moiread: (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA • six/affection.)
A lot of stuff in my life is going really, really well right now. I have a new relationship that is a whole bunch of different flavours of awesome, and I have all kinds of fun travel coming up between now and October. Also, minus the brief medication-related hiccup in Montreal three weeks ago, overall I am feeling physically better than I have in ages. This is probably just a combination of endorphins, normal hemoglobin levels, and being off nutty hormone treatments for the first time in a decade, but I'll take it!

Going to try to get my tubes tied this summer, during the one month where I don't have plans to be anywhere. Have dealt with the pre-ablation emotional stuff and want to take back control of my bits again! May not have a job at the school next year, so have come up with some ideas for freelance work I can do over the summer and continue through the rest of the year if things go that way. Also may or may not go back to school for my own education, either locally or online. That one will take a bit more reflection, since I need to be pretty sure my health is going to stay stable for at least a full semester before I start throwing large chunks of money around.

Plans! Things! Goodnesses! Hurray for me!

I may not be posting much these days, but I still read everything. Promise.

PS: Travel-wise, right now it looks like I'll be in Chicago from May 16-21, Montreal from May 23-27, Minneapolis from June 20-26th, back in Chicago for probably two weeks sometime in August, and then back in Montreal for at LEAST the three days of [livejournal.com profile] farthingparty in September but maybe longer. I'm going to try not to wind up in any more hospitals for the duration of this giant traveling period. Fingers crossed!
moiread: (hugz • sarah s.)
• I got food poisoning last week. It was brutal. I threw up so much I got hemorrhage around my eyes and cheeks and pulled several muscles. I'm still not all better but I'm getting there!

• I'm finding ways to get additional sessions, kids, and funding for the program I work in, which is good for the kids and good for my wallet. Making $360 a month from that job instead of $100 is good, especially since ODSP takes half. I will probably also pick up private tutoring work, because (so far, at least) I can't find anything else locally that meets my needs/restrictions. Also ODSP has started reimbursing me for the cost of some more of my medical supplies plus the cost of taxis to appointments, which is another $300 a month, roughly, so I should be okay. (The summers are always the hardest because I have no extra income.)

• I started a new treatment for my feet. It involves SCIENCE! Basically they blast my plantar fascia with short bursts of a sonic shockwave, and these repeated microtraumas both break up scar tissue and force my blood to heal the area. I tend to look at non-standard physio treatments that have had inconclusive clinical results with a very jaundiced eye, but at this point I'd tried everything else anybody could suggest (apart from cortisone injections, which have a 50-50 chance of either improving the problem or making it worse, so no thank you to that) so I figured, what the hell. My parents were willing to pay for it, since nobody would cover it, and actually it seems to be helping. I started the treatment on my worst foot only so that I could observe the results objectively by comparing the two, and after three treatments, my worse foot is now usually on par with my less-worse foot and sometimes better. If this continues, I'll add do another run of it but on both feet. I'm not convinced that this treatment will make anything all better, or how long the effect will last, but I figure that even a small improvement is worth it. If I choose to escalate further after the shockwave treatment, the next steps are blood doping (cool!) and surgery (less cool!).

• I am now sleeping with a dorsiflexion boot, a CPAP machine, a bite guard, and sometimes wrist braces. I feel like I'm slowly turning into Darth Vader with boobs.

• We're going on a family camping trip this weekend. I leave Thursday. It was originally supposed to be for my birthday, but it got co-opted by my mom, re-worked to suit her fancy, and then postponed because of her work schedule, so at this point I'm expecting it to be less of a birthday gift to me and more of a complete shitshow starring my crazy parents who hate each other. But I have books, good hiking boots, a solid sense of direction, and feet that are doing a bit better, so I am totally not above fucking off by myself during the day. We'll see how it goes.

• Unlike the complete birthday fail above, [livejournal.com profile] timprov sent me a framed print of "Tulips and Snow Peas" because it is my favourite and he is wonderful. He picked this rich royal purple for the mat and it looks so, so gorgeous, seriously. I am going to take a picture and post it once I have a chance to get it up above my dining table where it unquestionably belongs. :D :D

Bill 115.

