Snowflakes Win Hands Down Over Humans This Year

The winter has been miserably cold this year in South Eastern Ontario. It hasn’t been a week or two of frigid weather, then back to a winter as we know it. It has been one cold snap after another, with hopefully a day or two of reprieve, before the next hit! … all winter long – so far! As a Kingstonian, some of the city snowbanks are about six feet high. As a Great Laker, I’m already at the Canadian/American borderline. If you are able to move further south, why wouldn’t you seriously consider it! As I get older, I can understand why the “snowbird” migration may grow as a movement. It’s in our bones and demographics.

There are those who use media spin, as a tool, to demean or minimize global weather changes, or advocate its existence and impact. Funny, how we see the disparity between those able to manipulate human impact on the earth habitat, and those humans affected by that impact. We are seemingly transitioning class-ism to a simpler or more polarized model – haves verse have-nots. It’s an over-simplification of climate change and human movement in a finite space (Earth), but still an observation, in my opinion.

I guess if the hurricanes, tornadoes, extreme weather patterns, etc., are becoming more frequent in your geo-location, it is best to move to a more humanely desirable place, before the herd descends… otherwise you may risk a new financial/economic component, as those market prices rise, in an inevitable demand.

On those evenings and nights when we are hibernating, here are a few interesting reads: Jane Jacobs, “Dark Age Ahead”, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, “Systems of Survival”, “Cities and the Wealth of Nations”; Ronald Wright, “An Illustrated Short History of Progress”, “What is America?”, and for those who enjoy added intrigue, “Stolen Continents” (as we consider environmental refugees & migration patterns to more humane environments). I would throw in author Maude Barlow, as she speaks out about the scarcity of fresh water, with a growing human population, but that’s another chapter.

As Canadians, we also watched the hurricane speed storms hit the Eastern Seaboard, and the Maritimes these past couple of years. I was able to see FEMA’s participation in part of that recovery. There was joy in seeing the anecdotes unfold, as one human reached out to another, but there wasn’t enough at the collective level. It is disappointing to note, even in this day and age (as two G20 nations), how we brag we have it all in our dogma of “democracy”. Why are we leaving so many people behind? This already precludes nations, who aren’t able to recover within their own GDP. Many of us, within our own country’s borders, may be or are in the next wave, of unrecoverable situations. It’s not “just” a geological series of winter storms anymore!

I wrote much of this, as a response to a blogger I follow in Maryland, as he writes about Washington D.C. – John Hayden. (He is a journalist; he claims retired status; but really, the pen and ink are still flowing!) All of us are more or less experiencing the same Nor’ Easters or Clippers hitting the continent’s east side. March came in like a sedated lamb – minus 6 Celsius, with a low wind factor, on a backdrop of a pair of Dutchman’s breeches. The Almanac findings for Groundhog’s Day are pretty much fodder for the wood-stove this winter! I think snowflakes win hands down over the humans this year!

3 More CF Passings

If 4 soldiers in three months at CFB Cold Lake, AB didn’t make the news in late 2011… or a mere day and a half online commentary at The Kingston Whig Standard, for Officer Cadet Mathieu Le Clair was deemed as sufficient airing in 2012, then, regrettably, I don’t think we have hit the tipping point yet!!   Tragically, behind each of these dog tags is a vibrant soul, who will not be home, in body, for the holidays.  Families are painfully aware of their absence.  It isn’t the soldier, per se, that CF attacks, as they extricate themselves from “attributable cause of death” during a soldier’s life review.  It is instead the families these young men and women leave behind, be it in the wake of suicide, homicide, or sickness accrued, while serving. Collateral damage acceptance levels aren’t stats.. they are our sons and daughters. These sons & daughters are dying at home on Canadian soil …. this, at a time when we are not at war.
My heart goes out the the newest members of this special circle. It will take more than the energy of this special circle to change the mindset of our military culture; we just have to figure out when the rest of Canada wants to be on board…
 
Respectfully in spirithood,

Aging Flow Charts & Flag Alerts

The last five and a half months has been a timeout from all of life’s other projects, apart from: work, essential (only) personal living maintenance, material purging, and schedules. Oh, throw in a huge dose of sibling co-ordination, along with communication system designs and operation! Here are a list of flag alerts for those of you, about to engage in some aging transitions, be it a change from the middle-age to senior citizenry, down-sizing the home front, community living reforms, or just plain old moving along the line to the eventual expiry date.

