Sunday, June 29, 2008

Welcome to Britain, Mate!

We made it safe and sound to Hethrow this morning, and I'm currently on a train, whipping through Northern England/Southern Scotland (not quite sure where I am). It's gorgeous here. The train's passed several quaint towns, with red brick buildings and intricate chimneys. Each cluster has an ancient gothic steeple piercing the sky, and lush fields with plenty of sheep. 

We're in Edinburgh, and it's somewhat rainy and windy, but still relatively warm compared to what I was expecting. Our appartment is on the third floor of a building with no elevator, but steep stairs. I'm tempted to count carrying my suitcase up as "going up 5 flights of stairs," but I'm not doing it as an alternative. It's up those stairs, or on the street. :) They're not that bad. They look sort of rustic and artistic- a pleasure to climb!
I got a quick tour from Uncle Gord of the Royal Mile, Princess Street, and Rose Street. For dinner we ate at a nice restaurant and I had a really interesting side to my fish- mashed peas. Apparently it's a Scottish thing. It has a bit of lemon flavoring, and was really good; I'd almost venture to say better than steamed peas.
If you are my facebook friend, check the pictures. I've decided I'm going to upload around 5 a day, unless there are waaaaay too many good ones to pick 5 from.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Grounded (aka "Excessive" Punishment)

Recently, a Quebec judge overruled a father's authority by saying his daughter was "excessively punished" when she was grounded. The details are in this article [National Post] and this article [Albert Mohler's Blog]. I'm not going to reiterate what they've said, but I want to look at one particular angle.

She's 12. She's in 6th grade. (I don't even remember most of 6th grade, and it was only 5 years ago!). What astonishes me most in this case is that she had the gull, at the age of 12, to fight this. At 17, I wouldn't take my parents to court because I couldn't go to prom. It's absurd. What makes it worse is it wasn't just a father's opinion, where he didn't think she should go in general. It was a punishment. So what happens the next time her father tries to punish her? Even if she doesn't take it to court again, she could threaten to. Now he'll second guess every decision he makes- talk about tough parenting.

In a way, it reminds me of one of my favorite books, My Sister's Keeper. In it, the parents of a girl who has cancer have another daughter who is compatible genetically with the first. Though they love both their daughters, the fact that they had the second with the intention of using her as a donor makes them inclined to abuse their right. She takes them to court for medical emancipation, because they want her to donate a kidney. Even then, they can still prevent her from going on camping trips; they just can't control her medical decisions. Taking away a parents right to be a parent leaves them with nothing.

Any 12 year old who takes her father to court for doing his job deserves to be grounded, but maybe that's a little exsessive.

Another Opthamologist Appointment...

a) or b)?
Do we like c) at all? (I have nothing to compare it to)
d) or e)?

f)or g)?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Three Cheers For Starbucks

Warning: this was written very cheesily. (I blame the caffeine I'm on.)

Last week, I stopped in at Starbucks to buy two lattes and a granola parfait while balancing my wallet and keys. Luckily, Starbucks has nifty drink holders that allow you to carry three cups and a wallet with one hand, or I would have had to make multiple, awkward trips to my car. However, as I was at the till, I was trying to figure out how I would drive. Calgary roads tend to be slightly pothole-prolific, and as much as I love the smell of coffee, it's not the scent I want in my car. So, as they mixed the drinks, I stood and pondered the ways that Starbucks could improve upon their lids. My two, rather comical conclusions were 1) that they made two types of lids- one with a mouth hole and one without. You put the one without mouth hole on your drink as you drive, and when you get to your destination, switch! Or, better yet, 2) succumb to common gas station coffee lids and make ones that the customer opens themselves. Sure, it's not as classy, but it would cost less than two lids. Then my drinks came, and I left, slowly maneuvering the streets of the northwest. Luckily, I did not spill a drop, but the dilemma still nagged at me.

Then, today I went into Starbucks (really, I'm not that addicted) to get a frappuccino in celebration of the wonderful exam I finished and the beautiful day. As I was waiting for it to be mixed, I noticed a cup of green sticks at the stand. I couldn't really figure out what they were, but I figured that Starbucks had improved upon their wooden stir sticks by making them reusable. Then, a lady who had gotten two lattes (deja vu) reached over, pulled two out and placed them into the lid holes. I watched them slide down and, gasp, fit perfectly! My jaw dropped, I'm sure. Just a week after I had put my entrepreneurial mind to work for Starbucks, they had felt my pains and invented something for me! Ok, I'm not that egotistical. Turns out, these new "splash sticks" came out in April. Maybe they had a late release date for Canada.

Upon my research on these splash sticks, I came upon several comments that they are not environmentally friendly, etc etc. To that I would like to ask, what would the purpose of this stick be? It seems like Starbucks is trying to make a multipurpose stir stick, and thereby fade out their wooden ones. So, if it's something people are already using, I don't see how making it in a different material harms anything. In fact, plastic would improve the situation because they're simple to rinse and reuse (as opposed to wood that soaks in). Products like this and their cardboard sleeves are great opportunities for personal recycling.

