Monday, January 28, 2008

Random January

Today's Random post is a mix of links and questions. The latter due to having sat still and not done anything for the better part of a week, which bores me, so my brain tries to entertain itself and given that there was codeine involved, let's just say that things got unusual.

I've been wondering about this one for while, actually. Why don’t pigeons get whiplash from that back-and-forth thing their heads do when they walk? And now I have an image in my head of a pigeon with a collar on, being spied on by an insurance company agent (likely a black squirrel with hardly any tail and several bare spots indicating being so down on his luck that he had to take the gig for peanuts).

So our illustrious prime minister Stephen Harper (a pox be upon his name) has taken 1% off the GST. And admittedly I'm really bad at math to the point of possible innumeracy, but I was thinking... say I buy $400 worth of goods a month on which I would pay a GST. 1% of that is $4, right? That means I save $48 a year. Which makes no difference whatsoever to me. However, if you multiply that by the 35 million inhabitants of Canada, that's a lot of money. What's the impact of losing that 1% on the programs that are funded by federal tax, like healthcare? Here in Ontario, we saw the impact of the Mike Harris tax cut - we got a $200 refund and education and healthcare went down the tubes. I'd rather not save that tiny bit of money. Hell, I'd be happy with a 1% increase, if that would help improve tax funded infrastructures.

I get weird songs popping into my head, old songs, songs I haven't heard in a while. How Much Is That Doggie in the Window, for example, was on frequent rotation several years ago, but hasn't shown up for while now (except, now that I've invoked it, it will no doubt hound(!) me for days). Christmas carols in July, advertising jingles, 50s music, anything and everything. And lately, the Flintstones vitamins jingle – y’know, "we are Flintstones kids, 10 million strong and growing" has been playing over and over and over in my head and is it just me, or does that sound really creepy and ominous? I mean, there's 10 million of 'em... they're strong... growing... and really perky...

And now for the links.

Apparently, there's a new currency coming to the U.S.

Very apropos of last week's post, it didn't take long for a parody to pop up. Starring Jerry O'Connell and quite funny.

And last, yet another excellent time waster: Flight of the Hamsters. I haven't quite figured out how to make a work yet (elbow has sustained a re-injury in the exact way it was injured a week ago and I have subsequently have been forced into singing the Homer song repeatedly), but what I did learn had me laughing like a hyena...

Friday, January 25, 2008


I've just made a new friend, who also has chronic pain and during a discussion of pain management techniques, I held forth with great confidence and rather alarming (and likely annoying) length about how important it is to 'listen to your body', 'work within your limits', 'save energy for the next day' and I believe that before I stepped off the soapbox, I also exclaimed fervently about how when you set 'attainable goals', you can make each day 'a success' and 'be able to do it all again the next day'.

I'm hypocritical idiot. While I was busy saying all this, I was also very busy doing everything on my list, which included a significant amount of running around, photo editing, messing around with making cool new products for the shop for Valentines Day...

(brief aside: considering how I normally feel that February 14 is a special circle of hell designed exclusively to torment single people - and yes, at some point I'll get all warm and fuzzy towards humanity just like last year, but not yet - the fact that I not only thoroughly enjoyed myself creating the new products, but am seriously considering ordering one or two myself, may qualify as ironic. Just sayin’. And yes, I am aware that sounds like the lamest salespitch ever, but the truth is often dorky)

... writing and in general moving really, really fast and while sucked into the seductive haze of Getting Things Done, I was ignoring the polite messages from my body indicating that perhaps it was taking a beating. It started out occasionally clearing its throat, then asked politely 'if you wouldn't mind, I'd really like some rest now' and when I continued patting it on its head, saying "just one more thing on the list" and upgrading the painkillers so I could ignore the mutterings, it escalated to 'it's really important that you sit and do nothing for a few days, because I'm on the verge of not being able to handle it anymore'. I promised yet again that it just had to hang on a few more hours, while I finished this one last Very Important Thing and that's when I should have heard, but didn't, the howl of outrage 'if you won't listen to what I tell you, bitch, I am going to MAKE you sit still!" And Sunday evening, it did. My right elbow became suddenly unusable and requiring of great quantities of codeine.

