28 January 2011


A few articles today have me thinking about domestic life in Canada. First is this article on cbc.ca. Don't read the comments. It's called My Crazy Crush on Sarah Palin. Before you start screaming, it's not about her politics. It's about her domestic life, how she can go out on her outdoor show, cook from scratch for 7, etc. The writer watches her in awe, but also with no desire to ever be like her. Rather like watching the Kardashians, I imagine.

Then there are these two articles, about how the Harper government has been really terrible for women, both here and abroad.


I was kinda surprised that 1 in 4 mothers are stay-at-home moms. I don't think that is true of where I live. I've only met a few of them myself. And to a person, they've annoyed the ever-livin' hell out of me. Competimoms who like to compare the achievements of their kids to yours (with theirs always being better, of course), or worse, homeschooling parents who just LOVE to gloat about how far ahead their kids are. You are simply doing it wrong. I had one tell me how horrible I was for sending Snap back to school after 3 years of homeschooling. If I did things like she did, I'd have no trouble! "Everything you do can be a learning experience!" I almost punched her and said, "Learning experience!"

Life isn't easy at home, that's for sure. There's all the domestic work (ugh), there's the non-stop nature of the job - it's 24/7. There's no break from the snotty noses and snotty voices. There's no intellectual development time. There's no pay. Except of course, my beer and chips money. That's $200/mo I get for having two kids under 6. I'd rather have childcare so I could work for money at a job I'm good at. Don't get me wrong, I'm a good Mom. I just think I'd be better if I could get a break the odd time. And I do see working as a break. It's a break from Parenting. It's a break from the house. It's a break. It's not a rest, mind you. I realize that working moms have it hard too. That going from one stress to another isn't all fun and games. Especially for the ones that work hard labour jobs and/or work long hours. I can't even fathom their exhaustion.

But if I did go back to work, I'd have another set of problems. A country that doesn't value my work as much as men's work, a PM who made sure his government took out references to equality, and lower pay than the men around me. At this point, I've been out of the workforce longer than I was in it. I don't have a hope of getting paid reasonably. Mr. FCS keeps talking about how much money we'll have when the kids go to school and I can work full time. He has no idea that I don't have a hope of finding a job like I had before.

So... I guess I better get good at cleaning my house. I think I'm going to be here for a while.

26 January 2011

So much for that money-saver

So you may remember that I was getting cheaper prescription drugs from Snoqualmie. For some reason, Crackle's meds cost me $27 there or $760 here. So I bought them there. Well, it seems that someone closed my loophole. Health Canada apparently called Falls Pharmacy and told them they're breaking Canadian law by mailing me these drugs! So now I can't get them any more. Unless I show up in person to buy them. Though, given the cost of the ferry, that's really not going to work for me. If I lived on the mainland, I'd consider it. Though, I am very much opposed to entering the US for any reason.

Are any of you familiar with the law enough that you might know what law they're supposedly breaking? What gives? Obviously, the makers of the drugs would like me to pay massively to get these drugs, but I imagine the insurance company may have a problem with it. I'll be calling them to see if they can't put some pressure on someone to make this a more reasonable price in Canada. They seem to have clout.

I'm rather pissed off about this. Because at 80%, I'm still going to end up paying ~$150 to get these drugs every three weeks instead of about ~$6. I simply cannot afford that. And he needs them badly. Hell, I can tell by 10AM if he's missed them at 9.

25 January 2011

Share the wealth

Oh, the blogging has been slow here for a while. I had that flu that went around. So did my husband and all my kids. Miserable, it was. I've got so many stories I'd like to talk about, but I just can't bring myself to sit and blog all that much.

Because I've been sick, I've been thinking about other people being sick. And what popped out at me was an article on CBC.ca about pharmacists being urged to refuse to provide prescriptions to asylum seekers and refugees unless they pay up front because it takes too long to get reimbursed.

