Movies to See and other random thoughts

How to Cook Your Life

Move over “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance!” Filmmaker Doris Dorrie turns her attention to Buddhism and that age-old saying, “you are what you eat.” In HOW TO COOK YOUR LIFE Dorrie enlists the help of the charismatic Zen Master Edward Espe Brown to explain the guiding principles of Zen Buddhism as they apply to the preparation of food and life itself.

I had the pleasure of doing a cooking workshop with Edward Espe Brown during my monastic years. He’s a damn cool guy and an inspiration for me. I’m seriously looking forward to this one coming out. (Thanks for the link Bryan! Have I mentioned that I love my man?)

Blade Runner–The Final Cut

Ridley Scott’s brilliant classic restored to his original vision. The best science fiction film ever has its special effects restored. Plus, confirmation of what we long suspected: Deckard is a…

Philip K. Dick rocks. Blade Runner changed how I looked at the world. I will watch this one again and again. Besides, Darryl Hannah is so *cute*!

And now for something completely different…

The past week + has seen my bursitis flare up to a new level of pain. Oxycodone was helpful for a while, but I only had two of them. Unfortunately, I cannot keep myself unconscious until the pain goes away, though if the option were available, I would be tempted. Honestly, I don’t know how to fix my body.

I scored a piece of countertop and a section of kitchen cabinet at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $25 yesterday. With the addition of some legs, it will make a perfect workbench for my stained glass work. I’ll post before and after pictures of the project. I was very proud of myself for being thrifty. Workbenches for artists are stupidly expensive ($250+). Even with the Canadian dollar being on par, that’s just way too much money. It’s nice to know that occasionally my brain still kicks in.

Sickness, old age, and death

The final verdict, after today’s consultation with our family doctor and a series of x-rays: Miss Brianna likely scratched her esophagus on Saturday when she choked on some popcorn at the movie. This created a vortex of anxiety and a little girl who coughed and gagged at every little bit of food until yesterday when she stopped eating.

And yeah, the fact that Daddy’s in Colorado plays no small part.

So this is why I like my family doctor. She calmly tells Brianna and I that Brianna should only eat soft foods for the next few days. I’m further instructed to not make a big deal out of it. Got it. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get a big tub of yogurt to take to school for Bri.

She ate a bunch more yogurt then we had some quiet time before going for the x-ray. (Which, by the way, she handled very well.)

When we returned home I heard “Mommy, can I have some ginger cookies and a glass of milk?” Sure. By dinner time, she was hosing pizza and breadsticks.

She wasn’t too happy when Grandma and Grandpa came over to watch her so I could go sit. But they handled the meltdown pretty well (after raising three boys, they are pretty much pros). And it felt important to sit tonight.

Tonight’s sitting was dedicated to the memory of Mark A., someone I knew from back in my monastic days. Mark was the beloved partner of another monk, Trudi. An artist-type, familiar with the NYC art scene, he really was one of the coolest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He and Trudi had a love that was true, deep, and rare. He will be missed.

And so the Dharma wheel turns; sickness and death arise and depart. I am humbled by the profoundity of life.

Adventures in Health Care

Brianna and I took a three-hour tour of Canada’s health care system this evening. Earlier in the day, I got a call from her teacher—she refused to eat anything at school today, not the pasta, not a single green bean, not a bite of banana, not even a drink of milk. She claimed she was hungry but then would refuse to eat anything. Later in the day she had crying jags and tantrums in between moments of being just fine. We wondered if it was because Bryan is out of town for a few days.

So when I picked Bri up from school, I was surprised when she bounded up to me and asked to go to Wendy’s for dinner. If there’s one thing my kid likes, it’s chicken nuggets and fries. She took one tiny bite of chicken and starting crying for her apple juice. By the time we got home, she wouldn’t touch the chicken and only took tiny bites of the french fries, washing it down with all of the apple juice and a big glass of water. She complained that all the food went “down my breathing tube”.

