Proud Gaggle of Misfits

I get schooled fairly regularly by my kid. She will quiz me on various Korean pop band members names, challenge me with various lines from The Outsiders, try her best to stump me with various characters from The Walking Dead. And most recently she has fully schooled us on all of the genders and sexualities that have been given names so that those who live them don’t feel nameless.

Her teacher actually explained these all to them and like every other time, we learned something from her.

No, not the names, or even the fact that there are technically more than 2 or 3 genders.

We learned how smart and loving our daughter is. How curious she is to understand other people. How open she is to knowing and loving them anyway. How supportive she can be when she understands and connects with an idea and how strong she can be when she believes everyone has the right to be just who they are and no one else.

I’m just a little bit proud of her.

We went to the pride parade again this year with a couple of her friends. It was a beautiful day full of colour and fun and music and people just being themselves. We wandered along the parade route once the festivities had passed and just enjoyed being a part of it all. No one was worrying about what people might be saying. No one was afraid to hold the hand of the person they loved.

When we were almost home I noticed two men crossing the street. They were holding each others hands lightly until they got to the median. When they had to cross the portion of the street with cars waiting to go, they let go of each others hands. What a sad, sad thing to witness after such a glorious day. How shitty it must be for them to have come from such a wonderful day full of acceptance and freedom to be yourself only to feel the pressure of strangers in cars and pretend like you are with your bro instead of your partner.

I didn’t bring this to McK’s attention. Giggling away in the backseat, oblivious to society’s ugly heaviness happening just feet away, I was not about to change their mood, or ruin their high from such a fun outing, by pointing this out.

No, instead I will just listen to their wild and wacky conversations, I will smile as she schools her pal on japanese rock lyrics, I will allow my heart to fill with pride of another kind, I will marvel at the little woman my little girl is becoming as she grows up and learns how to be so caring and thoughtful and aware.

We left rainbow coloured footprints on the streets of downtown this Sunday.

winnipeg pride parade

The leaders of tomorrow, ready to fight the injustices of the world!

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Getting Behind Your Country

To say you are in love with your country is a statement not many would freely utter unless prompted.

But I love Canada. I love Manitoba. I love Winnipeg and all it’s quirky little personalities. Because yes, Winnipeg most definitely has a personality. It throws incredible weathery temper tantrums but when it is having a good day, we ALL get to bask in it. It has bumpy roads to nowhere but when you find one tucked away that not many others have been down you are treated to the spectacular beauty that it hides deep inside. It may not have mountains but if you get in a canoe and just paddle, you will soon find yourself in either the sweltering heat of the Amazon or the freezing cold of the Arctic ocean.

But I digress. Canada, as a whole, is often overlooked and underrated. I think that is why those who choose to live here get rather passionate when it comes to their undying support of the teams that reside within these beautiful (and un-walled) borders.

For me, there are 3 sports or events that have taken us to the international stage that have required my never ending and vocal support because when faced off against the rest of the world, the Big 4 or the mighty Americans, we have always been viewed as the underdogs, the automatic seconds, the chokers.

I’m talking the Olympics, tennis and NBA basketball.

I will be an instant fan of any Olympic sport that has a Canadian athlete participating in it and I will cheer like I have been following their story since they were 6 and their mom got them up in the morning to drive them to practice. I will tear up when they win and feel the heartbreak when they don’t and I will watch the medal counts like a hawk and mutter “ughhhh those Americans” when they sneak past us, which they inevitably do.

If you are a Canadian tennis player who has made it on to the scene, you will have our immediate and relentless support from the other side of our TV screen. Milos, Vasek, Genie, Aleks, Frank, heck even the veteran Daniel who, more often than not lately, is the last one remaining in a tournament left for us to cheer for. We desperately want to see you do good. And when Milos comes up against Djokovich or Murray, we cringe a little inside but do we whoop and hollar at every point he gets? Yes, yes we do.

We have just one NBA team here in Canada. They historically haven’t done too much to be memorable but in the last few years they have started to rise up and join the ranks of the big dogs. This year they made it through two rounds of playoff ball and in the last round, the deciding round, they fell to a giant. But what was so fantastic about that was that NO ONE outside of Canada had any faith that they would get to where they did. No one thought they could beat who they beat, game after game, night after night. They faltered, yes, and some will joke that hey, they’re Canadian, of course they choked. But while they were falling this entire country had their hands out to catch them and raise them back up to where they belonged.

So yes, I’ll be the one on the couch with damp eyes when our Olympic athletes take the podium in their red and white AND when they have to walk away with nothing. I’ll be the one on the couch with the damp eyes when our tennis players hoist the giant trophy in victory AND when they walk off the court first, proud but in defeat. I’ll be the one on the couch with damp eyes when our NBA team makes it to the semis when no one even gave them a second thought AND when they have to sit in their press conference and each fight over who’s fault it was that they lost because even if these kids weren’t born in Canada, they are Canadian now.

