Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Great video, great song.

*No other types of marriages were harmed in the production of this video.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Map of Dublin pubs and a few touristy things for James

Just zoom on in on Dublin and scroll over the points. There is a route from the airport to the centre of town then a listing of pubs and landmarks and groceries and washrooms.
View Larger Map

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gibson (III) Fun at Home and Away

Fluff head!

Gibs and his buddy, the green bucket:

Camping at Bon Echo provincial park. First outing in a canoe:

He did very well and only jumped out once AND we didn't tip!

He also bravely tackled several flights of grille stairs on a hike.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Gibson (Part II)

In which our intrepid explorer makes a first foray out into the urban wilderness at our doorstep....

The ending first (thanks Blogger): here is Gibson at the sound sculpture at city hall. I love how his ears mimic the sculpture's. Luckily he doesn't make the eerie chirps and whirs that the sculpture does.

Climbing series I & II on the park benches and snowbanks behind the benches.
The events leading to getting to the great outdoors. Many challenges were bravely faced:
Challenge 1: getting out the door.

Challenge 2: getting in the elevator.

Challenge 3: Getting out of the elevator (AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!)

Challenge 4: getting as far from the elevator as possible.
Challenge 5: the back stairs.Challenge 6: Leaving the building. Suddenly, the elevator's not so scary anymore.
Unpictured challenge: Getting Gibson to remember the priority is peeing not bolting for the door/ under a car etc.

Happily settling in, learning what's his for chewing and what's not. A lesson that is still in progress months later by the way.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gibson (part 1)

In the beginning there was this wee lil pup -- so small and sweet. Lookit! Those whites are whiter than white! (Easter weekend)

Monday, July 14, 2008

A book list.

The Big Read reckons that the average [American] adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books listed below. I suppose then this book list activity is supposed to make you feel superior or something. Pretty sad though that that's the AVERAGE. Regardless, it's a pretty good list (a bit heavy on the Austen--the movies have ruined me on her) and a good starting list for tapping into some good reads, both new and old.

I'm at 34 out of 100 read and either liked or loved.

Here's the challenge [with edits for the bloggerly challenged who don't know where to find "strikethrough" and "underline"on Blogger]:

  • Look at the list and bold [and blue]those you have read.

  • Italicize [and green] those you intend to read.

  • Underline [or redden] the books you LOVE.

  • Strike out [brown out &/or italicise] the books you have no intention of ever reading, or (were forced to read at school and) hated. [The no intention/school book list/ book you hated category is a bit muddied, so I made the colour brown. I was going to sort it by type but then decided I was putting enough effort in already. There also could've been a section for "started but didn't finish"].

  • Reprint this list in your own blog.

[With thanks to "This Space For Rent"]

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
The Harry Potter Series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D'Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare [well, no but I've read and loved alot of the plays...]
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
Bleak House – Charles Dickens
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis [Hard with a series. I loved some, others not so much]
Emma – Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres [I have trouble reading books EVERYONE is reading... 10 years should be a good gap...]
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne [?? or was it House at Pooh Corner??]
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons [LOVE LOVE this book]
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson [didn't like it much]
Ulysses – James Joyce [This is Leah's put-to-sleep book. Bloomsday is fun though]
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry [Love this book, esp. the ending...]
Charlotte’s Web – EB White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Writing a Valedictory Speech

In December 2007, I was honoured by my class to be elected Valedictorian. I was and am greatly pleased to have been chosen, but I may have been a bit more circumspect initially if I'd known what the task would entail.

Heading in I knew a few of the necessary details:

  • the audience would be my immediate nursing class (not the French and English classes from the other campuses), our faculty and our family and friends.

  • the speech would be at the traditional nursing pinning ceremony not the convocation. (Our convocation speaker & honourary doctorate recipient was Cathy Crowe, Toronto street nurse & my hero! Here's her speech in her newsletter and it's also in my previous post with the French translated.)

  • I would conclude the ceremony after speeches from both the Dean and our 3rd/4th year co-ordinator, awards and pinning portions were completed.
  • I'd have between 5 and 15 minutes -- 2 numbers which made me panic for several different reasons: Would I say enough? Could I say it all? Would I start droning on and on and on?
The idea of having 5 months to prepare seemed like heaps and heaps of time (one minute a month I joked...). My usual paper writing technique usually involves reading, researching and mulling over possible themes for weeks... until the point I start writing, a point that is usually the very last possible moment. I knew there would be some researching to do for the speech (quotes, facts and factoids) but I couldn't get those until I knew what my themes were.