Sep. 7th, 2012 04:33 am
moiread: (glasses • stock.)
Hey, guys? The Ontario government is trying to pass Bill 115, which will freeze teacher's wages and cut sick days.

That's bad. Teachers are overworked and underpaid as it is, and if you think that having teachers who are being continually shit on doesn't affect the quality of kids' education, then probably you need to think a little harder. My own job has been cut down to 1/9th the time it was three years ago, because taking away support from students and teachers alike is apparently the best way to save money. So yeah. That's bad.

What's worse is that they're also going to be retroactively taking away sick time and vacation time that has already been earned in previous years, under previous agreements. It breaks all the previous contracts under which teachers are still signed. It also gives the cabinet the power to force school board employees (which includes teachers) to pay back any money they receive that contravenes the Act, or demand that boards deduct it from employees' wages. All of that should be illegal.

But what's completely unacceptable and unconstitutional is that they're trying to circumvent union rights and labour laws by adding clauses to the bill that say it supersedes any existing human rights or labour law and cannot be subject to examination by any arbitrator or court of law. Yes, really. These clauses also give the cabinet the ability to completely block strikes or negotiation attempts. These clauses state that subsequent changes to legislation will be decided only by the cabinet, at will, without actually needing to take the changes to parliament for an official vote, let alone negotiate with the union or take input from elected trustees. And do you know what we call it when the people in power give themselves the ability to screw with laws without having to interact with elected representatives, boys and girls? We call that taxation without representation.

Many teachers have been protesting, and but the bill is being rammed through as quickly as possible -- it's likely to be passed by Monday or Tuesday of next week, in fact -- with only 4.5 hours given for public consultation. And frankly, unless a bunch of average folks step up to support the teachers in this, they are going to lose. There has been very little coverage of what's going on, for a start, and beyond that, labour laws are a confusing, messy headache. Sorting them out to determine how you should feel is pretty fucking daunting, so not a lot of people are doing it. And really, all it takes is one cry of, "BUT THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" and a bit of crafty rhetoric for our government to keep people from supporting teachers when they validly say that this is not okay and try to fight it.

To summarize: Under the guise of budget cuts and "Putting Students First" (the actual name of the bill), Bill 115 aims to slash benefits, take away previously earned benefits by breaking existing contracts, nix the ability for the teacher's union to call (or even threaten) a strike, and give the cabinet the power to circumvent unions and elected officials so that they can make decisions willy-nilly without the democratic process cramping their style.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association thinks this is very, very bad and so should you.

I know a lot of you don't have kids yet, or don't want kids ever, or have kids who are currently too young to be in school. But this still matters. This is still not okay. It's not just about the kids, but also about the teachers themselves, who are largely a bunch of good, hardworking people who get the crap end of the stick enough as it is.

Please write to your MPP. Please? Even if none of you actually care that something this ugly is happening, can you just do it for me anyway?

Stuff.

Jun. 2nd, 2012 12:07 pm
moiread: (CRIMINAL MINDS • newspaper.)
• Yesterday my LJ had 43 views. Today it's had 473 and it's still only noon. I blame [livejournal.com profile] elisem! Only three abusive comments on that post so far, though, all of which I deleted immediately. I knew some trolls might come out when people started passing it around but such a low number is really nice! Probably my dinky journal is just not worth people's time. Heh.

• Last night I ordered in a mountain of sushi because I was ragingly hungry and my finger mysteriously wouldn't stop clicking things. I am still eating from that mountain of sushi today. This is so awesome.

• One of my co-op students from last year learned some ASL from me while she was there and went on to take an ASL class at the local college this past semester. She knows I haven't been well enough to take a class myself (which is why I have limited myself to only learning vocabulary and am avoiding dealing with grammar so as not to learn bad habits) so she brought me her textbook from the level 1 class as a gift! It comes with an instructional DVD and everything! I've been working through it and am super ridiculously excited. I think her hope is that, if I can handle the level 1 textbook just fine and my health improves a bit, I'll be able to take the level 2 class with her this fall. I don't think that will happen but it warms my heart that she would want to take a class with me.

