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All In Hand

Great news for Hintonburg Bookworms!

Miss Vicky Sun Mar 19, 2006

There's a new used bookstore opening in the 'hood! A friend and I were delivering community association flyers to businesses this weekend and we noticed the progress in the old Nesrallah grocery on Spadina and Somerset. What a great addition to the Wellington Shuffle!

Irish tidbits for St. Patrick's Day

Miss Vicky Fri Mar 17, 2006

Well, it's Saint Patrick's Day - a holiday with which I have a love-hate relationship. As much as I enjoy the odd glass of Smithwick's and an opportunity to reflect upon the time I spent in Dublin and the literature I fell in love with, the raging sterotypes, drinking to excess, green beer, plastic leprechaun-hat wearing aspect of the North American version of the day is just so bloody annoying. I may or may not head out to a pub later to meet some friends... but in the meantime I hauled out some of my books to see if I could find something to share with you to mark the day.

My favourite Irish writer, Flann O'Brien, has been getting some attention lately, thanks to the obsessive audience of the TV show Lost. Apparently his novel The Third Policeman made an appearance in one of the episodes, sending fans scrambling to find a copy to search for clues to the castaways' mysterious predicament. I find this amusing, since the novel makes significant fun of the practice of thinking too much. But it is a great novel, so if the reference (which I firmly believe is a case of the series writers wanting to torment fans who take the show way too seriously) draws more readers to my favourite author, then that's fine by me.

Normally at this point I'd offer a quotation... but alas, no time for typing today.... just check him out, 'k?

Preschool fundraiser at the Urban Element

Miss Vicky Thu Mar 16, 2006

I've been wanting to check out the new cooking school/event space the Urban Element for quite a while - it took over part of the old Station 11 fire house on Parkdale, one of my favourite buildings in the 'hood. Now I've been informed that the Westboro Village Cooperative Preschool is holding a fundraiser at the Urban Element on April 2 from 7-9pm. Tickets are an affordable $10, and the main fundraiser will be an auction for some fabulous items donated by local businesses. I am told that folks are already lining up to bid on the dinner for 6 cooked at your home by the Nicastro's chef.... There will be wine to taste, and yummy food from Thyme and Again.

The school is located in a church on Roosevelt, and has been running for abour 30 years. As a cooperative, it's run by parents with parents in the classroom. It offers half-day programs for 2 and 3 year olds. The proceeds from the Auction are plugged back into the school in the form of keeping tuition low, new equipment, and expanded programming. Sounds like a fun event for a good cause!

If you're interested in tickets, post a comment here or send me a note and I'll pass your name on to the right folks.


Reminder: Gladstone Meeting tonight!

Miss Vicky Wed Mar 15, 2006

If you live on or near Gladstone between Melrose and Preston, or if you are a frequent user of that stretch of road/sidewalk, you might want to attend tonight's public meeting about the upcoming reconstruction. It's at the Hintonburg community centre and starts at 7:30pm. City staff and folks from the engineering firm will be there to answer questions about the design, the implications on traffic, the construction period, upgrading your house's sewer and water hookups and more....

CBC Host update!

Miss Vicky Tue Mar 14, 2006

They've finally filled the All in a Day host slot.... Adrian Harewood will be filling the not-exactly-tiny shoes of Brent Bambury. Next up: Ottawa Morning. Speculation, anyone?

And speaking of gardening...

Miss Vicky Mon Mar 13, 2006

Dovercourt is selling trees to raise money for the playstructure at Kiwanis Recreation park next to the centre. It looks like they have a great selection of magnolia trees, japanese maples and Miss Vicky's favourite, hydrangeas!


Miss Vicky Mon Mar 13, 2006

With the warmer weather and rain we've had the last few days, I'm starting to get that twinge of excitement about the upcoming season. As we took our morning stroll through the 'hood today, we could really see a difference in the levels of snow - or rather, the muddy, icy, salty substance that passes for snow in March. Bits of grass were peeking out on the edges, and layers of litter and winter grime are in the process of being revealed. It's not a pretty time of year, to be sure. And although I am anxious to get my hands in the dirt and start gardening again, I know full well what waits for me underneath the grey stuff in my front and back yard. A season's worth of German Shepherd, not to mention the leaves, weeds and remnants of last year's perennials that I didn't quite get to in the fall.

But my yard is not the only place that will need a serious spring cleaning. Our public spaces also suffer during the winter season: salt and grit build up, along with litter, cigarette butts, and other urban flotsam. Parks, vacant lots, roadsides and sidewalks will all need some TLC in the coming months. Fortunately, the city provides support for those wishing to pitch in: the annual Spring Cleaning the Capital starts on April 14 and runs for a month. Groups are encouraged to register their cleanup projects, and you can even get the city to provide some supplies.

