Oh dear, what has Canada done now?

We went to see the Lost King”. These words are from the previous post, by my co-blogging partner JB. I love history and whilst I do not learn large amounts I do retain tidbits, making me one of those who recounts a lot of useless information at the drop of a hat.

The previous post by JB recounts the search for the lost remains of King Richard 111 the last Plantagenet King of Britain. Fascinating. The only missing historical body I know of, is that of Samuel de Champlain, known as the Father of New France (Quebec). He died Christmas Day in 1635. And I first learned that in a Louise Penny novel, her sixth, titled Bury Your Dead.

Well, enough about historical trivia. Today I want to address an article in THE GLOBE AND MAIL, a large Canadian Newspaper. Not an article but a letter to the editor.

Some of you already know that I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with my country. Only in the last few years.

This is what happened. When COVID-19 shut downs began about three years ago, the government began pouring money to The People through a program called CERB, and it was made clear to apply, not to worry. It was to replace wages lost.

It was a pretty stupid idea, even from the perspective of one so fiscally challenged here. It gave …oh never mind, the details are so depressing.

After COVID, the CRA (Canada Revenue Service) decided to track down those who should not have applied (though there were no safe-guards in place), and recoup what they figured was $15-Billion. Oh they rattled their sabres, and growled and did nothing, then news came that it would be too much work to track it down.

You know, because 15 billions is throw-away-money. So the headline to the letter to the editor above tells the story. A normal citizen was audited by CRA and ended. up having to pay $57.12.

BUT IT’S NOT WORTH THEIR TROUBLE…?????

Of course this is a government that likes to spend – mostly on themselves. We have a Governor General (Trudeau appointed after his last choice had to be booted out with her lifetime pension intact) who lives very high on the proverbial hog and who does not speak French – requirement-, does not represent the Anglophones either. She only focuses on the Indigenous, as she is Indigenous). She is known as the Queen’s / now King’s representative, but I suspect her only focus is rich food, rich meaning costing a lot) and an entourage who don’t do anything but eat and drink and fly high)

Oh my, I must close now before I really begin to rant and that is not a pleasant sight. The whole world is falling apart, it seems, so I think we must find some joy, purpose and pleasure in our tiny little lives.

So from North of 43 I bid you adieu and bon soir with a promise my next post will be filled with mirth!

OH AND SINCE MY ATTEMPTED DRY JANUARY TURNED OUT TO BE RATHER WET, TOMORROW I BEGIN DRY FEBRUARY. HHAHAHAHAHA – really.

Chris G Tuesday January 31st ’23

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*It probably isn’t necessary, but what follows is my opinion and POV. It may be different that yours and you don’t have to agree. I celebrate all differing views.

A long rambling chain of thoughts brought to mind some observations this week as I was celebrating a run to freedom.

I first thought about stressors we voluntarily put on ourselves, unintentionally of course, and frequently in the name of self-improvement.

You see, this week I had a couple of epiphanies.

The first being that I ditched my Fitbit. (Probably not permanently as I am Gemini)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In the beginning it was to set goals of activity and monitor sleep etc etc. And it was wonderful. At first. Then I began to feel stressed; if I didn’t make a certain number of steps in a day, if I didn’t sleep a proper percentage of each stage for seven to eight hours, if I didn’t, if I didn’t, if I didn’t…

Mind you doing the steps did increase my sense of well-being and was a natural way to lose pounds.

My doctor had ordered a medication for me, and a side effect for ten percent of patients was insomnia and you can guess where I fell. Insomnia triggers the very condition for which the medication was designed to aid.

Anxiety each night wondering if I was going to sleep well, and then the disappointing result in the morning gave rise to increased stress. Then I considered not wearing the bracelet to bed. Immediately I felt better. Not because I was sleeping better, and I think I was, because negativity wasn’t the start up emotion of my day and night.

And I realized I had learned how much activity to do in a day without needing the bracelet.

The conclusion was clear: constant monitoring is a stressor. Once you learn the tools for activity and health then just do it.

I have given up some social media. Why? Because success in something for others is often reflected as failure in yourself.

Remember the old saying about keeping up with the Joneses? Participants in social media, in my opinion, often means trying to keep up with so many, not just the Joneses. And that is stressful and creates some level of paranoia.

I had a hearty chuckle, okay loud laugh, when the next thought passed through my brain – people who spread the fear that the vaccines contained trackers put in by the government were the same people who willing wear trackers, carry cell phone, and stay ‘connected’.

NO ONE HAS TO CHIP YOU TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING 24/7. IT IS ALREADY KNOWN THROUGH YOUR DEVICES. AND IT ISN’T JUST THE GOVERNMENT WHO CAN TRACK YOU.

Do I suggest giving these things up – nope – because it is a reality of this world now and cannot be stopped in its progression to things we can barely imagine.

So for now, here at North of 43, I am on a Fitbit free kick. I must say though I do feel a little lost. We almost need these things to give our life meaning. Maybe there should be a Challenge for this?

Chris G Tuesday January 24th ’23

Socialising on Sunday

I have written before about some poems I have read that see that seemed to have been written just for me. This poem by James Rainsford is a particular one:

“Please put down that book you’re reading now
and gently close its pages.
So no harm shall come to damage its cold thoughts.
Look up.  Please, look up and see
what little there is left of me where you felt loved.

© James Rainsford – Author, poet, photographer.

I often think about that poem and hear my late husband’s voice each time.  How many times did I hear words like that in the 41 years we were together?  

Today, I had lunch with friends in their garden on a lovely summer Sunday.  I commented on how good the garden was looking. 18 months ago there was no garden when they moved into their new house, just hard-packed earth, mostly clay,  that had been compounded by the trucks during building, and delivery vans once they took possession.

