Tag Archives: positive changes

I Remember

As I am sure most of the world knows, we are all dealing with having to be isolated, away from each other. Many of us are dealing with having to be on our own, alone. And that is very new. I am enjoying my hermit mode but today I wasn’t interested in reading or watching TV, I wanted to think, I wanted to remember. So I made myself a little challenge: how much could I remember of my childhood. To put things into context I have more than six decades of experiences to remember.

Because I have lived in so many places and I know what years I did, I can calculate where my memories fit in the whole scheme of things.

Winnipeg, Manitoba  ages 0-5

I remember my very first friend:  Tanis.  I liked dogs better than I did most children.  Tanis was a boxer. I don’t remember any of the kids.

Kirkland Lake, Northern Ontario ages 5 – 8

I remember picking blueberries for my mother to make a pie. I had a pail but I probably ate as much as I put in that pail. I remember the rocks we had to climb. It was part of the Canadian Shield. If I think hard enough, I can feel the stone beneath my hands and smell the grass. I remember the houses we lived in, that I played in.  I remember a horse and sulky racing along the main street. (A sulky is a lightweight cart with two wheels and a seat for the driver)

Good memories.

Saint John, New Brunswick ages 8 – 13

I can remember walking back from a local swimming hole with a group of boys and girls and it was hot. It was hot enough that I took off my shirt. A boy came up to me and was horrified that I would take my shirt off, he told me it was not allowed because I was a girl. I’m retorted that I might be a girl but I didn’t have anything to prove I was a woman. Or something along those lines. His comment upset me and I went home and told my mother. I don’t remember her reaction but I don’t remember being upset again. I also did not take off my shirt again, in public.

I remember watching kittens play beneath the feet of huge horses. It was a working farm that my friend Marion lived on. The horses were Clydesdales  or Percherons, really big working horses but so incredibly gentle. I remember playing with the piglets. Until they grew up and became mean.  They were destined for the pot.  I spent a lot of time on that farm. The family was so incredibly generous.

I remember Kathy T. and her cat Rusty.  Rusty was an outdoor cat at Kathy’s home but he was best friends with my dog Beau and would come and sleep on my bed at night.

I could continue but this post is long enough.  I am pleased that I could still recall those idyllic times. The person I am today was formed in those distant times and I was lucky, my childhood was a positive one. I plan on one day in the future, looking back on these days.  It has been a rough time but it could have been worse.  I am thankful for the blessings of today, small though they may be.

I enjoyed traipsing through my past.  If your past is remembered, it is not gone.  How about you? Any memories you would like to remember?

 

 

 

 

 

The Canadian Shield  is a large area of exposed Precambrian igneous and high-grade metamorphic rocks (geological shield) that forms the ancient geological core of the North American continent. Glaciation has left the area only a thin layer of soil, through which the composition of igneous rock resulting from long volcanic history is frequently visible.[3] With a deep, common, joined bedrock region in eastern and central Canada, the Shield stretches north from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean, covering over half of Canada and most of Greenland; it also extends south into the northern reaches of the United States. Human population is sparse and industrial development is minimal,[4] but mining is prevalent.    WikiPedia

 

 

Auto Correct

  1. Auto correct

For sometime now I have been threatening to write ups about auto correct. Guess what today is? I Wai type using a set of headphones and a program that prints what I say. I must speak clearly and enunciate correctly. But I also must contend with the nefarious auto correct. It doesn’t always like what I say nor does it know the difference between 22 and two or which witch is which. It amuses me and it frustrates me.

There is a wonderful joke I remember about a woman who is texting her boss to say that she is home sick with a cold. The auto correct sent the message at home in bed with a clown. I laughed myself silly. Now I will admit that day I am being super careful to see how much I can get out correctly. And wouldn’t you know it, today the auto car seems to be taking a break. I spoke too soon but we all go through this.

I was doing an art show a few years ago and they asked me for a bit of a biography. Where did I get my ideas for painting and so on. I wrote about how I had canoed in northern Ontario and swim in the ocean off the Atlantic provinces. And you see auto corrected exactly what someone did to my biography. Instead of using the word swim, no my dictation will not take it. There are three chances, I said tenses: swim, swim, swim. Nope my dictation will not take it. So what I’m going to do is I am going to take this a few paragraphs and correct them. Some of the errors are AutoCorrect and some of the errors are my dictation program refusing to recognize words.

