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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.

Remember:
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?

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.

Learning from a walking bus

Recently, our little cul-de-sac started up a walking bus.

A walking bus is where a group of school-aged children walk to school with an adult or two accompanying them as the “bus driver.”

Our local council pays for the “bus tickets” (laminated punch cards), rain ponchos, hi-vis vests and jackets for the adults, umbrellas, first aid kit, and little keychains that are the rewards for walking to school a set amount of times.

I was skeptical of the benefits of a walking bus at first. Surely the older children would think it was “uncool?”  Possibly the parents might think it’s a waste of time.  Would anybody show up when it was raining?

But I was pleasantly surprised.  Even the two oldest girls in our cul-de-sac like the walking bus.  And I think I can tell you why, using the Te Whaariki learning strands.

  1. Well-being.  When we all walk together, we can talk and laugh and share stories.  Only one adult has to be with our group, as there’s only 9 children. And yet, the other parents walk with us often, just because it is a good time to share.  All of us (adults and children) arrive at school happy.  There’s also the health aspect of it – we walk even when it’s pouring with rain.  Finally (but I think most importantly to the older children), our path to school goes through an alleyway, past a dairy and past a highschool. I think all the children feel safer as part of the group and with an adult around. Teenagers can be a bit scary to everyone!
  2. Belonging.  We’re part of a group, and we all know each other.  We all know the rules of the walking bus, and each one of us (children included) enforce them. The children also keep tabs on who is about to get a new reward keychain. This feeling of belonging has even extended to the adults on the street. We talk and visit each other more.
  3. Contribution. We take care of each other. The children like to make sure everybody is on the bus, to the extent that they will knock on the doors of the missing, or go to the classrooms of the children who aren’t there. In the cul-de-sac, our Neighbourhood Watch is stronger because it’s not just the adults watching now, the children watch too. They know all the people on our street, and they know which people shouldn’t be there. And they tell us! Plus we all watch out for each other, offering to help out when we see people gardening, doing some DIY, or anything else that may need some neighbourly help.
  4. Communication.  Making sure each of us knows who has netball after school, who’s going home with their Dad instead, who’s sick.  Who’s having a hard day/week. Who’s going on vacation and needs us to keep an eye on their property. Who is making a presentation at school today! Who got the taonga* for doing something special at school today.  Celebrations and Sadness. Funny stories. Also, learning how families are different through our stories.  There are 3 families not from New Zealand, one Tangata Whenua family, one family that moved to Australia and then came back, one family from a single parent home, two families that have extended family living with them.  We learn from each others similarities and differences.
  5. Exploration. We gain confidence from walking together.  We jump in puddles and notice differences in the trees, plants and flowers as we walk. We look for Monarch chrysalis and monitor their changes as we go by every day, and once we even got to stop and watch a butterfly hatch. We find sticks, and interesting rubbish. Sometimes we find interesting graffiti and talk about why it’s there.  Even our walk to school is an opportunity for learning.

Our walking bus has brought our little neighbourhood closer together, and brought positive changes in our outlook towards each other and our environment.  Our children have gained confidence, and all of us have gained friends. We’ve all learned something.

My skepticism is all gone. Clearly even the bigger kids saw something that I originally didn’t!

Snow is teh evil.*

Ruapehu in January 2002

Ruapehu in January 2002 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m pretty sure snow has something against me.

Where I grew up, snow was a rare event, and I can count on one hand the number of white Christmases I’ve ever seen.  This shows that the snow doesn’t want to be anywhere near me.

The first time I went up a ski hill (with my grade 6 class) we tried cross country skiing and I fell over and sprained my wrist within the first few minutes. Had to run behind everybody else the rest of the way. It made me slip, in all it’s evilness, and then had the audacity to make my housekeys fall out of my jacket pocket, too. Somewhere on the mountain my keys are probably still hidden underneath a tree.

On days when it snowed, I had to walk 5 kilometres to my high school, mostly on the busy highway because the snow was mounted up on the sidewalk/footpath. Uphill both ways.  Yes, that’s possible. I’m not exaggerating. I’m sure it was a plot by teh evil* to get me run over by a car.

The second time I went up a ski hill (with my husband – then my fiancé) we tried snowshoeing. I twisted my knee. Not badly, but badly enough that it put an end to the day.

