Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Not every blog is thought provoking or contains much substance.

Sometimes the most productive days are ones with your favourite songs, quiet, and planning.

And sometimes you just need to share those songs and your favourite shows to make sure others know how awesome they are. Here you go.

"Step right up
Get yourself wrecked
Come on whisper my name
I mean since it's so late
A thousand miles away
I'll be creeping down your spine
And making you wait, wait and wait

And I hope you find a handsome young man
Who can love you like I, baby, just like I can
Who will take you out dancing, while you waited me out
Making good use of the blues you found

Go on light it up
Let your hair down
You deserve the wee hours and the shivers downtown
Because I'm waking up
You're stumbling home
What, you think I forget
I remember each and every lonesome night lone

And I hope you find a handsome young man
Who can love you like I, baby, just like I can
Who will take you out dancing, as you waited me out
Making good use of the blues you found
Making misery so proud

And if I saw this much blood
If it was all on your hands
If the pills in my system came to call you up again
Would you buy me a drink, to calm down
Would you buy me a drink right now?

And I hope you find a handsome young man
Who can love you like I, baby, just like I can
Who will take you out dancing, while you waited me out
Making good use of the blues you found

And I hope you find a handsome young man
Who can love you like I, baby, just like I can
Who will take you out dancing, while you waited me out
Making good use of the blues you found
Making good use of the blues you found
Making good use of the blues in you now
Making misery so proud
Making misery so proud
Making misery so proud
While you waited me out."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Motherhood Paradox

I have a question, hive:

Why do we still shame and question childless women?

We've come a long way, baby, but while some things have become more acceptable in our festering cesspool of a society, the notion that a woman is childless still draws ire and judgement. As Amy Sohnn has pointed out, "These days, it is no longer taboo to be gay or unmarried, but if you don’t want (or don't have, for whatever reason) kids, everyone looks down on you."

Explain yourself immediately, young/old lady!

This week there have been many discussions around the tables, in rooms, about where we have been, have come, and where we will go as women. The surge of positivity and energy I have felt coming out of this year's International Women's Day has been like no other. I feel hopeful that it will only intensify and that women are mobilizing, uniting, and are ready for a fight like no other time in our generation.

We do, however, still try to fit in boxes, and society still pressures us to fit the molds that have been created for women for centuries. As I sat at a table this week, discussing our lives with a group of powerful women, many were discussing parenthood, all with children of varying ages. As I looked around, only two of us were childless.

And then the statement came: "I don't know why you don't have kids!"

I do. And it's none of your business. I am not, as some might suspect, a Succubus who feeds on the souls of children, nor do I hate the little people created by the women whose wombs lack tumbleweeds (like mine must have!)

Motherhood is a loaded question for many. Those who drop the bombs are often unaware that many women feel death by a thousand cuts every time our value and purpose as women are put on display simply because we have not given birth.

Our (in)voluntary decisions often come with feelings of being betrayed by our own bodies, by the puzzle pieces not falling into place when and how they should, or we simply make the choice to not be mothers.

And this is okay.

The judgement, however, as well as the side eye and pity-laced facial expressions all seem to amplify as a woman, and her god-forsaken, barren womb age.

The minute you say you are childless, the reaction is often textbook. We get bombarded with questions by those who come at us with the firepower of a thousand suns. It is best described as Suzanne Condie Lambert said: "Think Transylvanian peasants with torches. Or “Dr. Phil” audiences when the topic is “Sassy 14-Year-Olds Who Think They’re Smarter Than You.”

"You don't know what you're missing out on!"
"Your biological clock is ticking."
"It seems selfish!"
"Who will take care of you when you're old?" (Because all of those folks in nursing homes are childless! Who knew?)

"What is wrong with you/her?"

