Sunday, July 5, 2015

Controversial, anyone?

Oh, Facebook, you're good for so much: I can share photos and info for my far flung family and friends; they can share photos for me (not specifically, but you get the gist); I can catch up on current events; I can share what I believe to be the injustices and failings of the world and you can tear me a new one over it. It's a beautiful thing, really.

It seems there is a new hot topic to rage over every day. A new cause to support. A new soapbox to climb. It just so happens the topic that has me blogging today is not a new one but a decades old one. Only a couple of decades, sure, but it pre-dates Facebook and that makes it ancient, no?  But Facebook has given it new life (more so the Internet and social media as a whole but let's just stick to my frame of reference, m'kay?). I've always been fairly liberal. A "you have the right to fill-in-your-blank-here kind of girl", unless your fill-in-your-blank is harmful to yourself or others and/or based on ignorance.  And while that is not always as black as white as it looks on paper, it has served me well. Don't be mean and at least try to have an educated opinion about whatever it is you've taken up.

"What is it that's got you so up in arms you've decided to blow the dust off ye ol' blog, Eyvi?" you ask. Vaccines, that's what. I heard that sharp intake of breath, I know what you're thinking. It's a loaded topic. One people feel very strongly about. Well, me too, gosh darn it. And I've got something I'd like to say about it. I'd like to direct you to the title of the blog if you feel that I should keep my opinions to myself, thankyouverymuch.

In 1998, Dr Wakefield released research that suggested a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and autism and bowel disease (Ha! Never heard about the bowel disease correlation, had ya?). No one else could support his findings. NO ONE. Eventually he admitted that he falsified his findings. So, if you're one of the parents that believes your kids going to catch autism from the MMR vaccine, or all vaccines because, again, bet you didn't know he focused on that one, than stop it. The doc you've put your faith in and entrusted the health of your children to LIED. For money. The Lancet retracted the original article and most of the other supporting doctors have withdrawn their support.

Are the additives in vaccines your concern? Formaldehyde? Removed before packaging.  Thimerosal or mercury. Despite not being able to find convincing evidence of harm the CDC ordered it removed or used sparingly in vaccines in 1999. It is currently only used in Flu vaccines.

There also appears to be some asinine idea that they don't even work. I can't even with that.

Let me tell you why I feel strongly about having your kids vaccinated. Because if you don't you put other kids at risk. Not mine, because mine have been vaccinated (and neither of them is autistic nor did they die on the spot or sprout a second head). There are people who can't, for one reason or another, receive a vaccination and because you've decided you know better than your medical professional, you are putting that person and others like them at risk. You've decided that the info you found on the internet or heard some zealous actor tweet about was enough to warrant putting others in danger.

Congrats on being selfish.

My kids had the chicken pox when they were little. My doctor had offered the vaccine but it wasn't yet covered by our insurance at the time and at $100 a pop, I couldn't afford it. If I had my time back I would have made sure we could have afforded it. Miss Sprite spent 4 days in bed. She had a fever of 104 degrees that piggybacking Tylenol and Motrin couldn't break. She had blisters everywhere: her eyelids, nostrils, throat, EVERYWHERE. I have never seen anyone so miserably uncomfortable. Calamine lotion and Aveeno oatmeal baths did diddly to relieve her. She couldn't eat. She could barely suck on the freezies I kept offering and or swallow the Pedialyte I insisted on. It was heartbreaking. I would have given anything to be able to help her. And you are willfully saying you are okay with putting your kids at that kind of risk.

Smallpox is gone. Polio is all but gone. Measles have been popping up and spreading fast. Who do you think is to blame for that? Vaccines work. If you aren't vaccinating your kids you ARE putting other people at risk, including your children. Trust me, if they have to go through what my daughter went through, you'll wish you had vaccinated them.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What Was I Thinking?!?

I did it! I signed up for National Novel Writing Month. Fifty thousand words in the month of November. You know me, I have the gift for gab. Until I need it. Then I shut right up tighter than a vault. My lips are sealed. I'm great when I don't have to be.

I must be insane.

Also, I have an intense fear of rejection. What if by some grace of god I manage to write these
50, 000 words and then upload them and I am ridiculed, laughed at. What if the real writers take their toys and move to the other sand box? Obviously, I am an imposter. Ugh! 

I have talent. At least I think I do. And whether I do or I don't, I adore writing. I am at peace when I write. I feel like I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing when I am laying out words. It almost doesn't even matter what; a letter, a story, a poem; you name it and I love to write it. It is heaven. But I have absolutely no training. Some days I am hard pressed to remember the difference between a verb and an adverb. I suck at punctuation. And my sentence structure would probably make a grade 6 English teacher weep. Seriously, I was not concerned with how words worked when those lessons were being taught only that they did and I loved them.