I find this remarkably sad. I mean, I don't expect that the pharmacies should be the ones subsidizing the refugees' medicines. The government needs to do a better job of it, for sure. And believe you me, I do know about the government not paying quickly! Just try getting an autism provider paid in short order. But I also think it's a horrific idea to say, "No meds for you unless you pay!" to a refugee who has nothing and has no way of getting any cash.

I made the mistake of reading the comments. Gah. What heartless people comment there. So many with the idea to save the money and send 'em back where they came from. So many saying to pay for our own people first. How many of those people would call themselves Christians?

Jesus didn't say to give the man your cloak, but only if your friends were all clothed first. He didn't say to heal the sick, but only if everyone in your family was healed first. Every person is of equal importance. Every person.

I said that to a friend not long ago, and she said, "But Canada can't afford to keep feeding and clothing all these people. We'll lose our way of life." I didn't want to fight with her, but I wish I'd said, "Yes, we'll all have to give up a little luxury so that others can have what is necessary."  We would have peace in this world if everyone had what they need to live. And we could do that if we were willing to give up some luxuries. If no one went hungry, if no one froze to death on the street, if no one had to steal to get money for medicine, we would have a beautiful world. What's saddest of all is that it's all possible, if only we were willing to understand that every person is valuable; no one is more important than any other person.

Why do we do this? Where does the greed come from? The strong desire to protect every last bit of stuff that we have. The refusal to share. I can only blame capitalism. The push to compete means that some people suffer at the expense of others. It's how the system has to be. Some people "win" and some people "lose". And the losers are told that it's their own fault. Of course, we know that's crap. There's absolutely no way for everyone to be part of the bourgeoisie. It's impossible. The system is set up for haves and have nots. It's simply impossible for everyone to be rich in a capitalist system. In any system, actually.

It's why I'm a socialist. Sharing wealth so that everyone has enough to eat, a place to sleep, clothing to wear, that's what I think Jesus wanted. I don't need to have chocolate (and I LOVE chocolate) if it means that people, especially children, are commodified, I don't need more than one pair of shoes, I don't need many of the luxuries I have. Sure, it'd suck to give these things up, but I bloody well should. I give to charities, especially the United Church's Mission and Service Fund and a homeless shelter downtown, but I could give more. If the government took a LOT more taxes from the rich and used it to feed, clothe, heal, this country could be great. This WORLD could be great.

14 January 2011


I'm watching Marketplace and they're going on about how homeopathy is bullshit. So they're saying that it's a placebo, but how does that explain that my babies immediately stop crying from teething pain if I give them homeopathic meds, but not if I give them a little drink of juice or milk?

I dunno. Science is awesome, but our bodies are damn good and complex. To say it's flat out bullshit is pretty fucking arrogant, IMO. OTOH, it's an industry and I don't trust them any further than I can throw them.

So I'll continue to give homeopathics, but I'm not relying on them for serious shit.

Same-sex weddings guaranteed

I'm late to the topic, but mostly because I don't think my thoughts on the matter are a surprise to anyone. The Saskatchewan court has said that it would not be constitutional for any marriage commissioner to refuse to marry same-sex couples, even if there are other commissioners available.


You don't get to choose not to do your job because you're a bigot and not have consequences for it. Sure, refuse, but expect your ass to be on the EI line tomorrow. If you're in the job of marrying people, you marry whomever comes to you legally. If you can't do that within your ethical standards, get a new job.

Look, I think that the government should get out of the marrying business altogether. The government should offer contractual civil unions. Churches should marry people. If you want both, you get both. If you want one, you get one. Whatever.

13 January 2011

Advocating for my kids, again.

