Friday, December 25, 2009

Not always better to give than to receive...

Sometimes neutrality is better. Noone gives and noone receives.

Sometimes it is better neither to expect anything nor give anything in return. Sometimes it's just less depressing to not to give at all. It can actually be a relief to not have to pretend to not notice that one is the only person not on the receiving end.

Sometimes, whether it be the needy friend who only shows up when they need something, or a member of the family who doesn't pitch in, it is better to distance oneself and neither be disappointed, nor trying to pretend not to care. Because sometimes, it is better for one's own personal mental health, not to give oneself reason to be depressed.

Sometimes, being on equal ground is much better than either giving or receiving.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wow! In defense of the Catholic Church

Written by a prominent JEWISH man (not Catholic!) Makes me feel better... Got this in an e-mail, checked out snopes, couldn't find it, so then I googled it and found the whole thing here.

Excerpts of an article written by Sam Miller, prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman - NOT Catholic:

Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?

Do you know - the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students every day at the cost to that Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%. The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students. The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people - not just Catholics - in the United States today.

But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage.
Let me give you some figures that Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church , 41.8% of clergy women reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed.

Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty ofpedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic Problem. A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.

The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.

Walk with your shoulders high and your head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States . Then remember what Jeremiah said: 'Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls'. Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions. Be proud that you're a Catholic.

Lettre de Noël 2009

16 décembre, 2009

Joyeux Noël Chers amis et famille,

La neige couvre le sol ici à St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Les nuits sont très belles avec toutes les lumières. Les arbres aussi, se sont parés de beaux draps blancs.

Les nuits sont plus noires et plus longues, mais le people qui marchait dans les ténèbres a vu une grande lumière. Nous espérons que la Lumière du Monde vous apporte de la joie et la paix cette année à Noël.

Une année se termine, une autre nous attend. Que la nouvelle soit pour vous, une année de bonheur, malgré les peines que la vie nous réserve parfois.

Cette année nous avons été très occupé comme d’habitude avec l’école et le soccer pour les enfants. La vie tourne autour de quatre endroits ici ; la maison, l’école, le stade et l’église.

Au mois de janvier, Marc et moi sommes allés au Château Montebello à Fairmount, avec mon frère Cecil et sa femme Jane pour la nuit. Personne ne m’avait dit qu’on y allait, encore moins pour y passer la nuit (pas au Château mais dans un Bed & Breakfast pas loin), alors vous pouvez imaginer ma surprise. Pour vous donner une idée de notre soirée, voilà un peu le souper que j’ai eu au château : une bouteille de vin à $50, (partagé, ça revenait à $25 par couple) et un repas de 4 services. J’ai mangé de la terrine de caribou, une crème d’asperges, une cuisse de canard à la mode du Lac Brôme, et enfin du café et une sélection de desserts du bar à desserts. Il y avait de la tarte aux pacanes, la tarte au sucre, des mousses de toutes les sortes et d’autres choses sucrées. Je n’avais plus beaucoup faim alors je n’en ai pas trop mangé, mais Marc est sorti de là avec un mal de ventre.

Nous sommes allés faire du camping au Mont Sainte Anne dans le coin de Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré pendant une semaine cet été. C’était très beau, dans la nature. Nous avons vu quelques amis de longue date et Marc et les enfants en ont profité pour faire un peu de pêche. Nous avons visité les glissades d’eau au Village des Sports à Québec à la fin d’un après-midi chaud. Vous pouvez voir des photo ici: (Sans avoir besoin d’un compte avec facebook si vous utilisez ce lien) http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=152629&id=576820498&l=30a589f39d

À la fin de cet été, l’équipe de soccer de Maryssa a gagné le championnat dans leur catégorie. L’équipe de Jean-Alexandre a gagné le bronze, et avait fini 3e dans la saison aussi, ce qui est très bien pour une équipe de A qui venait d’entrer dans une ligue de AA. Cet automne, Nicolas a commencé à jouer dans le programme de soccer Timbits (novices) et Gabriel a été accepté dans l’équipe des U9 du même club compétitif que les plus vieux. Il joue surclassé (il est U8 cette année). Nicolas aussi joue surclassé dans le récréatif, car quand il est arrivé pour jouer, les autres enfants n’avait aucun concept de soccer alors que Nicolas suit le soccer depuis qu’il est né. Il trouvait que ce n’était pas du « vrai soccer » alors on l’a mis avec des enfants d’un an plus vieux. Maintenant il est content. Dominic aussi a commencé à pratiquer avec une équipe d’un an plus vieux que lui, mais cette équipe n’existera plus, les enfants s’en vont pratiquer avec une autre équipe du même age et du même club pour l’instant.

J’ai terminé d’écrire un livre sur lequel je travaillais depuis 3 ou 4 ans. Je l’ai envoyé à une maison d’édition aux Etats-Unis (qui avait déjà publié un livre de mon père) et ils ont accepté de publier mon livre aussi. Le livre s’appelle Be Not Afraid (N’Ayez pas Peur) et est disponible (en anglais seulement) chez publishamerica.com pour l’instant. L’idée pour le livre venait d’un rêve que j’ai eu. Je me suis levé et j’ai commencé à écrire… Le jour de son mariage, Isabella fixe des yeux un passage très fréquenté du haut de la terrasse chez ses parents. Elle cherche désespérément une façon de fuir le mariage arrangé dont elle ne veut rien savoir. Elle est la fille d’un couple de classe supérieure, alors que l’homme qu’elle aime est un ouvrier commun, qui ne se gêne pas dans sa lutte pour la justice sociale dans cette société du futur qui ressemble beaucoup à certaines sociétés du passé. Isabella le suit dans son œuvre, avec d’autres jeunes femmes et hommes, ce qui entraîne la mort de l’un et l’exile de l’autre. C’est l’histoire de garder sa foi vivante, de s’acharner pour ce qui est bien et de ne jamais se lasser d’espérer.

