Friday, September 30, 2011

A Proud Day for Health Care in BC

I'm really proud of my province today. Not only did we institute a Smoking Cessation Program that helps smokers with the cost of quit smoking aids, but we got permission from the Supreme Court of Canada to keep Insite up and running.

This has been a very controversial issue. For those of you not from Vancouver, Insite is the province's first legal safe injection site. It is based on the harm reduction approach to health care - meaning that, unlike most public services for addicts, it isn't about getting people to quit using (though it does provide information and support for anyone who does want to get clean). It's focused on dealing with the reality of people's existing lifestyles and mitigating the risks associated with it - which, in this case, means giving users clean syringes and a safe and supervised site with medical professionals on staff.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin says, and I agree:

As a social sciences student, I have come to see great benefits to these sorts of programs. Not only in terms of making a risky activity safer, but also in reaching out to sectors of the population who are routinely stigmatized and alienated from any form of health care and support. It gives people a starting point to get help - whatever that help may be (needle exchange, housing, counseling, medical care, etc.).

I'm not so proud of our Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, however. Along with the rest of the conservative (*assholes* ahem), she was in favour of doing away with the clinic, saying:

Yeah, it's great if you can find a way to prevent people from becoming addicts. I'm all for that. But what about all the people who are already addicted? What do you suggest is done about them? Just ignore them and hope they go away? That's putting on a pretty big set of blinders, there, Leona.

I'm hopeful that this ruling has set an important precedent - not just in terms of drug law exemptions for similar facilities, but in terms of a general approach to community health care. It says that we're all important; and we all deserve to be counted into the health care system.

Here's more info on the ruling and on Insite.

Fill in the _____ Friday

Never have I needed a Friday quite as much as I need this one. Between deadlines at work, the return of (very) wet weather, crazy public transit and my newly-acquired stuffy nose, I'm about ready to drop. Or kill someone. Hopefully the murderous impulse will pass by Monday, but you might want to steer clear of me for awhile just in case.

  1. My current obsession is... TV! I rarely actually watch shows when they're on, commercials and all, but I've been so excited by the return of Criminal Minds and The Vampire Diaries (don't judge) and new shows like Prime Suspect and Person of Interest that I've actually been planning to watch scheduled TV in the evening. Well, when I'm not working. *Sigh.*
  2. Weekends ... make me happy.
  3. My greatest strength is... man, as much as I love FITBF, I hate questions like this. They ask you this sort of crap in interviews and all they get in response is *crickets.*  (Except, of course, for those people who like to talk about themselves. Then you just wish you hadn't asked.)
  4. Chocolate ... is my greatest weakness. Well that was easy.
  5. My life is... really stressful right now, but also fulfilling. As much as I'm complaining about everything I have to do, I'm kind of enjoying getting to work and just launching right into getting shit done. I like feeling productive, and I like working efficiently. Because I also like to procrastinate, these things only happen when I'm too busy to put anything off. So all in all, though I need a weekend, life is good.
  6. In high school I was... well, I went to three high schools. I was very different at each of them.
  7. When I'm super tired... I tend to drift off on daydream tangents and get very cranky. So probably best not to talk to me. Unfortunately, this is me pretty much every morning and I don't drink coffee. I should have a sign on my cubicle that says "Beware of the Beast" until noon every day.
As always, thanks to Lauren at The Little Things We Do for the blanks! Head on over to link up with your own FITBF!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

OMG - I Got A Blog Award!!

I got a comment from Meghan - not only saying she likes my blog, but also giving me a blog award! Totally unexpected. Totally awesome. HUGE thanks to Meghan for making my whole month!! Go and check her out:


rule #1: thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them - Done!

rule #2: share seven things about yourself. 

