Whew what an exhausting couple of weeks.

I’ve never watched so much television so often so late at night. Damn those Prime time advertising dollars!
After the first week I was spent. I had to take a break and missed some key performances but work and sanity prevailed.

As a Canadian in the USA there were times I would be yelling at the TV set pissed off that we were going to see one more story on Ohno or Voss or Miller or another frigging commercial for 5 dollar Subway sandwiches, and next to nothing on the rest of the world.

I’m as proud and happy for those winning athletes as the next person…it’s just that the coverage was relentless. Relentless in it’s personal stories and build up of all things Team USA.
I heard from a number of American friends who agreed that it was too much US not enough World coverage.

You’d almost think it was the USA Olympics and oh by-the-way here are some other talented countries participating….but…we’ll only supply a snippet to tease you…and now back to Lindsay Jacobellis and her spectacular fall from podium grace…let’s just run another clip of her 2006 grandstanding one more time…Enough already!

The pressure put on these athletes by the media hype was entirely unfair in my opinion. Some of the most private moments of winning or losing with a video camera stuck in their faces for immediate response. UGH. What is it about today’s coverage? Is it the viewers who insist on these invasive tactics? Or has the media become so inured as to disregard respectful distances?

I read on Yahoo News one journalist’s take on Winners and Losers of the 2010 Games. I was happy to read that the Canadian people were considered winners. Proud of our athletes and yet cheering on others in sporting ways. Game on for the Games!

Granted I am a softie but, whenever I heard our anthem O Canada, I could hold back the tears for only so long, had to swallow the lump building in my throat several times, and felt a swelling of intense pride grow and glow in my chest.

But I also took it personally when the Luge track came into question with the unnecessary and untimely death of the Georgian athlete, or the cauldron flame pole didn’t come up properly or there were complaints about the ice surfaces at the Richmond Track. Anything that screamed of negligence or amateurism made me squirm.

Still.. it was incredibly disturbing to read the vitriolic nature of a number of the comments on Yahoo. So many nasty tangents that they threatened to obscure the positive all encompassing tolerant views shared by other readers.

Comments that threatened to displace the real reason the world gets together every four years in the winter… To proudly represent the best of what their country has to offer, to share a love of the sport they have chosen to compete in, to gain much deserved recognition for all their sacrifices and hard earned work leading up to the Games, and, to gain a world view of what is possible. Of what is good in the world.

I mean really…Didn’t you just love how the crowd was yelling USA USA as well as GO CANADA GO at the Men’s Gold final Hockey game?


OMG if we had lost it would have been unbearable. The bruised national psyche would have suffered a major blow! A completely crushed collective!

I know I know…Pain and Pride are inevitable…someone has to win someone has to lose.
However, I’m glad my flag won..partly for the short sweet satisfaction of pulling it off.

Little sister pulled a fast one on her big brother. Both sides skated hard,played well, pushed their limits. It came down to a lucky moment of preparation meeting opportunity ….capped off of course by a small black puck sliding in under the radar.

I wrote on Larry King’s blog tonight but didn’t cut the mustard it would appear. I was responding to his interview of Sarah Palin on his show Nov. 12th.

Perhaps my comments against Sarah Palin which didn’t seem any nastier than the others on the blog thread were too much for his moderation panel?
Was it because I called her an opportunistic, double-talking windbag? Or possibly it was the reference to her smarmy grin? Maybe it was the plea to get her off the airwaves. To give those of us living in the lower 48 some respite from her unintelligible, disingenuous, unaware, rambling non-answers?

It might have been my concern that maybe I was insane for tuning in with the hope for something different? Greater expectations too great?

Then again it could have been my parting appeal to Larry and the rest of CNN to reconsider their irritating manner of breaking for yet another commercial instead of providing some lengthy flowing in-depth interviews.

Geez I guess I’ll never know for sure…too bad..sort of.

Hi Jane,

The overwhelming pent up worldwide desire for positive change in the U.S. government is truly amazing. It goes to show you how important America’s leadership role is. After 8 years of Darth Vader and his chimp 90% of the world’s population and a substantial group of Americans, except those living in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee, are ready to embrace the new “Commander in Chief”.

