Thinking of You

Mom and I

It has been ten years today since my mother passed away.  It could have been last week.   I don’t have to close my eyes to imagine my mother just as she was – at the end of her, or at any point in my, life.

I can see my mother bringing the frozen laundry in from the line, smell the fresh air, and feel the icy cold that she brought with it.

I can see my mother playing badminton with my sister Lorraine, sitting at the card table working on a jigsaw puzzle, or at the kitchen table playing Scrabble with us and our children.

I can see my mother at church – weekdays and Sundays, attending funerals of friends and neighbors, serving up food at Parrish suppers and get togethers.

I can see my mother knitting and crocheting sweaters and dresses, mittens and scarves for her grandchildren. I can see her at the kitchen table sewing dresses for my sisters and I.

I can see my mother cooking everyday meals, Sunday dinners, and holiday feasts – as well as baking an endless supply of fresh bread, buns, cakes, desert squares, and pies.

I can see my mother cleaning, painting, and decorating our home – throughout the seasons, over the years.

Mom with my kids – Mark, Jen, & Dan

I can see my mother arriving at my home – bearing baked goods and gifts for myself and my family. Making herself at home by doing laundry, washing dishes, making meals, and poisoning the dog (the last one may have been an accident but you don’t put chocolate under the Christmas tree when there’s a dog in the house 🫣)

I can see my mother in the nursing home, her final home on earth, visiting with her grandbabies’ babies – pushing them up and down the hallway on her walker, introducing them to nurses and residents, and proudly accompanying them to Sunday brunch at the Mayfair.

I can see my mother doing a million everyday, ordinary things that mothers do. It could have been decades ago or it could have been last week.

I hope that where my mother is now, she can see that we noticed and appreciated all that she did – and that it has not, and never will be, forgotten.

Rip Mom

International Day of the Girl 2022

Today we celebrate  the 10th  International Day of the Girl.   This day was created to draw attention to the challenges that girls face around the globe.  Female children face particular problems dealing with their physical and mental health, accessing education, and experiencing violence throughout their lives.  Specially challenged girls face additional obstacles to accessing services and support.

I find it  sad that any group of people has to have a special day to draw attention to the   lack of basic  respect and regard which they face just because of their sex, age,  race, color, or whatever else they may be  judged on.   Shouldn’t humanity have evolved past that by now?

I also wonder how effective these special days are, if the message is directed to those who are comfortable with the status quo?  To those who feel that there are others who do not need or deserve healthcare, a proper education, opportunities for  employment,  or even personal protection and security.

I believe the answer lies in empowering those who are exploited, abused, or treated as less valuable than others – supporting them and encouraging them in this regard.

This morning I caught a clip on our morning news show.  A number of young women were asked the question “What empowers you?”.   The answers ranged from “Being a woman”, “being a mother”, “my friends and family” to “my education” and “my career”.

It has taken me sixty seven years to decide that my answer to that question would be “What empowers me is being pro-active and  in taking responsibility for myself – for the choices I make, the actions I take, my own mental, physical, and financial  wellbeing.” That has empowered me more than anything and coming to this conclusion has not been easy.  I grew up at a time, in a place, in a family where success meant finding and marrying a good man to take care of me.   🤦 I do not blame anyone.  That was just the mindset.  But it was not a mindset that would serve anyone well.   I can’t think of anything that would be more disempowering for anyone – than to be taught that anyone needs to rely on anyone else to ‘take care of them’ – for their entire lifetime no less.  

My question for the day – What empowers you?   I would really appreciate your answers to this one.  I have ten  grandchildren and one great granddaughter.   Your answers will no doubt help me to help them develop their own power – as women AND men. 

It’s a family sock thing 😂
A family supper thing..
A sibling love thing. 💞

That’s it for today! Take care and have a great day!💞🌞

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. I will leave it up to those who are better informed than I, to discuss the obstacles and abuse that many females suffer in areas of the world. I will focus on the women in our province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Saskatchewan is very much a white, male dominated province. This is easily proven by glancing at any political or industry photo that is published in Saskatchewan. There are the token minority, native, women in the mix – but they are few and far between.

Saskatchewan women are also paid well beneath their male counterparts – for work that is as crucial, or more so, to the well being of a company or government department. There are probably laws against such discrimination, but it is as easy as manipulating job titles to stay on the right side of any laws on the books.

Also, in Saskatchewan, most women fall far short on pension income compared to men – mainly due to a lifetime of lower income and the fact that a lot of women tend to take lengthy leaves from the ‘paid work’ world to have and care for young children.

Those are the facts but here is where I get down to my opinion.

Yes, we live in a white, MALE dominated province. When it comes to power and finances, this is not terribly fair. However, in my opinion, if things are going to change – it is women who are going to have to make the bulk of the changes.

I worked (paid employment) for the better part of the past fifty years. The first twenty of those years was generally part-time balanced by completing my education and raising my family. The last thirty years was spent in the restaurant and construction industry – mainly in administration, the last few years being focused on sales.

Over the years, I have made the following (general) observations.

