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Living Library

2018 Books


Title Description
My Minimalist Journey: Shedding the Tyranny of Stuff  Growing up in a low-income family with three kids and a single mom meant that I was constantly surrounded by Stuff. We kept EVERYTHING: There was nothing my mom feared more than scarcity. At some point in my 30s, I realized that I had a really unhealthy relationship with Stuff. I spent all of my time pursuing Stuff, and using that Stuff to define my sense of self. I was depressed and unhappy. Over the past 10 years, I've taken significant steps to perusing a minimalist lifestyle, and getting rid of both physical and emotional Stuff that I didn't need in my life. As a result, I'm more balanced, happier, and healthier than I've ever been.
A Queer Career in Video Games  In the summer of 2011, I dropped out of college to start a job at a video game studio. Three years later, in the midst of an epic industry brouhaha where my gender and sexuality made me a target for harassment, I quit. Two years after that, I came back. In the past seven years I've been credited on four projects, moved eight times, lived in three basements, crossed the U.S. border so often that customs got suspicious and turned me away, and signed more confidentiality agreements than any human being probably should. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a lesbian who makes video games for a living, here's a window into the madness. 
Pioneer Principles In The Land Of The Entitled: A Year Of Living Off The Land  Could we do it? This question plagued me as I read Great Grandpa's biography. We've all heard the stories of the pioneers and their hardships, but something awakens inside when it's your flesh and blood fighting to survive in the vast wilderness of this unforgiving land. Could we survive? Could we even just feed ourselves in this day and age? We're farmers, we have running water, electricity, vehicles and all the other modern conveniences they couldn't have even imagined! We've been growing a garden, raising pigs, chickens and beef for years, but could we actually feed ourselves for a year? We decided to give it a go. Join me on that journey. 
Weighting for Grown Ups 

When I quit drinking and smoking 7 years ago, my weight ballooned, and I grimaced at the cliché. Last summer I ended a lifelong love affair with pop, but that sugar was replaced with increased bedtime binges on chocolate. My initial success entering post-secondary in 2012 transformed into dropped classes and taking a year off. After 25 years of counseling for addictions, depression and a mood disorder, a recent diagnosis and treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder nailed these down as manifestations of a core desire to be taken care of, stemming from parental abandonment in childhood. It also indicated that my obesity may be related to carrying the weight of that absence. I’m going to share with you how I’ll use that as a tangible marker to integrate my therapy through structures that I have developed, but previously failed with, as I complete my degree in Native Studies with Honors. 