1. I'm actually really shy. If you knew me (particularly if you'd spent time with me after a couple of beers), this would surprise you.
2. I love sarcasm.
3. I don't like weddings. I know that's like a betrayal of my gender, but I just can't get into them.
4. I will never, ever be a morning person. Avoid me before noon if you don't want to have things thrown at your head.
5. Peppermint mochas are my favourite Starbucks drink. I drink them all year round - I even have peppermint mocha frappucinos in the summer, they're that good.
6. I was born in Canada, but my parents are British. I've always felt more of a "home" connection with England and secretly dream of living in London. The way to my heart is Polo mints and Marks & Sparks digestive biscuits. And calling potato chips "crisps."
7. Even though I've been living on my own for over a decade, I still resent having to spend money on groceries.

rule #3: pass the award onto some newly discovered blogs:

Emily (like me!) @ formerly known as emj
Kami @ Searching for Serendipity
Chels @ Time to Get Motivated
Sar @ Life of Love

Take a minute to visit them, I promise you won't regret it! Thanks again to Meghan, my new favourite person! xoxo

Wicked Wednesday - Lin @ Linny's Vault

I stumbled across this blog after Lin left a comment on one of my Fill in the Blank Friday link-ups. And oh, am I ever glad I did! This lady is seriously hilarious - and she appears to share my love for The Closer, food that you know you shouldn't eat, naughty/funny cartoons, sarcasm and Sons of Anarchy. Also (and possibly more importantly) my distaste for crappy Hollywood remakes and unnecessary sequels (SATC 2. 'Nuff said.), Jersey Shore, acrylic nails, singing co-workers, mornings and rudeness.

She's also refreshingly honest and open about the sorts of things we all think about, worry about and go through - like money problems, body image issues, less-than-fulfilling jobs, and the hard decisions that come with being a grown-up. These are things I've been struggling with myself, and it's great to not only know that other women my age are going through the same tough places, but to be inspired by how she deals with it. Even if it's by deciding not to deal with it and watch TV instead. We all need to do that sometimes! Lin manages to be funny, witty, engaging and really entertaining - no matter what topic she's discussing - and it's like a breath of fresh air. 

Being relatively new to blogging, it's really great to have found another blogger who is friendly, funny and takes the time to share her thoughts with newbies like me! She's also the inspiration for my new series, Ten on Tuesdays (very new - I've only done one post, but hopefully it'll stick!).

Here are a few of my favourite posts:

If you like me, you'll love her. Pop over and say "hi" if you need a break from daily monotony!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shaw Can Suck It.

I'm blogging because I'm too bored and frustrated to do anything else. J. wants to watch the Rugby World Cup. We don't currently get the sports channels, so I stupidly helpfully offered to call Shaw to add the required channel. Simple, right? I mean, all I want is for them to flip some kind of switch somewhere and charge me something ridiculous like an extra $10 or $15 a month for their trouble. But no. Not simple at all, as it turns out.

I have now been on hold for 45 minutes listening to really, really bad music on a loop interspersed with ads that are either annoying, unhelpful or flat out lies (I seriously doubt that working at Shaw is an "exciting career in a dynamic environment" as the scarily cheerful woman keeps telling me). So just in case any of you out there reading this work for Shaw, you might want to pass this on: if you hire more people to answer your damn phones you will make enough money to pay their salaries from the hundreds of people calling to spend stupid amounts of money who give up in frustration after the first 20  minutes. Think about it.

**another ten minutes later: Did you know that if you start to type "on hold frustrated" in Google, the autofill pops up "on hold frustrated shaw"? Take a hint, guys.

**another ten minutes later: I've been on hold for so long now that while I know I should hang up, it's become a war of wills. I WILL outlast this stupid tapeloop. I'm determined. You bastard.

**another ten minutes later:

**another ten minutes later:

Aw, f*ck it.

Ten on Tuesday

Well, there's a first time for everything. Clearly I suck at blogging regularly, with the exception of FITBF, so maybe this will help. Thanks to Lin at Linny's Vault for the idea! (BTW, if you haven't already, go read her shit. It's awesome.)

