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Category: Children

True gratitude includes being thankful for the stuff that sucks too.

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We all know the things we are supposed to be thankful for. We celebrate them as often as we can- having food, shelter, family, love, good health etc. That’s the easy part.

True gratitude and insight, I believe, comes from being thankful for all the things that suck too. Without the dark there is no light, so to speak. After a three year stretch of navigating rough seas, I am trying to find light in the darkness, and understand how to be grateful for the things that haven’t been easy.

Today, I am thankful for suffering multiple losses in a short period of time. The grief was a testament to the fact that I am a well loved human. I had grief to wade through because I knew love. I knew companionship and support and joy through others, both human and animal. I loved sincerely. I am grateful that even though the loss is painful, it is there to remind me of love, and not everyone has that.

I am thankful for the lessons that the stress and uncertainty of this pandemic has offered. It showed me that we are capable of doing hard things together for the sake of others. I am grateful for the people who disappointed me during all of this, because it helped me reevaluate relationships that were draining me and helped me to better appreciate the ones that filled me up. It allowed me to learn how to say no. It gave me strength to stand up for the things that I think are important to stand for, and the tenacity to see them through.

I am thankful for pants that are too tight, or feeling guilty for not exercising enough because it means that I always have enough to eat. It means that my children don’t know what it is to be hungry. It means that my dogs eat better than some humans.

I am thankful for balances on credit cards and lines of credit and sometimes having to wait until next payday to make a purchase, because it means that I have appreciation for the things we have. It means that I understand the value of hard work and the value of privileges we enjoy. It means that I value the time of others, and don’t take them for granted. I am thankful for the lesson it teaches my children of having to work for what you have instead of expecting it to be handed to you.

I am thankful for illness and injury because it gives me empathy for others who are suffering.

I am thankful for mistakes because without them we would never learn anything new. I am thankful for doing it wrong a million times before getting it right because it teaches us perseverance and hope and determination.

Today, I want to be thankful for the things we usually wouldn’t want to acknowledge, because it’s been a rough few years, and I think the next few are likely to be challenging, and finding the calm among the storms fills me with hope.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Vaccine Mandates for the Win

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This past week has been swirling with news and discussions about mask and vaccine mandates and the ever evolving situation with this pandemic from hell which feels like it will never ever, ever end.

I was asked yesterday in an interview with cbc radio where I stood on vaccine mandates. The answer is, right in front, leading the charge of YES PLEASE.

I’ve been sucking up my opinion about this the past few months because I work with a lot of different folks with different beliefs and I thought it would be cool to try to be respectful of that. I will also say that there are a lot of people who are choosing not to get vaccinated, but are also respectful of the hesitation of others to have contact with them due to that decision, and even others who are basically preferring to continue to isolate themselves rather than get vaccinated. This is not about them, because they are making choices based on their personal situations and willing to accept the limitations of those choices.

HOWEVER, if you are working with the public, or any vulnerable population which includes but is not limited to children, medically fragile, elderly, or impoverished folks I believe it should absolutely be mandated that you are vaccinated. By not doing so, you are putting those who have limited choices in receiving the services they require and have a right to (such as education or healthcare) at risk. Let’s put it this way: all children have a right to a public education and all people have a right to healthcare in this country, but we are not entitled to work in any given field. That puts the onus on the employees, the teachers, the doctors and the therapists to fulfill their mandate of providing a safe environment and making the well being of those they care for a priority.

In short: It is your right to decide what goes into your body, but you do not have a right to inflict that choice on others.

