Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dodge the bullets...

SIGNS - 5 Man Electrical Band

Yeah the song is cute but very appropriate as it speaks to the stupidity of some signs. We have all seen signs where we give our head a shake and wonder "What were they thinking?" or "Could anyone be so stupid as to need a sign for that?" Let's look at some that have me baffled

Ok, technically it is "Bridge Freezes" but I personally don't see how spots above ground level would indicate this. The first time I saw this sign it was in a seedier neighbourhood and I thought dodge the bullet was a fair warning. Yes, these signs are posted near bridges but that landmark could also be a territorial divider among warring gang members.

I just want to know how many brainiacs sitting around the boardroom table did it take to figure out that this was a necessary sign? Monumental waste of government time and tax dollars. This don't typically seem to be permanently erected signs. I think that would be a cool the first hint of rain, go put out the signs and collect them as the sun shines....You know it would pay very well being a government job.

You see this sign a lot in larger metropolitan area, and like the previous sign there probably was some sound reasoning for this sign. However logic and common sense is gone the way of the dinosaurs. Logically, the intent was likely to keep traffic flowing, to keep the area free for transit vehicles and maybe even to keep the "street treats" away from the area. But if you were a transit rider, is there a bench available for you to sit (cuz I think that would be legal) or do you have to stand far from the curb and make a made run for the bus as it approaches. Like the hobos jumping onto the moving train...fair is fair, buses can't stop either :) I pity the seniors and anyone else who isn't trained to participate in a marathon.

Say what...dancer? Since when do the moose come out of the forested areas to dance on the! This sign does not fall into the same category as the others because I think it is legitimate and can potential prevent tragedy. But none the less, this sign makes me smile and I have to share with apologies to my travelling companion. We were on a road trip in the northern part of Ontario where the moose and other wildlife outnumber the people. After passing this sign many times over the miles, my companion turned to me and remarked that she had been watching for the dancing moose and couldn't understand the logic behind the sign, when we came across a particularly large version of the sign and she was able to read that it actually said "Danger" not "Dancer". Well, I still can't look at this sign and not picture a desolate highway with crowd of "Meese" (is that the plural for moose? lol!) kicking up their hooves and dancing to the music of the forest creatures. One last thought, aren't you glad I was driving and not someone who needed glasses to be able read signs? I know I!

These signs seemed to come into vogue about the time that my own babies were mere toddlers and there were no toddler on board signs to be had! Guess my kids were passed importance in the mind of the manufacturer. lol! These signs bothered me; not in a create a movement to ban their sales type of bother, but rather an irksome feeling and a bizarre mental picture of a baby strapped to a 2x4. What was the point of these signs really? As a motorist, if I am about to have a collision I should do everything humanly possible to avoid cars with such signs and go for the young adults or seniors? Hey a handicapped bus...aim for that! lol!
For awhile there, it seemed like one in 5 cars had at least one of these signs plastered on their windows. I wanted to look and see if it was true, or if they were using the sign for self-preservation. I mean, a baby in a car is one thing but a bunch of grown family men off on a fishing trip is different.
But maybe, just maybe these signs aren't saying that a babies life is more precious than my toddlers or even mine, but that there is life in the vehicle that will need help getting out of the vehicle in case of an accident. That's fair enough but to be non-discriminatory, we need signs to alert EMS personnel to the old and frail, the confused, and the physically restricted. A babies life while precious is not more important than any one elses. If you are going to save me because I am a baby but my mother dies...well maybe I'll wish you hadn't. But then I am speaking from experience after all.

I have no words...this sign makes my head hurt...but I would like to have a word with the committee that commissioned this sign and put in the work order. I saw a group of people deep in discussion at City Hall, they were all wearing the same uniform...white tuxedos :p

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A hot guy finally comes to the house to pick me up and he brings his partner and work truck!

Don't Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult

It was about 11:00pm on Saturday September 10, 2011. I was feeling a twinge in my back and not thinking too much about it, I decided to finish up reading my messages on the computer and head for bed. By the time I was brushing my teeth, I was hanging onto the counter for support and breathing funny. Laying in bed and on my back, I initially felt relief but less than 5 minutes later, anybody looking on would have thought I was having a pillow fight with myself! lol! I was trying to arrange them and me to get relief from the pain which was intensifying and unrelenting at this point. What started as a little tightness now feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest and his friends are climbing on with him. Breathing is laboured and painful. It's only been a half hour and I think that if this continues I am going to go out of what is left of my mind. 