And what struck me about this is that after several years of being so wrecked that I was running a continual assessment of strength remaining, pain levels, level of painkillers in body, etc., and therefore was very careful at all times, it's taken remarkably little time to convince me that I am back to "normal". Back to the point where even if I overdid, it would take me only a day of resting to bounce back. Back to where it even if I experienced pain from doing too much, it wouldn't keep me from a certain, minimal level of activity. Able-bodied thinking. Seriously. I forgot how wrecked my body is now, because for the last several months, I've been able to move at an increasingly productive level and as I may have mentioned before, I am totally Delores Herbig, addicted to Getting Things Done. One of the hardest things about the period when I was very wrecked was my inability to do anything but barely keep my life going. Turns out that being useful is as vital to my happiness as are manageable pain levels.

Because that's what it's all about in our world, isn't it? Being useful. Working. Contributing. Not just sitting on your arse receiving that government cheque, eating bonbons and watching soaps. Being a leech. And it is astonishing to me that after having a disability for decades, after spending the last four years becoming accustomed to ever-decreasing levels of ability, that it was a matter of mere weeks before I left all that behind and high on the fumes of completed lists, pushed myself beyond anything that was remotely clever, smugly assuming that it wouldn't happen to me, not again. That there was such a thing as reversing damage. And yet again, I had to learn the lesson of listening to your body, of respecting its messages and to remember that I have a disability.

I'm pretty smart. Except perhaps not.

Anyway, sitting still while inhaling The Big Drugs hasn't been without entertainment, as I discovered the myriad ways in which your right elbow is involved in everything. Take lunch. A smidge problematic, as it generally involves opening the fridge. When I finally tracked down an attendant to do this for me, I had to leave it open until I finished lunch (as the attendant had to be elsewhere). And it was at this time that I could hear my father, all the way from the hereafter, yelling "are you trying to cool down the entire province of Ontario?". Which felt like a visit from him and definitely worth a little elbow pain. I also tried to watch soaps (but skipped the bonbons), which didn't involve my right elbow very much, but was supposedly a source of entertainment. I didn't last very long, but discovered a few things: first, all these people need tranquilizers - they're so dramatic. Second, I'm pretty sure that the actors on the Young and the Restless are contractually obligated to be embalmed, because I swear, they haven't changed since I last attempted to watch that show 20 years ago. And lastly, if at the end of every scene you flip to another, simultaneously broadcast soap on another network, the experience becomes highly entertaining in a completely surreal way. Maybe the huge amount of the painkillers helped with that?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Defending Tom

At the end of last week, I saw a reference to the Scientology training video with Tom Cruise that apparently has everybody snickering and commenting on "Mr. Looney Tunes"' latest exhibition of strange behaviour. So I hunted it down on Defamer and settled in to watch, prepared to witness the weirdness that is Tom these days.

And before I continue it should be said that in the past, I thought Tom Cruise was pretty weird. I thought Tom Cruise was weird before it became trendy to think that Tom Cruise was weird. His intensity is a little unsettling and, as I once told someone when discussing his being cast as Lestat in Interview with the Vampire, he's got "too many teeth", three words which neatly sum up everything I feel about him. (although admittedly, he was alright as Lestat)

That said, I would like to defend Tom Cruise. Or, more specifically, Tom Cruise in that video. I still think he might be a bit unusual in the rest of his life, but enough people seem to really like him, which might speak to him being unusual, but in a good way.

Part of the world's mocking of the video is how incoherent he appears in it, rambling on about concepts we don't understand. And I think the video sucks, but it is not necessarily Tom's fault. Whoever put this video together appears to have it in for him, as patching together an interview and excluding the questions that your subject is answering, is bound to make anyone look a smidge unhinged. Additionally, this is a Scientology training video, not intended for the public at large, and I suspect that if you are familiar with the terms that are used in the interview, it may make more sense.