Employers create and implement policies for their staff ALL the time. The restaurant I worked at once upon a time had a strict policy about how many piercings you could have, how big they could be, no visible tattoos, and what colour your hair could be. It was based on the clients’ comfort level and response to said body modifications. To put that in terms of Covid vaccines, the “clients” have a right to feel safe in their environment and I think that gives employers the right to determine that their staff needs to accommodate the protection of their “clients” in order to be employed in that sector. While the vaccines are not perfect, especially with new variants in play, they remain one of our best tools to reduce transmission and the risk of severe illness. It will help us begin to focus on care for things other than Covid and emergencies in our health care system. It will help our kids stay in school and our economies to thrive again. Isn’t that what we all want? When we have cancer do we refuse treatment because we don’t know what’s in it? When you have a headache do you spend hours on the internet “researching” the ingredients and looking for adverse reactions of Tylenol? NO. Because many believe in the science when it is convenient for them. I can guarantee when someone refuse to take a vaccine due to lack of trust in the doctors recommending it, they will have an expectation that all of a sudden the same doctor will have enough skill and knowledge to help them get well. It’s all so fucking maddening if you ask me.

We are starting to see post secondary educational institutions mandate masks and vaccines with some school divisions following suit. Which leads me to congratulate the insight and leadership some institutions are showing, but ALSO begets the questions: Where the fuck is the leadership from our provincial government on this? Why is this being passed on to superintendents and university boards? We haven’t we seen hide nor hair of our “Health Minister” for months until all of a sudden she wants to be the Premier, holds a press conference and refuses to address or even acknowledge the crisis in our health care system. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

People get confused about rights and freedoms all the time. We tend to forget that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should, and also doesn’t mean we are entitled to. The only thing we seem to be experts at these days is finding arguments to confirm our own biases about anything. We are so focused on the ME, that we have no tolerance for the WE.

As members of society and communities, we have a moral obligation to care for others. How our selfishness has grown so deep that minor inconveniences have ballooned into heated political divide and such a severe lack of empathy that we are more willing to risk our children’s well being than implement the easiest of safety measures weighs heavily on me. How an unwillingness to protect our most valuable and vulnerable has evolved into an acceptable “opinion” is unfathomable.

So yes. I truly believe that vaccine mandates should be implemented in many sectors. It’s not even a new thing.Health care professionals when applying to study and children entering the public school system have historically been required to show proof of up to date immunizations, so this should be an easy transition.

I am grateful that my children’s school division has blazed the trail to mandate both masks and vaccines. I am relieved the campus I teach on has done the same. I am hoping our leaders will see what is occurring in other parts of the country and world and will act proactively this time around. There’s still time to prevent the disaster that is waiting for us this fall, so here’s hoping our government will listen a little harder this time around and do the job they promised to do.

Cliff Cullen should stop writing cheques with his mouth that he can’t cash

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The problem with making bold statements is that at some point you’re going to have to cash the cheque that your mouth writes. In Manitoba, it feels a lot like the cheques being written by our leaders are bouncing.

If you are anything like me, you might be feeling rather frustrated by the inability of political representatives to answer direct questions posed by media, constituents in formal emails or informal online forums. There is a lot of redirecting and deflecting going on, and ridiculously, blocking.

As elected representatives there is a responsibility to the public for transparency and honesty and neither of these things seem to be in the playbook written by Coach Pally and his team.

My specific experience has been one of hostility and buck passing, and of late, lack of ANY response- not even the stock, party written answers that are a waste of my good time and efforts.

I have to say that it sort feels as though the plan is to just pass off each inquiry rather than answer it, and force someone to repeatedly contact their representatives with honest questions about many concerning actions of this government in a time of unprecedented uncertainty- until we are gaslighted into believing that we are just being bothersome.

Personally, I don’t care if they are annoyed by me. I am as relentless as a dog with a bone. As a citizen who cares about her community and the well being of everyone, I will continue to be relentless in my inquiries until someone-ANYONE- in this government is able to be accountable to me for the words coming out of their mouths and the claims they are making.

At the moment, in light of Bill 64 and all of the abominable commentary by the Minister of Education in his recent guest column in the Winnipeg Sun, I am trying to figure out how this government can insist that they have reduced poverty rates in this province in the last four years by 25%. I want to understand how this was measured, what factors were considered and how they studied the varaibles. And IF (big if) this statement is true, how was it achieved? Wouldn’t the government be so proud of this amazing work that they would want to share their programs and policies with other provinces so that they would be able to achieve the same results?

