Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cry of a Tiny Babe

There are others who know about this miracle birth
The humblest of people catch a glimpse of their worth
For it isn't to the palace that the Christ child comes
But to shepherds and street people, hookers and bums
And the message is clear if you've got ears to hear
That forgiveness is given for your guilt and your fear
It's a Christmas gift you don't have to buy
There's a future shining in a baby's eyes
Like a stone on the surface of a still river
Driving the ripples on forever
Redemption rips through the surface of time
In the cry of a tiny babe

Bruce Cockburn - 1990

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

Tree decorated with gifts underneath. All ready for Christmas Day!

We are a house full of sickies today. Both Mom and I are still in our PJs. We wake up for an hour or so, moan about how achey we are, hack and cough and head back to bed. Snow and illness have a way of introducing an ebb to the flow of life!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let It Snow...

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Front Walkway Tonight After A Fresh Snow

It has not stopped snowing since I arrived! The poor lawn reindeer. The one in the background is almost completely buried alive and it won't be long until his buddy joins him.

There seems to be alot of people around me hacking and coughing and generally in ill health. Not sure if my sore throat is in sympathy of if I about to succumb...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

The first thing I did when I woke up this morning - was run and look out the window. What a relief. I could now see the cars in the parking lot! Next up, log on to and check out the forecast. Yikes, I only had about two hours before the start of snow flurries. I packed up quick, grabbed a bagel and was on the road. The route to the highway was still pretty icy and snow covered. I passed three cars spun out in the ditch in the mile and a half it took me to get to the QEW. I drove at about 20 miles and hour 'til Niagara Falls and then it cleared up and I was O-F-F !!

Picture taken from the same location as yesterday's "White Oooot" pic

Betty (my GPS) was a capable co-pilot and navigated me home safe and sound. I arrived shortly after noon and just in time for lunch with Mom!

Happy to finally be Home

After being snowed in for several days Mom needed to get out and pick up some supplies. We headed out to run errands just as the snow kicked up again. Snow flurries. Ah that's nothing - sure I'll drive!

Running Errands

We ended the day with dinner at Swiss Chalet. What better way to celebrate being home for the holidays?!

Quarter Chicken White Meat with Fries. One for Mom and one for me!

Thought For The Day

The only way to change the world
is to change the thoughts and
desires of those who live in it.

--Thomas Merton

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Almost ... But Not Quite

So I am almost, but not quite home.

I made it to my country and province of choice - but I am about 125 km short of my final destination.

I spent more hours than I care to remember in the Atlanta airport. I curled up in the corner at 5 am hoping for some sleep and that I would wake up to a flight leaving for Buffalo. Luckily, shortly before noon my wish was granted!

By the time we made or approach to Buffalo it was already consumed by a blizzard. The runway was buried under more than a foot of drifting snow and ice. We had an amazing pilot - he took us through the snow clouds and slid us to the gate with only the occasional bump and controlled skid!

Flight Board in Buffalo. Everything rapidly going to Cancelled Status

Plane de-icing.
Notice no visibility in background and de-ice solution is blowing *over* the plane.

Now that I made it to Buffalo the dilemma was what to do next?! I decided to grab my rental car and head towards the closest border crossing. The freeway was covered in drifting snow. I fought the poor visibility and plowed my way through for several hours and finally made it to the Canadian border. I had hoped it would start to clear but it never did.

White ooot
Wanna go for a drive?

I decided if I was the only one on the road - that was probably a good indication I shouldn't be - so I pulled off when I saw a sign for a gas station. The visibility was so bad I couldn't actually see the station and had to circle several times before I found it. Then I had to plow through snow drifts and slide on ice to make it to the front door. Once there I found a kind gentlemen just finishing up his shift and his daughter taking over for the evening. We sat and chatted and strategized for a while. I threw out the idea of taking back roads and they vetoed that - said I would get stuck in drifting snow for sure. We tried to figure out if the visibility on the QEW would be better if I could just push through to Niagara Falls. A truck driver came in and he said it was really bad at least as far as St. Catherines. Police were asking everyone to stay off the roads. Sometimes you just have to say 'uncle' and let Mother Nature win. My new friend realized with ZERO visibility giving me directions to the Holiday Inn was not going to do it ... so got in his 4x4 and kindly led the way! So here I am for the night.

A very tired and heavily 'layered' Tippie

In the morning I will try again...

