Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year in a Blog

Having seen this on Lav Liv's blog and not having much else to say at the moment ... it's the first sentence of the first post for each month of 2008.
December - The memorial service for Mom is this afternoon.

November - So here I sit, moseying through the Sunday paper, much of it proclaiming Obama's win [to be], when I come across this column entitled "Long to-do list awaits Obama".

October - When things are going well, all seems relatively right with the world, I blog.

September - Blogging has been light around these here parts lately ~ no wonder perhaps, given that my house seems to have a perpetual revolving door lately.

August - THE RULES OF RURAL ONTARIO ARE AS FOLLOWS:

July - My Little Spot In Cyber Space To Kick Back And Contemplate Life, Politics, Raising Kids while Raising Parents And What It Means To Be A Canadian In A Topsy Turvy World.

June - Wow! Here's something definitely worth writing home about.

May - What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!)

April - So today's the big day. April 1st.

March - This could be great fun. And might just make you think a bit.

February - How would Jack Bauer have ever survived ... in 1994?

January - It's true, ya know... Oh yeah, now I remember why I don't have any cats.
So what are you to make of that? Hell if I know ...

But just in case I don't make it back here again in time, Happy New Year and all that jazz.

Yeah, I know. You would think I could do better than that, wouldn't ya?

Oh well.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Got Nothing

Nope. Nada. Nothing.

Except that I am still here. Breathing. Living. Sort of.

Trying to get through all of Mom's stuff. Figure out what I want to keep, find a place to keep it and then indict myself for treason for getting rid of the rest of it.

Then there's Christmas returns. Best not forget them.

And work? Maybe. Once in a while. But we certainly wouldn't want to make it a habit or anything like that...

So, yeah. That's about it.

And how's your life?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Simple Truths

And so we come to the end of one year and the beginning of yet another.

A time when some will care to make resolutions as to what and how they will do things differently in the new year. To be followed by a time when many of those grand plans will fall by the wayside.

May I suggest that instead of New Year's Resolutions, we strive to follow and remember these simple truths.

Simple. Beautiful. Timeless.

Check them out and see if they might fit your life. I know they do mine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On Christmas Mornings

While checking out some other blogs this Christmas Eve morn', I was reminded of a Christmas morning in this house many, many years ago.

As most of you would know by now, my oldest, the Blue Jay, is developmentally delayed and a little autistic. It took her a long, long time to pick up on the concept of Christmas. Although at 15, I can most certainly confirm that she has it big-time now.

But I remember one Christmas when she was about 3 or 4. Despite the tree, the decorations and the hustle and bustle, she had no clue that it was Christmas morning or even what that meant. I sat her down by the tree and opened her first present for her. She couldn't say her own name at the time, so this is what came out out ... "Oh, sica". I tried to show her how to open the second one. "Sica, oh sica!" with more excitement. Repeated with an ever-growing sense of wonderment and excitement as I helped her open each gift.

She may not have had the slightest idea what it was all about but clearly thought it was a very good idea. I can't capture her tone, her voice here but I will never forget it.

Scotch pine Christmas tree ~ $30.00
Numerous toddler toys ~ ??
The look on that little girl's face and the wonderment and excitement in her voice ~ Priceless

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Final Word

Remember the furor around the blogosphere around the movie, Tropic Thunder? And the direct effects it had on some?

Apparently, the movie's current release on DVD, has restarted that whole conversation again. And although I still feel there is real concern that the reaction of the disability community might have given this sad attempt at a movie more play and interest than it deserved, I am happy to award the final word in the conversation to this young lady. She is affiliated with the ARC of Virginia, an organization which advocates for the rights and full participation of all children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.



What she said.

H/T to Pipecleaner Dreams

Friday, December 19, 2008

Your Tax Dollars At Work

It's been a busy session for the Nova Scotia Legislature, it would appear. After all, they did work for a whole seventeen days before rising. Nice work, if you can get it, no?

And lest you think that is unusual in this, our fair Province, does anyone recall 2006? They worked all of an entire twenty days that year. Yup, that's right 20 whole days, one day short of an actual three weeks. Of work.

Now don't get me wrong, I know all most some MLAs work hard in their constituencies. As well they should. But we are talking about Members of the Legislative Assembly here, aren't we? As in, perhaps they should make an effort to actually spend some time in the Legislature? You know, legislating.

Anyway, I thought I would give you a taste of some of the stellar legislating that was done. During that gruelling 17 days. I proudly present An Act to Declare the Sable Island Horse to be the Provincial Horse of Nova Scotia Act, An Act to Declare Ice Hockey to be the Provincial Sport of Nova Scotia, and legislation banning students from using a cell phones or other communications devices in a public school classrooms and requiring lottery tickets to have their expiration dates marked clearly and visibly.

However, lest you think all was lost, never fear, for the year 2009 shall now officially be celebrated as the "one hundredth anniversary of the first airplane flight in Canada by the Silver Dart in the Province." And that we do was most noteworthy.

It's not that I mean to imply that our provincial government fiddled while Rome burned. Heavens, no. But, then again, if the horseshoe fits...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dreamscape

I can't recall having even one dream in the past two weeks. Not since Mom died. Sure, I know we supposedly dream every night but I remember none ... until today, that is.

Tired out, I went back to take a nap after the girls left for school. But I felt sad and restless. Couldn't really seem to fall asleep. Still, it felt good just to lay there and not move.

And then dream, I did.

I was in an apartment. With my Mom. We were both doing our own thing, just another ordinary day. But then I walked into the kitchen and saw that she was trying to get out a stain (blood, perhaps?) from a sheet from the hospital. She was determined to get rid of this stain but wasn't having much luck. I told her to give up, that she would never get it out. That I had sheets from the hospital that I had never gotten the stains out of it. [Disclaimer: it was a dream, okay?]

Then I was outside walking around. So very, very sad. Because my Mom was gone. I was walking around barefoot and somehow knew that this was very inappropriate to the season. With my head down. Sobbing softly and moaning. Because my Mom was dead. I passed by some people and recall thinking that they would think I was nuts. But to hell with them, my Mom had just died.

My Mom had just died. The thought repeated itself over and over again in my head. And then suddenly ~ click! I remembered that I had just been with my Mom! What the hell? I picked up my head and started running back to the apartment to find Mom. But I didn't get more than ten steps and there she was, calmly walking towards me.

Mom. As she was. As she had been before the past year of sickness. The Mom I knew.

