Best laid plans…

Anyone searching for Facebook Notes tips, they’re a few paragraphs down

tardis ornament bokehI woke this morning to a cat nibbling on my fingers. That’s not out of the ordinary, not with Lara in the apartment. She’s a lovely cat, just lacking a bit with social skills (with cats too). I wasn’t in a rush so I stayed in my cosy nightgown while I brushed my teeth and fed the cats and chatted with my Mom and made my breakfast. I’d just settled down at the computer when I decided to open my email and see if there was an update on my Amazon order. It wasn’t due until Tuesday but sometimes they come a bit early… like now when the package was two towns away… clicks refresh… and out for delivery.

This was 10am and I had plans to go shopping with a friend of mine in the late morning to early afternoon (we were kind of winging it). Obviously that needed to be delayed. But how long could it take? And so I waited… and waited… and waited… while my parcel information just sat there doing nothing.

At 3:30pm I’d long since changed my plans to shopping tomorrow instead and cancelled our afternoon walk. But I had three very ripe bananas in my fruit bowl and a good banana bread recipe in my Facebook notes. I got out one bowl and the loaf pan then decided to call up the recipe before going any further. Notes has gotten harder to find recently so I went to my profile page and down to my about section then started scrolling… and it wasn’t there. I checked again and again, still nothing. I searched all over my page on both my tablet and computer and it just. wasn’t. there. A Facebook search called up a group of people who like notes and some notes apps but not my specific notes. And I wanted those notes. My Nana’s buttercream frosting recipe was in there and she died in 2003 so it’s not like I can ask her to rewrite it. My favourite pancake recipe which the long forgotten site removed. My hot and sour soup recipe which was modified from a product recipe. They’re irreplaceable.

Finally I did a Google search and struck paydirt. After a few false starts I found this link which lets you click on “my notes”. I was overjoyed until I realized I could only read the first couple of lines; the “see more” link wasn’t working. There’s a save option but that really only worked two or three times. But if you click on “comment” it will open up the link so you can see the whole post.

My first attempt at saving was to directly copy and paste to OpenOffice. This led to a weirdly formatted document chock full of lines. So I opened WordPress and pasted in there, thus removing the formatting, then copied and pasted into Open Office. I had to add the correct formatting but at least it was legible.

It was over an hour later by the time I got all the recipes copied to my computer and I no longer wanted to bake anything. Actually I no longer wanted to even cook anything, which is why I had half an English muffin for dinner tonight. Mmm… dinner of champions!

And, while I was eating my dinner, I was messaging another friend and telling her that my package wasn’t here yet but they still had another hour left in their estimate. I flipped over to the parcel information just in time to see the page update to “delivered”. And there it was on my doormat, much too late for me to do anything today.

But tomorrow’s another day, the stores will still be there, the trail ready to be walked, the bananas waiting to be smushed. And maybe I’ll have helped someone retrieve their Facebook notes… helped save a memory. As for now, my tardis ornament is safely on the tree, I have a stack of scrapbooking pages waiting and new photo sleeves to place them in, and I’m all ready to relax.

Remembrance…

remembrance day poppyEvery once in a while, when the stars align in exactly the wrong way, a war occurs. Of course it’s not that simple, nothing ever is. But it happens. And farmer’s fields and peaceful valleys and streams where children splashed and swam and quiet hamlets get ploughed into mud, trenches, and barbed wire.

Often, by then it’s too late to do anything else. There are marginalized citizens, either by religion or race, being (as Colin says) genocided. Often they’re pleading for intervention and yet… the ones who call the war are never the ones in battle. They’re never the ones who lie crying for their Mom while their life bleeds away and their guts mix with the mud. They don’t have to worry if the skinny teenager standing on the road ahead is innocent or covered in bombs and ready to kill them all. The ones in charge sleep in a comfortable bed every night and dine on a hot, well cooked meal every evening. The war they unleashed is an abstract in a place far away from their lives.

I remember being taught about World War I and the cavalry division. Cavalry had always played a huge role in the British Army so the commanders naturally placed them front and centre in the battlefield. Front and centre against tanks and machine guns. The cavalry didn’t stand a chance. The commanders soon realized this as the death toll climbed but they continued following the same plans because it had always worked before (against other calvary). Of course it wasn’t them or their children dying, it was the calvary and the foot soldiers so they continued.

