Showing posts from September, 2011

Taking A Leap

   I discovered that part of the problem on doing a rewrite of your book is that it inevitably leads to becoming convinced that you're an amateur and an atrocious writer. Asking people you care about to tell you what's wrong combined with turning you on a very critical eye on chapter after chapter leads to extreme self-loathing. Charlie on the heels of that is a decided aversion to writing. Because why would you do something you so very obviously suck at. Luckily, I have a writing buddy who told me two very important things. One, that this detour into believing everything you do is shite is entirely normal for this stage of making a book. And second, that the way out is to write something silly. To play around with writing, rediscovering the joy of it. And she's running for breast cancer, so if you're looking for someone to sponsor, I highly recommend Laurie. We both produced a small piece of silliness for our meeting this week and this was mine: Alber

Pain Management in Recovery and Addiction

    My latest post for MyRACentral is about managing pain when you're addicted or in recovery: " My friend T. lives with high levels of chronic pain. The pain makes it difficult to get through each day and it's not just having an impact on his physical function, but on his relationships with his family and friends, as well. Despite this, he's not taking any pain medication. T. was an alcoholic and has been sober for nine years. He's afraid that if he starts treating his pain, he might relapse and start drinking again. Those of us who live with high levels of chronic pain are often faced with concerns about addiction to painkillers. Sometimes it's our family and friends who get worried and sometimes it's our doctors. The goal of managing chronic pain is to "obtain reasonable pain relief while maintaining a maximum level of function" (Prater, Zylstra and Miller, 2002). At HealthCentral, we do our best to help you get that kind of pain c

Out Among the English: Body Language & Disability

    A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about physical barriers tosocial interaction , mostly in terms of design issues and aspects that can be corrected by having some chairs in the place. Today, Part II. Namely physical barriers to interpersonal communication. Say that you’re At a formal occasion - a wedding, formal business event and the like - and you’re seated at a large round table with 9 other guests. The person next to you is having a fascinating discussion with the person next to them and you want to join in. What do you do? At a party where you don't know anyone and don't feel like spending any more time standing by yourself by the potted plant looking fascinated by what your invisible friend is saying. You even feel brave enough to sidle up next to one of the multitude who you don't know and try to start a conversation. What do you do? You're talking to a stranger, perhaps at a party or maybe at a bar, museum

In Praise of Sloth

     It's been 10 days of not doing very much at all aside from reading good books, watching good TV and lollygagging and it has been bliss. Just bliss. It took me more days than I care to admit to stop with the "shoulds." Every time my internal voice said "you should be (insert work-related or other type of obligatory task here)," I managed to very clearly say NO and push the urge away. It is remarkable how many shoulds there are in a day. I don't think it's good for us.  Therefore, I decided to banish the shoulds from my life (at least for two weeks), eventually becoming nothing but a walking (metaphorically speaking) Id. I got so good at the banishing that when last Monday, one of the last really nice days of the summer, I felt I should be going down to the lake, I somehow managed to persuade myself that I shouldn't be doing any such thing if I didn't want to. So I stayed inside all day and messed with some photos instead. There

Half and Half


The Killing

     So… there's been sitting at the lake, lots of reading and in the evening, I’ve been completely and utterly obsessed with the Danish series Forbrydelsen (The New York Times has a good article about it ).  In English, it's called The Killing and if that sounds familiar, it's because there is an American remake airing on AMC . The remake has gotten a lot of good press, but from what I can see in the various episode guides, the 13 episodes only take you through part of the case, and not to completion as in the 20 episodes of the Danish series. Maybe that's left for season two? Every review I have read of the remake has mentioned that despite its excellence, you owe it to yourself to (also) watch the original. Having just spent the last week or so watching two or three episodes a night, I wholeheartedly second that recommendation. Forbrydelsen starts with the murder of a teenage girl and follows the investigation, the impact on her family and the municipal election c

