Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Afghanistan felt

My good friend's brother was killed yesterday in Afghanistan. I can't imagine losing a brother and I hurt so bad for her. Suddenly the goings-on in Afghanistan feel much closer to home. I have met Nathan. We fed him supper at Rachel and Tyler's house, watched the Nanton fireworks with him, and talked with him in the Nanton Hotel Bar. A real person, with family who loved him, with friends and acquaintances, with connections and history, is gone. He is not just casualty #71. He is Nathan, a person who felt strongly about bringing peace about in Afghanistan. Here is the CBC article about him:

A Canadian soldier was killed as he repaired a tank during a patrol in Afghanistan's volatile south, the military confirmed Tuesday before word emerged that another Canadian soldier had been wounded in a separate incident.

Cpl. Nathan Hornburg, a 24-year-old reservist with the King’s Own Calgary regiment, was killed Monday in Afghanistan.Cpl. Nathan Hornburg, a 24-year-old reservist with the King’s Own Calgary regiment, was killed Monday in Afghanistan. (DND/Pte. Melissa Spence/Canadian Press)

Cpl. Nathan Hornburg, a 24-year-old reservist from the King's Own Calgary Regiment, was hit by a mortar shell Monday afternoon as he was fixing a track that had fallen off the Leopard tank in the Panjwaii district, about 47 kilometres west of Kandahar City.

Another Canadian soldier was injured in the 4:30 p.m. attack local time, while three others were wounded as they tried to help the injured soldier.

"There are no ways to comfort those who are grieving today except to say Cpl. Hornburg was involved in a mission he believed in," Brig.-Gen. Guy Laroche, Canada's military commander in Afghanistan, told reporters Tuesday at the Kandahar military base.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A mixed bag

So... school's started and its as crazy busy as I expected. However, I just thought I'd throw a couple things out to keep our blog readers up-to-date and interested in reading... I can tell who's reading the blog from the blog statistics on the right side of our page. Hello Switzerland (I've been to Zurich, actually!) Hello Manchester (looking foward to a post on your visit!) Hello Vancouver (really curious how you found our blog) Hello Uncle Cor and Auntie Joanne (how's life in the North west west?) and of course our friends--and family!-- (trying to keep things somewhat anonymous) in Lacombe, Calgary, Seoul (oooh I feel so world-travelled saying that), Hamilton, Edmonton, almost-Morningside and occasionally Edinborough. Am I forgetting anyone? I always try to write entries based on our readers and what I think they would like to hear about our lives. So, input is always appreciated! Feel free to post in the comments section. We'd' love to hear from you! Right now I'm reading "Early Native North American Responses to European Contact: Romantic versus Rationalistic Interpretations" by Bruce Trigger. Not so thrilling stuff. Here's an example of Trigger's language (coming from right in the middle so it doesn't make a ton of sense but it gives you a sense of how grueling it is to understand): "The major alternative to this romantic view is the rationalistic philosophy that anthropology borrowed from the French Enlightenment" (1198). It's tough stuff. But the topic, Native/Settler exchange of culture and economy, is very interesting. A picture for Rachel and Trevor: You've seen it before, but this one's from Trev's cool fancy new camera that Brent has adjusted with Photoshop so that it's not so dark. Good times with our lovely world-travelling friends. Flowers: from our garden. My all-time favourite flowers, to be exact. (See pictures of my wedding bouquet for similarity). Pretty much this epitomizes our summer at home to me. Shasta daisies indeed. And lastly, tomorrow night we are going to see the Barenaked Ladies in concert courtesy of Mom and Dad B (thanks!). If you don't know the Barenaked Ladies and you are from Canada, where have you been?? If you're not from Canada and you haven't heard of them, still, they've been pretty high on the Pop charts...but they're not really mainstream pop. Brent's been trying to find the best video from Youtube for us to post of them and it's hard to choose! If you don't know it already, search for "If I had a million dollars" on Youtube. Totally classic. But their most recent album "Are Me" is fabulous. ...and "Pinch me" is great, as is "Another Postcard" and is "Too Little Too Late." "One Week" was really popular for a while. Heck, go out and buy some albums. And here's a music video for a multi-media portion of the blog: So that's all for now (I really need to get some work done!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chocolate Mousse

A clip for Eric.

