11.15.2018

fact: it is really hard to leave friends and comrades

This is the tough part. And it's really tough.

Friends, union sisters and brothers, the activist network. Saying goodbye.

Leaving this place, Mississauga, is easy and exciting. Leaving a job that I love is a bit sad, but my new position awaits, and sounds like an upgrade. Leaving the Mississauga Library System, hurrah. On to a new and (probably) better system.

Leaving friends... really hard. So hard that I wonder why I'm doing this, even though I know the answers.

There's nothing for it, really. Sure, there is Facebook and various technologies to keep in touch. There are future vacations when we might make a reason to see each other. And new connections and communities await. Yep, I know all that. Not asking for advice here. Just stating a fact: leaving people you love sucks.

11.11.2018

a rare bout of nostalgia: remembering our move to canada

August 30, 2005: wmtc
Packing up the apartment and getting ready for the road trip brings back bittersweet memories.

In the spring and summer of 2005, we were in our final preparation for moving to Canada. All at once, an amazing writing opportunity dropped in my lap, we found a house to rent, and our dog Buster became extremely ill.

We made a one-day roundtrip trip to Port Credit (Mississauga) via Buffalo on the first day of what would become a new round of Saving Buster. (Since that cold and rainy night in Washington Heights when I found him on the street, near death, our lives were all about Saving Buster.) This time, it was months before we got a proper diagnosis. He got sicker and sicker, practically fading away before our eyes.

As my deadline loomed, I was writing full-time Monday through Friday, and working my day-job, two 12-hour days, all weekend.

It wasn't long before we realized Buster needed a specialist, which meant taking a subway to a Zipcar, driving the car back home, then driving all the way downtown. Multiple appointments, incredibly time-consuming -- but we saved his life. After that, he was on high doses of prednisone, which means very frequent trips outside, and he couldn't be alone for more than an hour or so.

This is a dog who already has two chronic conditions, requiring all kinds of meds. I had a spreadsheet with all the different instructions -- this on an empty stomach, this with food, these drops in both eyes twice a day, these drops in one eye once a day -- etc.

Allan hired the movers and did 100% of the packing while I churned out the words. It was the most pressure I have ever felt, before or since. But we did it. Allan got us moved. I met my deadline and got paid -- which let us not work for more than a month after moving. I was determined that Buster would make it to Canada with us, and he did.

Ten weeks later, while we were living in Port Credit, one of Buster's conditions suddenly worsened, and we had to let him go. Packing and moving makes me think of that.

It also reminds me of that day, a bit more than 13 years ago, when our dreams and our plans and our hard work and our luck all came together, and we physically moved to Canada. Coming out of the immigration building with my stamped papers, holding my arms high in victory, crying with joy and relief, Allan and I hugging and whooping. We did it.

Finding that post -- the drive north -- I scrolled through the wmtc category immigrating and moving. For a long time I marked the anniversary of moving to Canada -- six months, one year, two years, three years, four years, five years.

Then there are the "becoming a Canadian citizen" posts -- which also reminds me that this blog was, for a time, monitored by the federal government.

Then the anniversary posts end. In 2015, on our 10th anniversary of moving to Canada, we moved from our last rental house into our current apartment. I noted the day but didn't make a special post.

Through my library work, I've learned that, in general, one is an immigrant for a year, and a newcomer for five years. Living in a chosen country for more than five years, most people feel acculturated and no longer think of themselves as newcomers. This was true for me.

11.09.2018

11.11

11 anti-war books, parts 1 and 2.

11 anti-war songs.

Robert Fisk: "...Heaven be thanked that the soldiers cannot return to discover how their sacrifice has been turned into fashion appendage."

Why no red poppy, why no white poppy:
It's that time of year again, the week when no one dares show their face on Canadian television, or indeed in any public place in Canada, without a red poppy symbol dutifully stuck on their lapel. What was once (supposedly) a remembrance of the horrors of war drifted first into a celebration of war and finally into obligatory, reflexive display.

Many of my friends are wearing a white poppy today, and I wish them good luck with their campaign. I myself have no wish to display a physical comment on a symbol that is meaningless to me. It would feel like wearing a Star of David to show that I am not Christian.