Which brings me to Scientology. This is a new religion, barely 50 years old and very protective of its teachings, not sharing them with the rest of the world. So we name it a cult. The United States was founded by people fleeing religious persecution - people who were considered members of a cult, in the sense that they were worshiping in a way that was new, didn't have a lot of members and was very different than the majority. These days, we don't persecute and kill those whose religion we don't understand, we ridicule them.

Admittedly, Scientology with its talk of extraterrestrial dictatorships looks pretty funny, but if you think about it, any emergent religion that is different than the norm is going to look pretty funny. Imagine 2000 years ago someone trying to understand this newfangled religion with the fish symbol, asking a friend "so, let me get this straight - virgin birth? Really??". Or someone asking a Jew all those years ago "so what's the deal with the goat?". And I could go on, moving my way through all the major world religions that have been around long enough that their beliefs, history and practices are accepted and no longer thought ridiculous. Let me take a moment to make it clear that I am in no way ridiculing the beliefs and practices of any one religion, but making the point that the unfamiliar - especially unfamiliar belief systems that differ significantly from our own - is often called a weird or silly or so strange that we must get rid of it.

But what about the secrecy? Any new religion - and for that matter, any religion that is different than the norm - tends to be quiet about it. This is why the fish is a symbol of Christianity, this is why people built priest holes during a time in England when Catholicism was decidedly unpopular. So Scientology does the same - so far, is following pretty well established patterns of new and/or minority religions.

Back to Tom and the video. People point that the way he's laughing in the video, but I've seen him laugh in other contexts and that's the way he laughs. It's a bit of a odd laugh and dude sure does have a lot of teeth,, but so what? Aside from that, let's talk about what he says. I watched it once, then I watched it again and tried to mentally subtract the influence of the horrendous editing and the unfamiliar terms and concepts and found that largely, I was left with a man spoke about a belief system which really worked for him. I'm not sure I see any difference between this video and any other person speaking honestly to someone they trust about what their faith means to them - substitute someone speaking openly about their intense Christian or Buddhist beliefs and would there be a difference? People who believe strongly can get a little fervent when they feel free to express strong emotions. And maybe I understand it better now, because three years ago, there was a period in my life where every moment of the day was a religious experience. I didn't jump around on couches in front of millions of people, although I remember feeling equally fervent about this new-found awe and joy and about the way that I was sure, absolutely sure, that there was something greater than me in the universe.

And that's what it's all about, isn't it? Finding a way to express that sense of connection, about finding meaning in it all. Religious history and expression has always been a topic of interest to me and when I went to university I took a number of courses in various forms of comparative religion. Maybe it's coming to religion from the outside, so to speak, and from an academic point of view, but if you look at the historical development of various belief systems and you start looking at enough of them, you start seeing commonalities instead of differences. It starts out with faith and with finding a way to express that faith and as a religion becomes increasingly organized and formalized, things change. And we could spend a lot of time talking about organized religion, political implications, social control, etc., but I leave that for another day. Suffice it to say that I think that faith is very different from religion.

And the interesting thing about this brouhaha is that it has made me want to know more about Scientology. Not in the sense that I want to join so that maybe someday, I could meet Tom himself, but it made me realize how little I actually know about it. That most of my knowledge of Scientology is based on its beliefs being ridiculed in the popular press and I got offended by myself. Because I believe in making up my own mind and that in order to make up my mind, I need real information, not information that's filtered through somebody else's belief systems. I started on Wikipedia and discovered that - get this - many of the beliefs and tenets in Scientology tend to be remarkably similar to my own. Some aren't and I'm not too thrilled with some of the actions of the organized Scientology church, but then again, I'm not too thrilled with some of the actions of other organized religions.

So for once, I'm in Tom's corner. I wonder if that means he'll give me some of his money?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Change of Plans

I wrote a post last night. Suspected it was one characterized by some rambling idiocy, but nevermind - I write posts like that all the time, right? However, this morning, in the bright light of day, the post revealed itself to be a) rambling idiocy; and b) rambling idiocy without a point. So it's been trashed. Which leaves me without a post and no time to write one, as the floors in the apartment across the hall are being varnished today and if I want to breathe, I should get out of here.

