Tuesday September 02 , 2014

On Turning 1 and I Feel Fine

There’s increasing mention in western media of the effect the War on Gaza is having on Israelis who don’t support it. They’re in the same situation within Israel as we are here within Canada, except that their IDF is actively slaughtering the Palestinians next door while our HDC just champions the slaughter from half a world away.

Oh, sorry, HDC stands for Harper Death Cult. Feel free to steal it. Or misappropriate it, as is said of governing politicians who steal our money and give it to Conservative Party donors in Muskoka, etc.

Did you hear about the Conservative Party fundraiser that is targeting select groups in Canada while the slaughter in Gaza plays itself out until mission accomplished?

I mean, never mind Israel’s end game, what’s the HDC’s?

Today, too, I read an article in the Ottawa Citizen by an Iranian democracy activist living here. In it he regurgitates all the debunked Israeli talking points about Hamas, as if it isn’t the IDF killing all those Palestinian children sheltering at UN schools with weaponry courtesy the, yes, infinitely more murderous U.S.A.

Never forget, no wait, always remember – the U.S.A. is tops in murderousness.


I guess the idea is that readers will be more impressed if the propaganda comes from an Iranian than if it comes from Israel’s official spokesthingy, Mark Regev, who brings to mind Martin Short playing the sweaty CEO being interviewed by a reporter in that hilarious SCTV sketch of yesteryear. Except with a South African accent?

Obviously (which Harper says at least three times now in every sentence, so we won’t notice what a bunch of lying psychopathic douchebags he and his are?) and/or clearly (ditto) the world is being run by lying psychopathic douchebags who believe that life on earth is for war and death in heaven is for peace.

Also, that our Justice Minister is married to famous Iranian human rights activist, Nazanin Afshin-jam, and we don’t need an Iranian democracy activist to add gravitas to debunked Israeli talking points, thank you.

But that’s not what this entry is about because this entry is about the giant methane releasing craters popping up (down?) in Siberia.

No, that’s not what this entry is about, either, because this entry is about a celebration I attended the other night, a first year anniversary celebration of my sobriety, and how much I enjoyed it.

As is traditional in AA there was a speaker and medallion presentations and cake and a lot of talk and tears and laughter. Lots of laughter. I find it to be very therapeutic.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

That last part is tricky because to have the wisdom to know the difference means you have to be able to get out of your own way and I don’t know about you, but I’m surrounded by me barriers.

Also, I feel kind of fraudulent because I’m happy to not be drinking anymore and don’t care that I’m not smoking pot, either.

When I was sober for the decade or so that I was I felt challenged by it. Now I feel relieved.

I seem to be getting lighter. I have fewer friends but more acquaintances and I really enjoy living life this way. I thought I had a phobia of commitment but really I’m just socially egalitarian. Professionally, too, actually. I didn’t fit into the government, which is supposed to matter, I fit into retail which, whether it’s supposed to matter or not, doesn’t.

Good luck with all that, corporations.

Also, I like doing not much of anything and just hanging out at home. We have our windows open in summer and live chock a block with our neighbours, a mix of the commercial/residential . And yet we can hear birds chirping in our tiny backyard. Front door – restaurant traffic. Back door – nature sounds.

But I’ve been thinking about Tom Flanagan lately because I’m finally reading a book by Barbara Gowdy that caused a lot of controversy a while back, “Helpless”.

It’s about a pedophile who kidnaps a little girl and I recall that Barbara Gowdy took a fair bit of shit for portraying him somewhat sympathetically. I’m still reading it so I’ll blog more about it once I’m done, but I thought I’d give you a head’s up of coming attractions.

Remind me to see “Boyhood”. I need to appreciate movies more than I do.

I’m still chuffed about joining an anti-poverty group with a mission to get the vote out when I’m disillusioned entirely with politics. Talk about ironic activism. But the young woman who rang the doorbell was so full of energy and commitment, the least I could do was pay her to leave my house before I contaminated her with my apathy.

In the meantime, I continue to downsize. I rid us of an entire corporation the other day. It was surprisingly easy, I think, although I’ll have to wait until I get my next energy bill. I’ll let you know that full story then. In the meantime, stay away from the 1-800 number and call the 416 number instead. I went from Florida to somewhere near Kingston, Ontario, and I’m pretty sure it made ALL the difference.

If any. Like I said, I’ll let you know.

I read the other day that Walmart is in trouble.

So there, it’s not all bad news, is it.

Downsizing is the new black, the future, living in the moment. Pass it on.

Life is good at 1 year old and counting.