So, here's what I did:

  • I started a notebook with ideas, just random, brainstormed ideas. No idea was too stupid to get written down. Nursing school is like a Far Side cartoon? You bet. Often. But, you didn't hear about that from me much past February, '08... This notebook was great because I fleshed out a few ideas exactly how I would say them if I was talking, or writing a term paper. In the end was able to change and use the best bits and/or the ones that flowed. Some pretty well developed ideas got left on the office room floor.

  • Much like a single person looking to get hitched, or a networking person looking for a new job, I told everyone that I had a big speech to write. Lots of people have heaps of experience (Toastmasters anyone?) and were able to share advice, often contradictory: "Have one idea and articulate it well" vs. " Use 3 ideas and then tie it all together" or "Start with a quote" vs. "NEVER start with a quote! Build up to a quote." I kinda glommed them all together and used three quotes that I built up to by articulating several ideas and then tied them altogether. Kinda.

  • I listened to/read other speeches. I did a bunch of the usual things: looked up a few on You Tube, I googled "Writing an inspirational speech", I looked at the speeches in my old high school yearbooks. Luckily (for me) in the months preceeding my pinning ceremony I had a wedding to go to, and a memorial (not so lucky, but great, great speeches), my partners med school graduation ceremony and her grad banquet. Also, I attended the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario AGM. Here I networked with lots of nurses. Work on getting a job? Nah, I asked about speeches. I was also privilaged to see both Dr. Sheela Basrur [youtube of a portion of that speech here] and Maude Barlow speak. Speeches aplenty! And I tried to remember what worked and what didn't.

  • To kill the writer's block, I wrote out a bunch of key points as if I were writing a really casual personal email/letter to someone: "Hey, just wanted to tell you about the best parts of nursing school were..." This (& Maude Barlowe) got me to the whole social justice part of my speech, which was major and the part I'm most proud of -- I think my classmates' accomplishments in this area were great and an excellent starting point in drawing out some of the big picture, group ideas that get lost on grad day when everyone is focused on "Today, I'm getting MY degree".
  • I left it for about a week before the big day because the day before our speech day was ANOTHER big day: the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE). So I studied. But the speech was never far from my mind: some of the study material worked it's way in. Also, that late night, all speech'd eve my mum arrived for the grad weekend from Calgary (Mum's a grad of the St. Mary's Hospital Nursing School, 1952)

  • I ended up pulling it all together the evening after the exam but before I went to pick mum up at the airport as well as the morning before the ceremony. I would not recommend this. I was editing on the walk over to the University before the ceremony. Bad Idea. I never read it for anyone else before reading it out to the class. HORRIBLE IDEA!

Despite that, after all was said and done, it went well. I messed up a bit (well, HELLO! I didn't practice!), but I got good feedback. I did have to follow my classmate Kim (pictured right, I'm on the left) who gave speech after winning an award. She hates public speaking and yet she did awesomely. She gave a very touching tribute to her family and recited a Maya Angelou poem from memory! This was the act I had to follow!

Here are my hot tips if you have to present something similar (based on my experience and from watching other speakers):

  • In the week of anxiety leading up to the speech use visualization. Even though I never really read it through completely, as I was writing I visualized giving a great speech. If I got worried about screwing up in a particular way I visualized screwing up that way and fixing it gracefully.
  • There are some last minute changes that I do recommend: listen to the speakers before you and integrate their points/themes where they connect with yours. Give them the necessary credit, of course (and get the right person--I gave credit to the wrong one--oops)! Integrate any award winners, jokes or anything from earlier in the ceremony (with credit) if it fits and makes sense. If you know what someone after you is going to do, DON'T mention it. Don't steal their thunder.
  • If you flub a line, just stop. Don't say "um" or "sorry" or "Oh shit". Just stop and figure out where it went pear-shaped and start over. If you say completely the wrong thing DO say "Pardon me" or "Excuse me" and then repeat enough of it over again that it will make sense on it's own. If you just re-say the part you messed up the audience will be confused; you need to hand them the context over again.
  • Don't forget to bring your water up to the podium with you. I did. Oops. I felt like my lips were stuck together and my tongue was caught in the back of my throat.
  • If you lose your place just calmly take a sip of water and quietly find it. If you drop your papers, don't frantically shuffle them around. Calmly pick them up and sort them. Pretend you are doing it in slow motion to keep from looking frantic.
  • Use anecdotes and jokes that the vast majority of the audience is going to relate to or at least a selection for different groups so that all groups get represented. In my speech some of the jokes were insider nursing stuff so family and friends would be left out, but some I tried to make universal so every one was included. One of the speeches in one of my high school year books would only have been good if the historian had been presenting solely to the ski racers, football team and her best friends. Thanks, on behalf of everyone else.
  • Try NOT to read speeches from something that is too close in theme to yours. You'll just end up stuck on the themes of other people and not creating your own ideas. Also, don't copy speeches you find online. It's bad karma and you will suffer eternally. With that said, if you are a valedictorian, nursing or otherwise:



Here's my Speech to the University of Ottawa in Collaboration with Algonquin College BScNursing class of 2008 (including cues for me for pauses, etc):

Family, Friends, & Faculty,

It is my great honour to address you and the newly minted nurses of the University of Ottawa -- in Collaboration with Algonquin College-- Bachelor of Science Nursing Class of 2008!

