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January 2011 Happy New Year
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HAPPY NEW YEAR
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7 (NIV Well, it's that time of year again! I hope everyone had a nice holiday season. Personally, for me, the fiscal season seems to start in November, as it was November 2008 when the first issue of Planet Nilknarf came out, shortly after my second Geneva Autism Symposium, and November when I got out of the hospital in 2006, shortly after the first Symposium. Actually, it's basically felt like a gradual season of transition since September when I returned home from the NCA convention. And I generally associate both getting a haircut and getting new shoes with a season of transition. I cut my hair shortly after the 2010 Symposium because it was driving me crazy! I was suffering from an annoying rash around my neck, among other places and one evening I just had to grab the scissors and get chopping. There was no way I could wait any longer to make an appointment with Walter or Rose at Santa Fe. It was around 2 in the morning and I couldn't stand the itching any longer so it all had to go. From about chin length down anyway. And it was Sunday, November 14th, when Dave and I went to the mall so I could finally get my new shoes. Anyone who says I don't get enough exercise should see the old ones! By then the soles were worn PAPER-THIN and I had a crack in the left one! I believe I posted a picture of those shoes in last January's issue when they were brand new. God only knows how long these ones will last. I was drawn to them because they look so magical with their colourful stars! They were also available in a nice purple plaid, unfortunately, the plaids were only available in high-tops. I hate high-top shoes. On my chubby legs they look like BABY SHOES!! Besides, the stars made more of a statement anyway and I was determined to find a pair in my size. I just hope the ladies in my church don't think they look like pentagrams. Pentagrams usually have circles around them anyway. I chose them because they look like the kind of stars that Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley sign their names with. In fact the first time I left the house wearing them I got the giggles because I thought of them as my unofficial “KISS” shoes! The stars remind me of Paul Stanley of course, but like Gene
Simmons, they both have unusually long tongues! That first day I wore them I was reading an email from SARK. She was talking about “miracle walks”. I've read her stuff about miracle walks before and she says before going out to proclaim “Miracles come and find me!” or “Lead me to Miraculous People.” Well, at the time I was skeptical that Oshawa even HAS any “miraculous” people in the first place as most people I know here in Oshawa are too busy, too sick, to negative, too cynical, etc. to be miraculous, but I hadn't ruled out the possibility of miraculous events, if you call going to the mall to do a bit of Christmas Shopping a Miracle Walk. So I put on my new “Miracle Walking Shoes” and stepped out of my comfort zone to let them do their magic as I made my way to the Oshawa Centre. Of course I put in my ear plugs. I did not find what I was looking for, though. My husband wanted a case or tower for his CD's but I couldn't find such a thing. The closest thing I could find was a DVD tower, but we keep our DVD's on a book shelf in one of the bedrooms. Could it be that downloading music from the Internet is making CD's obsolete? I remember when it became impossible to find storage cases for CASSETTE TAPES!! Surely CD's can't be going that way too! Ironically, good old-fashioned vinyl record albums are making a comeback! I saw several for sale at Sunrise records. It kind of made me feel like I'd travelled back in time. Many artists are producing limited edition RECORDS!! And I still have most of my old vinyl! Not to mention so much more I acquired when I lived in Toronto. With the arrival of CD's it was almost shocking to see how many people just put all their old record albums out on the curb with the trash. But this meant plenty of free music for me! Perfectly good record albums whose only crime was being “obsolete”! Not to mention records I'd bought at thrift shops and second hand stores! Anyway, back to my shoes and my miracle walk. I made my way to the Calendar Store where there were many board games for sale and found two my husband and I can look forward to enjoying after he's unwrapped them at Christmas! And perhaps my miracle was that this time there were no screaming babies in the store! If there were it was probably limited to a short bleat and my earplugs took away any sharp edge! I should also mention that shoes have also been the subject of some rather interesting dreams. Years ago I had a dream that I was getting ready to go to Niagara Falls and I was trying to decide between two different pairs of red sandals. One pair were strappy stilettos with thin criss-crossing straps and high,spiky heels. The other were a sturdy, comfy-looking pair of burgundy Birkenstock-type sandals with large buckles and wide straps. The choice should have been obvious to me. In real life I would definitely choose the latter, preferring comfort over style. There's no way I can stand anything with even the slightest heel! But in my dream I was so hesitant and indecisive and I woke up before I could make any kind of decision. When I told my co-worker, Roohey, she said that to dream about shoes meant to dream about travel.