The most frustrating part is every war starts out with a need for all parties to sit down and negotiate a treaty. They refuse and convince thousands of their people to die, ostensibly for their freedom. Eventually those same parties all sit down and negotiate a treaty… the exact same one they needed to negotiate before all those deaths. When you get right down to it, every single war is a needless war. They all boil down to one or more parties simply refusing to negotiate or refusing to negotiate fairly.

I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who. The Doctor, the main character, was a soldier in a huge, fictional war called the Time War and he gave a speech that I think is eminently suitable. I’ll pare out the parts that are specifically related to the show:

Ah. Ah, right. And when this war is over, when you have a homeland, what do you think it’s going to be like? Do you know? Have you thought about it? Have you given it any consideration? Because you’re very close to getting what you want. What’s it going to be like? Well? Oh, you don’t actually know, do you? Because, like every other tantruming child in history, you don’t actually know what you want. So, let me ask you a question about this brave new world of yours. When you’ve killed all the bad guys, and when it’s all perfect and just and fair, when you have finally got it exactly the way you want it, what are you going to do with the people like you? The troublemakers. How are you going to protect your glorious revolution from the next one? Maybe you will win! But nobody wins for long. The wheel just keeps turning. So, come on. Break the cycle.

Because it’s not a game. This is a scale model of war. Every war ever fought, right there in front of you. Because it’s always the same. When you fire that first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who’s going to die! You don’t know whose children are going to scream and burn! How many hearts will be broken! How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill until everybody does until what they were always going to have to do from the very beginning. Sit down and talk!

Of course I understand. I mean, do you call this a war? This funny little thing? This is not a war! I fought in a bigger war than you will ever know. I did worse things than you could ever imagine. And when I close my eyes I hear more screams than anyone could ever be able to count! And do you know what you do with all that pain? Shall I tell you where you put it? You hold it tight till it burns your hand, and you say this. No one else will ever have to live like this. No one else will have to feel this pain. Not on my watch!

No one else will ever have to live like this. No one else will have to feel this pain. Not on my watch! In other words “lest we forget”.

And so we were silent for two minutes yesterday in remembrance of World War I and II… and all the other wars. Silent so we wouldn’t forget. Silent because never again. And yet wars under a myriad of names are being waged all across this world. There are Muslims in concentration camps in China and children dying in camps in the United States. There’s an outright attack on the LGBTQ community happening through eastern Europe and Africa with Poland even declaring a third of the country LGBT free… as if every queer LGBTQ man, woman, and child is going to suddenly vanish. The Middle East is a hotbed of violence and, as always, everyone has their fingers poking in making it a hundred times worse.

We are all born the same way, birthed from a womb, whether it happens in a dirt floored hut or the private ward of a luxury hospital. We are all born innocent and ready to love and be loved. Everything else comes later. We’re born loving and taught to hate. If only there was a way we could teach all the children around the world to treat each other kindly, to accept each other’s differences, to listen and try to understand instead of resolving conflicts with fists, to hug consensually. It would make such a huge difference. Imagine those children as adults, having grown up learning fairness, kindness, and equity. Maybe someday it will happen but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

The wrong side of history…

Daddy Harold2

My grandfather

When I was a little girl, I loved hearing family stories and my grandparents loved telling them to me.

I heard all about how my great-great grandfather, who had itchy feet, travelled along the coast of Africa, trying to decide whether to stay there and mine before he settled on the coal mines in Nanaimo, British Columbia. And how his wife had to pack everything on her own and travel with two small girls, including taking a three week ocean trip where she needed to bring all their food and water as none was provided. They were simply given a space on the deck. Damn, I hope it didn’t rain!

And I heard about my great-grandmother who, by all accounts was a dour and serious woman, and how one morning everyone left to go fishing for the day and she got the notion to see if she was as flexible as she’d been as a teen. So she grabbed her ankles and hoisted them behind her head. She managed but wasn’t flexible enough to get them back down again. The family came home expecting to smell dinner and found her contorted, in the dark, on the kitchen floor.

Or the family favourite, which got trotted out every time the old song Grandfather Clock was sung around the campfire. A grandfather clock was bought when my grandfather was born, one he still had while I was growing up, and it worked beautifully right until he left to fight in WW2. Then it stopped completely. When the news came that the war was over and he was well and coming home his grandmother marched over to it, yelled, “Harold’s coming home you daft thing! Start working!” and gave it a good whack. It immediately began to work.

