Showing posts from May, 2009

Safety Audit

First, a wee preamble that is only relevant in the most tangential way. In my spare time (what spare time?) I volunteer as tenant rep for my building, which includes serving on a Tenant Council, being aware of issues in the building and the surrounding community and working with others in the neighborhood to improve same. Etc. One of our latest initiatives is to arrange safety audits of buildings and it made me think about safety and what makes us feel safe. A fter 9/11, there have been a lot of initiatives designed to increase safety and although some work, in the past several years, we've seen how it can be argued that those initiatives in many ways have made the world less safe. And more particular today's ponderings, much of this have made us feel less safe. For instance, the coloured threat levels and am I mistaken or did CNN used to display them on screen every day? Do they still do that? What possible purpose does that serve except a) scare the crap out of u

Griffin Recumbent

I've updated my Flickr page , but couldn't resist posting this one here, too.

Still, After All This Time

About a month ago, I wrote about living back from the edge and within that, about the slow coming back granted me by Enbrel and Humira. Well, in the beginning, it wasn't slow. In the beginning, there was something new every day that I could do again, every day I laughed with the rediscovery of movements and signs of returning strength, often small, but yet so very large. Then it changed to a more gradual building of strength and stamina, new things noticed every three days or so and although I missed the incandescent joy of daily being given another piece of my life back, knowing I had built a certain level of core strength was a deeper happiness. As time went on, I no longer saw reminders of improvement and thought I had come as far as I could go and it was okay. Especially when I remembered B.B. (Before Biologics) and I settled into my life doing my best to focus on what I could do. And then it happened again. A small sign, a small thing and sometimes a larger thing I c

Random May

Mercury Retrograde update: Tuesday: Dave comes to adjust a few things on the speeds, brake adjustment, sensitivity, etc., generated by the new controller that have been aggravating my arm. We do something called a "joystick throw". This ends up messing severely with the arm problem. Dave comes back, attempts to fix, it doesn't work. I arrange for another service call to put my old controller back on (might as well, as it's clearly not a controller problem) Thursday: Dave comes again, equipped with numerous pieces of troubleshooting equipment. Realizes the switch to turn on the chair and shift between the speeds feels 'gummy', gives a WD-40, does a little happy dance in anticipation that this will solve the problem. It doesn't. We try another joystick, same problem. We tried new extension cables, same problem. Dave called Invacare (manufacturer), they feel certain it's a controller issue and when reminded that the loaner worked fine on other

A Beginner's Guide to RA: Social Security

The latest in the Beginner's Guide series is on Social Secutity for Disability: " A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Ghandi A friend of mine once said that applying for Social Security Disability felt like she was declaring herself legally dead." The rest of the post is here .

A Recipe for the Adventurous

I 've been reading a few blogs that include recipes ( The Pioneer Woman especially) and been thinking about doing a bit of that myself. However, given how various and sundry allergies and food sensitivities make my culinary repertoire pretty boring - well, except for my garlic salmon which kicks arse – I decided to approach this in a slightly different way. R emember Two Fat Ladies (opening sequence here - love that song)? It was a fantastic cooking show starring Jennifer Patterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright and was dedicated to taste and not skimping on ingredients. 'Less is more' was not the ladies' approach - like my father, they believed that more is better. This recipe is from one of their cookbooks, Two Fat Ladies - Full Throttle (p.101), contributed by Jennifer Patterson. Penis Stew This unusual stew was sent to me by Joan Saunders and her twin sister, but originates from Marcelle Thomal whose grandfather was an orthodox Russian rabbi. His grandmother's

Sea of Fire

Seemed appropriate to mark the Victoria Day long weekend with a bit of fireworks of my own. Summers's here! Although, I'm still wearing socks...