Not Worthless, Work Less

So I joined a grassroots anti-poverty organization yesterday by giving a young woman who dropped by the house a cheque for a couple of hundred bucks. I dunno. I just felt like it. Unfortunately their main focus is finding ways to get low income people out to vote and I’m so off everybody right now that I can’t imagine voting for anyone ever again.

We’re all anti-voters now, I guess. And certainly if Facebook is any indication our politicians are so far off base they may as well be on Pluto if they think condemning the Palestinians of Gaza to slaughter by Israel is winning them more votes than they’re losing, from anyone, least of all Jewish Canadians.

Interesting that our politicians can’t see that they aren’t standing with Israel so much as they’re standing with the rightwing nationalists currently attacking the anti-war civilians in Israel who are standing with the anti-war civilians in Gaza.

But the group is also focusing on regulation of the telecommunications industry, as well as cheap internet for those who can’t afford the expensive kind, so I can get behind that, although I think internet should be free.

Oh, and a $14/hr minimum wage. The group is fighting for that, too.

I want a $15/hr minimum wage but I’ll settle for $14/hr for now. No, don’t tell me corporations can’t afford it. They’ve been hoarding grabillions for years. A $15/hr minimum wage would force them to use their money wisely by putting it back into the economy from whence it came.

Like corporations, I’m so cheap it’s pathetic. Maybe even pathological, but I’m getting better at thinking of money as a tool and not something one should hoard for a rainy day or an even cheaper one.

Man-made climate change, ironically, has helped a lot with my outlook on money vis a vis the future, which belongs to the 1% anyway, and so why are we saving our money at all.

Actually, it probably belongs to the 1%’s nannies and chauffeurs, who will realize that it’s easier to just kill and eat the 1% than go through all the rigamarole of forming a union and striking for more pay/less work, as we used to do.

Elizabeth Renzetti, my favourite columnist in case I haven’t mentioned that before, wrote about work in Saturday’s Globe and how business is equated with virtue, although I’m paraphrasing. Maybe even inventing.

I have always depended on the slackitude of others to put a check on my own drive, which you may be surprised to hear is quite driven.

I always think I should be doing something more productive than whatever it is I’m doing at any given time. What is it about some of us (women) that we can’t just lay around on the couch reading like some others of us (men) do?

In spite of how hard it is on my feet (and I bought really good shoes while I was ‘home’ visiting my very old mother, who still gives me her credit card to go shopping even though I’m fifty-five years old) I enjoy being one of the people as I sell ladieswear to others of the people who are now better heeled than I am.

It keeps me youthful, I think, and I’m vain enough to prefer it that to riches.

Gosh, now I don’t know if vanity is a virtue or a vice.

Once you’ve adapted to making only minimum wage and working part-time, and it’s not even that hard to do it, there’s no going back to full-time, although one can always use more money, I guess.

As far as I can tell, raising the minimum wage from $10.25 to $11.00/hr has had no impact on my hours, as threatened, and in fact I’m pretty sure I’ve been getting more. Really, what corporations try to avoid is letting part-time workers become full-time workers, even though it would be to the benefit of everyone if they did.

Part-time workers don’t have disposable income and so it all goes towards essentials. You’d think corporations would look out for each other better than they do.

Yesterday a young woman came to the door claiming to represent local organic farmers. She was from NutraFarms, which didn’t sound very local or organic so I googled it and, of course, it’s as I suspected – nothing of the sort.

And Enbridge is in trouble in Manitoba for not living up to its pipeline safety commitments, which served to remind me yet again that I’m a customer of Enbridge, not because I want to be, but because I don’t seem to have any real choice.

I don’t understand how their minds work, the people who think any of this makes sense. And yet, they seem to be increasing in number, the Nonsensicals, as I call them now that I just thought of it.

Meanwhile, the less I work, the less money I make, the better I feel.

Who’d a thunk it?



Dear Mr. Prime Minister (Again)

Almost every other night now there’s a story on CBC’s The National about how Calgary is a real hotbed for wannabe Islamic terrorists and, well, you know how one thing leads to another.

So yeah, I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve decided that, like, maybe we should bomb Calgary in defense of Israel now instead of waiting until later when Israel has to do it.

I mean, it seems kind of unfair to make Israel do all the bombing, don’t you think?

Also, if we bomb Calgary now it might destroy all the wannabe Islamic terrorists and the whole world will have a brighter future, not just the Calgarians who survive, if any even do.

And, you know, the population is growing pretty fast out there and the infrastructure isn’t keeping up and it’s so polluted and yadda yadda blah blah, life can’t be that great for Calgarians anyway.

You know, omelet/eggs, and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.


