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pronouns vs adjectives

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So I’ve decided to ask people to recognize my “identity” by my chosen adjectives. Pronouns are so limiting, don’t you think? And still “binary-ish” (as if recognizing binary categories is a bad thing–but never mind). One doesn’t have to declare oneself by the third person pronoun if one can simply declare one’s adjectives. So when you refer to me in the third person (never mind that I likely won’t be there), please refer to me as Sunny/crumpled/bluesy. I’ll leave it to you to work out which of those adjectives refer to the possessive (if you get it wrong, though, you’ll be in BIG trouble.)

I think we should all refer to ourselves by our chosen adjectives. If you’re confused about someone’s adjectives, just ask. Then we also won’t have to worry about messy things like bathrooms. Everyone can just go outside to take care of that, because if you built bathrooms for every ‘adjective identity’, there would be no place for apartment buildings or parking or restaurants. So freeing, no?

If people refused to use your preferred adjective, that would be bad. If, for example, you stated that you’re very sunny today, and someone referred to you as grumpy or sneezy or dopey — they’d be living in a fairy tale and would not be acknowledging your true identity. And probably be denying the existence of all the people identifying as sunny that day. Then again, adjectives are brilliant that way, because anyone can identify as another one another day. Or another moment.

And there are SO MANY adjectives from which to choose. You don’t have to fuss about solidarity, or unity, or joining a movement if you develop a different identity every day. Like dandelion fluff. The pronoun thing has become boring. All this denial of biology and erasure of women, it’s done, it’s accomplished. There are relatively few pronouns, too. She, he, they, it. Let’s all identify as adjectives and become moving targets. Stealthy — that’s a good adjective…

I might give this some more thought. Or maybe not.

“Thank you”, she said. I am grateful, too.

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Saturdays are my favourite. It starts with tea in bed. And usually a biscuit (that’s British for cookie). Then I go to my regular Saturday morning meeting and Su takes the dog for a walk. I make coffee before I go up. Then I usually check on my credit card accounts and freak out a but. But not much because I’ve been to my meeting and I’m a lot more chilled out than I would be if I had checked my accounts before my meeting.

Then we go to the gym. Al always has me lifting less than I want to, especially if I’m on the way back from chemo (August to, well, now), or covid, (late April), or cataract surgery (second surgery was the 15th of June. Not supposed to lift anything heavy). But I don’t make a fuss. I just add a few more pounds to his suggestions. I don’t over do it. Really. Today was Bench Press and Squat day. I LOVE squats. I am not competition ready, not by any stretch, and anyway, the BCPA isn’t holding any meets at present. We’re still in covid precaution mode.

Then we went for lunch at Uprising Breads, which used to be a worker-owned cooperative until one of the workers bought it. I don’t know the whole story, but a lot of the workers were mad. Disappointed, out of work…It was a long time ago now, and pretty controversial, I think. Anyway, they’ve always made really good breads. And coffee. And they used to give bread and other baked goods to the best organizations I knew of — Vancouver Rape Relief and The Kettle Friendship Society. I used to work at both those places. There are lots of stories I could write about those days…

Anyway, we were walking our bikes up the sidewalk, after lunch, and a young woman locking her bike up looked up at me, and we recognized each other. But we didn’t know where we knew each other from, exactly, and we both look a little different — I look a lot different, because I no longer wear glasses (and believe me, that’s a big change — they were thick, my glasses), and I’m 20 or so pounds lighter than when I knew her, too. We exchanged names, and when she told me hers, I remembered her — she is unforgetable. And I could see a picture of the context, but not that clear.

“You look good,” she said, “you look healthy. I was just thinking of you last week, the things you said”

I couldn’t put my finger on it yet, I wondered if it was at those meetings? Must be, I don’t go anywhere else. Not work, she wasn’t from work…

“I appreciate the things you tried to tell us, and what you tried to let us talk about….” I know those weren’t her exact words. Anyway, I thanked her, and said it was nice to see her, and we parted. I’m such a dolt. I didn’t ask her anything about herself — I was so wrapped up in trying to figure out where I new her from, and I was embarrassed — I used to have a great memory, and especially of people and names.