I’d like to invite the ’08 nurses –because I know how much the LOVE it – to REFLECT (but don’t worry, you don’t have to journal it) but to reflect on their first day of Nursing School.

When I did recently, I noticed how much variety there is in our class. That first day some of us were
· back at class after the summer following high school or a college prep year,
· some had moved from another city or province or country,
· some were back after switching from another career,
· some had just dropped their kids off at their first day of day care,
· others had recently become “empty nesters”
but all of us were ready to embark on nursing—our idea of nursing, whatever that was! And our incomprehension of exactly what we were getting into was just the first stumbling block really… first year was full of, well, TEACHING, --seminars on how to make SOAP?! what did this have to do with NURSING?! Where were the NEEDLES!?

And now look where we are,
· people have moved from their parents home,
· relationships have started, & some people are engaged or are now married,
· deep networks of friendships have been established,
· classmates have become parents,
· yesterday we wrote—as one person put on her facebook status “the biggest exam of my life ever!”,
· high school grads--by next Monday--will be university grads.

In fact, we’ve completed the one thing shown in double-blind trials in peer-reviewed journals to be the one real marker of future nursing success: THIRD YEAR! The real thing to remember from third year is, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like one of the nurses you work with in the future, you won’t have to write a group paper with him or her… or if you do have to write a paper with him or her, hopefully that next time you’ll know what the heck that paper is about!

Honestly, is just me or did fourth year happen in the blink of an eye? It was like first and second year was the hike in, third year when we climbed the mountain, and fourth year was the tired walk down the valley to today.

Anyways, through all of those transitions in our personal lives our view of-and abilities in- nursing have changed from that first year. We understand that accumulation of skills wasn’t the point but the appreciation of client’s context and experiences. In listening to my former classmates -now colleagues- final Professionalism presentations a couple of months ago, over and over again people said that the best day of their consolidation placement wasn’t an amazing NG tube placement, or difficult patient with a chest tube and multiple IVs, but rather the day they handled difficult situations smoothly or juggled a bunch of patients and changes in plans well. It was that point where the facts and assessment skills learned over the previous years were the framework, and the ability to integrate it all came together and creativity and nuance became the keys to success.

There is a key player I’ve kind of glossed over in this discussion of integration and transition in our lives—the patient. Because now that we have begun to integrate all that we know – or think we know – and have begun to trust ourselves to do this we can truly be patient-centred in our practice. Somewhere in all of that will come the point where we will learn that the “being with” patients is the crux of it all rather than the “doing for” or the “getting from”.

And one of my points of pride is that we do have a class of people that look out from their own practice and lives to figure out how we can advocate for others. I recently got the chance to hear Maude Barlowe speak—she’s a huge advocate against the commodification of basic human needs like water or health care. Anyways, she quoted a 92 year old suffragette, feminist and life-long activist friend who says that “Social Justice is like taking a bath, if you don’t do it everyday you stink!”.

Our class understands this in spades and has lived it in a multitude of ways:
· by the grad committee in raising nearly $1500 for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s HIV/AIDS foundation
· by taking a year and working internationally like Aleisha,
· by going to Sri Lanka after the Tsunami in 2005 like Kyla,
· by raising awareness for open adoption records in Ontario like Trina,
· by standing up like Adenike in one of the best bits of public speaking I’ve ever been witness to and pointing out very emotionally and eloquently the diversity of Africa as a continent and not a uniformly impoverished, HIV +, singular entity thank-you-very-much,
· by promoting leaving the pack behind well beyond getting credit for it,
· by getting everyone to sign birthday cards for a kid at CHEO who wanted to set a world record,
· and a multitude other examples of blogging, facebooking, and participating in fundraisers and petitions and organizations.


If you are here today, not as faculty or as a new nurses, but as one of the parents, grandparents, partners, spouses, children, friends who supported us through these 4 or 5 years and yet like the faculty and former students you know
· your CRNE from your CNO...
· your SN from your RN...
· if making any decision in your house now requires a lengthy
Assessment/Analysis/ Planning/Implementation /Evaluation process...
· if your graduating loved one surfaced from studying for the CRNE recently and you thought to yourself “Oh, THAT’s what they meant by self-care deficit”...
· and if you are here today because you watched your loved one transition from a naïve, mortified, disorganized anxiety-ball to a confident, caring and compassionate professional ...

