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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.

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.

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?

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’s on your birthday list?

English: yamaha upright piano

English: yamaha upright piano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Birthday lists are a huge problem for me. And yet, every year the Hubby insists that I make one … probably to make sure whatever he thinks he’s going to get me isn’t on it.

It’s that time of year again, and I’ve been asked for the list.

As per usual, a piano tops the list.  We still don’t have another room for one. So I’ve been told it’s not allowed on my list.

I’ve been pondering and pondering, and I think I know what I shall do for my list this year.

I’m going to list all the intangibles I want. You never know, I might get lucky.

Without further ado… here it is:

1) All the outside garden beds deweeded, re-matted, and re-rocked so that the weeds can’t take over quite so much.

2) A series of appointments to a nutritionist so I can get my food issues (IBS/allergies) sorted.

3) The time and energy to take everything out of my house, remove everything we don’t need/use/want, and then put everything back neat, tidy and decluttered.

4) Guitar/ukulele lessons

5) For our house to sell so we can get a place big enough for a piano! 😉

Not thinking much of my odds, though. 🙂

What I learned from the Chess Tournament

An example of early-style Staunton Chess Set

An example of early-style Staunton Chess Set (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I went as the Parent Supervisor with The Boy and 3 of his schoolmates to the local Chess Championships.

I’m not a chess player, so I knew nothing about what to expect or what was going to happen.

Here’s what I learned:

10) Parents who go to help at a Chess Championship should know how to play chess. I had no idea if our children were being treated fairly or not in their games, and I couldn’t help when they’d ask why certain strategies in the game happened.  I’m really glad the teacher had already taught them the 4 move checkmate though – other children got caught by that!

9) When you’re playing in a championship, the same hand that moves the piece must touch the clock to end your turn.

8) If you touch a piece, you have to move that piece. If you touch someone else’s piece, you must remove it from the game (unless that’s an illegal move.)  If you touch a piece and let go before you move it, your turn is done.

7) A lower rank team has the luxury of playing for fun.  They’re playing to improve and learn, not necessarily playing to win.  Much more fun, less stress. My team came in 14th out of 17 teams and they had a lot of fun!

6) A highly ranked team has stress over keeping their ranking.  Not as much fun, and way more pressure. I was watching the highest ranked teams and there were tears, nerves, complaints, and some poor sportsmanship. Not sure how much learning or improving happened there.

5) Parents need to get over themselves and let their children play and learn.  I’m certain a lot of the stress from #6 actually came from all the parents that stood around the table silently watching and communicating frustration through their non-verbal communications. I did that for the first game, realised how much trouble I was causing, and then purposefully stepped back and away from the tables for the rest of the games.  Less stress for me, and less stress for my team!

4) If you’re setting up a chess championship, it’s better to make it so the toilets, kitchen, and exit are not on the other side of the room, with the only way there is a path through the competition tables.  Talk about interference and distraction!

3) It is impossible to keep a room full of 50-75 adults and children quiet through a full round, waiting after their game has been decided, while other people are still playing. Especially considering point #4.

2) Practice is everything. That’s how a 7 year old (who has been playing since he was three with his parents, since he was 5 with his school and with an after school chess club, and been in the championships 3 years running) beats an 11 year old  (who has only been playing for a year and had never been in a championship).

1) If you walk around one of these events with a clipboard, everyone will assume you’re in charge, even if you’re not. If I had been a bit more on my toes, I could have had a lot of fun! (I was keeping track of my team’s scores!)

What I actually did

You’ll need to read this post first.

I wasn’t comfortable with what happened, at all.  I mentioned it in passing to the Vice Principal, by saying that I wasn’t complaining, and that I had thought about it for a long time, but that I was concerned that the children saw what they did. That had it just been nudes, that was one thing, but a woman playing with herself was inappropriate for the age group. Wouldn’t have bothered me for older kids, but for pre-pubescent children, I was uncomfortable.

I followed that up with an email:

Just further to our conversation – I just looked at The Boy’s art assignment from the Art gallery – his person has one hand picking his nose and the other one putting up a middle finger. I haven’t said anything to judge his picture to him, but frankly, for an 8 year old to think it’s okay to do that in art, that’s just not right. I’m really uncomfortable with it. He’s not allowed to pull the finger at home or at school, so we’re giving him a mixed message by saying it’s okay in art. I am very relieved that the other pictures seemed to go completely over his head – but what if it hadn’t?
I just want to make it clear I’m not trying to lay blame on the school or the teachers. I am thinking that the Art Gallery should have notified the school of the content of their art show for the date the children attended. Surely they didn’t think that was appropriate for 7-9 year olds. Not all parents allow their children to watch inappropriate things on television or listen to inappropriate music!

I am wholly in favour of the children going to the art gallery.  And I think sometimes displays at the art gallery are not appropriate for primary school children. So in future I think it would be a good idea to be aware of the content before they go, and maybe delay the trip where necessary. I also think, in future, the school needs guidelines in place to check the appropriateness of the content before a similar trip is scheduled.

If the Art Gallery doesn’t agree with that, then perhaps we need to find art elsewhere – like, perhaps, the art gallery right here in our town? Or even invite more artists to visit the school. I know both of my children thoroughly enjoyed the artist that visited and drew funny pictures of the teachers!

I understand that art should be controversial and get people to ask questions. And I’d also like to preserve my children’s childhood for as long as possible. Those two things should not be incompatible!

Thank you all of you who took time to comment. It was greatly appreciated!

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?