we move to canada

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we move to canadalaura khttp://www.blogger.com/profile/05524593142290489958noreply@blogger.comBlogger6512125
Updated: 16 min 35 sec ago

in which i help a skunk and it kind of says thank you

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 04:30
My apologies to wmtc readers who saw this on Facebook, but this story must be recorded on this blog!

Yesterday morning the dogs were barking at the back door, really going nuts, and not settling down. Checking to see what was going on, I got quite a surprise. A skunk with a container stuck on its head was running in circles, frantically trying to get the thing off. What to do?? I wanted to help it, but I'm not keen on getting skunked! Our dogs have been sprayed many times over the years; our suburban landscape is full of skunks.

Watching this poor creature run wildly around the lawn was so horrible. I called Allan to lure the dogs away from the door, then ran outside with a broom. I thought I could knock the container off the skunk's face from a distance, then get inside before he could hurt me. I hit the container with the broom several times, but it wouldn't come off. The whole time I was muttering, please don't spray me please don't spray me please don't spray me...

Finally I trapped the little guy in a corner with the broom, grabbed the container and pulled - but it was tightly wedged around the skunk's neck and would not budge. I realized the poor thing might have been stuck in the container all night, or even for days.

There was only one thing to do. I took a deep breath, held onto the container, and lifted the skunk in the air. We use an ex-pen to keep the dogs away from one part of the yard, and I held the container on the other side of it, shaking the container over and over, with the skunk dangling from it!

After maybe 10 shakes, the skunk finally fell out. I ran in the other direction... and promptly tripped over the garden hose, falling on my hands and knees on the patio. Ouch! But I got in the house unsprayed. I'm guessing the poor creature was weak and disoriented, dehydrated and hungry, so it had no defense left.

Some people found this story comical, even hilarious. Believe me, it didn't feel funny at the time.

things i heard at the library: an occasional series: #17

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 07:30
A customer comes to the reference desk to ask about Zinio. I tell him that Zinio allows him to get full access to hundreds of magazines, all at zero cost, through his library account. His eyes light up.

"This is all free?"

"Yes, it's completely free. Do you use a computer at home?" He does.

"Do you have a tablet, by any chance?" Even better, he does.

I show him how he can create an account, then sort magazines by language or interest, then download or read anything he wants.

"When I was growing up in my country, my brother and I walked 12 kilometres to the library. The names of the books were written on little cards. The librarian would write our names on the cards. We would read the books like this." He pantomimes opening a book a tiny bit, to preserve the spine. "And now, look at this..." He sweeps his arm to take in the entire library. "There is so much here." He shakes his head, speechless. "So much. It is so wonderful."

wheelchair rugby finals, parapan am games 2015

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 07:00
The 2015 Pan Am Games and Parapan Am Games were held in Toronto and the GTA this summer. Although I regard these events as a ridiculous waste of money, a very bad deal for residents of the host cities, there was one very bright upside for me: the opportunity to see some disability sports, nearby and at a very high level of play.

Mississauga hosted wheelchair rugby and goalball. I saw goalball at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta, and it is a unique and thrilling sport, played by blind athletes. Wheelchair rugby is irresistible, as millions have discovered through the excellent documentary "Murderball".

I couldn't get to goalball, but I snagged good seats to the wheelchair rugby finals, which eventually sold out. I went with a friend who had never seen - or even thought about - wheelchair sports before. When we got to the arena, we learned that the gold medal game was between the US and Canada, the same teams that face off in Murderball.

Bronze medal game: Colombia vs. Brazil

In the bronze medal game, Colombia played Brazil. The game started with dull, lacklustre play, not at all what we expected. It looked more like a trial game in a rehab centre than elite international play. But gradually, speed and strategy picked up.

One Colombian player began to dominate the court, not with size or strength, but with agility and finesse. (I think it was Jhon Orozco Nunez, wearing number 4, but I'm not positive.) He used his torso to pivot and swivel and wind his way through openings. The crowd noticed him and began to cheer his every move, and his game came on stronger and faster. By the last quarter, the stands were packed, and every time #4 touched the ball, the crowd went wild. (Also, Brazil had been cleaning up in the medal count, so many people were cheering against them, for the underdog.)

