This is a picture I did not take of a group of people walking quickly through the rain toward the doors of the local funeral home. All dressed head to toe in black, and protected by an umbrella as yellow as the daffodils in my kitchen.

Ignite Waterloo 5

Has it already been a month since the last Ignite event? Wow.

So it took a little while to sort out some administrative details, but the videos of the talks from the last Ignite event are now online: Ignite Waterloo 5.

Perhaps you’re looking for a great place to get a bite to eat in Waterloo Region, or your soul is on fire and you need the creative outlet of slam poetry, or you’ve had a helluva day and could really go for a shot of tequila… There’s something to get every brain tingling, and plenty of interesting community initiatives and good causes out there.

Our next Ignite event will likely be in June, and we’re still looking for speaker submissions. Everyone’s got five minutes of interesting in them. What’s your passion?

We’ve also been bursting at the seams, venue-wise, so we’re interested in suggestions for a new home for the event.


This is a picture I did not take of a middle-aged woman jogging down Erb Street, accompanied by a chihuahua on a leash, who was bouncing around like popcorn, trying to keep up while getting over and around the deposits of ice and slush on the sidewalk.

Is it better yet?

Recently I was on a mid-afternoon coffee run with several co-workers. We were heading up King Street in Waterloo when a silver Mercedes drove by. There were four young guys in the car, the window facing us was wide open, and one of them stuck his head out to shout a bunch of unintelligible stuff as they drove by.

The whole experience reminded me of back in the day in high shool when my brother and his friends would drive by my friends and I and holler stuff. It was such a weird experience that I actually called my brother to inquire if he’d hollered at me on King Street a few minutes before. Nope.

Then, given my thorough confusion, one of my co-workers informed me as to exactly what happened. The guy had been yelling at him, sarcastically commenting on his scarf, and either began or ended the charming interlude with “fag”. Ahh.

But there’s more. Apparently this is not even remotely uncommon for him — happens all the time. Huh? Here? Often the comments are considerably worse. As used to it as you can get, I guess, he takes the attitude of it being the world’s way of making sure he maintains a thick skin.

I was just… boggling. That happens? Here? Often? We live in the same city, but apparently we’ve been living in very different ones, perception-wise. I’ve lived in Waterloo for well over a decade (and my family is from here), so it’s not like I just fell off the turnip truck. But I freely admit that what happened is something I would expect back home in Grey County, not in Uptown Waterloo.

Apparently I have a lot to learn. I even told my co-worker I wanted them to yell at me. I’m pretty good with shit like that (and, less face it, I can whip my bully pants on pretty fast), though admittedly, there’s not much you can do with a cutting remark when people are speeding away down the street.

Some of the people I told about the incident raised their eyebrows as much as I did. Some weren’t surprised in the least. Nothing like being disabused of the notion that where you live and the people around you are not necessarily in fact “better than that”.

Sure, it’s a crappy minority, but it’s still there. It was young people — those leaders of tomorrow and whatnot. And yes, it was a bunch of asshats in someone’s dad’s Mercedes, so you could roll your eyes and write them off as rich asshole frat boys. But a friend of mine had hate spewed at him on the street in broad daylight. That is not cool with me. And it’s plenty of evidence that while “it” might get better after you get out of high school, etc., “it” ain’t fixed yet.


This is a picture I did not take at 6:30am this morning and other mornings, of an elderly woman in a purple parka, skirt, thick stockings, sensible shoes, and a purple bandanna, her left arm and foot crooked at that tell-tale angle of a stroke survivor, leaning on her cane as she makes her way around the inside lane of the track at the Waterloo Rec Centre, leaving me absolutely no excuse not to get my ass out of bed and go running in the mornings.

Because I am able.

Unphotographable and Photographable

This is a picture I did not take of a woman, alone, wandering through Waterloo Park at around 11pm on a Thursday night, taking pictures of the gorgeous, ethereal effects of thick fog on lights, shadows, and bare tree limbs. And of the same woman putting away her camera and hurrying back to her apartment building upon hearing the approaching voices and laughter of a group of men.

It is also not a picture of my rage at being that woman, at the discomfort, fear, and second-guessing of my own actions, and at the perceived theft of my safety by disembodied voices who probably didn’t even know I was there.

The pictures I did take.


This is a picture I did not take of a 20-something blonde, driving a black Ford Escape, turning the corner off Erb Street at fairly high speed, thus causing her 20-something blonde passenger to lean uncomfortably hard against the window, as she was using both hands to work an eyelash curler and couldn’t steady herself.