la pluie, le printemps. les graines, les poèmes.

 

A. ouvre obstinément une des fenêtres de la cuisine depuis le milieu de l’hiver, malgré le froid et malgré le travail que représente chauffer une maison exclusivement au bois. Mais ce matin, se réveiller en entendant la pluie tomber et les oiseaux chanter, c’est tout à fait parfait (même si ça veut dire qu’il faudra rentrer plus de bois au sous-sol en après-m.).

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À mon grand soulagement, je n’ai pas créer des home-bodies qui refusent de passer du temps dehors (ce qui avait été une grande crainte. Élevés sur une ferme en plus, imaginez la honte!). Ils sortent sous la pluie battante pour faire du vélo, retrouver des bâtons, construire des bateaux pour nos flaques-lacs.

 

J’en profite pour semer une dizaine de plateaux de semis. Du brocoli au coléus, des tomates à la camomille. Avec un tablier fleuri sur le dos et un super balado– L’écriture intime chez les nouvelles voix féminines. Une rencontre avec Alexie Morin, Marjolaine Beauchamp et Rose-Aimée Automne T. Morin.

Comme ça nourri de remplir la maison des voix de ces écrivaines. Ces grandes résilientes qui parlent de la peur qui annexe, du coût de raconter (où non) l’intime, et de ces super mamans qui disent bye-bye à leurs petits le matin avec des smokes dans les mains.

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Un de ces matins qui représente le matin idéaltypique à la ferme–quand tout le monde vaque à sa tâche et que le coeur, même maussade, est plein de poèmes.

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Mourning our way through kids books / Le deuil par l’album jeunesse

A beloved friend of ours died recently. He had been sick for some time, so it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise, but for some reason, it did. It hit me like a brick.

I’ve discovered that I know very little about mourning, having been fortunate not to lose people close to me who weren’t quite old. Parenting and mourning has been a hard combination, but also good in some ways. These kids loved Danny too, cried for him too, were sad looking at videos we’d saved of them all over the years too.

And while I made zero preparations/arrangements for my own mourning process, I had a high stack of kids books about death and mourning on hold at our public library. While I know these books were welcomed by the kids, they actually helped me immensely. Three in particular.

Here are the top ten books we read about death.

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Le coeur et la bouteille. Écrit par Oliver Jeffers. (traduit de l’anglais The Heart And The Bottle).

Un de mes préférés. La douce simplicité caractéristique des textes de Jeffers, accompagnés de belles illustrations qui montrent le côté poétique et très factuelle de la curiosité, de l’amour, du partage, des découvertes, et ensuite du vide, de l’incertitude, de l’absence.

 

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The Goodbye Book. Written and Illustrated by Todd Parr.

Sometimes the consistency of Todd Parr is comforting. I especially appreciated the opening lines « It’s hard to say goodbye to someone. You might not know what to feel. » The book breaks down the stages of grief in a small way and while it doesn’t necessarily do justice to the non-linear quality of grieving, it is a kids book and the kids found that a-okay.

 

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Le petit livre de la mort et de la vie. Écrit par Delphine Saulnière, illustré par Rémi Saillard.

De ce livre, écrit sous forme de question et réponse, j’apprécie tout particulièrement les questions simples, les réponses généreuses et la reconnaissance et l’inclusion de différentes croyances et religions. Un livre philosophique et authentique comme les enfants.

 

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The Dead Bird. Written by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Christian Robinson.

I got this book from the library before I started looking for books about death and the mourning of good friends. It’s a delightful book and a lovely story about kids trying on and practicing the rituals and ceremony around death that they’ve encountered–the singing of songs, wrapping of bodies, writing on stones, walking in processions, and the grave tending. It’s matter-of-fact and authentic, like children. For my farm kids, for whom death itself is not very troubling, this book was a good introduction into rituals around dying, which they are less familiar with.

 

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Au revoir Hippo. Écrit par Simon Puttock, illustré par Alison Bartlett.

