Cleaning House

I started a serious housecleaning this week. When I was wiping down my kitchen walls, I washed off this little cross my Mother gave me years ago.

I thought I would share it for our American neighbours today. I am so glad for you that your election is finally over. Congratulations on your new president! I hope he serves you well.

Election Day in America

The day has finally arrived! It is election day 2020 in the USA. I have my opinion as to the results I would like to see but as a Canadian, my opinion is pretty much irrelevant today.

I would, however like to take this time to wish all of our neighbours to the south the best of luck today.

I hope that in the midst of this global pandemic, that you were/are able to cast your vote in a safe and confident manner. I definitely hope that election day does not lead to another spike of Covid-19 cases in your country.

Regardless of election results, I pray that cooler heads will prevail. I hope that you will be able to avoid the unrest, violence and turmoil that we have seen far too often in recent years.

Finally, I just hope that whichever way this election goes, that the next four years are good years for you, your families and friends and for your beautiful country.

Take care & stay safe.

With love from Canada 🇨🇦

Covid-19 Related Deaths

Covid-19 has been one of the most all encompassing social situations that we have experienced in decades. This challenge has been particularly onerous for government and health officials who have been tasked with creating a mandate to deal with it. There have been life and death decisions to make and limited time to make them.

When the first cases of Covid-19 began to spread globally, people wholeheartedly supported their government’s efforts to control this potentially deadly threat. Certainly that was the case in Canada.

Our federal and provincial governments stepped up with aggressive plans to prevent an onslaught of cases which had been seen in other countries. To date we have been relatively fortunate – especially in provinces like Saskatchewan where our population density is particularly low.

Since we have been spared the catastrophe that other areas have experienced, people are beginning to question whether our governments and health officials overreacted or used this situation to overreach their authority.

I have to admit that I was shocked and concerned to learn that our government had all but shut down health services in Saskatchewan. Since I was suffering from health issues at the time, this was something that immediately caught my attention and it seemed like a really bad idea. I had no reason to believe that my health issues were potentially life threatening but I was concerned none the less. My concern was moreso for those whose health issues were far more serious than mine. People who had, or who would develop, cancer, heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, and the like. These people would require more than a phone consultation with their family physician or urgent care in an emergency room. As I thought it through, I realized that what health services we had could not be compromised and that maintaining regular health services would be a threat in itself for the spread of Covid 19. The whole situation was mind boggling.

Last week, one local family experienced their worst nightmare. Their nineteen year old son died from massive heart failure. It is possible that his death could have been prevented if he had had a routine scheduled cat scan which may have identified the potential problem before it became fatal. My heart goes out to this young man and his family. No parent can imagine the pain of losing a child. No parent could possibly deny this family has been devastated by not only the loss of their son, but a loss that could potentially have been prevented. One has to wonder how many other lives have been lost under similar circumstances.

It would be easy to blame our government and health officials for such losses but what decisions would we have made under current circumstances? How does one choose when there is so much at stake?

I am grateful that I was not tasked with making any of the decisions to deal with Covid-19. I am grateful for those who were.

My heart goes out to all who paid the price for the decisions that were made to protect us all.

Facing Reality

I know there is real struggle in the world today. Poverty, illness, violence, racial inequality, political incompetence – I know it is there and I know that there are families and individuals struggling to survive right now. My heart goes out to them.

I also believe in hope and faith, kindness, peace and positive energy. In my blog, I try to focus on the positive. I try to use bright, cheery or calming photos. I try to make it personal – I am a real person and I do care. If someone reads my blog, I hope that I have made a moment in their day better or easier.

Today, I am going off the rails. Today I cannot stick to the positive, feel good attitude that I prefer to put forth. If you are going through a tough time, you should not read this. I am so sorry. This will not help you feel better.

Today I awoke to the news of the lifeless bodies of two beautiful innocent little girls being found. Two little girls who’s lives were taken by the one man who should have done anything and everything to protect them.

In Canada, and most notably in Saskatchewan, when there is a domestic homicide in the news, the reaction is typical. It must be poverty related, it must be race related. If it is neither, people are shocked and the excuses pour forth. There was mental illness, there were drugs or alcohol involved, there was no warning, it was someone else’s fault.

The perpetrators of many, many domestic homicides in Canada are white, priviledged, educated and well employed. These stone sober, cold blooded domestic homicides (and much domestic violence) are a result of arrogance, contempt, lack of personal responsibility, selfishness and control.

We can once again feign shock and sorrow or we can get our heads out of our lily white butts and start dealing with these horrific homicides that are occurring more and more regularly.

We need to stop looking over there for the problem and start looking here for potential problems – at our families, and our friends, and our neighbours. Look for signs of contempt or control. Look for signs of fear and abuse. The signs are there – and they are obvious.

We need to start raising our children to take personal responsibility. We need to start teaching them that they are here to serve others – not to be served.

