Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lazy Saturdays

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Sometimes it's great to have a productive day that one can reflect upon at the end of the night and be self-satisfied about.  Then there are those lazy days where the brain hardly gets engaged and the day just passes.  Today was not a productive day ;)  Instead, Hubbs and I got up, he worked for a bit while I surfed the Net, we went to the gym, then showered, and then went for a walk around the perimeter of Stanley Park.  In total it took us about 3.5 hours to get around the park, having stopped to enjoy the sights and sounds for about 10 minutes.  Afterwards, we grabbed some quick grub, came home, ate, and headed to bed for a nap.  Two hours later, we woke up just to surf the Net and play some video games.  Pretty soon we'll be headed back to bed.  Where did the lazy day go?

In keeping with my non-productive day, I thought I should post another one of my pointless memes.  Indulge me, won't you?  Lazy days are all about being self-centered, and memes have a similar goal.  See the connection?  

Three names you go by: Hubbs has thousands of little nicknames for me, most of which are too embarrassing to post here.  He does call me Wife, and his Tiny Pants, and his Sexy Beast.

Three screen names you've had: Mrs. Loquacious, Lil Ms. Loquacious, and Little Miss Loquacious.  Real original, I know ;)

Three physical things you like about yourself: My lips, my chin, and my eyes.

Three physical things you don't like about yourself: My abdominal region, my thunder thighs, and my deposits of fat in all sorts of interesting places, and by interesting I mean horrible.

Three parts of your heritage: Chinese (Canton province), and teensy bits of Mongolian.  Sorry, there isn't really a third, and even the Mongolian heritage is reaching a bit since I'm not sure how many generations ago that was!

Three things you are wearing right now: Socks, glasses, and my new watch.  I'll post about it sometime. 

Three favorite bands/musical artists: Mozart, Bach, and Vivaldi.  Lately I've really been enjoying the content on the "Pops" channel of our satellite radio.

Three favorite songs:  Everybody Hurts, Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, and When the Rain Comes at the moment.  It changes every hour.

Three things you want in a relationship: love, commitment, and fidelity.  We're talking about the relationship here, not the guy.

Three physical things about the preferred sex that appeals you: All of his teeth, height, and nice hands.

Three of your favorite hobbies: Shopping, reading, piano-playing

Three things you want to do really badly right now: Travel somewhere exotic or exciting, eat junky food, and get a massage STAT.

Three things that scare you: Bedbugs, clusters, and clowns, but you already knew that if you read this blog.

Three of your everyday essentials: My computer and internet connection, a toothbrush, and my glasses or contacts.   

Three careers you have considered/are considering: Fashion designer, corporate executive with a power suit and high heels (doing what, I have no idea), psychologist.

Three place you want to go on vacation: Vegas, Disneyworld, and Italy at the moment.  Hubbs just mentioned Australia today so now that's on the brain too.

Three kids' names you like: Noah, Ava, Micah (and Hubbs likes Solomon).  Please do not use these names for your kids lest there be a conflict with our future progeny's names.

Three things you want to do before you die: Travel around Europe, have babies, fly First Class. :)
 
Three ways you are stereotypically a boy: Hrm.  I don't want to offend any boys with my response.  I will belch and fart out loud.  I scratch itches when they itch regardless of where the itch is occuring.  I play video games.

Three ways you are stereotypically a girl: I cry when I'm happy, sad, angry, frustrated, and sometimes for no reason at all.  I am anal about moisturizing.  I like buying purses and shoes.


Monday, January 26, 2009

On Trying My "Luck" This Chinese New Year

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Gung hay fat choy, everyone!  Happy year of the Ox!  In honour of this special day (which, in China, is of far greater importance than Christmas, and celebrated with weeks-long holidays in observation of the festival), I am doing .... nothing.  Nothing out of the ordinary, that is.

You see, my ancestors were a pretty superstitious bunch, and as part of the New Year there were certain behaviours that woud be considered bad luck.  Such actions were, and still are, dutifully avoided by the uber-mai shun.  As a Christ follower, however, I'm not into "luck" and I do not associate certain behaviours with the invocation of curses any more than I believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and little pot-of-gold leprechauns.  I'll leave that sort of belief system to the pagans and non-believers among us.

So what am I doing today that might be a faux-pas according to tradition?  Well, let's examine the superstitions and taboos (some of which I might also inadvertently adhere to by virtue of it being my normal routine).

