Tag Archives: commentary

2020: A Retrospective

I recently saw a sign that said “2020. Written by Stephen King. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.”

Apt, yes?

The calm before the storm.

Well, yes and no. For all its tragedies, fears, stresses, economic disasters, fires. floods, storms, inconveniences and annoyances, 2020 could have been a lot worse. In fact, history has recorded quite a number of years that were much worse than this one. 1944 was the worst year of WW II; June 8, D-Day, saw the deaths of almost 7000 allied soldiers (British, Canadian and American) in that 24-hour period alone.

1918 was the start of the Spanish flu. That plague went on to kill 50 million people world-wide. Whole communities were wiped out.

And let’s not forget WW I. On August 22, 1914, 27000 were killed during The Battle of the Frontiers. That was a single day’s losses. In total, that war killed 1.35 million soldiers; that number doesn’t include civilian deaths.

I could give many other examples, but you get the idea.

In the scheme of things, 2020 just wasn’t that bad. In common with others, though, I did a lot of moaning and complaining. But really, I haven’t been that badly affected. It’s more precise to say that I’ve been inconvenienced.

I kept my job. I didn’t lose anyone to coronavirus. I had to stay locked up and quarantined for weeks, but Spouse and I are both introverts. It wasn’t really that difficult.

Given that situation, a spotlight has been focussed on some things to which we need to pay attention; it’s like we’ve been given a second chance. Let’s not blow it.

So in that spirit, here are some realisations, appreciations and habits I hope to take with me:

The worst may be over. For now.

1. Respect for nature. We don’t need to spread ourselves over every single millimetre of this planet. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that this is the attitude that lead to (probably) bat, snake and pangolin DNA combining to bring about coronavirus.

2. Mindful travelling. (https://mindfultravelco.com/5-steps-to-mindful-travel/). Trying to cram an entire continent into a 10-day package tour where the point is to post as many braggy photos to Instagram as possible? That’s not travel. To me, that sounds like a lot of gobbling and very little appreciation. Much of this type of travel is causing extreme damage to the very things people want to see. And the environmental injury is becoming enormous.

3. Solidarity. We’ve all been hit by this. The whole world. Focussing on our commonalities is much better than focussing on our differences.

4. We are a lot more capable than we have let ourselves become. We figured out some amazing, innovative, and environmentally friendly solutions to the coronavirus issues. And those vaccines! So amazing and so fast!

5. There are wonderful people from all walks of life who have stepped forward during this crisis. And sometimes, I was very surprised by who did (and who didn’t). For all we think we know people, we really don’t …

What do you think?

Tiger Hug

This amazing photograph of a Siberian tiger hugging a tree was taken in the wild with a hidden camera. The camera was set up in the forest and then left to be triggered when the tiger came by.

Sergey Gorshkov’s winning Wildlife Photography of the Year image is called “The Embrace.”

As you can imagine, pictures of these extremely rare tigers are difficult to get and this one has very deservedly won the Wildlife Photography of the Year competition for photographer Sergey Gorshkov.

To read the original article, click here: https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/science-environment-54518336

Enjoy the rest of your week. 🙂

Blogging Insights – What Are Your Reading Habits?

The idea for this post comes from Dr Tanya at Salted Caramel. Thank you, Dr. Tanya. 🙂

Please see the original post: https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2020/06/08/blogging-insights-32-your-reading-habits/

Northern Autumn Morning

1. How often do you visit the WordPress Reader?

I always use my reader. Wherever possible, I’ve disabled email notifications (it’s strange that I sometimes get them anyway) and I rarely use or check the Gmail that’s attached to WP. So, if you’re trying to contact me through WP email, leave me a comment letting me know. 🙂

I unfortunately already get about 150 work-related emails a day in addition to my personal email, so more emails? No thanks. If someone I follow has posted, the post shows up in my reader, usually, unless there is a mysterious glitch that results in an undirected “unfollow.” But, if that happens, I won’t get an email notification anyway, so …

And, an aside: isn’t that strange? Sometimes I just “unfollow” someone I’ve followed, in some cases, for years. The link seems to drop or fail or something. Or another thing is that people’s posts may suddenly stop arriving in my reader. It will occur to me that I haven’t seen someone for a bit and then I’ll go looking. Anyone else experience this?