If you are she, and reading this, please send a message, I’d love to know what you’re up to now, and how you are.

As we walked away, I realized — my last semester at UBC. The time I tried to make room in my classes for students to talk critically about sex and gender, and the school board policies about “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI). It had come up in every semester, nearly, but that one was particularly troubling. Many of my students said they had never heard a critique of gender, or gender-identity from any of their other classes. Of course, because I am none too nuanced, my opinion was pretty clear. I think the class in which was the young woman we met today had been one of the more polarized ones.

When she said that, about how she appreciated what she learned, I felt grateful. I still feel grateful. I loved teaching. I think I had potential to be pretty good at it. I loved the divergence of experience, and opinions, and the challenge of pulling people together to collaborate, even when they disagreed. But it all scared me, too. I was always nervous about teaching. And I made a million mistakes, took a lot of risks. Learned a lot. I would do it different. But I would still be opinionated. Nuance has never been my strong suit. Then I’d be full of self-doubt. And I was terrible at marking. Terrible.

I am so very grateful that i had that opportunity, and some people remember my classes. I loved meeting you again, my former student–and teacher. Thanks for reminding me.


Hello, beautiful people! Well, here I am with the covid. It was only a matter of time, really. After all, I work in a health facility in a health authority that has a very large number of outbreaks. We all wear masks, but apparently the cloth masks are not any more effective against the covid than the advice of a ouiji board. Few of us wear paper masks, and some of the residents refuse, and not all of us consistently ask them to mask up.

So it’s a mess, really.

I started sneezing at work late on Wednesday afternoon. My colleague and I facilitated a pretty good group that evening. We all sit far apart and wear masks, well, most of us do. Anyway, who knows how I got it, or if I gave it to anyone. I got the test the next morning, as soon as the centre opened up. They were all closed when i left work the night before.

Isolating’s not so bad. It’s weird not touching my lover, or our dog — poor guy, he keeps flinging himself at the bedroom door to get in. He doesn’t know what the hell’s going on. But he’s a dog. Every day’s a new day. I feel physically pretty good now. Almost stopped sneezing, breathing is okay, and I’m doing yoga and kettlebell swings in the bedroom. We can go out for walks. Which we do every day. sometimes I wear my weighted vest (10 kg). sometimes I carry around the whole 10 kg, but often I go for longer walks with only 6 kg or so. Life’s regular burdens are not the kind of workout that gives you legs like oak trees.

This covid thing, it’s all manufactured. Out of the resources ripped from the ground and the critters killed by the same resource extraction that results in earthquakes in Alberta and floods in the grasslands. We did this to ourselves. I read on a sticker on a light post last year, “We were already in crisis before, there is no ‘normal’ to go back to” –I don’t remember the words exactly. We did this to ourselves. It has been a long long time in the making, and here we are.

Everyone is getting a bit thin-skinned. we miss our families. We yearn to embrace each other and then get pissed off when our loved ones come too close, or let their masks drop. Little things. The little things add up. for good or or ill.

I haven’t heard Opera Guy since last fall, I think. Been back to work full time since late October last year, and during y small weekends, I am never still. I don’t sleep in the sun on the balcony this spring, as I did last spring. I would be wrapped in a blanket one of my students gave me, and the magnolia tree would drop its blossoms. Opera Guy would sometimes walk down our street, singing arias, carrying a small bag of groceries. I once saw him acknowledge that he had an audience. He stopped singing, and some people started clapping and hollering, “Bravo! Bravo!” He raised one arm and swept down into a bow, s big smile on his face. Then he turned and carried on walking.

Other than that he has never acknowledged that there is an audience. I have never shouted praise from our window, either, too afraid to break the spell. Once I heard him in the park a couple of block north of our house. I peeked around the hedge and saw him with two of his buddies, talking and trading notes. He’d sing a phrase, and then his friend would sing a few bars. I didn’t go closer, just listened to the murmur of their voices, the small hummings of music they made together.