...then this degree is as much yours as ours and we all join in thanking you for your love, encouragement and support for us through the process.


Also deserving of many thank-yous are the faculty. [Insert on the day: Val, thanks for putting up with the noise!] Initially, we were a disparate group united by a desire to care for and be with others on their journey to improve or maintain their health and now we are a group united as nurses who are capable of doing just that and it is you that we can thank for this.

Also can I say, despite how much we complained about it -- and I know I complained about it just about as much as the next person-- so this may sound odd, but thank you for professionalism class. Over and over in the final professionalism class watching my classmate’s presentations it was plain that professionalism was no longer a 3 hour seminar & discussion, but something we’ve all learned to embody and express in our words and actions and we have the faculty and instructors to thank. Tennyson said “I am part of all that I have met” and on behalf of all of the class, we are honoured to have met and had you all as part of our lives.

To my classmates, as the Dalai Lama is known to have said “The practice of compassion itself brings inner strength” so to the Nurses of Tomorrow, the class of 2008, I wish you all a long future of continued inner strength. Yesterday, people said they wanted inspiration from this speech here today. Please know that it is from all of you that I draw my inspiration.

Thank you & Congratulations.

*Pics stolen from:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cathy Crowe at OttawaU

So Cathy Crowe* received an honourary doctorate at the University of Ottawa on June 8, 2008. She was awarded this at my convocation ceremony. Her theme was "Inspiration". Here's the content of her address:
*the link is avideo interview

