March 24, 2023

You've been numbered

A couple of months ago I was in another city meeting a friend for lunch.  As I waited for her, I took this picture of some graffiti that says, “No Digital ID”.  

I started wondering exactly what kind of digital ID the individual was protesting.  I mean, we have all had digital IDs pretty much since the day our birth was registered.  Don’t believe me?  Check your birth certificate…it has a number.  Check your school records…there’s a student number.  Check your driver’s license…yet another number.  Credit card or Debit card?  Yep, more numbers.  Health card, Social Insurance Number, CAA…all numbers.  Have you got a mortgage or loan?  Have you ever called the mortgage or loan company with a question?  What’s the first thing they ask you?  You bet…”What’s your client (or loan) number?” 

To extend this thinking a little further, the cell phone we all love and carry everywhere…it’s got a number.  Somebody wants to be able to reach you, what do they ask?  They ask, “What’s your number?”  Do you use a computer or laptop?  You may not know this, but your IP address is a number.  Our lives have been so digitalized over the past decades that it’s impossible to function without a so-called “digital ID”. 

Then I started wondering if the protest was more over the government’s insistence on making vaccination status, especially with respect to covid vaccinations, available both on our health cards, but also as a separate downloadable certificate that we were all encouraged to carry on our phones to prove we have been vaccinated.  Nothing has been so polarizing as the whole vaccination issue of the last few years.  While I don’t want to insult a big chunk of the population, I find a close correlation between those decrying the vaccine and their level of – Education? Intelligence? I’m not really sure which is appropriate.  For decades the government has insisted that children be vaccinated for chicken pox, measles, rubella, pertussis, and a bunch of other things in order to attend school.  Nobody ever blinked over this.  However, tell them they should all be vaccinated against covid and they lose their shit. 

For those people, I have this to say:  This is a standard vaccine composition.  Which of these chemicals do you object to having in your body?

        ·         Ethanol
        ·         Propyl acetate
        ·         2-methylpropyl acetate
        ·         Propanol
        ·         n-Butyl acetate
        ·         2-Methylpropanol
        ·         2-Methylbutyl acetate
        ·         n-Butyl propanoate
        ·         n-Butanol
        ·         n-Pentyl acetate
        ·         2-Methylbut-3-enyl acetate
        ·         2-Methylbutanol
        ·         3-Methylbut-3-enyl acetate
        ·         3-Methylbut-3-enol
        ·         3-Methylbut-2enyl acetate
        ·         n-Pentanol
        ·         n-Hexyl acetate
        ·         E-Hex-3-enyl acetate
        ·         Z-Hex-3-enyl acetate
        ·         Hex-4-enyl acetate
        ·         E-Hex-2-enyl acetate
        ·         n-Hexanol
        ·         Z-Hex-3-enol
        ·         E-Hex-2enol
        ·         n-Hextyl-2-methylbutanoate
        ·         n-Heptanol
        ·         Camphor
        ·         n-Octanol
        ·         n-Oct-2-enol
        ·         1-Methoxy-4-(2-propenyl)-benzene

So many of the great unwashed will immediately say, “Nope.  None of that shit for me.”  What they don’t realize is that this is actually the chemical composition of an apple.  It’s living testimony that most people (anti-vaxxers) aren’t qualified to even know what they’re scared of. 


June 27, 2022

OMFG, It Is Way Past Time!

Women everywhere watched in horror last week as the United States Supreme Court ruled to reverse the Roe v Wade decision made in the early 70s.  That decision gave women in the US the right to access abortions without persecution.  

Read that again – the RIGHT to access abortions because prior to that they needed permission to do so and in order to have a medically safe abortion you had to go through hoops such as proving the mother's life was in imminent danger.  When the Orange Idiot sat on the throne from 2016 to 2020, he had the opportunity to load the Supreme Court with right wing republican judges.  Despite the fact that they are supposed to be impartial (justice being blind after all), they have allowed religion to become the law of the land and have now, in a single moment, taken away the right of women in the US to have autonomy over their own bodies.  

Yes, you read that one correctly too.  A country that prides itself as being the land of the free has shackled its women once again.  What next?  Will women and minorities lose their rights to vote?  Will women no longer be able to have bank accounts or credit cards in their own name?  No more being allowed to drive or own a vehicle?  For that matter will they even be allowed to work outside the home once they get married?  That’s what this could devolve to.  Let’s not even talk about same-sex marriages, gay rights, transgender, etc.  The implications of what could happen to them are just as horrifying.  

