Friday, October 30, 2009

Geez Louise, KFL&A Public Health!

I try not to curse, because cursing is vulgar. Of course, there are times when it feels like nothing but the "bad" words will describe how you feel. So "geez louise" is a subdued (and "corny) description of how I feel right now.

Here in Canada, we are blessed by some foresight by our public health officials. After the SARS fiasco, in which the City of Toronto's inadequate response (both inadequate hospital infection control and occupational safety) led to numerous cases spreading within hospitals and resulted in many deaths (including a front-line nurse), the Ontario provincial government and the federal government realized we were not ready for a pandemic flu outbreak. Provincially, public health infrastructure was strengthened. Infection control in acute care (mostly hospitals) improved, but it's still not perfect. Federally, a pandemic plan was created, including pre-purchasing vaccine to a pandemic influenza. Not knowing the vaccine, they obviously didn't actually purchase it, but they entered a contract with a pharmaceutical supplier to guarantee enough vaccines for every Canadian.

That's right, every Canadian has guaranteed access to the vaccine, if he or she wants it.

Every province rolls out the vaccine stockpiles differently. In Ontario, our public health units administer it. In fact, in Ontario we're the only province to get a free flu shot from the public health units every year, so the public health units were set up for this task. This week, priority for this vaccine was given to those with "underlying health conditions", those who are pregnant, young children, and healthcare workers get it this week. Next week, everyone can get it. Since I have asthma, I'm at a higher risk of complications if I get the H1N1 influenza (aka swine flu aka pandemic influenza), so I'm in this group. I showed up to a clinic yesterday at a local church, and was disturbed by the gabillion vehicles parked up and down the road for it. So I left! Today's clinic was from 9am - 9pm, so around 10:30ish, I showed up to a clinic with my mom (who's on chemo) and was told the wait list was 2 hours. She didn't feel she could handle waiting 2 hours in line, so we left. She went back around 3pm when the wait was under an hour. I went back around 7pm and was told they weren't letting people in line so they could close at 9pm. I looked at the line, and it wasn't even half what it had been when it was "two hours". So I didn't get it.

I am upset and the inefficiency. You say you're open until 9pm, then let me get in line at 7pm. Tell me that if I'm not seen by 9pm, I won't get to see a nurse, then let me make the decision whether to get in line and hope for the best or walk away.
(I suspect the healthcare providers are just as frustrated as the patients!)

I might try going tomorrow, but I'm not sure. It's just frustrating, because you can't get these vaccines anywhere but these clinics! Doctors' offices can't give them out yet, and my doctor has opted not to give out the vaccine for administrative reasons. This is very inefficient.

To KFL&A Public Health (formerly known as KFL&A Health Unit): please evaluate your system of organization. It doesn't work. At 10:30am, your line was 2 hours and went to the "information desk". At 3pm, the wait was under an hour. I was told at 5:30, the line was 4.5 hours. Then when I returned at 7pm, it looked less than 2 hours, by what I could tell. So that long line was a temporary blip (or an over-estimation). Why couldn't I get my vaccination at 7pm? You advertised you'd be there until 9pm! And clearly, by the line length, you didn't have a wait of 2 hours at 7pm. I don't understand your system.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

We watched our wedding video!

... And it's great. I love it! Just fantastic.

You can hear us clearly. You can hear everything wonderfully. In some of the editting, some songs were shortened (namely the processional, Debussy's Claire de lune, and during the signing of the marriage documents, Schubert's "Ave Maria"). That's the only mild down side, but don't get me wrong: everything is fantastic. And considering a friend did the filming and editing for us (it's a hobby of his), we definitely lucked out! And the video really is great!

Just one thing: when Wade and I go to kiss, it looks like I was trying to EAT WADE'S HEAD OFF! Seriously, I was a little lot overzealous in that kiss. It looks ridiculous, not at all cute or sweet. And definitely not appropriate in front of friends and family in a church. It's not like we were all making out, but it just looks ... inappropriate and not at all what we I wanted to show my family.

Even Wade said it looked like I was trying to bite his head off.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yay - internet is fixed. I think. So let me tell you about our doggy!

So, after spending almost two hours fixing our wireless receptor (it's a cross between a satellite dish and an old-fashioned tv antenna), our internet should be fixed.

Here's hoping!

