Pocket-Sized Feminism

The only other girl at the party
is ranting about feminism.
The audience: a sea of rape jokes and snapbacks
and styrofoam cups and me.
They gawk at her mouth like it is a drain
clogged with too many opinions.
I shoot her an empathetic glance
and say nothing. This house is for
wallpaper women. What good
is wallpaper that speaks?
I want to stand up, but if I do,
whose coffee table silence
will these boys rest their feet on?

These boys…
I want to stand up, but if I do,
what if someone takes my spot?
I want to stand up, but if I do,
what if everyone notices I’ve been
sitting this whole time? I am ashamed
of keeping my feminism in my pocket
until it is convenient not to, like at poetry
slams or woman studies classes.
There are days I want people to like me
more than I want to change the world.
Once I forgave a predator because
I was afraid to start drama in our friend group
two weeks later he assaulted someone else.
I’m still carrying the guilt in my purse.

There are days I forget we had to invent
nail polish to change color in drugged
drinks and apps to virtually walk us home
and lipstick shaped mace and underwear designed to prevent rape.

Once a man behind me at an escalator
shoved his hand up my skirt
from behind and no one around me
said anything,
so I didn’t say anything.
Because I didn’t wanna make a scene.

Once an adult man made a necklace
out of his hands for me and
I still wake up in hot sweats
haunted with images of the hurt
of girls he assaulted after I didn’t report,
all younger than me.

How am I to forgive myself for doing
nothing in the mouth of trauma?
Is silence not an act of violence too?

Once, I told a boy I was powerful
and he told me to mind my own business.

Once, a boy accused me of practicing
misandry. “You think you can take
over the world?” And I said “No,
I just want to see it. I just need
to know it is there for someone.”

Once, my dad informed me sexism
is dead and reminded me to always
carry pepper spray in the same breath.
We accept this state of constant fear
as just another component of being a girl.
We text each other when we get home
safe and it does not occur to us that
not all of our guy friends have to do the same.
You could literally saw a woman in half
and it would still be called a magic trick.
Wouldn’t it?
That’s why you invited us here,
isn’t it? Because there is no show
without a beautiful assistant?
We are surrounded by boys who hang up
our naked posters and fantasize
about choking us and watch movies that
we get murdered in. We are the daughters
of men who warned us about the news
and the missing girls on the milk carton
and the sharp edge of the world.
They begged us to be careful. To be safe.
Then told our brothers to go out and play.

~ Blythe Baird


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You Can’t Rip the Skin Off the Snake

This is the work.
I get on the mat.
I relearn my body as my home.
I accept that this is a long ass process. It takes the time it takes.
I stare down the snakes.
I shed my old skin.
I shed my old self.
I molt.


Such a powerful piece of writing.

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Zen Story About Letting Go

If anger keeps us stuck in the past, we won’t be fully in the present, nor can we move forward into the future with our full potential for optimism and hope. We don’t need to forgive a particular bad action when the other person fails to genuinely acknowledge the wrong.

But we do need, over time, to dissipate its emotional charge. We need to accept the reality that sometimes the wrongdoer is unreachable and unrepentant, and we have a choice as to whether to carry the wrongdoing on our shoulders or not.

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Done Leaning In

I Got Told What To Call This Poem By My Male Colleague

This poem is for all the men
Who have sacrificed their time
To explain my research to me.
In train stations and hallways
At 1am drunk at a party
And over bad coffee after a presentation.
Often knowing no more about my research
Than a title …

And I am sorry
That I will not try harder
To win your respect
I will not seek you out
I will walk away mid-sentence
I will mute you on twitter
And let you shout into the void
Because I care nothing for your approval.
I am done leaning in.



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Normalization of Deviance

That’s an element everyone building anything should consider: Your system not breaking doesn’t mean it works and is a solid design. It might just mean you’ve gotten lucky, a lot, in a row.


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The Day I Almost Lost Bosco

Bosco had an upset tummy over the weekend – he wasn’t eating a lot and he’d had a touch of diarrhea. Monday night he got me up six times needing to go out, and each time necessitated putting him in the shower stall and cleaning his bum. I love his floofy pants but they do make it messy when things aren’t quite right in the area.

On Tuesday morning I decided that he needed to go in to see the vet. My usual vet wasn’t working at my location (the clinic has two locations that they staff) but I didn’t want to wait so I agreed to bring him in to see the male vet, Dr Martin Rebele.

Bosco is such a very good boy. He lay down on the floor of the room and waited patiently, with me rubbing his belly. When Dr Rebele came in, he let him poke and prod him. There was one area that caused him to yelp as Dr Rebele was feeling around. The initial thought was either pancreatitis or giardia, both of which Dr Rebele explained to me in a way that didn’t make me feel stupid. I find sometimes vets (and doctors) forget that the general public doesn’t have the same education and don’t take the time to check for understanding.

I left Bosco at the clinic after authorizing them to do the tests. They said they would call by 1pm, so I went to drop off a cheque at the dealership where I bought a car on Monday. (That gets it’s own post. This one is Bosco’s.) Hailey took me out for lunch, and then I met my dad so he could see the car. Just before we met, Dr Rebele called. The tests had come back negative and he wanted to do an ultrasound. I agreed and he said he’d call back in about an hour.

An hour and a half went by and I hadn’t heard yet, so I went to the clinic. They put me in a room, and shortly after Dr Rebele came in carrying Bosco wrapped in a blanket. He put him down on the floor and I started stroking his head gently. Bosco was moaning and whimpering in pain. Dr Rebele showed me on the ultrasound that there was a mass on his spleen, but that they hadn’t seen any other issues. At that point he said he wanted to do exploratory surgery because while we have technology, nothing beats a human eye actually looking to see what’s going on. I agreed without hestitation.

