The Loss of Marsha Ellen Meidow

Calgary lost an amazing feminist activist this Wednesday. Marsha Ellen Meidow died from a brain aneurysm on Wednesday, this past week.

Meidow was a 2007 winner of the Calgary YWCA Humanitarian Award. Marsha worked tirelessly for homeless girls in Calgary. She organized and directed The Vagina Monologues and Femme Fatale in Calgary.

There will be a Celebration of her life on Sunday January 10, 2010 at The Republik - 219 17th Avenue SW (The new location for the Republik). There will be testimonials, readings, dancers, songwriters and bands. Guests are asked to bring potluck and artists can donate work for a silent auction to be held to raise funds for funeral expenses.

Meidow will be sorely missed by her community and family. There are never words enough to say when faced with the loss of someone you love. May she have peace and may her spirit know how much she was loved, admired, and now missed.

A New Year and Government once again is out of session

Happy New Year!
Well, I dropped off blogging for a bit...the BC election was so depressing I couldn't write another word. I have resolved that a new year, and I shall go forward with my witty commentary. (seriously? sigh).
This year I am working with JFSA as their Special Needs coordinator. It is part time and as always I am looking for more employment. However, the job is exciting and I have enjoyed my first couple months. As part of this new position, I have begun a new blog called Brucheem Habaeem: JFSA Disability Forum. Included in the blog are links to useful disability resources provincially, nationally, and in the Jewish Community.
The DRPI project is wrapping up in Vancouver, and I am looking forward to reading the results and write-up from the BC interviews. I have published a couple of items (one for Women's Media Center in New York on how the recesion is affecting Women with disabilities) in the past months and did a guest interview with CJSF for Day of Person's with Disabilities (Dec 3).
In the news these days, our illustrious federal government has once again decided to take a break from work and prorogued. Murray Dobbin has written a fabulously scathing article in the Rabble...
I am committed to writing more this year. there is far too many important matters slipping by and as our governments are not doing their jobs, the people and communities have to take a stand and demand action.
Some of the issues I would like to address in the coming weeks include Canada's continued failure to sign the UN's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (and now that they are "taking a break", who knows...). As well, there is less and less money for not for profits and important resources for vulnerable populations...well, so many topics, how many weeks are there?????
Off for now, back again soon (er)

Election in BC May 2009

Well, we had the BC election this week and what a disappointment it was. Less than 50% of BC's eligible voters actually got out and voted. Once again, Gordon Campbell's liberal government was voted in (note that BC liberal equals everyone else's idea of conservative). I have been seriously disappointed all week. The liberal's got in with a 46% vote. and the NDP had approximately 42%. There are two ridings facing a recount as the vote was so close (South Delta by only 2 VOTES--so when you think your vote does not count, think again!!!!). The only solice I could find out of this was the fact that there are now 23 female members to the legislation and if on recount, Huntington is elected there will be 24. As pointed out by my fellow feminist friends, female does not equal feminist nor is a female member to be equated with a woman who has social justice in mind. but i believe, perhaps naively that the more representatives there are from a particular group, the more likely that a variety of voices from that group will come forward and balance out inbalances--it will take time.

The BC-STV failed. again, what a disappointment. the system we have does not work! it does not represent the diversity of the population and remarkably, as we can see from the votes, a majority government by no means equals a majority of the population's vote. the present government has a "majority" based on a vote from less than a quarter of the population. This is the second referendum on the STV that has failed and sadly, this might be the end of this option.
so upon surveying the final results of the election, I have serious thoughts of moving far far away from this political climate. I am tired of pushing against a government that demonstrates such arrogance and class discrimination. a government that appears to hate women and minority or disadvantaged groups through policies that have resulted in deaths (more than 30 estimated suicides by person's with mental health disorders that were cut off disability with no notice and a long, complicated form to reapply for benefits in 2002-3. Many more individuals who faced cut offs or a lowering in their welfare rates have become homeless, lost custody of children, or returned to abusive situations to avoid homelessness and poverty.

