Dec 6th Action

December 6, 2016 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Words matter.

“Women on one side, men on the other.”

“He told us [the men] to leave, and we did.” (p. 171)

From the book: The Montreal Massacre by Louise Malette & Marie Chalouh; translated by Marlene Wildeman. Charlottetown, PEI: gynergy books, 1991.

Do you know the new inclusive words for the Canadian anthem?

Why is it wrong if I need the words of my national anthem to include me through its language?

I am not a son. I am a daughter. I am not a man but I am a person. I am part of us.

Language matters.

Words matter.

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My Previous words of remembrance.

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

 

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Sports Bragging

August 7, 2016 at 8:15 am (Meme) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I squealed when I saw this week’s travel theme! Yes, yes, yes! I’m in the mood for some bragging.

I play very few sports so this bragging is not about me. It’s about my friend. She’s heavily involved in the Quidditch community. Yes, I said Quidditch as in the sport that Harry Potter plays on flying brooms.

She recently attended the Quidditch World Cup in which Australia came first. Way to go Australia! The Quidditch Canada National Team placed 4th out of 21 teams at the IQA Quidditch World Cup. Pretty good if you ask me!

What to see how Quidditch is played; follow this link to YouTube videos of Quidditch World Cup 2016.

My friend not only plays Quidditch, she also coaches and refs. She was at the World Cup mostly as a ref, I do believe.

I’m in awe. She brings imaginary sports to life. I’m more of a non-athlete. Sometimes I’ll watch ice skating on CBC. Occasionally, I will go and watch a sports game if nieces or nephews (or grand-nieces/nephews) are playing.

I never really got encouraged into any sports. I played a bit in elementary school but by the time I started grade eight I was relegated to the sidelines (like scoring in baseball – I can still fill in and read baseball score cards)!

Sports are harder to pick up as you get older. I do like walking. I do a lot of solitary walking but sometimes I wish I had my friend’s bravery to try something new and spectacular like Quidditch.

Quidditch Refs

Photo credit: Alix Marie d’Avigneau

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This is not my picture. I cribbed it from my friend’s FaceBook page. (I may have to remove it but I hope she’ll be okay with me using it).

Congratulations to all the Quidditch athletes world-wide.

Keep on being innovative!

“Although people rarely died playing Quidditch, referees had been known to vanish and turn up months later in the Sahara Desert.” ~J.K. Rowling

“I’m sitting in the bleachers, watching longingly as all the boys and umbumped girls in my Personal Health and Fitness class play Muggle Quidditch. I don’t even like the game very much, I think it’s silly, but I so miss physical activity that I’d be thrilled if I could run around the gymnasium with a broom between my legs, chasing after the human snitch wearing a gold pinny.” ~Megan McCafferty

 

 

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Happy Birthday Your Majesty

April 17, 2016 at 8:15 am (Book Commentary, Faery tales) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Queen turns 90 on April 21, 2016.

She’s been through a lot in those ninety years. There was Wallis Simpson & the abdication, World War II, the death of her father at an early age, the Diana years, the loss of both her sister and her mother. A lifetime worth of trails and tribulations.

She is old enough to forgive and forget. Myself, I still hold grudges. I still want people to admit they done me wrong and some of these people are dead.

The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. That makes her a Taurus like my eldest sister. Like most Tauruses, she’s reliable, practical, ambitious, and independent.

On her official birthday during the weekend of June 10 – 13th, there will be many celebrations. There will also be celebrations from May 12 – 15th.

We’re not celebrating Her Majesty’s birthday here in Canada as far as I know. The RCMP Musical Ride will go to London to join the Royal Celebrations there and we are publishing a charming children’s book to mark the occasion.

Our government here in Canada is pretty boring especially compared to the British Monarchy (though there was that Prime Minister who had seances to contact his mum).

We may not have castles but our Prime Minister resides in a very lovely mansion as he governs the country. Honestly, we’ve not had anyone interesting living there since Pierre Elliot Trudeau was Prime Minister! Politics have been boring, boring, boring ever since he left but maybe his son (our current Prime Minister) can liven up our world-wide reputation.

The United States has no connection to royalty anymore (not since the revolution) so they create their own royalty out in Hollywood.