Un livre qui touche spécifiquement à la mort d’un ami proche, quoiqu’un ami âgé. Dans l’histoire Hippo et Singe sont meilleurs amis, Hippo raconte à chaque soir des histoires à Singe, qui à son tour, la fait rire. Un jour Hippo dit à Singe qu’elle est fatiguée et le temps de sa mort approche. Singe est outré, incrédule, et finalement triste. Il passe beaucoup de temps seul avant d’être ouvert à la présence, au confort et à la chaleur de caméléon.

 

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The FUNeral. Written and illustrated by Matt James.

I expected more from this one. It’s the story of a child going to the funeral of a relative she didn’t know well, where she plays the role of someone who is going to the funeral (« Norma was practicing her sad face in the mirror of her parent’s room. Though she was, in fact, pretty happy. ») After the church service, she and her cousin Ray go outside to play in a lovely natural environment, until it’s time to go home.

 

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L’arbre de Tata. Écrit par Yu Liqiong, illustré par Zaü.

La tendre histoire d’une enfant et de sa grande-tante qui apprennent à se connaître lorsque la petite va habiter chez elle pour un temps. En partageant leurs journées, Tata lui raconte de plus en plus de sa vie, jusqu’à lui montrer son arbre et de faire allusion à une grande histoire d’amour. Quand Tata est mourante, la petite comprend qu’elle s’en va rejoindre quelqu’un dans l’au-delà, ce qui apèse sa tristesse.

 

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The Scar. Written by Charlotte Moundlic, illustrated by Olivier Tallec.

This was the most touching children’s book on death and grieving that I read. A young child loses his mother to illness and navigates his anger and sadness as he gets used to life solo with his father–focusing on the way his mother made honey zigzags on his bread, her smell, the way she had of comforting him. A very touching read. (That said, I’m grateful that the children’s librarian I spoke to made sure to tell me that unless the person who died was a child’s parents it’s usually best not to read books where it’s parents who die, so I read this one solo.).

 

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Le grand coeur de madame Lili. Écrit par Gilles Tibo, illustré par Irene Luxbacher.

Un beau livre à propos d’une grande bricoleuse au grand coeur qui prend le temps à chaque matin de se rendre au parc pour réparer les jouets, les vêtements et les parapluies brisés des gens qui s’y trouvent. Un jour, elle voit un enfant qui pleure et pleure de tristesse. Elle se rend compte qu’elle peut réparer aussi les coeurs brisés avec de la tendresse, des berceuses et de la patience. Un matin, son canari adoré meurt. Elle arrive au parc toute bouleversée et raconte la mort de son oiseau. Plus tard, les enfants reviennent au parc en chantant et portant des dessins d’oiseau. J’ai apprécié le message d’entraide dans le deuil dans ce livre.

 

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Cry, Heart, But Never Break. Written by Glenn Ringtved, illustrated by Charlotte Pardi.

I didn’t expect to like this one as I usually find personifications of death too macabre and too sombre, especially in children’t books/films, but this one was one of my very favourites. When the children see Death arrive at their door, suspecting that s/he has come to take their grandmother, they stall the visitor by offering cup upon cup of coffee.  Death, understanding the ruse, tells the four children a story in which the twin siblings Sorrow and Grief who live on the bottom of the hills, one day meet the twin siblings Joy and Delight who live on top of the hills. Both pairs had felt that there was something missing, somehow.

(My only critique is the very unoriginal heteronormativity in the text.)

Once they meet, Sorrow and Delight instantly connect, as do Grief and Joy. « Each couldn’t live without the other. » The kids get it, let Death come, and then they grieve. And they lived with their joy and their sorrow.

A reminder I needed.

thank you, Paul Dewar.

 

A few weeks ago, I realized I was feeling really politically winded. Apathetic almost. I sat with the feeling for a while, wondering from whence it came. Sure, I tear up at the radio newscasts regularly, fascists are gaining ground everywhere and the prospect of ecological collapse is impending, but let’s be honest, this wasn’t really new.