I write letters. And this one is a doozy. I am furious with the Autism Funding Unit. I sent this to my MLA, two MLAs who are sympathetic to the Autism cause, the Minister of Children and Families, and the manager of the unit.
I'm having trouble with the autism funding unit again. It's a complex story:
1) Most importantly, we have a service provider who has never been paid, despite repeated calls on my part and repeated promises on their part, my daughter's service provider has not been paid. Ever. She's been working since mid October. I keep sending the invoices, waiting, and then hearing that they're not in the system. They say to resend it and that they'll process it that day. This has happened twice. She's still not been paid. Again, I have called, gotten a message with a promise of a call back. A call back I don't expect to get, after all, according to her voicemail message, they're working on invoices received in late September, early October. I seriously hope that's an old message, because otherwise, there are hundreds of us in the same boat.
2) My son is non-verbal. He needs a portable, touch screen to use to communicate. the IPods are too small because they don't allow enough on the screen at one time. They're also too light and easy to throw. We tried to have an IPad approved and have been told that they are not covered. Ever. Why not? They cover far more expensive touch screen computers that aren't portable. They cover the aps, which means they know it's a valid item. So why not the computer itself? Should my child only be able to communicate at home? Is that it? Keep your autistic kid to the confines of home? Because that's how it appears.
I'm REALLY angry about not being able to pay my provider. And I'm really tired of being denied coverage for items that my son's behaviour consultant says are necessary items. Honestly, who are you to override the health professional on what is necessary and what isn't? It's reminiscent of the American health care system where some bureaucrat decides that they can't cover some medically necessary item just because it'll cost too much (which doesn't fly because the touch screen computers cost more than IPads). Is that really how you want to be?

Honestly, I've had it up to here them. I mean, my daughter's math tutor has been working almost 3 months on a promise of being paid. I've had phone call after phone call with promise after promise. Callbacks are about as likely as winning $10 on the 649. It happens, but not enough to rely on it. And now they've denied something that he needs to learn to use to communicate. We have an iPod. Too small. He can't differentiate the symbols, and doesn't have the fine motor skills for it. We've tried out an iPad and it would work fine. But of course, we have to be stupid.

10 January 2011

An Adoption Story

A couple of weeks back, the minister at my church preached about adoption. The gist of the sermon was that we are all God's adopted children. That God made a covenant with his people (Hebrew scriptures, the Jewish people) that was handed down generation by generation, but through Christ, we are all adopted into the covenant. It's a lovely, biblically sound thought. I like it.

I'm a big proponent of adoption. I suppose that's because I'm an adoptee. My parents, that is, the people who raised me, are/were wonderful people (Mom's still around, but Dad died in 2007). They took me home and gave me a wonderful life filled with love and pretty much anything else I wanted. They drilled into me from the time I was able to speak that my birth mother had given us a wonderful gift, each other. It's why I always remind people that it's a good alternative to abortion in an unwanted pregnancy if you can possibly manage to get through the pregnancy. But I know it's a hard choice. I've met my birth mother (and father - they got married after I was born and had 5 more kids), and I thank God regularly that she had the sense to give me to someone else. A priest convinced her to do it. It's one of the reasons I'm so faithful. It was VERY hard for them, and I think it would be easier today with the semi-open adoptions where they get a picture once a year and can send small gifts if they like. But still a brutal choice.

So I believe in the gift of adoption. I know it doesn't always work out for everyone, but it worked beautifully for me. I'm both a child of God and a child of some pretty great people.

08 January 2011

What happens when you preach hate? (re-updated)

People get hurt. It's very little surprise to me that Congressthing Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot today. A moderate Democrat who'd been the target of vandalism before, a proponent of the healthcare reforms, was a perfect target for the crazy sonsofbitches.

They've been calling for violence for some time. "Just jokes" didn't work for "Won't anyone rid me of this pesky priest" and it shouldn't work now. You incite hatred, you incite violence, you exercise your right to free speech irresponsibly, and You. Are. To. Blame.

"If we don't get what we want at the ballot box, we can always turn to our 2nd Amendment remedies."
--Sharron Angle

update: They caught him. A young white guy, Jared Loughner, with a major paranoid streak.

re-update: Added pic. WOW. h/t http://www.blogforarizona.com/blog/2010/06/jesse-kelly-event-is-this-wording-intentional.html

This is food?!

