30 December 2010

It's the most horrible time of the year...

I love Christmas. I *hate* New Year's Blahblahblah. It's stupid, because I love Mondays (and Saturdays) because of the new week, new weekend, newness of it all. But I hate the New Year because of the stupid media pushing me to lose weight. And to make New Years resolutions. Bleh!

Here's the thing about the weight loss industry: It's an industry. The more we fail, the more money they make. It is designed to fail. And guess what? IT FAILS. It's fails like Tucker Carlson trying to play the pulling oneself up by the bootstraps card (Google: Tucker Carlson. Swanson Foods empire). It fails like Stephen Harper pretending that kittens are for petting and not eating. It fails like Sarah Palin's feminism. And the big kick in the teeth about it is the people who love to remind those who fail that they are dupes of hype.

See, it's bad enough (for these festering puswipes) that people are fat. EW! The FATTIES... People will call them gross. Or worse. Because of what? I dunno. But then, when they've tried the diets, tried the exercise and it doesn't work, and they're desperate enough to try Slim Fast or Jenny Craig or whatever, some shithead will start on about how stupid they are for trying, because clearly just "putting down the doughnut"* and "getting off your fat ass"* will work.

Yeah yeah, diet and exercise. I'm sure it works for some people. Not for everyone. I'm sick of hearing it. And now it's New Years Eve (almost), and the ads are out in full force reminding everyone above size 10 that society thinks we're grotesque. And stupid. Because you know, in all the time when I gave a shit about being overweight, it never occurred to me to eat less and exercise! How could that possibly have escaped me? Duh.

Oh, and oddly enough, I'm down 10 lbs. I say oddly enough because the careful reader will remember I fell down the stairs and broke my foot 5 weeks ago and have been able to do absolutely no exercise. Rather, I'm sitting on my ass watching TV and crocheting all day. And somehow I've lost weight. Most of it off that fat ass I'm sitting on. It's bizarre.

So that gives me an idea! "Are you fat? Are you sick of exercising? Try my new weight loss plan! It's like no other you've heard of. The initial phase is a bit of an adjustment, but you'll love the side effects. It's only $49.95 (you supply your own staircase, reclining chair, crutches and wheelchair) per week! Cash upfront. It worked for me! It's sure to work for you!"

*Direct quotes from comment sections on a cbc.ca article about a recalled weight loss drug.

24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve and tonight I will celebrate the birth of a child who wanted to save the world by teaching us to be decent people. May God's blessings to you be like zucchini in autumn - so abundant you can't help but share.

17 December 2010

But Hitler was a vegetarian!

Ya know, if Julian Assange is a rapist, that doesn't mean that Wikileaks is suspect or somehow less important. I can admire the man for giving whistleblowers an outlet and despise him for being a rapist (*if* he is. Innocent until proven guilty). It's like being able to like Roman Polanski's movies, and still thinking he's a blistering asshole.

Here's the thing I've been saying to anyone who'll listen: They wouldn't have charged him if not for wikileaks, but that doesn't mean he didn't do it. If he's guilty and they prove it, even for the wrong reasons, then the outcome is still the right one.

Also, see Kate Harding. She's awesome.

16 December 2010

Merry Christmasolistichanukkwanzaa!

I've been meaning to say something about the Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays thing. Now I don't need to. The Fokker has said it best.

In other news, everything is still good here. I'm still off my foot for another three weeks. Then walking in the cast. I've hired a nanny. The govt is paying for some of that because Crackle qualifies for respite care dollars. And the amazing people at my church have sent me enough money to pay her for two weeks. I'm quite overwhelmed by their generosity. (Someone a little cynical told me it's better to be hurt at Christmas than in June. Hahaha. Maybe.)

04 December 2010

Find that article!

Some time back, I read a really interesting piece that showed concrete evidence of right-wing bias in the Canadian media, even CBC. I suspect it was either on a ProgBlog or a LibBlog, or maybe a guest piece on cbc.ca

Since I'm currently arguing with an in-law about media bias, I'd like to have a decently written article to point her at. Ideas?

03 December 2010

Ride a mile on my wheels?

I've been a gimp before. Many years ago I was classed as permanently disabled. I had chronic pain and inflammation. I had doctors willing to give me fentanyl patches for pain. It was Not Good. I walked with canes or used a wheelchair, and couldn't do much for myself. Snap knew that if she wanted a hug, she had to climb up on a chair first, because Mama wasn't bending down. As it turned out, it was severe reactions to gluten and dairy. Mostly gluten. Once I got it out of my diet, I was much better. I still have some issues. If I eat food that is even processed on the same line as food with gluten in it, I get all the pain and fatigue back.

Anyway, that's the backstory. I know the feeling of being disabled and thinking it will never go away. Now, I am temporarily disabled. I know that in a few weeks (5!) I'll be able to put my foot down again. I'll be able to get into the bathtub myself, drive, look after the kids, etc. And it's reminding me how much it sucks, and how hard people with permanent disabilities have it. The dependence alone is infuriating. But the way other people treat them is incredible.

When I walked with the help of canes, I regularly had people tell me I was too young to need canes. This was really a passive way of asking why I needed them. Depending on my mood, I'd say anything ranging from "And you're too old to be so ignorant" to "Pain doesn't age discriminate" to "I KNOW! It totally sucks!" I almost never was offered a seat. And the pitying looks were really annoying. When I used a wheelchair, I found that people either failed to notice me entirely and talked to my husband instead of me, or they treated me like I was too stupid to walk rather than too infirm. These people touched me, pushed my chair without asking, used baby talk, etc.

Now that I'm using the chair again, I'm getting the same thing, except for one thing: they can see the cast on my foot, and so when they give me the look, they get the look of understanding in their eyes.

I'm not exactly complaining here, btw. Just pointing out what my experience has been. And that I'm getting a reminder of it now. So I'm making a set of rules:

1) Look at pwc (people with chairs) the same as you look at everyone else. No cloying smiles, pitying frowns, judgmental mutters about crutches.
2) NEVER touch someone's chair without asking.
3) If you see someone struggling, it is okay to ask if they need help.
4) Take no for an answer. Don't be a dick.
      "Need some help?" "No thanks." "Okay!" = YES.
      "Need some help?" "No thanks" "Oh sure, just let me... *grab chair and push* = NO!
      "Need some help?" "No thanks" "FINE! I WAS JUST TRYING TO HELP! You know, being in a chair doesn't give you the right to be an asshole!" = OH HALE NO!
5) Clear a path. Chairs don't maneuver like feet. (read: Get out of the fucking way and don't be a douche about it)

I'm sure there's plenty I've missed. I'm not a full-time chair user. I'm not permanently disabled. And I don't claim to have an inside look at what that's like. I only know what I've experienced.

If you're so inclined, use a chair for a few days. Go shopping in it. See how people treat you.

02 December 2010

A different kind of rat race...

The Liberal leadership race in BC is amusing to me. Mostly because I can't stand a single one of them. I'm not "cheering" for anyone at this point, but I do hope that Kevin Falcon doesn't win. A well-timed lightning strike from above would be nice. He's arrogant and short-sighted. The worst combination in a politician. As Minister of  Health, he gave NDs in BC the ability to write prescriptions (good thing), but didn't give them MSP billing numbers for lab tests. So, they can prescribe thyroid meds, but can't have your blood tested for thyroid function. They can prescribe meds that might screw up your liver function, but can't have your liver enzymes tested. It makes sense, if you're a short-sighted asshole. Prescribing doesn't cost the gov't much, and it makes Big Pharma a good chunk of cash. Testing costs the government. So it's win/win for the government's coffers. But it's EPIC FAIL for them when the shit that the ND prescribes winds you up in the hospital, or running to the MD for bloodwork. And what if you can't find an MD? There's a major shortage. If I were an MD, I think I'd team up with an ND and work out a system of writing lab reqs for the ND and billing MSP for it and send a kickback to the ND!

More on the other rats when I get a chance.