I ran up to her and gave her a huge hug, which she returned. Then I pulled back, looked into her face and told her how much I love her. I recall having an insight at that moment. This was Mom, the real Mom. And now I could tell her again how I felt. She returned the sentiment, of course.

And then she said goodbye, turned around and started walking away. Now this is the weird part, as if the whole thing wasn't really strange enough. There were no tears, no recrimination or pleading for her not to leave. I simply stood there and said goodbye to her as she walked away. A couple of times as I recall. Each time, she stopped, turned around and said goodbye again. The last time, I told her that I wished she didn't have to go. She turned, said "I know" and then kept walking. And yet somehow, it was okay.

The dream immediately switched to something else. I was walking on the same street but going somewhere else with all thought of Mom gone from my mind. Well, that's not entirely true. It was like a second dream and I was still very sad, with no memory of what had just happened. And so the dream continued.

I was stunned when I finally woke up. Went over the dream about Mom carefully, so that I would remember it. And then asked myself "What the hell that was all about?" I suppose it was just something my mind had to do, to find a way to say goodbye to Mom. The real Mom as I knew her. The way she had been.

Although I would like to think that maybe, just maybe, she had come back to say goodbye to me. But that would most certainly not be in line with Mom's beliefs as to what happens after death. So I don't know, suppose I never will.

But what struck me the most was how matter of fact, calm and peaceful the goodbye was. Perhaps some day that memory will bring me some peace.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saddened

I moseyed over to Lex's this evening and read his post on his weekend. A bit of this. A bit of that. With another Christmas tree adventure.

And it saddened me.

I was reminded of a post of Lex's from last year, one where he shared with us a truly good day. Which happened to be the same day that we put up our own Christmas tree. A warm, happy memory.

This year, not so much.

We were going to get a tree today. We had kind of, sort of planned it that way anyway. But although we had a 'good' day (Church in the morning, out for brunch and then a well-wasted well-enjoyed afternoon racing bonding with my daughters over the Play Station), alas, there was no tree.

No tree. No energy. No ambition.

I'm sure we will eventually get a tree. Well, I think we will anyway. Then again, there aren't any Christmas lights up outside (or inside or anywhere else for that matter) here this year. Maybe later. Maybe not.

It's awful hard to get in the Christmas spirit at the moment. My kitchen has imploded with stuff from my Mom's little house. Although we were fortunate to be able to re-rent it quickly, it turned out to be a little too quickly. Which meant a mad dash to get the place cleaned out.

Did I mention the mad dash? Yeah, that was pretty much it. Put your head down, close your eyes, try not to see, try not to think. And for heaven sake, don't stop to comfort your kids when they get upset at Grandma's house. Because if you do, that will most surely be the end of you.

Just. Keep. Going.

So. Here we are. Maybe Hopefully, it will get better. After all, hope springs eternal, right?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Back By Popular Demand

Frosty Gets Caught ... Again


Seeing as how people were googling through to the archives for this, somehow it seemed only right...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Struggling ~ Yet Strangely Comforted

"Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way you always used.
Put not difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort,
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was,
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you, for an interval,
Somewhere very near,
Just round the corner.
All is well.

Nothing is past;
Nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!"

~ Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918,
Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

Monday, December 8, 2008

One Hundred

A nice round number, it is.

It might be considered large, might just be considered small. It all depends on the context, I suppose.

But it just happens to be the sad milestone reached this past Friday as the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. I hesitate to admit that I have been "waiting" for this day to come. Not wanting it, of course, but awaiting it.

Here's the thing - it's such a small number compared to the losses of other countries. In both Afghanistan and Iraq. Or compared to the number of Iraqi and Afghans civilians killed or even just the numbers of American military who have died.

How does one go about even making sense of these numbers?

And admittedly it's miniscule compared to the number of Canadian soldiers lost in WW II ~ 45, 300 dead from a populating of only 11,267,000 ~ or WW I ~ 69,944 dead from a population of only 7.2 million.

Yet, for whatever the reason, and despite the references to "combat fatigue", it's a large number to Canadians. A number that weighs heavily on the Canadian psyche.

Personally, I believe wholeheartedly in what we are doing in Afghanistan. Many Canadians feel the same way. Many don't. And many, I would venture, are tremendously swayed by either way whatever the current news coverage might be on a given day.

Either which way, I doubt too many would argue that it is time to bring this one to a close. If it can and could and has been done in Iraq, than surely we can turn such a corner in Afghanistan. And the way I see it, there is only one way to do that.

We keep hearing that more American Marines have been or will be redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan.

Please.

Make it happen.

Already.

And my condolences.
To the families of those last three soldiers killed this past Friday.

And to the families of all the soldiers who have lost their lives in this cause, from whatever country.


Friday, December 5, 2008

'Twas The Month Before Christmas

*Twas the month before Christmas*
*When all through our land,*
*Not a Christian was praying*
*Nor taking a stand.*

*'Cause the PC Police had taken away*
*And the reason for Christmas - no one could say.*
*The children were told by their schools not to sing,*
*About Shepherds, and Wise Men, and Angels and things.*

*It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say,*
* December 25th is just a 'Holiday '.*

*Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit*
*Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*
*CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*
*Something was changing, something quite odd! *

*Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*
*In hopes of selling books by Franken or Fonda.*
*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*
* At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*

*At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears*
*You won't hear the word Christmas;
it won't touch your ears.*
*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty*
*Are words that were used to intimidate me.*

*Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*
*On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !*
*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*
*To eliminate Jesus, in every public matter.*

*And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*
* Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*
*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged or discarded*
*The reason for the season, was stopped before it started.*

*So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'*
*Sipping your Starbucks, Listen to me.*

*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*
*Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS ,
not Happy Holiday !*
Please, all Christians join together and wish everyone you meet during the holidays a MERRY CHRISTMAS

Christ is �The Reason� for the Christ-mas Season!

H/T to Punky D


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Today...

The memorial service for Mom is this afternoon. I so don't want to do this. Can't I just crawl back into bed and stay there?

Will today be the day when it really hits me? I am starting to think maybe ...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Truly, Deeply, Sadly

Tired.

Truly, Deeply, Sadly, Tired.

And although I would like to say that 'At least it's finally over', I have a feeling that in many ways, it has only just begun. At least for me.

But at least it is over for her.
As of 7:15 A.M. on Saturday, November 29, 2008.