My Flickr photostream for the trip.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On My Way

Most people make winter escapes to warmer weather. Not me!! I am travelling into the midst of a snow storm.

Geek Girl Travel Gads

As I get ready for some holiday travel, I thought I would share a little Geek Girl Travel Gad with ya'.

Get your Geek Girl fix here

Friday, December 19, 2008

Child of Wonder, Take off your Shoes

Child of Wonder, Take off your Shoes
From Seasons Of Your Heart:Prayers and Reflections
Macrina Wiederkehr

My bare feet walk the earth reverently
for everything keeps crying,
Take of your shoes
The ground you stand on is holy
The ground of your being is holy

When the wind sings through the pines
like a breath of God
awakening you to the sacred present
calling your soul to new insights
Take off your shoes!

When the sun rises above your rooftop
coloring your world with the dawn
Be receptive to this awesome beauty
Put on your garment of adoration
Take off your shoes!

When the Red Maple drops its last leaf of summer
wearing its "burning bush" robes no longer
read between its barren branches, and
Take off your shoes!

When sorrow presses close to your heart
begging you to put your trust in God alone
filling you with a quiet knowing
that God's hand is not too short to heal hyou
Take off your shoes!

When a new person comes into your life
like a mystery about to unfold
and you find yourself marveling over
the frailty and splendor of every human being
Take off your shoes!

When, during the wee hours of the night
you drive slowly into the new day
and the morning's fog, like angel wings
hovers mysteriously above you
Take off your shoes!

Take off your shoes of distraction
Take off your shoes of ignorance and blindness
Take of your shoes of hurry and worry
Take off anything that prevents you
from being a child of wonder

Take off your shoes;
the ground you stand on is holy.
The ground you are is holy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dave Cooks The Turkey

Just read this little book today. If you are looking for a holiday chuckle - I recommend you check out Dave Cooks The Turkey.

When his wife asks, Dave agrees to cook the Christmas turkey. But he has no idea what is involved!

Good down home Canadian humour.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Keyboard Art

The forerunner to modern day ascii art and emoticons!

click on image to enlarge

Article is from October 1948.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This Is How We Roll

I saw this shirt tonight in the Life Is Good store.

I think it would make a good gift for Lampy (Tippie's younger twin). I think we may finally have a tap,jazz, ballet dancer and maybe even a cheerleader in the family!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Free Car Wash

It rained all day today.

The result - I got a free car wash. My car really needed to be washed.

Thank you rainy day!

How Rich Are You?

Even with the global economy suffering, you will no doubt be surprised
to find out how wealthy (monetarily) you are.

Check this out: Global Rich List

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Advent Reading For Peace

Peace on Earth
by Julie Clawson

So the other day I heard a talk about Christmas traditions and putting Jesus back into Christmas. One of the points made was to make sure that your holiday decorations convey to your neighbors that you are a Christian. I was pretty sure the speaker didn't mean using LED lights so that your neighbors know that you care for God's creation by not wasting energy. I just smiled at the idea with a "to each her own" response, but as I looked at my house while thinking about this week's advent theme, I had to wonder if anyone would assume I was a Christian because of my decor.

The decor is simple - some golden stars, a baskets of poinsettias, and a sign that says "Peace on Earth". But, I wondered, would the term "Peace on Earth" straight out of the biblical Christmas account be associated with Christianity these days? Are we known as peacemakers - doing whatever we can to bring about peace on earth? My gut reaction to that question is no. In fact many of the Christians I know mock those that stand for peace and instead say that war, judgment, and violence are the more biblical paths. Theirs is the voice that is often heard, so much that I can put a bible verse on my house and it not be seen as a Christian thing. That's weird to me.

One of my favorite Christmas carols is "I Heard the Bells on Christmas
Day." It contains the lines -

The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

But far from it being the belfries of Christendom spreading the biblical message of peace, they are often instead the ones mocking the song and promoting hate. How can there ever be peace when those that claim to worship the Prince of Peace shun his very message?