I have many doubts about truth of this matter. I figure that if this statistic is not made up, the information to prove it and back it up would be readily available.

I have reached out several times to the Minister of Education by email. I wrote him directly, and also to my local MLA, who promised to forward my concerns and request information be sent to me. No response.

I phoned Minister Cullen’s office and provided my contact information. No response.

I was informed by a friend that she had been redirected to the Minister of Families to request this same information. I will not hold my breath for a response, but here is my letter to Minister Squires. If you are so inspired, feel free to copy and paste the text of the inquiry and initiate your own contact. They can’t ignore all of us, can they?

Good Morning,
Thank you for taking my call this morning.  
To follow up, I am requesting information regarding the claims of a 25% reduction in the poverty rate in the Province of Manitoba. Specifically, I would like to receive the studies/peer reviewed research indicating this change in poverty statistics. Ideally, I’d like to understand what outcomes were measured, in what populations, who performed the research and what the study designs were.
One would assume that a 25% reduction in poverty would translate to a significant and observed impact in local communities in terms of income level, employment rates (specific to the impoverished communities), access to resources, reduced use of food banks or shelters, improvement of health, and drastically improved educational outcomes. 
In addition, I would like to be sent information about how these outcomes were achieved, specifically what programs were developed and implemented/introduced.  A 25% reduction in child poverty is substantial achievement, and I would think the strategies used to get there should be shared with all who have a vested interest in helping those in need. 
I look forward to hearing back, and would be open to scheduling a meeting to further discuss the subject.”

Dear Manitoba, start enforcing restrictions or STFU

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Fuck restrictions.

Honestly. Closing retail spaces and restaurants and gyms again isn’t going to do anything further unless a few other things happen.

  1. Close the borders for real. Redefine what essential is and make sure that you monitor it. Yes, the variants are already here but adding new sources of infection is just plain dumb.
  2. Go to remote learning, at least for high school. Stop allowing team sports to practice. This is one of the fastest growing age groups spreading infection, and the data showing limited spread in schools no longer applies as variants are changing the game.
  3. Vaccinate everyone who works in a manufacturing or factory setting. These people are essential to supply chains and work in small, poorly ventilated environments and have a high proportion of new Canadians or folks living in multi-generational homes. This immediately makes close contact numbers high, exposes those more vulnerable, and continues to put at risk those that have no other alternatives for income, no sick benefits and do not have the option of working from home.
  4. Mandate anyone who is able to work from home to WORK.FROM.HOME.
  5. Vaccinate teachers.
  6. Vaccinate bus drivers and taxi drivers.

And here’s the big one:

It really does not matter one bit what restrictions you impose if people refuse to follow the rules. Increasing the restriction levels does nothing but further punish those who are already doing their best: wearing masks, limiting contacts, only seeing people outside their household outdoors, limiting non-essential activities. The people who aren’t doing this and are organizing anti-mask rallies, or spreading mis-information online, having personal gatherings, and basically anything else to effectively thumb their fucking noses at public health officers will continue to do so no matter what rule you make.

They are LAUGHING at you.

To be honest, we all are. You sound like a bunch of idiots. Nobody trusts that you know what you are doing or are prepared to actually back up these rules.

Until this government gets out there and actually enforces the rules they are making, not one of these anti mask “BUTMYRIGHTS” wads from a rancid dickhole is going to give a shit.

As we speak, there is an anti mask rally happening at the Forks. No cops, no bylaw officers in sight. Not one ticket being handed out, not one arrest being made. THEY.ARE.LAUGHING.AT.YOU.

If the Manitoba government wants people to take their Covid actions seriously, they need to get serious about them. Ticket every fucker who breaks the rules. They don’t pay the ticket? They can sit in jail until the 14 day quarantine period is over.

And I don’t want to hear anymore about how they are worried about people lying to contract tracers for fear of being fined. They are lying ANYWAY. If you had your shit together, you could easily investigate this.