I think I am mostly still numb at the moment. Relieved, in many ways. That she is no longer suffering, no longer literally trapped immobile in that body.

But I felt my own pain start to awaken today. It will be a huge loss in my life, that I know. One that I can't imagine ever being filled. Yet, at the same time, I feel very lucky. Lucky to have had such a wonderful Mom. Lucky that my children have had such a wonderful grandmother living literally next door for so many years.

And so, we will grieve her. And miss her. For we have no other choice. For our loss.

But I am truly deeply happy to know that when Mom opens her eyes again, she will be with my Dad. Free of that hospital bed. And he, free of his wheelchair. Both of them together again. Where they belong.


Rest peacefully, Mom. You deserve it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Spinning The Wheel With Our Health

Two recent stories personify what, for me, is a big problem with our Canadian health care system.

Now before we go there, let me just reiterate that, yes, I am a proponent of our health care system. Call it socialist, hell, call it communist, if you must. I really don't care what you call it. I call it a good system. **

Good, but not perfect.

First, we have the case of the Cape Breton woman who has spent the last 16 months in Toronto awaiting a double lung transplant. Although the provincial health care system pays for her medical costs, they don't pay for her non-trivial non-medical expenses.

The family has sold off their car, four-wheeler and boat to help pay for her travel and living expenses, but money is quickly running out. Although the community has held fundraisers and the Lung Association has also pitched in, the family estimates that they have now spent $35,000, a bill which would have been even higher except that Marilyn MacKay has been able to stay with a nephew in Toronto. The fear is that unless something is done Mrs. MacKay will have to return home by the end of January and lose her spot on the transplant list.

Liberal MLA Michel Samson tabled a private member’s bill on Friday that would require the province to pick up the non-medical expenses of people who have to leave Nova Scotia for medical procedures that aren’t performed in the province. Apparently Newfoundland and Labrador already cover such expenses for patients who have to go out of province for treatment. The bill says the patient would have to be outside Nova Scotia for three or more months before the program would kick in.

Will it pass?

The second story involves catastrophic drug coverage. Or more accurately, the lack of such coverage. A Prince Edward Island Man has cashed in a small pension and now has his home here up for sale to cover the cost of a drug required to shrink a large cancerous tumour in his kidney before doctors can operate. A 28-day supply of this drug costs $7,532 and the full course of drug treatment prior to surgery could cost $45,000.

Although the community has held benefits for Mr. MacMurdo, which are greatly appreciated by the family, such benefits alone won’t solve the problem. Ultimately it’s going to have to be covered by the government. The family has an online petition requesting the province add the drug to its formulary. The province meanwhile, the only one other than New Brunswick without a catastrophic drug program, is pressing the federal government to create a national program.

Sadly, neither of these stories are unique or one-of-a-kind.

Consider this, about 600,000 people in Atlantic Canada have no drug coverage. One in nine Canadians are not protected against high drug costs and this proportion increases each year. And many new targeted therapies for severe illnesses are not automatically covered by the public health system because they are taken outside the hospital.

The way I see it, the responsibility for remedying these situations lies firmly in the court of both the federal and provincial governments.

Each province must have, at a minimum, catastrophic drug coverage and must cover at least some of the, so-called, non-medical costs of patients who are forced to travel elsewhere for treatment. Although there are, admittedly, problems with catastrophic drug coverage, at least it would be better than nothing.

And at least a portion of the funding for such programs is going to have to come from the federal government. Heaven knows they collect of our tax dollars. Heaven knows we've listened to enough promises for long enough. Heaven knows this has gotten to the point of ridiculousness and Canadians are fed up with it.

I suppose the only thing heaven may not know is how much longer Canadians will put up with this. And what will happen next.

** Yeah, I might just have a small chip on my shoulder when it comes to that particular subject.


Friday, November 21, 2008

A Legal Question

Me being me, my friends tend to turn to me a lot for legal advice. Which, usually, is okay.

But a friend just asked me this really important question. And I must admit that this time, I am really stumped. So I was kind of hoping maybe one of my readers could help.






Is this statutory rape???


Or is it just a moosedemeanor.....

H/T to Tera

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moments of Clarity

Ever have one of those rare (for me, at least) moments of clarity? Where it suddenly becomes oh-so-very-clear what you absolutely must do?

As I said, they are rare for me. But every once in a while, the stars do align. And I just seem to know.

I had one of those moments today. Things have been rough with Mom lately. Very. Very. Rough. In fact, a week ago last Sunday, we thought we were going to lose her. She has hung in there since (barely) but it's clear it won't be much longer now. In fact, I think even the doctors and the nurses are pretty well confused and perplexed ... every time you think this is it, well, let's just say she has a track record of coming back. Which, at some points, has been wonderful. Truly miraculous. And now. Now we just shake our heads. And look on in amazement.

Anyway, I had a chiropractic appointment today. I generally see both the chiropractor and the massage therapist on a monthly basis. About 6 years ago I fell off a couch and managed to crack a hole in the wall with my head after crashing through an end table with my shoulder (Yeah, I know, please, just. don't. ask.) and three years ago I was in a car accident. Add to that the fact that I tend to carry a large majority of my stress in my neck and shoulders and ... yeah, chiropractor and massage. Monthly.

I had a massage appointment about two weeks ago. And when I walked into the chiropractor today, I knew that as much, or more, as anything, what I really needed was a massage. Which he kindly confirmed for me. In fact, he suggested that I might want to make a massage appointment on my way out. Although they are two separate businesses, they share office space. Which is convenient.

And as I was walking out of his office into the reception area, it struck me. I knew what I needed to do.

My monthly massages needed to be weekly massages. Just for now. To get through this. And although that could be an expensive proposition, it also struck me that if Mom was okay and was aware of what my life was like at the moment, the stress I am under, she would offer to pay for my next massage. She's a big believer in massage, in fact, it was her that put me on to this particular therapist. And convinced me to go. And offered to pay for my first treatment those many years ago.

So that was what I did. Booked a massage for next week. And in my mind, I thanked my Mom. As well as whatever inside that had suddenly woken up and given me a smack up the side of the head. Because I also realized that at these times, what we (or at least I) need most is what my body seems to most quickly give up. Regular trips to the gym. Enough sleep. A few extra massages. In other words, some tender loving care.

Thanks, Mom. I love you.

Global Warming Has Left The Province

After a few weeks of on-again/off-again 20 degree Celsius weather (that's close enough to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for my American friends), winter officially arrived last night.