But before I do that, I need your help. I was working on my next column and wanted to throw a little nifty factoid about women's history in there. More specifically, I am sure I once learned that when typewriters were first invented, only men were allowed to use them at work - women were thought entirely too delicate to pound the keys. That is, until it became apparent that typing was a low-wage job and then, suddenly, secretarial work became a female field. I googled, confident that I'd find confirmation of this very quickly, but after half an hour of futile searching, reminded myself that in the big picture, perhaps my time was better spent y'know, writing, instead of losing my day to research that wasn't paying off. So I found something else, finished the piece, but have since been nagged more or less constantly by the bleedin' typewriters. Can any of you confirm this for me? Am I out in left field?

And if you don't know, feel free to leave your favourite bit of women's history in the comments. It's Feminist Friday!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

To Be Expected/At Least She Kept the Socks

To Be Expected

I was a teenager in the 70s. Back in those days, it was all about the tanning. About baking in the sun until you burned to a crisp, because you had to burn before you tanned and to facilitate this, you'd spray yourself repeatedly with water or use oil, thus literally frying yourself. I can't remember how many burns I've had, although I remember one particularly bad one acquired in Las Vegas when I sat too long next to a pool. I still have scars on my legs from that. You can see where this is going, can't you? Repeated burning, plus tanning, combined with a very fair complexion and I'm a prime candidate for melanoma.

I had a large mole below my left knee. Along with two other, smaller moles, it created a neat sort of triangle, just below the scar from a long-ago surgery. I liked it – it was a little bit of balance in the middle of my leg. Part of me.

In October, I went to a dermatologist for mole check. Not the first time I've done that, but it was the first time that I wasn’t sent home with a clean bill of health. My balancing mole was "suspicious" and another, on my calf, "definitely something", he said with a decidedly laissez-faire air about him. Naturally, I was less sanguine about it all and asked nervously what might happen if it was indeed melanoma. "Ah, pshaw," he said and dismissed it with a wave of his hand, "melanoma is 99% curable" (which didn't help my nerves much, as I once knew someone who fell into the 1%). So, off I went to see a plastic surgeon, who didn’t think it was melanoma (agreeing with my inner voice, which was convinced I was fine and who here doesn’t trust their inner voice?), but the only way to find out for sure was to remove the offending parties, so in mid-December, she did.

I don't know what I expected - I have friends who have had moles removed and it was a quick slice, 1-2 stitches et voilĂ , they were done. I get in there and they tell me that the freezing will feel like a bee sting. Uh-huh. FROM A KILLER BEE! ON STEROIDS!! I discover, while my eyes start sweating, my hands are clutching the armrest and I hold my breath for a really long time, because if I hadn’t been, I’d have been swearing. Vociferously. And as you know, I try to maintain a ladylike exterior at all times.

And if you’re done snorting about that last comment, I’ll continue with my story...

Then they left me alone for a bit while we waited for the freezing to take hold. At this time, despite having my composure rattled somewhat by the "bee sting" I was still fairly cool, calm and collected. This was nothing, right? I regularly have dental work without freezing, even when I do get a local, there’re rogue nerves preventing it from working and besides, I've had a chronic, painful disease for four decades with attendant hospital procedures - this is nothing. Right? Still, although I was fairly sure I wanted to watch the procedure, I decided not to, as regretting watching would be way worse than regretting not watching. And then she came back and started carving out chunks of my leg and if you are wincing a tad, protesting that my description of the procedure suffers from an attack of hyperbole, let me comment that anything that needs
two layers of four stitches each to cover a hole the size of a nickle can legitimately be termed a chunk. The second wasn't as bad. It only needed 3 (i.e., 6) stitches. And after feeling the blood run down my leg, the tugging of the sutures and listening to the doctor asking for two specimen jars (ewww) to send to pathology (more ewww), I was no longer quite as cool, calm and collected. It’s amazing how a procedure like that can take you from being self-assured and in control to being a frightened patient. Especially when you've allowed yourself to forget that minor surgery is nonetheless still freakin' surgery. Sigh. Anyway, I made an appointment to get the results, walked home, popped into the supermarket for some groceries and held it together until I come home, at which point I allowed myself a brief period of shaking.

