Monday, September 29, 2008

Highlights from a Sunday drive

We started with a late breakfast in Mile End (a mochacocochino = mocha made with coconut milk) and wound our way around the city, spending some time in Lachine walking along the canal. It wasn't a very bright day (excuse no.1) and so a lot of my pictures were a bit fuzzy. Also many were taken from the window of our car as we sped past the sights (excuse no.2). So, the last photo of the sunset would have been a lot nicer if I'd thought to get out of the car (um, we did pull over for that one) rather than take it through the cracked windshield. And then my batteries died (excuse no. 3). Anyway, it was a lovely day.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The last of the summer sun

A few short weeks ago, when it was still summer, I walked out my front door straight into the path of a sprinkler. I cupped my hand over my camera to protect it and then had fun taking pictures of the light dancing in the water droplets.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Why can't everyday be Saturday?

While I am definitely more of a rainy day, cozy by the fire kind of person I can certainly still appreciate the shimmer of a pretty summer day. Saturday I walked around a new (to me) neighbourhood, did a little shopping in independent bookstores and second-hand/hand*made clothing boutiques, sought out iced coffees on shady terraces, read, wrote letters and took a few photos.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beets and books

I am so hungry for stories lately. I gobble them greedily, favoring shorter books, graphic novels, or listening to audiobooks while I'm at work. I read blogs for the same reason, daily short stories. I noted this fact to a friend, in a letter, just the other day.

About a week ago I finished re-reading Jitterbug Perfume. I had read it a long time ago, but most of it was forgotten, so reading it this summer was almost like reading it for the first time.


And then, my horoscope for this week (with thanks to Free Will Astrology):



AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In addition to food, air, water, sleep, and love, every human being needs stories. No one can psychically survive without the continuous flow of narrative through his or her imagination. And just as there is a big difference between the physical nourishment provided by a salad or by a candy bar, so is there a wide range of quality in the stories you expose yourself to. Soaking up the adventures of über-playboy Hugh Hefner and his three girlfriends on the TV show "The Girls Next Door" will probably deplete your energy and lower your intelligence, while reading Tom Robbins' novel *Jitterbug Perfume* may enhance your mental hygiene and sharpen your perceptions. What I'm saying here is always true, of course, but it's especially important for you to keep in mind right now. From what I can tell, you're ravenous for beautiful, uncanny, uplifting stories.

Curious...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Inner City Snail

How cute is that? I've liked the Little People street art project for a while, but I just discovered that the same artist also makes the "Inner City Snail: a slow-moving street art project". I love it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mosaic

This mosaic questionnaire is circulating right now and it looked like fun so I decided to play along...

Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr search, using only the first page, choose your favorite image, copy and paste each of the URL’s into the mosaic maker (3 columns, 4 rows).
The questions:
1. What is your first name? (Christine)
2. What is your favorite food? (Raspberries)
3. What high school did you attend? (Mission)
4. What is your favorite color? (Purple)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Johnny Depp)
6. Favorite drink? (Latte)
7. Dream vacation? (England - actually the whole of the UK but the photos for just "England" were prettier)
8. Favorite dessert? (Tarts)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (Librarian)
10.What do you love most in life? (Mystery)
11. One word to describe you. (Changeling)
12. Your Flickr name. (chaitea - which is cheating a bit because it is actually christine.bluemoon but I didn't like those options and chaitea is part of my yahoo email... )


Flickr photo credits:


1. Day Two: Christine Visits Christine Falls, 2. Full-size Raspberry Beret Cupcake, 3. Mission Gate, 4. purple sea snails, 5. Johnny Depp. Need I say more?, 6. 拉花 Latte Art, 7. Bibury, England, 8. The Librarian, 9. Mother of mystery, 10. apple tarts, 11. Changeling, 12. chai 7153.jpg

Monday, April 28, 2008

April showers

Spring is finally, happily in the air. I am finished school. Oh, I have signed up for a few projects this summer already - how could I just walk away from such a long educational career? Not possible! But my exams are written, my papers submitted, my textbooks ready for re-sale at the book co-op. I thought I would feel celebratory, but I mostly feel TIRED. I suppose I should not be surprised. I do feel my creativity buzzing though, I am thinking about coming back here to write... thinking about starting a blog just for photos/art work... thinking about writing project(s)... thinking about painting.... thinking about re-decorating the apartment.... and then I think about taking a nap. Today I got none of the things accomplished that I set out to, but I did take some rainy-day photos that I am pretty happy with. I am going to start putting them here for now, and see how that goes. It feels more fun than flickr.



Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My new favorite song

Hello... very busy time over here. Too much school + job + other job + trying to eat and clean the house every now and then = no blogging energy. But lately I have been listening to this song a lot and thought I would share its awesomeness.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Project Prayer - Part Two


"Praying" is a pretty loaded word. It used to make me feel a little uncomfortable, which is one of the reasons I chose it as the focus of this project - I wanted to explore the discomfort and figure it out. I was going to write quite a bit about my own thoughts on prayer, in fact I have already started a post about it, but then I decided not to publish it just yet... since what I want first off is to know what others think. I will post mine in a while, once I have collected responses from you guys.
What I am most interested in, for this project (and in general) is people's ideas about prayer that have little or nothing to do with organized religion. I would like to know about the personal, private, creative ways that people pray, rather than the more conventional, by-the-books ways that they were taught.
Bear in mind that I have basically no religious education and so some of those more traditional prayer practices will be unknown to me anyway - so if that is what does work for you then let me know about that too! These are the questions I have in mind, although feel free to respond in different ways if that makes more sense for your responses:

1. What does the word "prayer" mean to you?
2. What does your practice of prayer look like? Is it confined to a quiet, meditative state or a conversation with a higher power or is it a wild dancing party? If you don't pray, why not?

3. Who (or what) do you pray to? Is there a particular deity, body part or universal image that resonates for you? Why do you suppose this is so?
4. What has influenced your practice of prayer?
5. How has your practice of prayer changed your life, if at all? Do your prayers "come true"
or do you see them working in some other way?

Please feel free to leave me your responses in the comments (though that doesn't seem to be the popular option with my blog!) or email me at the address listed in the contact section (people never put their email addresses in the text and I think it is to avoid spam... good plan).

I am planning on including any responses to the questionnaire in my final project. I will not be publishing any of people's personal email responses here. There is a small possibility that so
me of the final projects will be included in a short publication entitled "Stories from Montreal" which my university creates from undergrad work every year. All this is just to say that if you do send me a response (and I would love it if you did!) please let me know if you give permission for your responses to be included in either my project (likely only ever read by me and my prof) or in the book (likely only read by me, my prof, the other editors and future undergrads who are forced to buy it) or both. Also, please let me know if you would like your name to be included (just first name) or if you would like to remain anonymous. Both options are totally fine, I am not obligated to give any identifying info about my respondents. If you have any questions about the nature of the project, the publication, my university (including the ethics board) or anything else please feel free to ask.

Thanks!!! Can't wait to hear what people have to say. The project is due at the end of March, so I will be happy to receive replies right up until then. (Well, I would still be interested/happy to get replies after that, they just wouldn't be included in this project).

P.S.
If your response is "no way, praying is not my thing at all" that is just as valid and interesting for me, so please don't exclude yourself for that reason! Instead, I would love to hear why you feel that way, and what your thoughts are on the topic. Remember, that is where I was coming from too, originally.
P.P.S.
If you know anyone else who you think would be at all interested in responding to the questionnaire please feel free to spread it far and wide. I am just casting my net and will be happy to get as many replies as I can.

Photos: both from the playing-around session the other day... the view out my kitchen window and a close-up of one of my favorite candle-holders with a lovely-smelling beeswax candle glowing away.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Project Prayer - Part One


Ok. Enough procrastination.

