#MyFridayFive, Issue 1.1

My Friday Five

 

1. Kim accused of being ‘desperate for attention’

In other news, water is wet.

Okay, that was a low shot. The gist of the article is that Mrs. West of Calabasas, California, stripped down to her undies for a late-night “baking sesh” and posted it all online, presumably to distract her followers from her homophobia.

I’m not sure which is more disturbing, that the word “sesh” has made it into the English language, or that Kim K. is baking a cake when she could get UberEats or DoorDash to deliver one ready-made. Duncan Hines never struck me as the name of a man that would cross her ladyship’s threshold.

Next!

2. The Wiggles couple reveal their divorce

Emma Watkins, aka Yellow Wiggle, and Lachlan Gillespie, aka Purple Wiggle, confirmed their divorce today after two years of marriage.

To be honest, I haven’t paid much attention to The Wiggles at all in recent years because I have teenagers at home, but their various members over time have always struck me as ridiculously happy people both on-screen and off (and yes, I am aware that Anthony Field, aka Blue Wiggle, has battled mental illness). I was sad when Greg, Murray, and Jeff retired.

“We have embraced this as a very positive change in our relationship. Our incredible friendship has been strengthened throughout this time and what we have discovered is that, more than ever, first and foremost we love and adore performing as Emma and Lachy in The Wiggles and having the privilege of celebrating this happiness with extraordinary families around the world.”

The announcement of their split comes just weeks after Emma revealed to an Australian women’s magazine that she has acute endometriosis. Having had tissue removal surgery myself, in 2011, I wish her nothing but the best going forward health-wise; and peace to both her and Lachy as they finalize the end of their private relationship.

3. Most Canadians Say Irregular Border Crossings Are A ’Crisis,’ Poll Suggests

If there’s anything that sticks in my craw, it’s a misleading headline.

What it should read, is “Most Poll Respondents Say ….” Look, I’m a taxpaying, vote-casting Canadian. I wasn’t contacted by Angus Reid. Neither was anyone else I know.

And the real crisis here is that in 2018, there are still thousands upon thousands of people who are living out the stuff of nightmares on a daily basis, who are seeking a better life in the Western world for themselves and their families. God forbid “friendly Canada” should be so welcoming.

4. Lovato agrees to enter rehab

As a mother, and the mother of a teenager who grew up watching Miley, Demi, and Selena on the Disney Channel; I am relieved to see that Demi Lovato is getting help. Recovery is a continuous, life-long process, and is difficult for the strongest of us. I can’t judge her for “slipping.” Add me to the list of grateful folks that she had friends with her who called 911.

5. Why are people rubbing toothpaste on their breasts?

Short answer: just don’t. Please.

There is no credible medical reason to do it.

Says dermatologist Mona Gohara, M.D.:

“Along with the fact that toothpaste can be an extreme skin irritant, there is also no medical evidence that toothpaste or vaseline or any topical cream can increase collagen or elastin,” she says. “Otherwise, trust me-after baby number two, I would have been wearing Crest all day long.”

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And that’s a wrap for this week’s #MyFridayFive! Leave your comments here or on my Twitter, @girlgonewired.

These (Not Very) Happy Golden Years

I went stateside on Saturday. Purpose of the trip? the Customs guard asked my father, who was driving. Shopping, the weary man replied, gesturing at my mother in the front passenger seat.

These trips don’t happen often, but when they do, they’re generally bittersweet.

We live an hour away from a border crossing. The agents there are pretty chill, despite the job they’re tasked to do. One was wearing his sassy pants the day my daughter and I were on a road trip by ourselves. Purpose of the trip? he asked. Shopping in St. Lawrence County, I said. Why? he replied, and I am still stumped for the right words to describe the expression on his face, a combination of not-quite disdain, leaning more towards amusement.

My earliest childhood memories begin in 1976. I was four-going-on-five, and Little Egg Harbor Township Elementary’s Lisa Simpson, had there been an animated Simpsons family to watch on television back then. We stayed with my grandparents in their home for the school year, and then we moved back to Canada, to our unsold home in east-end Ottawa.