I pray that we can reclaim "Peace on Earth" not just as a phrase, but as our calling. To have the world see that seeking peace on earth is part of what it means to be a Christian. For as the carol continues -

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

World Peace Prayer Society

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Discussion Continues

One of the better frank and honest discussions I have heard where both sides get to speak their piece.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Taize Advent Service

This evening I was off to The Mission for the annual Advent Ecumenical Taize Prayer Service. Each year I start out with good intentions of attending, but soon the busyness of life crowds in and I start to waver. Today, I almost succumbed - but fortunately I had made plans in advance to attend with a friend. Through mutual peer pressure we both managed to brake away from work at a decent time and enjoy and hour of peaceful respite from the go go go of life.

Taize Chant

Hair Cut Day!

Once a month I ventured out into the outside world at lunch for hair cut day.

Today was the day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Canada In The News

Canada made the fake news last tonight.

Lead story on The Daily Show ...

Province in Peril Indecision Oh -eh?!

Sorry Canucks - this one will only visible within the U.S. Don't want spies from the Great White North knowing what we are saying about you!

Stewart was incredulous that a coalition of opposition politicians tried to oust Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"Force him from office? You can do that? Because we've had no confidence in our guy for quite some time now, and he's taking forever to leave."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fighter Plane Crash

From: Breaking News from SignOnSanDiego News
Date: December 8, 2008 12:32:13 PM PST
To: tippie
Subject: Military jet crashes in University City

A military jet has crashed into a neighborhood identified as near Cather Avenue and Huggins Street in University City. The pilot reportedly ejected. Buildings are on fire. No reports yet of fatalities or injuries.

The Crash Site

A F-18 went down at today in University City (my area of town). It missed a major mall by half an mile and a high school by a couple of blocks. The plane crashed in a residential area and hit two homes that burned to the ground. Several other homes in the area suffered fire damage. Three people on the ground were killed and one is still missing.

For more info:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Company Games

Tonight was our company holiday party. Through out the evening there were prices offered if you could win at various games and trivia quizzes. One of the games was to assemble a box, wrap it, and tie a bow around it. The catch - you have to do it as a team and everyone must have one hand behind their back. Doesn't sound that hard does it?! Believe me it is!

Celebrating Our Success. We didn't win - but we came in a respectable 2nd!

The rest of the evening was dedicated to dancing. Hmmm, a company of engineers. That doesn't usually translate into alot of dancing. Surprisingly, quite a few people got their groove on. The rest of us pulled up chairs and enjoyed the show! Actually, the spectators managed to get up and 'twist and shout' and wave our arms about to Y-M-C-A!

December Nights

Last night was the first evening of December Nights. In the spirit of the holidays, for the last 31 years, the museums in Balboa Park have opened their doors free of charge for the first weekend in December. In addition, to free admission, the park is decorated with lights and full of festive activities, holiday and cultural shows, artisan booths and food food food!

The Prado:
Full of people and lit up with holiday lights

Not sure how many people were at the park on Friday night -- but it was jam packed! It was an adventure just trying to reach the park. All the streets in the surrounding area were grid locked!

The Spreckles Organ Pavilion was lit up with a Christmas tree and through out the evening various choral groups performed. My favourite memory of the evening was the beautiful hammer duclimer music that played while we browsed the artisan cottages at The Spanish Village.

Friday, December 5, 2008


My favourite cupcakes from Sprinkles

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Economic Bill Of Rights

There is something fundamentally wrong with an economy based on consumer spending. A society where we measure well-being on the quantity and quality of our possessions. A life of deep and broad relationships where we share beyond ourselves -that would be a different measure.

President Franklin Roosevelt wrote the following Economic Bill of Rights in 1944. It is based on the realization that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.

We have to come to a clear realization of that fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. We have accepted a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all — regardless of station, race or creed. Among these are:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job.
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.
  • The right of every family to a decent home.
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.
  • The right to a good education.

adapted from here

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wrong Side Of The Tracks

Turns out I am working on the wrong side of the tracks. The other day I heard my colleagues talking smack about the neighbourhood my office is located in. Something to the effect that "Tippie's office is over in the junk yard". It is true that with tough times some of my neighbours have been foreclosed on or just walked away from their homes. I guess I just hadn't taken a good look around and realized the depth of decay.

Now that my eyes have been opened -- it is time to start restoring the neighbourhood to its' former glory.

First things first. We need an image change, an upscale neighbourhood needs and upscale address.

Let it be known ... I no longer reside in the middle of the "junk yard'. I am now a proud resident of the prestigious Aisle #1.

