Showing posts from June, 2009


A long time ago - back when the hills were mountains - I was in graduate school, studying for my Masters in social work. There were classes in theory, classes about research methodology, classes to teach us community development, others that taught counseling skills and one of the common themes were client empowerment, the contract both parties agreed to at the start of the process - I started in clinical, before I switched to policy development, but come to think of it, that contract occurs in all levels of social work, whether it be clinical, community development or policy development. As a social worker, you are an agent of change regardless of where you work and you make a contract with the client to help guide them through to the desired change. And somewhere in my first year, when we were talking about this process, I came up with a theory of my own . Which is summed up as follows: as a social worker, you manipulate the client (individual, community, organization) to achieve the

Random June

From The Harlot’s Twitter feed , the US launches drone planes to “stem the flow of drugs, migrants and terrorists” and although I agree with Steph’s “really??” statement, what captured me was this quote: “"Essentially, we're supplying high-grade marijuana through this one small rural county of 50,000 people, thanks to the border, to all of the northeast," said Derek Champagne, district attorney of Franklin County, N.Y., and head of the area's border and narcotics task force.” Well, if the DA of Franklin Country’s doing it, why are they monitoring us? The latest random thing found in my travels around the neighbourhood that have made me apoplectic. A Banana Slicer . Which costs $6 in the kitchen store over at the Market and is it just me or is that completely ridiculous? USE A KNIFE! By the time you get this contraption out of the drawer, squeeze the banana through (and never mind that not all bananas are this exact shape) and wash it again - just i

Not That I'm Biased

I've been thinking about bias. It all started with this article by David Gorski about the Oprah-fication of medicine (link fixed) . Well, it started with the Newsweek article , followed by the other one and given that I've had loads of time to sit around and think while I attempted to heal this latest maiming of my body, I did some of that . My own bias falls pretty squarely in the science orientation, but I like overthinking things (no, really?) and in the last several years, have found myself playing around with thoughts of faith, sort of straddling the divide between the two. One of the things I find very amusing when having a debate with someone who's very science-based about things like faith is to suggest that a belief in science is as much a matter of faith as is religion. And when they start talking about evidence, the presence of same in science and its absence from faith, I've countered with the suggestion that someone who beli



Visual Hold Music

Have managed to injure myself again - neck this time, just to keep things fresh - and staying away from the computer has become essential to my happiness. Imagine muzak and look at the pretty flower. And ant (or whatever that is).

A Beginners Guide to RA: How to Be a Self Advocate

The latest Beginner's Guide to RA is up at HealthCentral: "In communities of people who have chronic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, you often hear advice about becoming a good advocate for yourself -- how it is an essential part of navigating the health care system and contributes to living well with chronic health issues. Self advocacy won't cure your RA or reduce your pain levels, but it will help you to represent your own interests within the health care system, ensuring that the decisions made are best for you. When you know what's happening is the best option for you, you feel confident and more in control of your life and that can help keep your stress levels down. But how do you advocate for yourself?" The rest of the post is here .

Good Cripple

Not too long after Beth and I first became friends, we had a conversation about a meeting she'd had with an agency that were supposed to help her get equipment (possibly Dragon ?). Beth explained how she'd started the meeting by outlining the goal of the conversation, setting an agenda of sorts to be that she would leave with Dragon at the end of the meeting. At which point I started laughing so hard I cried and couldn't speak for several minutes. Beth was used to navigating the able bodied world, a world in which she occupied a position of some power, having a PhD and a number of other advanced degrees and once she acquired a disability, she approached meetings with agencies mandated to help her in the same way she had approached meetings in her previous life. And got nowhere. Until our conversation, no one had told her how she was supposed to act. Because when you have a disability, the expectations are different. And to hear the way "normal" people interact w

Wonderful Woofstock

After last week's extended detour into frustration, I decided to have a completely sybaritic weekend in which my activities would be entirely decided by my Id. Which twice led me to Woofstock (and I consider it a small miracle that I made it through two days of the largest dog festival in North America without getting dogpoop on my tires). Click photos to embiggen. There were small dogs Big dogs Ewoks Basselopes Apprehensive dogs Dogs who quickly figured out to milk all the attention Dogs dressed for the occasion (the accessory of the year apparently being aviator goggles for smaller dogs - why??) Colour-coordinated dogs Drooly dogs Hot dogs (summer arrived yesterday. No socks!) Dogs who decided to be So Done With This and flop down on the sidewalk And dogs who achieved elegance while resting in the shade And then I cam home to this look and spent the remainder of the weekend appeasing Her Royal Catness for my treachery. My Id was okay with that.

