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Showing posts from 2008

Sidestepping into Happiness

I was talking to a friend the other day about how this particular set of holidays used to be my annual experience of manic depression. Well, not the actual disease, but perhaps a little bit of insight into what it feels like. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year and there is nothing about it I don't like. Happy, happy, happy.New Year's Eve, on the other hand, tended to send me into a spiral of self-loathing and wishing to jump off a curb, what with the not-so-subtle social pressure to take stock of the past year and find it wanting so you can come up with a number of resolutions that will magically fix whatever's wrong with you or your life asap. And inevitably, I would find things very wanting, somehow never quite having created the kind of life I’d hoped for. Sure, I accomplished things, but never enough, I wouldn't have found time to pursue my dreams, there was always something missing.After I got my life back, that changed. And yes, I know that link shows u…

Holiday Stream-of-Consciousness

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Sometime late yesterday evening, it occurred to me that it was Sunday.Which means that it would very soon be Monday. Which is one of the days I traditionally post. And I had nothing. Because sometime on Saturday afternoon, I remember being unsure about what day it was and it was officially the moment where the holiday mindset started taking over.Things have been a bit busy lately – if by ‘a bit’, you mean unbelievably - and I’d made it even busier because I planned to create a good 10 days (at least) around the holidays where I could putter around, relax as thoroughly as if I were at a spa, lose track of time, eat fruitcake (hic), watch costume dramas like the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones's Diary (Pride and Prejudice, except with more mentions of the word bollocks) and Jane Eyre because that's what the holidays are all about. And in order to make this happen, a number of things had to get done and there has been way too long a time where I have at all time…

A Tink Christmas

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For those of you who are new to my little corner of the world, I need to introduce the Tinks. Three years ago, my sister and brother-in-law created a set of beautiful twins named Morgan and Liam - I blogged about the day they were born here and John (a.k.a. TinkPapa) gave the background of the nickname on his blog (it's on the right sidebar, I'm too technologically inept to figure out the link to a mirror site) (and although their parents no longer call them the Tinks, I persist).We all gathered at my mothers as usual on Christmas Eve and after a wonderful dinner, we attempted a bit of carol singing, as tradition dictates. However, the kids were too revved up about all the presents and given that they had already waited several hours, we proceeded quickly to the tree


Liam opens a book with pictures of himself over the past year (a Moster tradition) (Moster is the Danish word for mother's sister)



Morgan becomes Nisse and it suits her well



Janne (a.k.a. TinkMama) takes Liam for…

A Christmas Wish

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Holly is the nicest person I’ve ever met. I don't remember the first time my friend Andrew introduced me to his new girlfriend - I think it was dinner somewhere - but I remember coming home and when asked by my mother and sister what she was like, I told them about how incredibly nice she was. Later, I also told them she was smart and articulate, may have admitted to being more than a little impressed with her career as a lawyer and told them how she was a warm, funny, generous and really, really good person.Andrew and I had been best friends for years before he met Holly and much to my delight, she was the kind of person with whom it was easy to make friends, as well. I was privileged (and scared spitless) when they asked me to be a reader at their wedding - although I had done training sessions for a room of maybe 20 people, being on stage in a large church with many, many pairs of eyes on me on such an important day was a terrifying thought. But it was an honour to be asked and…

Random December

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Before we get going on the monthly Link-o-Rama, there's a winner to announce. I asked my friend Andrew to pick a number between 1 and 36. For very good reasons, Andrew haven't been able to read the blog for a while, so he was as unbiased as they come. He picked comment #31, which is Emelie from Sweden. Congratulations, Emelie! Send me an email at landers5ATgmailDOTcom and we'll discuss prints and addresses.

