Monday, September 29, 2008

Just a few thoughts about why Stephen Harper will not be getting my vote

1. Harper’s frightening complacency and wilful ignorance about the environment and the immediate (soon-to-be irreversible) state of emergency. I can’t express it better than Mary-Margaret Jones, who has also gathered links to other significant resources about this issue: First time that I’ve been scared

2. Harper’s blatantly ignorant dismissal of the wide socioeconomic and cultural benefits of the arts. I will refer you to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s thoughtful and eloquent response, Dear Mr. Harper, as well as Margaret Atwood's rebuttal to Harper's pithy remarks, To be creative is, in fact, Canadian.

3. The Conservative policies of withdrawing support for social programs and institutions, and wantonly withholding the federal payments to provinces and to municipalities which are needed to support education and health care and transportation, to repair our crumbling urban infrastructures and to maintain all the standards by which Canada was known in my youth as one of the very best countries in the world in which to live.

But that’s okay, because the Conservatives are returning all this to Canadians in the form of tax cuts to individuals and to corporations. In the former case, these are often measly amounts compared to the wider social costs of losing those programs (and disproportionately given to those who need it the least rather than to those would benefit most from keeping the programs). In the latter case, supporting socioeconomic and legal structures that assign to corporations the rights which should belong to (human) persons, providing protections far greater than those given to persons, while simultaneously eroding those of the individual.

This October, I will be voting. Unfortunately that might mean that I will choose to vote defensively – by casting my ballot for the candidate most likely to prevent a Conservative victory in my riding.

Or perhaps I will throw such cautions to the wind and vote with my conscience for the candidate/party I believe could bring the most beneficial change to our society if given the opportunity, in the vain hope that even if my candidate doesn’t ultimately win a seat, the numbers will still demonstrate my beliefs about how my country should and could be run.

I won't presume to tell others how to vote. Whatever you believe in your heart will be best for your country and the world we live in, however you intend to cast your ballot, this October in Canada (and this November in the U.S.): please go and VOTE. As knitters, we have learned how doing one small and simple thing over and over again is a powerful engine for creating something good; the cumulative effect of many people doing one small simple thing is a powerful engine for change in society. But it only works if we do it.
Did ya miss me? I missed you.

I married my best friend of 25 years on August 31st, which was (and is) great, but September has been a hectic and upsetting month as I've been handling successive health crises for my MIL and my Father, myself and then my husband. All that came hard on the heels of wedding planning and preparation (which had us already tired, though happily so), and since then I've been living in a nearly perpetual state of concern and fatigue. My nerves have been so frazzled that I could hardly knit. I lost my appetite and often forgot to eat until my DH would appear in the kitchen at whatever hour of the evening on a quest for sustenance.

I didn't want to post anything more about it here because I was afraid of turning this blog into a depressing and whiny place. As for knitting content: I have been somewhat soothed by wallowing in Ravelry and accumulating a monumental electronic wish/to-do list of projects, but I have nothing more to show for it than a few swatches and some lame attempts to tame the wild jungle that is my stash.

Well, everyone is finally healthy (or at least on the mend, or doing a reasonable facsilmile of such), and my nerves are improving now that I don't have to worry about everyone. But we could definitely use a real honeymoon - even just a few days to relax together, to enjoy each other's presence and get away from our worries. The timing isn't conducive to doing that, because now 'tis the season to be Jewish and I am swamped with synagogue as well as a couple of other singing commitments. But once the high holidays are over and the treadmill that is my schedule slows down, I am definitely going to find a way to use some of the lovely gift certificates we received for hotels, restaurants, and spas.

I'd LOVE to attend Rhinebeck in mid-October, but it's not in the cards for this year. That's probably just as well, as my stash is threatening to explode anyway and there are other budgetary priorities at the moment, like utilities, which I would be much too likely to forget in favour of all the yarny goodness. Let's face it, I am powerless when faced with fibre fumes. Dazzled by colour and seduced by texture, I would easily succumb to the lure of plastic spending, which would be fiscally and spatially disastrous. So I won't even try to find a way to get to NYS&W this year. Still, I can start planning now for next year :) And in the meantime, to soothe my cravings for fibery fun and my Rhinebeck regrets, I'd LOVE to arrange to meet with some knitterly friends (in person or online) for a cup of tea (or something stronger) and a good long yarn...

P.S. And I should be receiving some lovely wedding pix next weekend, which I promise to share with you.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

MezzoDiva is on the Benylin with codeine, Robaxacet and Advil diet. Seriously, though, I am briefly functional in between doses and though I'd post a little update here.