Food is a BIG topic at my house. We have a pretty big love/hate relationship with food. When Mr.FCS and I met, we both ate anything anytime. We went for pizza regularly and slurpees even more. No more.

In 1998, we figured out that I have Celiac Disease. This means no wheat, barley, rye, oats (except uncontaminated ones), spelt, triticale. At the same time I figured out that I'm dairy intolerant. (I'm not really intolerant, I just refuse to put up with dairy's shit!)

When I was pregnant with Crackle, my husband was also diagnosed with Celiac and we took gluten out of Snap's diet to see if she improved too. Lo and behold...

Anyway, the bunch of us have a variety of other allergies and intolerances. So our meals are gluten, dairy, corn, colour, egg, canola, and nut free. Mine are also meatless - Mr.FCS makes chicken or roast beef every once and a while. Mr.FCS's have no tomatoes. It gets a little tricky. But I'm an awesome cook (if I do say so myself!) and so we have some pretty good meals. I make a fabulous squash soup that Pop will eat by the boatload.

So we're really careful about what we eat. Food that is produced on the same line as gluten foods is verboten. No one may bring gluten into our house. Reactions pretty severe, especially for Crackle. I've gotten pretty good with whole foods. We eat almost no processed foods. We buy organic when we can find it and/or afford it.

So I'm appalled by what they (the ubiquitous 'they') put in food. Animals that are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones. Pesticides that have dioxin in them. Dyes that are made from industrial waste. We're destroying the environment and ourselves by trying to save money and trying to have more colourful food. It's sickening.

The chart I posted above is cute, though I don't agree with it in full. Dairy is food for baby cows. Eat it if you like, but it's not human food. It's just not. Meat, meh. I just find it gross. And I disagree with the five ingredients rule. I mean, my favourite crackers have 9 ingredients and they're almost all seeds and grains. And as for that stupid rule about 'if you can't pronounce it or don't know what it is, don't eat it'? Well hello. How many people would say, "NO! Can't eat ascorbic acid!" There are plenty of morons who don't know what is good and what isn't.

I want more regulations on labeling. Food manufactures should have to tell us what is genetically modified and if there is contact with gluten, dairy, egg, corn, etc. Right now, they only have to say if it contains the top 10 allergens. Not if there's been contact. I call companies regularly to find out if they process their foods on the same line as wheat or barley. I cannot find gluten-free lentils anywhere, but I've never found one single label stating that the lentils have been in contact with wheat. It is perfectly clear that the consumer is the least of their concerns.

07 January 2011

Vaccines and Autism

So Wakefield's study on MMR vaccines and autism has been declared an elaborate hoax. Interesting, but I'm still not vaccinating the kids.

Here's the thing. My kids have totally fucked immune systems. Vaccines damaged two of them (not the MMR, the DPT) and I'm not risking it with Pop. I don't believe that autism is caused by vaccines. Obviously, the statistics show that rather conclusively. However, I do believe that a kid with autism can be severely hurt by vaccines, in that it can screw with their already fragile immune system and make their symptoms worse.

See, that's why some parents think that the vaccine gave their kid autism. They didn't recognise the autism until the vaccine made it worse. This is borne out by studies (not just Wakefield - and his study, though the conclusions were b.s. did find measles virus in the children's intestines) showing problems with auto-immunity in autism, heavy metal toxicity due to liver dysfunction, and other problems.

There's certainly a physical aspect to Autism. I am completely convinced that people with autism need to see a doctor about treating the physical aspects of the disease so that the ABA therapy can treat the behavioural aspects. A kid doesn't learn nearly as well if s/he's sick. No matter what s/he's sick with. Crackle's progress skyrocketed when we started yeast treatments. Pop's language comprehension and production is taking off since we started supplementing with carnitine. Snap is prone to clostridia infections in her gut.

So no, I'm not going to be introducing more toxins into their body if I can help it. But please, if you don't have a history of Autism in your family, think hard about not vaccinating. The benefits almost always outweigh the risks.