Then he dropped the bombshell. He said that if it turned out to be cancer, there was the chance that it could have spread too far and that I might have to make the decision to let him go. I sat on the floor with my beautiful boy, tears dripping off my face, wondering how an upset belly had led us to the point where I might be saying my last goodbye. Dr Rebele didn’t let me have too much time with him because Bosco was in too much pain to wait for long. He picked him up and carried him out … and I sat alone in the room, rocking back and forth, sobbing and whispering the words, “Please let him be okay. Please. Please,” over and over again.

I called Hailey and told her she needed to come. I almost couldn’t speak. Although I am generally extremely private about what I share on Facebook, I posted that I needed thoughts and prayers for Bosco because there was the chance I might lose him. Then I sat there and I waited.

At some point I spoke to Jen on the phone. She was stuck downtown at a conference with no car because she had carpooled. All the fucking days! She would have left work in a second to come be with me, and she felt terrible that she couldn’t be there. But she was still a lifeline to me, because we spoke until the other vet, Dr Whitehead, came in to give me an update.

Remember how I said some vets don’t speak to clients properly? Dr Whitehead is a prime example. She is very nice and seems very competent, but she kept using medical terminology that I wasn’t familiar with. And the only thing I wanted to know at that point was whether I had to let him go. She was telling me stuff about his spleen and how it was flipped over and kinked, and finally I interrupted her to ask whether there was cancer. She looked confused for a moment and then replied that no, there was no [big word] or [big word]. I gasped out, “So I’m not going to lose him today?” and at her startled, “No!” I put my head down in my lap and sobbed.

After that I could start to comprehend what she had been telling me. His spleen was folded over and the mass that showed up on the ultrasound was actually the half of it that was stopped up with blood and very swollen. They wanted to remove it, to which I immediately agreed. Dr Whitehead went back to relay this to Dr Rebele, and I continued to wait. Helen the office manager and tech came in to give me an update that Bosco was doing well and was being stitched up, and finally Dr Rebele came in to give me the official outcome.

His recommendation was that while we could send the spleen to be biopsied, a lot of the time the results came back inconclusive because cancerous cells in the spleen tend to be like blood blisters which pop and then there is nothing to biopsy anyway. Originally he had said he wanted to biopsy the liver too but he changed his mind on that. One lobe of Bosco’s liver has rounded edges rather than a sharp delineation, and this can be caused be age, secondary back up from the spleen situation, or cancer. The thing is, if it is cancer it is inoperable, and it is a blood borne cancer. A lot of the time after a biopsy the cancer spreads quickly because of the hole that has been created by the biopsy. His recommendation is to moniter it with ultrasounds going forward, and just enjoy every moment I have with my boy.

Bosco had to stay overnight in order to continue the IV of fluids, antibiotics, and pain meds. I insisted that I had to see him before I left. I was no longer sobbing but I did still have tears dripping down my face, but I explained through them that I had to see him breathing before I could go home and leave him. After cautioning me that I couldn’t stay long and that Bosco needed to be kept calm, Dr Rebele agreed and Helen took me to the back. He was lying on his side facing away from me in the large crate, tucked up under a blanket with hot water bottles snugged up against both sides. He was breathing steadily and not making any pain noises. They didn’t offer to open the door so I didn’t get to touch him but I did speak softly to him. He was not out of the anaesthetic yet but who knows what we know or hear when we are under sedation.

Hailey was waiting for me at the house, and we took her two and Maia out for a walk in the sunshine. I needed to get out, to watch happy dogs sniffing, to breath the fresh air. It was a beautiful afternoon and I felt so grateful that I was able to enjoy it.

I picked Bosco up yesterday afternoon. They kept him for the day in order to maintain the IV but reassured me that he was bright eyed and perky, and he ate his breakfast. When I got him home I got him comfortable on the couch, and he stayed there all evening with me. I even brought him his dinner there. I had prepped during the afternoon and made boiled chicken and white rice, and Hailey had brought a bunch of freebies home from her work like a bag of Honest Kitchen that I will move him on to today. He took his meds like a champ, and he slept.

It was a bit of a challenge to convince him that he could manage the stairs up to the bedroom but once he got going, he made it all the way up. He slept through the night, first on the bed and then moving to the floor as per usual. This morning he went out to pee with minimal coaxing, and gobbled up his breakfast.

I am beyond words to explain how grateful I am that I still have my beautiful Bosco with me. I’ve only had him for four years and it’s not enough.

Beautiful Bosco

Beautiful Bosco

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Actually lolled


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Introducing Moses

Moses in a Cane Corso Mastiff (I think!) who is 9 months old and a big smooshy baby. He came to stay for 6 nights. Maia was not enamoured – she showed him her teeth multiple times and would put his entire muzzle in her mouth. But he deserved it because he is a stupid puppy. It would have been better had he learned from her corrections but alas, no.

Hailey's Monster, on the other hand, thought he was the bee's knees, and they wrestled and played bitey-face.

It was such a beautiful morning for a walk. Poor Maia was terribly unhappy in this photo because there were gunshots coming from the hunting area on the other side of the valley. I HATE hunting season with a passion because it makes my girlie very sad and all she wants to do is go back to the car. In fact, just after this picture was taken, Hailey kept walking down the dyke with the rest of the dogs but Maia started back towards the car, then turned to look at me hopefully. I couldn't make her keep going when she so clearly wanted to get the hell out of dodge.

The first day I had Moses I also had Tessa, and I took everyone out for a two and a half hour walk that day. It was just what my soul needed – peace, beauty, and happy dogs.

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