Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tombstone Trashing

The cemetery where my maternal grandparents are buried was vandalized last weekend. Thankfully their gravestone escaped the chaos, but I have not heard the fate of my uncle's. This is the latest in many vandalism incidents at this cemetery, and I think it's the most damaging.

The blame for these types of incidents usually goes to teenagers who are bored? evil? stupid? We don't know who vandalized the cemetery, but in some ways it doesn't matter. How anyone could do this to the final resting place of the dead is beyond me. I can't even find the appropriate words.

The Christian way is to forgive those who have done wrong, but I am finding it extremely difficult to be Christian in this situation. How can you do this? What point does it prove? Have any of these people offended you during their lives? I doubt it, given the mass destruction done to stones of every age. Even if an offense had taken place, this is no place or time for revenge.

I can only hope that when you get older, and someone does this to the stone of someone you loved, you'll realize how awful it feels. Maybe you haven't experienced death yet. It comes to everyone.

My spot

I fully admit to being obsessive-compulsive. I know I have a slight problem. So this blog is mainly just for my own venting purposes.

A while ago, while I was at work on a holiday, some kids came by, got on the ground and looked under my car. Since this isn't the greatest of neighborhoods, I wasn't sure what they were up to, but I was betting it wasn't good. They were young enough to be scared off by my pressing of the car panic button. My car was fine.

Since this incident, I have tried as much as possible to park immediately outside my office window, in what I have [in]appropriately labeled "my spot". Sometimes I will move my car when I see it has become free. My feelings have been exacerbated by the multitude of skateboarders who use our parking lot after 4:30, when I'm still here. Then I *really* want my car within view, so I can make sure it isn't getting hurt.

There is a Dodge Neon in our parking lot, owned by a woman who works at the company upstairs, which tends to be parked in a particular spot for the week. I assume she must take a company vehicle and travel for her job. She picks a random spot and parks there, leaving her car until late Friday. Yesterday, though it was a nice day and I should have gone for a walk at lunch, I had to leave my spot to go uptown. When I came back, the Neon was in it. Crap. There goes the opportunity to have my spot for the rest of this week.

This woman has done nothing wrong, it's not really "mine" nor reserved. I don't expect anyone to agree with me. It just grates on me that someone leaves their car in my spot for a whole week. I wish she'd pick *any* other spot, including one of the reserved spots for their company. I assume they leave those spots for executives. Granted she does drive a Neon, so I guess she doesn't care what happens to her car if it sits here overnight for days. I'd never leave my car in this parking lot overnight. Too many hooligans around. There are worse neighborhoods, to be sure, but this one still isn't great when it comes to vandalism at night. We have video surveillance, but if it is monitored, they don't ever seem to do anything about it security-wise. At least not that I have witnessed, since we still have a skateboarder problem.

Side note to the skateboarders: we built you a skate park. Go there. Stay away from my car.

So I'm just annoyed that I can't have "my spot" this week. Nothing I can do, I certainly can't go on a campaign to get my own reserved spot... that's about as likely as getting extra vacation time on my 10 year anniversary. I won't get 4 weeks of vacation until I'm here 20 years. Even then I still wouldn't get my own parking spot.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Winter clothes in summer, again

We’re entering into another summer season, which, in most parts of North America, can get quite hot. In my part of North America, it rarely goes above 25°C (77°F) because my city is on the water. I feel comfortable wearing shorts for maybe 2-3 weeks/year. I am a person who is always cold, I am also thin and don’t have as much body fat as other people.

In my office, our thermostats are networked. Despite having my own office, I don’t have much control over what the desired temperature should be. When we first moved in, the thermostat was capped at a maximum of 74°F (23°C). Then the cap moved to 73°F (22°C) and stayed at that level for quite a while. Today, I noticed that the cap has again been moved and is now at 71°F (21°C). This is happening due to the complaints of a couple of people, who are higher in rank than me, one of whom is constantly too hot. The placement of the building is such that on a sunny day, my side of the office becomes “superheated” and can reach temps up to 78-79°F (25-26°C). I am quite comfortable on those days, and on the off chance that I find it too warm, I remove the sweater I am usually wearing. The other side of the office is tolerable on a sunny day, and freezing on a cloudy day. Thankfully I do not work on that side of the building. Another co-worker has an office on the cold side of the building, and is constantly freezing.

What I find frustrating, other than not being able to control the individual temperature of my office, is that a good portion of the problem could be solved if the too-hot person swapped offices with the too-cold person. I have even suggested this as an option to both people, as it would keep the too-hot person from turning all the office thermostats down and making it colder for everyone. Office politics are involved in this, though, and thus no swap has ever occurred. I’m curious when the straw will break the camel’s back and the office swap may take precedence over other issues. Since the too-hot person is the boss of the too-cold person, this is a realistic option.