Several states have already declared it illegal to perform abortions and I’ve read that some are even taking steps to criminalize the act of leaving the state to have an abortion in another state or country.  I can’t see how that would be logistically possible unless they plan to put up border patrols at all roads that leave the state.  

I can see it now:

Border Patrol:  Papers please.

Person:           *passes over passport of other travel documentation

BP:                  Your destination?

Person:           Other state

BP:                  Purpose of travel to “other state”?

Person:           Abortion

BP:                  You’re under arrest.



Person:           Visit friend/relative

BP:                  Phone number please, we need to verify your story

The absolute lunacy of these scenarios means they are possibly quite likely to take place.  Remember, truth is much stranger than fiction. 

In light of what’s happening south of our border, it is high time that Canada put body autonomy into our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Why, in this day and age, should a bunch of men be allowed to decide what rights a woman has, especially when it comes to her own body?  If the government forces women to have babies they don’t want or can’t have for a variety of reasons, will the government be there to ensure the babies don’t grow up in poverty or worse?  In the US, apparently a 12-year-old who has been molested by a male family member is too young to consent to sex, but not too young to have a baby.  That child is neither mature enough in mind nor body to have a baby, but the US government would make her do it anyway.  

Since we’re looking to change the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, let’s also change the Canadian Human Rights Act because banning a woman from seeking an abortion should be against her rights.  It’s time for Canada to stand up and support its women and it’s time for the Canadian government to recognize, officially, women as persons with all the rights that male persons currently enjoy without question and without having to fight for them.  I’m not a man-hater or women’s libber, but I am absolutely disgusted that in the year 2022 women are still oppressed in our supposedly civilized western society.   It's time to #makechangehappen.

To our female friends south of the border, my heart is crying for you right now.  Instead of safe, responsible care for women who have made what is likely a very difficult decision, there will be the return of the coat hangar for those without the means or resources to seek help in another state or country.  Try and be safe, my sisters. 


June 17, 2022

Did Groucho have it right?

There’s a quote from Groucho Marx that goes something like this, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member".  The exact wording is lost to time and there are different versions quoted, even from his own family.  I have thought about this quote regularly over the past couple of years.  Here is why.  

Way back when I started riding a motorcycle there was a local chapter of ABATE in our area.  I spoke to my husband about them and even reached out to speak with one of their members about it.  The club raised funds through rides and other events and then donated those funds to local charities.  They were not one of what is called a 1% club (like any of the notorious or infamous heavy-duty biker clubs you can name).  We went to a meeting and decided to join.  

Years passed and the club went through lots of changes, but we stuck with it.  Eventually my husband decided to stop renewing his membership and just went to events with me.  I served in various capacities of the executive of the club, from secretary, to treasurer, to sergeant at arms, to vice-president, and finally president of my local chapter.  Also through the years the participants changed as well.  

Then the pandemic struck.  

This happened during my term as president.  People were leery of gathering and then our treasurer died of a heart attack.  He was such a vibrant, in-your-face kind of guy that it hit us all pretty hard.  Once we were able to gather in limited numbers again, we met and our small chapter pretty much fell apart.  Three members asked if they could join another chapter; one moved to another country; one left the club entirely; and then our founding father of the whole thing here in Ontario passed away.  He had been a member of our chapter as well.  

These events of themselves shouldn’t have been what caused the closure of our chapter.  Back in the day the other founding father’s chapter suffered serious loss of members and other chapters essentially donated members to them until they were able to fill out in numbers again.  I thought something similar would have happened to my chapter, but no, unfortunately, I was wrong.  

What had happened was that there had been a member a several years back who became president of the provincial body, with his wife as treasurer.  You guessed it.  They stole thousands (likely tens of thousands) from the provincial club (of which each chapter was a member).  Those two had been in my chapter years ago and when we figured out what was happening, we tried to get them ousted from the club without success.  What we did do was to oust them from our chapter.  Somehow this didn’t get them kicked out either.  In fact, both retained their positions on the provincial council.  This started their whole…vendetta – for lack of a better word – against us.  Suddenly my chapter became pariahs.  