Oh Canada. The big little country that could.

our simple but beautiful flag

Oh Canada!

Where the Words Came From

The first thing I actually remember writing that ever earned any accolades, was a poem. The Charleswood Legion held a contest on Remembrance Day and I entered a poem and I won.

That is not to say I hadn’t written anything noteworthy prior to that, but it is my first piece that I can recall being read by people other than myself, my teachers, or my parents.

My mum showed me a little newspaper that I had made when I was much younger. It’s adorable and likely factually accurate in the way any 6 year old’s newspaper would be.

The next thing I remember is another poem that I wrote in Grade 12 that my teacher took issue with and actually called my mum about. My mum, being the amazing author and wicked wordsmith that she is, marched down to the school and skewered that dude like a shrimp on the barbie.

Beyond that, I wrote in many an unfinished journal, left poems scattered about like leaves, and grew my fascination with books that stemmed from endless childhood summers spent competing in reading contests at the Charleswood Library.

Many moons later, when I was a nanny, I found a local parenting newspaper and decided it was lacking something. I wrote to the editor and pitched my idea. It wasn’t just parent’s that were scouring your publication for things to do with these kids. It was nannies and daycare workers and teachers. So I earned myself a lippy little column that I would now call cringe-worthy. It turned into more of a “don’t do this if you have a nanny because she’ll hate you and leave” column and was my venting place for all things parenting that I didn’t have the guts to say to the parents who had left their child in my care.

Beyond that, a few published pieces here and there and endless blogs to post my prose seemed to sum up my writing life. Random and rambling, unfocused and many times unread, the blogs were a creative outlet that had no clear direction and no clear meaning but at the time, selfishly served their purpose.

Till now. 

I still love words. I still love books. I find enough on the internet to drink in all the information I need. I read about things that I normally wouldn’t. I write about things that I normally wouldn’t. I appreciate well thought out pieces. I acknowledge beautifully written ideas. I share. And I take in.

I love the patience of written words. I love that the written word gifts people with time and the opportunity to take a moment, to think about their reply, to respond with thoughtful and useful information. I love that the written word gives you a moment to colour your thoughts, to say more than you could or ever would out loud.

And so I muddle on, piecing together thoughts, stringing together sentences that try to tell a story or prove a point or embrace an idea. That movie script, that novel, those first drafts? They may never see the light of day.

Write them anyway.

 

William Wordsworth

Or the screen!

Duty Calls

OBJECTION!

This girl got called for Jury Duty!

I knew my years of watching Law and Order would come in handy! They’re gonna LOVE ME!

But seriously. I’m a little torn. On one hand I’d love to participate in the judicial process and do my part to ensure guilty people get put away and innocent people do not. But on the other hand, what if it goes on for months? What if one of the other jurors is a total jerk? What if the perp is accused of something so horrid that I can’t ever stop thinking about it? What if we make a mistake?

I’m not sure what exactly gets you excused from the process. I know each lawyer has a set of qualities in mind that they are looking for in a juror and they each have the opportunity to nix a certain amount of potential jurors. Do they want the daughter of a retired city cop/detective/sergeant? I’m thinking one side might.

Do they want a parent? A woman? A woman who works? A woman with opinions? Who knows.

I’m not sure I could sit in that little box and actually keep my mouth shut for that long.

I’m not sure I could sit in that little box and not give away my feelings purely by facial expressions.

I’m not sure I could sit in that little box and not tweet my way through it.

(Does one get in trouble for that? Probably, yes.)

So we’ll see how it goes. I will write and let them know that our morning routine is such that from 4:30 am till 8, I am my daughters sole care provider and her means of transportation to school. I can ask for help with that for a few days but if this ends up being  a prolonged case, I would not want to put that on anyone. I will let them decide if that is a sufficient enough reason to leave me be.

And if not, then I will do my duty and participate in the process.

No further questions, your honour.

jury duty

Has the jury reached a verdict?

 

Have you ever been summoned for jury duty? Did you go? How was your experience? Do share in the comments!

When Does the anti-Hate Law Pass?

North Carolina passed a law that says you must use the bathroom that equates to your birth gender, not the gender you live and breath as.

I think they missed something.

They local yokels and likely Trump-supporters were up in arms about how they don’t want to share their urinals with a dude who used to be a woman. That dude should go use the women’s washroom.

You’re telling me that the same fella who was so against the lovely lady in grey actually using the women’s washroom, wouldn’t raise hell if the gentleman in black went in to the women’s washroom? To say nothing of what sort of treatment the woman can expect upon entering the “men’s” room.

America. Why so messed up??