But my favourite story was when my great-great grandfather ploughed over an Indian.

My great-great grandparents came through the United States and what was then known as Indian Territory or Unclaimed Territory (even though it was patently obvious it had been claimed) to finally settle in Creston Valley in the foothills of British Columbia’s mountains. They were the first white settlers in that valley and they soon built their house and got to readying the ground for potatoes. And that was when the aforementioned event occured. My great-great grandfather was out ploughing the field when a young Native man crept up and tried to attack. All my great-great grandfather had to defend himself with was a plough. He was horrified as soon as he saw the young man bleeding on the ground and carried him into the house to nurse him back to health. The young man declared him to be his blood brother and my great-great grandparents began spending time in the Native village and learned their language. When it came time for my great-great grandmother to go to the hospital to deliver her astonishingly huge baby, she was taken, by canoe, to the ferry. My Mom remembers her grandmother speaking the Native language and her attempts at being taught. But she was only taught a few words before her grandmother passed away. Still, she remembered going to the Native reserve with her Dad to play with the kids while her Dad talked to the adults.

I knew the words reserve and reservation but I had no idea what they meant. To me they were just a different kind of housing, like some people live in subdivisions, some live in townhouse complexes, and some live in apartment buildings.

We learned about Native people in school. The different tribes throughout Canada, the homes they built, the food they ate, and whether they travelled by the seasons or stayed put. Nothing later than pre-colonial days, which left me feeling like Natives were pretty much extinct.

Then we went on a trip across Canada (one of several). My parents stopped off to visit one of my Dad’s friends and he had daughters around the same age as my next oldest sister and I. So we were given movie and popcorn money and sent off to enjoy the show. I went off with plenty of excitement, new people to talk to, and a movie to watch. This was going to be fun. Then the oldest girl opened her mouth and started ranting about Natives, or Indians as she called them. They were all drunks and lazy and stupid and worthless. They just hung around town causing trouble and hoping to get enough change for another drink. She ranted on and on while my sisters and I stared at each other in surprise. Nothing had set her off… nothing we’d said… nothing around us. It was bewildering and more than a bit creepy. Later on we told our parents what happened and my Mom looked sad. She explained that Native people didn’t have a history with alcohol so hadn’t built up any sort of tolerance and were more likely to be addicted. Later I realized that was only a small portion of the truth.

There is a picture tucked away in one of my Mom’s albums of my uncles dressed up for Hallowe’en. I can’t remember if they were both Indians or if one was an Indian and the other a cowboy. But my Nana was able to go to a store and buy a pattern to make that “costume”. Meanwhile actual Native children couldn’t wear their own clothes or speak their own language. I was taught Native history and Native youths weren’t learning it.

Technically it all started with Christopher Columbus getting lost and smacking into South America then going back and telling Europe about all the “free lands full of riches” he’d found but I’m going to start with our first prime minister. John A. MacDonald was a quick witted man. He also was a binge drinker who would drink himself senseless, with understandable reasons, namely the deaths of his wife and infant son and daughter. He also set up the framework for the biggest horror in Canadian history, residential schools. To quote:

“When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with its parents, who are savages, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly impressed upon myself, as head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.” 1879

To give you an idea of how callous the government was, they knew that around 50% of the Native children would die of disease and flat out didn’t care. As long as the remaining students were taught to be as white as possible, they would consider the schools to be a success.

At the best, the schools were boarding schools which taught English and other lessons. At worst the schools took physical, emotional, and sexual abuse to nightmarish levels, starting with being torn from family and carted to school in handcuffs at the age of three. In both scenarios the children were deposited back at home in their late teens with no memory of their language or culture and as strangers to their families. Many were suffering from severe trauma; if the abuse was nightmarish to read about then imagine how it would be for the child. And this went on for several generations. Genetics plays its part in alcoholism but several generations of systematic child abuse also plays a huge role.

Then there’s broken promises. Treaties for made for land (aka reservations) and those reservations were created. But, for the most part, they weren’t in good locations. They were in areas with soil too thin to grow crops, poor hunting, and more north than the natives had been. Those areas are remote with limited access to urban areas. The homes are in ill repair and often too small (and it’s not like there’s a Beaver Lumber around the corner to fix them up), the plumbing is out of date, the water is frequently unuseable, plus there’s little to do and the teens commit suicide at a horrific rate. But, you know, promises… some day in the future things will get better.