29 November 2010

Social services for the injured and sick

So, I've decided God hates me. No, not really, but it's what I joke when shit goes wrong. Especially shit that can in no way be someone else's fault. Like I fall down the stairs and break my damn foot. Now, as if that shit isn't bad enough, trying to use crutches to get the toilet, I put my back out. I'm a screamin' mess. Suffice it to say, I'm going to be on the demerol a little longer. Unfortunately, this means that I am on my back (HA!) for most of the day, which makes blogging a lot harder.

Today, I'm off to the chiropractor to align my spine and then to the hospital to see the specialist. I suspect that I'll sit and wait for several hours, messing up my newly aligned spine. Which will suck. I'm going to ask for a bed, I think. Wonder if they'll cooperate. Unfortunately, my husband won't be able to come with me because he'll have to look after the little ones.

So, since this has happened, I've really been thinking about what people do when they get injured and have kids. We have no family in town, and very few friends (that's what happens when one has disabled kids - social life goes kablooie). Because of the autism, we have respite funding, which means we can hire someone to come in and look after the kids. IF we can find someone. Also, because my husband has a good union job, he can take a lot of time off to help me until we do. But what happens to most people? Do they lose their jobs? Do they just screw their bodies up suffering through the pain to look after the kids? Are there social services in place for this? Or do they lose their kids to foster care until they're healed? I honestly don't know.

What I do know is that there should be something in place for people in situations like mine. There should be emergency babysitting services and funding for caregivers who are injured or sick. I have asked everyone I know to pass my name around, and so far, nothing. Not even a bite. And I'm paying WELL over minimum wage. I don't want to resort to advertising on Craigslist and UsedVictoria, but I guess I might have to. At least I'll be home the whole time.

Update: I have to be off my foot for 6 weeks. This blows chunks. I'm sure the chunks like it, but I'm not impressed. I am however extremely impressed with the nurses at the ortho clinic at VGH who bumped me to the head of the line because the two little ones were acting up and their daddy was a little overwhelmed.

26 November 2010

Wally Oppal? Really?

What's wrong with this picture? A lot of First Nations women go missing, and many of them turn up murdered. The person the government puts in charge of the inquiry is neither female nor First Nations. And furthermore, is the person who decided not to proceed with further charges against the murderer (on that, I agree with him, but hello, conflict of interest much?)

Really, we can do better than this. Wally Oppal is the guy who watched the video of the guys who killed Robert Dziekansky and decided no charges were necessary, isn't he?

I'm not saying that this is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, but damn it to hell, it seems to me that a hen might be more appropriate.

25 November 2010

bad break

I'm out of commission for a while. I broke the fifth metatarsal bone in left foot last night. I stepped wrong going down the stairs and fell, breaking the bone in a spiral fracture.

So, at least I'll be able to blog. Demerol blogging should be interesting.

I'm glad I hit the ER on a slow night. It only took 4 hours. The doctor was a bit brusque and a little weird, but okay. The only interesting thing at all was the guy who kept pulling his IV out and undressing. The nurses were getting a little exasperated with him, but they showed so much patience and compassion for him, I was really impressed.

24 November 2010

I'm sure she was quite the threat...

A 15 year old girl was chosen for screening at a Sudbury airport, denied use of a private room for her "pat down", and then was subjected to a patdown that included her breasts and inner thighs. The screener said, after finishing her legal assault, "that wasn't so bad", which sounds suspiciously like, "See baby? I told you it wouldn't be that bad!"

You know, all this is blowing up because it started to violate the rights of straight, white men. People of colour, disabled people, and various other vulnerable groups have been screaming about these violations of rights for years. I remember flying out of Denver in September 2001, a few weeks after the terrorist attacks. The guy in front of me kissed his boyfriend goodbye and then struck up a conversation with me. He said that he'd been targeted for strip searches every single time he came to the airport with his honey, but not once if he didn't. Sure enough, he got pulled out again. He called it, "harass the fag".

But what got me thinking was what's going to happen when someone with Autism is targeted for a patdown? Say a teenage boy. He'll be separated from his parents and then touched without his permission. That's going to lead to an epic meltdown, and probably he'll be tased or shot. Especially if he's one of the kind who yells threats he's heard on TV when he gets agitated. I know a young man who is 15. He's very large (he's 6'3'' and about 240lbs). He has a fairly low IQ (60ish), and is echolalic. That means he repeats things he's heard without understanding what they mean. For example, he was at school, working with his aide. She was making him finish his math, which he hates. He was getting agitated and said to her, "Get out of my way or I'll rip your fucking head off, and shit down your throat", which was something he'd heard someone on the bus say. He had absolutely no idea that what he was saying was a threat. He just knew it meant, "move" and "I'm angry". His Mom got to the bottom of the issue and explained it to the aide, who knows now not to take his threats seriously. Just what do you think will happen if that boy is taken from his Mom and felt up? They'll beat him senseless if they don't kill him. The TSA makes no accommodations for people with disabilities. I somehow doubt CATSA does either.

I will not be flying with my kids. My daughter has serious issues about being touched. If they touched her in public, she'd cry. A LOT. And that's if she was properly medicated and on her diet. If they did it on her way back - after the inlaws glutened her? EEP. I don't want to think about it.

23 November 2010

They're letting me talk again?

I've been asked to talk at church on Sunday. This is my sermon on hope (with names changed to protect the innocent):

Hope. Rev. Erin talked about hope a few weeks ago when she talked about God's dream for us that is outlined in Isaiah. She said that God's plan is for a paradise on earth, where no child dies, where there is no illness, no poverty, no crime. That we're not there yet is our failing - not God's. But it something we can hope for. Something that we can work towards. That's a pretty awesome source of hope. But what if we lose hope? What happens when we look at the world around us and see it going to hell? We see war, poverty, misery, drug addiction and might say 'Forget it. God gave up on us. There's no hope.'

Have you ever seen hopelessness? True hopelessness? It's one of the most miserable things I've ever seen. And I can't even fathom how it must feel from the other side of those sad, defeated eyes. Without hope, what reason does anyone have to live? Why even get up in the morning? For some, it's to look for a moment of numbness at the bottom of a bottle. For others it's because they're simply afraid to die. That's what living without hope is like.

And yet, there is always hope. Always. Even if we don't see it. Just like the sun is always there, even when there are clouds, and the world is always there, even when we close our eyes to it. God's plan is here. God is here. And God loves us infinitely. That is cause for hope. But if we're too broken to grab hold of it, then what? What of that person living under a cloud of addiction, or with the scars of abuse, who is just too broken to reach for God?

That's where today's scripture fits.

Oh, how I love that scripture! When Erin asked me to talk about Hope, I immediately thought of this scripture. And about 20 more. But I kept going back to this one. The woman in the story had a bleeding disorder. She'd been bleeding for many years. Probably with endometriosis, which is a painful bleeding disorder. I don't know how well you know the laws set out in Leviticus, but that would have made her completely unclean by societal standards. She wouldn't have been able to go for the ritual cleansing baths after her menses, because her bleeding never ended. Everything and everyone she touched would be considered unclean or contaminated by her. She would have been completely isolated and impoverished.

But that lady had hope. She never gave up. And when she heard of Jesus and his healing powers, she knew that she could get better if she just touched him. And what does that say about her? She was willing to suffer the consequences of touching a man who wasn't her husband, while she was bleeding. The consequences weren't laid out in Leviticus, but I don't imagine they'd have been particularly pleasant! The Talmud was written after this time, but the consequences for her actions by its law would have been death. It was likely the law of her time too. Can you even imagine the faith and hope she had? The belief that she would be cured if she only touched him was strong enough for her to risk death for her action.

What unimaginable hope she had. She's an inspiration to me. She really is. I'm not sick like she was. Thank GOD. But I know what it's like to need to hold on to hope.

All three of my kids have Autism. And that's scary. I don't know what's in store for them. I know Snap will be okay. She's high functioning, and is clever and kind. She'll manage. But I don't know what's ahead for Crackle and Pop. Neither of them talk. But they're little and may yet learn. I don't know though, and that's where I have to just cling to God and God's plan for a beautiful world.