This past week, I’ve been in isolation on account of covid. The room in which I’ve spent most of my time faces the co-op courtyard. So on fine days, I hear the kids playing, toddlers toppling into each other, the swoop of traffic on Broadway. Songbirds in the early morning. But not Opera Guy. I sure hope he’s alright. Tonight it is cold and damp, not good for vocal cords, I’m sure. We need his music. I hope he knows that.

We’re grandmothers

On March 24th, at about 3:00, Iris, Su’s daughter, gave birth to a baby boy. Say what you like about overpopulation and climate change and the instability of our wonderful world and geopolitics and all the things — I am so glad to welcome him to the family. In turn, he has welcomed me — I contributed nothing to his parents’ births or raising. I have been his maternal grandmother’s companion, partner, lover and sometimes pain-in-the-ass for nearly 5 years, though. That counts for something. Su’s two grown-up children have welcomed me, and we care a lot for each other. I get to be part of the village raising the new one.

He’s beautiful! And we have pictures of his mama and papa holding him and gazing at the camera with serenity and pride. Well, that’s Iris. She looked as if she’d just gone for a brisk walk, rather than a 5-hour labour. The baby, he was all alert yet restful, snuggled up to his mother’s breast. Iris wrapping him in her strong arms and all the love in the world. The pictures of Matt show a great tall man curled tenderly into his son, studying him intently and kissing his face. He’s home, he’s home in the world.

We cannot wait to meet him

chemo, covid, back to work

Hello beautiful people,

you know, I have about 55 drafts of blog posts piling up over here. When I took my medical leave I thought I could write every day, and do a light workout every other day, and walk the dog for a few blocks and do some things I put off, like play the accordion…But I couldn’t. Not any of it. I was half way through my chemo when I took my leave, and just in time too.

Now I am grateful. It’s a cool sunny day. I took the dog for a long walk. He stops at every shrubbery to flirt with the pheromones left by other dogs. I no longer have to stop and sit every few metres. I eat well. I pick up the kettlebells — the lighter ones now — and walk up and down the stairs. I think about the things I want to write about — women-only space and the erasure thereof; the beauty of the sunlight firing up the orange and yellow fall leaves; the wonderful people who checked in on me when I was sick — Lavila and Colleen in Red Deer, and my uncle Tom in the Kananaskis valley, my cousin near Saskatoon and my auntie in Ottawa and my friend in Montreal. Some of my friends and mentors from church basements came, too, with food and company for short visits across the picnic table. I thought i’d write lots of letters, but i didn’t. I slept and puked a lot. My partner’s son brought me ginger ale and crackers; got the dog out and cooked dinner. I tried to stay up until Su got home, and make tea for her. Sometimes I did, but sometimes i just stayed in bed.

The covid restrictions started mid-March. A year ago now. That day, sunshine still elusive, and cold, one of the women who goes to our tiny gym told us that her parents were quarantined in their home in Italy. That was our last session at the gym for many months. By the following week, the city was still. Restaurants, stores, dry cleaners, dentist offices were shuttering. Buses were empty, then few and far between. It was spooky.

But the birdsong! And the blossoms! It was amazing, the racket of music and riot of colour. I started really slowing down by then, sleeping more, and I couldn’t do the small light workouts Al from the gym sent me. Su brought home a zero gravity chair sometime late in the spring (early April?) and on fine days I lay in that, all bundled up in a blanket that one of my students gave me at the end of the 2016 fall semester. When it was a not fine day (and there were lots of those — it was cold in the spring); cold and rainy, then I took it personally and nearly wept that I couldn’t bundle up and lie in that chair like a burrito on a griddle. The dog came with me wherever I went and curled up near by.

December 30 2020

In September I started back to work. 5 days a week, 4 hours a day. Then gradually up to six hours a day, then by the beginning of November I was up to 7.5 hours (really more like 9). When you count the driving, it’s more like 10 or 11 hours.

