Tuesday April 28 , 2015

Dear Andrew Coyne

As you’ve no doubt heard, I’ve been busy not blogging because I’m trying to write a book about my past year and a half in retail.

I know, what’s a girl like me doing etc etc.

Well, a series of terribly unambitious decisions, I guess, is the most honest explanation.

So it’s go big or go home time now, for sure. I even got giddy on sugar pie the other night and decided to insert place-savers for cartoons. They’re hilarious, although I’ve only drawn them in my head. Still, so far, so good.

I’ve got lots of words, too, including dialogue. It’s funny. You should buy a copy when it’s done. I can black out any naughty bits if you’d like – a custom book, just for you.

Anyway, I’m writing to you because up until yesterday I was on Twitter, but just to shout one-liners out into cyber space – the very reason Neil McDonald left Twitter and as far as I know has never returned. And it was great because I’d just make a couple of awesome tweets and then go about my day not caring about what anybody else was up to on Twitter.

But then, out of the blue yesterday, I learned how to follow a conversation.

No, I cannot get out of here.

So now instead of writing my book I’m following conversations on Twitter.

Now, I know you left Twitter once because Peter Mansbridge announced it on The National, which he did not do when Neil McDonald left Twitter, but whatever – I need to know how you did it.

Seriously, this is for real. My retirement (although I’m younger than I look – no wait, I look younger than I am – picture a middle-aged PeeWee Herman) depends on me becoming either a bestselling author (Canadian) or being discovered by Atom Egoyan, should he happen by the store to buy something over-priced for his mother.

Anyway, write soon.


Sooey Says

P.S. Send money.



Just a pop in to say that it feels almost this morning as if a little justice has finally been served, the rocks being unturned as they are to reveal all sorts of unexpected delights.


But seriously, it’s like I’m having to shovel away the schadenfreude here so I can get back to “My book! My book! Won’t everyone please think of my book!”

Hard, I know, what with the trial of the millennium going on and the rocks being unturned and oh the schadenfreude!


And in keeping with my decade long tradition, no name from me. Hah! No need now, it’s all over cyber space anyway! Payment for cleaning services rendered.

Golly gee!

Okay. Straighten up, soldier, back to work. I’m on chapter four now. I still haven’t met with N. to help me understand the scam so I can write about it. Who knew writing a book would take so much of my time?

Just kidding.

I hope you like dialogue.

And thanks for all your comments, encouragement, etc. Okay. Off blogging, on writing. Again.


A Mighty Thwap

“Blogging is a career-killing waste of time!”

Never say never (again) – but – until I write a book, I am cut off this blog. Banned.

Be careful out there.

Just kidding.

Flail about, go wild, be crazy, have fun.


From the Peanut Gallery – *Update on Oil Prices

It’s funny, but I knew this would happen, that the Conservative Christians who cheated so hard in the last election that they won a majority, would eventually take advantage of their ‘mandate’, trump up something into an excuse, and unilaterally send Canadian soldiers into war against Muslims living in the Middle East. All on our dime.

They want to be part of a crusade, they want them out of their holy land, whatever, I knew that Harper would find a way to take his troops (because they’re his, not ours) to war against the Islamic Menace.

He’s not a good guy, he’s a bad guy, and he’s been telling me that, at least, for several years now through his rhetoric and his actions.

You don’t think Harper would use public resources to sideline you if you got in his way? Of course he would. We know he would, or we should know it, because that’s what he does. That’s what his party does, too. They’re not good guys, they’re bad guys. And gals.

So what I didn’t expect was that my taxes would also end up supporting panels of ‘experts’ sitting around on our national broadcaster pretending that this is anything other than “clearly/obviously” insane.

*Ah, and there it is. Oil prices were up today.



Hard At Work Or Hardly Working

Today a FB friend had a petition to sign about Employment Insurance. She’s a New Democrat and recent candidate for the last provincial election in Ontario.

I don’t sign online petitions. I blog. I figure that gives the bad guys in power enough of a heads up about where I stand politically, and if I get a call redirecting me to another polling booth on election day I’ll know it’s them.

But I’ve decided to get more involved with the anti-poverty group I accidentally gave enough money to that I ended up on its board of directors. And yes, if I’d known it meant attending workshops and rallies every other day, I would have given just under that amount.

So far I haven’t been to neither workshop nor rally because my paid work schedule is so random and I’m trying to write a book.

I know, I know, excuses, excuses. Also, I can’t be on my feet any more than I am now. My hips ache in the morning as it is.

