Tag Archives: rant

Not my Canada

More often than not I put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) to air my grievances in a humorous manner. I do this to remind myself that my problems are small and the best way to let them go is to laugh at them. After all, I have a roof over my head, food on my plate, my health, my sanity (for the most part), great friends and family, a beautiful child with another on the way and so much more. The problems that I have can’t take any of this away from me, and so at the end of the day I can consider myself among the lucky ones on this earth.

Today I can’t laugh. Yesterday many individuals in Québec City likely woke up feeling as I do: Grateful for life, love, happiness, community etc. By nightfall much of this had been stripped away from them, as their family members and friends were gunned down during evening prayer just because they were Muslim. These families are experiencing an unimaginable loss. I can’t even type this without tears spilling from my eyes. A community targeted for what? This was without a doubt an act of terrorism. This is not my Canada.

All Canadians are immigrants. Well, all Canadians are immigrants except the First Nations from whom we expropriated the lands upon which our cities sit, but that’s another story. This country’s immigration policy is the reason that I am here today. On my mother’s side I am a first generation Canadian, as were and are my paternal grandparents. I can’t know exactly why my family left Europe when they did, but I can only assume they were in search of a better life here in Canada.

My father’s family emigrated from Poland during the early 1920s. We are Jewish. As a child I was always acutely aware that I was ‘different’ from my Christian friends, but I was never singled out or targeted for that difference. I distinctly remember thinking that I was proud to live in a time and a country where race and religion didn’t matter. I remember being annoyed at my grandparents’ discomfort that my best friends were German. It wasn’t until I was 13 and did a class project on Anne Frank that I understood why they were uncomfortable, though they never told me I couldn’t or shouldn’t socialize with Germans.

My grandparents’ immediate families were the only ones who made it out of Poland before the Nazis invaded. They were living in Canada with the full knowledge that their loved ones were back in the old country, living in conditions that we Canadians can’t really even fathom. They rarely spoke about it, but I do remember my Papa telling me that he was responsible for fetching the mail for his mother from the post office during WWII. He was a teenager at the time. His mother would correspond with her sister in Poland quite frequently, and he diligently brought home her sister’s letters until one day there were no more. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like for him. To know why the letters had stopped. To have to tell his mother yet again that there was no news. To know that it meant death and loss. To know that his empty hands were breaking his mother’s heart.

My family lost their loved ones during a war that persecuted innocent people simply because they were Jewish. How is this any different from walking into a mosque and shooting up a room full of people simply because they are Muslim? Our differences are what make this world beautiful. I have travelled around this world and back again and marvelled at these differences. What are people so afraid of? I share a lot more in common with my welcoming, generous Muslim neighbours than I do with a white skinned bigot. I am an invisible minority and I admit that sometimes I hide within that identity. You can’t deduce my religion or cultural background from looking at me. My skin is so white it’s almost translucent. My native tongue is English. My son is baptised into his father’s family’s faith. Yet had I been born in a different time in a different land I would have shared the same fate as my Jewish brothers and sisters, as would my children. Hate doesn’t care who you are, only what it can label you.

Many Muslims don’t have the luxury of being ‘invisible’, nor should they want to be. If you can’t tell the difference between someone spouting the hateful ideology of a radical offshoot of Islam and a Muslim family fleeing their war torn homeland where they have lost everything to that same radical offshoot, then you are the one with the problem. I will never condone hateful words or actions, no matter the colour of the skin or religious beliefs of the owner of those words and actions.

Despite the discourse of hatred and fear that has permeated present day politics and infiltrated many aspects of life in the western world as of late, I am pleased to see that there is push back. My greatest fear today is not ISIS or Al Qaeda or the average Muslim Canadian. My greatest fear is complacency. At least here, despite many other failings, we have a government that speaks out against this hatred even if we have citizens who would idealize what is happening south of the border and live out that hatred here. The sad truth is that those citizens are no different than the ones they truly fear and hate. The more you hate, the more they hate and so on and so on. It’s the worst kind of positive feedback loop or vicious circle. Although it is scary to learn that the number of people contributing to this dangerous discourse is far greater than I ever believed it could be, I am grateful for the many more voices I hear speaking out against it.

