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Ontario Women Stripped of Health Care Coverage

English: Statue of crying woman by World War v...

English: Statue of crying woman by World War victim memorila in Častotice, Třebíč District. Česky: Socha plačící ženy u památníku obětem sv. válek v Častoticích, okr. Třebíč. Autor: Eduard Činčera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll make this short and to the point.

Today the Ontario Ministry of Health announced significant cuts to OHIP coverage for women, putting us at higher risk for diagnosis of life threatening disease at more advanced stages.

Our pathetic excuse of a government reduced coverage for annual PAP tests from once a year to once every 3 years. They quote new, recommended ‘guidelines’.

Yah, right. Guidelines concerned with the bottom line, rather than with the well-being of an already poorly cared for population; women.

Perhaps our Ministry of Health might consider reducing the billions of dollars spent on chemotherapy drugs pimped to cancer patients who are at the very end of life, offering us, the citizens of Ontario, compassionate health care, rather than lining the pockets of Big Pharma?

Just a thought, but what am I thinking?! There’s no money to be made by making ethical decisions.

I urge every person in the province of Ontario to write a letter or send an email to their MPP demanding accountability and better health care for everyone.

Contact your Member of Provincial Parliament and let them know that cuts to already inadequate women’s health care are unacceptable.

I’ve made it easy for you, you can just copy and paste this letter if you don’t have the time to compose your own.

The women in your life will thank you for it.  Your mom, will likely thank you with a couple dozen of your favourite cookies still warm from her oven. Your sweet, sexy gal-pal will certainly give you a long, sensuous smooch.

 

Dear: ___________-

 

I am writing as a resident of _____________ to regarding the recent change in OHIP funding for women’s annual PAP tests. Depriving women of adequate health care by withdrawing annual payment for these tests is unacceptable. Cuts to our health care system such as this put low-income, high-risk women and their families at significant risk of more advanced disease when diagnosed. This of course ultimately results in higher health care costs.

As a citizen, I demand my government be accountable for the decisions that are made with regard to our health care system. It has been eroding over the years, with decreased coverage for everything from eye exams to cancer screening tests such as CA125 and PSA tests.

Myself, and my family expect a response from you as our Member of Provincial Parliament with regard to the steps you are going to take to demand quality health care for EVERYONE in the province of Ontario.

Sincerely,

______________

Canadian Journalism is Dead

broken_typewriter copy

broken_typewriter copy (Photo credit: wvs)

Journalism is dead.

The objective ideal has long since gone the way of cigarette holders and the sassy style of gin-joint flappers.

Today, the  cover of our local news featured an advert at both the top and bottom of the front page, with the majority of coverage going to Anne Hathaway’s smarmy giant-toothed grin.

Guess what I’m using to line the bottom of our bird-cage? Heads up Anne….

A minor few inches of the front page were dedicated to yet another report of a crooked Canadian politician, and an “exclusive’ about the risks of casual and contract work on the vulnerable.

I hate to break it to you Toronto Star, but – no kiddin’.

Canadian politicians are as crooked, greedy and unprofessional as any in nations which we assume political superiority. Not only is journalism dead, but so is real, political leadership and vision.

Very few, if any journalists working for major publications will risk their jobs or lives (no exaggeration) to report on who’s buying who. Besides, what good would it do? No one would publish their work anyway.

During the past few months, Toronto news has been overwhelmed with the mayor’s miraculous escape from being kicked from office, despite clear conflict of interest, and misuse of city resources (including pulling our miniscule transit resources to coddle his football hobby).

Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin have lied about their residences. Bowing to the almighty dollar rather than the great good of the nation. Way to go.

As soon as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took office, the opposition started acting up like middle school children during a forced indoor recess.

We have become a nation of apathetic Stepford Citizens at every political level.  Democracy in Canada is a joke.

The “Canadian Dream” of living in a progressive, socially responsible society has turned into a nightmare of big business buying out our media, government, and stretching the gap between the working class and the wealthy thinner than an immigrant’s pay cheque.

Keep in mind, this criticism comes from a hopeless patriot, and idealist. I believe our country has great potential, and it’s heartbreaking to see it stripped away.

Are you prepared to be duped into thinking the issues of today are Anne Hathaway’s nipples and Danica Patrick’s crappy driving?

Yes?