With the news of Paul Dewar’s prognosis and his launching of Youth Action Now, it hit me. I realized what it was. Ever since I moved out of my parents’ house, I have lived (until recently) in ridings with progressive, can-do, Members of Parliament. When I got back from a study stint in Sweden–a country I had chosen because of its feminist and democratic traditions–I lived in Paul Dewar’s riding. I got to vote for a progressive who got elected. And re-elected. I saw him at events and received prompt responses back when I sent him letters about issues that mattered to me. He agreed with me. Every time. It was empowering to know that I was represented by someone who had strong progressive stances, and by someone who could, would and did make things happen. When I moved to Halifax, my MP was none other than Megan Leslie. And when I moved back to Ottawa for the Parliamentary Internship Programme, I was again represented by Paul Dewar. I even got to work in the same gorgeous spaces and see his integrity and deep care firsthand.

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Now I live in a riding represented federally by someone who won’t get back to me when I get in touch looking for help sorting out dental insurance for refugees and whose office’s hands are tied when I call and write about getting very large graffitied swastikas removed from a highway overpass. It hurts my heart. But more than that, their complacency engenders apathy and cynicism in me. It’s sapped a lot of the respect I have for the institutions of our parliamentary democracy.

I think a lot about agency. About what it is that fosters this sense of oneself as being able to create change–the political imagination and roll-up-your-sleeves resourcefulness. Having a Member of Parliament who politically had my back and who, I knew, was in the business of helping constituents, made a world of difference for me. How beautifully formative. It’s had a tremendous impact on my confidence that initiatives that strive for greater equality and justice can–with stick-to-it-iveness and elbow grease–get off the ground and find their champions.

I have so missed living in a riding represented by Paul Dewar. I wish I had taken the time to write to him to let him know.

Reading his words, I recommit to doing my utmost to rekindle my sense of political agency and to shift my focus to community building when politics get me down.

 

 

favourite socially conscious kids’ books. presentation + book list.

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I’m the mother of two boy kids, aged 6 and 3.

 

I’ve always loved picture books and libraries, so I did expect to enjoy discovering new books and reading with my kids, but I hadn’t anticipated the extent to which books would become a life line or the extent to which books would become their own storyline in my parenting journey.

 

First, what I love most about children’s books: they are place savers, they are conversation starters.

 

As I embarked on the politically intimidating task of raising two race conscious, feminist, and progressive white, blond haired, blue eyed, boy kids in (our homogenous) rural Canada, I remember reading an article on a great website called ‘Raising race conscious children’ (race conscious.org) about the importance for white kids to read picture books with protagonists that do not look like them. It said something along the lines of “you’re going to have a hard time talking about the concept of racism with your kids when they’re 4, 5 or 6 if you don’t name race when they’re 1, 2 and 3.

 

Two things about that speak to me.

 

First, we hear a lot about the importance of representation in books. That it’s so important for kids to see themselves reflected in the books they read. For biracial kids to see families that look like theirs, for kids with two moms to see families like theirs, for kids with disabilities to see protagonists that look like them.

 

And anyone who’s done a diversity audit of their school libraries will probably tell you that there is a huge gap in what the school body looks like and what’s reflected in that schools resources. (see http://www.parentsfordiversity.com)

 

 

But what we too often forget is that the kids who DO see themselves reflected most of the time badly need to read books where they can see other realities represented. Too often, everything aligns for them to think that their experiences are universal (that white is universal, that male is universal).

 

I see this in the random books that end up on our shelves and in our library bags. They’re great books, there’s nothing wrong with them. But if we’re looking to raise a generation of empathetic young people, I believe we need to reinforce the message that all kids can relate to all kids, that is, reading a great book about a black girl protagonist is interesting for black girls like it is for white boys.  Children of colour, girl kids have been asked to stretch their imaginations so that stories about white boys are relatable to them. We need to expect and foster the same imagination in our white boys.

 

The second thing I love about the idea that we talk about skin colour and race to our toddlers to have the foundation to talk about racism with our preschoolers and youth is the reminder that we need to be in it for the long game.

 

 

In other words, I want to be able to talk to my teen boys about how to combat rape culture on their campuses in 15 years, so I talk to them about consent a lot right now.