One Yellow Flower

2. What kind of blog posts are you more likely to read?

I will read anything that strikes me as interesting or humourous, and of course, I look at a lot of photographic blogs. When I first started (almost eight years ago; I can’t believe it’s been that long!), I read many blogs about narcissism. I had had a miserable (but very short) marriage to a narcissist followed by an ugly divorce, and I was doing some of my homework through reading up on people’s experiences with the narcissistic element.

It’s interesting that I now don’t read any blogs that are completely devoted to narcissism, or at least, not very often. The last blogger I followed who used to write with some regularity about narcissism stopped posting in December; she started other projects. What that tells me is that I don’t need to do that any more; I’ve moved on, and that’s partially due to the reading I’ve done here.

I recently watched the first season of Dirty John (a true story) on Netflix (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_John_(TV_series) ) and a couple of times had an intense feeling of déjà vu as I watched Debra Newell deal with the narcissistic sociopath she had married. Her experience was much, much worse than mine, but mine paralleled hers in some very important, definitive ways. I was able to predict what she should have been doing and when and found myself willing her to take action or act differently. It was an edifying viewing experience, in more ways than one.

I regularly read the blogs that I follow, so I don’t follow more blogs than I can handle. I skip around to read many single posts, however. I don’t find WP’s “Discover” to be very interesting or appealing (some of it is) and I’ve stopped taking a look at it. I used to enjoy Freshly Pressed (remember that?) much more, but it had issues too (I was floored by the poor quality that sometimes showed up there).

Dominican Republic

How about you? What are your reading habits?

Weirdism Wednesday

I find working from home to be weird, even after almost a month of it from my locked down state.

I’m feeling it, both mentally and physically.

Normally, I walk to work and then spend a lot of my day on my feet. I’m in and out of offices and other areas and people are always dropping by to see me for all sorts of reasons. It’s busy busy. My days can flash by.

It’s a different road right now, whether we want it or not.

I’m trying to separate work and home, but that’s difficult when home starts in the hallway outside my door.

I’m sitting at my computer for long periods of video calls, phone calls and texts and have to remind myself to get up and stretch.

I’m missing items and materials that are in my work office, but I can’t go there.

My home printer died a couple of days ago and I need a scanner.

I’m gaining weight.

I’m sometimes finding it difficult to focus.

It’s not the best situation by a long stretch, a very long stretch.

Dawn breaks.

But then I remind myself of all the people who have lost their jobs in this virus world and I remember to be grateful and stop my whining.

I remember that I’m not sick, nor are any of my loved ones. I haven’t lost anyone to this scourge. I’m together with my M, and I have food, a comfortable place to live in, caring phone calls and texts from friends and family and colleagues, and best of all, I have toilet paper. 😉

It’s a strange weird world and I don’t want to be in it (wah) but there are many alternatives that are a whole lot worse.

Sing a Song of Social Distancing, a Pocketful of Hand Sanitizer

I am in the midst of returning home after an overseas trip. I have a strong sense of getting back just ahead of the drawbridge being pulled up, even though no deadline has been given. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday in a press conference: it’s time to come home.

In common with many of my compatriots, I have travelled internationally a lot, have lived in other countries, and have served in the military. All of these experiences have made me very aware of how fortunate I am to be able to come home, especially to a country that cares about its citizens and that doesn’t see us a commodity to be expended. It’s nothing but an accident of birth, but that difference has given me multitudinous advantages and opportunities.

So over the next couple of days, I will be navigating airports and aircraft with lots of hand sanitizer, hand washing, and distancing. I feel fine, but I will need to go into self-isolation for 14 days to ensure my health and that of others.

And, for the first time ever, I will be working from home. A new experience.

I wish everyone clean hands and good health.

🙂

To Recline or not to Recline?

I have done a lot of flying. As a pilot or passenger, I’ve spent loads of time in airplanes, both large and small. I am intimately acquainted with how cramped the environment is and getting into the pilot’s seat often feels a bit like I’m a puzzle piece squeezing into my slot.

I’ve banged my knees, whacked my head, knocked my elbows and thumped myself in innumerable other places getting in and out of pilot seats and airplanes. They are not built to be places of sprawling comfort. Anyone who has ever been on an airplane of any size knows that.