Ever since I returned from my 'six month vacation' - my nameplate has been MIA. True, it has been handy for staying 'under the radar' -but today, after over a year of invisibility, I decided it was time that my existence was acknowledged. In the interest of a green office - I re-cycled one of my neighbours abandoned name plates!

Well my neighbours' front yard is *still* full of abandoned computer monitors - but I think we are well on the road to gentrification!

Gone Soft?!

As I headed out for my run tonight I zipped my fleece jacket up around my neck like a scarf and grabbed for my snowboarding touque.

Drastic measures for drastic weather.

It has dipped to 64 deg F.

Has this die hard Cannuck gone soft?!

Quote of The Day

To whom much is given, much is expected.

- Jesus Luke 12:48

… When people are pulling down hundred million dollar bonuses on Wall Street, and taking enormous risks with other people’s money, that indicates a sense that you don’t have any perspective on what’s happening to ordinary Americans. …

One of the things I hope my presidency helps to usher in is a return to an ethic of responsibility. That if you’re placed in a position of power, then you’ve got responsibilities to your workers. You’ve got a responsibility to your community. Your share holders. That if — there’s got to be a point where you say, ‘You know what, I have enough, and now I’m in this position of responsibility, let me make sure that I’m doing right by people, and, and acting in a way that is responsible.’ And that’s true, by the way, for members of Congress, that’s true for the president, that’s true for cabinet members, that’s true for parents. I want all of us to start thinking a little bit more, not just about what’s good for me, but let’s start thinking about what’s good for our children, what’s good for our country. The more we do that, the better off we’re going to be.

-- President-elect Obama in a recent interview with Barbara Walters

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”

- Anne Lamott

Monday, December 1, 2008

World Aids Day

Support World AIDS Day

The 1st of December is World AIDS Day. 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. There are an estimated 33 million people living with HIV and some 7,400 more people becoming infected every day. Today is day set aside to raise awareness and to remind those around us that our actions make a difference in ending this epidemic.

Want to learn more? Visit

O.K. this is going to sound like a Starbucks advertisement, which is ironic since I don't drink coffee. But...

Starbucks is going Red for World Aids day and giving 5¢ to the Global Fund for every hand-crafted Starbucks beverage sold today at participating US and Canada locations. Then through out holiday (November 27, 2008 and January 2, 2009) Starbucks will be serving (STARBUCKS)RED™ EXCLUSIVE beverages and will donate 5¢ for each drink purchasedto the Global Fund to help save lives in Africa.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Misty Day

Today was another beautiful and cool misty day - perfect for bike riding!

Cresting the Hill at Torrey Pines

Marine Layer is so thick that the Ocean is barely visible

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Morning Bike Ride

Somehow the day got away from me today. The goal was to get up early and mail my Christmas gifts and then take a morning bike ride.

It didn't quite turn out that way. During my "not quite morning anymore" ride - I saw the sun begin to set over the ocean.

Sun beginning to set. Top of Bluff, Torrey Pines State Beach

Stormy Thanksgiving

I woke up Thanksgiving morning to the pitter patter of rain drops. The rain storm managed to last all night and part way through the morning. By the time I jumped in the car to head to Temecula, the rain had stopped, but the sky was still full of big gorgeous storm clouds.

Picture through my windshield as I headed north on 15

That evening, just as we were about to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, the sunset and we were treated to a beautiful pink sky!

Sunset Sky, Thanksgiving

After dinner we played a group game of Cranium followed by Guitar Hero and Bowling on the Wii. It seems like ages since I have hung out with a group of friends and kicked back and spent an evening playing games. I forgot just how much fun it is!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day After Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving. Here are some options

Which will you choose?

Personally, I am leaning towards Make Something Day.

After eleven years in the States I have yet to actually participate in Black Friday. Doing or buying nothing seems like a lame alternative. Absence of action is rarely revolutionary or inspiring. I think change comes when we provide creative alternatives. I have my thinking cap on looking for a craft idea for Friday. Won't you join me?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Thought For The Day

Those who thank God are the truly wealthy. So our inner happiness depends not on what we experience but on the degree of our gratitude to God, whatever the experience.

- Albert Schweitzer (as quoted in Inner Visions 11/26/08)

Gobble Gobble

Friends Recently Added Turkey's To Their Backyard Menagerie

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grocery Store Karaoke

Last night after dinner I put on my spiffy new shoes and set out for a stroll to the grocery store. About half way there I started to feel sprinkles of rain. It has been nine months since our last good rain - so we are due. Normally, rain in So Cal is more like mist or spits of water. Tonight the skies looked determined - so I made a U turn and headed for home. About 20 minutes later the sky opened up and the rain came pouring down. The rest of the evening I enjoyedt he sounds of the pitter patter of raindrops on the balcony.

