it might just be me, but…

is it hard to believe RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli was sincere when he publicly apologized to Maher Arar?
September 29, 2006, 10:58 pm
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Last night, before going to bed, I saw the clip of Zaccardelli as he appologized to Maher Arar before some committee or other. He appeared very sincere. I was taken by the directness of his appology, the clarity of the words chosen, the solemnity of his tone – the openess, in a way. He admitted a wrong had been done, and he acknowledged the horrible experience Arar and his family suffered. And he said he was sorry. Can you imagine anyone in the Bush administration doing such a thing?

But it came only after a 2 year long investigation; only after a ‘damning’ judgement that pointed directly to the actions of the RCMP as being the largest contributor to this family’s nightmare. Only after revelations of such deeply calculated, dishonest, malicious and racist behaviour on the part of the RCMP such as denying Arar’s assertion he had been tortured in a Syrian prison; revelations of having leaked FALSE information linking him with Al Quaeda in some sort of callus attempt to discredit Arar and his charges against him. So, within the greater context, I tempered my immediate response — which was relief to see justice finally done, in some manner. And of course I couldn’t help but feel smug in the fleeting thought, “this wouldn’t have happened in the U.S. We’re better than that.” and thus, of course, erasing any claim to that smugness with such a thought.

And what about that report? In reading the front page excerpts (just an armchair quarterback, me) of the judgment that came down in the report, after all was said and done, it seemed to couch EVERYONE’S actions in every euphemism for ‘lying’ that exists. Even constructed some new ones, as far as I could tell.

The media call the report damning. I think those guys got off easy, as far as I can tell.

sometimes a dream will dominate a day
September 28, 2006, 11:13 pm
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had a dream this morning that won’t let go. all day, whenever my mind had a free moment to wander, it went back there, to the place of that dream. to that person in it.

of course they say, everyone in your dream is you. usually comforting, that idea. so why does this feel like a compulsion outside of me?

alas. i must sign off to go take care of a tire. wish me luck that it’s not completely flat.

i could wait all day at this bus stop
September 26, 2006, 10:52 pm
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bus stop, originally uploaded by karen lee hall.

…what happens when boogie boards:
– find themselves beached;
– are put out to pasture;
– get a real job;
– are the closest thing around.

dancing is soooo much fun
September 24, 2006, 3:02 pm
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ansley at foxhole, originally uploaded by karen lee hall.

first of all — click on the photo to see the whole thing. it’s a bit better as a complete image.

hi, are you back? well, i’m just back from my quarterly visit to central america and this friday went out with my dear pals to a dj night called foxhole. it’s at the gladstone hotel in toronto. i highly recommend it for a great, fun vibe. here you’re enjoying a photo of the lovely ansley doing, i don’t remember what – but clearly having fun at it. this friday featured a live act – elton jan – a fantastic tribute band. she does a killer version of elton’s great tunes.

listening to live performances of benny and the jets, etc., reminded me that i’d seen elton perform it on that tour back in who knows when. he was still in his big glasses phase. and remembering that show (for the first time in 20 years) reminded me that i don’t go see live bands anymore and i really had to wonder, what the..? does being adult really mean you have to have less fun? does an increase in responsibility really translate into less time for life outside executing one’s duties? well, of course the answer is no – so now i just have to ask myself, then what the…? why haven’t i been out to see more live acts in the past 10 years? something to do with having a career? whatever…

clearly the answer is in the question.

i’ll get back to you with the new plan once it’s in action. meanwhile, have fun out there.

Spanish Is more than just a Different language
September 17, 2006, 3:25 pm
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In Latin America they largely speak Spanish. (With the sole exception being Brazil, where they speak Portuguese. But have you checked out a map recently? Brazil is humungous. I think it’s, like, half the landmass of the whole continent of South America.) All the other countries in Latin America speak Spanish, which I’m learning to love – and love to speak.

Slowly, I’ve been learning Spanish. Sometimes I get to go to school for it, and it’s Fantastic because my Spanish schooling – to date – has been at a school on a beach in Costa Rica. Mostly, though, I learn Spanish from my husband. He likes to teach me slang, mostly. It amuses him to get me to repeat things like ‘dickface’ and ‘son of a whore’ in Spanish. What he doesn’t realize is I get an actual Spanish education by listening to him talk: with his friends, his family, etc. I get to learn like a toddler, just through constant exposure. And – make no mistake – my husband loves to talk. He’s what I’d call a happy talker. So, I learn.

And this is especially great for me for when I go to visit my new family in Costa Rica because they don’t speak English (they live in Latin America, which is all Spanish, all the time – except Brazil – please see above) and I want to talk to them.

Sorry, are you bored yet? I’ll get to my point.

I love my new family. They make me feel so welcome – like a long lost sister, like a princess, like the most valuable person in the room, like they’d take a bullet for me – and I’d love to tell them I love them.

Now, there are two ways to say this, as far as I can tell. One is to use the verb ‘to love’ which is amar. And when you conjugate it properly, and get your subject correct, it should work out fine. Except it seems to be for lovers, not so much for families. The other way I’ve noticed folks in Costa Rica say “I love you” is to use the verb ‘to want’ – quiero. For example, I once received a message from my sister-in-law to give to my husband. She said (slowly, in Spanish) por favor, dice que te quiero. So, Question answered? But I gotta say te quiero, for this Anglo-Canadian girl, really, really feels like saying “I want you…oh baby”.

Although I know this isn’t what anyone in my family is implying when they say it, of course, I guess I’ll just stick to telling them how happy I am to see them. For now. Until I’m more fluently spanish in more than just the language.

harry reflects me
September 6, 2006, 7:12 pm
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harry reflects me, originally uploaded by karen lee hall.

perhaps this can be part of a series on hair. here’s my lovely Harry, with me reflected in his glasses. we’re sitting at a cafe in Escazu, a nice part of San Jose, Costa Rica… ah, I don’t know what else to add. This picture says it all.

pesto is the greatest summer food, ever
September 6, 2006, 7:01 pm
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(imagine this post was done weeks ago, when I was actually at home, making pesto from my garden…) the basil plants in my garden are huge and yesterday was the day to make pesto.basil1.jpgbasil2.jpg why? because these plants are so glorious, bountious, green. It’s impossible not to harvest and grind up into delicious, olive oily pesto.

the thing about making pesto is the smell of basil is so strong, a sweet pungent scent that fills the house as the leaves are being washed. it lingers for hours, making the whole house intoxicating — to me anyway.

I learned to make pesto years ago. It was before you could even find it in the stores. I was young, younger than now, and I was working as a director’s assistant. Not the ‘ help me cast, schedule, arrange meetings’ kind of assistant. no. this was the ‘help me with my laundry, pick up the new york times, keep me company at dinner’ type of assistant. but my boss did give me one thing — he introduced me to pesto. he did this by sending me out to buy the ingredients, mind you. and it was hard because, as i say, back in the day – pesto wasn’t the norm. I had to scour for the fresh leaves sometimes. luckily I lived in Toronto’s Italian neighborhood, and i could ask for basil specially – they understood my strange request.

so he showed me how, and I’ve made it ever since.

that job introduced me to pesto and my dear friend steve, so it was a good job.