Needless to say I am distressed by the outcome of this election, by the thought of the next four years, and by the low voter turnout rate. Women in particular have worked so hard in the past century to win the right to vote. There are so many people that even 40 years ago could not vote. I cannot believe that after all the effort to win the right, people would just shrug off this civic obligation and leave aside the ability to effect change in their community. In places all over the world people fight to vote, people are killed over the struggle to have a say in the direction and future of their country. And here in Canada, in BC, where there is an incredible amount of freedom and opportunity, eligible voters sat at home on May 12th and let someone else make their decision.

Wake up people! what is it going to take to get the general population to awaken from their apathy and take charge of their community? People are dying. People are losing everything they have. And now it seems, people have given up. So now here we go, another 4 years of the same old, same old peppered with arrogance of a Premier who has just "won" his 3rd term and believes that 46% of 48% equals a "clear mandate" from the BC voters. We have just elected a Premier who does not believe in Legislative assembly unless it is to bully through policy that he has personally approved. There is little opportunity to challenge the Liberal policies, there is no opportunity for the opposition to hold him accountable and now we have 4 more years.

Here's to 2013! we better start organizing for change!

Woman receives face transplant after being shot in the face

It is all over the media today, that Connie Culp, whose husband shot her in the face five years ago, has received a face transplant. Culp's husband was sentenced to 7 years in jail after the shooting. He had also shot himself the night of the incident. Culp now works as an advocate for people who have experienced burns and other severe disfigurements from trauma. this is a remarkable feat from the medical world. In all of her statements, Culp has stated that she wants people to stop staring at her, thinking of her as a monster, or being afraid.
Around the world, women experience violence by men. women are murdered by men. women live in fear of men. I read a blog today that drew attention to all the media hype around the so called "swine flu" or H1N1 flu and compared how many ill, how many dead from the flu in relation to how many women and children were killed in the same amount of time (52 days) of media coverage. there is very little national coverage of domestic violence and murder, and yet an influenza is receiving attention worldwide, constantly. We need to draw attention to the epidemic of woman violence and often murder by men and we need to unite as activists and media to put a stop to this violence.

Building Disability Awareness on Campus--request for information

Building Disability Awareness on Campus

Seeking information and samples of Campus Disability Awareness Campaigns

timeline is April 21-May8, 2009

Drawing attention to the services available to students with disabilities is a crucial action in ensuring that all students with disabilities know their rights and responsibilities and have access to the services they require while attending college and university.

Currently, I am developing a proposal for a disability centre awareness campaign. Many campuses have run campaigns in the past, with varying degrees of success. I am seeking information and feedback on campaigns your campus may have run. Examples of campaigns might include: poster, media, events, installations, or presentations.

Please email me if you are aware of or have been involved with a campaign on your campus. If you have websites or documents (samples) of posters or campaigns, I am interested in checking them out. I am available via email and can arrange telephone interviews if required.

Thank you for your assistance,

Jewelles Smith, B.A., M.A.
Disability & Gender Consultant

Sad day for news

First, I want to comment on the death of a woman activist in Afghanistan. She had been traveling with her friend who had gotten out of the rickshaw when gunmen pulled up and shot her to death. Sitara Achakzai was an outspoken activist for women's rights in Afghanistan. She had returned there in 2004 to help rebuild her country. And now she is silenced. I cannot believe when people say that feminism isn't necessary any longer, that women have equality to men. women are killed in this world for speaking out, for seeking rights, for defying religion, politics and law. Women are killed for standing up for the rights of themselves and their children. I am sick over this death. I think about the activism i am involved in and I think about the voices that have tried to shut me down, shut me out--as a single mother, as a person with disabilities, as a woman who is vocal. I remember being told by a professor at UNBC that "people like you do not deserve to go to university". The women of Afgan are shaken by this act of violence against one of their major spokespersons, I hope they do not faulter. It is only by standing strong through bullying and attack that they will succeed in stopping the violence and oppression.

Sad news point two. Michael Ciro Nestoruk was a disabled homeless man who "lived" in the area near my son's school. He could be found panhandling near local businesses. He had endured many trategies in his life, had been recently trying to get back on track, clean up from drug use that started after he had several injuries including the loss of his leg and a broken back. He had two daughters that from all accounts he loved very much. He was murdered last Thursday. His body was found near the front door of my son's school by parents dropping their kids off in the morning. Mr. Nestoruk's pants, shoe and wheelchair were found near his body.

