Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An update from my girlfriend, who was raped 3 years ago. Her words are more powerful than mine.

It boggles my mind what some are jailed for, and what actions some walk away from, even with a guilty plea.

Again, fight for each other and stay safe.


It's taken me a while to be able to write this without it turning into a screaming rant...

My mom and dad and Mr. Awesome came to Vancouver with me on August 17 to attend the sentencing of Fernando Manuel Alves. You may remember he pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault in order to have a second charge dropped.
I read my victim impact statement to the court. It was honest and it was painful and though I had to stop a few times to get my voice back or stop my shaking hands, I read it loud and clear. I am proud of that. The judge thanked me for it, and said he hoped one day I would be able to deal with the pain. Then he gave Alves a 9 month conditional sentence, which means no jail time.

... no jail time for sexual assault.

The judge apparently fell for the defence lawyer's "aw shucks, he's a good guy, just didn't realize that she was in no state to be able to give consent." I did not consent, nor would I EVER, to being drugged, leaving a bar through the back door with a disgusting individual, having my nose broken, body bloodied and bruised, and being violently raped. I am enraged, and horrified, and stunned.

The good news is that he IS registered on the Sex Offender's database for the next 20 years. So at least they'll be able to find him when he does it again, which he will.

It has been a long road, almost 3 years, and it's hard not to see this as a huge waste of time. Funny thing is, I did everything I was supposed to, everything I possibly could. It was the police, the Crown counsel, the legal system, and the judge that, in my view, failed horrendously to protect me and all other women out there.

I have found some comfort in the fact that many people are taking up the fight. There are numerous blogs on the internet about the injustice done, and many are writing to the Crown counsel to have the sentence appealed. If you search "Fernando Manuel Alves" you will find the story about the sentencing on CBC.ca, and links to dozens of blogs and comments about it - all thanks to my Special K, who originally wrote about it on her blog. At least the general public seems to understand the horror of our justice system.

We will carry on, as time marches inexorably forward, and time will pass. This chapter is over, and we can only go forward.

Thanks to you all for your support.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


So, I told you all about my great new job, tralalala, life is good etc in my last post. I just realized today that I have had the exact same routine for approx. 4 years now and I am going to have to switch things up! Sometimes Meanie doesn’t like change. I’m of the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it category.
For the past few years I have done the following:

1) alarm goes off at 5:50, I hit snooze until 6:15, at which time I take inventory of who is in my bed (the kiddies, people the kiddies!)

2) stumble to the shower, somehow manage to do all things required to make me beautiful while ½ asleep (let us remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder)

3) tip toe out of the house to avoid contact with said kiddies (I can’t handle guilt trips first thing in the morning about whhhhhyyyyyyy I have to work and whhhhyyyyyyy I can’t bring them to school).

4) After tiptoeing out of the house run like the dickens to my bus stop with 30 seconds to spare.

5) Usually sit in the same seat, on the same bus, nod to the same people every morning.

6) Sleep/read.

7) Get off bus one stop before work so I can get my venti bold black, at the same Starbucks, from the same server, every morning.

8) Walk to work, with intimate knowledge of the timing of the lights.

9) Arrive to office. Nod to the same early birds at the same time each morning.

10) Turn computer on, remove sneakers, put on one of the umpteen pairs of shoes I have stored in my office (pick me pick me! They all call out).

11) Type in pass word, pull breakfast from my lunch bag and eat the same thing I have been eating forever – a green smoothie and an energy bar from Trillium bakery. Only consume coffee once I have finished breakfast, by then it is the perfect

12) Work away, work away, check a few blogs :)

13) 11:00 eat lunch while working.

14) 11:30 Get ready for The Walk (I try to walk for an hour each lunch hour)
15) Return to work when everyone else has gone to lunch (I’m a social butterfly, can’t you tell?)

16) 3:00 p.m. close up shop. Walk one bus stop further than the one closest to me. The one closest to me would require walking back a block, and I can only move forwards, not backwards. Does that make sense?