And (probably because it snowed so rarely) I am useless at driving in the snow. I’m sure the snow’s out to get me, and I drive accordingly.

So last Thursday, my most recent ski hill attempt, we went up Mount Ruapehu to show my children snow for the first time in their lives.  (How sad is that – Canadian children having to wait until they’re nearly NINE to see snow?) The snow didn’t disappoint. It only took two minutes for the snow to have its vengeance on me – I carefully negotiated down the first snow bank and slipped. WHAM! Majorly twisted knee.  Of the electric pain twinge OMG WTF that hurts kind.  I just got to sit and watch while my husband tobagganed with the kids.  And made a snow man. And I got left behind when they went higher and higher for better snow.

This just reinforces my belief.

And justifies our decision to move to a place where it does not snow. I will not go to a ski hill ever again. Ever.

* “teh” is not a typo.

 

What if Autism was normal?

The other day I was thrilled to attend a local TEDx talk.  It was the first one in our little town, so it was poorly attended and ended up being mostly videos, because some of the speakers couldn’t attend.

So that day I came home and spent a few hours on TED.  And found a gem by Juan Enriquez, titled “Will our kids be a different species” (Sorry for not embedding the video – it just wasn’t working for me today.) Anyways, go have a watch. It’s nearly 17 minutes long, but well worth it. Then come back to my post, pretty please!

The video brought to mind a little story that was given to me at a workshop about inclusion.  In the story, able-bodied people were no longer the “norm.”  It was a city created entirely for the needs of people in a wheelchair, because that was normal. Doorframes and counters were lower.  There were no stairs. Things weren’t modified for people in wheelchairs – they were made for people in wheelchairs. When someone came along who didn’t need a wheelchair, instead of modifying the environment, they modified the people – making them wear a harness that basically bent them in half, so they were the right size.  It was a very interesting story for the idea it created, even though I didn’t agree with what the author thought would happen.  Update: Here is the story online:  “To Deny or Not to Deny Disability” by Vic Finkelstein.

My point is, that if you combine the idea in the video (mankind may be in the middle of an upgrade and perhaps Autism (just maybe!) is that upgrade) with the idea in the story (what if what we considered a “special need” was, in fact, the norm?) how could things look different in the future?

And then I had a thought that I had to put out to those bloggers who discuss Autism frequently…

If Autism was normal, and our NT brains were not, how would the world look?  What would change?

I have a few ideas… I suspect that there would be severe noise laws, to make most environments quieter.

TV shows would go back to longer shots – minutes instead of seconds between screen changes.

Education would become either one-on-one or small groups.

But what do you think, Moms, and even those of you who are adults on the spectrum? How would the social, economic, educational and cultural environment change for a culture of people with brains that are wired differently from those of us who exist today? And how would they change the infrastructure to suit themselves?

Using one idea to answer another

Not too long ago, I read a post at BlogHer about a different way to get out of debt. In a nutshell, since concentrating on paying off her debt wasn’t working for the author, instead, she concentrated on making more money. (Focussed on a positive (more money) rather than a negative (less debt).) In this way, she paid off her debt.

I’m fortunate enough that Hubby & I agree on financial matters, and we have no financial difficulties in that way.

But it got me to thinking – I am physically challenged in the fitness category.  And when I say challenged, I mean that.  I have had foot, knee and hip problems since long before my BMI went over 25.  Within the last few years, I’ve concentrated on the negative – removing body fat to alleviate some of the pain.  But maybe (as in the link above), I would be better off concentrating on the positive – increasing how much I move.

And then a friend of mine posted this video on Facebook (Oh how I love these videos!!)

Seems I’m not the only one who thinks increasing my movement – however I do it – is of greater benefit than trying to remove the fat.

So that’s what I’ve already started to do.  I can limit my sitting and sleeping to 23.5 hours a day, surely?

Everything looks okay, but it’s not.

The beach looks okay.

Just the same as it ever was.

It's a lovely walk around the sleeping volcano.

Looks beautiful. But there's a problem.

The beach is not the same. It's a health hazard. We must use caution.

The warrior couldn't stop the Rena from ending up on the Astrolabe reef.

And if you look, you see places humans can't go without some safety gear.

And if you look again, you can see the oil on the rocks. It makes me wonder if it's hidden in the sand.

It looks okay. But all the same, us locals are staying off the beach.