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mark a rayner: He’s My Man: Leonard Cohen

I’m sure most people are still trying to understand Trump’s win, but seriously, they’re missing the meaning of Cohen’s loss. He made the personal epic, but in the right way. Leonard Cohen will be lauded as a songwriter, and a poet, but for me, he was always a consummate storyteller. The kind of storyteller I . . . → Read More: mark a rayner: He’s My Man: Leonard Cohen

Terahertz: Introducing PolitiCoast

There’s not much going on here these days but if you’re still following this feed, make sure to check out my new project: PolitiCoast – a Canadian politics podcast.

Our marketing’s so good we’ve already been accused of hiding our funding.

Is this new podcast funded by someone? Its timing and apparent . . . → Read More: Terahertz: Introducing PolitiCoast

Scripturient: Old habits, old junk

The past couple of weeks I have been trying to turn my office (one of our spare bedrooms, once upon a time) back into my office. A working space I’ll need when Susan retires this winter. My man cave, so to speak. Over the past few years, since I sold the store and went back . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Old habits, old junk

wmtc: what the strike meant to us, in our own words

Image: “We Hit Them Like A Wave” — Diane DaviesAfter CUPE 1989 ratified our new contract, I said I would write about the intangible gains we made through our strike, the kind that aren’t written in the collective agreement. I’ve heard labour activists… . . . → Read More: wmtc: what the strike meant to us, in our own words

wmtc: what the strike meant to us, in our own words

Image: “We Hit Them Like A Wave” — Diane Davies

After CUPE 1989 ratified our new contract, I said I would write about the intangible gains we made through our strike, the kind that aren’t written in the collective agreement. I’ve heard labour activists say that strikes are a “transformative experience” — a life-changing event — and now I know why. Standing up for ourselves, asserting our own rights, is a crucial part of every person’s development. But learning how to stand up collectively is a different level of power.

For many of our members, the strike was their first time seeing themselves as part of something larger than themselves — seeing our union not just as 400 library workers who happen to work for the same employer, but as part of CUPE, and part of the labour movement itself.

Striking together brought so much unity and solidarity among our members, so much goodwill and love and caring. Of course there were some complaints and some finger-pointing. Nothing is ever 100% — even our ratification vote was only 99%! But the huge majority of our members were supportive and caring — and determined.

At work, we are full-time and part-time, we are pages, librarians, library assistants, couriers, cataloguers. But on the line, we were one: we were 1989.

I could go on and on about this — I often do! — but I’d rather let our members speak in their own words. These are quotes from emails and from our closed discussion group on Facebook. Although I am quoting each anonymously, these all are actual quotes from our members. And from most of these, I’ve removed effusive thanks to the leaders and the bargaining team!

Reflections after we returned to work

It was sad we had to go out, but I’m glad I was part of it before I left. That was the first time in my entire 39 years working for MLS that I felt we were truly united! We should all be proud of that. (from a recently retired member)

***

The journey we all were on for three weeks was enlightening, because now we all know that striking is not easy, but we made friends along the way. We had a unity, a togetherness, instead of the divisions between part-timers and full-timers that some of us thought might happen.

It wasn’t all about the money but also the principle of the matter — fairness, equality, respect, being valued.

What I learned after I went back to work was how much our customers really cared and loved us. I heard “Thank God you are all back!” “I really miss you guys!”, “You’re a sight for sore eyes!”

It was a lot of sweating, walking, with moments of happiness and despair, but for a good cause and I would do it again.

***

We got lots of “welcome back” greetings and warm feelings when we reopened yesterday, as well as some unexpected ire from patrons angry about the raw deal the City had offered us. Seems like some regulars were letter writing (in our favour) during the strike!

Later we received two lovely pictures from little kids welcoming us back as only little kids can. Proof that we make a difference. We matter to people!

There comes a time in your life when you have to take a stand. Fight for what is right. Fight for “the greater good” and not just think about yourself. For me, this strike was my time. I will never pass by another strike and think that a quick honk is enough support. I will always stop to ask if there is anything I can do to help. Water, snacks, words of encouragement. Make calls. Walk the line with them. Whatever I can do to make a difference no matter how small.

