Thursday, October 30, 2008

TT# 21 - My Beloved Dead (some of them)


My Beloved Dead

As the sacred year comes to a close, it is traditional to name our Beloved Dead, and honor their memory. My list is so much longer than thirteen. Here are some of the wonderful souls that have blessed my life and given me the gifts of their love, their wisdom, their time, their laughter and their zest for living. Some are blood kin, some Bretheren in the Faith, some family of the heart.

There is a tangle of tales for each name on this list - and many more names that will be called tomorrow night, to honor those who have crossed the veil. May I hear their wisdom in the quiet of the Samhain night, and may they remember me with love as they journey on the other side.
  1. Leslie A. Hurrell & Margaret Ives Hurrell (paternal grandparents
  2. Agnes Reid Watson & Kenneth Hayward (maternal grandparents)
  3. a very long list of Aunts, Uncles and a few cousins.
  4. Lloyd Seaman & Marian Seaman (mentors)
  5. Ruby Miller (High Priestess and teacher)
  6. Melinda Shore (friend)
  7. Stephen Kendall (High Priest)
  8. Judy and Peter Dawson (friends)
  9. Stewart Farrar (High Priest)
  10. Harry Lehosky (visionary & activist)
  11. Kadabarah of Blessed Memory
  12. Ron Oswald (music lover)
  13. James Hayward Arnal (my cousin and a Canadian Hero).



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Thursday, October 23, 2008

TT 21 - My Favourite Holidays


Thirteen Things - My Favourite Holidays


1. Samhain (Hallowe'en to you lovely Mundane People) - when the darkenss is at its deepest, and the spirits of the Ancestors can draw close and whisper in your ear.  Always a blessing to spend time with my Beloved Dead, and to honor and thank my Mentors and Teachers. Grumps, Counsel, Dalukah, Stewart, QueenBee, Aunty Mugs, Mamman and DinDin - thank you all.  There's a place set at the table for you.

2.  Canada Day. I'm a patriot, and proud to have won the birth lottery and to live in this great land.  I also officiated my very first legal wedding on Canada Day, for two very dear friends - so that is a special memory, tinged with a bit of "that was then, this is now" wistfullness.  

3.  Remembrance Day.  I oppose the opening of non-essential services on what should be a National Day of Mourning.  No work.  No recreation.  Go to a sacred space, house of worship, memorial, cenotaph, Legion, civic gathering and give thanks for the lifeblood that has bought us our freedom.  Wear a poppy AND a Canadian flag on your lapel.  There are almost 100 good and current reasons that Canada should enshrine this day as something beyond the ordinary.  One reason is my cousin, casualty #88.  May the Gods protect our troops.

4.  Imbolc - the Festival of Brighid - the face of the Divine that speaks directly to my diluted Celtic blood.  Some day, I'll be at the Sacred fire in Kildare on Her day, and drink from Her sacred well, and tie a cloutie to a bush and make a wish/prayer on Irish soil.  May Her fire burn forever in my heart, and may I be between Her hammer and Her anvil until my life take a pleasing shape in the hands of the Creatrix.  Always smithie, sometimes healer, giver of words, and daughter of the Dagda - Brighid, you know my name.  Make my life a prayer to You.

5.  Yule - nothing says "welcome back, Sun" like a bonfire surrounded by snow and chanting witches.  Makes the neighbors wonder if you've lost all your marbles.  Almost as much fun as .....

6.   Summer Solstice - we've had men wearing Antler headdresses and long black capes performing the ritual blessings in our back yard in a circle cast in bird seed.  At sunrise.  I bet the neighbors wish we were bikers or something normal like that.

7.  Beltane -  the festival of "creative productivity" or is that "productive creativity" 0r maybe creative reproductivity and reproductive creativity.  All acts of love and pleasure are Divine Rituals.  I love the spring.

8.  Good Friday - because I get a day off - and we do a whole day Book Study every year.

9. September Long Weekend - for 8 years, it meant "Going on Retreat" - and now it means "leaving for Quebec three days early".  All gifts of the Goddess are double edged, they say -and I believe it.  

10. Christmas & Boxing Day - because after 25+ years, I am no longer in retail, and I don't have to get dressed and be ANYWHERE.  I get to plan a daylong feast of decadence and indulgence, and usually a movie marathon.  Babylon 5 in two days.  Gotta love it.  Pass the popcorn.

11.  Both Equinoxes - I've always been a Gibbous Moon witch - so it makes sense that the two "balance of light and darkness" festivals speak strongly to me, and are a time of great and powerful magick for me, on a personal level.  