17) 3:30, grab car, do any quick errands I need to do before I pick up the girls, or pick up the girls, bring them to a park and run them before heading home.

18) Once home, homework is done while I make dinner.

19) Yell at kids to get ready for Brownies/Track/bathtime whatever is going on that evening.

20) 8:00 gather kiddies for bedtime, start off like Mary Poppins, end up like Genghis Kahn because of their bedtime shenanigans.

21) Say goodnight.

22) Go to the office, check email and, ummm, LaineyGossip.

23) Make lunches for the next day (always stressful).

24) Maybe watch a show/fold laundry.

25) Lay out clothes for the next day (I hate September for this – I always lay out something completely inappropriate for the unpredictable weather we are having).

26) Wash face, apply beauty products, pray they will work, brush teeth, floss if feeling ambitious, go to bed.

For my new job I have to take 2 busses to get there. This will add a 27 to my 26 steps of the day. This may require some therapy on my part. And there is no Starbucks where I am going. And I will be in a cubicle, not an office with a door. I may be limited in how many shoes I can bring with me.

Think of me Monday morning.

Monday, September 21, 2009

On to the next adventure.

I’m a public servant. I have been working for various government departments now for about 15 years. I’ve been so so so lucky to have had jobs (for the most part) that have actually interested me as well as provide me with a decent pay cheque, 2 fully paid maternity leaves, generous time off for vacation, illness, and tending to the family when they need some extra TLC. I’ve also had very liberal thinking bosses who have all acknowledged the all important work-life balance, and have been kind enough to have allowed me to work 3 day work weeks, 4 day work weeks, one day from home, and flex hours (all in different circumstances).

I know am lucky, and while I may sometimes complain about the goings on at my work, I have been never been ungrateful for the wonderful opportunities I have been given.

I have been with my current department for 10 years, and found myself a little bored, not too excited to get up in the morning and get to work. I always promised myself that I had to feel good about going to work and never be bored. As soon as I started feeling that way, it would be time to move on (I spent a year in a job that I just hated and it is the worst feeling in the world). I applied for job with another department, a bit of a long shot I thought at the time, and I was pleasantly surprised to be offered it. My new manager has also agreed to a 4-day work week. It sounds like a fun, exciting job, I will still be involved in working with material I find interesting, and will learning about something I know nothing about. Yay all around.

I have that September feeling, making all kinds of promises to myself (I will go to bed earlier and exercise at lunch time – there’s a gym at the new place!) And remember that September feeling of needing a new day timer and notebook, maybe even new back pack and some new clothes? I’m giddy with change.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patrick Swayze was in one of my all time favourite films, The Outsiders. He played the father figure roll. I had forgotten about that all together (I was too preoccupied with Matt Dillon, oh Dally Winston, you made me forever fall in love with bad boys).

I also clearly remember in grade 7 or 8, watching Dirty Dancing with a girlfriend who lost her shit over Swayze – I mean tears and sobs over his-on screen passion. I didn’t get it at the time, but by pure coincidence, I watched the movie this past weekend, and I think I get what she was so worked up over. It is a pretty great movie.

I have never watched Ghost – I really don’t think I could. Just not my cup of tea. When it came out I remember thinking it was the cheesiest movie idea I’d ever heard of. And I can’t stomach Whoopi or Demi much.

What I also remember, and can’t help but laugh out loud whenever I picture it in my head, is the Chippendales skit on Saturday Night Live, featuring Swayze and Chris Farley (also RIP). That was genious, and kudos to Swayze for having a sense of humour.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Shoe installment #3 – Biker Boots

I have gone through 3 pairs of biker boots. I have never owned a motorcycle (though have dated a biker and a Vespa-boy), but I have always loved loved loved the look of biker boots. The love of this look goes back to one image. An image that I saw in Vogue when I was around 14 or 15 years old. It is a picture of Linda Evangelista, wearing a white t-shirt, jeans in a fantastic wash, and these incredible, black, motorcycle boots. She looked a beautiful she-male Marlon Brando. I have carried this image in my head for years. A perfect white-T is easy enough to find, as are jeans (well, those are getting more difficult to find), but the boots have proven to be much, much more difficult.

