June is the sixth month that I have been blogging in 2010. I signed up with NaBloPoMo back in November 2009. I tried to blog everyday that month but got way laid with a hospital stay. Thus far, I have managed everyday for 2010 except for the day when there was a blog error and it did not get posted until the next day. I know that I wrote it and so I am good with that! As is normal, NaBloPoMo has a monthly theme. The theme for June is NOW. I may actually be able to use that one!

Now, as in right now, I am in a hotel room with Deb in Salmon Arm. We are worried sick about Kirby as he has an infection that is producing toxins that have driven up his kidney numbers. He is currently at the vet’s getting IV fluids to flush out the toxins and a broad-spectrum anti-biotic where he will stay for a couple of days. Thankfully Angelina was there to take him in and get settled. Angelina’s sister works there and he loves her!! He loves Angelina too. There are some good signs: he was drinking and eating today and not vomiting. We will know more in the morning.

Now, right now I am sure, my mother is fuming because I told her Deb may decide to go back because of Kirby. My mother is not in the least bit worried about Kirby. She does not really want me to come (except that Deb is attached to me) because I cannot and, more importantly, will not do yard work. My mother has ‘uses’ for people and yard work is not one of my uses. I am good for computer problems and other life-related trouble-shooting. I can make some stuff for her freezer but not the stuff she really likes that Deb makes. I half expect an email in the next little bit telling me not to bother coming if Deb goes back. This hurts my feelings but I am not quite sure what to do about it.

But, for now, we are safely in a hotel room with Sawyer and Piper and I think we are going to sleep early. Catch you all tomorrow.


Kirby has not been feeling very well for the last little bit. He has been listless, not really hungry, moving slowly and not really ‘there.’ We are going away for a week, and in light of this fact we took him to our Vancouver Vet clinic today. The vet thinks he is anemic or he may have had a stroke. Given the fact that Kirby has had trouble with his blood before (the great platelet crisis of 2008). The vet checked his eyes, gums and reflexes all of which indicate anemia. We did a blood test so will know in a day or so.

Glee is Awesomely Subversive

Glee is a relatively new show that is able to blend commentary on social issues with excellent music that reaches across generations. This weeks episode is a case in point we saw issues of sexual orientation and homophobia, individualism and teen pregnancy. All of this was held together by the usual silly plot lines and an amazing soundtrack that had songs to appeal across the generations.

The Glee students represent just about every minority possible: homosexuality, disability, race, status, and religious minorities to name some of the obvious categories. The music ranged from Kiss to Lady Gaga with a torch song in between. Glee hooks viewers with the music so that they stick around to hear the message.

Openly gay character, Kurt, is harassed by the football players and has struggled to come out to his Dad. When his Dad starts to date fellow glee clubber, Finn’s mother, Kurt realizes that he is not the son his Dad wanted. In an amazing scene last night when Finn accused Kurt of decorating their room with ‘faggy’ items, Kurt’s Dad sticks up for him and tells Finn that he didn’t realize he was like ‘that.’ What an absolutely amazing and compelling message to get out to not only the young people watching the show but also the parents who are being drawn in by the music.

The same kinds of thing happen with any difference amongst the characters of Glee. What comes across loud and clear is that it is not ok to discriminate against anybody for any reason – especially in the glee club practice room. This kind of format for delivering these messages is so powerful. Showing all different kinds of people working together and learning to respect each other gives youth role models upon which they can build their own skills when it comes to handling differences.

It is also empowering for youth who may be represented by characters on Glee. The character Mercedes, who is a large teen, perpetually ends up playing second or singing backup to the main character, Rachel. However, when she joins the Cheerios and is pushed to lose weight she is able to fight back with support from the others. Artie, the paraplegic character, is shown as a full participating member of the Glee club – from dancing in his wheel chair to playing his electric guitar.

The messages and role modeling is likely even more important for parents. Certainly they may be led to a different way of understanding their children and may even be able to put some of that into practice. In particular, LGTB youth may benefit greatly by their parents watching this show. If nothing else, they may be able to see through Kurt’s eyes how important his father’s approval is to him and how Kurt struggles to please his father in other ways.

