Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Great Idea

Mr.T and I spotted this on the campus at U of T a couple of weeks ago (just outside of Innis College) and what a great idea! We need more of this self-repair stands all across the city, especially along all the major bike trails. 

Playing Nursey

Cartoons About Caregiving | let s consider the example of caregiving in canada caregiving is often ...

It has been a rough couple of weeks. On the holiday Monday a couple of weeks ago I received a call from a family friend that my Mum was not doing very well. Calling around that day I was able to book a rental car from my favourite rental place across from Billy Bishop Airport and drove to London to take over care for my Mum from our family friends. Sadly, she had not been eating and drinking properly for a week and she was really weak. 

A few weeks before she contracted a case of shingles which she thought she could manage. But over time she found herself nauseated by the thought of food and she was only able to drink tea. She had been rushed to emergency a couple of times, but they never admitted her, instead scaring her with stories of what kind of treatment she would receive. That week I spent every day and night with her trying to help her in any way I could. This involved multiple panic attacks in the evenings which left her unable to sleep. We found the only way to help her relax was to put on some music, make some tea and sit and hold her hands until she was able again to lie down in her bed. Sadly, while I was doing everything I could she wasn't getting any better. We did try to contact Home Care to have them come and take care of her, but the process of getting in their system was taking time. We had visits from an Occupational Therapist and a nurse without any real improvement in her health. 

Finally last Sunday morning she called for an ambulance and at the hospital a young doctor realized she needed to be admitted. She spent all in emergency with them trying to figure out what was wrong. In the end I think they needed to justify admitting her, but in the end they did. The problem really was just a perfect storm, an initial illness that at her age was compounded by a lack of eating and drinking that just made her unable to fight to survive. She spent the next week in the Urgent Medical Care ward at University Hospital and was transferred on Friday to the Sub-Acute Care Ward in the same hospital. Because I had run out of laundry and my own medications, I took the train back home on Friday afternoon, for two nights of sleep, before heading back to London on the train on Sunday. 

Acting as a caregiver is never easy for all parties involved. I have tried to ensure that I do everything my Mum wants, because I know she is terrified about everything that has happened. She worries not only about her ability to continue manage on her own but also what lies ahead. All we can do at this point is to take it day by day. 

Sunday, August 06, 2017

A Quiet Sunday

Today I spent a lazy Sunday at home because it was a cool morning that turned into a warmer day as the day developed. While lay around watching tv and playing in the garden, Mr.T headed out to Dufferin Mall. 

When he came home for dinner I was craving something hot and spicy, and because we couldn't find any hakka places nearby we decided instead to try a sichuan place on Spadina. Located on the west side of the street just south of Nassau Street, Si Chuan House is a small non-descript place. Featuring a few tables in the window and few more in front of a small bar in the back, with the kitchen behind it doesn't look any different from any of the other Chinese places on Spadina. Indeed, we had walked by it more times than I can remember without really every noticing it. 

They have an extensive menu featuring lots of familiar sichuan dishes and a few unique ones I had never seen before. Reviewing their menu, Mr.T decided on their cumin beef, which was a simple plate of fried beef with cumin and a few red peppers piled high. While I ordered their Kung Pao shrimp. We also had two dishes of steamed rice and one of their green onion pancakes. I always measure Kung Pao against the dishes I had in China. In China they were really simple, shrimp and peanuts cooked dry then glazed with a heaping pile of red peppers becoming one of my favourite dishes. Too often in Canada the dish is missing the sheer amount of peppers and is filled instead with lots of vegetables. Si Chuan's version featured shrimp and peanuts, that were cooked in the red pepper sauce, missing some of the flavour they acquire when cooked dry, but I was pleased to find a place that actually served one of my favourite dishes. 

