Locked-in-Step Sadness

An elderly woman, suffering from advancing dementia, undergoes a change of residence from the top floor of her seniors’ home to the locked care floor of the same building.

Imagine the changes that she struggles to deal with.

She leaves a comfortable, expensive, well-furnished, two-bedroom apartment with a large pantry, two huge bedroom closets, an entry closet, fridge, stove, washer and dryer, and a balcony to sit on in the summer.

She moves into an expensive, full-care, single room with one entry closet, and a bathroom.

She now sleeps in the provided single bed.

She has a dresser, a wardrobe, a lounge chair and a desk with its chair. She asks me where her two grandsons will sleep. Or sit. When they visit. She doesn’t realize that they probably never will.

We know/feel relieved that she will now be safe from fires and falls and other pitfalls. She is well cared for 24 hours a day.

We also know/hope that this sad reality is one that she will adapt to, and learn to accept, and even enjoy.

Enter the C-19 panic with its ever-changing, and supposedly life-saving regulations.

Imagine this scenario:

  • She now eats her three daily meals alone in her small room, at her small desk.
  • She cannot – for the time being? – leave the floor – neither alone, nor accompanied.
  • She cannot leave her room without a blue medical mask.
  • She cannot have anyone in her room unless both are wearing an approved (not cloth) medical mask.
  • She must always maintain a two meter distance from anyone who visits.
  • She must never share a meal or a drink with a visitor.
  • She may receive only one visitor, once, over the span of a day.

Indeed she is truly locked down and locked in. And I am indeed locked out of her life as she knew it.

Now imagine getting this woman to comprehend this situation, and to remember the rules, and to abide by them. And to put up with the constant, never-ending reminders.

The bottom line is that this feisty elderly woman is, indeed, locked up, locked away from life, and lonely. To say nothing of angry and afraid.

(And she is one of the privileged ones who can afford this care.)

This reality makes me very sad.

Meds in the Woods

In these trying times, one of my daily routines for survival and “thrival” is spending quality time in “my” woods.

They truly fill me with joy.

It takes time to dress for the trek:

At minus 17, my nose needs covering.

The “push-up-prop” shown below is much lower than my kitchen counter ( as the snow piles up it gets lower and lower) so, instead of the 20 to 25 push-ups I do at home, here I manage only 10 to 15.

I use this push-up-prop at the beginning of my loop-route.

Then I race as quickly as I can along the trails – with our recent heavy snowfalls, it can be a real work-out.

I am often tempted to stop and capture the winter beauty that feeds my soul.

The freshly fallen snow makes a perfect canvas for happy smiling faces – with no masks.

Considering the times we’re living in, and how I feel about the situation, I’m thinking that my meds are red.

[Vack-Seens]

This WISE TRADITIONS PODCAST EPISODE 292 will take you to a very detailed and interesting interview featuring one man’s view of what the mRNA [vack-seen] is: gene therapy that was originally developed for cancer treatment. Hmmm? You may listen to the podcast or read the transcript, or both for a perspective you may not have previously considered.

It appears to be valid and credible information. But who knows? You decide for yourself.

I do believe, though, that we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to consider all possible perspectives. Just in case.

Sacrifice and Survival 101

What I was doing naturally, and regularly, one short year ago:

  • spontaneously sharing stories, jokes, recipes; handshakes, and hugs;
  • enjoying large and extended family celebrations
  • having healthy and happy conversations, with friends and strangers in their homes, on the street or in the shops
  • spontaneously extending and accepting invitations for coffee or a glass of wine or a walk in the woods
  • playing volleyball with 35 wonderful women
  • going to concerts and listening to fabulous music
  • mingling with the crowds on the boardwalk, or at the market, or in a restaurant
  • seeing an abundance of welcoming greetings and smiling faces
  • volunteering at my favourite Thrift Shops for Nova for a few hours a week
  • hearing lots of conversation and laughter everywhere
  • being my sociable self
  • feeling joy at being alive and healthy and free to live my life

What I’ve sacrificed:

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Completely & “Essential”-ly Illogical!

In spite of today’s crazy regulations that require us to anti-socially distance, and avoid contact with each other, I do indeed bend the rules to visit my neighbour. I help her out with her temporary predicament due to a foot injury: she cannot go downstairs to do her laundry, and she cannot go out to shop. She is also limited if she needs to stand for extended periods of time – as in a shower.

Rather than resorting to having baths, my friend realized that a portable stool would make the task of showering and washing her long hair so much easier, and I was happy to find a stool for her. I also agreed to look for a new shower-curtain liner as well. No big deal, right?