Right now there’s trouble in the Maritimes. Many years ago, back in the 1760’s, a treaty was drawn which allowed the Mi’kmaq to fish out of season (May to November). This was to permit them to fish for themselves and make a “moderate livelihood”. Now there’s a huge disagreement over what that means with Native fishermen saying it means they have the right to fish enough to earn a small amount, enough to support their families and have a bit left over, and the non-Native fishermen arguing that it means to fish for only what you need to survive. I, of course, went immediately to the dictionary which states:

Moderate (adjective): average in amount, intensity, quality, or degree.

I’m going to have to go with the Natives here, average in amount does not sound like hand to mouth sustenance.

Meanwhile utter chaos and violence has broken loose with fishermen destroying Native lobster pounds (huts which contain circulating fresh water to hold live lobsters) and setting fire to buildings. Non-Natives claim the Natives are going to fish the lobster to extinction even though the experts say that isn’t the case. Meanwhile the RCMP are, for the most part, standing back and watching the violence. Probably not a huge surprise considering they were created specifically to clear Natives out of the prairies but disappointing nonetheless. And government at all levels is lamenting that something needs to be done… all the while hoping it’s someone else’s responsibility.

And I just keep hoping that someone in power will shape up, accept some responsibility, and try to sort these issues out because we really screwed up and it’s time to make amends.

Living in a Dollarama world…

Years ago, if someone asked me to think of a dollar store, my mind went to a dimly lit room with shelves stocked full of crap. Plastic dolls that vaguely resembled Barbie (if the lights were bad and you squinted enough). Ones with arms and legs that didn’t move and heads that popped off. Plastic wrapped note sets with pens that didn’t work and pads barely wide enough to write a single word. Plastic cars with wheels that fell off. And gaudy ceramic vases; I’m pretty sure the vases simply moved from one dollar store to the next as one store closed and another opened. I certainly never saw anyone buy one. Then I entered Dollarama.

I can’t remember why I was at that end of town. I just remember I had too much time to hang around the bus stop and not enough time to go anywhere… but there was a new dollar store right there. Right where Biway used to be. I walked in and WOW! It was bright and clean, an actual store instead of a hole in the wall. The first aisle held gift bags, nice ones at that, and real toys. I wandered up and down the aisles, keeping track of the time, and promising myself I’d go back. I definitely went back, I ended up working there.

Many years have passed since then. Dollarama’s spread a lot and improved even more. Of course their price has increased as well from a buck (or less) to $4 (or less) but I think the quality makes it worthwhile. I’ve found things that were regularly double, triple, or even quadruple the price in other stores. Same brand… same packaging. Recently Dollarama was selling RO tablet holders which were shaped like wooden bread boards. They retailed for $45, Dollarama sold them for $4. Sadly I never found any.

I raised my kids as a single Mom and never had much money. There were so many birthdays and holidays that simply wouldn’t have happened if Dollarama wasn’t there. But the events all happened with happy kids and fond memories. Dinkie cars, toy Spiderman, art sets, stuffed dolls, figurines, articulated wooden snakes… they were all loved and played with.

These days I’m in my empty nest but I’m also living off disability so money’s still tight. Luckily I found a Facebook group called Dollarama Hauls and Finds. The group is amazing. People post about the purchases they’ve made, items they’ve found, and what they’ve done with said purchases. Many include photos. My favourites are when someone goes around the store taking photos then shares forty pictures. It’s like window shopping without leaving my room.

new kitchen artI use the group to sort out what items I really want to buy, either for myself or to put away as a gift. It’s helped a lot because I know exactly where to look when I go shopping and there’s been a few items I would have missed if I hadn’t actively been searching there. The downside is there’s gorgeous items I’ve missed out on, like the aforementioned tablet holder, that I never would have known about otherwise. But I have found incredible things. Watercolour canvases, funky pop art, wooden word art, artificial succulents in clay pots, ships in glass bottles, Cuisinart wooden knife blocks… the list is extensive. My home would be almost barren if it wasn’t for Dollarama.

And tomorrow I’ll be off to another Dollarama because one thing the group has sucked me into is barnwood stickers. They are being stuck everywhere on any flat surface and I have an ugly front door to cover.

No such thing as a Special Interest…

I found LEDsColin was young when he came to me, still in elementary school.

“I just understand computers,” he earnestly explained. “I speak their language.”