To the community of the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec, I am truly sorry for your losses. This hateful Canada is not my Canada, nor is it the Canada of the vast majority of Canadians. We stand with you today and I hope we will prevail, God willing/b’ezrat HaShem/insha’Allah.

jack-layton

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PBS must really hate kids

As I rang in 2016 listening to the dulcet tones of my husband snoring on the couch next to me and Carrie Mathieson saved America on Netflix yet again, little did I know that life as I knew it was about to end. I logged out of Netflix not knowing that the following day, the first day of 2017 (That beacon of hope! That clean slate!), would dawn with doom and gloom on the horizon.

2017-cat

By the end of each day my house looks like a tornado has passed through it. I’m pregnant and tired, sick of asking the four year old to pick up his toys, and just done with the day. Cleaning and tidying are for the morning, before I’ve been asked a dozen times for candy for breakfast (and called the meanest mom in the world at least a dozen times for denying the request), before I’ve caved and given my kid Cheetos for breakfast (because cheese is full of calcium and is therefore healthy), before life has generally beaten me down for the day. The day still holds a lot of hope at 5am, so that’s the best time for tidying. After coffee, of course. But sometimes the house is just so destroyed that I’m still cleaning when Hurricane H emerges from his room, and I count on Netflix for entertainment while I finish up. On the days when I haven’t even started yet I count on Netflix to allow me to enjoy at least one beverage while its still hot.

me-i-want-a-magical-unicorn-for-christmas-santa-be

And so, on the first day of 2017 I turned to Netflix to save my morning (and let’s face it, that morning was going to set the tone for my year – I had a lot riding on that morning). “Mom, put on Neckflix while I eat my cheesies,” H requested. I obliged with , “What would you like to watch?”

“Curious George.”

curious-george

The books are so much better, anyway

All 9 seasons of Curious George had been on Netflix as of Dec 31st, 2016. On Jan 1st, 2017, every episode vanished. It’s usually right there at the top of the screen, under suggested shows, recently watched, continue watching… I scrolled through each list, panic mounting. I finally searched ‘Curious George’, staring at the screen in horror as ‘Titles related to Curious George’ popped up – the equivalent of a Netflix death sentence. A quick Google search revealed that PBS has signed an exclusive deal with Hulu this year and pulled all programming from Netflix. This means that our backup show, Caillou (which most parents hate but I have grown to love because, whiny bald bastard aside, HOT COFFEE), is also gone.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-10-15-00-am

I’m sure all you other non-Pinteresty, average moms feel my pain too. My kid is acting like the world has ended and after many tears is now reluctantly lost in a Mighty Machines YouTube loop of despair. I fear he may never find his way out.

MY COFFEE IS COLD.

PBS:

pbs-sucks

Bonus – further proof that PBS hates kids:

Bonus The 2nd – I confess that by ‘clean the house’ I really just mean ‘clean the kitchen’. The rest of the house I’ll get to when I get to it… I blame PBS.

Hey MacLean’s, I have a request

Yesterday a wonderful blogging friend of mine posted a link to an article in MacLean’s Magazine on Facebook, along with her expression of disgust at the author’s opinions. She wrote her response this morning, as have many others. I feel like writing about this now may be redundant, but as I have gone about my day with my son, feeding, playing and planning for his upcoming baptism (yes, I know I wrote about Passover yesterday… let’s just say we’re religiously confused, ok?), I haven’t been able to get this filth out of my mind. I don’t want my son to grow up in a world where there isn’t a public outcry in response to such sensationalistic attempts at journalism.

The article in question discusses the Steubenville rape convictions, sexual harassment sparked by the Sarah Thomson/Rob Ford incident, and the firing of Professor Tom Flanagan from the University of Calgary and as a guest commentator on CBC over his comments about child pornography.

I’m not going to address the Steubenville argument any further than to say that if it had been a drunk passed out football player who had been beaten nearly to death in that state, the perpetrator would surely have been convicted of assault quickly and perhaps even quietly. The noise surrounding this case is because the mere suggestion that the girl is in any way to blame and the boys’ actions can just be attributed to a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude is so morally corrupt that I can’t even wrap my brain around it. And clearly neither can many other people.