I have compromised over the years and bought boots that came close, but not quite close enough, to emulating the boots in Vogue. Friends near and far have been dragged into my search. My Montreal peeps knew that when I came to town, part of the trip would involve a likely unsuccessful hunt for “the Boots”. Edie’s former caregiver even called me from a Value-Village one afternoon , as excited as anything, letting me know that she had just picked me up pair of tags-still- on, black Harley Davidson boots, ½ a size too big than what I needed. I’ve actually worn these boots over the past few years, and they have become favourites, but they just weren’t perfect enough.

And then, while searching the Net for the illusive perfect boot, I found them. Without a doubt, these were them. I zoomed in and out on the image, looked at every angle possible (Zappo’s is amazing for that) clicked on my size, the colour I wanted and proceeded to the checkout.


Do not deliver to Canada!! WTF! And only 2 pairs left in this size!!!! What’s a girl to do? I called upon my trusty friend in Chicago, a fellow lover of shopping, who I knew would sympathize. And sure enough, within minutes of sending her an email, she had confirmed that they had been ordered, would be shipped to her husbands’ work and he would take care of sending them off to me. I have nice friends.

And so, here they are. I look nothing like Linda Evangelista, but I do like my boots.

*thanks CD for the pic!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Seigfried and Roy couldn’t have tamed these wild beasts.

Grace and Edie are on probation. As far as Jo and I are concerned, they are never allowed to go to a restaurant ever again. Well at least for a month. And in this month they must practice dinner etiquette. Pretend they are dining with royalty. Pretend their little asses are velcroed to their chairs (hmm, that is actually not a bad idea). The must politely say please and thank you and you are welcome for every little thing their hearts desire. They must respect their father and mothers conversation (as boring as it may be), and wait their turn to say whatever it is they so urgently need to express. And when expressing their thoughts, they must use a volume that is appropriate to the space, as in, if a freight train is not the in the near vicinity, it is appropriate to lower their decibels a few notches.

That’s not what went down last night yo.

As a celebration of back to school, and a celebration of a sunny day in September, we decided to dine out. On a patio. Where cold beer is available. I’m not sure where it all fell apart. Could have been when the girls whined and fought for the bench seat. Could have been when they refused to sit down. Could have been when they started fighting over crayons. Could have been when Edie wouldn’t stop asking where her food was. I do know, that by the time our drinks and food came, Jo and I were regretting our decision to dine out. I also know that when Jo took Edie’s straw away from her because he had asked her to stop blowing bubbles and she didn’t listen, Edie did not react well. There was a tantrum a-brewing, and other diners were being disturbed. The ultimatum was to stop crying or else she would have to go to the van. This resulted in further (loud) protests, so I picked Ms. Edie up, and walked her to the van. Did I mention I knocked over a pitcher of ice water on the next table in the process? Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhh.

While sitting with the prisoner in the van, apparently Grace took this opportunity to bounce all over the bench, defying Jo’s order to sit down and eat her meal. A pretty picture, right?

Once Edie had waved the white flag and agreed to finish her meal quietly, I brought her out of the van. I also insisted that she apologize to the wait staff, to the table beside us, and to her father. She was mortified but I think it was an important lesson.

The rest of the meal was eaten in silence. Not an “gee I’m enjoying my dinner” silence, but more of “if I hear one more word out you young ladies there will be trouble” kind of silence. Which is really too bad. It could have been a nice evening out.

And that is why the girls are on probation. They are not happy about it, but the Meanies are cracking down on this kind of behaviour. I don’t have the expectation of bringing them to a 5 star restaurant, but it would be nice to go to a casual diner and talk about our day.

To the people dining somewhere on Bank Street last night, again, my sincere apologies. We won’t be back for a month, 6 months, a year. Whatever it takes.

Please tell me you have similar horror stories, we aren’t the only ones who have been unsuccessful in socializing our children, right????? Honestly people, it’s like they were feral.