Thank you Madame Chancellor. Thank you President Patry and the Faculty and students for this honour. I accept it knowing that I am only one of many people in the struggle to end the housing crisis here in Canada.
I am sure you can imagine that, after twenty years working as a Street Nurse, I need to find inspiration to stay hopeful. After all, I am not a carpenter, I am not a roofer, and I’m certainly not the federal finance minister, so I cannot build housing. I am a nurse, a street nurse, une infirmière de la rue. Je crois que le logement est à la base d’une bonne santé. [a nurse of the street. I believe that housing is at the base of a good health].
J’ai vu la destruction totale de notre programme de logement national, ce qui a rendu le Canada un des très peu de pays du monde sans programme de logement. Quand nous avions un programme national nous construisions vingt-milles unités d’habitations à loyer modique par année. [I saw the total destruction of our national housing program, which made Canada once again one of very few countries of the world without program of housing. When we had a national plan we built twenty thousand low-rent housing units per year.]The cancellation of the national housing program in 1993 is the number one reason that 300,000 men and women and over 20,000 children in this country are homeless. 2 million others are on the edge.
Homelessness has been declared a national disaster in Canada. The United Nations calls it a national emergency. I call it a national disgrace. Whatever you call it – homeless people are in fact Canada’s internally displaced refugees.
Let me give you a glimpse at what that looks like.
There is the nightly movement of homeless families and children from church basement to church basement in Calgary. The children describe being woken at 5 am to be transported with their parents in a yellow school bus back downtown. Then they are bused to the one school they must all go to. They end up in a different church basement the next night and every day the pattern is repeated.
Il y a les squats et les campements dans chaque ville du Canada - des boites en carton, des sacs de couchages, et des familles entières qui vivent dans des tentes ou des caravanes. Les gens qui sont forcés à mendier sur nos rues sont les mêmes gens qui se font déplacés par la police.
On a besoin de soins palliatifs, tel que le programme ici à Ottawa, pour les sans-abri. Il y a le Monument aux Sans-Abris à Toronto qui a plus de cinq-cent noms inscrits. Les gens vivent sans-abri pour tellement de temps qu’ils meurent dans des conditions désespérés. [There are squats and camps in each city of Canada - cardboard boxes, sleeping bags, and whole families that live in tents or caravans. People who are forced to beg on our streets are the same people who are forced to move by the police. We need palliative care, such as the program here in Ottawa, for the homeless people. There is the Memorial for the Homeless [link] in Toronto which has more than five hundred registered names. People live homeless for so long that they die under conditions desperate.]
I have toured this disaster across Canada. I often invite political leaders or the media to join me on my walk. What I have seen, and they have seen it too, is the destruction of our life-saving infrastructure: the shelters, the food programs and the assistance programs like unemployment and disability.
Pour les canadiens pauvres et sans-abri, les résultats de cette négligence ont été la destruction et la mort - la tuberculose, la malnutrition, la mort de froid, la dépression et le suicide. [For poor Canadians and homeless people, the results of this negligence are destruction and death - tuberculosis, malnutrition, hypothermia, depression and suicide.]
What can give us hope? What can inspire us to move forward and act with a sense of justice? I have three thoughts, three different kinds of inspiration that help me.
D’abord, il y a les gens qui nous inspirent à la justice et à l’action. [Initially, there are people who inspire to us with justice and action.]
Il y a plusieurs personnes à travers l’histoire qui nous donnent du courage face au désespoir. Pour moi, une de ces personnes est l’infirmière et ancien maire de la ville d’Ottawa Marion Dewar. [There are several people through history who give us courage vis-a-vis despair. For me, one of these people is the nurse and former mayor of the city of Ottawa, Marion Dewar]
Après la guerre du Vietnam, plusieurs pays fermèrent leurs frontières aux réfugiés vietnamiens. Des centaines de milliers durent s’échapper de la guerre à bord de bateaux dangereux et surchargés. Plusieurs de ces “boat people” mourrurent de faim ou se noyèrent. [After the Vietnam, several countries closed their borders to Vietnamese refugees. Hundreds of thousands had to escape from the war on board dangerous and overloaded boats. Several (many?) of these “boat people” of hunger or drowned. ]
Marion Dewar witnessed the media images of abysmal refugee camps, grim boat conditions, and the slammed doors of many countries. She acted. She made the slogan “Think globally – act locally” come alive. While Mayor she helped launch Project 4000 – to find sponsors for 4,000 Vietnamese people in Ottawa. She created the spark that ‘imagined’ Canadians country wide to open their hearts and homes to thousands and thousands of Vietnamese refugees who were fleeing persecution, war and homelessness in their own country. That was a moment of justice in Canada’s history.
Marion Dewar a dit que les infirmières et les travailleurs de santé doivent être responsables envers la communauté, et que la communauté a besoin de paix et de justice avant tout. [Marion Dewar said that the nurses and healthcare workers of must be responsible for the community, and that the community needs peace and justice above all.] Her words inspire me even more today because as she says, we know in our heart that what we need in our country is public education. What we need is health care. What we need is housing. We do not need more destruction, we need justice and peace.
Along with my family, I am very honoured to have Marion’s son Paul Dewar, MP for Ottawa Centre here with us tonight.
Second, there are words and art that inspire us to justice and action.
De temps en temps, une oeuvre de musique, de poésie ou de littérature émerge et atteint des millions de personnes et engage leurs coeurs à l’action. Ces joyaux littéraires inspirent parce qu’ils nous rappellent qu’il y a des choses pour lesquelles il faut la peine de se battre. [From time to time, a work of music, poetry or literature emerges and reaches million people and engages their hearts with action. These literary jewels inspire because they remind us that there are things for which one needs sorrow to fight.]
I recently watched a music video on YouTube - the song ‘Dear Mr. President’ by the singer Pink. This song represents art joining forces to nurture the work of activists, in this case, anti-war and homeless activists. The lyrics from her song are inspiring millions. I took a little liberty with them. Ecoutez! [Listen!]
Come take a walk with me.
Let’s pretend that we’re just two people and
You’re not better than me.
I’d like to ask you some questions, if we can speak honestly.
How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye?
And tell me why?
Cher Monsieur le Premier Ministre
As-tu déjà rencontré un enfant, une femme ou un homme sans-abri?
Ne sont-ils pas l’humanité?
Comment peux-tu dire
Qu’une réduction de la TPS achèvera la pauvreté?
Nous ne sommes ni idiots, ni aveugles.
Tu n’as pas d’argent pour l’habitation mais cinquante milliards pour l’armée!
Comment dors-tu quand nous autres pleurons?
Comment rêves-tu quand une mère ne peut pas dire au revoir?
Comment peux-tu marcher la tête haute?
Peux-tu même me regarder dans l’oeil?
[Did you already meet a child, a woman or a man homeless person?
Aren't they humanity?
How can you say
What a reduction of the TPS (Toronto Police Service?)will complete poverty?
We are neither idiotic, nor blind.
You do not have money for housing but fifty billion for the army!
How do you sleep when we others cry?
How do you dreams you when a mother cannot say goodbye?
How can you walk with your head high?
Can you even look me in the eye? ]
Let me tell you ‘bout hard work.
Minimum wage, plants closing every day.
Let me tell you ‘bout hard work.
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you about hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box.
Laisses-moi te parler du travail dur
Travail dur, travail dur
T’en sais rien du travail dur.
[Let me tell you about hard work
Hard work, hard work
You don't know anything about hard work]
How do you sleep at night?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
You’d never take a walk with me.
Would you?
Finally, there are the political wins that happen because of a people’s movement. The slogans, the buttons, the chants inspire and tell the story of those wins.
Il y a des phrases qui agissent comme un mantra ou un symbole qui capturent l’essence d’une lutte et nous inspirent à être actifs dans un mouvement de justice sociale. [There are sentences which act as a mantra or a symbol which capture the essence of a fight and inspire us with being active in a social justice movement] A lot of these phrases are on political buttons so I poked around in my button collection to give you some examples.

