Friday, January 30, 2009

Ribbit

It all started with the shower curtain.

When I moved into my own apartment (after years and years of waiting for one with attendant care attached to become available), AB sent me a fantastic shower curtain with a frog on it. Charming, whimsical, doesn’t matter what you call it, it makes me smile in the morning and considering how very unawake I am upon first becoming vertical, you’d know how much of a miracle that is


Over the years, that first frog has been followed by others, as if it’s been sending out notices to its friends and family. The whole family hasn’t invaded, it's not as if there is a mad collecting thing going on (because a one bedroom apartment covered in frogs would be a little… creepy), not just any frog will do, but every couple of years, I'll find a one that wants to come home with me.


Sometimes, it surprises me how many uses there can be for a frog. One perched upon a stick to add pizzazz for your plants? Who’d have thunk (and yes, that other thing is a Danish flag stuck into my ficus, as well and let’s not get started on the flags. Ken claims Danish people use flags for all occasions, just because they decorate Christmas trees, birthday cakes and… well. Maybe he has a point)



But mostly, they don’t really do anything, other than hang out here and there, peeking out on my interior world, adding a bit of colour, a bit of nature, a bit of joy.



Recently, I've been told that in native cultures, frogs are the symbol of happiness (plus a whole lot other meanings in other cultures - scroll down) and I can well believe it. It's not something I do deliberately, but often, I will rest my eyes on one of my frogs and though I don't always consciously register it, it gives me a moment of a smile



Do you have a collection, accidental or on purpose?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

5 Things to Look for in a Rheumatologist

My latest HealthCentral post is up:

"A common piece of advice to those who have just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is to "find a good rheumatologist," but what makes a specialist "good"? Do they give frequent flyer points at every appointment that you can redeem for gift certificates to the store of your choice? Do they wave magic wands that reduce your symptoms? If you're new to the medical world and already feeling overwhelmed by your diagnosis, it can be hard to know what to look for in a doctor. Here are a few suggestions:"

You can read the rest here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feminist Empowerment My Arse

On Friday, I read an article in the Toronto Star about Beyoncé's new single called "Single Ladies". The article pronounced it "a shout-out to sisterhood," "a strong song of female empowerment" and claims that it has "a powerful feminist message". Naturally, this made me want to check it out, especially since just the night before, Michele had called me up foaming at the mouth with irritation about the song's chorus.

So I went on YouTube, watched the video, then watched it again trying to decipher the words, then found the lyrics and that's when I got a little foamy myself. First of all, I can see how this could lead to a new dance craze because that song is insanely catchy. Insanely. After listening to it twice, it was in my head and it hasn't left since and it makes you want to move. I get that. It's a very fun song until you listen to the words. Please join me in picking it apart, won't you?

Story in a nutshell: boy didn't treat girl right, girl left, girl with another man, boy #1 gets pissy, girl informs boy #1 that he doesn't have a right to an opinion, as "if you liked it then you should've put a ring on it". And oh, sure, who hasn't been there. If you've just walked away from a relationship where you were taken for granted and didn't get what you need and all of a sudden dude’s interested again, there's something very empowering about telling the bastard to bugger off because he’d had his chance. But that's not what I'm going to rant about. Today's rant is about what constitutes a "powerful feminist message" and a "shout-out to sisterhood".

First, I expect a bit more of a shout-out to sisterhood than a call to "all the single ladies, all the single ladies". Because as far as I can see, there is nothing else in there that makes me feel all sisterhood-y. And if it was a call to sisterhood, don't you think that Beyoncé and her two friends in the video might have dressed slightly differently, as leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination and traipsing about on stilts appears to appeal more towards manhood. (is it just me who bemoans the present state of affairs where the youth of today appear to think that sexy = slut clothes?) And had it been a call to sisterhood, maybe she wouldn't have done that "oh oh oh" part in the middle while looking remarkably like a sex doll and seriously, some of those moves look like they should be performed in a place that has a pole and is largely frequented by male clientele.

Okay, pause for breathing...

The chorus is as follows:

If you like it then you should've put a ring on it
If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it
Don't be mad once you see that he want it
If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it

What is this "it" to which she refers? The finger upon which he should've put a ring? She's not referring to herself as an it, is she? Okay, for the sake of artistic license, I'll give her this one without too much quibbling, assuming that the "it" refers to being with her. But towards the end of the song comes this part:

here’s a man who makes me then takes me
and delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond
pull me into your arms, say I'm the one you own
if you don't, you'll be alone
and like a ghost I'll be gone

and this is where I had apoplexy. Not a mild one, either. "Pull me into your arms, say I'm the one you own"?! Excuse me? Really, there are no words other than EXCUSE ME???

