10 Things You Need To Know To Vote (That You May Not Know)

Each time we have to vote, the government sends out something that tells us what we need. It’s only two things, really –  A voter card and some form of ID (and I’ve worked at the poll stations, so everyone tries very hard to find something that works).

However, there are a few things they don’t tell you.

Thatsa why I’m here.

1. You have to wear pants (or at least, something to cover your underwear or naughty bits). You might have to wear a shirt, too. Maybe shoes. Heck, it could be the whole ‘no pants, no shirt, no shoes.’ things, but I’d need a volunteer to test out that theory.

2. Unlike the blood bank, you don’t get a sticker, a cookie, or a small carton of apple juice. Personally, I think this is a mistake. Our reward for being good citizens (other than, you know, getting a government that works) is a nice feeling. Add a few donuts, a nice cup of coffee, or a Porsche, and you’d increase voting % by orders of magnitude. Heck, even the used car guys don’t have a sale without at least a big blow-up gorilla or something.

3. You have to mask up and social distance. It might say that on the voter ID card, but I forgot to check mine before handing it in. However, no vaccination ID is required.

4. Remember to take a breath mint if you’ve just had a cup of coffee or eaten pickled onions, or else you’re breathing your own horrible breath for a while.

5. You have to bring a cell phone or a book or something to do if you’re in line for a while. In the old days, you might chat with someone about the weather or if Sam was really the hero of Lord of the Rings, but now, with social distancing and masking-up, you’ll be on your own.

6. Be nice to the people behind the voting desk. Like I’ve said, I’ve been there, and it’s stressful. In other years, there were two people there to make sure everything was done right, but this year, it looks like there’s just one, and if they’re like me, they’re muttering don’t ‘f*ck up, don’t f*ck up, don’t f*ck up,’ inside their head a lot (and sweating like they’re at a job interview and first date at the same time).

7. Don’t wear squeaky shoes. You have to walk through a gym, and when there’s only you and your squeaky shoes, you sound like a window washer using no washer on a window.

8. Don’t bring your dog inside. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but why would you do that? Also, it turns out that you can’t leave your dog with the people in the front. However, adding a dog handler may also fall under the ‘how could they make the experience more rewarding?’ thingee.

9. You can’t bring snacks into the voting area. Again, it would help if you got some coming out, but I guess they don’t want crumbs on the floor, anyone slipping on spilled coffee, or people taking their masks off to eat a McMuffin.

10. Voting matters. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes. I know that the individual gets lost in the metadata that governs our world. I know you may think one vote doesn’t matter, but have you ever seen ants make a bridge? That bridge happens because a bunch of individuals get together and say, you know what, we can make a difference here. So, please, take the time to vote.

And that’s it from me. I voted and will write my MP about having coffee and cookies next time.

Posted in Parenting | 2 Comments

Pandemic Aug 31st 2021 – What to do?

Matthew McConaughey
All right, all right, all right.

Shouldn’t the pandemic be over?

Nope, it keeps going on and on and on like some bad four-hour director’s cut of Blade Runner.

So, what do we do now?

Well, it’s time for me to channel the great philosophers like Socrates, Gandhi, and Dave Berry to answer that question.

First, where are we in the world?

In the US, the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was so horrifically f’d up, that it made the Vietnam withdrawal look like a well-organized Bob Hope Christmas show. Meanwhile, Australia has a 0 tolerance lockdown that makes North Korea say, “Oi, mate, that’s a bit much, isn’t it?” And, in Canada, we have an election no one asked for and no one wanted.

Super fun times.

Locally, after nearly two months of BC burning, the fires and evacuation orders are ticking down. Finally, some good news!.

Our government, though, after implementing restrictions on the unvaccinated, advised people to call the police if they have a confrontational person in your store or bar or dog spa. Totally doable if we properly fund the police, but it’s like asking the firefighters to fight a dozen fires with just one dude from their calendar who looks great with his shirt off.

It feels like too many people are doing what they feel is right, rather than what might actually be scientifically right… or heck, just using simple common sense. Sort of like me thinking I can breathe in space because I saw Bugs Bunny do it.