I have been (supposedly) working on a research project for school since September. This project started out on Meditation, then kind of Yoga, and then finally (for the actual proposal) Prayer. Bless Anthropology's little heart for being so elastic as to allow me to do something as loosely defined as I am. Most people are doing ethnographies, meaning that they are going to study other people. I am doing an auto-ethnography, meaning that I am going to study me. Sounds narcissistic, and it is! Kinda. I will not only be studying myself, but I will be the main focus. I like the idea of doing it that way because it completely removes any of that traditional anthropology us/them dichotomy and it also feels like I get to be a lot more experimental about the whole thing. I have to admit that I do sometimes get irritated with the fluffiness of anthropology, as well as the simultaneous "we are totally scientists, this is totally a REAL science" and "we hate science, down with positivism!". It gets a bit tired. Let's face facts, anthropology is decidedly not a science. Don't get me wrong, I like science. I still kind of wish that I had just stuck with my high school ambitions to study zoology. But no matter how much it may want to be, anthropology isn't very scientific. It's really hard to apply any scientific principles to the study of culture (oh, when I say anthropology I mean cultural anthropology which is all that my university teaches, I realize that physical anth., linguistics and archeology all do use scientific principles). So when I started thinking about things to do for this project, and I realized just how much creative leeway we would have, I decided to fully embrace the fluff and do something as decidedly un-scientific as possible. So I decided to start praying, and to document my experiences as they unfold. Neat hun?
I was inspired by you! Well, by the internet, by the blogs I read and the books I have stumbled upon through them. Especially Eat Pray Love and The Red Book. In both cases prayer was presented in such a way that I could sort of, kind of, almost see myself doing it. At the very least I could see h
ow it was a practice that greatly benefited those women, not to mention many of the women whose blogs I read. And anyway, it got me curious, thinking, wondering and generally feeling inspired. Hence, this project.

Hmm... explaining all this is maybe going to take longer than I thought. Rather than write one long post (who has time to read loooooooong posts?) I will split it up. I want to take my time explaining it becau
se, for one thing I think it will help me get clear about what I am doing (oh the fluffiness of it all) and because eventually I am going to get you guys involved. I will be doing the thing all sociologists do, which is, survey. I would love to hear from as many people as possible, so I am going to put my survey/questionaire here and invite EVERYONE (and their dog... and their cat!) to reply. And those of you who I know in "real life" will be getting copies of it sent to them directly via email, lest they think I should let them off the hook. : ) But more to come on that later.

For now I will leave you with a couple of photos. This afternoon I spent a few creative hours playing with my new (from
Christmas) camera. I love it, digital photography is so full of instant gratification. Although those suckers do eat batteries like candy.
The photos on the top are: Griffin (of course) ... I was actually trying to photograph my favorite purple scarf, but he decided to crash the photo session and the other is of a tiny corner of my altar, and the one below is me, doing the oft -used self-portrait method of ... standing in front of my bathroom mirror.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sweet dreams

The second of February was Imbolc, which is a celebration of renewal. Traditionally it's associated with pregnant/lactating ewes, and the goddess Brigid. For me though, Imbolc is a kind of festival of dreams.
The idea being that early February is at the heart of winter, and so the earth and a lot of life's force is slumbering away beneath a blanket of blue-white snow. Of course the reality is that in a modern metropolis like Montreal, only the plants and raccoons get to sleep, while the rest of us are expected to press on with the same energy as we would have in summer.
And the pristine fields of snow are in fact piled up along the streets or carted out of the city in huge dump-trucks (this blew my mind the first time I saw it).
None the less, I find myself slowing down around this time of year (slowing down from snails pace to near-stop) and paying more attention to dreams and intuition. It's also quite close to my birthday (as
well as my mom's birthday and a few others who are close to my heart) so it is an easy time to get introspective. Dreams are a mysterious kettle of fish, not well understood in the land of science. I know that I dream often. Well we all do, I mean to say that I often recall my dreams, at least for the first few moments of wakefulness. I am lazy about keeping a dream journal so even though they are still circling my head in the morning, they usually flit away again by mid-afternoon and sadly, I have no record of them. I find it strange which dreams stay with me through the years, not necessarily the most meaningful ones but generally the ones I had the clearest memories of when waking up. And of course, the ones I noted down as quickly as I could.
I am not well versed in dream-interpre
tation. While I think there must me a wealth of interesting knowledge tucked away in the secret nooks of our dreaming minds, I am quite skeptical of something that tries to place universal meanings on personal reveries. But like I said... not well versed, so I withhold judgment (mostly). I am intrigued by the concept of premonitions in dreams, although I have not really experienced it. Ok, once, back in my midwifery days, I had a dream that a client was in labor. The dream woke me up and I noted the time (around 3am). The next day, lo and behold, I was called to her birth and I found out that her labor had started around 3am.
One thing I find frustrating about dreams is their tendency towards ordinariness. Sometimes they bring me to fantastic landscapes or allow me to fly or perform other feats of unexpected magic, but often they are merely a slight twist on the everyday. Last night I was a bit luckier than usual however. In bed, before sleep, I was listening to the beginning of Eat Pray Love on audiobook. When I eventually drifted off, I was unsurprisingly transported to Rome. Never having been there in reality, my imagination was free to invent a magical dream-version of the ancient city. I can only remember scraps of the dream, but I do recall approaching the city by boat, in the evening, on an imaginary ocean (Rome is not on the coast in real life). The buildings rose up before me, elastic in my mind. It was a strange and lovely place to visit, I wish I could've taken pictures.
Well, however you choose to celebrate Imbolc (or Candlemas or Groundhog Day), I hope that Queen Mab peeks out from behind the grasshopper-wing shutters of her hazel-nut chariot and sends some juicy dreams your way.
Dreamy reading for the cold winter days:
The BFG by Roald Dahl - all about dreams, snozzcumbers, frobscottles and whizzpoppers.
What are your favorites books for reading this time of year? Or do you have music to help keep away the chill instead?
Images: The imbolc candles with snowdrops I took from this website but I recognize it as an image from the Llewellyn day-planners; Vachel dreaming is from Little Dee from April 2006; and the photo of Rome (Forum and Colosseum) by Stephen Studd, taken from Getty.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hibernation