I left home yesterday morning in a sweatshirt and jeans and by the afternoon was wondering why on earth I hadn't thought to bring a rain coat.

I had rectified that by late afternoon when I went to take the Blue Jay to her riding lessons and it was raining pretty good. But after my respite break which consisted of reading my current Tom Clancy novel in my favourite Just Us Cafe, I walked outside to snow.

I mean Snow. Did I mention The Snow?

That's about the time when I started to wonder why on earth I wasn't wearing a heavier jacket. And maybe some boots to go with. I was glad when we finally made it home because by that point there was a real little blizzard going.

And while I can't really understand how, in 2008, motorists could be stranded - some for upwards of 15 hours - along a 10 kilometre stretch of highway known as the Cobequid Pass, I think it is safe to officially state that 'Global Warming Has Left The Province'.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Happens in Winterpeg Shouldn't Stay In Winterpeg

Believe it or not, this is an amendment I could really support ... which is highly unusual for me when it comes to Canada's Conservative Party.

But one of the resolutions passed (and reportedly approved by 99% of the nearly 2,000 party members) at the party's first national policy convention since 2003 [held in Winnipeg, hence the post title] called on the party to get behind legislation that would "remove authority from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal to regulate, receive, investigate or adjudicate complaints related to Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act."

That's right, they're talking about getting rid of that nasty Sec. 13 in the Human Rights Act, which makes it an offence for a person to communicate telephonically or by internet "any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination".

Yeah, that one.

And, honestly, I wouldn't shed any tears over it's removal. It should be interesting to see what [if anything] happens next.

Apparently, some issues can actually unite, at least some, groups "from the left, right and moderate centre". Who knew?

Cross-posted on The Flight Deck

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Word Play For Lexophiles

  • The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.


  • I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.


  • She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.


  • A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.


  • The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.


  • No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.


  • A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.


  • Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.


  • Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.


  • A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.


  • Atheism is a non-prophet organization.


  • Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a head.'


  • A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'


  • A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'


  • A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.


  • It's not that the man did not know how to juggle, he just didn't have the balls to do it.


  • The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.


  • In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.


  • When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.


  • Don't join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects!

H/T to Tera

Respite Woes

Wondering about my weekend?

Well, gee, thanks for asking. Actually I spent it at a respite conference.
The Nova Scotia Coalition on Respite and Family Health and Wellness include representatives from families, community and health organizations, government, and researchers...

Researchers at the IWK Health Center and Dalhousie University will carefully evaluate the process and outcomes of this endeavor. Our shared goal is to better understand the support pathways by which outcomes are optimized in these parents and caregivers. This proposed program of education and research is important for all of us who struggle to help these sons, daughters, and families. It is critical to educate parents and caregivers to develop meaningful respite solutions, supported by community- based evidence.
[Written by Paula Hutchinson, just to give credit where it's due.]
Which turned out to be good respite.

There are five workshops to be held throughout the province. This one was in Yarmouth (about a 3 hr drive away) and there will be one more local to me in two weeks. But I was asked to speak on a parent panel at both sessions. So off I went.

A good friend has family in Yarmouth so we went together. Ate well at the workshop, met a lot of new people, made new contacts and heard reiterated what so many of us with children with high needs are only too aware. But hopefully something good will come out of it.

But I discovered the best part was the actual respite I enjoyed on the weekend. After the workshop we went my friend's sister. The sister and her husband were on their way out to supper so we crashed. Read, took a nap, read some more, made some tea and chatted some more. Later, another sister brought us over some supper (since we were much too lazy to consider going out to get some) and after that a group of us played Scramble. Talked. Ate popcorn. Had a beer.

Pretty tame, no?

But, boy, it felt good.

Up until 2:00, slept in until 11:00, then asked our hosts if they would care to join us for brunch. It seemed the least I could do considering we had planned on staying with a different sister (which hadn't worked out) and had literally crashed on their doorstep. So off we went to a nice brunch buffet. Where we lingered and talked some more.

All in all, it was a nice weekend. And great respite.

Oh yeah, the 'Woes' part ... I had to come home again. Which somehow the thought of managed to induce a headache on the drive home.

Home.

The welcome was nice. The major computer glitch where it appeared that everything (and I mean everything including all 600 saved emails, all my documents, my internet preferences and half of my programs) had been wiped off the computer. Finally got that straightened out. They won't admit it but I am pretty sure an error which occurred when Windows Live One attempted to install an update was the culprit. Thank God for system restore!

Went up to see Mom last night. It has been a real rough couple of weeks for her. We actually thought we were going to lose her last Sunday. But she is a tough lady. Sometimes I have to wonder if she is a little too tough.

Apparently she had been better on Saturday when HWWLTBO and the kids had went to see her, actually talking, communicating. Yesterday she was totally unresponsive. Eyes open, but no real eye contact unless you placed yourself squarely in the middle of her field of vision. She couldn't move her head. Couldn't talk. Although it did seem a few times that she was trying to say something but couldn't. The nurses told me she had been like that all day. Which meant that they couldn't even try to feed her or give her anything to drink because in that condition, she could aspirate.

It was heart-breaking. And there's not a damn thing I can do about it. That was the woes part.

But the weekend was had been good. So we got that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Missed It!

Just another blog anniversary.

Well, okay, maybe not just just another blog anniversary. It is my first one, after all. But apparently I missed it. Just realized that it passed on November 5th.

Oh, well. So be it.

It's been a fun year. Laughed a lot, cried a lot, researched a bit, posted a fair bit, made some lots of new friends. And got hooked on blogging. Really, really hooked on blogging.

And, oh yeah, 6590 unique visitors. Not so bad, I suppose.

So thanks for sticking around. Or even just dropping by once or twice. It's been fun. Hopefully there will be a lot more yet to follow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nonplussed

I must confess that I just don't get it.

Perhaps the problem is me. But I just don't get this strong wave of emotion following the American election. The wailing and gnashing of the teeth on the part of some of those who feel their entire country has lost. Then again, neither do I get the unmitigated joy, the rapture, on the part of many following the election of the Obamessiah.

One way or another, I just can't get that excited. That involved. That emotional. Although I can say that I'm glad it's over.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I didn't care about the American election or its result. In fact, I spent a restless night on November 4th, often waking up as soon as I fell asleep with the name of Joe Biden or Obama immediately spring to mind. Weird, that.