From Trevor, a musing on the 1 in 7 Canadians who have a disability. Via Broadsides, a wonderful video celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reminding us exactly what those human rights are. While we are in the Broadsides archives, a wee thing on imperfection and the quest for the impossible, all summed up in two photos.
I got my Seated View 2009 calendar last week and was again astonished by the quality - really thick paper stock, the photos turned out beautifully and no, this is not a hopeless attempt at a sales pitch (a…

More Than a Little Overwhelmed

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Yesterday, I found out that I had won Best Disability Blog in the Canadian Blog Awards and I am dorky and uncool enough to admit that I am ridiculously excited. Being nominated was a thrill and winning is an even bigger thrill.A couple of weeks ago, I watched Barbara Walters "10 most fascinating people of 2008" and one of the people she interviewed was Frank Langella (who I've liked for many years). Langella is particularly “fascinating” this year due to his role as Nixon in the stage play and now in the movie Frost/Nixon, which is apparently getting quite the Oscar buzz. Ms. Wawa asked if receiving an Oscar would mean a great deal to him and when he said a very firm 'yes', she faked surprise and asked why. To which he responded "it would be disingenuous and absurd to say 'oh, it doesn't matter.' Of course it matters" and based on his vocabulary and honesty, I instantly developed quite the crush on the man.Now, I’m not in the top ten fascina…

Door Jewellery

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Hobbled

A little while ago, I ran into (not literally) a woman I know, making her way slowly and painfully and on crutches into the building in which she lives. As she has been using a wheelchair permanently for over a year now, no longer able to walk further than tiny distances requiring only a few steps, I was stunned to see her ambulatory and asked how come she was up and about. She told me that she'd been at the hospital for surgery and "they didn't want the wheelchair there". And as she slowly, ever so slowly, moved past me, the image of her face, drawn in pain and humiliation, the hospital bracelet on her right wrist and her feet sliding across the floor with each small step in an attempt to make the pain less seared its way into my brain while I had no words of comfort. I was speechless, her words ripping through me.They didn't want the wheelchair there.I knew that I wanted to write about this, but it's taken me days to get past my emotional reaction to a plac…

I Don’t Know Why She Fights It Every Year

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Every December, when Steph realizes that's she's overcommitted herself with the knitting again, I make her a schedule. Or rather, a Schedule. In this document, I tell her exactly what she knits (and bakes, wraps, etc.) and when in order to get it all done by Dec.25. It's our Christmas present to each other - I get her through the gift knitting with her sanity relatively intact and she feeds my belief that when I run the world, it will all work out. We have a beautiful friendship.Being the maker of the Schedule, it is perhaps not surprising I like lists. Lists are soothing, writing down everything you need to do a week, divided into categories of e.g., Do, Call, Email, etc., allows you to get a general overview of the insanity that is life, assess whether you will have a decent week or one in which you need to invest in several pounds of chocolate covered coffee beans and creates a sense of control. As I hit 40 some years ago and therefore allegedly am somewhat wiser these…

A Beginners Guide to RA: Being a Chronically Ill Parent

My next post is up at HealthCentral:

"Raising children is a challenge at the best of times and adding a chronic disease to the mix ups the ante on the emotional and mental resources required."

You can read the rest here.

Partial Truth

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In Which I am the Cat Toy of the Universe

I once developed a theory of how life works.In this theory, the universe is a cat and we are its toy.It makes perfect sense.You know how there are times where it feels that every time you try to get up, you get knocked down again?Am I the only one who thinks that’s exactly how a cat keeps batting away at a toy (or mouse) over and over again, patiently waiting between each swat until the "subject" starts twitching again?Until you just can't do it anymore and roll over, bear your throat (yes, I’m aware that’s for dogs, work with me) and whimper uncle.At this point, the universe/cat gets back up, an expression of "well, all you had to do was say you needed a break" and walks away to wash its face while you catch your breath.When you're back up again, this time with feet firmly planted on the ground, it comes back and meows in your face to play some more.And that is the Cat Toy Theory in a nutshell.It all started a month a go when my DVD burner died and set off…