I haven't found my wedding ring yet, but I haven't been able to do more than a cursory search. I need the time and energy to look meticulously through all the wedding gift packages and through the clothes piles and laundry hampers, and both have been in short supply.

After walking in the cold pouring rain all day Sunday with my immune system somewhat compromised by this extreme exertion following the stress of the last couple of weeks (wedding & MIL) I came down with a nasty little chest cold. I probably caught it from sharing high-fives with several hundred strangers including numerous children along the route. (Next year I'll do like the doctors and wear light gloves). I have no blisters this year and thankfully lost no toenails (unlike the two that just grew back after last year), but I’m raw and chaffing in places I didn’t know could meet!

I was doing a great imitation of the octogenarian shuffle yesterday. I went for a slow 1.5 mile "stroll" late in the afternoon to take the edge off (its a “hair of the dog” sort of thing) and it hurt but it helped. As we left the house, I looked up and threatened the already cloudy sky to zip it until after I got home or I’d come up there and wreak my own brand of personal retribution. It seems the storm front took my warning to heart as not a drop fell until I was safely home, and then it poured most of the night.

I'm feeling more of the fatigue today, but less of the pain. A couple of days' rest, lots of ginger tea with honey, chicken soup and the contents of a small bottle of Benyllin with codeine should do the trick and I'll be fit as a fiddle soon. I'm sleeping a lot and when awake I'm enjoying the Blue Jays' winning streak.

Meanwhile, (a) my MIL is doing much better; (b) I just raised well over $8250 this year and I already received my first donation for the 2009 WEBC, and (c) I just have a good feeling that once I can do a proper search the ring will turn up, so on the whole I am not too unhappy about it.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Despite the inevitable side-effects of walking an absurd distance all day in the pouring rain, MezzoDiva regrets nothing. She is now home, clean, dry, fed, and very happy to be crawling into her bed (emphasis on the "crawling" part). When every little movement no longer hurts, there may be a rather more extensive report on MezzoDiva's exploits and the events of this year's WEBC.

Meanwhile, please note: Knitters 4 Knockers will be walking again September 11-13, 2009, in the 7th annual Toronto WEBC. Join us! More info coming soon.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

How I spent my "honeymoon".

Well, as previously reported, my nearly 89 year-old MIL was absent from the wedding. She fell ill Sunday morning just before the wedding and after a night of increasing headaches and a very heavy-headed sensation, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, she called about an hour before the wedding to say she couldn't be there.

We thought perhaps she was over-excited about the wedding or she ate something off, but not so. Monday morning she called an ambulance to go to the Emergency room. My brother-in-law met her there and kept us informed by phone throughout the day (because adding our bodies to the crowds already at the Emerg was not a good idea), where after a wait of several hours, they did some tests and then sent her home with some prescriptions, as there was no point admitting her.

She was diagnosed with Ménière's disease, a middle ear syndrome where there is excess endolymphatic fluid and it crystallizes and when the fluid and crystals shift it sends mixed signals to the balance receptors. It presents with all those symptoms (above), as well as vision problems and hearing loss (in the affected ear), both of which she has had for some time.

They also did a CAT scan and discovered a foreign mass in her brain, but apparently it’s thought to be a benign tumour (there’s no heat signature which would indicate growth or malignancy) and as it seems to have been there for a long time and it’s not growing (in fact it’s probably calcified and just sitting there being different), they say it's safer to leave it in than to subject an 89-year-old little woman to brain surgery.

She is recovering slowly, some meds seem to be having effect on the symptoms (there’s no cure, treatment is symptom-focussed), but clearly she could not be left alone in her apartment. My sister-in-law stayed with her Monday night, then we went over mid-day on Tuesday and stayed overnight and through yesterday, when we had to leave for a meeting in the evening. We went back later that night to help her with her laundry and then came home to our place to try and get a good night’s rest, as it seemed she could manage for the night. She's very self-sufficient, fiercely independent and likes her privacy. We (or smebody) will probably go back later today and we'll all make further plans one day at a time as we monitor her recovery.

Meanwhile, I am trying to get psyched up for the WEBC. I need to take some time today to check the weather forecasts and find (figure out) what I will wear, and probably do some laundry. I also need put together in a knapsack or large fanny pack various things that I will need while walking: sunscreen, lipbalm, a hat and a bandana, sunglasses, extra socks, a portable rain poncho, bodyglide, vaseline, adhesive moleskin, cornstarch/baby powder, deodorant, moist toilettes, blister pads, bandaids, flip flops for when we reach "camp" at the end of day one, advil, purel, a couple of small bottles to refill frequently as I'm on the route (one for gatorade and one for water), my cell phone, my ID, some money, some super-plus tampons, extra underwear...