We need to start teaching our children real values – kindness, respect, humility, and dignity.

We need to stop making lame excuses for ourselves and our children – it was just a joke (some things are not funny), boys will be boys, well tempers will flare, it was just an accident …

We need to stop teaching our children to blame their victims. That does not teach them self control or personal responsibility.

We need to start training professionals – law enforcement, judges, lawyers, teachers, doctors, etc. to tell the difference between abusers and victims. Victims often sound irrational, irate, upset, dramatic. Violent, sadistic, cruel abusers and murderers often sound calm, cool, rational and responsible. Sometimes you have to look deeper.

Like many social issues of our time, domestic violence and homicide is not going to be eradicated overnight. In cultures and societies where this issue is not acknowledged and addressed it will never be eradicated.

How many more innocent lives need to be taken or destroyed before we realize we have a problem?

Canadian Politics

Saskatchewan Legislative Buildings

I do not discuss politics often.  In this day and age, it seems as if it is not so much a discussion as a drag down/knock out fight.  However, today I will make an exception.

In Canada, there are three main parties – the Conservatives on the right, the NDP (New Democrat Party) on the Left and the Liberals in the middle.  Although Canada is far from being as politically intense as our southern neighbours, there are Canadians who are to the extreme right of the Conservatives and the extreme left of the NDP. These two demographics seem to be growing – or at least growing increasingly vocal.

I am not a card carrying member of any party but, since I prefer compromise to battle, I tend to favour the Liberals – who happen to be currently in power.

I voted Liberal in the past two elections because I am comfortable supporting them and their leader. I like Justin Trudeau for three reasons. (1) He consistently displays affection, kindness, respect and appreciation for his parents. (2) He consistently displays affection, kindness, respect and appreciation for his wife. (3) He consistently displays affection, kindness respect and appreciation for his children.

I do not have a major issue with the left or far left. I just do not believe that all of their ideals, although important and well meaning, are practical as a be all and end solution for maintaining a strong country. In Canada, the left – even the extreme far left, tend to fight for their beliefs with protests and the like – mainly peaceful demonstrations. They take issue with the Liberal government and Justin Trudeau for not doing enough to support their causes and I can respect that.

I have a harder time finding respect for the right, specifically the far right. They tend to flat out oppose anything the Liberal Government does. They flat out oppose anything Justin Trudeau does. Justin Trudeau and the Liberals can be doing exactly what the majority of countries and their leaders are doing and it is all wrong – and all Trudeau’s fault. (He caused the pandemic, caused the many repercussions of the pandemic, caused the fall in oil prices, caused the increasing frequency and devastation of natural disasters around the globe, caused the ramping up of racial tensions, etc. … 🙄). Those on the far right seldom show any respect in their opposition and quite frequently spread questionable ‘facts’, use righteous indignation, or use questionable humor in their quest to destroy the credibility of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals. This is politics as it is today and politicians know what they are getting into when they run for public office. I generally roll my eyes 👀 at such nonsense and move on.

Then there are those, from the far right, who attack and taunt anyone who supports Justin Trudeau and the Liberals. These people are not just small pockets of strangers. Some of these people are relatives and friends. To these people I am a libtard and a snowflake, unworthy of using my vote as I see fit, and too lazy to take care of myself and my family (hence my support for social programs, justice and the like). These are people who know that I am worthy of respect. These are people who know that I not only have the right to my vote, but who deserves that right. These are people who know that I have worked all of my adult life to provide for myself and my family, who has helped others in need and who has paid my share of taxes regardless of who was in government. None of this matters, to those on the far right (specifically people on the far right who know me) because I chose to vote for the Liberals and Justin Trudeau. 🙄

I do not fight often but I will fight for my right to vote as I see fit. AND I will fight for every other Canadian’s right to vote for whoever they see fit. (Even those who know me but choose to mock, attack and insult me for how I vote.) 🇨🇦

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.

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?

Covid 19 Statistics

Front Page of the Regina Leader Post May 16th

Countries, provinces, states, and the like have been announcing cases of Covid 19 on a daily basis for months now. The cases have varied substantially from one country or area to another. The severity and contagion of Covid 19 has varied substantially. Why is that?

Personally, I do not put a lot of faith in the numbers. Regardless of how many tests are being done, what do the results mean if we have no idea what criteria is being used to decide who gets tested and for what purpose?

In Saskatchewan, the numbers would lead people to believe that Covid 19 has basically bypassed our province. With the exception of a few reported outbreaks, we have supposedly had little transmission of the virus. This begs the question – why? Why would a number of people be infected at one snowmobile race, one hospital, one sporting event, but in Regina (a city of 200,000) there have been 76 official cases, with virtually zero transmission? People spontaneously being infected by the virus through no known source and not passing it on to anyone else? A few of these could be explained by people returning from other areas and self isolating once they are home. Even those are questionable as many flew home and mingled shoulder to shoulder with others in a crowded airport on arrival. The rest? Two nursing home care workers? A resident from an assisted living home who was in hospital for five days before testing positive?