1) DO NOT WAIT… or put off to a more convenient time that family chat. What do you want to do and where do you want to be 5,10,15 + years from now? Is your medical curvature line in sync with your mental aspirations of longevity? You won’t have the energy to do it effectively, if you put it off 20, 30, or in our case 50 years. My family has learned this the hard way!
My generation is in their 50′s, and we are co-coordinating our efforts with a remaining parent, in her mid-eighties. Your mind can pick up and carry 17 boxes before your second coffee break, no sweat, but think again. That body isn’t 20 or 30 years old anymore!

2) Purge… Is there enough time to upload all the material stuff (you are willing to part with) on to Kijiji, Craig’s List, e-bay, etc.? When is the sentimental pile of stuff outweighing its value on a moving truck? My sister kept repeating the phrase, “$0.70 a pound”. Of course the moving cost was not that horrendous, in the long run, but we didn’t move inter provincially either. If a company isn’t picking up the cheque, for the move, you will be experiencing a lot of emotional drainage and decisions.

3) Do you have an idea of what is valuable? What are you are simply keeping as a material good, or as heritage, for future generations? What will suffice as a photo keepsake, instead of the real McCoy? Antique dealers can look at a pile of objects, and within moments, eye the good stuff. Do not let a timeline or deadline date put you on the wrong side of that equation. It lets the object go for a detrimental cost to you. If you haven’t given yourself the time you need to decide, then that antique dealer just made a mint at your expense. “I can take that off your hands if you don’t want it, or if you have no place to put it…” The phrases were similar, from different dealers, and all the verbiage is from the perspective of what they could do for you. Check out various antique stores to educate yourself on what someone may be willing to pay for similar goods.

4) Siblings, relatives, and friends. I did not realize that siblings could have so many different and diverse means of organizing, compartmentalizing, communicating, or assuming, etc. No question is a stupid question. If you need to ask the question a few times, do so.. and write it down. Who is doing what? What are the different strengths and weaknesses that each person brings to the table? Someone’s part may be considerably different, in time or energy, in the overall task of operations, but everyone has a role that is essential. If you take on a task .. do it.. or fess up mighty fast, so that the relay race is not jeopardized, on a timing note. It’s about learning that we all process differently, and reminding ourselves of the end goal. We learned that over things like: putting down the packing tape, or finding that the theme of a box’s contents has changed, based on the person packing the box. Different generations did not want to be overridden on task delegations or performances. It was better to allocate a task, like the garage to one person, and the outdoor gardening, or dining room packing, to another person. That way, at the end of the day, you saw more completed then what you exerted physically, and you didn’t need to edit nearly half of your asides!!!

5) LEAVE ENOUGH TIME to do all the above… we thought we left enough time to sort , pack, purge, etc., by starting in the spring. We knew we were looking at a fall date to move, if the goal was set to move before this winter. We were wrong.. we could have used a year and a half. More frazzled nerves would have been stepped on, perhaps, but we may have all had more inner peace that all decisions made were the right ones, and that we were going to live in peace with the results. In our case, this transition brought siblings and in-laws together, in co-operation with one another. We didn’t kill anyone in its process. The prime component (Mother) did not die, to spite the project – or any of us for that matter – bad backs, bad hearts, etc. Life insurance polices were threatened to be increased, occasionally, but we can now begin to put our feet up, and reassess if that is necessary. Our humour is still intact – black Irish or otherwise. None of us woke up one morning, to find we had died the night before!!!
There are so many facets to our culture’s mosaic of aging, and what it means to age in North American society today. Five and a half months has given me a lot to think about muse over…. possibly a first posting in a series.

You Can’t Change What You Can’t Talk…

Sally Armstrong, activist and journalist, was sharing with Anna Maria Tremonti, her insights about the book she just launched,”Ascent of Women”. Anna Maria Tremonti, of CBC’s The Current, is also a well known Canadian journalist, with her own repertoire of global journalism. The statement made by Sally Armstrong, “if you can’t talk about it, you can’t change it..”, struck me. This is a basic formula, pure and simple. All this when we are celebrating International Women’s Day today, and will be celebrating Earth Day this coming April 22nd.

