Trayvon

by , on
March 23, 2012

I didn’t hear about what happened to Trayvon Martin until a few days after the fact. I saw a couple of people in my Twitter stream refer to the story so I went on a search and read up a bit.

If you don’t know, Trayvon was a 17 year old kid, walking home from the store, shot to death by an adult male who said he looked ‘suspicious’ and claims the shooting was self defence – though he had a gun and Trayvon had a pack of Skittles and a cell phone.

This man has not been arrested, charged because he says it was self-defence (even though eye witnesses dispute that), they’ve decided to let him keep his gun even though the popular theory is that Trayvon looked suspicious to him because he was a black kid. (If you read the story, you’ll probably come to the same conclusion). Trayvon’s parents are left to figure out how it could be that their son is dead – murdered – with absolutely no recourse.

Protests  have started across the country, the FBI is involved, the police chief has taken a leave of absence while the whole thing is dealt with. We mourn and we call for action and we call for changed.

It just doesn’t make any sense.

“… my main message is to the parents of Trayvon. If I had a son he would look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americas are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and we will get to the bottom of exactly what happened.” – Barack Obama

March 2011 to March 2012

by , on
March 22, 2012

On March 25, 2011 the government lost a confidence vote in the House of Commons. On March 26 the Governor General issued the writs of election.

Less than one year ago. It’s been less than a year.

On May 2 the party I work for made history by attaining the status of official opposition – something we had never done before. In August our leader announced he had a second cancer and died a few weeks later. I travelled to visit my mother and grandfather in Regina while the funeral took place in Toronto.

This year I’ve thought of leaving my job to become a stay at home mother, I’ve dealt with stress and exhaustion and fat. This year we bought a house. We saw a mild winter and an early spring. This year I have taken steps towards my goals and spent a lot of time trying to figure out my family life. I have watched my daughter grow from baby to kid.

This year I dealt with neck and back issues that left me on bedrest, I watched my daughter suffer through pneumonia.

This year I am making progress, I am keeping the faith and I am being tough on my own behalf.

This year I am acting with love, hope and optimism when I can.

This year has never given me a break.

This year has been so very short and has encompassed two or three lifetimes.

Twice victimized

by , on
March 21, 2012

I became a hockey fan fairly late in my life (for a Canadian girl). I was 14 when I got really into the sport as a fan, and I almost immediately chose Theo Fleury as may favourite player. He was little and tough and he seemed to me like the definition of a great Canadian hockey player – even missing his front teeth.

I even named my hamster Theo.

I remember when Sheldon Kennedy revealed that he had been a victim of sexual abuse when he played for Graham James. A few years ago Theo came out and said that he too had been a victim. I bought his book about that part of his life but I can’t bring myself to read it.

Yesterday, for the second time, Graham James was sentence for his crimes. Two years.

Two years.

I have a two year old. I love her more than life itself. Two years in prison for ripping apart the life of a child is nowhere near enough.

One of James’ victims, Greg Gilhooly, stood in front of the media after the sentencing and said that he and Sheldon Kennedy have both been in therapy longer than Graham James has been in prison for his crimes and to consider that he could possible have been rehabilitated in that time is totally ridiculous.

Two years. One for each of the victims he was on trial for abusing. He abused these boys for longer than two a year each.

We’re asking people to come forward, to face the darkness in their lives, to put themselves on display, and watch as their rapist gets a slap on the wrist. Why would you bother?

It’s a beautiful day…

by , on
March 20, 2012

Joe and I have lived in our current rental longer than any of the others. It’s the house we brought our baby girl home to, the house where so many of her firsts happened. It’s a good house and I’ll miss it. We also have a nice neighbourhood. It’s a nice place to walk, there’s a park nearby – two actually not far from our house.

But it’s different from the neighbourhood I grew up in, where I knew a lot of the neighbours and many of them had kids my age or my sister’s age and we all went to school together. We don’t know any of our neighbours by name, though we have made up some names.

When we first moved in there was a lovely little old couple next door. They brought us wine at Christmas and she even crocheted a blanket for the new baby. We were sad to see them go, but the new couple that moved in seemed nice enough. Well, the guy was. The woman never spoke a word to us. Now he’s moved out and she still won’t acknowledge a hello or a nod. She also plays terrible music really loudly – often at bedtime. I don’t like her.

Then there’s the cat lady. This woman is a full blown stereotype. She’s a little strange, and she pays very close attention to us when we’re unloading the car in the driveway and she walks her cat through our backyard on a leash.

Next to her there is the man who happens to be a doctor in the armed forces who has been in Afghanistan. (Joe wrote about him once, it’s probably one of my favourite posts). I’m going to miss living that close to someone that could remind me every day that my life could matter more.