Fall of 2019, some women started up a group for women concerned about the deliberate erasure of women-only space and organizations. The Vancouver Parks board, the Vancouver Library, City Hall, UBC now have signs on their washroom and change room doors that state that ‘trans and gender diverse’ people are welcome. What does gender mean, one may ask? There is no answer. Now we are hearing about young men at UBC taking pictures of women while they are on the toilet in these mixed-sex washrooms. sometimes, “Inclusivity and Diversity” means “including predators” and “dispersing resistance”.

I’m going to post this now, today March 10 2021. I write in my paper journal more often, work is consuming, and the drive to and from has become punishing. I am so grateful to have a job — to spend my days with people — though I miss my friends and live meetings and bumping into people (literally) on the sidewalk. I’m sad we don’t get to go to Vernon for the birth of Su’s daughter’s baby. But We’ll be together soon. And that child will grow up with all the love and encouragement and fun we all had.

lots more to say, but the dog needs out, the dryer is finished, I have to mail things to Shawn and Wendy and pack up for work. the quotidian details of daily life. Bit by bit falling in place, falling apart, coming together.




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Tomorrow is mother’s day. Oh, how I miss her. But lately I’ve taken to expressing gratitude that she’s not here for this. This Covid-19 lockdown, she’d be worried more about Shawn and me than about her own self — and the brain tumour thing, too. She would hate it knowing that chemo’s been challenging for me, and there would be no way to be together. So I’ve been saying, “Well, it’s a good thing Mom’s not here for this”. And my brother agrees.

But then, a couple of weeks or so ago, (it was a hard time, too, I was all barfy and weak and sleepy), she did come. I felt her so strong, that I woke completely alert from a nap and said, “I have to call Mom”. But then I realized she wasn’t there to answer. I felt her right beside me, that time, and another time too. The feeling of her hung around for a while. I could hear her laughter — almost feel her hug me. Though she wasn’t here, not really.

It took me until just the last couple of days to realize that, no, she was there. That was her answer. She’s right here, just as she always was. That’s why I felt her. But I don’t need to tell you that — you knew.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Chemo ‘n’ Covid

I am not at all motivated to write. This is an internal life I am living at present. I’m in a position where self-isolating is totally possible, and not at all a hardship. Not like most of the rest of the world. I don’t yet know if I’ll be able to go to work when my medical leave is over. But I’m not fussing about it. I’d like to. But at the same time, I haven’t done hardly any of the things I said I’d do — write every day, play my accordion, exercise every day, cook delicious things.

I apparently missed the notification that I was embarking on a sick leave. And hoboy, I’ve been sick. I am nearly done round 5 of chemo now, and feeling better every day. But the exercise every day is still a bit challenging. For example, I went on a bike ride today — 30 minutes — and nearly puked 10 minutes in. Yesterday it took me over an hour to complete a 30 minute workout. If I were talking to anyone but myself, I’d say, “Dummy, you’re on chemotherapy! That shit is toxic — take it easy — and someone ELSE’S version of easy!”

So that’s what i’m doing. I’m even going to post this, even though there’s nothing particularly interesting in it, or pictures or anything. It’s the practice that’s the important thing. write. you’ll get better if you do it.

Do you remember…? repost from last spring — some things have changed but not enough

When was the last time you hugged someone (someone not quarantined with you)?

I can’t remember. It was more than two weeks ago — Maybe it was when Karla spotted me at the most recent meeting of our new feminist discussion group. “The most recent” sounds a lot better than “the last”. Maybe it was when I dropped my friend off at her house after a 12-step meeting. Won’t be doing that for a while. All the meetings are online now, and I’m not to leave home, except to walk the dog and go to medical appointments. High risk for infection, me. So’s my brother, but he still goes to work. He builds fire trucks, though, doesn’t have to breathe right close to other people.

When was the last time I went out for a meal? Well, Su and I went out for tacos after the most recent meeting of our feminist discussion group (we plan actions, too. Or we will, once we can leave our houses again). The time before that, I went out for breakfast with my friend and former colleague (from when I was a university teacher). He’s tenured, a few years from retirement. I’ve thought of him so often the last couple of years — I admire him and enjoy his company. Though I was pretty sick, being within a few days of starting chemo, I enjoyed our meal together. That time, the restaurant was empty. It was very early in the morning. Beautiful breakfast — soft-poached eggs, avocado on toast, yogurt and fruit. I was pretty sick, I remember. It was within a few days of the beginning of my 4th round of chemo. We talked about the idea of the “devil’s advocate”. He said, my friend, he said, “there is no place in the university for the devil’s advocate. Everyone must believe the same thing now.” He’s alarmed about this.