This man should not have been homeless. If he had somewhere to sleep, somewhere warm and safe, he would not have been out later Wednesday and early Thursday. he would be safe. I am so angry that so many people are homeless in this provinve, that there is not enough accessible, safe, affordable housing for people. that waitlists are years long. that people cannot find suitable and stable homes. I am sick over this murder. I am disgusted that the circumstances that put this man into that place at that time and lead to his death could even happen. And believe me, this is not rare--that is attacks on homeless and vulnerable members of our society. theft and attacks on homeless and vulnerable and elders and women continues. It will only stop when as a society we address the issues that lead to homelessness, vulberability and isolation. Shame on policy makers and community members who continue to turn their backs on issues that lead to homelessness, drug addiction, and poverty.

Intravenus Radio Interview

So last week I was interviewed by Frieda Werden on the CJSF for Intravenus (a Wednesday feminist program). In one hour plenty was covered! Some of the topics were the work I have done during my Masters and since graduation. so work on the CCPA projects (Economic Security Project, "Imagining Public Policy to Meet Women's Needs", "Living on Welfare in BC", and "Denied Assistance").
I had a blast on the radio show and only had a couple moments of feeling a little unprepared...Frieda probed deep into my last 5 years of work and volunteerism! The links to the show are in 2 parts (each 1/2 hour long)--part 1 and part 2.

As this year I have decided to increase my media abilities, I feel blessed to have so many amazing opportunities through the work I do and have done these past years. Truly I am amazed daily at the opportunities I have to further the causes I feel passionate about.

too early to be awake

once again traffic has waken me too early. so after 1 1/2 hours of wakefulness in bed, i decided to get up and write, check emails, let dogs out, make a coffee, listen to info-mercials on to) to drown out the freakin traffic!).

Probably thinking too much again. so much to think about. Such as: a debate I had with a friend about free speech and rape "games"; the radio show i have on Wednesday; my CV; and the upcoming election and spending time with my sister and her family (so relieved that she and the kids have arrived safe and sound and have a home and are trying to settle in); not restricted to only these topics and not in that order.

Rape in the Form of A Game:

I posted the info below on my facebook and this generated much discussion regarding rape games and fantasy, freedom of speech, violence against women, parental controls, and free speech.

******* NB Women’s News*******


Battle Raper - a 3D fighting game in which the objective is to strip, grope, and sometimes rape the female characters.
RapeLay - players stalk and rape a mother and her 2 young daughters. The youngest is about 10 and she is seen crying during the rape. Once the player has completed the rapes, he enters the freeform phase of the game where the settings can change. The player must avoid the victim becoming pregnant; if she does, the player is supposed to force her to get an abortion. One reviewer said “There are many lessons to be learned from RapeLay, about the need to equip your daughters with suicide pills, etc but the lesson foremost in this game is that rape is easy.
Grand Theft Auto - players accrue points for the rape and murder of prostitutes.


Many of my friends weighed in on this topic--mothers, feminists, dads, women, men, students--between a couple friends, a debate developed. so this past weekend, a friend of mine was over and having mentioned this issue the previous week, he had thought about it and wanted to weigh in on the topic. He is a gamer, he believes in free speech, freedom of the press, ect. I tried to listen to his reasons on this topic, I understand the debate well, in fact, on the facebook debate I tried to be clear, this is a topic where i do not believe in free speech or press or whatever, there is enough violence against women in the world, perpetuating this violence in a game is abhorrent to me. My visiting friend brought up all the great issues about the need for freedom, the differences between gaming and real life, the importance of not restricting game designers who are artists. He feels that just because something is created, does not mean society will support it and that the measure of a society is by what becomes important to that society. I understand well meant arguments and defences of "art" for the sake of "art".

