Canada Day 2021

Last Thursday was Canada Day…The equivalent of the 4rth of July for Americans. For many, it is just a day off of work. For some it is working for time and a half pay and a banked vacation day. May be it is the launching of summer holidays. To some, it is an excuse to get together with friends and family…COVID messed that up last year but it is slightly better this year…at least where I am.

Some people actually take the time to consider why we like Canada. The land itself is lovely with loads of scenic variety. We have plenty of resources: water, farmland, and oil to name a few. I’m pretty fond of our democracy and our health care system. We are known world wide for being fairly decent humans as a whole (but I’m the first to admit that not everyone is the stereotypical polite Canadian. We have our share of “butt orifices” too.) By enlarge, Canada has treated me and mine well.

But this year Canada has been forced to look at our butt holeary in a historical sense. We have to face the fact that in the not so distant past, Europeans sailed over here and looked around and thought “this is a nice place…I can use this.” And they started taking things: pelts, land, women…. And they abusively used the land, the people, the plants and the animals for their own gain. To the indigenous peoples, the colonizers were cruel, even when they thought they were being kind. Trading can be a nice thing…except when you are ripping people off and dealing in things that was ultimately harmful (alcohol for example). Sharing of ones culture and faith can be a nice thing if it is a mutual sharing but not when it is rammed down someones throat!

The ultimate example of this “ramming” was the residential schools which were started in the Victorian era (1890’s I believe) and continued into my life time. The idea was the Europeans weren’t going anywhere and in fact they were moving in like cockroaches. The indigenous would benefit from an education that helped them adapt to the Western way of doing things. Nice concept…NOT! The residential schools ripped children away from their parents-often under threat of incarceration if they did not comply. The children were stripped of their home, family, community and then stripped of all reminders of that. Their clothing, hair, adornments and mementos were removed. They were punished for speaking their own language. The treatment in general was neglectful at best and commonly it was abusive.

My ancestors were here for the start of this. Were they actively engaged in this? I don’t think so. Were they unaware of this process? Possibly. If they were aware of this, there is a good chance they thought this was a good idea. And that idea is unsettling. But, we Canadians can not say, “this was the past. Don’t hold our fore father’s past sins against us”. We can’t say it because this was going on, to some degree, in my life time. There are still people alive today that had to go to residential school and now are living with trauma. There are people alive today that were raised by people who were ripped from family only to be abused. How do you learn to parent in those conditions? The negative repercussions have rippled across generations marking the people even when they themselves haven’t been to residential school.

So why are Canadian’s thinking about this now? Because unmarked graves are being found at these residential schools. Some are saying “don’t automatically think they died from abuse and neglect”. That may be true but the questions remain: Why unmarked graves? Did they get an honorable burial? Were the people that loved them there? Did their loved ones get satisfactory information on the life and death of this child? Did the family get the opportunity to bring their loved one home for burial? Did they get the opportunity to set up a grave marker? And the ultimate question…why weren’t they safe at home in the first place?

So in their grief and outrage for these children and in the relived memory of their own trauma, the indigenous community spent Canada Day saying out loud that the creation of this country has not been a good thing for them and theirs. Colonization has not been a blessing. And the symbol of colonization…Queen Victoria…got knocked off her pedestal in front of the government building in my location.

Honestly, I’m surprised she has stood as long as she has. People around the world have begun to look at statues celebrating people and victories and realizing that not everyone is happy about the results of these memorialized events and people. The confederate statues in the States are the most obvious examples of this.

I don’t know the long term plans for this statue. I hope it isn’t destroyed. It is part of history. But have it displayed in a museum with perhaps the paint still on her (because that is now also part of the history that shouldn’t be lost).

The name of my blog is a play on the words “I want to be Victorian.” But in actuality that isn’t true. They health care then was dreadful. Though I would be part of the “in crowd” (white, middle class or better, and Protestant) I’m still a girl and therefore would be little better than property. If I lived in the Victorian era with my current world views I’d be even more horrified by the crap I would see in the 1800’s than I am seeing now! And I’d likely be put in a mental institution or jail for my radical thoughts. If I were Victorian, I’d have no internet (heaven forbid!), Netflix, electric sewing machine with dozens of stitch options, and no car.

I just like the clothes, furniture and architecture. But these things didn’t come about in a void. The clothing styles demanded top hats for men, which demanded beaver pelts, which demanded the fur trade which demanded the colonization of North America, which demanded the native population “problem” be dealt with.

I want to be respectful to the trauma of the original peoples. I’m not sure that the respect of that trauma wont taint my enjoyment of Victorian costuming. That’s were I’m at. Wondering how I fit into this fu*ked up world.

It makes me laugh

Just a couple of random stories that show my warped sense of humor.

As you know, I work with seniors who have dementia.  This week we played a game I call “Gone Hunting”.  I drew a bear on a white board and had my peeps shoot him with a Nerf gun.

IMG_20200122_090520102.jpg

Right over the bear we have a clock hanging.

IMG_20200122_090533049.jpg

Every time they hit it, I said they were killing time.  And since they have dementia, it was hilariously funny EVERY TIME!

My other funny story is I’ve been to the dentist today.  I’m not a fan.  I’ve had some bad ones that really should have been working in a dungeon under a medieval castle.  That is saying a lot for me.  As a migraine sufferer, I have a very high tolerance for pain…but not in the mouth.