The entire house should be cleaned before New Year's day to get rid of the negative things of yesteryear.  Too late.  I went out for dinner with Hubbs and then I was just too tired to even do the dishes, much less scrub this place from top to bottom.

Avoid sweeping or brushing away "prosperity" on New Year's day.  Since I hadn't planned on sweeping today anyway, I guess I am following this tradition.  That said, I did clean up shed hair off my bathroom floor.  If that hair represented prosperity then I guess I should kiss it good-bye ;)

After New Year's day, sweep the dust into the four corners of your home and leave the piles there until the fifth day.  Well, no, even if I sweep in the next few days (a likely probability, BTW), there's zero chance I'd shove my dust and debris into the corners of our home.  Cleanliness first!

Do not sweep debris over the threshold or out the front door, but carry the swept material out the back door; otherwise you will "remove" a family member and any good luck from your life in the upcoming year.  I'll be sweeping my dirt into a dustpan that will empty into the garbage bag that will be carried out the front door.  I have no idea what sort of curse I must be inviting on myself through these actions.  (I'll also bet you didn't think you'd be reading so much about my sweeping schedule and technique, eh?)

Open every door and window on New Year's day to send out the old year and usher in the new.  If I opened my door and windows, the only thing I'd usher in are spiders and thieves.  No thank you.

Pay all debts by New Year's day lest you bring shame to yourself and your family.  We're still financing our Accord and there's a balance on the VISA.  Oh the shame! ;)

Don't lend out anything on New Year's day lest you set a precedent for lending all year round.  We have nobody to lend anything to, so I'm free and clear on this front.

Watch your language: avoid swearing, using the number "4," speaking of death, or referring to the old year on New Year's day.  I try not to cuss anyway.  I will use the number 4 today if it comes up.  I will also dwell on the past (by past, I mean yesterday) but avoid speaking about death. 

Don't cry on New Year's Day or you will cry all year long.  I'll try not to, thanks.

Don't wash your hair (and rinse out your good luck) on New Year's Day.  We'll see about that.  If it gets greasy I make no promises.

Wear red today to invite a sunny and bright future.  I'm currently in gray and black. Ha! Maybe I'll wear something more reddish when we head out this evening.  We'll see.

Avoid using knives or scissors lest you cut off your good fortune for the year.  How do I eat if I don't use a knife?  Neanderthals must have come up with this one, or else someone has a prep chef who did it all for them ahead of time.  The knives will come out for sure.

Switch on lights at night to scare off ghosts and misfortune for the year.  I will do this, but only for visibility, and not for luck.  

Eat sweets for a "sweet" year.  I'm dieting.  Can't do that.

Wear new slippers on New Year's day to step on those that gossip about you.  I'm a bare-foot kind of girl and do not own slippers.

Don't buy shoes at New Year's.  I'm not sure how long this is supposed to be observed for, but I have plans to get some nice shoes within the month for an upcoming wedding.  I won't be buying them today though.

Do not get a hair cut during the first lunar month lest you curse your maternal uncle(s).  Sorry Uncle Garry and Uncle Wilson! My bangs will need trimming long before the month is up!

Do not buy or read books on New Year's Day lest you "lose" (the homonym of "book" is "lose" in Chinese) during the year.  I probably won't do a lot of reading today but the very fact that this is a superstition almost makes me want to pull out Harry Potter for another read-through.

Avoid medicating on New Year's Day lest it become a sickly year for you.  Do vitamins count?

And that's just the tip of the iceberg, folks.  There are also tons of foods that are supposed to be lucky and others that are supposed to bring adversity.  I'm obviously going to have one seriously bad year if I believed even a word of this stuff.  Thankfully, my hope is not determined by my circumstances and my own actions, but by the God who has given me hope and by His eternal promises. 

That said, I am a solid believer in lai-see (red envelopes).  I'm still waiting.





Tuesday, January 20, 2009

25 Tuesdays

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Today is an exciting day, and I plan to be glued to CNN for as much of the inauguration as I can.  While I do so, I thought I'd complete the meme that the Ontario Emperor posted, in which I share 25 new tidbits about myself.  Here goes:

1) Currently I own more pairs of yoga pants than I have jeans.  In a contest between fashion and function, comfort always wins ;)  Don't judge.

2) I don't read newspapers.  I prefer the Internet.

3) I am only 5' 2.5" (technically "petite" height-wise) but I don't wear petite clothes because they're too short for me!

4) Inexplicable as it may be, I don't shop at Superstore OR Wal-Mart but I quite like Zellers and I love Dollarama.  