Saturday, August 05, 2017

A Grey, Drizzly Saturday

Today after picking up our dry goods and veggies at Kensington Market Mr.T and I made our to Woodbine Park via a couple of buses and the subway. We were in search of the Food Truck Festival that I read online was somewhere in the park. After walking around south of Lakeshore Boulevard which was filled with a volleyball tournament we crossed the street to the north side of the park and discovered the Food Trucks were located on a grassy area in front of a bandstand that was hidden behind a pond with a fountain. There were a lot of food trucks, and I was hoping to see more small operations instead of some of the name brands that were there. We opted for some onion rings before walking north to Queen Street East. 

From there we walked west along Queen Street to Nathan Phillips Square to check out the Taste of India Festival that was being held there. It consisted of a few tents with really long lines and poor labeling about what was being offered. We didn't want to wait around in the lines so we walked northwest along University Avenue through the University of Toronto to East of Brunswick on Spadina. Because it was a cool, grey, day I opted for some cider, their cauliflower appetizer and fish and chips, while Mr.T had a burger and salad. It was the perfect meal after a long walk on a grey day. 

Friday, August 04, 2017

A Rainy Friday Night

While today was mostly sunny and bright just around dinner time the skies opened and it began to rain. Mr.T and I had a dinner date with Chris so we made our way through the downpour to our favourite Vietnamese place, Saigon Lotus on St. Andrew Street. There we met Chris and his new partner, Roopin. The place was busier than in the past a good sign that the restaurant will be around for awhile. We have been doing our part introducing it to as many people as we can. Not surprisingly once we arrived at the restaurant the rain stopped. For dinner Mr.T and I had their curry Pho, and their spicy papaya appetizer. While the preparation changes every time we visit, the food is always good and it was nice to catch up with Chris. 

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Queering the State

I just finished reading Dennis Altman and Jonathan Symons book Queer WarsTheir book interrogates the problems of queer movements in an international arena. They look at the rise of queer rights across the Western world and the concurrent rise in anti-gay movements in other parts of the world to understand how the issues of colonialism, nationalism and imperialism are intertwined. The raise interesting questions about how the queer international operates and how as a colonial force it creates opposition. 

I have written before how I have always been wary about nationalism. A relatively new historical phenomena, the basis of the nation-state has always been its own propagation. This includes  paternalist and protectionist policies implemented to ensure its own survival. Because nation-states seek to continue their existence from one generation to the next they strive to ensure that heterosexuality and heteronormative behaviours are 
enshrined in the ideals of the state to ensure the citizens of the state reproduce themselves in order for the state itself to survive. 

Thinking about nation-states in this way makes them seem almost alive. Like giant hives created by the citizens that are at the state's beck and call. In this way citizens serve the state and not the other way around. Indeed, a lot of dystopic fiction looks at states this way and maybe they are alerting us to an inherent problem in the concept of nationalism. Too often the survival of the state, its future results in policies which deny those who do not live up to its ideals the right to continue. All one need think of are the homophobic policies enacted during the Cold War. 

We need a way of organizing ourselves that is not contingent on the flaws idea of the nation-state. They have run their course and need to be shelved leaving space for a world in  which each of us can determine our own fates, challenging norms without risking our lives. We need to dismantle not only the idea of nationalism, but all the -isms that go along with it and support it. We need a queer politics that embraces diversity in all its forms. 

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

A Quiet Bday

Today after a yoga class with Mr.D, I biked down to Cherry Beach, then continued on along the bike trail to its end at Balmy Beach in the east end. It was really hot and muggy and after biked back along the trail I made my way north on Parliament to College Street before finally making my way home. All together I biked 38 kilometres. After a shower to cool off I chatted with Ms.M in Calgary and Mr.T in Vancouver who both wished me happy birthday wishes. 

For dinner Mr.T and I decided to head out to Amadeu's in Kensington Market. While it was really quiet on a Wednesday night, Mr.T and I had the place to ourselves, I had their grilled sardines and Mr.T their grilled cod. The food is always really simple in preparation, just the way I like it and delicious and was the perfect way to celebrate another year. For dessert we walked across the road to Cosmic Treats where we shared a slice of their really yummy, chocolate peanut butter cheesecake.