rising falling landing

autumn October 3, 2007

Filed under: feminism/women,General,Love,Ph.D,self/reflection — abbala @ 6:05 am

a long pause from this blog.  rather words have been pulsing through me in my handwritten journal and in the form of many new poems.  i am happy to be writing poetry more prolifically and for a wonderful writing group that i am a part of.  it is rigourous and critical and constructive and overall fantastic.  i share my raw poetry, with the frayed edges and the women of the group meet the words and help shape it into something more polished.  i may choose to post some poems on this blog, though i do worry about copyright and i have to wait until my publisher sees the latest works i think.

summer was a smudge, a blur.  it began with my dear safta, my grandmother’s sudden illness, pallative care time and passing.  she, a survivor, a resilient, beautiful, terrified, warm, lost woman who i was so close to, passed at the age of 92. leaving her husband of almost 7o years alone.  the impact on my mother and my uncles and all of my cousins was profound and the love that we received was incredible. 

the summer also brought many reflections on my end, not sure what i will share here but many “deep thoughts”.  the summer was filled with intermittent heat and various little wanderings with lorne hiking, exploring, being quiet together.  the summer ended with a great trip with close friends to the sunshine coast where we celebrated my 28th birthday.

many of my cousins and my closest friends in vancouver are pregnant.  my friend jessica had a baby boy, seth two months ago and his smile and curled up body in my arms warms me deeply.  i am starting to feel more urges which delights those around me. 

i am focussed on my work and feel drained and yet invigorated.  my work at OPTIONS is meaningful and difficult and i am constantly trying to find donors and make things “work”.  i have a third interview with a local college (to fill a maternity leave in jan) to teach a 100 level women’s studies course and i’d be tickled to get it. it has been an excellent experience so far.

again i feel in between things and also in the thick of things.  phd prods along and i float around inside the warmth of lorne and dear friends, the outlet of poetry, the horizon of my future fieldwork and teaching, the unknowns, and what is present.

i hope to keep this blog more frequently…it is a hope.



good monday May 14, 2007

Filed under: feminism/women,music/lyrics,Ph.D,self/reflection — abbala @ 8:55 pm

good monday pale sun is coming through my window, as i take a break from reading for comp exams. i have officially begun reading and note-taking, i bought some nice but plain books from granville island’s paper ya which is making the note-taking even better than it would be on looseleaf paper. i like to handwrite, i process much more, feel more connected. i won’t post this every blog post, but most of my summer days (at least weekdays) and when i am not on little trips (there are quite a few in the coming summer months) will consist of me working out, and reading/note-taking, and then crashing by 6 to be outside or doing something so that my mind really takes all that i learned in.

so what is new?  saw the amazing film “away from her” which was sad, made me cry, believable love story, and has made me play k.d lang’s version of neil young’s “helpless” on repeat ever since.  had a nice mother’s day…lorne and i made my parents a lunchy brunch, we saw my grandparents, we went to lighthouse park and i went with my mom to see the film “the waitress” which was a bit schlocky but sweet and offbeat nontheless.

lorne and i also went to the herzog exhibit at the vag, and really enjoyed it-i even saw my late uncle’s old nightclub and some other recognizable places my parents have spoken about. 

finished two film grant proposals so they are shipped out and on their way, i have my fingers crossed.  i can see the film made, that would be even cooler than my dissertation written, well almost.

i feel now that coursework is done, grades have been given that i am moving forward on this long dusty road that is the ph.d program. there are lot’s of sharp turns and potholes, oy this is an annoying use of metaphor and a tad cliche as well. whatever, really i just can see myself moving along, and however long it takes it does but i cannot imagine it being longer than 3 years so i may be done in 2010 dr, wener herlin, cool eh? we shall see, i don’t see it as a mad race to the finish line. my exams will be done november, then proposal defence and ethics and research will be underway.