And if I'm going to a fair-trade supporting shop (thereby environmentally aware) and spending $4.00 on a cup of coffee that I could be spending $1.25 on at Tim Horton's or Second Cup, I don't want it sloshing around in my car, so thank you Starbucks!

Picture from USA Today (I think it's by Starbucks, but can't really tell).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Think of It as.... an Opthamologist Appointment

a)... or b)?
c)...or d)?

I have 5 more, but blogger's not cooperating. I'll do a seperate post for them.
Please Vote!
Update: Sorry for having to add word varification to comments, guys. I have been recieving increasing amounts of comment spam.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Reasoning Intro

I was reading Rae's 101/1001 list, and she made a very good point; part of the list is the reasoning for choosing the items. Since I haven't gotten any requests to write about other things during my holidays, I'm going to take the time to write about this. They will be posted while I'm on vacation, though hopefully I'll squeeze in another post or two before then. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Encounters with Nature

kiki meets a bee (the bee is that blurred smudge)

mama duck with babies

other ducks

look what we found on our walk!

pretty flowers beside our house

Also, today I was walking through the University. It's usually hopping with rabbits (no pun intended) but I saw three on my brief walk. One was soooo cute. There was a grassy patch with a bush behind it, and it had stretched out in the shade. It looked up at me as I slowly walked by, and then nuzzled its head between his paws and closed his eyes. He seemed to be enjoying the springtime!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Simple Days Bring Simple Joys

I have had a beautiful day. First off, I slept in (which doesn't happen often, since I work Saturday mornings and church is Sunday). Then I came up and Mom had been working in the yard. Lacey had this spot that she would sneak under the deck, and in the process, had knocked off a piece of lattuce, so I nailed it back in. Then I raced across the golf course, confusing some golfers according to mom, and worked on my wall hanging with Grandma. It's completely finished except the whole hanging part. I'm not sure where we're going to put it. Then I did my spring cleaning. I pulled everything out that had accumulated under my bed and tossed all the school papers from last semester. I pulled all my clothes out of the dresser and got rid of several shirts and set aside several for my tshirt quilt. Then, after supper Mom and I took Ziggy and Lacey for a walk. All in all, it was perfect. :)
I'm so happy to be done the rush of school, except finals. But soon they'll be done too! I write my biology diploma on Wednesday and my Spanish diploma on Friday. After that all that's left is part II of my English diploma. I will be going out of town Saturday till about Tuesday. Then Saturday, the 28th, I'm flying to Scotland. I'm going to try to write some timed posts that will come out while I'm there so that this blog isn't completely deserted. If anyone has a good topic idea for me, let me know!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

101 goals in 1001 days

It seems fitting for my final day of grade 11.

Start Day: June 11th, 2008
End Day: March 9rd, 2011

To be accoplished



Education (8/12)
Graduate in 2009 :)
Apply to U of C, HBU, and Dalhousie
Complete my Freshman year of university with marks I'm proud of

Take a cooking class
Learn basic Latin
Learn how to drive a manual transmition
Learn how to speed read (ie, finish speed reading book and speed read one novel)
Make a well educated vote
Learn how to properly shoot a gun
Learn how to change a tire
Pick a topic, totally immerse myself, and write a paper
Take the photography class offered at school in Fall '08

Art (5/15)
Take one photo each day of 2009 and make an album of them (0/365)
Do the Alphabet Photo Challenge (1/26)[Done: x]
Do the 100 Snapshots Challenge (4/100)
Sew a dress
Make a dishes set at the Harry Potter
Finish my quilt

Create a Tshirt quilt and start a WR quilt (0/2)
Embroider six pillowcases (3 sets of 2) (0/6) {Edit-> make a set of 7 tea towels}
Make a paper crane mobile and give it to someone as a baby shower gift
Attend a school play
Frame 10 pictures and display them (0/10)
Press flowers
Make my grad scrapbook
Preform on the piano for >10 people at once
Embroider a table cloth

For Others (4/10)
Give Blood
Pay for the person behind me in the drive through line
Buy someone flowers
Plant a tree
Take Ziggy to the Children's Hospital 5 times (0/5)
Cook dinner for both sets of grandparents (0/2)
Put change in someone's expired meter
Handwrite and mail 1 letter a month for 2010 (2/12)

Make a family member breakfast in bed
Attend one of Aneca's basketball games and Kim's swim meets (0/2)

For Myself (7/8)
Grow my hair out long for the 1001 days, and only cut to trim
French braid my own hair
[Personal: dsumrwm]
Fly a kite
Complete a 1000 piece puzzle
[Personal: malotfmhcact]
Go to a prayer room for an hour

[Personal: fabtf]

Health (2/8)
Drink only water for 2 months (except the weekly tea)(0/61)
Go on a 20 minute walk each day for a week (0/7)