As much as it’s not fun to be forced to strike by the employer, I have grown through this experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

***

Celebration Square will look empty and sad without all the pink-wearing ladies and gents. It wasn’t easy, and I am happy that strike is over, and we will go back to do what we love with all our passion. But still, I will miss our togetherness and unity and friendship and feeling that we are doing something very important, that we are changing Mississauga Library System forever, that we have a very strong voice and determination to do what is right. This is even a historic moment because this was the first time that our library went on strike! Solidarity and love to all of you.

***

I will probably retire next year, but I feel so good about what we all just did, leaving our union in such better condition, proud of ourselves, no longer afraid to strike. I am so glad I had a small part in this. I am so glad that I got to experience a “kinder gentler strike” and to witness solidarity in action.

***

I still can’t believe the unity the strike created. I admit feeling a little let down once the picketing ended, knowing that I wouldn’t be seeing so many of my colleagues daily. It was way better than any staff appreciation or team-building exercise our employer could come up with. The caring about people, checking up on one another, lifting morale when one of us was having a tough day, making sure colleagues were staying hydrated and being safe on hot, hot days.

We have all changed as co-workers. People I used to pass in the building with a smile and hello now take time to stop for a quick chat.

I know for myself, I will never look at striking workers the same. I always used to honk when driving past a strike and even dropped off coffee and Timbits when the teachers were out, but now I will go out of my way to drop things off to the picket lines and find time to walk with picketers. I will tell them to stay strong and they will look back on this time fondly. I know I will!

***

My first day on the strike, I was a little uncertain as many probably were. Within 15 minutes, up went the flag, someone handed me a sheet of chants. “Be a rebel,” she said. And so I was. My favourite part was blocking the executive garage, and chanting at the corner of Burnhamthorpe. Apparently the city received many complaints about the noise.

I met the most wonderful people and the kindness of strangers. Bringing water and freezies and honking. We really had a lot of public support. I learned so much and wouldn’t change those three weeks for anything.

Returning to work we realized the public was totally with us. So happy to see us back. I find it funny they were more appreciative of our return from the strike than when we were closed for 18 months [for renovations]. Many of our customers read between the lines of City’s press.

I will never pass a picket line again without honking or stopping to see if they need anything. Another thought I had mid point of the strike was: it wasn’t us vs. them, it was US FOR US.

***

Let me tell you about returning to work at the Lorne Park branch. Every person that came through our doors said, “Welcome back, we missed you.” Of course we told them we missed them also. Lots of hugs from regulars. Then patrons started bringing in treats. A large fruit tray from one, and homemade, still-warm banana muffins. We were missed as much as we missed them.

I did miss them, but I wouldn’t have traded our three weeks together for anything. Connecting with old friends and making new friends. Together, fighting for fairness.

***

All reports about our return were positive. Customers brought staff cookies, someone brought a potted plant! Everyone was saying, “Welcome back! We missed you.” Customers asked, “Are you happy, did it work out for you?” I have not heard one report of a negative comment from our customers.

During the strike…

Today was a really interesting time. Standing up for worker’s rights at the library was a unifying experience. It was really encouraging to hear so many commuters honk their horn in support!

***

I can’t believe how many caring and talented people work for the library. There are too many to name individually, but I see at least one of them being brilliant every single day. It stuns me that our Employer can be so willfully disrespectful to those who give so much of themselves seemingly as naturally as they breathe air.

It’s ridiculous how our Employer has turned so many of its best and brightest against itself. There are incredibly dynamic library workers, and often it’s these very folks who are channeling their boundless energies and exceptional levels of commitment into keeping our Union strong while standing up to the very organization they give their proverbial blood, sweat and tears to every day.

I love how united we are. We have 20+ year veterans picketing with fresh-faced newcomers. Librarians and senior librarians with couriers and technical services processors. Full-timers, part-time part-timers and pages. Everybody sounds passionate, committed, and fed up with always being treated as an afterthought.