Getting the Big Things Right

My friend Antonia has a series of photos on her Facebook page commemorating the child victims of Israeli bombing of Gaza. One of the photos is of a little girl who brings to mind (for me) the photo of Anne Frank that graces the cover of her famous diary. She’s Palestinian, of course, the photo taken from a site called “Humanize Palestine”.

A couple of days ago I read an op/ed (online) from the Washington Post by Michael Oren. In it he essentially argues that a cull of the Palestinian population of Gaza will lead to a better future for survivors. I mean, it was insane what he was saying, and I was kind of shocked that I was reading it in a mainstream publication.

I don’t know. Maybe all the editors of the Washington Post are on holiday, it being July, but I wish someone would tip them off for next time that Michael Oren is insane and maybe don’t publish any more of his submissions.

Today I read a Globe article (online, although we also buy it most days, as we do the Ottawa Citizen) in which an Israeli army spokesperson (a man, though, I’m happy to specify) more or less says of the recent bombing of a UN shelter that an errant shell didn’t do it.

That’s right, it was an errant shell that didn’t do it.

Okay, then. Best check the errant shell warranty.

There was no spin because it was a straightforward (what a long word straightforward is) news article, not a column, and yet it was as if the copy editors had switched all the periods with eye-rolling emoticons.

That was the effect it had on me, anyway, but I’m sure there were plenty of other readers shaking their heads about the UN being in bed with Hamas and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc because, you know, if you’re not with one side you must be with the other.

Unless you’re Switzerland, I guess, because apparently nothing says neutral like safeguarding rich people’s money from taxes.

Then I read another article (online) from the Toronto Star that re-referenced Justin Trudeau’s decision to line up behind Stephen Harper and take a side in this violent conflict.

I mean, it’s not rocket science, it’s rockets, with men in power on both sides firing them at each other, one side managing to kill scores more of the other sides children, and that’s the side our politicians have freely decided to line up behind?

Well if Hamas is no good for anyone, and it isn’t, then neither are the men currently leading our big three political parties.

They can’t even get the big things right. Why trust them with the small.

There. A silver lining in this latest violent confrontation in the Middle East – I get to re-think everything again.





From More Right to More Write

Yes, I’ve been away. Thanks for noticing. I was off for a visit with very old people who are sitting ducks for our rapacious telecommunications giants.

If I can get the documentation sorted, I’ve got a good story for CBC’s Go Public. I’ve already emailed them with a head’s up, so fingers crossed that they give a rat’s ass about Canadian seniors being ripped off by their own blue chip stock companies.

I refer to contracts that have been “negotiated” on behalf of unwitting seniors by retirement residence corporations (rhymes with Chartwell) with their buddy CEOs in telecommunications, rhymes with “Hospitality Network” and “Shaw”.

I’d say it crosses the border from disgusting to criminal, but we’ll see.

Ironically, Rogers isn’t specifically involved in this one, although we’ll be leaving Rogers anyway due to a recent bill that was more than double what I was expecting. My follow-up communications (I kept my cool, being in the ladieswear retail sales racket, myself) left me decided – there is no justice, just the taking of one’s leave.

And so it will be that we shall take our business to a probably no more deserving telecommunications outfit but one that is at least smaller and more specialized, rhymes with “Bell” not exactly coming out smelling like a rose, either, after sorting through my mother’s bills.

I don’t care what it costs (and it’s cheaper with the two outfits my son has investigated for me so far) I just refuse to give Rogers any more business. Ever. No, don’t call or write, please. When I said my next communication with you will be to break up – forever – I meant it. Your bribes just follow extortion followed by more bribes, and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

While I was away I saw an interview Terry Milewski did on CBC Newsworld (we cancelled cable over a year ago and so don’t get CBC Newsworld, which is sort of criminal, really, if you stop and think about it, since CBC is supposed to be our public broadcaster) with a former ambassador to Russia (and Ukraine, I believe). He stressed how important it is for the government of Canada to not take a side in violent conflicts, but rather to broker peace. Always.

It sounds so simple and the phrase “peace broker” is something we’ve grown up with here in Canada and yet somehow we’ve managed to stick ourselves with more or less elected (don’t forget they cheated – never forget they cheated) men and women who believe the exact opposite.

We’re all warriors now, I guess.

It was the not taking a side part of his advice that really struck me. It may have been the context that I was in, as my dining companions last week ranged in age from 85-99, and one doesn’t want to waste words because for sure you’ll be repeating them, but something clicked in my head.

“That guy! Listen go him! He may look like John Hurt on a bender, but listen to him!”

And he was even referring to the downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine, not the bombing of a UN shelter in Gaza.

But my taxi driver on the way to the airport said much the same thing about his government’s taking of sides in the violent conflict raging in Israel and Gaza right now, his government being Canadian. He was Arab, I don’t know from where, and he was bewildered by his government, our government, the government of ALL Canadians, weighing in on a side in a violent conflict in the Middle East.

