18 December 2011

God talk...

I got an amazing compliment today, and so I am going to share it, because EVERYONE should know how AWESOME I AM I'm really proud of it, and it inspired this post.
[my name] you are my idea of the way people of faith should be. You don't flaunt it or judge others. You are compassionate and kind. If all religious people were like you, I would be more inclined to embrace it.
Wow. Why don't you nominate me for "mother of the year" while you're at it? My ego is going to coast on this for a while.

So now my brain is whirring. Okay, it's usually whirring, but that's white noise. This is going somewhere. I think. We'll see. I'm wondering what a person of faith should be? I mean, we're called to spread the word. But how? And what word? That God is good? That Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Light? That only straight people who pray to the right God are going to heaven, so get with the program? That you can be as much of an asshole as you like as long as you believe in Jesus you're good?

So obviously I'm not on board with most of that. I'm pretty much only okay with the first part. God is Good. (The Way, the Truth, and the Light? I dunno. I have a hard time with that one. How about "a Way, a Truth, a Light"? I'd really like to see the original! Oh well, it doesn't really matter what I believe.) And how do I go about showing that to people? Well, Jesus was pretty clear. Love thy neighbour. Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me. Oh, and he wasn't kidding about that last part, I don't think. I'm pretty sure he meant we're all divine in our own way. We all have a spark of the divine. We are all wonderful if we choose to be. Treat someone poorly, and it's not like you're treating God that way, you are treating God that way, because everyone is of God. Yeah, I'm rambling again. I have a hard time pulling all my thoughts about the topic together coherently. You should see the looks on the Mormon missionaries' faces when I start going on. Hehehe. I love inviting them in and then debating this stuff.

I'm really tired of people using God as a weapon. Do this or you'll go to hell! Be this way or burn for eternity! Puhleeze. First off, only God gets to judge. So quit it. I know some of the rules are laid out clearly, but you don't know what's in that person's heart. And you don't have God's grace. So quit it. You're told to love everyone. That means EVERYONE. No matter what. So fucking quit it with the judgmental b.s. If you want people to see that God is good, show them. Don't go on about how nasty they are and how God hates them or hates what they're doing. Just be a decent human being.

tl;dr:  Don't be a douchebag.

p.s. I'll bet the farm that God doesn't give a shit about football. Maybe I'm wrong. But I'll bet it all on that one.

01 December 2011

An imperfect analogy - but I like it

It seems to me that many First Nations treat their lands in a way similar to the way some Christians treat their churches. As holy, sacred, and precious. Try telling a church member that the church is “only a building”. Then tell them to imagine that all of their ancestors for as long as anyone can remember went to that church. Now imagine someone coming in and telling them they can only use one pew. One with an obstructed view, that gets feedback from the speakers. And then, after all that, tell them that if they have a problem with that, it’s their fault. They could have gone to that synagogue down the street years ago.

That's how "Why don't they move?" strikes me.

If you think I'm exaggerating about how some churches treat their buildings and the stuff in them, consider that at one church I attended, there was a HUGE fight about the removal of 4 pews from the sanctuary. When those pews were sold, there were actually people who cried. 4 pews. Out of a few dozen. And hymnals that are 50 years old, no one wants them, and they're falling apart and attracting silverfish? Don't even suggest that they should be recycled! All hell breaks loose.

Attawapiskat and Autism. Seriously. I connected them.

Bear with me. I'm sick. My kids are sick. And Crackle just had a seizure from hell.

I'm watching the Attawapiskat story closely. I'm trying not to read comments, as they just piss me the fuck off. The best takedown of the whole situation is here.

A few points I feel like stressing:
1) The only way to get Harperco to act like they give a shit about you is to get other people to embarrass them - i.e. They refused to do anything until the Red Cross said they would.
2) Embarrassing Harperco will result in your punishment. They slapped down the Atiwapiskat community hard by putting it under someone else's control.
3) Harperco, and the Liberal shitheads before them, believe that throwing money at a situation fixes everything. And if it doesn't, it's because someone is stealing it. Funny how they'd jump to that conclusion. Says something about what they would do with money thrown at them. Like our tax money. Steal it, mismanage it, spend it on themselves. Pretty much what they're accusing the aboriginal leaders of.

4) This is the big one. In the article at the link above, the writer says,
Shockingly, the federal government does not always have clear program objectives, nor does it necessarily specify specific roles and responsibilities for program delivery, and has not established measures for evaluating performance in order to determine if outcome are actually met.
That’s right.  The federal government is not keeping track of what it does, how it does it, or whether what it is doing works.  The Auditor General recommends the federal government fix this, pronto.  How can a community rely on these services if the federal government itself isn’t even clear on what it is providing and whether the programs are working?
That's right. And that's the problem with Autism funding at the provincial level too. They throw money at us, dictate how we can spend it, and on whom, and then don't keep track of what they do, how they do it, or whether what it is doing works.

How can a community rely on these services if the [federal] government itself isn’t even clear on what it is providing and whether the programs are working?


edit: Fixed spelling.

24 November 2011

You might be an autism parent if...

There's been an interesting hashtag on Twitter lately. #youmightbeanautismparentif is wonderful. I've laughed so hard at some of them. And at least one literally brought tears to my eyes.
any time you buy a toy or book - you wonder whether it will be used for therapy or for reinforcement.
Oh yes. Oh yes. I have a bazillion toys. Some we use as therapy, to get him playing with toys. Some we use as reinforcement - he gets to play with them if he does something he doesn't want to, like repeat a sound or say a word. Or put on pants. I mean, who can blame him? Pants are bullshit. But sometimes they're necessary, so put on pants, get to play with the annoying toy that you love so much.

the line "One day you'll be begging for them to be quiet!" from other parents makes you wanna cry.
I may kill a bitch if I hear this again. Of course, now that he's almost 6, they've stopped. But honestly, when he was 3 and saying nothing, and I was getting him speech therapy for copious amounts of money, I just wanted to scream when I'd hear that. Crackle still doesn't talk. Pop does.

You celebrate the simple things, like a peaceful car ride or a full night's sleep.
Wait, what? These things exist? 

sentences like "___ peed down the heat vent again" is a normal thing to say/hear in your house
ROTFL. How many times a week do I say, "Crackle peed on the floor of his room again" or "Crackle stacked up all his shirts and peed on them again"? I'm guessing 5 to 7 times a week.

your home could pass for a sensory gym or special needs school because of all the stuff you have for your kid.
Actual quote from a therapist, "This place is great! It's like an OT living room!"
Actual quote from a visiting kid, "WOW! Look at all the toys! WOW! Mom, do you see this?! WOW!"

you know your child is the cleanest kid in the building - 3 baths and counting.
It's a good thing I live on the west coast where water shortages aren't an issue. Crackle has between 1 and 6 baths per day. 6 bath days are rare, but they happen. Those are days when he's what I so eloquently refer to as "melty-downy". Bathing seems to help him calm down.

you find yourself celebrating and heartbroken - at the same time and for the exact same reason.
And there are the tears. Just the other day, I was totally celebrating because Crackle said "Mom" for the first time in several years. That's huge. (He also said syrup if that gives you a clue where I stand with him in terms of importance). And then I realized I was celebrating a 5.5 year old saying "Mom" and I started to cry.

You avoid Black Friday like it's the Black Plague.

And Crackle? He'd happily sit in the shopping cart and eventually would fall asleep. I have no clue what's going on in his brain. He loves Future Shop, Costco, etc. The usual places that most Autism Parents have to avoid. LOVES them. If they're busy enough, like Costco on Saturday, he dozes off in the cart.

23 November 2011

Mean on Crime

Last week, the Globe and Mail reported that the Conservative crime bill would enable prisons to deny prisoners visits from family as a means of punishment for bad behaviour. The G&M calls this "mean-spirited" and I agree. (aside: Seriously, G&M. Could you at least pretend to be objective? I know it wasn't your term, but the Canadian Bar Association's, but quoting it in the headline is not a sign of objectivity.) It's not only mean-spirited, it's counterproductive, and is counter to the teachings of Jesus.

There've been a lot of posts on how counterproductive this is, so I'll sum it up with this: recidivism rates are higher when prisoners don't have visitors. So... duh. Counterproductive. Unless your agenda is to increase prisoner rates so that you can pay contractors to build prisons...