We (I) fantasize about being royal. Does Royalty fantasize about playing at being normal. I love the movie, The Prince & Me. I love its light humour. We are amused (yes that is the royal we).

What has the Queen been fantasizing about lately? Maybe these quick, amusing reads have the answer.

Uncommon-Reader-Alan-Bennett

The Uncommon Reader deals with the Queen as a bibliophile.

What she was finding was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren’t long enough for the reading she wanted to do. (p. 21)

As Queen…pleasure had always taken second place to duty. (p. 31)

To read is to withdraw. To make oneself unavailable. (45)

Once she been a single-minded woman knowing where her duty lay and [her] intent [was] on doing it…(104)

The moral, of this book, is that the love and act of reading can lead to the act of writing which leads to abdication.

A moral, I’m sure, our current Queen would be against considering how long it took her and her mother to forgive Edward and Wallis.

The Uncommon Reader is written by Alan Bennett. Faber & Faber published it in 2007.

Mrs Queen

In this fairy tale-ish book, the Queen takes a melancholy jaunt alone to Scotland to visit the decommissioned Royal Yacht.

People had been writing about her from the very first day she was born in April 1926. (p. 5)

It was Prince Edward [who had] shown her (he knew his mama’s bad habits) a website where she could place a small bet on the races. (p. 8)

She had already called the IT woman three times. She couldn’t call her again. The Queen knew she needed help, but she hated to appear helpless. (p. 4)

The Queen set store by doing everything as Queen Victoria had once done it. (p. 135)

This story is set in December 2002. It is a charming, small, book with lovely black & white illustrations throughout. Here the Queen’s world is populated by many charming and eccentric characters.

There is Lady Anne Bevil, one of her Ladies in Waiting who at seventy has little money left to support herself and is estranged from her son.

Shirley is the queen’s senior dresser. She is sixty and her grandmother and mother worked for the Queen before her. She has no family left.

William is the senior butler. He is gay and has made this job his whole life.

Luke, an equerry and Iraq vet considers his job to be temporary.

Rebecca is a stable girl who takes care of the Queen’s horses. Queen Elizabeth’s latest horse, who was born on the Queen’s birthday, likes cheese. This is a very important plot point!

Rajiv works as a shop clerk at a cheese store and has a sideline profession of taking & selling candid Queen shots to the press. He likes Rebecca (every story needs a romance).

The tale becomes a cozy mystery involving the queen’s household vs MI5. It is very Doctor Whoish. The servants are at friendly odds with each other. They are not sure who to like or who to trust and must find the Queen before it is noticed that she is missing.

Mrs Queen Takes the Train was written by William Kuhn. HarperCollins published it in 2012.

Queen Townsend
After 40 years on the throne, The Queen and her family are rehoused to a council estate because the People’s Republican Party has gotten rid of the monarchy. Everything the Royal Family once had belongs to the state; the new Prime Minister sells off some of royal treasures to Japan and Windsor Castle is turned into a hotel. The former Royal family have no servants, make no public appearances, and they must check in/out with a guard every time they leave the house.

This was subversive fiction written during the Thatcher’s 90s!

The sweetest scene is when the Queen Mum dies and is laid out by neighbours.

Even with all this upheaval, the Queen gets on with it.

The sequel featuring Camilla instead of Diana is not as strong.

The Queen & I was written by Sue Townsend. Methuen published it in 1992.

Hello Magazine

Further readings written by me:

Here is my article about Princess Anne’s wedding.

Here is my article commemorating Elizabeth’s longest reign in September.

It seems Ailsa & I both had books on our mind this week!

Happy Birthday Your Majesty.

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Laura Secord’s Cow

March 6, 2016 at 8:15 am (Fun) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Who do you think of when you think of great Canadian Women?

I think of authors first. The Margarets (Atwood & Laurence), Lucy Maud (Montgomery), Mavis (Gallant) and Alice (Munro) who recently won that big prize! I feel like I should be on a first name basis with them because I’ve read all their writings and so many bios about them that I feel I know them personally. Does this make sense?

I also think history when I think great. There are the Famous Five who used to be on our fifty dollar bill of whom Nellie (why is no one named Nellie anymore) was a member.

96-1-CH-FM16

Lately, I think of Laura Secord when I think great Canadian women. Why? Partly because the War of 1812 has been in my news feed and partly because I recently purchased her chocolate.