It does not surprise me that Covid 19 is just a numbers game in Saskatchewan but if you are just playing a game, why? People are being lulled into a false sense of security. Many people believe there is little cause for caution as our official numbers are so low. People are not taking this seriously.

I believe people should take Covid 19 seriously. I believe they should be cautious. Regardless of the ‘official’ numbers, Covid 19 is a serious disease. It is contagious. It poses an immediate life threatening danger to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. It is being found that even for younger, healthier individuals Covid 19 can be a serious life threatening disease. Medical professionals are only beginning to see the potential for longterm health issues for those who have suffered even milder cases of this virus. There is much more to be learned and every reason to be cautious.

It doesn’t matter where you are, or what the numbers say. Covid 19 is here and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Take care out there. Protect yourself and those around you.

Senior Care

Mom with Genie & Rory

Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of my Mother’s passing. I remember her reminding me of the passing anniversaries of her parents. She always said how incredible it seemed that so much time had passed. I understand now because I feel the same way about her.

It would not surprise me at all to see my mother walk into the room, see her delighting in her grandchildren, see her loading the table with her amazing cooking and baking. I would recognize her voice in a heartbeat.

My relationship with my Mother was hardly perfect. She would argue over anything and she could nag the hair off a dog. Even during, maybe especially during, her last few years when she was residing in care, my Mother could be difficult. But, she was my Mother. She worked hard to care for us and to provide decent clothes, nourishing meals and memorable holidays through the years. She sacrificed a lot of her own wants and needs to raise us and she cared for us all to the end.

My Mother spent the last five years of her life in longterm care. It was a relatively small facility. She had a private room with a private bath. It was a relatively sizeable room and was always kept clean and well maintained. The staff were competent and caring. She was well cared for and we were in all treated well when we went to see her.

It is difficult to think of my Mother and realize that I cannot pick up a phone to hear her voice or take a drive to her town to see her.

As difficult as it can be to remember the loss of my parents, this year I have to be grateful that they are not here. My heart goes out to families of the vulnerable elders who are currently in care. I cannot imagine the devastation that is going through many nursing homes right now. I cannot imagine what seniors, their families and their caretakers are going through.

It is always difficult to lose loved ones. We were fortunate that my Mother was relatively comfortable in her final days. We were fortunate that my siblings and I (and our spouses) could take turns spending her last days with her. My heart goes out to those who will not have our comforting memories of their loved ones final days.

Regardless of where we live, this Covid-19 still poses a huge risk – especially to vulnerable seniors living in longterm facilities. Until there is a vaccine to protect them, it is our duty to do everything in our power to protect them. If we are out and about or living with someone who has to go out, we must assume that we could potentially be infected. We must assume that anyone we cross paths with, may work in a care home or may live with someone who works in a care home. We cannot be complacent in believing that we are relatively safe. It is not just about us.

Money & Power

There is always one common denominator in a global crisis, be it financial, enviornmental, or pandemic. The rich and the powerful are above doing their, or any, part.

These days, our news is full of warnings to isolate, quarantine and use social distancing to stop the spread of the potentially fatal COVID 19. We are told to wash our hands at every opportunity and to clean all surfaces and clothing regularly . We are told how to cough and how to sneeze. We are told to close all non-essential businesses – restaurants, bars, clothing stores, hairdressers and the like. We are told to keep this virus from spreading beyond the capabilities of our health system. It is in our best interests and those of our families, friends and neighbours to control the spread of this virus as it has already proven capable of devastating results if it is not controlled.

The problem is not with what is being done. It is with what is not being done. For every list of non-essential services that are to be closed down, there is a list of essential services. That list should be a no brainer. Medical facilities, grocery stores, veterinarian services, gasoline stations, utility companies, the trucking industry, railroads and the like. Essential services.

However,  there are businesses and  services that get carte blanche because they straddle the line of essential and non essensial service – like manufacturing plants. If they are producing essential items – food, medicine and the like, then yes, they must be allowed to operate under strict regulations. They must do everything in their power to protect their employees – and in turn, their employees’ families and communities. What about construction? If it is an emergency repair or securing a jobsite, yes do it, responsibly – otherwise SHUT IT DOWN.  Oilfields, potash mines and the like. There are stockpiles of their products around the globe right now. SHUT THEM DOWN.

The thing is – if we shut down all non-essential work in Canada for a month, this virus would be contained and we would all be able to get back to a virtually normal life within weeks.

The problem is, that will not happen. The rich and the powerful will not allow it. Therefore, our politicians will not allow it – until it is too late. There is an old saying “Doing the same thing, in the same way, and expecting different results, is insanity.” We watched this virus, get out of control in one country after another while politicians dragged their feet. Let’s try that Canada! (Because that’s not the definition of insanity.)