Showing posts from September, 2008

Thoughts of History and Hats

Wednesday evening last week, I went to my mother's to spend some time with my uncle on his last night here this year. Spending time with Poul is always fun - he has a seemingly inexhaustible store of really bad jokes.... hang on, here's my favorite. It's better told in person, so feel free to spread it around: Y ou ask the innocent victim to define the difference between unlawful and illegal. After they very seriously have attempted to navigate the nuances, earnestly explaining their reasoning to you, you end with this sentence: "one is against the law, the other is a sick bird". It's ridiculously funny every single time. S pending time with Poul is also fascinating - he's had the kind of life many of us dream about. After the war (that’d be World War II), he left the small provincial town in which my mother's family lived so fast you couldn't see him for the smoke and went to Germany to work for the U.S. Army. He has told stories about

An Interview with Mea McNeil: Seeing Clearly

Some time ago, I spoke to a very interesting woman. The post with the interview is up at healthCentral: '"I had to stop cold in order to wake up." M.E.A. McNeil, author of The First Year - Rheumatoid Arthritis: an Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed speaks of the RA flare that trapped her in bed, "unable to turn over ... watch television or read" with gratitude." You can read the rest here .

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight

Before I start with the main post, I'd like to hijack this forum for something important. My dear friend and adopted cousin (perhaps sister, we're fuzzy on the details) Beth is very sick, fighting her way through a medical establishment that seems determined not to help and bent double under the crippling costs involved when you're terminal. Her partner Linda has started a blog with updates on their struggles, updates about Beth when she's unable to blog and at the behest of all of Beth's internet family has included a PayPal button. I know firsthand from Steph's Knitters Without Borders how small individual donations can make something big happen and am spreading the word in the hope that it will help ease at least part of the strain for them. Please take a minute to read Linda's first post and if the spirit moves you, the PayPal button's on the right sidebar. Thank you. On with the show. I don't remember how old I was when I first read Bor

Poul & Tink Weekend

My uncle Poul is here for his annual visit - well, we skipped last year due to mor (my mother) being busy healing broken ankles, so this visit is even more special. I hope that when I'm Poul's age (85), I'll be half as active and globetrotting. Come to think of it, being half as active and globetrotting as he is at my present age would be just fine! We've been having a grand time, but not much time for writing down words, so you'll have to settle for a visual report and Tink Fix for the Tink Freaks. Remember when they looked like this ? This weekend, the whole family got together. First, a badly edited video of lunch entertainment, starting with the door game mor and I taught the kids a month ago (much to the continued "delight" of their parents). Which made me wonder when we learn to suppress joy - watching the kids literally jump with it because a door opens was wonderful: Poul and Michele Hanging out on the roof garden at my mother's new place

Random September

B efore we start the party/countdown to the weekend, I need to put a call for help out there. For years, I have spent a significant part of my time managing Mojo's constipation, but in the past three weeks since her return from the hospital with a diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis, it's a bit the other way. She needs to eat a low-fat diet, but the vast majority of the low-fat cat food out there is also a high fibre and to put it a smidge indelicately, fiber renders her bowels liquid. Even really small amounts of fibre. Although she does well on other foods for about a day, by the third meal, she starts going downhill. Eric the Cat Whisperer at my vet's office has tracked down a low-fat food and although I'm hopeful, history with Her Royal Catness indicates that I should have a Plan B (and C, D, E, possibly down to M). Does anyone out there have or know of an aging, supersensitive cat, possibly with IBD that gets a different kind of food? A friend of mine g