But I am uncomfortable, I think, with personality cults. And while I don't really have anything that much against Obama, I do find myself getting turned off by what I perceive as the reaction of many around the world.

Yeah, I get it. Or, at least, I 'm trying to. The historic part. Then again maybe I don't really get it. Because I would never consider voting for or against someone based on the colour of their skin, perhaps I simply can't get how big this is in that regard.

But what I equally don't get is Americans who would say that they hope Obama will fail at everything he attempts to do over the next four years. Even trying my best to understand where that person might be coming from, their *certain* knowledge that they will vehemently disagree with every single thing Obama will do over the next four years, do they realize they are wishing, hoping, praying... for their own country to fail? The one so near and dear to them?

Talk about cutting off your nose to cut to spite your face.

Nope, I just don't get it. Can't get it. Rather doubt that I ever will. So I bite my tongue rather than say what I am thinking ...

Why bother? Quite simply, they won't. Won't let themselves. Not for quite a while. If ever.

Perhaps it comes from my inherent left-leaning tendencies. It's funny though, lefty that I am, were I an American, I would have voted for McCain in this particular election. And I can say in all honesty that I have never voted for a conservative.

But it was issue-based in part (even though I don't think that the US should have invaded Iraq, now that they are there, neither do I think they can, in all good conscience, simply pull out and leave the country to sink or swim on its own) and partly based on the fact that for the longest time I couldn't seem to get a grip on what, exactly, Obama was campaigning for. Other than hope. And change. I just couldn't find his specific position on the issues for quite a while, it was just "Let us save the world" and "Kumbaya". Which rather turned me off.

And then there was is his lack of experience. I had a tough time with that, too. And a bit of a general uncomfortable feeling about some things in his background. So yeah, taken altogether, not too likely to get my vote.

But be that as it may, life will go on.

The United States has its first black President.

Many years ago, Canada had its first female Prime Minister. That one didn't work out so well. And we haven't had, or even really considered, another woman at the helm since. So let's hope the U.S.' bold move into making history works out better than ours in that regard.

And, bottom line, although I know this may well anger many, He is your President.

Might I suggest you don't start heading down that road. Don't become a caricature of one of those things you most despise about the left. At least not until the man actually, you know, screws up.

Update: It's been brought to my attention that those two links above, both to the same post at Lex's, could be somewhat misleading. I was actually intending to link to some of the comments on that particular post and not Lex's post itself. Mea culpa.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why The Chicken [Re]Crossed The Road

Partly in honour of the American election and partly because many more people seem to feel the need to weigh in on the issue.
SARAH PALIN: Before it got to the other side, I shot the chicken, cleaned and dressed it, and had chicken burgers for lunch.

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken 2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of Chicken 2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never crash or need to be rebooted.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?
H/T to Punky D

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stupidest Comment Ever

So here I sit, moseying through the Sunday paper, much of it proclaiming Obama's win [to be], when I come across this column entitled "Long to-do list awaits Obama".

Which, after going on about Obama being sure to *win* the Presidency although he might just not because you can never really know for sure due to the "Bradley factor" and the inaccuracies inherent in polls ... comes to this conclusion:

If McCain wins the vote Tuesday, then, there are more closet bigots in the U.S. than we would want to imagine.
Which makes oh so perfect sense, seeing as how the only reason someone would possibly vote for McCain was because they were actually, at-heart, a bigot. You know. A racist.

Just sitting here wondering how someone like Jim Meek actually makes it through each and every day, how he actually manages to function in the world. It must be hard with that kind of burning intellect. But, then again, I suppose we each have our cross to bear.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Word To My American Friends

Updated Below
Assuming I actually have any, that is. But I think do.

Here's the thing. Like I've noted before, I rather like watching American politics. At least recently. I must confess I find the topic much more interesting since becoming a regular at Lex's. Probably because I know and understand a lot more than I use to. Maybe even more than is good for me.

So, I witness a lot of the angst and hang-wringing that's going on on both sides in the never-ending lead-up to this election. Now the "bad news", so-called considering that the majority (that would be all three) of my American friends who visit here occasionally tend to lean towards the right, is that I am pretty sure that Obama will, in fact, win the election.

The good news (and I know this is where we will pretty sharply part ways) is that it will not be the end of the world. Repeat. Not. The. End. Of. The. World. The sun will rise (or not) the next day and life will go on.

Look, when the Pubs win, the Dems cannot help but spout that those damn neo-cons stole the election. Witness 2000 and 2004. And if/when the Dems win, the Pubs will go on and on ... and on ... and on about how the Dems stole the election. I believe they call it politics.

But politics being what politics is I seriously doubt (arguments of the left re: Bush aside) that anyone is going to do too much 'damage' over the next four years. And I use the term 'damage' a bit loosely considering that it's a "lefty" "socialist" writing this post.

But hey, you must at least admit, I hope, having come to know and love me, that perhaps, just perhaps, not all lefty socialists are all that bad. Right? Er, I mean, umm, left?

Trust me. November 5th will come. Hopefully soon. And life will go on.

* * * * *

Update: Never think for one moment that I labour under some delusion that the choice of an American president will not affect me or my country. It will affect every county to some degree (just the way of the world) but being next-door neighbours and significant trading partners, a person would have to be significantly naive to think otherwise. Any perceived "arm-chair thrill" that I may seem to enjoy is only due to the blunt reality that I am totally unable to influence this election. I hold no vote. The choice of who governs Americans must, of necessity, be made by Americans.

But let me draw this analogy. Lex and others have penned many a story about their interactions with their Russian counterparts during the Cold War. And, if I understood correctly, they noted on occasion that, in retrospect, perhaps the potential bite of the Bear was not quite as great as that feared. No, I am not comparing Obama and the Dems to the Soviet Union (as tempting as that comparison might be to some), but I am suggesting that perhaps the 'bite' of this potential Democratic government will not be as bad as some Americans might fear.

Although time will be the ultimate arbitrator on the issue, I can't help but be reminded of the recent Congressional elections, when such fear was expressed by some Americans that I truly started to wonder how they would handle life the next day, should the worst befall them. As it ultimately did.

