Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rain, Rain, Movie Day

It's pouring today. And I mean pouring. You know that saying "It's raining cats and dogs"? That's never really made logical sense to me. But today, I can see where it originated from.

It's sad because I had visions for today, like going to Spanish Banks, or biking along the seawall, or even a nice hike up the grouse grind, but it looks like today's going to be a movie day. Time to catch up on those movies that I've meant to watch all summer, but never got around to.

The list:

Patch Adams
Bowling for Columbine
The Time Traveler's Wife
An Inconvenient Truth

And when I get through those, maybe I'll even read a book. Three Cups of Tea I'm reading at the moment, but then there's Alcatraz, Secret Daughter, I am Hutterite and Still Alice. I was hoping to read a stack of books this summer because as soon as school rolls around, I know I won't have time, but the plan didn't go so well either.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Conflict Mineral Free Pledge

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I recieved an email from Nintendo in responce to my "Take Conflict out of your Products" pledge email. Although it wasn't a personal responce, Nintendo was the only one of the 21 companies that bothered replying at all. Other companies included Dell, Canon, Panasonic, Blackberry, Motorola and Intel.

I pledged with a campaign called "Enough!" on raisehopeforcongo.org:

Help us increase demand for conflict-free electronics. Urge the 21 biggest electronics companies to make their products conflict free. The message is clear: “If you take conflict out of your cell phone, I will buy it.”

This is the message I sent:

To Whom It May Concern,

I know that many, many people- with the number is growing daily as the word spreads, and people are becoming educated on the topic- would be far more likely to buy your products if they were garunteed Conflict-free. It is no longer about who can make the cheapest products, that's not at the top of my worries anymore. No price is too much, if I am garunteed that there was no rape, slavery or torture in the making of the product. And I'm not the only one, everyday people are becoming more and more aware of these global issues; no one wants to support those causes. I challenge you to help create a better future for your company and for our world by making conflict-free products. This is the future!

Lisa Odland

and here was Nintendo's responce:

On behalf of Nintendo I appreciate the opportunity to respond. Nintendo does not purchase any metals as raw materials. As a remote purchaser that buys finished components made from many materials, Nintendo requires its suppliers to comply with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Procurement Guidelines, which stipulate suppliers comply with applicable laws, have respect for human rights, and conduct their business in an appropriate and fair manner.

Dervin Camden
Nintendo of America Inc.

That was quite nice to read, but I can't understand why out of the 21 companies only Nintendo bothered to respond, does that mean the others have nothing good to say about the topic on behalf of their company?

Watch a Congo conflict mineral video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF-sJgcoY20

If that video was enough for you to want to take action, then you can learn more, or sign the pledge at http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/action/commit-purchase-conflict-free-cell-phones-laptops-and-other-electronics.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Alexi Murdoch

Here is the voice of an angel.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spirit Caught.

It's official- the Catching the Spirit summer is now over. Ten years complete- and this one was the best yet (but that's what they say every year).

For me it definitely was the best, considering it was my first. But ohh, what a ride it's been. So many amazing memories, so many new friends, so much learned, so much discovered. I can't think of any other way I'd rather spend my summer than with amazing youth, in the most beautiful forests of the world AND learning about our environment and how to conserve it.

It has been wonderful to see the youth get inspired to start riding their bikes to school, to stop drinking bottled water and to turn off their lights and TV's when not being used. We learned how to go "no-trace" camping, we talked about clear-cutting, about pine beetles, invasive species and not wasting water. It's so rewarding to see the campers going home every weekend being excited about their decisions and how they will affect their future.

Our main goal for this summer was to get the youth connected with nature. Most of these kids are induced in the stress and commotion of city life, and rarely get a chance to spend time with nature. At camp we spend a lot of time outside, and try to build relationships between the youth and their environment. I think it really showed at the end of our very last camp when we did an activity where we all gathered around a tree. One girl gave the hemlock a name; Hemmy. Holding hands, we went around in a circle saying nice things about the tree-

"Hemmy, you're so tall and strong."
"Hemmy, you give me clean air to breathe."
"Hemmy, your give me shade in the summer's heat."
"Hemmy, you make me feel safe."

After all the compliments to Hemmy, we gave it a great big group hug to thank it for everything it gives us. After, we asked the youth how they felt; some of their responses were "I've never felt so in-touch with nature before, it was a cool feeling!" And that is what Catching the Spirit is really all about- building relationships with nature, so that we can make good decisions, and do everything we can to conserve our environment.

Great summer CtS- I feel blessed to have been a part of it this summer. Hopefully I'll be back next year!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Use your eyes.

I found this today, and I love it!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back in the Day.

It's been a while since I've posted.

