What. The. Hell.

I was naive.

When I wrote my previous post, I tried to be neutral to give the benefit to the U.S. democratic process. After all, I wouldn’t want someone tell me how to handle my county’s politics.

But I’m stunned.

Gobsmacked.

President Trump. That’s a thing now. There are so many things wrong with this, but most profoundly, the fact that a majority of Americans agreed with what he said. Which was proven as 76% lies. No policy. Suggestions, but no plans. He wants to repeal Roe V Wade for Christ’s Sake! Insults minorities, women, gays, physically and mentally challenged persons. Let’s not even start on his treatment and sentiment toward the media. Watch your Freedom of Speech folks!

It’s scary to think that this individual is going to set the tone for what WAS (in their own opinion, until he told them he would make them Great Again) the Greatest County In the Free World. But what frightens me more is that the majority of people living in that country AGREED WITH HIM! The fact that the Republican party have the House and the Senate after how they conducted themselves the past eight years is DEPLORABLE!

Forgive me if I find it difficult to believe that a majority of Americans identify with this, because if you do, I’m very uncomfortable with that.

I have no desire to travel to the U.S. for the foreseeable future. Little Sister had planned a trip to Florida the panhandle state that shall not go named. As much as she need the holiday, I’m going to do everything I can to talk her out of it. If for no other reason than I would resent spending hard earned money there. I wonder how many others will feel the same? Stock markets don’t lie and those have already started to respond.

I find it inconceivable that the country that elected Barack Obama for two terms, with a classy, intelligent, warm and friendly manner, is the same country that elected THIS individual. You couldn’t be more black and white in your choices – pun fully intended.

I think we had ourselves fooled about the United States. We thought they were the cool older brother who had their shit together. Instead we realize this is the older brother who is really a bully, doesn’t understand girls, who has no real sense of Right and Wrong, and who dresses really badly. You realize they don’t really have friends, they have victims. It’s on mornings like this that you question whether or not you are even related. They are not cool. They are not someone to look up to or emulate.

Don’t misunderstand; I don’t believe Hillary Clinton was the “best” candidate, but I sure as hell feel she was the better option. In the light of day “the Morning After” it is very interesting to see the massive back peddling taking place regarding Trump’s declaration of having her investigated and arrested; building a wall to keep out Mexicans; mass deportation of immigrants. “Oh golly gee, he didn’t mean all of that, just caught up in the moment. He’s going to bring everyone together and lead all Americans.”

Sorry guys, I’m calling Bullshit on this one. I’ll keep watching from a respectful distance from behind the Canadian wall that we have already started, on the right side of history.

 

 

What is Left Unsaid

It’s day 15,641 of the never ending U.S. election, and the reason I’ve not been more vocal is; a) I feel there are far too many people spouting garbage disguised as knowledge, b) if I start being vocal, I just might never stop.

With this in mind, and being that this is the eve of the election, I’m allowing myself ONE opportunity to write on this topic. ONE. UNE. UNO. 1. And I think you may be surprised.

At first I thought it was an “Emperor’s New Clothes” situation, where everyone could see what I saw, but was just too darn polite to say anything. I then realized, no, there are actually people who are drinking the Kool Aid here.

It became mildly amusing watching what appeared to be a reality show on Meth. New revelations. New scandals. New excuses.

That’s when it occurred to me. This is the ultimate reality show, with the entire American population as contestants. These two candidates are merely ratings props, but the fallout will have very real implications. As resident of the nation to the North, I recall the classic saying, “When the U.S. has a cold, Canada sneezes.” We have a lot riding on this election too.

I have family and friends who live in America. I’m very worried about what this election means for them. Regardless of who wins, there will be a large segment of the population who will be up in arms; some of whom have threatened to take up arms. I can’t image what it must feel like not to know what you future holds. What your country will become.

I feel it is just too easy to tear apart the candidates. Saturday Night Live has political satire covered. I just hope we can all live with the outcome.

 

p.s.

On a lighter note, Second Born Son decided to go as one of the candidates for Halloween. I’ll let you decide which one….

Yes, I had nightmares!

Yes, I had nightmares!

WHAT I DON’T KNOW…AND WHAT I DO

I don’t know what it’s like to be a black man.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a black woman.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a black mother and worry if your son is going to come home safely at the end of the day.