12.  New Year's - Calendar Changing Day - the day of cultural potential. I don't make resolutions, but I like to give myself a kick in the keester and try to be / do  better as the sun shines increasingly brightly in the sky and it is 40 frickin below zero for three weeks. 

13.  St. Valentine's Day - cause I get to do something special for someone I love.  Does it get any better than that?

Honorable mention - Lammas - who can not like a feast day devoted to Home Baked Bread?  Thank you, John Barleycorn for the loaf-mass, and for the glass of grain distilled uisce beatha (waters of life) - that makes all the work of the harvest so very worthwhile.  


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Monday, October 13, 2008

yes - my TT is late - 3 days - but who's counting?

In the spirit of election season on both sides of the border - I've been crafting this for a bit - and had to step away from it for a day to let it gel - and then get it done.  I don't believe that good governance has to be as complicated as the status quo would like to have us believe.  The levels of bureacracy are a self-perpetuating controlled environment and our elected officials are merely figureheads in many respects, with the civil service having the real knowledge and power.  

Ah - politics - don't get me started.  I lack the intestinal fortitude to run for office - but I consider myself both a citizen and a patriot - and look forward to doing my civic duty on Tuesday.  

If you don't vote - you lose your right of complaint.  Your vote matters. Cast it wisely.  See you at the polls.

Enjoy the day,
Susan

Saturday, October 11, 2008

TT#20 - If Elected... 13 Pieces of Platform


Thirteen Things I Would Do if Elected

(on the assumption that I would have the power to do so - in no particular order)


1. Overhaul the tax system, making it more fair for working people, more balanced for corporations to encourage their re-investment in our economy and pay a fair tax on their profits,  penalize people/corporations who tried to hide their wealth offshore, and remove the B/S deductions system in favour of flat %'s based on gross income levels.  The higher the income, the higher the tax rate.  It just makes sense.  The bigger the corporate profit, the higher their taxes.  It just makes sense. 

2.  Overhaul family law to ensure that deadbeat parents cannot hide anywhere (but lose their drivers licenses, access to other civic services), that those spouses and parents who are abuse or use violence are treated as dangerous offenders and incarcerated - regardless of gender.  Make sure there are enough day care spaces available at reasonable costs to help people crawl out of poverty.  Subsidize ONLY those who need it.  Close loopholes that allow people to abuse the system - any system.  (Including EI).

3.  That voting become a mandatory activity to access public services like healthcare.  Even if the citizen spoils their ballot - they have to exercise their democratic franchise.  At all levels of government.  Citizenry is a two way street.

4.  That Parliament be reformed through proportional representation, and that the ridiculous petty bickering of "Question Period" be stopped, so that after elections, party politics stops wasting our time and resources and all elected members work together for what is truly "the best solution" for our country. That the Senate be reformed (not abolished) to provide guidance to the newly non-partisan House on how to move towards better legislation and policy as effectively and efficiently as possible.  Redraw how the Senate seats are awarded - no more patronage appointments to politicos - but not by public vote.  Teach government how to spell   t-r-a-n-s-p-a-r-e-n-c-y.

5.  Medical System Reform - graduates of Canadian medical institutions have to do 3 years as a GP in a major metropolitan area, or 2 years in a rural/remote setting.  They get significant tax breaks on their student loans for this period of public service.  A fee guide be set for standard medical practices, similar to the dental fee guides that exist in that industry. Up to 40% of any GP or specialist's practice can be for paying clients under the fee guide.  These paying patients get no special status or privileges other than access to those 40% app't slots on the daily calendar. Support technology (radiation, ultrasound, mri, etc) are run 24 hours a day, and these technicians are fairly compensated for taking the midnight shift.  Same for diagnostic labs, etc... medicine becomes a full time business in public service.  Diagnostic services can be purchased by any client willing to pay the full rate, but those privately paid appointments are scheduled during that later shift, so public health patients get their tests done first.  The paying patients are paying for the extra time/costs of running the overnight shifts, essentially.  If there are no paying patients, then public health needs fill up those slots.

6.  That some teeth be put into the justice system, that those convicted of crimes, as part of their incarceration,  do humanely managed community service work (fixing - building - doing whatever) as part of their reparation/rehabilitation/restitution piece, and that we have boards of review for judges, crown prosecutors, police forces and parole boards to ensure that a)vigilante justice doesn't rear its ugly head due to citizen frustration, and that b) tax paying law abiding citizens have a voice in the ongoing work of the justice system designed to protect them.  There needs to be a higher level accountability.