 

 

My second top reason for turning to children’s books is that I really believe that it takes a village to raise a child. But when it comes to a number of values that are important to me, I don’t have that village. For example, no one else is telling my gender creative first grader that kids can wear dresses and identify as boys. And that’s a lonely place for both of us to be.

 

Books are authoritative. Their messages are published and real. Finding books that reinforce progressive messages that my kids don’t hear in their day to day, messages that a lot of the time contradict what they hear, gives weight to the lessons I’m trying to teach them.

 

My third reason for turning to children’s books: they help me talk about issues I don’t know how to talk about.

 

I read Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress with my kids—a book where a boy child who wears a beloved tangerine dress is excluded from games and friendships—because I want to talk about bullying and gender identity but don’t know how to bring it up without sounding like a nosy, frightened mom.

 

I love reading about Florence Mills in ‘Harlem’s Little Blackbird’ or about Viola Desmond or Rosa Parks because I’m not sure how to talk to my kids about where segregation comes from and how it shapes, limits and annexes lives.

 

One of my favourite finds when it comes to giving me tools to talk about a big issue is When We Were Alone.

 

This book was written by David A. Robertson, illustrated by one of my favourite illustrators Julie Flett and published by Highwater Press. To my great joy it was translated into French by Les Éditions des Plaines in 2017 and titled Quand on était seuls.

 

What I really appreciate about this book is that it’s in a vivid, resilient, strong present day where a grandmother explains parts of a past that are extremely relatable to children.

 

Young children can easily empathize with the examples brought up in this book: of not being able to wear your hair the way you want, not being able to wear the clothes you feel good in, not being able to be with your parents, your siblings. Kids GET that. They FEEL that.

 

This book also highlights that you don’t need to tell the whole story right away, that a 5-6 year old doesn’t need to learn the traumatic details of residential schools to start learning about the history of residential schools.  But they do need to be exposed to this part of our history. And when the topic gets revisited, as they grow, we add layers. Much like we do when we teach math or languages. We don’t start with algebra or complex verb conjugation. You need a foundation and you need to build on it over time. The long game.

 

Books like When We Were Alone set us up to be able to start having these conversations.  My hope is also that by being willing and eager to broach difficult topics with the children in our lives, they will be willing and able to do the same with us.

 

As a closing word, I’d like to share 3 reminders that I repeat to myself often. With kids and equity/justice issues, be explicit. Kids pick up on all of the unspoken and condoned unfairnesses in the world. They pick up on the biases, on the prejudice. They need to hear their grown-ups counter these before they take them as fact. And I’ve found that in explaining things to my kids, I need to remember to keep it really simple.

 

Second, I think a lot of adults worry about the questions kids will ask when we read books about big issues. Truth is their questions are usually fairly simple. They’re not looking for a history lesson. In the parent and teacher guide and accompanying video to When We Were Alone, a grade 1 teacher who reads this book with her kids says the bulk of the questions she gets are along the lines of “could the kids bring their stuffies?” or “could they call their parents?” A ‘No they couldn’t’ is enough. And to the big “why” questions (i.e. “but why would they take the kids from their families, maman?”), it’s a good opportunity to be really straightforward. My 6 year old doesn’t want to listen to me explaining the history of colonialism but he does want me to answer truthfully. Why?  “because the European settlers who came here, thought they were better than the Indigenous people and taking kids from communities is the fastest way to lose languages and celebrations (cultures). Because it hurts people so so much to be separated from the people they love.” I might add that I can’t imagine how sad and unhealthy our town would be if all the kids were taken away. I tell them that they’re safe and that we need to learn about this together to make sure that all kids are safe.

Lastly, when it comes to giving hard, necessary conversations a go with kids: blunder on! We learn by trying and by making mistakes.

