Tag Archives: identity

March 20’s Friday Flower

I am safely back in Canada and almost at my work-home to start my 14 days of self-isolation. It has been hectic as I tried to handle all sorts of things from a distance and the concern about being able to get home at all was also in the back of my mind.

Thank you to everyone who wished me safe travels and good luck. That was so very much appreciated. 🙂

And now, something lovely to look at …

I love the variegated pink and white petals.

Whatever you’re doing, and wherever you’re from, I wish you a happy weekend, good health, and a better week to come. 🙂

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.

🙂

Let’s Get Personal?

Salted Caramel is asking readers to get personal. Here are her questions:

1. Do you blog under your own name or do you use a pseudonym?

2. Do you share personal details like gender, nationality, race or faith?

3. How much of your personality shows through your writing?

4. Do you share personal experiences to illustrate your writing?

I am not big on telling lots of personal details on my blog because I have a narcissist in my background who still likes to check up on me, and I would really rather that he not find any extra tidbits on how to contact or find me.

An airplane photo, similar to my gravatar.

So, as a result of that, I do use a pseudonym – my actual first name and my grandmother’s surname. I have never bothered to specifically share my race, gender, or faith, although if you’ve read enough of my stuff, you likely will have figured these things out. To me, these things are incidentals.

I definitely share personal experiences, but I try to remove or alter any features that might definitively identify me, so there’s a smudging of the lines.

My blog is me. I don’t try to blur or change who I am, so yes, I believe my personality is here. But the thought that comes up for me when considering these questions is around how much of ourselves we should be sharing.

The online world is funny that way. It encourages people to share, but then, how much is too much? Many people drop off lots of personal information, far too much, I think. They feel safe in doing so. They feel that there’s nothing about themselves that they should hide or keep private. That there’s no need.

Unknowably deep waters.

Until it’s too late and they need to keep themselves private for a very private reason. How do you turn that off? Is it even possible to turn that off?

It’s almost expected that we give up our privacy now, for work, for pleasure, for being able to just operate. And privacy is one of those things that’s precious; it’s been fought for and died over, many, many countless times. Shouldn’t we be a little more protective and respectful of this great costly gift that we have?

I know of people who, through WP, have met and become friends. That’s pretty great. People who otherwise would have never met, especially across oceans and continents, become lifelong chums.

But it bothers me when I’m told that I “should” be using such social media as Facebook and Twitter. For starters that would probably unleash the narcissist. And apart from that, I don’t want to. How much updating and tweeting can one person do? How do people find the time? Frankly, I find a lot of it boring.

I know that information is not only power, it’s money. And lots of companies want us to spill our guts so that they can make money from a raw material that costs them nothing but has the potential to be very costly to us.

They want us to use invasive devices such as Siri and Alexa.  They get into our homes and cars and are inside our heads, mining for gold.

Is there gold in these waters?

I don’t want to live in a society that more or less requires us to have one of these in our homes. Ten years from now, here’s the instruction on the side of a box: You will “need” Siri in order to complete the following task … 

No.

I don’t care if you want to have lots of Siris and Alexas all over your life. However, I want that to be a choice, not a pseudo-requirement that gradually eases its thin edge into our lives and over time evolves into a necessity.

Because of that, I think that these companies should be regulated. I think that AI should be regulated. And sooner rather than later.

What do you think? How personal are you with your blog? How far do you think technology should be allowed to go?

 

The Strong Person

This post is brought to you by Melanie’s Share Your World and Ursula’s response to it. Please take a look at their blogs. They are thoughtful, interesting and stimulating bloggers who think outside the box. 🙂

Melanie’s question is: Am I a strong person character-wise?

What does “strong” mean? To me, it means being assertive, standing up for those you love when they can’t do that for themselves, being able to think independently, having integrity.

Having defined what “strong” is though, I have to say that sometimes I have been a strong person, and at other times, I have been a weak person.