When the faculty of education hounded me out, he and another faculty member went to the faculty association, outraged, and wrote letters and demanded they do something to protect me. I didn’t know that then, not until it was all over, but it was sure encouraging to learn. He took some risks, in fact. He refused to chair a committee to evaluate and allocate courses to the sessionals (of whom I was one– though my file was ‘mysteriously’ left out that time) due to the lack of transparency, and the constraints imposed by the faculty on his and the committee’s leadership and judgments.

In true “Big A” Academic style, he looked up the history of the idea of, and value for, the devil’s advocate. He went back to the story of Job in the bible. He read it in Hebrew, Arabic, English and, for good measure, French. In each version, the story began with, “So the devil was strolling through God’s court. And God happened to meet up with him and asked him what he was doing these days….” They apparently had a pretty amiable conversation.

It’s true, they did. I looked it up in my grandfather’s bible, the little one that he got May 1st, 1927 from the Brynna Welsh Congregational Sunday School. Four days later, he sailed from Southhampton to Canada.

Anyway, back to the devil. and Job. and God. I guess the Devil could get a capital letter, too. Let’s change that to “Satan”. says so right here in the bible, too. So God says to Satan, “Hey! How are you? What have you been up to?” and Satan says, “Oh, I’ve just been roaming the earth, looking around, bumping into people, you know…”. God asks Satan if he’d run into Job on his travels. God was quite fond of Job and told this to Satan. He said, “That guy, Job, he’s one righteous man, loves his family, does right by his community, and he’s good to me, too.”

“Yea, I know that guy,” said Satan, and he continued, “Of course he is generous and good and loyal to you!” said Satan, “why wouldn’t he be righteous and on good terms with you and everyone else? He’s got everything! Lots of grain, many head of cattle, a pile of kids and grandchildren who all adore him and are successful and all that. It’s easy to praise your name when he wants for nothing!”

Well. God was kind of miffed, he had more faith in Job than all that. So he said to Satan, “alright, you go then, give him some challenges — you’ll see. Only you can’t put your hands on him, just his stuff”

Satan really gave it to Job, I tell you what. And Job, he was upset, of course, but he never gave up his faith, and he never cursed God, either. Ever, even when God gave Satan the okay to turn up the heat. Anyway, the point is, the Devil’s advocate is the one who helps the righteous become stronger; the one who points out the flaws in the arguments and helps the followers provide guidance to the leaders. How do you know you’re on the right track unless the Devil’s advocate tests you? God doesn’t come off looking too good in this story; and Satan, well, he doesn’t look as bad as the righteous make him out to be, either.

At any rate, in the end, Job became more than he was before, and he had more, too. Lived to be about 140 years old, knew all his grandchildren — became a happy guy again. Would he have had as satisfying a life had he not endured all that suffering in the middle there? Well. Probably. Who knows?

I liked that story. Got me thinking. My professor friend, he does that for me. Gets me thinking. And now I won’t see him again for a long while. I am SO glad we got together that day. Covid-19 wasn’t even a whisper then, not one I was hearing anyway. That was February 26th.

The last public gathering was when we had Lee speak to our gender-critical feminist group about a history of the rise of gender-ideology and its effects on feminist organizing and women-only spaces. March 14. Great discussion. Anyway, since then, everything has been cancelled. Not just feminists anymore, everyone. I approve. I could go the rest of my life not ever hearing about preferred fucking pronouns, inclusivity and diversity, ‘gender neutral’ language, (‘hey folks’ — i dislike that word so intensely!) and how much bloody harder “trans women” have it than “cis women”. It has been a lot more peaceful around here. whew.