Well, maybe that’s for the best. After all, ignorance is rumoured to be bliss.

Savoury Sundays: Cioppino

English: Map of Italy and its districts.Every Sunday ANDSHELAUGHS will post a savoury recipe for you to prepare for the ones you love.

***Please leave a comment  and reblog if you make the recipe. Let us know how you liked it!***

This very first  Savoury Sunday, I offer up one of my very favourite recipes: Cioppino.

It takes me back to a visit to San Francisco, and indulging in a classic Italian dinner at Alioto’s overlooking the bay.

Perhaps not a traditional family meal, Cioppino makes an easy, light meal ideal for a quiet night in with your sweetheart.

I recommend serving this Cioppino with fresh bakery bread,butter and a bottle of  Luccarelli Primitivo to enjoy as well.

Cioppino

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes ( I use my own home preserved tomatoes)

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (don’t skip this, parsley is a key ingredient)

1/4 teaspoon dried basil ( I prefer t use fresh – just a few finely chopped leaves)

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1 bay leaf

10 oz boneless whitefish cut into 1.5″ chunks

12 littleneck clams, scrubbed

12 medium mussels, scrubbed and debearded

8-12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

*Add crab if it’s available* Yum!!!

Method

1. In a large nonstick saucepan, heat the oil, and saute the onion, pepper and garlic until softened.

2. Add tomatoes, wine and tomato paste, spices, herbs, bay leaf and 1/2 cup water.

3. Combine all ingredients well, and bring to a boil.

4. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Add the fish and simmer uncovered for ~5 mins.

6. Add the clams & mussels and simmer ~3 mins.

7. Add the shrimp and simmer uncovered for ~5 mins until the clams and mussels are open and the shrimp are pink.

*** Discard any unopened clams and mussels as well as the bay leaf***

***When preparing this meal, beware of the timing. It’s not something you can leave on the stove top and keep warm until your dinner guest arrives. Prepare your ingredients, and enjoy a relaxed conversation over a glass of wine while you’re cooking.***

When Life Gives You Lemons ~ Get Real

Francisco de Zurbarán - Still-life with Lemons...

I’m a touchy-feely person. Tests have proven I’m a kinesthetic learner. I think hugs make most things bearable, and smiling at a stranger is the norm.

I believe the universe provides. Admittedly it provides what we need, not necessarily what we want my darlings.

I believe the glass is half full, and usually full of something yummy.

I believe  that most fella’s tip the scale on the side of ‘good’ rather than being  rotten eggs.

I also believe that there is a time to ‘fish or cut bait’ or, as the less socially groomed say, ‘shit or get off the pot’.

My Facebook page is awash with positive, upbeat photos, memes, quotes and motivational posters such as these;

01blog

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The reality is, that sometimes giving up, losing hope and questioning  your faith are the best things you can do. It’s called a reality check.

Sometimes plodding along wondering why things aren’t going your way is because we mistakenly think that determination, hope and faith will get us everywhere, when what we really need is a kick in the pants to dig in and face change.

Let’s go back to the above three examples. The beginning is not always hard. What twitstick came up with that one?

The wise words of my lovely older, wiser friend Ms. T, “If this is what it’s like at the beginning, what will it be like at the end?”, were a wake up call for me when I started dating a large, useless flap of skin.

Beginnings should be fresh, new and exciting. In love as in life, if the beginning is bad, it’s just bad. Get out. Get therapy. Get some bourbon on the rocks.

Sometimes being cheery and loving life gives you no advantage over miserable, energy sucking, peewads.  Sometimes life does not love you back. Some days life spits in your eye, punches you in the guts and leaves you writhing and naked in the ditch of failure.

As much as we need  encouragement, we need validation that things get tough, life kicks us in the beans sometimes, and it’s ok to admit it.

So, for those days, I offer up the following kitschy little sayings;

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If you had a great day, that’s terrific my wonderful little cherry pie. If not, it’s ok to say it sucked.

Wishing you more wonderful days than sucky ones.

Happy Margarita Day!

margarita

I offer my sweet readers a deliciously simple margarita recipe that can be whipped up without the fuss of crushed ice.

 ANDSHELAUGHS Margarita Recipe

Ingredients

3 cups ice cubes

1/3 cup triple sec

1/3 cup tequila

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Salt to Rim margarita glasses

Lime wedges for garnish

Method

Rub a small amount of lime juice over rim of each glass

Hold glass upside down and press onto plate filled with salt.

