Category Archives: rants

I’m getting angry


And thank you, Gina Martin.

I remember why my eldest child stopped wearing dresses to elementary school. It was “Friday Flip-Up day” and quite horrifyingly it was a THING amongst the pre-pubescent male population to attack girls and flip up their skirts to expose their underwear.

I should have girded myself up and stormed into the school to report it, though I imagine that would have had repercussions for my kid, as any of my interventions did.

The rats in another school kept going around after another of my children, yelling anti-gay epithets because at grade six, he didn’t have a girlfriend.

Because doesn’t everyone become sexualized before puberty?

I reported that and it led to my poor son being followed around by the principal for weeks, while absolutely nothing was done about the bullies. I learned my lesson, and so did he. It’s not a good lesson.

It seems to be always that way with abusers and the abused. If the abused report anything, they are subjected to more and more abuse, both by the original baddies and also the system that they have to live within. Add social media and the horrible people who hide and shout from the shadows, and life becomes pretty damn annoying. And the bullies? Well, they have a million excuses given for their bad behaviour – they’re only boys, that’s just what they do…

It’s all progressing, too. Boys who can’t have every girl are creating groups to kill them all. Men who are challenged for their actions still shoot and kill their partners with infuriating frequency, and they succeed because the initial complaints by their partners are belittled. It’s got to stop, I cry, while meanwhile things are getting worse and more violent the more rights non-male genders are granted. The backlash is severe and growing and it breaks my heart.

I particularly like Gina Martin’s response to the “not all men” retort, the one that crushes any forward movement. She points out that yeah, not all men, but then not all men are trying to help the situation, either. Men still allow inappropriate behaviour, not calling out their mates, or standing up for other gender rights. They LET IT GO ON. And they contribute to imbalances in all sorts of ways. Because, frankly, it benefits them, the status quo.

So before you smugly say, yeah, well, but not me, ask yourself if you’ve done anything to help correct the gender imbalances present, to address the ongoing sexual abuse and threatening behaviour that women and other genders have to live through every single day of their lives. (Well, until they get older and then no one sees them, which is its own kind of violence.) Maybe you have, and I tip my hat to you. But as Gina says, there aren’t nearly enough of you.

Perhaps it will all come down to this generation needing to die off before anything gets better, (as I hope with the ongoing racism) but I wonder. A lot of those INCEL creeps are young. (Though at least their chances of reproducing are low…) Things may well get a lot worse before they get better.

And I am so tired of seeing tales of abuse and murder everywhere. As Marg says, maybe it’s time to boycott the “dick-lit” that abounds everywhere, on TV and in movies, where women are always shown as abused and murdered. One episode of Criminal Minds usually does in two or three women. I’ve stopped watching it entirely. I’ve cancelled Netflix because of the endless streaming shows where women are slaughtered. Enough carnage. At least murder mysteries from the UK try for a bit of gender balance in their victims.

In addition, I’m finished reading books by men. Especially novels. I’m giving it up until you guys learn how to behave. (This seems like a small thing until you see my book budget…)

So I’ve had it. I’m done. I am going Warrior Princess, taking Marg Delahunty as my mentor. Now, where is that smiting sword when I need it?

Am I Non-Fungible?


I’ve got a headache.

I’ve been hearing about these non-fungible thingies on the inter webs and I simply cannot get my head around them.

For one thing, the definitions seem fungible: on one site it is thus: Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are pieces of digital content linked to the blockchain, the digital database underpinning cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum. Unlike NFTs, those assets are fungible, meaning they can be replaced or exchanged with another identical one of the same value, much like a dollar bill.

So wait. A (an?) NFT is a FT? What is bitcoin in this non and fungible universe? Is ethereum a substance? Can I touch it?

And then there’s this definition of the general terms: (From an article that explains in language I find impenetrable that most definitions of ‘non-fungible’ are wrong. Really? WHO WOULD KNOW?)

The definition of a fungible asset is as follows:

(especially of goods) being of such nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind.

A non-fungible asset therefore has the opposite characteristics to this definition. Those elements are:

  • Unique
  • Irreplaceable
  • Non-interchangeable

The definition of a NFT is equally muddy. According to Wikipedia, it’s:

A non-fungible token is a unit of data on a digital ledger called a blockchain, where each NFT can represent a unique digital item, and thus they are not interchangeable. NFTs can represent digital files such as art, audio, videos, items in video games and other forms of creative work. 