Pop was only diagnosed a couple of weeks ago. I'd still be adjusting if I hadn't already figured it out before that! Anyway, when he was born, Crackle had just been diagnosed, and I prayed Every. Single. Day. for Pop to be okay, to not have Autism. Not because I'd love him any less. Not because Autism makes him any less wonderful. But because I don't want their lives to be more difficult than life already can be. And with Autism, it sure can be hard. I prayed and prayed and prayed. And when I figured it out, that he had Autism too, I broke a little. I got damn good and mad at God. I cursed God. I screamed at God. I just had a meltdown that would make Crackle's look minor. And then I fumed. Oh, how I fumed. I sat here on the chairs and fumed about God treating my kids like this. And then, it was like a voice in my head said, "Oh, shut up already. I sent you Dr. Marianne, what more do you want?!" And I almost laughed. It was true. Through a large set of well-timed moves, appointments and random discussions, I found a doctor who works with kids with Autism. She only recently moved to Victoria, and actually works about a half a block from here. Now, of course, she's not going to cure my kids. There's no cure for Autism. But she's already done them some good. God gave me back my hope.

I hold on to the knowledge that God's plan doesn't include Autism. Doesn't include tragic deaths. Rapes. Torture. Starvation. Drug abuse. God's plan is for each of us to have enough. Enough food, a place to live, good health. There's a song I like by the Goo Goo Dolls called Better Days. It's pretty much the perfect song for the first Sunday in Advent.

And you asked me what I want this year
and I try to make this kind and clear
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
'cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
and designer love and empty things
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
'cause everyone is forgiven now
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

I need some place simple where we could live
and something only you can give
and that's faith and trust and peace while we're alive
and the one poor child who saved this world
and there's ten million more who probably could
if we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words and sing out loud
'cause everyone is forgiven now
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

I wish everyone was loved tonight
and somehow stop this endless fight
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
'cause everyone is forgiven now
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

That's a song of hope. Hope for life in God's dream world. For enough. Not for "designer love and empty things". Hope for the chance that maybe we'll find better days. But we have to work with God to get that. And we can't do that if we're too broken to have the hope. In Christ, we can heal.

And we need to heal! Every one of us is broken in some way. By tragedy, by sickness, by death. Sure, that doesn't make us people who are mired in hopelessness. In fact, most of us are so aware of the need for hope, that we try to offer it in some of the most clumsy ways. Ever try to comfort someone at a funeral and walk away knowing you said just the wrong thing? Ever been "comforted" by someone who meant well, but really blew it? Erin gave the example of telling someone who is grieving all about the paradise waiting for them in the afterlife where their loved one is now. I've heard it said even more clumsily. At my Dad's memorial, someone told me he was "in happy land now". Someone else told me, "He's not suffering any more". I was, capital N, Not Impressed. He was happy here. And he wasn't suffering. If I hadn't recognised that they meant well, that they were trying to give me some comfort, I imagine my reply mightn't have been so quiet.

And now that I'm dealing with Autism, I get similar platitudes. They're really just clumsy offers of hope, because we instinctively know how important hope is to our souls. People tell me, "Oh, they'll learn to talk! All kids learn to talk eventually". Not with Autism. Some do, some don't. Or, and here's my least favourite: God doesn't give you more than you can handle. Really? There are several problems with that statement, as I see it. First, that assumes that God gave my kids Autism, thinking, "No problem, Luna can handle it". That is not a God I have much use for. Giving kids Autism? Or anything else that makes their lives harder than they need to be? No. That's not God's plan. Second, even if God does dole out the challenges, LOTS of people get more than they can handle. That's why there are nervous breakdowns, drug addiction, and suicide. To say they could have handled it if they'd just tried harder is truly arrogant. I know God heals. I know people can reach out and be healed. But I also know that some people get the short end of other people's free will. It isn't God's wiil that people get so burdened by circumstance that they lose hope. I flatly reject the idea that God manipulates us like puppets. I firmly believe that God can ONLY act through us. That God whispers in our ear what the right thing to do is, and we either do that, or we don't. Every time we do, we get closer to realizing God's dream. And every time we choose the wrong thing, we hurt someone. Maybe ourselves, maybe others. And all we can do is try to do the right thing next time.

God's plan for the world gives me hope. But sometimes, I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to see it. I'm not self-righteous enough to believe that the end days will appear while I'm on this earth. So, I know I'm very likely not going to be here for the fruition of God's perfect dream. And that's okay. I can watch and be part of it. And of course, there is still hope for what comes next, and that's pretty awesome too.

I can't reach out and touch Jesus's cloak like the lady in the story. Not literally. But figuratively, I can do just that. I can reach out to God and ask God to heal my soul and restore my hope. Because some days, it's hard to remember. When Crackle is shrieking every 6 seconds, and Pop won't eat because he wants the blue bowl, but I haven't figured that out yet, and Snap is stressed out because the kids are being too loud, and I haven't eaten in 6 hours except for what the kids leave on their plates. Those moments I need to remember to look to God and have faith that things will get better. That's hope. Faith that things will get better.

Please pray with me:
God of Hope, this Advent, let us remember to look to you, to reach out to you, to heal our broken souls and restore our hope for Better Days ahead. Remind us that you are here for us. That we are special and beautiful because you love us. Give us strength and courage to reach for your healing power, so that we might better be useful to you in realizing your dream for the world. Whisper your will to us, and remind us to listen. Because only through you is there hope. Amen.

BREASTS! Now that I have your attention...

I've got a rather strange set of conflicting feelings today. Someone I tangentially know, via another blog and facebook, is getting a boob job today. She's a beautiful woman who feels like her breasts need to be larger for her to look right.

On one hand, I think she's bought into the societal b.s. and it annoys the piss out of the feminist in me that she's surgically altering herself to look more like Barbie. Especially when she's already considered drop-dead beautiful by the vast majority of this society. I mean, when she walks into a room, heads turn. She's stunning.

On the other hand, I know what it's like to have a part of my body that I fucking despise. And if I could afford to surgically change it, I would. But my issue isn't purely cosmetic. It actually causes me physical discomfort, so somehow I think that makes me better. Which is a load of judgmental shit. That's me, Holier than Thou.

And then there's the conflict I feel about her spending that kind of money on herself, when she's a newly single Mom with a deadbeat husband. I feel like she's being massively irresponsible with her money, but at the same time, I feel a twinge of jealousy that she can put herself first like that. I couldn't even bring myself to buy myself new boots to weather the snow. But somehow this woman can spend thousands of dollars on breast enlargement. I'm flabbergasted. Both horrified and jealous. It's a weird feeling.

In the end, it's none of my business, and I wouldn't dream of telling her what I think. It's her decision, her body, her money. And I am pretty good at stepping away from it. It's not that I think she should or shouldn't do it. I wouldn't judge either way.

18 November 2010

All I want for Christmas

Christmas is coming up quickly (ACK! So far behind on crochet gifts!) and I'm really looking at it differently this year. Snap's too old for Santa. Crackle is just the right age, but the Autism prevents him from understanding what the hell I'm on about. I took him for pics last year, and he looked at the Santa with a look I knew meant, "And people think *I* dress weirdly!" Pop's too young for it.

Presents are always big for the kids, but Crackle likes wrapped up presents. He doesn't like to disturb the pretty paper. It took us until NYE to get him to open his last gift. This year, I think the toys will appear under the tree *unwrapped*.

But as I'm thinking about it, it's not presents that I want. It's changes. Little changes like more time to spend on blogging and crochet or Crackle quieting down a little. Big changes like Stephen Harper and his cabinet falling into giant political scandal they can't spin their way out of. I want to hear good things about police departments cleaning up their messes and learning from them. I want improvements in social services for pregnant mothers and new mothers - low income and not. I want to see housing projects for the homeless - and yes, they're welcome in my neighbourhood (in fact, there are already two in my neighbourhood - one low income, one no income). I want to see the end of chemical pesticides for cosmetic purposes (I'm talking to you, poisonous golf course across the street from my house!) I want the BC Lieberals to implode, and for the NDP to take over and repeal all the nasty cuts Campbell made to everything from legal aid to physical therapy services. I want Omar Khadr released. I want pot possession laws repealed. I want men to stop raping women. I want doctors to treat patients with respect.

Basically, I want better days ahead.

16 November 2010

Would it be judgmental of me to call you a judgmental prick?

