Tag Archives: challenges

Thought Processes

Have you ever stopped and wondered why you think the way you do? I know that’s an odd question but where does your mind wander to when you’re not focussed on anything. I will be quite honest, I try very hard to keep my mind engaged because when it is allowed to stray, well, things can get interesting.

It was in one of those moments of mindless meanderings when I remembered the many times I’ve had to deal with unprofessional sales clerks. There was the one who could not get past the wheelchair or the one who was smacking her gum, twirling her hair and talking to a friend about a boy.  The fact that I wanted to buy something simply did not enter into her mind even though she was looking right at me. That was probably 20 years ago but I wonder what she’s doing now. Has she gone on to blow expectations and become a PhD chemistry professor? Call me mean but I think not.

Back in the good old days (a year ago) I used to love to listen as people walked by. You never got the entire conversation but it was fascinating to think where it could take you. Like the time I followed a couple after overhearing that he was “…killing them”. Oh, I was intrigued! It’s OK he was just killing his plants. But out of that brief conversation I came up with a story about some actual killing. Yes, there is an evil side to my character and every now and then I embrace it.

When I am standing in front of a dog with a cookie in my hand, I know exactly what he is thinking. The drool is a dead giveaway. But when I’m standing looking at complete strangers it’s impossible to have any idea of what’s going on in their mind. Are they wondering if they locked the door or turned off the porch light? Are they thinking about gifts for a dear friend? Or perhaps how they plan to kill that annoying next-door neighbour? There is just no way to know.

That is fascinating to me. I have, in the past, created stories on the spot to describe what I could see. It had no basis in fact, it was pure fantasy but it was fun to give these people a life and a future directly out of my addled brain.

I once gave a man a wife, a mistress and a sexy secretary all because he was standing waiting for the Train with a smile on his face. It was a nice face but it looked like he had a secret. Those are the best ones to play with. And the upside to this game is nothing is ever written down because I can’t remember them and no one is besmirched. This is what I do when my mind is allowed to ramble and my thought processes are given free rein.  Be afraid, be very afraid…

Crisis Adjacent

I have never been in the middle of a forest fire or a hurricane or a volcano eruption. I have never felt the earth open underneath me in an earthquake. I have never faced down an angry assailant or looked death in the eye. I have never experienced a major crisis but I have been close to a few. I have been crisis adjacent .

My father was in a plane crash and that was pretty tense for a while.  but I didn’t find out about it until after we knew he was OK. I have come across car accidents just after they have happened. I offered what assistance I could but I was never in any danger. I have been trapped on a Lake in the middle of a horrendous storm but with all the canoes secured together we just floated it out. I guess I have just been incredibly lucky.

Many years ago, a friend of mine was in Mexico during a horrific earthquake. She was terrified. She and her companions huddled in the doorway and waited for the shaking to stop. She left the country the next day. I cannot begin to imagine what she went through. Maybe this is why I enjoy watching disaster movies. It isn’t so much for the disaster but how people respond to it. The hero and heroine always come out looking wonderful but it’s the side stories that interest me. It is the image of a stranger reaching down to help another. They don’t discuss ideology or politics or even the weather. They just help one another. I know it’s a movie and I don’t ever want to experience a tsunami to find out how I will react. Maybe if I watch enough disaster movies, I will know what to do but one can never be absolutely certain until you are in the moment.

All the planning in the world can be derailed by a simple misunderstanding or a missed appointment. We can have the best intentions but at the moment we freeze . Why? Because life is not an algorithm. It is a series of moments strung together to form your life, your existence.  Our reaction to what is happening around us is predicated on our past, our experiences and our understanding of the situation. People with proper training react without thinking. Police officers , first responders. These people have trained and acted out scenarios so that they will know exactly what to do without taking the time to formulate a plan. Sometimes seconds really do count.

For the rest of us we just react, hopefully responsibly. But it is in that moment of crisis when all the ego is burned off and what is left is the true merit of a person. I wonder what I will do …

 

 

Are you offended yet?

Read on,  I’m sure I will find a way to offend somebody. Or at least those who are always looking for something to offend them. Maybe I got all the good readers who are offended in the same way I am, by people who are easily offended.

Why do we judge the past based on the sensibilities of the 21st century? Are people not aware that the time was different back then? Was it right? People thought it  was for that time. How exactly are we going to be judged in 100 years, in 50 years? Are people going to be offended by our idiocy? I cannot answer that. But I can tell you that we will be judged. If it was wrong in the past, let us change it now and for the future. That should be how we are judged.