 

I brought a milk crate of books for people to peruse after the panel. Here’s a list of what I brought. It contains some of our favourites, the ones we own.  (The all time favourites are marked with a * )

 

Indigenous

  • Little You, Written by Richard Van Camp, Illustratef by Julie Flett (board book)*
  • When We Were Alone, by David A. Robertson, Illustrated by Julie FLett (traduit au français sous le titre Quand on était seuls)*
  • Shi-shi-etko, written by Nicola I. Campbell, Illustrated by Kim LaFave (a été traduit au français, même titre)
  • Shin-chi’s Canoe, written by Nicole I. Campbell, illustrated by Kim LaFave (a été traduit au français sous Le canoe de Shin-chi)
  • A Day with Yayah. Written by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Julie Flett.
  • My Heart Fills With Happiness. Written by Monique Gray Smith. Illustrated by Julie Flett. (board book)

 

People of Colour

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
  • Joy, By Joyce Carol Thomas and Illustrated by Pamela Johnson (board book)*
  • A Taste of Freedom. Gandhi and the Great Salt March. By Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, Illustrated by Giuliano Ferri
  • Bagages. Mon histoire. Poèmes de jeunes immigrants illustrés par Rogé.
  • Rosa Parks. Écrit par Lisbeth Kaiser, illustré Marta Antelo*
  • A Sweet Smell of Roses. By Angela Johnson illustrated by Eric Velasquez.
  • Susan and Gordon Adopt a Baby (Sesame Street). Written by Judy Freudberg, illustrated by Joe Mathieu.
  • Something Beautiful. Written by Sharon Dennis Wyeth, Illustrated Chris K. Soentpiet*
  • Harlem’s Little Blackbirk. The Story of Florence Mills. Written by Renée Watson, Illustrated by Christian Robinson.
  • Last Stop on Market Street. Words by Matt de la Pena, Illustrated by Christian Robinson.*
  • Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines. Écrit par Mireille Messier, illustré par Gabrielle Grimard.
  • Desmond and the Very Mean Word.Written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams. Illustrated by A.G. Ford.
  • Counting on Community. Written and illustrated by Innosanto Nagara (board book)

 

Gender/Stéréotypes

  • Tu Peux. Écrit et illustré par Elise Gravel
  • A Girl Like Any Other. Written and illustrated by Sophie Labelle
  • Ada La grincheuse en tutu. Écrit et illustré par Elise Gravel
  • Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress. Written by Christine Baldacchino, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant. (A été traduit au français sous le titre Boris Brind’amour et la robe orange)*
  • Deux garçons et un secret. Écrit par Andrée Poulin, illustrée par Marie Lafrance.*

 

Family diversity

  • The Great Big Book of Families. Written by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Ros Asquith
  • The Family Book. By Todd Parr
  • We Belong Together. A Book About Adoption and Families. Todd Parr.*
  • Daddy, Papa, and Me, by Lesléa Newman, Illustrated by Carol Thompson (board book)
  • Mommy, Mama, and Me By Lesléa Newman, ILlystrated by Carol Thompson (board book)

 

Being Different / Feelings

  • It’s Okay To Be Different. By Todd Parr
  • The Great Big Book of Feelings. Written by Mary Hoffman, Illustrated by Ros Asquith

 

Politics/Feminism for kids

  • My First Book of Feminism (for boys) By Julie Merberg, Illustrated by Michèle Brummer Everett (board book)
  • On n’est pas au centre du monde. Par Claire Cantais et Jean-Loïc Le Quellec
  • Atlas des inégalités. Texte de Stéphanie Ledu et Stéphane Frattini, Illustrations d’Élodie Balandras et Julien Castanié.
  • The Peace Book. By Todd Parr.*
  • Le petit livre pour parler des sans-abri. Par Dr Xavier Emmanuelli, Sophie Bordet-Petillon, Rémi Saillard
  • L’homme sans chaussettes. Écrit par Jennifer Couëlle, illusté par Ninon Pelletier*

 

 

 

un mois de haine sur l’autoroute 50

 

Chers M. Lauzon, M. Iracà,

 

Je vous écris à propos de graffiti à caractère haineux.

