What I Learned From Wrestling with Confidential MicroData in a Pseudo-Bunker


127 pages, dozens of hectic emails, millions of observations, 4 Censuses of Population and 1 National Household Survey (NHS) later, and still I could give you the findings of my paper in a few points. Consequently, I somewhat resent this culmination of my degree, which ran to more than twice its recommended length.

In 1986, 36.9% of Canadian women did not have a high school diploma.

By 2011 only 8.9% of Canadian women did not have a high school diploma.

My consolation is that I have an idea of how some things in Canada have changed between 1986 and 2011. I examined the individual files of women from these censuses and the NHS, and on their files, the number of children in their census family.

  1. Among the total sample of women aged 25-50, higher education had a negative effect on the number of children present. This lessened over time.
  2. Among women aged 35-50, after 1986 higher education had a positive effect on the number of children.
  3. Lesser-educated women may have children earlier than well-educated women, but completed family sizes are turning out to be very similar.
  4. Women aged 35-50 show higher mean numbers of children, an indicator of how women are having children later in life. But this is not true of immigrants. Foreign-born women are probably having their children earlier.
  5. Women’s wages have a clear negative correlation with the number of children.
  6. If a woman is in a common law union, this has a large negative effect on the average number of children in the family.

From 1986 to 2011, the portion of women with college degrees rose from 27.5% to 38.7%.

I’m going to spend some time on voodoo rituals to gain the goodwill of my unknown grader, who will suddenly receive 127 pages (a good 77 more pages than he/she would have likely anticipated) of unfamiliar tosh which simply works toward articulating those 6 points. And although those points form my Conclusion, I found the little facts in italics to be more interesting than the meat and potatoes of my work. It’s the small things, right?

Between 1986 and 2011 the portion of women with degrees above the Bachelor’s level rose from 3.5% to 10.6%.

I hope this essay chokes on my dust as I fly to Japan.


I had monsters made of string and mismatched things

He has them still, in broken bushes and stolen pages

Treasures he would imbue with heart of yew

With goblin blood and petty cruelty

I ridicule and remonstrate but still I watch him every day

All I have are bundled strings and working things

Kempt surfaces and cubbyholes

And I know that he fights monsters, but all that I observe

Is the snow left to shovel, the spills left to cover

With disposables and paint

I had monsters made of string and mismatched things

And they were wilder and brighter and stronger

Than words could fashion or he could imagine

Should anyone write, or should he try

He won’t think to try, and the streets haven’t dried

Of the cars and ice and time that are mine to fight

While he makes swords and fiery floors

Always, in the corner of my mind


Elizabeth Cook, 2014


My sister knew right away what this one was about – having the younger brother that we do, and having seen how he and I rarely get along.

Her Letters from New Britain – 1

> Back to the Beginning

> Previous Installment


Dear Mother,

The airship was a marvel, and though I’ll not say much considering the fiasco with my paper on tectonic plates, I fancied that when I looked very hard there was a curve to the horizon. But we did not go high enough to tell. (more…)

The Man with the Unfocused Eye

“This is my raft”, he told me

The man with the unfocused eye

To the horizon he smiled gently

And clung fast to his chair’s sides.

“I found wrongdoings elsewhere,

So I have chosen my confines

Though marvels build their gilded stair,

As the days blur into times.


“You might tell me of fair landings,

In a world ever made anew

Of real places and sheer dreamings,

In art both rendered true.

You might tell me of glass cities

Towering giants against the blue

Delights lost on heady breezes,

Across beaches I never knew.


“There are wonders, and they grow

But each year the lilacs fade

My adventures fall to ghosts,

And my hurts remain unpaid.

This is my raft, this is my cave,

My cell, if it please you so;

I left my glasses upon a grave,

And I have nowhere else to go.”


He closed his eyes, still clinging,

To the chair though it had gone

It was that lonesome end of being

As the night awaits the dawn.

Her Seventh Letter to Kate

>> Back to the Beginning

>> Back to her Sixth Letter to Kate

Dearest Kate,

My new address will be The Haverly, Kingstowne, under the care of Mrs. Brougham. If you have not done this already, tell Everett that he is very lucky and that he had better bend to your every whim.

I am afraid that, after embarrassing myself, I recklessly made my application to serve as a District Officer for the Crown, and even wrote my name as G. C. Walker. I know they are even more for equality there than here, but the instinct to make myself as formidable as possible on paper took free rein. The short of it is that a wire arrived two days ago to congratulate me, and another came yesterday to ask if I might hasten my arrival; thus I will be on the airship mere hours after writing this letter.

I am very close to tears knowing that my letters to you and to my father will not reach their destinations before I am set upon my journey. And the lilacs are only just beginning to bloom. (more…)

One girl was tan but the other was pale




She uncoils over the sand, letting her hip and elbow sink down with a noise of contentment that isn’t quite aloud.

“They’re watching you”, he says, amusement plastered on top of his irritation.

“Good. I’ll be happy to eat up their feelings, and spit out dragonflies”. She laughs and shifts and the sun gleams off her thighs. “Bejeweled dragonflies that won’t fail to delight.” (more…)