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.

Stand! Movie premiere!

A year ago, I was an extra in a movie telling the story of the general strike in 1919. It was the biggest of its kind and was news worldwide.

As an extra, I played a striker doing a silent march. It had to be silent because the powers that be had made it illegal to protest and demonstrate. So thousands of people took a quiet stroll through the streets.

Tuesday night was the premiere and everyone connected to the film was invited.

They had a red carpet photo op prior to the movie. I did it after the film so it was roped off.

They had a live band.

And lots of decor.

The movie was a musical (not my favorite) but as way to learn more about the event to consolidate info I had already learned, it was pretty good.

But the best part is I saw myself twice in the film! I didn’t hit the cutting room floor!

Red fish, blue fish

I like my job.  I have a new position running a day program for seniors with dementia.  My co-worker and I are both very independent workers so we are left to do things our own way…just the way we like it.  So after a successful fund raiser, we were left to decide what to do with the profits.  We decided some pets would be the thing.

I’m quite pleased with our little arrangement.

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There are two red fish, one blue and one yellow.

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They have already been a great success.  It calmed one weepy lady, distracted one who was anxious, and gave several something to talk about.  It was nice.

Last years goals

Last year I posted my non-resolution goals.  I use the word non-resolution because New Year’s Resolutions have a negative connotation to me…things that cause me stress and then later disappointment.  Goals are things to strive for.  If you achieve them-GREAT, if not, oh well, try again next year.  Even a slight amount of progress towards a goal is a win.  Slight progress on a resolution feels like a loss to me.  Yes, yes, semantics….tomato-tomahto.

Anyway one goal was to reduce the stuff in my house because the amount is overwhelming.  I have been pretty good about ditching old clothes that don’t fit or I don’t like any more.  In terms of my blog topics, I have reduced my UFO pile.  My Olive dress is the best example of that!

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I had hoped to start/finish the corset and pink and blue dress but that is a no.  But I did at least decide on what the purple fabric Lottie picked up for me in the States would be.

In terms of my knitting hoard, I have managed to finish a few projects and I did unravel one that I have no desire to finish.  The unraveling started in the past few weeks. Two things happened. My last born moved out so now I have a holding ground (his old room) for things that I have gone through and want to keep but need to store until I clean out their new storage place.  The second thing is my hours at work got cut in half. I have been starting to reduce stuff during this new spare time.  (It doesn’t take effect until January but I have to use up some vacation time first.)

So not a blazing success but progress and that is a win.

Now as I look around at some of my Christmas crap that I have put up, I realize there are some that I just don’t love any more and I think they are hitting a box for donation…perhaps today.

Not dead

I’ve been neglecting this space and I am sorry.  Life is just…well life.  This past week for example has been overwhelming to say the least!

A week ago Friday, I tripped and hurt my knee which made me struggle with walking for about 3 days.

Then last Monday, my first born and his wife left the country to travel for 7 months.  When that 7 months is done, they will decide which country they will live in.  That same day, my youngest son took over my oldest son’s apartment.  He moved out and I have an empty nest.

Last Tuesday, I found out the reason why my mother did not come to the airport to see her oldest grandchild off…she was in Emergency with a racing heart.  Sigh.

Last Wednesday, it was confirmed (what I feared) that come January my work position will be cut in half because of budget cuts.  Work saves money and I loose money.  Suddenly, I will have way more time so may be this will mean I will finish projects I’ve abandoned and start projects I’ve been dreaming of.

I’m trying to focus on silver linings.  The oldest boy perhaps moving to another country will expand my opportunities to travel.  The youngest boy moving out means I have succeeded as a parent and launched two functioning adults.  My knee healed after only 3 days.  The hospital was able to settle my mom’s heart and she is now being followed by a cardiologist.  And soon I will have time to finish projects, prep my house for downsizing, take care of my own health, and look at other types of work that I have been wondering about.

Anyway, thanks for hanging out and waiting for me to get back to work on this blog!

 

Feeling up beat!

I had a great day at work today.  I had a major success with one of my seniors and that always makes me feel like a rock star!

I’m feeling so good that I don’t mind that I had to cancel tomorrow’s outing with Victorian at Heart.  It is all good.

How about some more good news…Dalnavert has contacted me about an orientation to volunteer at the house in a more regular fashion so I’m super stoked about that.  Dang job will keep me from volunteering often but I’m okay with that today (reference: the first paragraph of this post).