There is moral outrage targeted at those of us who have not ticked off this very necessary and obligatory piece of a woman's uterine to-do list. Indeed, "Over 200 introductory psychology students at a large U.S. Midwestern university agree: People who don’t have children are not only miserable, but deserving of our moral outrage. That is the result of a new study that found that deliberately not breeding makes you look like a bad person who lives a purposeless life devoid of real joy. Bonus finding: Men and women without kids were equally despised, proving that there is no gender limit to our disgust toward those who do not procreate as directed in the handbook Being a Correct Adult" (Moore, The Real Reason why Society Hates You if You Don’t Have Kids, 2017).

Imagine! Here we are, living our lives and not knowing we are miserable, unfulfilled in our lot and being smug assholes.

News flash: your judgement is best packed away in the boxes you feel we should fit in, the ones who set out the guidelines and necessary characteristics of how to be a purposeful woman in this world.

Many of us do not choose to be childless - our bodies and/or life circumstances decided that for us - and many of us do choose to be. Neither is anyone's business. The questions, the judgement, the guilt most often evoke a response in ourselves where we do, indeed, question if we have failed and measure our worth on the yardsticks placed by those who tell us what our roles as women should be.


Childless women have a myriad of reasons why we have not procreated - health, careers, fears, or simply not wanting to be mothers. We owe no one our reasons, and we deserve to not have our reasons and worth questioned.

We are still role models.
We still carve paths for little girls to ensure the world is a better place.
We become the volunteers, the voices, the aunts, the cousins, the friends, the women who have decided that while our bodies might not give birth to the girls we aim to make a better world for we still have responsibilities. We can still make this world a better place.

While many mean no harm when asking a woman's reasons for not bearing children, we all need to be conscious of what a loaded question it can be - and simply realize that no woman is obligated to be a biological mother. This does not, in any capacity, lessen our power or our place in this world.

And, as Radhika Vaz pointed out in Unladylike: A Memoir, “How come when a woman says she wants a baby no one ever asks ‘why?”

Monday, March 5, 2018

Bread & Roses

International Women's Day, March 8th, has always been one of my favourite days of the year. It is a day to not only celebrate who we are, and our victories, but also to observe and reflect on the struggles of our sisters before us.

And to unify our strength and voices for battles to come.

The first National Woman's Day, designated by the Socialist Party of America, was observed in 1909 in the United States on 28 February to recognize the strike of garment workers in New York. After this iconic strike, an international Women's Day was recognized in 1910 in Copenhagen, to honour the women's movement.

Throughout World War I, where the roles of women are often written out of our history books, International Women's Day also became a mechanism for protest. It was during this period that March 8th became the day recognized. In 1917, Russian women protested and went on strike, demanding bread and peace, resulting in being granted the right to vote.

In 1975, International Women's Year, the United Nations also recognized March 8th as International Women's Day.

There is a very watered down history of why we observe and celebrate when we do.

IWD is powerful.

Every year, our annual Bread & Roses brunch grows in size. This is an event named aptly for Rose Schneiderman's iconic line in her famous speech where she declared, "The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too." I think we will soon have to build a piece on the Holiday Inn to hold all of the powerful women, of all generations, who attend.

This year there were over 300 women and allies in the room, all activists, feminists, all generations, all united in our histories and in our battles. Sister Mary Shortall gave a strong speech on our struggles and victories in both the political arena and in the labour movement. El Jones gave our keynote and had the house on its feet (as she always does) and her words resonated powerfully through the walls. I think we are all vibrating still.

And each year I realize that I am truly lucky to fight alongside such powerful activists as we claw our way through. While we have made gains, such as the optimism in small movements in the 2018 budget brought down by our Federal government, and movements on important pieces of legislation we have been advocating for (domestic violence leave, pay equity, anti-harassment, abortion clinic buffer zones, and the list goes on), we still feel like we are moving through quicksand at times.

As Mary said in her powerful speech yesterday, "Baby steps are not good enough."