I kept the bandage on for about a week, then was driven nuts by the itching and took one off myself. The other was a little more interesting, as I couldn't reach it. I don’t shave my legs – not only am I blonde, but it’s winter in Toronto and I need every bit of insulation I can get my hands on – and at some point, it occurred to me that maybe I should’ve. Unfortunately, the time this thought arrived was when my attendant was ripping off the adhesive bandage on my calf and doing a rather intense, extremely localized wax-job at the same time.

Spending a week and a half seeing the stitches instead of my balancing mole every time I looked down on my leg was strange. I missed my mole. Felt lopsided without it. But once I got the stitches out, I realized that there's going to be a fairly obvious scar - really, I thought plastic surgery was supposed to be less in-your-face than this - so I still have a balancing mark. Last week, I went to get the results. Good news: no cancer and inner voice notwithstanding, by the time I'd moved from the procedure room to the front desk, I realized that I was breathing properly again.

Nonetheless, I am posting a picture of what my leg looked like. I'll make the picture small-ish, as one or two squeamish people I know are likely already sitting with their heads between their knees breathing into a paper bag (the non-squeamish can click on it for a larger version and I know there’re some of you sickos out there). But y’know… getting frightened about this is good. Reminds you to always, always, always wear sunblock. Not merely sunscreen. Sunblock. Or it can be expected that you'll have chunks of your body removed.

At Least She Kept the Socks

And while we are on medical announcements. Remember last summer when my mother broke both her ankles and stewed in a nursing home for three months while they healed? And several of you knit socks for her toes? Yeah, that. She's doing it again. The bone that had the open fracture was unstable, so she had to have it fused. The surgery was this weekend, she’s doing well and hopefully going back to the same nursing home, which was quite nice. And yes, she did keep the socks and plan to use them again.

Monday, January 14, 2008


My brilliant pharmacist, who agreed to appear on the blog (given that this photo turned out surprisingly well) in return for free advertising (the blackmailer!). Main Drug Mart. Go there. Happy now, Hanna?

Friday, January 11, 2008

From Sex Object to the Fourth Plinth

This week’s been beautiful in Toronto. Positively spring-like for a day or two and I was wandering down the street, most decidedly not wearing a jacket and whistling this song (which has been in my head for weeks now. Weeks) when I caught a man giving me an appreciative once-over in the chestal area. Which doesn’t happen often. Or if it does, I haven't noticed it.

I'm of two minds about the ogling. Well, not that particular ogling as the guy followed the appreciative look below my chin with some appreciative eye contact and it therefore became more a mutual moment than a creepy and objectified one. I'm of two minds about objectifying ogling in general. As a woman, I find it offensive. As a woman with a disability, I'm all for it. Because people with disabilities - and especially women with disabilities - tend to be viewed as asexual creatures by the public at large, to the point of invisibility.

Some time ago, Kay over at The Gimp Parade posted about a Sports Illustrated story on Aimee Mullins, an athlete who’s a double amputee (and many other things, including one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World"). The issue in the blogosphere at that point was the sexualization/pornification of her as a female athlete and of her as a woman with a disability. Two pictures in particular created some debate. This one, which yes, could that be more geared to the stereotypical slavering male Neanderthal?

And this one, a magazine cover several years old, which seems more geared toward the stereotypical slavering geek

(Both photographs shamelessly lifted from The Gimp Parade)

I find them to be very different pictures - the first one definitely hits the ogling and objectified button in me, but I really like the cover. In the cover she looks strong, confident and sexy, but - and I realize this is completely subjective - sexy from within, not because she's been objectified (nudity isn’t only sexual). I think that the cover is visually stunning, the lines flowing down her body becoming more about aesthetic beauty instead of sexual beauty (although, gotta admit, she’s pretty hot). And I love the prosthetic legs - they echo the lines of her body and make her look a little otherworldly. I get that this is the objection - that we, people with disabilities, fight every single day of our lives to be seen as just another person, not the disability, but my interpretation of that photo is that it is art. That photo tells me something that the other one doesn't. It makes me think and feel and make up stories about this beautiful woman with the otherworldly strength and speed and that’s interesting to me.