at peter and amee’s housewarming on saturday night, they live in a great almost-cottage like 100 year old house near the 29th ave skytrain, i met a guy who teaches in coquitlam grade 9s, he’s all into social justice and small world worked with one of my committee members for his m.a. so he said he could hook me up with his students, which is great as i will need many participants between the ages of 12-17.

going to take a break now and go get groceries and go for a stroll, clear da mind.

very excited to see bjork in a week and going to see feist (who is all over the cbc as predicted by A) this wednesday.

more soon perhaps less facebook?



openings April 29, 2007

Filed under: feminism/women,General,Love,Ph.D,self/reflection — abbala @ 5:25 pm

sunday morning, up a bit too early especially after my 3am return home after a fun stagette/ girl’s night celebrating audrey and her upcoming wedding.  we went to sanafir, an exquisite moroccan-themed candle-lit, rod-iron room.  we had a great table and the four of us chatted non-stop and toasted audrey and quickly became quite silly.  i felt like we were in sex and the city, it was one of those places.  odd for me to be in this trendy spot right on granville mall. i had flashbacks to my visit to nyc and to tao.  it was an experience and a good time, though i would only go back for something like this or someone’s birthday.  it was a little different from all the trendy and posh places that vancouver is pushing out lately.

we then went for a little stroll and received a lot of attention from drunken boys and even a few men on their stags.  i was the youngest in the group but i too felt old.  we went to a bar and danced and was silly and i finally had to throw in the towel at 3am.  unusual for me being the light weight that i am, i even had TWO shots. 

i have again been quiet on the blog, it is the time of year.  our conference went really well.  i was happy with how my paper turned out and I enjoyed presenting and sharing the impetus for my research and braiding that with a poem and some anecdotes from my m.a research.  it was rewarding to plan the day and everyone did well. it was a long day from 7am until 8pm with the prep and clean up and all the smoozing, but we still decided to celebrate at the wonderful women owned and montreal like rhizome cafe and debriefed the day.  we could all tell that the director of wmst was a bit antsy, i think she wanted to leave by the afternoon.  i was happy to get my presentation done in the morning, so i could emcee and be more clear minded and focussed in the afternoon.

i went to victoria and presented the same paper–it was a very concentrated period to hear other work and present mine.  i have a lot of passion for this work but as a very wise fellow ph.d student and dear friend said to me “what you need to do is keep your passion, they will try and chip it away from you” and yes, even my idealistic optimist self has realized that even in women’s studies they (the institution and SOME of the profs not all) try to seep the passion out of you.

i have one more paper and then i will be officially done course work and onward onto my studying for comprehensives, cannot wait as i am eager to be on my own schedule.  i have a meeting with a dear member of my committee to chat about this year and i want to discuss the department and this chipping away of passion with her, she rocks.  i really feel lucky to work with her.  she challenges me and my work with vigour and care and inspires me to work harder. that is the ideal not someone who plays games and power trips which is a commonplace as you move higher in academia. 

some days i think oh i should be a counsellor, a social worker WORKING for social justice in that way, in that capacity. but we shall see…i can have these feelings, hold them, see if they become stronger.  for now i move along, i love teaching. i am good at it, it is rewarding it is creative.  it is complex as most things are and i can hold onto these contradictions.

so without going into too much detail i have had some stomach and iron deficiency issues so i am going on a cleanse for two days starting tomorrow and then a specific diet for a while so that i can feel more in tune and refreshed.  i will be prepping these things today. i am at home for two days finishing up term work so i decided to do the initial two day cleanse then, i hope my brain is awake enough to finish.  i hand in the paper on thursday then i will feel a lot lighter.

lorne and i will almost be married 2 years june 5 wow o wow. we will be in montreal, can hardly wait.

starting to feel like spring, openings.

more soon



april post April 17, 2007

Filed under: feminism/women,General,Ph.D,self/reflection — abbala @ 6:24 pm

again i have been m.i.a. one of the reasons is end of term madness: marking, marking marking for 100 and writing 3 papers and planning the conference that is tomorrow, wednesday!