As he put it, “We shouldn’t be taking a side. It runs too deep there. We can’t take the Israeli or the Palestinian side. It just makes one side think it’s more right than the other side and that’s what started the bombing in the first place.”

“More right”. I love that phrase. Children being blown to bits playing on a beach and the government of Canada has seen fit to take the side of one of the two parties responsible for it.

But that’s not what this entry is about because this entry is about an article I read (yes, on Facebook) about impulsiveness being the flip side of procrastination. And, of course, whenever I read an article about procrastination, it’s really to do with writing and why so few of us ever write a book.

Coincidentally, having just visited my mother and her friends at a seniors’ residence, I received a lot of encouragement with regards to writing and so feel extra failure-ish in my neglect to do so.

Although, to be fair to me it’s only been a couple of decades of kicking around the idea (total lie – I started kicking around the idea when I was about ten years old).

In other words, they expect a book to come from all my stories about working in retail (or anything, really). And why wouldn’t they? I can write and I tell stories.

It’s terrible, really, my deliberateness in not writing a book.

So to make sure I spend the time writing a book, something I’ve wanted to do since I was ten years old (the article recommends a word count per day, say, “write 400 words a day”, as opposed to “write a book”) I also plan to check my impulsive behaviour, which for writers is doing all those things we do instead of writing a book.

No, I don’t want to stop blogging. I may not even stop tweeting (which I don’t do a lot of anyway since all I do is shout the odd one liner out into cyber space – so please stop trying to have a conversation with me on Twitter – I don’t know how and my expertise on social media has peaked along with all my other technological know-how). But I do plan to stop commenting here and there, so if you’re reading this, it’s not you, it’s me, and it’s not even me, it’s me trying to write a book.

Blame old people. Once they get an idea in their shrinking grey heads…

Also, I may blog the odd story here because what the hell. The instant gratification of blogging may even help offset the delayed gratification of writing a book, which I suspect is thing one with writers who have no trouble blogging but have a lot of trouble booking.

And really, with regards to political blogging, what is there to say about current affairs when grown men living here in Canada pretend not to know that taking a side in a violent conflict involving two or more parties elsewhere in the world just adds to the conviction of one side that it is “more right” than the other, a conviction that inevitably leads to the deaths of more children.

I mean, for me, it goes back to writer and nature lover Timothy Findley’s story about going to the hardware store to buy a contraption of some kind that would prevent bigger birds from getting at the seed he intended for smaller birds, and the salesman, confused, asking him, “So do you like birds or not?”

And Timothy Findley answers by way of correcting his behaviour because, of course, yes, he liked birds.

Maybe someone should put a similar question to Stephen Harper, “So do you like children or not?”

Because maybe he’ll get it, too, and correct his behaviour.

Who knows?


Let Myself Be

A Facebook friend posted some Sarah Palin commentary by way of a comedian claiming she’s not hot because she’s middle-aged and mocking the fact that she (actually her daughter, but never mind) had a baby with Down’s.

It’s not because I’m a woman that it’s insulting and not funny, it’s because I’m a person that it’s insulting and not funny – right?

I know, I know, most men would find it insulting and not funny, too, but I wonder at the need for some of us to push that envelope, make fun of everything and everybody because everything and everybody is fair game.

Is it? Are we?

Meanwhile, I’d also tweeted my lament for the fact that the lives of the world’s girls matter less than which country’s men can kick more balls into a net.

I know, I know, social media is no place to be serious, but two of my Facebook friends, men, decided to post comments to that effect, making har har with the lament by posting about lingerie tournaments and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

I get it, or got it, and liked their comments (because I’m a woman and want men to like me) and one even messaged me to say he doesn’t mean to be taken seriously, just gets carried away, boys will be boys and all that.

I mean, we’re not talking unfriending or anything, and, of course, if you can’t stand the heat – right?

What form of aggression is that?

I know, I know, it’s not them, it’s me. I’m tired of the argument and have been for years now, I just don’t know how to stop participating in it, or even starting it.

So I just deleted three comments from Dr. Dawg’s blog because I have to learn my lesson and stop wasting everyone’s time while I try to be understood.

Silly me, I have my own blog. I can paraphrase my comment here, and you can read it or skip over it to the next bit, which is a slice of real life, so very sad and unfair and don’t look for any silver lining in it because there isn’t one.

No, not Israel’s attempt to annihilate the Palestinians of Gaza while Stephen Harper and John Baird and the rest of our Christian fundamentalist cabinet cheer on Benjamin Netanyahu, who at least seems to know that what he’s doing is inexcusable.

