Showing posts from March, 2010

Book Review: The Postmistress

Me and Audible have a routine. Every Tuesday, I place myself in front of my computer with a cup of tea and half an hour set aside for my weekly treat: perusing the new audio book releases. About a month or so ago, I saw a book called The Postmistress , checked the description, which sounded interesting enough in a vague sense that I clicked on the sample - after struggling through a few good books ruined by terrible narrators, I've learned to click the sample to avoid wasting my credits on something that's going to make my fillings hurt. And I was captivated. 60 seconds of listening to Orlagh Cassidy narrating Sarah Blake's words made me hungry for more. Not the sort of "that sounds good, I'll get it and listen to it down the road" but the "I need to download this right now and start reading immediately". And the entire book was like that. Breathtaking. The Postmistress is the story of three women at the start of World War II: Iris,

Best Friends

Claire and Janne, when they were about 17. Today is Claire's birthday. We miss you very much, love.

Random March

Pet rescue for the Rapture . No comment. Just… no comment. Sort of related, Ann Coulter’s people cancel one of her Canadian appearances due to a large protest outside the location, as it was "a threat to our safety". Don't these people know we're Canadian?? We may protest things, but we don't get violent. And for another bit of odd Americana , Donna Simpson wants to be the world's fattest woman and I don't even know where to start with that, so instead I'm going to move on to tips on how to avoid DST death . Speaking of death, they found 51 beheaded Vikings when excavating a site for the 2012 Olympics in London which I find way more fascinating than the summer Olympics themselves. For an Olympic-sized ‘huh?’ check out this article about a man suing an outline because the flight attendants did not look at his scrotum , a fish with Olympic-sized muscles and an Olympic-sized conspiracy (OK, so the Olympics thing applied less and less as that sente

A Very Special Victim

I stopped watching Law & Order: Special Victims Unit a long time ago, after Twisty described it as Law & Order: Mutilated Women's Unit and just couldn't get that out of my head. Earlier this week, I happened to see the synopsis of the episodes broadcast Wednesday evening - it involved a woman with a disability getting attacked - and decided to give it a whirl. Y’know, to see how they dealt with it. Yes, I know. I am a glutton for punishment. Hang onto something, there’s a rant coming… The episode starts on a parallel transit bus, with a trainee driving and we see that the trainee is an amputee, one arm ending in some sort of hook prosthetic. Because apparently the creators of the show have somehow missed the developments in the field that allow for close-to-natural looking prosthetics. Behind our trainee is the regular driver/trainer, who is spouting words of encouragement, including "just relax, you're a natural!" and is it just me or would you als

In Which We Discover I Am a Total Wuss

Not that we didn't know this already... I used to like roller coasters, loved the release of tension, sheer terror, sense of being alive that came with a ride on a good one. And then when I was fairly young, my father took me on this old, rickety coaster made of wood (and possibly held together with chewing gum) that rattled and swayed unnervingly as we neared the top. It was my last roller coaster. I later took up watching horror movies for the exact same reason - the nudging of primal, lizard brain kind of emotions, tension and release and I always felt relaxed and invigorated after watching a good horror movie. (Yes, I know that sounded a little dirty, but like I once opined, good horror is a lot like good sex . Today, though, it's about the former) Sometime last year, I read a review in Entertainment Weekly about Dead Snow and have been waiting with bated breath for the DVD release. Although normally not a fan of zombie movies - with the exception of the brilliance

Snow Capped


Pain Thresholds, Gender and More Ranting

A couple of weeks ago, in response to my rant about the medical literature talking about the alleged hyperalgesia (i.e., lower pain thresholds) in people living with RA, Carrie (sorry - forgot the link) asked a very good question. Namely whether it wasn’t a good thing to identify that RA appeared to lower your pain thresholds, because it would have implications for treatment to better deal with that pain. Good point. Except my concern is - and this would seem to be somewhat substantiated by literature reviewed by RA Warrior that got me ranting in the first place - that the impact on treatment is not towards treating this increased pain, but rather to dismiss it. As RA Warrior says, "[i]t is believed that they [people living with RA] perceive pain to be worse than 'actual pain'". There's a multi-page rant just begging for attention in the assumption that you can measure somebody's “actual pain,” but I'm not going there today (and aren't you gratefu

Taking the Reins

My new post for MyRACentral is up: "Compliance. Following doctor's orders. The words make my teeth itch and not just because in addition to rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, I have a chronic case of you're-not-the-boss-of-me-itis." The rest is here .