5) My recycling is limited to cardboard and bottles.  I am trying to expand that to include paper, but so far I've not been very successful.

6) I hate "chick-lit" and most of the poorly-written fiction that passes for novels on bookstore shelves.  Even Twilight, which I appreciated on an emo level (it appealed to the angsty former teenybopper in me), was horrendous to me from a literary perspective.  Poorly planned, self-indulgent, repetitive, and wrought with sentences less artistically crafted than those composed by some of my 8th graders - the book was skilllessly written.

7) I like mixing pricier things with cheap stuff, but I can't wear/carry knock-offs.  I just can't.

8) I think I got my de Quevain's tendonitis from playing too much Dr. Mario with Hubbs.  Yeah, I know.  NERD.

9) The truth is, I am a terrible public speaker.  I can speak well in front of my classes, but speech delivery is not a strong suit of mine, despite what many think.  I am a far more effective writer than I am a speaker, in my mind.

10) I strongly prefer authentic Chinese food over the fakey fakey westernized kind, but I love me some good sweet and sour pork and dry ribs.  

11) Yes I can tell the difference between the taste of different kinds of water, and that's probably why I drink my H2O with flavoured Splenda powders nowadays.

12) I think Barack Obama is hot.  I wish he was our president/prime minister.  

13) Confession: I don't always wash my hair every day, but unlike some that I've known, I also cannot go a full week or month without washing my hair.  

14) I can barely ride a bicycle, and I can only sort of swim.

15) In our household, I'm the fix-it woman.  Hubbs will do the heavy lifting and light-bulb changing, but when it comes to other repairs, I think I've used our tools way more than Hubbs has in the last 4 years.

16) My pierced ears have expensive taste.  I can only wear pure gold earrings; the cheap or plated stuff gives me very gross allergic reactions.

17) In recent years I have grown increasingly intolerant of "small talk."  Recognizing the need for it on occasion, I can still engage in "shooting the breeze" with the best of 'em, but secretly I hate it.  I would rather sit in silence, or alone, than have to make idle chit chat for the sake of filling silence.  Bring on the awkward silences!!

18) I don't drink milk anymore, unless it is in cereal.  I am trying to change that, but milk no longer holds the appeal to me that it once had.  I used to drink milk in lieu of water (think 8 glasses a day of the white stuff) but now it seems I'd rather have tea or Coke Zero instead.

19) I secretly wish I had the skills to wear high heels for more than 3 hours at a time.  I can suffer through stilettos for only a few hours (with minimal walking) before the blisters begin to form and my inner b*tch comes out to play.  Contrast that with the women on the streets of downtown Van who can walk for blocks on end in their skinny 3" heels on hard concrete.  How do they do that?!?!? I am envious.

20) There are certain country music songs that I really like, much to my own dismay.  

21) Buried beneath this yoga-pants-wearing exterior lies a girly girl who likes decadent things.  My next indulgent purchase will probably be a pair of designer shoes.  I like brand names, and quality goods, and sometimes you get what you pay for, so you have to be willing to spend to get something good.  Hubbs feels the same way, which is why his collection of Ted Baker shirts (and now Bugatchi Uomo) is growing.

22) I don't have a very good skin care routine.  Sometimes I don't even bother with removing my make-up before bed.  Yes, it is a dirty little secret of mine.  

23) My memory is terrible, probably bordering on amnesic.  

24) The reason why I haven't yet dyed my hair is that I'm afraid.  Once you dye your hair, you can never really return to your natural colour until it all grows out, and the growing out part can get seriously fugly.  My natural black hair consists of many varying shades of black mixed together, and this hue cannot be replicated by any combination of dyes.

25) I have food entitlement issues. ;)

Happy Inauguration Day!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Four Thursday Meme

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Ugh.  Is it just me or are my blog titles getting cheesier?  Man, with age comes the depletion of my creativity cells or something.  *sigh*  Anyway, here's a fun "four" meme that I'm pretty sure has made the rounds for a few years.  I know, there's nothing deep in a meme post, but frankly, I'm feeling like there is too much heaviness around me in this gloomy January world, so levity is a much-welcomed reprieve. ;)

Four Jobs I've Had
1. Hostess of restaurant(s)
2. Library page
3. Salesperson
4. Consultant for a certain weight loss program that doesn't work (hint: same initials as Jesus Christ)

