Aaaand…we’re back!

As I mentioned earlier, The MoMs, The Green Bean and I took a quick trip down to San Francisco.  Spending time in the Bay Area is always a pleasure, but we also had much business to take care of, namely scoping out neighbourhoods, looking at homes and meeting the locals.

By now, many of you know (and the rest of you have probably guessed) that come June, the family and I will be leaving Ottawa and moving to San Francisco!

Actually, it looks like we’ll be moving to Berkeley, where a slightly less expensive rental market will afford us an extra bedroom for guests. It’s a pretty happening city in its own right and a short BART ride away from its sister across the Bay. We spent the bulk of our time Berkeley this week and the friendly people, bountiful markets and vibrant night life were seductive indeed.

Why the move?

I decided several months ago that I wanted to continue my career as a sexuality educator. To do so, I knew I’d have to further my education. After a lot of research, discussion with colleagues, discussion with mentors and discussion with my family, I decided to I would apply to begin graduate studies in Human Sexuality this fall. The program that best suited my needs was the The Insititute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, located smack dab in the middle of San Francisco.

The family I and briefly considered the distance option, which would have meant travelling from Ottawa to San Francisco for two to three weeks at a time, every four months. It was doable, but the more The MoMs and I thought about it, the more we realized that that much time apart was going to heap a ton of extra stress and work onto both of our shoulders – something that neither of us wanted.

What we wanted was to spend more time with each other and with The Bean. We wanted a break from some of the obligations that have us both a bit bogged down. The MoMs’ brother and his family recently made a big move to Australia. It was a risk leaving their very established life behind, but the fresh start has done them a world of good. The MoMs and I began to wonder if a new beginning might do us good too. Both of us love San Francisco. Nice weather and the opportunity to be outside in sunshine year-round would undoubtedly be good for the Bean. The MoMs could work there. I’d have access to some of the best sexuality resources and experts in the world. The more we thought about it, the more we realized heading out to California was a no-brainer. So we’re going.

The plan as it stands now is to go for a least a year. I have very strong attachments to Ottawa – especially the family of friends I’ve made in the almost fifteen years I’ve lived here. I also see that there’s a real need for sex positive resources in our city. Eventually I’d love to come back and continue working as a sexuality educator here in the capital. We’ll see what life has in store.

So that’s the jam. There’s a triple-long list of to-dos to get done before we pull up stakes. While part of me is champing at the bit to start this new adventure, I know the next few months are going to race by and I know I’m going to miss the shit out of Ottawa once we go. So I will enjoy the time I have left here, while I look forward to a new set of experiences and the chance to cross item number 8 of my 40 Before 40 off the list!

Image by Tim Geers

Number 11 of my 40 Before 40 is: Write a book.

Shelley Taylor is, amongst other things, a champion of sex-positivity, the founder of Venus Envy and an all-around superb human being. She’s also the creator of Pass The Herpes, an awesome blog that discourages stigma by encouraging people who live with genital herpes to share their stories.

Shelley asked me to participate in a blog hop.  It’s similar to a chain letter, except instead of correspondence, each blogger answers a series of questions about their book. Vain woman that I am, I lept at the chance to write an entirely self-focused entry about my book. Then I remembered that I haven’t written a book…unless you count my  NaNoWriMo endeavour from 2005, which you absolutely should not because it’s utterly dreadful.

So, no book yet; however it is on my list of things to do before I hit the big 4-0. So consider these answers a preview of my future literary endeavours.

What is the work­ing title of your next book?

The Talk: How to speak to kids about sex and what to say.

How did the idea come about for this book?

A few months ago, I found myself on the periphery of some controversy about a local museum exhibit designed to teach youth about sexuality. I thought it was fantastic presentation. Critics of the exhibit feared it was too explicit. Time and again, I was confronted by the argument that kids should learn about sex from their parents, not from a public institution. I disagree that sexuality and sexual health should be exempt from public education spaces. However, I total support the ideal that parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other caring family members can be an integral part of a young person’s sex education.

Unfortunately, most caring, conscientious parent-types don’t have easy access to comprehensive information about sex. Even basic stuff, like using lube or dentals dams as part of safer sex practices are things I only learn about through my work. People can’t and  shouldn’t have to become professional educators to access to the information their kids need. I thought to myself, “Self, what can you do to change this?”

My answer?  Start by offering advice on how to talk to youth about sex but follow up by giving them all the accurate knowledge to share.

What genre does your book fall under?

Sexual Health. Or Sexuality Education. Or Nadine Is Determined Not To Be The Only Parent Whose Kid Who Yells “Ovaries” In Public.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

A movie version of a non-fiction book about sex? Balls-out awesome!

LeVar Burton because he would bring the ‘Reading Rainbow’-style, educator cred. My friends Kate and Natalie Joy who are both fantastic actors and fantastic parents. And finally, Sir Ian McKellen because then the Oscar nomination’s in the bag.