After last night's aborted trip to the grocery store - today I stopped at the local plaza on my way home from work. What a zoo!! Lots and lots and lots of folks picking up their last minute odds and ends for Thanksgiving. The crowds and lines can be frustrating, but Trader Joes has made a game out of the mayhem that keeps you entertained in line. They call it the "IN-LINE Karaoke Party"!

In-Line Karoake Party Sign at my Local Trader Joes

Butter Tarts

Today is snack day all day at work! Everyone brings appetizers and snacks and puts them out in the kitchen and we spend the day grazing on them.

My contribution is a Canadian tradition ... homemade butter tarts!

Butter Tarts Fresh From The Oven

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Shoe

What To Do With A Sweet Potato

Good bye sweet potato with marshmallows ... hello sweet potato stir fry!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stars In The Sky

This evening I ran a few errands on my way home. I made a MAJOR find at the Carlsbad Outlet Mall. They new have a Merrell Store. Even better they are clearing off some discontinued shoes -- ones that I have been searching all over for! New Shoes. Woot! Woot!

It is hard to rival the excitement of the Merrell store - but the other highlight of the evening was Christmas display that lit the sky up with beautiful lighted stars.

If You're Out There

Driving home tonight I heard this re-mix of John Legend's If Your Out There and Barack Obama's acceptance speech.


Give it a listen...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Merton on Resistance

Very often people object that nonviolence seems to imply passive acceptance of injustice and evil and therefore that it is a kind of cooperation with evil. Not at all. The genuine concept of nonviolence implies not only active and effective resistance to evil but in fact a more effective resistance... But the resistance which is taught in the Gospel is aimed not at the evil-doer but at evil in its source.

- Thomas Merton
from Passion For Peace

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Misty Ride

This morning I was running around like a crazy lady looking for my sunglasses. I needed to head out to meet up with my friend Pete for a coastal bike ride. I was *sure* I needed my sunglasses. I finally left without them. Good thing!
The North Country Coast was consumed by a crazy thick marine layer.

Marine Layer - Moonlight Beach Encinitas, California

Good news is the moist and cool air was perfect weather for riding. We started our ride at Moonlight Beach and wound our way up the coast to the Oceanside Pier and Harbour. It was my first time in this area - so Pete acted as tour guide. We found a Fish and Chip place and some interesting shops at the harbour that it would be fun to explore! When we stopped for a granola bar and water I started to shiver - so we decided to turn around and head back south.

Pete at the Oceanside Harbour

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thoughts For The Day

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time."
- Nelson Mandela

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Culture Confusion

This week was full of many fun and quirky culture clashes.

The first one surrounded a generous gift from one of our clients. They shipped a case of Tasty Kake treats as a "thank you" for a job well done. I discovered the gesture when I passed through the lunch room and found a crowd gathered around and looking at the boxes of cakes with eyes wide and eye brows raised. I reached for a box to take a closer look and immediately my friends rushed in to save me.

"Better read the ingredients first !"

"Check out the nutritional information"

It was funny watching everyone stand around and look perplexed. Fortunately, we have our own office Mikey who braved the unknown and enjoyed a few of the cakes!

Later that same day an e-mail came out that there was left-over food in the kitchen. Bear in mind that the majority of our management team hails from the midwest and the food was from their meeting. The moment the e-mail hit our inbox we all scrambled to the kitchen hoping to win big at the snack time game. Sigh, just imagine the disappointment when we found greasy pizza stacked and I mean stacked with meat. Once again the looks of confusion and dismay as folks sulked and returned to their desks!

The final fun clash of cultures happened at lunch today. My colleague R- decided to join 'the guys' for lunch out. Apparently, on the way back to the car M- yelled "shot gun". R- had no idea why he said such a funny thing and when they reached the car and he opened the door, she slid right on into the passenger seat and thanked him for getting the door for her :-) I wish I could have been there to see the look on M-'s face. R- had no idea that 'shotgun' was how you stake your claim for the passenger seat. Ahh, the fun and quirky cultural references that are missed when you grow up in a different country!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Super Duper Blender

After 14 months of deliberation - I did it!

