Meal last night plus other stuff

Heather dropped by Jim and Jan’s, and how lovely to see her! They talked and I listened about the nature conservancy efforts locally and how very political it can be.

Last night’s meal consisted of lamb sirloin, fresh steamed pea pods from the garden, fresh greens from the garden, homemade salad dressing, new potatoes boiled in their skins, a simply stunning home made mint sauce with mint from the garden, and all washed down with a growler of Gladstone IPA.

I want to curl up on the sofa like a rescue cat and NEVER LEAVE.  But it’s okay, I’m coming back for another week in July. AFTER the wedding, obvs. Because I have to see the Morrison Headwaters for myself.

I’ll be seeing Mike and Nita today, yay, yay!

Also I’ll be nipping off to see Unca Garry and Ontie Diane for an hour before the funeral.



I’ve been here since noon

In a couple of minutes they’ll call the flight and I’ll find out if I’ve been sitting here like a fucking idiot for no good reason for the last day. Fort St John is not a fun place to fly to on passes.  PAUL WANTS TO TAKE THE SKYTRAIN HOME.  On April 4.  With no Compass card. My feelings are simple.  He can do what he likes, although with no Compass card he’s not likely to get far, as I laboriously explained to him.  I’m going home in a cab; it’s hours after my normal bedtime and I have hours to go before somebody offers up a bed for me.


Home.  What a fucking waste of a day.  Three flights came and went and I’m not going to FSJ unless somebody pays for my return flight.

Some man was shot dead a few blocks from here.  I don’t think I want to live on this planet any more.



No progress

However I’m in Victoria for a couple days so I’m hoping to get book one through the edits.

Victoria is beautiful as always and Dan’s has Nanaimo bars for a buck.

Travelling to the ferry was disgusting, as always.  I had a half hour wait at Ladner Exchange -if I was older or more infirm I’da had a hell of a time during the wait as I got quite chilled.  Every other part of the trip moved along reasonably well. I treated myself to the Pacific Buffet and prevented a Muslima from accidentally ingesting shrimp, always a win.

I am hoping Jeff’s home when my aboriginal art comes.  It’s a storm trooper helmet with a great blue heron across it done giclé.  Yeah.  I was blown away by the thumbnail so I’m hoping the real thing is as awesome.

Woke at three, left the house at six-thirty, got to the ferry about 8:30 and so easily caught the nine.  I debated not bringing the mando but I want to play When I Go for mOm.

Got some phone calls to make and then I’ll get into it.


Paul’s presentation to the Restorative Justice conference in Parksville yesterday went off without a hitch.  I had advised him to run short rather than long on his presentation.  The other two panel presenters work professionally as criminologists, one on the Island and the other in Lower Mainland, and their presentations were much more academically oriented, so Paul’s stark and brief words elicited a lot of questions.  This allowed Paul to shine, as he speaks with assurance and smoothness when he’s not reading off a tiny glass screen.  To ease the times he had to consult his notes on the tablet the version I sent him had a simply monstrous type face, and he was grateful for that.

I don’t know much about anything, but I know that middle aged men want a damn big serif font.

Paul picked me up at 7:30 am (I’d  been up since 2:30, sigh), I drove us to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry, we broke fast on the ferry, we got into Nanaimo and drove right to Parksville in the glorious sunshine, got oriented and parked at the hotel, went for an amazing walk along the spectacular boardwalk fronting the hotel, found (and walked) the painted and decorated labyrinth on the concrete end of the boardwalk (which I had researched more than ten years ago but forgotten about – I put together a list of all the labyrinths in BC as part of a service yonks ago), came back and had a wonderful lunch in a quiet restaurant overlooking the water, listened to the end of their Annual General Meeting, and then Paul made his presentation.  He tried to call me up and I just laughed and said I was there to take notes.  As expected lots of people approached Paul afterward for further comments, but we’d built that into the schedule.

Then we drove to his Cousin Ruth’s place where she and Garry fed us the fresh wild caught spring salmon of wisdom, the taters of sustenance, the homebrewed beer of amber glory, the carrots of nom, the salad of little bits of things from the garden including nasturtium and borage flowers, the last corn of the season and unsweetened gluten free pie with whipped cream which I didn’t eat because at the point all I could think about was “the tragic and explosive death of Mr. Creosote”.  This meal was served to us on less than two hours’ notice, so there’s that to add to the pile of amazeballs it truly was. The garden tour yielded a bag of heritage apples and a pocketful of fresh basil.

