Alberta Votes 2012

I have to vote today I get to vote today in the Alberta provincial election which in many ways is has a more profound effect on my day-to-day life than the federal government has. The same political party, the Progressive Conservatives, have held power in Alberta since before I was born. For that reason, change is in the air (even among the PCs with their new leader) and a multitude of parties are voicing their "new ideas" in hopes of being elected to the legislative assembly.

My greatest disappointment has been that there wasn't a public forum where I could see the seven candidates for my riding debate and answer questions. Lots of flyers and lawn signs, but not much by way of substance. I had 2 people come to the door, one from the upstart right wing Wild Rose Party and one from the Alberta Liberals.

So, I have to base my vote on party policy and since I've been so busy this month I haven't had a chance to really analyze the platforms. In yesterday's Calgary Herald, a full page comparison chart of the 4 major parties presented each party's stance on Business/Industry, Social Supports, Education, Energy, Environment, Finance, Health, Justice, and Seniors. After spending a little time this morning comparing the "new ideas" and policies, I assigned a grade to each of these parties: PC, WR, AL, NDP. I will comment briefly on some of the policies that either impress or repel me.

Business/Industry: I like the NDP's focus on small business and on pushing for more upgrades to the oil industry so I give them an A. Wild Rose ignores small business and gives more freedom to industry, so I give them a C.

Social Supports: PCs get an A for focusing their efforts on the severely handicapped and homeless. Libs and NDPs get Cs for only looking at preschool childcare services (I'm more interested in keeping them home than farming them out).

Education: PCs and Wild Rose get A's for different reasons: PCs for pumping more money into the system, Wild Rose for giving more freedom to school boards. Liberals get a C for wanting to end funding of private schools, wanting to buy teacher votes for $500, and wanting to introduce free tuition for post-sec.

Energy: NDP gets an A for its focus on consumer protection and enforcing stable energy prices. PCs get a B- for failing to do so.

Environment: An A for the NDP for water protection legislation and dropping the carbon capture project in favour of more effective projects (Wild Rose is commended on this too). Everyone else gets a B. Note that the Evergreen Party wasn't featured in the grid, so I can't comment on their policy.

Finance: A's for Libs and NDP for marginally raising taxes (ensuring more stable gov't revenue and thereby ensuring more stable funding for programs). Wild Rose and PCs have decent plans, but they get Bs for the energy dividend and results-based budgeting.

Health: Again, Libs and NDP each get an A for protecting the public health care system and reducing drug costs. Wild Rose and PCs get Bs because their plans are short sighted.

Justice: I like that WR and Libs want to repeal the recent impaired driving legislation (it's ridiculous and unenforceable).

Seniors: Everyone wants to add funding to senior care, great! Wild Rose doesn't have a plan. PCs want seniors to pay their property taxes with home equity loans - that's awful! Libs and NDP get A's for going to the core issues of the problem.

I grade each party as follows:

  • Progressive Conservatives: B
  • Wild Rose: B-
  • Liberals: B+
  • New Democrats: A-
When I did the Vote Compass on CBC, I landed square between the Liberals and NDP. I guess I know who to vote for now! Except that I might vote strategically... Ack!

Treats from Guatemala

When my school's short term mission group returned from Tactic, Guatemala a couple weeks ago, they transported some gifts sent by very special friends. It's amazing how taste and smell can transport one so intensely to distant memories.

In our package, we got chirrepeco tea (grown locally), some horchata drink powder (Tang brand), Tortix lime flavoured corn chips (everything is flavoured lime in Central America), a brick of chocolate to make hot chocolate Guatemalan style, and then my vice-principal gave me a couple pounds of Dieseldorff coffee from Cobán - sooooo goooood.



Page 3 in the Calgary Herald

I was interviewed along with 4 cohousing friends by the Calgary Herald 3 days ago. The feature article ran in today's (Sunday, April 22) paper. I think she did a fine job representing our project and values.

You can read the article online here or if the link dies, on the Dragonfly Cohousing blog.