but also i am now addicted to facebook.  that seeps my online time along with email. but i will return to this blog soon.

there have been dramas with inter-personal dynamics, some shuffling in the wmst department i am a part of at ubc, not going to go into too much detail here, good times lorne’s birthday, hearing about amanda and david’s beautiful baby girl being born!, sunshine, inspiration for poetry and academic papers, but also tragedy such as the horrible virginia shooting that occured yesterday.

my new favourite cd is not yet out but julia burned a copy of feist’s “the reminder” it is fantastic, out may 1 will be the album of spring and summer. i am also going to see bjork at deer lake park woohoo.

off for another conference meeting, but i will write more before april is through.

thanks for your love



Tuesday Morning, a few weeks later March 27, 2007

Filed under: feminism/women,Love,Ph.D,self/reflection,social — abbala @ 5:28 pm

sunshine, the first slants of spring light!  love it, mood uplift.

The mountain of work is steadily becoming summitted!  I finished the “Girl Culture” paper and just finished my last edits of it so it is ready to leave my hands.  I put a lot of love into that paper: a critique of the startling and evocative Lauren Greenfield photos that I feel reproduce a normative girl culture (that is white, able bodied, heterosexual, middle class and femme-y).  All the young women and girls in the collection really “emphasize” their femininity and heterosexuality.  Also the discourses that circulate the collection mainly from the preface by historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg replicate the young women in perpetual crisis which creates the representation of young women as the crisis itself.

Now I am working on a conference paper for our big graduate conference that I have helped organize as well on April 18th.  The paper is about what has inspired my Ph.D topic on young women and their relationship to feminism.  So the paper is about my trajectory into feminism (what made me a feminist) and my definition of feminism, as well as data from my Master’s study where many of the young women who are mother’s talked about their relationship to feminism, their uneasiness with the term but their political identities.  I am excited to write it, I have it all outlined, as I see it as a more creative writing project and a good entry point as I have yet to do the research.

So after April 23 when the conference is over, my teaching is over (until Jan 2008) and my marking is done I will be back to self-directed mode of reading, note-taking and studying for October exams.  I cannot let the sun distract me too much, I have to make a schedule or two of twenty🙂

Aside from school, I am feeling better.  I was in a funk, of stressed-out blues, but I am feeling better.  Took time for me, thought many things through, and had a lovely little Victoria (Brentwood Bay) getaway with Lorne last weekend.  We had a day of pale sun and went for long walks and talked all through the days, it was lovely.  We went to REBAR which was wonderful, had an eggwhite omlette with apple and rosemary and it was wonderful, have to make it at home.  We also saw Sandra Bernhard and I am still laughing from the amazing show.  She sang, she amused, she was smart, she was smutty, she was there in all her glory.  Oh and I won seven dollars on the Jade Monkey penny machine at the casino, all good.

Off to the gym now and then I have the post-colonial theory class until 6pm, though only three more to go! So excited.

More soon, I promise



Tuesday Morning Update March 14, 2007

Filed under: feminism/women,Ph.D,self/reflection,social — abbala @ 3:43 pm

I have come up for air, having marked 65 10 page papers.  At times, I was almost in tears at the lack of care.  For example, not bothering to indent or differentiate between paragraphs; really misunderstanding concepts such as “third world feminism”, and misconstruing personal experience/locating oneself in a paper for just stream-of-consciousnessness blabber.  There was creative ways to make it seem as if more was written than there was, and many didn’t know how to cite or source.  Some of the papers were incredibly unique and well-written, so that kept me going.

Aside from that, working on my final two papers of my own.  The mighty Girl Culture paper is almost done, and the prof is excited by it.  She paid me a compliment by saying “I remember your poetry and think of you as a poet, let me read some”.  So that was nice, and we had a nice candid chat after.  She is a bit of a stone at times; hard and biting.  But yesterday so very nice and personable. 