So these days, a song about how an engagement ring changes a woman to something that can be owned, to chattel, to a …a thing - well, maybe the "it" was her, after all - constitutes a powerful feminist message? I thought feminism was about things like fighting for gender equality and rejecting the idea that a woman's identity is solely related to her relationship status, but I guess I could be wrong?

I don't know whether to weep or rain down my wrath on the people who perpetrated those lyrics (if you look on the lyrics page at MTV linked to above, you'll find that it was written by Beyonce and THREE MEN, no surprise) and the idiot reporter who in one fell swoop has reinterpreted feminism to some sort of weird 50s theory of the sole purpose of a woman's existence.

And it makes me want to go on the barricades and write polemic creeds and… and...

Who's with me?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dear Winter. Again.

Winter,

Last year, I asked nicely. I've even asked nicely this year. In December, when you showed a remarkable degree of commitment to your image of being cold and snowy, I rolled with it, asking only that you keep it to a dull roar in the week before Christmas so I could get all my errands done. Not only did you not respect my wishes at all, you pummeled the greater Toronto area with so much snow that the media started calling it Snowmageddon. Yes, I know the media tends to exaggerate, but in this case, they didn't and you sent snowstorm after snowstorm after snowstorm our way, to such a point that I couldn't get out at all, but despite your efforts to ruin Christmas, we had a very nice one, anyway. It should be said, though, that I appreciate you giving us rain instead of snow on Christmas Eve, but it was crumbs, honey. Crumbs.

In the new year, you've gotten even more enthusiastic to such a point that I can't remember the last time I was warm. Like really warm. You know I have asthma and can only crank the heat so much before I start wheezing (I miss radiators), yet you persist in giving me temperatures so much below freezing that turning on the heat is necessary. And that's another thing - although you gave us an awful lot of snow last year, at least you kept the temperatures relatively mild and I would have very much liked to be able to not turn on the heat for two entire winters in a row, but nooo. You had to ruin that, too, with your ridiculous insistence on showing me what “real Canadian winter” looks like. Which mean that in my home, this real Canadian winter involves my windows being frozen shut – not that I would open them in this kind of cold anyway (I may be descended from Vikings, but I’m not insane), it's the principle of the thing. Windows frozen shut just isn't right, despite the ice crystals sparkling prettily during the few nanoseconds you throw a bit of sunshine our way, before clouding the sky over again. And that’s another thing. Would it hurt you to give us a bit of sunshine every few days? I’m so low on vitamin D that I’ve started craving mushrooms again and I can’t stand mushrooms. I really don’t need these levels of confusion in my life.

And then you brought in the big guns last week. The talking heads called it "bitter cold" and they were right. Although I'd had enough advance warning to stock up on provisions enabling me to stay inside for the duration without being reduced to eating my shoes, it was indeed bitter. Both the temps and subsequently my mood. Not just because we saw windchill factors of -30 (that’s -22F), but especially because it's one thing to choose not to go outside, it's a completely different thing being forced to stay inside because your wheelchair can’t get through the snow and, even worse, because if you go out, it will actually damage your body. That one time you gave me frostbite 15 years ago was enough. Especially as the top of my right ear still aches with the memory when it gets cold enough and it certainly has done that in the past couple of weeks.

A few things have helped. Season Three of Battlestar Galactica has eased the sting of being trapped inside somewhat, as has the joy of putting everything handknit I own on my body (it's the only good thing about you) and speaking of that, at least I have friends who care about me while I’m being so grieviously harassed by you. Such as Carrie who sent me my trivia socks - they're gorgeous and look like the desert, which helps me imagine that my feet, at least, are in a warm, sunny place with little precipitation. She also threw in a pair she’d received at a swap meet, believing I might have more use for them than she would, what with living in Arizona. (due to poor planning on my end, the photo op coincided with laundry day, so I couldn’t model them. Wearing damp socks would be Wrong).

The great photography magazine and yummy Southwestern treats (cactus pear jelly things!) she included in the package also did much to reduce the bitterness (and I would show them to you, but I ate all the treats and the magazine is on loan. Again with the poor planning – I blame you, winter.). Friends like AlisonH who sent me dark, nut-free chocolate with a cheerful penguin tag that I hung on my ficus-as-Christmas-tree (and take three guesses why I can't show you). And then there are the friends who remember that when I am trapped by you for long enough, I near the edges of unhinged and so they call and keep me company while you continue to do your thing outside. And don't give me that crap about how it's "just who you are" and "you gotta be you", because relationships are about compromise, teamwork and partnership, a shared desire to make each other happy and as far as I can tell, I am the only one compromising here. And did I mention I’m not happy?