However, the expectations of B.O. are messianic and this I’m afraid does not fit well with the role of “Commander in Chief”. B.O. is not becoming the Secretary General of the U.N. He is not going to electrify or run sewage lines in rural Kenya, nor is he going to be everything to all people of the world. He is today and for the next two months going to be sucked into the maw of the C.I.A., the N.S.A. and the Pentagon. B.O. will learn a new language and militaristic philosophy that will help him become the “Commander in Chief”. One can only hope that he uses his power judiciously. The first test will come in January. Will B.O. close Gitmo or will the Defence staff urge him to postpone the closing until every detainee has completed their water boarding sessions?

If B.O. does not, in short order, make decisions that will re-establish world respect for America then the honeymoon will be over quickly and “the second coming” will be a bust.


Hey Macky

We are already hearing from various parts of the world how this election will change peoples lives, but it was interesting yesterday on NPR when a journalist in Nigeria who, while congratulatory toward BO, also counseled his fellow Africans that this historic event doesn’t mean all of a sudden they have a free ticket into the USA. BO isn’t going to necessarily open the door to all of Africa just because of his connection to Kenya.
An Iranian on the same NPR report who was pleased by the prospect of a new US administration and excited it might mean a change in their own government in ten months, is concerned that this could encourage Israel to use major force preemptively against them before BO is sworn in, because their(Israel’s) actions would be sanctioned by the present administration but not necessarily by BO’s. That will indeed be a test of diplomacy for him.
Even the new Russian Pres was taking digs at BO and the USA in his first public speech already.

So history is made here and the world continues to turn. People and country’s have their own agenda’s and it seems are trigger itchy no matter who is in power in the lower 48.

It will be interesting to see how long it will take for the USA to complete it’s trek toward a lesser world power. It is/has lost it’s grip, I think, as a major player, financially, not to mention morally, and up until Tuesday night, spiritually. We owe so much money to so many institutions here and around the world it is scary, scary, scary.
In order to for the USA to get its own “financial house” in order, won’t it have to pull back from some of its international initiatives? I mean how can we/they afford not to?

It will be a real dance to pull it off successfully and convincingly if this country is to remain at the top.

BO is mesmerizing to listen to. Every time I hear him I think how could people NOT want the hopeful things he speaks of. Given he is messianic it strikes me as ironic that it was primarily the bible belt who turned away from him. Although I suppose some of that belt consider him the Antichrist….perhaps it is because he is God loving rather than God fearing?

Now is a test of the American mindset,…will the American public who supported his candidacy work toward achieving his ideals? Will we actually pay more than lip service to it, actually make sacrifices, work harder, consume less, conserve more, stop maintaining a sense of entitlement that has been encouraged to blossom these last few years? Can we become more humble,less fearful, and open up to a global world view?

Or will the American public revert back to their old ways figuring they’ve done their part by electing him and now it’s up to him to get the job done?

The verdict is still out on all sides of the table.


Is the USA mature enough to elect a president who happens to be an African American?
Although Obama, like McCain, is unproven in office, he is someone who is willing to obtain the facts from all sides, use diplomacy at all costs, and make informed intelligent decisions. He also happens to be black.
The disgruntled Hillary diehards, the undecided electorate, and the GOP-at-all-costs voters need to dig deep within and examine their true motives for voting another inept Republican into office. It isn’t about experience and it isn’t about women, and it certainly isn’t about change. It’s about race.

Since when is a community organizer less patriotic then McCain or Palin .
When did the GOP corner the market on patriotism? Male or female?
Where are all the thoughtful creative concerned people who want to see change, if not real, at least compassionate in Washington?

Along with Waldo,WHERE’S OBAMA? Why haven’t we heard much from him, Biden, or for that matter, other Democrats, since Sarah Palin’s speech last Wednesday?
Have the Democrats gone into hiding? Lashing out only pitifully against the GOP juggernaut of disinformation.
Why isn’t Barack Obama out there reminding us what he and the Democrats stand for loud and clear, with all the eloquence and thoughtfulness that behooves a President?
We do not have to be bamboozled once again by the Republicans and their rhetoric aimed at belittling people who are intelligent free thinkers.