We are offended when people don’t agree with us. We are offended when we infer their words to different meanings other than was intended. We are offended when we don’t get what we want . And yet why aren’t we offended by racism and hatred and bullying? These are issues that should get our blood boiling the way we let loose when we are offended. And yet we don’t. Hatred is something we will never truly get rid of but we can find out why we hate. I hate some foods . (Which I will not mention here because there are people that actually like these things and I don’t wish to offend.) But how can I hate a person when I don’t know them? How can I hate a country that I’ve never been to? How can I hate an idea when I don’t even know what it is?

And yet people hate for the most obscure reasons. ‘Her eyes are blue.’ ‘He doesn’t like cats.’ ‘I don’t understand what they are saying.’ I wonder what would happen if  we took the time to look past the things we don’t like? I wonder if we would find someone that we might actually care for?  I wonder if someone looked at me and decided to hate because they didn’t like the colour of my hair?  When will we stop hating the unknown?

Children are not born hating. Bullies do not spring up out of nowhere. These are learned behaviours and they are taught by adults. The entire world has a responsibility to its children to put a stop to the negativities they grow up around. I know this is a simplistic idea and certainly the whole world cannot be fixed by the snap of my fingers but just because it can’t all be fixed at one time, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start.

A Fallen Leaf

He lay on his back,

A slight dusting of snow.

He knew he was done,

There was no place to go.

 

His time in the branches,

Were glorious and free!

But time is not static,

His memory the key.

 

You see he is a symbol,

of Summer and Spring.

The days full of frolic,

That memories bring.

 

As he shivered with cold,

On this bright chilly day.

He knew with conviction,

What others would say .

 

Soon will be spring,

And buds will appear.

Leaves will start growing,

Never you fear!

 

 

 

The accompanying photograph was provided by Dan over at nofacilities.com. He and Maddie are most generous with the fruits of their walks. Thanks Dan!

 

Unsettled

When I sat down to write this post, I was a little flummoxed. There seems to be so much hatred seething about just below the surface. And some of it, of course, is erupting. Nothing subtle about it!  But we see too much of that on TV and I didn’t want to write about it, I wanted to write about joy and hope and prosperity. And then I wondered what I was smoking! Honey, life ain’t great at this particular moment!

I keep saying that I’m not suffering. And I’m not. I have my computer, books, TV, my food is delivered, everything is delivered. And yet I think I’m suffering more than I think I am. I’m relatively stable, psychologically speaking,  and yet who can say that with any authority except perhaps a doctor. And even that is sometimes questionable.  Sorry. What I am is unsettled.

I watch TV and yet I spend half of my time doing other things not paying attention. I have projects I want to finish but I just don’t have the initiative . I know what needs to be done and I am quite capable of it and yet I don’t do it. I have three books in a queue that I need to go through before I send them to the printer. A couple of weeks work at the most. I haven’t looked at them in two.

I’m not seriously anxious or afraid. I feel safe in the town I’m in but I don’t leave my apartment. When the weather was warmer, I would go out on my balcony. It’s too flipping cold now! I want to empty my apartment and reconfigure it with all new furniture. Don’t worry, that is not going to happen! The cost and inconvenience are insurmountable. So, I sat down at my computer and I designed a one-bedroom condo. It’s not a place that will ever be built but I rather like it. And it amused me for several hours. That seems to be my goal these days: amusement. That is a sad state of affairs. (I also designed a two-bedroom condo and a cottage with three bedrooms.)

I Zoom with friends and use FaceTime and Skype. I have Personal Support Workers that come in every day to help. Suitably masked and gloved but people nonetheless. I have a beautiful view of the Sky and a strip of the downtown. I’m warm and dry. I have nothing to complain about. There are people in the world that are truly suffering with circumstances and disease.

In Canada we have helplines to call if people are feeling overwhelmed. They are free and there are real people to talk to, to connect with. Sometimes it’s easier to tell a stranger then a friend. A study came out recently that said women are more psychologically affected by Covid then are men. I wonder if that’s true or maybe women are just more willing to talk about it. People are suffering in ways I cannot begin to imagine and all we can do is wait.  I can help through charities but that’s not enough. I will continue to help in whatever small way I can but I look forward desperately to some form of normalcy in the coming future. Did I mention that I am impatient? Maybe I’ll go design another building …

 

 

An Art Form

 

A Pinecone and a Leaf,

Lay all in a row,

I think they were shivering,

And waiting for snow.

