Giving up Sweets (well… almost)

I have a sweet tooth. Actually, that’s incorrect; I have a sweet mouth. I love the sugary taste of sweet treats; cookies, cakes, syrups, and chocolate… ohhhhh how I love chocolate. But things are changing… I’m trying to cut down.

Kat and I are trying to become healthier as a family, both for ourselves, and for Broderick. We don’t want him growing up exposed to tons of sweets, so we’re cutting things down now. Kat was really the one to start this, and I agreed to it initially to be supportive, but now I’m making the conscious effort to cut down as well. When she first started trying to reduce the sugar in the house, I was fairly good, not bringing stuff into the house that would tempt her, but now I’m not even going after sweets outside the house when she’s not around.

Now I’m not saying I’m going to completely cut sweet treats out of my life, but I won’t have as much. We’ve both agreed that anything we do have around should be homemade, and hopefully with reduced sugar (and natural sugar, like sugar cane, when sugar is used). Homemade cookies, brownies, or pies will be better for us than things bought in stores because we know exactly what’s going into it, and it’ll be more of a treat.

I think it’s been about a week since I started this, and I feel good. It’s hard, but the cravings are slowly going away. I can do this…

The Edmonton Police and the Shameful Journalist

Let me start by saying that I’m absolutely livid right now… So, earlier tonight one of my favourite Edmonton tweeters, Constable Power with the Edmonton Police, posted this tweet:

He’s part of a recruitment program with the Edmonton Police where officers tweet what they go through while on shift. Yes, there are other officers that tweet as part of the program, but I’d say Cst. Power tweets 10 tweets to every 1 tweet that the other officers put out there COMBINED. I’ve engaged him in interesting conversations at 2 am after he’s posted something interesting during his shift. I’ve never met him, and I doubt I ever will, but I enjoy following his tweets while he’s on shift. He’s never given away confidential information, and often tweets about things long after they’ve occurred.

So the other day (July 29, to be exact), he tweeted this:

Cst Power Gun Tweet

It’s him looking down the barrel of his gun during an armed standoff. It was posted at 8:30 pm, long after the standoff had been resolved. When was the photo taken? No one knows, but it’s an interesting glimpse into what he encountered on his shift. The thing about policing is that you don’t have a “normal” day, ever. You have no idea what you’ll encounter when you show up for shift, and that’s what draws some to the job. I spent 2 years as a volunteer with the Edmonton Police, so I have a better understanding of what they go through than the average person. I worked behind the counter at a community station, assisting the officers in writing up reports, usually from people that came in to report an accident, or a theft. It was great, and if I had the time I’d volunteer again.

So, why am I livid? CTV Edmonton decided this tweet was news, or rather they would make it news. They aired a story on the 6:00 news, and posted it online with the headline:

Reaction to picture tweeted by EPS officer mixed

The nice thing about Twitter is that you can go and read what others have said to someone. So that’s what I did. I counted 30 tweets in response to the photo, and two people showed any kind of concern over it, responding with “Do u think that taking ur eyes off the residence to pull out ur cell phone and take a picture was wise”, and the other a mocking tweet. Cst Power responded with “It was long over then. You can rest assured I won’t be getting killed over a picture.” So, an officer takes a photo looking down his gun AFTER the situation had been resolved, and it’s turned into a news story by CTV. They took this tweet to the streets of Edmonton to ask for reaction from people. Of course they got a few people who took issue with it, but you’d find people that take issue with almost anything depending on how the question was phrased. I’m almost certain the CTV reporter didn’t say, “Do you have a problem with an officer taking a picture of his gun after an armed standoff has been concluded peacefully?”

I have a big problem with this story, and CTV deciding to run it. This is a case of a media outlet creating the story, not reporting on it. There was NO mixed reaction to the photo. There was one question about it, which was promptly answered. Everyone else was happy the situation was resolved peacefully, thought it was a cool gun, or were amazed by what an officer has to deal with.

The Edmonton Police realizes the power of Twitter, and is using it to engage people in a positive manner. Cst Power is a public face for the organization, followed by over 3,000 people, some of which the EPS hopes will be inspired to join the ranks of the men and women that protect our city. This manufactured CTV story has done a few things, all of which are negative. It’s taken a non-event and twisted it into some kind of story, but more importantly it’s dragging the name of an officer into a controversy he shouldn’t be involved in. Cst Power posted other tweets later, which I’ve edited into the following:

My voluntary participation in this project has been primarily on my own time, and as such, this is not worth the headache. I will continue to try and answer your police / recruiting questions in addition to posting #JoinEPS or EPS releases. I sincerely thank all of you for your participation and support over the last 2 years. Please continue it with our other Twitter members. I hope I’ve accomplished what I came here to do, which was inspire people to become Police Officers & educate you on what we do. Thanks all.