Recently Janette had a strange dream that she was at a carousel convention with me and she was frustrated because she realized that she forgot to pack shoes. “Well what were you wearing on your feet?” I asked her. She answered that she was wearing a pair of these flimsy black slippers, like ballet shoes. A few days later I saw a commercial for these Dr. Scholl shoes called Fast-Flats: http://www.drscholls.com/drscholls/forher.jsp Personally, I would just wear the flats and not bother with heels in the first place, but how long would these shoes last? Back in the 80's I regularly wet through several pairs of those “Chinese slippers” rather quickly. I used to love those kind of shoes, but I kid you not, they used to wear out rather quickly.
Chilies Before Honey
Recently there was a fascinating program on CBC Radio about women in the Sudan getting jobs as cab drivers. This is a really big deal because employment outside the home has generally been frowned upon in their culture. It has only been in recent years that women have been given such rights there. In their culture, women have usually been expected to stay home and take care of the children, while their husbands take care of them. Financial independence was basically unthinkable! I forget the name of the organization, “Taxi Sisters” or something like that. This program opened new doors to women in the Sudan, allowing them to become more self-sufficient. However, employees each have to purchase their own cab for approximately $15,000 or more, requiring them to have to take out a loan which they have to pay off for at least $300 every month. Many times it has been hard to make ends meet. Once they've paid off their monthly share of the loan, not to mention gas, maintenance, etc. there is very little left to share with their families. Business is slow, especially since this is the rainy season that this company has established itself, but also because their culture is not used to the idea of female cab drivers! Go figure, most of the passengers they actually do get are usually foreigners and tourists. At least the cabs their company provides are in better condition than those which their male counterparts usually drive. Things like seat-belts and rear-view mirrors are actually considered LUXURIES, whereas here in Canada, such things are the LAW! Somewhere here in our culture a guy actually bought himself the BAT MOBILE and was arrested because so many of these things were missing, but that's another story. Rape and muggings are also another serious problem in the Sudan and many other places in Africa. Listening to this story, I felt a deep reverence and compassion for these women and what they've had to endure in everyday life. They have my deepest respect and prayers for their protection, prosperity and cultural acceptance. The times, they are a-changing, as the old Bob Dylan song says.
One of our sisters behind the wheel had a very interesting expression: “You have to eat chilies before you get to eat honey. This is my chilies.” meaning working in this rough environment before reaping the rewards of a paycheque to share with her family. Chilies before honey. I can think of a lot of situations where such an expression applies. A season of tribulation before a season of reaping and rejoicing. I think of my friend Janette having to go to work every day and how she had to struggle through having to go to physiotherapy twice a week for over a year to fix her frozen shoulder. Now that these sessions are over she still must remember to exercise every day. She's getting tired of her job and having to fend for herself all the time. I wish I had a real job but I've been through a lot of issues over the years that make the search such a daunting task. In recent year my chilies before honey have been airline travel to and from my destination. With security getting tighter, seats getting smaller and more people travelling with babies, airline travel gets more and more unpleasant all the time. Sometimes I wonder if it's even worth it anymore. My last airline journey was the worst. At least my destination made it worth the while but I dreaded the journey back home again. Facing a flight home with seven babies on the plane was akin to the idea of having hot banana peppers rubbed in my eyes. Some chilies all right! But the important thing is that the journey actually did end. I'm not trapped on that plane for all eternity. I have the honey of finally getting home to my husband and being able to loaderize and edit my photos and share my stories with the rest of the world, even if that seems to be my only purpose in life for the time being.
Carousel of the Month- Missoula, Montana
Above: My embroidered picture of “Paint” fro the Missoula, Montana carousel, as it appears on my first Autism Awareness Carousel quilt in honor of one of the many community carousels that have inspired me.