Nikko Hurtado does awesome tattoos. Also I have found a tattoo artist for my sleeves once the artwork is ready and I've put the money together. (These two things are related only by being about tattoos; I could never afford Nikko and anyway his style is all wrong for what I want.)

JC Penney responds to the One Million Moms boycott by producing a Happy Two-Dad Family ad.

The Dark Chocolate Batman. I heart geek kids. That made me think of my eldest niecelet, whose war cry when wading into roughhousing with her siblings is, "FOR HYRULE!"

• My school put in wifi. On the one hand, this solves the problem of my smartphone not getting any data signal in 3/4 of the building, and I'm a geek who likes tech upgrades, so it's kind of cool. On the other, my school is full of kids whose families can't afford food or weather-appropriate clothing, let alone school supplies, so even if the wifi network only cost a few hundred to set up, I am really angry at the complete lack of priorities that allowed that few hundred dollars to go towards wifi instead of, say, bolstering the breakfast and lunch programs. Really, really angry. The fact that I am not ranting about it is simply due to the fact that it's been two weeks since it got announced and I've had time to come to terms with knowing I can't do anything about it.

• Also, after ten years, we are getting a new principal. They're moving ours to an inner-city school and giving us the principal of a well-off suburban school. I don't know where our new principal was before that, so for all I know working in a nice Kanata school was a total trip for him too, but still. I am wary. And I will miss our current principal, who was so very tremendously excellent, not only within himself but specifically in what he did for our school.

• Last year, my job was three days a week. This year, it got cut down to two. Next year, it will get cut down to one. This is despite maintaining our participation numbers. Why is it always the kids who need the most help who suffer the greatest when budget cuts come around? I may have to quit in order to look for something else, which would mean the kids don't even get their one day a week homework/classwork support sessions. It's a really difficult decision for me, but I have until sometime in September to decide. I don't know what else I would do that would be as flexible, as rewarding, or as indulgent of the fact that I have tons of experience but no degrees. I guess I'll look at job-hunting when the time comes if it's needed.

• A cartoonist I adore, Spike Trotman, has created a book called "Poorcraft". It is about living well on less money, and it is really fantastic. It just came out and already she has reports that it's being included in "starting over" kits at some women's shelters. A physical copy is $10 and PDF copies are half that.

• One of my recent treatment thingos is working out very poorly for me and giving me daily pain. This sucks, obviously, and is making my life more difficult than it already is and certainly more difficult than it needs to be.

• My old air conditioner was a monstrous standing unit that took up a lot of floorspace and caused $200 electricity bills, but it did do one cool thing (oh so punny!), which was that it drained water into a tank that I could empty into my garden. Unfortunately the new tiny energy-efficient window A/C I bought and installed this past week does not; it uses some newfangled evaporator ring instead. I have tasked my engineer brother, whose day job is building complex water parks, to build me a hose that can clamp onto my kitchen faucet and be unspooled out to water my garden, because refilling my monstrous watering can in the bathtub and then hauling it out to the yard five or six times at a go is really annoying. I demand better tools!

• Related: my garden is full of growing things and it makes me really happy. The ivy I planted last year is actually grown enough now that I can drape it up the fence! In a few years, it should be a great privacy screen between me and the parking lot. Other things I will plant this year to see how well they compete: sweet peas, clematis, and morning glories. In a perfect world, all four would take and my fences would be gorgeous.

• I have been slowly acquiring the better part of a new wardrobe. (The clothing part, not the furniture part.) It's kind of cool to own stuff other than baggy jeans and t-shirts, to have stuff that actually fits me properly because it was made to my measurements. I've never really thought that would be a thing I could have, and it's done a lot of good for my self-image. Yay!