Which leads back to me. As do all things, really.

The more I think about this, the more I think thinking has become viewed as a bad thing in our society.

Ok, sure, thinking too much led to the atomic bomb. Thinking too much led to censoring ideas we don’t like. Thinking too much led to wide-ranging conspiracies theories like 9-11 was ordered by George Bush, there are parasites in the vaccines, or the world is flat, or square or rides on the back of a turtle led by Elvis.

But what do we do if we don’t think at all? Rely on feelings?

That’s even worse.

Feelings ignore facts the way I ignore yellow lights. Feelings lead to fear and fear leads to hate and hate leads to becoming Darth Vader.

Feelings ignore doing what might be in the common good.

So, what do we do if we can’t overthink things, and can’t rely on our feelings?

What else is there?

Wait, wait, I know this!

Hold on.

We discuss and listen, not to be right, but to understand.

I mean, hey, Matthew McConaughey learned this while listening to two men talking in a bar, and when he took a side, one said, “It is not about right or wrong. It is about ‘Do you understand?!’”

Cool right?

By listening, we can discover why people are afraid of something like the vaccine. By accepting they are afraid, rightly or wrongly, we can offer support and advise them, and maybe sneak in a fact or two.

By not having to be right, maybe, just maybe we can come to understand that they want the same things – to be safe, to be free, to live a life without constant fear.

By understanding, we may just slow the hate a bit and that’s a good goal, right. No need to post nasty hate on Facebook or spread intolerance, hate, and misinformation on Twitter so those companies can sell more advertising, but instead phone a family member and see how they’re doing, text a friend and set up a tea date, write an email to someone who inspired you to be a better person.

Cavlin and Hobbs love
Just be nice

To get through this, overthinking isn’t going to help. Listening too much to your feelings isn’t going to help. Being the best person you can be in these times, well, that kinda is.

Now I have to run. Matthew McConaughey and I are going to discuss the nature of the wind because, you know, it’s harder to talk to Gandhi and Socrates about stuff.

Posted in Blogging, Covid, Covid19, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Will You Miss Anything Once the Pandemic is Over?

Pandemic July 4th

Beginning of the End?

Is the pandemic over?

You know what, it kinda seems like it is, so let’s see where we’re at.

Can we travel in BC? Yup.

Do we have to wear masks? Nope, but it’s SUGGESTED we do, which is kind of like suggesting we exercise regularly or eat more broccoli (which is to say, I see that whole ‘wearing mask’ thing slipping badly.)

Can we eat in a restaurant? Yuppers. Have at it.

Can we go to a movie? Hell, yah! We went and saw the new Guy Ritchie movie, which was underwhelming, but did feature a bucket of buttery popcorn (and for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, Jason Statham).

Have we all had a second shot? Errr, ah, not so much. Some don’t even want a first shot. Even if they are offered a free lottery ticket.

Are people still getting Covid? Yup. Plus, there’s a new variant out there. Delta. It’s kicking people’s butt in the UK and India.

Are people still dying from Covid? Seven day average in Canada is 20. Here. So, yes, but the numbers are not bad. Not bad at all.

So I guess it’s difficult to say the pandemic is over, as we have only reached stage 3 of a 5 stage reset model. (Stages here.)

But finally being done with Covid got me a-thinking.

Would I actually miss anything about the pandemic?

And, you know what? I came up with a top 5 list.

  1. I sorta liked the social distancing thing. I would like that to continue, please.
  2. I loved having arrows on the store aisles. Oh, the order, the disciplined flow of the crowd, the beauty of the human race all going in one direction. Gosh, I will miss that.
  3. I will miss having the pandemic as an excuse for super bad eating, not exercising, and binge watching Love, Death and Robots.
  4. I will hate not being able to take the dog for a walk in my PJ bottoms, bunny slippers and cat-eared toque. Already I see a sad lack of people in sweat pants and headbands.
  5. I will miss being super judgmental about everything anyone does. No mask, no vaccine, walking down the aisle the wrong way, buying 2 rolls of toilet paper when the freaking sign said one per customer… Oh, the list is long and detailed.

