Sunday, October 30, 2011

US Halloween costume dehumanizes both legal and illegal immgrants

During our last Halloween in the US, this costume was very popular. I think it blurs the lines even further between illegal and legal, the “illegal alien” even has a “green card”. The immigrant is criminalized by the orange jumpsuit worn by inmates in US prisons. Complete the costume by the extra-terrestrial mask. The ad jokingly states "He didn't just cross a border, he crossed a galaxy". Much to my disappointment this costume was even available in several of my favourite stores.

Thankfully no trick or treater turned up on my doorstep wearing this costume. I would have been so upset. This is just more confirmation that, even as a legal immigrant, I was unwelcome in the US and would never belong there.

Alien is a word used by the U.S. government to describe a foreign-born person who is not a US citizen. People who enter the United States legally are also known as “aliens”, and a green card (which is no longer green) is an “Alien Registration Card”.

Webster’s definition of the word “alien” includes the U.S. governments interpretation, but goes on to include other, darker, meanings for the word such as “a non-terrestrial being” “strange”, “hostile”, “not of planet earth”. Encyclopaedia Britannica states “in early times the tendency was to look upon the alien as an enemy and to treat him as a criminal or an outlaw”.

Legal or illegal, I think the word “alien” is very offensive and dehumanizing. I was an immigrant in the US. I was from Canada, not another planet. The last time I renewed my green card, the agent asked another agent to “send the next alien in”. I have a name, please use it.

Life for immigrants, legal or illegal, is getting very tough in the US.

My US citizen husband is an immigrant to Canada. He has not had to put up with any of this nonsense, but has been made to feel very welcome.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Frost On The Ground

I took this photo a couple of days ago.

I love the colourful plants of autumn, contrasted by the frost on the ground.

Cold weather is coming!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Don't Miss Hurricanes

Satellite showing Hurricane Rina (courtesy CNN) updated Oct 25 7:26 am.

It's that time of year again. August to October are the worst times for Gulf hurricanes. It's really hard to predict where a hurricane will go once it has passed Cuba and Cancun (which act a bit like a ball going through a pinball machine which sets the hurricane's direction in the Gulf). The Gulf of Mexico is still warm and a hurricane will strengthen in the open water of the Gulf.

Hurricane Rina is currently a Category 2 hurricane with sustained windspeeds of 100 mph. Definitely a concern once it enters the Gulf of Mexico.

I don't miss hurricanes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Autumn in St. George's Park

St George's Park is a lovely park in the older part of town, within an easy walk of downtown. The area has many lovely century homes. This is the part of Guelph I lived in as a child, so I know this park very well.

I was driving by the park last week when I had to take a photo, since the trees were so beautiful.

The Real Clearwater

A couple of weeks ago we drove up to Owen Sound. It is about 2 hours north of here. It is on Georgian Bay which is a large bay on Lake Huron which is one of the great lakes. Many people have cottages here. It's a beautiful area.

The water is so clear that it's a little difficult to see where the shore ends and the water begins.

No, those aren't our shadows, they're trees ;)

When we lived in Florida we lived near a town called Clearwater. The water wasn't really clear, but I think it was because the waves stirred the sand into the water.

The water at Owen Sound is very clear. Last winter we drove up here, and there were large blocks of ice on top of the water, and they were actually blue.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

100 Year Old Runner Breaks Record

One-hundred-year-old Fauja Singh (centre) takes part in the Toronto Waterfront marathon on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS).

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Turbaned Tornado

Photo: Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail.

Tomorrow is the Toronto Marathon. Fauja Singh intends to compete, and complete, the marathon. Remarkable, given he is 100 years old!

They call him the Turbaned Tornado.

He speaks no English, only his native Punjabi. But at the venerable age of 100, runner Fauja Singh’s message of offering only your best is eloquent in any language.

Fauja -- the name means soldier -- is a former farmer who began running at 80 after the passing of his wife and son. At 89, he became an everyman-type racer. On Thursday, he ran eight world record times for his age group in less than five hours at Scarborough’s Birchmount Stadium track, from distances as short as 100 metres to as long as 5,000 metres. He’s hoping to add a ninth for the Guinness World Record book, as the first centenarian to run the entire 42.195-km distance in Sunday’s Scotiabank Waterfront Toronto Marathon. The times, witnessed by officials of Ontario Masters Athletics, will be sent to the governing International Association of Athletics Federations for ratification.Very inspirational. Read more here…..

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving.

This is the first Canadian Thanksgiving my family has celebrated. Last year we had just moved into our home, and nothing was unpacked.

To our Usian friends, Canadian Thanksgiving is the 2nd Monday in October. It is much earlier than American Thanksgiving because the harvest season ends earlier here. Well, I wonder a bit about the harvest season ending earlier here, since we are experiencing 27C (80F) weather, sunshine, and we are all wearing shorts and t-shirts. A lot has changed, climate-wise, since I've been gone.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's Our Canadian Anniversary Today

I can hardly believe it was one year ago today that my family moved to Canada.

We are very happy here.

How have we changed in a year?

As I was an immigrant in the US, I didn't fit in there. I feel good living in Canada because I belong here.

Hubby is still very happy about the move and has settled in very well. He has had none of the immigrant issues I had living in the US. Canadians are more welcoming to immigrants.

Eldest boy now in 11th grade, and loves his school. He did not want to move to Canada at all. He kept asking why do we have to move. Around the end of the last school year he felt more settled, has many friends at school, and said that he enjoyed living in Canada. He is looking at 3 Canadian Universities.

Middle boy just started high school (Grade 9). He loves to go to the shopping mall with his friends on Fridays for lunch. He loves the extra freedom in school. He said it felt good that the school trusts the students.

Youngest just started Grade 8. Still has recess twice a day. He has made many good friends and is happy here.

We are going to celebrate by eating at Swiss Chalet tonight ;) Where else?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Canadiana Begging Bear Returns

He's a well known and much loved figure in Guelph.

The Canadiana Begging Bear is a bronze statue at the Donald Forster Sculpture Park on Gordon Street, one block from the university.

He is often dressed up. Mysteriously. It has become a Guelph tradition to dress him up by stealth and Guelphites love to see what he is wearing. Once I saw him wearing a tuxedo with a can of beer in his outstretched paw.

Last Spring he was vandalized, knocked over and damaged. It cost $11,300 to repair him, and he was gone for Gordon Street for many months. He was missed.

Last Saturday he was returned to the park. I'm looking forward to see what he is wearing next.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Misty Morning Farmhouse

Misty Morning Farmhouse, courtesy of D.J. England on Flickr. To see more of D.J. England’s photos, please click here.

This photograph was taken on 24th September 2011 in Arkell, Ontario, Canada. Arkell is a small town near Guelph, and just down the road from our house. Hubby and I love to go for country drives and see beautiful old stone farmhouses like this one. I love the way the mist swirls around in this photo.

One of the things I like about living in Guelph is how close we are to the country. The part of Florida we lived in, Tampa Bay, had beautiful beaches, but is one of the most densely populated areas of Florida. Apart from the beaches there were very few open spaces.

Another thing I like about Guelph is there is always something going on. On October 14 – 16 there is the Twenty-sixth Annual Guelph Studio Tour 2011 where the work of several local artists will be exhibited.