Most shows that attempt to deal with social issues in any measurable way can find itself overwhelmed. Glee is the kind of show that you don’t need to watch every week because the plot lines are really just a vehicle for the message and the music. The brilliance of Glee is the music. By picking songs from so many different genres and decades Glee can appeal to the masses. Some of the songs they have done are improvements on the original*. Plus they do interesting things like the mashup of the “Don’t stand so close to me” and “Young Girl” was fabulous. It is the music that keeps people tuning in to the show week after week.

In some ways Glee may be a utopia. It is not likely that you would ever find this type of talent or representation in a high school glee club. Again that just adds to the allure of Glee. You really don’t know what is going to happen in each episode. What you are assured of is great music and positive messages. Personally, I find this combination wonderfully subversive.

*For example, ‘Having my Baby” as sung by Finn (Corey Monteith) is great.

Just a short post…

I am not feeling very well today so just a short post. I told my mother she pissed me off yesterday with her negative comments. Of course she managed to twist everything so that it was my fault. She did apologize by email. I will take it.

Dispatches from the Swamp

  • Molly is improving greatly. In hindsight, I think she had a virus. Zoe had been coughing the week before, although not as much as Molly. Zoe’s cough resolved in about 5 days. Molly’s has taken a little longer. She is 21 so I think we can cut her some slack. I am happy she has antibiotics just in case she got an infection as a result.
  • My mother is freaking pissing me off. She is doing a bunch of yard work and she is miserable. She has some pretty fucked up ideas like you can’t pay people to do things without helping them or they won’t work as hard. She is 73 and just got out of the hospital. Then, of course, because she is miserable she thinks everyone else should be too. So she starts to give me a hard time about my colitis and how bad it is right now. She informs that she can’t support me*, I wasn’t asking. And then goes into her usual diatribe about diet and exercise and says: “Do any of these doctors ever talk to you about diet and exercise?” In her world all of my problems would be solved if I would just lose weight. She once told me the only reason I was a lesbian was because I was fat and that if I lost weight I would find a man. She is wrong, wrong, wrong. I still maintain that what I told her 20 years ago is true. I believe that she will only love and respect me when I weigh 125 pounds. No other achievements seem to matter, not education nor job title. I give up.
  • Deb bought me a ‘Billy knob’ for my car. Plus it is red to match my car!
  • My new gastro doc called me last night at 8pm and talked to me for 40 minutes! We negotiated about medication she wants me take something that has given me bad side effects in the past. She had some ideas about how to mitigate those effects so I agreed. She also agreed to let me go back on immune suppressant drugs as long as I do weekly blood tests. Hopefully all of this will start to get my 70 cm** of diseased, inflamed and bleeding bowel. Hopefully this will stop the progression and actually lead to some healing.

*She has told me on many occasions that I would have nothing to worry about etc. Plus she has more money than god.
**Which is like almost a freaking metre!!!

Now, for some gratuitous dog pictures!

Molly who is on the mend
Sawyer 'the little man.' He is a great, great dog!

I cannot win

Tonight, when I phoned my mother, she promptly gave me shit for sending her an email asking her to let us know what she wants made for her freezer while we are in Radium. The kicker is she whined 2 weeks ago that no one had asked her yet what she wanted and she thought we were coming there to rest and relax. I am not in a particularly good humour today and I gave her crap telling her that she was the one who asked me to ask her in the first place.

Very fucking frustrating to say the least. She decided to bitch about this today because she has exhausted herself trying to get her 3 lot property in the interior of BC, in the fucking mountains, to look like a show home with roses, geraniums and every other kind of flower that is not indigenous to the area. Meanwhile, she wages war with the skunks and the gophers. Once again she is in a foul mood and tired and I asked her if she enjoyed what she was doing. She said she enjoyed the result. I then suggested she slow down lest she get herself in trouble*. She acts as though I am an idiot and have no idea how much work it takes to maintain it. She says she really likes it when people come down the end of her road and admire her gardens. I am growing weary of the games.

*Exhaustion, dehydration and smoking a cigarette come to mind.