Wait, hold on, do I really have to give up being judgemental?

Anyway, I hope that everyone is getting back to a sense of normal, perhaps hugging that grandma (or grandchild) you haven’t seen, perhaps getting on a ferry and visiting friends, perhaps playing D&D or going to see a movie.

Much of our old life is returning, and that makes me happy.

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Pandemic April 9th, 2021


I had thought that me getting the vaccine would end the pandemic. It didn’t. So much for the world revolving around me.

But let’s ignore me for the moment and see what’s happening around the world. Dow is at 33,799!!!! (an all-time high), but gas here is $1.50 (which seems like an all-time high). There are no shortages in the grocery stores, though the cost of lumber has DOUBLED in the last year. Yes, doubled. I haven’t done a scientific check but seems like a lot more is costing a lot more.

Here in beautiful BC, we have soaring Covid numbers as the new variants take hold. Pretty much all of the Vancouver Canucks are infected, and we’ve seen a rise of 50% in the number of hospitalizations.  Restaurants have been shut down again, and we’ve been advised to avoid indoor gatherings and travel. Schools remain open, as do (much to my surprise) the massive big-box retailers like Costco who are more packed than football stadiums.

However (yes, however), over 1,000,000 vaccines have been jabbed into people, and more are on the way. On Friday, April 9th, they were doing 60+ but suspended AstraZeneca for people under 55 due to some very, very rare blood-clot complications.

For 55-65, though, they opened up those shots for us!

I guess us tail-end boomers don’t get blood clots. I guess we’re tougher than those under 55 young punk kids. It can’t be that we’re tougher than the 65+ though, because our Baba is 97 and has survived the great depression, WW2, cancer, multiple surgeries and the loss of her husband, and she can still spend a day cooking perogies or quilting a quilt. That’s hard for my generation to beat since we had no great war, no great depression, and the worse thing to happen was the destruction of the Star Wars franchise.

So, yeah, it must be that the data for blood clots says we’re ok. Data never lies, right? Right?

Anyway, they sent out a whole ton of vaccines to the drugstores to administer. Sadly, not all pharmacies got those doses, but here in the lower mainland, we had a pretty good selection and so I signed up right away. I mean, why not? I’m not at all worried about the shot or the blood clots and this is my chance to get to a 59-86% immunity.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World passed along some good advice from friends who’d done this – Sign up on multiple pharmacy sites and when you get a reservation, cancel the other ones.

That made sense, so I booked 6 of the nearest. None had slots available, but after filling out the on-line paperwork, I got an email saying that I hadn’t buggered it up and they’d let me know when a slot became free.

Then, Tuesday, I got the notice. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World was super excited, like I’d won the lottery or gotten my new book published, but me, I was just meh.

Don’t get me wrong, vaccines are a good thing, but even with the vaccine, I can still pass along the virus, so I will still be masked-up, unable to go and visit my friends and family on the Island, and apparently, not sit and write at my favourite restaurants.

No matter, on the day of my appointment, I went down to the pharmacy, stood in a properly social distanced line, and waited for my turn. As I waited, I marveled at how many types of condoms there are these days. Not something I usually shop for but it was as varied as getting a coffee at starbucks. I’ll have a double ribbed, extra large, non-latex, glow in the dark, strawberry flavour one, no whip cream, thank you.

When my name was called, I had to answer all the same questions I’d been asked on-line, then I rolled up my sleeve, looked away and clenched my sphincter. To my surprise, the needle hurt less than giving blood. I had to wait 5 min in case I had a bad reaction, but I didn’t – and that was that.

Two days later, unlike some people, I’ve had no bad reactions. No sweats, no chills, no growth of alien spider eyes. The worst I had to deal with was exhaustion. For two days, I felt like I’d worked a week on a farm. In the cold. With no food.

But by April 9th, I was fine, and glad to help out society in some small way.

