Fat and Not Afraid

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LoZ: Breath of the Wild First Impressions

March 4, 2017

Yesterday was Nintendo Switch launch day and with it came the latest installment in the Legend of Zelda series for both the Switch AND the Wii U. I picked up my U copy, had dinner and put it on. Then waited 15 minutes while it updated. I couldn't believe it! Having to wait for an update on Launch Day kinda ruined the flow and excitement of starting a new game. 

Finally it was ready and I got to play through the intro scenes I've seen online: Link waking up in a tank of water, listening to Zelda's voice. I went outside into the HUGE new world and explored. It really is a gorgeous game and the controls are pretty smooth. I picked up various weapons right away, some food items, fought a few bokoblins and even died a couple of times. Falling HURTS. Being cold HURTS. Auto-saving is great.

I have to work later today so I'm turning the game over to Gabe and Ryan and discovered you can only have one save file at a time. What kind of bullshit is this?! I paid around $100 for a game that only one person can play at a time? Every other Zelda game since the SNES has been able to have multiple files. Hell, even Hyrule Warriors has multiple save files. I don't want to share my file with the family; we'll all miss out on exploring on our own and discovering the game, Ryan especially. DISAPPOINTED.

Graphics: 5/5

Story so far: 4/5

Controls: 4/5

Technical difficulties: 1/5


Life Update part eleventy two

February 21, 2017

Hello friends! Not dead, just busy. Lots of fun things have been happening around here lately so let me get you up to speed:

  • Gabe has been working hard all month on a YUGE elections campaign project for school. He hands it in today and I'm SO NERVOUS. He's put a good effort into it, with a lot of guidance and prodding from Ryan and I, so if he gets a bad mark we're all going to be devastated. But, if nothing else, it's given us an important insight into how Gabe's brain works, and doesn't. He has such a hard time with getting his ideas out of his head onto paper in full sentences and paragraphs. He does much better with lists. Technically he's met all the requirements of the project so he wont fail, but I just have no idea how well or how bad he'll do.
  • We spent the long Family Day weekend in the Soo visiting family and we had a BLAST. Saturday was spent with my side of the family at my mom's. We went sledding, had a massive snowball fight, built forts in the backyard for another snowball fight and topped off the day with a delicious spaghetti dinner. The next day we went for a swim in the afternoon with my mom, inlaws, sister in law, her kids and mine, and I was able to enjoy an outdoor hot tub for the first time. Dinner was at Casey's then home to relax. Monday was the Bushplane Museum and despite a half hour wait to get in the door because Family Day, we had a good time. We drove home Sunday night and sang along to our family road trip song, We Will Rock you/We Are the Champions.
  • Earlier this month I cemented a friendship with a lady I know a couple of different ways; during a snow day Erin came by to pick up the kids and I and bring us to the indoor play place. Unfortunately I hadn't shoveled the driveway and her mini-van got stuck. No amount of pushing was helping and even after we shoveled out a bunch of snow we needed rescue from a couple of Eastlink guys who happened to come by. Despite her almost running me over (putting the car in park before you get out is important!) I think our friendship was cemented with all the laughs.
  • Still waiting to get things resolved with National Student Loans. Still waiting for Ryan's paperwork to be finished with the Ministry of Transportation so he can get his special license for work.

Electoral Reform: Graphs and Percentages

February 6, 2017

Late last week our Prime Minister broke one of his biggest election promises; that the Liberals would not be moving forward with electoral reform. I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed. The first past the post system we currently have isn't any good when we have more than 2 parties running for election. Some might argue that, seeing as how the Conservatives and the Liberals have been the only parties to ever form government, we DO only have 2 real parties, but they'd be missing the point.

One of the reasons the Liberals decided against election reform was most of the Canadians who answered their survey at MyDemocracy.ca said they were 'somewhat or mostly satisfied' with how our government currently works. They cited at 67% rating, which was a combination of the somewhats at 50% and the verys at 17%. Using that logic, I say that we should definitely move forward on electoral reform, and here's why:

70% of Canadians polled said they wanted several parties to govern and be responsible for decision making. Figure 3.1.3

That right there? Shows how much and how differently Canadians want this country run. We want our parties to work together to create a better Canada. We're tired of one party, who only won maybe 35-40% of the vote, to have 100% of the power and make 100% of the decisions.

