Hi guys – it has been a crazy time around here lately. Between skating carnivals, skating territorials, cubs, Aurora College Week and so on, there hasn’t been much downtime.
Let me first mention that we waded through all your pictures, at last. They are absolutely gorgeous! The Red Fort and the Taj Mahal were our favourites, and the kids especially were very taken with them (and the elephants – you’ve turned our kids into elephant junkies!). Some of the urban shots look depressingly crowded and not terribly clean. I can see North Americans having to deal with the “ewww” factor every now and then. We loved the shot of Rick and Luke and the snake charmer. I had to explain to the kids what was going on, and then we had to endure Gracie practicing her snake charming on the Chinese flute you guys sent back home. Ian also loved the pictures of Luke getting smooched by those two Indian women. Luke’s expression really cracked him up.
We can see that Alex is getting a lot of mileage out of that underwater camera of hers. To look at the pictures, you’d think you guys have become semi-aquatic.
Now, on to the local news.
Roy Scott is leaving Fort Smith to take a new job working for the Town of Peace River. He is leaving for a six-month assignment, but he has the option of taking the job full-time or returning to his job in Fort Smith. (Pretty sweet arrangement if you can get, really.) Louise and Brittany are staying in Smith for now, but will move if the job becomes permanent.
Skating territorials just took place in Hay River. Our kids did fairly well this time around. Michelle took a bronze in creative, and Megan Walsh won a couple of golds. Kathleen Gill took home a couple of medals, and got invited to attend the STARskate Program after placing second in the STARskate event. She will attend the program in Rocky Mountain House at the end of March. According to Ann who attended the event, our kids did very well, and YK did not dominate as they have in years past.
I am working on getting Ann up and running on the firends blog. In fact, I am on the phone with her right now, and she says “Hello!” I will give her a brief wokrshop on it and she will have no excuse to not blog in the near future.
If you are keeping up with Alice’s care page, you will know that she wrote the words “Thank you.” a couple of days ago. This represents the first communication from her and a real sign that her cognitiive abilities may well fully recover. Everyone is hopeful for her. The town has gone crazy with fundraisng for the Mawdsleys. in addition to the usual bake sales, there has been a “Swim for Alice”, a “Ski for Alice” and all the ticket money from this year’s skating carnival is being donated to them. Phyllis actually just arrived in town yesterday for the first time since the accident to take care of some housekeeping things at work and home. She had a chat with Joanne, and said how overwhelmed the family is by the town’s support. She and Bill are using up all of their sick leave and will be off until June. Beyond that, they haven’t made any concrete plans.
It is Joanne’s birthday next week, so I am hosting a dinner for her this Saturday night at our place. Just the usual gang (minus you guys!). The Keizers, Kearlys and Chris Dewolf are coming so it will be a nice little group. If you can phone during that time you can talk to the gang and wish her a Happy Birthday. Everyone is due to be here by five o’clock our time. God knows when that is wherever you are now. (Somewhere in Tanzania, I think.) If you want and are able to, we can do a chat on Skype. Let me know in the comments what your Internet situation is.
More charges have been laid against Emra Bulatci, the man accused of killing the young Mountie in Hay River. In addition to the first degree murder charge, he also faces three counts of obstruction of justice. Apparently, the guy found it impossible to get a lawyer in the NWT as no one wanted to defend him. Some lawyer from Alberta was finally retained to represent him. This guy is going away for a long time.
And that is about it from the home front. Let’s take a little look at the national scene.
There was the stink of a federal election in the air, but it seems to have passed now that Harper and Dion are making compromising noises on the Afghanistan mission thing. Frankl,y I have been parying for an election. The chance to get little George Bush out of 22 Sussex can’t come soon enough. Everyone seems to have backed away from the precipice for now, but the situation remains fluid.
In other shocking news, Canada is cold in the winter!
Albertans are heading to the polls, and the Tories are expected to lose a few seats to voters shfiting both to the right and to the left. Calgary – of all places! – seems poised for a breakthrough by the Liberals, while the NDP have their eye on a couple of Edmonton seats. The right wing Wildrose Alliance Party is expected to nab a few rural seats from the Tories, but the Big Blue Machine is sitll expected to hold on to power. If these projected losses come through though, I can’t See Ed Stelmach staying as Premier for very long. Here is a link to a good Alberta election news page.
And out in the rest of the world…
Everyone wants to buy Yahoo! Microsoft’s initial bid of $44 billion was rejected by Yahoo! They are now in talks with News Corp. (owners of Fox News, 20th Century Fox, the New York Post, Wall Street journal, etc. – a truly evil right wing corporation) to create soem sort of partnership that would protect them from being bought by Microsoft (a slightly less right wing truly evil corporation). Yeah, yeah, billions here, billions there, but how will it affect my download time?
In the United States, all signs are that Americans will elect their first African-American president in November. Barack Obama is on his way to beating Clinton for the nomination, but she is not giving up easily. Insane war monkey John McCain has already wrapped up the Republican nomination, but nobody cares because the Reps are going to get their backsides handed to them in this election. And rightly so after the lawless disgrace known as the Bush regime.
And that’s it for this edition, gang! As always, I will try to be more diligent with my posts, but some of us aren’t on permanent vacation (he says enviously). Take care, enjoy the sights in Africa, and we’ll talk to you soon.