Posted in Parenting | 1 Comment

Pandemic March12th 2021

I usually love to celebrate anniversaries. I celebrate June 6th D-Day by watching Saving Private Ryan and staring at my collection of unbuilt tank models.

I celebrate the day I met the boys with a special present for them. I try to do something amazing for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World on her birthday. And on the day we met. And on the day we got engaged. Aaaand, on the day we got married (which, being old, I often get confused with the day we got engaged – due to them being 2 days apart).

Seems she’s a pretty important part of my life.

But anniversaries are important. They are a reminder of life-changing events.

Some dates, though, I don’t so much celebrate as honor: Aug 4th, 2003, the day Firefly was canceled. Nov 11th, Remembrance Day. Dec 14th, the day my wife died.

But right around now, a whole bunch of pandemic anniversaries begin. If you ask the officials, it’s officially official, the date the pandemic started on March 11th. We had over 100 cases at that point.

But is that the best date to remember?

On March 8th, our first Covid death occurred. Is that a better day to remember? Or when we reached 1,000,000 deaths world-wide on Sept 29th, 2020? Or when I decided to grow my hair to hippy length, April 15th, 2020 (spoiler alert, I can nearly make a man-bun now, how attractive is that?)

Or should we mark our personal pandemic party on March 13th – a year from when we had to quarantine?

I’m not sure.

So, instead, let’s take a speed run through the last year.

Winter early 2020: Epidemic. Pandemic. Scary warnings. Panic buying. Empty shelves. Quarantine. Lockdown. Travel restrictions. Flattening the curve. Stock market crashing. Gas at 78 cents. No sanitizers. No TP. Riots in the States.

No Ukrainian Easter.

Society collapsing?

Seemed like it.

Spring 2020: Social distancing. Masking up. Banging pots for brave front-line workers. Binge eating. Binge buying. Binge watching rom-coms. Numbers getting better. Bonnie Henry becomes a superstar. Spring break turns into summer break. F…ing murder hornets arrive. The-Oldest graduates – virtually.

Summer 2020: Visits with family. Small gatherings allowed. Good weather brings bad behavior – big parties, no masks, no care. Clusters. Community spread. Numbers rising. Eating at home. Isolation. Doom-scrolling. Zoom sessions.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s friends make a happy birthday video for her 50th.

Fall 2020: Schools reopen. Churches remain closed. Retirement homes locked down. Some sports being played. Hockey for The-Youngest has no games. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World returns to the library. The-Oldest starts college – online. Markets back up. Unneeded BC election. Gas price at $1.36. Biden elected.

Winter late 2020 early 2021: Hope. 90% effective vaccinations coming online. Numbers rising again. No big family Christmas. No family New Years. No Ukrainian Christmas. Gretsky’s dad dies. UK bans the word breast-feeding (it’s now chest-feeding? And what I am supposed to cook for supper now, skiness, bonesless chicken chest???)

Everyone’s getting fed up, like people waiting in line too long for a milk shake at the drive thru.

But I feel like it won’t be long until we’re past all this so if we celebrate anything, let’s celebrate surviving a damn tough year. Let’s thank the front-line workers, teachers, and everyone who had to work – for being heroes. Let’s remember those beloved moments we lost (the hug from a Baba, the drink with a friend, the laughter of family) as well as the people we lost during this pandemic.

And let’s celebrate like hell when we can all finally be together, again, no matter what date it is.

Posted in Parenting | 1 Comment

Pandemic Feb 4th – Hello World

Hello World

Ok, so it’s now February 4th.  How are we doing, world? Doing ok? Getting lots of sleep? Hydrating well?

See, the reason I ask is that you’re looking a little ragged – like a hungover sixteen-year-old who’s just staggered out of the bathroom after spending the night hugging the toilet and praying for death.

Lie down on the couch. Tell me all about it.

So what’s happening lately? Upset that some rich, entitled asshats decided it was a good idea to head to an isolated community and jump the line to get a vaccine? (Here) I totally get that they should be buried up to their necks in frozen seal pee and have polar bears gnaw on them, but that’s not likely to happen. I’m sorry people can be such selfish pricks.