7.  That the murder of a police officer, or the death of a firefighter on the job, if the fire is caused by arson, would be treated as a capital crime against the nation and that the perpetrator would be executed, if convicted of their crime.  We MUST support the thin blue line, and the firefighters who stand between us and chaos and disaster.  

8.  That corruption be rooted out through the strategic implementation of a transparent system of disclosure at all levels of government.  In the words of my esteemed former "father-in-law" - "If it doesn't pass the smell test, something's rotten." We MUST honor the public trust.  No one is above the law.  Having said that - let's take a good hard look at the legal code, rewrite it into plain language, and decriminalize, reprioritize, and have the punishments fit the crime. Legalize and tax marajuana.  Strengthen drunk driver laws (lifetime suspension from driving).  Legislate protections for prostitution.  Strengthen the penalties for child molestation and rape.  Apply an abundance of common sense to the process.

9.  That the environment be a primary consideration in all decisions made by all levels of government.  I'm not talking about bullshit dollar wasting self-congratulatory environmental impact studies - I'm talking about true environmental awareness - and some pretty tough laws to significantly fine polluters and to rethink our economy and lifestyle as a nation. Canada should be a world leader in the preservation of clean water and wind/solar/tidal energy.

10.  That we find a way to improve the living conditions of the poor and working poor - all of them.  Through education, medical care, rehabilitation, training and expecting, in return, a commitment of personal responsibility that enables their dignity and diversity to remain intact - we can help those who need assistance to help themselves out of poverty.  And those who through mental or physical challenges, addiction, etc who cannot be assisted to change their circumstances - we must remain compassionate and care for them in ways that are reasonable and fair.  That vulnerable people receive the aid, training, support, whatever - as befits a compassionate society -and that those who can work and contribute, do so.  There is no job that is below the dignity of a worker who is properly honored for their contribution.  To that end, corporations who follow the 6-Step rule of organizational behavior (where the CEO earns no more than 6 times the wage of the lowest paid worker) should receive some corporate tax benefits for stimulating economic growth.

11.  That statutory holidays no longer be tied to an archaic non-culture calendar that does not fit a poly-cultural society, and be revised as follows:  Employees are able to declare 12 statutory holidays for themselves as individuals, to fairly cover their religious observances.    That Canada Day, Remembrance Day, Thanksgiving, and Labor Day be essential services only in all provinces, across all employment sectors.  That all Canadians get 3 weeks of paid holiday per year, and one additional day per year of employment.

12.  That our armed forces be given the ways and means to be a significant force for good within our boundaries - and that they, in peacetime, to acts of public service, assisting the local constabulary at times of civic need, and having a positive presence within our communities.  We must remain a strong viable defence force, and if needs be, to be able to go on the offense against terrorism, and to assist our allies in strategic tactics to preserve human rights, human dignity, and to stand against injustice and dictatorships.  We also need to pay our UN dues and support the UN in its initiatives.  We also need to teach the true history of this great country - the good, the bad and the ugly - and then learn from it.


13.  That the termination of a pregnancy at any stage remain the decision of a woman and her doctor, that those who are suffering with terminal illness be given the option of ending their own suffering in a medically monitored and compassionate setting (with checks and balances firmly in place to prevent abuse), that cruelty to animals be considered as seriously as cruelty to human beings, that all citizens are implicitly equal in all ways regardless and without explicit qualifiers that are subject to interpretation.  That we celebrate the qualities that set us apart as a Nation - and find some national pride and patriotism.  Gods keep our land glorious and free.



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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Buying In - Not Bailing Out

Passing on a message from the Avaaz Organization - they do good work in the world. 


Isn't the financial crisis worrying - and they're making it worse by bailing out the bankers, instead of intervening in the public interest to sort it all out. I just signed this petition supporting a "buy-in" rescue package instead -- it'll be delivered to the world's top finance ministers at the end of the week, so you might want to do the same: http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_public_rescue/97.php 
------------
Watching the markets freefall, we know this crisis will utterly change our daily lives -- we're not just spectators any more, and we’re seeing something new –- people and governments directly intervening in the chaos that until now was controlled by reckless and greedy financiers. 

Today and all weekend, extraordinary choices will be made by the world’s most powerful finance ministers, meeting to decide our response to the financial crisis. Together, we must make sure that governments don’t just use our money to bail out the banks, but claim a share of public ownership in these institutions for our future, and oversight powers to fundamentally fix the wider system. 