So I called TeleHealth Ontario - for those unfamiliar, it is a telephone service that you can call 24 hours for advice. I wanted to know if they felt a medication relieving back pain might help with the pain. The young man who answered briefly listened to my complaints and then said he would have to transfer the call to a registered nurse and the wait could be 5 minutes. Not like I was going! And good thing I didn't either, because 45 seconds later the nurse was on. In between describing symptoms she was collecting personal information. When she had my address, she informed me that an ambulance was being dispatched. What! Now the panic sets in, I'm way to young for a cardiac episode! There wasn't a lot of fight in my pain-ravaged body. Let 'em come. 

The initial ECG did not show any abnormal cardiac activity but the pain was still beyond my manageable control and I couldn't breath right. So when they suggested a ride to the hospital to be checked for cause and relief I wasn't going to say no. The EMS personnel felt that it might be muscular strain but I couldn't think of anything I might have done to cause that - not recently anyways :) While I was waiting for the doctor and having more ECG's and blood taken the pain was still intense. But I did get relief after some serious vomitting - which in itself I thought was going to kill me! In the end the doctor concurred with the initial findings gave me some pain meds, something to sleep and sent me on my way.

Being as it was about 3:30 in the morning I chose not to wake anybody up and had a cab called to take me home. My biggest worry was that I would throw up in his cab - silly me. Each divot in the road was a new adventure in pain and I had my arms wrapped around my ribs as tightly as I could because I felt like I would just snap in half. Anyone who lives(d) in town will understand this next part. We came along Guelph Street to come home. It is a four lane road and the curb lanes have the manhole covers at fairly regular intervals and everyone one of them is a rather abrupt bump in the road. And that is the lane my cabbie drove in. I was ready to scream! Of course when I got home I was angry at myself for not saying anything to him. I could have asked him to change lanes, I'm sure he would have complied but I didn't. I said nothing and man I suffered for it!

I did sleep a lot on Sunday but far less than I expected. It was an easy day, pain had subsided. I even got a load of laundry done. Monday I had an afternoon appointment with the nutritionist who suggested mechanical eating. Set a timer and eat 3 meals with a clock. Then I saw my GP who said that the episode over the weekend was likely an inflammed chest wall. Cause not always determinable but it should subside (I was quite uncomfortable again) and Ibuprofen should help. Ironically, I had a battery of blood work and an ECG done about a week prior as part of a referral to the Food Disorder Clinic. I got home and set my timer and come suppertime, I ate. A salad. Okay, no protein but it was a start. 

Monday night was a play by play slo-mo repeat of Saturday night. Including relief after vomiting. Tuesday was a afternoon appointment with the Food Disorder Clinic. I had abandoned my bed and favoured the rock hard living room sofa where I slept until my "wake up call". My son had offered to call to wake me for my appointment. In hindsight maybe I should have cancelled. The clinic was about a 40 minute drive away and I was very light-headed and feeling a bit dis-orientated and dehydrated, but I was taken in on a cancellation. Wait times are usually much longer. I had my consultation appointment and there was some concern about my capacity to comprehend and answer but I think I did okay. At the end, she didn't want me to drive home. I tried making a call for a ride, but it was in another city and no one was particularly close. So cautiously I made my way home. And then passed out on the sofa for the next two days. I was unable to stay awake for more than 30 minutes stretches.

Despite my food intake during this time was questionable at best, bowels were functioning fine. My choice of hydration was not the healthiest but all I had and better than nothing or alcohol :) Water and diet Pepsi. I would have thought that feeling as dehydrated as I was, that my body might keep some of the fluids I offered...but no. lol! By Friday I was finally being to feel some real relief from the tightness and pain in my chest and ribs. I had company who suggested going out to eat. Breakfast foods sit best with me because they are often healthier choice than lunch or supper fare. I had a few bites of an omelet and was feeling okay maybe even a return to normal. 

It was about 11:00pm on Friday September 16, 2011. I was getting a sinking feeling of deja vu! Twinge to agony hit me fast. Within 2 minutes I was back to the pain intensity of last week. Thankfully it didn't last as long but the pain was the same. 1 1/2 hours later and I could sleep. But a thought began stirring in my mind...maybe I was truly rejecting food? That's just nuts...or is it? I don't know either way, what I do know is that the next morning I had about a 1/3 of a cup of yogurt (my staple so I figured it was safe). I can't say that increased volume would have meant increased pain...but in less intesity than previous occasion it was there.

