Showing posts from March, 2011




    I’d planned to do my own Best Movie Oscar nominees post, but the effort was hampered by… well, life. However, in the last week or so I've had the opportunity to watch both The King's Speech  and Black Swan  and other than both being Best Movie nominees and both the actors playing the main characters nabbing an award, they also have another thing in common ,.-... . Hype. Okay, so another word for it is word-of-mouth, buzz, excitement, but at a certain point just before the Oscars when things go arguably a tad crazy, hype sort of covers it. I was very much looking forward to watching both of these two movies in particular, but discovered that one lived up to hype and the other one didn't. There was nothing I didn’t like about The King's Speech - the acting was phenomenal, the script incredible, the direction wonderful and I want to own this movie so I can watch it on a regular basis. And not just because I have a long-term crush on Mr. Darcy Colin Firth. Everythin

The Future's So Bright: a Good Time to Have RA

    I've mentione dthe November RA forum here before , but now there are details about what I learned on MyRACentral:     "I am in a large room in a downtown Toronto hotel, chairs lined up facing the front and around me are over 300 other people, most of whom are here for the same reason I am. A quick glance at hands confirm membership in the RA club - there are more swan necks than down at the waterfront! I am amongst my peeps." You can read the rest here .     

The Path to Sugar Beach

    Settle in folks, this one's a bit long…. We have a large amount of waterfront here in Toronto, nestled as we are along the shores of Lake Ontario. For a very long time, there's been talk of revitalizing the waterfront and not too long ago, the three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal) got together and threw money at it. This means that all kinds of really interesting multiuse projects are being planned and built along the waterfront. Christopher Hume who writes about urban issues and architecture for The Toronto Star has been writing enthusiastically about it in a way that has helped to generate a lot of excitement and there's a video on the Star’s website where he interviews the developer and a landscape architect about the vision of Sugar Beach, one of the projects in the revitalization project. The vision includes that projects should "make people feel welcome." This philosophy is also emphasized on the waterfront website which in


   A little over 38 years ago, my parents sat me down and told me I'd be getting a present in early Spring. I guessed a bike, but it was a sister instead. And she's still the best present I've ever received.                 Happy birthday, Janne!    

10 Years

    Today it has been 10 years of life without my father and it is hard for all of us to understand it's been this long. I remember that St. Patrick's Day in 2001 with crystal clarity. Remember the call from the nursing home that said if I wanted to be there, I should come quick, remember hurrying through downtown streets surrounded by Saturday shoppers and fluffy flakes of snow, chanting pleasewaitpleasewaitpleasewait . Remember getting there and remember us holding my father, talking him over, telling him it was all right to go, remember feeling so honoured, so moved that he let us share the moment of his death. Remember understanding why it is called a passing, seeing that it is a journey and an active one from this life into something else. Every year in March, in the weeks leading up to the date, our days are edged in sadness, in missing him more. And every year, we have a cry and then we spend some time talking about our life with him, celebrating who he was and always




    For months now, we've had tickets to see the Kodo drummers on March 11 (there's a fantastic video on their site and a wee doc here ). There were seven of us, some had seen them before (it was to be my third time) and Michele’s boys would experience the magic for the first time.          And then Friday morning happened. The massive earthquake, a devastating tsunami and we wondered if the performance would still be a go. No one would blame them if the disaster in their homeland would make the drummers focus elsewhere, but it wasn't cancelled. We stood - well, some of us did - before it started, in silent acknowledgment and love for everyone affected and then the beat began.           Somehow, it was more profound. It was as if they drummed their all, sent every emotion of despair, of loss, of worry, sadness and hope into every single beat, lifting themselves and us into another world. It was like being the drum, the beat no longer a result of human pounding on sk

Me & My Shadow

   I don't remember a time when I didn't have Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Well, now they call it Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, but a rose by any other name is still a pain in the arse. I have lived with RA for over four decades and there are times when I've thought about how even really bad criminals tend to get off for good behavior after spending that long in prison, but apparently, I’m a lifer. And most days, it isn't really prison. It's just life and thanks to the Biologics, I'm living it, enjoying every moment of every day. When you’ve had RA - or any chronic illness, I guess - for decades, it becomes part of your life. It intertwines, growing in and around you, becoming you and you it. It is as much part of you as your shadow, is a different kind of shadow, one that at times demands entirely too many resources but without which I would not be me. Where does it stop and I begin? A couple of days ago, I read an article about a 14-month-old girl who

The Cost of Pain: Shedding Life, Shedding Love

    This week on MyRACentral, I muse about the cost of pain - financial, sure, but primarily social: "If you live with chronic pain, you are not alone. Pain affects more than 76 million people in the US, more than cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined. It is estimated that conditions involving chronic pain cost the US economy more than $100 billion a year in healthcare expenses, lost income and lost productivity. And that's just the money part of the equation." The rest of the post is here .     

Long in the Tooth


Book Review: Abigail Adams

I never had an answer to the question that gets sent around in e-mail every now and again. You know the one - "if you could choose any person from history to talk to for an hour, who would it be?" Everybody wants to talk to Buddha, Jesus or JFK and I've no idea what I would ask any of those people. However, after reading Woody Holton's biography of Abigail Adams , I want to meet her. And not just for an hour, either. Abigail Adams: A Life by Woody Holton is a book that tells the story of Abigail, her family and friends and the beginnings of the United States. It does so in a remarkable way, telling the story through quotes from the letters written by Abigail, as well as the correspondence she received from others. These quotes are strung together by the connecting thread of Holton interspersing explanations about the era's social mores, politics, literature, religions, etc., and it all comes together in a meticulous and beautiful painting of a life


    My inbox’s making me nervous. As is My List. And all the things that aren't on the immediate List, but on the Weekly List, not to mention the Monthly List and the second inbox. I don't know what compelled me to have two e-mail addresses, but they're both making me nervous and the idea of retiring to a cabin in the woods with no electricity is starting to seem really appealing. Of course, then I remember that I use a power wheelchair and the shine goes off that idea. By Tuesday afternoon, it had already been a long week and things have not improved. There have been several lengthy and intense meetings, all of which required follow-up with various communications and writings. Catching up with the work I didn't have time to do was also a priority and then there were a number of last-minute additions that I still haven't even touched. The plan was to get the book club post on Abigail Adams written for today, but last night got consumed by unscheduled research.

Brave New World

  I was four when I had the first symptoms of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA). I was also four years old when I was admitted to hospital and placed in isolation for three weeks with a suspicion of rheumatic fever. I don't remember much about that hospital stay, except being alone in a bed with white bars in the middle of a very white room with fluorescent lighting. Even the door was white and had a window in it. I was nine when I was finally diagnosed. When I was 11, I spent three months in a rehab hospital. That was where I learned that crying doesn't change anything. It was also where I learned to suck up being stuck with needles - every Thursday after rounds, I and other kids with JRA would line up outside an office and one after the other go into have our swollen joints tapped. This involved sticking a needle into the joint - without the benefits of local anesthetic - and drawing out the fluid. The nurse was usually too busy flirting with the doctor to hold our hand. I