Tuesday, December 30

Auld Lang Syne

B from Politics ‘n Poetry tagged me in an interesting exercise consisting of writing 19 +1 things about yourself. I ended up writing a list of remarks and insights that were frankly far more personal than I intended.

Perhaps it’s the time of year. This holiday has resonance as a marker of days gone by, and somehow I found myself swept with a myriad of memories of events, observations and feelings that define me.

This is my list:

1. Late in my teens, I discovered that I was born two years prior to my parents being married. That was big given when I was born. I never did discuss it with my mother and I should have.

2. Of my father's four children, I was the only one who consistently loved him despite his faults. That probably didn't help my relationship with my mother.

3. I grew up in a discordant household but one thing that was strong and still influences my brothers and I, was the strong commitment my parents had for equality and social justice.

4. I was an extremely shy kid who spent loads of times living in my dreams.

5. I almost failed kindergarten because my teacher assumed I was immature and unable to communicate in English. My dad wrote a note to her calling her a bigot who never took time to get to know me. He said the problem wasn't my lack of English knowledge but the fact that I didn't like her. To this day, I think that is one of the best things my dad did for me.

6. I got to travel to France and Paris as a kid and even witnessed the running of the bulls in Pamplona. That is one of my most cherished childhood moments.

7. In almost a dream like memory, I remember meeting this woman who lived in a shack on the edge of the rail tracks near the back of my home. I remember her as a tragic figure but not much else.

8. I was a pretty straight-laced kid, even throughout high school, but I had this childhood friend who lived in Quebec that I would visit every year. Her life was wild and I felt like I got to experience another life every time I visited. Those visits led to my first french kiss, drag off weed, popping of mescaline and LSD, near intercourse and other experiences. She also taught me how not to fear downhill skiing.

9. I always loved animals and couldn't stand watching any movie that included the death of any living creature. I was probably 8 years old when we adopted our first cat. I nearly went crazy when he disappeared for a week and years later was heart broken when we had to give him away. But I love them all. Not just cats. I remember my dad bringing in a dog during a snow storm. I have no idea what happened next. But I remember him being kept warm in our living room on that very snowy, cold night.

10. I think I had a mini breakdown of sorts at the end of my first year at university. I know I had very dark thoughts but I also had spent two weeks on dexidren doing all nighters studying for my exams. It was a bleak and emotionally self-indulgent period.

11. I was very angry for much of my youth. I didn't like following norms or experiencing lack of freedom. I was basically stubborn but quiet in my rebellion.

12. I moved out of home when I was eighteen. I didn't need to but chose to, to escape my mother mostly. I don't think it ever helped my relationship with her but it did bring my dad and I closer.

13. I think I only discovered wanton freedom in my mid-twenties. And I did so with a vengeance. I have no regrets and had a hell of a good time.

14. During the hey day of my party days, I would meet my future husband but I would never have guessed that I would end up with him. Life is funny that way.

15. Leaving for and living in Japan would prove to be one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. I developed self-esteem through hardship, loneliness, strong friendships and hard work. It was probably the most energetic period of my life.

16. I also got to back pack through Asia for some seven months. It was the most profound experience I had ever had and that is despite the fact that my mother was dying. Don't get me wrong, I cared very much about my mother but had become hardened to her pleas when she insisted she was dying some five years before. I did cut my travels to go home when I heard from my father that it was actually happening.

17. My mother's death had a profound effect on me. I did get to spend time with her in her last three months and it was devastating. Being by her side sooner would not have changed the impact it had on me. We had a failed and painful relationship and it would have taken another ten years to resolve. I miss her terribly and wish she had been around to see how well her children had done. I would have like to have had the opportunity to talk to her as a woman and not as a girl.

18. I have written and hope to continue to write poetry. I think that I see and describe things differently because English is not my first language and yet my only comfortable language. It's weird how that has worked out. I have a handful of dear friends who have consistently encouraged me and for that I am eternally grateful.