Well, this all sounds simple, until one is listening to a news item about how people are buying Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) of shoes. Virtual shoes. That you wear on your instagram feet. That you pay actual hard money for. Or Bitcoin, possibly, but those trace back to cold hard cash as well. I think. Because Bitcoin is both fungible and not?

And then Wikipedia mentions this bit (accents mine): NFTs include links pointing to where the art and any details about it are stored, but the links can die.[5]Ownership of an NFT does not inherently grant copyright to any art represented by the NFT.[6] Although an artist can sell an NFT representing a work, the artist can still retain the copyright to the work and create more NFTs of the same work.[7][8] The buyer of the NFT does not gain exclusive access to the work,[9] nor does the buyer gain possession of the “original” digital file.[10] A person who uploads a certain work as an NFT does not have to prove that they are the original artist,[11] and there have been numerous cases where art was used for NFTs without the creator’s permission.[12]

Well, that all sounds like a great investment.

As a non-fungible being, I find this all rather a. confusing, b. stinking of a ripoff and c. criminal. I cannot wear virtual shoes through a rainstorm (not that I would want to given that they cost more than my entire wardrobe). I can’t even hang a NFT of a painting on my wall to look at – unless I staple my computer to said wall and never use it for anything else. Bitcoin sounds like a really good way to lose your money, fast fast, or legalized gambling (and we all know that in a depression we need more of those things. Because none of us are feeling desperate these days.)

Two things occur to me at this point. First, a lot of people have way too much money. If you have to spend your money on instagram shoes because you have bought everything else you need, you should perhaps contemplate supporting a person living in poverty and/or an entire country. Say the Sudan. Or the US. Because the money being spent on these ultimate ephemera is eye-waveringly massive.

Look at the prices on those tiny, very copiable images at the top of the blog. Or this.

(Would just like to mention the above is plagiarism of The Simpsons (an actual creative thing), ergo meaningless and perhaps illegal)

Of course this is when I realize I am becoming an old person. See, I even find buying music in iTunes vaguely uneasiness-causing. I like to be able to hold the things I buy in my hot little non-fungible hands and wave them about. Having them in a virtual environment makes them seem completely theft-inviting. Don’t we all remember Amazon clawing back books people bought for their Kindles?

And are those books fungible or non? If you can trace the purchase into the blockchain (whatever the f that is and I don’t mean fungible), apparently you can prove the thing is yours. Uh huh. I feel my cynical self making a wry smile at this. Good luck with that, my CS says.

A much more exciting Artillery Print

This reminds me of the Artillery Prints my ex was pressured into buying when we were posted in Germany. Everyone was buying them, they said. They would grow in value. They were a “good investment.” So ex went merrily and bought them despite their utter hideousness and huge size. We noted the ‘number of prints’ pencilled on the bottom. Ours were in the 200s. Never mind, we told each other, it’s still a small number, still valuable. Then we heard that since the prints were so popular, they decided to do an additional huge print run. Bing. Value gone. Of course, the huge frames they had to be put in are probably worth something. And we did have the dubious pleasure of having most of our wall space taken up with prints of people rolling various guns through mud (though they did dress well, and looked terribly brave while they did so). (note: CS (see above) couldn’t help but wonder how the clean and shiny lads were able to keep that way – did they have to paint the inside of stoves and everything with toxic paint as they did on the base in Shilo, MB – rendering the stoves unusable but very pretty?)

This all brings forward the ultimate point. Why are we buying meaningless things that are about as useful as those painted stoves? I say ‘we’ but this will never be me. First of all, if I am going to spend my fungible assets on something, it will likely be books or conferences or god forbid, medication for my aged cat. Or food. I like food.

I figure spending on things that can not be clearly defined is never a good idea. Virtual clothing seems like a bad choice in this climate. And I like to buy the actual art, thanks. The kind that smells of oils or acrylics if you scrape a tiny edge. The kind that has been known to persist for hundreds of years.

Now that’s a non-fungible asset!