Weathered Planks


Notes from the Swamp

I'm writing this from the bottom of Lake Ontario . The swampy part. Sounds weird? Allow me to explain... T his weekend, the remnants of hurricane Ike came up this way, with cloudy skies and rain and when it wasn't raining, it was building up to the rain. And then building up some more, saturating the air with so much moisture it dampened your skin. As the gods had also seen fit to manufacture a humidex, for the first time in several weeks, the combination of clouds brewing rain, warm-ish, yet not sunny had me feeling clammy to the point that I felt ready to grow moss on exposed appendages. Well, on Saturday, anyway - Sunday, it was sunny enough to kick temps to a humidex of 37 (98-99F), which added sweaty to the clammy. Enter the part where TCHC management has decided to turn off the A/C a full 10 days before the City of Toronto bylaw mandates heat must be provided, living in an incredibly tight building that holds on to whatever is in i

In the Wind


The Wire

For a while, I've been vaguely aware of The Wire and of it being touted as a fantastic show, but it was on HBO and HBO shows are broadcast only on TMN up here and I'm too cheap to get that. Also, I rarely rent series - again motivated by the cheap part of me who whimpers at the thought of the investment in case I like the show. Besides, yet another reinvention of cops and drug dealers? I had my doubts. But a few weeks ago, Beth and I had a conversation about the show and she gave it a glowing recommendation. I trust her judgment, so naturally I went to my local video store and rented The Shield . Because I only remembered that it was two words and the first was 'the' and The Shield just seems more prevalent in the public consciousness. It turned out that The Shield is not to my taste. I know people who are crazy about the show and that's their prerogative, but for me, having our "hero" essentially be a sociopath with a shield isn't rea


It rained again yesterday. A quiet rain, falling on and off, making the streets glisten under cloudy skies. It looked like fall had come early, sidewalks dotted with umbrellas and those who didn't have shelter sprinting down the street. I t's been a summer of rain, feels like thunderstorms rolled in almost every day, dumping buckets of water on the city. This summer, I learned that most thunderstorms happen between 4 and 9 p.m. and most of the storms we've had this year seem to happen after dinner. And I loved it, loved sitting inside watching the sunset sky turn colours I’ve only seen in paintings. Loved it as the after-sunset sky flashed lightning, rumbles travelled across the heavens and large drops of rain hit my windows with splat after splat, each drop seemingly the size of a ripe, black cherry. People don't like it, this summer so unlike other Canadian summers. Barely any heat waves, barely any long stretches of steaming heat leaving us panting in the n

A Beginner’s Guide to Side Effects

My latest post is up on HealthCentral: "The average person farts about 14 times a day. If you are on a medication for RA, you can probably double that." Which may explain why I'm so damn longwinded? Anyway! The rest of the post is here .


It's been kind of rough lately around here. A busy year, an even busier summer and on top of all the busy, I’ve done battle with my blasted shoulder since January and I am sick to death of it. Because it seems to be neverending and every time I get a little ahead, something will happen - at times due to my own stupidity, at other times not - and the injury gets aggravated and after seven months of it, I have lost my bounceback. I no longer shrug, laugh at myself, sit still and take drugs or use it as an opportunity to rest. Instead, it just makes me cry and this past week in particular has been pretty damp - last Friday, while at the grocery store, I put some bananas on the conveyor belt at the cashier and thoroughly wrecked it all again. And it was the last straw. Then there was the inevitable taking stock of one's life that happens around birthdays and New Year's, plus some very nice socializing with friends related to the birthday. Which also served as remi

A Revelation, A Question and A Winner

I had to get to 46 (see? No age-related issues now) before I realized I look good in a tiara. This could be important to know in case I become royalty at some point. Birthday lunch with mor, Michele and her wonderful "boys" - Scott on the left and Jason on the right (I held these two as newborns and am forever stunned by how tall they are now). Yes, I went out in public wearing a piece of Miss America-style head jewelry with two balloons trailing behind me. The best part was watching people trying to keep a straight face. Is that what I think it is? Or is there a particular mechanical reason why a vehicle might require what appears to be a pair of massive golden, ornamental testicles to hang from its undercarriage?? Fpr those who're not believing their eyes, here's a close-up And following the Testicle Act - now there's something you don't say every day - it's time to announce the winner of Thursday's contest. Loved all the stories of great birthday