I don’t know what it’s like to fear for my life at a simple traffic stop.

I don’t know what it’s like to feel the need to carry a gun for my protection.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a police officer.

I don’t know what it’s like to put myself in harm’s way to protect someone else.

I don’t know what it’s like to walk into a group of people and know that they hate me because of the color of my skin.

I do know what it’s like to protest.

I do know what it’s like to love my child, my husband, my community.

I do know that if you hold the heart of a white person in one hand and the heart of the black person in the other, no one could tell the difference.

I do know that there is no difference between a black baby and a white baby other than the color of their skin…and neither of them knows that the other is “different”.

I do know that we have a lot of work to do to get this world to a better place. As a white woman, I’m open to doing whatever it takes to let people of all colors feel safe.

I do know that this is possible. It has to be.

 

 

When is More Simply Too Much – Archive

This isn’t the first incarnation of The Bowery Girl, and I’ve been having a blast going through the previous site and reviewing my posts. Here’s one I had to share, and hopefully you find it timely, given that it is Wedding Season…

 

Monday, May 17, 2010

When More is Simply Too Much
Since when is “more” better?

I prefer to err on the side of “less” especially when it comes to public displays of affection, demonstrative actions etc. unless it is something truly funny. Funny needs to be shared.

But lavish, meh, not so much.

So I’m standing in the bridal salon that I shall not name because I’m still mad at them, waiting for the rolly polly seamstress. In the wall of mirrors I’m watching a tiny young woman leafing through wedding dresses. Honestly, she weighs about as much as my thigh. She’s with her mother and while the young woman is very collegiate looking, her mother looks very tired, dishevelled and not nearly as current in her wardrobe as her daughter.

The woman sits in the middle of the room on the bench and watches her daughter fanning through the gowns and I notice she only looking at short, strappy styles. I figure she’s having a small wedding and doesn’t want to overpower her small frame with a large gown. In my head I’m giving this girl a lot of credit – she’s going to spend about half to three-quarters what she would have spent on the larger dress.

I’m annoyed at the mother, who doesn’t seem engaged in this time with her daughter. Instead of revelling the time to being with her to pick her wedding dress, the woman looks and acts like she’s afraid to touch any of the dresses, and that she’s not buying into the idea of the wedding at all. I’m annoyed big time. If I’ve learned anything in my many trips down the aisle, it’s that the wedding is not about anyone other than the bride and groom – egos and attitudes need to be checked at the door.

Then grandma walks in. Wiry white hair cut bluntly that frames her face, makeup stylish appliced and a kick-ass outfit that makes the mother look even more frumpy. Her artisan jewelery plays off beautifully with the chic hand-crafted wrap and dark-wash jeans she’s wearing. She looks impecable and carries herself with an air of sophistication reserved for Katherine Hepburn. As soon as the woman walks in, the young girl starts to squeal, and the mother stops talking entirely.

Grandma fawns over the young girl, pulling out various dresses and suggesting various alterations to make the dress “her own”. My pleasure at seeing the older woman relishing the time with her granddaughter comes to a screeching halt when the younger female corrects the sales associate.

“Oh, this isn’t my wedding dress,” she said. “I already have my wedding gown.”

dead air

“This is for after the service – and pictures – for the reception,” she clarifies. Now I understand why Mom is hanging her head. She can’t afford this. And the daughter – a recent grad, can’t either. So thank goodness Money Bags showed up.

“I LOVE my dress,” she said. “But I just can’t imagine wearing it ALL DAY!” she gushes. “I mean it’s SO big and SO heavy, I would just DIE wearing it ALL DAY – it’s going to be too hot!”

What

the

hell

So you are getting married at the end of June – you’ve picked your dress – DON’T YOU PICK YOUR DRESS BASED ON WHEN YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED? I felt like asking, “What are you wearing, Angora wool? RAYON? PIG IRON??”

Unless this woman is marrying a multi-millionaire, she is about to start her married life under a grave misapprehension. It’s clear she wasn’t raised with a lot of money, but money is around her. She is having a wedding with TWO wedding gowns because, after all, didn’t Jennifer Lopez or Katie Holmes do that? The cost of having a second dress was over $750 – how much did you pay for your initial gown? Likely between $1,200 – $2,500 – and I’ll bet the farm it was closer to the top end amount. So now, you are looking at well over $3,000 AND TAX just for one day.