Therefore, I'm sorry to say, I am done with you. I am tired of always being cold, I am tired of seriously considering wearing mittens inside (and would, if it wouldn't make it difficult to use my computer and leave fuzz in my tea), I'm tired of wishing nothing more than to stay in bed under a warm comforter until the Spring solstice. In other words, winter, I have one nerve left and you are on it. I have had it with your shenanigans to such an extent that even writing and speaking your name makes me feel all weird and uncomfortable.

It’s not me, it’s you. So I’m moving on to a form of weather more responsive to my needs. I’ve asked you to leave, yet you persist in stalking me, so unless you cease and desist with your extreme behavior and learn to moderate yourself somewhat, I will take out a restraining order.

And winter? Just one last thing.

Just... Bite me.


Lene

Monday, January 19, 2009

Random January

The back-up is for real. No comment.

Trevor's sent me some new president-related links. Apparently, Obama is Irish (the song is here) and equally apparently, Krispy Kreme's free doughnuts on Inauguration Day is pro-choice? Who knew? Also somewhat political (ok, vaguely related), the annual banished words list. And not at all political, but it made me laugh so hard I snorted, a comment about to-do lists.

Different versions of a walk-in closet (and can anyone confirm that they are indeed speaking German? Sounds to me like German by an English speaker who thought throwing in a touch of he Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show was a good idea).

I need this sign.

One of the reasons I love Isabella Rosselini is this new project called Green Porno. Click around. It’s wonderfully demented.

From the forefront of science: A hot drink may ease symptoms of cold and flu. Really? Who knew??

A bit late, but it's good anyway. A California Carol.

From LynnM, two great videos about health care receptionists. Funny, yet with a painful tinge of truth.

And to start your Monday with a smile: What Anchors Do During Commercials.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

5 Things to do for the Newly Diagnosed

I'm back to basics in my latest HealthCentral post:

"Living well with RA needs a box full of tools addressing different aspects of life with a chronic illness and together, take you where you want to go. If you've just been diagnosed, the following are five important items for your toolbox:"

The rest of the psot is here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Letters from the Past

During one of the latest excursions into my landfill of accumulated crap - why am I such a packrat? - we found, buried in the back of a shelf somewhere, a harmonica folder stuffed with letters and cards from the early 80s to the mid-90s. As nothing is safe from my attempts to minimize aforementioned accumulated crap, we put it somewhere where I could reach it and every day, I've been picking up a handful of envelopes, going through them and deciding which to keep and which to not.

I used to be a dedicated letter writer. Before the age of e-mail reduced me to typing a quick few lines and clicking send, I wrote long, chatty letters to friends back in Denmark and a number of penfriends all over the world and they wrote long, chatty letters back. What a concept, eh? We were heavy card users, sending funny, thoughtful and occasionally mushy cards to each other and it was nice having things in the mail that didn't have a window in it and going through these piles of cards from pretty much everybody I knew at the time has been a nice reminder that it doesn't take very long to write a few lines, slap a stamp on an envelope and make someone's day. I think I want to do that more.

These letters and cards from before are roughly half and half from people who are still in my life and others who I no longer know. There are Christmas cards and birthday cards, Easter cards and just-because cards and although I no longer have many of these people in my life, I recognized the writing instantly, hardly ever having to take the card out of the envelope to see who it was from. There were cards from family and friends, parents and friends, old boyfriends, cards of congratulations when I got my MSW, cards from my 30th birthday (oh, it seems so long ago), a faded fax from AB with the ad and floorplan of the house she and her husband bought and three cards with the strong, angular writing of my father and those felt like a hug.

Sitting here, surrounded by reminders of relationships, some still strong and some but ghosts, I was surprised by how little regret I experienced about the latter. I've always found it very hard to lose the ones I care about, often thinking about reestablishing contact, but apparently it becomes easier as you grow older. Or maybe it is growing wise enough to know why some people are still here and why some are not. And the cards from most of the people who are no longer in my life, I threw out. Initially, it felt wonderfully liberating - there's nothing better than reducing a pile by half - but the more of the envelopes that went in the trash, the more it felt as if I were erasing my past and that didn't feel quite as liberating.