My answer on this topic--the one good thing about publishing a game like this (as far as I can see) is that as long as that game developer's name is released, I can identify a woman hater. I believe that some things should not exist, that yes they need to be controlled, because there are enough horrible, violent hateful people out there who do not care about the rights of certain groups. These include (but are not limited to) child pornography and rape. I understand that in telling a story, movies might depict a rape, but i judge these movies very critically and have written about this in university. the way, the sensitivity a filmmaker (or writer, or artist) shows in how they depict rape is everything. The reaction of the audience, the gaze, is set up by the manner in which rape is discussed, approached, repelled or accepted. There are right this minute countries trying to pass laws to allow the legalization of rape within marriage. There are countries where only women are punished for being raped--men are not. I cannot condone or support so called "free speech" that glorifies raping women. It makes my skin crawl to think there are men out there playing "games" where the object of the "game" is to rape and mutilate women.

Just as I do not and cannot condone child pornography whether visual or written when it is set up to be titillating (I do support art therapy that is created to heal and that explores personal experience and is not set up to be titillating, I do support personal memoirs that tell a story and i believe these two examples are very different than actual child porn and yes it is a very fine line at times) I do not support simulated or real violence against women.

so this is one of those things that keeps me awake at night.

The upcoming Election in BC:

So there is an election in BC. May 12th. everyone who is living in BC should get out and vote. There has been many ongoing issues in BC that need to be addressed during this election, the most important being that BC needs a new Premier. Badly. Further, the way that votes are counted needs to be address and I support the BC-STV. I also do not support many of the actions of the present government including their restriction on pre-election advertising. (this is in the courts right now). I will write more on this entire topic in the future.

right now i have to go and get my younger son ready for the day...

Assessing my CV and applications

I am presently working on an application to the Progressive Women's Voices project in NYC. I met Rebekah Spicuglia at the ARM conference last fall. She was working with Joy Rose of Mamapalooza on a documentary of mothers voices over the past 50 years. I and many other attendees were interviewed for this project. Since that time, Rebekah has published an amazing research project on noncustodial mothers. After a brief dialogue on noncustodial disabled mothers, Rebekah invited me to take the time to apply to the Progressive Women's Voices media project. so I am putting together my media CV for this. First, as much as i have been in the media often enough and in the future would like very much to do this more, I was a little freaked out by the daunting task of finding old media clips and documents. I do have a scrapbook so at least that is one thing (I can scan them), however, i was wondering where i would find online clips of interviews and projects--ask and you receive. I was sifting through my friends' newsfeeds last night and saw the posting by Shannon Daub to link friends to ESP (Economic Security Project) slide/documentary pieces by Goh Iromoto...i instantly recalled that i had been interviewed for this and began the search to find out if he had included my clips at all--yeah! so that is covered. I also was just asked last week to appear on CJSF for an interview on my post education activities in particular the work i have been doing with DAWN-RAFH Canada about women with disabilities and access to emergency shelter and homes; work on violence against disabled women (including reviews on elder abuse and violence against disabled mothers). Relieved that i can fill that part of the application. I know there are other clips out there but i believe these will suffice.
When i was reviewing the past participants in this project I was awestruck and i mean awe...these women are amazing and the work they are doing internationally is phenomenal. I only hope that one day i will be counted in their numbers--as a woman who changes the conversation and draws attention to important issues. for those who know me i have a passion for issues thast affect disabled women, single mothers, and students. as well, i have been and remain an activist for affordable quality childcare.
i have learned a few things about resumes and CVs in the past year. these are:
  • keep track of what you are doing regularly with dates, locations, contacts
  • most of us are doing more than we realize
  • if you haven't done the first suggestion, it is amazing what you will recall once you start to write things down!
  • keep in contact with your references. especially for those of us who do consulting work and random works, having strong references that are aware of the work we are doing is key to finding further work...
the above is only a few recently gleaned points. i always look forward to more ideas and thoughts. building experience for students and future leaders is key to changing the world.

