Tag Archives: Friends

“The Queen of the Tearling”: fight for women

I found Erika Johansen’s book The Queen of the Tearling on a list from the Calgary Public Library.  I can’t remember what the list was about, but I glad I stumbled upon it because I really enjoyed this book!


Source: https://missnessiemarie.com/2015/03/22/book-review-the-queen-of-the-tearling-by-erika-johansen/comment-page-1/

This is a post-apocalyptic book that also shows an attempted fail at creating a utopia.  It’s good to get out of the real world and imagine what could happen if…

The book revolves around Kelsea who was raised by foster parents in the forest and on her 19th birthday becomes Queen.  She sees the devastation and poverty of the field workers as she makes her way to the castle.  She see the horrors of a complete unfair treaty with the neighbouring country and stops it her very first moment entering the keep gates.  As she tries to create a country that is equal, fair, and good for all, she faces years of corruption and violent resistance.  Yet she has a strong and loyal Queen’s Guard to protect her and guide her and she has two magical sapphire stones around her neck.

My favourite part of the novel was the scene where Kelsea, who in her dreams is able to see visions of what is happening in different areas of her kingdom, tries to convince her body guard and the head of the Queen’s Guard to leave in the middle of the night to go and save women and children from being exported to the neighbouring country by the black market king in order to keep his relationship with the corrupt Queen next door.  In the scene, Kelsea orders her Guard to get up, pack, and leave.  They try to convince her that it was just a dream, that she was acting hysterical, and that she needed to get some sleep.  They continued to dismiss her and even tried to physically restrain her.  Luckily for her, the magic sapphires allowed her the strength to push these men through the air and against the wall, and that convinced them to follow her direct orders. Think of what they missed out on by ignoring her and treating her knowledge as unreliable.  Think of what would have happened to hundreds of women and children if she didn’t have the power of the sapphires to help her.


Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/343962490267800640/

The frustration of being told she was just a young woman, that she was crazy, and that the men around her knew better made by blood boil.  That powerlessness, and that feeling of righteous anger hit me hard.  There are moments in life where men wield their historical patriarchal power and physical power to try to control a situation that they have no business controlling.  There are also moments in my life where men have tried to tell me they knew better because they were men and that I was crazy.  I don’t know if men ever have these moments of complete and utter removal of power.  Do they even know what it feels like to be dismissed and controlled?


Source: http://8tracks.com/explore/fight_the_patriarchy/popular

Today I am joining millions of women around the world to march.  I am marching because we have a lot of work to do in North America in regards to the treatment of women.  We need more say in political arena, businesses, schools, and homes.  We as humans need to recognize the benefit of giving power instead of striping away power.  It is a privilege for me to live in a country where it is a Charter Right that I am allowed to gather, meet, and march with thousands of other women in my city to show my solidarity with women’s rights and the fight for equality.


Source: http://dailyhive.com/calgary/calgary-womens-march-on-washington-january-2017

Today I remember all the women whose voices have been taken away or silenced.  Today I remember all of the women whose power was taken away simply because of their sex.  Today I celebrate that women can make a difference and that we are persons.  The meeting point for the march today is at the Famous Five statue, a place that honours women fighting for equal rights.


Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-trump-march-on-washington-women-rights-1.3940991

“Phallocentrism is the enemy.  Of everyone.  Men stand to lose by it, differently but as seriously as women.” (Helene Cixous)

“This is how women are trained to stay indoors, she thought, the idea echoing in her mind like a gravesong. This is how women are trained not to act.” (Erika Johansen)


Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/274719645989890660/


“The Time of Your Life”: bring on old age

A few weekends ago I had a chat with my great aunt, who is 101.  During our visit, she claimed that “there is no future in getting old.”  That line stayed with me.  She said that she’s bored: all of her friends are dead or dying, she isn’t very mobile anymore, and she has been the longest resident of her seniors’ lodge at 20 years.  She reads a lot and knows everything about everyone, yet she can’t wait to pass along to whatever is next.  I am not anywhere near 50, yet I found myself curious about Margaret Trudeau’s book The Time of Your Life: Choosing a Vibrant, Joyful Future.  I liked the fact that the future as a woman could be vibrant and joyful.


Source: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062396204/the-time-of-your-life

There has been a lot of positive talk lately about women and aging.  For the longest time, women over 50 were either old maids, crones, or not visible.  I have to say that as a woman in my 30s I have truly enjoyed the trend to have women playing age-appropriate roles.  The entire time I was reading Trudeau’s book, I kept thinking of Grace and Frankie, the Netflix TV show.