  • Men and women think and act differently when it comes to their education and careers.
  • Men interact differently with men (and with women) than women do with women (and with men).
  • Men tend to make friends and teammates in school and college – relationships that last well into their careers and probably into retirement.
  • From the first day of kindergarten, most little girls have a competitive relationship with other little girls. They have one or two close friendships – and are constantly working to exclude anyone else from their relationship group. Girls are MEAN to each other. It does not stop at kindergarten. It goes on throughout their education and right through their careers. Women do not have the same networks as men because they do not develop them.
  • Women, for the most part, do not dedicate themselves to their education or to their careers as most men do. I know that. I went to school with girls who focused on hair, clothes, boys and getting an education. The boys were focused on team sports, hanging with their bro’s, generating cash, getting an education – and girls.
  • When men enter the real work world, most of them make their work a pretty serious priority. Women – not so much. Over the years, especially in the construction industry, I knew a lot of women who showed up and did their job – nine to five, Monday through Friday. I worked in this industry for thirty years. I was what I was – a female, generally in skirts, heels and make-up. But I showed up – seven days a week if I had to, six o’clock in the morning or ten o’clock at night if I had to. I went to pre-construction walk thru’s, training seminars, industry meetings and events – and I was generally the only woman in the room. At first, I got strange looks from the men – but I was never abused or patronized in any way. As they came to know me and realized I knew my job and was dedicated to doing it, they came to just accept me, respect me, and appreciate my competence and reliability. My gender was irrelevant.
  • Women who made the most noise about how they were treated, were the ones who treated men the worst. (Treated everyone the worst). I noticed that, not only at the companies where I worked, but in unrelated industries – especially healthcare. If a woman in a medical office has a sign above her desk that states ‘NO ABUSE OR DISRESPECT WILL BE TOLERATED’, I seriously suggest that you tread carefully. Those women are dangerous.
  • Women are more prone to making excuses in a work environment – they blame co-workers, use mental issues (anxiety, OCD), use physical issues (Too short, to small, too feeble). If men encounter issues, they deal with them and move on.
  • Women tend to be less co-operative with co-workers. They do their job and that is it. Men tend to work together to get the job done.
  • When men become managers, they tend to be confident enough in their positions to look for the best employees they can get and will go out of their way to see them properly trained. They know that good performance by their staff will make them look good. Women tend to be easily threatened by competent employees. If they do find and hire them, they are reluctant to fully train them as they might become an even bigger threat. It is self defeating but I have seen it – a lot!

These are MY observations and opinions based on my experiences in Saskatchewan.

The bottom line is – yes I believe this is a male dominated province BUT if women want that to change, I think that they should change. See what the men are doing and do that. I don’t mean swearing and cussing, or dressing like a man, or acting all bull headed and bossy. I mean act competent, act professional, work with others, respect others and teach your daughters likewise – before they start kindergarten. Then inevitably things will change.

That is it for today. As always feel free to comment below – even, and especially, if you disagree with my comments above. Take care and have a great day! 💞

February 2nd Update – 10 Things Anyone Under 40 Should Never Do

For the second day of February, I am looking back at a blog that I posted while I was still gainfully employed and before I allowed my hair to turn a natural shade of grey. Then as now, I was aware of ageism in our society.

I stand behind everything that I noted in my original post but I do have a couple of things to add.

Number 1 – While I still take exception to much of how aging is portrayed via the youthful  ‘internet experts‘,  this agism thing has become personal for me in the past two years.   I  am regularly treated with less  respect and consideration than I had come to expect from family,  strangers, and acquaintances.   My age has become a determining factor in my worthiness. FYI – I refuse to accept that or buy into it at any age.

Number 2 –  I have one more rule to add.   Regardless of your age, do not compare yourself to anyone who is years or decades your senior.  We may not have your youthful beauty, or stamina, quick wit or nimble fingers – but we do have  qualities that you will not recognize or understand until you become one of us.

Aging gracefully and gratefully for all of my life’s experiences
My father-in-law… living out his final years cherishing the memories of a life well lived, the family and friends he loved, and the community he supported.
My mother living her final years in a nursing home – Mothering, grand-mothering, and great-grandmothering. Regardless of parenting fads and fashions through the generations, it always came down to common sense and caring.
My Dad – 83 years old, living with cancer and dying with dignity. Still kind, still strong, still aware and interested in everything happening in his family and his community.

That’s it for today. For those of all ages – take care and have a great day!

December 17th – Rest in Peace

December 17th has been a day that I have, not so much celebrated, as honored for the past twenty-eight years. Today is the anniversary of the day that my father passed away.

Dad and my son Dan

I was very close to my Father. My Mother taught me the practical side of life – the cooking, cleaning, gardening, reading and writing, responsibility, side of life. My Father taught me the other side of life – including respecting and appreciating my Mother and all that she did for us. Through my Father I learned the value of kindness, patience, serenity, integrity, humour, humility, and wisdom. My Father was a good man, who lived a good life. I was fortunate to be a part of it. My life has been better, because I was a part of his.

Rest in Peace, Dad💞

That is it for today. Take care and have a great day! 🌟

Remembrance Day Canada

Lieutenant John McRae was a Canadian poet, author, artist, and soldier.   During the Battle of Ypres in Belgium, during World War 1, he served as a battlefield surgeon. He wrote “In Flander’s Field” following the death of his twenty-two year old friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who was killed by artillery fire and buried in a makeshift grave in a Flanders, Belgium poppy field.

In Flanders Fields,the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flander's fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hand we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who those who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

- John McCrae

In honour and memory of all who have served, far from home and loved ones, to protect our lives, our families, our homes, and our freedom. In honour and memory of those who paid the ultimate price – those who gave their lives and those who mourned their loss.

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.