After a quick consult with my mother-in-law, we were off to the ER. We arrived, took a number, and sat in the only empty chair, next to an older man dabbing a bleeding wound on his forehead with a bloody paper towel. After about five minutes, I overhead another mom exclaim “I’ve been here 45 minutes and I haven’t even seen the triage nurse yet!”

I decided to leave even though I’d just paid $10 for the right to park at the hospital. Note to self—don’t pay for parking until you have a clue as to how long you’re gonna be in the emergency room. We drove to the next place, a walk-in clinic that was still open for 20 more minutes. However, they were full up and not accepting any more patients.

Plan B: call the after-hours number on our family doctor’s answering machine. By now, it’s obvious that it’s too late to make it to their partner clinics. So, I call the nurse referral number. The receptionist takes my info and tells me to keep the line open so the nurse can call.

Plan C: try another walk-in clinic. Ding! Ding! Ding! We win! Only one other person in the waiting room. Brianna has (mostly) stopped screaming that she doesn’t want to see the doctor. I fill out the forms and we’re in the queue. Bri takes over the clipboard and proceeds to fill out a form of her own.

The doctor manages to get a look at Brianna. No fever, breathing is clear, no visible blockage in her throat, no redness, no swelling. Nothing visibly wrong with this little girl. Recommendation: back to the ER for x-rays, even though it’s likely they won’t show anything that’s not a truly foreign object.

Stop at the convenience store to get a notebook to amuse the child. Give her a pen from my purse. Go through the drive-through at Tim Hortons—it’s gonna be a long night. Stop at the gas station so I don’t add running out of gas to the night’s agenda.

Answer the phone when the nurse finally calls back. She asks many more questions, I tell her what the walk-in clinic doctor said. Verdict: the child doesn’t need to go to the ER, but she should be seen by my family doctor within 24 hours. Deal! Add in some soft foods—did you know that you can get pudding cups in bubblegum and cotton candy flavour? Yes, they are pastel pink and pastel blue. Yum! Even though Brianna picked them out and said she wanted apple juice, she refused to put anything between her lips when we got home. “I’ll save them for when I feel better Mommy.” I think my heart broke three or four times this evening.

I tucked her into the big bed (our room, so I can be next to her in case anything arises during the night) and see if I can track down Bryan. Nope, not yet. His flight hasn’t even landed yet.

Oy. It’s now hours later and Bryan has landed safely in Colorado. Brianna is asleep in our bed and I’ve already called my manager and told him I won’t be in the office tomorrow because I have to take my daughter to the doctor.

And now to a well-earned night’s sleep myself.

Health Matters

Yesterday, I was feeling pretty odd: my stress level was very high, I often felt like crying for no particular reason, I was convinced I was doing something wrong at work and my manager wasn’t happy with my performance. Like having PMS, but it’s the wrong time in my cycle for that.

Then I remembered that my psychiatrist and I had agreed to lower the dosage of my anti-depressants (Zoloft). Ah-ha! Now I know what’s going on.

The decision to reduce my meds is multi-faceted. First, I’m doing really well and it’s a good time to juggle such things. Second, I’ve gained a lot of weight because of the anti-depressants and it’s making me depressed (not really optimal, is it?). Third, I know I need to support my brain, but I would like to do so with the least amount of medication possible. It just makes sense to reduce or eliminate meds when and where possible, noting that it’s likely that I will be on some form of medication for the rest of my life.

It’s a good feeling when my psychiatrist says to me “You are doing great–what a difference from the first time I met you!” Yay me!

And then, the universe provides.

Just this morning, an email went out at work. The company is sponsoring an eight-week walking fit program, including a free pedometer, with online tracking et al. Now one thing I know is that a regular exercise program (walking 30-minutes a day) is one of nature’s most effective anti-depressants, besides being a fundamental component of a weight-loss program.

Of course I signed up! It starts April 2 and in the process of chatting with the team admin assistant about it, I now have a walking buddy to work with!

I can do this. I am doing this, and I’m taking good care of myself in the process.

Now that’s a win!