Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More Porchlight...

I noticed in today's newspaper that Project Porchlight is being featured on Citydesk at 6pm on Rogers Cable TV (channel 22 in Ottawa). There were several TV stations at yesterday's launch at City Hall, but there was only a passing reference on CJOH, and I missed it on A-Channel. I'm looking forward to seeing what more extensive coverage might look like.

Interestingly, I very rarely read the weekday paper. Guess I was meant to see this today.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Into our own hands...

I caught the last bit of The Great Warming (Episode 2) on TVO tonite. This 2003 production is a 3-part documentary that chronicles how we humans have drastically changed our environment and the impact that will have for generations to come.

I was struck by a segment on how the Louisiana marshes are disappearing and - especially - by comments regarding New Orleans' vulnerability to massive destruction in the face of a powerful hurricane. Remember, this was produced in 2003. How prophetic. I wonder what else we're not listening to...

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the dire predictions. I suspect that's why so many political leaders and decision-makers turn a blind eye. Like Al Gore says in An Inconvenient Truth, if people in positions of power acknowledged what the world's best scientists know to be true, they would have no choice but to act. They would be faced with a moral and ethical imperative.

Soooo, we can wait for this inconvenient truth to be acknowledged by the high mucky-mucks, or we can start by taking things into our own hands. We can, for example, change a lightbulb.

That's right friends - Project Porchlight is at it again! Following on the heels of last Fall's successful Ottawa South campaign, Porchlight is going city-wide. Be on the look-out for staff & volunteers wearing bright green jackets handing out free compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Say thank you, and change a lightbulb. Waiting is pointless.


Monday, September 25, 2006

A PB Kind of Day...

Hubby (black cap)... Brother-in-Law (blue cap)... and me!

Each of us running a personal best (a.k.a. a "PB") at the Steve Hall Memorial 5 & 10K race on Saturday morning. What a great way to start the weekend!

I'd better be careful though. I'm beginning to look like (gasp!)... a runner! :-)


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Prayer... for reading the newspaper

I don't read the newspaper on a daily basis. Too depressing. On weekends, I'll browse through it, look at the pictures and speed read the articles that catch my attention. More often than not, I'm skipping the news-of-the-day and being drawn to the more indepth stories. I guess that's why I really appreciated this little gem from the Spirituality & Practice E-Newsletter that appeared in my emailbox late last week. I guess I'm not the only one who sometimes finds it difficult to carry the burden of what the media insists on calling "news".


God our Governor, our Judge, our Peace:
the pains of the world snag my heart,
and its turmoils trouble my mind.
There is much I wish to help
but cannot change.
There is much I grieve in the actions of others
but cannot control.

I rest this globe in your hands.
I trust it to your will, your justice, and your love.
I cry to you for its people in their distress.
I pledge to do my part, in my time and place,
to bring your reign near.
I release all I cannot help into your mercy
and into the hands of sisters and brothers
I do not know.

Give me a quiet mind, a spirit of hope,
and an energy of love
for the work and the rest to which you call me.

Give me the humility
to live gracefully with my limitations,
but without despair.

(from Simple Prayers for Complicated Lives by Jennifer Phillips)

Saturday, September 16, 2006


This past week, I had the opportunity to hear not one, not two, but three amazing speakers share stories of passion & inspiration. (Translation: prepare for a long post!) Thanks to a special health & wellness week being offered at work, I was able to attend these talks that fed me in a way we don't often find in the workplace - they fed me spiritually.

On Tuesday, the Honourable Senator and retired General Roméo Dallaire spoke to us about mental health and the devastating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He is a tell-it-like-it-is kinda guy and his experience in Rwanda - and his own struggles with PTSD - are harrowing. Admittedly, I have his book but haven't had the courage to read it. After hearing him share his story so honestly, I feel the least I can do is bear witness to it and seek out its deeper messages.