Snow in September

Yes it's true, it did snow in September, and we've got pictures to prove it. We had to climb some 450 meters up to find it, but it was there!

Last Sunday we went for one last hiking trip before things got busy this fall with work and school. EEOR is what the mountain is called, or the East End of Rundle. Rundle is the mountain to the east of Banff, but it is actually a long range, spanning all the way to Canmore. We decided to climb to the most easterly peak, or EEOR. Here are some pictures of our trip.

View up the route to the summit block.

Quick rest, Eatmore snack, and we're ready to tackle the hard part.

View down the mountain from almost the top.

Route up the mountain on a rock shelf. Looks like steps :)

We made it to the top and found some snow!

Checking the guide book to see if we were indeed in the right place. It looked like there was another summit farther down the range, but the ridge between looked a bit scary to traverse.

View across the Bow Valley and Canmore.

Can you see my shadow?

View down the East face to the Canmore water reservoir.

View across to Ha Ling, Lawrence Grassi, and The Three Sisters.

View towards the Spray Lakes corridor.

Kirstin on the summit.

Sitting down for a well deserved lunch break.

Traverse the Rundle Range someday?

The parking lot from the summit.

The summit from the parking lot.

One last note, a year and a week ago we climbed the Middle Sister with Jorgen, and dreamed of climbing the East End of Rundle then. During that trip Jorgen decided the farthest east summit of Rundle was his rock pile, built by himself, one rock at a time. So Jorgen, we can now say that we've climbed your rock pile :)

Friday, September 07, 2007

September 7, 2007

Found online here (the picture also)

It is a grievous sad day for the world of literature, and a happy day in Heaven. I have been reading books by Madeleine L'Engle since I was about thirteen and her writing has strongly influenced my outlook on life, my faith, and my aspirations for the future. Moreover, in the past year or so I have discovered her books on faith, which have further deepened my appreciation for her words and also deepened and broadened my walk as a follower of Jesus Christ. I would recommend any of her works, including her substantial works for children (which contain much insight for adults also) and also her works of fiction for adults and her spiritual thoughts, particularly those of Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

A sad day indeed. But I hope to one day meet her in Heaven.

September 8, 2007

Madeleine L’Engle, Children’s Writer, Is Dead

Madeleine L’Engle, who in writing more than 60 books, including childhood fables, religious meditations and science fiction, weaved emotional tapestries transcending genre and generation, died Thursday in Connecticut. She was 88.

Her death, of natural causes, was announced today by her publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Ms. L’Engle (pronounced LENG-el) was best known for her children’s classic, “A Wrinkle in Time,” which won the John Newbery Award as the best children’s book of 1963. By 2004, it had sold more than 6 million copies, was in its 67th printing and was still selling 15,000 copies a year.

Her works — poetry, plays, autobiography and books on prayer — were deeply, quixotically personal. But it was in her vivid children’s characters that readers most clearly glimpsed her passionate search for the questions that mattered most. She sometimes spoke of her writing as if she were taking dictation from her subconscious.

“Of course I’m Meg,” Ms. L’Engle said about the beloved protagonist of “A Wrinkle in Time.”

The “St. James Guide to Children’s Writers” called Ms. L’Engle “one of the truly important writers of juvenile fiction in recent decades.” Such accolades did not come from pulling punches: “Wrinkle” is one of the most banned books because of its treatment of the deity.

“It was a dark and stormy night,” it begins, repeating the line of a 19th- century novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, and presaging the immortal sentence that Snoopy, the inspiration-challenged beagle of the Peanuts cartoon, would type again and again. After the opening, “Wrinkle,” quite literally, takes off. Meg Murray, with help from her psychic baby brother, uses time travel and extrasensory perception to rescue her father, a gifted scientist, from a planet controlled by the Dark Thing. She does so through the power of love.

