Archive for the 'Happy' Category

Uzma Shakir is Spending this Week in Windsor

This year’s Distinguished Visitor in Women’s Studies at the University of Windsor is Uzma Shakir, a Pakistan-born community activist making a difference in Scarborough, Ontario. She is the 2003 recipient of the Jane Jacobs Prize and was recently awarded the Atkinson Foundation’s Economic Justice Award in recognition of her work on behalf of immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area. She works on issues related to immigration, social equity, the racialization of poverty, and the future of multiculturalism in Canada.

The events are open to the community but some require an rsvp. Details are below.

This is the schedule of events from the Distinguished Visitor website:

Week of Events 2008

Women, Knowledge and Activism, Class Visit
To be truly empowered, Uzma argues, women must do more than consume knowledge; they must use their own understanding of the world as a basis for knowledge. Uzma’s experiences with the feminist movement in Pakistan under a military dictatorship taught her that solidarity among women is built through directly engaging issues of complicity and marginality.
Date: Wednesday 22 October
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Place: Chrysler Hall South, room 162 (University of Windsor)
Course: Women in Protest
Instructor: Prof. Nancy Gobatto

Public Announcement to the Press
Date: Thursday 23 October
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Place: Toldo Health Education Centre, room 203 (University of Windsor)

What Does an Inclusive Feminism Look Like?, Class Visit
Speaking as a woman of colour with a history of feminist activism in Pakistan, Uzma argues that mainstream North American feminism has not served women of colour because it has been slow to question its own complicity with the imperial agenda of the state, inside Canada and outside. Uzma believes that feminist solidarity with white/western women is possible only with those who understand the difference between appropriation and solidarity and who commit to deconstructing white privilege.
Date: Thursday 23 October
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Place: Toldo Health Education Centre, room 203 (University of Windsor)
Course: History of Women’s Movements in North America
Instructor: Dr. Renée Bondy

The Veiled Woman as Social Outsider, Class Visit
Uzma will show how Canadian state and public discourses have pathologized certain communities since 9/11, and how these
discourses frame Islamic women as “oppressed” in contrast to “liberated” white/western women.
Date: Thursday 23 October
Time: 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Place: Toldo Health Education Centre, room 203 (University of Windsor)
Course: Women, Race, and Social Justice
Instructors: Dr. Anne Forrest and Dr. Jane Ku

Islam, Women, and Canadian Law, Class Visit
Uzma will discuss the consequences for Islamic and non-Islamic women of the Ontario government’s decision to exclude Shari’a law from the arbitration process for resolving marital conflict, and of Elections Canada’s decision to permit veiled women to vote.
Date: Thursday 23 October
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Place: Vanier Hall, Winclare A (University of Windsor)
Course: Women and the Law
Instructor: Prof. Amanda Burgess
This event is co-sponsored by the Stephen Jarislowsky Chair, Centre for Religion and Culture at Assumption University.

New Canadian Mothers: A Delicate Balancing Act, Class Visit
Uzma will discuss the dilemma of immigrant mothers who are responsible for transmitting the “home” culture to their children while negotiating a new cultural environment on their behalf. She will examine the burdens that racialization and criminalization impose, in order to show how race and marginality complicate the mothering process.
Date: Friday 24 October
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Place: Toldo Health Education Centre, room 203 (University of Windsor)
Course: Mothering and Motherhood
Instructor: Prof. Jacqueline Bobyk-Krumins

What Can Women Do Together?, Community Organization Luncheon
Uzma argues that social agencies must actively connect with other community groups for social change. Otherwise, they will leave unchanged the society that produces the social problems the agencies have been created to solve. Panelists will describe the very real barriers to moving beyond the service delivery model.
Panel Discussion with: Uzma Shakir, Patricia Noonan, and Gisèle Harrison. Rachel Olivero – moderator.
Date: Friday 24 October
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Place: Club Alouette, 2418 Central Ave.
If you or your delegate plan to attend, please R.S.V.P. to wsvisitor@uwindsor.ca or 519-253-3000 ext. 3727.