On Wednesday, two more very different stories! Pierre Lavoie is a professional triathlete and the current world champion and age-group record holder for the Hawaii Ironman. His talk on developing a "Winning Attitude" was all one would expect from a world class athlete. However, his story took on an unexpected and much more personal tone when he spoke of applying all he had learned as a competitive athlete to his real cause & life purpose: raising awareness & finding a cure for the rare genetic disease that claimed the lives of two of his young children. He described himself as "un simple gars d'usine avec sa boîte à lunch" - a simple factory worker with a lunchbox - but it was obvious he was telling us that we all have the capacity to do extraordinary things with our ordinary lives.

Finally, La passion selon Marcel Leboeuf. I had never heard of this guy and didn't know what to expect. I figured he was some guy from the motivational speaker circuit who'd written a book on "passion". My first clue that he was probably something more was when I arrived to an packed room and struggled to find a seat. Who was this guy?! Turns out he is a well-known actor in Quebec. He has starred in many popular French television series like Virginie and Watatow. Since I don't watch those shows, I was clueless. In a way, perhaps that was a good thing! I had no preconceived notions of this man and I was quite taken by his humour, his love of family, and yes... his passion. (Note: Kudos to the interpreters who attempted to simultaneously translate his presentation! No easy task... :-)) Marcel Leboeuf's message is that each of us is called to live our lives with passion, no matter what we do in life. Furthermore, by the way we live that life, we are called to share that passion with others. He's certainly doing his part.

This week at work, my spirit was fed. I needed that.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Bit O' Sunshine...

Just getting back from the movie theatre after seeing one of the most refreshingly funny films I've seen in a long time. Little Miss Sunshine is absurd... poignant... hilarious... quirky... brilliantly acted... The casting was perfect. The actress who played Olive, Abigail Breslin, reminds me of a young Kirsten Dunst, except less precious and more real. What a wonderful way to spend the evening. Thanks Sis!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

September's Charm...

September (...) joyfully flaunts its crimson independance of spirit. Finally, a month wildly overgrown that wilfully ignores the reigning culture of excellence to which we're all addicted and vividly, unselfconsciously embraces imperfection.

No surprise we love September, with its brilliant, uncombed red hair and its showy love of imperfection - listen to what your newly invigorated sense of possibility is telling you. Pay attention to the thrilling imbalance of warm days and cool nights - that's where to look to find yourself - not in the trimmed hedge and sharply delineated lawn of summer, but in the irregular incidental beauty of untamed roadside grasses, in idle orchards of random asters. - Elizabeth Kelly, editor of Hamilton Magazine

I copied this from a newspaper column on September 2, 2000. It's as appealing to me today as it was six years ago. Elizabeth Kelly, whoever and wherever you are, thank you for capturing the unique essence of my most favourite month. Bring on the fiery hues of imperfection!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Weekend of Wonders...

How do you choose highlights in a weekend of highlights?!!

Was it the road trip itself - quality time spent with my sister as we sped down the highway towards New Brunswick?

Was it singing with my mom, accompanied by four talented musicians on the guitar, mandolin, banjo & bass?

Was it sitting around the fire listening to my aunt & uncle sing the songs they've always sung, their rich harmonies reaching deep into my soul and plucking the strings of my memory like a finely tuned instrument?

Was it playing fluorescent frisbee under a blood red moon? Or maybe running around the field at midnight with sparklers, yelling like a mad-woman along with six other kindred souls?

No, wait! Perhaps it was attending a reunion of descendants of my great-grandfather Crispin Gallant and his wife Délima, and standing alongside my mom & my sister as the only representatives from my Mémére's side?

Then again, could it be meeting and spending time with my parents' broad circle of musician friends? Beautiful & ageless...

I suppose it could also be discovering Le Vieux Québec at night, and rediscovering it anew in the light of day, on the return trip. Could that be my highlight of highlights?

So many to choose from - and many more beyond those listed here...
Sorry, can't be done! Suffice to say that the highlight of my weekend was... my weekend. :-)