But what really strikes me is that these so-called Conservative Christians are completely ignoring Jesus. Again.
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory.  All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate people one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats.  He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right hand, 'Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.'
Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you;  sick or in prison and go to see you?'  And the King will answer, 'I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.' Matthew 25: 31-40 
We're called to visit prisoners (I don't... I just can't bring myself to do it. Maybe someday.) And these guys actually want to be able to take away the prisoners' right to be visited? It's stunningly mean. It goes so far beyond not visiting a prisoner. It's stopping everyone else from visiting! It's mindblowing.

I truly cannot even imagine what they think they're accomplishing here. That they cannot see how vile their actions are isn't surprising, given their track record. But at least, I can usually at least see their twisted reasoning. This one? Not so much.

I took a Sociology of Crime course back when I was working on an undergrad degree. It was a very interesting and very eye-opening class. For so many years I'd been told how soft our system is on young offenders. Apparently not. At the time, Canada had more youth incarcerated per capita than most countries in the world. Top 10 for sure. Maybe Top 5. I don't remember now. I'd like to see the stats now to see what's changed, if anything. I also learned that the vast majority of people in jail (jail, not prison) were in for non-payment of fines. Basically, debtors prisons where the prisoners owes the government. There is not a single fine that we shouldn't allow someone to work off with community service. And during off-hours too. Suppose I get a speeding ticket and I can't afford to pay the fine. They don't let me save up for it. The longer it takes me to pay, the more it costs me. I should be able to walk into city hall with my ticket and say, "I'd like to sign up for community service to pay this off". They pay me minimum wage against my ticket to work. If I have a day job, I can do my service at night. If I have a night job, I can do it during the day. If I have 12 hour shifts, I can do off hours. No one should lose their job because they got a ticket they can't pay. And that's the other problem with incarcerating people who don't pay. If they did have a job, they don't now because they got fired for being in jail. It's ludicrous. And it costs the government a fortune.

Incarceration is for people who are dangerous. Period. There's no excuse for a society to lock up people who don't pay a fine. And there's no excuse for treating prisoners as anything less than human beings with human rights.

16 November 2011

If you're not part of the solution, you're the particulate

Some teenagers in Chilliwack got themselves dressed up in superhero costumes and outed a child predator. Some very amusing vigilante justice. They went online and found some douchebag who wanted to meet up with a 15 year old girl, then dressed up, and confronted him when he showed up. Hahaha. Hilarious. The bastard was confronted and pictures of his face went viral on the web. Nice.

It's a dangerous game though. If this guy had been unhinged or carrying a weapon, they could have been hurt. But I still basically approve. Maybe not of their methods... they could have found the wrong guy. And they could be hurt or sued. I think the cop who said that the target would now be aroused and would go after someone else is an idiot. That guy was already a predator. They didn't turn him into one. Hell no.

A few years back, I was online in a chat room and I ran into someone who was a pedophile. He wasn't in Canada, so there wasn't much I could do about it, but it got me looking for others. I'd pretend to be 14 and talk with some of the creepiest pricks on the planet. I'd set up meetings with them, and then email the transcripts to the RCMP and let them handle it. They didn't. I watched a few times. And then I gave up, because I just couldn't deal with the evil. The evil predators and the evil police who didn't do anything about it. It was too much for my soul.

So pardon the fuck out of me if I scoff with derision at the idea of the cops doing their jobs, of turning in tips to them and letting them handle it. It's a joke. They simply don't give a shit.

Entirely too many people don't give a shit about kids being abused. This point couldn't be more obvious in the last couple of weeks with the story of Sandusky raping children in the shower room, and having it be covered up. Because football and money are more important than the well-being of children. Obvs. And they're all guilty. McQueary, who caught him in the first place, should have stopped him, and called the cops (again, who probably wouldn't have done anything), Paterno and the other assholes who knew and did nothing, the asshole judge who let him off on unsecured bail (and who had taken money from the charity he set up to find victims!). In my mind, they're all guilty of abuse.

If you know of child abuse and you let it continue, you are part of the problem. If you have the power to lock the bastard up, and instead send him home to his grandchildren, you are part of the problem. If you know that a predator is planning to meet a child at the mall, and you don't bother to show up, you are part of the problem.

p.s. The title of this post. That's me. Geeking out. Also, if you're not part of the solution, you're the gross shit that's floating around in it, fucking up the solution for everyone else.

15 November 2011


"I claim this baby in the name of Dog"
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14 November 2011

My vacation

Happy 300th. The post about my accident was my 300th post. YAY. Too bad it wasn't a happier post. Anyway, I've got stories to tell of our "vacation" in Vancouver. LOLSOB.

Two nights before we were to leave, MrFCS went downstairs with an insomniac Pop at about 11:30 and started screaming for me to come down. Unusual... okay, so I run down there and the dishwasher has leaked about 10 litres of water onto the floor. So we cleaned that up and in the morning I called Eric The Dishwasher Guy. He came the next day, i.e. the day we were leaving, and took one look at it and said, "You need a new one". Shmeesh. He also stood in my kitchen and chatted with me for about 1.5 hours of my precious getting ready time. Thankfully, I'd called over someone to look after the kids for me in the morning while I got us ready.

I got all of our stuff ready and MrFCS came home a bit early so he could help and I could run out for a few errands - I needed boots, I'd found some, and dammit, I wasn't waiting. So I popped out and bought them. The lady there told me her son has autism too, and when she heard that I had three with autism, she came out from behind the counter and hugged me. :) So now I'm extra glad I bought them from her.

The ferry ride was uneventful, I guess. It was then that I realized I'd forgotten my camera and Snap realized she'd forgotten her meds. Crackle likes to ride the elevators and run the stairs. He's been a bit, um, more out of control than usual - shrieky and giggly and hyper - so that's never fun. Pop was scared and wanted to stay in the van and watch Thomas on the laptop.

We hit Vancouver at 4:40 on Tuesday. What works best for me and the mister is that I drive in traffic and he navigates. I do not read maps well and I find navigation stressful. He doesn't like driving in traffic. So that works nicely. We got us all to the Westin Bayshore, which is a beautiful hotel, and also where Showcase's show Endgame was filmed. (I loved that show, and Showcase can rot for not renewing it). The view was of Coal Harbour Yacht Club if that gives you any indication just how swanky the place is!

After we got some food into us, we took the boys down to the pool for an hour or so and left Snap to her computer. Oh my various gods, the kids love the water. Crackle laughs and squeals and holds on for dear life. It's like it's a roller coaster for him. Exciting and scary but terribly fun. Pop kicks and splashes and laughs. It's adorable. Then Crackle figured out there's a hottub and then the fun really started. Do you know what he loves more than anything? Going back and forth between the hot tub and the cool pool. GAH. He loves the shock of the temperature difference. I, on the other hand, hate it. Hate.

Also hate? Insomnia in children. In a shared room. I think we got about 4 hours of sleep. Then MrFCS went off to ApacheCon and I got the kids for the day. First thing we did was go shopping, because in addition to forgetting her pills, Ms Snap forgot her bathing suit. Apparently it is impossible to buy a cheap bathing suit in November (we could have got one at a specialty store. For $100. Dream the fuck on.) So I got her some cheap yoga gear and she wore that in the pool. While shopping, we took the boys to a toy store, and also we went and picked up a bunch more food for supper - we can't eat at restaurants with all of our allergies. Cannot be done. Anyway, more microwaved supper and then a nice walk down to Canada Place. Pop fell asleep in the stroller, insuring that he'd be up until at least 12:30. Fun. At least Crackle slept - thanks to GABA and melatonin.

Next morning. Shopping again. Because it kills time and wears out the boys. At the end of this was the infamous fender bender. Yay. Spent the afternoon spending $1.49 per call to phone ICBC and BCAA from the hotel room. Spent the evening in the pool. Another night of not much sleep. Gah.

Friday. Going home day. We had to check out by noon, but MrFCS's conference wasn't over until 5. So at exactly noon, we called a  porter and loaded up our crap into the van and headed over to the Vancouver Aquarium to meet Katie, a Behaviour Interventionist who'd worked with the boys until about a month and a half ago when she moved to Vancouver. HOLY SHITSNACKS. The aquarium was a zoo. We waited 1/2 an hour to get in, and Crackle snitched a gluteny snack out of some other kid's hand while we were in line. Yay. :( So I ran back to the van for the charcoal pills. I think I managed to get them into him on time, because he doesn't seem to be glutened. Thank GOD. And wow. The boys absolutely loved every second at the aquarium. Crackle squealed with glee at the dolphins, and watched one of the tanks intently as the kelp waved in the water. He ran around in his glory. Pop? Same deal. He adored everything. Of course, crowds exhaust him, so he wore out quickly, had a quick nurse and fell asleep for an hour in the stroller. Even Snap had a good time. She liked the belugas best, I think.

