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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 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.

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.

Tropical Storm Arthur and the New Brunswick lack of preparedness

New Zealand has a lot of natural events, and a lot of “promises” of natural events. New Zealand has the “promise” of volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, cyclones, tropical storms, and droughts.

And Kiwis are mostly ready for those things.  Citizens are told to have their civil defense kits ready. People know where their closest “emergency safe zone” is (usually schools). When something happens, people know what to do, generally speaking.

New Brunswick has a different sort of natural events. Here there is no direct volcano “promise”. No major earthquake faults nearby. They’ve never experienced a tsunami threat. Wind/rain/twister events are few and far between, and mostly benign. New Brunswick does get major winter storms.  New Brunswickers are people who would empty grocery stores, gas stations, and the local hardware store at the mere hint of a winter storm. They understand winter storms and the danger of no electricity/gas/food in winter, but summer weather is considered mild and not something to worry over.

So when the media started talking about Hurricane Arthur (later downgraded to Cyclone and then to Tropical Storm) everyone here in our town ignored it.  “When they talk about Maritime weather, they mean Halifax.  It doesn’t come here.”  That’s what we heard from many people.  “Don’t worry about the reported storm. It’s not coming here. We don’t have to prepare.”

Then Tropical Storm Arthur hit.  And it didn’t just hit Halifax, like the locals thought it would. It hit New Brunswick, and hard. The wind knocked over so many trees onto power lines that most of New Brunswick was without power in the middle of a heat wave.  NB Power had been slack and done no tree maintenance for over 5 years, we were told.  They were forced into doing the maintenance! For some people, that meant no power for over a week.

The grocery stores were closed.  They moved all their perishables to reefers (refrigerated trucks) and waited it out.  Gas stations can’t pump gas without electricity.  The one gas station with a generator had line ups for kms down the road.

Our family (used to civil defense warnings and summer weather storms) had two cars with full tanks of gas, and enough non-perishable food for 3 days.  The only thing we didn’t have (and should have had) was cash on hand.

We watched the storm from the safety of our house, and called the fire station when some wires came crashing down on the road in front of our house.  We played board games, read books, and even played some word games that the children enjoyed.  When all else failed, we did go onto our devices (that were fully charged up before the storm).

We also watched in confusion as all these people were driving up and down our street in the middle of the storm.  All the stores were closed (no power!).  There was no where to go.  It wasn’t really safe to drive – there were trees falling everywhere, wires down, and high rivers. And yet all of these people were driving.

The same people that would have stayed home if this were a winter snowstorm.

It was an interesting few days. We were lucky in that our power was back on within 48 hours. Others weren’t.  And I wonder if they will learn from this and plan for summer storms just as well as they do for winter storms from now on.

 

 

Just what are they doing in there?

I have to preface this post with the disclaimer that I am very familiar with digestive issues. More than I’d like to be.  I have spent my time in public washrooms doing the “polite flush” and, if necessary, waiting for an empty washroom.

But, ya know, some people seem to take that a bit far.

At my new place of employment, there are two ladies bathrooms.  At any point in time when I visit to do some business, the same shoes and pant legs are in the toilet stall. It’s not just one person – I think there’s 3 or 4 of them.

And they are beyond silent.

As in, they do not even move if someone else enters the washroom. They barely breathe. And they are there for very long periods of time.

One time, a coworker and I were there for a while as she showed me how to put a new roll of paper towels in the dispenser (it’s every person’s responsibility, y’all). The person in the stall didn’t even adjust on the seat.

I’m positive that there was a day when one person was in the toilet for most of the morning. (I had a cuppa.  Black tea is a diuretic, you know! I had to go a bit more often than usual.)

I get the whole “getting paid to poop at work” thing.  I know about constipation.  I know about being embarrassed about noises.  It can’t be that they’re calling people on their mobiles – they’re silent. They could be texting – but this company doesn’t ban personal mobiles or anything. They could do that from their desk.

But a whole morning? How do my coworkers not notice this person missing?  How does their boss not notice their work not being done? How can their legs not fall asleep from sitting like that for so long?

Just what are they doing in there?

pbt pbt pbt pbt – Is this thing on?

Stuff happens. You move around the world, get depressed, get very sick with anemia, and things like blogs get lost.

But then a doctor actually listens, and catches you before you need a blood transfusion.

Amazing how having enough hobgoblins (hemoglobin) in your blood actually makes you less depressed, too.

Also means that you can walk across a field or up a flight of stairs without being air hungry.  (All that time I thought I was just out of shape and fat.)

Then the doctor figures out what’s wrong with you and has stuff that actually stops the problem.  Amazing thing, that.

So then you feel so much better you run out and get yourself a job.  A real one.  Not a volunteer/part-time-thats-really-full-time not paid very well one, but a real one.

In the meantime, the blog is still lost.

Not that anyone is still here reading, anyhoo.

But, ya know, stuff happens.  And things get found again.  So here I am.

Keeping children’s schoolwork and art

boxes

boxes (Photo credit: ejhogbin)

Could you fit your life into 10 boxes or less?

I’m trying.

It’s interesting to recall what I thought were so important the last time I moved overseas, and notice that those things aren’t coming with me for the most part this time around.