Below: (left) me riding the REAL “Paint” and (right) riding “Sir Franklin”
Below: the only animal on the Missoula carousel that's NOT a horse:
Here is the National carousel Association Photo Show for the Missoula Montana carousel: http://nca-usa.org/cgi-bin/census/census.pl?NCANo=332&Map=Y And this is their official website: http://www.carrousel.com/ The Missoula Montana carousel is very special to me because their staff have been wonderful with providing me information when I told them about my own carousel project. They even sent me a copy of their official colouring book! The Missoula Montana carousel opened in 1995 and besides having an awesome carousel, they also have one of the best gift shops I've ever seen! Here are a couple of the things I bought:
I Steed Seeds are chocolate-coated sunflower seeds in a candy shell, akin to M&M's but obviously much smaller. There were at least three different kinds available, each with a picture of a different Missoula carousel horse, and the candies within the bag were colorcoordinated to match each particular horse. Of course the bag featuring “Paint” was the most colourful of all. They also had a lovely assortment of colourful tie-dyed T-shirts but I didn't buy any because the one I wanted was only available in kids' sizes, go figure. I wanted the one that says : “I'm a Carousel Kid!” The Missoula carousel has a unique Stinson band organ with a one-of-a-kind facade: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWJ-HthW544 I took the opportunity to read the sign telling of the carousel's history: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geBG_nxcm-M
Another one of my favorite things about this carousel was the display of unique gift items for sale by local artists and carvers, including a gorgeous assortment of handmade rocking horses and other menagerie figures> Of course, these were a wondrous photo opportunity for you-know-who....!!!
January Schofield's Story: Born Schizophrenic
Recently there was the most 'fascinating program on TV. There was a little girl who exhibited some unusual behaviour. Even when she was a baby, video footage showed her staring at the ceiling, her eyes following the movement of something nobody else could see. As she grew older, she had several bizarre imaginary friends who were very real to her and most of them had numbers instead of names. Most notorious was a cat named “400”. As she started school, she repeatedly had to be taken hoe because she often became quite violent. Her imaginary friends were more than just imaginary to her. Hallucinations were a part of life. Her parents were concerned that while she was in one of her bizarre states she might hurt her younger brother, Bohdi, so they ended up moving into two separate apartments, one for her and one for him. The apartments were in buildings across the street from each other and each parent took turns alternating between Jani and Bohdi's places, usually all having supper together in one place before going their separate ways at night. No knives or sharp instruments were allowed in Jani's house. It took awhile before they could get an accurate diagnosis for her condition. Testing had ruled out Asperger's and autism, not to mention ADD and a few other things. It became official that she had schizophrenia. And she's such a bright and intelligent kid with an IQ of 140! I really have to admire and respect the patience of her parents, and the unconditional love they have for their kids. It's hard enough being a parent under normal circumstances. To be a parent means having to expect the unexpected, to be ready to deal with anything. And they have! My heart went out to her dad when he said if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn't change a thing.
With mental illness being such a big issue nowadays, there is so much to think about. Being bipolar myself, as well as having Asperger's Syndrome, I can't imagine what it must be like to be a parent of a child regardless of whether or not they have a condition they may or may not have inherited from me. I often feel like I have a hard enough tie looking after myself and my husband, let alone a kid, bipolar or otherwise. Earlier, that same week, on an episode of Drop Dead Diva Jane had to get her mother out of jail after she'd been on quite the rampage. Jane's mother had been arrested for indecent exposure and a few other things that she couldn't even remember and she was acting rather giddy in jail, singing show tunes, etc. They thought she might have a drinking problem, but before they even actually mentioned it, I guessed it. Jane's mother was bipolar. And she was going through an episode. I have only had one bipolar episode in my life and I never want to have another one again. That's why I faithfully take my pills every day even though I am sad about things that I used to do that I can no longer do anymore. For example, I used to be a blood donor on a regular basis. To date, I have given well over 50 times. Unfortunately, when you are on meds like mine, being a blood donor is a thing of the past. And I can no longer write songs anymore. The inspiration isn't there like it used to be to pick up my guitar and sing anymore. It could be because my meds don't allow that part of my brain to work the way it used to or it could just be my overall lifestyle change since my “former rock star days.” At least I have many other talents but I've just had to accept certain things. If they can put a man on the moon why can't they make bipolar meds that DON'T cause weight gain. I may sound like I'm making excuses but the only way I could have avoided this was probably give up eating for the rest of my life and stayed I a state of perpetual motion from the moment I returned home from the hospital. Right, like that's ever going to happen. I lived like that for about a month and I was thoroughly miserable. Not to mention, when I came home from the hospital, all I wanted to do for the first few weeks was sleep anyway. I take my meds because I want to avoid another fiasco like I had the week after my first Geneva Symposium in 2006. I don't want to put my husband through that again. It's a good thing he got up to go to the bathroom when he did because I was in the process of trying to move everything we owned out of the house! I also kicked hi in the nuts for no apparent reason. I did a lot of things I don't remember and would probably be better off not remembering anyway. I pray for January and her family to have courage and strength. There is no cure for schizophrenia or bipolar. Just medications to keep conditions like these under control.