And I have noticed that some Pubs like to ridicule those of the Dems who, in the past, have threatened to flee the U.S. to Canada (oh joy, oh bliss) should their election be 'stolen' from them yet once again. Amazingly, they seem to have survived. Much, I suggest, as we all will. That's all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

On The Road ... Yet Again

Off to take the Kit Kat to the big city for her bi-annual psycho-educational testing. The testing is tomorrow (pretty well an all day event) but we will go in late this afternoon and spend the night at the infamous Ronald MacDonald House.

I would say that posting will be light over next couple of days but, chances are, no one would really notice. Since posting has been pretty light lately anyway. I suppose I should get back to posting something about politics. Heaven knows there's enough of it around lately.

But here's the thing. It's hard to keep up with two blogs and, believe it or not, that second one gets even lighter posting than here. It might just feel a wee bit neglected at times.

And then there's American politics. While often fascinating (much like watching a train wreck lately), it does tend to get old after a while. These (feel like) two year long election cycles really have to go, me thinks. They could definitely take a lesson from us Canucks on this one ~ short, sweet and relatively clean month-long campaigns. Where, afterwards, nothing not much has changed. Yup, must be a lesson there somewhere.

Anyway, as I said, I will soon be on the road with She Who Is Driving Me Crazy. Wish us luck, please. In all ways, shapes and forms.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mothers and Daughters

Mothers and daughters ...
And daughters and mothers.

Two of the people I love the most in my life. And yet two of the biggest stressors in my life. Hands down. Do they even know? Do they have a clue?

Well, my mother certainly doesn't realize it. Rather ironic that, considering that she was the one always advocating that I must make my life less stressful. Do less.

But my daughter?
Does she ever even think about it? Or is she simply too wrapped up in the drama which is her life?

I can honestly say that for years, she has begged me to get her help at school. After a constant struggle, this year, finally, I am making progress. And she .... she fights it. Tooth. And. Nail.

Mothers and daughters. And daughters and mothers.

Lord help us all.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

'Stupid Is As Stupid Does'

I am thinking that Dennis Leary should change the title of his new book to "Why I Suck: A Feel-Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid".

Please tell me just one thing. Just what kind of an idiot does it take to write this about autism?
"There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can't compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don't give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you - yer kid is NOT autistic. He's just stupid. Or lazy. Or both."
It got me wondering ... just what kind of family did Leary spring from?

And is this an example of an idiot very wrongly thinking that something incredibly stupid and mean can be humorous? Or is this just an example of an idiot?

Help me out here, please. Because this inattentive mother is very confused...

H/T to All That Is Dazilous

Friday, October 17, 2008

Time To 'Lighten Up'

Well, I'm sure glad that's over with. I think it was well worth the $200 million plus price tag, don't you?

I mean, just think, on October 13th we had a minority Conservative goverment. BUT. After all was said and done, on October 14th ... now, now we are the proud owners of a minority Conservative government!

Nothing like democracy in action, I tell ya ... But hey, at least Harper is (pretending to be) happy and, after all, that's all that really matters.

More importantly, now we are free to turn our complete attention back to the meltdown presidential election south of our border. And, in the spirit of "lightening up", you really have to watch the following two videos.

The first link takes you to a video of McCain roasting Obama. And it's pretty darn funny.

The second link takes you to Obama's return roast of McCain. Also pretty funny. Although not quite to the calibre of McCain's, I would say. What do you think?

If Only. If only they could take themselves a little less seriously every day.

H/T to Neptunus Lex for the video links

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vote

Today. Please.

It's your duty. And then we can make it all go away.

Just think, tomorrow we can all go back to watching the American version of enterntainment.

Update: You've got to be kidding!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Day For Giving Thanks

My favourite time of the year, it is.

Usually still warm, but no longer stifling hot. The beautiful fall colours, which somehow seem to slow me down and pull me in. There's something about the season makes me feel thoughtful and meditative. And we do, indeed, have much to be thankful for.

But over the past few years, the question has nagged at me more and more. Why it is Thanksgiving here and Columbus Day there?
For reasons of history and politics, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving nearly two months earlier than our American friends, but that wasn't always the case, and Columbus Day also has its observational ambiguities.

From 1879 to 1898, the Canadian Thanksgiving was observed on Nov. 6, and in other years as late as Dec. 6. Occasionally, it even coincided with American Thanksgiving, celebrated on the last Thursday of November since the 1870s.

In 1899 Canadian Thanksgiving was fixed on a Thursday in October, then in 1907. it was moved to a Monday in October, the exact date being appointed annually by proclamation. From 1921 to 1930, Canadian Thanksgiving was observed on November 11, Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I. In 1931, it was moved again to the second Monday of October, and finally, on Jan. 31, 1957 an act of Parliament permanently fixed Canadian Thanksgiving to second Monday in October: "A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed ...

"Columbus Day Nominally celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Reportedly, there were observances commemorating Columbus' arrival as early as 1792, and Italian citizens of New York City had organized a celebration on October 12, 1866, but it was first called Columbus Day In 1869 San Francisco Italians celebrated on October 12. The holiday attained national status when President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed it to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus' voyage in 1892, made a commemorative proclamation.

I found it interesting that the first Thanksgiving Day in Canada after Confederation was observed on April 5, 1872 to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.

What? Nothing about being thankful for the harvest?

Turns out that historically the theme of the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday had changed from year to year to reflect an important event to be thankful for. In the early years it was for an abundant harvest and occasionally for a special anniversary. After the first world war it was for Armistice Day. And now, of course, it's a day of general thanksgiving.

Interestingly, our American friends have not always been more consistent when it comes to the theme of Thanksgiving either. Although it's true that what is traditionally considered "the first Thanksgiving" was a shared autumn harvest feast between the Pilgrims and the natives, it was not repeated the following year. The colonists went on to observe a religious holiday descended from Puritan days of fasting, prayers and giving thanks to God.

Over a hundred years later all 13 colonies joined in a thanksgiving celebration to commemorate their patriotic victory over the British at Saratoga. But it took a determined magazine editor to initiate a fourty-year one-woman letter writing campaign for a national Thanksgiving holiday to unify a country which she saw headed to Civil War. She was finally successful in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863.

Even then, the date was changed a couple of times, most recently by Franklin Roosevelt, who set it up one week to the next-to-last Thursday in order to create a longer Christmas shopping season. But public uproar against this decision caused the president to move Thanksgiving back to its original date two years later. In 1941, Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday, as the fourth Thursday in November. Then in the 1920's, the fledgling Detroit Lions devised the concept of Thanksgiving Day game. And the rest, as they say, is history.