Have people always been such judgmental assholes, or am I only just cluing into this because I have disabled kids?

It's official now, I have three kids with Autism. Pop was diagnosed on Friday. I'd find that heartbreaking if my heart hadn't broken already when I figured it out months ago.

I am utterly astounded by the judgmental people out there. I shouldn't be, I know, but I keep thinking that people are reasonable if they just hear the truth. Stupid, I know. But I hear so many stupid comments, that I'm starting to realize that we are a LONG ways from a society of tolerance and acceptance. And I'm not sure if I prefer the Canadian way of giving someone a dirty look and then muttering too low for them to quite hear, or the American way of calling someone out immediately. I mean, if people were constantly giving me shit about my kids, I'd hate it, but on the other hand, I could respond with, "They have Autism. What's your excuse?!" When people are passive aggressive with their judgmental shit, it's too hard. They have plausible deniability.

And how did we get to a place where every idiot thinks they know more than experts? I cannot tell you how many times I've said that Crackle has Autism to hear, "Oh? Are you sure?" And I say "Yes, three different experts had to agree before he could get a dx". The reply varies from a defeated, "Oh" to "So-called experts can be wrong, you know!" It's mindblowing. The defeated "Oh" people, I feel bad for them. Basically, they cling to hope, and I dash it. It's funny (Ha. Ha. Not.) The other kind of response kind of baffles me: "No! He looks so normal" or "But he's so cute!" Wha? Cute kids don't get Autism on your planet? Or they expect Autism to look like Down Syndrome? Or what? I dunno.

Do me a huge favour. Next time you're in the grocery store or Walmart or wherever, and you see a kid FREAKING out trying to get Mom to buy him (or her) something, and the Mom is basically just ignoring the kid and letting him shout, don't look at her like she's a shitty parent. Note that she probably knows that arguing won't help, acknowledging it may make it worse, and trying to shut the kid up may end in a meltdown. I don't mean a temper tantrum either. I mean a meltdown of crying and screaming that can last for hours. If you see a Mom (or Dad) with a kid who is misbehaving, remember that about 1 in 100 kids have Autism now. You've probably seen 99 typical ones already and the 1 is standing out. So smile at that parent. Or say, "Some days, eh?" or "Rough day, eh?" And if the kid is melting down entirely, "Eep. Looks like you're having a hard day!"

Even if the parent is just a shitty parent, and they are out there, they don't need dirty looks. They don't need judgement. And if they're a parent of a kid with Autism or other disabilities, you'll make their day a lot better.

10 November 2010

And can the guys in the white sheets protect us from racism too?

Hello, Facebookers! I say this as someone posted a link to my humble blog from facebook and my hits skyrocketed. Nice to have you here.

I'm appalled today that Saudi Arabia got a seat on the UN agency for women's equality and rights. Look at the headline there:

Iran loses bid to join UN Women

Saudi Arabia gets seat

Is it just me, but shouldn't the bigger headline be that Saudi Arabia got a seat? I mean, it should be a 'no shit, sherlock' moment that Iran was denied, given that they're currently planning to kill a woman for the dubious crime of adultery. It would be like giving the Pope a seat on a council to protect children from sexual abuse! 

The headline should SCREAM that Saudi Arabia bought a seat, that it's a flippin' mockery of the council itself that a seat was given to a country that doesn't allow women to drive, vote, or appear outside without head covering. 

Am I alone in seeing a positive to this though? With a seat on UN Women, shouldn't the rest of the UN at least attempt to hold them to a higher standard? I'm hoping that the rest of the UN starts pushing them to become a little more progressive. 

08 November 2010

I'm not gluten intolerant. I just refuse to put up with gluten's shit!

I have a love-hate relationship with food. It's not about my weight or dieting or any of that. I don't give a shit about calories or fat or carbs or whatever. I've mentioned before that I have Celiac Disease. Mr.FCS (seriously, he needs a better name, but I told him that and he said calling him Mr.FCS was fair turnaround for a feminist. Love that man!) also has Celiac Disease. This means that all three of our kids also do. That's okay, because it makes it easier to keep the house completely gluten-free. What I'm hating is that no place is safe for us. Especially not for Crackle.

Crackle is affected by Celiac Disease far more than the rest of us. Partially, this is because of the nature of his Autism. When he gets "glutened" (i.e. accidentally ingests any gluten) all hell breaks loose. Without grossing you out too much, dear reader, let's just call it "a stomach flu". Plus, he loses receptive language, gets hyper and then some - have you ever seen someone so hyper that they can't sit still long enough to eat a bowl of their favourite ice cream? Because I have. He has bladder accidents, and is just a plain unhappy little boy. For a good two weeks.

So, to put it mildly, I'm the gluten police. I am super careful that he not get any gluten. I mean any. We don't eat food that is produced on the same line as food that contains gluten. We tried that for a while. I developed seizures from malnutrition (damage from celiac causes malabsorption, which in turn, causes malnutrition). I'm ready to kill anyone who comes near my kid with cookies or bread.

And it's EVERYWHERE. There are no safe places. I probably won't be able to send Crackle to school, because nowadays, there's no lunch room. The kids eat in the classroom, and I can't very well tell them they can't allow bread or crackers! Crumbs on the toys will be enough to make him a very sick little boy. I see kids eating at playgrounds, in grocery stores, at church. Yesterday, a little girl was eating cheerios at church and Crackle nabbed one off the floor and ate it before I could stop him. And I was watching him like a hawk because it was communion day. I FREAKED. I mean, I totally lost it. Grabbed him, and bolted. Got him home and got charcoal into him immediately (charcoal absorbs everything, If you get it into someone who's just ingested a small amount of gluten and you do it quickly enough, the gluten never hits the small intestine lining and no reaction occurs). In the process, the Mom of the girl with the cheerios cried, which I feel really bad about, but I didn't have time to explain to her that I wasn't mad at her, and that we were just leaving to get charcoal, blah blah blah.

And it's a social problem. We can't go out to eat. Ever. We can't eat at friends' houses. We can't enjoy a potluck supper at church. None of it. So, I've begun to really really hate food and its ubiquitous nature. And yet, last night, I made the most amazing penne with clam sauce paired with gluten-free vegan bread (Pop's allergic to eggs, and none of us eat any dairy). And it was fabulous. I love good food. But food's place in society, the burden it puts on us, is just so defeating.

Beyond the pale

If you for one second don't believe that the Conservatards are racist, misogynistic fucks, please, watch this video. Gist: The feds cut the Sisters in Spirit program by a third, is forcing them to change their name (why?!), and won't let them maintain a database on missing and murdered aboriginal women.

HOW can they be so absurdly hateful?! I always think that they cannot shock me any more with their evil shit, and then they go and do something like this.

Women matter. White, aboriginal, it's all the same (except that the police seem to give a rat's ass about white women - or at least, they pretend to because the media actually cover missing and murdered white women). They are women, and they matter. To be told, no, no more funding for you, not if you do the work you're doing to advocate for missing and murdered women? That's just plain evil.

This post inspired by:

03 November 2010

But Canada has cheaper prescription drug prices!

We've all heard about the people from the US who come to Canada to buy cheap prescription drugs, right? But have you ever heard of anyone going to the US to buy cheaper prescriptions? No? Now you have.

Crackle is on a medication called Diflucan (generic: fluconazole). It's an anti-fungal that treats candida. It's doing wonders for him. It's not a miracle cure, but it has been a godsend (and he's 4 and autistic and doesn't know he takes medicine or what it's for, so it's not a placebo, so shut up). Anyway, when I bought it on Oct 13 at Shoppers, it cost a whopping $372, including the $11 dispensing fee (and the pharmacist was a douchebag, but that's another story).

I flipped and called my doc. She said that it was way cheaper last time she prescribed it, but that was in the US. So I called a pharmacy across the border in Snoqualmie and was told that the same amount would cost ~$20. WHAT?! So I ordered the refill from them. Sure enough. $3 shipping.

Astute readers will notice that the dosage on the second prescription is doubled. That's because he went up to a higher dose after 10 days. The price of the 200mg tabs here is twice the price of the 100mg tabs. Which means that the second batch of meds would have cost me $733.70 ($361.05 x 2 + 11.60). I suck at math*, but isn't that about 26 times as much? Like as in a markup of 2500%? i.e. a metric buttload?