Rest Stop

    I’ve been spending a lot of time down by the lake since I last posted. You know how much water means to me - it soothes me, centers me, heals me. The fact that there is now a place so close to my home where I can go get in touch with those elemental forces means so much. If you turn your face into the wind, it is almost like the ocean. Not the smell of salt, but the unmistakable scent of a large body of water and with the beach there, sometimes, it's mingled with the smell of sand and it feels almost like home. Lately, something interesting has been happening down by Sugar Beach. There are geese. A lot of geese. I first noticed it Saturday, seeing small groups of them swimming around close to shore. This is new - all summer, I've seen only seagulls and the occasional duck (well, there was that Cormorant , too). Geese don't tend to hang in this neighborhood, so having recently discovered the fascinating in birdwatching, I set about doing just that. It was a beautifu


    It's been an interesting week for new experiences. This past weekend found me down by the lake and two very exciting things happened. I saw the Snowbirds in person. Well, not exactly in person, but with my own eyes in real life, as opposed to images on the television screen. There they were, flying in formation out over the lake. You may have to embiggen the photo   A little later, when I wrenched my eyes downwards from the sky, I saw a loon ! I have been in Canada for 29 years and had never before seen this iconic bird in any place other than statues, paintings, the loonie and the like. In person? Way cool! Before I posted it to the blog, I checked with The Boy. Just in case. And he said it wasn't." What are you talking about?" I said, “have you seen that profile?!” He said the loon’s beak comes to a point and this one didn’t. Hrm. I cropped, got a close-up and lo and behold, he was right. This wee fellow had a distinct overbite. So I consulted my

I'll Be Over Here, Next to the Potted Plant

    Say that you’re At a small family gathering and across the room sits a member of your family with whom you haven't had a good chinwag in a while. What do you do? At a party where you don't know anyone and don't feel like spending any more time standing by yourself with a glass of wine and looking fascinated by what your invisible friend is saying. What do you do? (note: running screaming for the door is not an option) At a large and informal get-together in a restaurant. The tables are arranged in a U and you’re seated at one of the "arms." After the meal is finished, the other guests start to chair hop, moving around to chat with other guests. What do you do? Now imagine that you use a wheelchair and can't easily move around. Either because that means you're hugely in the way or there are people or furniture in your way. Some time ago, I was at a posh event, out among the English f

BuskerFest Birthday/Winner

    Before I report on the ant infestation, it's time for the results of the tomato contest . There were 347 tomatoes in the bowl. K came came very close closest with a guess of 238 and also called me Fairy Princess - that alone deserves a reward! Congratulations, K! Check out my Flickr page and/or the photos on the blog in the past year (I'm so far behind...) and let me know which photo you want at landers5ATgmailDOTcom. NB Friday evening: Colleen left a message suggesting Rose might be the winner instead of K. I've looked through the comments an extra 3 times now and there's no Rose. If I'm stupendously oblivious and Rose did leave a better guess, then please email me, as well. Only thing better than giving out a print is giving out 2! Two hours later: Thanks to Trevor, I have now figured out my #$%^! comment system. Rose is indeed the winner - only 12 from the actual total. Congratulations, Rose! Follow the above directions and Ms.Idiot here will send you your p

BuskerFest Accessibility

It's tradition. Every year around this time, I post something that shamelessly points out that it's my birthday and closely connected to that, often in the same post, I rant about BuskerFest . This is the four-day festival celebrating street performers that takes over my neighborhood to the point where it's hard to go anywhere is as a regular resident and nigh on impossible as a person using a wheelchair. This year is no different. However, this year the ranting post and the one with photos from BuskerFest that are not related to accessibility issues will be split up. Today, I rant. Tomorrow, I share the fun. The ranting part involves two targets. One is clueless people. Of which there were many. We started the festivities by catching the end of a performance that involved fire. My latent pyromaniac loves such things, so we decided to check it out. Even better, the grand finale involved the performer jumping through a ring of fire on a skateboard. The reason this w