I think.

real art by real artist (Gordon MacDonald at Argyle Fine Art)

International Women’s Day, or here we go again with the platitudes…


I’m all for a celebration of women. As a gender, I think we’re pretty cool. And hard done by, in general. Just look at the housework balance, the pay disparities, the parenting gaps. The complete erasure of women’s accomplishments in so many spheres. So the idea of celebrating women’s accomplishments seems like a good one.

BUT. I can’t help but feel a day just isn’t enough. I’m with the folks at Black History Month who want to extend the celebrations to more than just the minimum. I mean, isn’t it a bit…urgh…to give Black History the very shortest month in the calendar? Whose bright idea was that? Was it a bit of a dig? 

Or the pink shirt anti-bullying day. Ugh. Kids are bullied if they don’t wear pink to school that day. I can’t help but feel this is a bit counterproductive.

‘I wonder if I can reschedule the grocery delivery for Thursday instead of Tuesday?’

Besides, shouldn’t recognition of bullying, women, black history, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and plain old white cis men go on all the time? Of course it tends to run to the latter in this list, so I understand completely the need for emphasis on the other groups, but it is beginning to seem to me that there are so many different ’cause’ days that the serious problems are getting lost in the shuffle.

Like the ongoing, paralyzing racism present throughout the world. Like capitalism’s driving of starvation and grinding poverty

Or the bad behaviour by so many men towards so many women. I heard this AM on the radio of a city councillor in Ottawa who has been sexually aggressive to his female staff to an unbelievable level, who is still being paid with the taxpayers dime and has not received any serious repercussions. He is still the representative for the women he abused. Gawd. 

Story after story of men being jerks scroll across my timeline (and trust me, I’m not looking for them – I find them triggering as I have experienced my full share of jerkish experiences) I DO know there are good men, I know they can act humanely and kindly and do good things. I also know women can be jerks. No need to differ with me on that score. But the balance seems to still be off. 

And I simply don’t believe waving an “International Women’s Day” heart on one’s sleeve will do anything to stop honour killings, rape, aggressiveness against women, even forced intimacies of the minor kind. I don’t think men fully understand the feelings of danger we feel when alone with them. 

Even friends can’t be trusted. An old (married) friend of mine once took the opportunity of us being alone in my apartment to press himself on me. I was shocked beyond the ability to respond. It’s damaged our friendship beyond saving, in my mind anyway. I doubt very much he even considered it out of line. I remain baffled as to why he thought he COULD do such things.

But I’ll just bet he celebrates Women’s Day. 

You good men and true, I salute you. You, too, deserve recognition. Maybe having a “Decent Men’s Day” would help rebalance behaviour. We could celebrate it on February 28th? (Just teasing…)

I’ve written a book about a woman who was massaged like Coca-Cola into a merchandiser’s dream. It’s called Recycled Virgin, and it’s an alternate history of Mary and her role in the Christian story. It puts her where I think she should have been, somewhat more in the centre of things.

While I was writing it, I was taking a course on Mariology at the excellent Atlantic School of Theology, under the patient guidance of David Dean. I remember knocking him off his heels by suggesting that all the difficulties with Mary (her ever virginity despite giving birth, her pure blood line, her lack of sin, her assumption into heaven in her full body – all things created well after the fact by clumps of men trying to persuade people to join the church) could be completely explained by making her the god part of the god-human connection, as vs just the receptacle. Those of you who read Catholic doctrine for pleasure (I realize there may be few) might look at the stories through that lens and see how they think they might fit. I found it fascinating to contemplate.

So, in honour of International Women’s Day, such that it is, I’ve put my book on discount for March 10-17. The ebook only, as this is all the mighty Amazon allows at present. Why not take a look and see if you can challenge that prevailing belief that Mary didn’t really matter, but was just a womb on sanctified legs. It’s alternative history. It’s fiction, but then, aren’t most of the stories we tell ourselves?

Check out my book here. If you like it, or hate it, or anything in-between, please take the time to write a review. 

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8th grade hazing, or Valentine’s Day Massacre


In the hallway the boys gather about in smelly heaps like old laundry, laughing and pointing and dancing in their ridiculously large sneakers. Hair sticking out in every direction, body odor of newly minted puberty encircling them in a miasma, they crow like four-month roosters, stomping their feet on the small pieces of paper scattered on the ground.

Each square has a blotch of red on it, some writing, a signature.

One boy picks up a larger piece and theatrically tears it into small then smaller then tiny pieces, throws it into the air like confetti. The other boys bat at it, sending the shreds flying around through the hallway.