Before I do, did you know that the first widespread use of a logo for a political cause was in the 18th century? It was a medallion, designed by the pottery entrepreneur Josiah Wedgwood. It depicted a kneeling slave, in chains, encircled by the words “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” Women wore the medallion as a bracelet or in their hair. Today the equivalent is a button worn on lapels and knapsacks.
Think of this one from my collection. An all black button with these white words on it: ‘WHY kill people to show that killing people is wrong?’ It tells the story of the winning campaign to fight the federal government’s plan to bring back the death penalty.
Ou celui-ci: “Speak Out! South Africa will hear us!” Ce slogan inspira les canadiens à rejoindre la lutte internationale contre l’apartheid. Ou encore “Ban the Klan”. Ce slogan nous rappela qu’il était essentiel d’empêcher le Ku Klux Klan de s’installer au Canada! [Or this one: “Speak Out! South Africa will hear us!” This slogan inspired Canadians to join the international fight against apartheid. Or “Ban the Klan”. This slogan reminded us that it was essential to prevent Ku Klux Klan from starting in Canada] Or how about this slogan: ‘NO GRAPES.’ The California grape boycott in support of the United Farmworkers had a real influence on the use of agricultural pesticides and it expanded the right for farm workers to organize in a union. And this slogan: ‘Will that be cash or OHIP?’ That inspired the win against extra-billing by physicians. There are many other inspirational slogans like: ‘Abortion is a Woman’s Choice,’ that symbolized the win for de-criminalization. ‘A Date with Equality,’ that symbolized pay equity wins across the country. ‘Stop the Secret Trials,’ which our Supreme Court agreed with in 2007.
In 2003, the hundreds of thousands of people across Canada who took to the streets and chanted ‘Stop the War!’ were clearly an ‘inspiration’ to Prime Minister Chrétien to not bring Canada into the war in Iraq.
Aujourd’hui, les nouveaux slogans qu’on commence à entendre à travers le pays sont [Today, the new slogans that one starts to hear through the country are]“Drop fees not bombs”, “Health care not warfare”, “Childcare not warfare”, and my favourite “Housing not war”.
How about “Let them Stay!” referring to the US Iraq war resisters in Canada. This week the House of Commons voted 137-110 to ‘let them stay’ if they refuse to engage in an illegal war.
Ces slogans m’ont inspirés à continuer la lutte. J’espère qu’ils vous inspireront aussi. [These slogans inspired to me to continue the fight. I hope that they will inspire to you too]
Graduates, the work that you and I do is about life; it is about healing and caring. As a street nurse, I ask you to remember the words and actions of Marion Dewar. I also ask you to hear the words of a very young female politician who inspires. Malalai Joya is the suspended member of the Afghan parliament. She risks her life for speaking out in her country. She has to change housing every night for safety. She is homeless.
On a recent visit to Canada, she expressed shock at the extent of the homelessness and poverty she saw. She said “I don’t know how the (Canadian) government cannot look at them. Instead they say ‘we want to help Afghan people.’” She noted – neither group is being helped.
Our government is making more homelessness in Canada. They are also making more homelessness in Afghanistan!
We should be so ashamed and then I hope we will find the moral resolve to prove that we, and this country, are inspired to be about life, healing and caring ……and to act.
Thank you!
Merci beaucoup!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How to put a crimp in your blogging.... cool videos on other blogs; here's one:

Produce fake ads for other bloggers (and SQUEEE with delight when you get a "You Rock" email from the blogger in question... and an amazing coffee table book! Woo Hoo!):

Start applying for jobs and studying for Nursing Registration exams...

But the best way by far?

Get a puppy!!!

Gibson, the wonder dog! When he grows up, he'll look like this

Friday, March 14, 2008

12 (other things) on 12...

[This is from the 14th of March--originally I forgot about the 12 of 12 so I started a new post then I forgot about the new post too and only posted this on the 25th of March--what a dork!]

Oh crap. I completely forgot about 12 of 12 this past month. Leah and I were walking to swimming and there was a great shot of the sun on what, in spring summer and fall, is a lawn in front of City Hall. At the moment it is a ploughed snow feild about 5 feet high and very impressive.

Despite having missed the whole show, I still want to play along-ish... I'm totally bending (breaking actually) Chad's rules, but I'm going to put myself through an a technicality and hope that the judges, well, look the other way.