Now, Friday was a crazy weather day. The first winter storm hit us while we were still in the park. Katie had to go, so we went too. I texted MrFCS and told him we'd just go find a place to park, eat snacks and watch the storm. He said screw it, he'd cut out early. And thank god he did. We drove to the ferry and JUST made the last one. We had to wait for hours because of wind delays and cancellations. But we got on the last one. And whooooooweeee! It was a bit of a bumpy ride. We certainly couldn't let Crackle run stairs in that.

So we got home at 10. The lady who looks after the dog brought him home for us. She'd also cleaned my house top to bottom while we were gone. I mean, she scrubbed the baseboards. She washed floors. She cleaned out my closet. HA. She warned me she was going to clean, but OMG. What a nice treat to come home to. I got a load of peed laundry into the wash and then crashed. Or that is, lay in bed with Pop while he watched TV and I slept.

Saturday, I went for a Healing Touch treatment. I am spoiled to have a good practitioner. It was so refreshing, I've basically recovered from my holiday. And she took the pain out of my ankle for a while. NICE indeed.

So, quite the roller coaster!

The immoral law - driving edition

Did you know that if you see someone backing out of a parking space, you can totally just slam into them, regardless of whether you had time to stop or not? And it will be entirely their fault unless they can prove that you were speeding. In fact, they can veer out of their lane into oncoming traffic and smash into you and it's still your fault. It's true. That's what ICBC told me this morning.

While in Vancouver, I had the misfortune of being hit by a car in a parking lot. Or that is, the car hit my van as I was backing out. Here's the story: I was backing out of a tight parking spot with a large truck to my left and a small car to my right. I'd stopped (or at the very least was almost completely stopped - my foot was on the brake and my hand was on the gear shift) and a woman in a Nissan pulled through a 4 way stop and tried to veer around me, into oncoming traffic, and missed. She hit the driver's side back of my van with the length of the passenger side of her car. We both jumped out of the vehicles, took a look and then got back in and pulled safely into parking spots to exchange insurance info. As I was getting back in, the driver of the half-ton next to me said, "Did that just happen?!" I said "Yes. She tried to veer around me!" And he replied, "Yeah! Jesus..." Then he got into his truck and drove off. We got out and she said to me, "Are you okay?" I said, "Yes." And then stood there stupidly, shaken. She said, offendedly, "Well, so am I!" and I stopped and said, "Oh my goodness, I'm sorry. I'm just shaken. But you are okay?" She replied, "Yeah, I'm fine." We exchanged info and she left. I stayed where I was and ate a whole bag of chips, because apparently, chips are medicinal. Now you know. The kids were with me. They're fine too. In fact, it was so light, they didn't even know anything had happened. Snap did, of course, but she was fine. All she said was, "Holy shit! Where'd she come from?!" Yeah. Indeed. Here's a copy of what I gave ICBC:

So what the adjuster told me is that there's a difference between the legal obligation to stop and the moral obligation to stop. Seriously. I'm not impressed. This is going to cost a lot of money. And to the truck driver who saw it all and drove away, I hope you do the right thing when ICBC calls you. I may have been shaking, but I got your license plate number.

And that's another thing. If it's clear when I look, clear when I go and clear when I'm stopping, and then she barrels through and hits me, it's still half my fault?! Seriously? WTF?

And what really gets me angry is when people, like the idiot who hit me, try to scam the insurance company for money. She's claiming she's hurt. She's also saying I slammed into her, hard. My van is the biggest mess on the planet. If I'd hit her hard, shit would have flown everywhere. I don't think the map even was knocked off the dashboard. The impact didn't even break my tail light. The casing, yes. But the bulbs are fine. So clearly I slammed into her hard. *snerk* But now, I'm getting sued. It's not right.

But apparently the law doesn't give a shit about right. It only gives a shit about legal. :(

07 November 2011

Paging Doctor Anyone

It looks like I need a new GP. Mine came back from mat leave, only to work 1/3 time with a full client load. She will not be able to accommodate my wonky hours of availability, and my darlin' husband can't really take any more time off. Also, she's moved to the other end of the universe from here. And can I wait for 6 wks for a doctor's appointment? No, probably not. Usually I don't plan 6 weeks in advance for when I get sick.

This is a HUGE hassle, as many of you may know. There simply are no damn doctors here. Don't believe me?

There are no doctors in Victoria taking new patients. So what the hell am I going to do? I've got my ND, who is awesome, but she's not allowed to refer me to a specialist. Which is what I need. Why in the hell can't an ND refer, anyway? That's insane. It's not like the MDs are so underworked that they need me to come in there for a quick, "Oh. You need a specialist" appt.

I could gamble with a walk-in, but most of those really don't like to give referrals. They want you to come in there with a sore throat they can throw pills at, or a cut they can stitch up. Go there with "issues" and they ask why you're not seeing your family doctor. Riiiiiiiiiiight.

What really makes me mad is that we pay to educate doctors in Canada, and then they fuck off to the US where they can make big bucks. We could fix this so easily. Stay in Canada for 10-15 years or pay the entire cost of your education. Double down for people who work in rural areas.

In the meantime, I guess I'll hit the clinic on the corner, and hope I don't get Dr. Douchebag (the clown who tried to tell me I'd get no painkillers except Tylenol after my epidural wore off after the c-section, told me to eat Cream of Wheat for my anemia - I have Celiac Disease, told me I don't have Celiac Disease and to just eat the damn wheat, etc.) Because if that guy walks in, I'm not only going to need a doctor, I'm going to need a lawyer.

04 November 2011

The Hidden Costs of Autism

I've already written about how much ABA therapy costs and how it's not covered by medicare, and how what the government does give us as parents isn't nearly enough to properly treat our kids. However, there is a lot more to Autism than ABA. There are a lot of hidden costs. Now, I'm not saying the government should fund all of these things too. I'm simply saying that if they'd get off their asses and pay for ABA, the hidden costs wouldn't be such a burden for parents.

First, a reminder of ABA costs, in case you're not a regular reader. And why aren't you?!

BIs:  30hrs/week @ $30/hr x 48 weeks = $43,200
BC (remember, this is a required team member): $120/hr x 3hrs/mo (avg) x 12 months = $4320
SLP: $100/hr x .5/hr per mo. x 12 = $600
OT: $100/hr x .5/hr per mo. x 12 = $600
PT: $30/week x 48 weeks = $1440
Total: $50,160

PER KID. I have two.

(This is ours. Other people spend more on OT or SLP or PT. We spend less than that on BIs because we can't afford it, obviously, but that is what is reasonable. Some people do 40 hrs/week)

What hidden costs, you ask?

1) Safety proofing the house
Remember when your little one was just starting to move and you had to baby proof? Now imagine that kid is 5. Strong and clever. And just as clueless about safety. How easy is it going to be to baby proof that? I've spent hundreds of dollars on door knob covers, that I have then had to duct tape on.

I'm currently considering replacing carpets that he's destroyed with urine, having electricians come and move some outlets to the ceiling. Also, I need shelves hung that I can put the DVD player and printer on. Because those things have moving parts and moving parts are crack to kids with Autism.

I've already put in a security system that announces loudly when doors or windows open. By the way Vivint is AWESOME. We've had their system now for a year and a half and it's been excellent. So that's not cheap, but is totally worth it. Seriously. I think it may have saved Crackle's life a few times already.

2) Gluten free diets
Gluten-free diets aren't cheap. I mean, even the federal government acknowledges this in the form a of a tax deduction for people with Celiac Disease. However, they make it really really difficult to claim. You can only claim the difference in price between gluteny food and gluten free. And you can only claim it for someone with a biopsy-confirmed dx. So if your whole family is eating gluten-free to support your Celiac patient, because it is virtually impossible to keep crumbs out of their food, too bad. You're on the hook for the costs. And if you do claim it, prepare to have it audited.

Now, gf can be done on the cheap. If you're not interested in eating bread, pizza, anything breaded. Because the substitutes for these foods are expensive. Even gluten-free flour for doing your own baking is expensive. But if you stick to fruit, veggies, seeds, nuts, rice, beans, you know, whole foods, you can eat pretty cheaply. I can feed our family of 5 for about $6 quite easily. But the kids do like baking and crackers and whatnot, so usually our grocery bill is pretty high.

3) Babysitting
When I was a teenager, I babysat kids for $2/hr. Nowadays, the average teenager gets $5/hr. However, I can't leave my boys with a teenager. I can barely look after them myself on a bad day. I have to get someone who has First Aid training at minimum. Babysitting costs $15/hr. for someone with enough skill to manage. And even then we've had a number of duds.

