Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Start of a journey

Have not posted anything for a long time. I have been having a horrible time with symptoms since I had botox treatments at the end of January. Life is just barely returning to normal.

I am starting Weight Watchers Online today. Hoping losing some weight will help with the balance issues, and my health in general.

My weight has been an issue nearly all my life. In grade school I was chubby. My mother was an obsessive cleaner, to the point that if you paused in eating -- even to chat, or take a moment to decide if you were full or not -- she would instantly clear away your plate, and you had no chance to eat until the next meal. Snacks were not allowed due to being very poor: food was rationed at all times. It got to the point I would eat nonstop, often swallowing without chewing fully, so that I had a chance to get full before she cleared away the plate, and my chance was gone. Unfortunately this habit of quickly eating much more than I need has followed me some 40+ years later. It is definitely a habit I need to break.

I also eat when I am bored, stressed, happy, sad, etc. I need to learn that food is just for hunger/energy, and not for emotional reasons.

I want to be thin and healthy... I am not sure I have the willpower however to get there. But I am sure going to try.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Reflections on The Twins

It is wonderful to see the twins growing as fast as they do, and changing day by day. The past couple weeks has seen amazing changes in them, as they are really starting to talk more.
Since they were born prematurely, they have been going to the local Child Development Centre for assessments every month or two, to make sure everything is going along smoothly. So far it is going good: at first they were seen as several months behind their age, but they have caught up, and are even ahead developmentally in a few areas.
We are keeping up with the assessments, since there is a huge history of ADD and dyslexia in the family, and since Autism is thought to be of significant higher risk for preemie twins. We want to make sure they have the help when/if problems arise, rather than trying to get help after years of fighting with teachers, as was the case with my husband (who did not get help with his ADD and Dyslexia until grade 12), my middle child (both issues, grade 4) and my son (both issues grade 1). Their mother is the only one of my kids who does not have either ADD or Dyslexia, so I am hoping that maybe it is not passed on to them. Only time will tell.

These pictures are the final instalment of the 32 days of #Iheartfaces photochallenge. I was not successful in doing all of them, but I did have fun with the few that I did. I am going to try to find another photochallenge to work on in January, as it does give me something to think about, and a focus for the day -- both in blogging, as well as something to think about in an otherwise boring day, when one day seems just like any other. Looking for these neat little photo challenges or blog ideas is one way to keep mentally busy. I am still just using my iPod camera for them: I do have a point-&-shoot digital camera, which is a bit better quality, but have lost the camera cable for it, so while I can take photos, they are trapped in the neverland abiss of the camera -- so prefer the crappy quality for now that I can post from right away, vs the one that traps them forever, unless it is an event worthy of momentous photos, like birthdays and weddings. One day I will break down and order a new cable -- and as luck will have it, will likely find the missing cable that very afternoon.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Guns, Mental Illness & Sandy Hook

I find myself really hating most of the news stations and websites I frequent in recent weeks. All because of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

First off let me say I really have a lot of woe and compassion for what all the families are going through. They are hurting, and we as onlookers are hurting as well. I think this insident will go down as sadly go down as one of the horrific days of this century, not quite on the scale of 911, but pretty close. Mostly because of the age of the victims, and their pure innocence and potential that lost with them.

What angers me is how the various news channels and individuals on Facebook and other websites use this insident (and other past insidents like them) to push their agenda, by manipulating the facts of this tragedy to make their point. I cannot even look at my facebook feed without stupid comments about how if we just had gun control, more guns, locked up all the crazy people, had prayer in school, etc etc, we would would never have another shooting ever like this. If only it were that simple.

Gun Control.

Controlling guns is not going to work, simply because it is the law abiding people who will pay attention to the gun control issues. When ever we try to regulate things, like alcohol during Prohibition, all it does is make the criminal element take it underground. The problen does not go away, it in fact gets worse, because some criminals decide to start making money off of the sales of the illegal items.

More Guns

This is not going to solve the issue either. It will just make people more paranoid; more on edge. More willing to shoot first, then ask questions. Not everyone is trained to shoot. When you look at law enforcement, not everyone there is allowed to carry a firearm. What makes us think we have more rights? More sanity? More skills, than someone who is professionally trained to do this. If an FBI agent or Police Officer has to pass certain criteria to gain a gun, and can lose it just as easily -- we should not expect that each and every one of us should have the ability to discert who to shoot and who not to. Vigilante justice is not the answer.