Anyway, I got sidetracked. Back to being a sex object. Or not. I started using a wheelchair at 16, after having spent the previous three years in the artificial cocoon of various hospitals, which means that my entire life as a woman and a sexual being (in the sense of being old enough to do anything about it) has been spent not being seen as either a woman or a sexual being. As a disabled woman, I have no role models of beauty or sexual desirability. Any images of disability out there emphasize the can't, the crippled, the weak and ill, the pitiable, makes us something other than the rest of humanity and not a good way (like the cover above). Role models of female beauty in general are woefully unrealistic (adolescent anorexic giraffes have very little to do with normal women), but when's the last time you saw not just a woman with normal body weight, a few wrinkles, etc. being hailed as beautiful, but one with a disability? I mean, other than Marlee Matlin, who, based on the casting choices in movies and television appears to be the only disabled actress in North America. The part of me that has lived my entire life without seeing women like me being portrayed as beautiful and sexy rejoices in the sexual objectification of Aimee Mullins. It is the fact that for once, a woman with a disability is up there, being portrayed as a woman, not as a cripple. Of course, that she had to be objectified in the process and that it is the objectification that’s cause for a “yay!… erm… hang on, that ain’t right” moment is more than a little sad.

Which brings us to devotees and why talking about sexually attractive women with disabilities is like walking a knife's edge. Because there’re people out there who get off on disability in a completely objectified way and any time you as a women with a disability try to celebrate your body or your sexuality and do so in an open manner, you run the risk of getting on some devotee/hard-core group list – like Elizabeth of Screw Bronze! did about a month ago - and that is both offensive and enough to make anyone think of closing down a blog. And spend the next month showering. Maybe it's unrealistic to expect the world to have the capacity to see people of all forms as beautiful and desirable, yet not expect some parts of that world to get overly focused on your various bits and/or equipment while clutching a Kleenex and unzipping their pants. Doesn’t mean I can’t hate it.

At this point in my thinking, I was becoming really frustrated that there didn't seem to be a way to celebrate bodies other than to objectify them and that's when I remembered Alison Lapper. Who was born with no arms and shortened legs, who fearlessly explores beauty and disability, using her own nude body (unfortunately, I can't get the gallery link on her site to work – try clicking on it anyway) and who was the model for a powerful statue by Mark Quinn (more here) that was placed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Well. Wouldn't it be nice to have more of that?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Won't You Be My Neighbour

I know a woman who is a relatively recent immigrant to Canada from Kenya. Last week, after the horrible events following the election there, I asked her how her family was, if anyone she knew had been affected by the unrest. Thankfully, most of her family are living far from the affected areas, although she does know people who were spending every day being very frightened and she knew of at least one acquaintance who’d been killed.

It got me thinking about multiculturalism.

I grew up in a very homogenous country. It is a small one, characterized by generations and generations living in the same place for decades, even centuries and with very little influence from the outside. Everyone largely has the same experience and values and everywhere else is different and strange. Only in the 1970s did immigrants start coming into the country, requested by the Danish government to build up the workforce and then they came mostly from Turkey and what was then Yugoslavia. After growing up in Denmark, coming to Canada was, quite frankly, a bit of a shock to the system. But I loved it instantly. Canada is a country of immigrants - with the exception of Native Canadians, we’re all immigrants here, even people whose families have lived in the country for generations. In 1971, my favourite prime minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, officially announced the federal policy of multiculturalism and it is one of the many reasons why he is my favourite prime minister.