Check out Janet's Random Art project - she's got a show coming up!

Two Steps Back

Me, two weeks ago: "it's amazing how much you can get done when you're trying not to think." Me, 10 days ago: "I can't move." It's been a bit of a year so far and the upshot of all the death, disease and disaster has been a rather intense level of activity on the work front, because it is truly amazing how much you can get done when you're avoiding paying attention to the aforementioned death, disease and disaster. Not surprisingly, however, this resulted in the ever present neck, shoulder and elbow problem repeatedly warning me that I ought to stop, but just look at the list! I replied and when it insisted that it would probably be a good idea to slow down right now, I retorted with... well, I didn't so much retort, as ignore. So my body called me a bitch and made me sit still. In retrospect, spending my vacation being in so much pain I couldn't think wasn't exactly what I’d planned. I got a steroid shot last Monday, sat around an

5 Year Plan

I was watching the Barbara Walters special before the Oscars - and can I just say how very awful the Academy Awards were this year? I'd rather have watched Rob Lowe dancing with Snow White for a couple of hours than watch that impersonal, rushed, yet dragging-into-eternity evening and where was I again? Oh yes, Barbara Walters. Between the bookend interviews of Monique and Sandra Bullock, she showed brief clips from all the Oscar specials she's done and I was surprised to realize how many of them I've seen. Toward the end of the hour, Sandra Bullock turned the tables on Babs and asked one of her famous questions: "in five years, what do you want to have that you don't have now?". And it made me think. After the Big Flare (yes, I've finally relented and have started capitalizing it now), I didn't plan much beyond a day or two for a long time. Then my idea of “future” started increasing to a week, a month, a couple of months and recently, I made plans



Sweet Boredom

I can't remember the last time I had vacation. Of course, it could be argued that when you're not working, you're perpetually on vacation, but it's not the same. Life fills up, regardless of what you do - or don’t do - and although you may lollygag for a few hours in an afternoon and be able to do so more often than when there's a job to go to, it's not vacation as such. It's just the way life is. Then I got a job and then the job expanded about a year ago and since then, aside from time dedicated to heal the latest injury, I haven't taken more than say, a long weekend where I've unplugged for work. The problem with this, I've discovered, is that it takes a good 2-3 days to get out of work mode, just in time for you to go back again. A couple of weeks ago, LynnM sent me a link to a wonderful essay called La Vie D’Ennui by Colin Bisset about how enjoyable and - my interpretation - restorative boredom can be. Not the twitchy, I'll go crazy i

Death & Life

This month on MyRACentral, we talk about death and dying, the unmentionable: "Twice, rheumatoid arthritis has tried to kill me. I was 12, almost 13, the first time, when it went systemic and starting attacking my heart and my spleen and there was a bad case of pneumonia, as well. I don't remember much, just moments of memory, strung together with wide spaces in between. Waking up to see my father sitting by my bed, elbows on his knees, looking down on the floor and then falling into sleep again. The daily chest x-ray, barely able to sit on my own for the 30 seconds before the nurse came back into the room to help me. Surreal interactions with people I didn't know that in retrospect was a fever delirium. And afterwards, learning to walk again, trying to pull myself up two steps in the physiotherapy department, weak as a kitten." You can read the rest here .

Rockingchair in Sunshine


Validity, Perception & Pain

A little while ago, Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior posted a fantastic rant about the "well-established fact" that people who have RA have lower pain thresholds and that "they worsen the perception of a pain through their 'maladaptive responses'" to their pain. Apparently, the medical literature has very decided opinions about the way other people experience pain. One of these so-called maladaptive responses to pain is called catastrophizing and can be illustrated by the person agreeing to the statement that "I worry all the time about whether it will end". Really? That's catastrophizing? Actually, let me allow some space for my initial response. Which was a deep, weary sigh. Okay. After the sighing made the curtains flutter, I am now ready to rant on. Because, my dear physicians and medical researchers, worrying about whether the pain of rheumatoid arthritis will end is actually pretty normal response to a disease that is re