In an attempt to get them off the provincial council, some of us ran against them in provincial elections.  No luck.  Not only that, but the wife started rumours about those of us (like me) who were running for provincial seats.  As I was running for treasurer, the rumour she started about me was that I was a thief, stealing money from the club.  Eventually, as you’d expect, the truth about them came out in an unexpected way and when confronted over it, they got belligerent and basically ran from the meeting, shouting and denying all the way.  Unfortunately for them there was proof. 

Unfortunately for me they had friends who they owed money to.  Yes, aside from stealing from the club, they had also heavily borrowed from friends and acquaintances as much as possible.  The husband had been in a car accident and unable to work for a while.  They went to court but it took a couple of years.  I hated how the treated me because I’d been one of the people helping them.  I didn’t have any money, but I did assist with writing their victim impact statements – and I write a darn good letter, if I do say so myself.  They borrowed thousands from anyone who had money to lend them with the promise that they would pay it back when their case was settled.  

Once this shit hit the fan, I wasn’t surprised to learn they had not repaid anyone.  In fact, they were still telling people they would pay when they got a settlement.   Now, after having worked for lawyers for many years, I knew that a settlement follows soon after the victim impact statements are presented.  I also knew from when I helped them with their victim impact statements in November that they were going to be in court in late January.  So almost two years after my helping them with their impact statements, they were finally ousted after being caught in their lies.  Oddly enough, people were still believing their lies about a settlement, even after they were proven as liars with the club’s money.  Because of my work on their statements, I also knew who the plaintiff was in the case.  Armed with their names and approximate court date, I called the local courts for each of the two counties where it might have been heard and I tracked down the court where the case was registered.  It just so happened that the clerk I spoke to had the file handy for some reason and told me that the case was settled out of court on something like January 21st of the year I had figured.  I’m not sure what you know about courts, but when something is settled out of court, the exact details of such a settlement remain private and not part of the public record.  

Now I was able to tell people the exact date that their settlement had been reached.  It was about 18 or 19 months before we finally ousted them from the club.  They had received settlement, but had not paid anyone back.  Not even close friends.  No one.  Stupidly, their so-called close friends somehow decided I was to blame.  The husband friend had become the provincial club’s president and his wife was membership clerk.  So after I had to disband my now non-existent chapter, I approached another club to be a member with them and they were happy to have a 19-year life member join them.  At the next provincial meeting their chapter president announced that I would be joining them and this membership clerk told them I could not join any chapter.  She basically blackballed me and nobody said a word.  It was completely against club rules.  She was making it up.  I had done nothing to harm the club.  She had (has) a personal problem with me.  

So in the year and a half since that happened I have pondered why I still want to be a member of a club where apparently I’m not wanted.  And that is why I’m often thinking about that fantastic quote from good ol’ Groucho. 

June 15, 2022

What happens next?

Back when the pandemic started in March of 2020, I had just found myself out of a job.  The reasons don’t matter for this tale, but rest assured I was surprised and needed a new job – the sooner, the better.  Fairly quickly I had an interview lined up but didn’t get that job.  By that time jobs had started to dry up because companies were either closing due to the pandemic or were setting staff on furlough until they ramped back up.  What was supposed to be a two-week shutdown to flatten the curve, turned into months.  Still, though, I persisted. 

A friend pointed me at a certain job search website and at a particular job.  It looked interesting and I decided to apply.  I was contacted about the job and provided a copy of the job description.  They had some concerns because the title under which they listed the posting was not actually the work that the person would be doing. 

The “company” is actually an Indian reservation and their jobs and job titles don’t necessarily align with the pre-existing selections available on job search websites.  I read the job description with interest.  Most of my experience up to this point had been in the field of executive assistant, but these folks wanted more of a project manager/coordinator.  My friend convinced me to toss my hat into the ring and so I did.  Due to Covid-19 lockdowns, it was a couple of months before I could actually have an interview.  What a unique experience that was.  I’d had plenty of interviews in my career, with some being solitary, and some with small panels.  This interview was with a panel of six people, easily the largest one I’d ever faced. 

