NHL. He is also, possibly not coincidentally, the absolutely nicest human being and most gracious gentleman you will ever meet in your whole life. Anyone will tell you the same thing. He is a genuine Canadian sports hero; a documentary has been made of his story, his autobiography has been published, and today one of his roles is as Ambassador for the NHL's Diversity Task Force program, which encourages diversity in hockey and participation by minority youth. (That "Hockey is for Everyone" t-shirt he's wearing is related to the program.) When you see a picture like this, of Anson Carter celebrating scoring the goal that clinched the Olympic Gold Medal for his country, or this photo of Georges Laraque and Carter, well, that's because of Willie O'Ree.

And on Canada Day, Willie O'Ree got himself a big Canada Day cake and he went down to Mazzuca's Convenience Store - he's been best friends with the Mazzuca boys his whole life - and he sat on a park bench and gave away that cake. And if anyone recognized him - as we did - he acted like it was the biggest thrill of his life to have his picture taken with us.

I'm getting ahead of myself, though. Canada Day was hot (but not too hot) and sunny and simply gorgeous, and our municipal celebration (billed as "Canada's Biggest Block Party") started before noon. Officer's Square was simply jam-packed (that's a statue of Lord Beaverbrook in the background) and the celebration spilled all up and down the green that runs along the Saint John River.

The river is the site, after dusk on Canada Day, of the Parade of Lights, whence boat owners decorate their vessels colourfully and sail in a colourful line down the river. Decorate their vessels a little too colourfully, in some cases (ahem).

(She's a mannequin, thank goodness.)

A number of local dignitaries and celebrities were on hand to address the large crowd at Officer's Square, which is why Husband got to have his picture taken with Miss Canada International, Solange Tuyishime. I've known her family since they arrived from Rwanda some years ago and I have loved watching this articulate, poised, attractive and bright young woman represent my country - and rack up scholarships - through both pageants and through her work and studies in journalism and in the area of refugees and forced migration.

(No "Beauty and the Beast" jokes, please :) and before anyone asks, I don't know why Popeye Doyle, who appears in the background, was in Fredericton.)

At 4 pm the Parade started. I won't bore you with all the photos I took but some of the highlights for me were seeing the groups that represented the growth of my community, both in terms of community development... first-timers the Greyhound Rescue Group or FLAG (Fredericton Lesbians and Gays), who've been participating for a couple of years now...

...and culturally, in the participation of groups like...

...the new Filipino Association, the Chinese Cultural Association...

...the Korean Association, and...

...scattered around and disorganized as ever, the Multicultural Association of Fredericton :)

The music and celebration continued way into the evening and culminated with fireworks at eleven pm. We were home by then, concerned with comforting the cats, who don't appreciate fireworks at all. But it had been my best Canada Day ever; the weather, the ambience, the spirit of the day.

And I, I got to meet Willie O'Ree.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day!

We're going to be a great country when we finish unpacking us!!! :)