Friday 31 August 2012

The price my generation paid for being female in the workforce

My classroom ready to go.
I was punished by being brought in
from the portable one year.
Given a split-grade class after teaching gr. 6 for several years.
The price my generation paid for being female, and in the workforce, has been harsh.

  • There were those who were upset with mothers who worked. 
  • There were males threatened with women in the workplace. 
  • Bullying by female bosses who refused to learn to be leaders. 

They forgot the groundbreakers, the women who worked in WW I and II factories, who were sent back to the kitchen after a war ended.

Women, only a few years older than I, had to quit work upon having a baby. There was no maternity leave. We learned from this, for the most part. Although, in 1986 I had a principal refuse to put me on his Occasional Teacher list, as I had children and would have issues with child care.
Women, in non-traditional male jobs, experience harassement, sexual and otherwise. Systemic sexual harassment: retired RCMP officers report porn dropped on their desks, crude jokes, and the like, have begun to strike back.

Male and female bosses were threatened by age-peers who rising to positions of power. They jeopardized the workplace by threats, belligerence, and verbal and sexual abuse.
Overcoming the Problem of
Principal Mistreatment of teachers
Female bosses began to emulate the male style of leadership: being a boss, not a leader; asserting orders, rather than allowing the employees a part of the decision-making process, top-down policies, with no room for classroom decision-making.

New principals, anxious to make their mark, would disrupt a school and classrooms, by rearranging classroom assignments. If you were a difficult person, who questioned policies or were Shop Steward (who is supposed to ask questions on behalf of staff), were popped into a portable with a split-grade class.

The principals you liked to work for were collaborative, collegial people who understand their role as facilitator, rather than ruler, and listened to the opinions of all staff.

I have experienced workplace bullying. I was yelled at in hallways by another principal. This one denied me fair Federation representation at meetings, something to which I was entitled when disciplined for any reason. I was harassed and yelled at over the PA system (with students present), in the school office, in the photocopy room and staff room. She was unable to deal with disciplining me for perceived issues without yelling and being acerbic.

Famous Five statues on Parliament Hill
Another bully of a boss would denigrate my lesson plans, question my ability to teach since I wasn't doing it her way, while I was driving 100km after school every day to provide care for my late father, who was dying of a brain tumour.

The same can be said of mental health issues in the workplace. This bullying has an effect on one's health, and for bosses not to be aware of the repercussions of their actions results in increased costs to the health care system. It impacts fellow employees, possibly customers or clients and students, and the public that employees serve. It impacts the employees pension, income, and we know how older women living in poverty is a terrible issue.

Parliament Hill 1967
I hope we have learned from this. I reported my issues to the superintendent, who referred the problem to the Board Safety officer. It was resolved after 2 months off work, and many healthcare appointments.

I hope that the actions by some brave RCMP women with provide a beacon of hope for all of us. Kudos to them all.

The First Ladies of the RCMP | The Current with Anna Maria - CBC
30 Nov 2011 – The RCMP was one of the last major police forces in the world to admit women to its ranks in 1974. It took another 16 years for them to get the 

  1. Hundreds of women join RCMP harassment lawsuit - British - CBC
    30 Jul 2012 – Hundreds of current and former female Mounties have come forward from across Canada to join a class-action lawsuit alleging harassment ...

Thursday 30 August 2012

Shooting in the forest

Forest gunfire from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.I was walking buddy, Buster, and heard gunfire. The next day, I took a walk onto the property line, at 6 a.m. before the shooter got up, and found an empty plastic milk container they had been shooting. I don't want to fear for my safety in the forest.

We put up with the OPP Recertification training rapid gunfire all summer, we shouldn't have to put up with kids banging away for fun.

Drivers need to act sensibly!

Down I went to get out paper. Now, when I can't get across the road fast enough, we'll have to go into a retirement home! Bambi was across the road, with cars passing madly in front of her. They pass on 500m of a straight stretch, not seeming to worry if there is someone coming around the corner. We've had many incidents, having to pull off of the road onto the gravel to escape an oncoming car.

Perth needs a ring road!

What a sight in downtown Perth! Unhappy drivers!

