Working vacation

by , on
December 17, 2008

It’s been a long four weeks since I got back from my post-election vacation and some of the most exciting in Canadian political history, but I am ready for my Christmas vacation and incredibly happy that it starts tomorrow.

I hope to come back to a calmed-down office and a resolved transit strike.

But now I will think only of the two lovely weeks ahead of me and what I plan to do with them:

1) I will finish my scarf and at least one of socks I’ve got on my needles

2) I will read (I finished Twiling last night – meh – and I have a pile of books to get started on, including the Yarn Harlot’s new one)

3) I will give my puppy all the exercise his little heart desires (depending on the weather)

4) I will clean the house and purge (I hate having so many things just lying around)

5) I will lose my voice screaming in support of our boys at the Canada-US game in the greatest tournament ever (World Junior Hockey Championships!)

6) I will make an effort to keep up with the news

7) I will get exercise and work on watching what I eat. I’ve been doing better, but not well.

8) I will try to be inspired every day, write something every day and generally keep the creative part of me happy every day. I might even start sketching again.

9) I will make an honest attempt at mapping out my future.

I will come back to work refreshed and ready to go with plans in place and the drive to impress my bosses. They keep telling us that they want our office to be less like a drive-thru (meaning, they don’t want to have to come to us and “order,” they want us to anticipate their needs), and I want to bring ideas forth.

When I was in high school I was very much a quiet person. I only spoke when I was called upon to do so because when I spoke out of turn I usually got embarassed. I hate being wrong and I really hate being called on it.

After high school I took a year off and then went away to college and I was fundamentally changed. In college I wanted to prove that I was smart and I did have ideas and so I spoke up, I raised my hand to give answers, I asked questions. I didn’t care what the people around me thought because I was there for myself and I knew I would only get out what I put in to my education. As a result I was top of my class with a good deal of confidence.

After college I was unemployed for three  months before taking a bad job. The paper I moved across the country to work for folded after two months and I ended up back at home and unemployed for another six months.

That year took a huge toll on me. When I left school I was sure that I was on the right path. I was meant to be a journalist and I was going to succeed – and furthermore I was going to do it without my father’s connections. But I didn’t. At all.

By the time I quit another job and went back to university it had only gotten worse. I am a shadow of that girl and I miss her terribly. She knew she was capable and I second-guess everything. She would hand in assignments knowing that she would get top marks, I hand in work and wait for someone to point out the mistakes I missed.

With the help of a good boss that girl is trying to make a comeback and I intend to do everything I can to help her along.

The thing that's been driving me crazy for a week now…

by , on
December 7, 2008

It bothers me that the Conservative Party is lying about this whole thing being unconstitutional, undemocratic and unprecedented. It bothers me that Canadians are being told that we didn’t elect Stephane Dion because unless you live in Calgary Southwest or Saint Laurent-Cartierville, you didn’t elect either Dion or Stephen Harper because we don’t elect the government, we elect a Parliament. Unless your a member of the party that happens to win the most seats, you don’t ever have a chance of electing the Prime Minister, because parties choose their own leader.

It bothers me that thousands of Canadians are protesting something they don’t even really understand.

But the thing that bothers me most is that the liars and the people who are only acting as though they know how Canada’s system works are the ones explaining it to the people who admitted they didn’t know. Those are the ones who are winning the war because people believe them. This whole country needs to sit down and take a lesson in Canadian politics (which I did in Grade 10, but apparently I was the only one with that curriculum).

Whether you support Stephen Harper or the coalition, whether you agree with the coalition at all, one thing you cannot argue about is how the system works. You can be angry about the power the Governor General holds as long as you understand that that’s how our system works. You can call this a blatant power grab as long as you admit that the power grab as long as you admit that it is neither unconstitutional nor unprecedented.

And don’t even get my started on the idea that this is somehow undemocratic. We don’t elect a government, we elect a Parliament and the Parliament bestows confidence.

From two men who said it better than I could:

by , on
December 2, 2008

“Elections don’t elect governments, they elect Parliaments. Parliaments make a government, Parliaments can break a government. ” – Nelson Wiseman, University of Toronto Professor on CBC Newsworld, December 2, 2008.

“Well, I actually think that maybe our schools should do a better job of teaching people as to how a Parliamentary system works, because this is what is being talked about is totally constitutional and totally within the legal framework of how a Parliamentary democracy works … It’s certainly appropriate within the way our Parliamentary system works.” – Liberal Senator David Smith on CBC Newsworld, December 2, 2008

To quote John Hodgeman, That is all.

My thoughts on the CUSA thing

by , on
November 27, 2008


My alma mater has been international news for the past two days because our students’ association did something that was thoughtless and fundamentally stupid.