Living on Welfare / Denied Assistance Studies and CCPA

When i was completing my Masters, I was hired to work on a couple of joint projects between the SFU Women's Studies Department and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Out of the many projects of the Economic Security project, I had the privilege of working on two: "Denied Assistance: Closing the Front Door on Welfare in BC" and "Living on Welfare in BC: Experiences of Longer-Term "Expected to Work" Recipients. I also was able to work on the conference planning committee for "Imagining Public Policy to Meet Women's Economic Security Needs" and to chair the panel "Single Mothers on Social Assistance: Moving Towards Solutions".
Recently, the CCPA (Goh Iromoto, Shannon Daub and Seth Klein) has been working on a series of short slide show/ documentaries based on the entire Economic Security Project. Goh interviewed me regarding my experience working on the projects. I have attached the link to the clip i appear in, however, take the time to check out the others as this is an amazing series.

there's nothing like the sun to turn it around (and laughter)

so it has been awhile since my last post...(feel like a confession coming along, anyone got some absolution?)

not much going on in one sense but so much behind the scenes. I am struggling into the 3rd month of not working. which is very difficult as a single mother who works from home as a consultant. Each month is a shuffle of bills and deadlines and scratching out enough for rent and food. hoping i do not have any utilities disconnected (i did lose the internet for a few days and almost went mad...but the good people at Rogers worked out a deal with me so i could be online for small work contracts and the like). I had a moment of panic with the phone but managed to negotiate a new contract with them that will bring the cost from just over $100 to less than $40 a month and included a new phone which i sadly needed as my old one was in a sorry state. the need for a phone drives me a little crazy as it is my least favourite way of communicating, alas with my son's needs, i have to be on call with his school at all times. thank you to friends who have loaned me bits and for the support of a listening ear.

my brother is staying with me and the boys now also. he was facing life living in his truck in kelowna because he could not find affordable housing working part time while he waited to be called back to his job. so he is here. i wasn't sure how that would go but in reality it has been good to see him and the boys have loved the opportunity to get to know their uncle (we have only seen him 2 or 3 times since Aiden was born almost 10 years ago).

other news my sister who has lived up north forever is moving to Vancouver with her family. this will be weird. for a person (me) and family (there are 5 siblings in total, 3 mothers between us and one dad) that has not kept in touch, how strange to have 3 of us in the same viscinity. its funny to me a bit that i have lived here this time since 2001 but plan to leave asap and now a bunch of long lost siblings show up. life is full of irony.

the boys are doing pretty good these days. seems all the hard work with my older son is paying off. keep my fingers crossed that there will be no more suspensions, ect.

for all that i haven't been working, i have had a few small contracts. I attended the Growing Home: Housing and Homelessness Conference in Calgary last month that was a incredible. To meet so many other activists, researchers, frontline workers, advocates, outreach workers, social workers, academics, gov't officials--all of them working strong in the field to end homelessness. My paper was well received and although it was difficult to be in a city where i had been homeless twice as a teenager, i am so glad i went. While there i also was able to spend some time with an old friend of mine from Halifax and one of my favourite friends who has transplanted from BC to Calgary. I managed to sneak in a short lunch with my father at the end of my stay and even that went well. wonders never cease.

Life this past week or so has been interesting. Although i am quietly freaking out about the financial situation, i have been reaching some places of calm inside about other issues/ lifegoals, ect.

I had the pleasure of lecturing at SFU on disability and feminist theory and how these translate into practice in employment and activism. it was awesome. thank you Tasha for inviting me. and even more, it was awesome to hang out, have lunch and catch up after.

further, I met Freida, who works for the SFU radio and has invited me to come in and speak on one of their shows. more on that later.

on other life thoughts, i am coming to a decision about some journalling i did when i was going through the ptsd clinic and the time i spent in the hospital. there are a few friends who followed this journally (some of it) but for the most part, that experience has remained removed from the rest of my world. i have been thinking what i can do with that writing. ptsd is such a disturbing experience, when one is living it and not seeing a way out, and not knowing what is normal any longer...i am thinking of turning my own ride with ptsd into something useful (although i am still a little fearful of what that would look like). there is a public perception about ptsd and war survivors, but there is not nearly as much awareness of ptsd that results from other trauma--childhood abuse, domestic violence, accidents, death and loss--the mind and heart are very vulnerable organs.