I am also planning, mc-ing and presenting a paper at the Graduate WMST conference April 18th.  I had an epiphany on Tuesday night, and awoke at 4 am that I am going to speak about what inspired me to pursue the topic of young women and their relationship to feminism.  I will speak about how I became and defined myself as a feminist and also my M.A. project as many of the young women who are mothers addressed feminism and their relationship to it in very interesting ways.  I am happy about this focus, as I have yet to do the research and there is a lot to say and it lends itself well to a talk.

On International Women’s Day, last Thursday March 8th I gave a talk at National Council of Jewish Women on my M.A. research.  It was great to have Karen there for support and the women were very engaged in the project and asked really interesting questions.  I will be doing poetry workshops at the program where I did my M.A. (pseudonym is Step) and will be working with the Council to work on a funding initiative, exciting things.

I am off to watch and grade presentations in the class today.  This time of year is so busy…I have more papers this time in the form of a book review coming in from this class on March 26.  I also will be lecturing three more lectures and also leading one of the exam review sessions.  I am getting closer to being able to simply study for comps and get reacquainted with self-directed work.

This Thursday, Lorne’s lovely friend Amee is coming in from Toronto, so she’ll be staying with us for a couple of days.  Then we are off to the island for a little retreat from the city, I will bring some work but don’t care, just nice to take a ferry and escape and be alone. 

There is a lot more going on in heart and mind and all that but must run, as I am anal and need to be in the classroom at least a half hour early.  I have learned how to write on the chalkboard straight and evenly, it is a skill.

More soon



note form March 5, 2007

Filed under: feminism/women,General,Love,music/lyrics,Ph.D,self/reflection,social — abbala @ 11:37 pm

Feel like writing this post in note form so here goes it:

-I am so happy, I have a new CD obsession!  I love having a cd I play non-stop over and over again, not just a song or two, but the whole thing.  This time around it is the brilliant AMY WINEHOUSE: BACK TO BLACK, a retro-50’s sounding cd, with gorgeous songs. I particularly partial to “Back to Black” itself.  An aching, love song.  I put it on my myspace page as my “song”.

nice segueway

2) Yes I have a myspace page, for the film and stuff.  it is http://www.myspace.com/abbala.  A few old friends have found me and I have found a few.  I reconnected with the fabulous musician Kinnie Starr and she even commented on the cute pic I posted of L an I on our wedding day.  I have a little slideshow on their and additional pictures as well.  I try not to spend too much time on it, as it is a suckage of time but it’s fun and good for reaching out.  If you are on there, add me.

3) Crafts was this weekend. It was lovely, I made my fifth collage on canvas, I am really happy with it.  This one is figurative with bright colours: red, orange, lime green. We drank sparkling apple juice, had dates and applewood cheddar and yakked for two plus hours.  It was great that Claire came, a much needed break from beautiful baby Ben.

4) This weekend we saw the play put on by the ever-so-talented director Katrina Dunn of Touchstone Theatre “Hippies and Bolcheviks”written by Amiel Gladstone.  Some of it was over-acted, though all in all I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed the exploration of the failure of the 60s and 70s, the failure of the “free love” movement which was also filled with rules.  One of the most poignant lines was something along the lines of  “I loved you like a first love…openly, cleanly, I would have followed you anywhere”. That certainly resonated with me. Luckily after the play, K and M and L and myself were able to catch the end of Yael Wand’s cd release of her second wonderful cd “At your door”. She has such a beautiful voice, and her writing is sharp.  I got to chat with her and give her a hug and buy the cd, she lives in Smithers now. She also tours a lot, this time fabulously in a van fueled by vegetable oil! Way to go.

5)Workin’ on the paper,on the girl culture paper.  Overworking on it probably but I finally got in the groove.  Student papers will be in my hands soon.

6) The blues have only partially lifted, craving spring and light.  Writing some new poems, towards the collection and interesting things are arising.

More soon