BCE Place, 3 Views

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Once More with Feeling

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I’ve tried, I really have. Done my best, followed all the rules, done what everyone do and while they manage to nourish life and growth, I bring death and destruction.I confess.I have committed serial herbicide.It wasn’t supposed to happen – I don’t mean to.Every time I get a new plant, I pay attention to the instructions, google some more and follow them carefully.But sometimes, I get distracted and forget to water when I should or do when I shouldn’t and before I know it, the leaves start turning funny colours and the whole thing droops, drop bits and… is gone. Happens even when I don’t forget or have one in my house, beuing cared for by others. The conclusion is inevitable: I have a black thumb. My damn aura is a black thumb.Once, I got a pot with babytears at the exact same time as AB and did exactly what she did every day and after 2 weeks, hers was flourishing, overgrowing and mine was a collection of black tendrils in a bit of soil. She may still have the descendants of hers, w…

A Disability Blog?

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Thanks to all of you voting, I've made it to the second round of the Canadian Blog Awards in the Best Disability Blog category and I’m beyond thrilled (does that make me more dorky?). Last week, I was all humble, saying that it was an honour just to be nominated and it is an honour - it means something that someone thinks I might be “best” at this thing I do. It also means quite a lot of something that many other someones agreed and voted for me. And by now, I’m so tickled that I made it into the second round and, just in case, am working on my "Oscar nominee who didn't get the award" face, while being really, really grateful that when the results are announced, no one will be shoving a camera in my face and broadcasting it to the world. Which is a long-winded way of saying thanks so much for your vote and if you are still so inclined, I’d very much appreciate your vote again.No registration or Canadian residence needed and it's all over by this Sunday. And whil…

Random November

Cats can make everything entertaining. Mojo and I need a Roomba.Michele has sent me two very blogworthy links this month.The first one measures how old your brain is - the fact that mine was 36 after spending a day with two very energetic three-year-olds made me worry a lot less about my Swiss cheese memory and whether that meant I was getting old.She also sent me this one on side effects of a particular new beauty product.Make sure you have time, a cup of tea or a glass of wine and no children (or work people) around when you go to that link.You won't regret it.
The presidential election may be over, but if you didn't hear about the Québec comics who reached Sarah Palin and persuaded her that they were Nicolas Sarcozy, the president of France, read the story here.And you can hear the recording of the call here.The 100 most commonly misspelled words.I didn't read the whole article in one sitting or my internal editor would have become quite unhinged.From Trevor.Why can…

Oxydized

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12 Words

Introspection time over at HealthCentral:

"At the beginning of this year, I injured myself while having too much fun with Photoshop, rendering my right elbow and shoulder utterly messed up (note to self: decrease amount of time spent at the computer)."

The rest is here.

Celebration x3

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I used to be a bit of a culture vulture - went to concerts, museums and galleries, the opera and dance (modern, traditional ballet sort of bores me) – and most of the time, I went either with my mother or Ken.It was our "thing" and I have a lot of good memories connected to those outings.Like the time when mor - if you're new around here, that's the Danish for mom - and I were almost thrown out of the opera because we couldn't stop giggling at a particularly ridiculous performance.The time Ken and I went to see an exhibit by Anish Kapoor (astonishingly beautiful art and last year, Ken made me a purple hat inspired by this, which is breathtaking in person) and on the guided tour when the woman working in a gallery spoke of how she felt she could whisper all her secrets to one particular sculpture, we had to stop looking at each other in an attempt to control another helpless fit of the giggles.Ken and I, awed, seeing Cirque du Soleil for the first time together, b…

7 Things

A while back, Laurie tagged me in the "7 things" meme and much as I like the theoretical idea of this one, my reaction was more along the lines of "seriously?How do I do this?".I've been blogging for 3 1/2 years and there are few corners of my psyche that I haven't already written about.Well, there are some, but I’m not willing to hang everything out there in public!So it’s taken me a while to get here, percolating on this in the back of my mind - it’s possible I may have been overthinking this a tad - and here they are. And here are the rules:

Post the rules on your blog
Write 7 random things about yourself
Tag 7 people at the end of the post
Pass on the tag

I have an overactive internal editor and automatically edit anything I read, although most of the time, I manage not to write irate letters to newspapers about the way they are bastardizing the English language and grammar, dumbing down beautiful and eloquent in favor of what?Hipness?So …