There is only one symbol that can express my feelings about the war dead - the Canadians, the Americans, the Germans, the Japanese, the Vietnamese, the Guatemalans, the Africans, the Native Americans, the Iraqis, all my fellow human creatures - and the wounded, and the ruined, and the heartbroken, and the shattered witnesses - the millions of lives wasted - for conquest, for profit, for nationalism, for ideology, for imperialism, for nothing. That is the peace symbol I wear every day. And much importantly, inside, in my heart of hearts, there is my core belief that war is evil and we must oppose it.
Honour the dead by working for peace.

10.31.2018

something you can do with your shock and outrage: support military resistance to u.s. concentration camps

As the outrages pour out of the US daily, or seemingly hourly, good people's shock and horror are often accompanied by feelings of frustration and helplessness.

Far too many well-intentioned organizations are lining up around the midterm elections, as if the answer lies only at the ballot box. Many people are organizing locally to support rallies, demonstrations, letter writing, and the like. Still, the frustration is palpable -- and understandable. These actions, although important, feel so insufficient. The current US government shows no sign of respecting the rule of law or popular opinion, and certainly not morality.

One concrete action we can take to resist the Trump agenda is to support military resistance. Whenever and wherever fascist governments have perpetrated crimes against individuals and against humanity, they have been enabled by the loyalty of the militaries at their commands.

"We were just following orders." This was the answer famously given by Nazi officers on trial for war crimes in Nuremberg, Germany after World War II. The civilized world rejected that answer, and the Nuremberg Principles were created to enshrine that rejection in international law.

Unfortunately -- the most unfortunate thing in the world -- most military personnel the world over do not resist. But some do. And those courageous soldiers are fighting on the frontline for peace and justice.

Military resistance is the most direct blow to the outrages perpetrated by immoral governments the world over. Resistance is a lonely road, and one that comes at a very high price. Ask Chelsea Manning. Ask Kim Rivera, who -- deported by the Canadian government -- gave birth to her youngest child in a military jail.

War resisters need financial support, and they need moral and emotional support. And other soldiers need to know that resistance is possible. As with any groupthink, it's easier to speak out when others have gone before you.

Courage to Resist, which supports the brave and principled soldiers who refuse or resist illegal orders, has launched a new campaign: Do Not Collaborate
This summer, what might have been the defining low point of previous administrations, was simply the outrage of the moment: A plan to have the military host massive concentration camps of upward of 200,000 immigrant detainees across the United States, as we reported to you in July.

These camps do not appear to be going up as quickly nor on such a massive scale as first announced (quite possibly due to the resistance on many levels), but they do appear to be moving forward. On the Texas border at Tornillo Port of Entry, a tent city that first detained a couple hundred children a few months ago will hold nearly 4,000 kids by the end of the year.

Few people actually join the military to travel to distant lands to kill people. Fewer still join to help run concentration camps. Under both US and international law, military personnel have a moral and legal obligation to refuse to comply with any order that involves collaboration with these camps, but unfortunately few are aware of this fact.

That’s why we need your help. Together, we’re going to launch a strategically targeted communications project to reach service members across the country with this message:

These camps are illegal and immoral.

You have a responsibility to refuse and expose these orders.

Direct military resistance is powerful.


Our initial goal is to raise $20,000 to spend approximately one penny per member of the US military with this challenge. Of course, we believe that service members deserve two cents worth of encouragement if we can raise $40,000!

Just the idea of these massive military-hosted immigrant detention camps brings back memories of the forced relocation and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Many of us thought something like that could never happen again, and yet, here we are. Along with everything else you can do to resist this affront to humanity, please support our challenge to military personnel to refuse these illegal orders. Your tax-deductible donation of $50 or $100 will make a huge difference.

Click here to learn more, or to donate to the Do Not Collaborate campaign.

10.29.2018

thank you 2018 red sox! #unstoppable

108-54
   3-1
   4-1
   4-1
   119 wins

It was a magical season. Red Sox owner John Henry said it himself: "This is the greatest Red Sox team ever."