Get your shit together, Manitoba. Or we are about to be Ontario, Part Deux.

On the subject of appropriateness and other bullshit

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I read something this morning that hit the nail on its fucking head.

https://bcmj.org/presidents-comment/nature-being-professional

Basically, this doctor in British Columbia talks about how we have these standards of “professionalism” and “appropriateness” and I swear to fucking god this man nailed it so hard.

I’m not a doctor, obviously, I am a teacher. A parent.

Both of these titles comes with this list of expected and accepted behaviours that people like to hold over your head not because they mean anything, but because it makes them feel better about themselves if they can have some criteria to judge you by.

“Teachers don’t get frustrated. They don’t get angry. They are always calm and patient and never swear. They engage in professional, arms length relationships with their students and their families. They don’t share personal experiences or stories. They don’t reveal personal details about faith or family or belief systems.”

“Parents have endless supplies of energy and selflessness and love. We shouldn’t yell, or consider ourselves. We are capable of knowing when library day is and whose laundry basket is full. We keep track of what time is swimming lessons and soccer practice and what day are we meeting friends at the park and who needs a new jacket and did you brush your teeth today and we’re almost out of ketchup. Our energy is endless and we take the time not to discipline our children but just have meaningful conversations with them and it’s ALL FINE ALL THE TIME HERE IS A NICELY EDITED PHOTO FPR SOCIAL MEDIA.”

It’s all fucking bullshit. They are impossible standards that are built on a mountain of lies we tell ourselves that do nothing but hide the truth about our personhood and all the beautifully real and messy thing that go along with being human.

Here’s the thing. The second you stop pretending that you need to live up to any of these standards is beyond liberating.

I literally break every rule, every fucking day.

Like Dr. Chow in the above article, I refuse to live behind a set of barriers between myself and my students and my children. I wear leggings and messy buns. I share my struggles and successes as a musician and a parent. I ask about their day and their feelings and I actually listen to them. I give them a safe place to fall without judgement.I say fuck in front of my kids and in the company of adults. I fuck up and get mad and take ownership of myself and say I’m sorry. I tell the truth about who I am every single day and in return, people feel like they can tell me the truth about who they are.

And while I may not be everyone’s favourite flavour at the ice cream shop, at least you know I’m not full of shit. Professionalism? No thanks. Realism? Yes please!

In return I feel an enormous sense of community around me. When my mom died two years ago, my students’ families took care of me, because I at some point had taken care of them. They fed me and cried with me and took care of my kids. When my dog died and my students came for their lessons, they hugged me and forgave me for being the worst teacher ever that week. When my students became teenagers and they needed an adult to be on their side when they made bad decisions and to give them advice, I was there. When they were hurt and needed help, they asked me. When my families were struggling as units, they shared their hardships with me and I loved them anyway.

When I was a terrible parent and was exhausted and shitty to my kids, the other moms reassured me. When I couldn’t find a solution they offered advice. They didn’t judge me. When they saw me failing or bitching or asking for help, they shared their own problems and complained in solidarity. We supported each other.

And honestly, I think being real and transparent and sincere is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and each other.

Personally, I don’t give a fuck about the details, as long as you own yourself. Being real and authentic can’t live in the same house as “appropriateness”.

And yes, I get it- there are obviously situations where we respect the boundaries and limitations of others. That’s a given. I’m just saying you can’t exist authentically in a bubble blown up on the expectations of others without being in fear of it popping all the time.

BE MESSY. BE HONEST.

Throwing shade at parents who can’t afford to “make sacrifices” to do a School Trustee’s job for free is Pallister’s latest gross thing

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“A great many Manitoba parents who are heroic in their behaviour make the decision to back their kids in their pursuit of a better life through education…….made sacrifices to make sure they were involved in their children’s education, read to their children, made the sacrifice of learning themselves…..”

