I've been on a self-imposed hiatus lately for several reasons (in no particular order):
- new upper arm pain and weakness: I've had this since about October but because I moved I thought it was just related muscle soreness. It's not. My doctor thinks it might be PMR. I think it could be lupus myositis. The tests will give us the answer. Anyway, if you have chronic pain (or know of someone who does), you'll know that the last thing you need is some new manifestation when it's tough enough dealing with what you already have. (In 2006, beyond my lupus and fibromyalgia, I was diagnosed with scoliosis as well. That's been a huge adjustment.) So, emotionally and physically, it's been a very challenging time. Some days I can't pour my tea without forcing myself into some weird contortion. Other days, it hurts to pick up my cats. The pain and weakness is constant and my OTC (over the counter) medications provide very little relief. (I don't like taking anything stronger because I'd rather stay in touch with reality - as dark as it's been lately.) I can still type but this, combined with the following reasons, had me pulling away from daily blogging because my head wasn't really into it. There's a grief process that comes with losing physical abilities.
- Israel's war against the Gazans: I posted daily updates during the 2006 Israel/Lebanon war so I knew I simply could not stomach documenting yet more of Israel's war crimes this time around - not with how I was already feeling in general. I've commented on other blogs as it unfolded but the disgust and anger (feelings which disturb me greatly) would have erupted into a raving rant day after day if I had chosen to write about it here. Of course, I also struggled with the fact that my feelings meant absolutely nothing next to the suffering of the Palestinians and that I ought to have spoken up about the human rights violations but I really hit a wall because I knew that our government and the supposed "change" administration in the US would just rubber stamp the actions of the Israeli government and the IDF once again - non-actions that I find absolutely abhorrent. That there are rumblings of possible war crimes charges is somewhat heartening but I'll believe it when I see it - just as I will when Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of those war criminals are actually sitting in a dock somewhere having to defend themselves for their barbarity.
I'm not holding my breath.
- the Canadian scene: It's budget day tomorrow and I haven't had to follow the federal party maneuvering too closely to know that the Liberals, under Ignatieff, will vote for the Cons' budget thus pushing the coalition into the dustbin of history. It's the same old song and dance: the so-called "fiscally responsible" Conservatives sink the country with massive deficits and the Liberals will return sooner or later to clean up their mess. This is all rather simple, isn't it? Conservatism is a failed philosophy. We've seen that on so many levels. That's why it irks me when Liberals or Democrats prefer conservatism lite as if that's the pill for what ails us. Centrism is simply a flag of surrender and a public show of the fact that political parties embracing it are terrified of new ideas that might actually put the "progress" in this "progressiveness" that they talk so much about.
Which leads directly to my next reason for stepping back...
- Obama mania: No, I don't have Obama underwear or one of those new commemorative plates and I never will. (He's a product. Seems to me I wrote about that quite a while ago.) While I applaud the historic moment that came with inaugurating America's first black (or bi-racial) president, I have also been struck with the very real fact that far too many of his supporters are now acting like Bush's blind sheeple who could rationalize or justify absolutely every action he took. Maintain reason and reality, people. I jokingly refer to him as 'Obamalama' because, for some, he's the next best thing to The Almighty™, it seems. It's going to be an annoying 4 years. As for his promises to close Gitmo and ban torture, I'll give him props for suspending the military tribunals but, because that's the legal route he took, Canada's Conservative government can still claim there's a legal process to complete while refusing to repatriate Omar Khadr. (I find it ironic that war crimes charges have been brought against a Congolese official - finally - for using child soldiers in that country but that Khadr, who was a child soldier and therefore ought to be protected, is caught in this legal Twilight Zone that makes no sense at all. And, as far as torture goes, I know I heard Obama repeatedly say during his campaign that "the US does not torture" - towing the official government line - so why did he feel it was necessary to ban torture if it's not happening? (I'll have much more to say about those 2 topics. Stay tuned.)
- the weather: did I mention that it's been so damn cold here that I can barely stick my head out the door to get a breath of fresh air without my saliva instantly freezing? No? Well I have now.
It's a relief to finally let all of that out - a purging of sorts. Now I feel like I can 'get on with it', as Peter Warren would say.