I have been infuriated since I heard the story, and not just by the motion itself which was poorly researched and badly presented. The thing that is making me even more angry is the student representatives have absolutely no understanding of what they did wrong.

The motion put forth said that Carleton would no longer participate in Shinerama, a nationwide fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis that students take part in every frosh, because CF is not an inclusive enough disease and all students taking part in the fundraiser should feel connected to the cause they are helping. The president said the preamble – the part that was factually inacurate and explosive in the media (left and right-wing) – wasn’t what the vote was actually about, they were only voting on whether they would continue to take part in Shinerama and the preamble could have said anything.

I,for one,have never heard of voting for a motion without voting for the wording of the motion – Shouldn’t you agree with the “whereas” if you’re going to support the conclusion?

The kid who drafted the motion has apologized for mis-interpreting the word Caucasian and nothing else. In fact, he’s made in worse by saying that continuing to support a cause that saves the lives of children across the country reflects “the same mentality that kept slavery legal and prevented the women’s vote.”

As well as improving his vocabulary and research skills, he might want to work on a little bit of history.

With this motion CUSA managed to hurt the school. Alumni are worrying about the value of their degrees and wondering if they’ll ever again be moved to donate money to the school, the members of CUSA seems to be looking around at the world and thinking: “What?”

That is what makes me so angry. In fact, that is what has made me angry about CUSA every year since I enrolled at Carleton in 2004 – through the ridiculousness of the ‘Save student space’ campaign, through the ‘anti-choice’ free speech debacle, and now here we are. They always seem to choose a cause and then fight for it with all their might, even after they’ve been proven wrong, even after the students they’re supposed to represent start fighting back.

I was giddy yesterday that CUSA was finally getting its cumuppance for being so “activist” I guess they’d call it, but then more and more media outlets started covering the story and they weren’t writing about CUSA, they were writing about Carleton students that did this. They aren’t making the distinction and I can’t make them. CUSA doesn’t understand Carleton students aren’t all like them and neither does the mainstream media, and that hurts me and all my friends who went to Carleton or are still in the process of getting their degrees.

I am left to wonder what these execs have done to their own futures through this whole situation. I think they’ll be hard-pressed to find an employer who wouldn’t at least google them, and then they’ll have to explain themselves all over again. Maybe in a few years they’ll have had the chance to give it some more thought, but right now they’re not apologetic in the least.

My frustration

by , on
November 26, 2008

I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

Until I was diagnosed three years ago I had never heard of PCOS and now it is my daily frustration. What it means is that my hormones are un-balanced. It makes it hard for me to lose weight, which is the one thing I have to do to get the disease under control. It means that my fertility is at risk and I could get ovarian or cervical cancer.

Three months ago I had it under control and now I don’t any more. I was managing my weight and then I went away to work in Montreal for a month. I got sloppy. I didn’t have time to cook for myself and I certainly didn’t have time to buy groceries. I lived on take out and mistakenly thought that the walking I was doing would even everything out.

Then I came home and started working 13 or 14 hour days and ate just so my body would keep going.

And in those three months I gained back about 15 lbs of the 35 I lost last year.

I have no choice but to work very, very hard to get back on track, but it’s even harder than last time and I’m not sure what I can do.

I chose to rant about this today because I am heading out to a doctor’s appointment and she is going to scold me and I’m not in the mood for it.

Not thinking about work, thinking about knitting.

by , on
November 26, 2008

I was intrigued by this, the Yarn Harlot’s ode to the Noro Stripe Scarf, and yesterday I happened to stop by the yarn shop after a doctor’s appointment (I was in the area and thinking about Christmas gifts), and I they had Noro Silk Garden and it was pretty and I bought two skeins and starting knitting the scarf last night.

All it is is 1×1 ribbing, 2×2 stripes. It’s very simple, and very pretty. Last night I thought mine didn’t look like the pictures I had seen online and was a bit disappointed. This morning I looked at it again and thought it was lovely (even though I’ve only got about 3 inches of scarf right now).

Now, I’m sitting here wishing I was at home so I could work on it, thinking about asking my husband to bring it to trivia tonight so I can work on it there. Sad that it will be too late to work on it when I get home.

And I have no idea at what point I became obsessed with this scarf. It’s like the Noro has some power over me.

Kids these days…

by , on
November 13, 2008

I have had many a conversation with my peers about the safety measures parents seem to take in this 21st century.  I have watched a beautiful wood play structure that I enjoyed for my entire childhood disappear in favour of a much shorter plastic one. Though I was never hurt when using that structure – and never heard any stories of my friends and classmates being hurt, it was decided by that generation younger than my parents but older than my friends that the potential for splinters and scratches was too much for their children.

