Two Sticks And Some String !

This is me, an opinionated, politically progressive Canadian Lace Knitter who's lived and worked in western Canada, and on the east coast of the USA; a multi-skilled person who's been recently re-elected to public office, has a Class One driver's license, a human services professional in direct service, middle and senior management positions, and a MOM!

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Read at your own risk! While my blog is primarily a knitting blog, I do express my own thoughts and opinions, some of which may offend the reader. If you are here to look at my knitting, please go to the "Archives" and click on "May 2005".

Anyone is welcome, of course, to leave a comment. The world would be flat if it weren't for people who dissent. (oh, what, you mean the world is ROUND???)

Actually, it's a sphere. This means we're all entitled equally (after all, the earth is not egg-shaped) to our opinions. I've had 51 years experience on this planet, and tell it like I see it, or feel it, or believe it.

So you can love the knitting and hate the writing, if you want. Or you can love the writing and not care about the knitting (but be careful, you're really treading on thin ice !!). Either way, you're welcome to gaze to your heart's content.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Of Addicts and Assholes

What part of "No Smoking In The House" doesn't he get? Someone rents the basement suite of the house we're renting here in Lethbridge. Because I have asthma (to say nothing of the fact that expecting someone to be happy sharing the heating system in a house with a smoker is simply stupid) the deal with the landlord is that there is no smoking. Period. Doesn't matter what the outside temperature is, there is NO SMOKING IN THE HOUSE.

So Mr. Asshole (see, my mother taught me to have good manners) comes home from the neighbourhood watering hole, so drunk he can barely navigate down the back stairs into his suite, and doesn't understand the panic I feel when I smell his cigarette smoke. Not so much because of my asthma, but because he's so drunk that he likely has very little concept of into how much danger his nicotine addiction is putting the other four mammals who live in this house. I've been woken up in the middle of the night, smelling his cigarette smoke. I know FULL WELL that he's in BED, drunk and smoking.

I have so little regard for this pathetic excuse for a human being that I must admit, if he dropped a lit butt into his mattress and cremated himself, I'd say the world was slightly better off. However, in his self-induced stupor, he'd be taking my sweet man, two beautiful cats, an Alaskan Malamute and me on a trip to the pearly gates.

I do not (repeat, do NOT) "buy into" the notion that addiction is a disease. Sure, maybe the addictive substance creates a physical craving for the substance, but it is no disease. As soon as it's labelled "disease", then all those addicted idiots out there say "I can't help myself, I'm an addict and it's a disease". They have been liberated from responsibility for their actions, because, after all, poor jerks, they're sick.

CRAP. Addicted or not, every time the drunk puts booze in his mouth, he's making a choice. Every time someone drops a quarter into the VLT, he's making a choice. Every time the loser lights a cigarette, he's making a choice. Every time an abuser strikes another human being, every time a person's judgement is compromised because of an "addiction", every single time that one of us is caught in the line of fire, it is because the "addict" makes a choice.

I'm tired of addicts whining about their "disease". I'm tired of being victimized by a theory (of addiction being illness) and by those who subscribe to it. I'm tired of listening to addicts blame everyone but themselves for their pathetic behaviour.

He's sitting downstairs right now. I can almost hear his TV. Last year, he fell down those stairs and injured himself so badly that he suffered partial hearing loss for several months, and was unable to work because of his injuries. He told us he'd been mugged in the alley on the way home from the pub. What idiot walks home at 2 in the morning, in a "not great" neighbourhood, down the ALLEY and then claims he was mugged when clearly the stair-tread bruises all over his scrawny, smelly body were collected when he took that header down to his place? Twice now he has started to cook while intoxicated and has burned the food so badly that it filled the entire house with a horrid stench. The last time he pulled this stunt was in early December 2005. If it happens again, I'm calling the fire department, and then the police, and then the landlord.

Of course, his sorry lot in life is the same as all alcoholics. His ex-wife is a bitch. His daughter ignores him. His boss is unfair (yeah, he expects the drunk to come to work sober and put in a full day's work ... aww gee). He gave up everything to live closer to his daughter, and she doesn't even give him a gift at Christmas.