I seem to be in a kind of creative hibernation. It could be my return to school, which always has a tendency to make me tired and sapped of energy to pursue my own projects. It could be that there have been lots of things to do, not least of which was celebrate my birthday this week. Or it could simply be the time of year, with the short days and blustery, cold nights. I just want to curl up with a book (or if I am feeling especially slow - a good tv show), a mug of hot chocolate and a cozy blanket. Although I do have ideas simmering away in the crock pot of my brain (ideas for my prayer project, my book(s), some paintings or drawings I'd like to try out, letters to friends, photography to explore, and writing for this space) they are staying put inside, for now. I do not seem to be alone in this trend, a few of the blogs I read regularly have also gone into hibernation for a little while. I have no plans to stay away, but I have also been pretty remiss about posting so I thought I would at least drop in to make excuses.



A "Little Dee" strip by Chris Baldwin from December 2004

Friday, January 18, 2008

Earth (or The Year of the Gnome)

So, as promised, I want to spend some time meditating on the element of Earth, what it means for me and why it is going to be what I focus on in 2008.
Earth. Solid. Practical. Living soil. Decay (transformation). Bacteria. Roots. Fungal networks. Caves. Stalagmites and tites. Secret passageways. Mountains. Rocks. Precious stones. Silver and Gold. Wood. The Forest. Tree giants. Ents. Seedlings. Vegetables. Worms. Mice. Moles. Bears. Hibernation. Dreams. Midnight. Full Moon. Snails. Home. Goddess figures. Winter. North. Burrows. Tombs. Temples. Bones. Statues. Crawling insects (beetles, ants, centipedes). Snakes. Hobbits. Gnomes.
Those are a few of the things that immediately come to mind when I think of Earth. I mentioned my book quartet a while back (at least I think I did), and although part of me is bursting to talk about all of my ideas (Adrien gets the brunt of my idea-overflow valve) I also feel the need to keep the story quiet. Afterall it is still germinating and feels tiny and fragile (even though it probably isn't).
The way I want to tell the story and the story outline have changed almost daily in the last two (no - almost three!!) years, since I first got the idea to write something. At first it was going to be an eight-volume monster, with each book being about a different pagan holiday (though not necessarily overtly) but I eventually let go of that plan, (though it still rears up now and then in different guises). I have settled fairly firmly on the notion of four books, each one associated with a different season/element. The first book would be the Earth book, and would take place in winter. That is one of the big reasons that I am loving the Earth theme right now, since I really want to get this literary project going and the place I have assigned myself to start is Earth.
Earth seems to be the best place to start, if only for the fact that it is the most pragmatic of all the elements and lends itself most to hard work. The problem is that I am an airy-faerie aquarius (for what it's worth) and so I am more of a planner than a do-er. I love to plan. I am an expert planner. When I was little I spent way more time planning games and adventures for my dolls, designing their homes and towns and the landscapes where they lived than I ever did actually playing with them. Well, that was playing, in a manner of speaking. Planning is best friends with imagination, or so I like to think. Which means that I have been kind of trapped in the planning stage since this whole wild idea struck me and have been fairly happy there. It is a natural place for me to be. Which is not to say I haven't written anything, I have written quite a bit actually. A lot of what I have written (over and over) are idea-maps or just outlines/notes on story ideas. I have taken a few stabs at writing the books, but so far none of it is keep-able... especially since I know nothing about writing (ie the early efforts are pretty bad, and I need a lot more practice) and since the storyline has transmorgified so many times. But if I ever want this set of books to materialize, and I know that I do, then I have to get started. The longer I hang out in limbo planning it, the bigger and scarier it becomes in my head. So 2008, being the year of the Earth Rat, and being for me The Year of the Gnome, will be the year I finally get the project out of my head and into the physical realm. Images: Tree with roots by Don Tremain (Getty); Forest path at night by Photodisc (Getty - ok the photographer's name is obviously not Photodisc.. I wish Getty would give you their actual name instead of the company that owns their stuff); Ta Prohm Temple in Angkor Wat Cambodia by Angelo Cavalli (Getty); Snowy forest in Finland by Fred Bjorksten (Getty); Thumbalina and Mouse in winter forest house by Wayne Anderson (Bridgeman Art Library).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mondo Beyondo *Part Two: Welcome 2008!*



