———those who doubt,
———those who insist,
———those who sit at the steering wheel and cry,
———those who write on blackboards,
———those who fall asleep in the sun,
———those who wait to be served in their own language,
———those who have a radical change of attitude,
———those who have seen your face somewhere before and
frantically search their memory for the sound of your name,
———those who worry about the state of your health,
———those who turn up the volume as loud as it can go to
prepare for the confusing and unpleasant noise that will
surround them,
———those who can recognize in the grey sky the infallible
signs of an impending storm,
———those who place their head against your forehead to
try to track the movements of your thoughts or to transfer
information or, simply, to try to get close to your soul,
———those who stretch out their hands, imploring you to
help them up the steep slippery slopes they are preparing to
climb with or without you,
———those who go and get wine,
———those who do the shopping,
———those who make supper,
———those who move painfully, making their way slowly
and cautiously over icy sidewalks,
———those who turn around to make sure you haven’t
followed them with your eyes into their solitude,
———those who can’t get their keys to turn in the frozen
locks of their houses,
———those who touch up their lipstick,
———those who carry their shoes in plastic bags,
———those who never use a comb,
———those who cut their own hair,
———those who wipe the fog from their lenses,
———those who write their names in the sand,
———those who draw hearts and arrows or write risky
confessions in the dust and dirt that builds up on car bodies,
———those who use pointed objects to engrave graffiti into
the cold frost that thickens on the windows of their houses,
———those who insist on getting things out into the open,
———those who share a deep respect for each other,
———those who say yes with their eyes, offering the
troubling and genuine confession of their vulnerable bodies,
———those who leave flowers, love notes, flyers under the
windshield wipers of cars in the parking lots of shopping
———those who hold your face in their hands as if to drink
out of your mouth, as if from the source of an injury that
cannot be repaired by any other means but in this intimate
gesture, as distant as scripture and as moving as the sea,
———those who care deeply about making sure the world
is still and will always be a refuge of infinite warmth and
constant comfort…

~ From, Beatitudes, by Hermengilde Chiasson

That my choice for Int’l Women’s Day is an excerpt from a book by a man isn’t completely ironic. His were the words that came to mind today when what I wanted to address was the universal each other  of us,  not just those who travel in our circles, who share our concerns, but those with or without families, with or without homes or meaningful work, respect, love… with or without someone who cares if we have a cold, who will bring us soup.

The forgotten women as well as the remembered.

The fact is we’re more same than different… and, despite our differences in gender, culture, race, privilege (and other contributing factors to how life plays out) (and the need to address those factors of inequality…) we recognize each other.

And that’s no small thing.

But how to use the power of it?

Because it strikes me that maybe it’s a key ingredient to achieving all kinds of equality, and rather than giving so much energy to divisiveness, teams and sides, all those rules to argue over, which makes for such a slow and bumpy road, maybe we could focus on the reality that we ‘recognize’ each other.

But, yeah, how to use that reality… remains the question.

In the meantime, that a man wrote these passages feels somehow hopeful, makes the idea of recognizing each other seem more possible somehow.

In the meantime…

Happy International Women’s Day, to ‘us’ all…






the war on litter: notes from the front line


Actually, not so much notes as questions.

For instance…

All those festively coloured bags of doggie doo-doo you see on boulevards, sidewalks, parks, woodlands. Are dog walkers notoriously butter-fingered, i.e. are all those bags unknowingly dropped? Or have they been set down with the idea of being retrieved on the return trip (after all, who wants to carry crud AND a Timmy’s while strolling) and then forgotten when a different route home is decided upon? Or just forgotten. And those baggies all chubby with doo doo tied to fences or hanging from trees. What is that??  The result of someone coming along, finding a dropped bag and thinking: hmmm… let’s see what could be the best possible move here… oh, I know!  Or do the dog walkers themselves use the baggies as a sort of code among themselves? (If so, please let me in on it, because I’m an occasional dog walker myself.)