Multiculturalism means that even though I live in Canada, where I come from is as valid as my Canadian experience. I don't have choose - I am free to celebrate both, to continue to honour my Danish roots and traditions, while creating Canadian ones and sometimes, like at Christmas, blending the two and ending up with something better than the original. I am Danish-Canadian, the hyphen representing the adding of one to the other, the equality of both and I feel privileged to live in a country where my background, as well as everyone else’s is celebrated.

In Toronto, Caucasians are in the minority, there are now more people who are racial minorities than there are whites and I love it. I love the different languages, I love the food (oh, how I love the food), I love being able to travel all over the world without leaving my neighbourhood. I feel at home in this city where although we all come from different places and we all have different coloured skin and different customs, we are all neighbours nonetheless. Just people.

The first time this was really brought home to me was when a friend and I had taken a drive a bit north of the city, spending the day in small towns. All day, I was vaguely unsettled, but not able to put my finger on what was wrong. Until I came back to Toronto and realized that it was the lack of pigment that had unnerved me, the fact that in those small towns, everyone was white. After all this time, homogenous feels wrong to me.

And six years ago, after 9/11, it was brought home to me again. Because when the world was demonizing Muslims, I could name 20 that I knew personally. All of them good, decent people who'd never dream of killing anyone. They were kind neighbours and funny friends and I was grateful for them because they provided me with an antidote to the hate and the stereotypes flying about wherever you looked. They made it easier for me to remember that Muslims didn't crash the planes into the towers. Fanatics did. And I believe the latter far more relevant to the issue of terrorism than the former.

This is not say that Toronto is a utopia, far from it. There is still prejudice here, but we are working on it. And living right in the middle of this wonderful mix that celebrates diversity creates an environment where you live locally, but think and feel globally. Countries halfway around the world have faces attached to them, people that I know and like and I feel more connected not just to my neighbours and my friends, but to the countries and cultures they come from. Each no longer some sort of abstract, far away place, they are different. But it's not strange.

Before I go, another sort of strange thing (text here). Strange, but pretty damn cool.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Last week, there was a day of snow that looked like it does in the movies. Or a Jacquie Lawson card. You know the scene - the village is quiet, warm golden light spills out of the windows in old houses with thatched roofs, decorations are everywhere. You hear the occasional hoot of an owl or muffled bark of a dog and all around, the snow is falling quietly, beautifully, slowly plumping up each branch and twig on each tree. The kind of snow that makes you believe in magic.

I spent much of the day sitting by the window, awed by the beauty outside. And then, towards the end, I grabbed my camera, got out there and it was beautiful. My downtown street as still as an English village, every branch and twig in every tree fluffy with a covering of white. Magical.

And the next day saw another kind of magic. Clear skies the kind of blue that warns of intense cold and all the snow on every branch and twig in every tree turned to ice and sparkling in the sun.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I Don't Wanna

I don’t wanna. I'm not done. There hasn't been nearly enough sloth or lollygagging over the holidays, the quantity of sitting and drooling has been shockingly low and Tuesday evening, when I started writing a list of things I had to do this week and realized it made me want to cry…. Well. The break started well enough, but then a few things went pearshaped, I’m tired and as reality will arrive next week in a completely unavoidable way, I am feeling rather like a petulant child, prone to tantrums, pouting and stomping the floor while whingeing as annoyingly like an invisible mosquito.

Sometimes, I hate being a grown-up. On the pro side, nobody but me is running my life. On the con side, nobody but me is running my life. And I need a vacation.

So I'm going to take one. For the next four days, with the exception of occasionally venturing outside to procure sustenance, I am unplugging from the to-do list, quite possibly from the Internet, as well, although whether measures that drastic will be required remains to be seen. I will be reading, watching movies, napping and in general act like a cat, except with opposable thumbs and access to a DVD player.

See you next week.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Wish

I rarely post photos otehr than my own here, but on my new obsession (feeling down? Cranky? Upset? Go through 10 pages of "kitteh" pics and you'll laugh you way out of your bad mood), I found one that eloquently says everything about my hopes for this year.

Follow the kitteh.

funny pictures