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All In Hand

Here you'll find the sum total of Miss Vicky's Remarks thus far.

Mmmm... beer

Miss Vicky Thu Feb 28, 2008

Miss Vicky had the pleasure of sampling some of Beau's new brew, aptly named Bog Water. It is a lovely, dark ale with a spicy, chocolate-y finish. Not really a quaffing brew - more something to be enjoy savoured gradually, preferably with food. Or chocolate. It's really, really good with dark chocolate.

You can try it for yourself at the Elmdale, where they have it on tap.

In other Beau's-related news, Lug Tread will be available at selected LCBO stores as of March 4! You'll be able to pick some up at the one near the Superstore, or the main store at Rideau and King Edward.

of photos, development and meetings

Miss Vicky Wed Feb 27, 2008

Oh so many things to write about... so I figured I'd do a general catching-up post to start. And we'll go from there.

First of all, congrats to the winners of the Neighbourhoods in Motion photo contest (including one of our regular posters here!). The contest marks the centenary of our mainstreet and celebrates our great 'hood. You can check out the photos here

For folks interested in development issues, there are a number of things going on. Regular readers will recall some speculation about a development planned for the strip mall across from the Loeb. Tamarak Developments and their architects, Barry Hobin and Associates are holding a meeting to discuss the proposed development on Thursday, February 28th at the St. Georges Parish Hall from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. At this meeting the neighbours will be provided an opportunity to present and discuss their concerns with regard to the project.

The plan is for a 6 storey mixed use building - 1 floor of commercial units plus 5 stories of condos above. They are applying for three minor variances being considered by the Committee of Adjustment at their March 5 meeting - reducing the setback in the rear yard (presumably the neighbours will have something to say about that), removing the requirement for a loading space, and increase in the allowable Floor Space Index (development density).

If anyone goes, Miss Vicky would love to hear an update from the meeting!

On Saturday, March 1, Councillor Leadman is hosting a symposium on the Ottawa Official Plan at Nepean High School from 10am to 1pm. The event will discuss questions like: What does Smart Growth mean to you? How should the City balance intensification with the Community's vision? How should the City ensure they respect those responsibilities?

Anyone interested in growth and change in the ward and the relationship between the city's stated objectives and its actual decisions regarding particular developments should consider attending.

The meeting is being held in anticipation of the review of Ottawa's Official Plan. To get ready for Saturday, you might want to review the white papers on the city's website.

Disturbing legislation

Miss Vicky Mon Feb 25, 2008

The fine folks at Breand and Roses and Birth Pangs have issued a call for bloggers to spread the word about a dangerous private members' bill that's being considered in the House this week. Miss Vicky is only too happy to answer the call and let her Faithful Legion know what this is all about.

The bill, entitled the "Unborn Victims of Crime Act" comes from Ken Epp, Conservative MP from Edmonton Sherwood Park. In a nutshell, it would allow for a separate charge to be laid if a crime resulted in the death or injury of a pregnant woman's unborn baby. if it passes, we put ourselves on a rather slippery slope toward the re-criminalization of abortion... not a path on which Miss Vicky is anxious to tread right now.

My heart breaks for families of murdered pregnant women - people like Mary Talbot, who wrote a piece in the Citizen today. They are dealing with a profound loss, and to them the loss is of two people, to be sure - their daughter or wife or sister, and the potential addition to the family that she was carrying. Believe me, I know the grief of the loss of potential, of a life-not-yet-lived, and all the dreams and hopes and aspirations and possibilities that accompany a pregnancy. But the thing about law-making, especially when it comes to justice issues, is that we have to strip away the emotion from issues in order to write legislation that makes sense for society as a whole. There is little to be gained from charging a criminal with a separate count of murder or assault for the loss of a fetus, except perhaps the satisfaction of a need for vengeance for those who are left behind. And while I can imagine the desire for vengeance is overwhelming in these situations, that isn't what our justice system is about. And it certainly doesn't bring back the loved one and the potential loved one in question.

Grief, while powerful and painful and often all-consuming, should not be driving legislation.

This is not to say that we shouldn't provide special consideration for criminals who commit violence against pregnant women - indeed, our system already carries the possibility for harsher sentences, parole denial and so forth, in aggravated circumstances. Unfortunately, we're notoriously lax when it comes to domestic violence issues - and when a pregnant woman is murdered, it is often a question of domestic violence. And a fetal homicide law sidesteps this issue altogether.

Hence the skepticism about the true intentions of the bill.... because in addition to the heartwrenching stories from families, the main proponents of Ken Epp's effort are the same folks who have been working hard to undermine reproductive choice in Canada and in the US. This bill is not exactly happening in isolation - similar laws exist in many US states, and they're not pretty. According to Joyce Arthur, Under state "fetal homicide" laws pregnant women are more likely to be punished for behaviours and conditions that are not criminalized for other people, such as drug or alcohol abuse. Women have also been charged or jailed for murder for experiencing a stillbirth after refusing a Caesarean section. Some states have proposed punishing pregnant women in abusive relationships who are unable to leave their batterers, and desperate women who resort to unsafe self-abortions. The worst offender is South Carolina, where dozens of pregnant women with drug abuse problems have been arrested under fetal protection laws, even though they had virtually no access to drug treatment programs (National Post, Nov 15, 2007).


It's hard enough being pregnant in this society - your body really does seem to become public property. Suddenly it's perfectly OK to judge your diet, lifestyle, health-related choices, behaviour.... What's next, going after us for neglecting to take our folic acid as soon as we start menstruating? OK, I'm digressing a bit.... My point is that women need the protection we enjoy in Canada - the freedom to decide what's best for us, and our family where reproduction is concerned. If we want to tackle the issue of domestic violence, then let's tackle it, without conferring personhood to a fetus, if you please.

