White Privilege

When I was growing up, a privilege was something that was earned.  It was also something that could be revoked if it was misused.  

I am not quite sure what ‘white privilege’ is supposed to mean now days but I do not agree with it.   I do not believe that it should be a ‘privilege’ to have access to education,  healthcare, employment, justice, respect or kindness simply because of the color of one’s skin – or their age, sex, sexual orientation, weight, physical or mental abilities or any other  superficial reason by which they are judged. These things should be human rights.

I have known many people who have felt ‘entitled’ to special treatment for any number of reasons (being white, being male, being wealthy….).  As more people realize how wrong prejudice and discrimination are, the more  dangerous and delusional these people are  becoming.  They are angry and afraid that they are losing their position of entitlement. They feel threatened and people who feel threatened become  defensive to the point of being aggressive.

Different movements have been created and have grown to protect and support those who do not have the same rights that all humans should have. Personally, I believe their success will always be limited. I believe this because those who are the focus of these movements are not the problem.

As a white (privileged?) person, I believe for real changes to happen in our society, we must focus on ourselves. We are the problem or we are at the heart of the problem. We must look at ourselves. We must look at our children, our siblings, our parents, our cousins, our friends and our neighbours. We must question and change our own dangerous entitled beliefs and challenge the dangerous entitled attitudes of those around us. We must hold ourselves and those around us accountable for mistreating or misrepresenting those who want nothing more than the human rights that we already have.

There is nothing to be lost and everything to be gained by accepting and encouraging those who are being deprived of the rights and benefits that many of us take for granted. It is not them against us, nor should it be us against them. As they thrive, we all thrive. We are one humanity.

Siblings

Butterfly Sister

I am the youngest in a family of six siblings. We are all different in so many ways and eerily similar in others.

My eldest sister Denise phoned me yesterday to see how retirement was coming along. We spoke for a couple of hours. It was great to hear her voice, especially since she was sounding really good. Denise has been battling serious health issues for the past few years, so not all of her days are good ones.

As sisters, Denise and I have rather a unique relationship. She was married by the time I was two and a mother by the time I was three. I do not remember a time when we lived under the same roof as ‘family’. Once she married, she also moved a lot – generally far away. I have not spent a lot of time with her over the years.

Denise and I are different in a number of ways. I love elephants, Denise loves butterflies. Denise is exceptionally organized, me not so much. We grew up in different decades, with different music, different styles, and different social standards.

Although we grew up in such different times and so far apart, the funny thing is that we have so much in common. We both had disastrous first marriages. We could both easily live the life of a hermit. We both love nature. The weirdest thing is that when we do see or speak to each other, we will both be listening to the same music, reading the same book, or sharing a common interest that we would never have imagined.

I love all four of my sisters and my brother but I have a special place in my heart for Denise. We share a common bond, which is so very strange because as ‘sisters’ we have never shared much bonding time.

Another Win🤗

Kat

Back in early November, I broke out in a case of shingles. I went to the doctor within a couple of days and he prescribed some very effective medication. My shingles were only bad for one week. For that week, they were pretty bad. I spent a lot of time in bed. When Dan was at work, I would get myself up to feed Kat and then lay down on the couch. Kat would eat, wander around for a while and then sit in front of me with a disgruntled look on her face. At seven thirty, she would run to the back porch to bark. I would haul myself up (in case she really needed to go out) and drag myself to the door to let her out.

When I got to the door, Kat would sit on her haunches and look at me as if to say “It is time for you to go – get out already!” I do not know what she would typically do when I went to work, but she obviously wanted me to go so she could do it.

This week, I officially retired. I have been home since the end of March so I have been wearing Kat down. She realizes that life has changed and she is making the best of it. She spends most of her day following me around waiting for treats, napping, or running around the yard barking at every dog, cat, or leaf that goes by. Later in the afternoon she will sit down by her leash and bark to let me know it is time for her walk.

Kat has stopped trying to get rid of me every morning. That is one more win for me. Now, I just hope to one day convince her that we no longer have to get up by six a.m.

Current State of Confusion

I have forgotten a lot of things that I was taught in school. There were some concepts (algebra) that I never did fully grasp. However, there was one thing that I was taught that did make total sense to me, one thing that I took to heart and will always remember. When I was in Grade Two, our teacher read us the story of the north wind and the sun. I remember our teacher, Mrs. Clark (who was just the sweetest teacher ever). I remember the pictures in the book. I remember the story. I remember the lesson.

For anyone who never happened to hear the story, the north wind was bragging about how strong he was – that he was the strongest power in the universe. The sun respectfully disagreed. The two decided to have a contest to determine which of them was the stronger. They chose a man walking down the street. They decided whichever one of them could get the man’s coat off of him in the shortest amount of time, would be the winner. The north wind went first. He howled and blustered and directed his cold fierce power directly at the man. The man grasped his coat and wrapped himself in it. The harder the north wind blew, the tighter the man clung to the coat. Finally the north wind had blown himself out. He gave up and dared the sun to do his best. The sun smiled warmly onto the man. In no time at all, the man removed his coat making the sun the winner of their contest. I get that. It makes sense.