In the meantime, I’m usually ok if it is sunny for the morning, and my office gets heated naturally. On a semi-cloudy or overcast day, such as today, I’m now stuck somewhere in the 71°F range. I’m already wearing a sweater, debating a blanket for my legs, and have changed from shoes to sneakers because my feet are cold. I am also debating bringing in slippers to keep my feet warm, and possibly a bathrobe, since our landlord forbids space heaters as a potential fire hazard. It would look pretty silly, but it would get a point across.

I recently put away my winter pants and should move my winter sweaters to the basement. Now I’m not so sure that I should do it, from a comfort perspective. If I want to be warm enough, I may have to keep my winter clothes on during the summer, but that will likely make me feel even colder come winter.

I stopped into a clothing store the other day and saw some nice clothes, though they would be useless for me in this climate. Thin linen shirts are pretty much only good for vacations. How about something that is both summery and built for a cold office? I guess that’s never going to happen.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No breasts at all, thanks

A friend of mine joined a group on Facebook to protest the fact that Facebook treats pictures of breast feeding in the category "obscene":

In North America, however, and some other parts of the “developed” world...we seem to have forgotten this very simple truth. Womens' breasts have become a symbol of sex. They are used to sell everything from cars to clothes to beer....they have been deemed obscene, sexually explicit and indecent for view by Facebook. Ironic, isn't it? that in the context of sex, we are inundated with images everywhere we look of womens' breasts as commodity, but see practically no examples of them shown in the normal context of breastfeeding. Why is is?[sic]
When corporations and social groups (like Facebook) create and uphold policies that label breastfeeding as obscene or objectionable, the myths that breastfeeding is private, socially inappropriate or sexually explicit are perpetuated and this has a detrimental effect on societal perception and attitudes surrounding breastfeeding. This in turn has a detrimental impact on breastfeeding initiation and duration rates and stigmatizes and demeans women who are doing nothing wrong. This group is one small step in the effort to normalize breastfeeding and to break down barriers that make it more difficult for women to do so. Thank you for your support.

I agree that breastfeeding is natural. If you're a mother, make the choice and breastfeed if you like. Here's the problem: where do your rights end and mine begin? As a straight woman, I have absolutely no interest in seeing the breasts of other women, whether it be in a sexual or natural context. I simply do not want to be walking down the street and seeing a breast, in an advertisement or a mother breastfeeding her child. Breast feeding zealots have determined, however, that their rights are more important than mine, and thus they can do whatever they please, wherever they please.

If I were to have children and chose to breastfeed, I would not want to expose my breasts in public while feeding. Even though I think the process natural, how do I know the guy next to me in the food court isn't a pervert who enjoys every minute? I would make the choice to do it in private because *I* would feel more comfortable. I would not want others staring at me, seeing my private body parts. I'm a private person, I just don't want to expose myself in that way.

The most significant question I have for this Facebook group is: why are women posting breastfeeding pictures in the first place? Is it purely an exercise in normalization? Or do some women enjoy showing the world that they are breastfeeding their baby?

I am not a mother. I do not have the personal experience to back up my opinions on breastfeeding. What I do know is that it is not as easy as this group purports it to be. I have heard the stories of friends and family who have struggled so hard to make breastfeeding work for them, and it ended up with both mother and baby being miserable. Frankly, this group sounds like the bullying nurses in hospitals who think it's a capital offense to feed a baby formula. Though it has been scientifically proven that breast milk is best for babies, it does not factor in the baby not able to eat breast milk, not sleeping, incessant fussing, miserable mother who can't get any sleep.

We live in a world where there are options, where we know more about things like lactose intolerance. Having a baby is supposed to be one of the greatest experiences in one's life, but only if you are breastfeeding, apparently. Not every baby is as accepting of the "natural way". I doubt that this is a new problem, only that we now have more options.

In summary:
You have a right to choose breastfeeding, but I have a right not to see your breast in a public place.
I also have the right to choose how I want to feed my baby without you forcing a method down my throat, and trying to guilt me into the "right" choice.
I have the right to choose privacy when feeding my baby without feeling guilty for promoting the "natural way".

Ontario Rx drugs

This had better not mean closing stores in the Maritimes to combat the costs.

Rx drugs must be dirt cheap to produce. Forget being a doctor or a lawyer or even winning the lotto. Run a drug company.

The inherent problem with drug companies is that they are for-profit organizations. Morally, how can you charge so much for something that may determine life or death for another person? How did we let drug companies get so strong and powerful that they can determine life or death? It's not fair, but fair is a place you go to get on rides.