Sexual harassment… not much to say about that. There is a fine line between joking around and inappropriate conduct sometimes, and those who cross that line need to face the music. It’s about CONSENT. Do we really need to talk about this? I thought it was dealt with decades ago.

As for the firing of Prof Tom Flanagan from both the CBC and the University of Calgary over the child porn comments, I’m not sure that should have happened. I had an economics professor who argued each semester that child labour can be good for the economy. And yes, there is an economic argument for that. My professor was brilliant and made a tough subject easy for me to understand. I don’t think she was actually arguing that we all rush out and hire a bunch of kids, stick them in conditions of squalor and pay them one bowl of rice per day. She was simply arguing that there is an economic argument for it. I think this is the point that Prof. Flanagan was trying to make, though I wasn’t there and haven’t read a transcript, so I don’t know.

The problem with economics, however, is that its arguments only hold up from an economic standpoint. Economics assumes that all humans are ‘homo economicus’ or ‘rational men’ (excuse the sexist term, I didn’t coin it), and they simply aren’t. In economics this means that all people are assumed to act in such a way that maximizes utility as consumers and profits as producers. What is missing from this picture is that most of us are not motivated this way, and those that are would be considered sociopaths. We are sentient beings. We feel for one another. Morally, we know that rape, sexual harassment, and child pornography are WRONG.

Enter Barbara Amiel and MacLean’s Magazine.

We’ve been hearing both sides of the Steubenville incident for months now. We’ve been talking about sexual harassment for years. We can intelligently argue that Prof. Flanagan was not condoning the viewing of child pornography. This woman (I can’t bring myself to call her a journalist because there was simply no integrity in what she wrote), Ms. Amiel, is either one of the aforementioned sociopaths, or she has just gone way too far down the “shock and awe” path that some journalists are wont to take. It’s okay to be controversial, but it is NOT okay to trivialize the rape (and yes, even if it wasn’t the appendage that we normally associate with the term, it is rape) of a teenaged girl, incidents of sexual harassment and the viewing of child pornography. Many of her comments were callous and never in a million years would my brain have gone there. For example:

With regards to Steubenville Ms. Amiel wrote, “In a normal society, the girl’s mother would have locked her up for a week and all boys present would have been suspended from school and their beloved football team. Instead we had a trial and media circus…”

She refers to sexual harassment as a “term invented in the 1970s that ought to have been strangled at birth.”

She continues to miss Flanagan’s point and writes, “I always thought rounding up people for what they privately watch on their computers was a stomach-churning breach of civil liberties far more damaging than the private contemplation of squalid pictures.”

She further misses the point and declares that “the justification that without viewers there would be no market for child porn is accurate as far as it goes, which is about one millimetre.” Actually, there is a very good economic argument. It’s simple supply and demand. If the demand is there, supply will rise to meet it. That’s the way it goes. By making the viewing of child pornography illegal we at least appeal to some pedophiles who know that they have a sickness and know that their actions are wrong. Even if we are only deterring some of them from giving in to their illness, even if it’s out of the simple fear of getting caught and is in no way treating their mental illness, we are still reducing supply. To suggest that viewing child porn harms no one is seriously offensive. There are children being forced to commit unthinkable acts in those videos. Children, the picture of innocence. The ultimate victims.

Ms. Amiel states up front that these topics are ones that “any sensible commentator must preface with ardent assurances that nothing with the possible exception of matricide could revolt more, and only abhorrence flourishes in the breast of the commentator who now feels compelled to address these matters. You have to say that or your licence as a pundit gets withdrawn amid truly vicious attacks.” Well, no. Not exactly. As small as I am, I would like to ask MacLean’s to remove this article from its website, to fire Barbara Amiel, and to issue a formal apology to all victims of these types of crimes and pretty much just to human beings everywhere. Yes, we do need debate in the media, but there is a line that has been crossed here. These are important issues, but they need to be addressed in a way that is not so devoid of basic human decency. This is not healthy debate. This has gone too far. For shame.

