Monday, December 30, 2013

This my half-assed 2013 wrap up

Thanks to Aunt Becky, I've got a handy-dandy survey-style template with which to outline some of the highlights and lowlights of my year, which is good, since a full run down of this year would probably be a novel.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? 
I did an 8 kilometre hike through the Bruce Trail with full-pack (16km if you count the return trip) and children in tow.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I actually made any, except to make it through another year if it kills me.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 
One of my bestest pals and his lovely partner had an adorable baby girl.

4. Did anyone close to you die? 
Another of my very close friends lost her mother to cancer, which was quite the loss. Nancy had always been beyond kind to me and she is missed quite a bit.

5. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? 
Flood coverage. A fully functioning sump pump. A well insulated roof and properly sealed duct work. Oh, hell. A complete freaking home makeover.

6. What countries did you visit? 
I stayed within Canadian borders this year.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
September 30th. 2013. The day I got my cancer diagnosis. Worst day ever.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 
Maintaining my sanity, and keeping my plants alive. Some are even thriving.

9. What was your biggest failure? 
Trying to make fucking gravy tonight. I swear, once upon a time I successfully made gravy, but I've completely lost that skill somewhere.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 
To quote one Ms. Steph Gas "hahahahahahahaha. yes."

11. What was the best thing you bought? 
My TV, after the old one caught fire. Also, my hiking boots. Going for a hike after months of wearing cheap-ass Zellers running shoes was an absolute revelation.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? 
All the people, including but not limited to the Well-Travelled One, the kiddies, the parentals, and numerous friends who have been insanely supportive through all the bullshit that went on this last quarter. I may need to mention the Well-Travelled One twice, just for the sheer fact that he hasn't run screaming. You'd almost think he liked me or something.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? 
Almost every person I've had to deal with on a professional level lately, with a very special fuck-you-very-much to insurance companies and Service Canada.

14. Where did most of your money go? 
Plumbers and restoration companies. Also, Mountain Equipment Co-op got a good chunk of change out of me.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 
I got pretty teary-excited upon finding out my cancer was stage one, and wouldn't require chemotherapy. However I still think I may have been more excited getting pointed out by Hugh Dillon at the Headstones concert in July.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? 
I don't think I have a specific song for this year. I know I listened to a lot of the Mountain Goats and Murder By Death. Although I could say that "Titanium" has been my theme this year (along with tMG's "This Year")

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Maybe not sadder, but way more stressed out.
ii. thinner or fatter? Sameish? Down about 7 or more pounds worth of colon
iii. richer or poorer? poorer. Oh, poorer. Definitely poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? 
I wish I'd done more of the home improvements that I meant to do in the summer when I still had the strength, ability and finances to do them.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? 
Putting stuff off.

20. How will you be did you spending Christmas?
I spent a good portion of Christmas morning on the phone and the Facebook trying to locate someone who could come and jump my car, seeing as the battery had picked an inopportune time to die. After getting it started, I ended up forgoing plans with family since my sisters house was host to some sort of plague that me and my broken digestive system felt that we should avoid like.. well... the plague. So I spent a lot of the day being bummed out. Then we had pizza.

21. There was no #21. I don’t know why there was no 21.

22. Did you fall in love in 2013? 
Only more so.

23. How many one-night stands? 
Um, well... I got two new night stands. Does that count?

24. What was your favourite TV program? 
Got obsessed with Revolution and fell in love with New Girl.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Kind of hating the woman at Service Canada who gave me attitude and then proceeded to lose my Record of Employment

26. What was the best book you read?
1985 by Jian Ghomeshi. I'm a sucker for pop culture, nostalgia and randomly placed top five lists.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? 
I've been loving the hell out of Murder By Death.. Whom I guess I actually discovered at CMW in 2012, but they've been getting really heavy rotation this year.

28. What did you want and get? 
I don't really want for much, or covet anything, really so nothing is jumping out at me. I wanted a camera. I got one for Christmas from work.