Are you worried about what’s happening in the stock market? Concerned some hedge funds getting their butts handed to them by a bunch of Reddit groupies that decided to use a form of crowd-funding to make some money? (Here) I totally get that it’s like some nerdy pirates seizing a ship and then turning its guns on the fort.  Fun stuff. And who couldn’t kind of root them on? Likely it’ll end badly, but mad props to the pirates, right? – they’re fighting a rigged system by trying to re-rig the system.

Is it that you can’t get on a plane, go to a sunny, beachy place and sip colored drinks with umbrellas in them? (Here) Is it getting you down you can’t plan anything fun? I totally get that. Me? I would love to see Ireland, again, though there’s less sun there, in fact, no sun, and the last time I asked for an umbrella in my drink, the bartender replied, “Not in a fooking whiskey, you donkey-faced gobshite.”  I feel your pain, though.

Or are you thinking that censorship is getting way out of hand? Google going after 100,000 posts against Robin Hood Brokerage who are protecting the rich? Trump banned from Twitter? I totally get your concern that free speech is in jeopardy, and not from the government, but from unelected billionaire technocrats who have decided what you can or cannot say or do.

Let me paraphrase something written in the US Holocaust museum. First they came for the Trump supporters, and I did not speak out because I didn’t like them much, either. Then they came for the Reddit nerdlings in chat rooms who wanted to reshape the stock market, and I did not speak out because what the hell is Reddit? Then they came for anyone who disagrees with their political views, and I did not speak out because I was watching cat fail videos on YouTube. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

You’re right to be worried about those things, world. It’s ok to feel what you’re feeling. Here’s a glass of Irish whiskey. No umbrella. Drink up.


I thought so. It’s easy to focus on the moron who’s told that a restaurant has a no-mask-no-service policy, then yells and screams at the staff like a 2-year-old being told they have to put on pants to run around outside. Sure it’s easy to focus on the Governor of NY covering up the true death toll at the retirement homes or that Tom Brady plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But take a deep breath, world. Avoid looking at the big clusterf*cks. Look at the little things. Look at a father who had to stay home due to Covid and now has the chance to walk his kids to school. Look at how I’ve learned to wear a mask without it fogging up my glasses. Look at how some of us (well, not me, but others) have bettered themselves by volunteering, donating to charity, leaving painted rocks with inspirational messages on the walking trails or simply doing the right thing because it’s the right thing. Look at the dew on the flowers, the frost on a spiderweb, the way the sun sets fire to the horizon sometimes.

There’s goodness and beauty out there, world. I promise you. Look no farther than the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World.

Now, here, take the bottle with you. I’ll send you a link to the cat fail videos. (Here)

Posted in Parenting | 3 Comments

Pandemic Jan. 18th Hello 2021

Dear 2021,

How’s it going?

I know you started out like a 4-year-old leaping onto the ice, thinking they can skate then falling flat on their face. That’s a tough way to begin, but don’t give up just yet.

I mean, hey, I totally get that the US seems to want to try out being a banana republic with people storming the Capital Building and big tech deciding to censor anything they don’t like in such a way that even the Chinese are asking, “Dude, you really did that?”

But there’s still time to turn things around.

Do you have a plan, 2021?

If not, can I suggest a few things?

Maybe a good slogan? “21? Time to drink!” probably isn’t the right one, but how about “You’re #1, act like it.” Or “As long as you’re alive, you can start over. And get coffee.”

Maybe have a chat with the universe and see if you can find a way to reduce the amount of stupid out there. Flatworlders, Antivaxxers, people who text as they walk or think Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker is a good movie… they all kinda need to rethink their positions.

Maybe have a few more nice sunsets, or if you ask The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, more movies where the Rock takes off his shirt (which, to be fair, is all his movies.)

Open up travel as soon as you can. It’s like the sardines in the can are alive, have piranha teeth and have had enough of being crammed together. See, we need to be able to see the Eiffel Tower again, or feel the sand between our toes on a Hawaiian beach or, if you’re The-Youngest, get that rollercoaster rush while screaming at the top of your lungs.