Most summers, Christmases, Easters, and March Breaks were spent in South Jersey. We also spoke to our grandparents on the telephone for at least an hour once a week in those pre-Internet, pre-smartphone times, and as a result we never lost touch with what, for me, was home.

A drive south on Route 37 in Northern New York is a sociologist’s report come to fruition. Prosperity and poverty co-exist, on awkward display, at literally every other house or piece of unworked land. And in my heart I know it’s no different anywhere else we might go on the East Coast. (I’ve never been west of Pennsylvania, so I can’t speak to what’s happening out there personally.)

These are the times that try men’s souls, quoth the Founding Father Thomas Paine. We’re a long way removed from the days of publishing pamphlets to get our messages across, but if this blog o’ mine is going to have any purpose, I will have my say on politics and policy on both sides of the border.

It has always astounded me that people who live in such abject poverty saw in 45 (I refuse to address him by his name) their saviour. It may well be, to paraphrase a post on my Twitter feed this morning, that when they listen to him, they hear their own beliefs and biases writ large; but a year and a quarter in with his administration, and from a socio-economic point of view, I’m pretty sure tax cuts for the rich weren’t what the majority of the electorate was after.

Now, more than ever, job losses are a typed announcement taped to the doors and windows of failed businesses. My parents and I spoke at some length with our waitress at a soon-to-be shuttered Friendly’s ice cream shop in DeWitt, NY as we ate our lunch and paced ourselves through dessert sundaes for which lesser trips were taken. She already has two other jobs, but she needs all three to support herself and her family. We’re usually 20% tippers, but she got that and a couple dollars just before we left.

I’m seeing a shift from capitalism to corporatism, and I don’t like it. Am I guilty of encouraging this shift, some might say, by shopping online? Yes, but I don’t do it all the time. We as a Western society are stuck in a chasm born of so-called opportunity, convenience, and ease of use, and I’m at a loss as to how we get out of it.

This is what I do know. John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas was onto something when he composed the lyric “all the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey.” He was singing about the bleakness of winter, but a month into spring in 2018, in a country I dream sometimes about moving back to, it is a vastness that only an open eye can see.

 

Spinning The Wheel

Even at this physical distance, I am still trying to process what happened in Toronto this week.

As the mother of two sons who have diagnoses on the autism spectrum, and equally the mother of a daughter, and a grandmother of a lovely, sharp female toddler; I may well be stumped for the right words, too.

Marc Lepine. Elliot Rodger. Alek Minassian. The misappropriation of the term incel.

At the risk of overstating the obvious, Western culture really hasn’t learned a damned thing or made the tamping down of misogyny a priority. Who, or what, can we blame? This is a world that welcomed a perverted parasite to the Oval Office with open arms, and everyone else who can see the emperor for the naked criminal he is are no closer to evicting him, try as they might. He’s all about his base, and it continues to be a dispiritingly strong one.

I also think parents still aren’t talking to their children about consent and entitlement in personal and romantic relationships. Look: it’s never a bad time to do it. And a child’s level of ability, or disability, shouldn’t even play into it. I am signed on to take a workshop next week on the topic of sex and disability, to help me bring my younger son up to speed, in a way he will hopefully understand, but I know there will be a need for remediation based on his personality, if only to remind him to keep his hands away from the front of his pants in public.

It is also incredibly important to keep top of mind that autism did not rent a cargo van and mount a sidewalk this week. Autism is not facing ten counts of first-degree murder and thirteen fourteen counts of attempted murder. Autism does not leave a breadcrumb trail of YouTube videos and a lengthy manifesto rife with vitriol towards the women who turn it down for sex. Autism does not radicalize itself.

We need to start with that, and prioritize conversations about mental health, generally, at home, at school, and in the workplace. Places where people gather, as a matter of course, on a daily basis.

And, since the personal is also political, we must reclaim the base. I am surprising myself by agreeing with Kanye West: self victimization is a disease. No one’s interests are served when it’s the practice to mollycoddle people who routinely behave badly and have learned that there is no real, lasting consequence for it.

If it is my job to teach my children how to get along in the world, why are so many others not out there doing the same? It’s time to get real.