Also, in my role, I get to more branches and departments than most, and every day I see the great things that we do! It really is impressive how we’ve come together across all job classifications. That alone shows how badly our Employer has screwed things up: EVERYBODY has had enough!

***

I didn’t realize how big an impact a strike can make until I heard comments from our supporters. Kinda like being a part of something bigger than oneself.

***

I have never felt such a deep sense of belonging. I am so proud!!!!

***

I’m falling in love with my Union!! I am seeing so much of the best that people can be these last few days (ha ha…with some exceptions, of course, but I tend to ignore those parts).

Really, I am in awe! Thank you and the rest of the team for your strength and perseverance!

Woohoo! Onward march!!

During some tough times…

I support our union! Goodbye 0.5% and minimum wage! We will not blame our union whether we achieve our aims or not. Because: no fight, no hope at all!!!

***

I’ve been a library employee (and union member) for almost 30 years. In that time, we’ve come close to striking on two occasions (one of them within a hair’s breadth) but we’ve always backed off. Why? First, fear; second, a naïve belief that if we were “reasonable” our employer would recognize this and reward us “the next time”. This “next time” never came, so we drew a line in the sand—and our employer hasn’t just crossed it, they’ve obliterated it with their mean-spirited and insulting offer. I’m sure they did this because they assumed, as in past years, that we would back off. Well, the chickens have come home to roost — only we’re not chickens. We’re taking a long-overdue stand against the erosion of our standard of living.

I’ve spoken with a number of people on the picket line and haven’t heard one word of dissent. I wonder if the City realizes that everything they’ve said and done thus far has only galvanized support for the strike? They will not break us. We all stand together.

***

This letter [from the library director] is an insidious attempt to divide us; its aim is to plant doubt in the minds of the Union members, weaken our trust and ultimately sap the vigour, commitment and passion that Union members feel right now ( and which [the director] and the other senior managers can witness so vividly from their library offices when they observe us out on Celebration Square).

It must be rankling some of them immensely to see us all together so strong and committed. A cliché but true: divide and conquer. This is what she is trying to do to us.

It is shameful that she is resorting to this tactic and indeed an insult to our intelligence; it is once again treating us as if we are children.

Please know that I stand by you and the rest of the Union leaders. I have not yet received this letter in the mail from Rose. When I do, I will follow up as you suggest (send her a simple, polite response that I stand with my union).

I trust that the rest of our Union membership will do the same.

***

Tsk tsk tsk, don’t the employers know their attempts to divide us backfires? It’s amazing how loud librarians can get. Today I’ll test my hearing. But so far so good. I think it survived yesterday.

Sending positive thoughts/vibes/prayers to the bargaining team this week. Go get them!!!

***

Before we went on strike, I already had a bit of activism experience . . . . Now I’m involved in a different type of activism (our Union strike) and it’s fascinating to see where the two types of activism share common ground: ultimately both are profoundly powerful agents for positive change and deeply life-changing for the activists.

I’m sure all of our CUPE Union members who`re working so hard together in this current struggle with the City feel this.

***

Yes! We need to persevere and support each other and stand up for the fairness of this strike. I envision our strike also helping other struggling workers in the process.

***

I, for one, am willing to be out on strike for however long it takes; you can count on me.

I believe (as you do) that if we keep it up, we WILL prevail.

I’ve worked for the Mississauga Library System for over two decades and never at any time had any illusion about the employer-employee relationship.

It feels very good to finally have a strong, truly committed Union leadership to inspire library union members to stand up to the City, make it accountable for its actions and demand a fair contract for library staff, a contract that respects good working conditions and a just, equitable remuneration for all levels of staff.

Alongside this it’s wonderful to see the strength and friendship among library staff as we unite together in this strike.

Also wonderful to see the community support we’re receiving from so many of our customers; truly heartwarming!

Not to mention the support and encouragement our Union is receiving from so many other unions and labour organizations.