You can do it, 2021.

Make it ok for people to see my muffin-face smile because right now, all they see is a masked someone staring at them like they’re about to kill them. Make it ok for me to go swimming or to grunt in the gym while lifting light weights as if they were heavy weights. Make it ok to shake hands, again, because me standing there trying not to shake someone’s hand, twitching like I’ve been tasered, is not a good look for me.

Hey, make it ok just to get out.

Bring back theaters and, for The-Oldest, concerts – though he’s talking about Chopin and Mozart, not Bieber or the Butthole Surfers (yes, that’s a real band.) Personally, I miss theaters like The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World misses massages. I love sitting in the dark, engulfed in sound, and eating my weight in buttery-heart-attack-inducing popcorn. I think what that says about me isn’t good, but whatever, I want to see movies on the big screen, again. As God intended.

But if you do nothing else, bring back family and friends.

I miss my friends, even if I don’t tell them that I miss them. The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World misses hugging her Baba (and all of her family and friends, and even the odd stranger.) The-Youngest misses goofing on a couch with his friends, watching pool-diving fails, and burping out the alphabet after drinking a litre of root beer. The-Oldest misses the whole college/university experience, where you hit on girls, hang with your friends, play crazy jazz, discuss the meaning of life, find out what it’s like to wake up in your own vomit, or create a band like the Beatles, but with longer songs, more piano and so many dissonant notes that no-one really wants to hear it.

So, it’s not too late, 2021. Get your butt in gear. Focus. Make this a great year.

Your friend,


Posted in Covid, Covid19 | 1 Comment

Pandemic Dec 20th 2020

Covid Christmas

Well, it looks like we’re all going to have to do a Covid Christmas.

No big family gatherings. No kisses from the grandparents. No sitting on Santa’s lap and getting arrested for ‘inappropriate behaviour.’

Instead, we’re determined, perhaps more than most years, to make this the best Christmas possible.

What does that look like, well first, why don’t we see where the world is at?

The UK and US are on a full rollout of the vaccines. William Shakespeare was one of the first to get a shot. I’ll leave the jokes to you.

In Japan, hyper-realistic masks (not Covid masks) have gone on sale and I wonder, who would I look like if I could look like anyone? I mean, it would be awesome to have Brad Pitt’s face, but putting that face on a John Candy body kinda ruins the experience, doesn’t it?

In BC, Big White had to fire a bunch of Covidiots for “breaking a social responsibility contract, after health officials announced that 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been linked to the resort.” Gosh. Come-on party goers. If I can postpone D&D or The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World can put off seeing her Baba, I’m pretty sure doing belly shots off that hot German blonde or dirty dancing with that cute Australian can be postponed as well. Am I right? Can I get me an Amen, brother?

But while I can’t stop idiots from being idiots, I can try to make our Christmas just a little more special. There is a neat article here about someone who went minimalist, but we went the other way, like a drunken Santa in an all-you-can-eat cookie store.

The boys put up all the lights that we had. To be fair, we’re not the Griswalds, but we did our best to light up our trees and bushes. Then we put up both the Christmas blow-ups, though sadly, the traditional Christmas Tyrannosaurus Rex died last year of a severe puncture wound. Then we decked our halls with more lights, put up the Christmas tree a full two weeks before we usually do.

Then, we put out every single Christmas-ie thing we own. Even our Christmas plates.

But, Joe, ok, that’s not REALLY stepping it up, is it?

And you’d be right, so hold on to your elf hats. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I did Christmas cards!

A Christmas miracle, you say? Yes. Not, perhaps, as big as the birth of Jesus, but I’d say a close second. I think I spelt miracle wrong on some of them, but then I was probably half in the bag by the 400th card.

AND then, we all managed to get our Christmas shopping done a good 10 days before, you know, actual Christmas. Now I get that most people do this, but we’re famous for running around on the 24th looking for a lego ski set or chocolate shaped like a piano, so this is a huge win for us. HUGE.