29.  Wait.. is there no 29 either?

30. What was your favourite film of this year? 
I've only seen a small handful of movies from this year and most of them were pretty underwhelming. I've spent more time filling in the list of movies I should have watched ages ago. I think the one I had the most feelings over was Leon the Professional.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 
I turned 33, and drove to Tobermory to camp with the kids and the Well Travelled One.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
An almost complete do-over.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? 
I don't have much of a fashion concept. I got a lot more practical and tried to work on getting some good quality basics that will last for some time, while supplementing with the occasional fun thrift store find.

34. What kept you sane?
Dark, inappropriate humour.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? 
I, like most of the Internet, have a huge love for Jenny Lawson.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I've been following the fast food and retail strikes with a lot of interest. They deserve more, especially since we are talking about more than just high-schoolers needing extra cash.. These are people trying to raise families and survive.

37. Who did you miss? 
A lot of people. I haven't been terribly social this year.

38. Who was the best new person you met? 
I don't feel like I've met too many new people this year.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
Always buy the flood insurance. ALWAYS BUY THE FLOOD INSURANCE.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year (because this Meme is apparently written for tweens): 
"Someone say a Hail Mary for this house. Bless the corners and burn the devil out."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The year we had pizza for Christmas dinner.

Ho ho ho, y'all.

Not gonna lie.  Christmas was kind of (not entirely, just kind of) a bust this year.  And I am bummed out.  Plans to spend the day with my family at my sisters place were thwarted first when my car battery, which has been on its way out, decided to die on me, leaving The Well-Travelled One and I stranded in the driveway, without a way to pick up my children from their dad's house or go and let our friend's dog out while they were away visiting their family.

After calling around, feeling horribly about interrupting people on their Christmas Day to see out a booster pack or something with which to jump my car, rescue came in the form of my friend Nic who assisted in pushing my car out of the driveway so we could hook his truck up and jump the car.

We were again thwarted when I found out that a majority percentage of my sisters family were down with a stomach flu of some sort.  After some hemming and hawing I decided not to go, as Gord only knows what kind of havoc a stomach flu would have on my incomplete, still healing digestive tract.  So I made the difficult decision to sit out Christmas dinner this year.

Which sucks.  

Despite all my Scroogey griping in the months leading up to it, I really do enjoy Christmas, at least I enjoy the part that involves getting together with my family and the fun togetherness.  It makes the stress of all the crap leading up to it (shopping, financial worries, the endless Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays debates) worth it.  So it really, really bummed me out that I ended up missing out on the part I like the most.  

It wasn't all bad.  I did get to have time with my own kids, and got to watch them open gifts that for the first time, I got to take complete credit for.  I got at least two really excited reactions to stuff that I had picked out (Angry Birds bed sheets for Reagan, and a Black Butler t-shirt that brought tears to Tierney's eyes) and got a blender for myself from the girls which is one kitchen appliance I have been missing for quite some time.  I also got to try out the camera I got from work this year (but have yet to upload any pictures from).

And we had pizza for dinner.  Which I don't know whether to call that a loss or a win.  Because pizza.  I dunno.  Pizza is usually awesome.  I guess I'm just feeling meh because this year, Christmas didn't feel different from any other day and I'm still bitter that I missed my other favourite holiday, Halloween.  So it feels kind of unfair that they both were kind of crap, and for roughly the same reason.  Any other year I would have braved the risk of illness in order to spend time with my family, but this year I had to weigh that risk because what if I got sick and threw up to the point that I ruptured something? Or got some other kind of infection.

I know I will see most of my family later in the week when everybody is feeling better, and we'll have a good time then (plus I get to meet my recently discovered cousin, which is exciting) but right now I feel like I've been ripped off.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

On Phil Robertson, hate speech and Christian persecution

I'll be honest.  I've only ever watched Duck Dynasty once.  I thought the episode I saw was fairly amusing. I have some friends and family who adore it.  I'm not here to offer my criticism of the show itself, but I do have a few things to say about Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, and his recent GQ interview where he likened homosexuality to bestiality and also implied that black people were happier under Jim Crow.

More accurately, I'm going to reiterate a few points that come up every time someone gets shit for saying something bigoted in the media and everyone and their grandma starts yelling about "FREEZE PEACH!" 

Let's make one thing clear.  No ones constitutional rights are being trampled here.  The government has not stepped in prevent Phil Robertson from expressing his views, through threat of punishment or sanction.  Free speech does not mean that he is free from consequence or criticism.