4) Doctor's appointments
Doctor's appointments are the bane of my existence. If anyone of us has an appointment, either MrFCS has to take the time off work (and God bless his union for making this possible) or I have to hire the aforementioned babysitter. For example, Crackle needed blood work the other day. I couldn't find a sitter, so MrFCS had to take the morning off so he could look after Pop for me, because it is simply not possible to look after both of them when Crackle has to be physically restrained. If Pop has an appointment, someone has to look after Crackle, because it is impossible to keep them both out of trouble and talk to the doctor. If I have an appointment, I cannot take them with me. So we use MrFCS's vacation days for doctors appointments and days when I'm sick.

5) Alternative medicines & treatments
"Autism. There's nothing I can do for you." -- Pediatrician.
Oh good. Let's not work on those symptoms or figure out if there are any underlying issues contributing to the problem. Moron. Our GP gives us 10 minutes per visit. 10. Minutes. Unless the kids have an acute health issue, like a sore throat, this is useless. So we see an ND for most of our health needs. She's lovely. She's a DAN! doctor and is well versed in alternative therapies that are science-based (herbal medicines are wonderful). However, she's not covered by medicare. Nor are the supplements she prescribes covered by our insurance. So that's a fortune. But she's done more for the kids than the half-assed ABA has. And she fixed my seizures, something none of my allopathic doctors could manage.

6) Therapy equipment
And speaking of the half-assed ABA. You know what else isn't covered? All the equipment needed to do it. Oh sure, some of it can be claimed under that measly $22,000, but then that cuts into the actual therapy. And again, only some of it is covered. OT equipment such as trampolines are not covered. Computers, iPads and apps are expensive. And then there are the little things that all add up. Like therapy balls, flash cards (OMG. $120 for one, albeit large, set of flash cards?!), PECS binders, printer cartridges, etc. get expensive quickly. Getting set up with equipment in the beginning costs about $700. Without a computer, iPad, trampoline or therapy ball. After that it's probably a few hundred a year.

7) Couples Therapy
I'm only sort of kidding with that one. :) MrFCS and I are okay, but many many families aren't. The stress of Autism in a family is a recognised cause of marital breakdown. Couples therapy, psychologists, etc. are even covered by Autism funding (if you're willing to take it out of your kid's ABA).

So... I'm tempted to put up a donate button. Instead, if you're so moved, go to CanadaHelps.org and donate to VSCA (Victoria Society for Children with Autism). They provide families with money to spend on respite care. It's a wonderful group. I'm a member, but I don't attend meetings. I'd have to hire a babysitter.

02 November 2011

Cancer strikes again.

Cancer is such a festering asshole. Last night, cancer, or that is, the treatment for it, killed a woman who has been on the periphery of my life for 33 years. That is, she's never been my best friend, but I've never really lost track of what's going on eith her, either. We were in Brownies together, we went to each others birthday paerties for years. Then I moved, but I still heard about her from a friend who was in the same area. My Mom is friends with someone who knows them well, so the updates came regularly enough.

Laurie was 37, same as me. She's not had it easy, health-wise. When we were little, she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. CF is a bitch all unto itself. But somehow, she weathered that well enough. I ran into her a few times in University and she was full of life. She got a degree in Education and became a teacher of the wee little ones. She got married. She had kids. She's leaving behind a three year old and 19 month old twins. It breaks my heart that these kids will not remember their Mom.

You remember how I started this post, right? Cancer. CF didn't get Laurie. Cancer did. When her babies were wee, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. She went through chemotherapy with newborn babies at home. And it worked. It killed the cancer. But it destroyed her liver. And she died.

And now I'm sitting at the ocean, watching the waves and the sun peaking through the clouds, listening to the seagulls mournful cries, and I'm crying for the life of a woman I haven't seen in almost 20 years and her babies who will never get to know her. And I curse Cancer. I shout at God that there had better be some fucking answers when all is said and done.

I'm going to leave my rants about the Cancer industry to another post. But look for it, it's coming. This post is just for Laurie. I hope God is treating you well now.

01 November 2011

Autism Treatment in BC, again

Autism treatment isn't covered in Canada. Not even in BC where the government gives us a bit of money to buy treatment. It's a travesty. I've written before, and I'm doing it again, because GODDAMMIT I'm mad.

I wrote these a year and a bit ago:
The Under 6 program: http://feministchristian.blogspot.com/2010/07/autism-funding-in-bc.html
The Over 6 program: http://feministchristian.blogspot.com/2010/07/autism-funding-in-bc-part-2.html

So I should be grateful I get $22,000 at all, right? Really? Would you be happy if the government funded half of what's considered a full treatment for your sick kid? No. You'd be goddamn good and mad. Your kid has Cancer. Here's funding for half his chemo. Go find a provider yourself. Here's a list of doctors we approved, and don't worry that some of them don't actually have their credentials and were grandfathered on to the list. And also, tell him to get better soon, because your funding runs out in a couple of years.

Ganz did a study on the cost to society of taking care of an autistic person over the course of his or her life. It's over 3 million dollars, most of that being adult care. If ABA can take an average of 30% of those people can help them to function at normal levels, and 80-90% of them significantly improve so that they need say half of the care funding, that's a metric shitload of money that we could save in fully funding ABA treatment.

Well, now Crackle is 5 and a half. He's almost to the Over 6 program. Which BLOWS. Because he's not improving and has, in fact, regressed on this half-assed ABA. The school board will get a chunk of money to help him, but they don't do ABA. They don't do treatment at all. And why should they? They're a school, not a hospital. They should be educating him. But they can't. Because they are so underfunded it's ridiculous.

I kept Crackle out of school this year and enrolled him in a Distance Learning school that lets me homeschool him. I have the school and the ABA provider work out an IEP and the ABA people administer the curriculum. This is fine until the end of the school year in June. After that, the money drops from $22,000 to $6000, and the school receives $18,500 (I think), but only provide me with access to $12,000 of it. They take the rest for administration. That is standard across all the distance learning schools. So, in effect, I'll lose $4000 from a program that was already underfunded by about $25,000.

So next year, what the hell do I do? I can't really send him to school, because the school board made it quite clear they would not even keep him safe, never mind actually educate him. They told me they would not be able to give him a full time assistant, asked me questions like, "How long can he be left unattended?" (answer: 4 seconds, max.) and gave me a highly skeptical look at my reply. Then when they observed him with his Behaviour Interventionist (BI) they asked her the same thing. Fortunately, she said the same thing. They didn't believe her either and kept pressing her for ideas for what they could give him to do that would allow him to be left unattended. Um... He'd leave. He'd go play in the woods. Or find a pond to splash in. And that was the school district here. The neighbouring one told me to go to SIDES (i.e. homeschool him with the government funded program) because there was no way they'd be able to accommodate him.

Also, is the issue of gluten. Crackle is so highly sensitive to it that if he so much as touches it, he's sick. Also, he mouths everything and eats non-food (and I don't mean McDonalds! I mean paper, dirt, rocks, fabric). So I tried to tell them he needs to stay in a food free environment. Hell no. "They eat in the classroom". Well, maybe find a lunchroom? Or send them to the gym? Or double up in another room? Nope. They said they could clean it. Ha. No way. No bloody way. Crumbs are everywhere. Yes, they clean for the peanut allergy kids. But they also advise people not to send peanut stuff unless absolutely necessary, and then they segregate those kids. Imagine if every kid in the class was eating peanut butter, shelling peanuts, and had food made with peanut oil. You gonna clean that up well enough for a peanut allergy kid to be safe? Hell no. This is no different.

I've given up everything for my kids. A career, a life outside my home, friends, family, everything. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat. But GODDAMN the bastards in government for making me do it. Goddamn them for telling me my kid isn't worth the money to treat. Goddamn them for doing this to all the other kids with Autism out there. Goddamn James Moore for calling us a special interest group that isn't deserving of medicare.

31 October 2011

Happy Halloween

Halloween. I love it and I hate it. I love the little kids dressing up and getting all excited to get candy. I love goofy kids Halloween specials like Twitches and Halloweentown. I adore Ghostbusters. I love silly costumes. I regularly dress up in a cow costume, adorned with wings and a halo. HOLY COW!

But I hate Halloween too. I hate hate hate it from a feminist perspective because a) little girls are being dressed in sexy costumes and sexualizing children is just plain wrong; b) a number of usually feminist writers write about it complaining about "girls looking like sluts" or "being dressed up like whores". I don't even know where to start with that. How about how feminist is it to call any woman a whore? Women who sell sex are sex workers or prostitutes. Denigrating them with the term whore is bad enough, but to use the word as an insult about the way a child is dressed is going way past acceptable.