19. I have made short films and I hope to finish a feature film that was first inspired back in 1997. It has been an albatross around my neck. It changed so many times that I almost lost sight of how it could be a meaningful story. But it is and I have to finish it. Plus so many people lent their talent on this project for nothing but a credit that I would never forgive myself not finishing it.

20. I hope to slay all the albatrosses in my life, including the film and settling my father's estate. I look forward to moving beyond them and writing a series of short stories as well as turning my mind to new film projects. I hope all these things are possible.

And with that, I wish you peace, good health, happiness and success in the new year.

Wednesday, December 24

Freedom 85

I’ve been working for some four decades. Hard to believe at times and given my choices, my working days are far from over.

I was tagged by my dear cyber pixie buddy fern hill of DAMMIT JANET! to take part in a blog community-building exercise that consists of listing the jobs that define you. This event is the brain child of blogger balbulican of Stageleft: Life on the Left Side.

So here is my list:

* baby sitter
* server (catering company)
* kitchen staff (Burger King)
* typist (35 wpm — yeah, that bad!)
* sales clerk (we actually won a car for best service at the maternity fashion store I worked at and us part-time employees fought to share equally in the prize – my first Norma Rae moment )
* waitress/manager (Wildflower Café – a losing proposition from the get go)
* marketing/promotions coordinator (orchestra/music school)
* research assistant (rating anger management performances for psych project)
* immigrant/refugee employment/training coordinator
* public relations clerk (University of Ottawa - got to meet Stanley Knowles and Maureen MacTeer during convocation events)
* hostess/waitress (Marble Works – known for feasting with your bare hands like in the good old medieval age)
* bilingual proof reader/graphic layout (diesel engines/military manuals – rumour was our manager lost the plot after making a mistake in de Havilland engineering manual that led to a horrific crash – he was a very angry task master )
* office administration clerk/manager (software development firm)
* radio producer/ host (CKCU – it was a volunteer position but still one of the most important gigs I ever had)
* poet (never got paid but did get published for over a decade)
* Tokyo nightclub hostess (I was actually fired by the mama-san after a short 3-4 weeks of moonlighting – her assistant got drunk and fell in love with a sumo wrestler so I was asked to wash the whiskey glasses and refused)
* promotions “model” (including dressing up like a cow girl to pass out coupons for the Pollo Loco outlet in a Tokyo shopping mall – I could barely say hello in Japanese)
* radio DJ (Tokyo – best job ever even though I was constantly berated for not playing enough top 40 hits)
* chorus girl (Children’s musical theatre – another volunteer experience but very eye opening given that I was blind and off-key most of the time)
* ESL instructor (Tokyo and Ottawa – reprimanded in one school for dressing to provocatively so I protested by wearing the same black school marm dress for three weeks straight)
* copywriter (marketing firm – biggest client was the opposition Liberals under Jean Chretien)
* film maker (shorts – first film the most successful and all has been downhill ever since, sigh)
* production/training coordinator (film group)
* film CCA/tax credit officer (Cdn Heritage – there for the transition from one subsidy support to another)
* cultural/arts policy analyst/adviser (Cdn Heritage – highlight was working on the WTO Split Run Magazine challenge)
* VP marketing (failed international development start-up – but got to go to conferences in Portugal, Austria and Italy)
* consultant (arts/culture/marketing/communications – current contract is taking me into more environmental and FN resource development areas)

As for selecting five bloggers to tag, my list is:

Mentarch at Another Point of View

Catchfire at Blind Man with Pistol

skdadl at Peace, order and good government, eh?

900 ft jesus at In the House and Senate

Simon at Montreal Simon

Wednesday, December 3

Another Point of View: Crisis? What Political Crisis? In Which Deluded Universe Are We Living In?

Another Point of View: Crisis? What Political Crisis? In Which Deluded Universe Are We Living In?

An excellent must read. And seriously, who is paying for Harper's televised crisis address that airs tonight? His party or our pocket books?

Me, I rather watch the competition for Top Chef.