Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thoughts on 9/11, 11 years later. Lest we forget.

As a Canadian, I have a different perspective on the tragedies of 9/11.

Like millions, possibly billions, of other people around the world, I saw the events of that day unfold on TV. I sat on the couch, watched CNN, and cried and cried. On that terrible day I kept waiting for the President of the United States, George W. Bush, to come and appear and say something. Surely, in a few moments, he would appear at a hastily gathered news conference, with camera's clicking and Secret Service agents hovering. He would clear his throat and make some sort of pronouncement, or announcement or comforting words or determined statement. I got more and more scared when this didn't happen. The whole of North America was locked down. Planes grounded. Then, we got this.:
President George W. Bush during 9/11 attacks.
I'm not going to even try to explain why he didn't politely excuse himself a few minutes earlier. Better minds that mine have tried and failed.

Soon after, the U.S, Canada and others were involved in a war against Iraq, even though no Iraqis were involved in 9/11. Saudis were, though. But there was no war against Saudi Arabia. There still hasn't been and never will be a war against Saudi Arabia. The war in Iraq did get rid of Saddam Hussein, but he had no part in 9/11, either. Confusing and awful times for everyone.

In 2008, Barack Obama was running for the office of President of the United States of America. In one of the debates, he was asked if he would go into Pakistan without their permission if terrorists were known to be there. I felt sure he would say "no" but he said he would. I got a jolt. I had a frisson of fear and respect. I believe, even at that time, the U.S. had intelligence that Osama bin Laden may have been in Pakistan. Also, before Obama said that "yes" I had thought he was more of a dove than a hawk. And, though I'm pretty liberal in most ways, when it comes to terrorism, I feel it needs to be dealt with decisively. And, to be honest, I felt it was just political points at that time. Was I ever wrong.
President Obama during search for Osama bin Laden
photo by Pete Souza
I'm a Canadian, and I love my neighbour the United States of America. That's why I hope this November, the citizens of the USA will vote in someone who is decisive and will do the right thing, no matter how unpleasant.

Best, Your neighbour upstairs

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Worlds Collide, Don't You Forget About.me

Here's something weird. 
I just put up my page on AboutMe: http://about.me/susmithjosephy So, if you go there, you can read about me, and click on the B for Blogger, which will then direct you back to this blog. Then, you can click on the link above. Repeat. Or, just go to @susmithjosephy on Twitter, and I'll explain it more fully. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Good morning! Sunny eggs in pepper rings

I sat outside on the front patio this morning and had my breakfast. It's been so hot lately, the only time we can cook inside is early in the morning. So, today, I made Sunny Eggs in Pepper Rings. I used a yellow peppers, sliced them about 1 cm thick, fried them on both sides, then filled them with an egg each. I covered the pan, letting the steam cook the eggs. I didn't want to flip the eggs, because that way the yolk wouldn't be as visible.

That's cheese toast!
Then, I added some fresh, organic parsley from the Farmer's Market here in Quesnel.

Napkins from Paris, courtesy of Auntie Margaret
Then I added some screaming hot salsa that I received as a gift from a woman who lives down the road.

I dipped bits of pepper into the salsa. HOT.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Screw you, Last Week, you bastard

Because he can
In response to Last Week being horrible, I am now posting a photo of my cat licking his butt.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Quesnel Lake, British Columbia

I went to Quesnel Lake last week. It always seems like the kind of place that the world was before people arrived. The lake is known to be the deepest fjord lake in the world (meaning, it was carved out by glaciers). No one really knows how deep it is. We asked a biologist who was there what kind of fish were at the bottom and he said "you don't want to know." Sturgeons? Maybe. It's a lovely lake, the scenery is beautiful, but it's also a scary place. Not just because the lake is so big, about 70 miles long. But because of the lack of human habitation, and because of the storms that brew up quickly as wicked as the ocean, but because it's an eerie place. It inspired me to write a short story for the Kindle All Stars project. The KAS2 theme is Cryptozoology, so a lake monster will feature prominently in my tale.

Here are some photos of my trip:
Quesnel Lake, North Arm

Quesnel Lake, end of North Arm looking towards Cameron Ridge

Quesnel Lake, North Arm, still looking pretty calm

Quesnel Lake, North Arm, one of the few docks

Quesnel Lake, North Arm, taken from the dock, storm clouds coming in

Quesnel Lake, calm green reflection

Quesnel Lake, heading back to camp from the North Arm, storm blew up, pretty rough

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

B.C. Studies reviews "Lillian Alling: the journey home"

Reviewed by Pearl Ann Reichwein 

"In 1929, Lillian Alling reached the coast of Alaska on her way to Siberia. Her three-year walk across North America began in New York City and ended at Cape Wales where her footsteps disappeared after nearly 10 thousand kilometers. Did she ever get to Siberia? The diaries of formal expeditions are noticeably absent from the story of an obscure working-class Polish immigrant who was likely a domestic worker in Toronto and New York. The book frames Alling’s walk as a persistent journey home, rather than a heroic epic. Her journey is not singularized but well situated amid reports of other walkers, including women, who crossed through BC to points north, often following Aboriginal trails or railways prior to road systems. Some solo travellers sought media notoriety, but Alling tried to avoid publicity on a migration far more private than public.