Related posts:

The Best Life: No Means No

IHAVEANOPINIONIDLIKETOSHARE: An Open Letter to Perpetrators of Sexual Violece

I won’t be held responsible

I think now would be the perfect time to use my pregnancy powers for evil. I have a lot of rage these days.

Drawing kidnapped from the talented Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half… she’s just so good.

Here are the reasons for the rage:

1. My feet are so swollen that it feels like my skin is going to split open with each step and spray my foot guts all over my house… which needs to be cleaned anyway because I’m so huge now I can’t keep up. How do you explain to the cleaning lady that the reddish brown stains on the floor and wall are the guts of your now hideously deflated foot?

2. I can’t walk my dog and I feel like a horrible fur baby mommy :( She keeps staring me, then at her leash hanging by the door and making the most pathetic whining sounds. It breaks my heart.

3. I cry ALL THE TIME! Mostly over sentimental things these days because most people in my daily life have learned not to tread anywhere near topics that could possibly hurt my feelings. So, knowing this, why do I keep watching those stupid birth shows on TLC?

4. I’m unemployed, pretty much confined to bed, and bored out of my mind. That’s why.

5. You’d think I’d be using this time to be creative or something. After all, I could scrapbook, blog or play the guitar from bed fairly easily. Nope. I have zero creativity these days. It sickens me.

6. I haven’t slept through the night since May.

7. If I don’t eat I starve, if I do I get wretched heartburn and/or throw up. Can’t win.

8. After a week in bed I no longer fit into any of my maternity pants. I was late to an ultrasound yesterday because it took me 15 minutes to squish my fat butt into a pair of pants. I then got to the ultrasound and the receptionist and ultrasound tech thought it would be appropriate to comment on how uncomfortable I looked, and on how tight my pants were. Yeah. Thanks ladies. I hadn’t noticed that I have a 6.5lb fetus trying to simultaneously stomp on my bladder and burst out of my navel, and I really hadn’t noticed that my painted on pants were brining tears to my eyes. I will try to pay closer attention.

9. Trying to educate people on the dangers of second and third hand smoke to an infant is just killing me, not to mention boggling my mind. The nerve and ignorance of people on that topic is killing me slowly. Or quickly… not sure. Haven’t had my blood pressure taken in the last week. If I have to hear one more person tell me that their [insert relative here] smoked with them in the house as they were growing up during the 70s and 80s and hey, they’re just fine, I will probably commit homicide. Firstly, you don’t know that you’re fine. You could be one of those non-smokers that will ultimately develop lung cancer. Will you still feel that you’re fine then? Yes, many people smoke well into their 90s and die of something unrelated, but many more die much younger of smoking related diseases. So, shut up. Shut up shut up shut up. It’s my kid, and if I tell you not to smoke around him or to hold him after you’ve smoked, then you politely acknowledge my wishes or keep the f*ck away from us. I don’t care who you are. You deserve to be relegated to a life full of neon and forced to listen to Journey on repeat.

10. My brain keeps screaming GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME NOW! Then I feel guilty because at 33.5 weeks there is no way his lungs are ready. Then I scold myself on wishing for something that is so bad for my baby and feel like I’m a bad mother already. And then I cry.

I don’t know who drew this, but it suits my purposes, so I’m stealing it.

Why now is a good time for crime:

HORMONES! There are way more of them coursing through my body than I know what to do with. From making me laugh to making me cry to making my pelvis feel like it’s being pulled every which way to making my knees feel like they are going to give out, these babies are just out of control. Oh, and I’m having a son, so all aggression can be blamed on all that lovely testosterone he’s sharing with me. Besides, no one would blame the pregnant lady. She can hide behind that bump for as long as it lasts. Unless she makes stupid internet confessions, like so:

And even then, I’d have this excuse:

“I’m so sorry officer. It wasn’t me. It was the testosterone exposure from carrying a male fetus to term. It’s like those bath salts, except I didn’t choose to take them. I couldn’t control myself. I’m sure you can understand.”

All is forgiven

I won’t be held responsible.