This answer was reflected again, somewhat differently, a little later in the survey, when 62% of those surveyed said they wanted several parties to work together, even if it takes longer for things to get done. Figure 3.4.1

The next question discovered that 68% of Canadians said a party with a majority should have to compromise with other parties, even if it means changing some of it's priorities. The follwing question again gave a 70/30 split in favour of having multiple governing parties that agree. Fig 3.4.3

The Liberal Party was handed a clear mandate and they threw it away. Justin Trudeau had a chance to cement his legacy and stand up as one of Canada's greatest Prime Ministers but he and his party balked, probably hoping to get reelected in 2019 with a comfy majority. I doubt it. People will remember this enormous broken promise and vote accordingly.

Meanwhile, the NDP have jumped on this opportunity and are promoting electoral reform strongly in their ridings and with their candidates. I can only hope that with with Trump in power in the states, and the ass-backwards way that he came to power, Canadians wake up and make positive changes to that these kinds of absurd power-grabs stop happening.

A Woman's Place is in the Resistance

January 25, 2017

How much things can change in just a week! Since Trump's inauguration on Friday, America has been going downhill far more rapidly than I ever thought possible. How is it that one man can undo so much of what was achieved in the last 8 years?

To comfort myself I repeat an old teaching: The world only spins forward. The long arc of history shows our progression and looking back we'll see what's to come, the next four years, as a blot of ink on another-wise bright page of progress. We've accomplished so much in the last 100 years it's stunning, and one Cheeto-Skinned fascist can't undo it all. Millions of people came together on Saturday for the Women's March to say NO to what's come before and YES to a better world for themselves and their children's children's children.

I say yes to compassion, love and empathy for all people, but I embrace Punch a Nazi Day because punching a Nazi is always in self-defense-just make sure they're an actual Nazi, not just someone you don't disagree with.

I say yes to slowing, stopping and if possible, reversing climate change. It's not an alternative fact that the world is getting hotter, the oceans more acidic, the seas rising. We must stop it or another mass extinction is on the horizon.

I say yes to healthcare for all, clean water and air for all, housing and food for all. We could do this already but some of us are greedy. We need to mobilize and fix the systems, build our own gardens, plant our own trees. It's clear that the governments, in the pocket of the corporations, wont be helping.

Act locally and think globally.


Thankful Thursday (early!)

January 18, 2017

It's good to stop and smell the roses; have you ever done that? Literally stopped on your way to or from someplace to smell a rose? I have and it's a lovely thing to do. Around here we have wild roses in the summer and sometimes you can smell them from a block away, their perfume wafting towards you on a warm breeze. They're not large or showy like some garden varieties, but there isn't anything like their smell. I wish I could bottle it and keep some for a winter's day like today.

In that vein I want to take a second to count my blessings, for they are many! Sometimes I forget that, like when the grater goes by three times and my first thought is "Ugh! I have to shovel that?!" Or when I come home to dishes to do and a messy kitchen because the kids came home from school and threw their stuff everywhere.

So thanks, public employee, for scraping the snow pack off the road and making it easier to get to my appointment later! And for the extra cardio I'll get from shoveling the mess in the driveway.

Mmm breakfast.

These monkeys make me want to be a better person every day. They motivate me to change the world for the better, not just for them, but for their hypothetical kids and everyone else. We're all on this rock together.

This handsome guy. He's just the sweetest, kindest man. He listens when I'm ranting, hugs me when I'm sad, celebrates with me and encourages me and also isn't afraid to call me on my bull. He pulls his weight around here despite working weird hours and traveling more often now. He's an amazing father and husband and I'm thankful for him every day. I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for him.