Aside from the size of the panel, only one person was going to be asking the questions, which was fine with me.  But what questions!  This interview was like nothing I’d ever experienced in the past.  I was prepared to answer the usual stuff like “why did you leave your last job”, “tell me about yourself”, or “how did you prepare for this interview”, but nope.  Not one of the ‘usual’ questions was asked.  Instead, they wanted to know how I would structure meeting minutes so that they would be approved by council.  They asked a few situational questions and some that were designed to see where I fell ethically and with respect to confidentiality.  Of course, they also wanted to know what my view were around natives, whereby I told them I was part native.  That sparked a conversation about which group I was with.  I explained my family history as far as the native side of my family.  I was thrilled when a few days later I was offered the job.  I went in, signed the paperwork, and started my crash course in learning all about the legalities of how matrimonial real property is managed on reserves when a spouse dies or a relationship breaks down.  

The project I was hired to take on was to help this particular community create their own law governing matrimonial real property (think “family home”).  There were challenges – some from individuals, some from the virus causing shutdowns or severely limiting how many people I could have at a meeting, and even my own health with needing cancer surgery.  As the end of my 51-week contracted neared, a special exemption was made to hire me as a term employee for one year.  Without this exemption I would have needed to leave the job at whatever stage it was at, take at least one week off, and then reapply to be hired again into the same job for another 51-week contract.  Weird rules, but I can roll with it.  Now the end of my one-year term is looming.  My supervisor and HR both want to ensure I stay on.  I’m pretty sure that chief and council want me to keep on as well since we have a meeting scheduled for a week after my contract is scheduled to end.  Still, though, unforeseen and tragic events have caused delays in a decision being made or a contract or permanent position being offered as yet.  

The good news is my project is moving along nicely, despite the challenges over the past almost two years.  I believe we can see the successful conclusion ahead of us within the next several months.  

The question I have now is “What happens next?”  I really like the people here.  The drive, while long at just over an hour, is full of fantastic scenery and so isn’t really a hardship.  I think I’ve come to fit in really well – so much so that sometimes people forget I have only been here two short years and expect me to remember events that predate my employment.  It’s kind of cute.  But still…this week I will make sure all my files are in order.  I will have everything as ready as can be.  I won’t take my personal stuff from my desk or off the walls of the office yet.  I have applied to another position available within the same office, so I’m hopeful for that.  The problem is that things move slower than anticipated at times.  I’ve heard my husband talk about “island time” and how things in Jamaica (for example) always move much slower – on island time.  I’m convinced this is slower than that.  Even so, I want to stay.  I’m not sure I can go back to the frantic grind I used to function in.  I know I don’t want to. 

A beautiful sunrise picture I took
on my way to work one day.

April 05, 2022

Dodging a Big Bullet

Sometimes it truly is a matter of timing and sometimes the stars align so perfectly. 

As a woman in her 50s I naturally started tracking my cycles in order to keep track of when they have stopped for a year, which basically means you’re then in menopause.  Sure enough, they started becoming irregular, often disappearing for months before coming back.  Imagine my surprise then, when it didn’t stop.  I mean it didn’t stop at all.  For weeks.  Then months. 

I reached out to my family doctor.  This alone was a bit challenging as my doctor typically spends a lot of time doing stuff other than actually seeing patients (like teaching, etc.).  Fortunately, I was able to see an associate at the same clinic, who immediately asked me to set up an appointment for an ultrasound.  Being in a small-town type of area it took a few weeks to get that appointment, after which I had to wait a few more to see the associate again to discuss the results.  She told me that based on the ultrasound she wanted me to have a biopsy.  Biopsy?  This didn’t sound good, but I tried to tell myself it could be a number of things.  So, a few weeks later I had the biopsy and then waited on tenterhooks for a month to get the results of that. 

Talk about a sucker punch!  She came into the exam room and told me I had Cancer.  Endometrial cancer.  This is cancer in the lining of the uterus.  After I took a few moments to basically have a nervous breakdown, I asked what it meant and what options there were.  She told me it appeared that we had caught it early and was only at Stage 1.  She was going to hook me up with a gynecologist and explained that I would likely need a hysterectomy.  A few weeks after that I met the gynecologist.  She was very reassuring, telling me that with a full hysterectomy (which includes ovaries), I should be good to go.  My sister was more devastated than I was over that news until I reminded her that I already had a son and that I was unlikely to have any more children at my age anyway, so didn't need any of that plumbing.

