Mabel update

As some of you know Mabel has a cancerous tumor on her leg. It is open and icky. This follows the cancerous mass we had removed when she had a dental last fall. We had been trying to come up with things to do to help Mabel feel a bit better. (some ideas were a bit better than others and we got a lesson in ‘palliative care’ from Carol at SAINTS – where we adopted Mabel from). We took Mabel to vet on Thursday to get more tramadol and metacam to help with the pain and inflammation. We also got antibiotics as her leg is infected again. We will no longer be covering her leg or keeping a cone on her head to stop her from licking it. Hopefully, she will be able to keep it clean.

By yesterday she had finally recovered from being at the vet (it was just a short visit and a ride in the car) and was her usual barking self. I took a roast out of the oven and she was barking at me for some. I told her she had to wait so she went over and barked at the roast. Too funny. Her spirit and her will to live (and eat – the dog eats 3-4 times per day) is inspiring. She has gained a pound since the last time she was at the vets. We don’t know how long she has – we hope for a long time.

Mabel on patrol

Adopting senior dogs was one of the best things we ever did. It has been incredibly rewarding. We have learned so much from Mabel and Mollie.

My name is Chris and I am an Internet Addict…

So we came home from the SAINTS fund raiser (and) on Saturday night to discover that something had happened to our internet connection. I didn’t think much of it as it was late and thought I would deal with it in the morning. I was thinking Shaw was just down and it would be fixed by the morning. Well, that was not the case. So, restarted the modem several times, restarted my computer and nothing. So I called them. We go through the usual questions about is it on a splitter, blah, blah, blah. I told him I had already restarted it several times and nothing. The bottom line was that they would have to send someone out and the earliest appointment they had was Wednesday. He asked if that was ok and I said no, I was not sure we could live without internet that long. Meanwhile Deb is asking me a bunch of questions that I could not know the answer to – like “could an animal have chewed through it?” I don’t freaking know!!! In all fairness, she did fix it the last time they said we were going to have to go days without internet. It involved a lot of duct tape as I recall but she got it to work.

At one point the tech suggested that we try the modem in a cable connection that works to make sure it was not the modem because then we could swap the modem out if it was broken. One minor problem – no Shaw outlets would be open until Tuesday – so this was only marginally better. I told him I would try the modem out in another outlet and call them back to cancel the appointment if it was the modem. Then he asks me if it is ok if he sends me an email confirmation of the appointment!!! I asked him how the hell I was supposed to get it?? He didn’t have an answer. I thought it was quite amusing.

Anyway, we had a bunch of errands to do. When we got home I tested the modem in the living room and it worked fine. Then the brain started to work. My first thought was attaching a splitter to the cable in the living room and figuring out how much co-axial cable we would need to run to my office (a hell of a lot is all I can say). Then I came up with the solution. I set up the network in the living room with the laptop and voila we now have internet again. I am not sure what we would have done without for several days.

The other ironic thing was my mother called me in the middle of setting up our alternative network to tell me that her connection was down and could I fix it for her (she is in Calgary and on Telus). I told her we were down to and my plan to fix ours. She said “you are all sure addicted to the internet can’t you wait until Wednesday??” As she was hanging up she said she was going to call Telus to get her connection up. I think the irony was lost on her.

And for the record, Deb and Angelina are as addicted as I am!!!

Privilege (heterosexual and others)

I am writing this blog entry in response to all the comments I received on facebook when I updated my status to indicate that I was annoyed by heterosexual privilege. Frankly, the comments surprised me but I guess I should not have been. Inherently, when one is in receipt of a societal privilege they may not be aware of it. This appears to be the case. Rather than going into a long drawn out explanation of heterosexual privilege I will refer you to an excellent blog entry written by Teh Portly Dyke. She does an excellent job explaining this and its impact on homosexuals. She also issues a challenge in her entry I encourage you to try it to gain a better understanding of how insidious heterosexual privilege is in our society.

Privilege is everywhere in our society and depending on your class, race, economic status or gender expression you may or may not enjoy privilege. Being Caucasian in our society affords you a great deal of privilege. Our society is geared to make life easier for people who are white. All of our institutions are inherently racist and difficult for people of colour to navigate and receive fair treatment. If you don’t believe me ask a person of colour what their experience is at a bank or worse trying to get welfare or other government services. When I worked in a downtown eastside welfare office in Vancouver there was a great deal of racism dished out to people of colour and particularly aboriginal people.

Class is another area of privilege. I certainly noticed that as a homeowner I am treated very differently by service people than I was when i was a renter. The white woman in Kerrisdale is treated much differently than an Aboriginal woman from the downtown eastside. Many of our judgements about class are rooted in the Protestant work ethic and Protestantism in general. One of the foremost Protestant thinkers, John Calvin, believed that it was predetermined who was going to heaven and who was not. Those people who were successful in life were assumed to be going to heaven and therefore treated differently from those who were impoverished. It was also believed that if those who were not successful ‘just tried a little harder’ they too could be successful. The old adage of ‘pulling up their boot straps’ applied. We may not consciously think this way but these ideas inform our culture and the way we view the world and the people in it.

Gender expression is another area of privilege. Those who fit into society’s binary gender roles of male and female enjoy privilege. There is no question which bathroom to use and you are treated with respect. Those who are gender queer, gender ambiguous or trans have murky waters to navigate. A male to female transsexual for example may be harassed for using the woman’s bathroom. Gender expression seems to invoke violent responses from some people. Many trans people are routinely targeted for abuse by people in our society who are uncomfortable with their gender expression.

It is interesting to talk to people who are different from you and to learn how privilege or the lack thereof impacts their lives. As a white woman I know that I enjoy a fair amount of privilege in our society. I have privileges of class, race and gender. However, somethings work against me. As a fat lesbian woman I have been the target of discrimination and hate although not that often. The group with the most privilege in our society are straight, white men. It is interesting to determine what privilege you enjoy and why you have it. Deconstructing privilege helps us to understand how our society works and how we can work to be allies to those who do not enjoy the same privileges that we do. It takes a great deal of work to look inside and see what is really there – the racist and classist thoughts and to try and understand how they impact our interactions with other people. It is a life-long process and one that is very difficult. Realizing our own racist, classist and gender biases can be uncomfortable. Talking about them and challenging others racist, classist and gender biases is even more difficult. If, as an individual, you are committed to an egalitarian society it starts with you.

New Music

Deb and i were coming home from our many errands on Monday afternoon and heard this wonderful song on the CBC. The artists are Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson. If you like roots/country you will like this. Unfortunately the only place to get it is from Amazon right now. Here is their website where you can hear the title track ‘Rattlin’ Bones.’ Definitely worth a listen. I have ordered the disc from amazon and can’t wait for it to come. Kasey Chambers reminds me of Emmylou Harris.

Kasey and Shane

I have also been listening to a new Canadian artist named Jeremy Fisher. His stuff is quite interesting and different. Check him out on iTunes.