Does this frustrate me? Yes. But life is a continual speedbump. Some of them are easy to step over and some are a challenge. But it sure as hell ain’t boring!

 

2 . AutoCorrect

For some time now I have been threatening to write a post about AutoCorrect. Guess what today is? I am typing using a set of headphones and a program that prints what I say. I must speak clearly and enunciate correctly. But I also must contend with the nefarious AutoCorrect. It doesn’t always like what I say nor does it know the difference between to, too and two or which witch is which. It amuses me and it frustrates me.

There is a wonderful joke I remember about a woman who is texting her boss to say that she is home in bed sick with a cold. The AutoCorrect sent the message “at home in bed with a clown”. I laughed myself silly. Now I will admit that today I am being super careful to see how much I can get out correctly. And wouldn’t you know it, today the Autocorrect seems to be taking a break. I spoke too soon but we’ll all get through this.

I was doing an art show a few years ago and they asked me for a bit of a biography. Where did I get my ideas for painting and so on? I wrote about how I have canoed in northern Ontario and swum in the ocean off the Atlantic provinces. And AutoCorrect did exactly what someone did to my biography. Instead of using the word swum, they used swam.  There are three tenses: swim, swam, swum. My dictation will not take it and neither will AutoCorrect. So, I am going to take these few paragraphs and correct them. Some of the errors are AutoCorrect and some of the errors are my dictation program refusing to recognize words.

Does this frustrate me? Yes. But life is a continual set of speed bumps. Some of them are easy to step over and some are a challenge. But it sure as hell ain’t boring!

 

 

 

Merriam Webster says:

 

Swim is an irregular verb; swam is the past tense of swim, while swum is the past participle. Swum is used after have, as in “I have swum in that pool before.”

 

Awkward

 

We have all had those moments that are a little, well, awkward. Sometimes they are funny moments, even endearing.  Sometimes you want the world to end to hide your shame. When I think of that word, I always think of an incident involving a stage, an audience and a pair of fishnet stockings. I jest not.

Before you get too far down that rabbit hole, let me explain. It was part of an avant-garde play I was doing in University. The majority of the characters spent their time hiding behind wooden boxes and would jump up and sit on a box to say their lines and then hide again. Think of a Jack-in-the-box.  Seems simple enough. Hahaha. Anyone who has ever worn a pair of fishnet stockings knows that they are tough, steel tough.  My costume was simple but those fishnet stockings tripped me up quite badly. They got stuck on a nail that someone had forgotten to remove from the wood box. Whatever the stockings were made from wouldn’t rip. So, I missed my cue to retreat behind the box, more than once.  It took me several minutes to work the nail loose so that I could retreat. I don’t think the audience noticed but my cast mates did. I took a little ribbing after that.

I’m not going to regale you with my many moments of awkwardness over the last 60 years because, well, this post is not that long. But it could be! I’ve been on stage, forgotten my lines and had to improvise. I’ve been on a date when I forgot my date’s name. Now that was awkward!  It’s OK I figured it out before he noticed. There wasn’t a second date.

Then there was the time I was visiting a friend’s cottage.  There must have been 10 or 15 people in the room when I inadvertently bumped into a floor lamp as I was about to sit down.   A noisy room for some reason went eerily silent as I turned to the floor lamp and apologized. It did not go unnoticed. Welcome to my world.

Someone once said to me that you can judge the integrity of an individual by how well they handle knotted Christmas lights. When you think about it, that is quite wise. I have seen the frustration, the anger that often arises. I have also known people to simply buy new ones rather than face the daunting chore of unravelling of last year’s.

I am not the first person to have to deal with an awkward situation nor will I be the last. But aren’t they just moments in our lives to be lived as best we can or as the worst we can?  It’s all about how we deal in the moment when it’s happening to us or around us. We can find the humour and compassion to survive both.

The Crocodile

 

A croc was basking

In a summer pond,

Waiting for lunch

To pass by.

 

His eye on the clouds

He suddenly thought,

‘My stomach is grumbling

for pie!’

 

A fish was not right,

An elephant neither,

So all he could do,

Was sigh.

 

Dreaming of a day

When pies could be real,

He continued to stare

At the sky.

 

Remember that croc

And follow your dreams,

All you must do

Is try.

 

The Domino Effect   

I wrote this back in January 2014.  I hope you don’t mind. I just couldn’t come up with a new post this week.  I hope I will be forgiven . . .