Because there was no time to order the dress in, the girl was negotiating the cost of alterations and the sales rep was having a dandy time trying to calculate how much it would cost to alter and cut down a sample dress. Grandma never blinked at the cost. She only concurred with her granddaughter – one dress simply would not DO! Mom just sat there like she was watching it all happen to strangers.

I wondered if she had tried to instill a sense of frugality in her daughter all these years, knowing she had limited resources. Had her mother then trumped her and usurped her rights as a mother when she felt she had the overpowering right as a grandmother? Did the daughter see this dynamic and play one off the other? At what point would the grandmother stand down and let this girl see things for what they are? Maybe the girl was embarassed that her mother was not in the same world as her grandmother was, but I daresay, unless her grandmother planned on supporting her for the rest of her life, the young woman’s wake up call was going to greet her the morning after her honeymoon.

It’s a disturbing trend, young people starting out expecting the best of everything. My parents were the most fortunate of all their friends. They had saved enough money to buy a house when they got married. Many of their friends had to rent an apartment for the first couple of years, finally saving a down payment in time for the first baby to arrive.

Homes were furnished with miss-matched furniture and dinnerware, save for the nicer items they received as wedding gifts. You worked hard and gained throughout your marriage. You had goals and dreams and set targets for yourself, including one day, GASP, buying a NEW car.

When did we decide it was ok to start at top? Newlyweds moving into homes that are fully furnished and model-home ready. Neither of their cars are more than 3 years old. A trip up north or to Niagara Falls is not be considered a worthy honeymoon, and if it didn’t include either a cruise or a number of spa treatments (for both of them)it simply wasn’t worth writing home about.

Methinks we need to adjust our expectations. Otherwise, what do you have to look forward to, other than a mountain of debt and a divorce decree?

Things That Make Me Go – Hmmm…with #Hashtags

1. That Beyoncé’s followers (BeyHive) are ready to lynch any female with decent hair, and yet no one is saying “boo” about Jayz’s role in this alleged infidelity #doublestandard #comeongirls…

2. That there is any confusion over why the Canadian public is outraged about Karla Homolka surfacing in Quebec. Firstly, the crimes were heinous, secondly, Bernardo wouldn’t have been successful if she had stopped to think JUST. ONCE., thirdly, the public feels she got a golden deal from the Crown for testifying against for ex-husband. Pick one. Or select “All of The Above”…. #karmaisabitch #ifeelforherkids

3.  The outrage over Mike Duffy’s acquittal. This got as much air time as Ghomeshi (no, I’m not picking that scab) with one significant difference; Mike Duffy testified. He also owned what he did – is it “right”, no. Is it allowed within the wack-a-do Senate rules. Yup. Go figure. #donthatetheplayerhatethegame

4. Prince dies. Everyone in the world feels entitled to know why. Since you didn’t get the memo, remember, none of us is guaranteed any number of years. #noneofusgetoutofherelive #noneofourdamnbusiness

5. Donald Trump. #whatthehellyouguys #thisisntfunnyanymore #pleasetellmeimbeingpunkd

What makes you go “hmmmm”?

Things I’ve Learned from my Last Post

Thank you for reading! Pro or con, I’ve appreciated all the feedback I’ve received since the last post. I find it interesting to see what people take away from posts. It often reveals a lot about them! 😉

  1. After being caught in the middle of not one, but two crossfires, I understand that as passionate as people are, there is someone just as passionate with a completely opposing position.
  2. Some people have interpreted that I believe Ghomeshi should be found guilty. A) I am frustrated that the law allows him to remain silent. B) I believe the fault in this case lays at the feet of the Crown, who seemed to not just drop the ball, but kick it out into traffic. Had they done some research and worked with the witnesses to help them understand the process, this could have been avoided.
  3. That I have a whole lot of respect for this woman, who just today came forward..http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/04/18/why-jian-ghomeshi-accuser-wants-you-to-know-her-name-porter.html

Fear not, the next post is much “lighter”. 😉

 

10 Things I’ve Learned from the Ghomeshi Trial

While some of you may feel the Jian Ghomeshi verdict is sooooo last week (literally and figuratively), it’s taken me a couple of days to let everything sink in.

First there was the frustration with the verdict.