The boys’ voices crack as they hoot and cat-call, which makes them shout louder. The teachers are nowhere to be found.

To the side a small girl stands, dressed in a slightly off-fashion red bodysuit and plaid skort, uncertain shoes, long hair massing about her head in a ‘my mother won’t let me cut it’ study of split ends and tangles. Head down, she tries to slip by, unseen, escape down the hallway to the exit, but she can’t avoid the tangle of boys, the shouts, the destruction.

The boys spot her, and the pointing and yelling sharpens, knife-like. Like a murder of crows, they caw in her face, pull at her hair, scoop up the shreds of paper off the floor and throw them at her. Winter gravel is mixed with the paper which stings as it hits her. The papers don’t fly well, and this makes the boys finally give up in frustration and turn away. They slam the doors open, shoving each other, grinning back at her.

One boy is quieter than the rest. He knows the girl, they were friends of a sort, of whatever sort boys and girls could be friends in grade eight, clouded in hormones and poor judgement. He shouts through the noise to the boys, “Let’s go, she’s not worth it.”

She looks over at him, her face dead. She’s frozen, mortally wounded, unable to edge one cell forward out of there. Minutes after the boys finally tumble out of the door and outside, away, she thaws enough to move.

Bending forward, she gathers up the shreds of her valentines, silent. Alone.

Don’t go into the basement, or the inevitable drag towards danger


I confess to a terrible idea.

Like the nubile blonde women in horror movies that simply cannot resist putting themselves at risk in dark basements or abandoned cottages in the woods, (well, not really, as nubile and blonde no longer really apply, but hang in with me here), I am feeling the overwhelming urge to GO OUT AND CATCH COVID and get it over with.

It’s the same mad impulse that horror writers no doubt exploit – we are none of us good at living in a state of fear for a day or so, let alone NINE godforsaken months.

I’ve gotten used to masking up, living largely alone, diving through grocery stores like I’m on a shoplifting spree. I smell of alcohol gel and am probably flammable, so am avoiding the use of candles this holiday season. I’ve gone feral, bathing only infrequently, gnawing on apples for food, sniffing the cat tins to see if they seem appetizing. My muscle tone has degraded into marshmallow status from lack of exercise, and I now undress in full darkness so I don’t have to see myself. If it weren’t for my friends and family occasionally tapping in to see if I am still breathing (many thanks especially to L and P, bless your furry little souls), and the endless yowls of the cat demanding service, I’d have retreated to bed a long time ago.

Insomnia people and mobile addiction concepts.

(I also must thank Jacke Wilson and the inimitable History Of Literature podcast, without which I would spend many a nighttime hour tossing and turning in fits of anxiety and self-judgement (after living feral and accomplishing nothing for days on end, at 3 AM a part of me I inherited from my mother reaches out to shame me in every direction).)

But here’s the thing. I’ve been good, into self-denial for months now, and I STILL get the feeling of impending doom, hear the heavy breathing of Covid in my closets, can’t get past the heart-pounding anxiety that it is just a matter of time until it gets me, clutches me by the throat, whispers tales of sickness and strife into my shell-like ears.

I’m not good at waiting. I’m of the generation of chicken pox parties, where we smeared poxy children against each other just to have them get it at a convenient time. Of course, risky, risky. My poor son got so covered with pox I had to count them with him just to distract him from the panic of seeing himself overwhelmed. (I stopped after 100. We hadn’t even gotten off his chest and tummy). Thank god nothing else untoward happened to him, but I still give my head a shake.

Note accusing look. Not my son but I feel certain that if he ever gets shingles, he’s look at me like this.

Chicken pox is very rarely fatal, though. This Covid thing dances gaily along in its plague mask, stabbing people with its sharp beak, creating holes in families and workplaces and countries. So when I am sensible, I know it is unreasonable to even think of going out to catch it.

But I find I am growing to understand those who do. There’s a fatalism around that we can lay at the foot of 2020-ism, of Trump, of the immense clumps of destructive people destroying the environment for greed. It’s a constant battle to stay optimistic as the weeks and months go on, as the numbers we thought we were bringing down creep up higher and higher.

