Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Open Toe Shoes

It is official. Open toe shoe season is over. Those sexy hot Steve Maddens I bought for the Yellow Brick House gala but which ended up looking very sexy with the wide leg jeans I got at The Pink Closet will be relegated to being carried in a bag destined for indoor wear only. But I'm pretty smug - I was wearing them outside, sans panty hose, right up until the 6th of December!

At 5:30 this morning I awoke and, snug under 3 layers of blankets I could just sense that winter weather had arrived. When the wind is blowing I can hear my Canadian flag in the back yard flapping and a metal grommet making a ting sound on the metal pole. Venturing to the living room I saw that the car will definitely need a few minutes to warm up and several centimetres of snow must be brushed away.

I poured some juice and returned to the retreat of my cozy bed. Flipping on the TV I would be led to believe that the world is coming to an end. Storm warnings are the top news of the morning. But somehow I cannot reconcile the melodrama and hysteria with what I see out my window. Ontarians are such wimps. We don't know snow! I've lived with snow, and trust me, this ain't it!

Nonetheless, the deep, dark, hunkering down season has arrived. It is the time of year when one doesn't feel like going out anywhere after dinner . These days I'm snuggled in bed well before 10pm. The diminishing number of daylight hours is a difficult time of year for me, and once December arrives I find myself anxiously counting down the days to the arrival of the shortest day of the year. Once the 21st of December has passed, the days will get longer, even if only by a minute or two. And in my mind, spring will be be on the way.

Until then, I will amuse myself by listening to native Ontarians whining and carrying on about the horrific winter weather, as if they are shocked that this is what it is like to live in a Northern country like Canada.

For me, the worst part is that I can't venture out today in my open toe shoes.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I remember with great clarity Decembember 6th, twenty years ago. It seems surreal at times that two decades have passed since my world, as a woman, was rocked and the journey, which continues to this day, began that day.

I grew up in a culture where young women found a man, settled down, and produced grandchildren for our parents. I'm not saying that this is necessarily wrong, or that I regret having taken that route. But somewhere in that process I lost my sense of the endless potential and possibility once I became we.

I also lived a world where my dad's was the final word, my husband was the one everyone acknowledged as the head of my house, and my church deemed women unworthy to serve in leaderships roles by virtue of owning an different set of reproductive organs.

December 6th changed all that. Not an overnight change by any means, but it began a process whereby this woman, with no feminist role models began what was not necessarily the most sophisticated intellectual journey.

My self awareness is definitely different than it once was, and because it is an evolution I'm comforted to know that I will continue to learn more about myself and my gender and it will be different next year.

Sadly, the massacre will earn only a passing mention in the news today. We have a national day of remembrance for the men and women who have fought and died for our freedom. We need a national day of remembrance so that 14 women in Montreal will not have died in vain.

But, as long as most of the governments on this planet are patriarchal by make up, and a blind eye is turned to the many cultures and religions in the world where abuse of women and girls is an accepted way of life and death, it will be left to us women to make sure the story of December 6th is passed down through the generations.

I look at the endless possibility just waiting for my 13 year old daughter Lauren to explore and embrace, and it makes me smile.

Please, let us never forget:

Geneviève Bergeron, aged 21;Hélène Colgan, 23;Nathalie Croteau, 23;Barbara Daigneault, 22;Anne-Marie Edward, 21;Maud Haviernick, 29;Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31;Maryse Leclair, 23;Annie St.-Arneault, 23;Michèle Richard, 21;Maryse Laganière, 25;Anne-Marie Lemay, 22;Sonia Pelletier, 28; andAnnie Turcotte, aged 21.

Maryse would have been 45 years old this year, just like me.