***

I am not at all surprised at the behaviour for the City, having worked the library/City for 42 years, this is what I have seen and known for a long time. They have taken advantage of the library staff because we were seen as weak and as we continued to back down at the last minute when a strike was so close it seemed to confirm that. Going on strike is a very difficult thing to do especially for a group who make such low wages, therefore making it very hard to have money in the bank to get you through a strike — and management knows that and uses that. I feel the City would not and do not treat or feel the same why about the other City Unions that are mostly dominated by men.

Your words say it so clearly and I do hope all of library union members are able to hang in there. This is a very hard fight against an unfeeling or caring employer.

When we returned to the table…

Dear Laura

We are with you and the bargaining team.

Thank you.

***

Good luck to you and the bargaining team. I wish the city would realize what a dedicated crew we (the library workers) are. To strike in summer heat and not falter. It must say something about us as a group.

One thing about this strike. You can meet staff you don’t usually work with and catch up with staff that you do. Whether they be your branch or another.

I appreciate seeing the extra support we are getting. The Fight for 15 Fairness, Maureen O’Reilly, Fred Hahn, so many others. Yup, this is bigger then just us. I would love to see minimum raised to 15 across the province.

When we reached a settlement…

I can’t believe it! This is so wonderful! I am so proud to work with such amazing, strong, dedicated and compassionate people. Congratulations to everyone for a fight well fought!

***

I will cherish my wonderful memories of picketing, rallies, friendship, unity.

***

I will definitely miss walking and talking to everyone as well! I will miss our togetherness and preserverance, I will always remember this bonding experience! Love you guys!

***

18 days ago, my sisters and brothers of CUPE 1989 set out on a journey to show our employer that we were fed up with our working conditions. That we would no longer stand for these unfair working condition.

This strike has taught me many things (some not so good, but let’s focus on the positive); there are so many amazing people that work in our library system, the support, the SOLIDARITY. The support of the public and other unions in this fight was unbelievable.

I hope that we never have to experience this again, but it is now a memory I will cherish, better than any staff appreciation our employer will ever put on for us. I was definitely feeling the stress this past week, but everyone was so supportive and I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

I hope that our fight will help others fight for what’s fair and help end precarious work. I say all this still not knowing what the deal will be, but I trust that our bargaining team would not settle for anything less than we deserve. I don’t know about you, but I’m celebrating this weekend!

***

What a wonderful experience this was for all of us. This strike gave me confidence!! I got to know so many wonderful members from the library system and from other wonderful CUPE members. It’s an unforgettable experience for me. I will cherish this wonderful memories

Let’s carry this hope, loyalty and friendship forward into our workplace and stay respectful and kind to all of our friends who fought this battle and carried the flags and talked the talk… let this be our future mission!

***

I was starting to feel the stress, my morale was down and then a few conversations with colleagues and a couple negative comments made by people made me take a step back and say ‘hey wait a minute’ and that just motivated me more. Thank you so much for your tireless efforts for us and thank you to everyone who was out there on the picket lines every day in the heat, no matter what, fighting the good fight. I have had the chance to talk to and meet so many people I didn’t know before so thank you for those connections as well. I am on vacation next week but I will be excited to get back and see all the excited kids for the summer programs.

***

Every time I wear a pink shirt from now on it will mean something more than just wearing a pink shirt.

***

I am so excited to go back to work but I will miss every moment of my picketing!! Wow! We had so much fun. See you all [at the ratification vote] with our similing faces. We did it! We won!!!

***

I feel like we won the lottery! Only we didn’t win it, we FOUGHT for it!

After a member expressed concern about part-time getting “more” than full-time…

I knew in time opinions like this would surface. This is EXACTLY what the employer wants. They want staff to have the “this doesn’t effect me, so I don’t support the movement” attitude.

This is the response that I myself have received from friends and family: “But you’re full-time permanent now, why do you care about other levels that you probably won’t go back to?” But once they hear the issues they understand.