The ability to criticize is also a part of free speech.  In fact, there was a whole lot of free speech going on here:  

- Phil was fully within his rights to express his views to GQ, knowing that GQ would be publishing his words.
- People who disagreed and found his words hurtful and/or oppressive were within their rights to contact A&E and tell them that they would no longer support A&E should A&E continue to either implicitly or explicity support Phil Robertson
- A&E is within their rights to verbally distance themselves from Robertson (even if hypocritically so, since they've apparently been aware of his views for years, and only now seem to have a problem when it could potentially bite them in the ass) and they are within their rights to refuse to give him a platform
- Supporters of Robertson are also within their rights to tell A&E that they will no support A&E if they DON'T reinstate Robertson.  They are also free to, rather disingenuously, claim that they don't agree with his views but care more about their comfort zone and viewing habits than the people that Phil has figuratively shat on, so they will hereby be boycotting A&E until Phil is reinstated so they can return happily to their comfort zone of apathy.
- edited to add: people were also within their rights to continue to watch or not watch the show without comment, because freedom of speech also includes the freedom to withhold an opinion.

See? Free speech abounds.

As far as the claim is being persecuted for his Christian beliefs.. Well, no.  He's being called out on his shitty beliefs.  It is my understanding that the family on Duck Dynasty make no bones about being faithful Christians, right down to ending every meal with a prayer.   As far as I know, I don't recall too many people complaining about their Christian beliefs before this interview came out.  I've not read about people up in arms about the Robertson's dinner prayers or references to God and The Bible.  People got complainy when those beliefs started to shit on marginalized people.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Survivors Guilt, or Something Like It

I've been reading through the colon cancer tag on Tumblr, after being followed by another young woman who is also dealing with with this disease, and I really can't believe how easy I've gotten off with the whole colon cancer thing.  Aside from the diagnosis itself, which obviously is not awesome, I've really been getting a lot of best case scenarios along the way, and a lot of it has been pretty flukey, starting catching it early enough (stage 1) that chemo and radiation were not necessary, by virtue of what was a routine scope.  

The worst of my colitis was concentrated in the ascending colon (where the tumour was located) which meant that my rectum could be left in place even while removing the rest of the colon, making it possible to do a resection that let me avoid things like iliostomies (pooh-bags), when originally I was looking at pooh-bag for life. I had very little post-surgical problems aside from a minor ish infection in my join.  I didn't pop any staples or sutures, haven't had any subsequent surgeries.  I had a six-week follow up appointment with my surgeon and he's pleased with my progress.  I can return to a normal diet, and should be able to return to most normal activities in another month or so.  I'm going back to work half-days next week.  Did I mention, work has been fantastic and crazy-supportive about this? I know not many people get that luxury when facing major illness.

Even my bathroom trips have been best case scenario.  Where I was told I'd probably have to crap 3-4 times a day, it's been mostly once a day, like clockwork almost.  

The weird thing about all the best-case scenario business is that I almost feel like I have no right to complain.  Long ago I started dealing with shitty things by thinking of all the ways situations could be worse.  Problem with that is that I start feeling like I should ALWAYS be looking on the bright side and unless I am dealing with the absolute worst-case then I'm just being a whiner because somebody always has it worse than me.  It's the kind of thing that results in me telling doctors in the ER "Oh, I'm okay..." before the Well-Travelled One nudges me and whispers "uh.. No, you're NOT. That's why we're here."  It's the kind of thing that makes me apologize to people for getting upset, because I am scared because I had FUCKING COLON CANCER AND HAD MY ENTIRE COLON REMOVED, but it's okay I'm fine.  It's also the kind of thing that leads me to sometimes overdo it because I don't always ask for help when I should.

That's messed up, right? I forget that I have every right to get freaked out from time to time, which I still do, not gonna lie.  I downplay how tired I get sometimes, because my muscles are shot, post surgery that my body is not used to holding itself up.  I feel weird blogging about all this because I kind of feel like, okay, surgery is done, no more cancer, you can stop talking about it now.  

Meh, I guess it could always be worse.