Clearly, I am insane.

So far, I have written just over three thousand words. Every time I sit down to write, I read the whole thing from the beginning. I agonize over my choice of words. I have a dictionary and thesaurus open all the time. I have no idea how to build character or set the scene or form a plot. I let the words bleed from my brain through my fingertips and into the keyboard. I am flying by the seat of my pants. And I am loving every minute of it. But I am terrified.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Will Not Give Up!

He-ey! I'm still here, my dearest reader. I think about you often but waste far more of my time on facebook than anywhere else. My IQ may have suffered slightly.

In truth, I've been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I was taking an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety that was doing diddly-squat for me and my life is always full of exciting things! I arm-wrestled my GP for a new prescription, I was going for Wellbutrin, he wanted a clear diagnoses -Was it anxiety or depression? Or both and which was worse?- (with a husband in the military and the best procrastination, my medical records are scattered all over the damn country) and so sent me back to Kelly, a therapist I had begun seeing some time ago to manage my anxiety and then fell out of touch with, and referred me to a psychiatrist for a full psych evaluation. I had a panic attack at the mention of psych eval because my family's mental health history reads like a who's who of the madhouse. I finally accepted that I wasn't going to get anywhere with my new doctor -did I mention he was new? Yup, live in a semi-isolated locale and you tend to get a new doctor on the regular. If you can get one at all.-until I co-operated. And so I've begun therapy to manage my anxiety again. I plan to stick with it this time. My doctor relented a little and changed my prescription after I wrote down all of my symptoms and personal history and had a session with Kelly. He still wants the psych eval. My next post may come to you from the Ward.

 Is there anywhere else in the world where a patient can research a drug and then suggest it to their doctor other than North America? I find the practice odd. Not odd enough to not do it, obviously, but odd nonetheless.

Have I told you that my daughter is a lesbian? Yup. Wouldn't otherwise be important really, unless you are trying to date her, but it has a car in my roller coaster and so I'm telling you. We've known for years. The "coming out" to us was difficult for her. After a difficult conversation in which I thought I had said all the right things when she was around 13 she began to pull away from her family. I've never thought of homosexuality as anything other than normal. It was a part of my life when I was a child, several of my nearest and dearest are, and so I never questioned whether it was right or wrong. It just was. And so it was a non-issue for me. It was a bit more of an adjustment for her Dad but honestly, it took him a hot minute to accept it. And all before she willingly came out.

After a number of very difficult, rebellious years, our relationships are nearly normal ones again. I think this is as normal as I'm gonna get. Hell, this is a normal I had imagined as a kid but never dared hope for, so I'm good.

Like I said, homosexuality is a non-issue for me but I have become hyper-sensitive to the reactions and opinions of others. I become rage-y when I hear ignorant thoughts voiced, I'm damn near murderous when I read the uneducated and small-minded opinions of people I am related to or acquainted with, and I am sad and tired of seeing my little girl affected by it. I've already had to wipe away tears caused by young ladies who wanted to partake in the bi-curious trend and have managed to break my girls heart. I want to gouge out eye-balls when she gets stared at in the women's washroom. She attended her first Pride Parade a few weekends ago and remarked on how liberating it was to be able to walk into a public washroom without judgement. Let me repeat that: She felt liberated walking into the fucking toilet! I was at once ecstatic for her and bone-weary at the ignorance and idiocy.

And here I am, at my point: I am worried sick that, at the graduation she has worked damn hard to attend next weekend, some bigoted asshole is going to say something regarding her suit. Because she is not wearing a dress. It wouldn't be her. She is wearing a light grey suit, fuchsia pink shirt (to match her date's dress) and pink and cream striped tie. I won't go ghetto. I won't even give in to a severe tongue-lashing because I don't want to embarrass her. I will teach her discretion is the better part of valour, dignity is worth way more than a few seconds, or even minutes, of satisfaction.

But I fucking hate that I have to worry about my daughter's night being ruined because we live in a world where hate is still more prevalent than acceptance. 

This blog? I'm not even going to bother trying to make promises to you! We know each other well enough now, don't we? I want to write, I love to write! I've just lost the motivation to write anything more complicated than a facebook status.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You may be right!

In a scant 8 days I will write the exam that allows me to officially call myself an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant. Despite having worked in the eye care field for nearly three years, the rapidly approaching exam is freaking my shit out, giving my anti-anxiety/depression medication a run for it's money. I am Exorcist levels of scared.

