Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Another Encaustic

David Golden
Drawing, conte & encaustic on balsa wood board
8" x 10"

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New Encaustic

David Golden
Drawing & encaustic on balsa wood panel, 8" x 10"

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Hiding Away

This weekend the weather dropped well below zero, but still without snow. Oddly, as I get older I find myself increasingly intolerant to cold weather and after picking up our dry goods and veggies at Kensington Market on Saturday morning I spent the rest of the weekend hiding away inside not wanting to venture back out into the cold. 

Last week I discovered a newly added Russian adaptation of Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina on Amazon Prime and since then have been watching it off and on. While Prime doesn't always offer the most interesting stuff to watch they do seem to purchase a lot of Russian produced mini-series (I have watched two versions about Catherine the Great). I guess they are probably cheap to acquire and appeal to a specialized audience. Many moons ago I studied Russian for two years while at university and find it fascinating to see how Russian adaptations of what are Russian stories differ from those we are used to seeing in the West. In this digital age it would be great to see more stories from around the globe allowing us to see how the world sees itself. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Wonky Weather

This past week the weather in Toronto has been all over the place. One day it is well below zero, the next well above. While Toronto's weather never follows that of the rest of Southwest Ontario, it is after located in a giant lakebed that creates its own weather systems, this January has been especially odd. Maybe this is Mother Nature reminding us yet again how much we have changed our environment and our weather. 

Monday, January 07, 2019

A Cool January Day

Today was cool and damp so I decided to make a mushroom, onion and spinach vegan "quiche" for dinner. Instead of using tofu, which was my go to for the "quiche" filling today I used soaked cashews (based on this recipe from Happy Kitchen Rocks) which give it a richer flavour, making it the perfect meal for a cool, damp, January night. 

Saturday, January 05, 2019

A Balmy Saturday

This afternoon after Mr.T and I made our way to Kensington Market to pick up our dry goods and veggies we decided to go for a walk because it was a balmy 5˚. Walking north to Bloor Street we walked east to Yonge Street then south to Queen Street stopping at both a Winners and a Home Sense. It was nice to soak up some much needed vitamin D, which is in short supply during these long winter days. We then walked east on Queen Street back through Kensington Market before heading home. 

For dinner I was craving Tibetan food, one of my go to cuisines in the winter, so we caught the Bathurst bus to Queen Street then took the Queen car to Souaren where we then walked to my favourite Tibetan place, Shangrila. I had their chilli fish, while Mr.T had a beef and vegetable dish accompanied by those yummy Tibetan steamed buns which have the perfect squishy warmth for a long winter night. 

Joy & Pain

My new grand nephew, Elias James Salvatore. 

In the past week there have been a lot of changes in the lives of my family. Last Sunday, my niece gave birth to her first child, giving my mother a lot of joy after dealing with so much stress managing her diagnosis with Parkinson's. I was with her when my niece called to give her the good news and it was so nice to see her smile again. 

Sadly, the next day on New Year's Eve the good news about the birth of my grand nephew was marred by news that another family member had been involuntarily committed to the psychiatric ward of a local hospital. We learned that they had been committed back at the beginning of December after an assault and ironically were just across the road from the rehabilitation hospital where my mother was recovering. 

Dealing with mental health is never easy for anyone. Not only is there the cultural stigma , but when undiagnosed it makes it hard for the person suffering along with all the family members who must deal the repercussions of the illness. For years we knew that this person needed help, but it is hard to help someone who doesn't see themselves as ill.  Looking forward our hope is that the time spent with mental health professionals will bring them the help they need to manage the pain and suffering they experience from their illness allowing them to move forward. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Home Again

After spending a couple of days, including New Year's with my Mom, it was nice to get back to my own home and my own bed. While it was nice to spend time with my Mom her apartment is set up for her comfort and not mine, especially since she has so many assistive devices throughout her space that make it difficult for anyone else to use the space comfortably (this time it included bars for the toilet which made it difficult to use). 

This trip was to ensure that she is able to settle back into life in her own apartment after spending almost two whole months in the hospital and the rehab hospital. Unfortunately  when she was discharged from the rehab hospital the HomeCare leader decided that she didn't need a personal support worker every day because the nurses in the hospital had reported that she was doing everything on her own. She wasn't, they just weren't there to see how she struggled getting herself ready every morning. In the end the HomeCare leader decided to grant her only a limited amount for support for a couple of weeks. 

One of my goals was to contact one of her caregivers to see if we could rectify the problem of continued support. On Monday after calling around to the agencies which provided support I was finally directed to call her caseworker at the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). Thankfully he was the same caseworker she had after her discharge from the hospital back in 2017 so I didn't have to explain why she needed continued care. He understood and promised me that they would continue to provide daily care for Mom allowing her to remain in her home as long as possible and relieving her of the stress of living without continued care.   

We all know that being able to stay in one's own space is not only healthy for the patient but also that it is much cheaper than any other alternatives (hospitals or longterm care), but how the system is structured never makes it easy. For the past year I have had to learn how to navigate the complex system established for Home Care in Ontario. It begins with the HomeCare leader in the hospital who then refers the client to the LHIN who then assigns the care of a client to either a nursing group like the VON, or other such agencies, who then send out workers on a daily basis to provide the care. These workers then come with varying degrees of ability to provide care, which for a senior can be difficult when they have to direct the caregivers about what they want. My Mom has experienced this personally with some workers who are wonderful and some who just stand and watch her while she struggles. At the same time a whole host of professionals come to the client's home, to ensure comfort for the client, OT, PT and nurses, according to what they say, but who more often than not seem to be justifying their own paycheques. It is a lot for anyone, let alone a senior to handle and over the past week my Mom has seen a constant stream of people make their way through her home. By the time I arrived she was exhausted from all the visits and confused about who was who and why they were there. The system really does need to be streamlined with an eye to making the care more seamless and less invasive and jarring for those who want to stay in their homes as long as they can. 

New Tilley Hat

My only boxing week purchase this year was a new Tilley hat. They went on sale on Boxing Day for the best price I had seen in awhile and I decided to take the plunge, after all I am getting older, finding myself needing more protection from the sun.