So, without further ado...
1. No one needs to hear yet another long rant about public transit from me, but with the return of school, my daily commute has become so horrible that I just have to vent. I'll keep it short. Next time you elbow me, drip your umbrella into my shoe, lean on me or shove your backpack in my face, I'm gonna punch you in the nose. You've been warned.  
2. I'm an animal person. Not a cat person, not a dog person, but an animal person in general. I even like skunks and raccoons. I've been thinking a lot about how much joy my cats bring me, and I'd like to encourage you all to consider adopting a pet from your local animal shelter - or at least making a donation of pet food or cash. I don't care if you get a cat, a dog, a horse or a turtle. Pets are always a good idea. Here's a little something to motivate you:

3. My name is M, and I'm a TV junkie. I'm embarrassingly excited about the return of Fall TV, and the addition of some new shows to the roster. I'm most excited about the return of Criminal Minds and the beginning of Prime Suspect. Being descended from British parents who both love mystery shows, I've seen all of the original Prime Suspect series starring Helen Mirren. (I re-watched it recently and was interested to spot the actors who played Professor Lupin and Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, as well as the guy from Hackers who was married to Angelina back in the day.)
I absolutely love Helen Mirren, and her sensible cop shoes are hard to fill. I was very impressed to see that they chose one of the toughest yet most beautiful women in Hollywood - Maria Bello - to take on her role. Way to go, casting directors. I've only watched one episode so far, so the jury's still out, but watch along with me and let me know what you think. 

4. Is it bad to eat almonds and chocolate chips as a snack? I mean, almonds are good for you, so it should cancel out, right?

5. I'm amazed to discover just how much of a loose end I find myself at without a working computer. Mine's been on the fritz for the last two weeks, with no sign of improvement, and I'm currently watching old Frasier re-runs in desperation. Life just doesn't work without a computer. Scary.

6. I know it's completely ridiculous, but I am very annoyed with the recent Facebook changes. I don't want to have to go through every single person in my news feed and "subscribe" to all their updates just so that my news feed isn't completely comprised of updates from pages. Can't they figure out what they want to do, warn those of us who don't like change, and have done with it? This is getting f'ng annoying, people.

7. If there's one thing I miss about living in a house in the country, it's having a working fireplace and the sound of rain on the roof. There's just nothing cosier than sitting in front of a roaring fire with a hot drink, a good book and nothing but the sound of rain. Oh, God, I'm turning into my parents!

8. The news is a week old now, but I've been reading a lot about the US armed forces don't ask, don't tell policy finally being repealed. I want to congratulate all those who can now be honest about who they are while risking (in some cases giving) their lives. I'm not pro-military - I'm certainly not pro-US military - and I know there will likely be some fallout, but if you're going to have a bunch of young people shooting each other, you should at least give them equal opportunity to do so. I think this is a huge coup for equal rights and it's about time.

9. As much as I enjoy the challenge of taking the initiative and getting shit done at work, I'm pretty much ready for my boss to come back from vacation. Only 3/4 of it left. Awesome.

10. So as I mentioned, I'm watching more TV these days. And I'm appalled to discover that ads seem to come on approximately twice as often as they used to. I'm not kidding. Every time I'm getting in the groove of a juicy plot twist, I'm interrupted by clingy McDonald's jingles, drivers who have somehow driven up a street pole and yet are coveted by insurance agencies, slinkies made out of some sort of extraterrestrial material that can leap continents in a single bound, and some guy telling me that whole grains taste good in Kashi bars, or he'll eat the box. Tie on that bib, buddy.
      That's it for my first Ten on Tuesday post. I might be back with another one next week. In the meantime, head on over to my new favourite blog, Linny's Vault, and read some more TOTs - even write your own and link up! See you next time... 

          Monday, September 26, 2011

          Mopey Monday - & Extreme Weather Warning!

          Not only is it Monday - never the funnest day of the week - but we've also gone from warm (albeit uncharacteristically humid and muggy) weather that necessitated air con, to weather so foul that there's actually a wind warning in effect. And so much rain you'd drown in 30 seconds flat if you looked skyward with your mouth open.