Take Back the Night March
A Call to Action: Identifying the Pressing Issues for Women
Take Back the Night is a world-wide event protesting male violence against women and children. All are welcome to the rally; however, the march is for women and children only. The march is symbolic of women’s right to reclaim the night without the need for a male escort.
Keynote Speaker: Uzma Shakir
Date: Saturday 25 October
Time: 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Place: Memorial of Hope, University of Windsor (between Essex & Dillon Halls)
Rally begins at 8:00 p.m., march to follow. For more information, please visit www.uwindsor.ca/takebackthenight.

In Conversation with…Uzma Shakir
Please join Friends of Women’s Studies for an afternoon of friendship and conversation with Uzma Shakir.
Date: Sunday 26 October
Time: 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Place: Betty Wilkinson Room, Art Gallery of Windsor, 401 Riverside Dr. W.
Tickets: $250 (this event is free for members of 250 for $250 and major donors)
R.S.V.P. by telephone at 519-253-3000 ext. 3727 or by e-mail at wsvisitor@uwindsor.ca by October 17.

“We are here because you were there!”, Class Visit
Uzma will examine connections between local and global conditions for women, in particular, how the growing disparity in wealth worldwide makes women in Canada more and more reliant on the undervalued labour of women in the global south.
Date: Monday 27 October
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Place: Odette Building, room 104 (University of Windsor)
Course: Women in Canadian Society
Instructors: Prof. Nancy Gobatto and Prof. Daniella Beaulieu

Re-scripting the National Narrative: A Woman’s Perspective, Class Visit
Uzma will illustrate how certain commonplace words and phrases obfuscate gender, race, sexuality and economic inequalities. She will deconstruct terms such as liberal democracy, multiculturalism, reasonable accommodation, diversity and tolerance.
Date: Monday 27 October
Time: 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Place: Dillon Hall, room 361 (University of Windsor)
Course: Language and Women’s Place
Instructor: Prof. Nancy Gobatto

Beyond Sisterhood: Race, Immigration and Solidarity, Community Dinner
Keynote Speaker: Uzma Shakir
Date: Tuesday 28 October
Time: 5:30 p.m. Reception, 6:30 p.m. Dinner
Place: G. Caboto Club, 2175 Parent Ave. at Tecumseh Rd. E.
Tickets: Individual: $60
Students: $15
Table of 10: $600
Sponsor a table: $600 ($600 charitable tax receipt)
Sponsor a student: $60 ($60 charitable tax receipt)

R.S.V.P. by telephone at 519-253-3000 ext. 3727 or by e-mail at wsvisitor@uwindsor.ca or you may register online.

Please note that the office will close at 12:00 p.m. on October 28, 2008. Tickets may be purchased at the door.

For more information, e-mail wsvisitor@uwindsor.ca or call 519-253-3000 ext. 3727.

Elizabeth May on the Air!

I just got an email from the Greens saying that Elizabeth May will be part of the televised national debates this election:

Dear Green Party Supporter,

I am writing to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting my campaign to be included in the televised leaders’ debates.

Because of you and countless thousands like you who donated money and deluged the airwaves, the Internet, newspaper letters columns and politicians’ inboxes with a national outpouring of outrage, the broadcasters have now reversed their decision to exclude the Green Party.

I am both humbled and inspired by what I have witnessed in the past few days – the exhilarating spectacle of Canadians rising up to protest a blatant injustice.

Your victory isn’t just a victory for the Green Party, it’s a victory for democracy and for the fundamental Canadian values of equality and fairness.

Thank you again for standing up for democracy.

Elizabeth May, O.C.

Locavore Me

Coming up on Sunday July 27, 2008 at John R. Park Homestead is a new (hopefully annual) event called the Lakeside Locavore Lunch. From the Essex Region Conservation Authority calendar:

The Lakeside Locavore Lunch is a new special event taking place at the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area on Sunday, July 27th from noon – 2:30pm. This event highlights ‘locavore’ opportunities in Essex County.

Enjoy an afternoon by the lake tasting locally grown foods and fine wines. ‘Food for thought’ will also be provided as local farmers and food producers share their specific knowledge about the delicious bounty that our region offers.

To enhance the experience ‘Fiddle and Friends’ will be providing traditional celtic and folk fiddle music. Admission is $15.00 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-16. Preregistration is required and spaces are limited.

To register phone: 519-738-2029 or email: jrph@erca.org.