So, what am I doing? You mean instead of studying like I should be? Procrastinating like a champion! Come on now, it isn't all bad! My inability to prioritize is giving you something to read.

Living where I do - approximately a ten minute drive from the North Pole (I may be exaggerating) - we already have snow! Yay! Not. I should be grateful it hadn't snowed before Halloween, as it had last year. But I'm not. Wanna know why? Because winter was eight long months last year and I am just not ready to deal with it again just yet. I, apparently, don't get a vote cause we got two inches of powder. I'm a Canadian and don't normally mind a little snow but here it's a little different. They don't salt the roads here because it's too cold. Yes, you read that right. Too cold! Salt doesn't melt the snow and ice when it's too cold. So there is a quarter inch of hard packed ice on all the road surfaces.

There is a handy little indicator on my dash that tells me when I've lost traction. Because what I need is an eye catching, flashing light to distract me from spinning out of control (literally and metaphorically). Thank you, Captain Obvious.

I was just about finished my makeup application the other morning when the cat did something that resulted in a pretty impressive crash. Immediately following the crash a sound like a beating heart. My first thought, because I am crazy and have and uncontrollable imagination, was "Great! Luna's woken the house". Then I realized that was a wee bit crazy and laughed a little nervously. Then I remembered my daughter was in the living room downstairs and she was watching Ellen. So I figured what I had heard was the bass line of whatever song whatever group was singing on the show. I breathed a little easier.  I asked who it was when I made it downstairs and my daughter told me that there hadn't been any music on the show. I'm back to thinking my house has a beating heart and my psychotic kitty has woken it. It's alright, you can laugh, I get it. But who's gonna laugh when my family disappears inexplicably?

I'm running out of steam here folks so I will have to cut it short. I hope to talk to you again soon! Can you water the plants while I'm gone?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Summer Sun Has Set

I know I said I was going to post more but I have had a busy summer, yo! It was an awesome summer but busy, busy. The are a million things I want to share with you but I'm hard pressed to know where to begin.

We took a road trip! 2500 kms in ten days, give or take. Given the blistering pace, it was impressive we didn't kill one another. Given the presence of my mother-in-law, it's a bonafide miracle. But that's a story best not told, I guess, if you have nothing nice to say and all that.

We rarely have the opportunity to go sight seeing. Our vacations usually end up being staycations or we've gone to visit family where one or the other is wound tighter than a spring. So this time we vowed to see the sights and have fun if we died in the attempt! It was difficult to remain relaxed at times (see earlier note about mother-in-laws presence) and there were a couple of times that someone or another actually lost their shit (I may have stood on the street corner in Banff and cried, though I'm pretty sure it wasn't photodocumented, so I will deny it if I have to.) But it was, all in all, a success.

The idea was to see as many landmarks and friends as possible. Not all the landmarks, mind you, but the ones we thought important. And not all the get the gist. We may have missed a thing or two, a friend here or there, or rushed a visit. Something we will correct when planning such a grande dios trip again.

In Jasper, Alberta we visited the Columbia Icefields and took a guided hiking tour of The Athabasca Glacier. It was very informative but labour intesive.  And our guide was a bit of a stickler for rules, God forbid any of us broke the single file formation, the glacier is a dangerous place! And I'm certain she she thought us all to be young, agile athletic types based on the near jog she had us doing at the start or she saw us for the sedentary slobs we are and made it her mission to bring us to task. At the ripe old age of thirty five, I was convinced I was going to have a heart attack. But my mother-in-law begged her mercy. I don't know if it was the thought of a possible law suit or the Aussie accent but our guide took pity on us and slowed the pace. I was prepared to throw myself at her feet and weep, if it  became necessary. Or push her into a Mill Well, those dangerous little holes in the glacier, created by melt, she kept warning us about. If I could've spared the energy.

A glacier is quite a sight and the hike was manageable once the pace was slowed. If you live near one, I would recommend a visit. Dress in layers, though. In August, on a twenty degree day the temperature dropped dramatically, the higher we went. Also, be prepared to be brow beaten for being a callous, uncaring human who is killing this beautiful planet and causing global warming to melt the polar ice caps and eventually there will be no fresh water and the earth may implode or go rocketing into the sun. I don't know, I glazed over. I recycle, I'm doing my part.

Did I mention that we tented the whole time? Oh yes! We spent an average of two nights at each of our destinations and so we have become expert camp setter-uppers and tearer-downers. We did spend four nights under a roof, our plans had us stopping for the evening to break up the drive, in one location. A friends house for two nights and finally a hotel for a single night at the end. It tends to get cold at night in the Rockies and not all of us were keen on that.