(Be sure to ask your margarita loving pals whether they prefer salt.

Remember if you’re making one for me,

I prefer it to be salt-free)

Fill 4 margarita glasses each with 1/2 cup ice

Place 1 cup ice in large martini shaker

Pur  triple sec, tequila and lime juice over ice

and shake until your sexy arms ache.

Pour equal amount into each of the four margarita glasses.

Enjoy!

 

 

Friday Fifty: Temptation

Up Skirt Lunch View

Up Skirt Lunch View (Photo credit: schatz)

Ok, here’s my first crack at the Friday Fifty.I’ve linked through another blog above, but I believe that this Friday Fifty was inspired by the Scottish Trust’s Fifty Word Fiction Competition.

“Her knees cinched even closer, pinching her milk-white skin so that the blood stopped flowing to her waiting calves.  The rough skin of his hands wrapped around the stem of the glass whispered, “I’m going to take you places you’ve never imagined.” She no longer felt the February chill.”

If you’d like to give Friday Fifty a spin, you must play by the rules as posted at  dans les pointes suture darlings.  You can leave your fifty in the comments box  or post it on your blog and link back to this post.

Twitter etiquette for Friday Fifty on Twitter, then don’t forget to use the hashtag #Friday50. Happy Writing!

 

 

Amazing C Strikes Again

Vintage mailbox

Vintage mailbox (Photo credit: arichards63 – smile if you missed me)

I had just settled in with a sweet, juicy, orange, cup of tea, and a totally empty page when there came a very light, very short tap at my front door.

For two full seconds I debated whether to disturb my cozy position to answer, and then popped up to see who was there. No one.

Just a box on the threshold. From the thick black ink used to write my address, I knew that it was a care package from  the Amazing Ms. C.

My faithful pal, the Amazing Ms.C is fabulously insane in so many ways, I can’t possibly love her enough. She is a couponer extraordinaire, and has a taste for comical,twisted, jack-ass inspired vengeance that only rivals my own.

I cut open the layers of packing to tape to find a plethora of her couponer-freebies (including amongst other things body cooling wipes for hot flashes, perfume samples, miniature crystal ball decorations, a full-sized tube of toothpaste, laundry and dish soap, herbal tea, and a full-sized mascara which I hope doesn’t give me eye fungus).

Thoughtfully wrapped up in a Virginia Peanut box was a cup and saucer set purchased at a second-hand store. For $2.00 the Amazing Ms. C has given me at least a full month of pleasure.

You see, I’m going to take the tea-cup to work, and teetotal around the office – saucer included –  in the most sincere of proper-British-tea-drinking-ways.  As a writer, witnessing people’s reactions is my study. The new tea-cup will be an interesting prop. It should distract me from some of the less pleasant realities of having to work for a living.

The Amazing C also sent a total of 22 coupons. 10 for Durex Play lubricant or/Toy. 10 for condoms. I didn’t even know that the local big box store/ pharmacy started to sell sex toys on the shelf.  I can’t even begin to express how wrong that is.

I may just leave them at the coupon exchange counter tomorrow morning when I go out to buy my Saturday Globe and fresh baguette.

Perhaps a better idea is to see if I can use them all at once, purchase the Durex ‘toy’, and just see what kind of quality is being offered in over-the-counter sales, next to the opaque caged cigarette display. Seriously folks, we’re being legislated like stepford-citizens…but I digress.

One item included in the package that is sure to garner further posts for my faithful female and male followers alike is a book. The Amazing Ms. C looks out for my intellectual development too!

“Boyfriend Wisdom; Timeouts, Tantrums and Other Tips for Dating Guys Who Act Like Toddlers”, will surely be an intellectually stimulating read for a simple country gal like me.

I have to admit, getting creative with the time-outs kind of has me needing those body-cooling-hot-flash wipes. Yes sirree!

That’s what girlfriends are for – brightening your day. Whenever I speak to the Amazing Ms. C, we share a laugh, and uncensored conversation about unspeakable physical ailments, acts and afflictions.

In your lifetime, you will only ever find a handful of friends you can be so uncensored with, and those friends, my juicy little kumquats, are the keepers.