Plus, by getting the presents all wrapped and under the tree, we created a sense of excitement (ok, the excitement is mostly The-Youngest and me, but whatever, there’s excitement.)

Perhaps a more accurate description of what we’ve done is create a sense of normality.

Nothing says the world is going to be fine like a fake tree lit up by eco-friendly lights, and guarded by a curious Spazadoodle.

I doubt The-Youngest will be getting a $400 bike stand (I think he puts those on there on the off chance that I develop full-on dementia and buy it for him.) Nor will The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World get what she wants most (to share Christmas with her MASSIVE family).

But it should be the best Christmas we can do.

There’ll be a full-on turkey dinner cooked by me (so, in other words, a dry turkey, under-mashed potatoes, and Brussel sprouts that no one will eat), there’ll be some Christmas cookies cooked by The-Youngest (half of which he’ll eat before they even see a plate), there’ll be some Christmas music played by The-Oldest (original stuff he’s written, too) and, of course, there’ll be the way The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s eyes light up when she sees her boys happy (or opens a giant box of chocolate liquors.)

I’m looking forward to the 25th in a way I haven’t looked forward-to much in 2020.

What plans do you have?

Posted in Covid, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pandemic Dec 17th

Good News Top 5.

Ok, with the pandemic kicking into high gear, again, and all sorts of bad news pumping through our media venues, it’s time to look on the bright side. So here are the top 5 things in the good news department.

1) A vaccine is here (and, a whole host of them coming), and let’s be clear on this, we did it FAST!!!!

Ok, the ‘we’ part kinda hints that I had something to do with it – and perhaps I did by shouting ‘where’s the vaccine?’ at the TV a lot but I doubt I’ll get any credit.

Anyway, the vaccines will hit the US and UK quickly, but being typically Canadian and somewhat disorganized at the best of times, we’re looking at dribbling our doses out – so it looks like the whole population won’t be inoculated until September. Still, the faster the world recovers, the less it’ll spread, the faster our economy will recover, and the less lives will be lost. Good news, me thinks. Good news, indeed.

2) There is a whole mash-up of new words to use in daily conversations.

I can totally verbize Covid now. “Lots of coviding out there, yesterday.” Meaning people partying without masks or social distancing., Then there’s ‘maskhole,’ or ‘covidiot,’ which basically means the same thing. Or look at ‘Quaranteam’. Super clever.

But my personal favourite is ‘doomscrolling’, that horrible habit of looking at CNN, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to find super bad news like an addict getting a daily fix of despair, fear, and anger. (And if you want a reason they’re pumping the bad stuff, look here.)

3) Testing is now easy to access.

Oh, I know this for a fact as I had to go get tested, and, ok, sure, it feels like a plumber snaking out a huge clump of hair from your nose, but this fun experience can be yours by simply going online, booking a time, and driving to a drive-thru test site, (where, sadly, they do not serve coffee or donuts and didn’t laugh once when I suggested they do).

It can all get done in about 5 min (plus waiting time, which for me was another 15 min), which is awesome, and it’s good to know the resources are there for testing. I hear that somewhere they use a mouthwash, but not in Langley where we still do driving tests in flinstone mobiles.

4) We’ve made great strides in treating infected people. I know this doesn’t get a lot of play on the news, but there are a lot more treatment options, more drugs that work, and a better ability to recognize a covid patient in the first place. More here.

5) Locally, we seem to be trying really, really hard. Masking-up in our Save-On (last time I was there) was 100%. Plus, there is a decent amount of evidence showing that masking-up and social distancing works.

I know it’s confusing (mask, no mask, hydroxychloroquine good, hydroxychloroquine bad), and it seems like the health officials are fumbling around like 2-year-olds trying to figure out how to open the child-proof gates, but hey, they’re trying to learn what works (and what doesn’t) as fast as possible.

So, yes, super good news. I mean, look at the Black Death. It killed 200+ million people and lasted for 4 years.

But let’s not forget the best news. Most of us have survived this. We adapted. Overcame. Improvised.

Gunny Highway would be proud of us.