It’s time to replace blame with basic human kindness. It’s time to turn the wheel.

In Ontario, Sex Ed Is A Hot Button Campaign Issue, But Here’s Why It’s So Much More Than That And Should Be Left Alone

It is a truth often painful for parents to acknowledge: our children, lawt help us, will one day reach an age of their choosing and become sexual beings.

The sex-ed curriculum implemented by the Ontario Liberals in 2015 may not be perfect, but for many kids it’s better than not hearing about the mechanics and implications from their parents. Not every parent is like me, who stood up at the kitchen table armed with condoms and bananas, eliciting embarrassed laughter from my older kids.

The if we don’t tell them and hopefully they remain ignorant approach is foolhardy and presupposes a level of immaturity that sells kids short. They will figure it out, purity rings and waltzes with their fathers be damned.

If you want to protect your children from the dangers of sex, here are some suggestions:

1) Teach your sons and daughters not to commit sexual assault. That no means no, regardless of when their partner says it.

2) Teach your sons and daughters that they have the right to say no to any act that makes them uneasy or uncomfortable.

3) Teach that sexual abuse from anyone, priest, parent, relative, or other predator; is wrong. Make sure your children know they can come to you when something happens, without further physical or emotional abuse from you.

4) If you can’t be that person in your child’s life, then someone else will. And it’s going to happen either in the classroom, or on the school yard. As the adult you need to choose wisely and out of fairness for your child that honours his or her autonomy and personhood at every age.

5) And while by no means an afterthought, if your older children don’t know the names Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd, to mention just two, then they probably should.

Ultimately, however, this post is my plea and call to arms, that little is done to tamper with the current programming in Ontario’s elementary and secondary schools, by whoever forms the next provincial government.

Stumped, And Stumping For Change

Going into Saturday’s rigamarole of a PCPO Leadership Convention, I had just enough respect mustered for my local MPP because she was a woman in politics, if a bit benign as far as change makers go. And, frankly, her party does not represent me.

It honestly confuses me how a female politician – herself a mother – from the suburbs of Ottawa found common ground with the hash-dealing huckster who is now the PCPO leader, so I have to ask, what did he promise you? Do you really think he’ll deliver? Did he …

GAH.

My adult son asked me once why I never sought political office. Well, I was never chosen as a parent volunteer at any of my kids’ schools, despite dutifully filling out the form at the start of every school year. Except for that one time someone bailed out of her shift at the annual Scholastic Book Fair and I got a call at the last possible minute. That sets a certain tone. And when I get riled enough, I tend towards what the husband calls a scorched earth policy. Look, I can play well with others, but unquestionably on my own terms.

So while I won’t be running for office this spring, or at any other juncture; I think it is time for me to throw my dusty mantel around the shoulders of a candidate who is neither Lib Red nor PC Blue. Help that person get his or her word out. Hammer signs on lawns. Help cuddle babies. Pet dogs on the street while my two floofers tussle on their leashes and try to tug me past.

See, the child in the photo is my granddaughter. She deserves better of her elected officials than what we have on offer. She and her generation are, in this case, totally and unreservedly deserving of their entitlement.

Onward, my fellow soldiers.

200 Words That Rhyme With Political Incompetence

If today’s Leadership Vote “held” (and I use the term loosely) by Ontario’s “Progressive” (again, very loosely) Conservative Party has shown the people anything, it’s that following Trump’s “election” (don’t make me say it again) we tore a page from our neighbours’ playbook and turned the process into a modern sideshow.

Doug Ford.

Even the non-believers among us should be praying to God that the recount does not remit in Ford’s favour. I agree in principle with the PC’s that the provincial curriculum needs an overhaul in several areas, but 15 bucks, little man is not the sort of math that should be taught in elementary schools, anywhere.

The PC Party Executive.

Never mind asking them all to resign. What of their event planners? How do you book a room and find yourselves forced out by a wedding reception? Or was this an inside job as well? Look, I’m all for reduced spending, but it should not have to be said that sometimes there are corners that should not be cut. 

Frankly, I am flat out disgusted.

This is why the people who should vote, don’t.

If anyone is looking for me, I’m over here, scouting out a table to flip.