And while I"m talking about costumes, can we all agree that dressing up as a cultural stereotype is just wrong? I mean, no one with half a brain dresses in blackface, right? So why can I still buy an Indian Princess costume? Or an "Eskimo Cutie" (which is wrong on so many levels). It's racist bullshit, it is.

I hate Halloween from an I'm a wimp perspective too. Horror movies terrify me, and just seeing the freakin' ads on tv scares the crap out of me. I have nightmares from them regularly. And I'm superfast with the mute button.

I cannot stand the destruction that some idiots use Halloween for. We lived in a little town in Saskatchewan where the teenagers used to vandalize the shit out of the place every Halloween. Like bonfires on Main Street. It was crazy. And not limited to that stupid town. People with black cats can't even let them out at this time of year because the assholes out there might hurt the cats!

And finally, I hate that my kids are missing out on all the fun. Between Crackle's utter lack of giving a shit about it to his dislike of costumes to his and Pop's food allergies and Pop's anxiety, there's simply nothing in it for them. And that makes me sad. At least Snap has a party to go to. She's dressing as a hipster. Not a sexy hipster. A hipster.

Tonight, I suspect we'll get 4 kids to the house, which is so disappointing. I loved living in Family Housing at UVic where we'd get about 175 kids. It was awesome. So we're going to be the cool family and hand out full size Caramilk bars. :) I'll bring the dog to the door with me and tell the kids he's my cat, but he's dressed up for Halloween.

20 October 2011

It gets better...

This week, another teenager, Jamie Hubley, committed suicide because he was bullied for being openly gay. In his suicide letter, he said he couldn't wait another three years. I assume he's referring to the time he had left in high school. The time until "it gets better".

I flippin' despise the It Gets Better campaign. I understand the point of it. I really do. But it doesn't address the problems kids are facing now. 3 years seems like forfuckingever when you're 15 and your life is being made nightmarish by a bunch of festering, seething, fetid dungheaps. 3 years is 1/5 of your life at that point. Remember Grade 9? Remember how graduation seemed like an eternity away?

Even the CPC is on the bandwagon. This of course, would be a lot more appropriate if they weren't all a bunch of homophobic bastards who voted against equal marriage rights, or alternatively, gay but too afraid to be open about it. It's an "open secret". *snort* But kids are supposed to believe It Gets Better? Gay cabinet minister that everyone knows is gay, but no one talks about it because why? Because he'd be bullied? Smeared by his base? Come on.

It Gets Better seems pretty much like suck it up, princess. It's not okay, and it's not enough. It's not enough to know that someday it will be better. It's not enough to tell kids that. We need to start actually doing something to stop this bullshit now. GSAs are good, but they aren't enough. We need to teach kids to stand up to bullies when they're young. No tolerance from other kids will be a great deterrent. When one kid out of 40 in a class is being a shithead to another kid, he'd stop damned quick if 38 other kids said, "NO! This is not okay!"

And dammit, bullies need counselling. WTF is going on in their lives that they feel the need to emotionally torture other kids?

I was bullied a lot until about Grade 9. It was hell. I was different. I was weird. And I was a target. They called me fat, mostly. I wasn't, but I didn't believe that for a second, especially not after some stupid doctor told me I was a "chunky little lassie". One particularly mean little weasel would get me against a school wall and play "Dodgeball" with me. That is, he and his friends would hurl balls at my head, as close as they could without hitting me, and the first one to miss (i.e. hit me in the face) lost the game. If I tried to leave, they'd all pelt me with the balls. It was awful. My Mom would go talk to the school and they'd either tell her I was exaggerating, or that they couldn't do anything to stop it. If they talked to him, it was MUCH worse for days.

I did know that I'd escape him the next year, but I tell ya, I dreamed up every excuse I could to avoid school, avoid recess, and avoid the bus. I'd walk to school when it was -30, or make sure I sat with the bus driver. I tried to befriend teachers at recess. I made a point of coming with a new knock-knock joke every day to tell one of them. If I thought I had to put up with that shit for 3 more years?! I don't think I'd have made it either.

That same asshole was last seen at a McDonalds where he threatened to beat up my boyfriend (now my husband). All those years later, and he still saw me as a target. MrFCS got us out of there, and the little prick's friend held him back. Said friend was a co-conspirator when we were younger, but by then, I suspect he knew that his buddy was a sociopathic little shit and that the situation could escalate badly.

That kid needed some serious help when he was 12. And frankly, so did I. Leaving me to fend for myself on the promise that I wouldn't have to deal with him next year wasn't enough. And It Gets Better isn't enough for gay kids. So stop patting yourselves on the back for being so wonderful to the victims of harassment and actually fucking do something.

17 October 2011


A public union employee, a Tea Party guy, and a bank CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies, turns to the Tea Partier and says, “Watch out for that union guy; he wants your cookie.”

-As seen in a number of places.

13 October 2011

Contemptible Friends

So as I said in a previous post, I really don't like Christy Clark. However, now that I know that one of her trusted advisors is Gwyn Morgan, I absolutely loathe her. Morgan was the President and CEO of EnCana. He's "a director of several large corporations in Canada, including EnCana Corporation and SNC-Lavalin. He is also on the board of trustees of the Fraser Institute, a Director for The Manning Centre for Building Democracy and a non-executive Director of HSBC" (from Wikipedia)

Gwyn Morgan is a shale gas baron who happens to engage in business with BC's public sector to the tune of millions of dollars. Conflict of interest much? Morgan has no use for environmentalists, and appears to support the use of carcinogenic pesticides, because hey, what's a little cancer if it makes Monsanto a few more bucks?
"Those who defend such knee-jerk public policy actions often cite the "precautionary principle." But if believing in junk science means people are to be driven out of business and public landscapes are to be left unprotected from blights and invasive species, and if home gardeners are forbidden from using the latest and best products, what is "precautionary" about that?"
What's precautionary?! Oh, perhaps that "the latest and best products" are carcinogenic and neurodisruptors and there's already an epidemic of cancer and autism?!

And you know what else? I've heard smart meter radiation concerns labelled as "junk science" or "pseudo-science" from BC Hydro. Gee, you think that Smart Meters are profitable? Radiation? Who cares. That's just junk science. My ass. Okay, so Health Canada has said that the radiation is carcinogenic, are they junk science now? As safe as a cellphone, they say. But limit your kids time on those. Now, if it were just my house, out in the country, whatever. But what if a person lives in a huge condo development and the Hydro closet is right next to their unit? Then what? My boys' bedroom is next to the hydro closet here. I REALLY don't want 23 of those things right next to the bedroom. But I have no say. None. It's insane.

And if that isn't enough, Morgan is also a "man who admires the "journalism" of former tobacco lobbyist Ezra Levant" (Though I'd like to see their source for that quote. I  find it hard to believe that anyone could admire anything Levant writes. I mean, anyone who isn't stark raving mad.)

It's strange timing, this post. I was writing it this morning, and then I found DeBeaux0s at Dammit Janet! was on a similar vein. She called it "Yet another installment in the ongoing saga of which moneyed interests are bankrolling, lobbying and cozying up to Stevie Spiteful's Contempt Party." Yup, and again, it looks like the BC Libs are just an ugly little offshoot of it. Disgusting.

11 October 2011

Jealousy and Domestic Enemies

This morning, one of my favourite blogs ran "Domestic Enemies of the Allergy Mom". When I first saw it on FB, I thought "WOO! They finally posted my post!" It was not my post. I'm really entirely too disappointed. Someone else wrote the same one. And they posted hers instead! WAH! Consider, this was their reaction:

Ok. To say that I love this is to miss the fact that I FUCKING LOVE IT SO MUCH THAT I WANT TO LICK IT'S FACE. I adore it. You are a genius and hilarious and an amazing writer.
We'll run it in mid-September and push your blog because you have a gift.

So now clearly they love Portia more (and I will admit, her post ROCKED), so I'm going to post mine here, just as it was going to run there:

I'm Luna, I blog over at Feminist Christian Socialist. It's more of a Mommy blog than I ever intended, but whatever. If readers don't like it, they know where the back button is. I'm a SAHM Mom to 3 very allergic minions: Snap, my 16 year old daughter; Crackle, my 5 year old son; Pop, my two year old son. Between them, they can't eat gluten, dairy, corn, soy, nuts, eggs, high fructose fruits, berries, food colourings, and celery. That's just what they can't eat. Never mind the list of things they won't eat (for fun, Snap won't eat fruit. At all. Ever. Regardless of bribes, threats, or guilt trips). So I cook and bake. Everything. We haven't seen restaurant food in over 5 years. Yes, you are allowed to feel pity. However, this also means we haven't had to eat at McDonalds or Burger King in that time. Bring on the jealousy, baby! Anyway, Allergic Moms have our own set of Domestic Enemies. Enjoy.

