Archive by Author | Broot

Do your views align with your chosen political party?

Have you taken the test on Political Compass lately? As you learn and as the world changes around you, your politics may change as well. I had a tour through today and it was very interesting to check the compass for the Canadian and New Zealand elections through the years (They’ve got elections back to 2008 for NZ and 2005 for Canada). It shows how the political parties have moved around the compass through the years.

You may be interested to note that Trudeau’s liberals are not anywhere close to the communist left side, despite claims from the convoy. Both the liberals and the conservatives are deep into the authoritarian right quadrant as of the 2020 Canadian federal election.

It is my theory that if people took the Political Compass test, they may find out their chosen party isn’t even close to where they fall on the graph.

So that’s my challenge for you today. Take the political compass test, especially if you never have before. If the results surprise you, maybe it’s time to take an in-depth look at the party you think speaks for you. Maybe it’s not the right party for you, after all.
Political Compass

Ask yourself why they’re telling you the story.

“It is hard to define how, against, whom, about what, and how long we should be angry, and up to what point someone is acting correctly or in error.” – Aristotle

And that’s what mis- and dis- information does. Makes you question exactly what is correct and what is not. It makes you doubt your own sense of self.

As my friend MM said,

“When someone tells you something, ask yourself what the underlying message is, and why they are telling it to you.

Does what they are telling you seem likely to be true?

What kind of things do they want you to think about what kind of people as a result of them telling you this??

What is their reason for sharing the story?”

Why do they want you to be angry or afraid? Who will benefit from you being angry or afraid?

How, instead, can you directly help, inspire, improve your surroundings, lift someone up?

Forget the stories, especially the ones where you cannot verify the source or the truth. Be a kind human.

The racism discussion

Where we live, it is part of the curriculum in high school to discuss racism and the effects.

My son was part of this learning in an English class that focused on First Nations writings and voices.

They did talk about residential schools. They did talk about the injustices. They did talk about racism. According to my son, all of this was taken seriously by the students.

And then, the discussion stalled. The (outwardly white-presenting) teacher couldn’t seem to move past obvious racism. He kept pulling the students into a discussion about how the students should not see their peers of colour as lesser, or unable, or unintelligent or lazy.

The thing is, these teenagers have grown up with that message their whole lives. All the cartoons and preschool shows they watched talked about inclusion. Told them all people are equal. All are able. All are intelligent.

Their teachers in school have all pressed the same information home.

Now, even my son knows there are students in his school, in his year, in his class that are still racist. Those students have been taught that at home. And the other students are not quiet about telling those particular students off.

His school is filled with students from everywhere in the world. So many different languages, cultures and colours. It is difficult to be outwardly, obviously, racist in the school. It is shut down relatively quickly.

That said, my son came home very upset several days into this curriculum on racism. “Why does the teacher keep telling us everyone is equal? We know that.”

And I agreed with him. So we had a discussion about systemic racism and what it was, and why it should be discussed in his class about racism. Why it was important to learn the history behind it. We agreed his teacher was doing the class a disservice by only talking about open, obvious racism. We need to talk about both.

We also agreed that a teacher who is outwardly white presenting should probably not be the only speaker in class. Other voices were required to round out the discussion and help the critical thinking process. My concerns have been forwarded to the school principal.

It’s not enough. The discussion and learning needs to continue. And we’ve only made a start.

The surveillance/police state is YOU.

What’s on my mind? Well I’ll tell you. People running around “reporting” others and judging others. Reporting on others is a slippery slope. There is historical precedent. I’m not gonna send you where to look. You know what I mean and you know where to look.

If you’re looking out your windows or on posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media looking for people to report just because they’re outside, or because they went to the store for “just 1 item” or because they took their kids with them grocery shopping, you aren’t helping. (And these aren’t the only types of examples – I know there’s more.)

People are currently (as of Apr 4, 2020) allowed to be outside in Canada and the majority of the USA. There is no complete lockdown, no curfew.

Yes, people should be maintaining social distancing. Yes, they should have their dog on a leash. Yes, they should stay off playgrounds and other park equipment.