Penny For Your Thoughts: Random Coin Game
I'd like to make this a regular feature. I guess it just goes to show you that it's possible to find news ANYWHERE!! In this case it was from one of the many quarters in the jar on top of the fridge. The idea is to randomly select a coin and tell about anything special that happened that particular year. This time it happened to be 1983... 1983...what do I remember about that year? It was my last year of high school and my first year of college. It was also the year I saw my SECOND KISS concert. I saw them on January 13th at Maple Leaf Gardens during their “Creatures of the Night” tour. I remember buying myself a T-shirt that had their picture on the back and discovering, for the first time, that Vinnie Vincent had replaced Ace Frehley! He was the last member of KISS to have his own original makeup and he had a pretty impressive guitar solo. It was the first time I'd ever seen anyone play an electric guitar with a VIOLIN BOW! Later I found out that Jimi Hendrix had done it first! I also used to go roller skating at Roller World every Friday night and spent most Saturday nights sitting in my room, in a big black beanbag chair listening to Gene Simmons' solo album with the lights turned down low. I spent my last year of high school at Georges Vanier Secondary School where I caught up on all my art classes including a ceramics class. Mrs. Marion Hall was my favorite teacher. I wonder where she is now. We wrote each other letters for a little while after I moved. I also FINALLY got my grade 10 credit for Math after repeatedly failing it all those previous years. My masterpiece in art class was a KISS version of Mona Lisa with Gene Simmons makeup and the background of the “Destroyer” album. I wish I hadn't destroyed that painting years later when I broke up with my boyfriend at the time. That's another story. Speaking of relationships, I went on my second date. I wasn't overly thrilled with him and “Dr. Detroit” is a pretty forgettable movie. It was the end of the school year when my parents and I moved to Bobcaygeon. We had actually bought that house back at the end of 1978, shortly after my friend Della and her family moved back to England. Before we moved in to stay, it was our cottage, where we went for weekends and vacations. I remember bringing friends over for the summer, going swimming in the lake. Now I was here to stay! It was also when we got our dog, Coco. We actually got Coco about a month or two before we left Toronto to move t Bobcaygeon. Dogs weren't really allowed in our townhouse complex,
but the landlord made an exception in our case because he knew we would be moving soon. Coco was brought to us by a friend of my mom's friend, Mrs. Douglas. Mrs. Douglas' friend couldn't keep Coco because the cats didn't get along with him. Coco would never try to hurt a cat but they don't know that. Anyway, the first thing he did when she brought him to our house was poop under the dining room table! Some introduction! But we still loved him anyway and kept him until he died of ripe old age in 1998, shortly after my breakup with Butthead. The highlight of my summer was going to Canada's Wonderland with my dad and seeing my SECOND “Real live” unicorn at the Medieval Fair. Galahad was really just a mutated goat but I was pretty thrilled anyway. It was also the summer I became pen-pals with Al Samujh in England. We must have written to each other for over a year. I used to write to his friend Les to and Janette and I would talk to them on the phone for hours sometimes. Shortly before I went off to college, my aunt took my mom and I to Omeemee where for only $40 I could get my hair cut and permed AND my ears pierced. $40 seemed like a lot of money in those days and getting my ears pierced was a big deal because I used to be SO scared of needles...! Then came college. I moved into a place that was being renovated. At one point the floors were being redone and we had to go outside through the front door and back in through the side door to answer the phone in the kitchen. This was especially frustrating when my mom informed me that I'd just received a phone call from GENE SIMMONS HIMSELF!! I'd written him a letter c/o my friends Gary and Leslie Saunders who were the editors of a fanzine called “The Oath” and I'd told him the story about how earlier that year when I was still in high school I did a presentation on KISS (A “Song Seminar” for “I Love It Loud”) and wore KISS makeup to class and when I was walking home two little kids playing in the snow thought I was Gene's mom! I also told him about our new neighbours and their Hungarian cooking. I probably told him the story about catching my dad looking at my KISS concert program and sticking his tongue out at his picture! Gene told my mom to “Thank her for her beautiful letter.” I don't know if mom gave him my new number but if he did he either got a busy signal because she was calling to tell me he phoned or if I never made it to the phone in any subsequent attempts because of having to run outside and back in again to answer the phone. We had no answering machines in those days! And my first landlady was kind of eccentric to say the least. She thought nothing of walking around the house naked. Once when my dad drove me back to Peterborough, he almost walked in on her while she was cleaning the kitchen wearing nothing but a short little T-shirt. I was clueless about my Aspie lack of social skills and hung around trying to be sociable while my landlady's parents were visiting, when she would have preferred to spend the time alone with them. We had one other roommate. The three of us were all students. One evening they had some friends over and we were having a serious discussion about nuclear war. The other girl was wearing a T-shirt with a strange picture and I asked what it was. “Oh, just some fuddy-duddys with warheads on their heads.” she replied. Well, the word “Fuddy-duddy” struck me funny