Four Movies I'd Watch Over and Over Again
1. Sleepless in Seattle
2. Anne of Green Gables
3. The Sound of Music
4. The Star Wars Trilogy (IV, V, and VI)

Four Cars I've Driven
1. Plymouth Neon
2. Honda Accord
3. Ford Tempo
4. Pontiac Sunbird Wagon

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1. Lainey Gossip (laineygossip.com)
2. D-Listed (dlisted.com)
3. Greater Fool (greaterfool.ca)
4. Condo Hype (condohype.wordpress.com)

Four of my Favourite Fattening Foods
1. Deep-fried anything, really
2. Ice cream (full fat)
3. Cheese
4. Sugary anything

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now
1. In bed
2. In Hawaii
3. In a jetted hot tub with some chilled, sparkling, delicious grape juice 
4. In my Hubbs' arms

Man, that meme was short, eh?  It leaves me strangely unfulfilled, so I'm adding my own unique and fun questions :)  I think you're allowed to do that on memes.  Maybe.

Four Grammatical/Mechanical Mistakes That Annoy Me
1. Using "as" incorrectly as a conjunction.  Why not try "because" or "since"?
2. You're vs. your
3. Run-on sentences with nary a comma in sight.
4. Failure to capitalize God and all the pronouns used for Him.

Four Colours I Won't Be Wearing Anytime Soon
1. Yellow
2. Army olive green
3. Orange
4. Anything neon

Four Genres I Dislike Reading
1. Fantasy (unless it's Harry Potter but that really isn't fantasy)
2. Canadian literature about life on the Prairies or in the Maritimes, or some other boring topic that involves far too much imagery and not enough action
3. Anything by Joseph Conrad
4. Chick-lit

Four Things I Like About Autumn
1. Halloween, even though technically we do not observe this occasion
2. The crisp cool air
3. The sound of colourful leaves crunching beneath my feet
4. New school supplies (something I've always enjoyed, even long after my time as a student)

Four Frivolous Things I Enjoy Spending Money On
1. Purses and shoes that technically I do not need
2. Lancome make-up (but only when it comes with a bonus gift!)
3. Gel nails (the fake ones look so much better than my real ones!)
4. Nice gel pens (I dislike ballpoint and generally refuse to use these)


Happy Thursday, everyone! :)


Undeserved

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I have no reason to complain.  None.  Zero, zilch, nada.  Yesterday I had the worst day for nearly no reason.  I was grouchy and paranoid, whiny and annoyed, and my dear innocent Hubbs took the brunt of my negativity.

Despite my b*tch*ness, however, Hubbs came home from a quickie grocery shopping trip with a dozen white roses in hand for me.  Absolutely undeserved, and completely humbling.  I love them.  My roses look like the ones in the picture but there is also a giant fern garnishing my bouquet, and my arrangement consists only of roses and hypericum.

Anyway, Hubbs, whenever you read this - I love you so very much and thank you again for the roses.  You always manage to put a smile not only on my face but on my heart as well! xoxox


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Debbie Downer Denied!

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Don't get me wrong.  I love my life, we have our health and our family and also all that we need to survive and to thrive in this beautiful city of ours, and I am blessed beyond belief.  If there is anyone who should be eternally grateful and thankful, it is me.  And I am - to God be the glory.

However, it seems that the rest of the world is in meltdown mode, and that's a total downer on my party.  In Vancouver, the news du jour is the disaster called the Olympic Athlete's Village (Millenium Water, or whatever those condos are called).  Long story short, it's going to cost taxpayers a LOT of money to bail out this project (which comes with a completion guarantee to initial financiers), and at a time when real estate is not moving (meaning that the ability to recoup the losses in full is pretty much impossible).  In real estate, the 0-down, 40-year amortization mortgages approved under Harper's government have left our nation in a recession that will likely rival the one being experienced by our neighbours to the south.  Many of our friends have lost massive equity in their homes, and some may end up losing their homes if property values continue to plummet and interest rates go up even a percent.  Meanwhile, jobs are being cut continent-wide, people are being laid off, and all the while food prices are still on the rise.  The D-word (depression) has come up in conversation more than once, and there is much uncertainty about tomorrow.

On Sunday, our pastor preached on Ecclesiastes 7, and basically challenged us with the message that adversity is not always bad, and prosperity is not always good, at least where God's purposes are concerned.  Prosperity makes it hard for people to trust in God or to put Him first; it is all too easy to rely on things, and to put one's faith in what one has.  This is why Jesus made the statement about the camel and the needle; it is not God who prevents the wealthy from entering His kingdom, it is the wealthy themselves, and their idolatry in their possessions.  

