Tag Archives: society

How Modern Family is Saving Social Morals from Themselves

and other funny stories.

We hosted a dinner party for three women and three men. Two of the women are in a long-term relationship. One of the men is in a long-term relationship with one of the women. That leaves two men unaccounted for.

Our two male guests happened to be wearing the same shirt.


“Time to play: Who wore it best?”

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Welcome to the blog

I love a good photo, but a dreadful one is even better! Especially this one for its pairing with the birth of an adoption; a process I can’t wait to follow.


Live within limits without limiting life

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Dorothy Was Adopted

This past spring I FaceBook posted a truly epic photo of me. I was in all of my glory – disheveled hair, buggy wild eyes, and a strained expression extending from collarbone to forehead. You can imagine the comments (I love you all, I really do).

The truth is that photo was one of the more important ones taken of me in my entire life.

That wintry and blustery day last spring, Martin and I had rushed during our lunch hour to get an RCMP clearance check. We handed over several pieces of ID, got fingerprinted, and then photographed. A few weeks later, we had another important piece of documentation in our hands – confirmation by Interpol that we are clear of any previous criminal activity. Another hurdle cleared.

We’ve been doing a lot of high jumping this past year……….because there’s a lot of paperwork to be done when you’re…

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Equality in Engineering

Right down to the chants

People are under the impression that engineering must have been hard for me, being one of few women.

The chants, for example, are notoriously “inappropriate” – the most famous and widely shared being a song about Lady Godiva. (See a fuller, albeit tailored version, by MIT)

But we women were given equal opportunity to be just as rude as the men. We wrote our own chants and they were just as inappropriate and just as funny… for everyone… regardless of gender… and no one celebrated rape.

The UBC Sauder School of Business is reeling from recent revelations about Frosh being taught chants celebrating underaged rape.

Naturally, the university has separated itself from the student chants and suggesting the business school teaches rape is absurd. BUT, before dismissing this as an isolated incident, the school needs to consider the possibility of an underlying divide between “suits” and “skirts”.

The culture of engineering is often assumed to suffer gender division. I made that mistake when I first went to work. I fell into the trap of dressing like my male colleagues, thinking being “one of the guys” was the only way for me to fit in.

I imposed that gender division on myself.

In the end, I finally realised there is no outfit that a rugged pair of coveralls can’t neutralize! I could wear a skirt if I wanted to and still visit sites, climb ladders, and harness myself to scaffolding. I was just like any man who wanted to protect his  3-piece suit, while out in the field.

Reforming the way we view and treat gender does not need to sterilize our differences. I like wearing skirts. I know how to do my work regardless of my attire, just like Swedish train drivers.

They donned skirts to beat the summer heat in protest to their employer’s ban of shorts.

They can do their work better when they are comfortable, and that was worth fighting for. (We have quite a way to go in accepting gender as a continuum rather than binary categories-the shorts ban was quickly lifted.)

In Engineering at McMaster University, I was treated as an engineering student. Nothing else. When I went to work, I had to relearn that. My colleagues didn’t parse me out as a female engineer. They let me decide how to define myself, and they accepted me for my work, not for my anatomy.

I’m not much of a “rah-rah engineering” graduate, but…

Gimme an “E”! Gimme an “N”! …


Live within limits without limiting life

Follow me and check out my food blog: Meat Eating Vegans!


Psst! She may not know it but…

She inspires me to write. Psst! Thank you Louise.

She raises my faith in myself. Psst! Thank you Carolyn.

She pushes me forward. Psst! Thank you Laurel.

She protects me. Psst! Thank you Janice.

She listens and confides. Psst! Thank you Jenn.

She brings me peace. Psst! Thank you Agnes.

She brings me joy. Psst! Thank you Sharon.

She grounds me. Psst! Thank you Karina.

She teaches me to love time spent in my kitchen. Psst! Thank you Steph.

She loves me unconditionally and gives me space simply to be. Psst! Thank you Freda.

She brings the best of my past into my present and future. Psst! Thank you Nicole.

She makes me count my blessings. Psst! Thank you Lucene.

She humbles me. Psst! Thank you Janet.

She opens my mind to other ideas. Psst! Thank you Lisa.

She opens my heart to new experiences. Psst! Thank you Iris.

She quiets my mind so I can listen. Psst! Thank you Michelle.

She gives me a voice so I can sing. Psst! Thank you Bec.

She teaches me love. Psst! Thank you Tanya.

She teaches me compassion. Psst! Thank you Pam.

She works hard, then lets go. Psst! Thank you Meredythe.

She makes me laugh. Psst! Thank you Ally.

She never looks back and has no regrets. Psst! Thank you Ruth.

She shows me how to share my passion. Psst! Thank you Astrid.

She teaches me to be brave. Psst! Thank you Donna.

She lives simply as I aspire to do. Psst! Thank you Dhakshi.

She is patient and I try to be too. Psst! Thank you Heather.

She reminds me to roll with whatever life throws at me. Psst! Thank you Natalie.

She exemplifies strength. Psst! Thank you Melissa.

She is independent. Psst! Thank you Allison.

She is teaches me not to fear my own voice. Psst! Thank you Emily.

She holds my heart and it grows every time she laughs, cries, asks, screams, and even sleeps. Psst! Thank you Rhiannon.


Live within limits without limiting life

Follow me and check out my new blog! Meat Eating Vegans


Neutral technology is exactly the problem

This is dedicated to my former students. In case I didn’t quite make clear my message about technology being good, bad, or neutral, let me sum up…

Google Images: Technology
Philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, and even some savvy technologists (engineers included), have long debated the neutrality of technology: Is it inherently good or is it inherently evil?  Even as I am writing this, an article just appeared in my inbox asking “Is The Digital World Hurting Us Or Making Things Easier?

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There was a protest at school today…

“There was a protest at school today,” my 10-year-old began. “At recess, 200 kids started chanting: We want our playground back! We want our playground back!” It brought tears to my eyes: He knows the word PROTEST!

Recently, he and his sister also learned the word indentured. Oddly, this little lesson came from a Christmas song: 

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I digress

Just as we mourned with Norway last year, the world is mourning with Newtown. Just as with Norway, our personal sadness will be short lived… Continue reading


Today I…

drank water from the tap

sent my kids to school

flushed paper down the toilet

wore a sweater

sat in silence

didn’t see litter

breathed fresh air

spoke on the telephone

read the news

saw a dog on a leash

edited some photos

ate

listened to my stereo

turned on the furnace

withdrew money from my bank account

updated my Facebook status

worked

ate raw fruit and vegetables

cleaned my house

saw snow

played with my kids

chose not to eat beans and plaintains

… but I miss Continue reading


Is the ideal public sphere fantasy…

… or art?

Yesterday I was put to the task of identifying a public sphere without constraints befitting the criteria:

1. open dialogue actively takes place
2. free from corporate market imperatives
3. free of hierarchical institution(s)
4. demographically, spatially, and temporally accessible

My initial questions are: Continue reading


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