But, I do feel we are at a pivotal moment in time.
We are mobilizing.
We are uniting our voices and drawing on each other for strength.
We are using our histories and our battle scars to say, "Enough."


They tried to burn us.
They tried to oppress us.
They tried to control our bodies.
They tried to keep our abortions in dark, back rooms.
They tried to stop us from the vote.
They tried to tell us we don't belong here.
They tried to put us in categories.
They tried to tell us who we are allowed to be.
They tried to keep us in the kitchen.
In the sweatshop.
In the river.
In the ground.

Yet, we persist.

They question our intelligence.
Our feminism.
Our motherhood.
Our behaviours.
Our roles in our workplaces.
Our looks.
Our sexuality.
Our dress.
Our femininity.
Our masculinity.

Yet, we persist.

And, while the movement has always been growing, I feel there is a different dynamic reverberating under the ground now, and there will be baby steps no more.

This time we're going to bring this shit to the ground.

We will continue to fight in the trenches, but we are also taking our fight to the streets, to the legislature, to the hills we are prepared to die on to see the girls who come behind us - our friends, our daughters, all who we leave a path for - finally have equality.

As we approach International Women's Day, let us use this time to both reflect and act. We all have roles to play and no action is too small, no voice too quiet.

Let's get shit done.

"As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days
The rising of the women means the rising of us all
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes
But a sharing of life's glories, bread and roses, bread and roses."

Friday, February 23, 2018

Thank you.

Firstly, let me extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has reached out, left comments, voicemails, emails this week. Your support and camaraderie has been been both heartwarming and empowering.

And thank you to those who have given me a vessel to get my opinions across.

A lot of those who have reached out have said thank you. There is no reason for thanks. I thank each and every one of you. I know I have a big mouth, am stubborn and opinionated. These are my attributes - and this is what I can do to make my way and try to make a contribution to those who need it, in a world that is both scary and changing under our feet.

I have said this week that activism these days is a double edged sword - we are both disheartened that we must still have the same conversations and fight for the same things as our sisters and brothers before us, while also feeling hope about the uprising and united voices we now see coming forward.

I feel hopeful that we are now in a time of change, that we are setting the wheels in motion that will finally put an end to what have been cycles and repetitions of age-old debates and battles.

We have finally had enough; it was enough a long time ago.

There is a message here: every action makes a difference, no matter how big or small you might feel it is. There is a butterfly effect of every voice who speaks up, every action that takes a stand and every one of us who puts our fist to the air and says no more.

Your activism, your feminism, might not look like mine and mine might not look like yours - we are unique individuals with our own ways of fighting back.

Some of us march, some wave our flags and yell on the hill, some write, some sing, some sit and make decisions within ourselves that we will change things within our own lives to perpetuate new attitudes - these will all make change.

It all makes a difference.

Our activism is shaped by our our personal colours and experiences. The manifestation of our reactions is a direct result of who we are and what has led us to be who we are.

As we venture into tumultuous times, times of political change where we will all make a difference in this world by stepping up and saying, "Enough," remember that there are uncountable others who stand beside you in stopping the injustices in this world. There are also those who are silent, for their own reasons, and it is our job to give a voice while helping them find their own.

Remember that, despite our differences, we all must work toward a common goal of being good to one another and creating a world that is just and loving.

I will never question your activism, your integrity, your feminism, your reasons. I will stand beside you and be a voice where I can. It is the least I can do.

And in a world filled with hatred, misogyny, violence and so much wrong, know that no act is too small, too large, to make a difference.

Only by saying it is enough will we create change.

And I've never been so hopeful.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Okay, hive, it's time to have a chat. I'll keep this to the point. I'm writing too many blog posts about how to be a decent human being this week and, frankly, it's getting on my nerves.

Today, NTV's Heather Gillis sat in court while the asshat who yelled "FHRITP" (that's "fuck her right in the pussy," for those of you who are unaware of the acronym. It originated when two other asshats started a Youtube trend a while ago, apparently. I won't be going to look for the original any time soon).