By contrast, the testing of our faith, which oft comes by way of adversity, is what produces perseverance and confirms the authenticity of our faith.  It is in the valleys of life that our hope is secured in God alone, and our faith refined by fire, or it is in those same valleys that our hope turns elsewhere and our idols are revealed.  During those low points in life, we have a unique opportunity to refocus our priorities on what is truly important, and to emerge from the darkest days being more steadfast in what (and who) we believe.  When we wrestle with the hard questions (the why? and the how?), we are reminded of our mortality and the hope of glory that is yet to come.  In reframing our existence that way, the circumstances of the day seem more temporal relative to the eternity that we are preparing ourselves for in this life.

It scares me to think that the day of adversity is coming for me, for us, as well.  Pastor Norm challenged us to welcome the adversity rather than to be overwhelmed by it, but I have to confess that I'm not a big fan of refinement-by-fire.  I'm not keen on having to suffer, and I am fearful of what that suffering will reveal about me and my faith and my hope.  I can only pray that, like the apostle Paul, I will be able to be content in any circumstance, when I have plenty and when I am in need, and to be able to enjoy what I do have, whether it is little or much.  King Solomon suggests, in Ecclesiastes, that the ability to enjoy what we have is a gift of God, and only possible by the power of God.  I pray that God would empower me to find joy and blessing in everything, every day, and to be mindful and thankful at all times.

Otherwise, it's just too easy to sink into Debbie Downer mode when I look around me and see so much suffering and anxiety and fear in the world.  


Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Hubbs Meme

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Thanks to my friend and now fellow-blogger Rain, I have a fun new meme to complete.  What makes it more fun is that on this Friday night, I get to discover just how well I know my Hubbs through this series of Q & A's.  As I answer, I will solicit his responses, just so you know I'm not cheating ;)

1. He's sitting in front of the television, what is on the screen?
My answer: A Wii game.  Hubbs doesn't watch TV.
Hubbs' answer: Probably a Wii game.

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?
My answer: Nothing.  He prefers bare salads for the sake of healthiness.  If push comes to shove, he'd get some sort of balsamic vinagrette.
Hubbs' answer: None.

3. What's one food he doesn't like?
My answer: Anything with ketchup, and sweet & sour pork.
Hubbs' answer: Ketchup.

4. You go out for a drink; what does he order?
My answer: A fruity sweet cocktail of some kind.  He'll also drink Corona Extra.
Hubbs' answer: A martini or Corona.

5. Where did he go to high school?
My answer: LSL Catholic school.
Hubbs' answer: LSL Catholic school.

6. What shoe size does he wear?
My answer: Euro 43.  I have no idea what that is in regular men's shoe sizes, but maybe an 11?
Hubbs' answer: Size 10.5.  

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be?
My answer: Transformers.  He also likes those Peanuts collections.  He also used to collect a ton of comics.  Space has made any type of "collecting" a near impossibility, unfortunately.
Hubbs' answer: Transformers.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich?
My answer: Grilled paninis with soft white cheeses and lots of Italian meats and pesto sauce.
Hubbs' answer: See above.  He said I was right on the nose about that one.

9. What would he eat every day if he could?
My answer: Ice cream, pizza, and copious amounts of fresh seafood.
Hubbs' answer: Sushi.

10. What is his favorite cereal?
My answer: Honeycomb.
Hubbs' answer: Honeycomb.

11. What would he never wear?
My answer: Tighty whitey briefs, Speedos, and white socks.
Hubbs' answer: Any kind of women's clothing.  And everything I answered, apparently.

12. What is his favorite sports team?
My answer: Vancouver Canucks.  Hubbs really isn't into sports at all.
Hubbs' answer: Montreal Canadiens.

13. Who did he vote for in the last Federal Election?
My answer: Elizabeth May - the Green Party.
Hubbs' answer: The Green Party.

14. Who is his best friend?
My answer: Me! Well, and Jesus.
Hubbs' answer: Me (Mrs. Loquacious, not himself)! And God.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do?
My answer: Yell.  Be mean.  Stress out over things.
Hubbs' answer: Bite my nails.  And also everything I listed above.

16. How many provinces has he lived in?
My answer: Two.
Hubbs' answer: Two.

17. What is his heritage?
My answer: German & Ukrainian.
Hubbs' answer: Ukrainian & German.

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what would it be?
My answer: Chocolate cake with skor bits? Hubbs is pretty good about eating anything I make.
Hubbs' answer: Black forest cake.