and I spent the rest of the evening trying my darnedest NOT to laugh. I was evicted from that house by the end of that first month. My landlady tried to leave me all kinds of not-so-subltle hints, such as putting a whole bunch of shelves and stuff in front of my bedroom door so I only had a tiny space to squeeze in and out of. I soon moved into another place, also on Aylmer Street but further up. But I must say the BEST part about going off to college was meeting my best friend, Janette Tansley. We were just standing in line next to each other on the first day of school and she asked if I'd like to share a locker. I forget how much lockers cost in those days but back then everything seemed pretty pricey. We didn't see much of each other during the first semester but we became better friends as the school year progressed., our former school guidance counselor, used to discourage our friendship, saying that we were too different from each other, that Janette was too shy and overly-polite and I was too loud, outspoken and obnoxious. OH YEAH??? WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT YOU FAT BITCH!!! Seriously, I shouldn't talk, I'm fat myself. But this woman looked like JABBA THE HUTT IN DRAG!!!! I hear that she's lost a ton of weight since then but I wouldn't be surprised if she's either A. been lording it over everyone like she's better than them, B. had to sign a contract with the devil to do so or C. gained it all back anyway and then some just like I've done so many times I've given up on all that bullshit years ago! Anyway, Janette was the only really SANE person I knew in school, the only one I could really connect with. She understood about my unicorns and I understood about her ladybugs. Her timing was always perfect when those catty girls from Fashion Merchandising used to make sport of me by trying to get me to sing for them, etc. She'd show up just in time so we could just walk away together. And who knew that years later we'd be sharing more than just that locker we had that first year of college! Janette has been like a sister to me for over 20 years now and we've had countless adventures in the years to follow! But before I conclude this article, two more things happened in 1983 that I also consider quite noteworthy... That year I became involved with the Acorn Theatre Company and got a part in the cast of their production of The Wizard of Oz! I was just in the chorus, but it was a lot of fun anyway. I was in the opening scene where farm workers were milling about just before the hurricane. In this scene I wore dingy blue coveralls and carried a shovel across the stage, stopping to glare at two other farmhands hunched over a tub of laundry. I was told to think “Imagine you were supposed to meet those two somewhere last night and they weren't there.” I was also a Gene Simmons-inspired “Jitterbug”. Everyone in the cast wore white tights and Tshirts that were all spray-painted,“wings” of yellow or orange garbage bags and rock-starinspired face paint. During this scene I take the Tin Man by the hands and dance with him. At
the end of the scene I would always have silver spray paint on my hands that wore off from his gloves. Last but not least, I was also an Emerald City Person at the end of the show when they try to send Dorothy back to Kansas. Everyone was dressed I those silver hypothermia suits. For some strange reason most of these outfits were mispackaged and contained two tops instead of a top and pants so most of the girls wore the extra jackets tied around their hips by the sleeves like some kind of wraparound skirt over white tights and we all had some kind of trick or talent to do as we paraded around the stage. We all wore white face paint and teased our hair with silver streaks. Green helium-filled balloons were everywhere and I glided around the premises on my roller-skates. All in all it was a great show and we had an awesome New Year's Eve cast party. Sometime before our show opened, I finally got to meet my friends Gary and Leslie Saunders at their apartment in Mississauga. It was there I actually got to TALK ON THE PHONE WITH PAUL STANLEY!!! He was quite shy and soft-spoken. I actually did most of the talking. The one thing I remember most is him mentioning that he'd just been pigging out on chocolatechip cookies. I remember telling him about my upcoming show and telling him an incredibly corny joke that Gene actually would have appreciated more: Q: Why do demons and ghouls get along so well? A: Demons are a ghoul's best friend!