These are the words our Premier chose to use when asked about how parents facing various social barriers to becoming members of school councils are going to have equitable voices with the proposed changes of Bill 64. As Dougald Lamont so eloquently pointed out, many parents don’t speak English, or work long hours or multiple jobs to make ends meet, and the reality is that communities lower on the socio-economic scale will be disproportionately challenged to find enough parent resources to take on the new responsibilities proposed in Bill 64.

The statement above is insulting at best and shows a complete lack of understanding of the struggles of many people in this province. Coming from a place of extreme privilege and refusing to see this Province through anything other than is his narrow field of vision, the Premier seems to be only capable of speaking from his own life of comfort without expressing any empathy or understanding for those who do not.

The average price of a house in Winnipeg is almost $300,000 and the average cost for a 2 bedroom apartment in Winnipeg is almost $1,300/ month. Minimum wage is $11.90. From my calculations, if you work 40 hours a week, your gross income is about $1,900/ month. Even if there are two parents in the home, working full time you are grossing $3,800. BEFORE tax.

Let’s assume that the parents have 2 children. According to http://www.numbeo.com, the average cost of living per person in Winnipeg NOT INCLUDING RENT is $1,137.22. Multiply that by 4, and add in rent, and you get $5,848.

Tell me, Mr. Premier, which part of their well being should the parents “sacrifice” so that they can do the job of trained professionals for free, because you think that we are all just lazy fools who don’t love our children? Should one parent quit their job to “back their children” and either forgo food, shelter, heat, clothing or transportation?

Tell me again, Mr. Premier how two parents working multiple jobs in order to just be able to scrape by are supposed to sacrifice anything else than they already have to prove your ideals?

On a personal level, I have struggled with being a working parent. My particular field of work involves almost exclusively annual contracts that are not protected by labour laws and have no guarantee on renewal depending on individual clients, the economic climate and funding. I acknowledge that this comes with the advantage of being able to decide how much work to take on and being able to schedule ( to a small extent) around my husbands rotating shift work. But it also means I have no sick time and any work I do not complete has to be made up or refunded. We were extremely fortunate to have incredibly supportive family (parents and chosen) that minimized our childcare costs, but most people are not that fortunate.

And you know what? We still struggled financially at times, even with both of us earning decent livings. We still made sacrifices. I worked a part time job on the weekends as a bartender just to help things along. Doesn’t leave much time for developing public school curriculum and disciplining teachers for poor performance, despite my efforts to be a “heroic” parent and do it all.

And even though I said a million times that I would have loved the opportunity to stay home with our kids, there was absolutely no way that was financially viable without tossing us into a situation where we couldn’t pay what is considered a very modest mortgage and living expenses.

We are now middle class, hard working parents, live full and busy lives, give our children every opportunity we can afford, and the AUDACITY of this Premier to insinuate that we aren’t prepared to make enough sacrifices to enable our children’s ability to thrive by doing the work of paid experts for free is absolutely ABSURD.

Some of us can’t afford to turn down a shift, or not accept a new client, or take an unpaid day off to do the job of a public education trustee or superintendent because our premier wants to throw ignorant insults at us. For the kids who are not thriving in the system, it isn’t because their parents aren’t willing to make sacrifices for them, it’s because we live in a province where our Premier is actively stacking more barriers in front of them. All while he insults their commitment as parents and gives the same old “family values, pull up your bootstraps” speech every right winger likes to throw at anyone who has ever struggled with something other than deciding which Caribbean Island to buy a vacation home on .

This has got to stop, Mr. Premier. You are way out of line, and should be ashamed of yourself and your absolute arrogance on topics you seem to know little about.

A step by step review about the Better-Education-Starts-Today report: It mostly sucks, but has some valid points

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So, after reading through the “Better Education Starts Today” report I have a few comments. This whole thing has really chapped my ass if I’m being really honest, and I’m fairly sure I have only scratched the surface of the details. Not all of the changes are as fucking terrible as I thought they’d be, and a few actually make a bit of sense. Others are terrific conversation starters.