I want to say something profound and memorable.  I wanted my first full post of 2014 to be something people spoke about to each other for days and weeks.  And then I realized I had it all wrong.  It’s not about the words I use.  It’s not about how I feel about what I write.  It’s about reaching out from the isolation of my home to the world. We are not alone.  We never have been.

I’m a big believer in the importance of chance.  You meet a stranger on the street and you smile in an abstract, bored sort of way.  The person you smile at doesn’t realize you are bored and his spirits are lifted just a tiny bit and when he gets home to his wife, he’s kinder.  His wife spends a little longer getting dressed that night because she’s starting to believe she’s beautiful because her husband was kind.  She speaks gently to her child that night and he goes to sleep feeling loved.  The next day he goes to school and does exceptionally well on a test because he feels good about himself.  His teacher is thrilled that her problem student has done well and she feels better about herself thinking she’s the reason.  She goes home that night . . . All of this happened because one woman smiled at a stranger.  It’s a domino effect.

We live on this little blue world made of dirt and water and people.  There are a lot of us.  There are wars and hunger, violence and apathy.  Every day we deal with our own perceived inadequacies, our own diseases.  But there’s one thing we must never forget: somewhere, someone is in much worse shape than we are.  Somewhere, someone is watching their life blood seep through a gaping wound, alone and frightened.  Somewhere, someone is watching as a loved one slowly succumbs to a painful and deadly disease.  A woman is raped and beaten, killed.  A man is shot dead by a stranger for his empty wallet.  A woman feels the hands of a lover on her throat tightening. Children are shot by children, men and women are tortured, planes crash, people are dying of hunger, disease and greed.

You have a choice.  I have a choice.  We can give in, be victims and wallow in our own self-pity.  Or we can take what quality of life we have, embrace it, relish it, enhance it if we can, and live.  Reach out to the stranger next to you and smile.  We are all in this together

 

Par-ty!!

I’m going to have a party,

All by myself alone.

Would you like to join me?

From within your zone?

 

There’ll be party favours,

And drinks to sink a ship.

Dancing umm, I think that’s fine,

Unless of course I trip!

 

Music sure, there has to be,

Loud and with a beat.

And if I get too hungry,

Perhaps a little treat.

 

I know that it’s unusual,

To do this at a distance.

I wanted something different,

A path of least resistance.

 

Something has to change I think,

The world is so bizarre.

So, grab your hat and party shoes

And be a breakout star!

Amplexus

I have always found that the best way to get someone’s attention is to make them curious. “What IS that noise?” “What do you mean by that?”  “She did what with whom?”

Your curiosity is peaked isn’t it? The name of this post is actually the Latin word for hug. It is such a little word but it has huge implications. It implies love, affection, concern. It forces a connection between individuals or even groups. It is physical. And right now, we are living in a world that is telling us to be less physical. And the one thing I’m hearing over and over again is that people miss getting hugged.  That’s hugged not mugged! Although, some hugging can feel like a mugging. But I digress.

There is a movie I really enjoy called ‘Love, Actually’. There’s a scene, I think it’s at the beginning of the movie as well as at the end, where you see large groups of people walking up to individuals, to love ones and hugging them. I miss a hug. I miss shaking hands. I miss getting a kiss on the cheek. And I will continue to miss all of this if it means that I am protecting the people I love.

We’ve entered into a new reality where we are learning to show our affection, our caring, without physical touch. It may not be quite as satisfying but we can make it count. We have to. I love my family but I have not been in their physical presence for some time. And I’m okay with that. I love them enough to stay away. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I’m absolutely miserable about it! But I’m a tough old sod and I would rather do the right thing for the right reason.

Let’s be serious. Most of us are not aching all that much. I have food, shelter, entertainment. I am not suffering. My mental faculties are being amused and challenged. Quite honestly, I’m simply inconvenienced. And it seems to me that the people that are mostly inconvenienced are the ones that are complaining the loudest. What about the people on the front lines that are quite literally putting their lives in danger to protect us, care for us? What about the people with loved ones in the hospital that they can’t get to? There are horror stories all over the world but I’m not one of them.

So, I’m going to let my hair grow a little longer. I’m not going to go to the dentist or the mall or the cinema. I’m going to keep away from friends and family. And I’m going to stop complaining about it. I am inconvenienced, nothing more.