 

The days now grow colder,

And the sun, not so hot.

It seems winter is here,

And that’s what we got.

 

I know I should be thankful,

To experience four seasons.

But the truth of the matter,

Defies all of my reasons.

 

I want warm but not hot,

With the gentlest of breezes.

Sunshine each day,

Well that truly pleases.

 

I want rain after dark,

To water the flowers.

Not hurricane like,

But sweet calming showers.

 

I know what I’m asking,

Can never be done.

But dreaming’s an art form,

And it’s my kind of fun!

 

A Pinecone and a Leaf,

Lay next to each other.

They started this poem,

And maybe another…

 

 

The accompanying photograph was provided by Dan over at nofacilities.com. He and Maddie are most generous with the fruits of their walks. Thanks Dan!

Love and the Lancaster Bomber

Barb Taub, over at barbtaub.com, wrote a lovely, humorous piece about how she and her husband of 40 years, met. It had me smiling as I remembered how my parents met. So, I promised her I would regal you with their story.

Whenever people ask about how my parents first met, I start by saying that my mother picked my father up in a bar. That usually gets everyone laughing. Including my mother. But things were only slightly different.

If you would first allow me to put their story into context. The year is 1945. World War II is over and servicemen are returning home from the war. Picture if you would an Avro Lancaster heavy bomber flying not very far over Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The young men inside were celebrating having won a World War so they thought that they would give the people of this downtown neighbourhood a bit of a thrill. They took their heavy bombers and flew low as if they were making a strafing run. (shooting bullets at people on the ground) The people in the offices got quite a thrill that day! Their next stop was to do the same run, on farmers’ fields. That didn’t go over quite as well. When they handed over their planes, they found fencing materials wrapped around the wheels. The commander was not well pleased. They were told later that the cows stopped giving milk for a week.

During that time there were canteens or coffee shops set up where returning military could get a cuppa coffee, a sandwich and perhaps a conversation with a pretty lady.  In the evenings my mother was one of many women who was working as a hostess. It was a way to thank the service men for their service and welcome them back into civilian society.  As my mother was making the rounds and chatting with everyone, she noticed someone that she recognized. She went over to the table with two young men in uniform, sat down, introduced herself and said to one of the young men “Are you Norm  . . .?” He replied in the negative but the three of them struck up a conversation. ‘Norm’ asked my mother out on a date and she agreed. After a few dates they parted amicably.

   

Short time after that my mother was walking in downtown Winnipeg and ran into the second man she had met at the table. They had a long conversation that day and then they started to date. Another week goes by and the young man is greeted on the street by his brother who asks why he has not been home to see his mother since he is now back from the war. He didn’t tell my mother that part.

Many years later even more of the story unfolded. My father was regaling his family about his bomber run on downtown Winnipeg. It was at that point my mother stated that she was one of the people in the window watching his plane go by!

They were married for 58 years and were true partners. They completed each other. My mother was a social butterfly and my father was a wanna be hermit. But his job as a salesman succeeded in large part to his partner. In those days clients were entertained in a salesman’s home. Deals were made on golf courses. It was a much more intimately social time.

When my parents married, my mother admitted that she didn’t know how to cook. My father simply handed her a cookbook and said if you can read, you can cook. He bolstered her confidence when she didn’t believe in herself and she provided the social outlet that my father found so difficult. I read once that a good relationship is 60/40.  Some days you would give 60% some days you would give 40% and a good partner would pick up the slack. That was my mom and dad. And those dinner parties my parents would throw for his clients? My mother’s cooking ended up being a highlight!

My father died 62 years after he met my mother. He always maintained that he was a better person with her. And she believed she was too. I grew up surrounded by love, laughter and common sense. My parents let me make my own mistakes and never judged. They were always nearby when I needed them and they gave the best hugs ever!

And one more interesting fact for those who believe in such things. My father was in the hospital for five days before he died. My mother was in bed for five days before she died, five years after my father did. I grew up in a family of five. Spooky? My parents would see the humour.

The image of the Lancaster is from istockphoto.com.

A Critique of Bloggers

Critique

Noun:

a detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory.

Verb:

evaluate (a theory or practice) in a detailed and analytical way.

Definitions from Oxford Languages

Analysis, account, review, appraisal, criticize, comment . . .