          So I figure it's the perfect day for a little bit of this:

          I'm sure you'll all remember that in my last "Mopey Monday" post I shared a picture of my bright pink toenails. Now that summer's over, I need a little bit more than the knowledge that brightness exists - I need to see it. So this week I've painted my fingernails a dramatic red known as "Concubine":

          You can't really see it in this pic, but it has sparkles, too. Which normally I'm not a fan of, but on a day like today makes me think of Christmas which is a cheerful thought.

          Now, back to work. :-(

          Saturday, September 24, 2011

          The Human Pretzel Experiment

          My mother taught yoga when I was growing up, so I've been doing it for a lot of my life. The way she tells it, yoga is the reason she can even walk today. She is quite accident prone, which, when mixed with some bad luck, means she's had a lot of injuries over the course of her life. Including going through the windshield of a car (she says she was brushing glass out of her hair for weeks) and falling down a flight of cement stairs, nearly breaking her back. Ouch.

          She discovered yoga after the stairs incident, and began to slowly rehabilitate herself with it. Though at first she had trouble even standing, over time she was able to regain full use of her body - though she's had back problems ever since.

          I started going to yoga class with her when I was about 11. At first I resented it (though let's face it, at that age I would have resented going on a five star cruise with her, that's pretty much just how pre-teens and teens feel about hanging out with their parents. They'd rather die.) but eventually I came to enjoy it.

          I've done it periodically ever since, but when I managed to injure my own back, it was one of the first things to go. It's taken two years post-surgery for me to get to a point where I feel confident enough about my body's abilities to so much as set foot in a yoga class. It wasn't easy to face up to that challenge - mostly because I was scared to discover just how much flexibility and muscle tone I have lost in the last five years.

          Thanks to a work colleague and a discounted yoga pass, I'm back in class. And I was pleasantly surprised that my body managed to do more than I expected. I can do most of the poses - thought I need to modify a few - and, most importantly, I'm not in pain if I don't push too hard.

          I think the most valuable lesson I've learned through all the pain and frustration is to listen to my body. It doesn't matter what the teacher is telling us to do. It doesn't matter that the yoga girl in front of me is doing the splits against the wall. I'm going to sit there sweating it out to get my head halfway to my knees, and I'm going to feel damn proud of myself for it, too.

          The most important thing was to learn where my own boundaries are, and to respect them. I now feel better than I have in years and actually look forward to yoga class twice a week. For anyone in the Vancouver area who is looking for a good studio for people recovering from injuries, I'd recommend checking out Treloar. Maybe I'll see you there!

          Friday, September 23, 2011

          Fill in the _____ Friday

          1. The best thing I did all week was... yoga class. The regular teacher was away and the teacher who filled in did this super slow-paced class that was so much better for my poor back than rushing from one pose to the next. Best I've felt in two years.
          2. Bright colours ... make me super happy. (I have intense pink nails right now, just so they can cheer me up when I look down at my keyboard!)
          3. Pets are... one of the best things in the world. As much trouble as my cats cause, I am so glad we have them. It's nice to be able to cuddle them whenever you want - but even better when they crawl in your lap or curl up on your pillow and purr you to sleep. It's amazing how much happiness such little, furry creatures can bring.
          4. Relative stability ... is the best thing about my life. I have a great boyfriend, wonderful cats, a really nice place to live and a steady job that I love and feel like I might actually be good at. Now if only transit weren't such a mess...
          5. With the cooler weather I am looking forward to... cosy sweaters, the big down blanket, hot chocolate and scarves!
          6. Something that's on my "wish list" right now is... a really good pair of rain boots. The wet season has started!
          7. This weekend I am going to... work, unfortunately. I have a few articles to finish, so OT for me! Oh well, at least I get some time off to take at Christmas! On the plus side, a bunch of my favourite shows are back, and a few new ones have started, so there will be some good TV to catch up on  - Supernatural, Fringe, Alcatraz, and of course the super long Grey's Anatomy season opener!
          As always, thanks to Lauren at The Little Things We Do for the blanks!