Can someone explain to me how the pharmaceuticals get away with this shit? Because it's not the pharmacies themselves. I called around and they're all identical except for the dispensing fee. And how is that legal?

*No really. I am absolutely terrible at math. I had to msg someone to check this. :)

Update: I had to blur the name of the pharmacy, because after I originally posted this, they got a call from Health Canada telling them they weren't allowed to send meds to me. They have since decided they can do whatever they like, and send them to me anyway, but I don't want them getting more calls and changing their minds.

I really hate doctors (okay, not my ND, but the rest of 'em)

I know, I'm Posty McPosterson today. Sue me.

I've been watching this story for years. I can say "for years" because I know someone who knows him intimately. I can't say how, because that'd give away who she is, but suffice it to say she knows Dr. Henderson.

Since she started telling me about it years ago, I haven't been able to stand him. One of those "heebie jeebie" things that a person can't explain. The guy is a sleazebag. A user. And the story doesn't cover a lot of it.

It really makes me wonder what could be done to monitor doctors better. Clearly, the College failed two women (more, I'd say - but I don't wanna get sued for libel) because they cover the asses of the doctors. But they also scare doctors, and malicious complaints can be a real problem.

I've had some terrible doctors myself. One who made me cry during a pap test because it was so painful. One who made a comment about my stretch marks during a pap test and accused me of lying about ever having been pregnant (I hadn't been then - he thought I was lying because I had belly stretch marks). One of my doctors was this guy. Fortunately, only once, in an emergency. But I know people who saw him regularly. One guy got a hard-on while examining my feet. And that doesn't even account for the ones who were just uselessly incompetent.

So what do we do with doctors who abuse their doctor-patient relationships? What if the patient initiates it? Does that make a difference to the sentence? What do we do with doctors who are totally incompetent? And how do we find them? How do we stop them? How do we prove it? Regular testing? At whose expense?

Discuss. Show your work. :)

Hurray! WOOHOOO!

Gordon Fucking Campbell QUIT!

Good riddance, Gordo!

Now, if we could only get Carole James to do the same. We need a decent alternative to those bastards. Someone who wouldn't be afraid to restore all the stupid funding cuts. Cuts to health care (physio, chiro, podiatry), cuts to Autism treatment, cuts to the arts, cuts to sports, cuts to social justice programs, to legal aid, welfare, disability, cuts to lottery charities, you fucking name it.

FGM refugees

If this isn't one of the best reasons to approve a refugee claim, I don't know what is!

For the love of God and all things holy, please don't send this woman and her daughters back to Nigeria! And can we PLEASE stop calling it "circumcision"? There is not an incision made around the circumference of something to remove a flap of skin. Rather, the ENTIRE clitoris is removed, rendering the girl unable to ever have an orgasm. That is HORRIBLE, and as Canadians, not only should we be fighting to stop this everywhere, we should definitely allow this family safe harbour.

01 November 2010

omg! the gay!


A pastor at a megachurch in Georgia has come out as gay. Because of the "bullycides". That is a good man. Somehow it doesn't surprise me that he's not one of the types that preached homohatred, but for inclusivity and love. Had he been the other type, he'd still be in the closet until someone caught him.

Jim Wallis, a left-wing Christian, says, "There is disagreement within the Christian community when it comes to issues of human sexuality. But, there should be a united front against all who would disrespect, disparage, or denigrate anyone created in the image of God."  That's great, but doesn't go quite far enough, unless disrespect includes prevent from marriage (which it doesn't - Wallis preaches equal civil marriage, but wouldn't marry gay people himself) or other positions. Gay clergy? I'm all for it. Many Christians aren't. Hell, lots of them don't even want female clergy, at least not as pastor. Sure, they can do Children's ministry, but running the show? Nuh uh! Ridiculous. One of the best things about my church is the inclusivity. Women in leadership, flamingly gay ministers, it's all good.

Love is love is love.

The Bible's denigration of homosexuality has been a big problem for gays for way too long. The problem is interpretation and historical ignorance - that is, not understanding *why* there were rules against homosexuality. It was a law against being slutty more than it was a law against being gay. See, back then, getting your groove on with a guy (if you were also a guy) was considered an act of lust in the form of "OMG! NEED SEX! WILL FUCK ANYTHING AVAILABLE!" rather than an act of love between two people. Most Christians, even progressives like me, still think that it's best to keep it in your pants unless you have a loving connection with your partner. That the people writing the laws didn't understand the act totally changes the reading of it. No, it's probably not a great idea to engage in casual sex, and I truly believe that is what they were railing against.

So good for Jim Swilley for coming out. I hope he finds peace in his life. And good for Jim Wallis for preaching tolerance. I'll pray he'll one day find acceptance.

31 October 2010

Write letters

In the news of are you fucking kidding me?! is Andrew Breitbart, the douchebag who set up Shirley Sherrod to look like a racist when she was actually talking about overcoming racism, who justified and championed the douchebag who falsified video to make it look like ACORN was doing illegal things, was hired by ABC for election night! The lying, racist, "screamy shoutcreature" (I love that term!), is getting a forum at ABC News!

ColorOfChange.org is on it. They've provided this template for talking to ABC about pulling this guy:

Dear Friends,
Remember Andrew Breitbart? He was the man who used selectively-edited video to paint Shirley Sherrod as a racist, to smear the NAACP, and to accuse the Obama administration of reverse racism. It was all a big, premeditated lie.
Unbelievably, ABC News now plans to have Breitbart participate in their Election Night coverage, despite his history as a deceitful operative who distorts, lies, and race-baits.
ABC's decision is a slap in the face to Shirley Sherrod, to Black America, and to everyone who believes in the value of telling the truth. It's unacceptable. It's why I'm joining ColorOfChange in calling on ABC News and its parent company Disney to drop their plans to include Breitbart now:
The video pushed by Breitbart showed Ms. Sherrod telling a story about how she once was asked for help from a White farmer, and how she didn't "give him the full force of what [she] could do" to help him, because of his race. In reality she was telling the story of how working with that family to save their farm helped her to lose her racial preconceptions.
Breitbart touted the video as evidence that the NAACP and the Obama administration tolerated racial discrimination against White people, saying that it showed Sherrod's "federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions." Breitbart's doctored video and false storyline moved quickly to FOX News, where on-air personalities called for Sherrod's firing. The day that the story became news, Sherrod was forced to resign from her post at the USDA.
The truth is that Sherrod was telling a 25-year old story about her work for a non-profit organization whose mission was to help Black farmers. Discrimination against Black farmers was rampant, and she described how she was first reluctant when approached by a White farmer named Roger Spooner for help (in her speech, Sherrod connects her reluctance to the fact that her father was killed by a White farmer 45 years ago). But after seeing that no one wanted to help Spooner, she worked to save his farm, and eventually became good friends with his family.
Once the full tape was obtained, it became clear what Sherrod was trying to do, and what Breitbart had done. But even after he was exposed, Breitbart refused to apologize, and continued to lie, as well as attack the NAACP and the Obama administration. Sherrod is now pursuing a lawsuit against Breitbart.
All this was actually nothing new for Breitbart -- this is what he does. Posing as a journalist, Breitbart promotes and concocts fake stories and peddles them as news. It was Breitbart who showcased heavily doctored video showing two people posing as a pimp and prostitute supposedly getting services from ACORN (among other accusations). Of course, once it had been determined by legal authorities in several states that the tapes alleging misconduct had been altered and the storyline was completely fraudulent, it was too late: ACORN -- which had a history of registering more low-income African-Americans to vote than any other organization in the country -- had been destroyed.
After controversy began on Friday about Breitbart's participation, an ABC spokesperson confirmed that Breitbart would be participating in the coverage. Then, Saturday afternoon, after criticism grew even stronger from inside and outside the company, the executive producer of ABC News Digital indicated that Breitbart's role might be even more limited. But ABC is still giving him access to their media platform and endorsing him as a legitimate journalist in the process.
We understand how Breitbart operates, but we expect more from ABC. Their decision to have Breitbart participate is shameful and irresponsible. It's important to have opinions from across the spectrum, but you would expect a news organization to at least try to make its platform available to those with some baseline of integrity. In this case, they've sought out someone who has clearly has none -- and whose shenanigans in the Sherrod episode forced almost every major news organization to issue retractions and apologize.
It's not too late for ABC to do the right thing. Please join us in demanding that they do:
Sherrod: Andrew Breitbart is 'a liar', CNN, 7-22-2010
Failing Upward: Breitbart To Be Featured in ABC's 2010 Election Coverage, Media Matters, 10-29-10
Source: ABC's newsroom upset with decision to tap Andrew Breitbart, Washington Post, 10-30-10
Analyze this: ABC News clarifies Andrew Breitbart's role, Washington Post, 10-30-10

Send your own, or send this. But write letters and ask them not to allow this guy to be given the respect of being called a journalist. He's a loudmouth sleazebag and nothing more. 