And now Mississippi has passed a law that says pretty much ANYONE can refuse to provide service of virtually any kind to anyone they believe is LGBT. If you have a “sternly held religious belief” you can just up and say no. Just like that.

I really don’t even know what to say.

People may make fun of him for corny boxing photos, or may not support his party, but I’d rather have a guy like this helping Canada make the rules than have what’s happening south of our border, happen up here.

tumblr_inline_o2z8fjbPMk1qzdapl_540

Trudeau being Trudeau

So I suppose a big thank you is in order to my parents, to my dad who is married to a lovely woman named Juanita  and to my mum, who is also married to a lovely woman named Carla, for bringing us to Canada, and not somewhere where evil seems to make the rules.

However I WILL note that huge kudos go to companies like Disney and PayPal who are removing their plans to operate their business in the states that operate the way NC and MS are, and all of the other companies and sports teams and organizations who have spoken out about their support for the LGBT community.

We’re not perfect here in Canada, not by a long shot, but by golly we could be ten times as worse as we are right now and we’d still shine like a diamond in comparison.

Oh Canada. Indeed.

The Almighty Girl

I talk pretty regularly to McK about the things she enjoys, what she loves, what she is currently obsessed with and what she might want to be when she is older. Last week it was an author. This week it is a producer. Next week? Who knows.

I have never told her that she may make less, or have to work that much harder, simply because she is a girl. I have never told her because, knowing her, she would find that to be a ludicrous statement.

I certainly haven’t told her that if she enters a male-dominated field, like technology, not only will she get paid less, but she is more likely to be harassed and pushed out than many other fields. The GamerGate situation is one that leaves you feeling pretty hopeless for women in tech yet it is a topic I will likely have to broach with my 12 year old.

I’m not sure how to tell her about that.

How do you tell a 12 year old girl that simply because she loves video games and is amazing at them and might entertain working in that field, that she will be subject to potential ridicule, abuse, threats and constant intrusions into her life and the lives of her friends and family, just because she is a girl who can do what boys can, and do it better.

I know there are champions, both male and female, fighting the good fight for equality in those situations. And I can only hope that the boys she is in school with now, who grow up playing these games alongside her, will understand and promote that the tech sector is for everyone. I can only hope that if she chooses a field like tech, that by then the allies outweigh the bullies.

But more visible than that, and more talked about, is the equality in pay in virtually every professional field. I read an article today that detailed the fight that the US women’s national soccer team has taken on. I can only imagine the Canadian women’s team has it even worse.

“The World Cup pay skews so dramatically, the men earned $9 million for losing in their round of 16 in 2014, while the women earned $2 million for winning the entire tournament.”

Billie Jean King fought for equal pay at the US Open and in 1973, she got it. Venus Williams fought for equal pay at Wimbledon and in 2007, she got it.

The recent stories prompted by the Erin Andrews lawsuit. The Ghomeshi verdict. The comments on articles and tweets. They don’t give a gal much hope.

But I will continue to tell my girl, as I often do, that she can be and do anything she wants to. I will continue to foster and support her endeavors and her dreams. And I will continue to hope that the more Billie’s and Venus’ we have out there, the more USWNT voices that aren’t afraid to shout out loud, the less explaining I’ll have to do to my daughter.

Keeping Up Appearances

The word multitasking has become such a catch phrase that everyone and their dog thinks it needs to be on their resume, in their everyday terminology and their biggest sell feature when selling, well, themselves.

But the word has been mangled and misinterpreted for some time now.

People are confusing the word multitasking with “looking busy”.

Running around, pretending to be putting out fire after fire, frantically fixing issues and taking longer than you should for things is not multitasking. It is an inefficient use of time.

What multitasking used to mean was the ability to work on multiple things at once. Which, when you break it down, is actually kind of impossible. But it sure sounds good.

What multitasking actually is, is somewhere along the lines of being able to be fully engrossed in one project while having the ability to stop if something comes up that requires your immediate attention, deal with it, and then return to your original project without skipping a beat.

When you look at it like that, and realize it does not mean jumping from one thing to the next without prioritizing or actually completing a task, you realize a good number of people need to go and do some deleting on their resume.

Stop confusing busy with productive.

Multitasking is not the ideal quality that we have all been led to believe if you are defining it the way we used to. Busy is not the ideal way to run your day. If you can be organized, plan for certain things, allow flexibility and agility when things change, you will be a thousand times more productive than you will be busy.

When you allow yourself the ability to learn how to effectively multitask when the need arises, you will find less fires and less issues. And you will discover more time and more successes.

The glorification of busy ends here.

busy vs productive

Looking “busy” doesn’t mean you are accomplishing things!

 

How do you organize your day so that you are effectively using your time and able to properly multitask? Are you able to stop one project and go to another task or do you lose all track of what you’re doing? Comment above, lets help each other out!