Friday, March 26, 2010

Dear diary: First the Cromdale, now the York?

I have to say, I have two memories of the York Hotel: the first, my "Step dad" was pissed because my mom wasn't home so he packed me and my younger brother up, called his brother to pick us up and drove to the York. Rich (my baby bro) and I waited in the passenger seat while he went into the York to grab my mom.

What I saw was him dragging my mom out of the York Hotel by her hair. She screamed. He punched her in the face. We watched in horror as as beat her while dragging her to the truck. All the while, his brother watched, sitting idly by.

It was my first lesson in relationships.

Before all of that happened, he tried to teach me Flashcards. I was 6-years-old and more concerned about being a social butterfly in a school made up of future convicts, than to worry about learning the multiplication tables. I stared at the Flash Cards. I felt stupid and weak and insignificant.

But then his attention turned to the whereabouts of my mom, and he took his hatred and violence out on her.

She made it to the truck with only a bloody lip and an eye that was swelling. But he beat her so badly that her head bashed against the truck window, with each blow.

My brother, who was only 2 or 3, sat in between me and "his" brother. I shielded my baby bro from any harm. But when we got home, I remember - vividly - the beating.

And the screams.

And the blood.

And the knife that held that door shut from the hatred and the violence that was separated only by a weak door.

He beat her.

And she screamed.

And bled.

And yelled for us.

I remember being more afraid for my mom, than for myself.

And I remember that being my first memory of the York Hotel.

Shortly after, we moved from that house on 82st and 112 avenue. And shortly after, it was condemned. And demolished. And so was the house after. And the house after. And so on.

The inner city was never kind to us. It killed my family in so many ways. But I remember the bad parts. And the few that were decent.

The "drag" in Edmonton, is better off with out the Cecil, the Cromdale, the York and any of the other scumbag hotels.But you know what? It didn't beat me.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dear Diary, My Dick is Bigger Than Yours, Margaret!

Some women annoy me (OK most women do because of their catty bullshit but in this instance, I'm using the example of one woman in particular).

Globe & Mail columnist Margaret Wente wrote a column called "Why Are Bloggers Male?"

Now, normally I don't bother reading such esteemed journalism as that which comes from the G&M but I saw a tweet from Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simons so I checked it out... and here's what I saw:
"Blah Blah Blah, women are far too superior than men to bother with blogs Blah Blah Blah men are stupid and women are smart."

OK, she was much more eloquent but that was the gist of it.

She hit a gender-war nerve when she penned this column and I have to say, it pisses me off. I blog. Not often, but I do and more so for the sake of venting than pretending I have any real writing ability (because let's face it most people who blog aren't necessarily "real writers").

Back in the day, when I was a struggling young sports scribe, I penned a column called "In Your Face" for a local sports rag called Edmonton Sports Scene. I was brash, sassy and arrogant, and had there been such a thing as a blog I damn well would've had one, too.

I'm a bad ass blogger

Now that I have my own magazine, I choose to use my blog to reach out to the other bad ass moms (and some dads, apparently) who can relate to my everyday life.

Margaret says she doesn't blog because, "The answer is pretty much the same as why I don't get a souped-up snowmobile and drive it straight up a mountain at 120 kilometres an hour into a well-known avalanche zone. It's more of a guy thing."

Notice how her link goes to a story about the three men who died in a BC Avalanche? Tacky as shit. Truly, show some motherlovin' respect for the families of those men.

She goes on to quote her equally-sexist friend as a source because, you know, she's obviously an expert: “Do you think men are more opinionated than women are?” I asked my friend Sarah the other day. (Sarah is 24, and several of her male friends have started blogs.) “No,” she said. “They just don't feel the need to think before they open their mouths.”

And so opens the can of sexist worms.

Well guess what, Margaret? Nine times out of 10 I don't think before I talk. It's called having an attitude and I'm OK with it. And you know what else, Margaret, nine times out of 10, I don't give a shit what other people think about what I say OR if it comes across as offensive or vulgar because, Margaret, nine times out of 10, I say what most other people don't have the balls to say.

So there.