Wednesday 29 August 2012

A new look for Frosty and new pieces of artwork!

Frosty Fishergirl! 
I love decorating my property. Creating art from found, scrounged repurposed materials, or inexpensive items. Frosty is a piece my late Mom and Dad had, and rather than bringing him in after winter, I've been decorating him for the seasons!
Frosty in July

At Easter he had rabbit ears, but in August, I decided to turn him into a fishergirl!
A trip to the Sally Ann, and an Ottawa Freecycle set of beads for a fishing line, a craft foam fish with eyes, and we're all set!

Bear is sporting a jaunty Canada Day/Olympic/Calgary Stampede hat, as well as a Canada Day tie.

New decor for the wreath!
My latest project was to figure out something for the window frame. We had to have our front windows replaced, and they were going to the dump. Instead, after the glass broke, I figured out what to do!
Cool court jester

Carefully measuring 1" all around, I tapped in nails and wound some multi-coloured yarn from one point to the opposite corner, then moving one nail over and doing the same. What's cool about the yarn is that there are spots of intense colour.

My mobile: mussel shelly, oyster shells,
escargot and fishing lures!
Hubby found some unique spiders, made from beads, with posable limbs. I popped those on, as well as a chipmunk tail from one of Oliver's catches.

 I used to do this type of pattern with my students for geometry projects. We made them from cardboard. Eventually, school supply companies made them from hard plastic and we would use elastics, but we loved the patterns.

I loved teaching art. Our Language Arts was based on a theme, and so was our art. It was more that I facilitated art; gathering materials, and seeing what they could create. I loathed it when everyone's art all looked the same. My bright artists would figure something out, tutor the others, and we would have a grand time.

Called: 'Never a door closes!'
Here is before, well 'during' when I ran out of yarn, and after!
I began with a small skein of wool yarn, bought on sale, and realized I wouldn't have enough. Back to the store!
 How to make a skirt using ties.
Bear has been fun. But even bear has had a change.

Bear King!

Poor bear!
This one, well, needs work!
THe green iron thing is from an old
kerosene heater from my parents.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Search for lost Franklin ships launched in Canada's Arctic

There are warnings that our Provincial Parks are facing huge cuts this September. This is the same for Canada Parks. What a shame.

This seems a bit, well, strange...
We cut back in tourism, as we cut jobs, and risk our World Heritage status for our canal, but Canada Parks is paying for a $250,000 trip to try and find the so-called Franklin Museum trip ships. You see, we've declared them historic monuments, but we don't know where they are!

The interesting thing is that CBC is covering the event, with blogging journalists (David Common: Visit to the ship's nurse, seriously?), and on-line footage, using more tax dollars, for this hopeful discovery of these lost Franklin Museum ships. Now,  I understand that if we declare them heritage sites, they are protected. But shouldn't we find them first?

I would think that it better to put money into the sites we have, and the tourist attractions we need to promote, rather than dumping money into this. Surely, they could find private funding for this, by some philanthropist?

They've been lost for a good long time! Mystery shrouds fate of Franklin's 1845 expedition

Lady Franklin led the charge, trying to get the Brits to search for them. In those days Canada was still British North America. There have since been 17 searches between 1984 and 2011.

Now, set these men in a new ship with new technology, untested in Arctic conditions, where they truly didn't know how to survive. Arrogant thinking they could, when the Inuit had been there for 8000 years! Not only that, but they ignored the Inuit stories!
“The tales which are preserved [by the Inuit] often contain compelling details without which a complete picture cannot be built,” Woodman says. “But, for 100 years, the main stumbling block is that no one paid attention to the Inuit stories.”
Sandbanks Provincial Park photos

 We visited Sandbanks Provincial Park. Great fun, with an amazing beach. Above is my photo collection of the day. Ontario has many such parks, with amazing beaches, as does Canada Parks.

Our local park, Murphys Point, has a great beach, too. Why don't we focus on our parks, not ships lost 100 years ago?

Search for lost Franklin ships launched in Canada's Arctic

EXCLUSIVE: CBC News is on board as Parks Canada launches the biggest expedition yet to find the missing ships from Sir John Franklin's doomed 1845 effort to discover the Northwest Passage.
While Sir John Franklin's 1845 expedition left England amid much optimism, it ultimately ended in the tragedy and became the greatest disaster in British exploration of the Arctic.