Right away there are lots of things to like about 2008. For one thing, it has the number 8 in it, which is the infinity symbol standing upright, and also 8 is the number of holidays that I celebrate (sort of). And 8 happens to be Adrien's favorite number. It has a nice, round, juicy feel to it too... two-thousand-and-eight. Lots of Os and o-sounds. Lots of feminine curves.

Continuing with the Mondo Beyondo tradition, I am supposed to name a few of my wildest, most fantastic dreams. I am also supposed to be quick and dirty about it (see entry for jan 6) so here it goes:



Dreamy things I would like to draw towards myself:


* Travel to new and unexpected places, especially Mongolia, Peru and Scandinavia


* Becoming a published author and holding my words in print, outside my head, where others can see them


* A cozy hobbit-hole of a home in BC where I can really dig my roots down deep (or maybe a tree~house! Ooooh or a vividly colourful gypsy caravan...)

* Creating that home in a place where I can build my own River Cottage-esque smallholding


* Work that allows me to expand, challenge myself, learn, be creative, feel like a contributing member of my community and participate in creating a healthier world (maybe as a librarian? or maybe something I haven't thought of yet?)

* Cultivation of the feeling that there really is ENOUGH of everything (especially money)

* One day becoming a parent

* Meet (create?) a whole pantheon of spirit-gods who are wild and fun and free

* Strenghthening connections to those I already know and love, as well as making new connections with as yet unknown kindred spirits

* Paint another mural, this time EVEN BIGGER




Particularly for 2008 I want to:

* Finish my undergrad (it really is about time)

* Start making plans for moving back to BC

* Read a book en français (I am so lazy about this and it would be so good for my vocabulary)

* Drink more water

* Despite the earthiness of 2008 (see below) I want to continue being lighter in my life, easier on myself (and others), getting rid of excess *stuff* clogging up my living space, and letting go of all kinds of "over-weighty-ness" in my life/mind/body

And so begins 2008...

It is the year of the Earth Rat. When I first started thinking about this whole Mondo Beyondo stuff I was going to maybe declare 2008 the year of WATER. But then I started poking around and discovered that it is already a decidedly Earthy year. Hey, who am I to argue with the Universe? And so I will go with the earthiness flow and declare 2008 The year of the Gnome. Gnomes are sturdy, earth-bound creatures. They are generally good-natured, cheerfull folk and they know how to appreciate the little things (um, no pun intended). They are pragmatic and un-hurried and I think they will make good role-models, especially since they do not over-complicate things which I have a detrimental tendency to do. When I encounter problems in 2008 I will simply ask myself, What Would Gnomes Do?