19. Did he play sports in high school?
My answer: No.
Hubbs' answer: Not really.

20. What could he spend hours doing?
My answer: Looking in the mirror, playing video games, surfing the Net, and eating ice cream (not necessarily in that order or together)
Hubbs' answer: Programming, working out, walking around Stanley Park, and playing video games.

21. What's something cool about him?
My answer: Hubbs is incredibly funny, he owns white shoes, and he has an incredible memory.
Hubbs' answer: Everything. ;)

22. What's something not cool about him?
My answer: Nothing!
Hubbs' answer: Nothing. ;)


Friday, January 09, 2009

I am a Smoke-Free Zone

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If you have watched or read the news in the last couple of days, there's no doubt that you chanced across the new findings released by the journal Pediatrics that have concluded the ignorance of the masses to the harmfulness of "third-hand smoke," particularly to infants and children, and by extension, preganant women.  The recent study concludes that most smokers have not yet recognized the harmfulness of third-hand smoke, and their attempts at protecting children from second-hand smoke actually fall short of truly protecting their still-developing lungs from the toxins released by cigarettes.

The actual third-hand smoke research came out in 2004, but it was this new study that coined the term third-hand smoke to represent the toxins that collect in the dust, the air, the clothing and hair, and the furniture of smokers.  It is the "smell" you detect after your smoking colleagues come back from their collective smoke break, the scent that lingers on your clothes after a night at the smoky bar, and the weird yellowy colour that you notice on the furniture of your smoking relatives.  That is the third-hand smoke to which the term refers, and that is what infants and children are exposed to, in spite of the best efforts of smokers in their lives to keep them from it.  The carcinogenic toxins in the third-hand smoke have, according to the studies, been linked to things such as lower IQ, cognitive deficits (like lower reading scores!), and cancer risks, to name a few.

I won't get into the details of the studies, since a simple "google" search will yield large numbers of returns on the topic.  However, as I have been following these news articles and reading them online, I've noticed a substantial number of vitriolic comments criticizing or rejecting the findings released by Pediatrics as well as by Prof. Georg Matt of the original 2004 study.  An equal number of responses from the non-smoking camp defending these studies and condemning smokers have turned simple online news articles into battle zones between the pro- and anti-smoking groups.

The truth is, nobody can force anyone to quit smoking.  It is a personal decision based on a number of variables specific to an individual.  Patrick Swayze told Barbara Walters just the other night that despite his very malignant and aggressive pancreatic cancer, he can't kick his cigarette habit.  Obviously for him, even the threat of death isn't a compelling enough reason to nix the smokes.  My dad quit the moment he realized how badly my bro's asthma was.  For him, that was the last straw, but prior to that he probably had no idea that the second-hand smoke his daughters had been breathing in for the last decade of their lives was harming them, too!  

I am a huge proponent of educating the public, and of further longitudinal investigations into the effects of smoke exposure on children.  Personally, though I know that a handful of studies will likely be insufficient evidence for a smoker to quit, I believe that a large number of studies concluding the same thing might actually offer a pretty strong case for getting rid of the vice. 

In the meantime, however, I believe that we non-smokers have the responsibility of protecting ourselves (and our children) from smoke exposure.  Though we may not have a choice as to whether people around us smoke or not, we certainly have a choice about where we go and how long we stay.  If we are convinced that we want to give our kids every chance at physical and intellectual health, then we will make the decision to keep them (and ourselves) from being unnecessarily exposed to toxins that might endanger us.  If we keep ourselves educated about the issue, we can be armed with the logical rationale for our behaviour, even if it seems a bit extreme to those around us.**

The answer does not lie in "converting" others with our arguments, because it is a waste of time to try to change someone who is unwilling to change.  However, the answer (in part, anyway) does lie in offering a solid case for non-smoking and in helping others to be aware of the effects of their behaviour.  

Anyway, that's my two cents on the issue.

**I do not mean extreme in the truly extreme fashion.  In no way do I advocate raising kids in a bubble; kids need to eat dirt and play outside and do kid things so that they can build confidence and curiosity as they explore their world.  I do mean extreme as in avoiding restaurants that allow smoking in the dining room (or at all!), and in choosing playgroups with non-smokers.  I do mean not allowing baby-sitters who are smokers to sit for my children, and insisting on a no-smoking policy in my home and my vehicle.