And it certainly seemed like he did. He began practicing on every electronic device he could find. There were a few failures but there were also plenty of successes. Before we moved into separate apartments he built me a computer from the ground up, the one I’m currently using. And he’s built quite a few of his own. Computers are his love… his dream… his hobby… his passion… his drive… and his future. The voice of the computer is his muse. And, to professionals, it’s his special interest.

That phrase is one of the most demeaning phrases I know. It turns far reaching knowledge and skill into nothing more than a weird autistic parlour trick. It diminishes it down to child’s play, akin to a tea party with your dollies or rolling around on the floor with toy cars.

You could find two people, both equally well versed in Egyptology. One neurotypical and the other autistic. The first would be considered an amateur historian and respected for their knowledge while the second would be treated like a toy poodle dancing on its hind legs for treats.

“That’s interesting about Hatshepsut. Now why don’t you go get a snack.”

I read an article a few months ago about a teacher who loved chess. It was his favourite game and he was quite good at it too. He started up a chess club for the students and helped them learn how to play too. The other teachers were not only impressed with his skill but with how well he could get the children involved and understanding the concepts behind the game. He changed schools the following year. Same position… same type of class… and he started a chess club there as well. But this school knew he was autistic. Suddenly his skills and talents meant nothing, seen more akin to a parrot singing words for crackers than a human working with a gift.

I’ve written (and self published) two novels so far. I love writing. I love finding just that exact right turn of phrase. I love when suddenly everything clicks and the words just start pouring out. But I’m pragmatic and realize that much of the time is spent staring at the screen or my keyboard while I try to think of a bridge between paragraphs or how to phrase what comes next. It’s certainly not easy and sometimes it isn’t even enjoyable, but it’s worth it. If someone told me that was my special interest it would a) make me feel like I’d been writing a story on primary school paper with one of those fat red pencils and b) absolutely infuriate me.

If my years of writing is a special interest then every other writer out there should be considered to have a special interest too. If Colin’s interest and skills with computers is a special interest then every single computer repair person out there has a special interest. It needs to work both ways. We are all people, we all have goals, skills, and talents. We all have interests. Let’s drop the insulting special and move on. We’ll undoubtedly learn something.

Finding joy in the spam folder…

Every couple of weeks I wade through the spam folder on my blog to make sure no one got stuck in there. I have had a couple of legitimate posters get stuck in there so I figure it’s worthwhile to wade just in case.

Usually it’s the same old garbage; overly generic and polite messages that say nothing.

“I love your writing. Readers are sure to get your point and you come to a decisive conclusion. I would like to read more of your work.”

Buddy, you replied to a post about shopping at Dollarama. The only conclusion there is I spend a bit, although not as much as Colin. Not exactly groundbreaking.

Lately I’ve picked up arms length porn messages detailing every kind of sex imaginable (and quite a bit I couldn’t imagine). So you could understand my happiness when I came across this gem…

The Reader's Path text2

Isn’t that pretty much the nicest, most thoughtful spam ever? Sadly I had to delete it because posting spam on my blog leads to a ten-fold increase in spam in my inbox. But it’s saved now as a reminder on days I feel down. Feel free to safe it to your own computer for your blue days. And remember to always follow your heart (I’m following mine into the living room with a mug of hot apple cider and a peach).

My story is still being written…

I sat in the corner of my bedroom and typed furiously on my phone. Facebook was open and I’d scrolled through my list of friends for someone who could help.

“Please can you stay and chat with me until my son gets home?” I begged. “He’s due back in a half an hour but I can’t stop thinking about jumping off the balcony and I don’t think I’ll make it until he gets here without someone to talk to.”

And she did. She stayed on and chatted about inconsequential things until Colin came bounding back in the door from youth group. I really don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for her. And I would have missed so much.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day meant to remind people that every death was someone who mattered and every life is someone with dreams. We all have a story and, as the 11th Doctor said, we should try to make it a good one. Otherwise it’s our narrative to write.

tattoo2

Many of us need help to keep writing that story. Here, in Canada, we have a variety of services like COPE and CMHA, both of which provide support. Friends and family can be a good support but lots of people struggle with one or both. Social media’s taking over the role of friendship. This makes for easy communication but it also makes for easy breakups, I’ve found that out far more than once. One minute you’re chatting with someone regularly and the next they’ve blocked you over a hamburger. And if those people online are your only friends the breakups can be brutal.