1 of 12: I'll start things off with an actual picture of mine (what a concept! Someone should create a project about that! original photos! Okay, I'll stop...) Anyways, this is a picture from the 12th folder in the "My Pictures" folder on my computer (well, I had to count a bit creatively...). This is my friend Stacie, who I've been thinking about a lot this past month. This is from September when she was here in Ottawa and she's seated at the feet of Nobel Peace prize winner, Lester B Pearson. Here's wishing you peace, Stacie and this bit of 12 of 12 fun and frivolity is dedicated to you...

2 of 12: Here's that fabulous Pinball video and 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 song from Sesame Street.

3 of 12: In searching for the first Sesame Street video, I turned up this other one about the Princess Twelvia, who I think must've been the original muse for 12 of 12...

4 of 12: Here is a link to an article from my local GLBTTTIQQ paper, Capital Xtra, about a new series of 12 step programs for the more secular of us who didn't feel quite at home with the "surrender your self to [a choice of deity]" form of 12 step programs.

5 of 12: There are currently 12 oatmeal chocolate chip cookies left from a batch of like 40 ish made just last Sunday. So tasty! Here's the recipe:

3/4 c. butter
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 c oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon (this is what really makes it...)
1& 1/2 choc. chips (well, these are what REALLY really makes it
Mix it all in the usual way for cookies (dry together, wet together, add dry to wet in portions, don't over mix) and drop onto a greased/parchment lined sheet spaced about 2 inches apart. Don't flatten dough blobs. Bake at 350deg for 12-15 minutes. Try not to scarf 40 in 4 days...

6 of 12: A cube has 12 edges and six faces

7 0f 12: Here apparently, is the deal if your Birth Day is on the 12th:

  • You possess a high degree of artistic talent that emerges in almost everything you take seriously, your home, your cooking, the way you express yourself, and any artistic endeavor you commit to.

  • You are highly imaginative and quick-witted, allowing you to be the life of a party, entertaining people with stories, jokes, or witty remarks.

  • You have plenty of vitality, your body heals quicker than most people's.

  • You are especially talented in the verbal and writing skills. These areas, as well as acting and other performing arts, should be cultivated.

  • You have a great deal of enthusiasm and make an excellent salesperson.

  • You can make the best out of a given situation and are easily satisfied.

  • You are emotional, friendly, sociable, and affectionate.

  • You can also be moody and given to self-indulgence, especially when it comes to feelings of depression or self- pity. Be careful not to waste time and energy on trivial matters and keep your priorities in perspective. The keys to your success are commitment and discipline.

  • You must learn to focus your considerable creativity in a given area or field. This will keep from scattering your energies in an endless number of areas

8 of 12: Here are the current Canadian #12s on the best seller's lists:

Fiction (hard cover): Confessor by Terry Goodkind

Fiction (paper back): Revelation by Karen Travis

Non-Fiction: From the Fifteenth District by Mavis Gallant

Canadiana: My Years As Prime Minister by Jean Chretien

Children's : Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel

9 of 12: The 12th element on the periodic table is Magnesium. It was recognised as an element in 1755, but wasn't isolated until 1808. It's name comes from the Greek work Magnesia, a district of Thessaly. Here's it's electronic structure:

10 of 12: There is way more information on the 12 hour clock than I'd imagined.... All I know is there's never enough time for sleeping!

11 of 12: 12% of Canadian men work for less than $10/ hour whereas nearly 20 % of Canadian women do:

"Considerably more women than men earned less than $10 per hour. In 2005,
19.7% of women and 11.8% of men worked for under $10/ hour. Rates were highest
among young adults aged 15 to 24, with 54.7% of women and 42% of men earning
less than $10 an hour in 2005. "

[From the Canadian Council of Social Development]

I naively went to this site looking for minimum wage info, sadly there is no provincial mimimums anywhere near 12 bucks an hour...

12 of 12: What to choose, what to choose... I could go with the number of times I swore when stupid blogger's picure uploader screwed up or the formatting changed randomly which = 12 to the power of 12 *stupid formatting*, [edit: I could go with the number of days this post has been sitting around either in progress or forgotten about which = approx 12], I could go with the fact that Geoffrey the archbishop of York was born on 12 12 1212, or that the 12th thing to come up on Google with 12 as the search term is a thingy on the 12 apostles. [edit: this is where I originally stalled now I have something exciting(to me) to put in] But really, I'll go with one Stacie will appreciate: the number of times our dog Gibson has peed outside 12

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Totally Mendelbrot, Buffy style

Improv Everywhere is amazing. Google 'em. Also good is their bit where they took over a set of listening stations at a Virgin Megastore and spontaneously started a dance routine. Or when they infiltrated Home Depo and then all started shopping in slow-mo for a set amount of time.