There is a dispute as to who really won the War of 1812, the Americans or us? We did, of course (back when we were British). We are the only nation to have successfully burnt down the White House after all!

Laura Secord was a heroine of the War of 1812 because she heard that the Americans intended to surprise the British outpost at Beaver Dams and capture the officer in charge, Lieutenant James FitzGibbon. It was urgent that someone warn FitzGibbon and Laura resolved to take the message herself to FitzGibbon.

Thus a legend was born. The legend of Laura and her cow trekking 30 miles through the woods to warn FitzGibbon. The cow came along to provide cover because a women and a cow in the forest was normal back then!

Laura delivered her message and became legend. We aren’t told what happened to the cow!

Chocolate Bar

A hundred years later, a chocolate company is named in her honor.

In 1913, Frank P. O’Connor, the founder of a small candy business in Toronto selling hand-made chocolates, chose Laura Secord as the name for his company because she “was an icon of courage, devotion and loyalty.”

This has been your Canadian History moment inspired by the latest Canada’s History (formerly The Beaver – a name I much preferred) magazine.

Canadians you have until March 8th to submit your vote for a Great Canadian Woman.

Vote always. Always vote!

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How Long?

December 6, 2015 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Lifetimes have passed since.

The length of a generation.

It’s been a life time – babies who were born that year are now young women as they were. They were women who never got to fulfill their destiny.

A Mother’s Grief.

A mother who will never hug her daughter’s daughter to her breast.

[We stand] crying before the coffins of strangers,
offering roses and tiger lilies to young women [we will] never know.

“O Lord, how long?” O Lord, how long?” cry those standing at a prayer vigil on another December day.

Family Bear

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

My previous words of remembrance are here.

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Happy Canada Day

June 30, 2015 at 11:59 pm (My City) (, , , , , , , , , , )

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Canada Day Challenge 2015 Winners.

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Birthday Tribbles and Bits

April 5, 2015 at 8:15 am (Fun) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The stars in the sky were like candles on the birthday cake of a one-thousand-year-old man. (p. 318)

Easter Bunny

Cheers to:

1) Annual Traditions – every year, sometime around Good Friday, I watch Jesus Christ Superstar. This year I’ve already viewed the 1973 version 3.5 times. It is my favourite version. When it first came out my grandparents (my mother’s parents were strict Lutherans and argued with conviction that JC and the disciplines would not have had long hair and that the popular music was sacrilegious) were very much against us going to see the movie. Thankfully, mom let us go anyway and my younger brother and I spent many Saturday afternoons singing along to the LP. This Good friday, I watched a 2000 version of the play as it was produced in London (England) that is much darker than the 1970s movie.

2) New books that bring me joy and insight and remind me of old homes. Of all the cities I’ve lived in, I miss this city the most. I was English and there during the last referendum so reading about an honest recounting of the French point of view was enlightening.

After the 1980 referendum, everyone with prospects left the city. Everyone here now was a direct descendant of a dreamer. (p. 164)

Heather O’Neill, the author of this book set in Montreal, has a poet’s way with language and an unique way with similes and metaphors.

I looked in the closet for a warmer coat. … Moths flew everywhere around me, like I was in a little snowstorm. It was me. I let winter out of the box. (p. 207)

Arguments lasted longer. They hid behind couches and under the table. (p. 236)

Montreal is Canada’s New York City; it is a place for dreamers, actors, poets, and writers who have no choice but to also mingle with politicians and big business. It is a commercial city and a university town and a dreamer’s paradise as contradictory as that all sounds.

3) YouTube. Ah, but New York city has Broadway. I thank the stars for YouTube. I have been a Broadway Musical fan since forever. I search YouTube relentlessly for clips of past and present plays. It is the only place I have seen Alan Cumming in Cabaret. I so wish I could have seen Cabaret with him and Emma Stone as Sally. I settle instead for YouTube and memoirs. Alan’s new biography Not My Father’s Son is a must read for his fans! I finished it in a day and searched YouTube for clips of his vast acting credits. A very enjoyable day it was. If you’re a fan of Cabaret you must watch this documentary.

4) Memories of old loves. The Girl Who Was Saturday Night describes Montreal men perfectly divinely. Sigh! I miss him.