Then a quick and easy 20 minute drive back to the ferry, where our reservation awaited and we had an uneventful trip home and I was in bed by 10 although I was too buzzed to sleep right away.

It truly was a glorious day, and I’m glad I was there.  I am so proud of Paul I could burst.  And doesn’t he have the nicest relatives??


I can’t sleep.

We’re going to pick up half a lamb with Tish and Terry tomorrow – we’re in Cornwall – and then go see baby Malcolm who is breathing on his own and nursing like a champ.  Yay!

I have had lots of major and minor irritations about the trip so far but can’t provide details.  The femicides in the Wilno area and the utter incompetence of the OPP in policing and the CBC in reporting merely added to the things that make me sad.

The saddest thing of all is how badly I want to get on the plane and go home. I’ve never missed Jeff so much.

Some things are good, the amazing mushrooms and the canoe jaunt to the falls and Shadow cat and no bugs and pleasant fall weather.

I can feel some interest in writing coming back. The characters are talking to me again.

As is standard the table last night had all manner of lovely fare; Patty pan squash and ribs with home made barbecue sauce, eddo (which is a starchy corm yes Jeff I hadz a corm) and taters and home made salsa.

Mind you the veal stew Sandra cooked night before last was spectacular, along with the lovely cheese and rice. I ain’t starving.


Saw my editor

She is so very awesome.  Plus cats.

The fOlks and I took a really nice long ride around Saanich.  They fed me at Sassy’s.  Honestly, I am so frikkin spoiled.

I am going to make coffee and do laundry.  I underestimated my pants requirement.

No writing, but just getting the manuscript handed over has made me feel much better.

One feels better after a drive

There are certain activities that almost always make me feel better, and I suppose it’s part of my conditioning, since from the time I was quite small convertibles were part of life.  So a long drive, in the luscious dusk of Vancouver in July, was just the ticket; also, more pragmatically, I was supposed to check that the dash lights were working.  I also enjoy being able to help people, and knowing that I was going to reduce Keith’s ride into town by about an hour and a half helped.

Keith was full of feels and family news. He didn’t have his jacket so I reluctantly rolled up the window, and we enjoyed a simply wonderful ride home in the MR2; and Jeff’s car collected two compliments while I was out.  I ripped BC Ferries off for four dollars as I flatly refused to pay for parking.  (Not getting the job at the parking lot machine company has made me even more grumpy about paying for parking.  I checked for drones; there being none, I just sat there in the lot.)

One of my aliens (Michel, since mOm will want to know) just said, “I wish your mouth was shorter and your fuse was longer.”   Another character just accused another of practicing lemonade stand feminism.  He he.

I have coffee, I have arrowroot biscuits, and a book and a half to finish.  Better get back to it.

As promised (it’s a 50’s musical patter song) 5 of 50


I’m retired

Go around me

I’m retired

I don’t care (spoken like Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive)

You seem so troubled

By my slowness

In your anxiety to get from here to there


You won’t take my advice

but driving slow is nice

I get to see the swans and geese and deer

Always there are more o’ ya

In the City of Victoria

What prompted you to move from there to here?

Oh, you moved cause you hate snow?

And I hear you fine although

Somebody should have warned you that the pace of life is slow

I’m retired, go around me

Get off my bumper, please don’t pound me

Of all the drivers, yes, you found me!

I’m retired, go around me.


Our family understands

That we are now the grands

Who taxi the grandchildren when they’re here

spoken overtop (and the great grandchildren…)

And driving slow is great

And we are never late

Your hurry's no concern of mine I fear.

We stop for farm fresh eggs

so kids can stretch their legs

And gramma wants to buy more crap to put in garden sheds

I’m retired, go around me

Get off my bumper, please don’t pound me

Of all the drivers, yes, you found me!

I’m retired, go around me.



Victims of Violence Symposium, notes and comments

I took extensive notes.

Christine Lowe opened things up by saying that in healthy communities we acknowledge the harm that comes to victims of violence, and that victimes need to be helped with their physical, spiritual and emotional well being. Strong relationships make social justice possible.

She made a joke about the podium.  When they were finalizing planning they realized they had no podium, and they had no money to buy or rent one.  So they called the police.  The Victoria PD supplied the podium.

This donation by the police meant that we were looking at their logo the entire time, but it also meant that it was a place where cops and SJWs could work together, and that made me happy.

There was a territorial acknowledgement, and Elder May made a blessing that set the tone for the day.  A little rambling, heart-piercingly beautiful, compassionate.  When she sang I started weeping.  The contrast of her speaking voice and her singing voice was so acute it made me sit up. Her song was wordless and filled with yearning for justice and peace.

