Thursday, April 30, 2009

Of Pearly Whites and Swine

The WHO, for 2004, summarized that in Africa:

405,000 died from TB
182,000 died from measles
69,000 died from tetanus
1,417,000 died from respiratory infections
27,000 died from iron-deficiency

And yet, somehow, we are in a state of emergency over a flu that has killed no one in Canada yet. The lesson is learned: all you have to do is threaten a white, affluent North American and every precaution will be taken. Threaten to kill thousands of Africans and the world sits on their hands.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Life Updates

A few updates from the Ritskes'

The move is still on, despite a few breakdowns and stressful moments. We haven't found a place to live yet but we've had a few possibilities and one we're hoping on. Once that falls into place one of the major stresses is gone.

Daija has had a ton of firsts. First time swimming. First swing ride. First time eating solid food. First time we almost sold her to gypsies.

She's been teething and just generally not a happy camper. The day consists of 45min-hour of fighting to get her to eat and sleep, 30min-45 min of sleep, 30 min of happiness post-sleep and then an undetermined period of time of grumpiness until we start the cycle again. It's fun.

I've put pictures of Daija up on Facebook, you can check them out here

On other news, Nolana and the gospel choir she was in had a rocking final concert last week. It was a lot of fun and she did great; Daija and I are very proud of her!! Some pictures.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Aman Iman (Water is Life)

Just sharing a short documentary on one of the most impressive African groups around, Tinariwen. They are made of Touareg nomads and have melded an electric American blues style with traditional Touareg rhythms. They bring real life events to their music: rebellions, human rights issues, etc... and still sing in the traditional Touareg language. They are certainly not mainstream but, for those who are into great music, they hold some serious cred (Chris Martin of Coldplay acknowledged their influence on Viva la Vida). Their most recent release is Aman Iman (Water is Life) and is a great album.

The clip is 17 minutes long, but well worth the watch. Enjoy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Olympic View

I would love to rant about the injustice of the upcoming Olympics in Vancouver but rather, I am choosing to take this time to marvel and appreciate.

I have recently started working for Elections BC in one of their district offices. It requires me to drive each day up the Saanich peninsula, which is really only like a 25 min. drive. On the way home the traffic is always heavy (especially today with the accident spread across all three roads) and it takes longer. But, there are a couple stretches of the road where you crest a small hill and are able to look out over the city of Victoria with the majestic Olympic mountains spread over the city (see photo). The sky is blue, the mountains spectacular, the air warm - and it is in these brief moments that I am thankful; when I remember how lucky I am for the many blessings in my life and the beauty that is all around me.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunrise

Each year our church holds an Easter sunrise service on the beach and it is one of our favorite services to attend. The picture on the right was from the last one we were in Victoria for.

This year, we set our alarms for 5:00a.m. and when we awoke, it was pouring rain. Being the diehard she is, Nolana insisted we still go and I, being the lazy ass I am, didn't want to get out of bed but was also too lazy to argue with her. So we went.

It was a steady rain which was joined by a stiff wind off the ocean. There was no sunrise, just a gradual lightening behind the canopy of ominous, grey rainclouds. The wind whipped smoke from the valiant fires and Daija screamed intermittently at the injustice of being awoken at 5am to be subjected to the cold.

And yet, somehow, it was Easter. I couldn't hear much of the reading or meditation and could only hear myself when singing (despite there being a full band with banjo, stand-up bass, guitar and drum) but it felt like Easter watching the 75 of us huddle in the rain, overlooked by the three crosses.

There were no pictures taken this year and everyone quickly dispersed when the service was over. But there is something magical about getting up at 5am and trekking to the beach with other believers to celebrate the pivotal event in Christian faith. Even if it is in the rain.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I Like to Move It

Life has been way too hectic this past week. I really do mean it. And yet, all the business makes you enjoy the few moments where you can sit down, sip a fine beer and write a blog that more enjoyable.

Since we've found out that I got accepted into Toronto, we also found out exactly when we'll be moving. My parents ended up selling the house in 24 hours and we will be officially homeless June 1st. All of a sudden there is a date and it's not that far away. We're in the middle of trying to figure out getting a place there, getting rid of what we don't need here, and figuring out how to get what we keep from here to there. Adding to the confusion is the fact that my sister's wedding is at the end of May and you have the makings of an ulcer.

Also, I have started working with Elections BC in one of their district offices, getting ready for the upcoming provincial election. Some nice bonus bucks but that means more stress for my lovely wife as she packs up the house without me.

So, we've been making sure we have people over, enjoying time with our friends here. The other night we had some people over and I tried beer-canning some chicken.
As Jeff said, sticking the beer can up the chicken's butt. It turned out pretty well (despite being a little overcooked) and was a fun something new to try.

Daija has been growing like crazy and is so much more aware. She recently learned how to stick out her tongue and blow raspberries which she does frequently now.....

...and which Mommy apparently likes taking pictures of.

So the next few weeks hold more stress as we need to get where we're going to live down, so that many of the other decisions can follow. Another move for the wandering Ritskes family...

P.S. Did I mention that Daija learned how to read?