But don't worry, even though we have our differences, it's still turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and veggies. With pumpkin pie for dessert, of course. Or more accurately, in our house this year, pumpkin crunch. Yummy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's Pumpkin People Time!

Welcome to the beautiful Annapolis Valley ... in particular, the area around the Town of Kentville.

We like to celebrate the season here, whatever the season may be. And we absolutely love .... Pumpkin People!






Of course, some people tend to be more competitive.

And back in 2006, with Halloween a'coming, Dalhousie University's English Department felt compelled to make their own Giant Pumpkin, not to be confused with Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ain't It The Truth

Presidential Race vs Canadian Federal Election:
Heavyweights vs Lightweights


Dion, Harper and Layton are flying on the Executive Airbus to a gathering in British Columbia when Dion turns to Harper and says, chuckling, "You know, I could throw a $1000 bill out the window right now and make someone very happy."

Harper shrugs and replies, "Well, I could throw ten $100 bills out the window and make ten people happy."

Not to be outdone, Layton says, "Well I could throw a hundred $10 bills out the window and make a hundred people happy."

The pilot rolls his eyes and says to his co-pilot, "Such arrogant asses back there. I could throw all three of them out the window and make 32 million people happy."

'Don't Let Them Down'

Although this video was clearly made for the American military, it applies equally to our own brave Canadian soldiers. And it seems even more appropriate when we consider that we are only a few short days away from voting for the future of our country.

I found this video deeply touching. Hope you do, too.



H/T to Fuzzilicious Thinking

Thursday, October 9, 2008

From Social Justice To 'Taliban Jack'

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away ... okay, maybe not quite that long ago and not that far away ... I was a firm supporter of the NDP.

For my American friends, that's about as far left as the Canadian political spectrum goes. Although for the sake of clarity, I would have to say is not quite as far left as American Democrats go.

Anyway, as I was saying, I could pretty well be counted on to vote NDP. Because basically I believed in what they believed in. 'Social justice', I suppose I would label it, for lack of a better term. Sure, I foraged a little closer to the centre occasionally, with a few votes for the Liberals sprinkled here and there (which generally happened when I particularly liked the Liberal candidate in my riding), but for the most part, I sided with the NDP.

And although I remain a big NDP supporter provincially, it's more than a bit of a different story federally. I lost faith with the federal NDPs a long time ago. I can't say for sure exactly when but it was probably sometime around the end of Alexa McDonough's time as leader of the federal party.

Prior to Alexa taking over as leader of the federal party in 1995, she had been the leader of the Nova Scotia NDP party. I had really liked Alexa in her provincial stint, so I was pleased to see her take over leadership of the federal party. But it must have been sometime shortly before Alexa's retirement in 2003 that I felt my faith with the federal NDP start to wain.

Criticism. All criticism. All the time.

That they were good at. But at some point they seemed to start losing their ability to come up with constructive alternatives, constructive solutions. While in her stint as leader of the Nova Scotia NDP (where she was by the way the first woman in Canada elected to lead a major party in a provincial legislature) Alexa coined the phrase "shocked and appalled," which eventually became synonymous with her. And, when she moved on to the federal party, the phrase, at least in my mind, became synonymous with that party. Because it seemed like they were, you know, "shocked and appalled" by just about everything.

For part of her time in Nova Scotia, Alexa was the lone NDP member in the house, a one-man woman party, as it were. And in her own words:
"I was often pretty obnoxious in terms of flying by the seat of my pants and in some ways living up to the worst stereotype of kind of a holier-than-thou ‘I know what’s right here and what’s wrong with the rest of you.’ I can understand how that would happen, and somehow ‘shocked and appalled’ seemed to be the label they put on it."
Alexa was followed federally by Taliban Jack Jack Layton in 2003. He remains the leader of the federal party today and quite frankly, he has rubbed me the wrong way from the get-go. Initially it was the constant carping, the negativity, the apparent disagreeing just for the sake of disagreement and the nothing positive to offer in return posture. Later, it was often issue-based, as well. So, no, not a big fan.

And now, it looks like Layton is up to his usual shenanigans. Earlier this week, Layton (quite predictably) seized upon the comment of British Brig-Gen. Mark Carleton-Smith that "we're not going to win this war" in Afghanistan. He was also quite happy to tag team the General's comments advocating negotiations with the Taliban.

Did I ever mention how the Conservatives had given Layton the handle "Taliban Jack" a few years ago for his suggestion that all would be well if we would just sit down and "talk" with the Taliban? Yeah, my reaction exactly.

At any rate, I imagine we could have renamed Layton 'Happy Jack' earlier this week as it seems as if he has been spouting how horrid, wrong and immoral the actions of Canadian troops in Afghanistan have been for at least a couple of years now. And how they need to come home. Now. Did I mention how that better be right now?

Yes, once again, Layton acted in predictable style. In his own words:
"I'm heartened by the words of this senior military commander who is adding his voice to those many, many Canadians and others around the world who believe that the prosecution of the continued war effort has got to be changed,” Mr. Layton said.

“The New Democrats came out very early with this view and we've continued to argue respectfully with those who disagree that there's got to be a new path ... Let's hope that more and more people are reaching this conclusion.”
Well, Jack, you might want to check your facts a little more carefully before you try jumping on that particular bandwagon. Make sure there actually is a bandwagon, like, and who might actually be on it.

Apparently, what the senior British military commander actually said was that troop levels need to be sufficient to contain the insurgency to a level where it does not threaten the survival of the country's democratically elected government.

And by the by, Mr. Layton, just to be clear, the key to negotiating with any Afghan tribes which might be persuaded to switch sides, much like disgruntled Sunni tribes did in Iraq, is that any such negotiation must come from a position of strength.

As pointed out in an editorial in Wednesday's edition of the Chronicle Herald,

Ultimately, Mr. Layton’s policies would only weaken the Afghan government’s hand. If all NATO countries were to follow his lead – declare the war unwinnable, then pull out their contingents ASAP – what precisely would there be left to negotiate with the Taliban on the ground?

Surrender?
Damn. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Not-So-Little Bus Driver

Made the good choice of taking the family out to Camp Aldershot a few weeks back for their open house. Aldershot, apparently more properly known as "Land Force Atlantic Area Training Centre Aldershot", is, they say, is a training facility for Land Force Atlantic Area of Canadian Forces Land Force Command. And to think I always thought of it as just our local Army base.