• I probably can't afford to go to Chicago this summer. Not unless someone else going to CapeCon can give me free crashspace. But I am definitely going to Farthing Party in Montreal and my brother is considering dropping in for a day or two, which would be AWESOME. Fingers crossed.
moiread: (HOUSE MD • cuddy gives up.)
I had the worst day today. )

Now I am home. Apparently I have happy-making parcels waiting for me at the post office, but I have no energy to go get them.

So yah. Today SUCKED. Fie on it.
moiread: (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA • cards & cigars.)
I've been quiet on here, I know. I just don't have much to say. But even though it's gonna be boring, I guarantee you that, I'll try:

Cut for bullet points. )
moiread: (WORK • i hate mondays.)
I know I haven't been talking about it much directly, but some of you have caught on anyway, so I figured I might as well come out and say it: Things have been really rough for me, health-wise, since Christmas.

I had to stop going to physical therapy and massage in November for financial reasons (I blew through my savings to pay for the amount I got) and have since been trying to fight ODSP on getting it covered. The end result seems to be that they can't/won't, so now it comes down to my parents' insurance (who will only pay part, in which case the rest will still have to come from somewhere). I'm still doing all my exercises at home, obviously, but it's not the same, and the massage especially helped so much, I can't even tell you. For the last month or so, the issues with my legs and feet have deteriorated back to the point where I have trouble walking some days. Still not as bad as where I was when I started the PT, but not good either, and it seems to indicate that I might need the PT and massage long-term, which I do not have the energy to contemplate at the moment.

Other than that, I've been hit by basically every virulent bug to cross my path. 'Tis the season for infectious illnesses, I know, and my immune system is crappy, yes, but the plagues have beat me up especially hard this year. I'm used to getting the flu (plural, even), but not to being laid up for two weeks and having it develop into a lung infection. I've missed more work than I've shown up for, or nearly, and I hate that so much I can't even tell you.

There's been a bunch of other stuff about blood pressure fuckery and new doctors who apparently can't do anything for me, only I'm running out of steam and will have to talk about that later.

But hey, in other news, I've been getting a lot of knitting done (and, accordingly, mailed packages out to [livejournal.com profile] elisem, [livejournal.com profile] mrissa, and [livejournal.com profile] endeers, with more packages for other people yet to go) and I have a possible job offer of baking muffins for a cubicle farm's weekly meetings. That should be fun! My samples are due later this morning but I've been passed out in a drug haze since I got home at 9pm last night, so now that I'm up it's time to hop down to the grocery store for some eggs and get baking. Wish me luck!

If there's anything you would like to hear about, feel free to ask, and I will do my best to answer in comments later today!
moiread: (BAKING • stock.)
So last night I spent eight hours baking. By the end, my feet had crapped out and I was using my walker as a makeshift wheelchair, wheeling myself around the apartment backwards, but I got it done. My feet still hurt today, but they're not as bad, and frankly the fact that they made it through that at all is a pretty solid testament to how much the PT is helping. Damn good progress from the days of barely being able to walk!

But why did I do all that baking?

Well. The thing about the school where I work is that most of the families are in poverty. It's why we supply breakfasts and lunches to half the school, supply many of the kids with winter-appropriate outerwear, and run programs like the one that employs me, where we give the kids access to school supplies and computers because they have none at home. It's also why we have bake sales twice a year to try to help raise money for graduation events, because otherwise we probably wouldn't have any.

So. Bake sale. It was supposed to be today, but two teachers said they wanted their classes done early, on Thursday. So yesterday rolls around and those two classes get access to the bake sale goods... and apart from the cookies, they cleaned us out. Two classes bought absolutely everything. If it had been me going around with the trays, I would have made people limit themselves to what they could actually reasonably eat, but the co-op students didn't think of it, so when every single kid said they were buying for themselves and all of their friends, they just thought, "Yay! More money!" And then they came back to me and were shocked that no, that was all we had. And it was no small amount, either. Each of those kids must have bought, like, three cupcakes and two bags of cookies and a brownie. No lie. I bet not a single one ate their actual lunch and they still had baked things to take home. Which is not bad, just... very problematic for us.