Heather was interviewing mayor Danny Breen down by good ol' Robin Hood Bay, doing her job, in her workplace, when Justin Penton (OMG SHE USED HIS NAME IT'S A WITCH HUNT...crawl up my hole) stuck his head out of the window of his carpet toting pickup and thought he was being hilarious.

Grow up, b'y.

Today it was deemed this was not a criminal offence. Best kind, Judge, Your Honour. I'm no student of the law, but it seems like the law has not been making friends these days.

Whether or not you agree with me that Justin Penton should be tied in the back yard and shot with a ball of his own shit, think for a minute about your workplace - and your right to feeling comfortable, safe, and to not have to deal with someone making a comment that is both sexually explicit and affects your ability to do your job. This is a job that you have worked hard to get, and work hard every day to do to the best of your ability.


This is enough. I've heard the comments, too. This week I've found myself spitting nails and wanting to burn things (now, before someone jumps on me for being a potential arsonist, I do not mean it literally).

"Take a joke."
"He didn't mean it."
"Lighten up."
"If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."

What a steaming pile all of that is.

Just this week, as I was sitting in a meeting that was my work place, a man who was not a coworker slid into the seat next to me and whispered:

"I'm some glad I don't work in the office with you."
"Because you would be saying, 'Me too.'"

Now, if you are still residing under the rock that shrouded you from FHRITP, you likely still know the "me too" movement. Me too exposed the massive epidemic of sexual assault. Thousands of strong, powerful women - your mothers, sisters, neighbours, daughters - came forward with stories and their experiences, their lifetimes of sexual assault, or simply used the hashtag to indicate that they, too, had been a victim.

In my workplace, a professional meeting, he felt it was appropriate to crack a joke that insinuated if he worked in close vicinity to me he would sexually assault me.

Right on.

This is not okay.

I've been told there will be "bloodshed" in a meeting by a man who was spitting in my face, had a fist cocked in my face and called a "cunt" while explaining policy, been asked in a meeting if I was "there to cook dinner," and have had advances made to grab my crotch when I walk by to get a coffee. I have been told a man would "rather go to jail because it would be better than being put under conditions of not being able to see you in the office," and the list goes on.

Here is a newsflash: THIS IS NOT OKAY, B'YS. NOT. OKAY.

Heather Gillis, you, I, everyone who gets up and breathes the damn air in the morning, have a right to go to work, feel safe, do our jobs without wondering if the eyes leering at us are thinking about what they would do to us if alone. We should not have to wonder if they are about to say something that makes us feel like our worth in our workplace is based on our anatomy and looks. We deserve to continue through our days feeling accomplished, not violated.

The misogyny, violence, and just plain juvenile actions of men who, for whatever reason, feel a pump in their own masculinity by making us feel inferior and like sexual objects stops now.

For every person who hears the commentary, reads it, or sees it, and thinks, "It was harmless fun," or, "Take a joke," I guarantee you I can take a joke and make one with the best of them. I am resilient, as I know Heather Gillis is (she is one kickass woman and a damn good reporter). This is not about that.

It is about having respect for other human beings, treating them like humans and not sex toys or something for your viewing or fondling pleasure - and about not being a shitbag.

Grow up.
And if you cannot, keep your little boy commentary inside your own head and pants.

Our little girls, young women, and fellow adult women deserve to exist and live days without this type of bullshit, threats, violence, and the fear that makes us walk to our cars from our workplaces with keys placed strategically between our fingers. We're ready for your jugular. Keep this crap and your pathetic complexes and misogyny out of our workplaces. Let us do our jobs and keep our workplaces safe.

Our little boys, young men, and adult men need to step up and be allies - say it is not okay. We know our allies are out there. We see you, raising your sons to be strong men who build women up and do not trivialize their existence down to something for sex and procreation. We know you're there.