There’s the mother who seems a little weird – she wears very loud pajama pants in the morning when she waits at the transit stop with her teenage daughter, holding out a plate with toast. But her daughter also happens to shovel the driveways of some of the older folks on the street and I have to respect that.

There’s the woman who seems to run a home daycare who I wish I had talked to. There’s the man who sits in his driveway in a patio chair and makes me feel like he’s watching my every move. Somewhere there’s the man who lets his nasty, yappy little white dog run free, the guy with the really loud muffler.

And somewhere among these houses, there is the head of the ridiculously controlling condo board that I will not miss at all.

We drove through our new neighbourhood on the weekend. There were kids out playing and riding bikes, there were a few men playing road hockey, it felt like my old neighbourhood. Full of people like us, families with young kids that our kid will get along with, parents I’ll stand at the bus stop with, maybe some people we’ll invite over for a barbecue.

It felt happy.

Stuck

by , on
March 18, 2012

About two years ago I went out for roller derby. It was a great big thing that I had been thinking about since I went to a bout (actually the night we told some friends I was pregnant). It seemed like tough fun fitness with women that made sense to me. It was totally out of my comfort zone and it was hard to walk down the stairs leaving the gym that first night.

I was pumped.

And then I didn’t go back.

Until last year, when I was not alone – some wonderful friends decided to take the plunge with me. Which made me feel even worse about myself when I couldn’t even make it through the first open house.

I have been unfit all my life. The closest I have come to being fit was the year before my wedding. I was eating smarter, I lost 30 lbs, I was riding the exercise bike and sometimes walking to school and enjoying the exercise. I felt better in general.

Now I’m in a place where I’m fat and only going to get fatter. I’m unfit. There are things that wear me out that shouldn’t. I haven’t been eating well at all and I give in to cravings more often than not.

I have all these reasons that I need to change, that it’s only going to get harder, and I’m pissed off at myself but at the same time I don’t care. Lately I’ve been at a level of stress and I have been stress eating. I am fully aware of the reason behind my Doritos lunches and my Coffee Crisp morning snacks. I’m even embarrassed by it and trying to hide my eating habits. I feel disgusting.

But everything is hard. Work is hard, parenting is hard, staying awake some days is hard. Exercise is definitely hard. And with all this hard stuff, I can’t push myself enough to focus on more hard stuff.

So here I am, caught in the same old cycle. Knowing that every month I tell myself ‘next month will be easier’ and it really just never is.

But it’s spring – or at least it feels like spring. I love walking with my daughter in the sunshine, and playing with her in the park. I look forward to taking her on bike rides some evenings. I know now that when I have French fries she asks to have some too.

I can’t stay stuck like this for too much longer, because all those reasons that I told myself I had to change are here now. She sees me, she models after me, and I’m losing the energy to play with her.

March Madness

by , on
March 15, 2012

So March, you’re half done now and I’m not sure how that happened exactly. The time change happened last weekend and it’s been harder to get out of bed every day this week. The kid has also been taking hours to go to sleep, which is rather draining.

But the problem here, March, is that I’ve been waiting for the group of important things happening at the end of the month when I expected things to get really busy. You, March, you’ve been full of surprises. Suddenly we’ve bought a house and we’re organizing all sorts of new things.

Now we’ve reached that point in the month that I expected everything to go a little bit crazy and it is as expected. We’ve got things just packed in to the next two weeks and a lot of change on the horizon.

You are not being kind March.

Your buddy April better bring some good sleeps, some calm days and some beautiful sunshine.

Working better

by , on
March 12, 2012

I have a lot of projects on the go. Fun projects, work projects, fun work projects.

There are a lot of things I have to do, and a lot of things I think about doing, things I woul like to try to do. I keep lists of things I want or need to get done. I fill notebooks with events and needs and thoughts and stories. Sometimes I get the things on my list done easily and quickly. Sometimes I have no problems concentrating.

Sometimes I waste time when I could be getting things done and ignore things I should be doing to get some of those items checked off my list.

Sometimes I feel guilty for sitting in front of the TV playing Diamond Dash instead of doing anything else. Sometimes I don’t.

I feel like I am in a place in my life where I need to work better. I have so many varied interests and I’m pretty good at keeping all my thoughts and things organized, but I have to remind myself things actually need to be done. I need to sit at my desk sometimes. I need to turn off the noise and read articles, do research, edit my own work.

I need to make sure that all the projects I love to think about see some progress so I’m not disappointed in myself when I look at all my lists later this week, month or year.

I need to take my opportunities for time and space to work.

How do you organize your time when you have a number of things on your plate?

Ask. It’s there.

by , on
March 9, 2012

Over two years ago a girl went missing in Toronto. I remember it well. She was all over the news and I watch the news for a living. She was Mariam. The police were searching everywhere and her parents were beside themselves.

Today she was back in the news. Earlier this week Toronto police found human remains and today they confirmed it was Mariam. They found her at the bottom of an overpass, they had no reason to suspect foul play, it seemed she had been alive when she fell.