Please, please if you have a friend or family member who is depressed and says they’re suicidal – believe them. It takes a lot to admit that. Please listen to them and understand if they’re really damn silent. It’s hard to talk when you’re depressed. Offer concrete help with no judgement. Depression weighs you down and makes you feel like you’re encased in cement. Imagine cleaning or washing the dishes like that. People can (and do) spend days in their bed or go for weeks without bathing. Someone who’ll pick up the garbage and wash the dishes without asking, “How could you do this to yourself?” make a huge difference. Some easy to eat food can be a help too.

World Suicide Prevention Day should be every day. It’s part of looking out for each other and supporting the people in your life. Help can be as simple as a Facebook message. You can make a difference.

my selfie

Falling into fall…

April was the longest year I’ve ever had. Then May and June gently entered and July and August whizzed by in the blink of an eye. Last month I found a lovely fall pillow at Shoppers Drug Mart (which I didn’t buy at the time then they ran out of stock and finally my Mom picked one up for me in a store three towns over). I also found a gorgeous glass pumpkin dappled with glittery bronze splatters at Winners and this time I bought it right away.

Between those two items I got right into a fall mood and, as soon as September arrived, I dug out my  Rubbermaid tote bin from the storage room in the basement and began swapping my regular decor for my fall decor. The twins were absolutely enthralled. As soon as the bin hit the table they were right up there with it. It became a cycle of them jumping up and me shooing them off only to have them jump right back up again.

My Mom bought me a set of copper butterfly lights which I taped onto the fireplace mantle. They ended up looking amazing with the fall decorations. I’m so happy with how everything turned out. I joined a Dollarama group on Facebook and I’ve seen a couple more items I’d love to have (like those stacked pumpkins and the knit pumpkins) but really I’m happy with what I have.

In some ways I love fall. It’s not too cold and it’s beautiful out, especially once the leaves start turning. Plus Thanksgiving is stuck right in the middle so there’s a good dose of family time. Then Hallowe’en tags along at the end and soon afterwards it’s time to start decorating for Christmas. What I don’t like is how it heralds in winter.

I am not a winter person. I don’t like the cold and I’m not overly fond of the sun setting at 4:30pm. And sidewalks become hard to navigate, especially with a bundle buggy or wagon. I took a wagonful of groceries home last March and it was a nightmare from start to finish. Especially when I got to the second last road to cross and realized the snow plow had gone by and plowed a knee high drift across the curb. I had three 32 tin boxes of cat food, three bags of kitty litter, and an 8kg bag of dry cat food in the wagon along with my food. It was by no means an easy wagon to lift.

But that is months away from now. The sky’s still sunny and the air is fresh and warm. Tomorrow I’m having a picnic with my parents and Colin and tonight I’m going to turn on my butterfly lights and sip a mug of hot apple cider. The best is yet to come.

fall decor

Pretty much all my decorations

fireplace mantle

Memory holes…

“I don’t think I signed a lease,” I informed one of my caseworkers.
“Don’t worry,” she reassured me. “Everyone signed a lease.”
“Do you know for sure that I signed one?”
“Definitely,” came the reply. “I was there. You arrived with your Mom and your cats in cages then you put the cats in the bathroom and came downstairs and signed the lease.”

so much to unpack1That sounded like something I’d do. There was just one thing. I didn’t remember it at all. I don’t remember most of the day I moved. I don’t remember leaving my old apartment, what size the moving truck was, what the new apartment was like… it’s all a big blank. There’s only two things I vaguely remember; asking an unknown number of movers to leave the boxes in the middle of the room and coming back from somewhere with my Mom to find that my bed had arrived and the caseworkers had made it in brand new bedding. Those are also the only two pictures I took of the move.

I had a similar conversation with my friend S. We were walking back to our building after an evening walk and talking about adding each other on Facebook, even though she’s not on very often.

“I just want to give you a head’s up that I post a lot of LGBTQIA stuff on my page,” I warned. Which is kind of true. I haven’t been posting as much lately. Most goes onto my blog’s page.
“I literally do not know what that means,” she replied, “but I can guess. I know you’re into that, well, lesbian and gay stuff. You told me on our first walk.”
“I did?” I asked in bewilderment. I had no recollection of that conversation at all.
“I’m a panromantic asexual,” I continued, just in case that never got covered.
“I remember you saying that!” she said with a grin.
Welp I definitely had that conversation.

