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Years ago my husband and I joined a forum that discusses political issues. Ever since he left he has cut way back on his participation in that forum where he posts the occasional brief message but they are a far cry from the days before he abruptly left home three days after Christmas in 2011 and refused to do anything other than get a divorce. (He used to write more lengthy and thoughtful posts on that forum before he left me.)

I recently got word that one of my online friends from that forum has died. I knew her only as Mrs. Peel and I had never met her in real life. She was one of the original founders of that forum and she was one of the administrators until health problems forced her off of the forum.

Her death has followed on the heels of the deaths of two other forum members, Magatha (in 2014) and Sister Whozit (last year). When I was thinking of a way of honoring Mrs. Peel, there is one thing I could post. Here is some background.

In 2006 some of the Canadian members of that forum decided to host a meetup in the apartment of one of the members in Montreal. My husband and I decided to take an extended car trip where we visited his father and step-mother in New York City, then drove into Montreal for the meetup, followed by visiting another forum member in New Hampshire (who wasn’t able to go to the Montreal meetup but she invited us to visit her in her hometown), finally ending up with visiting his aunt and uncle in Scituate, Massachusetts while we took a side trip to nearby Boston. It was during the Montreal leg of the trip that we met Julie, who would be brutally murdered by her boyfriend a year-and-a-half after that meetup.

My husband and I did plenty of sightseeing in Montreal. During our walks we came across La Rue Peel, which had us laughing. My husband urged me to take a few photos to post online for Mrs. Peel. Here’s a closeup shot.

Then my husband had this idea of taking a picture of him fake humping the street pole bearing the Peel name.

I remember we posted those photos for Mrs. Peel to see. I think she got a kick out of it although I don’t exactly remember for sure how she reacted to those pictures.

I did a Google search where I saw Wikipedia pages devoted to La Rue Peel written in both English and French. Thanks to the Wikipedia, I now know that Peel Street was named for UK Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel.

R.I.P. Mrs. Peel.


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I’ve just got word about the horrible shootings in Ottawa that may have possible terrorist implications. The story is still breaking as I’m typing this. There is more than one shooter involved and shots have been fired inside the Parliament building, which was captured on video.

I’m hearing on the news that President Obama is getting briefed on what’s going on in Canada and the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa is on total lockdown.

It totally sucks because I know Canadians there and my then-husband and I have traveled to Canada twice. (One time was on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and the other was when we traveled to Montreal.) I also live outside Washington, DC and that city has been fortified since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. I wouldn’t be surprised if that city gets more paranoid about similar attacks and there is even more fortification as a result.

I’ll just end this post with a video of a newborn white lion cub playing with a couple of dogs. It serves as a reminder that sometimes animals of different species can get along yet it really sucks that people will just kill each other for no real reason or for some idiotic political/religious cause.

A few years ago my husband and I joined a forum that discusses political issues. (Neither one of us have been quite as active on that forum since he left home abruptly three days after Christmas in 2011 but that’s another story.) Back in 2006 a few of the forum members who lived in Montreal decided to organize a meetup and my husband and I decided to go because we thought it would be cool to meet new people and it gave us a chance to visit that city. (I highly recommend it as a vacation destination by the way.) During the meetup we met a single mother named Julie who was a very intelligent and vibrant person who was pretty adept at juggling career and single parenthood while still maintaining an active social life.

We also met Julie’s son, who was eight years old at the time. I still have memories of when Julie served as a translator for her son while she introduced him to my husband and mentioned that he works at NASA. (In Canada children are initially raised only speaking either English or French as their primary language until they are eight years old, when they begin to learn Canada’s other official language. Julie’s son’s first English class wasn’t due to begin for another month.) Julie’s son was definitely impressed with my husband’s occupation and he thought that my husband was an astronaut. (Acutally my husband is a programmer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and his work involves satellites and unmanned flights.)

The time we spent in Montreal with Julie and the other members of that forum was very memorable. In fact that trip, which was part of a week-long late summer car trip my husband and I took, was among the most memorable trips I’ve taken as an adult. (When we left our home in Maryland, we stopped in New York City where we visited my husband’s father and step-mother. Then we drove on to Montreal for the meetup. On the way back from Canada we stopped in New Hampshire to visit another member of that forum who wasn’t able to make the Montreal meetup. The three of us drove to nearby Mt. Washington and checked out the natural beauty of late summer New Hampshire. We concluded the trip by stopping in Scituate, Massachusetts where we visited my husband’s aunt and uncle shortly before they put their home up for sale and move to a retirement community outside of Philadelphia. While we were in Scituate we took the ferry to Boston where we walked the Freedom Trail.)

Over the next year my husband and I used the forum to continue communicating with our new friends in Montreal. Julie would make posts every now whenever she had free time between other things going on in her life. In late 2007 Julie made a post in one of the off-topic sections of the forum where she admitted that she has recently gotten into BDSM and she discovered that she loved being a submissive in such a relationship. She admitted that her preference puts her at odds with other aspects of her life where she has long enjoyed life as a strong, independent feminist.

That was among the last posts Julie ever made on that forum. She soon found a new man through an Internet dating site who was also into BDSM and they began dating. In February, 2008 my husband and I were aghast to learn through a post made by one of Julie’s friends on that forum that Julie was brutally murdered by her new boyfriend. Julie and her boyfriend had decided to meet at the boyfriend’s home for a weekend of kinky fun while her son was visiting his father. Sometime during that weekend things got out of hand and Julie ended up dead.