Really, that’s what this report should have been. A conversation starter. Instead, we have a Premier with an agenda that seems to include dismantling and privatizing a whole bunch of things before he retires. The scary thing is that for someone who we know is not actively seeking re-election and has a majority government, there is little accountability and those of us in opposition feel like we have no leverage to inspire a better way.

There is a lot to unpack here, but here are a few of the things in the report that stood out to me:

“With 37 different governing bodies it was difficult to be agile and respond quickly, yet that is what Manitobans
expected and needed.”
(during Covid)

Excuse me, but teachers, parents and school administrators cried, begged for, screamed for and deserved real direction from the province about how to address the lockdowns, school reopening, lack of resources, lack of space, lack of unity, lack of competency and apparent lack of fucks given by our provincial government over the course of the pandemic. They literally just threw their hands in the air and told the divisions to figure out their shit, which left them scrambling and likely compromised safety for students and staff. But it was obviously because there were 37 divisions. WHAT SHIT.

“Parents and caregivers played an important role during COVID-19, yet they struggled to access information
about changes and to inform and influence decisions.”

We lacked access to information because our government didn’t provide what we needed. It constantly changed and contradicted itself and was confusing. The government had months to get their shit together and just did not do their job.

“COVID-19 affected student engagement and learning differently, and a one-size-fits-all approach will not work
now or for the future.”

Well, interestingly enough, that seems to be exactly what the government wants to do. Standardize every classroom. Standard test, standard methods. They want everyone to play the same game with the same amount of skill and talent, but some of kids are on astro-turf, some are on wet grass, some are in a fucking mud puddle and a whole bunch of others are almost underwater.

“Retain two boards to oversee the delivery of education: a newly created Provincial Education Authority
(appointed members)”

I am all for a provincial education board as long as the representatives are education professionals that are NOT appointed by the governing political party, but rather nominated by the Manitoba Teacher’s Society and elected by them AND have specific terms of service.

“Manitoba needs a fair and sustainable funding model. We are the only province to set taxes at the school division
level. This means some divisions collect more revenue than others. Since education property taxes comprise 42%
of all education funding it leads to disparities in funding for schools and outcomes for students.”

This is so fucking stupid and such an easy fix. Taxes in general are collected on a rate level, either a portion of your income or according to property values. Continue to collect taxes in the same manner, but divide it equitably among the divisions. Meaning that (CLUTCHING PEARLS) those who are more well off will be supporting those who aren’t, levelling the playing field. Part of the price of living in a nicer, bigger house is that you will have to help to care for the well being of others less fortunate. All in the name of standardized education.

“To improve student outcomes, the Commission recommended focusing on deep implementation of the existing
K to 12 curriculum, including a focus on foundational knowledge, skills and abilities students should have when
they finish high school”

Ok so, this is a terrific goal. EVERYBODY wants the kids to succeed and improve. You know what helps kids learn? Not being hungry, or sad or scared or hurt. Anyone who has ever worked with children should understand that children who don’t have their basic needs addressed will struggle no matter how many curriculum meetings you have or how often you discipline a teacher. Address the poverty, address the social issues, and the children will have a better chance to succeed.

Not only that, but find creative ways to teach the same concepts and skills and help kids develop good learning behaviours. Make music study a priority in early years to support literacy and numeracy while giving children the ability to focus and develop consistent work habits. Help them WANT to come to school.

“Learning environments for Indigenous students must infuse culturally and evidence-informed strategies that
embed Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. Students need to see themselves reflected in the space
and in the texts they interact with by incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing and being in classrooms. “

This is one part of the report I mostly agree with. I would argue that this education needs to be included in all curriculum to create empathy and understanding of Indigenous issues so that we can begin to change the perception and see the value in the culture and traditions of our Indigenous peers.

“Establish a taskforce, in connection to the Poverty Reduction Strategy, to examine the linkages between
poverty and education and support the implementation of strategies to improve engagement and outcomes
for all students.”