Locking Up The Crazy People

Mental Health is a big touchy subject for many. I grew up in a family with major mental health issues. My father has confirmed Multiple Personality Disorder. My mother-in-law has BiPolar Disorder. There are also several schizophrenics, and a lot of depression in the family. At least a dozen family members have been hospitalized short term (and a few long term) in mental health facities. Locking people up without helping them does not good to anyone. Yes it makes people on the outside feel safer, but it does not solve the problem, and it only helps with those that are severe enough to be diagnosed and institutionalized -- you usually have to be pretty sick to be locked up against your will; most of these people who have committed crimes would not have met the diagnostic criteria if they were tested prior to the crime.

What is needed is better services for mental health clients. Better diagnostics. More therapists. More beds for those who need residental treatment. Especially in smaller communities, those with poorer resourses, higher First Nations populations, or other at-risk factors. And yes, for the few that do need to be locked up, there does need to be more facilites for secure lockup. But within those facilities it cannot just be hold and maintain, it must be a full treatment facility, with the best care for these people. We need to give as much care and fundraising to mental health as we give to breast cancer and other less stigmatized illnesses. We need to accept that there is nothing wrong with being mentally ill, and there is nothing wrong with getting help for it. And we need to put the money into fixing the gaps we have greated in the systems, over years of neglect, when we as a society have refused to deal with this issue until it is to big to ignore. Mental Health problems probably affects more families than cancer -- we just refuse to acknowledge it. We have been taught to ignore it. look the other way. But it will not go away. It never does.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Unexpected Art

Day 10 -- #iheartfaces photochallenge. Stripes.

This one was a bit puzzling for me today, until I was sitting watching the menorah candles, and it hit me how vertical it all was. Art can sneek up on you at the most unexpected times.

Hannukah Time!

I love Hannukah. And it is not just because I am Jewish. I am a convert, so I have been on both sides. Compared to Christmas, Hannukah is so much more laid back, and unpressured. There is no demand for the consumerism. Yes we give presents. But it is optional. Some families do, some don't. And when you do, it is truely appreciated, not done out of habit, so you bought your cousin/aunt/boss some cheap lame, last-minute gift you would be horrified if someone gave you. And we do it because we think we have to.

With Hannukah, that pressured consumerism is removed. No counting down how many shopping days. No holiday-binge related debt to repay come January for most of us. Those that do exchange gifts usually keep it to simple gifts for most nights. Like a book, or a box of chocolates, or such. Maybe a sweater or some handknit socks. There might be one fancy gift. Most families give 1 gift per child per night. So 8 gifts total. Not massive pile of gifts, and a stocking full of more gifts.

This year I spent around $100 per person for the holiday, and that was a lot higher than I have spent in a few years, but it was needed for several as they needed new clothes, so that was part of their gifts. We do get them gifts at other times, as well as clothes, but to me, the mass commercialization of Christmas has taken all the spiritualality out of what the holiday originally meant -- even the secular way of keeping Christmas has gotten severly warped in the past 10 years or so. It is nothing like what it was when I was a kid, much less the Christmas of tradition.

I also feel that Hannukah -- like most aspects of Jewish teachings, is centered on the home and family, rather than a specific ritual. When one lights the menorahs, and then sits to watch the candles burn, while talking and visiting with your family. No rush. No pressure. Nothing else to be done ... that is it for the holiday. The food you serve is a compliment to the candles. It is not the stress and drudgery that keeps usually tires the woman out so much that she can barely enjoy Christmas Day, if she is putting on the Big Family Dinner.

Food is simple. Nothing expensive, just like the gifts. Potatoe latkes, with a side of applesauce. Homemade donughts. Maybe a bit of Chocolate.  Now don't get me wrong, just because it is not expensive food, does not mean we go hungry. We Jews know how to eat, and eat well when we celebrate! But we do not have to get all into the fancy turducken gimicky things.