In 2007, I dubbed the championship -- and the team -- inevitable. It stuck, and became the theme of our gamethreads. Last night I asked, "If 2007 was inevitable, what was 2018? What's the one word?"

That word was unstoppable.

My #YearOfTheMookie didn't extend to the World Series. In this round, there were so many unlikely heroes. Steve Pearce won the series MVP award, but my money was on David Price. He was brilliant. As was Chris Sale.

And no one was more brilliant than rookie manager Alex Cora, who pushed all the right buttons to creatively manage his mix-and-match pitching staff. Cora's first act as Red Sox manager was to fly relief supplies to Puerto Rico -- "my island," as he calls it. Last night while receiving congratulations, he asked if he could bring the trophy to that island. Millions of people heard him ask, how can they say no?




Thanks to Joy of Sox for the pics. Many more such beautiful (and a few amusing) photos here.

10.28.2018

i need a canada for my subconscious: the kavanaugh hearings and we go on

I avoided the Kavanaugh hearings as long as I could.

I used to take a special interest whenever survivors go public. I'd read everything I could, write letters to newspapers, speak out on social media. Send a note of support to the woman. Find the sisterhood, share the pain. This hurt, but it helped, too. I think most people who have publicly shared private pain will attest to that: it hurts and it helps.

I'm unwilling to do so any longer, or at least I'm unwilling to do it right now. I avoided all of it. I put my head in the sand. But it found me anyway, as my entire Facebook feed filled with news stories, personal essays, memes, and outrage. I could have avoided Facebook, but that felt like punishing myself.

I saved them all. I planned to do one long wmtc post with all the reaction. I found the time, but not the will. I started having PTSD symptoms again. Or I should say, I started remembering them, because apparently I have them a lot but I'm not aware of it.

Really, it all comes down to this: I am so so so so so totally sick of trauma playing out in my life. I can't stand it anymore. I just cannot stand it.

But of course I will stand it. I have to. Millions of people put up with much worse. I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I'm just fed up. And there's nothing for it. I was fed up with the US and I moved to Canada. There's no moving to Canada for my subconscious.

* * * *

the tyranny of the subconscious

my subconscious is an annoying bitch

in which i admit ptsd is forever

10.27.2018

in which baseball makes me pull an all-nighter: 2018 world series game 3

Last night, the Red Sox and Dodgers, and their fans, survived the longest World Series game in baseball history. Somehow I watched til the end and am still at work today! Joy of Sox (a/k/a Allan) says:
The clock on my desk read 3:30 AM when Max Muncy hit an opposite field home run to left-center in the bottom of the eighteenth inning, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 win over the Red Sox.

This was the longest World Series game of all-time, both by time (7:20) and by innings, smashing the previous record of 14, first set in 1916 when the Red Sox bested the Dodgers. According to a tweet from Stats by STATS, this game lasted 15 minutes longer than the entire 1939 World Series, when the Yankees swept the Reds in four games in a combined 7:05 [Times: 1:33, 1:27, 2:01, 2:04].
I had to work last night, rushing home at 9:15, annoyed that I had already missed 4+ innings. Ha! Allan got home from work at 12:45 a.m. -- catching the last bus of the night -- and was surprised and happy the game was still on. Little did he know there were hours still to play.

I was falling asleep between innings, and often during at-bats. If you stream games the way we do, MLB shows highlight clips -- the same clips, over and over and over -- between innings. And of course some of these clips feature the Red Sox. So I'd have the weirdly disorienting experience of waking up, seeing Jackie Bradley, Jr. make an amazing catch, robbing a player of a home run... only to realize that was a different game.

Perhaps the craziest thing about the night was that I wasn't even heartbroken when the Sox lost, 3-2 in the 18th inning. Both teams blew several scoring chances, and it was only a matter of time before a pitcher gave up a dinger. We took the division series in five games, and the league championship series in five games. Now we'll win the World Series in five games. No problem.

As I crawled into bed, I was sure that I'd call in sick today. But it's Saturday, we're short-staffed, I was out one day last week...so I bit the bullet and limped into work. I'm fine now. Tonight's game, however, may be a different story.

I'm collecting some other thoughts (read: complaints) about MLB, but I'll save them for a future post.