So, what about the argument around seats? That is, do you recline or don’t you?

I don’t recline. Neither does my 191 cm (6 ft 3 in) husband. And frankly, I get a little irritated when others do, especially if I’m trying to use my little table for whatever reason: working, eating, sleeping (yes, I sometimes sleep on the table). I don’t want a strange person in my lap, and I’m sure the people behind me don’t want me in their laps.

We’re all in this cramped space together, so let’s try to be as respectful and careful with each other as we can. That’s how I see it, anyway.

However, that’s often not how these things go.

Recently, a man aboard a commercial flight in the US began banging on the seat of the person ahead of him because she had reclined. Here’s the article:

https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/airline-passenger-says-she-s-hurt-after-her-reclined-seat-repeatedly-punched-1.4816808

Part of the problem is that airlines have crammed people in, but I also understand about the narrow margins on which airlines operate. And to be fair, this has been a problem for many, many years. I remember my mother complaining about the “recliners” when I was a child.

What is your opinion? Should airlines remove the recline function on airplane seats? Should we avoid using the recline function out of respect for our flight mates?

Flowers of Republica Dominicana Part II

Dominican Republic is home to many types of orchids, something I hadn’t realized until my last visit.

I had been there a number of times before, but somehow I had missed how plentiful they are.

It’s lovely to see them just growing where they like, these beautiful splashes of ostentatious and frilly colour.

The freedom to take root in the ground of choice is one we should all be able to enjoy. 🙂

Blog Sell-by Date

Salted Caramel has created more questions for her series on blogging insights. Please pop by and take a look at her blog. 🙂

Her questions this time are:

How old is your current blog/website? 

Do you ever look back at your site i.e. read through your old posts?

How long ago did you update your about page ?

If you were to start a new blog today, what would you do differently?

These questions got me thinking about the general concept of updating, of keeping things neat and orderly. Updating, going back and cleaning up things, sorting though things is something we all have to do, although some of us are much better at it than others. I think if you’re not much of a cleaning up person, then your blog might be untidy too (or creatively messy 🙂 ).

I’ve moved a fair bit in the last 13 years. There was a lot of upheaval. I was getting a divorce and had purchased another house. It was empty and very new and I started with pretty much a blank slate except for four boxes of papers and things that I needed to sort. Of course, I didn’t sort them. The boxes just followed me around, ignored and helpless hangers-on, but I couldn’t just throw them out either. If I did, especially without looking at them, I would be irrevocably throwing out an older chapter of me. That’s what it felt like, anyway.

So these four boxes moved with me again, and then again, and then again. They are now in a storage locker awaiting final deposition.

A couple of years ago, I started examining these boxes, and eliminated some of the stuff in them. The garbage bags containing some of the discarded stuff are still sitting in the storage locker though. So, all I did was shift the contents from one storage container to another.

I got called away, actually to start this job here in the Northwest Territories, and now when I go to my southern home, I don’t want to spend time in a storage locker sorting through stuff.

But the time is coming. My M may be returning to British Columbia to sell the place that we presently have and to purchase another in a neighbourhood that will be more conducive as we get older and become decrepit. It’s a very walkable location with shops and restaurants and the market close by.

Eventually, and sooner than it feels, I will be finally dealing with those boxes.

So why has it taken me so long? Why does it take anyone so long … to sort through a box? Clean a closet? Write a will? Finish an assignment? Organise a blog site?

Procrastination is usually for a reason, and I’ve certainly been procrastinating. I dug in my heels because I needed to. When I’m ready to clean up, I’ll clean up.

I’m not sure yet why I haven’t completely dealt with these boxes. It’s boring? It’s painful? I’m feeling a need to exert control over when I do it? It’s probably all of these.

What about you? Is your blog (or life) all orderly and up to date?

Vestigial Sunrise

I took this photo of Great Slave Lake at 10:15 a.m just as the sun had finished its slow ponderous climb.

It was -36°C out, but I took my mitts off for this capture. I am learning the art of quick photography in these frigid temperatures.

I love the clear simplicity of this weather; its voice is smooth and crystalline in the still cold air.

A tone without noise.

Winter greetings from the north. 🙂