The Birthday Party: Now, these are Domestic Enemies of all Moms, near as I can tell. Between the sugar and the "Bobby gots a new transformer and you said that there are no new transformers!" and the goodie bags that were clearly designed by mothers who hate you, these are pitfalls at the best of times. However, to the Mom of the Allergic Kid, birthday parties have their own set of deviously designed traps. Birthday cake? Full of gluten. Out of the question. So my kids take their own, clearly made of sawdust, cupcakes. This leads to two problems: 1) "MOM! It's not fair! I want the disgusting Barbie cake of poison too! Everyone else gets it!" Yeah, but everybody else doesn't get projectile poop and demonic rages. Imagine your kid licking the McDonald's PlayPlace slide and eating pixie sticks. This is gluten to my kids. Only the effects last 5 to 12 days. Seriously. 2) The other kid's mother. The look on her face is clear. You are a TERRIBLE mother. You are going to hell if you don't allow your kid the cake. You are clearly also saying she is the worst mother ever because she allows her kids stuff you don't. Never mind the whole allergy thing. That is entirely in your head.

The In-Laws: Did you know that if no one in their family has allergies, that your kids don't either? It's a scientific fact. At least according to my sister-in-law. Furthermore, it is also proven fact that "a little bit won't hurt". It's true. Just ask my mother-in-law. These people are out to prove that there are no genetic flaws in their family. Their genetics would clearly trump any of yours, because superior genes always win. I think it's something in the sperm that finds the weak mother's genetics and goes all Chuck Norris on it. That the children's father also has allergies is something they simply don't acknowledge or at best say, "Well, he didn't have allergies when he lived with us!" Yes. It's true. You have allergy cooties. Be extra careful of this class of enemies. They will sabotage you in an attempt to prove that you're crazy, stupid, or lying. TIP: Never send the kids to stay with them unless you love cleaning up poop and puke (from the ceilings). TIP: If you must send the kids to stay with them, invite them to stay with you for a few days upon the kids' return.

The Grocery Store: The grocery store, besides being loaded with stuff the kids can't eat, is also full of other pitfalls. I'm utterly convinced that the bakery department is run by Satan's Minions. The little old ladies who act like you've copped a feel or asked them what they did before the Great War if you say no to the lovely little cookie they're offering your child. And of course, this means that there are countless children running around with cookie crumbs on them, making the entire store a minefield. If you happen to have a child who mouths everything, you're hosed. Go home and cook with the dandelions in the yard or something.

The Expert
The Expert is the person you are chatting with who tries to feed your kid a cracker and then gives you a lecture when you explain that they can't eat it. Sometimes, this overlaps with The In-Law. Go find a t-box and some chocolate if this happens.

The Expert loves to tell you why no one can be allergic to whatever they're offering up and that it's good for everyone. It usually starts out fine. "Really? Celery? I've never heard of a celery allergy. Your child is just lying to you. She just doesn't like it." I like to respond with, "Yeah, and the hives she gets on her face and lips are just truly awesome acting. I'm thinking of taking her to Hollywood." That never seems to go well, and deteriorates into, "It must have been something else. Have you tried it since? Sneak it into her food and see if she notices." How about I sneak my size 7.5 Birkenstock up your taco instead?

Schools and the Very Bad Teacher: A subset of The Expert. A good teacher is a gift from God. A bad teacher? Welcome to hell until next summer. The bad teacher is the worst of all Domestic Enemies. She's a know nothing know-it-all. She will sabotage you to prove you wrong. She will doubt your every move. She will make you the bad guy. If you think you've run into this Domestic Enemy, RUN. Get a transfer, homeschool your kid, move to Vancouver, anything. If you're already in Vancouver, I'm sorry. You're screwed. 

The Very Bad Teacher will let your kid play with gluten-filled play-doh and then smugly inform you that they can't ingest gluten through their skin. It says so on the internet. I suggest sending her links to feces fetish sites. You're going to have to deal with poop, after all, why not her? Also, this will do wonders for your reputation with the PTA, and no one will ever again ask you to be the room mother or chip in on the gift for the teacher.

The Very Bad Teacher will hand out Oreos to all the kids except yours, because of course, yours are allergic. She will then say, loudly, "You can't have any! Your Mom said so! No, I don't know why. I think she's just mean or something. Possibly crazy." I recommend signing her up for spam. Reply to the Nigerian scams with, "While I am not in the position to help you at this time, please email Mrs. Ditchpig at the following email address. Do not take no for an answer. She always says no the first 20 or 30 times."

Did I miss any? 

07 October 2011

It's the Patriarchy, Stupid!

I really don't like Christy Clark. Like, I REALLY don't like her. She was the Minister of Education who took the ability to bargain on class sizes away from BC teachers, and as a result, my special needs kid ended up in a class of 38 kids, 9 others of whom were special needs. They had one part time aid. It was a clusterfuck of epic proportions.

She's better than the last guy, no question, I mean, a steaming pile of dung would be better than the last guy, and I suppose she is rather close to that, but she's still a BC Liberal. They're conservative. I don't know why they're holding on to the term Liberal except maybe to trick the uninformed, which is to say, the vast majority. I dunno.

So, of course, I'm a supporter of the NDP party here in BC. I'm even a member. I joined to vote in the leadership election. My guy lost. I still can't believe we elected someone who forged documents to cover up the illegal behaviour of a premier! Seriously people. Can you not envision the attack ads in the next election? The worst part is that it'll all be true. Anyway, never mind the leader, I'm bitching about one David Schreck, former MLA and current political blogger. The guy commented on Clark's cleavage, saying it was inappropriate for her to show that much. That much?! Have you seen the picture? Give me a break. It's not like she was in danger of a nip slip! When the premier comes to the legislature dressed like a stripper, you can comment. Until then, STFU.

As soon as this story got national coverage, The Menz started complaining. But that, I mean, the tiny subset of men who seem to think that they are terribly hard done by as a result of feminism and that women are TOTALLY the ruling gender. They're the ones who start whining, "Men get raped too!" at the first sign of a story about the rape crisis of young women at universities. They're the ones who moan and groan about how the courts fuck them over on custody cases. Anyway, The Menz, they were immediately saying there was no sexism here because Barack Obama was totally called on whether it was appropriate to be photographed topless (at the beach! OMG! His nipples were showing! At the beach!) And Chris Christie is mocked over his weight. And Rob Ford.

First of all, not the same. Schreck said that *any* cleavage, i.e. any failure to completely every square inch of her breasts, is inappropriate. Why? Because it reminds him that a woman is in power? Because her breasts are just so sexy that he can't keep his eyes off them and it's too distracting? (Ugh) Then he points out that men must wear ties in the legislature, so clearly that's completely the same as being required to hide any indication of breasts. Really? Ties? You mean, the great big arrow pointing at their penises? Come. On. Anyway, sure, I'm all for getting rid of the dress code. I wouldn't mind seeing how they dress if they're not told how. I'd totally vote for the guy who showed up in Birkenstocks and a hemp shirt. Or better yet, an "I'm with Stupid -->" t-shirt. That would be AWESOMESAUCE.

The true irony? The men complaining about how they're treated in the courts totally have a point. But it's not feminism that's the problem. It's the patriarchy. The patriarchy hurts everyone. Why? Why would a system designed to protect the power of men take it from them? Simple. Because it also defines gender roles. Women are the caretakers of the children. Men, proper men, don't give a shit about their kids (see: dramas) and are either too irresponsible to look after them (see: sitcoms) or are too cold and unloving to properly raise children (see: movies and books everywhere). Of course, this is bullshit. Epic bullshit. There are some really great Dads out there. Mine was. My husband is. And there are some really shitty Moms out there. But the patriarchy defines the roles, and anyone who steps outside of them is suspect. Men who dare to be feminine are in danger of assault. Men who want to be recognised as equal parents have a major uphill battle.

And do women use it? OF COURSE. We're not stupid. When the system works in our favour, which is remarkably seldomly, we take it. What? Are we supposed to be better than men? Hell no. That's the point. Just like there are men who buck the system, there are women who uphold it.