The Drama Continues
It's official. I am having surgery in February. I went to the Dr. Smith on Tuesday, December 7th. She's back from maternity leave now. As usual, I was at least an hour early for my appointment so I thought I'd go downstairs and have lunch at the coffee shop. HELLO???! Who in their right mind puts a Coffee Shop RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO PEDIATRIC
DENTISTRY?????!!! The place was wall-to-wall screaming and crying toddlers! Even with my earplugs in I could not get away fast enough. And the batteries in my Walkman were conveniently dead when a toddler started screaming on the bus on my way there! I seemed to be the ONLY woman in that waiting room who wasn't pregnant or toting around an infant in a stroller or basket. Miraculously they all stayed relatively quiet, however I noticed another pregnant woman who looked SO OLD!!!! Older than me, anyway. She must have been at least 50!! I suppose there's no law against it but it kind of gave me the creeps. Thank God for fertility drugs! Way to make me look bad! I told Dr. Smith that I kind of felt like a pork chop at a Kosher wedding for being the only one in the office that day with no intention of procreating and she actually reassured me that these were all the other doctors' patients I was seeing everywhere and all her patients that she'd seen that day were women JUST LIKE ME!! Other women who weren't there for pregnancy-related issues either, but who are also sick of Mother Nature's Dirty Tricks! My surgery is scheduled for February 15th, but they don't know what time yet. Nor do they know what day I go to the hospital for my pre-op. I keep procrastinating with my questionnaire. I believe I explained the details of what a hysteroscopy is in my last issue. At least I know I am in good hands. Dr. Smith has performed hundreds of these procedures. These are pretty much second nature to her. She did, however, tell me about a risk that wasn't mentioned at the previous appointment. There is a small hose that sprays a special kind of water inside me to float away the debris. If it isn't working properly they sometimes have to stop the procedure and reschedule. At least that sort of thing doesn't happen vey often and I pray it doesn't happen to me. Meanwhile I've had another painful boil down there! At least it's not as bad as the one I had last September and I'm happy to say it's almost gone. But the boil I had last September wasn't even a boil. It was what Dr. Zolis said was called a Bartholin Cyst. When she told me that, the first thing I did was look it up on the Internet. WHY did the doctors who operated on me to remove it NOT call it that? Is it one of those things only gynecologists (and of course now I) know? The pages I read described a Bartholin cyst as inflammation of the Bartholin gland on either side of the vaginal wall. It can be caused by a number of things, mostly trauma caused by rape or childbirth, but in my case I suspect a combination of acidic diarrhea after two solid months of continuous tampon usage. The pages on the Internet mention “painful intercourse, difficulty, standing and sitting.” HELLO!!!? In my condition, intercourse was TOTALLY OUT OF THE QUESTION and “difficulty” was an understatement. The only time I wasn't in pain was when I was in the bathtub with Epsom salts. Not only could I not stand or sit, I could barely lay in bed, even on my side with a pillow between my knees and I couldn't even use the toilet! I had to pee standing in the bathtub. “Number Two” was totally out of the question! Even the operation I got was different from the one they showed on YouTube. First of all, I did not go through a series of tests to make sure it wasn't cancer. I guess I just had emergency surgery to get rid of whatever it was as quickly as possible. The operation they show on YouTube involves making a small incision in the cyst,from which a small amount of clear liquid came out, and inserting a tube or catheter which is left in place for several days. From this
footage I could not even tell if the patient was awake or asleep. They also mention something called marsupialization. Well, I was neither tubed nor marsupilized. Anyway, when I told Dr. Zolis that the stuff I read on the Internet barely did justice to describe the excruciating pain I experienced during that ordeal, she said that pretty much every woman she's met who's had this has said the exact same thing!! And here I was this past weekend thinking “Oh no! Here we go again!!” How could I even HAVE another Bartholin Cyst anyway, unless it was on the OTHER side. Doesn't a woman only have TWO of these glands? Anyway, on Friday, December 10th it was about the size of a chick pea. And on Saturday the 11th I had to work at the hospital anyway, so it wasn't as if I had to make a special trip there. So I figured if I was still in pain I'd go to Emergency to get it checked out after work. Unfortunately, when I saw the huge crowd, complete with the inevitable babies, I just thought NO WAY!!! There were so many people there I figured that if I have to sit around suffering for eight hours, I might as well do so in the privacy and comfort of my own home, where I can make myself a cup of hot tea and have a hot bath if I want to. Besides, what if, like last year, I wasted all this time waiting just to be told by another two-bit hack that it was just a YEAST INFECTION! He'd have to be BLIND not to see that bump. Anyway, I am happy to say it is almost gone. The best thing I've put on it is Gold-Bond powder, however I must warn you that if you're going to use it there it does tend to sting quite a bit if you're not used to it.