Legal arguments aside, let us do our jobs; be decent people. There is enough going on in the world right now that makes this earth a scary place. The last thing anyone should do is contribute to the negativity and systemic violence in this cesspool we now live each day in.

I'm mad.
You should be, too.

A lot of us work in male dominated workplaces and it has been hard enough to claw our way to where we are, to be taken seriously. We spend every day having to unnecessarily prove ourselves and validate why we are there.

Get up and say this is unacceptable.

I'm sick of it.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Why we race.

I came here to write a race report. This post is less race report and more commentary on how to be a supportive, decent human being.

This morning's race was both brutal but fun, a great event organized by the city of Mount Pearl and put off by a crew of wonderful volunteers. They braved -20 and a piercing wind chill to make sure we all didn't die, hold us up at the finish, and make sure we weren't squat at intersections. Thank you to each and every one.

On a course that is about 60% uphill and with a brutal headwind, I was more than happy with my result and win. There is, however, something that needs to be said. One comment has taken away from the fun of what was a great event, one where every person should feel wonderful and be able to celebrate their accomplishment.

It is absolutely unacceptable for a race director, while watching athletes cross the finish line, happy and accomplished, well under the 60 minute course time limit, to say, "I don't know why people register for races if they're only going to walk them."

Hearing about this has me seething.

Every person on that course had a right to be there, whether they were hammering out 4 minute kms or finishing last.


This type of attitude has no place in the running or fitness communities. These comments are why people are intimidated from taking those first steps, from entering gyms, from going to a fitness class, from lacing up their first pair of sneakers. These comments contribute to our obesity and poor health epidemics.

I remember my first time setting foot in a gym when I was overweight, struggling with poor self confidence, unhealthy and wanted to make a change. It is damn hard and every ounce of support gives you the strength and courage to take one more step toward your goals.

Every person at that start line was there for their own reasons. For some it might be a time goal, for others to complete their first race. Reasons are nobody's business but your own but they should be celebrated. Getting to the start line of any race, let alone in -20 today, is an accomplishment in itself; finishing is the icing on the cake.

Every person at that line today is an athlete. Nobody should care if you ran 100% of the course or walked 100%. You finished, you have the same medal around your neck as the person in first, and the bagels tasted the same.

Encourage your fellow athletes, support the person taking their first steps to being a healthier, stronger them, motivate where you can, simply say, "Great job!" when you see someone working hard. Tell them they look strong!

We need to be supporting and lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. New World Fitness will be getting an email from me. The Frosty Festival 5k is not an Olympic qualifier, to the best of my knowledge, and the snarky comments and superiority complexes are better left off the race course and away from the finish line. Personally, I feel more emotional and inspired when watching those finishing their first race, or watching someone reach a personal time goal than watching the same person take home a medal for the 20007436784th time. Those are the truly inspirational people on that course.

Congratulations to everyone who kicked ass today, slogged that shitty stretch up Smallwood, and if you didn't swear your way through the last 3 kms you deserve extra congratulations.

And congratulations to the ladies who had to hear that comment fired in their direction. There is no need. I hope it did not take away from your feeling of accomplishment and want you to know every one of us are damn proud of each of you for kicking ass today. Keep being fabulous.

To answer the race director's question as to why people sign up for races when they walk them? Because they can, Keith, and because they have just as much of a right to be on that course as you, I, any person who has the courage to register and line up.

And because they're damn fine athletes.

Thank you again to the wonderful volunteers for a great event.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


No, this isn't a blog post full of Kanye West lyrics.

Race season is like objects in the rearview mirror - closer than it appears. Due to this fact, there will likely be a few training blogs here, something to keep me both accountable and motivated. I'll likely be tracking progress here as well, so if this bothers you go batter somewhere else.

I know a lot of folks consider the winter the offseason, but there really never is an offseason for me. Between hockey and registering for a scattered race when it pops up, I never really take one. I do not like to lose any momentum and like to push through, despite ice and our lovely Newfoundland climate.