You could have a graduate class on him at Universite de Montreal. The prerequisites would have to be Russian Realism, The Death of the American Dream, The Bad Guy in Henry James, French Postwar Existentialism, and Seventies Independent Cinema.(p.284)

5) St. Trinian’s. I always wanted to be a St. Trinian’s girl and now to discover a new series of movies with Colin Firth in them. Ah happiness! Ah bliss! I know what I’m watching Saturday night. We (North America) need better access to movies from the UK, the good and the silly. I thank the stars that my library system is so diverse.

Happy Birthday Week to me (why celebrate just one day)!

More Tribbles and Bits here.

All quotes from:

The Girl Who was Saturday Night
by Heather O’Neill
Toronto, Ontario: HarperCollins, 2014

 

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Endless Winter

March 29, 2015 at 8:15 am (Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Winter is coming!

First_Snow2 The big question on everyone’s mind right now is “Will this Winter ever end?” The answer is no. No, this Winter will never end. We have entered the next phase in the Earth’s evolution and it is Winter. As of April 1, 2015 we will have started the next Ice Age! Hoar Frost  1 According to Dr. David Suzuki “We (humans) have altered the physical, chemical and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale. We have left no part of the globe untouched.” Thus, we have only ourselves to blame for this new ice age and endless winter. One only has to look at the weather patterns to observe the depressing ever-changing weekly weather forecast. Ice Flow Next week we will have: Rain Sun Sun Rain Snow or will we have Sun Cloud Cloud Rain Snow. The only constant is Snow. The Snow will never leave. The Snow will never melt. All we will remember from now on is Snow. In the decades to come, Boston’s 110 inches will be hardly note worthy and Mississippians will be able, like the rest of us, to build snow forts year round as we all learn to love Winter. After all, we Canadians have always known that it is possible to survive the ice, the cold, and never-ending Winter. Bring it Ice Age! Wear layers. Cover your face. Leave no skin exposed. Completely disregard fashion. Winter can be fun! The only thing we know for sure is that the new Ice Age is upon us. Not going anywhere It’s time to learn how to enjoy Winter or get use to never, ever going anywhere again.

“We’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit.” David Suzuki

It’s time to stop arguing before this article becomes truth. Have a good April Fools’ Day everyone!

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International Womyn’s Day

March 8, 2015 at 8:15 am (Rants) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today is International Women’s Day.

Restore our Anthem from Restore Anthem on Vimeo.

Recently, on CBC radio the topic of our national anthem‘s gender non-inclusiveness, once again, resurfaced.

For those of you who only remember the lyrics when the music swells, here they are:

The official lyrics of “O Canada” are:

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

The non-inclusiveness is “in all our sons command.”

The question put before the CBC audience was should parliament officially change the lyrics “in all thy sons command,” and replace them with “in all of us command.”

To me this is a no brainer. Of course, the lyrics should be changed to include all of us!

It seems, I am (as usual) in the minority here! Nobody (men or women) who called in supported the change in lyrics. This shocked me.

I am a proud Canadian. My heart swells with the music as the national anthem plays but still I feel the words conspire to exclude me. I am not Canada’s son. I am her daughter.

History is herstory too.

I’ve been a feminist for over forty years, this includes most of my life so far.

It’s a little depressing how so little seems to have changed.

History is herstory too.

Shouldn’t our anthems and symbols and history books reflect all of us?

I say yes. What say you?

Caterpillar 00

 

 

 

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Expendable

December 6, 2014 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I own a red shirt. I’ve worn it once. A red shirt. What’s the significance? Maybe you have to be a geek to get it. A certain sort of Star Trek geek in fact.

It has one word written on it.

That word is Expendable.

I wore the T-shirt, for the one and only time, on my last day of work in May. Sorta of an inside joke but I was the only one (geek) who got the joke.

I kept having to explain.

I kept trying to explain.

It got harder and harder to see the funny in it.

I work in a field that is 95% women.

You see, this also happened in May…UCSB May 2014 .

And again .

Yes, all women face these concerns and fears all the time.

And after a day of proclaiming myself as expendable, I didn’t like the joke anymore.

Nobody should be expendable.

YWCA Rose logo

Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.

My previous words of remembrance are here.

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