No one mentions it now, but before lap dancing was legalized, strippers campaigned against it because they knew that they wouldn’t get hired as dancers unless they were willing to take on sex work as well.

Lap dancing is sex work, after all. I mean, there’s a disingenuous distinction between lap dancing and other forms of prostitution, but like I say – disingenuous.

Legalizing lap dancing didn’t make strippers richer or safer. It just made dancing on stage in a g-string as hopelessly old-fashioned as dancing on stage in a g-string and pasties.

It didn’t do anything to prevent rape and murder.

But I’m arguing with the arguers and their arguments, really, because I do believe that study I referred to in another blog entry, the one that claims we’ve had it all backwards since forever, that women are actually NOT meant to be monogamous, that we tire sexually of one man and soon enough want another. It’s a biological imperative, says the study, that we move on.

It’s a social imperative that we can’t.

Not so long ago even here a married woman couldn’t have her own bank account.

It’s a fact that my mother, a widow, was freer than any other mother I knew growing up. My Gram lived with us, of course, so built in babysitter, and my mother was a high school teacher (librarian) so she had a good job. Being a widow was different from being divorced, but I wonder, as much as she loved my father, if she has any regrets.

There is no stigma I’ve experienced equal to leaving hearth and home to be with another man. Did I imagine it? No, I plowed through it. The arguers can argue about the stigma faced by sex workers, but it’s intrigue we have, not “won’t she think of the children?!” I lived it. I know. Women are not supposed to leave hearth and home.

But what about that study? What if… The arguers say that men need prostitutes to get what they may not be getting at home. But what if they’re not getting it because their wives are supposed to have moved on already to another man, it’s just that, well, we’re NOT supposed to move on to another man, we’re supposed to fulfill our marital contractual obligations.

Eventually, I think, we need to ask if libertarianism is a natural outcome of corporate power and weakened government and whether or not this is it, this race to the bottom for work and wages.

Are we free now, libertarians?

A friend of my partner died recently, killed by our healthcare system, really. It’s beyond sad, mistakes were made, and then they were made worse because systems can’t admit to making mistakes, and so they can’t rectify them – human beings have to do that and we don’t allow them to because money – and now this beautiful smart fun young mother is dead.

It’s awkward for me. (I know, I know, but enough about her, Sooey, she’s dead, what about poor living you.) My partner’s set is young, younger than me. This woman was almost 20 years younger. And now I don’t drink, and I don’t smoke pot, and I don’t really hang out the way I used to, or at all.

I’m Mrs. Grundy now.

Anyway, when I first met her I thought what a good looking person she was and she had that attitude a lot of younger women have these days of letting it all hang out, not being a string bean, wearing a kind of frilly white dress with not much to it. She had to introduce herself a couple of times because I met her at an anniversary party for a couple of my partner’s acquaintance and I was meeting too many people at once, all of a similar age, at least a decade (mostly more than) younger than me.

So, the same. They all seemed the same.

Oh dear, just typing this I’m realizing how unlikely it all was. Am I making up the difference age makes. Did they see me as a fallen woman? Do they still?

No one really knows until they’re in it themselves, although I might have imagined feeling judged. There may just have been some confusion as to why I was there.

So it was an anniversary party, but also New Year’s, and eventually we found ourselves outside by the dumpster passing around a joint. Blueberry was mentioned as an ingredient and I said to her, “You know this guy, right?” I was referring to the good time Charlie who was passing around the joint.

“No. I just met him.”

“Omigawd. Aren’t you a nurse?! Should we be smoking this?!”

“Of course not. I don’t think it’s even doing anything.”

And she laughed. She had that throaty laugh really awesome singers have, and she was an awesome singer, such a beautiful voice, really powerful and moving. Just then there was some commotion, a bunch of kids were partying one level down from us in the same building and someone had had too much of something. And she stepped into the breach, hailed a taxi, and sent him off to the hospital with friends.

The responsible medical assessment having been made (under the influence, too!) she slipped back into party mode, which never included much drinking, she wasn’t a drinker, but for that moment the age difference disappeared.

I also felt reassured about the anonymous pot that we agreed was doing something after all. She was a professional under the party dress.

The party continued elsewhere but my partner and I went home. He would have partied on if I hadn’t been there, of course, and I know that, but he’s a good partner who respects his elders and so he saw me home.

In the intervening years she had health problems that were the direct result of mistakes made by a healthcare system she knew better than to trust but what can you do other than do your damnedest to get better anyway.

I try to learn from other people how to live and let live, including myself, letting myself live. When someone dies they’re gone, and we only have each other left and that’s just because we’re alive. We’re all there is.