Sometimes, I’m just a sort of muddy person.

Perhaps people need to be weak in order to understand how to be strong. If you’re uncomfortable because of the choices you’re making, then maybe you need to examine them. Recognising weaknesses means that you know what strong is (or isn’t)?

Is there a little interior voice telling you to pick something else, do something else, be something else?

I’ve learned to listen to my interior voice. It hasn’t let me down yet. I have let it down lots of times though because I haven’t listened to it. Without question, I usually know the right path, but sometimes I don’t take it, and this was more evident when I was younger.

Is that an excuse? I was younger and didn’t know better, blah, blah, blah.

Well, it is and it isn’t. I had impulse control issues when I was younger and even now to some extent, but I often knew that I was making a poor choice … I just thought that I could make the outcome be different. The hubris of youth? Well, not when you’re getting up there in age …

Here in northern Canada where I work, indigenous people believe in the “capable” person, not the strong person. They find the idea of a strong person to be a western concept that leaves other qualities (and therefore many people) out. Qualities that are important and needed, but not necessarily very heroic or romantic.

Are you capable of living in the north?

It’s spherical thinking, not continuum thinking, and I believe it gets at the idea that sometimes we are strong, and sometimes we’re not. It’s the notion that we’re able to do certain things, to make contributions, but we’re not able to do all things, or heroic things.

I love the idea of “capable.” That there are many things I can do and can contribute, but that I can’t contribute everything nor should I be expected to.

I haven’t really answered Melanie’s question in any definitive sort of way, but I’ve thought about it and I’m thinking about it still.

What do you think? Are you a strong person? A capable person?

Crossing the Mighty Mackenzie River

The Mackenzie River is the largest river system in Canada and the second largest in North America.

It is so big that in places it looks like an ocean or huge lake. It even has a vanishing point.

Driving across the bridge that spans the Mackenzie going south from Yellowknife doesn’t capture that effect. However, this photo from July almost does. Not quite.

Aren’t these blues amazing?

Greetings from the fabulous lakes and waterways of the Northwest Territories.

Don’t Call Me Petal

Are there “pet” names in your life? Names that are perhaps more sour than sweet? Names that make you roll your eyes? Or worse, make you want to hurl?

I mean, I’ve been called names that, well, I can’t repeat here. Like, you know, twitface and frackwit. I can take those.

But what I really can’t stand are a lot of those so-called endearments. Or names that suggest I’m twelve. Or impart a sense of intimacy that doesn’t exist.

Dear store employees, don’t call me dear or sweetie or hon or honey. I don’t know you from a can of paint, so stop pretending I’m your granny. The one with an advanced case of dementia.

Just because I’m of a certain age doesn’t mean you can take liberties.

Likewise, don’t call me petal. I hate that. Or other assorted plant parts. Like flower, blossom or daisy. It’s interesting how no one gets called stamen or pistil. Who in the world wants to be called by the names of plant reproductive organs anyway??

Then there’s animal names. Kitty, kittykins, bunny, fluffy and poodle leap to mind.

My M made these tarts. They were yummy.

I wouldn’t want to be called a tart, either. But I almost choked when standing in line behind a man who, while talking loudly on his phone, kept calling his significant other tart and tarty.

Hummm. I’m feeling tarty today. I think I’ll visit Victoria’s Secret and stand on a corner.

Yikes.

There are lots of other food names. Muffin, cupcake, cookie, pudding, sugar and tootsie. And what about shrimp roll or pumpkin? If you call me one of those, I might get out my extra large roll of duct tape and find a place to stick it.

I guess my point (other than the one at the top of my head) is that most of the time, these “pet” names are unsolicited. They get hung on you whether you want them or not. And oftentimes by people who don’t know you very well, or perhaps not at all. A store clerk once called a friend of mine “cuddles.” They did not know each other and yes, she’s a bit overweight. She left the store and never went back. What was that clerk thinking? Clearly, not much.