Well, little did we imagine!!

When I arrived at one of my local pharmacies, I found the stool almost right away and it was perfect. Not knowing the layout of the store, I needed the assistance of a staff member to find the shower curtain liner. What she showed me was also perfect. So I made my way to the cash.

That was when the “fun” began.

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Cosmic Connections

Recently I’ve noticed that many seemingly incongruous elements are constantly inter-twining to help me thrive/survive in these maddening and troublesome times. So much so, that I am actually in awe of how often it happens.

And I wonder who is pulling the strings? Who is the conductor of this welcome stress management?

As a retired woman with a pension, I have the luxury of being able to read, research and reflect to my heart’s delight. These days, there is so much that I feel the need to dig into and try to understand that it is indeed a good thing I have this time. Fortunately, I also have the good health and stamina to briskly walk, and even sprint, in a wonderful wooded area. As I am most often alone, this daily hour also affords me the joy of continuing with my learning via podcasts, while at the same time breathing in the cold, fresh, forest air.

Most recently, I had the unexpected pleasure of hearing a podcast which not only gave me a lot of food for thought, but also caused an unexpected, unexplainable and overwhelming reaction – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

After an introductory message, the author switched to playing his guitar. Almost immediately on the first chords, I experienced tremendous vibrations in my chest and tears running uncontrollably down my cheeks. It was amazing and magical, and I felt totally connected to the music, and the air, and the trees, and the universe. I also felt enormous love and gratitude for my life.

The tears and heart pangs continued all the way home, and for many days afterward whenever I played the music.

This morning I listened to Alan Watt’s music again, and once more was deeply moved. The effect is not quite as strong as it was the first five or so times I played it, but it is still there with its healing powers. Thank you, Alan Watt.

This morning, I also saw the fox run along a path beside me. He was as healthy and free and fast as I. He is also part of the universe.

For those who are interested, you can find Alan Watt’s Christmas Day message on Cutting Through the Matrix with Alan Watt Podcast. The music begins at about 17 minutes.

Perhaps this link helps: https://cuttingthroughthematrix.com/CTTM2020/Alan_Watt_CTTM_1809_Blurb_Merry_Christmas_2020_Dec252020.mp3

Proverbial Truths

Today I’m sharing a story of serendipity.

As with most stories of providence, the mind embraces them – just for the sheer joy of re-living the twists involved.

This mind wants also to share.

It started this morning, with a last minute decision to do a shift at my favourite Thrift Shops for Nova. We could take advantage of the shop being closed to get an early start on sorting, pricing and displaying Valentine items.

The New English Bible

My co-worker, Susan, (We like to call her the Bossa Nova) assigned me a table and I emptied a bin of love and hearts and red onto it, ready to get to work. But I as I pushed an open box aside to make more room, I noticed that inside, on top of some dishes, there was a leather-covered book. Being unabashedly attracted to such things, I took it out and realized at once that it was a Bible. As I lay it on the table, it opened at page 746. Not where the ribbon bookmark was, but at page 746, at the beginning of Proverbs.

Page 746

The words spoke of wisdom, and knowledge, and ignorance, and understanding. And I was hooked and wanted to read more.

So I asked Susan if she thought it would be okay for me to borrow the Bible and return it the next time I went in.

And here’s the twist: Susan, herself, had just that morning taken that Bible in to the Thrift Shop. Hearing of my interest in reading it, she kindly donated it to me instead.

It seems appropriate for me to be embarrassed that I have not had a Bible in my house for many years. A digital version, yes, but not a beautiful, real live Bible with an engraved leather cover!

Well, now I have one. And I’m very happy. Thank you, dear Susan.

“It’s Not All About You.”

These are difficult times, indeed. And you, apparently, are very afraid.

I don’t understand this fear, but I respect your right to look at what you see, and then to conclude that you have reasons to live in fear for yourself and others – and then to act accordingly.

I don’t understand it, but, though I am tempted to do so, I don’t judge you for your beliefs. And I don’t ridicule you. And I certainly do not accuse you of being selfish or inconsiderate of others when you do not hold their views or act according to their beliefs. Nor do I ask you to behave in any way to protect me. I do not hold you responsible for my life.

Today’s enforcement of mandatory mask-wearing in all enclosed spaces here in Quebec marks a very difficult next step for those of us who are not afraid, and who think outside the “approved” group-think accepted by so many.

My very sincere question though is this:

Why should my taking a stand and posting personal views of my position on Facebook be such a threat to you? So much of a threat, in fact, that it justifies comments like this:

What was this comment?

Daily Striving

Of course it has pockets!