On the one hand, it's nice that we sold so much, because it would mean more money for grad events by the time we got through everybody, but first we needed to get more baked goods to keep selling. We couldn't just NOT have a bake sale today for the rest of the school. In a desperate attempt to save the event, I called the head of the parent council and got her to bring over a giant vanilla sheet cake that I knew was in their freezer because it was left over from the school BBQ at the beginning of the year. I also asked every staff member if they could contribute. Most said no. One said maybe they could manage a pan of brownies, but don't count on it, and one of the co-op students said the same thing. I was really disappointed. I know they're overworked, but the school board will reimburse any supplies we buy for it, and it is not that hard to make a dozen fucking sugar cookies or something. And while at most schools, the families of the kids contribute the baked goods, there was no way that was going to happen with a school like this one. These parents can barely afford basic foodstuffs, you know? So nobody else is going to do it. But apparently I am the only one who was willing to man up.

So I came home, collapsed, slept until 10pm-ish, and then woke up and started baking. I made 4 dozen cupcakes (2 doz strawberry, 2 doz orange), 40 macaroons (20 chocolate, 20 vanilla, and all egg-free because we've got a kid with an egg allergy in the school and we needed something he could buy), 2 pans of brownies (chocolate chunk with strawberry cream cheese), and 1 pan of nanaimo bars (mostly to use up the leftover shredded coconut). Along with the sheet cake and the leftover cookies from yesterday, that should have been enough today. There wouldn't have been nearly enough brownies (2 pans = 24) or nanaimo bars (1 pan = 12) to go around, but so be it. Let them eat cake! And cupcakes! And besides, maybe those other people did bring brownies after all. I only just woke up at 4pm and haven't heard from anybody yet to know how it turned out in the end. Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised?

The cupcakes were really cute, though. The strawberry ones were all in pink cupcake papers with red piped icing and little white sprinkles, while the orange ones were all in yellow cupcake papers with white icing and orange icing balls (like little oranges!) at the top/center. I know I didn't actually have to make them cute, but the cupcake papers were already being sold by colour and I found some pressurized cans of coloured icing with the decorative nibs already attached for piping it out. Normally I would make my own icing because it's cheaper, but fuck if I was going to do that on top of everything else, and I know I'll get reimbursed for the cost, so for once piped icing was actually the lazy option. And omg, SUCH ADORABLE RESULTS. Also you couldn't even tell the macaroons were made with sweetened condensed milk instead of egg whites, though I did burn the whole first batch (and had to throw them out, woe) before I figured out the substitution meant they now needed to be refridgerated before going in the oven (to keep them from spreading/collapsing) and also the oven temp needed to be lowered.

But hey! I almost singlehandedly restocked the school bake sale, so go me?
moiread: (are you serious? • kate m.)
As if specifically designed to prove yesterday's "Stupid Shit People Say to Me" point, I was just subjected to a 15-minute lecture on the healing power of God and how I should just go to church already so I can be healed. I went into work today despite the shape I'm in because I had to to keep my job, and I had to bring the walker with me just to get around, so when the custodian came in just now to clean my mom's classroom and saw the walker, he immediately began prying into my health. When I wouldn't give him information and just said it's a necessary tool for my health, I have work to do, thank you, bye, he launched into the God lecture. I tried saying I do not believe in God, that different people have different beliefs, that I HAVE WORK TO DO, that I am busy, that my age does not make me stupid (in response to "You're just young. You don't understand yet."), that my health is my business, that I would like him to stop now, and various other attempts to get him to shut up and fuck off, but he just kept going. I would have walked out, except he had taken my walker and was rolling it back and forth and so I couldn't get to it and couldn't leave and also he was blocking the door. I can't tell if he kept going because he's very bad with English or because he just didn't care. Either way, he's an asshole.

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Chelle

November 2015

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