 

Il y a un mois (le 21 juillet 2018) j’ai signalé des graffiti à caractère haineux (photo en pièce jointe) à la Sûreté du Québec. Il s’agit de croix gammées avec le texte « service secret / GRC / Trudeau drogué vos enfant » et se trouve sur le pont autoroutier à Montée Parent, près de la sortie 187, sur l’Autoroute 50 direction est. Un employé du Ministère des Transports m’a rappelé peu après pour confirmer l’emplacement des graffiti et m’a dit qu’il s’en chargeait. J’ai attendu et les graffiti s’y trouvaient toujours.

 

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Le 1er août 2018, j’ai rappelé la Sûreté du Québec. J’ai aussi appelé le Ministère des Transports directement. J’ai rappelé l’emplacement des graffiti, rappelé qu’il s’agit de graffiti à caractère haineux et que ce n’est pas la première fois qu’il y en a sur ce pont autoroutier. J’ai aussi demandé à des ami.e.s de faire ce signalement au Ministère des Transports, espérant que plus de plaintes accéléreraient la chose.

 

Avec la montée de la droite radicale et de mouvements suprémacistes blancs que connaîssent actuellement l’Amérique du Nord, le danger de se montrer complaisant à de tels messages haineux dans nos espaces publics est réel. Ces graffiti portent atteinte à notre sentiment de sécurité et à notre vivre-ensemble.

 

À cause de la haine et xénophobie qu’elles véhiculent, ce fut très difficile pour moi d’expliquer à mes enfants de 3 et 5 ans la signification des croix gammées et les raisons pour lesquelles elles suscitent de si fortes réations chez moi. Pas aussi difficile, toutefois, que de tenter de répondre à la question de mon plus vieux, « pourquoi est-ce que c’est encore là, maman? », un mois plus tard. En effet, cher enfant, pourquoi.

 

Pourriez-vous SVP me laisser savoir quand ces graffiti seront effacés ou recouverts?

 

Josée.

Saint-André-Avellin, QC.

 

 

Si vous lisez cette lettre et que vous voudriez bien appeler le Ministère des Transports je serais bien reconnaissante.

  • Signalez le 511 (ou 1 888 355-0511 si vous n’appelez pas du Québec)
  • option 2 du menu (« signaler un incident »).

Et il s’agit de 3 croix gammées sur le pont autoroutier à Montée Parent, (avant la sortie 187 – Thurso) en direction est sur l’autoroute 50.

from city to pasture. again.

Today was my first day post-having a job in the city.

I savoured my time out of traffic, out of my (great but still a car) yaris, out of the bustle and the anxious rushing. Savoured drinking coffee out of beloved ceramic instead of metal to-go mugs.

 

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I seeded more broccoli trays, some more squash pods, and the flower seeds I never seem to get to. I’ve willed myself to believe that it’s not too late. I may be wrong.

 

 

 

I took in the garden and grounds that I’ve had such high hopes for but have felt heavy about abandoning these past months.

 

 

 

I used birthday funds this year (merci pépé et maman!) to buy a fair amount of trees for around the house–our home yard is quite wide open, which has made me realize just how much I love trees. I feared a number of them hadn’t made it given the lack of watering and, let’s say it, care. But they’ve all grown substantial foliage save for three. I so appreciate the resilience of nature.

 

 

 

My half of the garden isn’t as barren as I’d been fearing either (so I stopped my frantic calls to all of the garden centres, confident that the year’s brassica harvest will see us through). Given our competitive natures (and our strong desire for excellent yields), P and I decided to have a vegetable garden contest whereby we each have 3 sections and we compete for victory–we’ve together established desired yields for each section as well as general principles for extra points (such as successive planting, rotations, cover cropping, frugality, etc.) It feels good knowing I can still win.

 

 

 

What I’m looking forward to most though is spending slow time with these two humans. Spending eleven hours a day away from this home and my family took a toll–on connections and patience and a sense of knowing where these kids are at.

So while this isn’t exactly how I thought this great off-farm adventure would go, I’m at peace and full of gladness for where I’m at.

 

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d’autres livres préférés.

Avant qu’on les retourne à notre bibiothèque de ville, voici quelques titres particulièrement appréciés.