Disastertown

I now have an overwhelming urge to watch Office Space

Well, it’s Monday, and if that didn’t suck enough to begin with, my Sunday was a Sunday to rival all Mondays… and then some.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I’m a sensitive soul to begin with, and pregnancy is seriously doing a number on my brain. Saturday night began amazingly, with J coming home from work (yup, emergency job on a Saturday. Le poop.), hands full of groceries and surprising me by telling me he was making me dinner. He also brought home a bag full of peaches because I had mentioned that this was my most recent craving. He also restocked the freezer with ice cream. Basically, he was wonderful. We then cuddled up in bed and watched a very unromantic movie, which for some reason put me in the mood. Well, it had nothing to do with the movie. It was simply the fact that pregnancy has had one of two effects on me:

  1. Sex has never been a more repulsive thought. If you try to touch me, I will be forced to kill you, or at least deliver a very serious blow below the belt in order to stave off further advances. Both of those actions are frowned upon, so I suggest you just don’t try.
  2. I want it. All the time. Wherever, whenever, however. I suspect that this is a combo of the hormones (carrying a boy pumps testosterone into your body, FYI ladies) and the fact that I need validation that I am, in fact, still sexy despite the 30lb weight gain and the massive soccer ball that insists on protruding from my middle and making some types of intimacy impossible.

This was a clear case of scenario 2 being in full force. J was already half asleep and once he’s gone he’s gone. Rationally, I know this. Irrationally, I took this as a slight and fell asleep crying. I woke up a kajillion times during the night due to horrible heartburn and pain in my back and sides every time I tried to roll over in my sleep; yet somehow, when Sunday morning rolled around, I got up bright eyed and bushy tailed. I then proceeded to make a huge breakfast (bacon, pancakes, strawberries… YUM!) which I triumphantly presented to J… who triumphantly ate the meal with much gratitude, but then immediately went back to bed. Curses. Scenario 2 was still playing out full force in my brain. I got really cranky and restless and basically ended up crying, packing the dog into my car, and leaving the house.

I cried the whole way to my mother’s place, where I deposited the dog, and then met a friend for lunch. As I was describing my actions to her, I became more and more aware of how crazy I sounded (it is now very obvious to me why Jenny McCarthy wrote a chapter entitled Psycho Chick (Hormonal Rage) in her book Belly Laughs and Vicky Iovine wrote about ‘pregnancy insanity’ in The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy). It became especially apparent when I told her that he’d brought me peaches, and I suddenly burst out with, “and I just left… without even eating any of those beautiful peaches”, tears pooling in my eyes. Wow. So yeah, J got a nice big apology phone call (which he took very well), and I picked up the dog and drove home.

Poor munchkin

At this point, I had a terrible headache, but at least I was happy because I realized my insanity was just temporary. We were then invited to J’s parents’ for dinner. Normally, we bring the dog, but as you may recall, she just had surgery and can’t be around other dogs/must be kept calm for the next two weeks. The vet had told me to keep her isolated in one room (since she was acting all nuts like nothing ever happened and he was afraid she would tear her stitches and put a damper on the healing process), so we figured it was no big deal to lock her in the bathroom. After all, she is kennel trained and used to being alone for up to four hours at a time. We took her outside to do her business first of course. Failure to do so would just be negligent! So, out she went, into the bathroom she went, and off we went for a home cooked meal.

And then we returned home to Disastertown.

Despite my best efforts, and despite the fact that this has NEVER EVER happened before, I returned home to a very wiggly puppy, and:

I almost lost my shit. Okay, horrible pun, but I did almost lose my dinner. I have never ever ever seen a mess like that in my life. First thing, I threw her in the bathtub. Would have been easy to deal with if she didn’t have stitches that can’t get wet, but instead I had to spot wash her… no easy task with a wiggly puppy who is just so excited to see you and wants to be up in your face at all times (ew ew ew dog… EW!). I then threw her outside (okay, didn’t throw, but I may have envisioned punting her out the back door à la Jack Black in Anchorman) and ran back upstairs before J could discover the mess. You see, he has a horribly weak stomach and then I would have been cleaning up after him too. I then scrubbed the floor with Mr. Clean, a Swiffer Wet Jet, and Clorox. I don’t think the bathroom has ever been so clean… but just so you get the picture, I also had to throw out everything in the tub (all my shampoos and soaps, loofa etc) as well as the shower curtains.