March 29th: three more days until chemo begins again. This week has been good; more moving, more writing (letters!), more outside time with the dog, and a ton of Zoom meetings. I miss being with people. A lot. But I am grateful for technology that helps us connect; I’m grateful that I feel well and there’s lots to do around here, still; I’m grateful that there is Employment Insurance (though I’m still REALLY angry there is no more Unemployment Insurance). I hope there will be increasing momentum for a Guaranteed Livable Income as we go on. We can totally do it.

In closing — I cherish the last times. the last time I saw my brother and sister-in-law (Christmas lots of food and laughter and cold); the last time I was at a big public gathering–that was when I presented to Vancouver City Council on behalf of our group to tell them to fund Vancouver rape relief and women’s shelter (they didn’t, of course. Self-righteous bullies, can’t let women organize ONE place just for women, not ONE). Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter is a small, and mighty group of women who have organized a 24-hour rape crisis centre and transition house for battered women and their children for almost 50 years now. They have a global influence by this time. They are principled feminists, and they maintain a women-only organization. They are dangerous to the powerful because they are tenacious and brave, and they will keep trying out new tactics to reach women and offer opportunity as well as solace and real safety. We ARE that dangerous to the powerful, all us feminists. We won’t shut up in the face of their threats, dismissal and insults

— but now we have the Covid, and what will that help us do, in the long run? What will it hinder, in the long run?

I think the last in-person meeting I went to was when a guy celebrated one year. His story was inspiring and the cake was, too. Win-win. The last person to visit our home — Marusha. The last time I shook someone’s hand, when I left my volunteer shift and he took over from us. The last time I went for a coffee — Beaucoup on Fir — with amazing pastries as well. I hope these won’t be the last–the end. But there are always last times. We never know when they will be.

oh, I just came back in from playing my accordion when everyone was doing the 7 pm cheer for the front-line and health-care workers. One day, I promise, I’ll start an finish a post on the same day. Then it won’t be such a dog’s breakfast, possibly…

It’s not a spa, after all — [Feb 27 2020]

Well, week one of my medical leave is over. I had imagined that I would do light workouts every day, play my accordion every day, write, read, prepare my story for the Seattle Storytellers Mabinogion weekend in May (that’s why I was writing down Welsh words), go to a meeting daily, iron shirts, take the dog out, cook more and get rid of a bunch of stuff, too (books, papers, photographs, my beautiful desk, knick-knacks I don’t want anymore (there are none)). But did I do any of that?

No. No I did not. I’ve worked out a couple of times, and have gone out with the dog every day, but played accordion only once, ironed a shirt, cooked one meal…This whole chemo thing is a lot more work in and of itself than I had imagined. You know, when I’m between rounds, I kinda forget the fatigue and the pukey and the way my skin feels inside out and prickly all the time. I forget that sleep is nearly impossible at night, but I’m always too tired to read or write. I forget that my fingers are all fumbly on my accordion and it takes me forever to forge a recognizable tune. I forget that picking up a barbell seems impossible (until I did it again today, and then I was just a lot weaker than I want to be — but still, I completed a whole workout, so that’s something). But I also forget how satisfying it is to do any of that stuff, even at half-speed or less.

So this week, I presented to city hall and that was good. Didn’t make one iota of difference to their vote, they still decided against funding Vancouver’s only women-only rape-crisis centre and transition house. But the city council and the staff saw a strong showing of solidarity and support for Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter. I don’t think they heard a word — most of them looked pretty checked-out during all the presentations–and they’d made up their minds. Or the city staff had made up their minds for the council. Looks like that’s how it’s done. Anyway, it looks like there is a women’s liberation movement in Vancouver — and that there are a good number of male allies, labour-movement and left allies, and regular people allies. We left half way through the day and walked home. We knew what the weak-hearted and social-climbing liberals on council would do, but we were encouraged to be together with so many who would stand together to protect women-only space, and women’s rights to speak in public — to take up space in public.

March 15: it seems now that the meaning of public space, and the right to take up public space–or to protect it — has to shift for a while. There are empty shelves in all our grocery stores. I went to costco a few days ago, but walked right out after seeing the line-ups (we have toilet paper), and we’re running low on ground flax seeds, so we won’t need as much tp in a while. heh.

