Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The World at War (post 1)

This weekend our home ski resort is hosting the Women's Alpine World Cup event, where the best women skiers in the world will be battling it out for ultimate supremacy on the snow.
Olympian competitor, Christina Lustenberger, who was born and raised here in the valley, is fighting under the Canadian banner along with several of her teammates.
The Giant Slalom race will be held on Saturday, followed by the medal ceremony that evening in town, coinciding with our yearly Christmas Light-Up.

The next day's Slalom competition should be quite exciting, as the course is set up on a very tricky descent.
(Interestingly enough, we have skied those very slopes many times over the years and we are familiar with every curve, dip, pitch and roll along the way!)

Jenny and her Grade 5 class will be singing our National Anthem at the opening ceremonies early Saturday morning and we will be there to join in the song and cheer!
We had previously volunteered to help out with the race, but apparently they had enough regular help, therefore our resources were not needed.
Now we can observe the skirmish of skill and speed first hand from alongside the course!

If any of you want to see the race, I believe it will be televised world-wide over several networks.
You might just see us cheering our girls through the gates from behind front lines...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Preparation for Battle (post 2)

On the march.

The battlefield.

The above photo was originally taken upside down, as the placard was on the seat in front of me on the bleachers. A bit of computer photo magic, et Voila!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Front Lines (post 3)

I was thrilled that my camera was able to capture these moments so well!

When the helicopter was at its zenith over the ceremony, I nearly fell over from vertigo! I am terribly afraid of heights and we were standing on the top seat of the bleachers. I could not believe I was able to catch the fireworks, as well. They came as a complete surprise.

Jenny is in the group of children singing in the front. At this point, the National Anthem was being sung in French.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Favourite Poem

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. Here is the story of the making of that poem:
Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.

As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans -- in the Ypres salient.

It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:

"I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.

The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l'Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.

In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.

A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:

"The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Skiing for the Holy Grail

If there is anything as elusive as the Holy Grail, it's the alpine ski racer's dream to be at the top of the podium while proudly sporting a gold medal.
If not that, at least the dream of being draped with a silver or a bronze...
This year's Women's World Cup Slalom and Giant Slalom is being hosted by Panorama Mountain Village - my home ski resort.
I am a course crew volunteer and, in preparation for the races, I will be on my skis next weekend, and again the following weekend for the actual World Cup race event itself.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Look up, way up...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

You Are 20% Left Brained, 80% Right Brained...

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy and sports.

Are You Right or Left Brained?


Friday, November 02, 2007


I'm looking for the mushrooms.
They must be here somewhere.
There's been quite enough crap...