Thanks to Joe.My.God for posting this.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Call me unCanadian, but I hate KD and all it's elbow-shaped relatives

Please, don't eat this:

I have an aversion to macaroni pasta. Fresh or dried no matter. It's the shape. It's just wrong. Wrong in anything: tuna fish casserole, hamburger casserole, anything. It's like the parts that weren't supposed to make it into your food recognisable: the veiny bits or if under-cooked, the cartilaginous bits. Poorly drained, you will be treated to a bleb of luke-warm water with every bite. Fluorescent cheese doesn't mask this problem, it makes it worse.

I have pretty catholic tastes when it comes to food and will try anything once, but I know what I don't like, and it's name is macaroni. Well, and whipped cream but that one has exceptions (thinly on pumpkin pie, sparingly with fresh berries), with macaroni there are no exceptions.

A friend's mum has the same aversion; friend and his dad had to wait for nights she was out to indulge in KD or the like. 2 like minded people out there, I know there must be more.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Change of shift

New Change of Shift up at
All the best from the last two weeks of nurses in the blogosphere.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

World press photo awards

This photo of Hungarian victims of a gay bashing won second place in the World Press Photo Awards. Here's the AP press line of the event. Interesting bit in the middle there...
July 7, 2007 BUDAPEST, Hungary:

Several hundred skinheads and right-wing activists threw rotten eggs and
smoke bombs at people participating in a gay rights parade in Hungary's capital
Saturday.Police detained several of the protesters and tried to disperse the
rest, some of whom threw beer bottles at police.

No injuries were reported.

Members of the Movement For A Better Hungary and the Hungarian National
Front said they were angry about two recent developments.On Thursday, Gabor
Szetey, a state secretary in the prime minister's office, announced he was gay
while the smaller party in the Socialist-led ruling coalition said it would seek
to legalize gay marriages.Some 2,000 people participated in Saturday's march,
which took place over several kilometers (miles), from Heroes' Square to the
foot of one of the bridges over the Danube River.
Thanks to Joe.My.God and his readers for the links & info.

Theme: Ice and Cold, Feb 12 of 12

Well, the 12th again, and that means one thing: Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 project with great pics from today from all over the place. Good good whole wheat fun. I know there're no themes this year, but I like them and well, ice and cold have been on my mind all day (as I sit here in a woolly sweater and toque typing and thinking about tea...) So, this is my bonus pic of the ice sculptures from the Winterlude winter festival here in town. (Even tho I thought it wouldn't happen last month, the canal is open for skating during the festival btw, but it was too cold tonight to get pix).

Here's my least favourite side effect of the cold: Raynaud's phenomenon. See how my finger tips are all white? They started purple, then went white & tingly, then eventually (~45 min) back to normal. In the spring and fall they bounce back to red hot & tingly. This wasn't too bad as it was only the pads rather than all the way down unbending fingers.

Would also suck to be waiting around in the -20C / -33 C windchill (-4F/ -27F) temps this morning. This is the view down the block of taxi drivers protesting in-car cameras. They filled the streets outside city hall & courthouse (the buildings in the background) and honked and refused passengers.

Very excited: New cutlery with one of the grotty old spoons in there for scale. Plastic handles on cutlery is really dumb unless you don't wash with hot water. All cracked and stained and ready for the garbage (or a give away if we can make them presentable/not a biohazard) to make way for the shiny, sleek new ones.
This is my blotter. All of these pics belong in a big collage that never got finished. All our cute friends and their cute kids.
This is the wall of family. These are things I like to look at when some blowhard makes the news with stuff like in this parody or this cartoon
This is the mountain of snow from my Dec 12 of 12 its still as tall, but as you can see in the next pic, about as big as a football field (take your pick).

This is the view from my cubicle. Notice the flag of the Syrian embassy. I'm sure they were thrilled to look across and see someone from a Govt. of Canada building taking photos of their embassy offices...

This is my cubicle. I need something for the walls. This is what I'm working on. Happy back to work Chad. We'll be glad to see some new shows (although also glad some Canadian shows got picked up... unless they get dropped again)

After work I went to the train station to pick up Leah. En route there was a very brave bicyclist at the corner of Colonel By Drive and Hawthorne near the Pretoria bridge. So, so windy at that spot and icy. The only thing is if you wiped out you might not feel anything from being numb from cold.

That's Leah in the blue jacket. She walked up to me having seen the camera and said "12 of 12?". I'm so predictable...

This is at the grocery store. I love how the promo for healthy blue label products runs across the display case. Leah's fave was the one with the dump trucks in the top left corner. I didn't have a fave because I don't like those icy rose decorations. I like the idea of a dump truck cake...

And from there it was home to have dinner, bundle up in woolly clothing and drink tea. Dinner is long gone, but the rest is ongoing.
Cheers and stay warm,