It’s not that we don’t want to talk the secrets, the sacred..and to debunk them; it’s how to talk about it, without being demonized, or worse killed. The generations that are now with us, are not afraid. What will you do today that shares this goal? Something simple, nothing grand, but something that says, “I’m not happy with the way things are going… things must change if it is to be better for the next generation… for the ones that are here now, and for the ones to come.” Say it aloud over your Tim Hortons or Starbucks coffee today. Just so that someone else hears it. You may be the inspiration that someone else needs, in order to do their part in what needs to be.

Men were discussing “0 population” 30 years ago, because they were not sure they could guarantee the air their offspring might breathe, 50 years after their death… I think we are all on the right page intuitively. We just have to act upon it, however gently your part might be.

But be…

In spirithood & sisterhood,

Love to all.. my heart is with you today!

Roaming Around The Blogs

If you had asked me, as a kid, to envision a virtual world, where clicking was as easily trained as hand writing, I might have looked at you, and thought of you as a little bit quirky! Not being stupid, not behaving naive, no not any of that.. just because, now, you were going to have to explain the “why” to me. Fertile imagination!

This blogging is something I have only just picked up, last summer. I’m not a geek on the keyboard – wish I was – so things will slowly evolve on my blogs. There are 3 of them: this one for the artistic journey, there is one for the quirky personal side (maggiehunterbrown.wordpress.com), and one to share the journey with my son, who transitioned back to spirit realm, just a year ago (matthunterbrown.wordpress.com). There will be lots of Irish humour, quirky tales (what we, in the family, call our “Walt Disney” moments, or Murphy’s Law moments), and some thoughts, pondering, and photos, to share with the new world order of people, that have come to live in this sphere of blogging.

This is a world of flat-lining. Here, we are not our material social stratosphere, where we are now stretched to the limits of, money & wealth, timing, health, public & private balance of living.  Have you noticed that it doesn’t matter what our ages are anymore? We interact, without adhering to a rigid protocol of: who is older than who; who has paid their dues; who is more knowledgeable or credible than who; who, because of i.e. money, has more airtime over someone else, etc. It flat-lines because the distribution of wealth is not based on money – or so it seems to me. As a result, we interact with each other, and where we can, we give, more freely, of our time, our knowledge, and genuine virtual company to each other. Money is a part of it, but it does not dominate the field. To stretch the fabric of society here, is to widen the social network, and not to further deepen the haves verse the have-nots.

Some of your blogs (that I have popped into so far) are considerably more sophisticated than mine, and hopefully you will mentor those of us, who are just learning. Hopefully some of us will be able to hold back the proverbial nannies and rigid thinkers in our world, long enough, so that the new world of social networking can get a solid footing – although really, I think we are there already! I’ve noticed that some of us are drawn to art and writing, as our passionate side. Blogging, to me, means I can shift the paradigm from what I draw a paycheck doing, to doing what I love to spend time doing. To those of you, who have begun making some money at what you love to do, I hope you will mentor those of us, who are coming along behind you. This is a far more gracious world, than the one out there, beyond the keyboard, that is going into a partial collapse, of many degrees.

So thank you for building the rooms, and the worlds, that you have in this blogging sphere. As I’ve said to my daughter, and to those open to reincarnation, the last time you guys were around you built some pyramids, and got us through the Great Wars. This time  ’round you’re building again, only it isn’t the tangible… it’s the social network!!

In spirithood and to all our relations! A’ ho..

Martello Tower

View of a turret from below.

The Prince of Wales Tower, in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax is the oldest Martello tower in North America. It was built in 1796. For history buffs, there is nothing more exotic than standing in a place of time that has seen so many different activties, in its life span. I am glad I am not the soldier that stood here 250 years ago, in a cold, damp environment, with a wary eye out to sea. Likewise, that soldier may not have believed the existence of a peaceful park, on and around his fortification 250 years later. Our day-to-day lives would not be comprehensible to the other. And yet, the tower still stands! There are angles, and artwork, and perspectives to record. This old stone has survived hurricanes, bullets, and canon fire… and probably has many stories to tell.