Je me découvre un sérieux penchant pour les livres où les personnages adultes/parents sont présentés comme étant tout à fait faillible.

(Les rhinos ne mangent pas de crêpes, Anna Kemp et Sara Ogilvie aux éditions Little Urban)

Certains n’écoutent pas leur enfant quand elle leur dit qu’un rhino est emménagé chez eux.

(On fait des miettes on imite le coucou, Lina Ekdahl et Emma Hanquist aux éditions Cambourakis)

D’autres veulent que tu sortes à tout prix et te rappellent à l’intérieur avec autant d’insistance peu après.

 

(Deux garçons et un secret, Andrée Poulin et Marie Lafrance aux éditions de la bagnole)

D’autres encore te disent que tu ne peux/pourras pas marier la personne que tu aimes.

 

On fait des miettes de Lina Ekdahl a non seulement une super représentation d’enfants racisés, mais le texte est également the best pour l’adulte lecteur qui s’ennuie de lire des reccueils de poésie à voix haute.

Divers.

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100 bonhommes de neige d’Andrée Poulin et Qin Leng est le seul livre d’enfant que j’ai lu qui parle de mortinatalité. Ce qui arrive à leur chère enseignante n’est pas expliqué en détails, mais ils comprennent qu’il n’y aura pas de bébé et savent qu’elle et son conjoint vivent une période sombre/une dépression. Un livre touchant.

 

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Parce que tout le monde aime les atlas et les données sociologiques et démographiques représentées de façon visuelle.

 

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Mon nouveau livre préféré sur les baleines.

 

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Les gens arrivaient de partout pour visiter Glace-Terre et Fauve s’en donnait à coeur joie à les esquisser et à les cataloguer, observateur d’humains dévoué qu’il est. Un jour, un brouillard s’installa et les humains cessèrent de visiter l’île. L’indifférence généralisée des autres oiseaux semblait alors épaissir le brouillard. Jusqu’à ce la capuchonnée rouge à lunettes fit son apparition et qu’avec ses connaissances en origami, elle aida Fauve à trouver d’autres êtres qui ne se foutaient pas du brouillard omniprésent qui gommait son bonheur. Morale de l’histoire : trouves-toi des copines-copains qui voient le monde comme tu le vois, ensemble vous pourrez le changer à tout jamais. Touchant.

 

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Un nouveau préféré d’A. (2,5 ans) et un livre qui se traduit sur-le-champ quand même assez facilement. En 1986, Sesame Street publiait un livre où un couple Noir explique ce qu’est l’adoption (et la transition dans une famille après l’arrivée d’un nouveau bébé) aux enfants. Comme si mon amour de Sesame Street n’était pas déjà un peu exagérée.

Vive les albums jeunesse.

my off-farm shift

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I’ve been working off farm for three weeks now.  It’s been a good shift for me. The hour-long commute was getting heavy, but I then discovered the joy of the audiobook. Having  completed one for every week of work thus far, I’m looking forward to the months ahead. To shift the kid to adult book ratio to my read list.

While it’s hard to be away from the kids, the artefacts that they leave behind at the end of the day–the miscellaneous duplo and lego constructions, the bits of written letters and words, the mountains of minuscule paper clippings, the 300+ puzzle pieces, that is: every single kids puzzle we own completed on the living room floor — are evermore heartwarming.

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The real family bonus though is that, since starting this job, I’ve started overhearing the kids speaking dutch together. I was so hoping that more home time with P. would make dutch more of a langue d’usage for them. And it has.

Also, P. has taught himself to play dozens of kids’ songs on our new piano, which means that our youngest, who already broke into song at least a dozen times a day, now does so even more. The cuteness is almost unbearable.

 

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And in this empowering, emboldening yet existentially exhausting #MeToo moment, where women are seizing this groundswell of a moment, are speaking up and denouncing and holding their parties to account as every second day it seems a new member of parliament resigns because allegations of sexual assault or harrassment come to light,

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I get to work alongside committed and seasoned feminist activists. It’s so very good for the soul.

 

it’s been a long december. / un semblant de résolutions.