For years parents have protected their children from any kind of bacteria that could harm them – and allergy levels have risen and germs are starting to mutate and these people are growing up with weak immune systems, petrified of dirt and what it might do to them.

This morning I was doing my usual scan of the newspapers and I finished with the Globe and Mail’s Facts and Arguments, which consists of a personal essay and a small collection of interesting facts and stories in the news. Today there was a note about the ever-increasing number of British children who are starting school not knowing which hand is their dominant one. Apparently parents are so worried about letting their kids crawl or lie on their stomach, that these children don’t develop right-left coordination with their arms and legs. The psychologist source also blames television and video games saying that children aren’t using their hands enough to grasp concepts like weight and volume.

I can’t imagine being that old – I would think at least 4 or 5 – and not know that I’m right handed. I can’t imagine not be allowed to crawl and explore and I certainly can’t imagine not using my hands to play.  Grabbing at things around you and feeling them in your hands should be an integral part of childhood – just like scraping your knees and getting dirty.


by , on
November 12, 2008

Last night the hubby and I took a trip to Chapters and in my perusal I saw a book in the reference section that was written to teach it’s reader how to journal. My response to this book was that if you need a book to teach you how to keep a journal you’re doing it wrong. There should be no work and no studying involved.

Today at work I came across a CP story about a new course at Simon Fraser University that teaches students how to blog.

Again, if you need training on how to blog you’re doing it wrong.

I’ll bet I have less technical skill than a lot of the students at Simon Fraser (being several years their senior – I didn’t start using a computer until Grade 1, they’ve probably had a computer in some form or another since birth) and I’ve started several blogs. I’ve managed to add photos and links and embed documents and do most of the stuff you’d want to do on a blog.

One week to go…

by , on
November 4, 2008

I am back to work next Tuesday and I have developed a great desire to start fresh and get back on track.

Before the wedding I was getting my exercise, I was paying attention to what I put in my body, I even got somewhat of a handle on my debt. Then my world changed rapidly – I lost my job, I moved to Saskatchewan, I got a new job with hours I had never worked before. Suddenly it felt like I had no time to do anything but work and sleep and be depressed an moody because I wasn’t sleeping properly. I had panic attacks at work when I was asked to do new things that required more skills and more care.

Then the election happened and I learned what it’s really like to not have time for anything but work and sleep. For almost three months I was exhausted – mind, body and soul.

Now I’ve had the chance to rest. I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to during my vacation: Catching up on my sleep, catching up on my TV shows, getting my exercise, knitting, cooking, reading, taking care of my husband and my puppy and spending time with friends. I even got the chance to do a few extra things: We went to a Senators game and to see the Cirque du Soleil, I bought a puzzle and completed it (2000 pieces), something I haven’t done in years, I got started on my Christmas knitting and my Christmas shopping and I had time to sit back, have some fun and evaluate what I want, how I want to get there, what I need to make me a whole person.

I need exercise and, it turns out, I love to sweat. I pull up something on the PVR and get on the bike and I really feel as though I’m working hard. When I decide that it’s hard and I’m only going to go for 15 minutes and end up completing my 30 I allow myself to be proud.

I need fresh air. One of my absolute favourite things is taking Henry to the off-leash park. He runs and I walk and me thoughts are as free to roam as he is.

I need to be taught. I yearn to take classes. My brain needs guidance sometimes. I want to take writing classes and dance classes and knitting classes and anything else that strikes my fancy. I don’t think I’ll ever lose that desire. I blame my parents.

I need family. With my mother, grandfather and sister all across the country – the people that formed my universe when I was growing up – I have had to adjust a lot in the past year. Joe and I got married and went away for a week and when we got back my Mom was retired and gone and suddenly I was completely responsible for everything in my life – and not just my life. Now Joe and I are family and we have to work together to make sure we can sustain ourselves. It terrifies me to rely on him that much – it terrifies me more to rely on myself that much.

I remember when I was a kid and I was out of school sick for a couple of days or a week and the dread I used to feel having to go back. It felt like everything must have changed and I would be even further behind than before. The last time I took a week off work I went back pretty much just to clean out my desk. Now I’ve been off for three weeks from a job that was never really mine in the first place and I have absolutely no idea what to expect when I go back.

I just don't understand…

by , on
October 23, 2008

Alright, I’m angry. I just read this.

I don’t understand why allowing other people who are in love to get married would somehow undermine the meaning of my marriage.

I don’t understand how people can argue that gay marriage would undermine the sanctity of marriage in a country with a 50 per cent divorce rate.

I once heard a man on the radio argued against allowing gay couples to adopt because “children need to be raised in a loving home.”

The stupidity of it all overwhelms me.


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