Showing posts from September, 2012

Gone with the Wind

The weather was nice on Tuesday, warm and sunny, but fresh. I'd worked my derrière off for six days in a row and decided it was time to go zen out. So off I went to Sugar Beach. Once I got there, I discovered that the day that was fresh by my building was pretty windy when you got close to the lake. The water was downright choppy, even in the secluded area where another freighter loaded with sugar was docked.   I love this time of year by the lake. The heat of summer has dissipated, everyone has going back to work and school and there are very few people hanging out at the water in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. The beach is largely empty, the Muskoka chairs unoccupied under the pink umbrellas and somehow, this image triggers mood and imagination in a way that doesn't happen in the summer.   Even around lunchtime, the sun is so low in the sky that the water turns into nothing but sparkles. The size and shape and intensity of the spark

Using Technology to Improve Your Quality of Life: Apps for Arthritis and Chronic Pain

   My last post for HealthCentral's Pain Awareness Month is about two new apps for people with chronic pain and arthritis. Very cool! "One of the most frustrating aspects of living with RA and chronic pain is the unpredictable nature of these conditions. Keeping track of your symptoms, activities, triggers and treatment can help you identify patterns. Knowing what makes your symptoms worse or better is important when you live with a chronic condition. I often recommend to our users that they keep a symptom diary to identify patterns between activity and symptoms, but the traditional paper and pen approach can be a bit of a hassle. Recently, two apps have been released that aim to help you easily track what's going on in your body as it happens throughout the day." You can read more about The Arthritis Foundation's Track+React and WebMD's Pain Coach here .   

Squirrel Snack


A Dance with Words

    When I lived with my parents, dinner was one of my favourite times of the day. Not because my mother is an excellent cook - although there is that - but because dinner was the time where we all sat down together, ate and talked. And it was the talking especially that made this time of day extra special. Because sooner or later a debate would start. My parents taught both my sister and I the debate game and to this day, it remains one of our favorite sports. We can enter into a spirited debate about pretty much anything and frequently do, much to the amusement - and occasional frustration - of other people in the room. Someone will say something and before you know it, we're locked in a lively game of Pass the Word. Because this isn't just about exchanging opinions, it is also about passing the metaphorical talking stick back and forth so quickly that it becomes a bit of a blur. We jump into the conversation when someone else is talking because we learned - at our

Myths About Opiates and Addiction Affect Pain Management

    This week, I wrote another post for HealthCentral's theme of living with pain for Pain Awareness Month. Since it is also National Recovery Month, I combined the two topics: "You have the right to effective pain management. In fact, two years ago, the International Pain Summit in Montréal declared that it is a human right for all people to have access to pain management. In reality, many do not. The Myths of Addiction and Pain Management There is a myth in our society that taking painkillers means you're a bit of a wuss. We all understand that certain illnesses such as cancer can cause a great deal of pain and there is a great deal of support for terminal cancer patients getting the meds they need to deal with that. But non-cancer pain doesn't get the same kind of respect. In her recent post about opioid treatment for cancer and non-cancer pain , Karen Lee Richards speculates that this may be related to concerns about the risk of addiction. Concerns


    Sugar Beach got its name not because the sand is as fine as sugar (although it might be), but because it's right next to the Redpath Sugar Refinery . Living this close to a sugar refinery means that if the wind is right, my neighbourhood smells like molasses. It means often seeing really big ships docked right there, loading off raw sugar from the Caribbean so that Redpath to do its thing. And it means often hearing the deep honk of a ship's horn coming through my window in the late afternoon as a ship prepares to leave. It makes me feel like I'm living close to the sea and you know how much I like that. Despite having seen an awful lot of ships and heard an awful lot of horns, I have yet to see one actually arriving or departing. That changed last week when I hid down on the beach restoring my sanity. I'd been sitting with my eyes closed, absorbing the rays of the sun like a lizard when something made me look up and out over the lake. And that's when I saw

A Bite of Yellow

    I've never met a plum I didn't like, but the yellow are my favorites. They remind me of a Danish plum sort called reinekloder. They have the same contrast of a very tart skin and a sweet flesh - wait, that sounded a bit cannibalistic - albeit a bit more watery than the Danish variety. These little globes of sunshine are only available for about a month every summer. I miss them in the depths of winter and start looking forward to them before the height of summer. I feel about these yellow plums the way I feel about Ontario strawberries, but the strawberries now last from June well into September. I had a bag of four yellow plums in my fridge for while and was spacing them out, wanting to extend this part of summer for as long as I could. It's been almost a month since the season for yellow plums ended and earlier this week, I realized I need to be careful about how much slowly I eat them or they might go bad. By this morning, there were two left. Now there

Life Line

     There are times when this stress hits you so hard that you have made a conscious decision to build a wall against it. The stress can be a physical flare, unmanageable pain or the life crap that has a habit of happening without your consent. For me right now, it is the life crap. There is a lot of it and I feel drained and angry. I have ideas for posts, but the thought of writing them is almost nauseating. I’ve forced myself to sit in front of my computer with a blank document and Dragon on and nothing has come, except the overwhelming need to walk away. From the computer, from everything I do, from my life, if only for a little while. More than anything, I want two months off. To rest, to write, to centre myself and to not think about the Shoulds. And although I did buy my lottery tickets today, the chances of that happening are about the same as a rasher of bacon on the hoof flying past my fifth floor window. So. The wall. Or perhaps it is not so much a wall, as the d



5 Essentials to Coping with the Pain of RA

    September is Pain Awareness Month in the US and HealthCentral writers are covering topics related to living with pain. This week, my contribution is about my go-to tricks to cope: "Last week, I cried in the shower again. It's been a long time since the pain was so bad that my only response upon waking was to cry. Between Humira beating down my RA and having learned well the intricate balance of the right blend of painkillers, my pain is usually pretty manageable. Sometimes high, sometimes less so, but rarely blinding anymore. But here we were again, the pain and I, dancing that old familiar dance. It took a few days before I came out on the other side of it, feeling bruised and fragile, but better. And when I did, I realized that I had automatically clicked into a well-established routine of coping with a high spike of pain. This routine has five essential components" You can read the rest of the post here .    

Strive to Include

    I was going to take a break from writing about accessibility and barriers to same. There was enough of an inaccessibility flurry before my birthday, what with Winners and Metro , the LCBO and Buskerfest and to be honest, I'm tired. Tired of not being able to use stores and spaces the same way my able-bodied brethren can. Tired of having to fight for the right to pay for my purchases. So tired of coming up against not being welcome in so many places. It wears you down. So I decided that my birthday was going to be a turning point. I was going to take a break from this particular for a while and focus on the positive. And then this thing happened. Get comfy. I am about to rant. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about revisiting the scenes of the inaccessibility crimes in two locations, Winners and Metro. I wrote about how Metro was having some problems related to barrier-free policies that would support their barrier-free design. More specifically, that the accessible