Then the Deputy Minister for Justiceland Wanamaker got up and gave a canned f*cking empty speech with about as much inflection and heart as one gets from a Grade 7 kid giving her first address.  As a libertarian-inflected feminist, I was enraged to the point I nearly booed when she tried to make political hay out of taking 5 million dollars from civil forfeiture – forgot we had that in Canada, right? right? and earmarking it for prevention of violence against women.  Really don’t like that.  I could go on at great length about why I was pissed, but instead I stink eyed her until she left.  She may be a king hell accomplished career bureaucrat, and we should be thankful that somebody of her dignity spoke to us, but I came away wanting to coach her on public speaking and liberty both.  Please don’t think that the 8 Domestic Violence Units which have been set up across BC with the money are bad things. I don’t.  One thing I will credit her with is saying ‘all genders’; this is phrasing I wish more politicians would adopt, since it doesn’t other trans* and intersex people, or people who are distinctly possessing identifiable bits but are not gender normative, and it includes two-spirited.

Frank Elsner. Chief of Police in Victoria since January 2014.  Man, I wish, you have NO IDEA HOW I WISH, that brO could have been in the auditorium when he spoke.  He worked the room, greeting and speaking with many, many people. Fine, a cop can have good social skills, in fact let’s hope she does. As he was introduced, it was obvious that he is highly intelligent and has multiple degrees from real universities.  He’s been chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which means he’s been exposed to best (and worst) practices across the planet, and let’s face it the last decade has seen some impressive advances in community policing.

He said, “Why talk about community health in terms of policing?” Essentially good policing is part of what makes a healthy community.  As a cop he was appalled to arrest three generations of criminals.  The boys weren’t born bad; intervention and options are required to turn lives around.

He mandated a different approach to street prostitution.  Instead of throwing them in the jug, a group of women were streamed toward social workers.  Picture their astonishment when the first problem most of them had was that they had no picture ID. Childcare, job training and housing were also issues.  Address them, and women can get off the street.  He made it sound simple, but the key is collaboration among a large group of people across half a dozen Ministries and social agencies.  When you get seven women out of the life, you are reducing human suffering in them, their children and their grandchildren, is the point.

Then he said the thing that would have made brO happiest.  He said the police must be accountable to the people they serve for everything they do, even when it hurts the police institutionally and personally.  The reactive model of policing is no longer tenable; police have to earn and show respect in the community they serve.

He also mentioned that cops need to be better educated and trained (yay, maybe that one dingus will finally learn how to give evidence in traffic court) and that their own mental health MUST be factored into the equation; police need like all people to be treated with respect for the sad duties they take on, on behalf of all of us, and that if we just keep expecting cops to suck it up they will snap.  So he wants to look after the well being of the people in his department and not just expect them to stand tall and be stoic.

My applause at the end of his talk was very genuinely enthusiastic, as was Paul’s.

Then Dr. Martin Broken Leg got up.

1. Dude’s funny.

2. Dude’s a survivor.

3. Dude’s hella smart.

With effortless humour, fluency, clarity and logic, he walked us through what it’s like to live in Aboriginal culture, both sides of the border (he is Lakota, adopted into the Raven clan on Haida Gwaii and man you shoulda seen his button decorated black vest with the most beeeyootiful appliquéd silver raven on the back, I admired it in person.)

One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Indian kids went to residential schools until 94 when the last one closed.  Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand Indian kids have gone into care since the mid fifties.

Christ wept.

The ACE studies (Adverse Childhood Experiences) can provide some light.

If a child is exposed to addictions, abuse, domestic violence, incarceration and neglect, you will get social impairment, health risks, disease, disability and early death.

There are other sources of trauma to FN kids. Federal laws, provincial policies, residential schools, the institutions of the churches, poverty, sub standard housing, poor nutrition and lack of healthy practices, lower opportunities for education and employment.

Oppression comes in many forms.  Social microaggressions, the way people look at you and talk to you and make assumptions about you. Systems don’t make place for you and your cultural folkways. The professional people who are supposed to help you don’t necessarily respect you and don’t expect you to improve; and then of course there’s internalized racism and the numbness that comes when you realize that you’re worthless; you don’t need to see 1200 missing women on tv to realize that there’s not a lot of respect for FN women, let alone men.

He recommended Rupert Ross’s Criminal Conduct and Colonialization and Dr. Paulette Regan’s Unsettling the Settler Within.