You should only be reporting them if they’re committing an actual crime or you can see them actively putting someone in real (not your imagined) danger. They know the risks by now.

People are allowed to go to the store for “just one item”. Consider this scenario – Hubby is our designated shopper. I had to refill a prescription and was unable to call it in because the phone lines were all busy. So when he went shopping, he requested the refill. They were unable to fill it that day, and told him to come back tomorrow. So he had to go back to the store for “just one item.”

Yes, people should only be making essential trips.

You are not the one who gets to judge what an essential trip looks like.

If that person isn’t putting you in immediate real danger, stay out of it.

And that parent that took their kids to the grocery store? Ever considered that might just be a single parent with single custody, unable to leave the kids by themselves?

Offer support before judgement. Support before reporting. Offer to get their groceries for them while they sit in the car.

If you are one of the ones looking for people to report, I’ll say it again, you are bringing us that much closer to a survelliance/police state, and willingly.

The children are watching. The neighbours are watching. And the next person that might get reported is you. Whether you deserve it or not.

The Neighbours are Watching

WASH YOUR HANDS! You didn’t wash long enough. You didn’t wash properly. You didn’t dry properly. ACK don’t use the air dry blower! That water’s not warm enough. That soap didn’t foam enough. Don’t use block soap the germs will stay there. The germs don’t stay on soap. Only use soap dispensers. Make sure you clean the soap dispensers! Don’t touch the taps with your hands. Don’t touch the doors with your hands. Don’t touch the dispensers with your hand. What do you mean you don’t wash your hands. Weren’t you washing your hands before?

Make sure you use hand sanitizer. Why don’t you have hand sanitizer? Why don’t you make your own hand sanitizer? That hand sanitizer is no good. Buy only this brand of sanitizer. Use vodka if you can’t find isopropyl alcohol. Don’t use vodka only use isopropyl alcohol. Only 60% and above. Anything is better than nothing. Why are you buying hand sanitizer? Why are you making hand sanitizer? SOAP AND WATER WORK BETTER. Don’t hoard the hand sanitizer. Why did you steal the bottle of hand sanitizer from the church and the hospital? Do you know who has hand sanitizer? Stores are sold out of the sanitizer and the materials to make it. Why aren’t you using hand sanitizer?

Are you wearing a mask? Why are you wearing a mask? You don’t need to wear a mask. Masks are only for essential workers. Why don’t you wear a mask? You should wear a mask. That’s not the right mask. You aren’t wearing the mask properly. You aren’t taking it off properly. You didn’t fit it properly. You aren’t disposing of it properly. You should make your own mask. You should make lots of masks. You should donate masks. How dare you hoard masks! Wear your mask at home. Only wear your mask when you go outside. Only wear your mask at the doctor’s. Wear your mask all the time. Change your mask often. Don’t waste masks.

Are you wearing gloves? Why are you wearing gloves? You don’t need to wear gloves. Gloves are only for essential workers. Why aren’t you wearing gloves? You should wear gloves. Those aren’t the right gloves. You aren’t wearing the gloves properly. You aren’t taking them off properly. You aren’t disposing of them properly. You shouldn’t hoard gloves. You should donate gloves. Wear your gloves at home. Only wear gloves when you go outside. Only wear gloves at the doctor’s. Wear gloves all the time. Change your gloves often. Don’t be wasteful.

Why are you outside? Why aren’t you staying home? You’re supposed to #StayHome. Get out of the park and off the beaches. Stay off the playgrounds. Only essential workers can go outside. Don’t go for walks. Stay 2 metres away from everybody! You need vitamin D – go for walks. Move onto the grass when people go by. Keep your dog close. Keep your children close. Leave your children at home. Go sit outside in the fresh air. How dare you have your children outside! How dare you go for a drive to break up the monotony of staying home? You might have an emergency and expose others! You can be in your backyard, you know. You can be in your front yard but don’t go near anyone.