It Got Me Again

Remember Mercury retrograde? The quarterly phenomenon that astrologers claim affects technology and communication and when I post about how it's out to get me , I get the distinct sensation that there's eye rolling out there, people not quite buying into this. Settle in my friends and let me tell you about my week. Have your morning drink of choice with you? Tea, coffee, vodka… (I’m the one with the vodka) L ast Friday, my computer let me know there was an update to be downloaded, so I did. Installed the update and my computer promptly started making chugging sounds, working at away at something in the background, in general slowing things down. I'm thinking it might be that malicious software removal thing Microsoft feels is essential - does anyone know if I need it if I have a decent antivirus program? So I did a system restore, setting things back to Thursday, restored my user files in Dragon - system restores messes with them - but there's a trick and it's easy

A Walk with Tulips


New Archetypes

I've gone on before about the madonna/whore dichotomy of disability portrayal in miscellaneous forms of entertainment, such as TV series, movies, books, etc. And disability means either long-suffering saintliness or it's an outward manifestation of inner evil, leaving realistic portrayal of disability as just another facet of a person's life to… well, CSI . However, I've seen a couple of things lately that have been a welcome break from that. L uke on The Amazing Race . Let's face it, in the first episode, nobody expected the deaf kid and his mother would be part of the final three. That they are in the finale is in large part due to Margie (the mother) rocking the challenges so thoroughly she could probably win this race all on her own, but also on Luke's competitiveness and fearless use of features of the race that people are normally too nice to use. It was his idea to U-turn another team very early on (for the uninitiated, that means they have to do an extr

The Other Side of the Coin

Earlier this week, I read something by a woman who has rheumatoid arthritis talking about hope, talking about the impact the disease has had on her life and at the end of the piece, she wrote that when she was old, she’d be able to look back and "know what a truly amazing life I have lived despite rheumatoid arthritis." A nd my immediate reaction to that was remembering the realization I had long ago: I have had an amazing life and in many ways that’s because of my RA, not despite it. T o begin with, it's as simple as if I didn't have RA, I wouldn't have moved to Canada . I was 19 when my parents decided that two years of living in different countries had been enough (my father was troubleshooting at the Canadian branch of a Danish company) and that my mother and sister (then nine years old) would join my dad in Toronto for a couple of years. Most of my friends had already lived on their own for a year after graduating high school or had been traveling for that y

I’d Rather Be Working: An Interview with Gayle Backstrom

A few weeks ago, I interviewed a fascinating woman for HealthCentral: "As follow-up to my recent Beginner's Guides to work and going back to school, I interviewed Gayle Backstrom, author of I'd Rather Be Working: a Step-By-Step Guide to Financial Self-Support Review with Chronic Illness . Gayle also wrote When Muscle Pain Won't Go Away , the first book for laypeople on fibromyalgia." The rest is here .



Not Always Binary

I was having a conversation with a friend a couple of days ago and we were talking about ethics and principles and at a certain point, my friend said "either something is right or it isn't." And, as happens occasionally around here, I got to thinking. Because although I agree on a very elemental level with my friend, at the same time, the older I get, the more I've realize very little in this world is black and white, that it is rarely that simple. Most of the time, it's shades of grey – sometimes so light it's a smudgy white and other times, so dark a charcoal it looks black, but it's grey nonetheless. I 've said before that I feel as if I'm stuck in the why stage that most children grow out of around four years old or so and on top of that, I have a masters degree in being a change agent – just imagine the years of indoctrination - and that's just compounded the problem. In order to facilitate change, I need to understand every part of what

The Reader

Continuing my quest to watch the Oscar winners, my next pick was The Reader , for which Kates Winslet won the Best Actress award. I've loved her work since I first saw her in Titanic , admire her choices (okay, most of them, maybe not so much The Holiday , but maybe it would've been better without Cameron Diaz) and the way she's utterly fearless in throwing herself into her role, giving it whatever it requires and deserves. That said, I'll admit that I was half wondering if her Oscar was given to her partly because she’d been nominated without winning so many times. I was an idiot. T he Reader cuts back and forth between the present and the late 50s, tied together by the character of Michael and starts in post-World War II Germany when 15-year-old Michael (David Kross) meets Hanna (Winslet), a woman in her mid-30s. They have an affair and one of the unique aspects of the relationship is Michael reading to Hanna as a sort of foreplay. One day, Hanna disappears without a