Do we not want a President who can think on his/her feet? One who can make important connections on global matters and speak to them without relying on their speechwriters or tele-prompters. We need a President who can create and maintain a dialogue both on a national and international level, not someone who can read a screen in front of them.

Throughout the primaries I wondered if the USA was mature enough to nominate either a woman or a black man to one of its’ major parties. Now that that question has been settled, I am wondering if they are mature enough to vote in a president who, although is as yet unproven, is one willing to listen to all sides, take in the facts, use diplomacy at all costs, and make intelligent decisions after collecting the information.

Why does America want to be known as a Shoot First, Ask Questions later kind of country? Where do we get off bullying other countries under the guise of spreading democracy when we abuse our own rights here at home?

America is caught up in the celebrity culture of style over substance, garnering their news from the likes of People Magazine and other “well informed” tabloids such as The National Enquirer,etc.
It is more and more apparent that people don’t really want to know what is going on out there. It is easy for us to blame big business interests lobbying for the continuation of distracting news rather than real news, but, in the long run it comes down to the American populous’ willingness to be spoon fed insincere, insignificant, moronic entertainment sound bytes, instead of demanding in-depth coverage. The sad fact is the desire to be entertained runs deeper than the desire to learn.

Why are the GOP and some major media outlets intent on misinforming Americans about global warming and climate change? Why aren’t people more concerned about polar bears floundering 60 miles out to sea because the ice fields they roam for food are melting away? (Oregonian WWF stat Sept.4 or 5th ,2008)
What is it about science that makes them reluctant to concede perhaps the human factor is indeed a factor in our global warming dilemma? Why can’t we have politicians who are willing to be brutally honest with their constituents about the need to curb their consumption of energy? Why can’t people be allowed to make their own choices about their bodies when it comes to abortion or stem cell research?
Why can’t we teach both creationism and evolution in the classroom? Why does it have to be either or?
If people were willing to be informed they could make informed decisions for or against, for themselves, without imposing their beliefs on others.

Isn’t it imperative to have both Liberal and Conservative judges on the Supreme Court? Wasn’t America formed by people who wouldn’t take no for an answer? They took their job seriously when they set out to create a country that was safe for opposing thought to flourish, to allow for questioning and, to make room for dissension, surmising correctly that it would promote discussion amongst their peoples. This fundamental right is one of the things that make America a truly great nation.


I never sent this in because truthfully it needs a lot of work but the questions are still relevant and people need to ask themselves.. how much do they want to think and how much don’t they?

and somehow despite the fact that I am on my computer almost everyday this blog just doesn’t seem to fill up with the multitude of thoughts roving around in my head. I know part of that is the internal editor jumping in and stopping me from writing, particularly if what is pushing forward to be expressed is around someone I know or love. Thoughts come tumbling forth but are stopped, scrutinized and discarded not necessarily as unworthy but perhaps sensitive in nature, potentially exposing of foibles or information that might not ought to be public. I have great conversations with myself trying on the other sides viewpoint or at least trying to understand it without projecting my own “stuff” onto them. Doesn’t always work and I will fret some before stepping back and undergoing a wee epiphany which happily loosens up the internal dialogue….lets go of the chattering monkeys…so to speak… thus enabling me to get on with my day,my week, my life, or create newer more satisfying dialogue. This is especially true when I am out walking the dog on the fabulous green trails behind our house. There is something to be said for the head clearing qualities of fresh air…earthy, musty, olfactory filling delight that it is. Interrupted only occasionally by the not so sweet smell of canine bowel deposits. Understood to be a most needed function but phew wait until I’m past you buddy!~ He looks back at me with that gaze of sorrow and joy mixed into one. As if saying sorry with noticeable relief;)
here’s a question for ya…Do dogs think?
I am of the opinion that indeed they do. Not only that but they also emote,reason and problem solve,have strong memories and recognition,are curious,love unconditionally …even the times when they are kicked off the bed for apparently no good reason their minds anyway.