Sincerely appreciate the overwhelming support. Ill try to explain my position: There is no question that I took an official police account into new territory. My goal was (is) to provide a first hand glimpse into the careers of the Police you see every day & not the media release, TV Show or 6pm news cast that doesn’t necessarily represent Policing. With that comes bad press. One bad story can destroy a police officers career even if it is unfounded. The point is, what about the next one? Or the next? I am taking that into consideration as I decide where I go from here. I have no less then 22 years left to serve, and I’d like to see them through. Hopefully I’ve explained my predicament. We’ve done a lot of good I think and I’d like to see the EPS continue this trend, even if I cant.

His position is very clear. Why put his professional career on the line for an optional thing designed to get people interested in policing? Why should he risk being smeared by some idiot journalist looking to make up a story?

I’m disgusted by the “story” Amanda Anderson at CTV cooked up. It had absolutely no place being broadcast, or put online. You’ve jeopardized a project that EPS has been working at for a couple of years, and tarnished the reputation of an officer. Shame on you, CTV, shame on you. Don’t invent the news, report on it.

You can bet I’ll be writing a letter (a real, physical letter) to CTV tomorrow. They can’t undo what’s been done, but they can make sure it never happens again.

P.S. Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors, but I don’t feel like proofing this before posting it (and I need to get some sleep).

Having a Baby? Get a Doula!

I had always intended on discussing baby stuff on the blog, but I haven’t done much of it yet. Brody is just over 7 months old now, so maybe I should discuss some of the things that brought him into this world, like a doula.

Kat had decided she wanted a doula for her birth, and being the smart husband I am, I agreed to it. When I was working at Grant MacEwan we had a doula training class offered through the division I worked for, so I knew a little bit about what they do, but not a lot. We had gotten a couple of names of doulas from people we knew, so I decided to call them and set up an appointment. The first one was waaaaay over-the-top, gushing about how this was a blessed event, and she was so privileged to be considered for this event. After that call, and an email, Kat and I both decided she wasn’t right for us. A doula shares a special moment with you, and you have to be comfortable with them, and we weren’t comfortable with her at all.

The second person I called was Ricky Issler at Comforting Hands Doula. The first call was just to get some information on another service she offers (more on that in another blog post), and to set up a meeting to talk about her doula services. She was warm on the phone, but definitely not over-the-top like the first girl was, and we arraigned to meet in a coffee shop nearby.

I think it took 2 minutes for me to decide I wanted Ricky as our doula (though, the decision wasn’t really mine). She carried herself well, spoke softly, but with confidence, and looked like a warm person. They say first impressions are important, and Ricky gave off a great first impression. She explained that a doula will work for us to facilitate the type of birth we (meaning Kat) wanted to have. Kat wanted to have a natural child birth (nope, no drugs), so Ricky would work with us to help us achieve that. One thing that’s important to have is a “birth plan,” things you want, and don’t want when it comes time to have the baby, and while all the craziness it happening in the room, the doula watches over things to make sure your birth plan is being carried out. If things aren’t going according to plan, she’ll mention it to the father to deal with. This was our first child, and we really didn’t know what to expect, so the thought of someone being there for us was very appealing. If complications arise, doctors may not always give you all the options, and the doula is there to step in an advise of some other choices that can be made, or say “Well, you could do that, but that goes against your birth plan because of these reasons.” It’s like having an advocate with you… a warm, caring advocate.

We kept in touch with Ricky before the birth, calling her a couple of times when we had questions or concerns. She came over to our place on Christmas Day when Kat was starting her labour, and helped get everything ready for the hospital. Ricky and I took turns giving Kat massages to make her feel more comfortable, and Ricky told us when we should leave (actually, it was more of a “we need to go now, or she may be having it in the car”). She stayed with Kat when we got to the hospital and I had to do paperwork, massaged her when I got too tired, and we exchanged looks when the nurse was being a pain-in-the-ass. She was also there to take photos when he was born, which was great because I was busy having my hand crushed by Kat.

I can’t imagine going through the whole birthing process without having Ricky as our doula, and I recommend everyone get one if they’re having a baby. Doulas are awesome!

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