Mid-November Picnic!

We’re a strange species aren’t we? We take so much for granted that, not only is it questionable whether we truly appreciate what we have, but also whether we take maximum advantage of our circumstances.

Yesterday (November 11), we decided to take full advantage of (what may be) our last warm day before Winter arrives. We decided to have a picnic down by the lake!

We have had many lovely days since May/June, but it took possibly our last warm day of the year to actually think about enjoying lunch down by the lake!

We think Ray is looking forward to the cooler temperatures, but would tolerate a picnic in these conditions as long as we share our food with him (which of course we did!).

Fall/Autumn!

Our seasons tend to be Summer and Winter, with very short Spring and Fall seasons separating them. This year however, we have been treated to a few weeks of Fall. What wonderful walks we have had (down to the lake and back) admiring the various trees in their seasonal leaf colours which absolutely “glow” when the sun is on them.

Ray is so much happier as well now the temperature is lower and the humidity negligible!

Age and/or COVID?

Since COVID-19 became the uninvited guest in our world, Carol has been doing our shopping as necessary, while I have been keeping a very low public profile. The ramifications of that created this Post!

A small family store just outside of our general urban area had been highly recommended for their pies and pastries. Given that it would be around a 30 minute drive to get there, we decided to use the opportunity for all three of us to go and have an adventure.

As an aside, and because of our shopping arrangements, I have done very little regular buying of anything these past 6 months or so! On the isolated occasions when I have been at a checkout, there has been no money transacted (no touching of money) … but rather a simple “tap ‘n’ go with a credit card.

With the above information in mind …

We arrived at the store and, given that Ray can get extremely distraught and very vocal if Carol leaves us, it was decided that I would go in and buy some baked treats for us. It was a very small store, so I had quickly selected what I thought would be really nice and proceeded to a table that was obviously the checkout area.

A young man totalled up my purchases and gave me the credit card machine, which I intuitively tapped, but nothing happened. I then saw the little sign taped onto the machine … “No Tap ‘n’ Go.”

My reaction was confusion. I had been using tap ‘n’ go for the past 6 months or so now so how was I supposed to pay? The young man told me to insert my card. I must have given him a confused look (Where do I insert the card?) , because he pointed to the slot at the bottom of the machine. Ah yes of course! It was all coming back to me now.

So, having inserted the card, I waited. The young man was watching and leaned in towards me and said. “It needs your PIN number.” Of course! Now I am feeling a little self-conscious. How could I have forgotten that. As my finger hovered over the buttons, I thought “What is my PIN number?” I had a good idea what it might be, but rather than risk bringing the store to a standstill while I fumbled some options, and with the risk of my transaction being ultimately cancelled, I excused myself while I went outside to ask Carol! She knew it!

I returned to the store; carefully entered my PIN number, and watched in delight as the transaction was approved and the paper starting coming out of the machine.

“Would you like the receipt?” he asked

“Yes please” I replied (with a sigh of relief that it was all over now). I then turned towards the exit door, with my bag of baked treats in hand.

“Sir!” I heard from behind me. I stopped and turned. “Sir … you might want to remove your credit card from the machine!”

Equality?

I was recently steered to a video (link below), on the basis that I might be interested because I know of somebody who parallels the circumstances covered. While I admire the mother’s sense of the realities of their particular situation, I also have to admire anybody that young who is prepared to explain about their developmental challenges.

The above linked video also generated a conversation on our society, and what so many of us do, and do not, accept. We noted that so many people have the perspective that heterosexuality is the only acceptable option. Sadly there is no acknowledgement that the individual could well have no control over the matter, but is ostracized regardless. On a positive note, it is nice to see those “boundaries” softening, but we still have a long way to go.

Indirectly from the video, our conversation drifted to “tomboys”! It is interesting that a young girl can dress up in boy’s clothes and generally act “boyish” and be accepted as a tomboy. If a young boy, however, dresses up in girls clothes and generally acts “girlish”, the reception would tend to be quite different.

The above is clearly just the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” in any discussion around sexuality, but it does make one wonder how on earth we got to become so intolerant of “differences” in general? My immediate reaction is to lay the blame on narrow-minded religious teachings. That may be a little unfair, but so much of our history has been highly influenced by the church. Religious wars are in our past so we know that they had a significant degree of control over society in earlier times.

I am no expert on the bible, but I do believe that understanding, compassion, love thy neighbour, and other related terms of caring for our fellow humans is quite decisively mentioned. I also believe that other major religions stress similar character traits, so what justifies our intolerance to those who are different? What right do any of us have for saying “You are different from me, and therefore you shouldn’t be here”?

Digressing away from sexuality issues, I find it rather amusing (in a very sad kind of way) that this continent (N.America) is the home to so many immigrants. Even those who were born here were likely born from immigrant parents. So many grand-parents etc also came here as immigrants. With the greatest respect to the native people who populated this continent before England, Spain and France discovered their lands, the US and Canada would not be the same today were it not for the immigrants from the past. i.e. Most people here are from immigrant origins. The obvious question from all this is … Why is there a current of intolerance towards immigrants threading itself through our society?