Miss Vicky is considering sponsoring her own cleanup event this year. Any ideas for locations?

Handy family resources Part 1

Miss Vicky Sun Mar 12, 2006

Did you know you can get FREE CPR and defibrillator training in Ottawa? The City's paramedic service offers 4 hour courses in English and French on a regular basis. There are also separate classes on CPR for children and infants. From a brief glance at the schedule, it looks like there aren't any coming up in Kitchissippi, but this is definitely worth a bus trip.

Sunday: Iconoclasts talk at CUBE

Miss Vicky Thu Mar 9, 2006

I haven't seen the latest CUBE show, "Iconoclast", but if the postcard I got in the mail is any indication, it should be quite stimulating. This Sunday, March 12, at 2pm the gallery will hold an Artists Talk. According to the notice:

It should be a lively Sunday afternoon at the Cube as many of the artists involved in the new show of decidely political art "Iconoclast" defend and explain their various works.

The show has proven to be a big hit with Ottawa audiences -- the gallery has seen record crowds coming out to see this provocative group show . Crowds that include a number of politicians (including two calls from President Clinton's Office in N.Y.), journalists, labour leaders, the local Imam, and politicos of all stripes.

The artists featured in "Iconoclast" are: Marc Adornato, Mathieu Dubé, Tami Galili Ellis, Farouk Kaspaules, Anita Kunz, Claude Latour, Andrew O' Malley, D.H. Monet, Meghan Myres, Erin Roberston, Fred Sebastian, & Robert Stevenson. The CUBE Gallery is located at 7 Hamilton Ave North, right off the Parkdale Market.

I am woman.... watch me snore

Miss Vicky Wed Mar 8, 2006

It's International Women's Day, and I spent most of it asleep. Oh, I know you all heard me bright and early on the radio this morning, but a little later on I felt like a truck had run me over, backed up, and taken another run. So I hit the sack and woke up not too long ago. Crazy!

Normally I spend IWD reading, writing and reflecting on the state of women in Canada and the women's movement in general. Last year I got a little annoyed at the apparent absence of brou-ha-ha here in the nation's capital. This year, I'll have to rely on others to let me know how the various events went - the child care demo on the Hill this morning, the march and variety show tonight. I hope they're infused with the positive determination we need to move ahead in the struggle for equality. We're going to need it.

Statistics Canada released a report on Women in Canada yesterday, and the stats are telling. The good news: more women are getting university degrees, there is some improvement in women reaching management levels (37% up from 30% in 1987, although most of these are lower-level management positions and not too many in non-traditional fields like engineering, etc). The bad news: women still lag far behind men in terms of income levels and employment status. Women are more likely than men to be working part time; those who are employed full-time make 71% of what their male counterparts. earn. Women make up a disproportionate amount of those living in poverty - particularly single moms: In 2003, 38% of all families headed by lone-parent mothers had incomes which fell below the after-tax LICO. In comparison, this was the case for 13% of male lone-parent families and just 7% of non-elderly two-parent families with children.. Visible minorities make up 14% of women, are less likely to be employed and when they are, they earn less than white women.

More and more women are in the paid workforce - 58% of all women aged 15 and over were working for pay in 2004, up from 42% in 1976. And here's an interesting stat: By 2004, 65% of all women with children under the age of three were employed, more than double the proportion in 1976. Similarly, 70% of women whose youngest child was aged three to five worked for pay in 2004, up from 37% in 1976. 68% of single moms were employed in 2004 (the number was below 50% in 1976 - a huge increase). Telling stats, really, particularly in light of the threats to our child care system.

The Globe's Margaret Wente published a provocative piece yesterday in which she claimed that equality had been achieved in Canada. Hardly, and the numbers speak for themselves. Her column has provoked a few responses - here's my pal Nancy's excellent rebuttal. The work of FAFIA and other groups warms the cockles of my heart.... but the equality-seeking movement is not without its challenges. The National Action Committee on the Status of Women, once a strong and clear voice, has all but bit the biscuit, and although there are attempts to renew it, I'm not optimistic. Rabble.ca's Audra Williams captures my mixed feelings pretty accurately.

I don't intend to spend the next year sleeping off my discouragement at the amount of work that needs to be done - my approach to such challenges has been to find a small way to make a difference. This year, I devoted a lot of time spreading the word about women's participation in government, tracking federal election stats and bringing the numbers to the media on behalf of Equal Voice. It was a positive experience, even if the election results themselves were a disappointment. Next year, I hope to use the municipal election to highlight some of the challenges facing women and families here in Kitchissippi. And I'm looking forward to it.


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