"Perhaps you've noticed that most of the comments on these websites are not terribly sophisticated. They contain a large insult quotient, even when they come from people with advanced degrees. They remind me of nothing so much as a bunch of 12-year-olds holding peeing contests in the snow.

"Women never held peeing contests. Perhaps that helps explain why women tend to be more restrained and less concerned with public displays of prowess. We are just as interested in listening as in talking, and more interested in relationships than scoring points. We also tend to lack the public confidence that comes so easily to many men."

Guess what, Margaret? I'm pissin' all over the gawdamn snow because that's how I roll. It's women who think like YOU that give the rest of us a bad name. Go make some tea and crumpets and write about something you might actually know about.

Like knitting. Because that's what women are suppose to do, right?

Humbly and graciously yours,
Tamara Plant
Bad Ass Publisher and Potty-mouthed Blogger

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dear Diary: What if?

My email has been down for the last week, effectively chopping off my arms of communication to the outside world. I live, you see, for the internet connection my BB, Kumar (named after the raunchy and inappropriate character from Harold & Kumar movies) gives me. I go to the bathroom with Kumar, I have coffee with Kumar and I sleep with Kumar. I'm not even joking, I hold him until we both fall asleep (it makes it easier to horizontal tweet at 2 a.m. Don't judge!) So when I wasn't getting any emails on Kumar, I got the shakes. So bad, that I dropped him and then swore at him. #BBparentfail

Being violently disconnected from the internet seems like the universe's way of telling me I may just rely a little too much on my beloved Kumar. But, I don't care.

Before I adopted Kumar, I was literally stuck to my damn computer, anxiously awaiting emails, FB updates and more recently Twitter @ replies.

So it got me thinking... what if Kumar could no longer do ANY of those things and even WORSE what if my crappy satellite internet was disabled. (It's happened, don't laugh...).

Well, if I knew prior to this catastrophic event, I might drink myself into a catastrophic oblivion. Or something like that.

But if I had one last chance to post a tweet, a blog or a FB update it might go something like this...

Heh hem.

Dear Diary,
Power outages can suck it. If you haven't heard from me by tomorrow, I want you to send help in the form of Scotch, Tequila or Wine.

That is all.

PS Always remember that Life as a MOM doesn't mean life as a WOMAN has to end!

**note this post is in reference to a contest to Mable's Labels for my chance to win a trip to Blogher '10. Go Team MOM!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dear Diary, Peter Puck posted a particulary pinheaded comment

I moderate the comments I get on this blog and I do it for a reason. Some people are too stupid to breathe let alone post intelligent comments so I choose not to waste your time with publishing them.

However yesterday, I got a comment from someone calling himself Peter Pocklington and it made me go, "WTF?"

First, why would the Puckster bother himself with reading my blog, and second, the comments he made seemed a teensy bit scathing in regards to my Cromdale post.

Unedited (but not published to the blog) I give you old Peter's comments:

The Cromdale, back in the day, 1980's and 1990's was a great place to get drunk for cheap, see drug addicted crack strippers, and to pick up sleazy native and white chicks. But now it is an eyesore that for some reason the owners want to try and trick the City into purchasing just to get rid of it.It looks like the Cromdale may not be torn down anytime soon(see below for March 2, 2010 article).

This place is even world infamous for being a cesspool of scum and villainy:

I am wondering why the original author of Mom Magazine who wrote the article "Edmonton's Notorious Cromdale slated for demolition" does not write another article on the Cromdale. Does she still want the Cromdale torn down or does she want the Cromdale to stay? Also has she ever partied in the Cromdale?

OK, "Peter", you sound more like Peter Griffin than Peter Pocklington with the comment "sleazy native and white chicks."

Second, that post was a snapshot of my childhood, nothing else. The Cromdale is nothing more to me than a tangible memory of a truly fucked up childhood and when I heard about the demolition, it forced me to recall certain memories I had stuffed away in the darkest parts of my soul.

If the city of Edmonton chooses to leave that structure, they are hindering any progress that area has of erasing what is wrong with that community; drugs, hookers, pimps, and petty criminals.