Okay, I wanted to be poetic like Joe but the practical side of me
keeps coming forward….soooo these suggestions are not listed in
order of priority. In my opinion each one of them is important
although some may serve you better than others at any given time.

Don’t take no for an answer…
When you find yourself on the job hunt just because they tell you they
don’t need anyone right now doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. I
found many jobs because I kept going back and they started to
recognize me and my perseverance.
If it’s something you are really interested in, keep at it, don’t give
up prematurely.

Be open to the possibilities…
Sometimes a job you weren’t looking for might be offered and could,
either A) lead to the job you do want, or B) provide a job that in the
end does appeal to you,possibly even more than the one you sought in
the first place.
Leads open the pathway to new leads, don’t discount an opportunity
just because it doesn’t fit your initial criteria.

Widen the throw of your net…
If you aren’t sure what you want to do allow yourself to send a
“shotgun spread” of inquiries until things can be narrowed down.
Opportunities can present themselves in the most unlikely places.

Be willing to get your hands dirty…
When you’re starting out don’t be “too good” to tackle even the nastiest
of jobs. Hard work is always rewarded and recognized. Humbleness has
it’s benefits. People are less likely to try to take down someone who
is recognized to have been “in the trenches” than someone who has
stepped into a higher position without earning their chops.

Appreciate the good fortune of everyone around you…

Learn to speak to many different people on many different levels…

Be curious…
Take every opportunity to regularly discover something new about
yourself and/or the environment around you.

If you don’t know, ASK questions…
Don’t be hesitant to ask someone who might know the answer you’re
looking for. I have found that people generally like to work with
someone who is willing to ask questions and learn rather than have to
repair the damage from an unfortunate circumstance created from not

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or look dumb…
How else can you learn?

Know how to speak another language and use it whenever possible…
I wish I had paid more attention in high school when I studied French
and had worked at being more proficient in a second or even a third
language. There is nothing better than going to another country and
being able to communicate in the local language.

When travelling enjoy the similarities and the differences of another
Don’t assume that everyone wishes they could live in North America,
there are millions of people out there perfectly happy with their
lives in their own countries.
If it’s another country you’re in, understand that while the food,
dress, language, etc, might be different everyone has the same basic
desires. We all want to love and be loved, to be able to provide a
safe haven for our children and loved ones, to make ends meet and to
have a good

Be able to laugh…
A sense of humor will take you a long way.

Don’t take people for granted…
Including yourself.

Experience life…
Enjoy it to the max. Take risks. Tell the people closest to you that you
love them and mean it, often.

Keep an open heart and an open mind and the rest will follow…

Love Janie

I sent this submission to a Delta Sky Magazine Contest …

It was with some trepidation that I set out to enter this contest, because this is a story of the evolution of my greening. After all how Green can you be to be really green?

Portland Oregon is living breathing green. It is my adopted city. And I have come to love it. Never have I lived in a place where plants grow abundantly in the winter with actual flowers blooming. It was a sight I excitedly wrapped my head around.

I grew up in and around Toronto Canada and honestly still love the surrounding countryside of the rolling Ontario hills but brown slushy big city snow has sell-by-date limited appeal.
So in a leap of faith and a stroke of luck I moved here seven years ago for the greener pastures of love.

Once here it didn’t take long for me to appreciate other green aspects of my new home. Not counting the year-round vegetation or the 100 foot plus Douglas Firs in our back yard, Portland is well respected for its efforts at promoting conscientious sustainable living. Portland, I soon learned, was green before it was hip.

Our “territorial view” home, a treed lot in realtor speak, backs onto a network encompassing forty miles of trails mostly wooded that wends its way through the greater metropolitan area. A city with forty miles of trails! Unheard of, right?

I realized this afternoon as I walked my dog in the brilliant shimmering chartreuse woods overflowing with springtime foliage and trillium villages that I must live in one of the greenest cities in the United States.