Our friend is an awesome gal and she showed us a super time. Honestly, she should be a tour guide for the Kelowna area. We spent one afternoon floating lazily down a canal on tubes we strung together. It was fantastic. Though, my annoyingly small bladder and my inability to pee anywhere other than a toilet made for a mildly uncomfortable hour or so toward the end of the ride. Perhaps that was TMI? Oh well, I'm leaving it.

The next day we spent a gloriously warm afternoon on a beach on the Okanogan. Basking in the sun and drinking wobbly pops. Don't worry, I had my sunscreen on. We had intended to celebrate Mr. Sprite's birthday that evening with drinks, music and cake but once we ate our cake, we were sleepy from all the fun and sun at the beach and ended up going to bed at a reasonable hour. We should all have our party cards revoked.

Our final touristy activity was a horse ride up the mountain with a steak fry. I was nervous, to say the least. I had been on a horse twice before and one of those times was not an enjoyable experience. But our family believes in facing your fears head on (when it suits us) and so I was intent on riding that damned horse. Probably not well, but I was willing to call staying on the horse a win. And so, when they introduced me to Sulphur, I told myself that the horse's namesake being the primary mineral in Hell was simply a coincidence and not prophetic. I mounted up and with nary an instruction given, we set off. Shortly after beginning we were asked to stand in our stirrups if the horse stopped to releive himself. This being the only bit of advice offered, I was at a loss to lessen the teeth shattering jostling when my horse did anything other that walk. One of my fellow tourists tried to offer her help by telling me to either lift when the horses front legs came up our stay in the saddle. I forgot almost immediately what she said when I discovered that looking down at the horses legs while he was in motion was a monumentally bad idea. And so I continued to get jostled. My derriere was a wee bit tender for the following day or so. But I managed to stay on the horse and I didn't need to be rescued because my horse sensed my ineptitude and tried to take full advantage by riding off into the sunset. Win!

Despite all our adventures, home was a welcome sight when we finally pulled into our drive. Our beds even more so.

I cleaned the SUV yesterday and found the remains of our vacation littered beneath the seats and tucked into doors. The remnants of summer fun brought happy memories but I was sad to see them just the same. Here at 55° N summer ends too quickly. Just a week into fall and the nights are already frosty, all the leaves have changed and many have fallen. What I wouldn't give for a few more weeks to make another warm and sunny memory or two.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Something Witty Goes Here

I was going to write a post about my depressingly dysfunctional relationship with my mother but I changed my mind. I don't think I'm capable of putting a humorous spin on it, it's too depressing.

So, what to write, what to write....?

Oh, this is going to be good.

*finger tapping*

*thoughtful looks*

*several false starts*


This isn't going to win the pulitzer or anything, but I'm trying to flex a muscle here, folks, bear with me!

Earlier this spring I suffered a bout of temporary insanity and volunteered to be the team manager of my daughter's soccer team.

I know, I should just check myself into an institution for the soft minded.

Mr. Sprite was volunteering as Head Coach and I was having visions of famous super hero duos and parent of the year awards and undying gratitude from players and parents alike. Ha! Fat chance.

First off, this was an under eighteen girls team. Twenty four girls with decision making power and zero regard for anyone but themselves. Secondly, parents are idiots. Why do the vast majority of us lose all ability to manage ourselves when there is a team manager involved? And finally, I don't think I'm much of a team player.

Let's begin with my last point, shall we? I originally offered to do it temporarily, until some other, more experienced and organized mother stepped in to take charge. I created an email list, I drafted and sent emails covering the various points that needed covering, including the need for a team manager.

My call to arms went unanswered. I rallied and decided to man the post myself.  My husband went to a meeting of the minds and returned to tell me that I now had two Co-team managers.

Despite having told him that I would do it, he assumed he was doing me a favour. He just didn't understand that this was my calling and I was prepared to answer it with gusto! I had created an email group in Gmail! Were my dedication and skill not apparent? Apparently not. But I am nothing if not accommodating and so I accepted my new colleagues with open arms.

It seems I do not play will with others.

It has come to my attention that I am woefully intolerant of incoherent text messages and emails lacking punctuation and grammar. I am also unwilling to be subjected to aggressive ignorance. But really, my expectations are exceedingly high.

When it dawned on me that, while two ladies that were foisted upon me were no doubt lovely, I was not on the same page as them. And rather than exert my dominance, I attempted to resign my position and leave the managing to them. They begged me to stay. The position was such that three ladies would serve far better than one. I caved. Not one for confrontation, am I.