Somehow, some way, I'm feeling pretty good heading into this season. I feel pretty supported right now and have some wonderful people in my life who continue to push me to reach my goals. For all the training in the world, the greatest compliment to the work is support from your circles. It's going to be a solid year.

2018 will mark my third year of training with the nothing-short-of-amazing Tara Postnikoff at HEAL Toronto, and hard work does truly pay off. Tara knows her shit and has pushed me to times and limits I never thought would be possible again.

I never thought that at 36 I would be feeling close to (possibly better, but only the times on the road will tell) than my varsity year. It has been a long, tough road with a lot of miles, sweat and tears, but I am cautiously optimistic. After a 1:46:51 Hypothermic Half in less-than-ideal conditions, and on a tough course, I am hoping for my best year yet.

Today has been one of those days when I have given a lot of thought to what is coming up, had some good training discussions, and have committed to being the best I can be on the ice and on the road (I should probably say in the water as well, but I hate swimming so screw swimming).

The morning started with coffee with my former X-Country coach, the legendary Art Meaney. Art is one of the most important people in my life. He is always honest, full of wonderful advice, knowledge (both in and outside of the running world), and has been there for me through a lot of hard and good times alike. We talk about my work, what he is up to, have political discussions and always wind up back to running. I can always go to Art for advice, a chat, and we try to do coffee once or twice a month in our busy lives. I love that man.

"Let me take a picture of you in that fabulous hat, kid! Tell me about it!"

Coffee with Art always ends with motivation, solid training advice, and always a book to read.

After our chat today I've decided I need to put in a lot of work and be the best athlete I can, both on the ice and on the road. 

This means incorporating strength training and being the strongest I can be. As many of you know, the epidemic of body image issues in sport (for young girls and women, especially) is a topic very close to me. In sport we are role models and we never know who is watching, taking note of us as we skate, run, bike or swim. It is important to set a solid example and I want to do that.

I look no further than a month ago when I was running along Quidi Vidi Road and a little girl, no more than 6, was walking with her dad and looked up with big eyes as I ran by. I slowed back and she started running with me. I said then I hope she keeps it up. I really do.

Every Friday night there are little girls watching our games at Capital Hyundai Arena, watching 10 teams of women from all walks of life skate, compete and have fun. They're watching and taking notes. 

We need to be the best examples for them.

Today I finally did something I have been hesitant to do and, quite frankly, intimidated to do for a while - I joined a gym. Now, do not get me wrong, I have gone to gyms, but mostly to hop on treadmills when conditions are not favourable to outside running. The weight rooms are usually full of grunting guys who smirk and look at us like we are a sideshow. I'm sorry folks, that's been my experience. It is intimidating and, though I never give two flying shits what people think of me, the weight room is not somewhere I am comfortable.

Screw that, now.

I am now making a commitment to myself to be better and stronger. I am not backing down.

Today marks the first (technically the second, but the first in a series of consistency) day of becoming stronger and better. I will likely be posting a fair bit here about progress, race season, and training. It's a large part of who I am and hey, maybe someone might see some of this and it might make a difference.

I know there are a lot of posts, blogs, articles by strong women athletes that have made a huge difference in my life, my training and in my thought processes. I hope to some day do the same for others.

For now, I am buckling down. Today I finished my pre-race fartlek run as per my training program, and hit weights for a solid 45 minutes. My dumbells are puny but the weights will come.

Tomorrow I will run the Frosty Festival 5k (with a stupid cold, so I don't think I'll get the result I am hoping for) and then hit the ice with a team of kickass women, and then another skate with my crew of awesome guys. Sundays are my favourite day.

Here is to the start of a stronger, better me.

And, because life can't be all working out and training, here are a few pics of our hour at the dog park. Sid and Claude are cute, okay? They deserve some online love as well. Life is about balance. 

Be happy.