The way in which Julie died caused a sensation in the local media and I saw the articles online that had a snickering and sensational tone along the lines of "Ooooohhhh, she died during kinky sex! Tee Hee Hee!" That was tacky and grossly unfair. I was pretty ruffled by those stories and I hadn’t seen Julie in person in over a year. I can only imagine what her family and friends in Montreal went through when they saw articles that treated her death as something sensational for the general public to gawk at like a circus freak show. Had the boyfriend simply strangled Julie to death without the BDSM overtones, the media would’ve treated the story more solemnly as the tragedy it really is without the snarky overtones. Even after the boyfriend was convicted for her death, I still see stuff posted online that seemed to imply that this poor guy is being unfairly malinged and his girlfriend should hold some responsibility for her own death at his hands. One example is this blog entry that you can read in either the original French or through Google’s English translation.

Yes, Julie may have consented to some of the BDSM stuff (even though it’s debatable how much of the stuff her boyfriend put her through she really consented to) but she didn’t consent to being killed. There’s no way in hell she would’ve ever consented to what happened to her. I saw her and her son together during that meetup and I just can’t imagine her wanting to leave her son permanently motherless at the age of nine.

Julie’s boyfriend was arrested in connection with her death and the case slowly wound its way through the Montreal court system. Late last night I learned through the posts on the forum made by Julie’s friends that the boyfriend was found guilty. Here’s an excerpt from a story about the trial.

A Montreal firefighter was convicted of manslaughter Thursday after his sex partner died in a choking game during a sadomasochistic tryst in his basement.

Patrick Deschatelets, 45, was also found guilty of criminal negligence in the 2008 death of a woman whose identity is covered by a publication ban.

She died during a marathon sexual encounter in February 2008 after she was asphyxiated by a metal collar that Deschatelets had put around her neck.

The collar was suspended from the ceiling by a chain in Deschatelets’s home in St-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC, south of Montreal.

He left the woman alone and went to buy pasta at the grocery store. When he returned, she was unconscious, hanging from the chain. She died a few hours later in hospital.

During the police interrogation, Deschatelets said his partner "consented 100%" to the choking game. The S and M maneuver was part of a 48-hour-long submission ritual that the defendant’s lawyer said was a "usual" practice for the pair, who had been dating for a few months.

I found another article that not only has more details about what went on in the hours prior to Julie’s death but there are even photos of the crime scene and the evidence that was entered at the trial. I’ll warn you that this article is definitely NOT for the faint of heart.

The original French language version.

Google’s English translation version.

After Julie’s death I read a few things about BDSM and I learned that those who practice it tend to suffer almost no injuries. That’s because the couple involved tend to plan in advance what activities they will engage in and this plan includes what each person is willing to accept or not accept. In addition, each person agrees to a "safe word." If a person feels uncomfortable about undergoing a certain BDSM technique at any point, that person utters the safe word and the partner is supposed to stop and back off. After reading the details about the trial, it’s pretty obvious that the boyfriend didn’t adhere to a safe word or even considered her safety at all. As far as I’m concerned, her boyfriend murdered her. Even if he didn’t mean to kill her, he still murdered her and nothing will ever erase that fact from his life.

The boyfriend was finally convicted five years after he killed Julie. I am glad that this guy was convicted. The wheels of justice moved slowly but at least there’s finally justice for Julie. I hope her friends and family can achieve a sense of closure now that her boyfriend didn’t get away with murder.

The boyfriend will be sentenced by the judge next month. Based on what I read on the forum from Julie’s friends, the boyfriend will definitely see some jail time. I know that prison won’t bring Julie back from the dead. But at least the boyfriend will be put in a place where he won’t have another chance to seriously harm or kill another person for his own selfish pleasure. The conviction won’t erase the fact that Julie’s son (who’s now 14 years old) has to spend the rest of his childhood and teen years growing up without his mother but I hope he’ll be satisfied with knowing that the man who murdered his mother will be spending the next few years in jail.

When my husband and I were in at the Montreal meetup in 2006, I shot video footage of the meetup. After Julie’s death I edited the footage that included Julie into a tribute to her. This is how I prefer to remember Julie in life, not how she died. I uploaded it on the Internet Archive because I found that it would’ve been easier for Julie’s family and friends to download it on to their own computers if they wanted it.

Jazz Musicians Photojewelry

It’s a necklace. It’s a pin. It’s BOTH!!! The photos are based on the ones that I actually took myself using my digital camera. I edited each photo in Photoshop, printed it out on Shrinky Dinks that are especially made for ink jet printers, cutted out the image, punched a hole on top of the image, baked the item for 3 minutes (when it shrinked to 1/3 of its original size), sealed the printed item in an acrylic varnish, placed a necklace loop on top, then glued a pin backing on the back. Regardless of whether you decide to wear it as a necklace or as a pin, it’s the ultimate in wearable art!

This particular photo is a trio of jazz musicians performing in an outdoor cafe in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in August, 2006.

Approximate size is about 2 inches x 2 inches (5.08 cm x 5.08 cm). There is a necklace loop at the top so you can add your favorite chain and a pin backing in case you want to wear it as a brooch. You can purchase it right here in my Etsy shop.

This video is one that’s a bit more poignant than the others that I’ve made because it prominently feature a lively woman whose real name was Julie but I knew her on an Internet forum through her User ID "Polyestre". She lived in Montreal and she was a devoted single parent to her young son. She also had a variety of friends and she was well loved by everyone who knew her.

I shot this video back in 2006 when the Internet forum had a meet-up in Julie’s hometown. A year and a half after I shot this video, Julie was brutally murdered by her boyfriend. Soon afterwards, I took all the video that I had shot of Julie during my visit to Montreal and made a tribute video out of it. If you were to take a moment to view this clip (which runs a total of 15 minutes), you would know what kind of person that she was and why her death was devastating to everyone who knew her.

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