A forever shout out to my best friend, Erin, who is a new auntie again as of yesterday and has known me for the longest of anyone in my life who isn't blood related. Erin has a beautiful soul, generous and loving, and I'm in awe of her strength and the life she's built for herself.

Much love to my parents, inlaws, sister and aunts for all their love and support over the years. You are, and will remain, in our hearts.

Thankful for good tunes, celebrity 'likes' on Twitter (Sir Patrick Stewart, Bif Naked and Vincent D'Onofrio!) and free healthcare. Adieu!



New Year, New Squirrels

January 10, 2017

Well it was a lovely Christmas break; Kat was off for 3 weeks instead of two thanks to a nasty virus or something and Ryan and I ended up loaded with head colds for Xmas eve, day and Boxing Day but at least we were all together and we were able to relax. We went sledding and drank hot chocolate and ate chocolates, slept in, stayed up late, caught up on some Star Trek Next Generations and Deep Space Nine and generally loafed about when we weren't at work.

It IS good to get back to the regular routine, however. Yesterday and today we were up and the kids were out the door promptly at 745. Gabe helped without complaint to get the recycling to the curb before the truck came and now I have the morning to myself to putter about and put things in place before Ryan gets home tonight. He's been in the Soo a day or so for work at his new job and we're both hoping the expected snow storm holds off and lets him travel safely.

Work is work-not much to say there. I enjoy working at the new location far more than downtown; the clientele is more what I'm used too (ie, fewer drunks/stoners) and no-one is sleeping in the flower beds outside. The ladies I work with are all wonderful people with their own quirks and stories, though I do miss Jerry and Shannon quite a bit. My new manager is thrilled with my performance but I'm still learning to not stick my oar in where it's not needed. Just working on getting my squirrels at a rave to ducks in a row!

How is the new year treating you? How were your holidays?

Winter Is

December 13, 2016

Today's post is brought to you by sore arms!

Winter Is...

Walking your kid to school and not being able to see because your glasses have fogged up thanks to the scarf over your nose.


Your neighbour waving and saying "It's cool out this morning, eh?" when it's -30C.  You reply "Just a bit!" and keep moving. You share a conspiratorial smile that neither can see because of all the material covering your faces but feel it instead.

Peeling off the layers as soon as you get in the house or you'll roast


Hot chocolate after sledding.

Hot chocolate after skating.

Hot chocolate after shoveling.

Hot chocolate because Winter.


Scraping the ice off your windshield while the car warms up.

Shoving the snow off the roof of your car while it warms up.

Going back inside to brush your teeth while the car warms up.


Long nights full of stars with air so cold you can barely breathe.

Short days were sun on snow dazzles your eyes with diamonds.

Grey periods where you're uncertain if the sun came up and went down.


Blood Red Thread

December 7, 2016

In the past few months I've had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with an entirely new group of women because of my transfer at work. It began with moving from the Soo to Sudbury and transferring from downtown to the north end cemented it. It has been a pleasure and an honour to hear their stories, to be trusted in this way, an effortless connection through being a woman. 

What does that mean, exactly? It means growing up and living in the patriarchy, navigating that narrow line of acceptable behaviour, dress and manner in order to try and stay safe, and managing the hurt, anger and disappointment when inevitably we are injured in some way. It does appear to me now that it IS inevitable; every new woman I meet I can connect with instantly through the sharing of our mutual stories of assault, harassment or shame. It's not exaggeration to say it's every woman. So far, it is. And if I haven't heard their story yet in full, I've picked up on enough to get a general idea from the way they talk about themselves or their past relationships .

When you grow up in a world that sees you as less intelligent, strong, able, and therefore valuable than the other half of it, it leads to all kinds of problems that we see around us every day but are so ingrained in our society that to name them all and then try to fix them all feels like too much. It's so much, so big that I don't even want to put the effort in to write it here. The statistics are out there if you want them, on rape and abuse and pay inequality and representation and everything else. It's out there literally at your fingertips on the keyboard. Those stats aren't my point today, the day after Canada's day of Remembrance of the Montreal Massacre. Anyone reading this who wants to keep thinking we don't have a problem as a species is delusional and ignorant in the extreme, and I'm not going to change their mind.