So, the dog. Her name's Princess. She's about a year and a half old. She was found wandering the streets with another dog in Kentucky. She was "very pregnant" when she was found, and was taken into a shelter with a high-kill rate. So a local (to me, not local to Kentucky) rescue agency took her and her friend in (presumably the father of the puppies, but they have no way of knowing. The puppies were born in late June. Most of her puppies were adopted in September - there's still one left, but he shouldn't be there much longer.

Here's her remaining puppy in "foster care":
This puppy was born in "foster care" and was hand-raised in that great home. He's in Peterborough, Ontario, so if you're anywhere remoting near and are interested in him (or rescue dogs in general), go here for more information.

Look at my dog in the background of the picture! Yay!

Speaking of my dog, she currently goes by the name "Princess". We're not Princess people; never in a million years would Princess have occurred to us as a name. We're used to dogs named Tippy or Misty or Yogi or Patches. Not Princess. But she's used to that name. She responds to Princess. I suspect she has many good memories of the name Princess, since she was only named that after arriving at the dog rescue foster home. So if we were to change her name (as much as we'd love to call her "Kiah", which is Australian Aborigine for a beautiful place), we're not sure if she'll appreciate it.

Maybe we'll just call her Princess Kiah, and see. Or maybe she'll stay Princess.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Internet Woes

I have more honeymoon pictures to upload, but everytime I try, the internet goes down. I have a little snippit of a wedding video to share, but again, the internet is down more than it's up. (And when it's up, it doesn't seem to last long.) I have stories to share - some are interesting, some are fairly mundane, but everytime I try to enter it, it goes down.

So in the spirit of my whining on Wednesdays (haha), today, I will tell you that our internet is having problems. It's being looked into by our internet supplier, and will hopefully be rectified. If not ... well, we'll be SOL because there are only two companies that supply high speed out here: one is wireless (yes, the signal is wireless) and the other is satellite. Both are expensive to set up, but then cost the same as any other internet supplier once installed. Of course, there's always the new "stick" internet options (the rocket stick and the internet key are the two main options here). But they can both be expensive if you use lots of bandwith.

We went with the wireless option because it was already set up in this house (meaning we don't pay the expensive set-up fee). So here's hoping their repair works, because the other options are not ideal.

Anyway, on a positive note, we adopt our NEW DOG on Saturday!!! :) Yay! She's between a year and a year-and-a-half, a cocker spaniel / australian cattle dog / blue heeler mix. It's very exciting. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's a Christmas commercial!

I just saw the first Christmas commercial of the season. Even though it's mid-October. Now, I realize the toy companies amplify the toy advertising in September in preparation of Christmas. But they don't actually have Christmas songs or images. Well, had a commercial with Christmas presents and songs!

I will continue to tune Christmas out. That's my plan every year! I tune out Christmas ads until December 1st! :) Then, I'm Miss Christmas. I love Christmas, but only in December!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Did I miss something?

You need to read this article about an American justice of the peace who won't perform interracial marriages, citing "evidence" the marriage won't last. Um, hello, but don't almost half of American marriages end in divorce? That's not a very good "success" rate, and yet that doesn't stop any other justice of the peace performing any other marriage. (That's the figure I always hear quoted, but I can't verify it anywhere. In Canada, it's a little lower, but not much - it's around 33-40%.)

America is supposed to be the land of the free, a place where interracial marriages are allowed. The justice of the peace says he's not racist, just being logical given his supposed evidence interracial marriages don't last. He says proof that he's not racist is that he lets his black friends use his bathroom. (How generous of him.)

I hope this justice of the peace is reprimanded for his intolerant actions.

Age is all relative :)

Evidently, Zac Efron turns 22 this week-end. I was watching some entertainment news show inform of us this on t.v. briefly with 8-year-old Lily (one of my flower girls). I don't really watch these shows, and haven't watched this type of show in a few years. Also, I barely know who Zac Efron is, and I got the impression Lily was not really familiar with him either. After finding out he was 22, I was amazed to find out Zac Efron was in his 20s! I thought he was a teenager, but I guess it makes sense because teen "heart throbs" are usually older than their teenager years.

Lily, however, reminded me that I am a grown-up when she exclaimed: "Twenty-two! He's old!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is anyone else worried about this flu season?

H1N1, aka the "swine flu" is here. It'll be where you live, if it hasn't already been there. It's real. And here's what scares me: of the people who are hospitalized because of complications, 67% are woman. It is affecting those between the ages of 20-40 in surprisingly high numbers. And, believe it or not, most people who get complications do NOT have severe underlying conditions.