Alice, in happier, pre-fridge times…

Way back in university, my friends took me to see Friday the 13th part three (I think), which captures my feelings exactly – the aforesaid n.y.m (nubile young woman) is feeling safe in her cottage, and walks through the dark to the kitchen for a snack (she has just climbed out of a bed where she has been very naughty, so as watchers, we know she is marked for some gruesome end). She opens the fridge, tra la, tra la, and sees a rotting disembodied head on the shelf. She starts to scream, but is unable to as the killer plunges an ice pick through her temple.

Alas, I haven’t had much of an opportunity to be bad of late, but this feeling of things unseen creeping up on me and wielding death has never quite left. It’s heightened by the invisibility of the attacker here. And I’ve always thought it would have been better to be one of the early sliced-and-diced in a horror movie than the one who finds everyone else lying about in bits. So the temptation exists.

Primarily because of sympathy for the health care workers who would feel compelled to try and help me survive at great personal risk, I’m still fighting my urge to go hang out with the coughing masses. So far…

Technology burns, or why I am taking so long getting to editing my novella…


Slo Mo Grey Laptop Computer Overheating And Smoke Coming Out Of It ...I know, I’ve been pushing it. I’ve been alternating between a 2013 MacAir, a 2010 MacMini, and an Iphone 6s for my social media and other time-wasting.  They are definitely showing the strain. So today, as I finally got my mind together to edit, there were so many steps needed to get things organized I am only now settling in at 6 PM.

First, I had to find my carelessly stored document, piled as it was in a variety of formats – Scrivener(only on Mac), Pro-Writing Aid(my editing program), and Pages – I wanted to migrate everything over to my slightly newer Chromebook (it has a (battery) life. And a bigger screen.)

Of course, none of my current writing programs are compatible with the Chromebook. So I save things as text files onto usb keys and physically carry them over to Moby (My ugly white Chromebook is much bigger than all aforesaid tools), to try to open things.

Before I can do that, everything I own tells me they need updates, all requiring time and fiddling and being pluggedin. I update everything.

27 Most Funny Computer PicturesI eat and watch the latest doom updates as I wait. I listen to a webcast over Zoom about editing to get me in the mood. Various pings tell me all is happy land in my various devices, so it’s time to move on.

But changing from Pages to a rtf changes the document to an unreasonable format when opening in googledocs.  Apple really does not play well with others. I suspect Google is equally grumpy. So I have to get a MSWord subscription (sign up, give card), plus of course have an offer for the Scrivener-like Dabble program for a free month (sign up, give card) I decide I could use that to help organize the editing. Scrivener doesn’t yet play with Google.

I spend some time trying to figure out Dabble, then try to import my document. And here I am. HOURS later. Not one word written.

Why Does My iPhone Battery Die So Fast? Here's The Real Fix!Meanwhile, my phone battery is holding its little hand over its chest and telling me its battery is ‘seriously degraded’, something I suspected for some time since I spend my day switching various things through chargers.

(I know, I’m fortunate to have all these things to play with, first world problems, etc., but they are all dying in rapid order and I can’t afford to replace them! ) Not only that, but to buy anything, anything, requires hours and hours of research online.

I recently took a full day to evaluate vacuum cleaners, for example. Reading miles of comments, chewing through descriptions. Ended up with three in my ‘for later’ Amazon bin. Can’t commit. Reviews on each are mixed.

My brain hurts.

Imágenes, fotos de stock y vectores sobre Many Piles | Shutterstock

Searching for a phone for only a few minutes tells me immediately why everyone just buys the latest model. Too much choice, too many details, and not enough cheapie options. A slightly newer Iphone means I have to evaluate the 7 and the 8, see which would be better. What’s with the reconditioned ones? Are they safe? Should I instead go with Samsung or Google? How many programs would I have to re-buy and re-install if I did? 

DO I HAVE THE NECESSARY SANITY TO MAKE THE CHANGE?

Frankly, no.

Nor do I have the necessary change to increase my sanity with a phone that wasn’t gasping constantly.

WHY do I have to compare so many options? WHY do I need to get a degree in electronics and IT just to understand what I need to use? Why does everything cost $500 or more?

Remember when you could get a wee phone that plugged into the wall for $19?

I give up. Back to try to edit on the new computer system with a version of my story I hope I’ve saved properly on my various clouds/document files/USBs.