Second there was the need to understand how that verdict came to be. Let me tell you folks, it’s a lost day when you don’t learn something new. And in that spirit, I present to you:

THE 10 THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM THE GHOMESHI TRIAL

If I ever find myself in the terrifying position of testifying in my own Sexual Assault case, there are some key points I will need to remember if I want a successful outcome from the legal process and the Court of Public Opinion.

  1. “Justice” System is a bit of a misnomer in this case. Let’s go with “The Courts”. Our laws make it rather daunting for victims of Sexual Assault to come forward.
  2. Although more women have come forward to report their own sexual assaults following the exposure of this case, critics say it will take many more women to report sexual assault before the standards change. THAT’S encouraging. Can we get some more outrage brewing out here ladies?
  3. I have to depict myself as being sexually worldly, but not a “freak”, and certainly not a puritan. I will have to be comfortable talking about sex, but I better not make other people uncomfortable when I do it. (Note to self – look up definition of “Slut Shaming”.)
  4. I can’t show that I own or enjoy my own sexuality. Remember, it’s up to other people to objectify women, but we cannot be seen as using our bodies for that very same outcome. (Note to self – make sure to delete all photos where I’m wearing a bathing suit. Both of them.)
  5. I cannot allow myself to contact the accused following the alleged incident. After all, no one would reach out to this person again, right? I’m not entitled to demand clarification? Explanation? Frustration? I will have to hope I’m never in the same line of work, social circle, family, etc.  so I don’t have to interact with him. ‘Cause I’m not supposed to.
  6. I need to become an expert on automobiles. No one likes to be called a liar because they cannot remember the type of car the accused drove at the time of the incident.
  7. Same goes for houses, geography, cuisine, fashion, public transit. Basically EVERYTHING. If you can’t answer with authority, you must be fabricating.
  8. Don’t look like a know it all. You will look rehearsed and convey that you are trapping the accused. Yes, I realize this conflicts with #7 – deal with it.
  9. Never forget anything I have told others about this incident. This includes, but is not limited to: police, family, friends, colleagues, other victims. Again, basically EVERYONE. Additionally – make sure I commit all social media and electronic communications to memory so that it doesn’t look like misleading police or the courts. I will have to have the world’s greatest recall, without looking like I was deliberately creating the evidence and framing the accused.
  10. Understand that even though one of the hardest things I will ever do is to come forward to police to discuss one of the most intimate, and therefore traumatizing events of my life, that I will be dissected, insulted, maligned, vilified, labeled, scrutinized, criticized, objectified and ostracized. And the alleged attacker with never have to utter a word to defend his actions.

“Innocent until proven guilty.” Who? Of what?

Art Imitating Life

It’s amazing how you can be living your life and a message from the Universe will just come along and smack you upside the head. In this case, it was at a high school where I was to experience my first Improv Competition!

Second Born Son was sufficiently vague about what an Improv Competition was. He had spent countless hours at school after class with his Improv team, but until now, we had never seen them in action. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure how it could be a competitive endeavor, but in my campaign to be Mother Of The Year, I didn’t bother pressing for details, instead I told him I’d be there! And I was. Inspire of a laundry list of jobs, errands, and a trek across Southwestern Ontario.

I roar into the parking lot with minutes to spare and inhale fast food takeout in the parking lot. With a stomach full of indigestion, I slip and stumble across the icy parking lot and wonder how long it would take someone to find me if I took a header between the vehicles. Safely inside, the cute, if not overly smiley greeter advised me that I’d want to take my coat off. It was really hot in the auditorium. Oh, and I’d have to wait to enter between performances. Oh, and it was $10 to get in. I cursed SBS under my breath and prayed I had $10 to my name after an impressive bathroom shopping spree. (No I’m not posting on that freakin’ bathroom again until it’s done!)

Applause indicates that we have a break and I gain access to the “auditorium” which is only the size of a standard classroom. There is a small stage along the far wall and raked seating which starts a the entrance where I’m standing. There is. no. room. As in, if I’m going to have to be in this “auditorium”, it’s if I’m sitting cross-legged on the second last step from the bottom, only 5 ft from the stage.  Then I’m hit by the heatwave. The soaring, humid temperature is understandable, as I’m sure we are exceeding the fire department’s recommended occupancy level and illuminated by dozens of stage lights. Body odour is a given.