I’d like to go but it crosses over with a family reunion obligation. If I can figure out a way to do both you can be sure I’ll be there. I’m surprised I haven’t seen any promotion for the event (I found the ERCA calendar when I was looking for information about local trees which I eventually found at the Ojibway Park website).

ecofeminist Vandana Shiva speaking with mega phone

In my opinion, it’s an important event for local feminists. Women’s oppression is closely linked with the degradation of nature. Both have suffered under a system of patriarchy. The world around us — nature — just like women, is not passive, waiting for rescue or waiting idly to be made useful. We are both contributing, functional, important, integral parts of the planet. Neither women nor the planet are here to serve. It’s ironic when you start thinking about the connections in the English language between words we use to describe both land and women: think of terms like barren, fertile, and rape. Each can describe a woman or the land. Ecofeminists bring the philosophies of environmentalism and feminism together in efforts to liberate both from oppression. Maybe someday. Respect for nature, respect for women.

photo credit to leenback. Click on the photo to visit its page on flickr.com.

Random Happy and Sad Things

It’s time for a check-in and one of those posts that I can look back on to gauge state-of-mind when one day in the future I reflect back to this time and wonder what in the world I was thinking. so:

Some things that made me happy today:

  • spreading dirt for a garden in the backyard. I’m hoping to plant the weekend after next
  • super cheap ceramic tiles at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I’m going to set them in the ground between the dirt and the fence = cheap and non-toxic weedblock!
  • last year’s shorts fit. No further comment.
  • I got to play with an Asus Eee PC at Staples of all places (I’d give you a link but the site irritates me because it won’t let me browse without entering my postal code). The Eee is as awesome as I imagined — and even lighter. They’re stocking the black one with the 4GB hard drive and 512MB of ram for 399$ Cdn.

Some sad things:

  • The rest of the dirt for the garden is in the front yard. I estimate it will take 20 billion and a half trips with the wheelbarrow to get it to the right place.
  • It’s raining and cold so I don’t want to work out in the garden anymore today
  • I have a meeting with my adviser tomorrow so I can’t work outside in the garden anymore today
  • I don’t need an Asus Eee PC.

Isn’t that an awesome list of sad things? I realize there’s nothing major there and I think that’s a wonderful reason to celebrate. Life is good. :)

It’s Coming Together

There’s nothing quite like the week after a semester finishes. I’ve been so productive the last few days. Rob and I have put doors up on two kids’ bedrooms so that leaves only one more. I just finished installing the doorknob on the second one and sawing off the shims. My taxes are done and filed (just in the nick of time). Wood for the fence was delivered on Monday and I’m planning to order dirt for the garden later today. Hopefully this weekend will be warm and I’ll get lots done in the yard (including having my family over for my daughter’s (gasp!) fourteenth birthday! Of course by next week all of this energy will be gone and I’ll be wondering what the heck I got myself into…

And the week after that I’ll be whining that my next paper is due at the end of May and I’ve got nothing to say or the research doesn’t connect with my topic or something like that…and then that paper will get handed in after a week and a half of much coffee and little sleep.

Ahh the seasons of a student.

How to Procrastinate

When did a B become a bad mark? (omg I hope I don’t get a B on my assignment.) It seems this is what happens moving up into graduate studies. Everyone is stressing over grades. Nothing below an A is good enough and a B is required to pass a course. I hate having that kind of pressure. I did well in my undergrad but even though I stressed over my grades I don’t remember this kind of dread. In my undergrad I wanted high marks but I didn’t need them in the same way I do now. Knowing that good work is a fail and that very good is barely a pass I am paralyzed for fear that my work will be mediocre – or worse — adequate.

There’s been some weird power flickers here today and my desktop keeps shutting down. If it wasn’t happening to the clocks on that side of the house as well as to Rob’s desktop I might wonder if my power supply has finally given up. Since the machine is off anyway I’ve decided I should let things cool down and take this opportunity to replace that power supply. I bought my new one – a 430W Seasonic – at Canada Computers when I was in Toronto last weekend for Mitch’s birthday shindig. The visit with K & Mitch was wonderful, the staff at the computer shop helpful, the curried vegetables at King’s Cafe were amazing but the stress from almost missing the train home because I miscalculated how long the Spadina street car would take to get to Union Station…gulp…that I could have done without.

