These women. These women.

A very happy International Women’s Day to everyone!


This year’s UN Theme is: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!

I encourage all of you – everyone reading at home, as well as those on transit (or in-transit!); everyone hunkered down, or waking up; everyone navigating this amazingly complicated conundrum of a world we call home – to picture all of the brilliant, powerful, and brave women in your lives.

How have they impacted the world? How have they changed your life?

How do they impact? What do they change?

What makes them extraordinary?

And how do you picture an empowered humanity? What can we all do to ensure that these visions are no longer just visions, but reality?

Here are some of the brilliant, beautiful, and brave women in my life.

My amazing mum Donna, who, as an arbitrator for the federal government, wrote and oversaw many ground breaking decisions in the early 1990s on pay equity and discriminatory labour practices across Canada.

My sisters: Jessi – newly minted red seal chef, business owner, and new mum-extraordinaire; Kate Woznow – dedicated activist, non-profit director, and triathlete.

My sister in-law Mel, who is so very incredibly strong (both on the inside and outside) and who is unflinching in her belief that we can all make impacting strides to better our world.

Her mother, Valerie, valiant and fearless feminist whose work continues to support and inspire academics the world over.

My formidable mother in-law Cheryl, who in light of the discrimination she faced as a teenager after her family immigrated to Vancouver from India in the 1960’s is now one of the greatest champions of multiculturalism I have ever met, and who in 1973 co-founded the The Door Is Open – a drop in centre on the Downtown Eastside, that is still open today at its present location at 255 Dunlevy Avenue, in the heart of East Vancouver.

I would be remiss not to touch on my great aunt in-law, Flo Curle, who was the first of my husband’s family to immigrate from India in the early sixties. A single woman, she moved to Vancouver and sponsored every single member of her family’s residency to Canada.

My sisters in-law Veronica and Vanessa: two women passionately dedicated to our environment and education, as well as the high-seas (Veronica) and circus silks (Vanessa).

My step-mother Susan, who as a conscientious and exasperated American does what she can to move her birth county in positive direction.

To my amazing colleagues at Big Sisters, who fight tooth and nail every day to ensure that young women all across the Lower Mainland have the opportunity to be matched with a life-changing friend and mentor.

My own Little Sister Melissa, with whom I have been matched for almost seven years. This young women has grown into a confident, excited, hard-working young women, who takes the world by storm each and every day.

To my outstanding, heart-bursting friends who transform and deconstruct; who build, breathe, and believe in a better today and even better tomorrow.

And finally, to all of you reading. To every woman who wakes up every day and makes change, kicks butt, loves herself, loves others, smiles brightly, laughs loudly, dances madly, cries freely, jumps blindly, catches discretely – for all who are unapologetically her, and her, and her.

This is for you.

The gold, silver, and bronze age

Holy frickmas.



And hot damn do I ever love the Olympics.

Because hot damn do I ever love sport.

I don’t love corporations, or globalization, or nationalism, or any of the other buzzwords that Olympic detractors love to trot out at two and four-year intervals. I don’t love Coke, and I don’t love idiotic, phallic mascots (although my cat sure does love her Quatchi), and I don’t love doping scandals, or unsportsmanlike conduct – issues that are sure to plague these games as they do every other international amateur athletic event.

I don’t love any of these things.

I just love sport.

And I respect and admire these phenomenal athletes who have sacrificed so much – more than I’ll ever know or understand – to push their bodies to the physical limit in an attempt to (pretty much) attain the impossible.

And I cannot for the life of me understand how people can want to take away from this – take away from those who have trained their entire lives for a chance to perform in the world’s spotlight, for that all too brief moment when the collective mass of coagulated humanity turns away from whatever opiate that is currently keeping them apathetic, and docile, uninterested and disengaged – and watches.

If but for a moment, becomes re-engaged.

Ignore all the superfluous, gratuitous, pornographic background noise that is produced from the monolithic and terrifying Olympic machine; ignore the masturbatory circus that is the IOC.

Ignore everything but the events and the players.

At least I will.

I do.

Because when you do, it is magic.

Here are three memories (in no particular order) I have of watching this magic.  They are events that helped shape me not only as an athlete, but as an individual.

1.)    Donovan Bailey’s gold medal 100m final – Atlanta Olympics, June 24, 1996.

Location: The basement of my family’s house, Vancouver, wearing my older sister`s stretched and faded Los Angeles 1984 t-shirt, sun burnt, exhilarated, awe-struck, inspired.  To this day whenever I see 9.84 I think of that moment.

2.)    Myriam Bedard’s double gold, biathlon – Lillehamer Olympics, 1994

Location: The TV room of my family’s house (different from the previous post), Vancouver.  I remember the how tight my chest was, as if my pride has someone squeezed all the air from my lungs.  I was so happy for not only my fellow country woman, but for all Canadian women.  I cried when my mother told me Myriam had been selected to carry the flag at the closing ceremonies.  (It’s very unfortunate that her horrible actions post-games have come to define her memory for many.)

3.)    Matthias Steiner’s gold in the 105+ kg weightlifting – Beijing Olympics, 2008

Location: My tiny 600sq foot home as a newlywed, Vancouver.  Completely sleep deprived due to staying up all night to watch live feeds on  I wept when Matthias won, having learned that his wife – a German woman from Saxony – had died in a car accident just months before his Olympic triumph.  He receives his medal holding a picture of her as tears stream down his face.

What about you cats? What are you excited for?

Oh, and as a postscript (and counterargument to this entire post), take a look at The Hater’s Guide to the London Olympics. As someone who has lived in the UK, and who LOVES the Olympics, it is bloody funny as HECK.