I care because I was part-time for 15 years, and I received nothing. I care because when I became full-time I suddenly had all these things I never had before, I was suddenly so much more important, when nothing had changed. My work ethic stayed the same, my intelligence level was the same, who I was still the same. But because I was now full-time, suddenly I mattered.

I care because suddenly my 15 years of part-time service meant nothing (they didn’t want to give me my service pin because I was now full-time, though I completed more then fifteen years at part-time — my manager had to fight for it). I care because I’ve known many people in this system for many years and we’ve all at some point felt that part-time staff meant nothing and that has finally changed.

The bargaining team has made me believe that change is possible, that we CAN make a difference but we MUST stick together. It’s never too late to help your teammates receive things they should have had a long time ago. Full-time or part-time, Pages or supervisors we are all human beings and deserve to make wages we can live on. Solidarity, today, tomorrow and always!!!!

***

I understand the stress, we’re all feeling it. I know as this goes into a second week people are coming to the realization that this could possibly go on for a while. Know what’s lost now will be regained in the future. The City now knows we’re not afraid, they know that we are willing to do what needs to be done, and I hope that because of this they will deal with future agreements with more class and dignity than this round, because they know we won’t back down. I put all my trust in our leadership and the bargaining team. There will always be bumps, it’s part of life. This will all be worth it in the end. Solidarity always.

. . . → Read More: wmtc: what the strike meant to us, in our own words

wmtc: we have a new contract

Our ratification vote meeting was an experience we will never forget. The line to sign in snaked all around the building; it took more than an hour for everyone to sign in. I believe it was the largest turnout we’ve ever had, for anything.

At the top of the meeting, the bargaining team stood in the front of the auditorium. Before we could say anything, our members burst out into applause, standing and clapping and cheering — for a long time. I was overwhelmed: the member who took this photo caught my tears. We applauded our members back, and we all stood clapping and cheering and shouting. I have no words to describe how I proud I was — of all of us.

While we walked our members through a presentation about the new contract, there was spontaneous cheering and applause throughout.

And then the vote: 99% voted to ratify. 99%!

Our goals

We went into bargaining with four principal goals:
– no concessions,
– living wage for our Pages,
– some improvement for part-time workers, and
– the largest increase possible for all.

We achieved every one of these goals.

Our strategy

We had one central strategy: we would not accept gains for one group at the expense of another. Pages, part-time, and full-time must all gain. We all know that employers try to divide us, to play groups against each other. Our union has fallen into that trap before. This time, we vowed that would not happen.

Employers are fond of talking about “the pie” — the size of the budget alloted to the bargaining unit, which is then divided throughout your contract.

So if, for example, you give Pages a fair piece of this pie, then you can’t also get a fair wage increase for full-time. If you want to keep your premium for Sunday work, then you can’t also get something else. And so on.

The bargaining team vowed to reject this way of thinking. Our shorthand for this was: Reject the Pie. Here’s a meme that I used as my profile pic for a long time.

A few details about our goals and our contract

No concessions

Naturally the Employer was after whatever it could get out of our contract. The list of potential concessions is so long, it’s practically our entire contract.

So many locals had been burned on recent contracts, that CUPE has adopted a national strategy: no-concession bargaining. I find it strange that such a thing even needs to be said. But from our earliest days of bargaining training, we agreed: no concessions.

We did give the Employer two things that they wanted that some of our members may see as a loss. However, in both instances, we were able to win additional language that made these points a benefit for both sides.

Living wage for library pages

Our Pages are our largest classification — 28% of our membership — and they were earning only pennies over minimum wage. We went into bargaining insisting that they earn $15/hour, at once. And we were determined to do it without compromising anyone else’s deal.

The Employer did recognize the need to give the Pages a significant raise. With a new mayor crowing about poverty reduction, they knew they had no choice. But the Employer’s proposals for the Pages were all too little, took too long, and came at the expense of other members. Time after time we rejected their proposals for step increases, including their supposed best offer which brought the Pages to $14/hour in 2018.

Our Pages now earn $15.00/hour. New hires will start at $14, and move to $15 after their probationary period (390 hours). This is the achievement I am most proud of.