Lastly, asking me a dumb question like "have I ever partied at the Cromdale" shows just how truly ignorant you are. If you had READ that post, you would see that I had a drink on my 18th birthday with my mom at the Cromdale. One drink. It was a "bonding moment" because I desperately wanted to connect with her on some level. It didn't work.

Honey, I've always been too good to associate with the likes of the scum who hung out at the Cromdale, my own family included. My arrogance, confidence, intelligence and plain sense of right and wrong got me where I am today which is as FAR away from the Cromdale as possible.

Do I want to see it go? Absolutely.

Do I moderate my blog because of dumbass comments like those?
Without a doubt.

Edmonton will be better off when the Cromdale is nothing more than a bad memory.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy International Women's Day!

Some days, I find it harder than others to get out of bed and do anything. Today was one of those days.

After being away from all things "MOM" for the last four months, I'm really finding it tough to get back into any sort of routine. I know I can't hide under the covers from the rest of the world forever so after convincing myself to drag my ass outta bed, I flipped through Twitter and saw that it was International Women's Day!

What a better day than today to reclaim my life! I've been so lucky to have met some amazing women over the past few years (OMG is it almost 3 years!?!), and I always feel better when I can celebrate the successes of other women, so now I am going to tell you about a few of them.

Karissa Sparling, Primerica
Karissa is a co-owner of Dragon Lilies, a children's and maternity clothing store in Spruce Grove, AB. She was one of the first supporters of MOM Magazine and has since become a true friend. I have watched her overcome adversity in her professional life and change careers (she's now with Primerica), all the while searching for her inner-zen. Watching her grow professionally and spiritually has been enlightening and inspiring because she forces me to find my own inner spirituality and become the best woman I can be. She comes across as an incredibly strong, focused and confident woman, and watching her in action is awe-inspiring. I'd never tell her that because then she'd be all, "That's right, bitches, I am not someone you want to mess with," and I'd have to be all, "Oh puh-leeze, you Robert Pattison groupie!" so instead, I quietly admire her strength and continue to be open to her ramblings of Louise Hay.

Christie Shultz, Entrepreneurial Moms International
I met Christie last year when she had just launched EMI. I wondered how she planned to take a MOM's networking group to an international level and was instantly in awe of her vision and trail she planned to blaze with her ideas. In such a short period of time, she has launched chapters of EMI in Ottawa, Austin and pending chapters in Edmonton and Vancouver. She did all this while pregnant with her third child and didn't let a little thing like childbirth stop her from continuing her work. She's spunky, sassy and has a 1,000 watt smile that lights up any room! Her charm makes you want to do anything you can to be in her presence and her business acumen is deadly accurate.

Erin Rosar, The Wine Girl
Who wouldn't love a girl who knows all there is to know about wine but isn't a snob about it!? Erin was one of the original columnists for MOM when we launched and we've watched her take her amazing knowledge of wine and turn it into a bubbly empire! Aside from teaching wine courses and being a presenter at another of our favourite women's initiative The Pajama Party, Erin launched Wine in the Kitchen, and her all-inclusive website features her very own WG TV episodes, tips and tricks, recipes, and so much more. We love Erin for being accessible, fun and putting the fun back in wine!

Kari Dunlop, The Business of Bliss
I met Kari about an hour before I met Christie Schultz, and she told me about the fabulous event she was planning which would showcase amazing presenters and bring together women who were passionate about their professional lives. She had already secured Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell for the event, which impressed me even more! I watched as she grew this nugget of an idea into a full-blown kick ass event that featured the likes of organization guru Peter Walsh, "O" columnist Martha Beck, kickass zen chick and business fire starter Danielle LaPorte, and the not-so-secret love of my life, fashion trail blazer Ben Barry. Kari is living proof that if you have a dream and a vision, you have the power to make it happen. She's beyond inspiring and I only hope she puts together another event for everyone who missed out on the Business of Bliss!

My reasons are purely selfish for this blog, even though they might seem altruistic. I feel better about myself when I am doing something to honour other women, and these women have inspired me, rekindled my entrepreneurial passion, reignited my dreams and have, whether they know it or not, given me support and comfort when I've needed it.

Happy International Women's Day to ALL of you! I feel so much better after writing this and I hope you can celebrate the women who have inspired YOU!