These are the ambitions I pack in my bag:


1. See failure as a beginning.
2. Never stop learning.
3. Assume nothing, question everything.
4. Teach others what you know.
5. Analyze objectively.
6. Practice humility.
7. Respect constructive criticism.
8. Take initiative.
9. Give credit where it’s due.
10. Love what you do.

In respect for #9, I reveal that this is from Professor Richard Feynman on Twitter.

Our Confirmation Bias on Covid-19 — Courageous Disclosure

Let’s admit it: we all are guilty of confirmation bias. That is, we all look out for, and welcome, “official” support for whatever we believe on a certain topic. If we believe the earth is flat, we are overjoyed when we discover the “evidence” on Duck Duck Go that supports our claim, no matter how outlandish it might appear to others. With proof on the screen right in front of us, we feel totally justified. And maybe even a bit smug, right?

To be truly confident that we are not simply being duped (let’s say by fake news) we should honestly acknowledge our bias while also examining the opposing views — with an open mind. Indeed, is it not possible that two or more positions have equal merit?

And then what? Hmmm.

Isn’t it equally possible that the opposing view has more validity? If so, then we owe it to ourselves to adjust our position and move on, wiser for the experience. Stubbornly holding onto views that make no sense can only keep us ignorant.

However if, after we have looked at an issue from as many sides as possible, we still come up with the same conclusion, shouldn’t we be brave enough to own our position, and shout it out loud and clear? Regardless of real or perceived criticism?

Shouldn’t we share what we have learned from extensive study of the experts’ opinions on these vital questions?

We think so. In fact, to do otherwise is the coward’s way out, and that doesn’t help anyone at all. It takes time in today’s world to arrive at Truth, and we are aware that many do not have the time or inclination to do the research required, nor to sift through the mass of information available.  Regardless, no one should ever accept anyone else’s “truths” at face value.  Perhaps, though, we could inspire you to question a little more, and do a small amount of research to find out what you believe — so you can make your own informed choices.

Here are links to some of the recent podcasts, videos or articles that we have learned from, and where you can perhaps get more info to help you make up your  mind on these vital issues.

The facts about Covid 19 that you may not have seen

Why you might want to say no to a vaccine

Why you might not want to wear a mask

Very insightful articles by respected journalists and the questions they ask

Why Bill Gates may not be your friend

Towering

Giraffe neck

A group of adult female giraffes with their calves is called a tower. By contrast,  the male giraffe remains mostly solitary and travels from herd to herd looking for a mate. When necessary — in combat — he uses his neck as a weapon. Comically, this behaviour is called necking. 

Today, I am going to mimic the male giraffe and stick my neck out — not to be combative, or find a mate, but simply to express my personal opinion on the hot topic of the day, one that I hear discussed every morning on my health-related podcasts.

Mainstream doctors and experts — the world-over — all agree that the only smart way to tackle this COVID-19 pandemic is with lockdowns, self-isolation, reduced activities and social distancing. 

(I don’t understand why they use this descriptor since we are actually only physically distancing, as a quick look at the ever-growing social media posts can confirm.)

Nevertheless, we must all stay physically away from each other — especially if we are over 70, or 65, or 60 or … whatever the latest number is. We must absolutely self-isolate to protect both ourselves and others from this deadly virus; we must avoid all but essential activities; we must stay inside and do our share/our duty to flatten the curve.

We must use two counter-tops to treat our essential grocery purchases, disinfecting everything, including fruits and vegetables, before we put our items away, and wash our hands every step of the way, and preferably, wear a mask, … or not.

We are surrounded by rules that take away our freedom to act as we see fit. What happened to our rights to use our own logic?

There are, thankfully, very intelligent and questioning dissenters out there who have a different narrative. I find it very refreshing to eaves-drop on these intelligent interviews and discussions by such open-minded scientists. They are experts in their field and know how to have professional debates on challenging topics — and even disagree — without the ubiquitous ad hominem attacks. For sure, they aren’t all on the same page, and that’s okay because they have respectful open dialogue and share their well-thought-out and well-referenced view-points in such a way that we can form our own opinions knowing the facts they present.

Indeed,  with careful and judicious selection from the podcast- and YouTube-world we can find those who speak with a different perspective — with a wisdom that we never hear on television where, at any time of any day, or any week it’s the same old repetition of the same old: wash your hands, stay home, respect the social-distancing rules, don’t ask questions, …. Sadly, their facts consist of the ever-increasing rambling numbers of cases and deaths that they throw out there to continue to terrify us into compliance!

It is so very tiring! And I really wonder this: is it working?