Smith-Josephy rigorously excavates many local voices that commented on Alling, and, simultaneously, the geographies along her route. Stories of Alling’s journey unfold other narratives about people and place. Her trip along the Telegraph Trail from Hazelton to Atlin garnered local attention and news coverage. Alling was observed most in regions with few people. In sparsely populated districts, Alling stood out on her quest to reach Siberia and news travelled quickly up the telegraph line despite a lack of roads. She left few traces of herself. As a traveller, her story exists as an intertextual narrative told by others in newspapers, memoirs, recollections, and legends. It’s also documented in records of her interactions with border officers, police, judges, and jails. Sidebars, maps, and references support the main text, along with excellent archival photo illustrations depicting the route.

The author carefully probes and tests the many accounts of Alling’s journey. Her research investigation through archival records, genealogy, fieldwork, and other sources is explicit. Combined methodologies engage readers in historical and speculative detective work that will appeal to mystery solvers through popular history. Bizarre stories persisted about Alling carrying a stuffed dog on her trip north. Fictitious first-person accounts of meeting Alling were also concocted by professional writers as Smith-Josephy’s literary analysis posits. Her careful deconstruction of tall tales, legends, and myths is astute and well researched.

How did Alling’s story end? Smith-Josephy hypothesizes that Alling reached eastern Siberia only to arrive amid Soviet turmoil. Here the author takes account of Indigenous travellers from the Chukotka Peninsula who frequented both sides of the Bering Strait and acted as ferrymen, but stops short of Indigenous oral history sources, which future research might uncover. Based on Chukchi travel patterns, stories of contemporaneous travellers, and unexpected information, the author speculates Alling reached her goal. Legends of Alling’s journey by foot and the discursive production of historic geographies along her route are reminders of global patterns of migration and intercontinental travel among the working class. Solo travellers in northern environments were woven into wide social networks and cross-cultural interactions inflected by class, gender, region, technology, and the state as stories of Lillian Alling underscore."
For a link to the review: http://bcstudies.com/reviews.php?id=838730

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Deadman's Creek, British Columbia

In between Savona and Cache Creek, turn your head and you'll see this miniature replica of old western buildings on the side of the road:
Click on the image to see a slide show!

I braked the truck pretty hard when I saw these adorable little buildings. I drove in and met Matt Sandvoss, owner and visionary. 

What a great place this is. Matt's always got some new project, and gets lots of visitors from across North America and Europe. Movies are often filmed there, and some well-known TV shows, too.

The beautiful surroundings--the quiet hills covered in sagebrush, the dry soil underfoot--add to the ambiance. The buildings are carefully constructed replicas of buildings from Western history, or reproductions of those from movies. Check the buildings out yourself. You may be able to recognize a saloon or shop from one of your favourite films.

A roadside attraction, with a Western twist, Deadman's Creek is a jump back in time to where myth and history meet. Sandvoss loves history and it shows. But it's his hard work and dedication that is evident when you meet him. Don't be shy, just drive on in. You'll find him to be a great tour guide and a true enthusiast. You'll be glad you did. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

5 Star Amazon review for "Lillian Alling: the journey home"

I received a 5 Star review on Amazon:
"Susan Smith-Josephy's biography of the legendary Lillian Alling is a well-researched and compelling account of a woman who travelled over 3,000 miles, solo from New York to Siberia (largely on foot!) at a time when women were discouraged from such grand endeavour, to say the least...I doubt anyone reading this work will have read anything else quite like it. Considering the dearth of historical detail where our female fore bearers are concerned, this book enlightens as it engages us; in what we know happened and what we imagine might have! It's a joyful and inspiring read."
- Lori Paul

CBC Almanac

I will be on the radio, CBC Almanac, tomorrow, Friday, January 20 at 12:30 PST. Please check http://www.cbc.ca/bcalmanac/ for your local listings.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cuba photos

I went to Cuba. Here are some photos.
In Havana, outside the original capitol building.

Cigar rolling

School kids


Street in Havana


The beach outside Al Capone's house

Book stalls - many books from 1950s

Street down town Havana, many many buildings like this

Che, Revolutionary Square

Monday, January 16, 2012

Heritage Speaker Series presentation

Come and join me at the City Hall in Quesnel on Wednesday, January 18 at 7 pm. I will be doing a presentation on some of the research I did for my book "Lillian Alling: the journey home." Books will be available for purchase. As this is part of the Quesnel Museum Heritage Speaker Series, for more information, please contact the Quesnel Museum at 250-992-9580. Admission is by donation. Hope to see you there.