Brazil ramming crowd favourite #4Despite our favourite #4, the teams were well matched, and the score was neck and neck throughout. In the end, Colombia won the bronze medal: final score 50-48.

Gold medal game: USA vs. Canada

By the time the gold medal game started, the stands were completely packed, a sea of Canada red with the occasional Stars and Stripes visible here and there. The North American players were noticeably bigger and more athletic looking than the South American players. My friend and I were both struck by the difference, leading us to speculate about the difference in healthcare, rehab opportunities, even nutrition and education. Most wheelchair athletes must travel in order to practice and play in tournaments. Depending on where they live, their opportunities to actually play their sport may be very limited.

The game was wild. The US took an early lead, with Canada playing catch-up right from the start, down four or six points. The American team was so strong, we felt that if Canada fell further behind, it was cooked.

Canadian Zak MadellJust as #4 emerged as the crowd favourite in the bronze medal game, Canadian Zak Madell, wearing #33, quickly established himself as the dominant player. He seemed to either score or assist in every goal. Once he touched the ball he was virtually unstoppable, at one point frustrating four defenders to score. But every time Canada scored and threatened to tie the game, the US would edge further ahead.

Zadell with the ball, as usualIn the third quarter, Canada finally tied the score, and the crowd went insane. The score seesawed back and forth, each team squeaking out a goal, then the other team answering with a goal of their own. Finally, with the crowd roaring, Canada took the lead in the fourth quarter, and held it throughout, winning the gold with a score of 57-54.

I ducked out before the medal ceremony, as it was already late and I was working the following morning, which gave me an out from the national anthem issue. (It looks very disrespectful when I sit for the Star Spangled Banner, then stand for O Canada.)

The gold medal wheelchair rugby game was the highest level of play I've ever seen in a wheelchair game. I took a ton of pictures, which are not very good - partly because I was not on the sidelines with a huge lens like the professionals, and partly from my inexperience with sports photography. But if you're interested, they are here.

help my christian friend vote, or why the harper government must go

Sun, 08/16/2015 - 04:30
A friend of mine is undecided about which party to vote for in the upcoming federal election.

She normally votes Conservative, but may not this time. She dislikes the Trudeau Liberals, and is deciding between sticking with the Conservatives or voting New Democrat. Strategic voting is not an option for her. She wants to vote with her conscience, something I applaud.

My friend is a committed Christian, a person of deep faith with a strong moral compass and a clear sense of justice. She is a mother, also a working woman. I am privileged to know many people whose spirituality informs their daily lives, and she is one of them.

She is researching how to vote. The NDP's platform is out there for all to see. Whether or not one believes that they will (or will be able to) deliver is a separate conversation. But we do know what the NDP stands for.

The Harper Conservatives first formed a government in 2006, and have been in power ever since. They have a long, consistent track record, but you won't find it in their campaign information. You can't just Google up an answer to my friend's dilemma. (Although if you do, the results are very fruitful!)

I was speaking with my friend about the great sense of urgency I feel around this election, and I remembered this wmtc post from 2008: we don't want another harper government because..., a wrap-up of an earlier post called play the "why we don't want another harper government" game.

So I thought... let's play another round of this game. This one's for all the money, because we've never been closer at ridding this beautiful country of this horrible government as we are right now.

Wmtc readers, join me in listing the many ways in which the Harper Government has been un-Christian, has repudiated family values, and has made Canada less democratic and less just.

I don't know if this format will work again, how many people will join in, or if everyone will answer on Facebook. But let's give it a shot.

The rules:

1. One item per comment.

2. Be as factual and specific as possible. Saying "C-51" is not enough. You must explain something you dislike about bill C-51.

3. No duplicates. If someone else has already posted that item, think of another. Different examples of the same item are ok, though. A different problem with C-51 counts as a separate comment.

As we count down to October 19, help my friend decide how to cast her vote.

I'll go first. The most difficult thing will be choosing one!