So what’s my take-away? Well, sadly, I obviously don’t have all the answers either. I’m a simple retired English teacher/greeting card designer — not a scientist.

I do, however, have a good degree of critical-thinking abilities, and having listened to, and read dozens of articles on these issues, I too have become a bit of a dissenter. And there are many things that I question:

— If we never allow the children (who are least vulnerable to this virus) to get out into the living world and play with their friends, and get exposure to microbes of all kinds, how will we ever get an elevated degree of herd immunity to resist this virus?

— With nothing close to 85% herd immunity, how can we possibly avoid a second wave of lockdowns, social distancing, manic hand-washing, illogical grocery routines, etc. ?

— How many more people will suffer even more ill health and then die a prolonged and much more miserable death because of the continuing lockdowns?

– Why don’t governments pre-emptively spend the enormous offers of hand-out money to fix the obesity, diabetes, heart, kidney, auto-immune, etc. diseases; and the horrendous social problems of addiction and homelessness, etc. so that people can be healthy enough to hardily face any and all novel, unexpected and unimaginable biological forces of nature?

— Why don’t we instead get sunshine/ vitamin D exposure, fresh air, exercise, sleep, peace of mind, … and good vibes from our neighbours and loved ones?

— Why don’t we look at this as a challenge to build up our health, to tower above, and to become very, very bad hosts to this virus?

 

For an even more sobering read see this Off-Guardian article from April 17.

And Part 2 is here

Lockdowns are the first steps towards monitoring and controlling our behaviour:

“A cashless society, mandatory vaccination, universal basic income, a surveillance state, restricted freedom of movement and a complete restructuring of the global economy have already been touted as necessary following the “pandemic.” “

 

From Sports to Crafty Volunteering

Volleyball is great for more than exercise, fun and socializing. It is also a super way to network and share our skills – off the court.

One of the women in my Saturday morning league is a doctor, and she had sent out a request for volunteers to sew cloth face masks. She needs them for patients who visit her clinic. So I took up the gauntlet and joined the ranks of other women who are doing the same thing — sewing masks.

Having been a seamstress for many years, I have accumulated more than enough supplies to put together some fashionably colourful accessories while also using up items I haven’t seen in years, and possibly would otherwise never have used.

I found a design on the internet, suggested by a nurse – it is for a double-layered mask with an inner pocket that could accommodate a filter. (I’m wondering if people actually use coffee filters?) With some slight modifications that seemed practical to me, I set to work cutting, and pinning, and stitching, and then trimming the hundreds of threads.

I ended up with 13 masks each with ties for the top and bottom. No, I will not be demonstrating how they are worn.

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Nurturing with the letter K

Last week I listened to a podcast featuring Joel Salatin where he said, “It’s wonderful to nurture something.” And oh, how I agree!

Indeed, his comments encouraged me to appreciate my own nurturing activities – what a blessing to be able to enjoy these treats so easily.

Kombucha, Kefir, Kvass & Kraut

Kombucha and Kraut are happy, long-time regulars in my kitchen, and each batch has its own particular character.

Kvass has recently made a come-back, after a pause for about a year. Hmmmm. It is such a refreshing drink.

And now milk Kefir has joined the pack. An easy-peazy quick process. Thanks go to Kristin for the grains and to Donna for the inspiration.

So nutritious and delicious these all are – we hug each other every day.

With the arrival of spring-like weather, [K]ompost is also now stirring nicely in my backyard, getting ready to make itself a home in my garden.

Such a lovely, lively and hard-working family!

My sourdough is, unfortunately, being very stubborn. Perhaps it is missing the letter K?

Brilliance on the Small Screen

Moira

Off and on over the past year or so, I have watched bits and pieces of Schitt’s Creek, but have never gone out of my way to view it regularly. Just yesterday, though, I was mesmerized by several back to back episodes, and have concluded that this is a brilliant production, featuring extremely talented actors.

Now that we are supposed to spend more time at home, I will maybe find time to check out what I’ve missed — on the smaller screen.

 

Truth Be Told

img_0794The drive to know possibly has something to do with my seven decades. It has, though, for a good long time, been a quite-intense-work-in-progress* — made so much easier with the accessibility of the internet. I remember stressing on my students — time and time again — that, with this tool, they had a wonderful free gift of knowledge right in front of them,  and all they had to do was unwrap it. Be curious, read, research, dig, question, study, learn, cross-reference, reject, start again, …. I told them there was no excuse to be in the dark about anything. The responsibility to look for the answers, however, was theirs alone. Thankfully, my retirement has given me the opportunity to continue to fulfill my responsibility and be a life-long-learner.

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