A big part of history is found in letters from the past - they give us a sense of who people really were, what they did, what social values and conventions look like at the time and entire books are published containing nothing but the letters of people of note. And within families, letters between great-grandparents or aunts or the cousins who moved to another country tell us who our family is, informs our sense of place and roots us in a continuity. And I wondered about the people who will go through my things when I die (me? Morbid? Naaah…) and know that they will find a part of my life they may not have known about through these cards and letters, but because I threw out everything I'd ever received from this person or that, there will be no sign, no proof that they were ever in my life, despite some of these relationships lasting years, even decades. And that felt very, very weird.

I still tossed ‘em, though.

And speaking of leaving things in the past… I cracked, found a vague, sort of plausible excuse and got things fixed


Ahh. Much better.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dignity Schmignity

I used to have short hair. Really, really short hair. Then my neck got hurt and I couldn't go to the hairdresser for a while, which meant my hair grew and grew some more and after 25 years or so with a coiffure shorter than 1 1/2 inches, I was enjoying being able to feel the wind in my hair and decided to let it grow until I got sick of it. That time has officially arrived.


However, my excellent hairdresser has moved to a place that isn't accessible, the hairdresser just up the street from me isn't very good and how hard could it be? All I wanted was to chop off about half of it, vaguely in the shape of my hair on the picture I use for Health Central (taken by my darling sister Janne and with gratuitous baby inclusion in the form of my niece Morgan)



and as I knew someone who "does hair" as a sideline, I asked if she'd be willing to take scissors to the mess on my head. And did you notice the foreshadowing? The looming doom? Because things got a little strange.

Although this person is very good at doing weaves, extensions and dyeing hair, I think she may be unaccustomed to cutting the hair of people and pale as I am. By the second time she closed the scissors, I realized it wasn't going to be good, but by then, it was too late. When I put on my glasses again, having been blissfully sufficiently blind to not be able to see myself in the mirror, I may have lost my breath a little. Because not only wasn't it good, it was bad. Or rather Bad. Most… erm…
unusual haircut of my life, it appears to be the bastard child of a Dorothy Hamill and a Prince Valiant (much like Disaffected Scanning Jockey experienced - click on that for visual aids about those styles, should you need it) and the worst of both and instead of revealing my cheekbones and thereby the alleged heart shape of my face, this one somehow adds width and I feel decidedly like a melon. You think it can't be that bad? Let me show you:

I used flash in the first picture, as my bathroom is kind of dark. This provided unexpected inspiration to acquire a personal spotlight for the next few weeks, except instead of directing the light onto myself, I want it to point away from me, thereby blinding any onlookers. However, since that picture didn't do the haircut justice, I tried again, by resting the camera (which does not have image stabilization) on the counter, leaning it backwards and attempted the bored model look. Which instead of making me look remote and sexy, was assisted by the lighting and the angle of the camera into giving me the appearance of a terrified rabbit (really, I don't normally look like this)


My mother claims I look like a serial killer in that one. At least, that's what I think she said - it was hard to tell for the laughing.

So I tried again, pasted a smile on my face and I'm sorry about the dim and shaky, but it may be a blessing, because I think I've figured out why looking at Medusa turned people into stone. It wasn’t a nest of snakes she had on her head – it was a bad haircut. As proof, our postal carrier has just delivered a package to my door and during the entire exchange of pleasantries and wishes for a good day, his eyes were fixated on my hair, a look of terror in his eyes. I believe he barely escaped with his sanity intact.

And want to hear something even funnier? I can't get this fixed for at least 3-4 weeks, because I see this particular person several times a week and she thinks it looks great.

All I can say is that I'm very grateful I'm not in my 20s or 30s, because if I were, I'd be very, very upset. Instead, every time I pass a mirror, I laugh.

And it's too good not to blog.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Job Opportunity

I did a lot of thinking over the holidays. That is, once I was no longer hopelessly snotlogged from the sinus infection that severely impacted my ability to think to such an extent that I couldn't chat idly on the phone and look at a photograph at the same time - not editing it, just looking at. It was quite ridiculous. However, once that abated and I got my brain back, I did a lot of thinking about the busyness of my life.

