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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.

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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.