Traumatized people show it.  They show it by abusing their children, committing suicide, legal trouble and incarceration, early death, violence and addictions.

If you’re working with traumatized people the question to ask is not What’s Wrong with You!? it’s What Happened to You?

In 2012 the Gladue decision brought into sentencing the ability of the judge to inquire as to childhood trauma before jail time.

Subsequently a 19 year old aboriginal man was arrested for assaulting (I remember this story) a Coast Mountain bus driver. At sentencing it was learned that he had been in 28 foster homes between 4 and 18. He didn’t get jail time, he got counselling, and the howls from white people who said BUT HE ISN’T BEING PUNISHED were very loud. And pointless.  Jail wouldn’t help.


FN people need to:

See your own and your inherited pain (he called it the dark shadow that lies across every aspect of aboriginal life.)

Know and express your own suffering.

Self-critique and move toward self-improvement (away from victimhood toward self-actualization)

Reclaim aboriginal spirtuality, community and culture ESPECIALLY LANGUAGE (my comment because it is a road map back to the way the land spoke to your ancestors.)

Non-aboriginal people need to work on:

Self-reflection, to lose their white innocence (I had no idea FN children were experimented on, I had no idea that three percent of the residential school kids never came home, I had no idea that the Indian Act didn’t let FN women vote until the 1960s.)

Accept the historical violence, from the Beothuk to Akwesasne.

Admit the full equality of Aboriginal people and ways.  That’s the tough one.  We’ve been acculturated to believe that European ways are superior, and it ain’t necessarily so.

Remember that the 1948 UN definition of genocide COVERS THE SITUATION OF THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS.

Broken Leg then talked about the four stages of forgiveness, as outlined in Tutu’s The Book of Forgiving, which he wrote with his daughter Mpho.

  1. Let us tell the truth. Speak the truth, unvarnished, the facts.  Tell trusted people, accepting that the past will not be changed.
  2. Name the hurt.  Accept all feelings as valid and connect those feelings to the facts.  Use Kubler-Ross’s grief work. Be vulnerable and be willing to be hurt, because you will be.
  3. Grant forgiveness by choosing to forgive.  Grow by forgiveness.  Move to the place of being a survivor hero, not a victim.
  4. Change your story.  Tell a new story to heal.  Renew or release the relationship that has marked you. Ask for what you need.  Look at your role, not to blame yourself, but with calmness.

Reconciliation continues.


Young people, to be resilient, must be valued enough by their culture to be taught 





See also.


Then I went to a breakout session on suicide prevention in young people “This do in memory of me” for Kaitlin Schmidt, whose plaque we put up in the Gazebo of Remembrance on Thursday night.

Almost 4000 people kill themselves in Canada every year. A lot of them are young people. Accidents involving brain injury, suicide and cancer are one two three for cause of death in folks under 25.

It’s okay to ask somebody if they are thinking of harming themselves or killing themselves, but there is a big but.

You have to say that you have seen a change in behaviour first.  This marks you as somebody observant and caring.  If they are suicidal but deny it you have marked yourself as a safe person to talk to later. (I find it unlikely that I will ever be that blue again but I know EXACTLY who among my friends I can go to, and that in itself is wonderful.) If they aren’t suicidal they can explain why they’ve been wearing nothing but sweat pants for two weeks and are giving away all their stuff.

Since kids have smart phones, there’s been a lot of work on apps that help kids manage their moods.  Links below.

I found it very interesting that the presenter, Renata Hindle, said that in two hundred 80 minute presentations in BC to Grade 8 and Grade 10 kids, precisely one class wouldn’t go with the guided meditation, and that dozens of kids have told her they wished they knew about it earlier.  Funnily enough, we teach meditation at a number of points in the UU religious education curriculum.  Cause we be all about raising resilient kids yo.

Booster Buddy



Then there was a very challenging talk on male survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Men process sexual trauma differently than women.

Gender role conditioning to not seek help, to suck it up, to be tough and stoic, mean that help is not sought and the trauma plays out in all aspects of the survivor’s life.

They don’t have the social permission of women to ask for help, to admit to needing it.

When they do seek help, there is a deluge of stuffed-down emotions which occurs at the commencement of the counselling.

Societal and internalized homophobia (offenders normally being men) can cloud the survivor’s ability to see their own victimization.  Womanizing is often a consequence of childhood sexual abuse.

Often, they can fear that they will prey on children (this was brilliantly depicted, as an aside, as part of Bunchy’s story in Showtime’s Ray Donovan.)