Don’t touch anyone. Don’t shake hands. Don’t touch your face. Don’t touch anything until you clean your hands. You’re getting OCD. Why are you afraid of germs? Your immune system needs exposure to germs and bacteria. You’re overreacting.KEEP YOUR DISTANCE! 2 metres minimum! SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Buy groceries online. Why aren’t you supporting local businesses? The grocery stores are fine – go shop there. Only 1 designated shopper at a time! We don’t care if you have no one to babysit your children while you grocery shop. Only buy groceries online if you’re self-isolating or disabled. THE FIRST HOUR IS FOR ELDERLY AND DISABLED ONLY! Oh and for Essential workers. Buy extra food. Don’t buy extra food. Buy extra prescriptions. Don’t buy extra prescriptions. Buy extra toilet paper. DON’T HOARD THE TOILET PAPER.

Why are you only buying a couple of things? Why are you buying so many things? Why are you buying junk food? Make sure you buy junk food – for the stress. I can’t believe you didn’t buy vitamins. Don’t buy ibuprofen. Buy ibuprofen. How dare you try to buy over your limit on items? Remember to buy extra for the food bank and for your neighbours in self-isolation. Send only one designated shopper for multiple families! LEAVE the alcohol wipes for those that need them. You need alcohol wipes to clean all your devices!

Follow hazmat protocol when re-entering your home. You’re overreacting. Just wash your hands. Wash everything you bring in with you. Use lysol. Use bleach. Use soap and water. Use soap and water on your fruits and vegetables. No, use bleach on your fruits and vegetables. No, use vinegar on your fruits and vegetables. No, use this retail product on your fruits and vegetables. Just rinse your fruits and vegetables. Cook your fruits and vegetables. Remove all outer packaging and put your groceries in new containers. Grow a victory garden. Only buy direct from grower. Only buy directly from produce suppliers. Make your own bread and baked goods. Can and preserve your fruits and vegetables! Only eat frozen vegetables! Make sure you buy vitamins for when the vegetables run out.

Order take out! Support local business. Don’t order take out. Ewww why are you ordering takeout the delivery drivers might be sick. The essential workers who made your food might be sick. Don’t order take out. Wipe down all the cartons! You don’t need to wipe down the cartons. Did you hear that company doesn’t take care of their workers? They have people working there that are sick. They laid people off! Don’t support them. You can’t make every meal at home. You need the treat.

Go outside and clap for the essential workers. Go outside and sing together. Put things up in your windows. Chalk your walk. There’s supposed to be a stuffed bear in your window. The workers can’t hear you anyway. Nobody’s outside to see your windows. Nobody wants to sing with you. Support the essential workers! They’re very important. Why should they be paid more? They’re not getting laid off. They don’t need EI. They should have emergency funds. They’re asking for too much. They aren’t taking it seriously. Why are they working and not staying home? Protect the essential workers! They need the masks. They need the gloves. They need the hand sanitizer. They need a plexiglass barrier. Pay them more! We’re watching to see how companies take care of their workers.

Homeschool your children! Don’t stress out your children. Don’t let them hear the news. Let them hear the news. Why aren’t the teachers teaching? The teachers are working so hard. Support the teachers! Your children need structure! Your children need to be constantly learning! Your children need to be constantly playing! Your children need boredom. Get your children off the devices! Your children can do all their learning online. Some parents will learn the problem isn’t the teachers. Why don’t you like your children? Stop working and enjoy the time with your children.

Work from home! Don’t work from home. Don’t work if you have children at home. Work from home just like you do at work. Don’t slack off! Have your video on at all times so your employer can watch you working. Don’t do your housework. Don’t take care of your children. You can’t work and watch your kids and clean at the same time. Slacker! It’s important to work. If you get laid off go be an essential worker. There are lots of jobs. Essential workers are being laid off. They can’t pay their rent. Support local business! Support the economy! Of course you can work and watch your kids and clean all at the same time.

Buy things to keep you busy at home. Support local business! Don’t buy things from Amazon. Don’t buy things from Walmart. Local businesses are closed so order online! Don’t order online the delivery drivers are sick and unclean. The drivers are being careful. Lysol everything that comes in the door! Don’t sign for anything. How dare you buy unessential items? How dare you buy crafting supplies? How can you be so frivolous at a time like this? Keep yourself busy. Enjoy your hobbies. Great time to do all those home improvement projects. Did you see all those people at Home Depot buying non-essentials? They should stay home.