Have we really become so egotistical; so self-centred; so protective of “our world”, that we now guard it so intensely that the well being of others is an acceptable sacrifice?

Just thinking.

Something different!

I have always loved the interpretation of music in ice skating, and this is one of my favourite performances … from 1988. Tracey Wilson (now a skating commentator) and Rob McCall (sadly no longer with us) appear to have so much fun here. Continue reading

People of the Street.

Just imagine …..

Just imagine that, because you feel the experience would be valuable to you, you decide to spend a night on the streets in your town. To so many people, it would be a crazy idea … but what if you really wanted to know what others are experiencing  on a daily basis?

The following verses are from “The Project”, which is part of a collection of verses in a book “Just Thinking”. Click on book cover in right column (may have to scroll) for more information.

I sit tonight on the pavement,
People watching… just to see
Who says “Hello”?
Who just walks by?
Who actually acknowledges me?

But I don’t seem to exist
In so many passing eyes.
Am I an embarrassment?
Do I make them feel uncomfortable?
Perhaps I am simply despised?

They are colder than the air
Which surrounds me this night.
For a caring and humane society,
At least as I understand it,
That’s really not right.

We’ve probably all done it at some point in our lives. We have side stepped somebody on the street; may have thought derogatory thoughts about them; wondered why they don’t get a job like the rest of us; wondered whether “that girl” was a sex trade worker; turned away from them rather than risk eye contact. In general, we have all probably disapproved as they do not fit “our standard”.

They’re wrapped up in their lives.
Fashionable; conforming; neat.
They just don’t see…
People like me…
People who live on the street.

Sadly, that tends to be the state of our society. We are so controlled by commerce, which suggests that either we “play the game” or be considered something less than normal. We struggle to buy that nice house; we want peer approval so must stay in fashion; If we don’t whiten our teeth, will we ever smile again?  So much advertising pushes the message that unless you buy/use their product, then clearly something is wrong with you. This comes often from comments like “This must be in everybody’s bathroom” … “Everybody in our survey gave us a 5 star rating” … “Do you want to be the only one without …….”  “Surely you can afford a few pennies a week?” Many companies have a psychologist on their sales team, so they know how to convince you that their product is invaluable, and that your life is incomplete without it.

When was the last time you heard that it would be humane to just acknowledge a street person? When was the last time you affirmed that a street person was, in fact, a person?

I am lucky and I know it.
I do have a home.
I do have food and friends,
And I can leave here whenever I choose.
Unlike many… l am not alone.

To live on the streets
Is in nobody’s dreams.
There are reasons behind such a move.
Reasons we may not understand but
Is life ever what it seems?

It is such a basic fact that nobody has gone through school with the dream  of living on the street! If we can accept that statement, then we must acknowledge that those people must have experienced something which put them on the street.

Say “Hello!” to the next person you see,
Sitting in their sidewalk home.
Recognize that reasons they must surely have,
To live in such a way.
Being ignored… and alone.

It would be pure fantasy to believe that we can take all those people and reintegrate them back into our society, but is it such a stretch of our imagination to actually acknowledge that they exist.  Perhaps even smile at them? Perhaps just say “Hi”, or even  go and get them a coffee?

And when you say farewell.
When you leave and go to your home.
Remember those people
Who… for whatever reasons,
Will be spending another night on the streets… cold and alone.

Just thinking.

Melodic recycling perhaps?

Carol has been sorting through some boxes of history, and came across the metal keys from a childhood Glockenspiel (Xylophone with metal keys instead of wood). Her recollections were that it sounded pretty bad and came to an untimely end however, she had decided a long time ago to keep the keys. They might be useful in the future … perhaps for wind chimes?

She has a 5 years old nephew who is pretty outgoing, and who loves the band Queen, and I have all kinds of scrap wood in our garden shed. Those two facts raised a question from Carol “Can you make a Glockenspiel out of your wood and with these keys for him?” Continue reading

Perspectives!

The world would appear to be evolving into a very unstable place to live and, sadly, that has nothing to do with environmental changes; the structural integrity of our planet, or some cataclysmic event in our solar system. Sadly … it has everything to do with us. Continue reading

A different perspective!

I have written a number of Posts where “Perspective” has been the driving force (put it in the search field and you will get quite a few responses). Perspectives are important (if we are going to survive as a species) because everybody has a history, and that history has created personal perspectives.

Trying to see the world from Ray’s  perspective helps in our ongoing canine/human relationship. Just acknowledging that we are, who we are, because of our perspectives should hopefully drive home the simple fact that we can be very different … and have every right to be that way. Why is that person living on the street? Why did that couple do those things to that child? How that did lady achieve fame so quickly? If we understood their history and their resulting perspectives on life, all could well become very clear. Continue reading