Failing at love towards all

I belong to a religion that teaches us to love everyone. Unfortunately, I’m failing at that.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to love everyone. I think the world could use more love. I think I could benefit from giving out more love. But I struggle with loving everyone.

I’m tempted each day with desires for revenge, or being right, or wishing misfortune on others, or judging others. These struggles interfere with my goal of loving others.

I’m not sure why I’ve been considering this lately. Maybe it’s the current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians (or should I say “conflict between humans and humans”?). There’s just so much hate and selfishness in the world. People are so focused on themselves.

Even when I complain about bad drivers being oblivious to others around them and thinking only of themselves, I, in turn, am thinking of only myself: judging those drivers, expressing hatred toward them.

I know this post seems to just ramble on, but I have emotions churning in my stomach and buzzing in my head that I’m having a difficult time expressing.

I think this will be something I will be pondering for a while.

Goodbye 2010

What a year!

This year, I did the following:

This year was filled with ups and downs. Here’s hoping 2011 is a bit more even.

This is cross posted at Our Thoughts.

My 37th Birthday

All of my birthdays have always been about stuff.

But this year, I’m giving my birthday up.

I’m turning 37 years old this September, and instead of asking for gifts, I’m asking for $37 or more from everyone I know. It’s not going to me, though. All of it is going to build freshwater wells for people in developing nations.

A billion people in the world are living without clean water—but how much are they really living? Millions contract deadly diseases from contaminated water. 45,000 people will die this week alone. The lucky ones won’t, but still walk hours each day to get dirty water to give to their families.

My birthday wish this year is not for more gifts I don’t need; it’s to give clean and safe drinking water to some of the billion living without it. I want to make my birthday matter this year.

Please join me.

Because of charity: water’s unique model, 100% of all donations go directly to direct water projects costs, and each donation is “proved” and tracked to the village it helped when projects are complete.

My thoughts on the 2010 Winter Olympics

Raymond Parade

Five years ago, the Vancouver Organizing Committee announced the “Own the Podium” programme, designed to create world-class olympians ready to compete in Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics, a process that normally takes a decade.

The idea was that if we create many such athletes, we could dominate the olympics in total medal count, which would of course been a record-breaking event for Canada.

The bad news is we didn’t succeed.

But wait. There’s good news.

It was still a record-breaking olympics for Canada:

  • The first time we won a gold medal as host country
  • The first country to reach double-digit gold medals in these games
  • The highest number of gold medals in these games
  • The highest number of gold medals of any country in any Winter Olympics
  • The first time we have had a three-gold-medal day
  • The first time in nearly 50 years we beat the Russians at men’s hockey at the Olympics
  • The highest number of total medals we have ever won at any Winter Olympics

In addition, of the top 10 countries these games, Canada was one of only 2 countries to have more than half of their medals as golds.

Well done, Team Canada.

Winning photo


This summer, we travelled to Ponteix, Saskatchewan, for a family reunion on my mother’s side of the family. It was 100 years the Cloutiers had been on the family farm.

I brought my camera along becase I felt going to my mum’s hometown would present some nice photo opportunities.

One of the photos I took was after Regan and Aisling had been playing on a playground near our hotel. They wanted to check out the creek that runs through the city, and we had to cross the train tracks to get there.

While we were on the tracks, I saw the elevators off to the east, and the gorgeous colours the setting sun produced. I had the children sit on the tracks, and snapped a few photos.

I was pleased with how this one turned out. So were others, and I had multiple suggestions to submit it to a photo contest.

So I did, albeit nonchalantly.

Today, I received a package in the mail from Tourism Saskatchewan saying this photo was given an honourable mention in the “people” category of their Great Saskatchewan Photo Contest. I received a 2010 calendar as a consolation prize.

I thought that was kind of neat. Winners should be posted on their site next week.

Posted via web from hotpepper’s posterous

I am not an environmentalist


A lot of people have the idea I am some sort of environmentalist or hippie. After all, I compost, take the bus to work, live in a 798 sq ft house with my family of six, use a reel mower, have a tankless water heater, use grocery bins instead of plastic bags, and recycle. The list goes on.

The funny thing is, however, that none of that has anything to do with the environment.

You see, I’m Scottish. And Dutch. Which means I’m cheap.

I compost and recycle because it means I don’t have to buy as many garbage bags. I use a reel mower because I don’t have to buy more gas or spend more on electricity.