It is extremely disconcerting to forget something so deeply that no amount of prodding or reminders brings it back. It’s like a hole deep in my brain. I forget things so much already. I can be totally involved in a phone conversation, both listening and talking, and forget the whole thing as soon as I hang up. The same thing happens to my dreams; I wake up and they’re gone. I put everything down in my calendar and check it every single day (sometimes twice a day). And when I read a book, I read it twice. Simply because I discover all sorts of things I never noticed (or remembered) the first time around. All those things are annoyances. Forgetting beyond recovery is scary.

My family has a strong history of dementia, which is something I really hope to avoid, and my memory issues aren’t helping my worries. It doesn’t help that I’m currently without a family doctor. My old doctor retired and no one around here’s accepting new patients. Hopefully I’ll find one soon. Then I’ll have to write a list of concerns to tell them because otherwise I’ll forget.

No use crying over spilled salt…

I bought a bouquet of sunflowers last week and my twin cats immediately started acting like they were at an all you can eat buffet (don’t worry they’re completely safe for cats). I’ve been shooing cats off the table several times a day and I know they’re up there at night because there’s a layer of white fur across the table when I get up each morning. My “no getting on the table” has turned into “no getting on the table while I can see you”.

no more salt shaker

Who me?

I was sitting in my swing chair this morning when I heard Lara jump onto the table. I got up and went over to shoo her off, only to have her scurry around the table, mere centimetres ahead of me. I finally caught her then she slipped and kicked out, knocking over my salt shaker… which immediately tumbled to the floor and broke.

Of course cats and kids have one similarity. Immediately both Lara and her sister were in the salt and sniffing at broken ceramics. And, as with kids, there was no point in getting angry. So I signed with disappointment, moved them away from the sharp edges, and swept everything up.

It’s all a matter of patience. I’ll admit that I don’t always have an abundance of it, especially online. It’s something I’m working on. I can get quite sarcastic. When Colin was little he’d often ask, “Are you being scartastic Mommy?” and often I was. Both my kids are fluent in sarcasm now.

I’ve been doing well with patience in real life, it’s online that’s more difficult. I have a tendency to side with the underdog and when I see someone treating another person badly I step in and react. Of course the kind of person who attacks strangers isn’t the kind of person who backs down from an argument so then I’m embroiled in an online battle with someone I don’t even know. I envy the people who manage to waltz in, have their say, and head out without starting WW3. I don’t yet have that talent. Hopefully someday.

I have a high maintenance friend who is really teaching me patience. In some ways she’s amazing. She’s taken me grocery shopping and stopped off at stores so I could run in and pick up something. In other ways… not so much. Last week we went to a farmer’s stand. We pulled into the parking lot and she stopped while reaching for her mask.

“Oh!” she exclaimed. “No one’s wearing a mask.”

I looked and, yep. There were two employees and two customers, all of whom were maskless and they were all within six feet of each other.

“I guess I don’t need mine then,” she continued as she got out of the van.

I got on my mask and hung back a bit while she got in that six foot radius with everyone else. The other two customers left and I went forward and checked the ingredients on a clamshell container of blueberry tarts. Sadly they had both milk and eggs so I put the container back and bought the aforementioned sunflowers instead.

We were driving away when she told me to use hand sanitizer. I was going to use hers since she’d gestured to it then remembered I had my own. Then I remembered she didn’t want me using it in her van because the case is glittery. I mentioned that to her and she said to use it anyway, don’t use her container.

She then proceeded to berate me for picking up the clamshell container of tarts. I didn’t know who else had touched it. What if someone had covid? Wasn’t I concerned at all about my health? I should have had the employee read the long list of ingredients out to me. Meanwhile she’d stood maskless within six feet of four other people, none of whom were wearing masks. There were so many sarcastic comments I could have made. I decided none of them were worth it. Light sarcasm, like the kind I used with my kids, is fine for family and close friends. But regular sarcasm? You better brace yourself for ending that relationship if you have one. It’s the bomb of arguments.

All sarcasm aside, in the end I realized I really don’t need a salt shaker. I don’t think I’ve ever used it. Not that Lara did me a favour, it was cute, but it wasn’t anywhere near the end of the world. And while I’m patient with my cats, and hopefully the people around me, I’ll keep on working with my patience online. It won’t be easy but it’ll be worth it.

 

patience