over the past couple weeks, I have had the pleasure of getting to know a new friend who comes from "back home" and oddly we know many of the same people and of course all the old landmarks. this weekend we hung out for a couple days including attending the Kevin Smith Q & A (seriously i laughed so hard i didn't know if i could walk after and i had a bit of a headache). if i remember i will write about the Q& A at some point. new friend and i hung out saturday at my place. the kids and friend got into a game of monopoly, we all watched the Jerk (omg what a classic). just talking and laughing...i feel like it has been forever and ever since i have made time for this. and i am glad i did. here's to hoping for more weekends spent having fun.

so now it is Sunday, i have the week ahead. i have to finish a write-up on the literature survey i did on elder abuse. i have to invoice my hours from two weeks ago to my headoffice. i have a few articles read. also i am trying to organize this blog a bit better. i have so many interesting links and such that i follow and post on facebook but have not posted here and want to. i would like to figure that out.

the sun is shining, i need some coffee, and life is looking pretty good...

january is half over

its been awhile since i seems that when one states something to the universe (mmm and i did) it manifests...and it did. i am presently not working and although i wished i had more time, i did not wish to be unemployed (not to worry in the long run because it is temporary). I have cleaned and organized and finally yesterday set up my painting area. tomorrow is my son's bday party and once that is done and the dishes are cleaned, i can face the rest of the week with painting in mind.
i will continue with the brain paintings...i left off with #4 half completed. this will be completed and then i can move on.

other random things--

i was in an accident over the holiday. but avoided a headon, was thankful to all the angels that stopped and helped the boys and i out the car window. i am greatful that when the towtruck pulled the car out, all that was to be found was a blown tire and a dent. all was repaired, we spent the night in Cache Creek and continued home the next day. and now i live in fear of black ice!

somehow i erased my entire music collection off my ipod...i wanted to sync it to my desktop computer and poof, all was gone!

i find it strange that kids tend to misbehave the most when they are facing a "treat" day. why is that?

damn and i forgot to get a present for a party that my younger son is to attend tomorrow...i find it so difficult to figure out what to get kids. i mean, games and such cost far more than i want to spend on a 10 year old friend of my child. i don't know what books kids have or would want, or what other activities...tomorrow, before my older son's party, i will have to get my butt to London Drugs and find something! (i think i will take my younger dude and have him help me find something. I can't wait until the kids are old enough to choose and pay for their friend's presents themselves!!!

I am re-reading Madame Bovary. I have been doing a lot of re-reading of the classics in my library. also i have discovered that value village often has really good books for cheap!

I have a bunch of random household things i want to sell. i always get this urge in the winter when a garage sale is out of the question. mind you, it would be kinda funny to fill my snow covered lawn with items for sale and sit out there in a parka with hotchocolate and see if anyone actually stopped...haha

my older dog has taken to freaking out when she encounters other dogs. so she has a muzzle now. and she is so embarrassed by it that she lowers her head and drags her nose under her chest. alas she must wear it because so many people do not leash their dogs, the dogs run up to my dog and she behaves badly. she is getting fat because i stopped wallking her. the last thing i need is for her to bite another dog! so muzzle it is! i feel sorry for her though.

so hopefully the next post will include some photos of new paintings!

the need to paint

i can feel it
the need to paint
it calls me and i can feel myself unable to really engage with people
like my brain shut down
i know if i only spend a few hours, days painting
somehow the reality is that i will find the line back to others
but i can't paint
because there are so many deadlines
and i work 9 hours for every 5 i charge
and the boys stay up 2 hours too late
and i am tired
while i lie awake all night not sleeping
sluggish in the morning
wishing i could paint
i have maybe 15 paintings in my head
at least three major stories i could write
yet all i do is paid labour and home labour
all of which drain and do not replenish