Also… people who enjoy a walk (with or without furry friends), who choose to ramble in the pristine beauty of a forest, conservation area or field of buttercups, the beach or any shoreline… and yet somehow find it normal to drop their drinking cups, cans, bottles and chip bags like breadcrumbs as they go. Why are you walking in pristine beauty when you obviously don’t like pristine beauty? Wouldn’t it make more sense for you to stretch your legs at the dump? Wouldn’t you feel more at home there??  Serious question.

And speaking of cups, cans and bottles. (And bags of doo doo for that matter.) Please don’t chuck them under trees. It just makes it harder for me to ferret them out. (FYI — they don’t magically become invisible under there)

Oh, and to the black Honda with tinted windows in front of me as I left the Bulk Barn the other day, whose passenger threw a plastic cup out the window while I watched, stunned:  I’m sorry I didn’t gather my moxie in time to put my car in Park, get out, knock on your tint and ask you in my best inquiring-minds-want-to-know voice, what the [redacted] is wrong with you. Again, serious question:  How messed up is your life that you have so little regard for the planet and what can we do to help you?

And here’s something I learned recently… cigarette butts take forever to decompose. In the meantime they clog and poison land and waterways and are often found inside fish. Yum!  But even if they didn’t do all that harm, chucking your smokes is very Honey Boo Boo.  Seriously, people who empty ashtrays on parking lots or throw butts out car windows or onto the street… please go live on another planet. Because, wouldn’t you like that, to be among all your like-minded friends, each of you knee deep in schmutz??**

Serious question.

** Of course more garbage cans and public ashtrays wouldn’t go amiss either.

Write letters, people! Ask for what’s needed.

Read the story that goes with this pic, here.

From The Litter I See Project.

dear heather: quick question

Heather Stefanson
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
104 Legislative Building
450 Broadway
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0V8

Dear Ms. Stefanson:

Given the strong assumption going in that Raymond Cormier was Tina Fontaine’s murderer, and the wisdom of our infallible judicial system determining that he is not, I’m wondering what happens next. How does the case proceed from here, what steps will be taken to find Tina’s murderer?

I’m assuming efforts will be ramped up asap, yes?

Because there is a killer. (As far as I know it’s not possible for a person to wrap themselves in a duvet, then cover themselves with rocks in a river. Especially with an alcohol level ‘slightly higher than is legal for driving’ and ‘traces of marijuana’. Even for a First Nations girl.)

Because she was a girl.

And I’ll be blunt— please ask yourself… just imagine for a moment that she was a white girl, let’s even give her blonde hair and blue eyes, let’s make her pageant quality in perfection of all those things that don’t actually matter (but somehow do), including pedigree. And there she is, in the river, in a duvet, covered in rocks. And let’s imagine some low life happens to have been hanging around her, has threatened some unsavoury actions, even admitted to killing her in off-handed ways. But… his DNA wasn’t found on the Costco duvet. And so the low life is innocent and the blonde girl is… what? What happens next? Do you see what I’m asking?

That’s it really. A simple question.


Because surely this isn’t an insignificant case. Surely it will be a precedent of some kind, if only to illustrate how easily a wrongful arrest can be made. (How did that even happen??)

After all, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, teenager of excellent pedigree, a citizen of Manitoba, was murdered in Winnipeg. Her family are distraught. Lives beyond hers are shattered. Oh, wait.

Well, same thing, right? Justice will not be served until the killer has been found!  Right? Right??

On the bright side, justice has  been served for Raymond Cormier. Thank god an innocent like him was spared from undue punishment. Glory be to the Canadian justice system as it serves white men and blonde girls.

Thanking you in advance for what I have no doubt is your deepest and most pressing attention to this… what shall we call it… this ‘matter’?



carin makuz.

p.s. If you aren’t the best qualified to answer this question, feel free to pass it along to someone who is. There must be someone who is…