Deconstruction of “Modern Dog’

Modern Dog” is magazine devoted to the owners of urban dogs or as they call it: “The lifestyle magazine for modern dogs and their companions.” It has been around for quite a while. In fact, we were at the launch of the magazine when Deb first started to work at the shelter. Recently, I had a chance to look at a copy of the magazine and I was astounded by some of the stuff in there. So, I thought I would ‘deconstruct’ some of the advertisements and articles as a new series on the blog.

One of the first, full-page advertisements for a dog supplement made with a Reishi mushroom and green tea. The ad claims that the Reishi mushroom to help promote and strengthen the immune system, can help and prevent cancer, promote liver health, scavenge free radicals and “overall provide longevity and well-being.” I am surprised it can’t also toilet train and make your dog behave perfectly in every situation.

Seriously, I don’t think any fungus is going to be able to do all of that for any living creature. Dogs are carnivores. They eat meat. They don’t eat mushrooms and they certainly don’t drink green tea. The best thing you can do for a dog is to feed it a species appropriate diet. Dogs really don’t need supplements if they are fed properly.

Much like livestock, dogs have been fed things they were never meant to eat like corn. If you look at a bag of average kibble you will see corn listed as an ingredient. When you feed an animal something there bodies are not meant to eat you are going to see an increase in diseases.

Raising a happy, healthy dog requires a few things. First, they need a healthy diet. Much like humans, dogs need to eat a varied diet. For the most part, a raw diet* is best for dogs. I also believe that feeding human food, even the odd bit of kibble and canned (which, is like junk food for dogs) is even better as it keeps their digestive systems healthy and responsive. Second, dogs need boundaries. Like children, dogs need to know what is expected from them. For some, this can translate into the ‘alpha’ role which, is basically setting boundaries. If the humans in a dog’s life don’t do it then the dogs will which, can lead to all sorts of problems like aggression, separation anxiety and  other undesirable behaviours. Third, of course, is love. Dogs need unconditional love and positive reinforcement.

My advice, instead of spending your money on questionable supplements by your dog a new toy and play!

*In my opinion after much research and experience.

Things I will never understand

My Mother. She tops the list of things I will never understand. She has quit smoking which is great. Now she is trying to badger my sister into doing it as well. It is not a pretty sight. She has been riding her to set a quit date and telling her how to do it. My sister has started to get mad at her* because of this behaviour. This is not surprising as my mother’s personality is such that if she is suffering then everyone should also suffer. When we were kids, if my mother was up we all had to be up. If she was in a pissy mood then she made sure that we were also in a pissy mood.

Yesterday I was talking to her and she told me that she had been out with my sister (Kathy) all day. They had gone shopping etc and when they got back to the car she asked Kathy to light a cigarette so she could smell it. Then she asked her for a cigarette and Kathy said she did not have any. She relayed all of this to me and I became concerned because she has just dropped down from 21 mg of nicotine to 14 mg. I suggested that she may have dropped down to abruptly and that perhaps she needed to add some more nicotine to the mix. I have been very supported of my mother through this process. I have given her tons of support, advice and listened to her vent. I am invested in seeing her succeed as the results will not be good.

After arguing with me for a while about why she thought she didn’t need more nicotine she told me it was a test for my sister. I said exactly what kind of test – to see if she would give you a cigarette? My mother said no. After going around and around this she finally said it was a test to see if she was still smoking. Yes, you read that right. My mother asked my sister for a cigarette to determine if my sister was still smoking. I could not believe it.

Finally, I said to my mother, I have a really good way for you to find out if she is smoking. My mother got all excited and squealed for me to tell her. I said why don’t you phone her, wait for it, and ask her! You know use your communication skills. If you want to know something ASK!!!

I deserve a freaking medal for having survived this fucked up family!

*And for good reason.

Update on Molly

Molly seems to be doing much better already. In hindsight, I think we had a bit of a doggie cold go through here. Zoe was coughing for a couple of days and has now stopped. It seems like Molly had the same thing. We are continuing on the antibiotics tomorrow. Today is definitely a self-care day. More tomorrow!