The number of things I consider my extra special treasures are diminishing.

And it makes me question why we keep some things.

My mother recently sent me a parcel that contained a lot of my school work and report cards from elementary school.  I read them and was amused, but for the most part, I neither remembered much about them nor felt that the re-addition of them into my life added value.

So then why am I keeping my children’s art and schoolwork?  Is it because I will want to look at it years from now? Is it because I want to give them back to my children eventually?  Will the reintroduction of the work add value to our lives many years later?

Or will I feel better if they’re all gone and forgotten?  It will definitely be one less box to transport and pay for!

What would you do?

Okay, so, perspective please …

The local Art Gallery invited my children’s school to visit. They paid for the buses and only asked for a $1 donation per child. They do this once a term.

Last time the children went, Hubby went along as parent help. He was shocked that some of the artwork was presented to the children (5-9 year olds) as “And this one’s about the artists anger about how all white people are racists.” Not the exact words, mind you. Hubby can’t remember exactly what the curator said, only what was implied.

This time, The Boy’s class went (7-9 year olds). The front entrance had a painting with a man projectile vomiting, another with a man, his privates in full view, urinating, and a woman playing with her fully erect chest area. (words changed to try to prevent certain spammings)

In the exhibition the children went to, there were cardboard cut outs of people, one of whom was picking his nose and pulling out visible boogers, and another one with birds pooping out of his butt while he gave the audience the finger. The curator specifically pointed out this piece and talked about it, drawing it to the children’s attention.

Now, The Boy didn’t seem to notice the paintings at the entrance (or if he did, he’s saying nothing.) However, the class was asked
to do an artwork based on what they saw. My Boy’s art faithfully reproduces the picking nose, boogers, and flipping the
bird.

How comfortable would you be with this? And what would you do?

Using synesthesia to cope with dyscalculia?

Math Mark

Math Mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My daughter’s been having a spot of trouble with her basic math skills. She’s gone backwards in her knowledge, forgetting some strategies and seemingly not understanding the new strategies.  It’s a bit odd, because in terms of her reading, writing and spelling she’s way ahead of most of her classmates.What’s not so odd is that I had the same kind of trouble when I was her age.  I always just thought I was horrible at math. And then I went to a workshop at the school and learned that perhaps at least some of the issue was with the way it was taught.

But there’s always more to the story, isn’t there?

As a bit of a lark, I typed “math dyslexia” into google and ended up on a dyscalculia page or seven. Dyscalculia involves difficulty in learning or comprehending mathematics.

I was especially intrigued by some of the “symptoms.”  But not for my girl – for me!

  • Inability to comprehend financial planning or budgeting, sometimes even at a basic level; for example, estimating the cost of the items in a shopping basket or balancing a checkbook: You got it. I never know how much is in my trolley unless I use a calculator, and even then, I make many errors when adding things up on a calculator.   I have completely messed up our budget more than once (I’m never sure exactly how I break it, but I do.) And I have frustrated both my father and my hubby when they were trying to explain financial things.  It’s like I can’t get my head around it, no matter how hard I try.
  • difficulty navigating maps – I’m not allowed to use maps unless it’s a GPS.  That said, I have pretty good direction sense – I usually know where I am. If I’ve been there, I can direct you. But if I use a map, I’ll get you lost.
  • mistaken recollection of names – I usually blame this on my synesthesia. Some names are the same colour, you know.
  • difficulty differentiating between left and right – this one drives the hubby nuts. I have to stop, think (sometimes find the L when I hold up my hands, sometimes remember which one I write with) and then tell you.  Interesting fact –  I still refer to a turn across traffic as a “left hand turn” and a turn with traffic as a “right hand turn” just like I learned it in Canada despite the fact it is the complete opposite here in NZ. And despite the fact that I know it’s wrong.
  • inability to visualise mentally – I assume they mean with math – and yep.  I can’t hold the numbers in my head. Unless it’s basic addition (1-20) or basic multiplication (0 – 12 times tables) which I have memorised by colour, I have to write it down.
  • Might do exceptionally well in a writing related field – Hmmm, I resemble that remark!
  • along with, of course, difficulty with basic math – addition, subtraction, division, multiplication – If I don’t have the calculation memorised by colour, it’s not happening.

I’m also completely useless with mathematical formulas. (Did I mention I failed physics, despite being able to spout off all the theories correctly? It was applying the formulas that did me in! I’m also completely useless with calculus and statistics. Failed them too.)  Makes me (and likely you, too!) really glad I never attempted biology or chemistry.

Did you notice those sections above that mention memorising  “by colour”?  That’s where the synesthesia fits in. If I do have dyscalculia (maybe I don’t and it’s just my synesthesia playing havoc?) then I think I mitigated it during my school years with the synesthesia, using the colours to memorise the basic mathematic skills I needed. I changed the numbers and calculations to colour combinations. When I mess up the colours (it can happen. After all, 8 and 3 are the same colour.) I mess up the math.

Which brings me back to my girl.  She doesn’t have synesthesia (that I know of), but she is clearly having trouble with math.  And now that I know that there is such a thing as a math-specific learning disability (and that apparently it is genetically inheritable) perhaps I’ll be able to use some of the strategies they use for dyscalculia to help her, even if she doesn’t have it.