That being said, most people who catch it will not get severe complications. You may have already had the H1N1 flu, and it was probably no worse than any other flu or cold. You maybe had back aches, malaise (that yucky feeling), a head ache, a slight fever and/or a cough. That's all it is for most people.

I'll be in line when the vaccine comes out. Why? It's just as safe as the seasonal flu shot. You can NOT catch the flu from the vaccine (no, you can't). The side effects of the vaccine are small (the biggest side effect is: slight arm tenderness around the injection site). And it'll mean I can't get the H1N1 flu later.

What do you think of the H1N1 flu and the vaccine? I'd love to hear what others think.*

*I'd love to hear what you think unless you're a conspiracy theorist. If you believe the H1N1 flu was engineered by humans to cull the population, or you believe the H1N1 vaccine was designed to cause sterility in women in order to control the population, please refrain from commenting on my post. If you have genuine concerns and don't believe the world governments are outwardly trying to kill people, please comment!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving Monday in Canada. My mom had a turkey on Friday, my in-laws had Chinese food on Saturday (that I couldn't attend) and my hubby and I had a luncheon for our parents today. At the last minute, my parents couldn't attend (for a very good reason), but the rest of us had a lovely lunch. And I might take some leftovers to my parents tomorrow, if they're up for it.

I couldn't make the in-laws dinner on Saturday because I went to Kristy's bachelorette party in Toronto. We stayed in a suite at the Sutton Place, the hotel the stars stay at during the film festival, and it was definitely a swanky place! We had lychee martinis and wine, played some games and hung out with a large group of women, including the bride's mother and aunt (who both decorated a mean penis-shaped chocolate cupcake). Then, most of us got in a limo and were ferried on a pub crawl, starting with a "pub" (a bar when we got there, a live music hotspot when we left) and ending at a club (Devil's Martini). Those were the only two spots on our pub crawl, but it was great fun!

The lunch for our parents consisted of honey-garlic pork chops (veggie burger for me, of course), sweet potato casserole, broccoli-cauliflower casserole and cookies ("farmer's market") for dessert. Yum! I got the recipes from, and was told they were "keepers". My only criticism: the prep time was much greater than the estimated prep time on the website, and I cooked the broccoli-cauliflower casserole for much longer than it advised.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Time for me to start the honeymoon pictures!

Day 1: June 8th
From left to right: the view from our hotel room, then our walk after we got settled:

Then we went to the Eiffel Tower. It was raining, so the crowds weren't as bad as they are when it's nice. We did NOT walk up the Eiffel Tower! The elevator / lift was fine for us. :)

(That's a lot of kilometers to Canada, eh?)

Day 2: June 9th
The next day, we walked to the Musee d'Orsay. It was originally a train station, but now houses some of the best impressionist paintings. I was surprised there were some artists there copying the impressionists. How neat is that!

(That last piece of art is interesting, non?)

And at Les Invalides, we visited Napoleon's tomb. Poor man, he was villified for losing (although it was largely due to hubris that he lost at Waterloo) and ostracized and sent to die "in isolation" on an island (meaning, not in Paris). Just a few years after he died, they went, "Oh, he actually was a French hero. Bring his coffin to Paris so we can honour him!" Kind of a fickle delayed reaction.

(Look closely, and you can see Wade.)

And the view from our hotel room at night:

(Source of pictures: me, Wade, and random stranger)

How frustrating is this?

Since we moved in last Friday, there has been a buzzing on the phone line. I have had this happen before in past residences. It's annoying.

So I called Bell on Monday to ask them to fix it. I talked to Debbie, who had a strong east-asian accent. Whether that means she's in Canada or India is irrelevant to me. But I doubt her given name at birth was Debbie based on her accent. First, she asked which phone it was on. It's on all the phones. Then Debbie asked if we had unplugged all the phones then re-plugged them back in. I said yes, but in fact we hadn't. The problem isn't how we plugged in the phones, so it was a white lie. So Debbie sent out a technician for today between 8 am and 12 noon. Okay, that's a broad time (I'd prefer 9 am - 12 noon), but I'll live with it.

Today at 12:01 p.m. I called Bell to tell them NO ONE SHOWED UP.