The neighbours are watching.

**inspired by multiple conversations, news items, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts.

Touch the people staying in the house with you – carefully, cleanly, and appropriately

If you have elderly, special needs, children, friends or a life partner in the same living space as you while you #stayhome:

Please remember that humans *need* safe and appropriate touch to thrive.

I know you’re worried about getting sick.

You can take precautions if you need to. Remember, hands are not necessary for safe/appropriate touching, and skin on skin contact is best. Maybe everybody washes their hands first, maybe you find other ways to interact (back to back? Side cuddles (shoulder to shoulder)? Footsies? Head rub? Back rubs?), or maybe everybody has a shower or bath before having a cuddle.

The “social distancing” is meant for the people outside your household.

The only time you need to be super careful about touching is when you or another child/person is sick and in the house with you. I’m pretty sure 14 days without touch is not long enough to do significant damage to an adult. When the quarantine is done, though, find a safe way to touch! For infants and young children, please find a safe way to give them some touch, even if they are sick. Hugs and skin on skin is probably not the idea, but there will be a way.

Children’s and infants’ brains need touch to develop properly.
Adults need touch to keep them mentally healthy.
Your life partner and you maintain the hormonal bond though touch.

I worry about those who live on their own without a pet for this, too. (Those with a pet can get the needed touching through them.) I’m not sure what the answer is for that. If that is you, I give you mental hugs!! Maybe consider whether pet adoption is for you when that is again possible.

Kia Kaha (Be Strong) everybody. Wash your hands, Keep your hands off your face, and stay home. (And touch the people in the house with you. Carefully, cleanly, and appropriately)

When should you wash your hands?

Today, let’s have a chat about WHEN to wash your hands. I’ve seen many posts saying things to the equivalent of “you were supposed to be washing your hands this whole time!”

That’s fair. And it’s also true that there are many people who may have never been taught WHEN it is appropriate to wash hands. It’s not fair to shame them. Better to educate them.

Here’s a review:

1) Before touching ANY genitalia. Yours, your sexual partner’s, your child’s before a nappy/diaper change, any adult where you are helping them toilet. If you’ve got the required permissions to touch that genital area WASH YOUR HANDS first. This can help prevent UTIs, fungal infections, bacterial infections, and viral infections in that area. Ever had a UTI? They suck.

2) After touching any genitalia or changing a diaper.

3) Before you toilet. See above. Keeping that area free of germs is a good idea. Especially for those with female presenting genitalia.

4) After you toilet. This is the one most people know.

5) Before you open or prepare any food. That stuff is going to go in your mouth. Keep the germs off it.

6) After you handle any raw meat, poultry, fish or eggs. Especially before you move on to touch other foods. One could make the argument for washing after touching cheese, as well.

7) Before you eat.

8) After you eat.

9) Before you touch your face. Need to scratch an itch? Pick your nose? pick something out of your teeth? Rub your eye? WASH YOUR HANDS.

10) After you touch your face, pick your teeth, etc. You’re not only trying to keep germs out, you’re trying not to spread yours to others.

11) After doing any gardening, automotive work, construction work, anything similar.

12) When you enter your house after being out in public. Been at school, just come home? WASH YOUR HANDS. Been to the grocery store? WASH YOUR HANDS. Been to the gym? WASH YOUR HANDS. Been anywhere outside your house and just come inside? WASH YOUR HANDS before you do anything or touch anything else.

13) After you sneeze or cough, even if you caught it in a tissue or used your sleeve. Viruses are small and numerous and can get around those defences.

14) Before and after holding/touching a baby, and before / after entering a hospital, nursing home, or long term care facility.

Questions? Thoughts? Additions?

New to working from home?

Tips for working at home for those of you new to it.

1) Get up at your usual time, and get ready for work the way you normally do, including getting dressed. You don’t have to be in business casual or whatever, but being dressed puts your brain in the right mindset.