My point is that you are not alone; male or female or somewhere in between, I hear you and I know that you have been hurt in some way by this world we live in, and it's arbitrary rules about who is valued and who is not. If you're a man who dares to have some feminine qualities, like having emotions, you know what I mean. It's that lack of respect for the feminine, the experiences of that disrespect I share with so many people, that tie me so effortlessly and quickly to them. The ties that bind us are red with blood; blood from split lips or broken hymens, spattered on walls or staining the carpet. Those ties are purple and blue from bruises hidden by turtlenecks and long sleeve shirts, sunglasses, and pants in the summer. It's scratchy along the edges like wool, but instead of warmth all we hear are the nagging voices internalized telling us we aren't good enough, pretty enough or smart enough to really matter.

And yet women rise, over and over again, through millennia of neglect and abuse, and continue to do the work of living. We choose to trust, over and over again, despite all the weight of history, personal and global, that says we shouldn't. After all, not all men are abusers. Not all men are Nice Guys. Not all men. But all women, all women without exception have lived in this and experienced life this way. The unfairness of it, the horror and brutality of it, is compounded the less valuable you are; fat? Black? Native? Disabled? Queer? Welcome to starting off the race five steps behind instead of just one.

But still we rise, over and over again, to live and do the work of living. To start over, to begin each new generation with the same sweet hope as the one before; this time it will be different. And each time it is, a little. Each rising is a wave against an unforgiving, uncaring shoreline. Someday, not in my lifetime and not in Katherine's or my theoretical grandchildren's and probably not even in their children's lifetime, but someday, the dream of true equality will come true.

Until then keep rising. If you're tired, I'll help you. After all, we're tied together.

Kintsukuroi Repaired with Love

November 16, 2016

You may have seen this image floating around the last little while:

The philosophy here is as beautiful as one of the pieces; Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage."

While chatting with Ryan last night I came to fully understand and embrace a concept that I've been learning slowly for years; being broken, and repaired, is OK. I'll often say when feeling sad or depressed or triggered, Sorry, I'm broken. Or sorry I'm broken. (Punctuation is important!) I know where my fault lines are, where I've been shattered apart and rebuilt and despite it being corny or dramatic, I realize that those cracks and scars have been repaired with love. They glitter with that most precious of things.

Every time I break it's love that repairs me; the love of my children and mine for them, the love of my wonderful husband and mine for him, and the love of my extended friends and family. It pours, drips or trickles in as I allow, when the jagged edges are prepared to be joined again. Love sustains and heals and strengthens me until not only am I stronger than before but also more beautiful-not in a shallow, skin deep and fleeting manner but deeper, more interesting. My mental and emotional scars allow me to shine a golden and compassionate glow on others, to channel empathy and understanding. Only through being broken and repaired can I understand another's pain and need for healing.

Buckle Up

November 14, 2016

Hi everyone! It's JeninCanada and I wrote something I felt I just had to say out loud. It's been quite a week, hasn't it? Leonard Cohen died, I'm being transferred (by my request) to a new branch, my mom and sister in law were in town this weekend for a visit and Donald Trump is president elect of the United States. Enjoy the text wall, or watch the video below. Sorry for the weird sound quality.

There's a lot I could write that's already been said by others, and probably more cohesively and with greater eloquence, about that garbage nightmare Trump's win. Election night, like many of you, I said watching the results roll in; first with elation, then with trepidation. I went to bed sometime near midnight after a couple of rum and cokes and cried my heart out. I prayed to Ma'at and Athena for justice, for civilization and basically for the future. It was for naught. I woke in the morning, got the kids out the door to school, and went back to bed for another two hours and cried some more. Hillary Clinton, despite being one of, if not THE most qualified candidates in history, would not become the next president of the United States.