03 October 2011

UPDATED: Media Bias, Part I lost count

Can we all stop calling the New York Times "liberal" now?

I remember in Sociology 100 having an assignment in which we were to take an article from any news source that was considered mainstream and dissect it for loaded language, bias, slant, logical fallacies, etc. It was a very eye-opening assignment. I chose Macleans, thinking it was pretty balanced. Hey, I was 18! I was clueless. I was stunned to see the bias, the loaded language, the choice of pictures... the list goes on. I think it was the most useful thing I did in University! I learned to read for intent as well as content. (My stupid degrees certainly haven't been useful. Honestly, wtf was I thinking? I'll go live on reserves and save languages, write dictionaries and curricula! And I'll make a living wage, because reserves have so much money to pay pretty white linguists with more ideals than sense!)

It's become quite clear to me in recent years that there is no left-wing mainstream media. The CBC certainly isn't. The right loves to crow about it, but that's only because the right is so used to having the news handed to them, already twisted into right-wing ideology that they're jarred by anything resembling unbiased fact. And the CBC really only does resemble lack of bias, because objectivity is more or less impossible. Someday when I have some ambition, I'll take apart a cbc.ca article.

The Times, as referenced above, is what we call Limosine Liberal. It's got a socially liberal agenda, but a fairly conservative economic agenda. Now, I don't mean it's a rag of the NYPost's calibre, or that it has a raging right-wing agenda. Just that it is healthily right of centre. Of course, those that live on the right fringe see that as raving left-wing, but those people are hardly in any position to be correct about anything. :) And the further you slide to one side of the spectrum, the further away the centre looks. 

I kind of like Political Compass for sanity checks. Like when I'm screaming that Obama is a right-wing bastard who caters to Big Business, and someone else hollers back at me that he's a socialist prick, we go look at politicalcompass.org. They use their own questions, and the answers that pols have provided on public record. It's not perfect, but it's good.

Here's Canada, as of the 2011 election:

And here's the US, 2008 election. I'm hoping for an updated one soon. 

Not surprising, I'm on the left edge, well, one line in. And slightly lower than halfway between libertarian and centre.

Obama? Right of centre. Truly. It's just that mainstream in N.America has become so far left, that he seems pretty moderate. And if you think I'm wrong, remember this: Ronald Reagan, the demi-god of the conservative movement, wanted to close crazy tax loopholes that let millionaires out of paying taxes, and gave amnesty to about 4 million illegal immigrants. He'd be eviscerated by the tea party assholes and most of the rest of the Rethuglicans too.

When you're screaming SOCIALIST! at someone who is proposing Ronald Fucking Reagan's proposals, you need a reality check. And perhaps a high five. To the throat.

02 October 2011

40 days of Harassment

A bunch of old white jerks are using God's name to harrass women outside health clinics. Even here in my own city. It sickens me.

Dear Christians who Don't Get It,

If the lot of you actually believed abortion was murder, I'd have a hell of a lot more respect for you. But you don't. You believe in punishing the sluts, and/or controlling women. How do I know this? Because you don't respect life at all. Once the kid is born, you don't support them at all. You refuse to back anti-poverty bills, you try to shut down welfare programs, you accuse women of "spewing out kids to get more welfare", you don't support birth control programs that would actually reduce the number of abortions. That's not life-affirming. Furthermore, you refuse to admit the truth, that women will get abortions regardless of the laws. They'll just do them unsafely. And as a result, they'll die. That's more death. That's not pro-life at all.

Now, I do understand that there are a few of you out there who are just following the leader and truly believe that fetuses are fully human, and deserve the same rights as any other human. Okay, I get ya. I really do. I'd like the abortion rate to go down to zero too. I like babies. I like humans (usually). I like life. I really am pro-life. I don't want anyone to die as a result of abortions. No babies, no women. That'd be awesome. I'd also like no poverty, no war, no disease, and a National Bring Me Chocolate Day. It's not going to happen. So instead, shall we work really hard to prevent abortions by a) preventing unwanted pregnancies, b) supporting pregnant women financially, c) supporting new parents financially, d) making adoption easier and more socially acceptable.

And if you really believe that fetuses should be accorded the same rights as everyone else, why do you actually fight for them to have more rights than their parents? No other group of humans has the right to use the body of their mother (or anyone else) to stay alive. I can't say, "Oh, I need a kidney, Mom. Hand it over! If you don't, I'll die, and that's murder!" 'Fraid not. Mom has the right to tell me to sod off.

And I understand the need to pray when you see grave injustices. But you know what? There are these lovely places called churches where you can sit in private and pray without it hurting anyone. And if you don't think that your little vigils aren't hurting anyone, you're clearly ignorant assholes. You're not praying for these women. You're praying at them. And that's NOT cool. Also, from the Bible you claim to follow:
(5)”And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. (6)But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (7)And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (8)Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Matthew 6.5-8 NASB
 So please, be good Christians and go home. Or go sit in a church and quietly pray. What you're doing is harmful and sinful. You are being the people that Jesus warned of:
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
That's you. You're mean, you're vindictive, and you're spreading hate in God's name. That's a ferocious wolf in sheep's clothing if I ever saw it.


It's been a big few weeks around here and there's so much going on in the outside world too, I hardly know where to start.

The big news is in the world of Crackle and Pop. Okay, actually, it's in the world of their Mom, me. Pop told me he loves me for the very first time. Without my prompting. We were playing games on the bed and I was kissing his cheeks and he said, "Love Mom!" Hello Hope. I've missed you. So when I was playing with Crackle, I said, while tickling him, "I love you! Do you love Mom?" He made eye contact, grinned at me and threw an arm around my neck and pulled me close. Dude. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. He's 5 and a half.

The teenager still hates me. :D Of course, that's because I'm a total bitch, I'm ruining her life, and I'm too stupid to live. Did you know, that despite having a Master's degree, I have no idea how to do Gr11 homework? It's true, if you listen to Snap.

OMG. I just looked over at Pop. He's attempting to change his own diaper. You think he's ready for the potty? LOL

Last weekend I went to a Healing Pathway workshop sponsored by my church. Basically, it's energy healing via faith. I jokingly called it Reiki for Christians and was excoriated by the Christian Reiki Master who was taking the course. Hah. Everyone understood what I meant. I've always been a bit of a skeptic (my definitition of skeptic: nothing is impossible, but I'd like to see some evidence), but damn. And let me tell you, it's amazing how much better Crackle sleeps when I do some work on him after he falls asleep. And that's not practitioner bias. He sleeps through the night on nights I do it, and doesn't on nights when I fall asleep before I get a chance. Every night for the last 8 nights.

Our favourite Behaviour Interventionist moved to Vancouver. That sucks. We're going to miss her a lot. There's one other whom I also consider a favourite, but the rest, meh. For various reasons.

My back has been out since Wednesday, and just today I'm starting to feel human again. Unfortunately, it seems that when I get glutened, I'm physically fucked up, but when MrFCS is glutened, he's psychologically fucked up. It BLOWS. I'm in agony, and he's so grumpy, it scares me. (Not that he's ever hurt me or the kids, but someone has hurt me and now I get scared at explosive anger. I can't help it.)

And then there's the outside world... gah. Must avoid. Hurts my soul too much. Will use next post.

22 September 2011

Name That Tune

UPDATE: FOUND! It's called That's What Love is For and it was done by Scott Dibble and Watertown in 1992. WOOHOO! $20 to the SPCA.

 A good friend of mine has been searching for something for a long time and I told her I would TOTALLY hijack Dawg's blog and all its readers to help her find it, and that I'd use mine too, though it was way less likely to actually work. Also, I was rather cocky and told her that I was sure I could find it. And now its a matter of pride, honour, and stubbornness. Never mind how long I've been searching.

First, the story: 16 years ago, my husband and I were a young, goofy, totally in love couple. We would drive around for hours, listening to country music and "just talking". We had a favourite, and we joked that it was our song. We're not the "our song" kind of couple, and you'll see why in a minute. Anyway, our 14 year old daughter was asking us one day if we had a song, and to her amusement and teenage disgust, we started singing it. She asked what it was called. Um... no clue. Well, she said, who sang it? Um... Yeah, don't know that either. She informs me that we are the only people on the planet who have a song, but don't know who sings it or what it's called. So I went hunting. I searched the internet high and low, offered rewards for it and got nothing. Here's what I can tell you:

1) It was played often during 1993 - 1994. Maybe as early as November 1992. Possibly a bit later.
2) It was a male singer. Not a band, I don't think.
3) At one point, I thought it was Joe Diffy or Rick Tippe. I've looked through their discography. I don't think so. But I suspect the name is similar to that. Maybe not.
4) I know a big chunk of lyrics. YAY.
 We go together like tar and feathers, oh yeah
 In that hot summer weather, we stick together the whole day long
 ... (something I don't remember)
 But they don't see what we have always known
 I'm like gum on your shoe, I could not let go of you even if I tried.