This thought came of course in between the short hailstorm followed by the dappled sunshine and rounded out by an ominous grey cloud cover. It is spring in the Pacific Northwest and one quickly learns you must dress in layers here for three quarters of the year if you wish to be comfortable outside. I froze my first year here until I assimilated that valuable lesson.

The first time I saw one of the Tri Met buses outfitted with bicycle carriers on the front I thought, “How cool is that?” What a perfect solution for those particularly rainy winter days. Then I discovered Compost bins are given out for free to anyone who would like one. Hazardous waste drop off centers rove through the city during the summer months, making removal so easy it would be a crime not to do it.
Green living seminars are offered on a regular basis. In fact I just received my free Portland’s Smart Trips Resources and Rewards reusable bag put out by the City of Portland’s Office of Transportation.

It’s an incentive program to remind people “There is more than one way to get there.” It was delivered to our door by bike riding “greenies”. Inside the bag are trail maps for biking and hiking,a pedometer,a reflective strap to fit an arm or a leg, two separate indoor and outdoor water conservation kits, and an umbrella. The last item a most fortuitous addition since I literally threw out a broken one earlier today.

Recycling wasn’t unfamiliar to me having done my share of paper recycling back in Toronto. However the encouragement to recycle different types of plastics and cartons was indeed a novelty. I understand in the years I have been gone, Toronto has improved dramatically having implemented a program that now collects composting and food scraps. Portland, I have read is in the process of introducing a similar program in the next year.

Composting food scraps isn’t entirely new having grown up on a farm but I had avoided it in Toronto because of the problem of marauding raccoons in a high-density urban environment. But here in Portland I was eager to become one of the converted. We recently moved our full compost bin away from our back door. Digging up the remaining earth I was delighted to discover mixed in with the corn cobs, egg shells, and other vegetable detritus, hundreds, if not thousands of tiny earthworms wriggling their way away from my spade. It works! I was so excited to see them.

We are fortunate enough to live within walking distance of a year round farmers market. Each Sunday through the summer and every other through the winter my yellow Labrador Retriever, Jera, and I walk the two miles to the market to shop. My husband will drive over to meet us and ferry our booty back home again. We enjoy seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables,meats,cheeses and seafood sold by the actual producers that recognize me each week. Some of who I am lucky enough to be on a first name basis. My favorite vendors I made jam for at Christmas using the fruit I purchased at the market.
The chicken farmer actually keeps track of his carbon footprint required to bring his goods to the market. It’s less than 30 miles so when all is said and done they aren’t doing too badly considering the chicken factory farms of the Midwest or Southern USA.

Before moving here I thought I knew what fresh food was all about but little did I recognize the benefit of purchasing your food from someone who actually grew it. Or better yet paying attention to how far food had to travel to get to my home. I admit I still buy bananas from Ecuador and the occasional pineapple from Hawaii but more and more I find myself checking labels and turning away things that have come from a great distance. I see it as a necessity in my own small way of doing my part to decrease my carbon footprint.

I’ve even begun recycling words with my crossword puzzles and writing.

I feel like I might sound like a commercial for Portland but moving here has shaped my life a great deal for the better when it comes to the infamous reduce reuse recycle maxim so popular these days.

For me Oregon is a state of mind.

Not for lack of wanting to post, nor for lack of ideas but it is incredible to me just how much time can be absorbed off blog by emails…answering and sending…plus writing a book, short essays,finding words…..not to mention the fine art of living.

Including husbands, family and friends to love, dogs to walk, people to see,work to do, gardens to tend and grow,groceries to buy,crossword puzzles to complete, doctors to visit, reading of books, newspapers, magazines,online articles,youtube,facebook,phone calls, sleep…how do people actually keep on top of these things AND blog in a regular disciplined manner? I ask you? Is it possible? Obviously not for me.

I wonder too how much of me or my family do I want out there in the cyber ethernet? What topics are appropriate and which are taboo? To sort and sift through the daily events that go on in my life…hmmm?