I take the bus to work because I don’t have to buy another car, which means a car payment, more insurance, and more gas.

My family of six lives in a 798 sq ft house because we bought it for $75,000, reducing our monthly housing costs at the time by $150. I use a tankless water heater because it saves money on gas usage, and we don’t run out of hot water.

I use grocery bins instead of plastic bags because I can pack them faster in the store, and my store charges for plastic bags.

I don’t hate environmentalists. Some of my best friends are environmentalists. Just realize that most of my seemingly green choices are generally just simple practical choices.

Arrows; or what does this say about me?


This afternoon, I sat in a teleconferenced workshop about how to communicate with finesse and tact. I don’t know if I learned anything or if I will be a better communicator; I guess time will tell. I did notice something though that made me wonder what kind of person I am.

Among the pages of the workbook we had to print out prior to the workshop was a quadrant chart. Along the top was “open”, along the bottom was “closed”, and “direct” and “indirect” were on the left and right respectively.

As the speaker continued with this part of her presentation, I realized the examples she had on the left and right quadrants were transposed: the two on the bottom and top right should have been on the left, and the two on the bottom and top left should have been on the right.

Over the next 5–10 minutes, everyone else in the room picked up on the error. Now here comes the interesting part.

As far as I could tell, everyone in the room fixed it by prefixing “direct” with “in” and removing “in” from “indirect”. When I looked at my chart, I had used arrows to indicate each example should be on the opposite side.

So what does that say about me that I made my change graphically while everyone else in the room did it by editing words on the page?

Solution to Canada’s economic woes


Received this today via email.

Please find below my suggestion for fixing Canada’s economy.

Instead of giving billions of dollars to banks and car companies, that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan:

There are about 20 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

  1. They must retire. Twenty million job openings. Unemployment fixed.
  2. They must buy a new Canadian car. Twenty million cars ordered. Auto industry fixed.
  3. They must either buy a house or pay off their mortgage. Housing crisis fixed.
  4. They must send their kids to school/college/university. Crime rate fixed.
  5. Buy $50 of alcohol/tobacco/gas a week. There’s your money back in duty, tax, etc.

It can’t get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances.

Goodbye 2008

Family room

Another year’s gone by, and it’s been one of a few accomplishments for me. Here’s what I did:

What did you do?

Remembrance Day

Laying her poppy

We went to the Remembrance Day ceremony downtown today.

A few years ago, I came across something that made Remembrance Day memorable for me each year. Somehow, I found out my Grandma Abel (technically, she was my great-grandmother) had an uncle who fought and died in World War I. His name was John Loskot. I think I found this out from her niece.

Shortly after that, I discovered the Government of Canada had a website for soldiers killed in combat in the world wars. Sure enough, I found information on John and his death. I then found the diaries his battalion kept had been scanned and were available online.

Here is the diary for the day he died, 27 April 1917. I tired to keep spelling and punctuation. I’m sharing it with you to try keeping a name and a face behind the nameless battles.

TRENCHES, 28-4-17

Weather – fine and warm
Wind – N.W.

Battn. Attacked at 4.25 a.m. and gained objective, which was a sunken road to the north of Arleux running S.W. through the square T.29. d.d.7. An account of the attack will be sent with the May Diary.

Casualties – 10 Officers 230 O.Rs.

And the account from the May diary:

Appendix referred to in April, Diary.


On the night of April 26th, the 5th Canadian infantry Battalion relieved the 4th Canadian Infantry Battalion. In the front line which the extended from T.22.d.0.0 to T.28.d.7.0. Northwest of the Town of ARLEUX.

During the night of the 26th a jumping-off trench was dug from T.22.d.9.0 to T.29.d.0.0.

On the following day it was seen by the enemy and heavily shelled. Fortunately, we had not placed any men in this trench.

On the evening of the 27th Operation Orders were received for the 5th C.I. Battalion to take part in an attack on a Brigade frontage by the 1st Canadian Division, with the object of taking and consolidating a line extending from T.30.b.2.9 to T.30.c.2.5.

It was decided that the Battalion should attack on a three Company frontage, four waves in depth, with one Company in support.

The Zero hour was set at 4.25 a.m.