We'll deliver our call for a global buy-in package in 36 hours to G7 finance ministers and again to a bigger Global Crisis Summit planned for November -- please sign the petition at the link below, and forward this email to everyone you know. The decisions made this week will shape our lives for years to come: 

http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_public_rescue 

Three weeks ago our petition to regulate global finance was waved by Denmark's former prime minister as the European Parliament voted.[1] Two weeks ago our US members bombarded Congress with phone calls for a buy-in not a bailout -- investing in the banks so they stop choking off capital, while giving the public a share for their money and the power to fix the system -- and yesterday, as Britain launched a bold buy-in of its own, word is the United States might finally change course.[2] 

Only concerted action by the global community can build a better system, and we can't leave it to the financiers -- so today, we're launching an emergency campaign calling on leaders for a global public rescue to save all our economies. This is what's needed -- a 'buy-in' to financial institutions not a reckless 'bailout', massive public investment stimulus to stave off global depression, temporary guarantee of loans/deposits, and strict new regulations to fix this broken system once and for all.[3] It's a sensible and public-spirited package supported by progressives and expert economists alike -- add your name here: 

http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_public_rescue 

Leading economists now agree that citizens and our governments are the only force powerful enough to solve this crisis -- only the public can mobilise the investment and oversight needed to fix the financiers' failings, get the economy moving and revive things on a sounder basis. The Great Depression of the 1930s teaches us that we cannot address this crisis with each acting alone -- only by acting together can countries head off disaster. 

How we respond to this crisis will shape our lives for years to come. We're still a long way from tackling the fundamental problems of the global economy, but the tide is moving in our direction. So let's take control of our future in the interests of people not financiers, and raise a worldwide voice across borders for a global public rescue. 3.4 million of us in every nation of the world will get this email -- that's a start. Click below to sign, forward this email to all your friends and family, and let's raise a voice our leaders can't ignore: 

http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_public_rescue 

With hope and determination, 

Paul, Ricken, Graziela, Pascal, Veronique, Iain, Brett, Milena and the whole Avaaz team 

PS Congratulations to all those who supported our phone and email campaign on Europe's climate and energy package this week -- it was a stunning victory, we won 95% of what we wanted and our sources say we made a big difference. More soon! 

Sources: 

1. Winning the vote on financial oversight and regulation in the European Parliament with Denmark's Poul Rasmussen:
http://www.pes.org/content/view/1401/1700098 

Rasmussen's Parliament speech: 
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+CRE+20080922+ITEMS+DOC+XML+V0//EN#creitem19 

2. New York Times and NYU economist Paul Krugman on the UK plan and US shift:
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/09/doing-the-right-thing/ 

"This would essentially be the plan supported by most economists": 
http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2008/10/ny-times-recapitalization-plan-being.html 

3. 18 leading economists from across the political spectrum and around the world -- "Rescuing our jobs and savings: what G7/G8 leaders can do":
http://voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/2340

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vote for Goverment Change, Not Climate Change

Okay - no secret that I am politically opinionated.  No secret that I think the Environment is possibly the biggest issue affecting Canada's future - because it will drive the economy longterm.

I have voted "Green" (as in party) ever since there was one that I was aware of, and had a candidate to vote for.  But is it always the smartest vote - especially when we need to change the government to something that better represents the whole-ness of Canada's people and regions, and not a solid Reformist Conservative Agenda.  I debate about voting Green (where my heart is) but worry about splitting the vote when my vote might really be needed to upset the balance.

Look what I found - courtesy of my sister in song, Shivon Robinson.  To quote from her letter - forwarded via my other singing sister, Margaret Tobin (of Spirit's Call fame)...

Fortunately, voting strategically has just gotten a whole  lot
easier. There is now an amazing website,  www.voteforenvironment.com

that is tracking every riding in the  country and making
up-to-the-minute suggestions on how best to fight  Harper. It is the
coolest example of Canadian grassroots democracy  since the Free Trade
comic book.

 So that is the first thing to do: check out  www.voteforenvironment.com.

You enter in your postal code, and they let you know how things are
looking for the various candidates in your riding -  very interesting
and useful info.) I was glad to see that in my riding, the
conservative doesn't have a chance of getting in, so I'm fine voting
for Denise. However, I noticed that there are several ridings in
Winnipeg where getting this information circulated could really make a
difference.