The book used concepts that Ms. L’Engle said she had plucked from Einstein’s theory of relativity and Planck’s quantum theory, almost flaunting her frequent assertion that children’s literature is literature too difficult for adults to understand. She also characterized the book as her refutation of ideas of German theologians.

In the “Dictionary of Literary Biography,” Marygail G. Parker notes “a peculiar splendor” in Ms. L’Engle’s oeuvre, and some of that splendor is sheer literary range. “Wrinkle” is part of her series of children’s books, which includes “A Wind in the Door,” “A Swiftly Tilting Planet,” “Many Waters” and “An Acceptable Time.” The series combines elements of science fiction with insights into love and moral purpose that pervade Ms. L’Engle’s writing.

Ms. L’Engle’s other famous series of books concerned another family. The first installment, “Meet the Austins,” which appeared in 1960, portrayed an affectionate family whose members displayed enough warts to make them interesting. (Perhaps not enough for The Times Literary Supplement in London, though; it called the Austins “too good to be real.”)

By the fourth of the five Austin books, “A Ring of Endless Light,” any hint of Pollyanna was gone. Named a Newbery Honor Book in 1981, it told of a 16-year-old girl’s first experience with death. Telepathic communication with dolphins eventually helps the girl, Vicky, achieve a new understanding of things.

“The cosmic battle between light and darkness, good and evil, love and indifference, personified in the mythic fantasies of the ‘Wrinkle in Time’ series, here is waged compellingly in its rightful place: within ourselves,” Carol Van Strum wrote in The Washington Post in 1980.

Madeleine L’Engle Camp was born in Manhattan on the snowy night of Nov. 29, 1918. The only child of Madeleine Hall Barnett and Charles Wadsworth Camp, she was named for her great-grandmother, who was also named Madeleine L’Engle.

Young Madeleine’s mother came from Jacksonville, Fla., society and was a fine pianist; her father was a World War I veteran who worked as a foreign correspondent and later as drama and music critic for The New York Sun. He also knocked out potboiler novels.

The family lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; her parents had artistic friends, Madeleine an English nanny. She felt unpopular at school. She recalled that an elementary school teacher – Miss Pepper or Miss Salt, she couldn’t remember which — treated her as if she were stupid.

She had written her first story at 5 and retreated into writing. When she won a poetry contest in the fifth grade, her teacher accused her of plagiarizing. Her mother intervened to prove her innocence, lugging a stack of her stories from home.

When she was 12, she was sent to a boarding school in Switzerland, Chatelard, and at 15 to Ashley Hall, a boarding school in Charleston, S.C. She graduated from Smith College with honors in English. (She took no science, often a surprise to readers impressed with her science fiction.)

Returning to New York, Ms. L’Engle began to get small acting parts. She wrote her first novel, “The Small Rain,” in 1945 and had several plays she wrote produced.

She met the actor Hugh Franklin when both were appearing in a production of Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard.” They married in 1946, and their daughter Josephine was born the next year. In 1951, when Ms. L’Engle became pregnant again, they moved to the small town of Goshen, Conn., where they bought and ran a general store. Their son, Bion, was born in 1952, and in 1956 they adopted another daughter, Maria.

Mr. Franklin died in 1986 and Bion in 1999. Ms. L’Engle is survived by her daughters, Josephine F. Jones and Maria Rooney; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Ms. L’Engle’s writing career was going so badly in her 30s that she claimed she almost quit writing at 40. But then “Meet the Austins” was published in 1960, and she was already deeply into “Wrinkle.” The inspiration came to her during a 10-week family camping trip.

That was just the start. She once described herself as a French peasant cook who drops a carrot in one pot, a piece of potato in another and an onion and a piece of meat in another.

“At dinnertime, you look and see which pot smells best and pull it forward,” she was quoted as saying in a 2001 book, “Madeleine L’Engle (Herself): Reflections on a Writing Life,” compiled by Carole F. Chase.