Hero Worship

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I don't use the term 'hero' often and I don't have an awful lot of personal heroes - in fact, I think it might take me it some time to come up with even a small list.But last week, when I rooted around on the new 7-day releases at my video store (where you can rent three old releases for the price of two new ones and I'm cheap enough to like that), two of the ones that made it home with me turned out to be about two men who I definitely consider personal heroes.And I only knew about one of them.Shake Hands With the Devil.When Romeo Dallaire's book about the Rwandan genocide came out, I couldn’t find in audio, which upset me, because I believe there are certain things you must read, must watch, to which you must bear witness.I believe we must do this so that when it happens again, we will be among the people who stand up and say no, who are part of the voices that speak against it.It is the only way to lend validity and weight to the phrase "never again&quo…

Assumptions

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I've been thinking about assumptions. More specifically, the assumptions made by certain bright lights in festivals and other organizations. Assumptions about the audience, the people who will come out to shop, to participate. Assumptions about whether these include people with disabilities, people who use wheelchairs or scooters.

And apparently, we aren't expected to attend Buskerfest. Or have the money to make a donation.


(to be fair, on days 2-4 of the festival, they did provide big barrels at waist height. You all know how much I love (grrr) Buskerfest and leap on any chance to rant about it, but I have to be fair. Dammit)

The local tourism board (of Toronto? Ontario?) is kind enough to set up a stall at the Market during the season to provide visitors to our fair city with information. Based on the height of that window (the top of my head may just peek above the counter), we don't travel, either.


Or buy condos.


And the winner is...

I decided to get the Tinks to pick t…

A Beginners Guide to RA: Love & the Horizontal Tango

This week on HealthCentral, I go on about romance and sex:

"One of my favourite frog stories -- as in, "you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince" -- was the man who said he didn't want to date me because he wanted an equal partner. As I'd managed to have a number of equal relationships with family, friends and past lovers despite my disability, I inquired what prevented me from taking on that role. To which he muttered something about wanting a woman who could help paint the house. And that was the moment I realized that someone not being able to "handle" my RA was entirely about them and not me. Quite a liberating moment."

The rest of the post is here. And the contest will remain open until Sunday.

2009 Calendar Contest

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I’ve been slaving over a hot computer for a while, gathering images that qualified as candidates for next year’s calendar and this weekend, did the final push, Photoshopping like mad and battling with CafePress designs (which are deceptively easy-looking).My shoulder’s fucked, I’m cross-eyed, need several day’s worth of codeine and sleep, had a blast (most of the time) and am yet again wondering why I keep forgetting it always takes longer than I think it will.But the good news is that the 2009 calendar is in the shop


along with a few other seasonal products (plus one that’s an antidote to all the looming winter). To celebrate my doneness, I considered getting drunk, but that’s just fun for me. And potential witnesses. So I’ve decided that instead of making a fool of myself in public, I’m giving away two (2) The Seated View 2009 calendars. Leave a comment saying pretty much anything you want - tell me a joke, talk about your Christmas stress (if you celebrate Christmas) or what you…

Reading Lolita in Toronto

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Last year, in response to NaNoWriMo, Matthew over at Defective Yeti came up with NaNoReMo - same concept, except instead of writing a novel in the month of November, he read one and blogged about it.Much less work!Last year, he chose Catch-22 and although I enjoyed reading about his experience, I'd read it already and didn't join in.This year, he and his readers chose to read Lolita
by Vladimir Nabokov.It's one of those classics that I've always meant to read, but never did and so, in a moment of procrastinating doing something I ought to be doing, I popped over to Audible to check out the edition/narrator.And found that the narrator was Jeremy Irons, an actor I have liked tremendously since the early 1980s when I first saw him play Charles in Brideshead Revisited. He makes interesting choices, not always the standard good guy, instead choosing complex, complicated roles, finding the humanity and relateability in men who are often very unlikable, at times to chilling ef…