When I wrote my first post in 2013 I had no idea what I was doing. A lot of bloggers start that way. Maybe that’s a good thing. It allows us to grow as our blogs grow without any preconceived ideas. I have learned much from reading other blogs, other opinions. And my blog has grown as I have grown.

I recently posted a poem called a Shrivel of Critics and it was about the collective nouns that describe a group. It was fun and whimsical and with no thought of anything past the last line. And then one of my followers asked a question. Thank you Dan, over at nofacilities.com. Now anyone that knows me understands that I have an insatiable curiosity. If I don’t know something and I know that I don’t know, then I want to know. Have I confused you yet? So, I looked up what the collective noun was for a group of bloggers.  There isn’t one. Not an official one.

Several of my followers submitted possibilities for a name and most of them were amusing and pretty good I must say. But my creative, analytical mind went hummmmm . . .  I wanted something that describes what bloggers do in its most general of terms. I wanted something that rolled off the tongue. I wanted something cool!

So, I got a little more sand for my sandbox and started to play. What I came up with was Critique of Bloggers. Critique is one of those words that is kind of fun to say and it has a lot of meanings. Bloggers are different. We have different likes, different dislikes and different passions. It is that difference that makes us all so valuable. We each bring something different to the table. I guess the only part of blogging that is the same for everyone is that it is done online.

Some blogs analyze things or give opinions on Books or policies or life in general. Some are commentaries on other peoples’ blog.  Some offer poetry or short stories that are in themselves a reflection of life, fantasy or morality. Basically, life is a commentary on life.  We play in a medium of words and each one of us is an artist in our own right. The fact that we are brave enough to share is one of the best miracles. And while it might not catch on, I am proud to be a part of a Critique of Bloggers

 

Cannoli

Now I have heard a tale,

Of some pretty mighty folk.

Who one day tried to band together,

Searching for a joke.

 

They searched the wilds far up north,

Then east and west they went.

Lakes and oceans, fields and hills,

But still they did lament.

 

Then someone had a simple thought,

A cult might just be right.

They could live pure and free,

Without some nasty fight.

 

There would of course be rules,

They’d really have to follow.

But some of them were cool,

And none were mean or hollow.

 

Food and drink would be the norm,

Laughter the song of choice.

Friendship for all together,

And all would have a voice.

 

What a perfect place to live,

Far away we all would be.

No hate or strife belongs with us,

I think you would agree.

 

Now I think I’ll rest my head,

And dream of big blue skies.

Perhaps I’ll eat cannoli,

If that cult would be my prize.

 

An Interesting Tale of an Ordinary Life

I have lived an absolutely incredibly fascinating life. And so have you. Of course, other people may not think so. They may not buy a book by an ordinary woman but then maybe they would.

I believe that each of us has a tale or two in our past that would amaze or perhaps horrify the general public.  But it was our life and we lived it as best we could. I am inordinately pleased that cell phones did not exist when I was a child. There’s a great deal of my childhood that, although I remember it fondly, I would not like to be reminded of in pictures. Bad hair days meant something completely different than it does today. We are so concerned with appearances that we often forget substance.

And while I was bullied a little bit when I was in my youth it is nothing compared to what children go through now. My bullies looked me in the eye when they were being mean. I had the option to go to my parents and name names. Then respective parents would get together and the bullying stopped.  Nowadays it is done anonymously with the protection of cyberspace and it hits much deeper. It hurts more profoundly. It causes significantly more damage. And the ramifications for being a bully? It’s rare that they’re caught. And that is a sad statement on our society.

I have always been a champion of Human Rights but what happens when those Human Rights interfere with the Individual’s Rights? Is enough, enough? I remember a saying about an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”. Well, we do and yes, it is a bit of a curse. I’ll bet in the next few years there are going to be a number of books written by supposedly famous people about the struggles they survived during The Year of the Pandemic. Obscene amounts of money will exchange hands so that we can read about other people. Probably not terribly interesting people. But they are famous so that makes them readable. They still put their pants on one leg at a time.

I think the most interesting people are the ones who aren’t famous. They’re the ones who go out and get the job done because it’s the right thing to do. The people who show compassion, ingenuity and selflessness simply because that’s the kind of person they are. They don’t go looking for accolades or monetary gain.  They simply keep their eyes open for the next person that would benefit from their assistance. Those are the interesting people.

I think everyone of us has something fascinating we can teach someone else. And I think every other person out there has something I need to know. And that is what makes life so very interesting.  Don’t you think?