I've heard this song before. Carter Brent MacKay (in case you're so arrogant as to google your name and find it here). I was his third wife. The litany of complaints against Wife Number One (and bearer of his three children) was long and detailed. The Wife Number Two was just a rebound marriage. Wife Number Three (that would be me) was inadequate. He'd been "dry" for five years, but had to start drinking again because I wasn't a "better wife" to him. His description of "better wife" meant having meals on the table by 5 p.m. and allowing him to force me to have sex with him, even if it meant grabbing me by the hair and covering my mouth with his hand while he ... well, let's say it wasn't "lovemaking" by any stretch of the imagination. He loved to go on and on about how "everyone" saw him as such a hero, "taking on me and my son". Funny how I was the one who supported him as he went from one flaky job to another, how I supported him when he threw himself into bed claiming he was too depressed to do anything else, and how it was the women in his life who supported him while he wasted his life taking no responsibility for the path of destruction he left behind him. And then, like a true addict, when our marriage was over, he accused me of hiding copious quantities of money from him. This was totally untrue, as I paid off his overdraft to the tune of $9,000 with proceeds from the sale of a house that I had bought a few years previously. But he had no honour, therefore no one else did, either. Brent was so untrustworthy that he could give no one else credit for being what he could never conceive of.

Ah, the drunk just made it up the stairs and back down again. I'm sure glad I won't be waking up with his hangover. Oops, my mistake. I guess if you're always drunk, you can't possibly be hungover.

The hour is late. Responsible working folks need their sleep. (umm, that would be me). With any luck, the drunk downstairs will fall asleep for the night, and I won't be woken up at 3 a.m. in full asthma attact because of his stupidity.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Post-Stephen Lewis Post

This is Friday night. It's been 48 hours since I sat mere metres away from Stephen Lewis, and the impact of his words hasn't diminished with the passing of those hours. In that time, more women and children in Africa have died of this terrible disease than the loved ones who enter and leave our lives.

We grumble about the price of a litre of gas, whine because the weather's miserable, discuss which wine to have with dinner, and then jockey for the remote, insulated from the horrors and the truths of living in poverty, in Africa, with AIDS. We are insulated from the cries of the children whose only parent has wasted away, and from the desperation of the surviving grandparents, already tired and old, now faced with raising grandchildren with even fewer resources than they had when raising their own children.

Stephen Lewis can't enter a room and leave it without casting a broad net, even if he only speaks a few words. In one breath he is hopeful, even joyful, over small strides made to improve the lives of a handful of children, and in the next, his audience is weeping as he shares the last few words of a woman dying of AIDS. I would be ashamed of myself if I admitted to sitting there without emotion. I wept, I laughed, I ached, I smiled. Stephen Lewis held us all in the palms of his hands, enchanted with his words but devastated by his message.

There are many things to be done. I need to contribute. We all need to contribute.

I have always wanted to be part of something that would make me think beyond my own life. I believe this may be that thing.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Stephen Lewis in Nanaimo Today

Today my mother and I travel "up Island" to Nanaimo. We will be picking up my son, going out for Thai or Vietnamese food, and then going to the Port Theatre to hear Stephen Lewis.

For the uninitiated, Stephen Lewis is the son of David Lewis, longtime leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada. I met the senior Lewis several times in my teens. Stephen was appointed Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, and then became the UN ambassador to Africa for AIDS (and I'm sure there's some great website I could insert here, if I only knew how!).

These days it's hard to find someone worthy of the label "hero". Stephen Lewis is one of those people. I've heard him speak many times, in electronic media, and this will be my second time hearing him in person. If DaVinci's paintings could be put into words, Stephen Lewis would be the orator. His phenomenal use of the English language is inspiring. If you ever (EVER) have a chance to see him, do it.

Tonight's message will likely be depressing. I've seen the TV shows of his trips into Africa. It is the shame of the world that keeps this situation from improving. But I'd rather walk away depressed than pass up the chance to hear Stephen Lewis speak.

Someday one African life will be worth one North American life, or one European life, and the eradication of AIDS will begin in earnest. But, until oil and wealth cease to be seen as having more value than the life of a poverty-stricken black woman dying of AIDS in Africa, those women, their children, and the men who infect them, will continue to die.

I don't have time today to proof read this. I'm going to his the "publish" button and then get ready to leave Victoria for Nanaimo. I'll try to get something on my blog in the next couple of days, while Stephen Lewis' message is fresh in my mind.
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