Knowing that my workplace would be shutting down for two weeks over Christmas, I asked if there was any way she could do the surgery just before the shut-down in order to minimize the amount of time I would need to take off work.  I figured with the two-week closure plus the 12 days of sick time I would largely be okay to start working from home part days until I was deemed okay to return to work.  She wasn’t sure she could get me in that fast, but said she would see.  I went to work and told my supervisor and HR about my diagnosis and that I hoped to have surgery ASAP. 

I guess I traded in some saved up karma because a few days later she called to say a clinical partner had a cancellation for the following week and she asked for the surgery time in order to slide me in.  Yay!  In short order she had her office set up a pre-op day for me.  Now that was an ordeal!  I’ll spare you the details, but let’s say it started with a drill-your-brain-through-the-nose covid test and carried on from there.  I also met with the head of anesthetics who told me there were two ways the surgery could end up happening: (1) the old way of slicing through the abdomen; or (2) vaginally.  The second option was my hoped-for but they couldn’t know for sure until they had me on the table.  This option was preferred because the recovery is so much easier than option 1.  He offered to set me up with a morphine-type self-administer pump to manage the pain after the surgery, but I insisted I would be okay with Tylenol Extra Strength.  I explained to him that I’d had other surgeries (plate in foot, caesarian delivery) and knew I would be okay with just that. 

I was pleasantly surprised that we did end up with option 2.  I did have five tiny incisions all over my abdomen where scopes were inserted to light and display the surgery space for the doctor.  As promised, I only needed the Tylenols.  The evening of the day of the surgery when the nurse asked me about my pain level I told her honestly, that it was about a 4 out of 10.  I was definitely not in a lot of pain.  For being only out of the surgery for about 6 hours that was pretty impressive to them.  The nurses gave me lots of water, popsicles, and even some food.  I slept lots.  I was even able to walk to the bathroom unaided and use the facilities.  They were pretty happy.  The next day the surgeon came in mid-morning and checked my chart, took a quick look at me, and asked if I wanted to go home that afternoon.  Considering they initially wanted me to stay 2 days, I was thrilled.  I called my husband to come get me.  I left with a list of after-care procedures.  The only thing that happened that I wasn't prepared for was being drop kicked into full-on menopause.  Hard.  Suddenly with no ovaries, no more natural female hormones.  

Now you’re probably wondering how my mention of good timing fits into all this.  Here it is:  In mid-January I got a letter from my family doctor saying that she was closing her practice at the end of February.  I was about to be orphaned.  If she had made that decision even six months before, I would probably have just continued to lightly bleed because it was annoying, but I was not experiencing any pain so wouldn’t have thought to bother going to the emergency room to seek medical advice.  Knowing how long it can take to find a doctor in this area, I could well have just put it off until it was too late.  As mentioned, I have high pain tolerance so I might not have been diagnosed until the cancer was stage 3 or 4.  Instead, the stars aligned, I got seen right away and had surgery right away.  A month after the surgery I saw the surgeon for the follow up and was told I was cancer-free!  What an amazing feeling.  So I really and truly did dodge a bullet, simply because the stars aligned.

April 04, 2022

The Slap Seen 'Round the World

 Yeah, here comes my piece of mind about the Will Smith / Chris Rock event at the Oscars.  

Rock deserved it.  Should Smith have gotten up in front of the world and done it?  Probably not.  But nevertheless, Rock deserved it.  

Smith finds himself being vilified, but I completely disagree.  What he did, from the perspective of a woman, is defend her honour.  Maybe an old-fashioned viewpoint, but I've never waved the feminist banner.  I like having doors held for me and being told "after you" when getting on an elevator, etc.  If someone said something insulting about me, I would certainly hope my husband would jump to defend me and offer the guy a slap or something.  Let the world know that this woman has a protector and the protector is him.  

In any other situation, such a verbal attack on someone for a medical condition would be almost grounds for a bullying case.  "Going through chemo?  You're gonna really appreciate the weight loss. You could stand to lose a few."  Can you imagine the fallout from saying something like that to another person in a public setting?  Is it any different?  I don't think so.  

What about if Jada had strode up on stage and slapped Rock?  Wouldn't the conversation be different then?  Damn straight it would be!  She would be lauded for standing up for herself.  Rock would have likely offered an apology then and there.  