Want to take action? My understanding is the Bloc and NDP caucuses are whipping the vote and opposing the bill. But the Liberals are apparently having a free vote on the matter, so it may actually stand a chance of passing. You can send a letter to Liberal leader Stéphane Dion suggesting he may want to consider applying a little party discipline where women's rights are concerned by clicking here or you can sign the petition here

Neighbourhood Planning Survey

Miss Vicky Sun Feb 24, 2008

If you haven't already, take a few moments and fill in the survey on the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative currently underway in Hintonburg. Here's the announcement:

Carleton University's Centre for Urban Research and Education (CURE) would like to hear what you have to say about how the pilot is doing so far.

In 2006, the City of Ottawa launched the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative (NPI) in the Hintonburg area. The pilot aims to bring community stakeholders together to help guide the city's infrastructure and streetscaping, urban design and land use planning, and to shape a comprehensive neighbourhood plan.

The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. All your answers will remain confidential and will be sent directly to CURE. We ask that you complete this survey before 29 February 2008.

To participate, please click on thi s link

At the end of the survey, you will be given the option to either submit the completed questionnaire. In addition, we hope to undertake follow-up interviews and will ask for contact information if you agree to participate in that follow-up. The findings of this study will be officially available on CURE's web site by Summer 2008.


Purloined stroller

Miss Vicky Fri Feb 22, 2008

To the person who took our jogging stroller from the yard last night: just bring it back, ok?

Daycare space available

Miss Vicky Wed Feb 20, 2008

Kitchicoo, our co-operative daycare, has full-time space available, starting March 1. We're a small, informal child care arrangement located in Hintonburg - neighbourhood parents who needed care and got together to find a solution. Our goal is to provide an environment in which children will grow and thrive, and where the parents will be deeply involved and committed. It's a community as much as a child care option, and we have been really happy with the arrangements so far (especially WeeG, who loves it!). Current Kitchicoo kids' ages range from 14-20 months.

Benefits of our model include:
* Cost effective care
* 3:1 child-to-adult ratio ensures individual attention for every child
* an experienced Early Childhood Educator on staff
* Involvement in your child's day-to-day learning and development

Each family is required to volunteer for one day per week for each child they have in Kitchicoo, as well as contribute to the ongoing operations of the facility including finances, purchasing, cleaning, cooking, and programming.

If you think a co-op daycare might be right for your family, contact Kitchicoo or send me a note here.


F-Word Awards!

Miss Vicky Fri Feb 15, 2008

Miss Vicky is pleased to announce she has been nominated for a couple of F-Word Awards, for Best Activist Blog and Best Individual Blog. The Webgeek has been nominated in the Best Support Bro category, for his Peeking out from the newborn fog post and also for his comments in this thread about child care. I'm sentimental, especially after yesterday's Valentine's poem, so I went for the first one. Oh, and I also nominated Andrea from the fishbowl for Best Family Blog because she is raising two smart, secure, creative girls and I admire her tremendously.

First round voting is today and tomorrow, so vote early! Lots of great feminist blogs to check out!

Warning: Valentine's day shmaltz ahead

The Webgeek Thu Feb 14, 2008

I may not write you poems,
It's really not my style.
But poetry still sings inside my heart
Whenever thoughts of you prevail.

Not once has a song sprung forth
From within my love-struck mind
To describe my feelings for your beauty,
Or its effect on me at times.

It's hard to place in words exact
Just how truly great I feel
About your love - and it's impact
On my life in ways so real.

Trying to write down these thoughts
Has never quite rung true.
Any efforts in this vein
Obtain amateurish hues.

I've never got the sonnet's pace
(The timing's too complex),
And it's hard to resist those rhyming beats -
The kind of poems grade five teachers teach.

The kind of poems from Hallmark cards
The kind of poems that drone on and on
The kind of poems I know grate your nerves.
The kind of poems this world does not deserve.

Instead I opt to express to you
My poetry in ways more true
In ways more visceral, more natural
In ways that seem more 'me'

Instead my fingers turn to quills -
Scribbling out their prose.
About, and on, your cherished form.
About my love and how it grows.

Instead each kiss of mine becomes
a small Haiku I wish to place -
      Oh so carefully,
      Oh so meticulously,
      Oh so gingerly
- Upon your supple parchment skin
And upon your lovely face

Instead, each time we cuddle up,
Each sideways longing glance,
Each peck upon your lovely cheek
Are more than amorous advance

Instead these actions all entail
stanzas, lines and couplets too
Added to my anthology
writ exclusively for you.

An unfinished work it must remain,
with rewrites abound.
It truly is an epic piece
(As sappy as that sounds).

I may not write you poems
And why, by now, is clear.
But poetry still sings inside my heart
Whenever thoughts of you are near.

Happy Valentines Day Vicky.

    The Webgeek

Parking Meter Reprieve

Miss Vicky Wed Feb 13, 2008

Good news - Councillor Leadman's motion to defer the implementation of metered parking in Hintonburg passed at Council tonight. It's not a permanent reprieve, but it does put off the consideration of parking meters or pay and display parking until after the NPI process and road reconstruction are complete.

Good work, everyone!


Miss Vicky Wed Feb 13, 2008

Wow, the Ontario government sure knows how to consult....if by consulting you mean guaranteeing the minimum amount of input while allowing yourself to claim that you had a process. You have to really search the provincial government website to find out they are seeking public input on a province-wide pesticide ban. Apparently it was announced on Jan 18 and the deadline for comments is Sunday, February 17.

Personally, I'm sick and tired of our city council's absurd and cowardly dithering on banning pesticides. If a province-wide ban is what it's going to take, then I'm all for it.

You can find out about the proposal and submit your comments here.


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