So now you have has been an interesting week. And in the end I can honestly say that I am afraid to eat!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering the Horror 10 Years Later

This song was played frequently after the disasters of 9-11. It was as appropriate then as it is today.

There are a few moments in one's life that are so profound and incredulous that we can't help but have certain images forever ingrained in our memories. I have a few more than the average person but we all have personal ones as well as the ones we share with humanity.

It is the media who tells us and reminds us that we will forever remember where we were when we heard about or saw:
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassination in Dallas
- The first lunar landing and steps on the moon and hearing those infamous words "One Small Step..."
- The Challenger exploding moments after take off
- Hearing that Elvis, John Lennon, Michael Jackson died (I think you have to be a fan for that one)
- and of course 9/11

It is something I wouldn't mind forgetting actually. The terror of the actions targeting so many innocent people touched me in ways nothing else ever has. If it could happen there it could happen anywhere :( It was harder because it was a work day and all I wanted was to be with my hold say I love you. I went out for lunch and every radio station on the band was talking and speculating. Nobody really had any answers or explanations, nobody could offer assurance that there wasn't more to come. Living in a large metropolis like the Toronto area, it was even more eerie because there were no planes flying back and forth in the skies. We get so used to hearing them sometimes minutes apart that we barely take notice until its' gone. Umm...that hit a nerve. Just like family and friends sometimes?

Today everyone is remembering. TV stations were offering up live coverage of commemorative ceremonies at Ground Zero. But the one thing that kept running through my mind was that just days prior there was news reports that New York City had recieved credible threats to security to take place on the 10th anniversary. And then I saw a comment by one New Yorker who said he had been interviewed by a news station and asked if he would ever feel safe. His response (which was unluckily to be aired) was that he would feel safer if the media would stop giving the terrorists the attention that they want and to stop telling people that they should be afraid. How profound! The media does do a very good job of working people up into a frenzy of fear. Near celebrities are made of the scum that seeks to harm. Just off the top of my head...Mark David Chapman, Timothy McVeigh, The Pig Farmer, Paul Bernardo. But can you recall the names of the victims as quickly as you recall the crimes perpetrated?

And the point is this. Each year of September 11 the names of those killed in these cowardly acts is read out for all to hear. I don't have a problem with that, but what of all the similarly innocent servicemen and woman who were killed in the ensuing pissing contest that occurred.  Consider please that 52 Canadians died in the terror attacks, but at least 152 died overseas. Although the 1:3 ratio may not be the same for our American neighbours, I would suggest that the death toll in combat missions is higher than that of 9/11. And this is the part that I find disturbing. Where the lives of those who offered to put their lives on the line in the protection of other of lesser value?

Back in my younger years, we remembered the fallen soldier and the injured soldiers with solemn reverence and deep national pride. In Thunder Bay, where I grew up, Remembrance Day on November 11 was often quite chilly. We just bundled up warmly because we knew it was our duty to stand there in the blistering cold wind and say privately and publicly "Thank you for giving me freedom." This country, Canada, that we called home was a great place we didn't want to make it into our old was great the way it was. But I digress...that is fodder for a blog another day :)

I don't want the ceremonies dedicated to September 11 to stop or change (unless there is talk once again of not allowing Emergency Service Personnel to attend in favour of the bags of wind called politicians). What I want is that we do more not to forget the many who die just as needlessly in countries far from the shores of Canada.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

I DO know wrong from right....


The song is amazing...the video...well, better listening than some of the live versions. Quite an appropriate choice given the time of year and all.  This is the first time in 20 years or so that I have not gotten a child ready for the first day of school or prepared myself to go back after a two month hiatus that I hoped would never end. I mean, I have always been the type of person that could quite happily keep themselves occupied and productive all on their own. There is always something to be done. I could very easily be a kept woman, all I ask is that you give me some play money and I could stay home. Give someone who needs the external fulfillment my job. Yeah's a nice!