Jean-Alexandre est parti en Grèce avec un groupe de son école au mois d’Octobre. Il semble avoir beaucoup aimé son voyage malgré le fait qu’il ne m’en parle pas beaucoup. (Homme de peu de mots.) Je n’ai pas encore vu de photos non plus, car il a de la misère à les télécharger. Pour notre part, nous sommes tous allés (sauf Marc) chez mes parents, à Barry’s Bay en Ontario pour la fin de semaine de l’Action de Grâce.

Marc travaille encore pour Les Pages Jaunes à Montréal et je fais encore un peu de coiffure à la maison, ainsi que le « chauffeur de taxi de soccer », la supervision des devoirs de l’école, la construction de pinatas et l’organisation des fêtes d’anniversaire. (Pour mes enfants seulement, j’en ai assez d’organiser des fêtes juste pour eux.)

Et voilà que l’année se termine, avec Noël pas très loin, et la famille sera bientôt autour du sapin, devant le foyer.

Nous vous souhaitons le plus béni des Noëls et un Nouvel An des plus heureux.

Christmas Letter 2009

December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas dear friends and family,

Snow covers the ground here in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Nights are especially lovely with the coloured lights set off by the white mantle. The trees, also dusted with snow, are very lovely.

The nights are longer and darker, but the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. We sincerely hope that the light of the world brings peace to you all at Christmas.

A year is ending, a new one awaits. May it be for you a year filled with happiness, despite the pain life sometimes throws at us.

This past year has been busy, as usual with school and soccer for the children. Life revolves around four places here; home, school, stadium and church.

January found Marc and I with my brother Cecil and his wife Jane, in the Château Montebello in Fairmount for a night. Nobody had told me we were going, it was a surprise for me. (Story here: http://coucoumelle.blogspot.com/2009/01/memorable-week-end.html) This was supper: a $50 bottle of wine, (which, when shared comes to $25 per couple) and a four course meal. I had caribou terrine and candied onions as an entrée and cream of asparagus with apple pieces for soup, then Lac Brome duck leg, and finally coffee and desert from the desert bar, which had a very nice selection of pecan pie and sugar pie and mousses and other things. I wasn't very hungry anymore at that point, so I didn't indulge myself too much, but Marc had a sore stomach afterwards.

We went camping for a week at Mont Ste-Anne this summer. It was very beautiful, and I would love to go back again. We visited with a few friends, did some fishing and mostly just hung out around the campfire. Pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=152629&id=576820498&l=30a589f39d (You don’t need a facebook account to view them through this link)

Maryssa’s soccer team won the championships this year in her division. Jean-Alexandre’s team won bronze. Nicolas started playing Timbits soccer this fall, and Gabriel was accepted on the Celtix du Haut-Richelieu 2001 M team. He plays a year older than he is. Nicolas has also been playing with those a year older than him, because when they started, he was one of the few who knew anything about soccer. He kept complaining that it wasn’t “real soccer” until he was put with older kids who knew how to play. Then he was happy. Dominic has been practicing with a team a year older than himself as well this fall, although it appears that that team is going to fold up. They will continue to practice with a different U13 team in the same club for now.

I finished writing a book I had been working on for the past 3 or 4 years, and submitted it to a publisher, one that had previously published a book by my father. They accepted to publish it. It is called Be Not Afraid, and is available for the moment at publishamerica.com. The idea for the book came from a dream I had a few years ago. I woke up and started writing… The day of her marriage, Isabella stands looking over the edge of her parents' terrace onto a busy passageway below. She desperately searches for a way out as she is faced with an arranged marriage she doesn't want. The daughter of a high-class couple, the man she loves is a common worker, outspoken in his fight for social justice in this society of the future which greatly resembles our past in many ways. Isabella has followed him in taking up the fight alongside other young men and women. This eventually leads to the death of one and the exile of the other. This is a story about keeping faith alive, fighting for what is right and never abandoning hope. It is also about finding love again where you did not expect it.

Jean-Alexandre went to Greece with a group from his school in October. He says he enjoyed it, however he has not told me much about it. (He’s a man of few words) and I have yet to see any photos, as he has had some trouble uploading them. The rest of us (excluding Marc) visited my parents in Barry’s Bay for Thanksgiving weekend.

Marc still works for the Yellow Pages in Montreal, and I still do some hairdressing from home, as well as the usual soccer taxiing, homework supervising, piñata making and birthday party organizing. (For my own kids, not others, I have enough just doing my own.)

And so the year ends, with Christmas in sight, and family soon to be gathered around the tree, in front of the fireplace.

We wish you the most blessed of Christmases and the happiest of New Years,

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Football finally makes sense

A joke I got in my inbox:

A guy took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game. They had great seats right behind their team's bench. After the game, he asked her how she liked the experience.

'Oh, I really liked it,' she replied, 'especially the tight pants and all the big muscles, but I just couldn't understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents.'

Dumbfounded, her date asked, 'What do you mean?'

'Well, they flipped a coin, one team got it and then for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming was: 'Get the quarterback! Get the quarterback!' I'm like....Helloooooo? It's only 25 cents!!!!!!!!!!!