Yes, indeedy ... I bought my dream blender. My goal of becoming the smoothie queen is now in sight.

My Super Duper Blender

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Loved Locked Down

I first heard this song in the concert Kanye gave after the Nike Human Race. That night was suppose to be the song's debut - but the groove was off and they aborted after the first chorus. A few weeks later the song premiered on ellen. Since then it has become one my iPod faves.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thought to Ponder

“The world only spins forward.”

Tony Kushner
Angels in America

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thoughts For The Day

"Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meaning can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart."

- Martin Luther King Jr.
Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 11, 1964

Friday, November 14, 2008

Say It's Possible. Messages of Reconciliation and Healing

A time to come together ... for post election healing.

Please check out this amazing site. A New Day IS here. Believe it! WE CAN be the change we wish to see.

A sample of the dialogue of reconciliation from the "52 to 48 with love" website

Seeing all the beautiful messages between the 52 and 48 reminded me of this video - Say It's Possible.

People from around the world to film themselves answering the question "what would you do/want if anything were possible?" in three words or less.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Full Moon

I arrived home a bit earlier than normal today. This afternoon I had a couple of hours of dental work - and was glad to be home early to rest. On my way up the stairs I noticed the sky was lit up by a gorgeous full moon. The moon was surrounded by a rainbow halo effect.

I couldn't really capture the full effect on film - but here is my best attempt!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Protest At My Neighbour's House

This evening, my normal quiet neighbourhood was alive with activity. As I turned down the street I live on - I found the place crawling with police cars, media trucks and everything lit up bright bright bright bright for the T.V. crews. Normally, not much happens in my area. During the run up to the election I didn't see even one political lawn sign. My next door neighbours (the Mormons) have a big fancy home with a huge front lawn. There are often caravans of cars with foreign license plates. They stop, park, and a family of a bazillion kids get out - they stretch and then start taking family pictures on the front lawn. That is about as exciting as it gets around here. So what's all the ruckus about tonight? ! ...... Then, the light bulb went off. Since the passage of Prop 8 last week the Los Angeles Mormon Temple became a focal point of protest. When I left town a few days ago there was no activity at the San Diego Temple - I guess that has changed.

I decided to skip unloading the car and grabbed my camera and headed over to my neighbours house. Their front lawn was no longer full gleeful families posing for pictures - instead it was full of camera crews and newscasters. When I arrived they were in the midst a live news feed for the evening news. I dodged traffic to stand in the road and snap the picture below. Once the news interviews were over - I went over and chatted a while with the protesters.

Live News Feed of Prop 8 Protest at San Diego Mormon Temple

Shopping and Heading Home

My little get away has passed much too quickly. It is almost time to head back home to San Diego. I am going to squeeze in one last stop before I hit the road. The heart of downtown Santa Barbara is State Street. I am not a big shopper - but I love to wander and browse my way through the wonderful and eclectic mix of shops that line State Street. I also enjoy playing a game of hide and seek, browsing down the various alley's looking for the many displays of public art and fun statues.

Ben Franklin Enjoying A Rest on A Bench

I had such a good time window shopping - and yes, some actually Christmas shopping as well... that I completely lost track of time. By the time I left Santa Barbara I had timed my return trip to hit the northern tip of Los Angeles at the start of rush hour. Fortunately, when you are in a mellow vacation mood and not really in a hurry - the traffic doesn't seem *quite* as bad.

Passing Through Los Angeles During Rush Hour

Queen of The Missions

I have visited the front lawn of the Santa Barbara Mission several times, but have never actually gone in! It seems I am always stopping there "on the way" to someplace else. Today, I planned my day so that I could linger and enjoy the mission.

Santa Barbara Mission

One of things I enjoy about the missions is their beautiful courtyards. I love to sit on a bench and enjoy the tranquility of the fountain and surrounding garden.

Courtyard gardens and fountain

I stumbled across this plaque in the corner of the garden.

He even said
that the brother
gardener ought to
reserve a place
in a corner for a
beautiful small
garden where he put
all kinds of aromatic
herbs and flowering plants
so that they in their season might
invite all men
who looked at them to praise God...
For every creature says and proclaims
"God has created me for you, O man"
- St Francis of Assisi

Words of St. Francis In The Garden

An Altar In The Main Chapel