As if this weren’t bad enough, my head was pounding even more by the time I was done and I really really really needed a shower… Well, wouldn’t you know that I can’t run a hot washing machine and take a hot shower at the same time. Dammit. I hadn’t even considered this when I threw all the dirty wash cloths and towels into the washing machine and hit the ‘hot’ button. I never wash anything on hot, but I just had to in this case! Without the sterilizing properties of hot water, I considered scrubbing my skin with Clorox, but figured I probably wouldn’t function well for the rest of my life without skin. I opted for good ol’ Old Spice instead. I needed something powerful. Something that would smell clean so that I wouldn’t think about what I’d just been forced to touch. I then got out of the shower smelling like J when he gets out of the shower, which usually  makes me weak in the knees, but guess what!? Despite my two day obsession with scenario two, that was the last thing on my mind. I crawled into bed, J wrapped his arms around me, and I fell asleep as Baby H kicked away.

So Monday, whatever you have in store, I think I can handle it. Booyahkasha!

Because it’s Monday

Apparently I’m suffering from the Mondays even though I’ve had no work in days… waiting for feedback is tedious. I just want to work and be done with it already! Basically, I’m in a bad mood, and here’s why:

I’ve been quite offended at the way some people have reacted to my friends throwing me a baby shower. Seriously people, it’s the norm these days. I’d have been really bummed if no one wanted to throw one. I can understand not having one for subsequent pregnancies, but for the first kiddo it’s a big deal. Do you have any idea how much having a baby costs these days!? It’s unbelievable, and we are certainly stressed about money with this pregnancy being unplanned and all. Having a baby shower isn’t only a fun way to celebrate baby (basically its a bunch of women eating finger food and playing baby related games), it’s also a really great way to set up first time parents with everything they need. Like we can afford all the incidentals plus the big ticket items (furniture, stroller, car seat etc)! It’s fun and it’s a huge help/relief for the new parents… so why so judgy people? Ugh. I’ve gone to a million baby showers. To make matters worse, my car had to be serviced this morning, and I have to get my dog spayed in the next two weeks (yes, that last expense is my very own fault… but that’s a long story about how I didn’t realize that my finances weren’t as great as I thought).

I’ve also been sad from browsing my WordPress Reader (this relates back to having no work for the last five days). When you’re interested in finding other pregnancy blogs you also come across a lot of infertility and pregnancy loss blogs, and they just break my heart. I’ll be honest, at 28 and not having been the most careful individual, I was verging on thoughts of infertility. J was having similar thoughts, although it was so early in our relationship when we conceived that we hadn’t actually talked too much about it. For me, the more these infertility thoughts crept into my mind, the more careless I became. I read an article in a magazine last year (I think it was Cosmo actually… so scientific! lol) about this phenomenon and how it’s resulting in a lot of unplanned pregnancies. Well, I’m a statistic I guess (just as we all are, one way or another). Point is, this wasn’t planned and there are so many women out there who are ready and planning and truly struggling to conceive and it just breaks my heart. Don’t get me wrong, baby H is so wanted and loved already, and I could never even truthfully say that he was an accident (c’mon, by 28 we should know where babies come from, and if we don’t we have got one hell of a problem)… it’s just that I feel for these women because it really does seem to come so easily for some people who aren’t at all ready or really shouldn’t have kids (I don’t fall into either of those categories, btw) and it’s not fair. I personally know quite a few ladies who struggled for years to conceive, and I can’t help but wonder why this seems to be happening to so many women during what should be their prime reproductive years… being a geographer and follower of environmental issues I can’t help but think about Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. I bet it really is something in the water/air/food we eat. When I think about everything that we’re exposed to it makes me dizzy.

Wow. I just really really really bummed myself out even more. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve actually been really happy lately! Perhaps a post about that is in order now…