Margaret's Carousel Workshop
With the holiday season upon us and my inventory wearing low, I've been busy as a buzzy bee trying to crank out as many of my little carousel horses as possible. I start by sewing the legs and bodies, stuffing them, inserting the poles (two colours of pipe-cleaner with a bead to anchor them in place) stitching the backs shut and attaching the legs. Then I add felt ears.
The next thing I do is embroider the facial features. As you can see, not all of them fit on the lampshade:
Then comes the penultimate phase: adding the manes and tails!
And now my favorite part: the finished product!!!
I even found a use for the empty hair scrunchies after I'd picked off all the roses!!!
The extra-long flowing tails on the left and centre horses are actually leftover doll hair. I buy most f my injittiments at dollar stores, however lately I'd been disappointed that dollar stores don't seem to have as many of the right supplies as they used to, especially things like ribbon roses. So last time I went to the dollar store I got creative and decided to think outside the box by checking out the Hair Accessories department! This place turned out to be a veritable GOLDMINE for glitzy trappings! I bought several sets of scrunchies with pink, purple and turquoise roses and two beaded scrunchies; one with tiny candy-coloured crowns and one with glitzy iridescent hearts in various shades of pink, peach and clear. I generally sell my horses for $4.00 each or three for $10.00. Sometimes I even throw in one or two as a freebie when a customer buys something else from me such as T-shirts or dolls.
Now I Will Believe That There Are Unicorns
The Tempest Recently I decided to finally tackle the Kendalwood Plaza in Whitby not only to go to Fabricland for much needed quilting supplies, but to see if their dollar store was any better then the ones in my own neighbourhood. Lately I've been kind of frustrated because it's been getting more and more difficult to find ribbon roses and other things to decorate my carousel horses with. Recently I was able to think outside the box and instead of finding them in the Craft Supplies, I found ribbon roses in the Hair Accessories. But lately even those have been picked over. Even the Kendalwood Plaza was out of ribbon roses in every exhaustible resource! However, the good news is that I found a bag of perfect little pointy shells that would make perfect unicorn horns for some of my horses!! While I just happened to be working on my unicorns, the following story just happened to come on CBC Radio on Nora Dunn's sh9oe “Defineitely Not the Opera”
It was an interview with Camomile Hixon, a conceptual artist with a wonderful idea!! She got thinking about this one evening when she was traveling home from work on the subway. We see these posters everywhere in our neighbourhoods, usually advertising the fact that someone has lost a dog or a cat. Well, she came up with the idea of posting posters for a LOST UNICORN!!! And people have even phoned in response. The first call was from a really tough-sounding dude who said “I've got your unicorn right here...” She also got in trouble a few times because there are places where it's illegal to post things and she was charged with fines. I haven't actually been charged fines myself but there have been people telling me off when I've tried to post posters advertising for help with my Carousel Project. But that is another story. Personally, I really like what Ms. Hixon has been doing. I think it's been a great idea to inspire people and add a splash of joy, wonder and whimsy to the world. I even phoned the number on her poster to tell her that. Of course all I got was the answering machine but I was glad of the opportunity to acknowledge a kindred spirit. You can see more at her website: http://missingunicorn.com/ I even sent her a picture of my latest creative endeavour and told her about how her story happened to be on at the same time as my working on my own unicorns.