One day, when I recover from all the sturm und drang, I’ll get organized. For that, though, I’d have to remember all the passwords to the programs.

<SCREAMING>

😱 Face Screaming in Fear Emoji on Google Android 10.0

Alone, so very alone


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It’s hard not to love Despair.com, especially in these times of comprehensive aloneness.  They hit the nail right on the head.  A few years ago they had another Demotivator that had a picture of a broken chain, with the title Dysfunction – which plays a lot in my head these days, lemme tell you, as I perch above my town, looking down at the empty streets.dysfunctiondemotivator

When I get feeling lonely, my immediate response is to flee, go elsewhere, start again somewhere, better, be a better friend, Roman, countryman. Distract myself with the busyness of motion, thrashing myself into various new holes, tossing out shreds of my past, leaping into a new uncertain future.

Of course, as my wise son has pointed out – if I do this I am still carrying the problem with me. Because it’s the one doing the packing.

I imagine this time in solitude is, for many, a time of evaluating relationships, a time to reattach if possible, to sever if not. We are all defining ourselves without boundaries, except those sharp ones of the buildings in which we are incarcerated. (Though, in prison, I suppose you might still have company of a sort…) So much of who we are is formed as we bounce against others, rounding our sharp internal curves, finding our borders. Without these, it gets hard to feel real.

I’ve always liked the image of the Velveteen Rabbit – the stuffed animal who was so loved that bits of it had fallen off, its seams were all rubbed bare, ears bent into improbable shapes. All done by love. And making the rabbit REAL.

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I used to feel very real. I had three loud, messy, imaginative children who were constantly pushing against me, forcing me to create new reactions and stretch my creativity. I was covered in kid slime and food and washable clothing. I never sat quietly without having one ear lifted to listen for pending disasters, fights, or suspiciously silent activity. I never ate anything without thinking if I should save it for the kids (or hiding it from them).

We used to have fascinating discussions. I miss those.

Now, they are grown and off and discovering their own realities, and while I know they are there for me if I need them, they are no longer here, smooshing peanut butter into my hair, emptying the fridge, scattering toys so I step on them. I can’t use them for edging. On the good side, that package of cookies is ALL MINE and no one else can have ANY. And, best of all, I can leave them in plain view on the counter and know I can return to find them just the same, without one missing.

My prior loves are off having meaningful discussions with someones else, and my dear friends are all tucked into their own cozy siloes, all finding their own edges. I find that as this isolation goes on, we seem to be turning ourselves inward more, getting involved in our interior selves – especially those of us who don’t have gardens or yards or big projects to throw our bodies against (or big men…sigh…but I digress). Others become fans of TikTok and do videos to share with others. I’m afraid my inner introvert (and serious lack of personal hygiene at this point) preclude such activities.

I know I am forgetting how to speak. It’s weird. Forming thoughts and words out of my mouth seems nigh impossible. I’ve taken to talking at the cat. He has taken to yowlingcute-dog-listening-poodle-thinking-2524377 back at me. I don’t quite understand him (yet) and know I should probably let someone know if we start having serious discussions about the world situation. I mean, I used to have lengthy chats with Pickles, the wonder dog, but he at least paid attention and had meaningful contributions that didn’t have to do with his service requirements…

People are getting crusty, and I’m beginning to want to step back from even mild contact because it can so easily go wrong when we are all strung tighter than a wire. Everyone is taking offense. Bluster abounds.

But there are also so many that are stepping up to the plate to help. I’ve donated as much as my budget can afford, but I still am tempted by this fundraiser being run by Despair.com – selling a T-shirt that says “A Lifetime of Social Distancing Prepared me for This” and, by doing so,  donating money to the Feeding America Corona Response Fund. Why not check them out? I live in Canada and the gaps are also fierce here, but gosh, if I lived in the US I’d be really needing a way to try to stop the madness and discriminatory damage being wreaked by the governments. (I hasten to say not ALL governments, but a significant number)

After all, as Despair.com says:

Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can walk…

 

Waiting for the Tsunami, or Stay the F at home, already!


I know, staying at home (potentially with fighting children or that spouse you were barely tolerating at the best of times) is gruelling. I know. I have an eternally shedding/hair balling cat and you haven’t lived until you are woken up six nights out of seven with that horrible retching noise, followed by a bloom of vomit smell.