29 October 2010

omg! teh fat!

Why Teachers "encouraging" fat kids to lose weight isn't a good idea.

Do yourself a huge favour and don't read the comments on the cbc.ca article. Dear God, people are ignorant assholes.

My own story of OMG TEH FAT!
I'm an "in-betweener". That is, I don't fit into most clothes at regular shops, but I'm too small for the clothes at plus-sized stores. Reitmans usually has clothes I can wear. That's about it. So, I'm not a huge woman, but I'm not small either. The vast majority of my fat is around my midsection. I call it my built-in life preserver. I cannot lose weight. I have tried every diet, every exercise regime, you name it. I have never intentionally managed to lose a single pound. No yo-yo dieting unless that yo-yo is perpetually walking the dog. If I gain a pound, it's on for good. Unless I have one of my "WTF? I'm losing weight!" periods. No clue as to what that's all about. Have stopped caring. So, now I walk the kids and the dog, chase the kids, and eat pretty much what I feel like eating within the limited things I am able to eat without getting sick (I have Celiac Disease - no gluten products, no gluten-contaminated lines, no restaurant food EVER. Also, intolerant of casein - no milk products. And I'm vegetarian.).

My Mom is the biggest source of the fat shaming. What's funny in that lolsob way is that she has no idea she's doing it. She says, "Oh, your brother's girlfriend has really let herself go! She's huge!" And I'm stupid enough to say, "Mother! I'm sure she's not just decided that it's okay to get fat. Clearly there's a problem. Didn't you say she'd hurt her back?" To which Mom replied, "Yes yes, but she's really packed it on. I mean, she's at least as big as you." *sigh* Thanks Mom. Dad used to do it too the odd time. Like he'd comment on how nice someone was, and how it was too bad she was so fat. I think he only did that once in front of me, saw how it hurt me and never did it again. Damage done, though. Mom would police what I ate, though not like some of the stories above. She'd just say things like, "Are you sure you need seconds?" God, that used to piss me off! I'd have thirds just to irritate her. She honestly thought she was helping. My MIL does it to my SIL too. Or used to anyway. Haven't seen it in years.

The worst damage to my self-esteem was when a doctor called me chubby when I was 11. I wasn't. Not by any stretch. I had a fat pad on my belly, and that was it. Until then, I vaguely believed my Mom that the kids were just calling me fat because I was taller and stronger than them. That *evaporated* when that asshole doctor told me I was chubby. I never believed again that I was anything less than gross. Stupid, because I wasn't actually overweight by any standard, including the ridiculous BMI, until I started taking hormones at 16. And even then, I wasn't fat. The fat happened after the first baby and with the Depo-Provera debacle. Man, that shit fucked me up! And how horrible I felt. Gah. Mom kept making comments about how it would come off eventually. My husband said he didn't care at all, it was me he loved. But I didn't believe him, and I wanted him to love my body too. I mean, I was totally wrapped (typo: warped) up in that cultural b.s. that a man as good looking as my darlin' couldn't possibly be attracted to someone as gross as me. I have since come to believe that he does. Though there are still days when I wonder why. Days when my self-esteem is wrapped into my body shape. Fortunately, those days are fewer and fewer.

I'm still privileged to be thin-ish. I don't have people staring at me when I walk by. I don't have people harassing me when I grocery shop or eat in public. I don't ever think, "Holy shit, I'm the fattest person in the pool". I still go to the pool.

My favourite author (one of 'em anyway) wrote in one of his books,
“...Big lush women and small slight men go through life wrapped around a softball-sized chunk of pain; it breaks some of them and makes others magnificent. She was magnificent. Clearly visible on her face, written plain for any fool to see, were the character, will power, self-discipline, self-respect and warm sexiness which common wisdom said she could not possibly have without automatically becoming skinny...”

25 October 2010

FCS gets preachy

You might notice that I added a scripture widget to the blog (I totally stole that idea from http://christianfeminist.blogspot.com but I swear that we both came up with the "not an oxymoron" thing independently!)

So I thought that when the spirit moves me, I might pontificate a bit - don't worry, there's politics too. :) Today's  Yesterday's quote:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
This one is so hard. So so hard. I mean, how do we forgive rapists, killers, abusers of children? How do we forgive those with no sorrow for their crimes? How do we forgive the people who we choose to represent us that then do such horrific things in our names?

It helps to remember that forgiveness doesn't mean standing there and letting them abuse you. For example, I have forgiven the person who abused me. But I don't intend to ever be in his presence ever again. When I think about it, it makes me more sad than bitter or angry. I gave up the bitterness and anger a long time ago. Because holding on to that is like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die. If he's drowning, I'll save him (though, how, given that I don't intend to set eyes on him again, is another question). If he's on fire, I'll put him out. Like any other human being. But I will not let him hurt me or my loved ones. It's just not happening.

I'm not particularly good at forgiving people who hurt my loved ones. Myself, I can deal with that. Hurt my babies? Hurt innocent people or animals? Oh. No. I have a hell of a time letting go of that anger. I guess that's why I'm not perfect (Okay, so there are a few other reasons... :D) But I try. Sometimes. If I think of it. :)

I do think that a good MAD is useful though. A good stompy, cursing, angry rant is so good for letting go of it. Which is why when I see shit like a child soldier being tortured until they plead guilty to crimes he shouldn't even be responsible for and our government not doing a damned thing for him, rapists getting light sentences, cops not believing victims of crimes - especially women, activists being arrested for I don't even know what. It goes on and on and on.

But anger for these things is only useful if it drives us to do something about it. Vote the fuckers out of office (so much for doing away with all malice). Fight for victims' rights. Donate to good causes. Volunteer to help. Demonstrate. Write letters. Tell everyone you know what you know to be true.

And why? Why should we forgive? I know, I've asked that one a LOT. Why should I forgive Paul Bernardo, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, George W. Bush, Josef Stalin, or Adolf Hitler? They've done such evil, vile, despicable, disgusting, horrible things, to so many people. They've caused hurt and pain that are utterly immeasurable. Such complete pain. It's unimaginable to those who haven't experienced it. Do they deserve forgiveness? Hell no. Not in my estimation. I have no idea what God will do them - nor do I care to speculate. But what I know is that I don't deserve to carry around the anger and bitterness. And neither do you. Being angry and bitter makes us angry and bitter people. How awful the world is when we're angry and bitter. If we want to make the world a better place, we have to be better people. And that starts with forgiveness.

This sermon has been brought to you with ideas from so many different blogs, I couldn't possibly reference them all. But the idea of talking about forgiveness was directly from The Stay-at-Home Feminist and the well-timed Ephesians verse showing up in my widget.

24 October 2010

They like me! They really like me!

There's a Feminist Blog category in the Canadian Blog Awards this year. FINALLY. Thank you, Jonathan Kleiman. It's nice that this category is finally recognised as distinct. We really are.

And thank you for nominating me, fern hill. I am definitely not worthy, in fact, I'm voting for Antonia. But I'm very grateful to get the traffic. As nice as it can be to type out my thoughts, it's even nicer that they're getting some readers. :)

20 October 2010

God and Science

Oh FFS. I just discovered that my wingnut sister actually believes the earth is only 6-10 thousand years old. Because the Bible says so, apparently. She's married to a doctor. On all that is holy, I hope he's better at science than she is.