I’m told 1989 is the first CUPE local to bring members from minimum wage to $15/hour in one leap.

Improvements for part-timers

We did not go nearly as far as we wanted on the part-time improvements. Their work life is still precarious and their contract still grossly inadequate. But had we accepted the Employer’s offer in late June, it would have degraded even further.

As a result of our strike, the Employer dropped its demands for the punitive language — language that we promised our part-timers we would never agree to.

And we did win two significant improvements that will have a very positive impact on the lives of our part-timers. I believe we will be able to go further for part-timers in our next round of bargaining.

Wage increases

The Employer moved off its (supposed) best offer, and agreed to our (reduced) wage increase proposal. We did not win as much as we deserve — nor as much as library managers and city executives get. But we did get more than the Employer’s best offer — and more than they said they could afford.

What we gave up

We told our members that we wouldn’t win everything, that no strike wins absolutely everything. The bargaining team struggled for a long time over where to give.

We looked at the possibilities from every angle, factoring in every variable. What would benefit the most members? What would hurt members the least? And now, of course, there was another factor. Did we want to ask our members to stay out even longer? Would another week or more of striking produce a better deal, or would there be diminishing returns? We had an opportunity to end our strike while members’ morale was still high. Would more sacrifice bring more gains, or only more hardship?

We discussed and debated for a long time. Eventually, we found consensus. We made what we feel is a relatively small sacrifice in other to achieve all these other goals.

And so much more

These are very practical, tangible gains that we made as a direct result of our strike. Yet it’s only part of the story. I will write more about the intangible gains — how the strike changed us, both collectively and individually. Stay tuned. . . . → Read More: wmtc: we have a new contract

Dead Wild Roses: The Bathroom Conundrum in Public School

“I don’t want to see penis when I go to the washroom; he just stands there with the stall open and it makes me uncomfortable.“. That was the quotable bit from a conversation I had with a female student I happened to be teaching at an elementary school this week. We were walking in […] . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: The Bathroom Conundrum in Public School

wmtc: happy birthday to me

Apparently I have been alive on this planet for 55 years. That seems completely impossible. Yet there it is.As always on my birthday, I feel incredibly fortunate to be alive and living such a good life. Thanks for still reading my (now occasional) blat… . . . → Read More: wmtc: happy birthday to me

wmtc: pupdate: happiness is a cancer-free dog

Tala’s stitches were removed last week, and we got the full biopsy results: clean margins all around. The surgeon says she does not expect to ever see us again. A week later, I’m still feeling waves of joy and relief. Allan takes the good news in strid… . . . → Read More: wmtc: pupdate: happiness is a cancer-free dog

Scripturient: The gems of Salomé

I was perhaps 11 or 12 when I first encountered Oscar Wilde’s play, Salomé. Some of it, at least. At the time, I knew nothing of Wilde, his writing, or even much about theatre in general. After all, I was in grade seven or eight. It would be a … . . . → Read More: Scripturient: The gems of Salomé

Dead Wild Roses: Happy Gotcha-versairy, Shadow!

On May 15, 2012, Arb and I took possession of the house we now live in. Back in early April 2012, literally the same day we closed on the house, I started looking on Petfinder for a dog. We were going to have a fenced yard, and I had always wanted a dog. Arb grew up with […] . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Happy Gotcha-versairy, Shadow!

wmtc: hooray for tala

Tala is doing great! Of course she was exhausted and a bit wobbly when she came home, but now she’s well rested and back to herself. And she looks a whole lot better without a disgusting, oozing tumour sticking out of her side! More importantly, there’… . . . → Read More: wmtc: hooray for tala

wmtc: in which i ride an emotional roller coaster and get off at the top

Short version: Tala has had surgery and has a very good chance of remaining cancer-free. Whoo-hoo!It’s been a crazy couple of days. Monday afternoon we hear the biopsy results. Tuesday morning we have X-rays done. Our vet recommends a top surgeon who i… . . . → Read More: wmtc: in which i ride an emotional roller coaster and get off at the top

wmtc: i’m not ready for another broken heart, or, nothing says mortality like your sick dog