(I know. I’ve brushed him, fed him oils, tried to make him run around. But I digress…)

The thing is, we don’t have it that bad, we people at home. Think of where you could be. Like a prisoner in a long term care home, for example. Because that makes me quiver with terror and nightmares.

It’s bad enough being limited by physical disabilities and living with that trapped feeling, but imagine being physically limited, such that you could not be taken anywhere else because you need professionals to care for you, and watching as your home-mates start to fall with Covid-19…

Terrifying.

Because you know, without a doubt, that if you get this thing, it’s going to take you out, in a nasty brutish way. I hear it makes you feel like someone is standing on your chest and pulling your arms. I hear breathing becomes painful, wretched, impossible.

And to add to the wonder of the infection, you must also add the total isolation you will be in as you slowly, painfully leave this world. Alone.

Not that I ever wanted an audience for my last moments. Though I’ve been present at other’s ends and felt my presence was a comfort, so I might change my mind about that. But having no option for company as I gasp out my last few agonized breaths is a scary proposition. Options are good.

As are the options to get care. As a 60+ year old with multiple pre-existing conditions, I am probably not high priority for those scarce ventilators. But even I am higher on the list than many of my chums and definitely anyone in a care home. Those guys will just have to be let go.

And then there’s the life of the trapped health care workers. I remember from pandemic planning long ago that the only health care professions who were REQUIRED to show up to look after sick people were nurses. It’s a condition of our licensure, something about not abandoning patients. Lots of docs and other professions take their job equally seriously, but nurses are the only college required to be there, inhaling viruses and struggling through their own fatigue and overwhelming despair.

Bravo to them, to first responders (also tasked with being there, by god, no matter what) and all those who step up to the front as they can.

And yet, you healthy folks, you are still looking for loopholes, talking about sewing masks so you can go out in public as you will, sneaking into “speakeasies” in the UK, getting together with friends and family, “because it’s just us and I have to see the grandkids.”

Not needed

Shame, shame on those of you who selfishly insist on living life as normally as possible, going for recreational shopping, taking the kids for play dates, meeting friends for drinks. You may not realize this, but you are likely committing murder.

This is the time to actually get your head out of your own arse and look after the rest of the society. Do without for a bit. It won’t kill you to not meet up, especially with all the technology available. Stay away from the parks. Don’t play with power tools. (You won’t get that sawed off arm looked after)(or, more likely, you will, while someone’s grandfather dies in the bed next over.)

So, stop it. Know that you are increasing people’s risk. Know that people will die if you don’t. Some will die regardless, but the next time you head out to merrily break the rules, imagine yourself at the end of a hallway in a care home, as the virus creeps down the corridor towards you, as your former dining mates become absent, as the staff change over to new, uninfected people. As they tuck you into bed and you lie, alone, trying not to inhale the air or call for help or panic, trapped as you are in a bed as helpless as a turtle on its back, unable even to fully turn your head. As death walks down the hall on soft-tread feet, opening the door to your room, slowly, slowly, inevitably…

“Five minutes more…?” Or how whining like a three-year-old won’t help us stop the coronavirus.


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Back in the day before my freedom 50 plan took over and MS threw me out of the workforce, I used to be a nurse, epidemiologist, and health care manager. Many many years of study piled those degrees on me, and I still try to keep up to date.

I say all this because what I am going to say next might offend some, but I am coming from this background.

Stay the fecking well home!!!

Let’s stop this endless “Oh, I can still see my grandkids from across town”, or “there’s nothing wrong with taking the kids to play in the playground”, or “I just need to run into the mall for a few things.” I keep hearing and seeing this. One chipper lass even got on a plane KNOWING she was infected. Wow. That’s thoughtlessness to the max.

I see gatherings of people where social distancing isn’t happening, as have we all.

Please, just stop it. Stay home as much as possible. If you MUST go out for groceries, pick one family member to go alone. No dawdling. In and out and when you get home, wash your hands for a long long time.