 

Ethically Sourced

 

I recently watched a commercial that talked about ethically sourced coffee. I am watching way too much TV if I’m actually paying attention to the commercials! Those who know me realize that I have a slightly different perspective on the rest of the world than most people. You might say I’m driving down the road only slightly off the curb. Of course, I looked up what ‘ethically sourced’ meant.  It simply means:  “ . . sourcing ingredients and materials in a responsible and sustainable manner that considers the people and environment throughout the process.” But what about the bean?

My brain took little detour and I had visions of potential Coffee Gatherers approaching a bush/tree and politely asking permission to gather those live beans, submit them to long and laborious treatments and then crushing them to a powder so that millions of people could partake of their lifeblood with the comment “aaahhh! Damn good cup of coffee Ethel!”

I know, I know, I am being silly. But I think we all need a little silly in our lives. And I don’t drink coffee. I drink tea. I hope it too is ethically sourced or at least asked politely. And then I started to think a little more.

I am ethically sourced. My parents met, dated, married and the rest I will leave to your imagination. They were polite in all the years I knew them so I assume they were in the beginning as well. They’re Canadian of course they were polite! Ha ha ha ha!

And then there’s the question of ethics. How do we determine what is ethical? Moral, virtuous, righteous, noble. These are all attributes that we aspire to but that not everyone can claim to be. There are far too many examples of those who are not being ethical.  And some days it only seems to be getting worse. I was raised by good people. I know the difference between right and wrong. I understand that there are others out there with the same background as mine and others a different one but we all want the same thing. We want to feel joy, safety, love. It should be a standard for everyone but unfortunately it is not.

We do love to use big words, important words, meaningful words. But they are words. As powerful as they may be, they pale before actions. We need to see ethical actions for everyone. Well, yes, the bean too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Moment of Introspection

Late this morning I was on my balcony feeling a little sorry for myself.  There was no real need. I’m healthy, I am safe and I have all my needs met, except for one. I enjoy spending time on my own. I can write when I’m alone. I can paint when I’m alone. I can watch TV or read. At my fingertips I have the entire world on the Internet. But there’s one thing I cannot have:  people. I miss people. I missed seeing them on the street and in the shops. But not seeing them is a small price to pay for keeping us healthy. It’s the least I can do.

As I was looking out over my balcony, I was aware that I was alone. There was no one in sight. This is a busy intersection and there are usually a lot of people and cars and noise. But today I could hear clearly the birds chirping away in, what I can only assume is, a song of joy. They are not competing with the fumes generated by cars or the cacophony of voices that accompanies any large group of people. The air is clear and the faint breeze is sweet.

At a distance I can hear a car. But it is not close. There are no planes in the air or trains in the background.  A Security car has just stopped outside my bank. I can see him. He’s all alone. He only stays for a moment and then leaves. A solitary car pulls up into the empty parking lot and I can see through its windows that there are two passengers.  I watch as she don’s gloves before she enters the empty bank. There’s a bank machine there. Within moments they too were gone. I can see birds flying free and unencumbered. This is a moment of introspection.

People are worried and rightly so. The last pandemic of this magnitude was in 1918. It lasted from January 1918 to December 1920. Infected 500 million people, about one quarter of the world’s population at the time. 102 years ago. Have we learned enough to combat this one? Over 1 million people in the world have been infected so far. Out of 7 billion!

Church bells are ringing in support of those on the front lines. I see videos and hear stories of people coming out onto their balconies or at the end of their driveways and singing. They’re making noise. They are rejoicing in being alive. They are refusing to give up or to give in. We will survive this. Our planet will have time to heal and we will have time to take stock.  What really is important in our lives, in our world? Maybe now we’ll learn the truth.

We are not isolating ourselves; we are distancing ourselves. It is a huge difference. And that is what will keep us together. I hope it will bring us closer as individuals and as a species. Be well.

Keep Me Posted

 

Lord keep us posted,

On the plan that you had.

I know you are brilliant,

But things have gone bad.

 

There are locusts and fires,

And floods and a plague.

Forgive me dear Lord,

Your details are vague.

 

I pray and I praise,

I know others do too.

These are desperate times

What more can we do?

 

We must come together,

Perhaps when we’re one.

Our path will be clear,

And this evil be done.

 

Forgive me dear Lord,

For questioning your way.

In panic I drifted,

But I knew you would stay.

 

Your word will be done,

Our lesson was learned.

Our future is forward,

Our sanity returned.