Reach weight goal (aka loose 11 lbs)
Intentionally take the stairs rather than the elevator >5 stories (up and down)
Bike through GBP 3 times (2/3)
Have a cup of tea once a week (8/33)
Get wisdom teeth removed
Wear retainer every day for 3 months (0/92)

Organization (0/8)
Make a list of the "vital items" in my life
Donate the rest
Do this again 3 months later
Make CDs for all my pictures and file them
Reorganize emergency evacuation box
Create a laminated, wallet sized version of this list

Schedule all these goals
[Private: FOMMBACDD] (0/30)

Really Stretch Myself (2/6)
Submit a photo into the Calgary Stampede show
Submit a quilt into the Heritage Quilt show
Go flying with my dad
Do all my cooking for a month on one day
Compete in a Sudoku Championship

Apply for Camp Nanny and/or Baby Ruth at PC

Reading (0/6)
the Bible (finish this first time, and go through it again)
Memorize a new passage each month (1/34)
Read Scottish Chiefs for Librivox

Read Brother's Karamazov
Read Vanity Fair
Read The Chronicles of Narnia in Spanish

Travel/Nature (3/16)
Go on a real picnic
Go to a drive in theatre and watch whatever they're playing
Go to a bed and breakfast
Watch the sunrise from over downtown Calgary
Go to Devonian Gardens once it's reopened
Visit the Creation Museum by Red Deer
Go to the museum at the foot of the Sam Houston statue

Go to 8 other museums (7/8) [Done: Scottish National Museum, Royal Scottish Museum, the military museum in Edinburgh Castle, Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Writer's Museum, Cartoon Museum, Brittish Museum]
Watch a meteor shower (Aug 11/12)
Visit Nicole's memorial 4 times (0/4)
Attend little white church next to Dad's house one Sunday
Go to King's Orchard
Go to a Flea Market
Tour 5 Universities (4/5) (University of Edinburgh, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, University of Brittish Columbia)
Visit my Great-grandmother and Great-Grandfather's grave sites (0/2)
Go to Brazos Bend S.P's planetarium

Finances (1/3)
Save [$xxxxx] by Day 1001
Don't attend any movie in theatres (select, preplanned, exceptions allowed)
Rather, rent one movie a month for a relax night (2/33)

Random (4/9)
Beat Matthew at chess
Add 10 spoons to my spoon collection (5/10) [Wallace, Stonehenge, one Bianca has for me, Peggy's Cove, Maltnomah falls]
Complete US Quarter collection ( 40/50)
Play chess with a complete stranger at a park
Make apple butter
Wear a skirt every day for a month (0/30)

Make perogies
Attend a wedding
Attend two graduation ceremonies (0/2)

Monday, June 09, 2008

101 in 1001 Intro

On Wednesday, I have my last class! :)

For the last couple days, I have been compiling a list of 101 things I want to do in the next 1001 days. I will be starting this at noon on June 11, 2009 and it will last till March 9, 2011. The website for more information on the project is here.

If anyone's with me, let me know. My list will be posted on Wednesday at noon, and there will be a link on the side of my blog next to my reading list. I'll update it every now and then with my accomplishments.

And information on the SABC will be released as I find out more... *patience*.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Diego Velasquez

I just noticed that Google had a lovely Diego Velasquez portrait as their logo today- apparently it's his birthday. The one they chose, Las Meninas, is one that I studied in art class and wrote a paper about at one point. (World History? Decathlon? I don't know...) Take some time to examine it- it's an amazing portrait with some interesting theories concerning the people involved. Here's the small version, and click here for the larger one.

Friday, June 06, 2008

New Camera

I got a new camera. You guys will be seeing a lot more of my pictures! Here are some shots from the last week.
Lake Invermere
Beautiful British Columbia
Dutch Blitz
Wall Hanging in Progress

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Sanofi-Aventis Biotalent Challenge

Next year, my senior year (yay!) should, in theory, be a slack year. I'm done all my classes except one required (Social 30) and one interesting (Math 31). The other two are fillers (General Psych 20, French 10). The second semester I have off, which should be the epitome of what a second semester senior's life should resemble...

Ha. Not that I was planning on doing that ever, but then I heard about the SABC, and I am putting great thought into it. It would be a lot of work, and a heck of a lot of driving (West Houston to the Texas Children's Hospital), but if my proposition is accepted and I actually accomplish my goal, it will probably be the most rewarding thing I'll do in my life. I can't even imagine what success in this area would feel like.

However, since it is a large time commitment and potentially high in expenses (I'm still working on that), I really don't know if I'm up for it. At this point, fear of rejection is what is holding me back the most- I really don't know how anyone would respond to my proposal, and if I could find a mentor that would sponsor me. It's amazing how fear prevents action, isn't it?

Pretty much what I'm asking for is prayers. I know I need Someone bigger than me behind me if this has any chance of working.