But I did get a button to wear on my bag, the little catchall I bought at the Thrift Store. And next month the ragtag band plans to picket Stephen Harper’s office for a higher minimum wage, even though that’s really a provincial responsibility.

Hm, maybe I should get more involved. If anything to keep my eye on that criminal organization otherwise known as Rogers, which is pretending to be on offer as helping out people who live in poverty with cheap internet.

How about stopping extorting money from people who don’t, first?

Anyway, I shop at the Thrift Store not because I’m living in poverty – yet – but because I’m frugal and also slim. Women are terrible for buying clothes they plan to fit into one day, so slim women can really score at the Thrift Store when less slim women finally come to their senses.

Guilty myself, if you can believe it. I’ve bought too small clothes at the Thrift Store because I like the fabric and imagine I’ll re-purpose it. Then after a while I wash it again and return it to the Thrift Store. They always offer me a credit, which I always decline.

It’s my way of stopping the insanity, a financial penalty for buying stuff I don’t use. Also, my way of giving to charity, since the Thrift Store gets the money for the clothes twice.

And yes, I’ve repurchased the odd item thinking I’d make a pillow cover or leather purse that I inevitably return a second time. Right now, though, there’s a university girl working at the store who’s slimmer than me, so I pass on items to her. She’s super-stylish, though, so only if it’s a real score.

Anyway, the petition placed ‘hard-working’ before Canadians and I’ve decided I’m offended by the term. Our rights shouldn’t be made to appear conditional on hard work, and it’s one of the problems I have with the NDP that it’s such a labour oriented group of people.

There is no virtue in work, and certainly no virtue in work for pay, so it would be nice if New Democrats, at least, would stop pretending there is.

Because you know who has a small carbon footprint? People who panhandle in downtown Ottawa.

And what are our taxes being used for by the politicians who drive by them in the limousines we pay for with all our hard work?

Dropping bombs on people halfway across the world.


Unforeseen Consequences?

I dunno but it seems like it was only a matter of time before the post 9/11 protocol of locking the cockpit to keep out the terrorists would result in a locked cockpit keeping out a pilot?


The Enemy of His Friend Is His Friendly Enemy?

Bonus, we’re paying for the Conservative Party’s stupidly evil distraction from the upcoming trial of Mike Duffy.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we more or less joined up with the famous Axis of Evil now to fight in this random and ongoing War on Terror?

Cripes, kind of makes you wonder what could possibly be revealed in court this April that we don’t already know about, eh?


Oh, Hello

It’s a writing (book) day so I’ll be brief but I just wanted to put down here how better late than never? I feel about all our pundits suddenly realizing that government by unrepentant anti-government philistines, who clearly/obviously hate at least 60% of us and who’ve been fairly upfront about why they want power – which is 1) access to our public wealth for the purpose of divesting us of it, and 2) access to our private information for the purpose of destroying anyone who gets in the way of 1) – is not all it’s cracked up to be by the aforementioned unrepentant anti-government philistines.


Shifting Ground

Last night I watched a Ted Talks by Monica Lewinsky.

Did I say that right? Ted Talks?

As I’ve blogged before I think she’s a pretty amazing person to have come through what she did without so much as a public meltdown.

I would have raged, recriminated, totally lost my shit a thousand and one times.

So I have a lot of respect for her but also a real soft spot. I recognized where she was as where I’d been. The circumstances were different, of course, but the outcome and the backlash were the same, just on a smaller scale.

Men of a certain type are clever at bestowing heaps of shame on wanton women. They know we already feel it, I guess, so we’re easy marks.

At the time of her crisis, though, I was standing on higher ground by virtue of being a married suburban homeowner and mother of three children. It’s the highest ground I’ve ever stood on, so the bigger the fall when it came.

There’s a part of her talk, though, when my eyes filled up and tears started running down my face. It’s when she realizes that her mother is talking to her about an eighteen year old who committed suicide, bullied to death, because she’s so afraid for her daughter and so for herself.

If my mother had any idea.

There was a case recently in Ottawa, a man was sentenced to eight years in prison for online harassment. It was awful, what he did, but it was hard for me not to notice that his main victim was another man, and so justice was ultimately served.

There’s a man who lives in Ottawa. He’s currently on tour, making the rounds, enjoying a bit of publicity. It’s hard to accept, he has behaved so badly online, causing so much stress with his slander and harassment, occasionally to men but mostly and overwhelmingly to women.

When it was happening, it was just such a shitload of crazy that it took over everything. I know other people saw it, some experienced it, but he really zeroed in on me.

Or, at least, that was my perception. Other women might say he zeroed in on them.

But I need to get over more than I do is the lesson. There really isn’t any justice, there’s just “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”.