So anyway, can you tell when blogger-students have papers due? There’s always a flurry of posts. Instead of writing the assignment, we blog. Or maybe blogging is the warm up? To prove to ourselves that we can still put words together and we may as well write the ones our professors want to read instead of the ones that make our significant others/friends/families wonder if we’re/they’re really going to survive our education.

Some Keys to Blended Family Happiness

These may be obvious to others but I’ve recently discovered a few things that are making life a lot easier. Rob and I blended families last fall and it hasn’t all been a picnic. Some of it’s because of the craziness of our own particular situations but some of it is just because it’s hard when one family moves in with another.

Here’s what’s working right now:

  • I signed my kids up for swimming lessons on Wednesday nights. Every Wednesday we go out and Rob’s got the house to himself. I hadn’t realized how rare an occurrence this was until we started a few weeks ago. I have time here alone during the day because I mostly work from home but when he’s home usually I’m home and/or there’s some combination of our kids here. Given that it’s his house we live in it’s been a big change from it being usually quiet to now, usually loud. I also went away to Toronto for a long weekend while my kids were at their dad’s and it gave Rob some time alone here with his daughter. For years it was just the two of them on the weekends and I think it’s been hard on both of them having me around all the time. They need their space and the chance to be together without a third wheel hanging about.
  • Video game time for chore time. For the past month, every Tuesday night Rob and I go out for coffee/chai at a local independent coffee shop. We play World of Warcraft for a few hours and it’s lots of fun. I make time for this with him and on Saturday mornings we do housework together (specifically cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming the stairs). These are the two biggest things that get me down when they’re dirty. If the bathrooms and stairs are clean I can mostly keep up (or overlook) the rest of the house. It’s become a great routine and the date night is wonderful. We’re actually having fun together. ;) Having fun is important for making a blended family work. If we’re not happy, then what was the point?
  • A grocery list on the side of the fridge. There are way too many people here for me to keep track of who is out of what favourite food. Each kid is responsible for adding to the list if they finish off a food. If it’s not on the list it doesn’t come home from the grocery store. This goes for the grownups too.
  • Rules that apply to everyone. This is something we’re still working on and will probably continue to struggle with. One of these rules is that school bags and other gear needs to go into bedrooms and cannot be left in the entranceway. For the size of the house I’ve always been frustrated with how tiny the entrance area is. Bags that get abandoned become tripping hazards and it looks awful. Unfortunately we’re all guilty of coming in and getting distracted. One reason is that the kitchen and computers are upstairs and the kids bedrooms are downstairs. Usually the habit is to come in, come upstairs. Later, when they’re ready to go down, they walk right on past the bags. My excuse is that usually I’m carrying in more than one load so it takes me a couple of trips to get everything where I’m going and I get distracted before I’m done putting everything away. Hopefully now that winter is over I can put the boots away and that will clear up a bit of space.

I hope I keep finding more things that I can add to this list.

An Idea

I should have thought of this years ago.

When life got busy I quit teaching ballet (and taking lessons and going swing, ballroom, and latin dancing with Rob). Maybe it wasn’t the right decision but I was being torn in too many different directions.

dance instructor with headset mic
flickr photo by www.get-fit-at-home.com

Something had to go and dancing was the piece that didn’t just didn’t belong here.

But yesterday I discovered dance aerobics dvds! Exercise + fun + music + dancing = happy me. I’ve got a bunch requested from the public library (African and Brazilian dance included) and have ordered the New York City Ballet workout, something another dancer I used to know practiced with when she couldn’t make it to classes.

Why didn’t I think of this years ago?

Pelee Spring Song

I want to go to this very very badly. I could even say it’s for school! And for people who like to take pictures/pictures of birds this is the perfect opportunity!

More details here.

Seeing as how Vincent Lam’s book about history and medicine (on my way to pick it up at the library now!) is totally connected to my research project and the event is on Pelee Island, don’t you think I should totally go? Do you think anyone would want to go with me? I know the perfect b&b too and it might not even be full yet…

Pelee Island Spring Song

Breastmilk is Awesome

jars of expressed breastmilk

I’ve known for years (almost 14 — the age of my oldest child) that breastmilk is the absolute best thing in the world. Now there’s one more reason why it’s awesome:

Breastmilk contains stem cells. Seriously. Check out that article.

flickr photo by Hoover Family Photos

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