THIS. Nothing should really be moving forward until this happens and there are clear goals and plans in place to reduce poverty in this province. Otherwise we will chase our tails for the rest of ever.

“Build a provincial system of remote learning”

Well they’ve finally seen the light have they? There are many situations where a child may need to be out of school for a while, a parent may not be equipped to homeschool and they need education support. This should have been in place in September 2020, but what the fuck do I know? I’m just a a lowly potential candidate for a community council….

“In recognition of the importance of local voice in education, Bill 64 incorporates a number of changes to increase
parental and community engagement by replacing informal parent councils with a School Community Council
(SCC) for every school. The role of the School Community Council is to advise the school principal on school
matters, including the needs of the community it serves and strategies for improving student achievement and
well-being. All parents and caregivers of that school community will be members and they will elect an executive
to work with the principal on matters impacting the school community. This will require a renewed emphasis on
engaging parents and communities so that they are reflective of the diversity of schools.”

You guys, I just don’t know about this. I believe parents should have a voice, but I find it completely inappropriate to give parents this kind of leverage over the school. We should be able to trust the educators and the professionals to take care of our children the way they always have. And unfortunately this will not be the same opportunity across all communities. Parents who work shift work or single parents with young children will find it difficult to serve on these boards. Communities that have a lot of housing instability could potentially struggle with inconsistent representation and inability to make the commitments needed for these boards to be effective. It means that schools in highly privileged and wealthy areas will thrive in terms of their voice, and those who are already marginalized will not have a strong voice. It sounds like an enormous responsibility, the work is unpaid and the folks getting involved won’t necessarily know anything about classroom dynamics, structure or needs. And the thought of parents being able to discipline a teacher gives me the fucking willies. It’s inappropriate and foolish. A parent’s voice is important, but should not carry more weight than the professionals who dedicate their lives to our kids. What a joke.

Do better, Cliff. It’s a shit start with some actual potential. Hear what the critics are saying instead of what your puppet master is demanding.

Apparently, Diva Cups and tampons ain’t got nothing on USB sticks in Manitoba

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Is anyone else confused about the statements made by the Hon. Cathy Cox when Uzoma Asagwara asked her whether or not the Conservative government would commit to making menstrual products accessible for all students in Manitoba Schools? The question was direct, but the answer seemed to be speaking about a completely different topic. Minister Cox rambled on about providing funding for USB data blockers to ensure safety while charging their computers or phones. As far as I know, no young woman has attempted to use a USB stick or a laptop as a substitute for a feminine hygiene product, and I am absolutely dumbfounded by the answer that was given.

Was this simply an avoidance tactic regarding a topic she had no satisfactory answer to, or does Minister Cox not know the difference between a vagina and a charging port? C’mon, honey….one is between your legs and the other is generally on top of a workspace. Unless…nevermind.

I mean, yes, they both have a few common characteristics. Both are holes that from time to time, need filling. One is typically smaller and more appropriate for the workplace. One is usually safe to play with in water, while the other may pose an unnecessary risk when wet.

Does anyone else feel a tad concerned that the Minister of “……and the Status of Women” was asked about the accessibility of menstrual products for students in our province, and she talked about keeping women safe from online dangers? Is it because of lockdown? Are the rules so strict that even Aunt Flo had to do virtual visits and Minister Cox is worried about women being conned by hackers?

Or am I missing the latest? I mean, is there some information available out there regarding the absorbency of USB sticks? Do they come in different sizes? Is there an applicator? Are they biodegradable? Can I safely use a data blocker on heavy flow days without worrying about leaks or embarrassing accidents? Will my IPhone help prevent toxic shock syndrome when safely charged?

Alternatively, perhaps Minister Cox felt uncomfortable with the topic. Perhaps she felt ashamed of menstrual cycles or didn’t want to offend any men in the room with period talk. Maybe the word vagina has been stricken from allowed language in the Legislature.