This has lead to years of avoiding the bastards  profession all together.  Anyway, I sucked it up because I know that avoiding them is yet another bad health decision on my part.  This new dentist doesn’t want me avoiding her for years so for my cleaning she took pity on me and froze me up.  I now can’t smile properly…

IMG_20200122_172501710.jpgAnd my kissy face has lost its sexual appeal…

IMG_20200122_172504723.jpg

So if this were the Victorian era I’d probably NEVER see a dentist unless I absolutely had too.  If I can be a baby with dentistry with the liberal use of freezing, imagine what I’d be like if dentistry consisted of a blacksmith/farrier with a pair of pliers and a strong set of biceps.

 

Bit excited

Day off again and it is good. I have started working out some details for my up coming vacation

The doggy got her nails clipped. Ride to the airport worked out. Confirming ride to hotel and luggage is out.

You know I love the Victorian era but when you say “travel: Victorian era vs modern era”. I have to vote modern. Airplane travel is so much better than steamer ship when you only have time and money for a two week vacation!

Authentic vs politically correct

This is a light and fluffy debate on a heavy topic: costuming in an authentically Victorian way without being politically incorrect.

Costume College has a circus theme for one of their events and I have been mulling over my options.  To achieve my goals of not laying out a ton of cash for new gowns for Costume College and not needing to hire a military transport plane to get all of my luggage to California, I selected my Half Grand Surprise Dress for the circus event.  (Small bustle to wear with several dresses vs gargantuan hoops and skirts.) t

The red military style works for a circus.  But how to up my game?  I considered being a bearded lady.  It would be inexpensive to get a fake beard.  It would take almost no space in my suit case.  There were bearded ladies in Victorian circuses.  But to my modern sensibilities, it wasn’t sitting right.  It felt like mocking people who have that genetic or medical trait.  And it felt like I was “flipping the bird to transgender folks”.  So wrong on so many levels.  So I coughed up a bit more cash and a bit more space in my suit case and went for the snake charmer option.  img_20160514_160340302.jpg

Only a costumer would understand this: standing in the rubber snake section of the toy store trying to decide which snake would compliment my Victorian dress best.  I was considering the black cobra but the red in this snake spoke to me!  Or would the green snake show up better in photographs?  Gah!  I may have to go back and buy a second snake.  Then I would have to research whether or not a snake charmer could hold these two species at the same time without “Snakeageddon” breaking out.  Over thinking again….

I also picked up a couple of items to tweak my efforts for the Steampunk tea and the Midsummer Night Galaimg_20160514_160344583.jpg

Speaking of the Steampunk thing… I was looking at some Steampunk guns but decided against them because I just can’t imagine how that would go over in airport security.  Let’s not put another brick in Trump’s wall between Canada and the USA, eh?  My Steampunk persona will have to be more bookish and less militant.

Victorian medicine

I’ve been looking at some of the old picture files that got rescued from my old computer.  It seems I can be a bit of a hoarder with those so it is time to clean things up.

I have several photographs, taken YEARS  AGO, with an old camera, that I intended to use here. I would post some horrific medical practice from my Victorian medical book and use one of these photographs to add some visual interest.  I still think it is a good idea but I just don’t have the time to read the book and the pictures are not improving with age.  By the time I get to this project (horrible medical practices) I will be retired and will have a camera 8 times better than the one I have now and 10 times better than the one that took these.

So I will just use them and send them on their way to the oblivion of deletion.

SAM_1895

This is a medical kit carried by a healer.

SAM_1894

The kit is on display at the Museum of Man and Nature, Winnipeg

SAM_1896

This is the information about Cuthbert Grant, the owner of the kit.

The museum has a “pharmacy” display, and I took these random photos there.  Note the box for veterinary use and also make the assumption that at least half of these medicines contain some sort of narcotic or toxic ingredient and that people could by this stuff without  a prescription.  Say what you want about “Big Pharma”, things are better now!

 

Too young

My cabinet card collection has many photographs of folks that I assume to be married and they appear to be May/December kind of relationships.  In this card, the couple seems to be closer in age but seriously too young to be married.  They look to be in their late teens.  Gads!  I love Victorian dresses but some of their life style features are a bit much!

With the bangs and the big sleeves, I put this rather plain dress in the late 80's or early 90's.

With the bangs and the big sleeves, I put this rather plain dress in the late 80’s or early 90’s.

Photo app

I was playing with my phone app the other day and I altered one of my photos from the Halloween Outing Shirley and I went on.  I turned this…

12774_591545904282597_2358923074543678187_nInto this…..Fright night at the old fort

With the exception of the date and time on the corner, doesn’t it look like one of those post-mortem photos?

You could say that modern times definitely beats Victorian times when it comes to photography options…though, artistically, I still prefer my manual film camera.

I wonder how a Victorian lady would deal with this?

I got home the other day after a long day of being on my feet and my back was killing me.  So I dealt with it in a nice, modern way.SAM_2179My little doggy is behind me keeping me company.

But, what is a lady to do about dinner?  I don’t have “a girl for that.”

SAM_2182

Ah, Mr. Victorian-Not to the rescue!

In this Victorian vs Modern scenario, I think modern wins.

Motivation vs Procrastination

I have no idea where my get up and go has gone.  I can’t seem to stick to a project for more than a few minutes!  I’m blaming the craziness that is Christmas time.  When you are on constant “run mode” at work and home, it is hard to sit down and work on something for an extended period of time.  And the drive to create is also stunted by and equally powerful drive to not make a big mess!  Those of you who must use their dining room as a sewing room know where I’m coming from.  Sure could use a day or two off.