Christmas Morning 2010
Here we are again. Another Christmas is here. Dave and I have just finished opening all our presents. As usual he's spoiled me once again with some pretty wonderful things! He's given me the DVD of “Eat, Pray, Love” as well as the box set of “Ugly Betty- Season 4” and a $50 gift card for HMV. He also gave me a KISS Army key chain, TWO glorious new KISS T-shirts AND a terriffic new set of KISS cards with quotations on the backs of each one, many which
tell the story of the inspiration behind several of their songs! Dave's dad and Marnie have given us a gift certificate to Harpo's, a book for Dave about a man-eating tiger, and the “Temple Grandin” DVD for me! And I gave Dave a couple amusing board games that look like they're going to be a lot of fun!
With 2010 being almost over, the holiday season gives us a chance to reflect on many things. 2010 has been an interesting year. I'm sure many people think about their favorite moments and their worst ones. For me 2010 has been scary at times. I've already told you more than enough about my frustrating health problems. But at least God has been merciful despite the fact that I actually gave up believing in him for about a week or two. That had to be the saddest and loneliest week or two of my life. At least he proved himself faithful by healing me just in time for Janette and I to go on our Niagara trip in July and for the carousel convention in September.
I have been gradually sharing my reflections about this year's convention one carousel at a time. Going there has been a dream come true because at first I thought I wouldn't be able to
attend. But when I found out the journey wouldn't be quite as expensive or time-consuming as I thought, I was able to scrounge up whatever I needed at the last minute and get enough birthday money from my mom to “fill in the holes.” I don't know if I will be that lucky in 2011. It was one of those things I call a “Eureka” moment. Like the KISS concert in 2009. I plan on writing a more extensive article about “Eureka Moments” in a future issue of Planet Nilknarf. I pray that 2011 will be the end of my problems. You know which ones. I'm scheduled for surgery on February 15th and now I've found out that my pre-op is February 4th. I'm glad it's early in the day because I want to go to the Danforth and finally check out that craft shop I've been wanting to go to for years. They have a booth at the CNE every year where I've usually bought plenty of cool stuff, especially vintage metallic buttons and quilted felt shapes for my carousel horses. I hope I still have their business card in my wallet. Perhaps the biggest news for 2011 is that I plan on going BACK TO SCHOOL!!! If I'm going to work toward a degree in Graphic Arts, they want me to have my grade 11 math! I shudder to think why I'll need it. Back in high school I busted my ass three years in a row before I FINALLY passed grade 10 math. But I figure things should be different for me this time. With all the unpleasant things I've had to make myself do over the last year or two, going to math class shouldn't be quite as bad as it was in high school. For one, it will be the ONLY thing I'm going to school for each day. I won't have other subjects to distract me. And I know plenty of people who can help me this time. And if I pass grade 11 math I may actually try my hand at GRADE 12!!!! A decade or so ago if anyone told me I'd actually WANT to go to math class someday, I would have rolled on the floor laughing! Then again in the past I probably also would have laughed if I'd been told that someday I'd actually be COMPUTER LITERATE and HAPPILY MARRIED! Not to mention having gotten over my fear of needles! When I was a kid, knowing I was getting a needle was like the end of the world! And now I've given blood over 50 times and I have two tattoos I don't regret either. Unfortunately, my blood-donor days are over due to my bipolar meds. However, I usually get a flu shot every year, not to mention blood tests, and of course there was my Lupron. I'm glad there is a flu shot clinic at the clubhouse because I HATE public clinics. There are ALWAYS children there and they ALWAYS cry!!! Sure, I cried too when I was their age, but it's the sound of their crying I dislike even more than needles. Anyway, what else do I have to look forward to in 2011 besides surgery and going back to school? Next year's NCA convention will be in Denver, Colorado. It will be a miracle if I can afford to go there but you never know. I've already been there with Janette in 1994, when we first moved to Toronto. Funny how her dad sensed we were out of the country and phoned my mom all upset! That was the last National Carousel Association convention I could afford to go to for almost an entire decade! Back then there were five carousels. Now there are seven. Back then there was the small Allan Herschell carousel at Cheyenne Mountain Park Zoo, an unusual Stein & Goldstein/Parker in Pueblo, a gorgeous PTC at Elitch Gardens, that bizarre Mexican/Parker at Lakeside Park and last but not least, PTC #6 in Burlington, Colorado. It's the only PTC
menagerie still in existence. Now there's also a Carousel Works Endangered species carousel at the Denver zoo and the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland. Anyway, I hope all my readers have had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all the best for the upcoming new year!
Happy Holidays Margaret Franklin