So, be safe, be healthy, and respect this new world.

Posted in Parenting | 4 Comments

Pandemic Sept 28th Down the Rabbit Hole

Looking at things in a totally unicorn and rainbow way, the pandemic has given us some unique opportunities to explore life. Before we get to what The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World has done, let’s look at the state of the world.

Seems there’s a resurgence of cases worldwide as the second wave begins, with the tiny country, San Marino, having the highest death rate per capita at 124.3/100k. Honestly, this is not a prize to be proud of. Canada is at 25.2 . US is at 62.96

Now, in BC, for some reason, we’re having an election. It’s a wonderful way to spend time and money during a pandemic, especially during a rise in cases. Meanwhile, housing sales are going crazy, and prices are, once again, through the roof. Honestly, I don’t really understand how this is possible, but then I’m still stumped on how they get the caramilk in the caramilk bar, (the answer is here.)

Locally, gas is around $1.24, disinfectant wipes are still hard to find, but little else seems to be consistently out. Schools are back in session, and for some reason, every school district has different rules on when and how they report Covid cases. That’s like having 30 husbands define what color blue the wall is.

However, back in our house, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World has taken on creating a family tree.

Now that is a rabbit hole of epic proportions, especially if you have the patience to sort out how Ancestry.ca works.

To be successful, you have to be part detective (“so, I’m hunting for Bill Smith who could also go by Billy, William, Will or the Blue Mountain serial killer,”), part full-on OCD researcher, (ok, so this link leads to another link which has a link to a link that’s linked to another link of links that has a link to something linkie,”) to part tenacious bull-terrier, “wait, a week ago, I read something in a 1920’s newspaper about a Bill Smith who was eaten by cannibals in New Guinea, so I need to find something on the cannibal named Burbie so I could track down if this was indeed the Bill Smith I’m looking for.” (Sadly, spoiler alert, it turns out New Guinea cannibals didn’t really keep a lot of records.)

In other words, to be successful, you have to have the traits of someone who would work at a library.

I have to say, I’ve been super impressed by her research. She’s read obituaries, marriage certificates, birth records, and newspaper clippings, found photos and army records, and even tracked down hints at long-buried secrets.

I get the excitement. I mean, who cares if you find Joe who was born and did nothing, but what if you find an ancestor who porked Queen Elizabeth or one who was a notorious sheep thief. Or both? And had a peg leg?

What if you found someone who had fled the civil war in the states, a widow, who trekked with her two, young children westward, found a husband, wagon-trained it to Oregon while braving hostile Indians and outlaws, built a home, literally, then, made her way to the Okanagan?

That would be so cool, right?

But sites like Ancentry.ca can only do so much. To know someone’s history, it has to be written down, or told to someone who then, you know, writes it all down.

My guess is that a lot of people on her tree have amazing stories to tell, but those stories are lost in time. Obituaries will tell a little. John Smith was an accountant for 40 years, married Doris Jones, had 22 children, and was president of his local legion.

Boring, right?

Ok, but to know more, if you don’t have a written story, you have to go deeper. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World does just that.  Legion, you say? Hmm, that means he was in the armed forces. Oh, wait, there he is, Italy, 1943-1945. What happened there, Joe? Oh, good lord. The Canadians did that? And the woman he married, interesting, she had an Italian name. Did he meet her there?

Lots of fun stuff. However, it does take a TON of time and dedication.

My mind explodes after a while

Having lost my Auntie Ruth, my Uncle Jim, and most recently, my amazing Auntie Marg, I hate that I won’t be able to hear any more of their stories, of how they met their spouses, of children lost, of epic journeys taken, of hope and heartbreak.

Building a good family tree is a great way to connect with family history, but for everyone out there, it’s just as important to record the stories you hear so that they can be discovered by future generations, so that someone can find that story and rush to your husband who’s right in the middle of watching The Good Place and say, with great excitement,

“I just found out about one of my ancestors who….”

By recording and remembering, we honor those who’ve come before us.

At least that’s what I think.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and respect the new world.




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