In other good news, the Costume museum is going to have a button and trunk sale to rid themselves of some unused space killers.  Guess who is going shopping!  Let me start drooling over those buttons!  I love the trunks too but I’m not sure where I’d put one of those.

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And one final good news story: when I was a young mom, I sold the old treadle sewing machine my grandmother taught me to sew on when I was just a kid.  I regretted that move from the moment I watched pull out of my drive way.  I’ve been watching for one just like it.  Well, one of the volunteer’s at the Costume Museum brought in one of her own to add to the display that was up last May.  It is so exactly like the one I sold that I am wondering if it IS the one I sold.  I can’t wait to speak to this lady and find out it’s back story!

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Can a T Rex sew?

What a silly question. I blame it on the T3’s.

I had big plans to start sewing up my new costume but I’m having issues with some tendonitis in my shoulder and I’m in pain.  Big pain. I’m coping with T3’s, a sling and working with the arm reach of a T Rex.  Never a good combo for successful sewing.

How about a cabinet card instead of sewing progress?

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She looks to be a teenager.  She has some rings and a bar pin so not poor.  Her hair style looks to be 1880’s.  She has a pretty face in my opinion.  I hope she had a long happy life!

Costume connections

I have to say that I have yet to meet a costumer that I can’t get along with.  Most are open and friendly and very excited to hear what you are up to and to share what they are creating.  When I went to Costume College ALONE I found I wasn’t alone unless I wanted to be.  I just had to walk in a room and half the time I was approached within a few short minutes.  The rest of the time I approached others and they were instantly open to talk with me.  I know that many long distance friendships have started this way.

So with this in mind, when one of my readers let me know she would be in my city for a few short days and asked if we could meet, I instantly agreed.  When I told my son I was essentially meeting a stranger I met on-line he looked at me in horror and concern and firmly warned me that this was not a safe practice. Hahaha! (When did that happen?  When did we switch roles!)

Anyway, I met LJ and her husband at their hotel and we instantly hit it off.  No awkward silences!  We launched into discussions of fabric choices, pattern preferences, options we each had for wearing our costumes, costume philosophy…and it was great.  Her hubby was a patient fellow.  He endured the buzzy conversations of two costume geeks for an hour and a half while likely silently wishing he had brought his TV from his hotel room down!

Thanks LJ for a wonderful morning and I hope you got to see Dalnavert!12047031_724634884307031_4718055864402869449_n

If you get here again, I hope it is during a time that you have more free time.  You could bring a costume and we could make it an event!

Combining hobbies

Saturday was a good day.  I went out for lunch with my mom.  I got some new paints and some old rocks for my new hobby.  I took puppy out for a walk and today was the first time she was able to complete our usual route without looking tired (we’ve been working on her new life style as a diabetic).  While walking I found my first painted rock!  Isn’t it a beauty!IMG_20170826_172416

Then I made a rock that I plan on placing during my costume outing today (stay tuned for photos-baring a cancellation due to rain). We are going to the old fort so I did one of the fort. That’s “me” in the blue!IMG_20170826_173207

Painting Rocks

This is not a Victorian activity.  Many apologies.  But, meh, I got nothin’ else so lets go for it.

Apparently, this has been a “thing” in other places for some time and now someone has started it here in Winnipeg.  Winnipeg Rocks.

Basically, you find a rock or two you like.  Paint it.  (No doodads like gems or stickers because they fall off). Put a reference to the Facebook Page “Winnipeg Rocks” on the back of the rock and then you seal it.  Find a public place to hide them (not in the grass…they mess up lawn mowers) and watch and see if anyone finds your rock and posts it on the page.  Some people put notices on the page of where they hid their rocks so folks have a fighting chance of finding them…especially helpful for folks who are dragging kids out to hunt for rocks.

I’m not sure I will go hunting…that sounds like too much work.  I do hope I will randomly stumble on one though.  Some of them are pure works of art!

I painted up 3.  Lets call them the monochrome phase.  (i.e. to cheap to cough up for more than 3 bottles of paint until I know if I will like this BIG TIME.) Definitely not works of art.

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I settled on 3 quick jobs as a “taste test”.  I enjoyed painting them (if I did not think about how boring they are).  We will see if they are found and posted about.  If I get a big charge out of it I may do it again.  Anyone else do this in their home town?