She was a believer, which surprised me, very rooted in an old-fashioned faith that seemed at odds with her behavour, except that it wasn’t because I left off religion when I was young and so I’m out-of-date, and I realize if she’d wasted any time trying to explain herself on the internet, she wouldn’t have had much luck.

Fortunately, she didn’t, because her life was short enough.

Meanwhile, here’s where I am now – the real reason AA , which is really quite out-of-date, still works, I think, is because there’s no crosstalk.

So I don’t have to explain myself, do I. I just have to let myself be.


Memories, I Have a Few … I Think…

You know, I look at Brazil and it’s hard not to be irritated that losing in the World Cup has devastated its population, with rumours that at least one member of the team will be dead in a month as a result.

All I see is the sexism. Teams of grown men vying to kick more balls into a net while other grown men troll the streets of Rio de Janeiro for girls to buy.

Hallelujah, we’ve come a long way, baby.

But I grow old.

Speaking of which, one of the benefits of my job is that I work alongside young women, the university girls (although they aren’t necessarily, I just call them that), and so I hear a lot of their conversation and it reminds me of the thrill of the hunt.

There was a time when boys were just for fun. I mean, the fun was actually being had with the girls while we hunted for the boys, but it really was everything and I love that I get to be around it again because, even though I have daughters, we don’t reveal that part of our lives to our mothers.

There’s a scene in Frasier (remember him?) when Roz is on the phone and Frasier is hanging about waiting to talk to her and he hears her going on about men and sex like she’s talking to a girlfriend and then she says, “Bye, mom. Love you.”

It’s funny because it’s not true.

That was the real relationship on the show, though, wasn’t it. Frasier and Roz.

But I recall telling my kids when they were pre-teens, “Please close your MSN chat when you leave the computer. I really don’t want to know.”

Terrible. I’ll never win Mother-of-the-Year now, I guess.

And we forget, don’t ask me how, that there was a time when all we cared about was stepping out. For me that time was reborn in my 40s when I went online. I was re-remembering just last night about traveling to Toronto from Ottawa to meet up with people at fests that would draw in even more strangers, strangers not just from the internet, including one David Miller, a mostly unknown candidate for mayor.

It was so much fun. Alas, I was a wife, and so the timing was terrible.

Shameful. I’ll never win Wife-of-the-Year, either. Of course, I don’t care about winning wife-of-the-year because that award goes to the husband anyway.

I’ve no one to blame but myself, of course, none of us do. One minute we’re all about fun, the next we’re working harder for less money and tying everybody down to a traditional grind.

No wait, the working harder for less money part came first, didn’t it.

The other day one of the university girls (actually a manager who didn’t graduate from high school) opined that she’d like to meet a guy with money so he could help her realize her professional ambitions.

The thing is, coming from her (she goes through men like water) it sounded like a solid business plan, not a back to the ’50s lament, and I heard myself saying, “Why don’t you focus on finding one?”

While I thought, “Good luck with all that”.

Because we forget but back in the day when I roped one off from the herd and tied him down I was financially independent with a fun job and a social life where my only rule was “no two nights in a row”.

In other words, I was one of the university girls I’m working alongside now except for the “no two nights in a row” rule and a union.

He was a lot like most other young men then and now. Not up to much, if you know what I mean, and you do, I’m sure.

Impoverished and alone with his Pong and bong and stereo. So yeah, having fun in his young man way that, for some reason I honestly don’t understand, a young woman will pretend to abide until she’s hopelessly trapped herself in a relationship with him, at which point she will try to make him over into someone… better.

Once in the relationship, though, it was like that Seinfeld episode when George is suddenly Elaine’s professional and social superior. No sooner were we hitched than he made more money. Then we had kids and I ended up a dependent, a stay-at-home mother while he traveled hither and yon (i.e. cities with regional offices) with the sorts of colleagues I had so much fun with back in another life.

I can’t see the university girls enduring as I did but maybe I’m wrong. I’m happy now, having a different kind of fun than the fun that made me happy back in the day, but I am definitely the exception among my contemporaries re the second fun spurt.

Anyway, I know I started it all going uphill/downhill with a denial of fun, a switch suddenly flipped, and I can’t help but hope the university girls do it  differently, as much as I know they probably won’t.

Except maybe for the working harder for less money part. Still, we’ve come a long way baby – not – since it’s only because young men aren’t working much at all, are they.



And English, English starts with an “E”, too!

I’m getting ready, set, go to re-start writing a real live book again.

I’m not calling it “Shopgirl”, which Steve Martin stole already and which my sister pointed out is a pretty dated title for a book about someone who works retail.

Is “Not Your Mom’s Ladieswear” too inside?