A part of me wishes things were different and I WAS going back to school with the organized chaos, people I am glad to see once again, the students I have missed seeing - and then I remember why I am not a part of it all this year and I go throw up. It is fraught with emotions. I am torn and in pain. I know I can't go back...not now. They broke me but they can't fix me. I wouldn't let them touch me again to try. But I believe that they do have to make amends in order to have my forgiveness. I have many friends who work in the field of education and I have spent the better part of the last two weeks listening to their excitement and (in some cases) trepidation about the return to the classroom in some capacity. I know that I am not alone in my maltreatment by the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. And therein lies another concern that I felt recently. What if someone from the board happened across these notes? Is it slander or otherwise illegal to name names? I have said nothing that is not true, nothing that cannot be backed up by documentation. One day I just may actually name names not just their employer. No facade to hide behind then. It is a lengthy list that I have compiled over a 10 year span! lol! I love that makes me smile.

In any case, school/work is a moot point for me just isn't going to happen. I am not ready for it. I am not strong enough to face those demons and I am talking about the flesh and blood variety - those that have hurt me in the past and given that they obviously feel justified and certainly not remorseful for there actions....they will do it again. But there is another victim in this travesty...the students. I was good at what I did and I helped the students I worked with....

School for me is not only out for summer but for me "School's out Forever".

Friday, September 02, 2011

I would buy you Rogain!

The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson

Only one person in my life has every made me feel this way but he's not a forever. I hope someday I will find a forever for me and feel this way for him....

Don't fall over...don't be shocked...I am okay! The words of this song, the video and the voice with which the story is told speaks to me and I am going to let it speak to you too! Instead of me speaking...enjoy the moment lol!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Oreo - May cause weight gain and hearing loss

Music I chose is never random and if you listen to this song you will know why I picked this particular version of the song...enjoy and Smile :)

Stray Cat Strut - Brian Setzer

To be fair I am talking about my daughter's cat Oreo not the cookie. The only way the cat would cause weight gain is if he was in your arms when you stepped on the scale. The cookies you might as well twist open and instead of licking the cream filling just use it as glue to paste to your hips :)

But this musing is about the cat. My daughter hounded and harassed for a cat for as long as she was able to talk lol! But we were a dog family. I had never had a cat and just saw evidence of cat ownership that turned me off. Also in a brand new house, our neighbour had a cat and their kitchen cupboards were completely destroyed by the cats clawing, furniture was shredded, curtains and rods hung at unintended angles. Cats dug up flower beds and Lord knows there was no training a cat! I wasn't comfortable with the declawing business and undecided about keeping a strictly indoor cat. So I put her off and we stuck with dogs. We went through Alphy and Killarney and were enjoying Shaggy when the girl was 13 years old and I decided I couldn't take any more begging and we took the plunge.

I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed preparing for this birthday surprise even though her brother and I had decided that it would be best if she picked out her own cat. Okay, that is only partly accurate. It seems that the girls birthday did not correspond with a kitten population explosion. There wasn't any available for us to choose from. But that didn't stop the festivities surrounding the surprise. From a friend at work, I got an amazing recipe for Kitty Litter Cake. It is served with a litter scoop in a litter box (clean and new of course) and it even had pieces of Tootsie Rolls in it to represent...well you know. It turned out great. If you want the recipe let me know and I'll dig it! She got cat books, cat toys, and a collar. Everything but the animal.

We spent the next month or so calling and visiting Animal Shelters and Cat Rescue Facilities. We put the word out to every one we knew that we were looking for a kitten. We scoured the paper and community bulletin boards. Eventually we found Oreo at the Oakville Humane Society. He wasn't exactly a kitten, in fact his age was unknown but he was on his ninth life. Most people were after kittens (yeah, us too) and this poor guy also had medical issues holding him back. He came with an ECG and suggestion of follow up appointments and medication for his heart condition. Perfect I thought, if this whole cat thing doesn't work out...maybe he won't last long. I know that's not very nice but on the positive side, we were giving him a shot at a life - prolonging the ninth and final hour. I never told the girl any of that, she fell in love with the animal. But we weren't allowed to take him home until we brought our dog Shaggy back to meet with Oreo so the staff could assess if the cat would be safe.