2) Keep your routine. Make sure you take your normal breaks and come back to your computer on time. Use timers if you have to.

3) Make sure you look up from your computer at least once an hour and even take a short walk. You do this without realizing it at work when you go to meetings, go to get coffee or whatever. Your body needs it. Don’t sit and stay there.

4) Have a dedicated working space, and make it as ergonomic as possible. Tendonitis, sore backs, and stiff necks aren’t fun. Your company may allow you to order some equipment to make this possible. Sitting on the couch may seem comfortable for the first bit, but I promise you’ll get sore fast.

5) Stay on task. It’s tempting to slack off because no one is watching you. Honestly, though, people will notice if your output goes down, or you don’t answer your messages/calls/email in a timely manner.

6) Find a way to have a “Chat around the water cooler” with your workmates. You still need a bit of social time, and you still get breaks.

7) Walk to and/or from work – meaning, before the start of your day, or at the end of it, get up, put your coat on and take a walk around the block, into the forest if you can … or whatever form of movement makes you happy.

8) As best you can, keep the various ‘zones’ in your home distinct.
While it might sound like a good idea to use your bedroom to escape from the rest of your family or distractions, it also confuses the mind and can lead to sleeping problems. Keep it so that your bedroom is the place where you sleep so that when you walk into the room your mind and body can maintain the established routine.

I’m sure my fellow work-from-home peeps have more ideas – feel free to comment below.

I know where all the unmatched socks are…

So I says to Master 11, I says “Go look in your room for these two socks – I can’t find their mate.”
He says okay and goes up to look.

“I found one, Mom!” he says, and throws it down to me. It matches neither of the socks I have waiting. “That’s not it – now you have three to find!” I say.

He goes and looks again. “I found two!” He yells, and throws it down. Not only do they not match the three I have in my hand, they’re not even his socks.

“How on earth do you have single socks that aren’t even yours? Go look again!”

“Ok. I’ll go look in my sock drawer,” he says. I laugh and ask “Where were you looking before?”

Then he comes down with 4 socks. We successfully match a few pairs, but we still have some unmatched socks. So I go upstairs and have a hunt through his drawers.

The whole time he is yelling at me about privacy and how I shouldn’t go through his dresser. “Why?” I ask. “Do you have anything private in here?”

“NO!” he yells. “It’s the principle of the thing”

Nevertheless, I persevere and come up with two more socks. I take them downstairs, and continue on my way.

But then I’m back on my way upstairs and he yells “NO YOU ARE NOT GOING THROUGH MY JUNK DRAWER!”

I tell him I wasn’t even aware of his junk drawer and we playfully tussle for a moment while he tells me his junk drawer is completely off limits.

“Why?” I ask. “Do you… <snarf> do you… <giggle> DO YOU HAVE SOCKS IN THERE?”

We both lost it and dissolved into hysterical laughter.

At which point I decided to give up and went downstairs.

Then faintly I hear upstairs …

“Mom? I looked under my bed… I FOUND ANOTHER SOCK!!”

I’m still laughing. And I still have 6 unmatched socks.

On not feeling lighter

For a year, I basically sat on my ass, doing nothing.  I had no energy.  I was actually very anemic, but I didn’t know it at the time.

I didn’t realise that gasping as I walked up the stairs was not a result of being out of shape and sitting on my ass all day.  I blamed myself.

I didn’t realise that not being able to walk across a soccer field carrying a camping chair without feeling like I was going to faint was not a result of being out of shape and sitting on my ass all day. I blamed myself.

Still, if you sit on your ass all day doing nothing, even if it’s because you’re anemic, you’re going to gain weight.   And I did.

One year on, I’m no longer anemic, and I’m working.  Both these things are good. Doesn’t mean I’m any more off my ass, since it’s a desk job, but it means, at least, that my meals are more regulated and I make sure they’re healthy.

I have also apparently lost weight.  I have no proof of this – only that my doctor and my husband say so (I haven’t been weighed to check) and that I’ve had to take my belt in two notches.

I certainly don’t feel like I’ve lost weight.  I feel just as huge and bloated. I still blame myself.

I don’t feel any lighter.