          Monday, September 19, 2011

          Fill in the _____ Friday

          First of all, let me say sorry it's a few days late! I have been having computer problems (namely the damn thing doesn't want to start up or let me do anything for more than 5 minutes without crashing) which has put a crimp in even the best of blogging intentions. Hopefully I'll be back on track this week!
          1. You should always take time to... breathe. Okay, obviously we all breathe all the time, otherwise we'd be dead, so shut up you smartasses. You know what I mean. Really breathing. The kind that goes right to the tip of your toes and that you feel with your entire being. I know I often breathe less deeply when I'm busy, stressed or annoyed (like on transit) and after a little while I feel like I'm hyperventilating! Breathing deeply is the one most useful thing I have learned from yoga class, and something that I still need to work on doing more often!
          2. Small acts of kindness... make the world a happier place to be.
          3. I can hardly wait for... my boss to get back from vacation. She's only been gone two days and already I feel frazzled! I welcome the opportunity to take on more responsibility and really put my head down and work hard, but I'll still be relieved when this month is over!
          4. Saturday... is my favourite day of the week. Actually, I know it's not really a day of the week and doesn't happen every week - but any day that I am supposed to be working and am not is my favourite. It's like found time. Unless I'm sick. Then not so much.
          5. Something totally dumb and ridiculous that I love is... how to pick just one?? Okay, I love Bridget Jones' Diary. The book and the movie, but more often the movie. I don't know what it is - perhaps the combination of a main character who ends up in ridiculous situations (as we all do, if not quite so dramatically), the British accents, and England as the backdrop that make it incredibly comforting. Or maybe it's that I watched it a lot during a year that was both really difficult and turned out to be a really good life change. I know it's not great cinema. But whatever the reason, I always find it makes me feel very cosy and at home.
          6. If I could, I would... spend my life learning new skills and information.
          7. I rather like... the feeling of Autumn in the air. Most people out there would probably shoot me for saying this, but I don't really like Summer all that much. It's too hot and muggy, and I enjoy wearing layers and not having to worry if I haven't waxed my legs. I like that it's still sunny out there, but a little cooler and not yet raining. Gorgeous.
          Thanks again to Lauren at The Little Things We Do for the blanks - even if I'm a little late on filling them in this week! :-)

          Friday, September 9, 2011

          Fill in the _____ Friday

          1. Somewhere someone is... the happiest they've ever been.
          2. Great music, art, deeds and conversation ...are my muse.
          3. It would suck if... cheap, unlimited internet ...was no more because... there's so much you can do and learn with it! At this point I honestly don't think I could live without it.
          4. The quiet, empty office my favourite thing about today.
          5. Life is kind of like... a box of chocolates. Just kidding. It's a lot of waiting around punctuated by occasional feelings of accomplishment.
          6. If I could have anything I wanted, I would want... to be healthy and happy... whatever that ends up looking like.
          7. A funny thing that happened the other day... hmmm. It hasn't been a particularly funny week. Probably something a cat did.
          Thanks to Lauren at The Little Things We Do for the blanks!

          Friday, September 2, 2011

          Fill in the _____ Friday

          1. One thing that is completely superfluous, but I could never give up is... my iPod. I absolutely could not retain my sanity with my current commute if I didn't have m iPod. It's what stops me from punching people.
          2. "Networking"...makes me feel awkward.
          3. I can't... get through the day ...without... checking my email and spending some time surfing the net.
          4. Almonds ...are my favourite snack.
          5. Lately I've been... trying to make positive changes. I actually started going to yoga this week for the first time in two years (since back surgery)! And survived!
          6. If at first you don't succeed... ask for help or have a beer and figure it out later.
          7. Fall is... either sad or a relief, depending how hot the summer was and how balmy the fall is.
          Thanks, as always, to Lauren at The Little Things We Do for the blanks! 
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