Yes, it did seem that Smith started to laugh at Rock's statement.  Was it a real laugh or one of those polite ones people offer when they don't want to necessarily make a scene?  I don't know and don't really care.  He reacted to his wife's distress.  I've seen articles and memes that allude to an alleged affair with Jada and someone else.  I don't care.  Nobody is perfect, certainly not even me.  If Smith and Jada have seen fit to work past any such thing, then that's kudos to them.  Either way, it's really none of my business.  To all the world who are vilifying Smith, you have no idea what Jada's mental state is in dealing with her illness.  Rock's comments could have seriously impaired her mental state.  That's just not acceptable.  

In the end, I'm more ticked off about the In Memoriam bit than the whole Smith/Rock thing.  As a tv viewer, I look forward to another look at the year in review and a moment to see and briefly mourn those who have passed.  This year's Oscars had the screen zoomed in, but then zoomed way out so the focus could be on the dancers.  To be honest, I don't give a crap about seeing dancers, I want to see the stars who have passed.  They could have saved Betty White to the end and just done something special with the dog at that point.  

Here's what they really should have done...they should have let the dog loose on Smith and Rock and have it chase them around the stage.  Now that would have been entertainment!  

February 04, 2022

I Protest aka The Redneck Agenda

I live in Canada and like anywhere else, the whole vaccination discussion and restrictions due to Covid is wearing thin.  We all want to go back to some semblance of normal, but I think for the most part we’re following the science and doing our part to stay safe and healthy. 

Recently a bunch of truckers decided they wanted to protest the border being closed if they were not vaccinated.  They decided to start a convoy to Ottawa to carry the protest to the federal government.  Despite the fact that our government has no control over the United Stated government’s rule that truckers must be double-vaccinated to enter the United States, the movement gained momentum.  Before we knew it rumours were flying around that the convoy was long enough to stretch across our two largest provinces (it wasn’t).  A go-fund-me page was set up and millions of dollars were donated to support the protest and the protestors.  

The convoy and various independent supporters landed in Ottawa and proceeded to essentially blockade and occupy the city.  I’m all for peaceful protest, but these guys went on to desecrate the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the National War Memorial, and the Terry Fox memorial statue.  For those of you who don’t know who Terry Fox is/was, he was a man who had lost a leg to cancer and at the age of 22 decided to literally run from one side of the country to the other to raise money for cancer research.  He almost made it halfway before having to stop his race and dying from cancer shortly afterwards.  In the 40 years since then, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised for cancer research in his name.  This is his legacy.  So, to see the statue of a Canadian hero being defaced on top of the other desecrations was too much.  These protestors had stomped their way over a line.  

The protest continues.  What these folks also don’t realize (or refuse to acknowledge) though, is that their protest has absolutely no hope of forcing the government to resign and allow them (the protestors) to assume control of the government.  It also has no hope of forcing the US government to allow unvaccinated individuals across their border.  It certainly has faint hope of forcing the government to end restrictions, mainly because this control rests with the provincial government and not the federal government.  It also has absolutely no hope of forcing the government to lower the price of gas.  I can’t even remember all the list of things they are supposedly protesting now.  

Before recent events I would not have said this, but exactly how uneducated do you have to be in order to be a redneck?  These people are saying the Covid vaccine has been rushed to market without testing.  Apparently they know better than all the scientists who have been working on a vaccine like this since the SARS outbreak of 2003.  As for being untested, this vaccine had the largest testing pool for clinical trials since the beginning of time.  Tens of thousands of people wanted to be used as test subjects.  Also, if you’re going to make a successful protest to the government, learn the facts first about what your government actually has any control over.  Not only that, but don’t show up at your “peaceful” protest with flags depicting racism and hate.  Leave the swastikas at home because they have no place at this kind of event.  Showing up with this stuff and then spewing bigotry and hate is not the way to make a positive impression on the government, except maybe the conservatives.  Only this morning I heard on the radio that our local conservative representative called counter-protestors “idiots”.  Not the way to gain my vote! 

It is unbelievable how polarizing this whole Covid event has been.  People I know personally are showing me how they truly are not the sharpest knives in the drawer.  However they land, I just want to say that these so-called protestors do not represent me or my opinions in any way whatsoever.