Three was definitely a crowd.

Parents! A word of advice? If you have enrolled your child in an extra curricular activity, please read any and all, in its entirety,communications sent to you regarding that extra curricular activity. To ask for contact numbers that were sent to you three times makes you look like an idiot. It is a pity that LMGTFY is not an acceptable response to a query regarding the name and locations of hotels sent to you two weeks ago for the tournament this weekend. On Thursday. And finally, please don't make me send a repo man to your home because you still have not paid your dues. I feel qualified to offer such advice because I have been guilty of all of these as a parent and now know the special kind of torture it is as a team manager.

Finally, Ladies. You will one day soon venture out on your own. You are a short step from adulthood. It shouldn't be too much to ask for you to arrange your own transportation. It isn't difficult to notify your coaches if you plan to be absent. Your jersey is not too tight and yours is. Yes, your Pro-Wrap is fine, even though it doesn't match. Do we really need to wear two different coloured socks? This is soccer, not Americas Next Top Model.

Gah! I'm sure I have new grey hair and I expect compensation for my troubles and I have a new found respect for those who volunteer their time to support our kids and I believe they all need their heads read.

Where do I sign up for next year?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Your Argument is Invalid

I was on Facebook the other day (five times that day and every day since, damn addiction) and a friend had shared a picture from the I Fucking Love Atheism page. The picture was of a Bible (ha! Blogger so generously capitalized 'Bible' for me (it was actually Android that capitalized it, as I started this post on my phone and finished it on my desktop. Hmm, very interesting. Or not. Whatevs!)) and a Spiderman comic. Beneath the Bible is an arrow pointing to the book and a line of text that reads "proof that God exists" and beneath the comic the same arrow and text that says "proof that Spiderman exists". Above both it says "Your logic is flawed". Or something similar. I don't remember exactly, it was a couple of days ago and Blogger didn't like the picture format and I can't find the damn picture on the Internet.

Normally, I agree with the things on the I Fucking Love Atheism page. Not always, of course. And this is one of those times.

Before I gave up on religion, the belief in God, spirituality, the whole bag, I tried very hard to hold onto the things I had been taught were true as a child. I read the Bible. That did nothing to secure my beliefs, in fact it raised more doubts. I tried praying but felt increasingly silly. I spoke to various believers including Men of the Cloth.

I know there are zealots out there who believe the existence of a higher being is proved by every flower that ever grew, every animal that ever lived, every child ever born. But they're zealots and even their fellow believers often give them a wide berth. Then there are those that have never even thought about it and when you ask them, they repeat the well rehearsed script they've used since time out of mind and their father spouted and their eight-times-great-grandfather penned. Because they were all told to believe, the notion to question never occurred. Mix a little mean in with some of them and you end up with a very dangerous sort of individual. The sort that'll strap a bomb to his own chest and happily light the fuse in the midst of a crowd of stockbrokers. All the while believing he is right and just.

But they are few and far between. One bad apple and all that. It's unfortunate that all believers are painted with the same brush.

It's been my experience, in the circles that I travel, that modern believers believe the Bible to be nothing more than a book of fables meant to guide. Not the actual word of God. They accept it's a book written by man and is not without fault. In fact, I don't think anyone I know has ever offered the Bible as proof there is a God.

I think the answer most often given, the one that resonated most with me, is faith. There isn't anything on earth with the express purpose of proving there is a God. Believers don't need proof, they have faith. If their faith is ever questioned, they either resolve it within themselves or they don't. They don't need proof, they just believe. Against all odds, they do not doubt.

I don't know what the church's official position on the Bible is or whether they have one at all. I'm not overly concerned. I may not be nearly as well informed as I think I am. In fact, I may be way off my mark, the regular Joe may be very happy to point to proof around every corner for me. But the regular Joe is not the one I sought out for advice or an opinion. And the ones I did go to never felt it necessary to provide me with any proof or convince me of anything. I was simply told to have faith.

Sadly, it's something I just don't have. And yes, I do say "sadly". Religious folk seem genuinely at peace. Their faith that God has their back seems to relieve a good amount of tension. I know the arguments against faith, I have made many of them myself, but it doesn't change the envy I have for their apparent lack of inner turmoil.

I don't know if I've done a good job of making my point. Religion is such a touchy subject and I've tried not to tread on too many toes too hard because I appreciate how personal it is. I just didn't like the idea that anyone who believes is incapable of rational thought or applying logic. I found it offensive and felt the need to speak up despite my own beliefs. I'm sure I'll get raked over the coals and you know what? I don't mind at all. Perhaps I'll learn something.