Oh, yeah, that's a thrill! Assuming my calculations are correct, and they usually are, I'll be extremely hormonally challenged on those two days. I just hope that the spirit around me is as infectious as I recall from last year and my determination will help me forget that those are the two rather heavy days I usually want to spend horizontally with some good chocolate, a heating pad, my knitting and the remote control.

Honestly, though, I can't focus on all the prep much. I am totally exhausted already and I haven't even begun to walk.

Don't get me wrong, I am not feeling sorry for myself. I've had a wonderful (and horrible) week, between the whirlwind of prep for the wedding, the day itself, and then taking care of my MIL, whose company I quite enjoy (which, parenthetically, makes for some tension with my mother, whose company I do not).

It's just that I haven't had a really decent night's sleep in about a week, I'm sure I have PMS (I have one nerve left and people are taking turns stepping on it, though my snappy mood could just as easily be due to fatigue). I am too worried about my MIL and my husband, as well as my father (who sees his cardiologist today, and we won't even get into all that here, okay?), and my mother, who feels emotionally neglected and left out, to really be thinking of me.

On top of that, it's been 4 days since I lost the wedding band and though I know it's probably only playing hide and seek somewhere here, I haven't even had a single chance to look for it yet. Nor have I picked up my lovely flowers. We left them at the restaurant with plans to return for them the very next day... (I'm hoping they're still alive). It’s a gold ring that Richard has owned for 36 years and which we used for the ceremony, as the ring he gives to me has to belong solely to him – a requirement of the ceremonial tradition - and I've worn my others with the small diamonds for several years, so there's no arguing that they are mine. After the wedding, I was going to have it resized for him to wear as his wedding band.

It's a long story, but I was so tired (and bemusedly elated) that I have no idea when it left my hand. I noticed it missing from my hand shortly after 5 pm when I got changed right after the wedding. We had just gotten home from the wedding, happy but exhausted, and the last half hour or so was a total blur. It's possible I gave it to him; I know I tried to. I asked him to take it twice as the afternoon wore on, because I was tired and afraid it would fall off, but he claims to have turned me down both times. Honestly, we were both so tired by the end that we can't remember. In the pictures I have seen, It's still on my hand just at the end before we started packing up. So it might be somewhere at the restaurant (I called the same day 6:00 pm, they’ll keep looking). And it might be in my bedroom in the great pile of clothes where I went digging for something more comfortable to wear.

I actually prayed a little about it that night (in my own undefined quasi-pagan Buddhist-Jewish way). I got up the next morning at 6:30 AM after only 3 hours of sleep and had a tremendous urge to go out and look on the street between our place and the restaurant (about three city blocks). I spent the next 45 minutes walking carefully up and down thesidewalk, hoping to catch a glint of gold as the sun was rising... but no luck.

And then it all was put into perspective by our concern for our loved ones. So really, what does a gold ring matter in the scheme of things?

Monday, September 01, 2008

It was a terrific day. The wedding was a lot of fun, everyone said it was wacky and delightful, totally appropriate to us as a couple. I'm waiting to get some pix from guests and then I'll post some.

The food was great, the prosecco was chilled to almost the right temperature, my dress was a huge hit (amazing, because it's second hand and was just left for me in a bag at my LYS by a woman I barely know and haven't seen since - Thank you, Arlene!). There were elegant flowers (white and green gladiolas, green spider mums, and these red branches -I don't know what they are - in a lovely tall arrangement) and fun flowers (hot pepper plants in a lovely tin planter). There was even peace in the family (a miraculous event - you have NO idea - truly).

All in all, a wonderful day that was marred only by two things:

1. I seem to have misplaced the wedding band right after the wedding. I was so tired I have no idea when it left my hand. It might be somewhere in my bedroom in a huge pile of clothes where I was rummaging for something clean for both my unofficial matron-of-honour/mistress-of-ceremonies and me to change into right after the wedding. Or it's at the restaurant where it fell off while I was packing up all the gifts and wedding props and things I needed to clear out of there.

2. My MIL was absent. She fell ill yesterday morning and after a day of headaches, nausea and vomitting, this morning she called an ambulance to go to the Emergency room. My brother-in-law is with her and keeping us informed by phone because adding our bodies to the crowds already at the Emerg is not a good idea. No confirmed diagnosis yet, still doing some tests, but it sounds like they don't plan to admit her, just do more tests and send her home. Then we can go visit her and regale her with tales of our wonderful wedding.