In the past few days, the news has been filled with more and ever more hate and violence. I do not get it. I do not understand anyone who is driven to hate and contempt and murder based solely on the color of one’s skin. I do not understand those who take to the streets in anger, determined to cause destruction and chaos and pain to guilty and innocent alike. I do not understand the cruelty or arrogance that drives one to walk into a street or classroom, mowing down countless innocent victims with weapons of mass destruction. I do not understand the fear and insecurity that drives people to resent and hate refugees fleeing war-torn countries to find peace and security for themselves and their families. I really do not understand movements like the ‘incels’ who slaughter women because they are ‘involuntarily celibate’. (Like that will drive women into their beds?)

I do not understand any of these destructive people or the mayhem they cause. I do not understand their motivation. Do they expect to win? If so, what the hell is the prize?

I Was Right!

For years I have been doing battle with a typical retractable water hose. I would wrestle the miserable thing out to our front lawn while it would try to retract every time I got a foot further.

Miserable Beast

When I eventually finished watering, one quick tug and the hose would retract at a manageable steady pace – theoretically. In reality, one quick tug and either nothing happened or fifty feet of solid hose would shoot back to the reel at a hundred miles an hour. If it was the latter, I had my choice of holding on for dear life or letting go. Letting go was not the best option.

Years ago, we started seeing advertisements for an expandable, lightweight cloth hose.

Sweet!

My husband and I would go to the garden centre every spring and I would see these expanding hoses. I would reach for one and my husband would say “you don’t want that do you?”. I would assure him that I did want that – at least to give it a try. At this point, I would get his whole speech extolling the virtues of our sociopathic retractable hose – with a bonus speech on operator error.

On Friday, we went to a discount store to pick up some economy (disposable) paint brushes that I can use for painting our planters. I saw my dream hose – on sale – in a discount store! I snatched it up and stormed the til to pay for it before Dan could talk me out of it.

My ‘Amazing Hose’ is amazing! It is lightweight, manageable, easy to extend, and easy to put away. The nozzle on it is equally amazing. I have purchased half a dozen nozzles in the past twenty years – some cheap, some stupid pricey. I did not love any of them. I love my new nozzle. My new hose and nozzle are perfect! I do not get to be right very often – but this time, I nailed it. (We won’t discuss the ‘Easey Peazey jar opener’ 🙄)

I had so much time left over from watering plants yesterday that I cleaned up our bird feeder and put fresh seed out for the birds. 🐦

Officially Retired🥂

In the ever changing story of my life, I am officially retired as of today!  Due to ongoing health issues and my boss’s concern that I may not be able as dependable as he would need me to be for the next few weeks, we have come to the mutual conclusion that I should retire now and be done with it.   Yay!

I have been working for fifty years (with time off or part-time employment for a few years when my children were infants to preschoolers).    For the past 26 years, I have been working in the Saskatchewan construction industry.   For the past 16 years, I have been working for my current boss.

The first fourteen years at KMB  were great.   I loved the work – it was challenging and rewarding.  I loved dealing with our clients, our suppliers and all of our professional support team.  I generally got along with most of the other staff – especially my boss.  We had some good years. 

We had a few less than great times – like when I was in the hospital for a month a few years ago.  I was on oxygen, morphine, multiple antibiotics and inhalants, had an ongoing iv and tubes draining my chest cavity in an attempt to allow my collapsed lung to expand.  My boss would call every few days to see if I knew when I would be back at work.   The day I got out of the hospital, he called to see if I would come to work the next day – which I did. 🙄

The past couple of years have not been great – or good.  Since the boss’s son joined the company there has been a total lack of respect, consideration or appreciation for myself or anyone on staff.   I still enjoyed working with the rest of the staff, etc but the atmosphere has been uncomfortable to say the least.

Last year, I did have the biggest sale of my career (and the biggest single sale for the company to date.) It was with our supplier that I have worked closest with over the past sixteen years and involved my favourite product.  The customer was a regular, who specifically wanted to work with me.   The order went virtually flawless start to finish – budget pricing to payment of invoice.    Best of all – the facility name for the project was St. Ann’s.  🤣🤣.  Every order is important when you are in sales, but it is definitely nice to end a career on a high note.

High notes or low, I am ready for the next chapter in my life.  I have always lived by the motto that you do not move forward looking in the rearview mirror.  There is so much ahead to look forward to!

My first major project will be getting our yard in order and repainting all of our steel planters.  My husband was out sourcing some paint for me this morning. I also want to start scheduling some r & r into my days.  I may check out my Kobo today and invest in a new book. 😊

Take care – have a great day!

Choosing My Battles

It appears that technology (currently WordPress) is determined to pose ongoing challenges. I have never been one who enjoys conflict, so I make an effort to choose my battles.

Today my battle of choice was aligning my website address with the title of my blog, since WordPress had gone rogue on me and decided my website address should be ‘seclusion101withannemarie.com‘ instead of ‘retirement101with annemarie.com‘.

Since chances were slim to nil of getting the website address changed, I decided to go with it and change my blog title instead. That alone was battle enough as WordPress did not seem to believe I really want to make the change.

This has been my mission since 9:00 this morning. I have taken short breaks to have a bath, do my hair, have brunch, dust the livingroom, run to the pharmacy, go with Dan to get the Jeep washed and buy groceries, put away the groceries, walk Kat the dog, and have a short chat with my neighbour Kim. Finally at 4:00 this afternoon, my mission appears to be complete and my new blog title is here to stay!

Tomorrow, I will work on changing my tag line or adding a category to my menu. One battle a day and I should start to see some progress!