Something that never occurred to me was that as boys arrive at puberty, they have the ability to be physically aroused by damned near anything.  This is used by perps to show to the boy that he ‘must have enjoyed it.’ ew ew ew.

5 – 6% of boys who’ve been molested go on to offend.

BUT 95% of offenders were abused.

Those are horrible statistics. And we’re doing a shitty job as a culture of helping men who’ve been sexually abused as children. I am going to investigate the group helping men here in town.

As an aside, she said that male survivors are very likely to espouse conspiracy theories, because their essential feeling of safety has been destroyed.  They have seen the shadowy forces of evil and want everybody to be as frightened as they once were.

This made me realize that someone close to me is probably a survivor.  I have had to come to a personal adjustment of my thinking patterns.

Sobriety is virtually impossible for survivors who haven’t had counselling for the trauma.

Survivors get in fights, they are medicated heavily, many have difficulty keeping sober and binge or drink steadily, they dress in a fashion that tells people ‘KEEP THE **** AWAY FROM ME”, they don’t come to family events and cause scenes or sit in the corner and drink, and they are job avoidant or can’t keep a job due to ongoing issues with disrespect and authority.


I didn’t take notes.

Reena Virk’s parents made a presentation about what it was like, and how the reconciliation with one of their daughter’s killers went.

I cried a lot.

Then they started talking about the Bible, which was less moving, and Paul and I anthem sprinted to the ferry, where we made the 5 o’clock.  There was a circular rainbow in Active Pass, and I saw a fur seal.







Delightful time

I had a simply wonderful time at the fOlks’.

I made biscotti.  I wrote about 300 new words and deleted about 500 old ones.  mOm and I completely worked our way through the edits for the first 112 manuscript pages.  (She read, I typed…. goes very fast that way).  I plan at least one more pass to ensure that I’ve incorporated all of Diane’s suggestions.  We laughed A LOT and it was like a fantasy come true.  I’m in my favourite room in the whole world WORKING like a RENTED MULE on something that will hopefully make people laugh, think, and maybe if I’m really really really lucky, influence the course of a scientific investigation (the highest praise for SF, screw the awards.  mOm knows I am not in it for fame, or awards.  I’m doing it for her. I’m writing SF for my mother, and so if she likes it (and she does) I’m okay.  (Diane occasionally provided editorial evidence that she was enjoying it.)

I got 600 words into my January homily.

I taught mOm how to cook neeps without them disintegrating.  (Starfit fry cutter and then steam for two-three minutes).  I cooked some beef tenderloin for pOp so that it was neither burned on the outside nor underdone in the middle.

We went to Dan’s, and saw the swans, and the million dollar properties up the hill in Saanich.  I saw Diane and got a sense of when I’ll be able to get the next batch to her. We laughed at the antics of the birds – pogoing Mountain Jays and pugnacious hummingbirds.

I had a dream where I found $50 folded in half and blown up against some weeds on a sidewalk in a town I’ve never been to.

We got a network cable run into the guest bedroom (Alex has already indicated her approval of this message.)  The cable is long enough to run out to the gazebo.  Happy days of writing with the birds, bees and a pan-pipe playing piggy are now in prospect.

We went through mOm’s Narnia-scale wardrobe of fabrics and I got a 25 cm tall stash of various kinds of fabric for baby and steampunk projects.

Katie’s quilt was ready, so I brought it back across the Salish Sea.

It was good and productive and I’ve written 500 words since I got back and tightened up some of Part II.  I am much less afraid of the editing process.  I am not a perfect writer.  Perhaps I shall learn to be a consistent one.

I have the names for all three books now.  Midnite Moving Company will be set in the same universe but about Jesse and Michel.  We see much more of Jesse and Michel in Part II.  Since mOm is eager to read even a messed up first draft of that, I should get on it.

Pleasant visit

The visit with the fOlks was very good and we had a SPECTACULAR trip back.  The wind and the sun were in perfect proportion, and we got chocolate soft ice cream for a snack.  Thank you Paul for subsidizing that trip (pOp too….) and mOm for the baby stuffs. It was fun noodling around Victoria looking for baby stuffs.

Why I love Susan Sarandon. She just so effervescently and totally rocks.

Watched Boyhood.  I really enjoyed it, and then immediately read a black critic’s takedown of it and have to now file the movie under guilty pleasures.  Sigh. Jeff bailed partway through since various characters were being jerks.

Sahara Delights is now in the space Kitty Kate’s Cafe was in.

Went singing at Tom and Peggy’s last night.  The alto part for Word of God is wicked hard.