One of my friends once told me that I was the busiest unemployed person he knew and now that I am no longer completely unemployed, things have gotten a little out of hand when my already full life grew. Did I ever mention my theory that a life is much like a purse? You fill it to the brim no matter how big or small it is (this is why I refuse to get a purse much larger than a brick or two and often of the same heft). Add to the general things that we all do, there is also the disability part of the equation, which takes up an inordinate amount of time and effort and altogether, it sucks up all your time and energy and when your time and energy are lower than most people's because of miscellaneous pain issues, by the time you're done with what you have to do, there's nothing left and you're rendered incapable of doing anything but drooling in front of the TV. And the more I thought about this, the more I realized how much writing I wasn't getting done while I was running all the various aspects of my life.

I have therefore decided that I need a wife.

Think about it. There's a reason why historically, most artists, writers, painters, philosophers and what have you have been men. Because they had wives who ran the household seamlessly and quietly, catered to their every whim, up to and including keeping nuisances and disturbances away from the sancto sanctorum where The Master (to be breathed in reverent tones) was thinking/writing/painting/picking his nose. I've even heard of someone - and at this particular moment, I don't remember who it was - who had a wife and a mistress, both of whom cooperated in enabling the guy to create in peace. No wonder the bastards were so productive! And no wonder women couldn't be.

So it's logical that I need me one of those. And I don't want a personal assistant, because they cost money. Essentially, I want an indentured servant, but someone who is unlikely to put arsenic in my tea before they attempt to escape, which leaves you with the option of someone who is catering to your every whim out of love. Well, and to be historically correct, necessity, as women weren't allowed to be on their own, but that's a post for another day.

The position requires the following:

Gen. housekeeping tasks, including, but not limited to, continually assessing stock of food and supplies, meal planning, grocery shopping, maintaining a neat, clean and orderly home (not that I do that, but I have higher standards of indentured servants), plant care, answering of door and telephone, taking messages and preferably dealing with issues without involving me

Gen. paperwork and financial management, including engaging in business correspondence when required, banking, bill payment, submitting invoices, filing

Continuous monitoring of ill cat, including an awareness of frequency and consistency of bowel movements, general state of health throughout the day, maintenance of medical history of ill cat, liaising with various veterinary clinics, administering medication during which cat transforms into snarling, spitting demon with a multitude of legs and mouths, daily grooming and cuddling, providing entertainment and play sessions when cat feeling well enough to do so

Maintaining interpersonal relationship with family and friends, including regular phone calls, remembering birthdays and anniversaries, purchasing appropriate cards and gifts, wrapping said gifts, writing thoughtful and witty cards and arranging lunch/dinner plans with recipient and/or mailing cards/gifts, providing emotional and/or practical support when necessary

Managing of volunteer duties (e.g., tenant rep, committee member), including going to several monthly committee meetings, maintain lists of community resources and appropriate contact information, awareness of building and community issues, preparing for meetings, engaging in follow-up, including preparation of reports and e-mails with misc. stakeholders, communication with stakeholders (includes letters, newsletters and meetings) and proactive planning and community development

Managing large medical support team, including doctors (family and specialists), nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists, naturopath, acupuncturist, shiatsu therapist, dentist, etc. This includes managing 40+ years worth of information pertaining to medical history, medications and treatments tried, maintaining adequate store of current medications and supplements, staying abreast of new treatment approaches, both traditional and alternative, managing appointment schedule and at all times be prepared to manipulate suggest adjustments to idiotic treatment plans

Managing other disability related aspects, including wheelchair maintenance, coordinating transportation, funding applications re: replacement of wheelchair, medications, equipment, etc. (all requiring a protracted amount of attention, filling out a multitude of forms, liaising with resources re: additional information and translation of bureaucratese), managing and training attendant care providers, both individual staff and management of agency, management and training of other professionals/agencies as needed, including to at all times be prepared to drop everything at aforementioned agencies' whim and dedicate whatever time - minutes, hours, days - necessary to address problem, while ensuring continual high standards of other duties

Other duties as assigned.

Any takers?

Monday, January 05, 2009

All Dressed Up & Nowhere to Go

What I need to go outside my immediate neighborhood, I call WheelTrans. WheelTrans is Toronto's paratransit service, run by the TTC (our public transportation system) and it is designed to provide transportation for people with disabilities who can't use public transit so they can participate in the community on an equal basis with everyone else. Because once you, as a society, designate certain groups as equal, this equality must be supported by programs and policies that remove barriers to equal participation.