If enough of us  you contact your friends and colleagues,  acquaintances and list-mates, and let them know what you are thinking,  we could actually affect the results in some key ridings and, who  knows, we might even affect more than that. It’s worth a try.

love
Shivon

Pass it on.  Check out your riding. Vote smart. Vote for Mother Earth. Government change, not climate change.  Make your best decision.  This isn't about supporting a particular party - this email is about supporting activisim for the change that Canada needs to protect the environment. (in my not so humble opinion).

Enjoy the day,
Susan

TT#20 - My DO NOT DO List


Thirteen Things On My DO NOT DO list


 1. DO NOT give in so easily to distraction.  Find a way to mitigate the interruption, and refocus on the task at hand.  AND - when I think I need to take a break  - take it. But time it and get back to work when "time's up".

 2.  DO NOT attempt to mulit-task constantly.  See point #1, without the interruption component.

 3.  DO NOT eat potato chips when there is fresh organic fruit in the fridge - though salty is always preferable to sweet when it comes to snacks.  

 4.  DO NOT give in to the inertia of "Comfy Chair and Computer". Earn it with some treadmill time.

 5.  DO NOT forget to blog at least three times a week.

 6.  DO NOT get distracted surfing the internet when I could be reading a book. Or writing a review. Or writing a book. Or editing a manuscript.

 7.  DO NOT be late for my writing deadline - or I'll have a very unhappy editor.

 8.  DO NOT  eat a meal without preceding it with a glass of water.

 9.  DO NOT  be so hesitant to let go of "stuff" that only reminds me of the past.  Let it go and make room for the future.

10.  DO NOT put the gravel in the jar first. (that one's for you, Dan).

11.  DO NOT have second helpings. (often).

12.  DO NOT apologize for my food choices. Butter is a good choice.  Bread is just a butter delivery device. (That one's for you, Ella).

13.  DO NOT go through the day without telling the truth to at least three people.  Not that I make a habit of telling lies (quite the contrary - I am often brutally honest) - but sometimes, taking the time to speak words of meaning make all the difference. Truths like "thank you - I couldn't have done it without you" or "you are loved" or "I am responsible and I am sorry"  or "I'm so happy to see you - its been far too long".  Truths that elevate, energize, empower or exclaim wonder.  I must speak my truth,and speak it quickly when the opportunity presents itself.  Chalk this one up to "Firewalk talk".



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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Have I mention that I love Seth Godin?

Brilliant thinker - marketing whiz - author who walks the high wire of high concepts brought down to earth safely but without a net - and founder of Squidoo....

I got to meet him at the first SEO conference I went to, and asked him to sign my copy of his most recent book as a gift to my boss.  His dedication - "Dan - listen to Susan", Seth Godin.

What a card.  What an amazing person. He's one of those great communicators that makes me thankful that  I live in the digital age. (faster access to information).

His latest blog post just HAS to be shared - for two reasons.

One -because he is raising money for good causes - and asking for help in distributing the wealth

and

Two - He has shared a manifesto in point form to guide the online community to better behavior and a more complete expression of the best of what makes us human.

Read it  - and let it guide you.  Or not.  Up to you.  But who doesn't want to be a better human being?  Maybe that's how we evolve - we choose to change?

Enjoy the day,
Susan

Do - or Do Not - Prioritizing from the Bottom Up.

and a gracious good afternoon to you - wherever you may be.

As I herd my ducks into a row for Work Around Wednesday (read all about this great new trend that is sweeping the nation - or at least - my living room), I am of course checking my email with due diligence, and skimming through my daily dose of blog.

I love blogs. Good ones.  Interesting Ones. Helpful Ones.  Lately,  I've been reading a few more productivity blogs - to help me get some insight on bad habits, good habits, and tips, tricks, and hacks to get more done and cram more living into my allotted 24 hours per spin round the sun.

These great reads are chock full o'good ideas, helpful hints, and links to great tools - but today I read one that stopped me in my tracks cause it turned the whole "gettin things done" paradigm on its head.

Instead of making a list of "things to do" - Mark Shead on Productivity 101 suggests that from time to time, we create a list of "Things Not to Do".  His theory is that this helps you prioritize from the bottom up a well as the top down.  A worthy concept.

So - this makes me wonder - what do I do that I should put on a "do not do" list.  What would be on yours?  Might be a good "ponder rock" for a TT13 list - and wouldn't ya know it - tomorrow is Thursday.

Stay tuned, sportsfans, you don't want to miss a thing!

Enjoy the day,
Susan