when i paint
you will know
because once again i will be my self

thank you its December

last month of a very long year!
I am working hard on the next phase of the project i am consulting for...still not sure about that "consultant" definition...I much prefer the old "contract worker"
anyway. I had to do a bunch of reading on what SWC wants in a proposal. its a little weird for some projects...i have to name how many --like real numbers! on who will respond to specific projects (eg 20 shelters will accomplish "x" by the end of such and such a month. which is hard to gauge when a project hasn't been completed and response is still not certain
ah well, its a learning curve
I am still bent on the moving bug. I am really and thoroughly disgusted with living in Vancouver. I hate my house, my neighbourhood, my routine. there are no interesting coffee shops near me and i am tired of my four walls that i work, live, raise boys and sleep within.
however, i am taking advantage of the rain to reread some of my fav books (and a few new ones) i read the much talked about Twilight series in 5 days (yes 4 books, being sick slowed down the momentum). I am now working my way through margaret atwood...
the boys had a super weekend. i think it helped that i bought a couple of used games (they played so nice!!!) and Pierce has taken up reading to his bro every night for about 15 minutes (i am amazed after the last months of feuding they were up to!!!!!)
i have been looking at work and PhD programs right across Canada. seriously i want out of the rain. it's been 7 years that we have lived here and i still cannot believe it. sometimes i wish i could put everything into storage and just go on a tour of the country. then decide where to live. ah but i have no desire to homeschool (or car school) the boys at this time in my life!
so there is my brain drop for december.
things to do in the new year is my final musing for this post. ah what to do with an entirely new year...

friday thoughts

hmmm i am having one of those days where i know i want more. i want change so much. i want to write for me again...searching for PhD options...schools, ect. thinking about a few of the stories i began to write and wondering if i have the nerves to take it on and begin to write.
i have been reading so much lately and wonder at the inspiration i am feeling.
i want to move...i want change....yet i am stuck. so stuck. the boys "need" the schools they are in. but i hate vancouver these days. seriously. my life is work, boys schools, boys doctor appointments, more work and occasionally i escape to a book.
i have been sick all week. some flu. but it actually wasn't all that bad because i was able to give myself permission to tell work i was too sick and i stayed in bed (a lot) and read and slept. drank lots of ginger ale. cuddled my dogs and watched a couple movies with the boys.
i am inspired by one of my good friends list of things to accomplish (i have not made one of these recently) and even more inspired by her posting it! nothing like stating ones intentions to the universe!
fearlessly i take the plunge forward each day. i know i want to move...but where and what work? and what about PhD? i want to live somewhere my boys can play outside and not have to worry about people and fast cars and gangs that they may join as they rebel.
it is raining yuck. makes me miss the snow. i know then there is the cold!

waking up

do you ever have a morning when you wake up and realize that months have passed. really...where have the days weeks ect gone? I know that 3 or 4 years ago maybe four...everyday was an invigorating new adventure. i barely slept (insomnia yes my dear night friend). i managed to attend school, raise children, go on walks in the woods, on the beach, paint all night, or write, have a lover... the time spun around me like leaves on a fall wind storm. i was so sure that every moment was going to be just like this. swirling so fiercely that tears stung my face.
then i woke up and it is today. i have a great job and cute kids. i sleep most nights and when i don't i diligently attempt to sleep. i have not painted in at least 6 months, although i have about 10 painting ideas sitting at the centre of my brain waiting, waiting to be brought onto canvas. i have not written anything that was not academic or for work in a year but there are stories on the tip of my tongue every night while i lie awake.
my dreams i used to laugh aloud as i recorded them for some shrink somewhere to divine the meaning of when i published them in my old age. and here i am.
i will share a dream i had two nights ago...these days i am having rodent issues (again) and still have the phobia of the darn things. ah the stories about squirrels and SFU i could tell..
so hear was my dream, or part of it:
i am sitting at the bottom of a tree and two people are talking to the mice. i can hear their prayers as they sing the rodents out of the floor. then i realize that my legs are part of the trees and then i can feel the mice climbing to the surface of my skin. i can see them racing to find a way out as the singing gets louder. (i cannot remember the words but the power raised the hair on my neck and my stomach shuddered with the vibration of their voices). my legs split like bark that has grown too tight on the tree and the slivers splash outward. then the mice run. they scatter around and i cannot move because my legs are split open. but they leave and i fall into the arms of the singers. then i wake.

all day yesterday i thought i ought to write that out. but i could not find the inner energy to record it. this used to be one of my great pleasures..after nights of insomnia i would have some crazy relevant dream and i would race to open my computer or journal to catch every thought as it tumbled out of my sleepy head.