This is good actually. I had no idea that 2007 was a fiery year and Fire is an element that totally baffles me so it is no wonder that I felt baffled for a lot of it. Earth, that I get, so 2008 is already off to a wonderful start. Perhaps I will save all the reasons why Earth is so fitting for me in another post, but for now I will say that it feels right. In keeping with that theme 2008 is also the International Year of Planet Earth, as well as the Year of the Potato and the Year of Sanitation (check it out!). 2008 is so dirty! I mean earthy. Soil-related. Hearty. Healthy. Organic! 2008 is big and full, and grounded and earth*full. Let us all welcome a voluptious 2008!


Pictures: Rat stamp from Canada Post, the Gnome with the mouse is by Wayne Anderson and the cute earth-mouse is from Ursula Vernon's site.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mondo Beyondo *Part One: Farewell 2007*

Although I quite enjoy transitions, I have never found New Years to be a wholy satisfactory ritual. Yes, I do like the sparkly parties, the noise-makers, the cocktails, Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve, the ball falling in Times Square, Harry finally declaring his love for Sally, and I get a lump in my throat when I hear Auld Lang Syne. But I am no party-animal and so I tend to enjoy those well-known New Years symbols from a comfortable couch with a small group of friends. (This year that small group of friends was enjoying an evening of playing Wii games, only stopping for the countdown!)
This is all good fun, however, I do tend to suffer from the post-Christmas blues (*sigh* 354 more days until next Christmas) and New Years does little to assuage the grief. I like the idea of creating/participating in rituals that help to add a little shine to the every-day, as well as marking passages of time in a meaningful way. So for that reason I am going to jump on Andrea Scher's Mondo Beyondo bandwagon.

1. What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2007?
I would like to aknowledge that I faced a new decade of life with cheerful enthusiasm and eagerness, rather than clinging to the past. I am so excited to be in my 30s! : )
After a few years focused on a particular dream (to be a midwife), I have been re-discovering all those other parts of myself, things I didn't have a lot of time for in that phase of life. Stuff like painting, making jewelry, reading, writing, creating a blog. One of the bravest choices I made in 2007 was one of self-acceptance. Meaning that I have been making a conscious (and somewhat successful) attempt to not be so damn hard on myself. This came through mostly in the fall (although had been brewing for... um ever I guess) as I faced yet another semester of school and faced it imperfectly despite my insanely high expectations. As usual even when it felt like all was lost, and like I was the least prepared person in the entire university, everything wound up being totally fine. I keep finding more and more evidence to support trusting myself regardless of how it looks to the judgemental harpie who lives in my brain, and this is good news.

2. What is there to grieve about 2007?
2007 sure had its ups and downs. As I said, I celebrated my 30th birthday, so I think it quite reasonable that I grieved the end of my 20s (well "grieved" is only partly true, I was glad to see them go, those tumultuous and hectic 20s). I continued to grieve my parting of ways with a life of midwifery... that was harder than many a break up, and just as necessary. I grieved a lot for a family member (well members) who are struggling, and for the waves of grief and saddness that this struggle has sent rippling through all of us who so love them. I grieved for certain perfectionist ideals I have held for so long, both consciously and unconsciously, about my life, my partner, my "career" (whatever that is) and especially my self. I forgive myself for putting myself (and sometimes the person closest to me) under so much pressure to perform a certain way. I forgive myself for all the straining against reality and the huge expectations. I forgive myself for all the judging and defensiveness. I forgive myself for the seemingly endless procrastination and the imperfect (but complete!) work I have done. I forgive myself for not living up to the impossible!

3. What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete?
Oh 2007, you tricky monkey. Actually, it was (and still is) the year of the Fire Pig. Maybe it would have been good to know that at the time. Apparently it was also both the International Polar Year and the Year of Rumi.
There are so many things I did not know about you 2007!!
But now you are over and it is time to welcome a whole new year of possiblity ...

And so... "I officially declare 2007 complete!"


Coming soon:
*Part Two*
The final step is to consider your primary focus for the year to come. What is your primary intention or theme for 2008? Is it the year of joy? the year of self-care? the year of partnership? Stand up and say it proud, "2008 is my year of...."

Picture: Pig stamp from Canada Post website.