Monday 27 August 2012

Sneak attacks

Often, critters use camouflage to escape predators. Some predators use it to hide in plain view.
I'm sure this is the same Crab Spider
-a lovely golden colour!
Goldenrod Crab Spider in May
-white in early spring.

What was with this?

Spotted this butterfly flapping madly
The culprit!
I practiced catch and release!

Praying Mantis looks like a leaf
Look closely!
Clever spiders!

Kingston Pilgrimage

Hubby's trip down memory lane. He wanted to honour the memory of his room mate from the early 1970s at Queen's University. Rather than celebrating the day of death, he chose to revisit the place where they enjoyed life.
There was a certain energy on campus, as the Dons were there, we met one. He was amazed that the rooms had not changed, although some of the furniture had!
There were a few kids getting ready for living away from home. Parents unpacking trailers with them!

Kingston July 7, 2012
Kingston Trip Aug. 22, 2011

Jeremiah bullfrog and Shirley Goldfish

The turtle is fake - the frog, not!
When I want to check the status of the fish, I turn off the pond pump and chuck some fish food into the goldfish pond. For the first time, Jeremiah Bullfrog decided that the goldfish were fair game. This drew the Alewives, too. And the Alwives that have crossbred with the goldfish. Never mind that they are vastly different sizes. We couldn't believe it!
Bullfrog sits in the pot most days.

The fish nibble frog's toes, but he still goes after them, the food, and the fish, all about him!

Jeremiah bullfrog and goldfish video

I built a goldfish pond. We had a couple of fish, then someone donated 4 more. It was a school of goldfish. I had notice that there were Alewives, a type of herring - an invasive species, that appeared one day. Perhaps in the wetland plants I transplanted.
You build it, they will come.
First it was the green frogs, then the leopard frogs. Finally, or so I thought, Jeremiah bullfrog entered the pond. He seems to have taken over. Next, I found that the alewives seem to have mated with the goldfish.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Traffic incidents freak me out

Drivers do some crazy things. You feel so badly for their families. We have had some close calls. Twice hubby has had to pull onto the gravel after pulling onto the highway into town.
Once, I slowed to pull into the driveway and some fool had passed the car behind me on the curve. Off onto the gravel he went.

Early morning collision kills three people

Last week, twice, we had drivers coming towards us on our side of the highway. One was passing two stopped cars, and there were several cars behind us.  The one in front was waiting to cross our path onto their driveway.
The next time, he had his head down, you could see the brim of his ball cap, and his passenger seemed awfully calm as he approached. I was in a bit of a panic.

Another horrible incident hit the news -  near us in Perth. She backed out of her driveway for some reason, and was hit.
A Perth-area woman is dead after she pulled her van out of a driveway onto Highway 7 and was hit by a pickup truck on Sunday. The Lanark County detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police said the collision, which forced the closure of the highway in both directions, occurred just after 4:30 p.m. Police said the pickup truck was westbound on Highway 7 near Gamles Side Road, about 10 kilometres west of Perth, when it collided with a passenger van that was coming out of a private driveway.

Prince Edward County - Marine Museum

Next we found the Marine Museum in Weller's Bay. Fort Kente was built to participate in the defense of British North America in 1812.

Prince Edward County Marine Museum
 For all of the Museum photos

Saturday 25 August 2012

Sir John went to The Waring House

We stayed at The Waring House, Inn, Spa, Cooking School, set in wonderful old buildings. The newer buildings, where we stayed, have huge bathrooms, which Sir John adored.

The Waring House Innkeepers have solar power, and feature fabulous soaps from Britain, in recycled packaging. The soap, they provide in a wee bag, which you can take home with you so as not to waste the bath bar!
The only issue we had was the wonky wireless internet connection. I had to wire in directly. Sure slowed me down!
Art in the hallway,
by the artist in residence,

Happy Anniversary!
Sir John at breakfast
You have to be tough
to be a pioneer woman!
The Waring House
Click here for all of my photos!