Okay, my Christian friends, here's the problem, science isn't bullshit just because that'd be convenient for your world view. The Bible is a fabulous source of ideas for how to be a good person, but it kinda sucks as a science book. See, it doesn't mention giraffes at all, and last I checked, they exist. And it was written a LONG time ago. Before people understood anything about the speed of light (though apparently, some people still don't). And so the stories we told to make sense of the universe were like little children talking about how babies are made. They get bits right, but they miss a whole lot of the story.

Adam and Eve are stories. The 6 days story? A story. A tale we told to make sense of a world we didn't understand. And that's okay. We got the important part right: God made the universe. Or God is of the universe. Or the universe is of God. Or something. I dunno. :)

For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:4, NIV)

18 October 2010

6 months?! 6 MONTHS?!

This is just not right. CBC News - Saskatchewan - Man in Amber Alert case pleads guilty to assault

This useless piece of crap violates a restraining order, beats his ex-girlfriend so badly, he breaks a bone in her face, kidnaps her and their kid, and does 6 months?! He'll be out in 77 days. What the hell?! How can we possibly accept this as a society. The man is dangerous enough that the law tried (and failed) to keep him away from Sentes and the child, but 77 days from now he is free to assault them again?

It's just another example of the law not giving a flaming bag of shit about women or children. Especially in domestic situations. I suspect he'd have done a lot more time if the victims had been random. Why is this okay? Why are family members of douchebags like this less important than the rest of the public? It's not right.

Bully boys

I dunno, I just have nothing lately. The boys are keeping me busy as usual. Crackle has figured out that if he pushes the chair slowly so it doesn't make a noise on the floor, that Mom won't come running nearly so quickly, if she notices at all. Little stinker. And Pop stands by and waits for Crackle to set up the trouble. The other day, the two of them got into a tub of margarine and WOW did they make a mess.

Somehow, that makes me think of the Conservatives. Politics on the brain, for sure. I think that the Cons think that if we don't notice them getting into trouble that we won't notice the mess they make of it. And if we do, they can say, "It's your fault for not stopping us!" or possibly, "If you'd helped me do it, I could have done it properly!" Sure, but you'd still be eating margarine, and that's not good for you.

Like the UN security council seat they just lost. You know and I know that they lost it because they've been a diplomatic nightmare around the world. But of course, they blame Iggy. Deflect. "But Mom! If you'd helped me, instead of saying I was doing something bad, it wouldn't have happened!" Yes, yes it would have, and besides which, it would have made us all look bad instead of just our current batch of naughty boys.

We teach our kids to take responsibility for their actions, somehow in politics it is better to be irresponsible and dishonest like bullies on the playground. And how sad is that?

13 October 2010

Autism in BC

Because we had some interesting difficulties with the Autism Funding Unit, I got talking to Maurine Karagianis about the difficulties of having kids with Autism in BC. I offered to send her a parent's perspective of the system. It took forever, but here it is:

My kids: J = 15f, H = 4m, C = 1m

    J - J's assessment process was a nightmare. The doctors missed it when she was a toddler, calling me a nervous mother. When she went to school, they were supposed to arrange the assessment, but "forgot", so we waited, assuming she was on the waitlist that they assured us was VERY long. That was in Grade 3. In Grade 6, we got the process started by doing some hard pushing. At that point, we were just asking for educational assessments for learning disabilities. Still no one suggested autism. After H was assessed, we talked to her pediatrician, who sent in a referral for her. That was in March of her Grade 8 year. The schools only do assessments in September, because assessments have to be in place by Sept 30 in order to get funding for the year. However, we could have gotten several extra months of funding for our use. Finally, in September of J's Gr.9 year, she had her assessment.

    H - H was part of the Early Intervention Program offered by VIHA. He had significant language delays and was referred to CDBC for Autism Assessment in December of 2007. He was waitlisted, and received his assessment on February 27, a three month wait. Other than his wait, this was a positive experience.

    C - C just got his assessment date. It will be about 8 weeks from the referral. This is acceptable to me. The only problem we have with the assessment process is the interview process. For 4 hours on a Tuesday morning, we will have an interview with the psychologist. Children are not to be at this interview. Because of this, only I will be able to attend, and my husband will have to take time off work to look after the kids. My husband will not be part of the process. I find this remarkably annoying. We do not have babysitting, and certainly not on a Tuesday morning.

    The funding simply isn't enough. A decent ABA program is at least 20 hours per week. 30 is better. But let's assume 20 for the sake of being reasonable. 20 hours of ABA therapy = $600 x 50 weeks per year (minus holiday) = $30,000. That's without the required Behaviour Consultant, Occupational therapy, a Speech Language Pathologist, any books or supplies.

    Once they turn six, apparently they're magically cured, because suddenly the funding drops to $6000/year. I understand the school system is supposed to pick up the slack, but they can't and don't. The schools do not have ABA therapy. They have babysitters. If you're lucky. J is high-functioning enough to be in regular classes, with regular curricula. She doesn't need very much intervention at school. But she desperately needs tutoring, someone to help with organization, and a good counsellor. That cannot be had for $6000/yr. It simply cannot. And the school cannot provide it.

    Speaking of the schools, they can't seem to provide a safe place for my son's food allergies. Strong Start has flat out said to keep him home. If I have to homeschool because of this, where will the funding for his education come from then?

    If it isn't enough that we have to shell out a LOT of money for what is essentially health care (Autism is a health issue - I'm utterly baffled that it isn't treated that way by the government), it adds insult to injury that it is slow in being reimbursed. The Autism Funding Unit is clearly understaffed, because it takes a long time for our providers to be paid, and a long time to get paid for supplies. The system requires us to get pre-approval for everything we buy - a process that usually takes at least a month. Then, once we buy it, it takes another month (if we're lucky) to get paid back.

    Unfortunately, not everything needed is covered, even if we had enough money. For example, for some reason, trampolines aren't covered, even if an Occupational Therapist suggests we get it. What is most frustrating though is that the services of a naturopathic doctor aren't covered. Autism is a health issue, there is no doubt about it. Our pediatrician has flat out said there is nothing she can do for Autism. However, the ND did a number of tests, including an Environmental Pollutants Panel and and Organic Acid Test, and found a number of serious problems, all of which can be treated. But these are extremely expensive tests and treatments. The two tests cost approximately $500 to run, each time. And the visit is $90 each time as well. Our ND has been phenomenal, bringing about massive change in J. Her behaviour is markedly improved, her grades are up, and she is happier. She was also able to stop taking two prescription medications that she previously relied heavily on. But we were in a position to pay for these tests. The vast majority are not. This simply needs to be covered by Autism Funding, or by the Ministry of Health. Because of our ND, our daughter will likely be able to hold down a job. Covering naturopathic for autism treatment would SAVE the government money in the long run. A LOT of money.

    There seems to be no accountability in the privately run Autism programs. I understand that there is a RASP list for providers, and that there are certain standards that one must meet to become a provider (though there are people grandfathered onto the list - people who wouldn't qualify now, and at least one of them runs a major provider in Victoria), but once they're on the list, they get carte blanche. We spent a year with a provider who was terrible - our son actually regressed in the time we were with them. There are hundreds of thousands of goverment dollars flowing into these programs and there is absolutely no oversight. It's astounding.

Social Work
    It is my understanding that my kids have a social worker. However, we have no contact with them. When the government changed the system back to the ministry from Community Living BC, we got a letter from each of our social workers, and had a brief meeting with them. They gave us paperwork and lists of resources we could attempt to access on our own (HA! Right. In all our free time.) I later got a call from one of them saying she was leaving on sick leave and that I'd get a replacement. No replacement ever called. I called the other and asked her to see if she could take both of their cases because it was easier to have all our eggs in one basket, so to speak, and she grumbled about caseload, but said she'd see what she could do and she'd get back to me. She hasn't. That was about a year ago, and her number is no longer in service. I have no idea how to get hold of our social workers. In fact, when I filled out the paperwork for H's therapy, one copy was supposed to go to her. I had no clue where to send it, so I didn't, figuring someone would eventually call me looking for it. Hasn't happened yet.