I had my first published piece which I submitted in July and had published in September in a National magazine…American Whitewater…Yippee

My oldest stepson Chris got married last September Labour day Weekend in Hood River Oregon…A grand affair with to die for sunshine all weekend and a jam packed fun filled family laden extravaganza.
It took almost the whole year to plan between the happy couple in San Francisco, Aviva’s parents in Toronto,the three parents here in Portland and all the various vendors.
A long time to come to fruition but very worth the seeds planted along the way.

I went on a ten day rafting trip on the Grand Canyon at the end of October, early November. I agonized for three weeks whether I ought to go or not….which I suppose I could have shared on this blog but sometimes the journey of my decision making needs to be a private adventure of my very own agony.
Of course I wanted to go from the very first offer but it required a bit of figuring out on my part before I could make the commitment. I missed the full 17 days but I made it for 10 so I can’t complain.

I kayaked through Lava Falls,the biggest rapid, almost successfully…made it through the meatiest stuff but got knocked over at the bottom on an enormous wave….I should have tried rolling up a third time but pulled my spray skirt instead..possibly in camaraderie with one of the other kayaker’s who was sure we were all going to swim..his proclamation unfortunately was spot on… the three of us kayaking did indeed swim.

But hey I went through some big mothers between Phantom Ranch at mile 88 and the take out at mile 225 in a raft, in an inflatable kayak and in a hard shell.
It was a blast…I hope I get another chance to do the Canyon again all the way from the put in, sometime in the future!

I never knew this until I got there but the Colorado river in the Grand Canyon has it’s own class system…so something we would calculate as a 5 on most rivers is a 10 on the GC. Lava Falls and Crystal were my first class 10’s…hoowee.

Let’s see …oh yeah I got my green card in November after arguing with the INS for two years who said they sent me my first card in September 2005. Never mind that I was in Canada with my Dad who was dying, never mind that I never received it….too bad….pay up or shut up….Homeland Security said pay up a second time then they’d be happy to send another card.

Something that should have cost 200 dollars cost me an additional 375 because they had upped the rates in the mean time..mean time is right…AND they don’t bother to send the cards via registered mail…soooo you have no recourse or way to track the card once it leaves their office….what’s with the security in that?

I can’t prove they didn’t send it nor can I prove I didn’t receive it…there is something fundamentally wrong with their system of delivery…especially after all the hassle of ensuring that the correct forms are filled out and accompanied by the correct pieces of ID they require.

I have to say in their favour that despite the new Passport rule backlog of work, they managed to get the card out in a timely manner once all the steps were re-completed.

Home for the Holidays…A white Christmas in Canada..New Years with my good friends in TO..
No Sundance Film Festival this year. First one in 12 years I have missed…first time in Portland during the last two weeks of January..whodathunk a sunny cold snap…go figure. As for SFF there is more to it but I’ll save that for another installment.

As always it feels good to be back on the blog block

It’s been almost a month since I’ve written. Seems like some days I could fill pages and then days will go by with nothing to add. Before you know it many days have slipped past, and the resolution to write once a week skips to two, then three, then a month.

So here I am without much to say except I started a fiction writing for beginners course last week, through PCC. Our teacher is Myrna Oakley and although I haven’t yet read any of her writing I like her, and I think the course is going to be helpful.

I’ll have to miss a few classes because Joe and I are traveling for a couple of weeks and then I’ll be in Canada to attend to some things in Muskoka.

We’re going to Cannes, France for a couple of days while Joe presents at a conference for Middle Eastern/Persian Gulf families. Too bad the film festival is later in the month..ah well.

Afterward we are driving up the coast into Italy to stay at my friend Adam’s converted olive mill just above Imperia. We’re hoping he will actually show up but we may be on our own or sharing with his brother Bill. No matter, it’s all about the adventure, not to mention the R & R Joe deserves.

I’ve pulled out my Berlitz French and Italian language tapes to get back into the swing of things. Although after listening to the Italian one I realized I had only spent a month there back in 1978 so it’s not entirely surprising I can’t remember much.
My French though should be much better than it is…alors je suis tres timide je pense…

Joe’s never been to Italy or to the Alps so we’ll drive through them as well as we wend our way around the countryside. Should be fun.

That’s it for now.

Au revoir Arrivederci Ciao

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