It’s a riff on “Not Your Mom’s Jeans”.

Also, it is your mom’s ladieswear.

I got called in to work yesterday on my day off because I’m so essential to operations now that the store can’t go a day without my help. It was fortuitous because I spent $60 the other day trying to keep up with the neighbours, whose landscaping tastes run from twee to precious (ours run from wishful to if only), after vowing not to spend a dime after the $200 I spent last summer (only $150 of which was wasted, our $50 Dwarf Korean Lilac is doing just fine, thanks for asking), so getting called in to work on my day off means $50 I wasn’t expecting.

Don’t worry, I don’t really expect money anymore, not in Stephen Harper’s Canada. But that’s okay. Bring on The Apocalypse, I say. The sooner we humanoids exit planet Earth, the more likely it is that better species will survive.

Speciesist, I’m not.

A Conservative MP (the media has taken to calling them Tories again, which I suppose they more or less are, having fully digested the former Progressive Conservatives who were never progressive anyway) stepped in it at the Bill C-36 hearings when he asked a sex worker if she would have felt her freedom of expression was infringed upon if police had rescued her during her horrific rape.

(She had just previously described being raped by three Russians while working in a massage parlour and was on the Hill to express her opposition to Bill C-36, which many Canadians believe will further endanger the lives of sex workers while we supposedly progress to a prostitution-less (free?) society.)

The Conservative MP in question has no idea he stepped in it, of course.

Meanwhile, everyone and her Aunt Thelma is outraged by his misspakenness, but really, didn’t he just misspake out loud what all Conservatives believe anyway – that our publicly funded police agencies should only enforce laws made by Conservative Party of Canada Members of Parliament?

I don’t know, it’s all too back to the future for me, how Feminists are now labelled RadFems by a prostitution lobby that pretends to be all about female liberation (when it’s all about money) because we aren’t gung Ho about the decriminalization of an industry that explicitly objectifies women as sex objects.

So I’m out of that debate because I’m not into it, I’m just not into it, and there’s only so much time to waste in an internet day.

Also, people who recognize that there is no defeat of The Palestinians that isn’t also a defeat of The Israelis vs people who don’t. I’m out of that debate, too.

But last night I engaged my son in a little random back and forth, which I very occasionally do, about an article I read concerning our GDP, the measurement of which doesn’t factor in all the publicly funded goodness behind it. He is mostly of the opinion that all powers that be are idiots because everything is so stupid (as much as I would like him to venture forth into the work world, I don’t know what sort of example I’m providing as to the point of it all, coming home exhausted with $40 or $50 to show for it, five or six days a week) but like me he hadn’t realized just how idiotic and stupid.

Imagine, all these years of politicians going on and on about our GDP, with various and sundry offspring of Paul Demarais Sr. lecturing us about how we have to increase our productivity (so that Power Corp executives can get richer, I guess, which makes sense from Andre Demarais’ point of view, doesn’t it) and no one ever thought to point out that our GDP is almost entirely dependent on the money government invests in social and physical infrastructure.

Which brings me to an interesting exchange between one of my first bosses in the federal public service, an engineer, who had ventured into the store (she bought a dress that really is worth every penny, especially on sale for 1/2 off the sale price) when I introduced her to one of the university girls, who is studying economics.

(I’ve decided to think of myself as semi-retired for the rest of my life, having realized I can’t work for the government again now that I’ve experienced not working for the government.)

I said, “Hey, look at you two – both in disciplines that start with “E”!”

But the university girl said, “No way, she’s an engineer, economics would be easy for her!”

To which my first boss, bless her, said, “No honey, engineering is easy, it’s practical, concrete, makes sense. Economics is all theory. No thanks.”

(My own experience with Economics was disbelief that an entire discipline could be built around supply and demand, so I dropped the only course I ever tried to take in it.)

So while I had him handy I told him about a former colleague at Environment Canada, a lawyer, who caught me using the expression “spending money” in reference to hiring a lawyer to finalize my divorce from his dad.

“No, Sooey, you’re using money. Don’t say wasting or spending, say using. Money’s a tool, you’re using it, trading it (if you must), paying someone who has the expertise to fix a problem for you. Just do it. Use your money to hire a lawyer.”

And while it was difficult for me to think of money as just a tool (I think of it as everything, which is a horrible thing to admit, but I’m sure there are worse things I haven’t, so don’t think less of me yet) I managed, and I’m pretty sure it made the process much more bearable than if I’d continued to think of it as a one way transaction.

So I don’t know why I’m surprised to realize that the economists routinely cited by the media to explain how important GDP is to future “jobs, growth, and prosperity” (supposedly our future “jobs, growth, and prosperity”, although we might want to clarify) don’t factor in how important government investment in social and physical infrastructure is first.