And again, I can’t stop thinking about her. Something was wrong. Very wrong. And no one knew.

She was 17 and she appears to have decided to take her own life, and it appears that for the two and a half years she was missing her family never suspected she would do such a thing. If they had never found her, maybe her parents would have wondered until the day they died who had taken her or why she ran away.

And as someone who has been suicidal, who fights depression and who is now a mother with a daughter that has a good chance of also suffering, my emotions are running away with me today.

She needed someone to talk to, she didn’t want to upset her parents, she didn’t want them to know she was flawed or diseased or abnormal. She didn’t tell anyone.

And she left her parents behind with nothing but grief and questions.

What if my daughter doesn’t talk to me? What if my daughter decides she can’t show me the dark side of her personality?

How can I do enough to make sure she’s safe and secure and that she won’t hurt me by feeling all the dark things I have felt – so long as she lets someone help her.

Getting things started…

by , on
March 8, 2012

I seem to keep piling things onto my plate, but since I’m often happier when I’m busy, I’m okay with that. Right now I’ve got an idea that I’m started to talk to people about that may or may not become something more. I’ve written another one of my children’s stories since I decided I was okay with telling people that I’m writing them. We bought a house and I’m planning my packing, purging, new decor and layout.

I’m also putting myself out there a bit more – I’ve submitted two posts I’m proud of for the Blogher Voices of the Year, because why not? (You can vote for me here or here, if you’re so inclined).

Purging, of course, includes the planning of the next Ottawa Book Swap, which will take place at the Elmdale Tavern at 1:30 pm on March 18. (Join us!). The book swap was part of my defined goals that I laid out here and haven’t updated in too long.

Setting goals and getting specific about what to do to reach those goals:

Organize the next book swap

  • talk to the Elmdale
  • pick a date
  • send out invitations
  • clean out my bookshelf

Organize a knit-in afternoon – Check it out here and join us on February 12

Knit

  • Finish the second sock
  • sweater for Joe
  • sweater for myself
  • adorable baby things

Potty train the monkey – in progress, and going smoothly

Get to 175 lbs

  • Get back to yoga (Do my yoga DVD at least once this week)
  • Get back on the treadmill (At least 15 minutes every day) – Done last week, now this week carry on
  • Add some strength exercises
  • Have a consistent meal plan (Sit down with Joe on the weekend, work out our meal plan and grocery list, put it on the fridge to make sure we take things out of the freezer on time, organize my recipes)
  • Freezer cooking (I’ve done this twice, need to do another session)
  • Get sugary treats out of the house (again) 
  • Give up pop (again)
  • Write, whenever and wherever
  • Blog
  • Contribute to other blogs
  • Work on no-longer-secret project
  • Research for article

Improve my French

Make bread – I used to do this when I was a kid and it was always fun, and it makes the house smell good too

 

Our house

by , on
March 7, 2012

We bought a house. We close May 1. It was a bit unexpected, and sooner than we thought, but we found a house that suited our needs and my mother helped us buy it since she will be moving in with us. We signed the mortgage papers less than a week after seeing the house for the first time. Neither of us has had a second thought or regret.

Isn't it wonderful?

I have great fondness for the rental we are leaving. It’s been perfect for us in many ways, it’s the house we brought the baby home to, we’ve welcome many friends there, but we are upgraded in a few ways we thought were important.

We will have a backyard with a full fence so that the dog won’t have to wear a leash when he goes out. We will no longer be sharing a wall with our neighbour – the first time I will have lived in a standalone house since I was 12. Oh, how I have missed that. The kid will have her own bathroom (well, it will be shared with the guest room). More importantly the en suite bathroom has a gloriously large bathtub. I love taking baths. I am so very much looking forward to stretching out in the bath.

And one thing that I have never been able to do: Decorate my own house. Most importantly, decorate the kid’s room for her.

When I was a kid I always had a say in the way my room was decorated. I got to pick paint colours and wallpaper and one year for my birthday I got to pick out wall to wall carpeting for my room. I loved that carpet, the colour was called raspberry.

My kid is currently living in a room with plain walls and plain carpet and some pictures we’ve put up on the wall, but this new house, this new room, we get to make it personal. We’re going to pick out paint colours – when I asked her what colour she wanted her room she said pink, purple, orange and green. Where going to put pictures up on the walls and maybe have a mural done, though her interests vary so widely it might get a little muddled (dancing princesses playing hockey with animals?). We’re going to switch her into a twin bed and I can buy her fun sheets. We can pick out a funky shower curtain for her and her own bath accessories.

I’m excited about buying some new furniture that hasn’t been handed down to us, I’m excited about making choices and not being held back by a rental agreement, I’m excited about making a home for ourselves, but I’m most excited about the kid having a real room that’s all hers.

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