 

It’s been a strange and amazing and rough beginning of winter.

Realising that a change of pace and a feeling of bread-winning would do wonders for my confidence, I started looking for work. The exercise was fascinating. It gave me a lot of energy. And while writing cover letters is never very pleasant there’s something about taking the time to imagine your life in many different configurations, and in being forced to talk up your trajectory and skills, that made me feel more solid and resilient despite some blows.

I found a job working four days a week with a very feminist team. I’m really looking forward to it (and also really hoping that this change won’t be too much of a weight on my supportive partner, who’ll be full-time farming on top of doing more of the daycare+school pick ups and school bus coordinating).

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I received words that cut really deep before the holidays and I’ve had an embarrassingly hard time trying to shake them. They encompassed the whole and the whole ordeal sowed such deep doubt. It’s been a lot of trying to find my way out of a rabbit hole, wondering if someone else can be righter about me and my experiences than I am. There have been strong moments of Of course not. but the doubt and anxiety linger.

After witnessing a messy kind of e-exchange a few months earlier, I had committed to not penning long cathartic emails when human interactions get strained and challenging. I’m so grateful for the lesson. I’ve tried to make non-violent communication and compassionate patience more of a practice since having kids (and since being faced with the very real and surprising challenges of existing as a hetero- nuclear family in a rural/frugal/farm setting). The practice isn’t perfect. Neither is my communication. But in an effort to let go of the funk, I am recommitting to it for 2018.

 

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I’m committing to more quiet reflection and to more movement.

To more sharing of the joy that is.

Committing too to continuing the reflection on what it means to try to grow your assertiveness as someone who’s been conditioned to ‘be nice’ at all cost; what it means to set clear boundaries and to take up space in relationships where it’s hard, where it’s unwelcome and challenged.

Committing to work on fostering less needlessly critical ways of being. To limit its intake and out-take both from within and from out.

 

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I’m going to let the women pals who support me and teach me kindness, self-compassion and steadfastness know just how much I fucking love them.

Take time to be truly and utterly wow-ed by my eldest who is (entre autres) WRITING WORDS. Tout seul! Beautifully and phonetically. And by my youngest who is such a delightful ray of sunshine that I tear up daily thinking about how unbearably fast he’s growing.

 

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Am going to savour closeness, this life I’m/we’re building, and the wide-variety of challenges we choose to face everyday.

 

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.

 

playground-toothbrush fundraiser ! / levée de fonds pour embellir les cours d’école

 

L’école de notre village organise une levée des fonds dans le but d’embellir ses cours  d’école. Elles ont grand besoin d’amour et de nouveau. (Le Ministère de l’Éducation s’est déjà engagé à défrayer le tiers du coût du projet, soit 25,000$.)

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Our town’s school is organizing a fundraiser to fix up its school yards. They’re in high need of love and newness. (This and other fundraisers are to supplement the $25,000 that the Ministère de l’Éducation has committed.)

 

 

Pour se faire, les enfants sont invités à vendrent des brosses à dents. Elles se vendent au coût de 3$ et sont offertes gratuitement par la clinique dentaire de St-André-Avellin, donc toutes les sommes ammassées iront directement au projet cours d’école.

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The kids are invited to sell toothbrushes at the cost of $3, and given that the toothbrushes are being generously donated by our local dental clinic, all proceeds are going to the school.

 

 

Quand nous étions chez la dentiste cette semaine, on a pu voir de quelle marque/style sont les brosses à dents. Elles sont bien belles, les voici :

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When we were at the dentist earlier this week, we asked to see what brand/style of toothbrushes we were selling. Here they are, bright and shiny :

 

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Pour placer une commande, envoyez moi un mot à josee.madeia@gmail.com en précisant combien de brosses à dent pour adulte et combien de brosse à dent pour enfant vous voulez. / Merci de soutenir notre belle communauté rurale !

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To place an order, please send me word at josee@gmail.com letting me know how many adult toothbrushes and how many kid toothbrushes you’d like. / Thanks for supporting our lovely rural community !