SBS is sitting onstage with his team, along with five other secondary school teams. His cheeks are bright red from the intense heat in the room. If that wasn’t enough, the volume of the organizers, participants and the audience makes for a truly overwhelming experience. Slowly I figure it out. The teams have various categories to perform. Sometimes they require audience input before they start. Each “scene” starts with an audience countdown. Each one ends with a theme-related song hand picked by an invisible DJ. The wave of enthusiasm washes over the less enthralled.

Each teenager in the room that is performing has enough energy ON THEIR OWN to power a Red Bull factory. Times four to six teammates, times six teams! It’s loud. It’s beyond hot and it’s draining to see all these young people with so much bloody energy!

Naturally, the highlight was seeing SBS in action.

2016-02-27 13.55.35

And then to realize how GOOD he was at this! How quickly these team members could move in and out of a scene and come up with new ideas on the fly.

2016-02-27 13.53.53

You forget about the heat. And the noise (mostly because you are now adding to it) and it becomes about the performance. What the performers onstage are doing, they had no idea they would be doing 10 minutes earlier. They are doing the best they can, and supporting each other.

At the end of the day, SBS’ team ranked in the middle of the pack, which thrilled all the teammates. It was their first competition and they felt it was worthwhile. While I was please for them, and proud of SBS in particular, one of the most memorable aspects of the day was the closing remarks by the competition host.

He pointed out that Improv is like no other performance art. Participants must react and respond on the spot, without rehearsal, without a script, character profile or a novel to draw from. There is no director, second chance, editing, do-overs or re-recordings. Just. Like. Life. He encouraged the audience to take the experience home with them and remember the laughter, excitement and creativity they had just witnessed.

This parallel really affected me.

My day, and in fact the entire week prior, had been incredibly busy. I had way too many task on the To Do List for a Saturday. The Improv Competition forced me to be in one place for several hours, and just laugh. Well, and sweat my tush off, but that’s beside the point. The performances we saw were such a beautiful example of what life is, spontaneous, full of meaning, and hopefully, fun. This was exactly what I needed. It’s what we all need.

I could close with a sappy paragraph about how we need to smell the roses, but the fact of the matter is this; life doesn’t slow down. It will come at us as fast as we let it. I’m trying to grab on to more moments like this, because I want to REMEMBER. I want to have a mental image of times in my life when all I can do is look back. If I don’t slow down, all I will have is a blur.

And I’m very grateful to SBS for asking me to be there. And I’m grateful I felt I WAS there.

 

 

History Crumbling…

For years, I’ve had a fascination with barns. Although the basic architecture is relatively the same, each one has it’s unique qualities. Some have larger ramps and doors. Some have more ventilation. The fancy ones have an aesthetic detail, usually to denote the builder.

But they all have one thing in common; they need to house animals, or they will fail. Any time I see one, I feel as though I should document it; a type of photographic tribute if you will. My heart hurts a little every time I come across one.

2014-01-17 16.47.50

At first you can’t imagine it. After all, these barns were not just housing for the farmer’s animals, but it was a status symbol. The larger the barn, the more profitable you were. TWO massive bank barn peaks were a sign that you were a successful operation. When you consider most of these structures were constructed in the 1800s, you have to appreciate the labor it took to erect them. Without heavy equipment, leverage was the muscle of the day. It was dangerous work.

2014-03-16 11.29.42

Which is why it is baffling that they are being allowed to decay.

It starts small, a couple of loose boards. The wind catching and working on a section of roof. Perhaps the farmer hasn’t had time to repair it. Perhaps the barns are empty and only the land is being worked. Wood ain’t cheap and if the structure isn’t functional….

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The elements are unforgiving. Time waits for no barn. Winter loads the beams, the moisture working away and rusting the nails.

2014-08-11 17.08.12

Summer isn’t any better; bleaching out the wood over time. Plants weave their way into the walls of the barn, taking root and forcing through the boards to reach daylight.

2014-01-17 16.54.48It’s painful to see a barn at this stage. Once proud housing for livestock, it now barely holds its foundation. Like a horse that is crippled in the pasture.

2014-03-17 13.55.47

You can practically hear it calling out, “Pull me down. Don’t let me fall down.” A type of mercy killing if you will.

2015-01-09 16.13.32

Because eventually, a storm will come. A wind will blow that will defeat the massive timbers. Gravity will prevail. History will crumble.

2014-05-07 18.30.10