Thursday, March 8, 2007

I've been hearing about this story in Montreal the last week or so, about the young soccer player who was asked to remove her head scarf in order to play in a tournament. She refused, the coach pulled the team, and apparently 5 other teams pulled out as well, in response. Today I read this follow-up story:

Egypt calling Canada Racist

This is starting to annoy me now. First, let me say that I think there have been some really courageous people in this situation. The girl--quite young to be standing up for her religious beliefs, I applaud. The ref, who made a very difficult call, I also see as brave to have taken on this religiously coloured sporting issue. The coach, who chose to pull his team, and inspired 5 other coaches to do the same, is to be applauded for supporting his girl like that. (oops, assuming the coach is a man....)

What I'm annoyed about is how it's being viewed on the world screen. Canada racist!?! Look here Egypt, I've lived in the States where racism can be felt like a hot, wet blanket. I'm not going to naively assume that we've gotten away from the moral depravity of racism, but this is NOT an issue that illustrates what racism does exist in Canada.

Look at the last line of the article---there's your issue right there. The MUSLIM ref was concerned for that girls' safety on the field and I have to say I quite agree. It's unfortunate that this girl has to make a choice between displaying her faith and playing soccer, but I have to say this is the price one pays for being true to your religion. Sometimes you have to give something up.

So then, last night at choir, we were rehearsing a piece from our repertoire called "Down by the Riverside". As a community choir, we don't generally sing 'religious' pieces, but as part of our mandate to expose children to different styles, we will often look to Black Spirituals for good quality, meaningful musical expression. Part of the song had one part singing the word Hallelujah.

Having grown up in the Salvation Army, I was never familiar with the practice of Lent. My first real exposure was when an older sister of a guy I dated in highschool gave up chocolate for Lent. I realized that the SA schedules 'Self Denial' roughly around the time of Lent, so I guess that was Mr. Booths equivilent. However, I never realized how far some denominations go....

This little girl approached me after practice and said that she couldn't sing that part because it had the word Hallelujah, and she was not allowed to say that until after Easter.


I was a) very impressed, b) newly educated and c) really proud of her. I told her to sing la-la-la until after Easter. Oh, the things I learn from my kids.....

What a Week

Friday, March 2, 2007

I'm glad it's over.

I think the stresses started a week ago today. We had gotten a flyer in the mail from Direct Energy. Now, those guys bug me. When we lived in Brantford, one of those idiots were knocking on our door, asking to "check" my gas bill every other week it seemed. We did look into their service, but James was always suspicious of them (anyone use them? I would like to know if anyone is finding an advantage using them).

But this flyer drew me in because it was advertising new furnaces with a 14 month deferment. We've been in our house about 8 months now, and we had an inspection done before we bought it. That gentlemen kindly informed us that the furnace was ORIGINAL to the house, which would make it about as old as ME. Holy shmoly.
We had wanted to replace it upon moving in, but the funds....disappeared. And the inspector assured us that even though the furnace was old, it was in good shape and would last us a few more years. Probably.
So upon spotting this flyer, I was tempted. And so I called-just to ask.
Heh, heh.

So last Friday, 'Jeff'' spends an hour or two at our dining room table and convinces us to buy a brand new-shiny-state-of-the-art-all-the-bells-and-whistles-last-us-a-million-years-furnace.

Well, he didn't quite convince us. We decided to think on it, and get another guy in for a second opinion.

Monday comes, and with it, 'Agostino' arrives an hour late at my front door. He spent half the time and offered us a furnace at half the cost with less than half the deferment time that Direct Energy did.
We still weren't completely convinced though. It's really hard to commit to laying out that kind of money when what you've got is technically still working. But the advantages--financially and other, to having a new furnace were a big draw. Still, we decided to pray and leave it overnight.

The next day, Tuesday, I got the kids up and out for pre-school. I had an ambitious morning planned--Jairus had a specialist appointment at 9:45, so I was going to drop Honour off at school for 9:15 , get to my aunt and uncles near Mac who let me park in their driveway for 9:30, walk to Mac, have the appointment, and get back in time to pick up Honour at 11:40.

The first problem was that Jairus just could not understand why he wasn't staying for school. I should have just left him and Verity in the van while I took Honour in, but for sure someone would call the CAS on me, so I didn't. And he got very upset and no amount of explaining was helping.
I got back out to the van, got littlest and biggest into their seats, pulled out of the church parking lot and promptly stalled in the middle of Stone Church Road. Traffic dove to the right and left to avoid me. I tried starting it a few more times, and the situation grew more grim. I soon realized that I had to get my children out of the middle of morning rush traffic on a busy street. So I got them out and we trooped back in to the preschool. Jairus was ecstatic. The teachers were confused. Verity started pulling her shy act. I started phoning people. OK, my dad.
I went back out and tried the van again, but now I was just getting clicking.

To make a long story short (TOO LATE!) me and Verity had a ride in a tow truck (no girly pictures in this one, mom!) over to Beech Tire, thankfully only 5 minutes down the road. They diagnosed a bad battery and we dug into our summer savings to take care of it....drat.

You can imagine what this did to our furnace plans. A sign from God?

Actually, no. We decided to go for it. Called Jeff. Signed our lives away.

So then, a stressful Wednesday with choir---In addition to my training choir rehearsal and boy's choir rehearsal, I was leading a rehearsal for a group of kids recently chosen to sing in Opera Ontario's production of 'Tosca'. I love that one. Actually, I was one of those kids...gulp...17 years ago. Holy cashmoly.

And this morning the kids had pre-school again. Again, we hustled out the door and over to the preschool.....took the older two in, got them settled, back out with plans to get to the nearest scrapbooking store....

I was out of gas. Right there in the parking lot.

So Verity and I had another bonding experience hiking over to the Esso where we paid a grotesque amount for a gas can and 5 litres of gas.

And to round the day off, our furnace stopped working.

(OK, I really wanted to end it like that just to be terribly ironic, but it's not entirely truthful. They came and cleaned our ducts ("Do they quack, Mommy?"--Honour) in preparation for the new furnace and the guy forgot to turn the furnace back on, which I didn't notice until our house was 18 degrees. OK 19. Point 6. It's working now)