At 2.00 a.m. the Battalion dug in about 150 yards in front of the jumping-off trench, already discovered by the enemy. The night was dark, and the operation of digging in was carried out without hindrance from the enemy and no casualties were sustained. The order of the battle was as follows:-

“D” Company of the left flank of the Battalion, under Major K. Campbell.
“C” Company in the centre of the Battalion, under Lieut. P. Andrews.
“B” Company on the right flank of the Battalion, under Lieut. R. Lawson.
“A” Company in Battalion support, under Lieut. M.M. McGregor.

The 10th C.I. Battalion were on our right, and the 25th Canadian Infantry Battalion on our left. At 4.25 a.m. it was possible to see 100 yards or so in the twilight.

Sharp on the Zero hour our guns opened up with an intense barrage. The enemy threw a curtain of fire in front of the discovered jumping-off trench, but the Battalion with the exception of “A” Company was on the enemy’s side of the curtain, and his barrage caused very few casualties, even among “A” Company who went through it.

On advancing it was found that the wire on the left flank of the Battalion front was uncut, with the exception of one path. The enemy’s parapet was lined with Germans and a great many machine guns, which accounted for a larger number of men, especially those who were unfortunate enough, to have become entangled in the grass covered trip wire.

Major Campbell, leading “D” Company, saw that there was only one gap on his front, and that covered by machine gun fire, and knowing that it was a case of getting through at once, or not at all, he bravely attempted to rush the gun and bomb the crew, closely followed by his Company. The gun was eventually silenced by hand and rifle grenades, but not before it had taken its toll of lives, including the life of Major Campbell. By the times the support Company had come up, and seeing the difficulty that “D” Company were having in gaining their objective on account of the wire, a party under Lieut. Foulkes entered the trench on “C” Company’s frontage, and bombed up to the left, soon clearing the trench of all Germans. The centre and right flank of the Battalion found that the wire had been well cut, and everything progressed satisfactorily in that quarter.

Having cleared the first objective, the Battalion advanced onto the second objective, namely, a sunken road running from T.23.d.8.0 to T.29.d.9.5. and quickly took that and passed onto the final objective, leaving the mopping up parties to clear out the dug-outs. So far everything had been successful, and the number of casualties not as high as was at first feared might be the case, but as luck would have it this state of affairs did not last very long, for it was discovered that the left flank of the Battalion was in the air. The Battalion on our left hand, unfortunately, mistaken a sunken road some 300 yards in front of their jumping-off trench, for their final objective, which was a sunken road some 600 yards further on.

The enemy mounted a couple of machine guns on our left flank, and enfiladed our advancing waves, particularly down the sunken road, forcing our left flank to fall back to the first front line, in order to keep a connection with the left Battalion. The right flank progressed rapidly, and were soon in touch with the 10th C.I. Battalion on their right. The fighting at all stages was very stiff, and the enemy put up a much stronger resistance than is usually the case.

Work was at once commenced consolidating the new positions, and taking up posts ahead of our main front line, in order to be prepared for any counter attack, which he might launch. The enemy shell-fire was quite heavy all the day, but his shooting was wild and he seemed unable to locate the position of our men. As the Officer losses had been very heavy, Capt. E. Day, and Lieutts. W. Willis, D. Bissett and H.D. Hedley. were called up from the reserve of Officers at the Transport Line.

During the afternoon it had been reported that the Germans were massing on our left for a counter attack, and about 8.30 p.m. several S.O.S.’, a long distance to the right went up and the Germans immediately opened up with an intense barrage behind our lines., An S.O.S. was sent in, and our artillery replied at once with a very dense curtain of fire, and no attack developed. About 4.00 a.m. the above performance was repeated.

The following day, April, 29th, everything was more or less quite in the morning, but the shelling grew in intensity toward the evening, particularly in the area of the village of ARLEUX, where the enemy appeared to concentrated his heavies.

At 4.00 p.m. we received an order to withdraw our left flank toward ARLEUX, down to the point T.29.b.6.5., and that the heavies were to be opened up on the enemy’s trenches north of this point, when the 25th Battalion would come up and occupy the position originally allotted to them. This operation was completed.

At dusk on the evening of the 29th, an Order stating that the 10th C.I. Battalion would probably relieve the 5th C.I. Battalion was received, but owing to their heaving casualties, they were unable to take over any great amount of our area, and the Battalion remained in the line until about 1.00 a.m., when relieved by the 13th Canadian Infantry Battalion.