 Your Mama she don't like me much
 She don't think that I have much finesse.
 And your brother he just stares at me
 Like a broken branch on the family tree, oh boy
That's it. Not bad for 18 years ago, eh?

So here's the deal - find me an MP3 for $20 to you or your favourite charity. Find me an original CD for $50 to you or your charity.

What do you think, comrades? Can you help?

21 September 2011

Some vacation

The boys had an appointment at BC Children's Hospital on Monday to see someone in Biochemical Diseases - the specialist's specialist, they called her. It was basically uneventful. We decided to make a weekend of it and caught the ferry over on Saturday morning. The ferry fees were waived because of the doctor's appointment and so that was just lovely. Some highlights:

  • Pop started crying "home" in a pitiful little whine before we even got to the ferry terminal. He said it pretty much constantly after that. The pool was the only respite from it. And trains.
  • Our room had a view that included the skytrain. Every 5 minutes, Pop went wild, "TRAIN!|
  • Metrotown is my idea of hell. It is loud, crowded, and easy to get lost in. The rails are low enough for Crackle to scale them. 
  • Our hotel was Hilton Metrotown. Guess where we spent the weekend. Snap was very happy about that.
  • Snap was only happy about that.
  • Pop is afraid of a lot of things. Bugs, the dark, riding in the car at night, riding on trains and ferries, hot food, hot water, doctors...
  • The hotel room was lovely. Except for the coffee pot which used pods and made coffee that tasted like it had been prefiltered through someone's kidneys. Someone sick.
  • When a hotel advertises that it has wireless internet, apparently this can mean, 'but only in the lobby' and you're not allowed to get mad at them.
  • Because of allergies and basic logistics, I prepared all of our food in advance except for stuff we could buy at the grocery store.
  • The grocery store was as busy at 9pm on a Sunday as my regular store is on Dec 23 at closing time.
  • I am always, always shocked by my own racism when I go to Vancouver. Yes, it is something I continue to work on.
  • Crackle is addicted to elevators. He will ride them from sun up to sun down.
  • He loudly protests being made to stay away from elevators. Even if he has gone up and down 18 floors over 50 consecutive times.
  • It is not something in his room that causes him to have insomnia. 
  • When one person in a hotel room has insomnia, no one sleeps. Except teenagers. Who can sleep through the apocalypse.
  • Regardless, teenagers will then whine that they are too tired to help with anything the next day.
  • The dogsitter fed the dog food I specifically told her not to. The dog got the shits at 4am, after he came home. On the carpet. In front of my bedroom door. Guess who stepped in it on the way to the toilet. If you guessed Luna, you'd be wrong. It was Luna's grumpy husband.
  • My garden was wildly overgrown from a whole 5 days of neglect. Quick aside: grand total on the potatoes? 35 lbs. Tomatoes are still coming, but I've already picked 12 lbs of them. Zucchini is basically done, but I picked about 40 of them. Have planted cauliflower and cabbage for overwintering.
  • The only thing to come out of the doctor's appointment was more testing. Metabolic disorder? Chromosomal abnormality? No one knows yet.

15 September 2011

Throat Punch Thursday: Shared Services Canada

Holy crows. I missed Throat Punch Thursday. Already. It's only been three weeks and I missed two. You'll forgive me if you hear about my week. Which you won't, because I'm repressing it.

Today's Throat-Punch goes to the Harper Government for Shared Services Canada. SSC is a new department, that is supposed to streamline all of the tech services from various "data centres" into one department. It's supposed to close down multiple centres and save money. Ha. Ha ha. Hahahaha. (That's supposed to sound like the laugh that the carnies on the Simpsons made when they stole the Simpsons' house from them. If you don't know that episode, what is wrong with you?)

From their press release:
The Government has over 100 different email systems, over 300 data centres, and over 3,000 network services within the Federal Public Service. This is inefficient and wasteful. The Government will move to one email system, reduce the overall number of data centres from 300 to less than 20, and streamline electronic networks within and between government departments. This will improve services to Canadians, make IT more secure and reliable, and save taxpayers’ dollars in line with the Government of Canada’s plan to return to balanced budgets.

One email system?! Are you shitting me? So when one of them goes down, ... OH WAIT, then the whole civil service email system is down. GREAT PLAN! And if one gets hacked into or compromised, you guessed it, the entire thing is. Fantastic plan. Remember last year when the email system of the finance department and the treasury board got hacked, and none of them were allowed to use the internet at work any more? Remember how they had to use internet cafes? No? I do. Shall we do that to the entire government?

Streamline electronic networks? What exactly does that mean? Moving servers to those <20 data centres. So when the server for, oh, say the Department of Fisheries and Oceans goes down at 2pm, but the server is in Ottawa, 3 hours ahead at 5pm, well, too bad. You can wait until tomorrow. Maybe. If the email is working.

And what exactly is a data centre? Pretty much any federal building has servers with data stored on it. And pretty much none of them are exclusively that. So define it?

You know how they could save money? They could stop spending millions and millions of dollars on software and look into open source software. The MS Office licenses alone... geez. Here's another idea: Skype meetings. Way too much money goes into travel for meetings. WAY too much.

And seriously, are you going to tell me that it's not going to cost a metric buttload of money to set this shit up? Of course it is. Migrating it, hiring new staff (another kick in the teeth. they're laying people off here and there, but they're posting public job announcements? The unions are unimpressed to say the least.) So how long until this allegedly will save them money? Right. In about thirteen years. If we're lucky. Shared Services Ontario supposedly worked and saved taxpayers money, but the Shared Services model that the Western Australian government tried backfired magnificently and cost the government way more than the original set up, and also managed to cut jobs. So they totally hosed up the lives of some civil servants, and then charged them for the pleasure of doing it to them. Nice. Or not.

Brilliant idea, guys. Brilliant. Throat punches for all.

Little Bitches*

The other day on Twitter, I read, "Six year old daughter has finally learned that little girls are mean, spiteful, bitchy, hateful creatures. Nothing new under the sun." And I bristled. Because I'm a feminist. But I also nodded. Because I'm a mom to a girl and we experienced this too. And because I was a little girl, and experienced it there too. My own kid was no exception, and I expect that I wasn't either.

When my daughter was six, she told the Muslim girl down the road that she couldn't play with her because she doesn't like people with brown skin. Oh. My. God. And of course, the parents assumed it was coming from me and her Dad. HELL NO it wasn't. As it turned out, Snap didn't like the kid and had to figure out something to say to tell her to go away. She could have just as easily said she didn't like girls who wore red dresses. I FLIPPED MY SHIT. I talked to the darlin' girl. I talked to her Dad. I cried. He looked at me like I had lost my fucking mind. Of course, he hadn't seen the news that day and I had. It was September 11, 2001. Seriously. I shit you not. My six year old daughter told a Muslim that they couldn't play because of the girl's skin colour on September Fucking 11th. Yeah. Nice timing, kid. So yeah, once we had it all out, it was okay again. I had the girl decide what Snap's punishment should be (which she TOTALLY loved and was very reasonable and fair - don't worry, I wouldn't have meted out an unfair one, regardless of what the girl wanted) and all was well.

Snap's a very accepting kid now. Thanks be! She's got to have one of the strongest senses of justice I've ever seen. I love that about her.

So what are we doing to our daughters? Why are they becoming "mean, spiteful, bitchy, hateful creatures"? I see it all the time. I cannot deny it. And it's not a case of girls with strong personalities are being called this because we can't handle the idea of strong girls. Little girls are MEAN. (I'm not saying boys aren't. I'm not saying anything about boys. I want to keep this to the girls for the moment). I've heard them tell other girls they are fat, ugly, and stupid, that their parents don't like them, that they're adopted because they were too ugly to keep, that they're so stupid no one will ever love them... it goes on and on. Where the hell is it coming from? Is it a healthy stage? (Doubtful). Is it something new? Is it a case of trying to find dominance in a male-dominated world? Honestly, I don't know and I want input.

*Yes, I'm using the word "bitch" rather ironically. It's intended.

And yes, eventually, I will come back in time to Thursday and write another post in the Throat-Punch Thursday series. Thanks for reminding me I'm a failure, Dr. Dawg. :D