Sitting in Judgement

The last couple of weeks have been ridiculously hectic - it seemed that Mercury retrograde moved smoothly and seamlessly into whatever astrological phenomena is responsible for a mass epidemic of idiocy. Truly. There were several days last week where the barrage of idiots (and their attendant emotional upset) took over every day, to the point where last Friday, I moved so fast I got as much done in five hours as I normally would have in two full days and in retrospect, going into hyperdrive like that is a really good sign that I'm about to crash. Of course, I never realized it until I hit the skids in a rather remarkable fashion and the combination of having to help fix several situations rightnowthisveryinstant and a particularly busy list (some weeks, there is no prioritizing, some weeks all of it is really necessary) created a really weird situation. By Monday, I felt walled up to the point of not being able to connect properly to others, seeing the world through a thick wall o

Tink Weekend

My lovies came by this weekend, along with their staff (Janne and John ). It was the family celebration of John's birthday - birthday boy here seen with cake, Janne and Liam's arm. Liam had great fun with blueberries Morgan cuddled with a Schnauzer puppy (ed: plush, not real) gifted by Mormor (grandmother in Danish) Big squeeze from Daddy. Rapt. Did I mention the blueberries were a lot of fun? Morgan observes from new angles Yes, horribly blurry, but this photo of the kids playing with John does something to me, I think especially because it's blurry. This hollow in Liam's neck just makes my heart ache The girl with the thistledown hair. Composition partly, shamelessly - and unconsciously - plagiarized from Michelle . Note: attempted to do a scheduled post as remainder of week must be spent on work. Published today for some reason, so I deleted it again. Sigh. It'll reappear on Friday.


This is completely ridiculous. We've had a cold spring up here in Toronto . When I say cold cold, I mean about 10° colder than the seasonal average and that's in metric, not Fahrenheit. I heard a reliable report that last Monday, it snowed in Huntsville (which is about 150 km/100miles from Toronto ). Snow, I ask you! On June 1! As I may have mentioned once or twice, June 1 also marks the day where according to a City of Toronto by law, landlords no longer have to provide heat. Usually, by the time this date arrives, my entire building is sweltering and we all feel like hugging the superintendent for finally being able to cool down the apartments. This year, not so much. Because there is no heat on anywhere and because nights are downright chilly with single digits (e.g., 44F), the entire building is cool. The fact that the hallway vent is close to my front door and emits galeforce arctic winds doesn't help either, but we can't turn it off, because then

Nightly Mayhem

I have a pretty lively nightlife. And not of the kind usually referred to when someone says a sentence like that. No, I am a creature of habit, usually staying at home in the evening, entertaining myself with bugging the cat, watching a movie or reading and occasionally hanging out with friends. I just read that Quinn's latest post about stepping out of her comfort zone and felt an increased kinship with her, nodding in familiarity with her description of being most comfortable reading about adventure while remaining safely within her routine - I'd invite her out for coffee, but not only do we live on opposite sides of the continent, but it would also require leaving home. Some people may think me boring, I prefer to say that I know what makes me happy and although there are times where little bit of adventure is welcome, mostly, low-key works. However, once I go to sleep, this changes dramatically. For as long as I can remember, my dreams have been highly adventurou

Reality Check

The search for balance continues in my latest HealthCentral post. And I may be on to something... "It had been another night of bad pain, of the kind that makes you rock back and forth in an attempt to block sensation with movement, even just a little. I'd had bad nights for weeks, each night a little worse than the one before, at first just aching stiffness, then needing painkillers, then blasting through the wall of painkillers until all I could do was rock." You can read the rest here .

On the Other Side of It

On and off through my life, there've been periods where my pain levels were so high they coloured everything, lent a patina to everything I said, everything I did, sometimes a smudgy grey film, at other times, a blinding scream and when you're inside of that, there is no stepping to the side to get perspective. There is just somehow getting through it and it can be the loneliest feeling in the world. The people who love you will try to support you, will try to listen as you talk about the pain - because it's hard to talk about anything else - but it is one of those moments I spoke of in my last post where you are completely alone, as alone as we are in death. Your loved ones can stand by, can hold your hand, but ultimately, it’s not an experience that can be shared. There is only you and the pain and whether you get through it with your sanity intact and sometimes, that's doubtful. A long time after my big flare - sometimes, I think I should capitalize that

Reason #763 I Love Living Downtown

Not just events like Random Fun , but more organized, like the second annual Toronto Criterium - a bike race to kick off the city's Bike Month . There's a kids' race, an amateur race and it all ends with the Pro Race, a 1 1/2 hour plus 5 laps race within easy walking distance from my place (reason #764 I love living downtown) Spectators lined the sidewalks and a police officer helped keep people from crossing the street when the racers came. In between those times, he chatted with people, kidded around with the kids and checked out photos And then the racers came And turned After 30 minutes, this guy was two laps ahead of the rest and I went home before the buckets of rain started And speaking of bikes. Ken is doing the Friends for Life Bike Rally for the Toronto People with Aids Foundation, spending a week in July riding from Toronto to Montreal. If the spirit moves you, please go sponsor him.