The one sentence rendition of your book

Teach yourself how to teach your kids about sex.

Will the book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Since we’re dealing in hypotheticals, let’s assume I’ll get picked up by a big-time publisher. Let’s also assume they’ll give me a big, fat advance which I will use to secure my retirement and to buy Fluevogs.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took me a few days to solidify the concept for the first manuscript. I suspect writing it might take a little longer.

What other books would you com­pare this to within your genre?

That’s the thing. I haven’t come across any other books quite like this in the genre. There are books that give advice on how parents can talk to their kids about sex but I haven’t found any that also include a lot of factual information.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Every moment during a class or training module or workshop that made me think, ‘Wow. I wish I’d learned this when I was twelve.’

What else might pique the reader’s interest about your book.

Sexually transmitted infections are fascinating – fascinating, I tell you!  My book will include a comprehensive chart listing all the STI’s, their symptoms, their effects and known treatments. It will also include some sort of fancy-pants legend. It’s seriously going to blow your mind!

Now hop along to:

Danielle Writes 642 Things

My dear friend Danielle wears many hats. She’s an author, a poet, a mother, a partner and a stand up comic. She was a fixture in Ottawa’s spoken word community until life whisked her away to Seattle. Settling into a new home while raising two young children and nuturing one’s artistic career would be more than enough to keep most people busy. But Danielle is not most people ( I suspect she has secret powers). Inspired by the book 642 Things To Write About, Danielle has made it her mission to write 642 things in 642 days.  If you want a glimpse into the extraordinary mind of a woman living an extraordinary life, check out Danielle and her blog – immediately, if not sooner!

 

 

 

 

On Saturday I will be 37. And while that’s clear evidence that I’m growing older chronologically, I still look forward to my birthday with child-like (or more accurately, childish) excitement.

I’m jazzed about this birthday but I’m also aware that my 40th is tantalizingly close. I have to admit I’ve been looking forward to hitting that milestone for a long time.  Assuming I still have health, love, family and friendship in my life, making it to forty definitely feels like  accomplishment. And I’m almost there! Almost, but not quite.

I see the big 4-0 in the distance. But I must remember that life is journey and I should enjoy the ride. I should also eat fewer fortune cookies, because I’m starting to sound like one. Basically, I’m excited about turning forty but I also want to be excited about the three years before that happens.

So…

I’ve made a list. My 40 Before 40.

Long time readers of this blog and its predecessor, Adorkable Thespian, may remember my 101 in 1001. It was a list of 101 things I would attempt to do in 1,001 days. My time on that list expired a couple of weeks ago (If anyone is curious, I completed 58 of the 101 items). So this seemed like the perfect time to gear up  and ride out my thirties with a new set of goals.

The 40 Before 40 is a  list of forty things I hope to do before I celebrate my fortieth birthday. Will I achieve them all? Unlikely. Will I have fun trying? Hopefully.  As with the 101 in 1001, I’ll likely post about my progress as I check certain tasks off the list. I’ll begin on Saturday when I will attempt to bake my own birthday cake.  It all wraps up November 2nd, 2015 – the eve of my 40th birthday!

Here we go…

NADINE’S 40 BEFORE 40

1. Bake a cake from scratch.

2. Make a coconut cream pie for my dad.

3. Perfect a French fry recipe.

4. Co-host a Passover seder.

5. Get a non-ugly, non-holiday themed apron.

 

6. Go to grad school.

7. Earn my Master’s in Human Sexuality.

8. Live in San Francisco.

9. Attend a SAR.

10. Become an AASECT certified sexuality educator.

 

11. Write a book.

12. Speak at a conference.

13. Run my own sexuality workshop/seminar.

14. Plant a vegetable garden.

15.Don’t kill the vegetable garden.

 

16. Teach The Green Bean to ride his bike without training wheels.

17. Take The Green Bean to an San Francisco Giant’s game.

18. Take The Green Bean to lunch at Shopsy’s.

19. Run the National Capital 5K with The Green Bean.

20. Compete in a duathlon.

 

21. Go cross country skiing.

22. Go downhill skking.

23. Skate the length of the Rideau Canal.

24. Master backwards roller skating.

25. Learn to skate-jump.

 

26. Learn to make my own burlesque costumes.

27. Perform in a burlesque show outside of Ottawa.

28. Take a burlesque class/workshop.

29. Attend the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto.

30. Visit The Museum of Sex.

 

31. Visit The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

32. Visit Danielle in Seattle.

33. Visit Corsica.

34. Rent a cottage and relax for a week.

35. Take some yoga classes.

 

36. Organize my closet.

37. Consign some unwanted clothes.

38. Get a pair of beautiful yellow pumps.

39. Have a new family portrait done.

40. Plan a celebration for my 15th wedding anniversary.