Child Haven gala fundraiser

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me to go to a gala fundraiser at the new Ottawa Congress Centre. It looked pretty swanky and I was concentrating on what the heck I was going to wear to it that I forgot yo look at what organization the fundraiser was supporting. It was only after my friend mentioned the son of someone I know quite well that it occurred to me that the organization was Child Haven. I checked, and sure enough it was. The odd thing was that I had decided that I was going to go out to Maxville today to drop off some cheques to Child Haven for amounts I had raised at my birthday which I had announced that people could donate to Child Haven instead of giving me a card or a present.

Quite apart from having to make the trip all the way out to Maxville, it meant I could give my cheques in at the gala and also be able to make further donations by buying at the silent auction.

Last year at the event at Tudor Hall (it’s a conference hall that has nothing to do with the Tudors and doesn’t even look like a Tudor building – though we were joking this evening that it is the site of Ottawa’s only Tudor jousting ground), I spent a fair amount of money and bought quite a few things, including a wonderful wool rug with a “flayed Man” design which is a common motif in Buddhist iconography. This year I put my name down on a six items, I think, in the silent auction. I let two go because people I knew were bidding against me. I ended up with 4 other items, two of which I was the only bidder on, and two where others had bid against me. One of those I had to snatch the bid away in the last 30 seconds of the auction.

I ended up with these items…

Lord Ganesh, brass figurine

Brass and copper prayer wheel

Thangka – Hand-painted wood (front)

Thangka – Hand-painted wood (back)

Silver and “amethyst” locket

(I think it is just glass, considering what the reserve bid was for it)

Technology epiphany

We’re so used fitting technological innovations into our lives that, sometimes, we don’t even take a moment to think about just what a jump we’ve made.

I had a “technology epiphany” a short time ago when i was watching a video on my iPhone and had to get up to go to the bathroom. Rather than pause the video, I took the iPhone with me. Suddenly, I realized what a jump this is. Being able to walk around watching a video… I’d watched a video while sitting on the bus but I didn’t even think about the import of it. I suppose that the first time I carried the handset for the phone into another room rather than being forced to sit three feet from the phone or even just being able to carry the phone as far as the cord attached to the wall allowed must have felt pretty cool but I don’t recall being this aware of the momentousness of it.

My mother and I often think how fascinated my grandfather would have been with modern technology. He was the first person in the village to have a “wireless” installed in his house. I imagine that, to him, being able to walk from room to room with a phone that plays videos would be akin to walking on the moon!

Written amd posted from my iPhone…

Photo hunt: Waiting

I try to  avoid waiting for anything but it is inevitable. When I am waiting, I often haul out my camera or my phone and just snap away.

I spend a lot of time waiting at the chiropractor’s office and often get caught up watching the patterns that the vertical blinds make on the walls and windows. Interesting how different the same image looks in colour as opposed to black and white.

One of the few times I enjoy waiting is when it is for a train to pass. Sadly, it doesn’t happen often enough, these days. With the freight trains, these days, it can take several minutes to go by. Here is one of the railway crossings. The barriers look very much like ET, don’t they?

It is the silence that kills

I have suffered for most of my life with depression and anxiety. The depression was identified but not controlled for years. There just wasn’t any effective diagnosis or prescription treatment of either depression or anxiety until recent years.

When I was in my teens, I was told by “experts” “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with things”. The general consensus was that if you got involved with activities, worked at getting friends, and “showed some interest”, you’d shed that depression. The fact that depression prevents you from doing ANY of these things was lost on them. Sure. they MIGHT have worked if I had not been depressed AND shy.

Correct diagnosis, appropriate medication, and insight has gone a long way. But it is silence that kills. I have learned that I have to be aware of the signs of impending crisis and being open about when I am heading into and in a depression or feeling anxious. Sometimes, it is a matter of deciding I need to take my Ativan (the “crisis” medication that has saved my live more than once) when and for as long as I need to take it. … once or for a few days or a week. Other times it is a matter of telling family and friends… or my doctor… that things a a little or a LOT bad. “Not wanting to bother anyone” not just CAN be dangerous, it IS dangerous.

I’ve been lucky — very lucky that when I have had a serious crisis that I have been able to count on the love and concern of family and concrete help from my doctor.

I have also failed to get the help I needed and hit bottom. Bottom is not a place to get to. My most serious bottom was in August 2001. Pure luck… serendipity, as I prefer to call it… saved my life. In this case, it was serendipity in the forms of a Great Blue Heron. I survived. I might not have, otherwise.

Today os a bad day. However, I was able to cry, which I haven’t been able to do in some time and a friend has offered to have me over to watch a movie. Hopefully, that’s all I need.

I were able to offer advice to anyone suffering from depression or anxiety:

Recognise the signs in yourself.

Speak up and speak out to family and friends.

Let your family doctor know what the problem is. If they can’t or won’t help, be persistent and ask for a referral until you do find someone who can help.

Don’t be afraid of being medicated but if your medication isn’t working (it takes a while to work) be persistent about getting something that works.

Don’t be afraid of therapy. It can work. Be aware… In Ontario, psychiatrists are covered by OHIP, psychologists are not and they can be expensive.

Photo Hunt: Covered

My computer is being annoyingly slow (and the keyboard seems reluctant to allow me to use caps and I have to go back and redo those) so I may get this up before morning… or I might not. We’ll see.

This week’s Photo Hunt theme is “Covered”.

The first is a roadside hubcap seller West of Ottawa. the guy has a number of large racks covered in used hubcaps, some of them really cool!

The other day, we went for a drive and I visited an old, abandoned “Sugar shack” that I have been to before. There are a number of things strewn about the property. Some are covered in moss…

And, specially for Mumbai Daily, here is another something covered so well that you can barely see him… Can you? In fact, I didn’t even see him until I downloaded the photos from the camera.

There he is!

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