These days, I am grateful that most of what I need is available in my immediate neighborhood, because WheelTrans has become a joke. Getting through to the reservations department is next to impossible and wait times for your ride are ridiculous. I'm not talking about 10-15 minutes late. I'm talking regularly waiting anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and sometimes more. For a 15min trip. Both ways. But wait times are not my primary sujet de rantinage (I have no idea if that's really the French version of "rant subject", but as I have no compunction in inventing new English words, why not diversify?). Snow is. Because the other day when I called to book WheelTrans for a trip outside my immediate neighborhood, the automated voice announced that there was a forecast of a "major snowfall" and WheelTrans therefore encouraged you to only continue with booking the ride if you were going somewhere essential, like dialysis. When I got up, I checked the forecast and the major snowfall? 5-10 cm. Which for the metrically challenge out there is 2-4 inches.

In the early 90s, I worked in an office… well, that is until Mike Harris got elected on a pack of lies and repealed The Employment Equity Act at which moment I, along with a vast number of other people with disabilities, more or less instantly lost their jobs, as employers were no longer under legal mandate to have their workforce represent the demographics in the community. Of course, Mr. Harris had promised us that as opposed to women, racial minorities and aboriginal people, people with disabilities actually really were discriminated against out there - I guess the un/underemployment rate of 50-85% was harder to ignore than statistics for the other groups - and he would promptly develop an Ontarians with Disabilities Act, as well as increasing funding to the Ontario Human Rights Commission to make up for taking away the Employment Equity Act. Then he cut funding for the Ontario Human Rights Commission and eight years later, released an Ontarians with Disabilities Act that was completely toothless. Sure, Mike. You really cared. Me? Bitter? Whatever gave you that idea?

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes... I worked in an office and during the winter, I went to work unless they forecast a major snowfall. Only if the forecast were 20 cm and over, would WheelTrans request that its customers to please consider staying home, unless you were going somewhere vitally important (like dialysis). Which was reasonable, because many other people who could, would make the same choice.

And now, a little over a decade later, if the forecast is 5-10 cm, they grind to halt. I have no idea what's happened for the service to deteriorate like it has and it's not my job to fix it. It is my job to point out that shutting down the paratransit service because it snows in a city that sees an average winter snowfall of 133 cm (52 inches) means that this is no longer a paratransit service. Because if you can only go past your immediate neighbourhood when the weather is nice, there is no longer any equality.

Aside from setting new standards for what constitutes a "major snowfall" as being a completely ridiculous smattering being positively un-Canadian, the rest of the city doesn't grind to a halt at those levels of accumulation. Therefore, WheelTrans, designed to remove barriers to equal participation in e.g., employment, has now erected a barrier, because I don't know any employer who would tolerate staff not coming to work once or twice a week for months at a time. And if employers know this, why would they hire you? Or if they did hire you, would they keep you instead of letting you go in favour of somebody who could get to work?

It's hard enough to get a job as a disabled person. There are barriers to education that makes it likely that as a person with a disability, you're going to be undereducated, but even if you have the skills for a job, with no legal requirement to hire, employers stay away. Because with employees with disabilities comes requirements for accessibility and accommodation of disability, like assistants who can do certain physical aspects of the job that are not "essential requirements" (like filing in a management job), attendants to provide bathroom assists and help at meal times, funding for private paratransit trips instead of mileage for off-site job related activities, etc., etc. But if you somehow manage to get yourself a job despite all that, here comes WheelTrans and tells you that if there's a bit of snow on the ground, they won't take you to work.

I'm starting to think that unemployment rate may exceed 85%...

Friday, January 02, 2009

Flickr Update

Finally! My Flickr page is updated (link to it over there in the sidebar). I always forget how involved this gets, but it's also a lot of fun. Here are some of my favourites from the recent batch:

You've seen this one before, but I just love how the lake is molten in the sunshine


I have no idea what plant this is, but suspect it may be from another planet


Big knots. What's not(!) to like?


I love the lines in this, the tree reaching for the sky. And I called it 'Stumped', which makes me giggle


Burnished in the winter sun


I like the mathematical shadows in this. And realizing low the sun is at noon in December messed with my mind a little

Thursday, January 01, 2009

You Gotta Have Faith

The holiday ponderings proliferate, not just here, but in my latest post on HealthCentral, too:

"Midwinter is upon us and with it, the New Year and celebrations of the coming of the light. We sing and set flame to candles in the dark, symbolizing our faith in goodness and our hope for tomorrow. We know that light is coming, know that each day grows a little longer and soon, winter gives way to spring and new life. But there are times when connecting to goodness, to the knowledge that light will come and to a hope for tomorrow feels impossible, blocked by pain and feelings of despair and we wonder if we will ever believe in joy again, feel joy again."

You can read the rest here.