Source: http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/grace-and-frankies-friendship-blossoms-season-two-236409

Grace and Frankie is a TV show about two women whose husbands’ divorce them so that the two men, after 20 years of being in love, can get married.  Life change is an understatement.  Throughout the episodes, both women come to terms with who they are and how they can start to live a life of joy and hope again.  Although never friends in the past, the two become each other’s support network.  They choose to live life differently and make choices that they would have avoided had they still been married.  Seeing these women find themselves and learn to love themselves again has made this TV show one of my favourites.  It is encouraging to see women who are older than 35 on the screen.

Throughout the book Trudeau provides personal stories, stories of friends, and researched information about many different issues that women over 50 should consider.  As I said, I found this encouraging because like Trudeau, I have a hard time planning for the future and love to live in the moment.  Yet i am building friends, I am planning for retirement, and I am finding things (like volunteering and interests) that bring me joy.  The loneliness that many seniors face is Trudeau’s number one caution, at least that’s what I got from the book.  Yes, family is extremely important, but so are your friends and your own personal interests.

In the second Sex and the City movie, Samantha has the best line ever, that sums up Trudeau’s book: “I love you, but I love me more.”  And clearly, I’m not the only one (according to this video.)  Kim Cattrall, in the video, says, “Yes, something to live by.”  I’m not saying all women need to live alone, but I do believe that no one can love others without loving themselves first, and that is at the heart of Trudeau’s book.

This trend of having women play women their age is a huge step forward for my generation: we are finally seeing the media message that aging is ok.  We all age, and it’s ok to get wrinkles and new hips, and also Depends.

So overall, Trudeau’s book was a major encouragement for me and I suggested that my mom read it because she’s over 50 and I know that all women need some encouragement and empowerment along the way.  And hopefully I will be like my great aunt, but with a little more pep in my step!


Source: http://www.chatelaine.com/living/ted-kennedy-jack-nicholson-and-more-juicy-bits-from-margaret-trudeaus-new-book/

“I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I know this to be true: we have a great degree of control over what happens to us in the last third of our lives.  Gerontologists call it the ‘life course’–the trajectory we set for ourselves as we age, based on how we choose to live our lives today.” (Margaret Trudeau, Pg 8)

“I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’” (Job 32:7)

BS darkroom-davis-p28.jpg

Arnold, MD – 2001 — Stella Rohde, 83, left, and her long-time friend, Laura Tucker, 75, kept each other laughing at an Expo for seniors. Rohde, acknowledging their silly hats, explained, “It’s not that we’re crazy. It’s just that we don’t give a damn!” A telephoto lens separates the women from the background by blurring the shrubs, which emphasizes their balloon hats. A long lens also helps in capturing candid moments without the subjects becoming self-conscious. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Source: http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com/2014/02/baltimore-sun-photographer-amy-davis/

“Baygirl”: create a family

Family is an interesting concept. It’s the people who surround you. It’s the people who share your genes and DNA. But what about the people you choose to become part of your family? Is that just descendants from a common ancestor, or does that include friends?

Source: http://higheredibles.com/edu/definition-family/

Baygirl by Heather Smith is a fantastic example that family is the people around you who love and support you and in return you chose to love, forgive, challenge, and encourage. The novel is told from the point of view of Kitty, a baygirl in Eastern Newfoundland, who moves to St. John’s with her parents when her father loses his job as a fisherman.

Source: http://www.heathertsmith.com/books

This novel was another one from the CBC’s Must Read list of young adult fiction. And it pulls a punch, literally (well, at least for some of the characters). We see how Kit deals with and increases the number of people in her family. Her Dad is an unemployed and depressed drunk. Her Uncle is a recovering alcoholic widower. Her Mom is a hardworker who tries her best to hold the family together. Her Nan is a saint who loves all of her family. Then Kit adds in members to her own family: the bizarre elderly man, Mr. Adams, from the Yorkshire Dales who lives next door and constantly drinks tea, and Elliot, the French-speaking, poetry writing geeky boyfriend. Throughout the novel, Kit learns to let people into her life, she learns to accept help, and most importantly she learns how to forgive.

I loved this novel because it was set in Newfoundland, where I’m heading for vacation in a few weeks. I also loved this novel because the characters were not perfect. I liked that despite all of the anger, fear, hate, and sadness, there were beautiful moments that show life is good. Although some people do not have the best family (who are related), it doesn’t mean you can’t create your own family.

If you are looking for a great young adult fiction summer read that is Canadian, Baygirl is the book for you! This novel is heartwarming, aggravating, and delightful all in one. If you don’t believe me, click here for what the CBC list has to say.

Source: http://www.buzzquotes.com/you-can-do-it-quotes

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

“I always wondered – how does one forgive the person who has caused them to live their life walking on eggshells? This is the question I wanted to explore when writing Baygirl. This is why forgiveness is Kit’s biggest dilemma.” (Interview with Heather Smith)

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/friends-are-family/