Because this is the virus, seeing us refusing to take social distancing/isolation seriously:

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I know it’s tempting to try to slip in just one more trip, one more little infraction, like the kid who keeps pushing their parent to let them watch just a bit more TV, play just one more game. I feel house-bound, too, am bored of my own company, keep looking through my cupboards for snacks and treats that I’ve already chewed my way through, leaving only the healthy stuff that needs some preparation…

5e5ff9d8fee23d6516720658But I was part of the pandemic planning some time ago post-SARS, and really, we have no idea how bad this could be. Imagine hospitals overflowing, doctors having to decide who lives or dies, funeral homes backed up so far the corpses have to be put in rinks until they can be dealt with. Imagine everyone who maintains out electricity, the internet, and cellphones becoming ill. Imagine there’s no groceries, see if you can…

What will we do then?

It might not get that bad, but if you look at the example of Italy, you can see there is a possibility. Our only hope is to stay home and try to slow the infection rate. Because right now, we can’t stop Corvid-19 from rolling through us all. We need to provide time, to ease the hospitals, to give time for a vaccine to be developed, to organize a vaccine deployment.

Yes, businesses will have a horrible time. The stock market will swing down, and the possibility of a depression is real. But those who encourage an early return to normalcy to save business are short-sighted. They assume that people will remain healthy enough to support or work at these businesses.

(TBH, if a few billionaires were really concerned about things, they could probably support businesses with some of their excess money, keep them standing until the situation normalizes.)

Pretending that we can just slip by and play hard and fast with exposure just isn’t on. Stay home and stop whining. Or, as my mum used to say, it’ll “give you something to whine about.”

Please? Asking for a friend. Well, many many friends.

PS: I know so many are doing what they should, and bravo. It isn’t easy changing your entire life pattern. And I feel for all the small businesses who are losing ground. I try and help where I can, and you should, too. Get stuff delivered or for pick-up from your favorite stores. Pressure the government to support businesses and people at risk. We can get by this.

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Please, keep safe.

We now return you to our normally writing oriented blog.

 

 

The 4 AM moths


 

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Wakey, Wakey!

Sleeping has never been difficult for me – more it’s waking up that seems the challenge – but I find that as I get older, waking up at 4 in the morning is becoming a regular thing. I’ve even seen more than a few dawns lately, something I thought I’d left behind. More of a night owl, me.

 

And then it starts. There’s something about this time of the morning that makes me wander through my entire life, highlighting mistakes I’ve made, things I wish I’d done differently, things that were foolish (and not in a good way). I hold imaginary conversations in my head, rewriting them so I don’t sound a complete fool. I turn decisions around, looking for an option. I tell myself off. I tell others off. I revise my life to not make those mistakes I made, waste the time I’ve wasted, spend the money I’ve spent.

dysfunctiondemotivatorAnd I wonder about myself – how have I messed up so badly as to end up here alone and a mite lonely, with a cat who helps keep me awake by checking up on me as I toss and turn?. Little moths of doubt flutter about the room, batting their wings at me and leaving the dust of my misspent adulthood all over the place. Maybe it IS true that “The only consistent factor in all my dissatisfying relationships is you.”  Or me, in this case.

 

 

I think about times when I’ve accepted bad behaviour from friends, where I’ve let my boundaries fall, where I have let myself down. I think about the shoulda dones – the wishes I’d spent more time with friends, less time being busy, the friends I’ve let down or sent away. Then I think about all the things I should have accomplished by now if only I’d applied myself.

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I plan desperate new diet and exercise regimes, I contemplate moving to a new place, a place where I haven’t made so many mistakes yet. I writhe at the thought of bad intimacies, poor judgment, improper financing. I vow to attend church more often. I promise to do better, to make something of my life, to be kinder and more thoughtful and just stop being misled. I remind myself that I never make good decisions after two beer.

 

 

I can’t help but wonder why, when I wake up, I review all the miseries of my life, instead of the fun stuff. There has been fun – laughs with friends, creative outpourings, more affection than I probably deserve, the opportunity to contribute…

 

 

But still the night moths flutter, each one laden with a failure here, an embarrassment there, a poor judgment, a heartbreak.

I’ve always hated moths. Way back when I was small,  I read a story about a boy named 01288582Denny who collected moths and stuck them to the wall of his bedroom with pins. At the end of the story, a giant moth comes to his window and he can hear its wings battering the walls. Then Denny is no more.

The story creeped me right out. I haven’t liked moths ever since and struggle to look at butterflies, though I adore their beauty.

Some terrors acquired early sink deep.

Some acquired late also pester. Usually at 4 AM.