i think i need to find time to paint. i need to pull the creative juices out of head and through my fingertips...or maybe i will wake up and it will be 2012.

trip to ottawa and back again

NEADS conference was fabulous! I am happy to be ending my term as the BC rep. It has been a great two years but I am feeling out of the loop as it has been over a year since my grad and i think that having a current student is a good idea! I will miss many aspects of the board, including the amazing people i worked with.
Had a blast at the conference itself and hope to keep in touch with all the new friends. thank the geeks for facebook and the amazing ability to instantly reconnect and be in touch! I look forward to working with all these individuals in the near future.
now as for the trip home...what torture, I was crammed into such a small seat and one the first leg of the trip, the women beside me were peanut fiends and after i asked them not to eat their bags (no joke) of peanuts on the trip they proceeded to discuss the difficulty it was for them to refrain from the peanuts and asked the flight attended several times before take up to please confirm that the flight was full and that i could not be moved. and they commented over and over on what a hard thing it must be for me to be allergic. all i could think--please forgive me i was tired--is that it would not be such a hardship if people refrained from eating peanuts in closed spaces (many people have this allergy!) AND it would not be nearly so trying for me if they would simply stop discussing it! normally i find people to be much more understanding about allergies and i also find these opportunities great to educate people on how they can make their world safer for persons with allergies.
sooo then on the second leg of the trip...the woman right beside me was wearing a LOT of perfume. I had already taken benadryl the first leg just to be safe so i had to re-dose myself. so i got a lot of sleep on the planes.
Ah and work...came home to a list of things to do. I am looking forward to writing an article for the DAWN-RAFH Newsletter on my trip to Toronto last month and the presentation i made there. (For ARM conference)
also I am compiling a "fact sheet" on violence against WWD. I am trying to keep on top of the stats can site so that I will immediately see when they get the stats on WWD for 2006 up.
the boys are great. they were happy to have me home and so were the doggies. so nice to walk into a house of hugs and kisses (of the boy and the dog kind)

November 6, 2008--rant on rain and life

it is raining and I am certain we slowly slip into winter...damn! I hate winter in Vancouver, I begin to miss Revelstoke, Sicamous, Nelson, even Prince George!!! all the more as the rain falls because i love the crisp morning snow in the mountains or up north and I despise this gray snot that falls from the sky for months.
and I am making soup...mmm chicken soup from scratch...for my soul because it rains
aside from the rain
there is good news down south (a new President may equal the change he promised)...I only wish we can find someone as charismatic and intelligent who can someday lead our own youth vote out to the polls.
yesterday I voted for the Vancouver municipal election--I am in Ottawa on election day.
ah yes and planning for Ottawa--last conference as BC NEADS rep. i will miss much of the committee and board people i have worked with over the past two years. I look forward to hanging out with many of them from the 13th to the 17th!
also yesterday, some headway was made in the matter of my older son. i had a meeting with a school that might take him on. they seem capable enough, i just worry that because it is a class of 10 very challenging kids, that he will be ignited by their behaviour and find himself in further trouble. I also worry that because the entire class is focused on managing "bad" behaviour that he will lose out on the academics and get bored and misbehave...
i miss having family terribly these days. there is nothing like family challenges to turn ones heart backwards and wish for the support that a family might offer. the advice, the home, the hands of help...i am tired of living on guard every day and waiting for the next bomb to drop.
all i can think about it the family in Ontario whose son was found, dead, yesterday...that boy ran away for many similar reasons as my son did on the same day (thanksgiving). my son was found, albeit he followed a couple strangers home from the park (thank the gods and angels these people called the police and did not harm my son)...but I am all too aware each time he decides to run that he may not be found by the police, the dogs, the helicopter, friends. it keeps me awake at night.
and i am drowing in paperwork these days...student loan repayment relief, childcare subsidy applications...all complicated because now i am "self employed" as a researcher/project coordinator...I have to see an accountant to sort out how to even fill these papers out. I just wish i could go on regular payroll. it would make my life so much easier...
i am tired, i am weary...i need my soup to be ready...