The representative I talked to also had an east-asian accent, but she had a beautiful, distinctly asian name. Sumanya or Sumanka or something like that. I didn't quite understand - not because of her accent, but because the buzzing noise makes in hard to understand anything. I appreciate that she used her real name, I find that respectful and honest. (Many phone centre workers probably get yelled at by ignorant people who are upset they don't have an "English" name, which is why they switch to "English" names for their job. That's a shame.)

Anyway, back to the story. She said the Bell technician had fixed the line from their end, but she said that clearly they had not because she could hear the buzzing. I appreciated her recognizing that it wasn't fixed.

But it was still RUDE that the Bell technician did not tell me they had "fixed" the line. Obviously, this person thought it was fixed. But I wonder if the fix was laziness or didn't know how to fix it, or what. But had the technician just CALLED, he (or she) would have known instantly that it was NOT fixed.

Customer service? Pffft. I don't think so!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why do we need money?

I am not purporting a turn to communism. Really, I'm not. But in theory, wouldn't the world be nicer if we didn't need money? I pick up the body wash or kettle or sweater I want. I don't need to look at price, and since I'm used to this system, I don't pick the ones with all the bells and whistles of each product, but a quality product with only the features I need. In return, I don't get a pay cheque, but that's okay.

Of course, I realize there are so many problems with this system. How is it fair if I work harder than you? What if I'm really educated, and yet I want to work at a local coffee shop or fast food joint to eschew the responsibilities that come with the job for which I was trained? These roles must be filled.

But I had these grand thoughts of how it might work as I fell asleep last night. Here are some ideas:
-No one can be greedy. Just because the washing machine or jeans are free, doesn't mean I get the "most expensive" pair. (Of course, expenses don't exist. But I can't pick the item with the most features. I pick just what I need.)
-Everyone must contribute. No one lives on welfare or they don't get anything. (Perhaps that's the way it should be when there are apparently third generation families on welfare. However, they are in the minority, so I shouldn't get too upset.)
-Everyone must work to his/her ability. This is one of my plan's down points. Not everyone wants to fulfill his/her potential. The number of ladies I used to work with at Sears demonstrated that: they had no need or desire to do anything but work in bed and bath, folding towels and answering questions about threadcounts. It wasn't that they didn't have the capacity, but they wanted an easy job that paid okay.

So I don't think my "plan" would work. And as communism has demonstrated, it rarely works. There is corruption and those who want more than their share. Those in power want more. They feel they deserve more because they do more. But that's true of everyone, isn't it? I feel I deserve to make more than I did when I worked at Sears. I have more education, more responsibility, more authority. In fact, I have very unique qualifications, and while that suits me for a good income, it also means there are less jobs out there for me to apply to. So I'm not that different, I suppose, than those who corrupt. Of course, there's a difference between me and those who corrupt: I haven't actually acted on anything. Mind you, I haven't had the opportunity to become corrupt, but I hope that if I do, I make the right decision.

Anyway, no idea on how my post switched from everyone being equal and living in a perfect society to my hope that I would chose the high road if faced with a moral dilemma. But it did, and I'm going to click "post" as this is.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

We're moved in ...

... and getting settled! There's still loads to unpack and sort out. But we're not bad! I took a couple videos as we unpacked, so if I can figure it out, I will post them on here. No promises, though!

Our week-end largely involved unpacking, but we also fit in other things: I went to my Saturday aerobics class, Wade & I went shopping at Canadian Tire, I went to a baby shower today, and Wade's at hockey. So the week-end was just unpacking, but that was definitely the central theme!

I'm still not sure what to think of not living in the city. I never thought we'd move out here. I love the house, but I'm not sure I like the "commute". Sure, it's only 15 minutes north of the city, but I'm used to being in town! And Wade didn't think he'd end up living on a septic system again. But here we are, in the small town Wade grew up in, 15 minutes north of the City of Kingston on well water in a community that does not have natural gas access. Craziness!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Almost moving day!

We move here tomorrow. Obviously, the pool isn't open now. The leaves are starting to turn, so it's not so green and luscious, but it'll still be bright and beautiful!

I dread tomorrow like you wouldn't believe. I hate moving. But I look forward to living there. So much! It's a huge mixture of emotions.

Don't expect any posts for another couple days. I don't know how quickly I'll be up and running again! In theory, by the afternoon, we'll have internet. But I won't hold my breath!