I mean, really, we listen to all manner of politicians go on and on about spending/wasting tax dollars and almost never do we hear them admit that money is just a tool for use in fixing a problem.

Throw money at a problem? No, use it to fix one.

Of course, I would (finally) say that – my degree’s in English.






Still Not Funny, Bill Burr

The situation in Israel is like a parallel universe Romeo and Juliet, isn’t it? The latest news is that the settler family of one of the Israeli teens murdered by Palestinians (we assume, although I guess we don’t know that for sure) is currently hosting the family of the Palestinian teen who was beaten up by Israeli police, who is also the cousin of the Palestinian teen who was murdered by Israeli settlers.

Netanyahu is stupid like Harper is stupid, though, so good luck to the sane people of the Middle East, if there are any left living (there).

The other day a FB friend, who doubles as a brilliant political satirist, posted a video of Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band singing their hit song – not – “Don’t Worry”. He has quirky taste, let’s say, and while the words “unspeakably awful” come to my mind, watch it yourself.

Anyway, I forget how it happened, but I ended up watching a video of John Lennon singing with Chuck Berry except with Yoko Ono backing them on the tambourine and random shrieking “Eeeeowwww!”

Unfortunately, Bill Burr, who is apparently a comedian, took it upon himself to try and be funnier than Yoko Ono by overlaying the video with with sexist and violent commentary about how the Beatles were pussywhipped and John Lennon should have punched her in the face and yadda yadda blah blah.

I was struck again by how not funny he is because I’ve seen him not be funny before. It’s not the women-as-assholes-of-the-world part that’s not funny, because often it is (when other comedians do it), it’s his response to the women-as-assholes-of-the-world part that isn’t funny.

I know, I know, funny is subjective, and I guess I’m a little tired of genius, but imagine how tired Yoko Ono was of it. Yes, so tired she started the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band.

It’s brilliant, really, the “Eeeeowwww!” and the look on Chuck Berry’s face is so over-the-top WTF?! that I laughed out loud. But what makes it so funny, and what makes Bill Burr so not funny, is that both John Lennon and Chuck Berry sing and play on, troopers that they are, and then there’s another “Eeeeowwww!” and it’s just so unspeakably awful that, really, tears of laughter would have been running down my face except that Bill Burr takes away from the hilarity with his not funny commentary.

Here it is anyway. Do your best to ignore Bill Burr.

I just can’t wait for that lame ass schtick to be retired. I mean, I guess I’m not his audience, but really, it should get tickets to see the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band if it wants funny.

Because Bill Burr isn’t.



I’m making granola again today. It seems I need a new batch every couple of weeks, maybe less than that. My son and I eat a lot of it and I usually give a container to my daughter who’s living here as well.

I get a big pot, empty a 1 kg bag of rolled oats into it, add a 300 g bag of coconut, littler bags of almonds, pecans, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Then I boil 1/2 cup sunflower oil with 1/2 cup maple syrup and pour it over the oats, mix really well, sprinkle with salt, and spread some of it out on a couple of baking sheets lined with tinfoil.

Or not. Tinfoil is optional now that I’ve run out.

Bake at about 275 degrees on the upper rack in the oven for a while, then try to turn it so that the top gets as toasted as the bottom. Then empty it into another pot to cool while you continue to bake the rest. It tends to work out to two baking sessions with two baking sheets for each session.

Then add cranberries and raisins. If you’re a millionaire, add a bag of chocolate covered popped quinoa.

Serve with almond milk if you’re a real granola chomping chowder headed hippie like I’m becoming.

I want a guaranteed annual income so I can continue to make my own granola.

Today’s my day off and of course I’m questioning my job in retail now because it’s unbelievably pointless and stupid. I’m also exhausted from the sudden change in weather, and ridiculously overwhelmed by a couple of simple sewing projects. I’m converting a dress to a skirt and top, and I’m making a skirt.

Is anyone buying this command performance by Rob Ford? Not to tell tales out of school, but that’s not the language of AA he’s using, it’s the language of Rehab. There’s a big difference, you know, because AA is free, not just of money, but of ego. Rehab? Not so much. I think that may be what the money is for, actually, ego protection.

Someone who’d been to AA, for instance, and who’d admitted to herself and others that she’s an alcoholic, would say, “I’m an alcoholic.” She wouldn’t go on and on about having a disease, the disease made me do it, and I have to live with this disease every day until I die.

And she sure as hell wouldn’t appear on national television sipping her water from a Molson’s beer mug.

Yes, you are correct, it’s my one year anniversary.

There but for the grace of the group go I.