Despite being Canadian, I feel like someone has died. Election night, as Kat was getting ready for bed and the dream was still strong, I told her: When you get  up in the morning, a woman like me and you is going to be in charge of the most powerful country in the world." Florida made me a liar. Goddamn you Florida, can't you ever get it right? Seriously though, I am in mourning as so many other women and men are. We needed Hillary to win. We needed to see that the world would continue onwards and upwards, hope and change, spinning forward into a better, brighter tomorrow. But it didn't. It's four years of backsliding into 1942 and how quickly and ugly it is is breathtaking.

My heart breaks for all of the people who are now, more than ever, living in fear for their safety and security, and even their lives. It breaks for the children being told by their peers they're going to be 'sent home' to a country they've never even been too, or that their parents are going to be taken away from them. It breaks for the people of faith, Muslims and Hindus (because who can tell them apart, amirite? They all wear that thing on their heads! Send 'em all home!) who are going to be further targeted for hatred and violence. The suicide prevention lines for LGBTQ people have been jammed and trans suicides spiked. What hope is there for them when Mike Pence, Mr. Gay Shock Therapy, is the Vice President?

What hope is there for our land and water when you have a climate change denier in a top post? What kind of world will my grandchidren grow up in? What hope is there for education when Trump's gone and put a creationist in charge of education? SARAH PALIN IS HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. Drill baby drill! She can't see Russia from her house any more but she can see dollar signs in Yosemite park.

It's a frightening time to be alive for Americans. For the rest of us, we're thankful to not be, but as I share the longest undefended border in the world with them, and our economies and yes, even culture, is so interwoven, it didn't take long for the hate to bubble up here too. Like the faint gassy smell of Toronto's downtown, racism and white supremacy has always been a thing in Canada but now those folks, the Soldiers of Odin and the Conservative Party of Canada, look south and say "See! SEE! If they can do it, we can do it!" An Ottawa elementary school had a swastika spray painted on it over the weekend, with a KKK beside that for good measure. One of the candidates for the leadership of the Conservatives actually, and with out irony, praised Trump's win and said we need to bring his kind of anti-elitist politics here.

Over my dead body.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders aren't giving up. The Democrats are an absolute mess right now but I believe that they'll sort themselves out, learn from this embarrassing and disasterous defeat, and address their failings in time for the 2018 elections. When I told Gabe that Hillary didn't win, and asked him what we were going to do, he said "Move to the United States and help out so things aren't too bad there?" I was so proud of him. Then I said "No way in hell. But we ARE going to do everything we can to make sure that a person like Trump NEVER gets close to running Canada."

I hope the Liberals and the NDP take note as well; white, rural Americans voted overwhelmingly for Trump for a variety of reasons; Prejudice has always clung to the edges of the map-cities are the great melting pots of a country. If you've spent your whole life in Small Town USA and never interacted with a Muslim or an African American or a lesbian except what you saw on TV, heard on talk radio or learned from your Small Town Parents, then you're going to believe Trump when he says Mexican are rapists, Blacks are thugs, and Muslims are terrorists. Being a rural American also means having watched as your government bowed to the will of massive multinational corporations for generations and shipped all the 'good jobs' overseas, destroyed the unions that made your grandfather's quality of life possible, and ruined the environment. These awful changes affected the cities as well, and it should go without saying but it still needs saying anyway, and affected women and minorities worse than anyone else, but did those groups vote for Trump? NO they did not. They voted overwhelmingly for Hillary.

The difference is women and minorities don't have a convenient scapegoat; they ARE the scapegoat. They get thrown under the bus of white male anger and Trump becomes president elect. And the same types of problems exist in Canada-rural Canada is very Conservative. They like their rifles and their atvs and their small town living and they don't like anyone who's different. They like the good old days when jobs were plentiful and paid well and the world at large wasn't so damn scary and messed up. The Baby Boomers ruined the economy and now they've voted in some more of the same to try and fix it? That's the definition of insanity.

Just to be clear; a vote for Trump because a person thought that he'd fix the economy was also very much a vote for racism, sexism, xenophobia and homophobia. A vote for Trump was a vote for letting big business and white supremacists into the White House. It was a vote for setting back the clock to 1942. The next four years are going to be a VERY bumpy ride. Buckle up, folks.

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