Tala has cancer. As it happened with Cody, We found a lump. First I was sure it was a cyst, then I was hoping it was a cyst, now I’m just hoping it’s not an iceberg. There’s a big ugly tumoury thing sticking out, but this type of sarcoma is k… . . . → Read More: wmtc: i’m not ready for another broken heart, or, nothing says mortality like your sick dog

wmtc: last day and home

We spent our last day in Oregon poking around downtown Ashland, looking at scarves and jewelry and used books. We don’t shop much when we travel, but there were a few things I was looking for on this trip, and I found them all. We also picked up this v… . . . → Read More: wmtc: last day and home

wmtc: random observations on southern oregon, great kitchens, family love, and absent eagles

This morning we woke up at 3:45 a.m., packed up the car with binoculars, cameras, sandwiches, and coffee, and drove two hours in the dark. According to our guidebook and a few websites, we were heading towards an opportunity to see dozens of bald eagle… . . . → Read More: wmtc: random observations on southern oregon, great kitchens, family love, and absent eagles

wmtc: the rest of the trip

This is the view from my brother and sister-in-law’s new home in Oregon. Last year B+SIL retired, pull up stakes, sold their home in New Jersey, and moved to the other side of the country. One of their adult children and partner – and now their first g… . . . → Read More: wmtc: the rest of the trip

wmtc: leaving vancouver: in which we discover the scary truth about canadian passports

This was an eventful day! We started at the Acme Cafe, for another BOGO breakfast. The food is great even without the discount. But a free goat cheese-portobello-sun dried tomato fritata, with potatoes and toast? Yes, please!The Acme Cafe is a few buil… . . . → Read More: wmtc: leaving vancouver: in which we discover the scary truth about canadian passports

wmtc: vancouver, day four

Our last day in Vancouver was a full one. It included a library, great art, a meet-up with an activist-friend… and noodles!I didn’t want another breakfast at the hotel, so we poked around a bit online and found something nearby. This place didn’t ope… . . . → Read More: wmtc: vancouver, day four

wmtc: vancouver, day three

Another beautiful day here, sunny with a few clouds and a high of 10 or 11 C. Vancouverites are all exclaiming about three consecutive days without rain.We got an early start with the train to a bus to Stanley Park. On the way to the bus, I was intrigu… . . . → Read More: wmtc: vancouver, day three

wmtc: vancouver, day two

On Tuesday morning after breakfast we were finally able to see the pups on the webcam, so the day started out right.After a quick breakfast in the hotel, we bought day passes for transit – Vancouver’s new Compass Card – and set out for the Granville Is… . . . → Read More: wmtc: vancouver, day two

wmtc: vancouver, day one

We forgot to pack Allan’s netbook and my little Bluetooth keyboard for my tablet isn’t working, so this is going to be interesting. And annoying! But I can’t travel without writing, so here goes. We landed in Vancouver mid-day on Monday. A super friend… . . . → Read More: wmtc: vancouver, day one

wmtc: off to vancouver

I struggle to find time to write even a small fraction of what I’d like to post here. But there’s one thing I’ll always write about: my travels. And there are never enough of them.This morning we are flying to Vancouver, our first time there. A few day… . . . → Read More: wmtc: off to vancouver

wmtc: the great weed of 2016: the results are in

Goodbye.A while back, I announced that Allan and I were going to try weeding our books and CD collection. A few months passed until we could find the time, but we’ve done it. Seven boxes of books and three boxes of CDs will be leaving our lives.Last Se… . . . → Read More: wmtc: the great weed of 2016: the results are in

wmtc: in which the death of a rock legend makes me think about how our world has changed

When this came out, I hung the cover on my bedroom wall. Sharing memories of David Bowie, as so many of us were after his too-early death this week, led me to think a lot about the world I lived in when I was a big Bowie fan.My world thenI saw Bow… . . . → Read More: wmtc: in which the death of a rock legend makes me think about how our world has changed