Also, he doesn’t matter anymore. I’m just picking a scab.

In AA we’re advised to pray for good things for people we think of as enemies, or, as I’ve put it above, people who don’t matter. A very wise woman of my acquaintance swears by it. She’s got a great sense of humour, too. I trust her.

But I’m still afraid to let go even though hanging on is only hurting me. That’s how I interpret “pray”, by the way – doing the next right thing instead of whatever it was I was going to do to feed the beast, stay in a rut, let someone who doesn’t matter bring out the worst in me.

I keep forgetting, I’m better than that.

There was a time when Monica Lewinsky, at the age of 22, was the most shamed and humiliated person in her world. And I can remember feeling like that, before age 22, when the pile on was out there in the real world, and later, when it was online.

But I wasn’t 22 when I went online, I was 42. I burst online, unwittingly upsetting the male order. At first they flattered, but as I took up more space they got increasingly territorial, as I got more attention they got increasingly jealous. It took me a long time to realize I didn’t have to do anything wrong, I just had to be me. That set them off.

It was ever thus. Just like back in the day. Except listening to Monica Lewinsky last night I wondered if I would have made it if the internet had been a factor then and I’m not so sure.

When I say I just had to be me, I mean it.

Anyway, her message is that there’s a compassion deficit online and we have to speak up more often than we do, show more compassion, empathize, because when we don’t, it leaves young women, young gay men to cope with the pile-on alone.

The thing is, communicating online is a tricky business, and I’m increasingly convinced that, unless it’s happened to you, and you’ve been thrown clear (because when you’re in it you’re in it and no good to yourself), it’s hard to fathom that there are (mostly) men in this world who lay claim to all the space, who believe it’s theirs, and that they’re in charge of ceding bits and pieces of it, but that women have no right to it. None.

And other men don’t see it because it’s not happening to them, they come by space naturally. Even other women don’t see it if they’re not trying to get some space, and most women aren’t, they’re not interested, and oh how I wish I could spend a day in their sensible shoes.

Women thought I was joking when I suggested that we bombard cyber space with middle-aged breast flashing, in the wake of Amanda Todd’s suicide, but I wasn’t. It seems to me like the only reasonable thing to do when grown men are bullying girls to death for showing off their beautiful breasts.

But I’m sure there are people who’d accuse me of a lack of compassion on the internet, too, and I’m conflicted now about blogging. It’s not fair to have an online diary. It’s an invasion of privacy, in part thanks to the men of the internet who have outed me over the years, linking my real name to my pseudonym, in the case of the man described above even posting slanderous comments under my real name.

Oops, I already said this entry isn’t about him, didn’t I.

It’s an invasion of privacy regardless, and I’m responsible.

Anyway, another reason why I’m conflicted about blogging is because I don’t want to give it away for free anymore. It’s at odds with making money writing. And I don’t want a blog that doesn’t have a comments section, but I don’t want to deal with one, either.

Wait! There it is! The lesson! It’s not about him! It’s about me! I’m mad at myself because I’m not making money writing!

Okay. Well. Breakthrough.

Thank you, Monica.

Maybe this is it.




We We All the Way Home

I’m still on about a majority of Canadians vs the right of a Muslim woman to wear her niqab at a citizenship swearing in ceremony. As stated earlier, my position has evolved, and I now stand with the minority of Canadians who think she should.

I came around to my position via the arguments against it, actually. They’re not based on anything real, just an airy fairy, albeit strident, notion of who “we” are.

As a fifth generation Canadian, I have to ask the politically incorrect question: who’s “we”?

There’s a columnist at the Globe who claims that Canada is becoming a more Conservative country. If he’s right, and it is, the reason must have something to do with who’s coming here.

The thing is, even though a lot of battles have been fought and won for women’s rights in Canada, there have never not been men (and women) who want to take them away again, including the right to vote.

Women’s rights are always qualified as somehow special, as if women having more rights doesn’t equal more rights for everybody, everybody being all citizens. And they’re always conditional on the majority okaying them over and over and over again at election time.

Anyway, it strikes me now that not allowing a Muslim woman to wear her niqab at a citizenship swearing in ceremony is a giant step backward for all of us. And one reason I say that is because of who’s making the argument the loudest that she shouldn’t.

Conservatives, particularly Conservative men, hate her because she exposes their hypocrisy when it comes to even a small test of freedom of religion (which this is), and contradicts their narrative of Muslim women requiring saving from Islam (and Muslim men), and shows them up for actually believing in democracy and taking a stand to defend our civil and human rights to live as who we are.