Our decorations follow the simple theme as well. I used to get all caught up in tons of decorations for the holiday. I actually had two steamer trunks full of decorations. We always had live trees, and I would also put pine branches out on the mantle, or other surfaces with decorations on them. Every room in the house was decorated in some way, including the bathrooms, even if it was just a small arrangement in a corner, or a jar of Christmas balls on a shelf.  Now it is centred on the menorahs. We have three main ones now, as well as four of the cheap tin kind that we have for when extra visitors show up. I hope to get a few more menorahs over the years so that I can have nice ones for visitors too, but for now this is fine. We put a few strands of blue and white LED lights up, and a few strands of blue, white or silver garlands, to make the house look festive, but it is very understated.

The only thing I can honestly say I miss about Christmas is the smell of the real pine tree in the house. Whenever we walk by the tree lots now I cannot help taking a nostalgic whiff, but I can very cheerfully add that I don't miss vaccuming up the needles from the shag carpet for weeks on end.

Yes that I definitely do not miss.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Jobs

BlogHer Prompt: Monday, December 10, 2012

Do you enjoy your current job (or your last job)?

The job last job I had, that I was working at when I sustained my brain injury, was the best job I have ever had. I loved that job, and I am totally heartbroken to have had to medically retire from it. I worked as a Service Canada employee, helping people fill out their Canada Pension, Employment Insurance, and many other Federal Government paperwork. I found it very satisfying to help people with their personal issues, and their was just enough variety in the clients that I did not find it boring. I know others in my office say it as simple secretarial or computer work, or menial paperwork, but to me, I looked beyond they paper shuffling, and data entry, to the people we helped. Each person I was able to help was satisfying to me. Even if I was not able to give them money in the end (ie if they did not qualify), they would leave my desk understanding why they did not meet the criteria, and most were not upset in the end. I have had a lot of people who I run into in the grocery store or other places since I have been off work, and they tell me how much they miss me at the office: they say I was the only worker there that seemed to care about the clients, and treat them like people, instead of just numbers.

Most of the jobs I have had in my life I have enjoyed. Even the menial jobs. The ones I did not like were the ones that had major personality conflicts with other coworkers or the management, so that going to work became a social nightmare. The job itself was not the problem: the people at the job were.

I think part of the reason I have enjoyed all my jobs is my outlook on life: I am an optimist. I try to always look at the best in a person or situation. I try not to look for the worst, the faults, the dark and gloomy side of the situation. In fact I will try to see the positive in even the worst situations. For I know that everything has both good and bad aspects, and it is just a matter of what we choose to focus on that shapes our outlook. If we choose to focus on all the negative aspects of life, then our lives will feel that much more negative. I don't just skip looking at the bad parts. I do look at the negatives, I just don't dwell on them, or blow them out of proportion.

In some situations it is harder than others. If you end up in a really toxic work environment, it is hard to find anything positive about it. I have quit jobs when this happens with no guilt, and have counselled friends to do the same, when they are being emotionally abused by their coworkers or boss. The worst jobs I had were at a payday loan company that was regularly robbed, and the management would not take proper safety precautions for the workers, a retail job that would not give adequate, consistent hours, and a drug and alcohol treatment centre that while it focused on the wellness of it's clients, was a horrible mental health threat to it's workers.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Enjoying The View from Here

#IHeartFaces photography prompt for Dec 7th.

The View from Here

The view from our townhouse is quite peaceful. We live just on the edge of town, right across from one of the local highschools. For being an urbanish home it is fairly quiet, although not as quiet as the rural places we have lived. The view from our balcony is nice. I can see the Coastal Mountain Range as we look across the school feilds and town. Our place sits on the base of the Fraser Plateau: most of what we see is rolling hills, not real mountains. The Plateau sits between the Coastal Mountains and the Rocky Mountains.

Most days when I look out I can see various sports teams practicing on the feilds. Rugby takes up a great portion of the time, as does soccer, but there is also track and a few other sports played there.

It is odd when I look out right now. Simply because I can see grass everywhere. Usually by early December, we have a thin layer of snow, that will be there until March. At a bare minimum, there is a layer of ice left from previous snowfalls that have melted. So far this year we have only had a few flurries: I am not sure what that will hold for the rest of winter. Is it all yet to come, or are we in for a dry winter this year? I am hoping for dry, as I hate getting about in the snow, but less snow usually means colder temperatures: it is usually one or the other.

Here is the view: I managed to catch a bit of a rainbow.