Sequel to 2016's: Am I “Not Homeless” and Adrift?: Homelessness and Letting Go 


Crazy Cat Lady or Animal Advocate? You decide!  What do you picture when you think 'crazy cat lady'? Eccentric? Reclusive? A librarian? Come and see for yourself what it takes to have this questionable title. I have always loved animals, but it's only been in the last year I might legitimately fall into crazy cat lady territory. I spend hours every week volunteering and promoting rescue work through SAFE Team (Saving Animals From Euthanasia). I have personally fostered 13 cats in 5 months, including one with a terminal illness, and have 4 cats of my own. I have many stories to tell and a desire to convince more people that 'crazy cat lady' simply means 'compassionate human being'. 
Book of Mormon  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or the Mormon Church. I'm devoted to my faith and my family which mostly means that I believe in Jesus Christ and I try to be a better person and treat others the way that I would like to be treated.  I served a 2 year Mission in Peru, I attend church every Sunday with my family, and I pay tithing on my income like many Mormons. I'm happy to talk with you about my beliefs as a member of the Mormon Church, I believe the freedom of religious expression is a key tenant of a peaceful society, I do not officially represent the church. 
Islamic Law and Muslim Same-Sex Unions  Amongst the Abrahamic faiths, many United Churches and both the Reform and Conservative Synagogue affirm same-sex unions, but we do not see the same for mosques in Edmonton. Indeed, institutional religious stakeholders are the most resistant to change and are often the last one to reflect change. Any conversation on the issue is met with freezing silence. One strategy is to create alternate spaces and as such much of my work is towards building a religiously plural, gender equal and LGBTQ affirming theology through blogs and articles. My magnum opus is called "Islamic Law and Muslim Same-Sex Unions." 
The #metoo Movement: From Uprising to Backlash  In October of 2017, the hashtag #metoo went viral, sparking an uprising against sexual harassment and assault that continues today. Dozens of well-known men in the entertainment industry, politics, arts communities, and elsewhere, have been publicly accused, resulting in apologies, resignations, and backlash. Rooted in feminism and a desire to empower women of colour, the #metoo movement is shaping our cultural narrative by giving "voice" to survivors of abuse. This session will describe the movement's beginnings, emphasize the impact of the uprising in Canada, and speculate on what the future holds for hashtag social justice.
More than Just Aches and Pains  I went from bumping my elbow to developing one of the most painful chronic neuropathic pain condition, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). I spent the past 17 years navigating the medical system, going to physiotherapy, trying different medical treatments, and learning how to deal with pain and disability. I'm still trying to navigate life with chronic illness and disability. I've dealt with new medical issues developing, worsening migraines, depression and anxiety. It's rarely easy to find balance in my life but I'm getting better at learning my limitation and gaining new skills that allow me to lead the life I want.
T-t-t-today, Junior! A Stutterer's Tale  For me, being afraid or anxious to speak is a fact of life. I've had a stutter for as long as I can remember; growing up, I was constantly told I would "grow out of it", but I never did. Throughout my childhood, it made me an easy target of bullying and ridicule. My stutter was viewed, both by others and by myself, as a problem to "fix", something I could "fight", or "beat", like some disease or disorder. I became terrified of speaking, of performing, of being the center of attention. This is the story of how I learned that my stutter is not a beast to wrestle, not a monster to defeat, but a lifelong companion. 
Idealistic Upbringing to Police Officer  I  was raised in Christian family with the belief that all people are good, with a family that loved me and each other. I always believed that all people are equal, that as a woman, I was the equal to any man. I did not fully realize how fortunate my upbringing was. Then, at the young age of 22 years, and with my idealized life, I crossed over to the male dominated profession of policing, which conflicted with my own values of equality, to deal with the 5% of the population that commits criminal offenses. This story is about living a dual life, and how I managed to survive 25 years in policing and maintain the principles of my childhood.
Building and Living in Our Off-Grid Tiny House in Alberta  My husband introduced me to Tiny Houses on our first date. Like most people, initially I thought, "Cute idea, no thanks." Then I began thinking about how tiny houses align with my love of the environment, my love of learning, my love of having a bank balance. That could open a new world: a world where I could spend my money on other things, sure, but what about my time? I could spend it on learning accounting, the dark arts, or baking a mean apple pie instead of pushing for rent. A week after we got married, we bought the trailer. A year and a half later, we live in the tiny house we build with our own hands, off the grid and never happier.
My Husband is Bipolar  For 23 years which 12 of them as a wife, I love a man who is bipolar.  It's been an interesting journey for both of us.  How do you understand mental illness when you are well?  Through ups and downs, like any couple, I learned to accept his illness. At first there was confusion. We didn't know what was wrong. We knew he suffered clinical depression and severe anxiety.  But to be hit with a bipolar diagnosis. It knocked our socks off. It also affected some of our life decisions.  Do we get married?  Do we have children?  However, throughout the years, with love, we have learned to live with it.
ADHD: Different, Not Defective  Imagine a whiteboard--everything about your day, surroundings, and tasks is written on the whiteboard. The really important stuff is written extra large and in red. EVERYTHING on the board is extra large and in red. Where do you start? Welcome to the magical world of ADHD, by turns frustrating and a lot of fun--and in the most simple terms, just how my brain works.