    One of the things we asked for when we did talk to the social worker was respite. Someone to come in and look after the kids every once and a while so we could get out of the house without them. The process seems to require an interview, which as far as I know, didn't happen. Possibly, they considered one of our meetings to be an interview, I don't know. The other thing I don't know is what one needs to qualify, how long the waitlist is (I'm told it's considerable), or what I can expect if I do qualify.

    In the meantime, I went to the Victoria Society for Children with Autism (VSCA) and they provided $100 for a respite worker. That was lovely, but since they lost their lottery proceeds, they are no longer able to provide any respite funds.

    It is extremely expensive to get respite care. Most people charge $15-$20/hr. For babysitting. And, I might add, this is not covered by our funding. There is no wonder that 80% of parents with kids with Autism are divorced. We don't get any time to ourselves. Our kids don't sleep well, and we can't get a break. The stress is incredible. Family counselling is covered by funding for children over six, but not under. I have no clue why that is. Especially since the funding is so paltry in the over six program.

30 September 2010

The Sex Trade in Canada

So, as you've all read by now, an Ontario judge struck down the law regarding bawdy houses. Good.

I am aware that feminists are divided on this issue. I am aware that Christians are divided on this issue. My take is this: Criminalizing sex work is more damaging to sex workers than decriminalizing it. Decriminalization doesn't remove all the problems. Obviously. I mean, being in the position - mentally, emotionally, and financially - to do sex work is problematic, in and of itself. I know, a moralistic judgment on my part, but whatever. Show me a woman who does sex work by choice, who is also mentally and emotionally healthy, and I'll consider changing my mind.

We live in a culture in which rape is normal and viewed as entertainment and suitable for jokes. People who do sex work are in danger every day. And they don't even have the option of complaining to the police about it, because their work is illegal, and the police won't take them seriously. Who chooses that? Vulnerable people. People with a history of abuse. People with mental health issues. People who would otherwise starve. Or lose their children because of homelessness. People with substance abuse problems. At the very least, we ought to make it so that they can be a little safer. Make it so that when they are able to get out of the trade that they aren't hindered by a criminal record, making it harder for them to find other work.

Ideally, no woman, no man, no one at all, would be in sex work. Ideally, there would be no demand for it. Ideally, there would be no situation dire enough that one would consider selling sex. But we do not live in an ideal world. Not by any stretch. And criminalizing behaviours that we don't want to see doesn't stop them. It merely allows us to punish people for doing them. I don't want to live in a society that punishes the most vulnerable people in society for figuring out a way to survive in a way that only hurts themselves.

So I'm glad the law was struck down. And *shame* on the Conservatives for appealing.

09 September 2010

Well, that's just sneaky

Oh Your God. This Jones guy is even more of a psycho than I thought. He's called off the Qur'an burning, saying that he reached an agreement with the people putting up the mosque near ground zero that they will move it. They, of course, have done no such thing. Rather, they agreed to meet him.

You can see where this is going, right? "Them lyin' Mooooslems said they'd move it, just to get me to call it off. They went back on their word because they're eeeeeeevil. Now we neeeeed to burn the Koran!"

08 September 2010

Burn a Koran day?!

This big hullabaloo with the Koran burning seems to be right on topic for this blog. Three guesses where I stand. :)

What in the flaming hell are these bastards thinking?! Of course, it's all about publicity, the ultimate vanity. The ultimate vanity in the name of God. Talk about using the name of God in vain! (That's what that means, btw. Not randomly shouting "JESUS CHRIST!" when you hit your finger with a hammer. In fact, since Jesus's dad was a carpenter, I find it oddly appropriate.) Using God, using Jesus, to further your own vain cause, is a violation of the very spirit of the commandment. It's sickening. And of course, that's what they're doing. They're trying to drum up publicity for their church, by being actively evil. They're going to get a lot of innocent people killed (there goes 'thou shalt not kill'), and it'll be on them entirely. Well them and the fucking media for carrying this clusterfuck. Seriously. If the MSM would just shut the fuck up about these little fringe groups and their stunts, no one would hear about them and they'd go away. Not to mention, they'd keep a lot of soldiers and other innocent people safe.

By burning the Korans, they know they'll inflame the radicals to violence. Then they can say, "Look how violent they are!" But the radicals that would kill people in the name of Allah are no different from the radicals who would show up armed at a Koran burning so they can "protect" Christians from protesters. As Boris said at The Galloping Beaver, if this was an armed Muslim group, they'd be branded terrorists. Of course, he's absolutely right!

Using the Koran to promote hatred, to justify killing people for any reason (including that vile case in Iran that Dawg explained so well) is evil. Using the Bible to promote hatred, to justify killing people for any reason, is evil.

God is Love. God doesn't hate. Not anyone. Not for any reason.

07 September 2010

Feminism: You're doing it wrong

Christina Hendricks, the beautiful co-star of Mad Men had to beg fashion designers for a dress, because she's just too curvy to fit into those size 0 and 2 things that designers are so fond of. 

This article pisses me off in *so* many ways. The obvious, is the point that the writer was making, that she's a beautiful woman, but to the fashion industry, she's nothing, because she just doesn't fit the mold they design for. So change the mold to fit more women. Yes? So why is she so woman-unfriendly in making her point?

Let me pick out some sentences that I find questionable.
'She's a woman, she's got a woman's body. But most actors these days, there's nothing to them - they're a clothes hanger.'
Here, she's quoting Lawren Sample, Hendricks' stylist. It's the quote that they chose to inset. She refers to women whose bodies she doesn't approve of as "clothes hangers". Really? That's how you're going to defend larger women? By objectifying smaller ones? Because we can't have different sizes.

What really got me is the inset near the end:
Sexy Curves - 78 per cent of men say they prefer curvaceous women, while just 7 per cent prefer skinny girls.
Really? 7 percent prefer girls?! Who knew the rate of pedophilia was so high? /sarcasm. Again it's the "curvy women are women. Thin women are girls" meme that is supposed to be supportive of curvy women. Clearly, we can't support ALL women, only a certain subset are valuable.

And lest you think I am being unfair to the article writer, look at the final line:
Good for him. Finally, a woman who looks like a woman. Not like a child or an adolescent boy. And most certainly not like a coat hanger.
I've never met a woman who looks like a child, or an adolescent boy. Why is it always 'boy' in that example? Have you noticed that? The people who denigrate small women always compare them to young boys, never young girls. It seems to me to be another example of humiliation via transphobia. But back to the point, I know small women with small breasts and hips who look like women, with small breasts and hips. They don't look like children or boys. Sometimes they look like they could use a sandwich or an IV drip. But mostly, they just look like small women.

It's truly frustrating that in an article meant to condemn the fashion industry for their short-sighted view of women's bodies that the author chooses to have a short-sighted view of women's bodies.

I think the quote that amused (in an LOLFAIL manner) me most was this:
Starre Vartan, a U.S. stylist who has put together many catwalk shows, defends the fashion industry.
'There is good reason for the small sample sizes. It comes down to business and logistics. The wonderful thing about women is their curves - but the bigger the size, the more curves, and the less easy it is to fit them in a way that's flattering to the clothes, which ultimately you're trying to sell.'
She insists it's not that curves are bad, it's just they vary so much.
'After dressing close to 100 young women, I can tell you that no two bodies are the same.
'Figuring out what outfits will work on which bodies in the short amount of time you have at a fashion show is hard, so going size zero - eliminating those bulges - is just easier.'
So, it is not about what the customer wants, it is about profit.
Okay, so it's "But I don't know how to make any other kinds of clothes. If I try to make clothes for anything but one extremely rare shape, it'll be harder and take more time, and that'll cost money." But in the meantime, the vast majority of women, even the beautiful Ms. Hendricks can't buy the clothes because they're made to fix rectangular* women. So where is the profit in that?!

I'm going to make Product X and tell the world that only the very best people can buy Product X, and then when zillions of people want to buy Product X say, nope, I only can make this for 1% of the population because that's how it looks best. That's the worst logic I've ever seen out of a capitalist except for maybe "buying on margin".

*Not a slur on those women. Just as "pear-shaped" and "apple-shaped" aren't necessarily slurs.