Busy, busy visiting with as many relatives as we could while on the prairies. We saw lots of relatives and did many fun things. My Grandfather taught me to play crib, and was quite shocked that I hadn't learned before now. The junior little-league nationals were going on in Lethbridge, so we saw some great minor ball and spent a few nights in the Spitz Stadium. Memories from our childhoods, and even our parents and grandparents young days are always a hit. Gee things have changed since the Grandparents were young- they had to get up, feed their horses and check on the crops before they traveled by horse and carriage to school.

We went to visit the Odland farm, I hadn't been there in quite some time, and missed it dearly. Hay stacks, vegetable gardens, farming machinery, grain barrels, old bikes and storage houses- there's so much to do, and nobody in miles. The silence is almost unbelievable, and it's so far from civilization that it seems almost stress-free. It's not fun however running on low in the middle of the prairies, keeping our fingers crossed that we can make it to the gas barrels on the farm. Visiting the farms is a lot of fun, however I can't even imagine myself living there.

While on our way home from the great Albertan flat-lands, I never realized how many things there are to see on the drive home. We discovered quite a few of them, but decided if we ever wanted to make it home, we'd have to pick and choose.

We stopped at Vulcan for their Star Trek, Calgary at the Olympic park, Banff for lunch and a look at their cute little town and the Banff Springs Hotel. We saw Lake Louise, and a gorgeous wedding going on there. We saw Takakkaw Falls where from meters away you feel a light mist- so beautiful and refreshing. Our night was spent in a hotel in the middle of the mountains in beautiful Revelstoke, BC. Then we saw the CPR's spiral tunnels, and tried to stop at Falls Lake, but after climbing almost a mountain, we never did find the lake- neither did the van loads of tourists that also stopped in hopes of a nice lake.

Highlight of the trip home was the Olympic Park. We saw the bobsleigh training centre where Olympic gold medalists Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, as well at the Jamaican bobsled team were practicing their starts. It was exciting to see, especially because we didn't even know what we were watching for.

Since I've been home I've been to Grouse Mountain, the beach, the wave pool, and a water park, all with 22 young children. I do love kids, but a whole week with them can sure drain your energy. It's amazing what you can learn from kids though; everyday I have a new Korean hand game or song in my bag of tricks.

Now I've been busy planning for the weekend with Catching the Spirit- our last one of the summer. I'm very excited for this weekend; I've been having fun planning scavenger hunts, leave no trace activities and new environmental education games. I'm going to be sad when this weekend is over!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Canadian Travels

Have you ever felt like you just stepped out of a time machine?

I had that feeling today when we got out of the car in Grindrod, a small farming town near Shuswap Lake, BC. It was Grindrod Days, and the majority of the towns' 1450 population was at the park for them. People were dressed up in pioneer clothing, and some brought their old wheels in for show. There was a farmers market, live music, clowns, all sorts of historic displays and even lawn mower races- which were very cool; those things can go fast!

I honestly felt like I had gone back in time to before there were computers and cell phones. The way people dressed in this town was different and the way they acted too; but they were all super friendly. I couldn't even imagine living in a town that small, but I guess it's a different lifestyle that some choose to live, and some are born into.

Next we stopped at "The Last Spike" for some more history. We did the typical 'take your picture as if you're pounding the last spike'.

Now we're in Revelstoke, a cute town of about 7 500. It's "downtown" area is a historic place with old buildings and mining and railroad museums. We had a lovely dinner and listened to live music on main street, surrounded by the beauty of mountains on all four sides.

Today was a very historic day for us. Learning about Canadian history is a lot more exciting when driving through it than reading out of a text book!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rekindling the Love

I'm sore and my muscles are tight, but it's all worth it for the great week I had at hockey school.

At one point in the week, one of the girls said "I told my sister last night that I've rekindled my love for hockey". I feel the same way. It's not that I ever stopped loving hockey, it's just that I hadn't been on the ice since March, and then ten ice times in five days.

Throughout all my years playing female hockey I have never once had a female coach. This week I had three. And not just any female hockey players, national team players- Olympic gold medalists. Gina Kingsbury, Colleen Sostorics and Rebecca Russell were our mentors on and off the ice. On the ice they impressed us with their extraordinary talent and critiqued us gently. Off the ice they inspired us with their stories and memories (and showed us their many, many medals and rings), and in the skills centre they helped us with our stick handling and our shots. Throughout the week, we also saw Pat Quinn, Andrew Ladd, Duncan Keith and Cam Barker. Many famous hockey players were in Penticton this week, because as they say: OHS is the best hockey school around. This week I experienced the best coaching I have ever had; it's something special to be coached by women.

Besides the ten amazing ice times, the five great skills and dry lands; a lot more came out of this week. More than fitness and more than improvement came out of this; I also made many great friends. We had girls there from Nanaimo and Prince George to Minnesota and Manitoba. Throughout the week, I met many great people and had a wonderful time getting to know each and every one of them. There were many unique personalities in the dressing room, from the quiet girl in the corner, the loud "ring leader" of the dressing room, and the random one who blurts out every now and then. I love to see a group of girls come together; not knowing anyone at the start. and by the end practically acting like family.