Or, maybe a tad more likely, there was an unwillingness by our government to address real concerns that are limiting to women, particularly those in challenging economic situations. Perhaps they forget that education is the best tool we have in preventing poverty cycles and that if young girls and women are having to miss school because they have their periods one week out of four, then in the spirit of equity we should support the solution- which is to make them available at school.

It really wasn’t a hard question, and the either ignorant or intentional avoidance of a conversation that should have been so obviously easy was fucking ridiculous.

DO BETTER.

The Stages Of Gratitude

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I’m not entirely sure about this, but I feel like getting older makes you more thankful.

When you’re a child, you have this completely reasonable expectation that all of your shit is just taken care of for you.   You assume that the world just revolves around your happiness, and for a while it seems like it certainly does.  Gratitude isn’t on your radar, because you just require your needs being met since you aren’t able to meet them on your own.   It’s your responsibility to grow and learn and become.  

And then you’re a young adult, and you are thankful for some things, but you also feel this insane sense of invincibility that makes it hard to pause and be grateful for the people in your life, and your health, and the ability to stay out drinking all night, nap for an hour, brush it off and go to work at a reasonable functionality the next day.

And then you become middle age, and you maybe have children of your own, and you start to learn what it is to appreciate something just for existing.  Or maybe you see your grandparents and parents starting to age, and you realize that time is no longer infinite like it was in your youth.  And that you need to soak in the moments around you and be thankful for the time you have to love and be loved on this earth.  Or maybe you start to see your friends struggle with their health, or their relationships, or addictions, or traumas, and you start to feel this quiet gratitude for the simplicity of your own life.  For the lack of adversity. For the lack of conflict or illness or things to be afraid of.

You read the news and start to realize how important your civil and human rights are, and how they can be at risk in an instant.  You are thankful that you have the privilege of living in the community you do, with basic comforts like running water and electricity and too much food on your plate.

Maybe it’s a maturity, or maybe it’s perspective that leads to this gradual understanding of what true gratitude is.   When I ask my tiny humans what they are thankful for they think it relates mostly to *things*, but in my world it relates more to *them* and feelings and purpose.

To all of my people, I am thankful for you.   For having you in my life and for the things I’ve learned from loving you all.   To the ones I’ve lost, I am thankful that I have grief to remind me of love.  To the ones who are struggling, I am thankful for the reminder to appreciate and invest in the important things in my life.   To the clock of life that seems to be moving faster, I am thankful for the reminder to love each moment and for all the memories that creates.

Happy Thanksgiving, Bitches. x

Bedtime Is The Biggest Asshole I Know

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You what time it is, Bitches.    That time where all you want is a little piece and quiet after a full day of tiny human taming.   You need a solid hour with a glass of wine, an episode of The Bachelor, and no other humans talking to you or each other before your exhausted body just collapses on the pillow.

And then Storytime is a dick.   Put On Your Pajama Time sucks a fat one.   Brush Your Teeth Time is a total whore and then actual Bedtime is a steaming asshole that just will not give you a break.

What is it about bedtime that makes kids act like the most annoying humans on the planet?   Aren’t they tired?  Aren’t they excited to go to sleep and replenish their energy in order to face another day of keeping other humans alive and doing all the glamorous things like laundry and cooking and toilets in between working a paid job?   Oh. Wait.

That’s me.

Honestly, MY bedtime is my favourite part of any day.   It’s better than toast ( and I fucking love toast) and a good book or a glass of wine or sex or anything I can think of these days.

I am so tired.  And my tiny humans will not fucking go to sleep.

Bedtime is a real asshole.  The biggest one I’ve ever met.

And then when Bedtime sucks, the next day sucks, because everyone is tired and Mommy didn’t get any alone time and here we are ALL OVER AGAIN with me fantasizing about MY bedtime, while wishing I cold hire a bedtime nanny 7 days a week.   I love spending time with my kids except when I have to put them to bed by myself.

And if you want to talk about The Hour Between Dinner And Bedtime, we need a whole other post for that motherfucker, because he is almost as relentless.

This shit gets easier, right?

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