Anyway, the open house was a good day, with a lot of interesting stuff to see and after four hours we still hadn't got through it all. But what turned out to be one of the most interesting parts came at the very end of the day when we reached the Cadet area.

Army Cadets and Air Cadets, take your pick. Not much of a choice really, given that when we walked through the Army Cadet area no one even spoke to us as opposed to going through the Air Cadets, where I was really blown away by these kids. They were so excited about what they were doing that they literally beamed. At every table, my youngest was asked the same question "How old are you?" immediately followed hard on her answer with the excited "Did you know you are old enough to be an Air Cadet?". Well, let's just say that if she didn't, she figured it out pretty quick.

Add that enthusiasm to the fact that the first thing the girls were offered to do when they walked in the drill hall was fire a rifle and, yeah, you guessed it ... I am now the proud parent of an Air Cadet.

Well, perhaps more accurately, the proud, frustrated, amused parent of an Air Cadet. Frustrated because she is so excited and hyped each week when she gets home from Cadets, that it's quite a struggle to get her to bed. No matter how often I remind her how late it is and that she does have school tomorrow. And frustrated and amused to see her try to polish boots for the very first time. To a military shine, no less. Practice makes perfect or so they say and for her sake, I hope they're right. And, I must admit, quite proud the first time I saw her in her uniform (the summer dress version with the shirt and tie).

But tonight, for the first time, I saw her in her winter uniform. Blue pants, blue sweater, blue belted jacket, blue parka, blue wedge. Now I am pretty well accustomed to the ribbing the Air Force takes from the Navy, not the least of which involves them being *fondly* referred to as "bus drivers". But tonight when I stepped back and took a critical look at my daughter, I couldn't help but burst out laughing.

She did. She really did look for all the world like a bus driver. I could swear I've seen that uniform (minus the wedge, of course) on some local transit workers.

My daughter. The bus driver. Just how much prouder could a mother's heart be?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chicken ~ Meet Head

When things are going well, all seems relatively right with the world, I blog. I blog then because I actually like to blog, I really enjoy it.

When things aren't going well, when things are really bad, it may take a while but I find that I will generally tend to blog about at least some of it. Not so much because I want to but because I need to.

So what does it mean when I haven't blogged for a whole week?
Geez, I'm not entirely sure except I think it might be a matter of Chicken ... Meet Head!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Democracy And All That

The Year: 1758

The Place: Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Event: The Birth of Democracy in Canada

Pretty cool, no?
Well, I thought so, but apparently they didn't quite get it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Frustration

What's one of the worst things you can do to a person living with dementia?

How about changing the environment? The total living environment, unexpectedly, without any notice.
More than anything else, people with dementia in residential care need to feel safe, secure, occupied, at home and connected to their former lives."

Ms McCann said that in what for these residents is a frightening and sometimes bewildering world of much uncertainty, they need to be helped negotiate a familiar environment that is supportive, makes sense and resonates of home.
Think of it this way ... what if a giant hand were to suddenly and unexpectedly reach down into your home, pick you up and plop you down in a different home? Oh sure, the new "home" may be just as adequate to your needs on an objective basis as the old one but ... how well do you think you would cope?

I can't really blame the hospital. Much as I might like to. I mean Mom has been moved to about six different rooms in just under three months. But I know they are just doing what they need to do. And one of the moves was caused by a shift of the majority of the inpatient units from one floor to another in order to facilitate renovations.

But. This last move. Believe it or not, words fail me ...

Mom has been doing so well mentally for the past month. Quite frankly, we didn't expect her to make it through the summer. She had been losing the battle with MS (multiple sclerosis) over the past year. Struggling with the dementia. And then diagnosed with cancer this past February. She had lived with us for a little over a month in the early summer. But about a month after going into the hospital in the beginning of July, she was doing very poorly. And the doctors told us to expect maybe another week or two.

But once again she bounced back. At first it seemed like she would recover when company would come, only to crash hard each time afterwards. But for the past month, mentally, she has been doing so well.

When I was up to see her yesterday morning ... it was one of those times of really having Mom back again. I really miss my Mom, even though I see her every day. I miss her because even though I physically see her, I can't talk to her the way I use to. As my Mom. To really discuss things with her. The good. The bad. The worrisome. But yesterday, she was so right on.

Then I got a phone call in the afternoon. Mom wanted them to call and tell me that they had moved her to another room. Quite frankly, I really didn't think that much about it. Just another room move. So I wasn't planning on going up that night but when I unexpectedly found myself near the hospital that evening, I decided to drop up.

I was very glad I did. And left there very upset.

If Mom had been an 8 or 9 mentally on a scale of 1 -10 that morning, she was a 3 that evening. The move down the hall had taken that much out of her. In her former room, she was next to the window. There are two patients in each room and we are always pushing for a "window seat". Because when you are in there for the long-term, being by a window can make a huge difference. Especially if your roommate who has the window likes to keep the curtain between the two beds closed.

Well, this had been one of the better rooms Mom had had. Right by a window which looked out on a small garden set in the middle of the hospital buildings. She had a beautiful view of roses and bushes out that window. And of course, the ledge to put pictures and plants on. Plants which could actually grow. Because they were next to a window. I had bought her a beautiful cyclamen and brought in a couple of African violets she had been growing in her own little house. And they loved that window.

So. New room. Next to the door, not the window. All her stuff packed up and shoved in the closet. And Mom terribly sad and confused. I felt her frustration. It was like a physical presence. It became my frustration. And it seemed like the best, the only, thing I could find to help her was to tell her that no matter where they put her, I would always find her. That was guaranteed a small smile and she would respond "Yes, I think you're right".

I did my best to reassure her. To put some of her stuff back out. To tell that she would get use to the new room and would feel better in a few days. And hoped that I was right.

When I went back up today, she was a little better. A little. But she still had this air of sadness and confusion about her. And I wasn't there more than five minutes when she started falling asleep. Which is something she does in phases. So even though I know that it doesn't necessarily "mean" anything, it still hurts. Because it leaves me with a sense of loss, a sense that she is slipping away from me yet once again.

My brother is suppose to be back for a visit next week. And it's highly likely that she is simply "recharging her batteries" as we tell the Blue Jay. Conserving her energy until he comes. I hope so. I pray it's so.

But once again, I walked out of that hospital with some a palpable sense of frustration. Of sadness and loss. Of wanting to have someone to strangle, but no one being there.