I finally backed out of the powerlifting competition I’d entered, too. I wrote to the nurse practitioner who is, seems to me, the hub of all the neuro-oncology stuff going on at the BCCA. I figured if I wrote on a Saturday, she’d get back to me sometime on Monday. She replied within an hour, I think! And her reply was, basically, “ABSOLUTELY NOT”. She worded it much more nicely, though. told me that she wasn’t going to the gym, either, and had cancelled an important family gathering, and they were really running as fast as they could to keep up with all the changes. It was clear that my participation in this meet had less to do with my ability and more to do with my responsibility. I’m a bit more vulnerable, and if I can take precautions to avoid getting sick, that means more resources available for other people. And for me, down the road when I may need it and the pandemic is died down. No sense exposing myself to a bunch of germy powerlifters and referees and audience members and getting sick at the same time as everyone else. Where’s the fun in that?

I was disappointed and relieved at the same time. There’s the fall classic coming, and by then I’ll be done chemo, and the covid pandemic will be over, or at least managed. And I’ll for sure (hopefully…) be able to lift enough to qualify for the provincials.

I’m not done this post, but I never am done, am I? and I started a long time ago, I’m just gonna publish it and start another one. With more time on my hands, I’m now remembering some bits of stories and thoughts and questions I want to explore here. More later, Beautiful People

Message to the City — and the Chemo diary continues

Well, today is day, um, 7 of round four of chemo. And I’m nearly a week into my medical leave from work. So far today i took the dog for a walk, went to a meeting, had a nap, wrote out some Welsh words (more on that later), and continued a letter to my Deborah. Also had a bagel and a bunch of fibrous foods (flax seeds, figs, that kinda thing) and some ice cream for dinner. Read a little bit. It was a long day. It’s cold in the house. My skin is kinda crawly and i’m not feeling so great. Not bad enough to be in bed all day, but not well enough to be at work, either, I think. I could struggle through — I know I feel ever so much better when I’m around people, when we’re social and engaged with each other. But I’m supposed to rest.

Oh! I also wrote a presentation to City Council from our new group: Vancouver Ad Hoc Committee of Women for Women. We’re arguing that council should give Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter a grant to do public education and outreach. Last year they gave it, but put them on notice that it would be the last one unless they changed their mandate and allowed trans-identified males access to the service, and to work there. Of course VRRWS can’t do that, even if they wanted to — it’s a collective of women, organizing for women, to end male violence against women. Pretty near every other women’s service or organization in Vancouver has changed their mandate — there is, as far as I know, only one transition house for battered women that is only for females — and that’s Rape Relief. Anyway, the grant is to fund their public education work, which is, and always has been fully accessible to the public. They have, for nearly 50 years (!) carved out, not only safe space for women to connect with each other, and care for each other, and tell each other our stories; but to take up room in public — public parks, roads, indoor and outdoor spaces, public institutions — and to foreground women’s stories, women’s politics, feminist organizing, feminist dialogue, feminist debate and education — They are bold and tender and act with courage and integrity. They are women working for the liberation from male domination of all women. And for that they are, and have been, punished, threatened, and insulted. For that, the city of vancouver has withdrawn a grant that enabled them to invite the public to hear from women thinkers, activists, writers, agitators, poets, artists.

So some of us have written letters back to the city, and we are making a presentation to the city to tell them just what we think of their punishments. Just what we think of their cowardly campaign to shut women the hell up. We know that women-only space poses a great threat to the powerful. That’s the point. Our freedom, and our share. We’ll get it, eventually. And all of our humanity will be the better for it. you’re frightened of that, of sharing power, of changing the structures that shaped us (they are all we know!), but so what. Face that fear with us. Listen to women. Let us gather as females, to share our lives and stories, to gather our resources, to change the world. We don’t all agree, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need our own space within which to debate. So let us have it. So we can let YOU have it. Tomorrow, 9:30, the meeting begins. February 26th.