Shaggy meet Oreo....Shaggy was about a year old and full of piss and vinegar. We got to the Shelter and were put in an office to await the coming of Oreo. Shaggy pissed on every good smell he, dogs can be so embarrassing. :) He was mid-stream when the lady came in cradling Oreo in her arms. Shaggy started barking, Oreo's fur stood up on end and in the chaos of the boy trying to hold the dog back, the lady told him to let the dog go and she released the cat. The cat took off, running around the office the dog was in hot pursuit. I thought it was a hilarious sight. The girl looked close to tears - cursing the dog, because he was probably destroying her chance for cat ownership in long succession of yaps. The cat went under a chair, stopped and turned to face the white fluff with the big mouth! Shaggy came to a screeching halt, sliding on the wet tile floor until he was nose to nose with the cat, still barking. After several moments the woman picked up the cat and put him in a box and into Lydia's arms. I was stunned. "What did you just see that makes you think they will get along?" When the cat stopped running/playing and dog took heed and stopped his pursuit. The cat won and will be the dominant in the house. Make sure the cat has a place to escape from the dog and hide your breakables and valuables. "Wait! I've changed my mind" I wanted to scream. One look at that sweet little girls doeful eyes and I unlocked the car and let them all. Two kids with an animal each!

It really didn't end up being as bad as I thought. Kitchen cupboards, curtains were safe and remained intact. Can't say the same for the back of the couch, the screens in the windows and the wallpaper border in my room that he used as a ladder to get to my window. We kept Oreo as an indoor cat, partly because he seemed so frightened of the vastness of the outside world. The cat had the run of the house, he went anywhere he wanted, the top of the kitchen cupboard was one of his favourite spots. I hated that he was probably walking on the counters to get there. My bed became one of his favourite sleeping spots partly due to the fact that the dog alternated between sleeping with the girl and then moving to the boys bed.

It was probably a month or so later that I got my first sinus infection. I didn't have a cold and initially because of the tooth pain I thought it was a dental issue. Not a fan of dental work, I was relieved to be sent on to the doctor to deal with a sinus issue. Antibiotics was the course of treatment and was effective. Several months later, I came down with the same tooth ache and went straight to the doctor. Sure enough, it was sinuses again. The third time it happened I started to question why this was happening with such frequency of late and never associated with a cold or any other symptom and also a severe infection. We put it down to age and changes that occur with the body. It's true, I was! I was on antibiotics 3-5 times a year and not too impressed about it because I never cared for taking medication.

I got pretty good at self-diagnosing myself and calling up the doctors office to tell them it was another sinus infection. Then with no typical symptoms or any symptoms at all, I woke up to find my hearing going. Antibiotics were quickly prescribed but by the time the first two rounds had been finished I was about 90% deaf. I continued to go to work and learned all the tricks to get by in the hearing world. I even picked up some lip reading :). By the time I got to a hearing specialist, I was going half-crazy with the silence and frustrated with not knowing the cause or treatment to fix. In the end, he did something to drain my ears so I could hear, but I did suffer some permanent loss for the experience. And it started with infected sinuses that moved to infect the ears and cause fluid to collect.

Well, the kids were older and the boy was becoming more particular about his appearance and was bothered by the fur coating his dress pants that he had to wear to school and work. The dog was non-shedding so all the blame lay on the cat. The boy started up a campaign to find the cat another home and was not above bribing people with a free lunch if they would just come and take Oreo away. Everyone loved the cat - he really was a good cat and cute! But it was in vain. And in the end the boy left home before the cat - he went to university.

But then I took up the campaign to find the cat a new home. I had been suffering with sinus infections for nearly 10 years when someone suggested that maybe it was not age (woohoo! go have my attention!) but rather an allergy to cat fur/dander? So I started to think about it and realized that the onset of the infections not only began with the arrival of the cat but infections seemed to follow periods of me being home and off work. Christmas holidays, March break, Easter, Summer and other such leaves. So I picked up where the boy left off and pressed to have a new home found for the cat. I let the girl chose where the cat should go so she would feel comfortable with the decision. But, I don't think she put too much effort into the task until I reminded her that my health was more important than her cat ownership and she could have all the cats she wanted when she moved out especially if she never wanted me to!

A home wasn't to be found for a 10+ year old cat with potential heart issues - yeah right! His heart was just fine...or maybe the love we shared fixed it? Either way, we resorted to enlisting the Humane Society to find him a good home. For the girl, life in kitty heaven was preferable to living in a home were he wasn't well treated. He was a good cat and I am glad he was a part of our life.

I haven't had a sinus infection since, so I think we can say with certainty that it was allergies to fur/dander. And I suspect that dog fur would cause the same reaction for me. My dogs have all primarily had hair not fur. At least the dogs I have had as I have aged...grrr :)

                                                     SHAGGY and OREO
                                                  Much loved and missed