“The same is true with writing,” she continued. “There are several pots on my backburners.”

Her deeper thoughts on writing were deliciously mysterious. She believed that experience and knowledge are subservient to the subconscious and perhaps larger, spiritual influences.

“I think that fantasy must possess the author and simply use him,” she said in an interview with Horn Book magazine in 1983. “I know that is true of ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’ I cannot possibly tell you how I came to write it. It was simply a book I had to write. I had no choice.

“It was only after it was written that I realized what some of it meant.”

What turned out to be her masterpiece was rejected by 26 publishers. Editors at Farrar, Straus and Giroux loved it enough to publish it, but told her that she should not be disappointed if it failed.

The family moved back to New York, where Hugh Franklin won fame as Dr. Charles Tyler on the popular soap opera “All My Children.” For more than three decades, starting in 1966, Ms. L’Engle served as librarian and writer-in-residence at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. One or two of her dogs often accompanied her to the cathedral library.

Much of her later work was autobiographical, although sometimes a bit idealized; she often said that her real truths were in her fiction. Indeed, she discussed her made-up stories the way a newspaper reporter might discuss his latest article about a crime.

When her son, then 10, protested the death of Joshua in “The Arms of the Starfish” (1965), she insisted that she could not change the tale, which was still unpublished at the time.

“I didn’t want Joshua to die, either,” Ms. L’Engle said in 1987 in a speech accepting the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for lifetime achievement in writing young adult literature, one of scores of awards she received.

“But that’s what happened. If I tried to change it, I’d be deviating from the truth of the story.”

Her characters continued living their lives even if she hadn’t mentioned them for decades. She had gotten word that Polly O’Keefe, who appeared in three books of the “Time Fantasy” series, was in medical school, she said a few months before the library speech.

A woman wrote her to say that she herself was a first-year medical student at Yale and that she would love to have Polly in her class. Ms. L’Engle said fine, and the student went to the registrar’s office to sign up Polly as an “official” Yale medical student.

“Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer.

“It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Kananaskis #2

We did lots of lazing around--especially on one day when we spent three hours reading on the beach of Upper Kananaskis Lake--read and threw sticks in the water for Kiera to retreive. I got so engrossed in my book that I had a hard time putting it down at all! Consequently, the picture where everyone else is enjoying the view while I read.

Heading out, Brent made the impetuous decision to take Highway 1A home rather than the Trans-Canada. Coming upon the McDougall Church, we decided to stop and take a look, as I had never done so before. The Church is one of the oldest remainging churches in Alberta...it is 137 years old, if I remember my facts correctly. Coincidentally, a member of the Historical Society that looks after the site drove up while we were there and offered to let us int0 the church to look around. We could not, of course, pass up that opportunity! In the church is what is probably the piano longest in Alberta...it was shipped from Hudson's Bay via fur trader canoe and Red River Cart to Fort Edmonton and then down south...and it remains in complete working order! The church society owns 40 acres of land there. The prairies grasses are left untouched, there are remnants of the old Calgary highway and foundations of old houses and trading posts, in addition to the still-standing and maintained Church and house. If I was planning my wedding now, I would definitely consider getting married here!


I'll not post allllllll the pictures we took from our Kananaskis camping trip, but here is a selection:

Brent and I hiked up Burstall pass, which was BEAUTIFUL. Highly recommend this hike. We walked through subalpine valley up to the alpine pass through some lovely meadows. The sun was shining, the landscape was all kinds of fall shades of green and orange and red, the air was fresh and we really felt the the power and majesty of God's creation once again.

The four of us drove to Coleman down along Highway 40 and the Forestry Trunk Road.

The Crow's Nest Pass area is truly beautiful.

The town of Coleman was sad and empty but a really neat picture of a town and mine frozen in a past time. We also stopped at the remains of the Leitch Collieries and took the self-guided tour around the site.

And on our way home we took dusty gravel range roads right up underneath the mammoth wind turbines at Pincher Creek. Awe-inspiring.