Picnic in Bowmont Park

Yesterday, during my 32 km run, I passed through the Bowmont Park Natural Area. The multitude of crocuses, the panoramic view of the Bow River and the Rockies, and the recent arrival of warm weather prompted me to get my family out for a picnic after church.

Amber prepared some yummy vittles and we parked our car on the south end of Silver Springs and walked by cyclists, runners, and walkers to a bench on a bluff.

We were still in church clothes, but the kids still followed the winding paths that cut through the prairie grass, crocuses and brush.

I usually tease Amber about the number of photos she takes of crocuses every spring. This time, I couldn't resist.


Marathon Training: Day 93/118

On training day #76 I ran 25 km, my furthest distance yet. I was limping afterwards, but since I've been sore before, I didn't think much of it. The following morning I couldn't put any weight on my left leg and my left knee was tremendously sore. I came downstairs on my butt and parked my butt on the couch. The fear of not being able to run the marathon came upon me and I started to accept the fact that I had injured myself. However, after a morning on the couch with my left knee elevated and covered in a bag of frozen peas, I was able to hobble around a little.

I babied my knee for 4 days and didn't run for 8 days making sure that my ligaments, joints, and tendons had time to be restored. Then I went for a 12 km run (pictured above) and felt great! No soreness whatsoever. After chatting with some other runners, I have decided to ease my training to just 3 runs a week which would give my body lots of recuperation time. I'm learning to listen to my body.

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After a couple great runs last week, I decided to run the Calgary Bow River Valley Trail with my visiting sister, a fellow running trainee. She ran 16 km. I ran 24 km (see map above). We parked at Edworthy Park in the west and ran east. I ran 12 km to Deerfoot Trail and turned around. It was terribly frosty at the start so I ran with leggings and a light jacket. I was amazed at how little I sweat because of the coolness of the air, but I was even more amazed at how I felt like I could have gone on when I had reached Edworthy Park again. Because I didn't sweat, I barely touched all the electrolyte drink I carried. The sights along the path, notably the Bow River, Calgary Zoo, and Downtown, made the run far less weary than a treadmill, so I'm quite certain I'll complete my last three long runs down there. My next long run, the longest prior to the marathon, will be 32 kms. I'm thinking the 3 hours+ run might take me to Fish Creek Park (one of the largest city parks in the world - and one I have yet to visit).

I stopped by The Running Room last week and picked up a Fuel Belt with four pouches the I can use to carry my salt/lemon/honey concoction. I also purchased two energy gels to try. The last time I tried these was on my bike trip and they were horrible. The two I got, Honey Stingers, were great though - all natural stuff and basically it's honey. Who doesn't like sucking on honey, especially while running!! Each little packet gives you 120 calories. Since I'm burning 800-900 calories every 10 kms, I'll need a about 3 of these on race day.

Yesterday, I did some cross-training. It was my last day of spring break and I felt I should make the most of it.

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Today, I decided to do some hill training after school. My mom left her car at our place, so I drove it down to Bowness, then ran home. Amber drove me back after supper so I could pick it up. I climbed 175 m over a 9.4 km run making it about a 2% grade total, but half the run was flat, so the pitch was closer to 4% when I was running uphill. Since I didn't feel stressed at all during this 60 minute run, I figure I had better find a better hill. Cochrane has a nice one, about 5% for 4 kms ... maybe do that up and down and up and down next week.

I've decided that I will not listen to music on my ipod during the marathon. I want the raw experience. Plus, there are bands and cheering groups along the course and it's safer to have all my senses fully aware of my surroundings. I'll continue to train with it, but I ran without today and it was just fine.

If you asked me 3 weeks ago how I felt about the marathon, I would have bitterly replied that it was the worst goal on my list. Ask me today and I am much more positive. I feel great. I've lost 15 unneeded lbs. I enjoy the less frequent, but high quality runs and I greatly anticipate the day of the marathon.

Finally, a little bit of the agony. I popped this lovely blister about 3 weeks ago. (sorry for the picture DB)

  1. sterilize needle
  2. sterilize blister
  3. lance blister and thoroughly drain onto tissue paper
  4. apply polysporin to popped blister
  5. wrap a band-aid around toe for 2 days