A few other choice monikers are sweet cheeks, baby doll, snookums, pookie and peach. Aren’t those lovely?

Eureka! The next time someone I don’t know (or barely know) attempts to reduce me to a single ridiculous word, I’ll fight fire with fire.

Waiter/ess: And what would you like today dear?

Me: Awww. Look at you, you snookums muffin. Now be a baby doll and get me a steak and salad. And petal sweetie, don’t forget to fetch me some extra napkins and some ketchup. Run along now. There’s a good little poodle.

Would that work? I mean, you have to start somewhere. What do you think?

Trumpian Pee Soup and Other Political Delights

Trump has insulted our prime minister. Badly. He called PM Trudeau “weak,” “meek and mild” and “dishonest.” One of Trump’s advisers even went so far as to proclaim that there is a “special place in hell” for Trudeau.

Now, no matter what your political stripe, that kind of unregulated and moronic loudmouthery is something that will unite this country faster than you can say Jacques Robinson. That’s because, love him or hate him, Trudeau is ours. In other words, we can criticise him, but American political hypocrites who project their personality issues onto others can’t. That’s not allowed.

And then to tell us that we’ll pay??? Gall darnit, now you’ve really done it.

A riled Canadian is not a pretty sight. And although that whole “polite and nice” bit is mostly a stereotype, angry and pissed is not our natural setpoint either.

Just wait and see.

How Canadian is this?

So, right now there’s a movement to boycott all American products and services.

Buy Canadian!!

Or, buy anyone else’s products but theirs.

I was thinking about this. We could do it. It would require some pretzelling, but we could.

And we’d probably be healthier and smarter.

Just think, no more Coke, Twinkies, or Doritos.

No more desperate housewives from? Hmmm. Not sure what city they’re from. But they’re desperate, they’re from the States, and watching them will make you want to lick your own eyeballs.

No more smarmy bachelors and bachelorettes who look like they have been built from a kit.

No more cross-border hockey.

Really?

Well, if all the Canadians left, many of the teams would collapse. But at least the season would be over before May. May hockey is just wrong.

No more internet.

Wha???

Actually, we can calm down about that one. It was the result of a rather large, world-wide collaboration that was constructed, layer by layer, on the work and ideas of many, including Nicola Tesla. At various stages, American interests put money into it, but so did a number of other nationalities. However, what we think of as today’s internet was invented by a British guy named Tim Berners-Lee.

There. It’s okay. The internet is not “owned” by the US.

So yes. We could probably live without US products.

But the problem is, I don’t think we want to and that sentiment is about an awful lot more than just stuff.

We’re pissed because a good friend has done the equivalent of announce to the world that one of us farted a big one during dinner and that the bed we offered had bugs. Except these would be total lies. Actually, it was Donnie who peed in the soup – figuratively, that is.

We’re pissed because our veterans have been slighted.

We’re pissed because we’ve been deemed a security risk over the War of 1812.

Really??? Donnie, you baby brain, are you seriously serious?

We want things to go back to how they were. Yes, there was the occasional squabble, but there was never anything serious.

We got along, visited each other, intermarried, tried each other’s food and culture and books and watched each other’s sports, and yes, ridiculous tv shows.

For the most part, we’ve always been pretty chummy.

But now, everyone feels awkward and embarrassed. People are taking it upon themselves to apologise for a leader they probably never voted for and of whom they are ashamed.

A pretty great relationship has become an uncomfortable side hug.

But for as pissed as Canadians might be at the moment, please remember that we’re pissed at Trump and his entourage of peckerwoods. We’re not pissed at you.

We know that the majority of Americans didn’t vote for him. We know that many of those who did felt that they were doing the right thing.

I just hope that underneath the orange glow that’s emanating from your direction, we’re really still friends, and will continue to be friends, long after the Trumpian morass has been consigned to the past.

Now it’s your turn. How do you see it?