These people have a good life and share many things but not a love of gardening and the comment was made by the wife that her husband spent much of the day engrossed in a book.  Her complaint was that while she was working in the garden (which she loved) she would often call him to come and look at a particular plant. 

He doesn’t always respond by putting down the book.

Many of my friends, all avid readers, have been guilty of ignoring calls to put down that book.  Think about it. I know there were many times when the call disturbed my concentration. I didn’t care about the rugby game playing out on the TV.  Now, I wish  had read the poem while my husband was still alive.  I hope I would have heeded the call. 

Thank you, James, for permitting me to reprint your poem on my blog Growing Younger Each Day 12 years ago. 

JB Wellington, NZ
January 22, 2023

Yeah! It is Friday the 13th!!

It was a treat to read the previous post by JB in which she gives great information on this day throughout history! A little bit scary but information I did not know!

I once had a boss that if she was going to fire someone she did it on a Friday and so it became known as Farewell Friday!

But for me this has always been a lucky day. At least that is the way I see it. You know the old ‘perception’ thing.

Perhaps it is a Canadian trait. Here, in Ontario, we have a world famous celebration on every Friday the 13th regardless of season, where thousands ride motorcycles to Port Dover (google it), though the numbers are fewer on cold wintery days such as today.

Link to article

Something about us makes us/let’s us, see the sunny side of things, at least some of the time.

** Please know I and none of my WOW (Wise Old Women) attend but we do chuckle about the brave souls who do!

That’s about it from North of 43!

Chris G Friday January 13th ’23

Friday the 13th

Tomorrow is Friday the 13th in New Zealand. It will shortly be at your place too. 

Friday the 13th is the most widespread superstition in the Western world.  Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won’t eat in restaurants and many would not consider setting this as a date for a wedding or other large celebration.

According to our good friend Wikipedia “The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen)”  So we have a name for this phobia. But from where did this superstition arise?  The number 13 has been considered unlucky for centuries. Some say the superstition began with 13 people who attended the Last Supper, but ancient Babylon’s Code of Hammurabi omits the number 13 in its list of laws, so the superstition dates back to at least 1700 BC.

It appears that Friday’s bad reputation goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.  Apparently, it was a Friday when Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit.  We are told that the Great Flood began on a Friday; God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday; and it was on a Friday that the Temple of Solomon was destroyed.  And Friday was the day of the week on which Christ was crucified.  In pagan Rome, Friday was execution day and later Hangman’s Day in Britain

But the association of Friday with the number 13 didn’t arise until the 20th  century.  In 1907, Thomas Lawson a Boston stockbroker published a book called Friday the Thirteenth.  This told the story of one man’s attempt to crash the stock market on the unluckiest day of the month.  The book sold nearly 28,000 copies in the first week.

Wall Street’s superstitions about Friday the 13th continued and in 1925 the New York Times declared that people “would no more buy or sell a share of stock today than they would walk under a ladder or kick a black cat out of their path.”

Even today most tall buildings don’t have a thirteenth floor.

So are you superstitious about this day?  In 2023 Friday the 13th will occur twice – January and October – so if you are superstitious you will have to watch out on those two days.

“How many things served us yesterday for articles of faith,
which today are fables for us?” 
Michel de Montaigneone of the most significant philosophers of

the French Renaissance. 1513 – 1592

JB Wellington, NZ
Friday 13 January 2023

Scarred Desks and Rosie O’Grady

When the children were young, think forty-fifty years ago, we had cats and dogs. Well actually only one of each; Candy who was the colour of a halloween candy, and Fagan, a black and white Lab mix.

For a number of reasons I decided to get a cat. I had firm rules in place – must be healthy, perhaps a couple of years old (you know – past the teething crazy stage -). So I decided on a rescue.

I won’t go into the the frustrations of adopting through some Rescue programs, but, one had an application form, needed photos of my home to make sure it was suitable, involved and interview for the same reason, and a commitment to pledge any number of things and to consider putting it in my Will etc etc etc.

Anyway through another Rescue I sent an email related to a photo on the site, spoke with someone on the phone, and arranged to go see the pet and to take a cat carrier if the interview went well.

My first impression was that she looked rather mangy, but I looked at her and wondered what some comfort and good food and the prerequisite loving would do. A vet has placed her at about two years. She is tiny at seven pounds. By what we know of her history, life has not been easy or kind for her.

I have had her three days and she is not perfect, like me. She is an excellent match. Well tempered, as am I. (haha)

She likes music, it soothes her. It soothes me.

I always thought I was happy living alone, but it is quite amazing the different she makes.

Her name is Rosie, and I have given her a last name, O’Grady. Rosie O’Grady. I thought this Scots mixed house could use a little Irish in it.

You see in the above photo a very scratched scarred glass desk. I have had it a long long time. Occasionally, it crosses my mind to get something new and shiny. The glass is nice because my apartment is very small (perfect for me), and the glass gives the appearance of space.

But, I like the old desk. It feels like comfort, inspiration.

So, that’s what is new here at North of 43 where I am missing our fine winter snow which has been washed away by lots of rain, but, we have a few more weeks of winter to go!

Chris G January 10, 2023

Summer in Wellington

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
Roger Miller, Singer, songwriter, & actor
1936-1992

Another Christmas has come and gone, another New Year’s Eve celebration followed it as always, and has also passed and now we are getting back to the everyday life that we know.

All the festivities and fun are great.  It’s always good to catch up with friends and family and what better time than at Christmas and New Year?  But don’t you feel rather flat when the day has passed, the friends have left for home and things are really no different than they were on December 24th?  If like me, you were lucky to receive some gifts and now you have a few more ‘things’ to find places for, you will be adding the fact that you have friends and family who care to your Gratitude List.

After a spell of summer weather, the worm has turned and as I said in my last post, for the past few days we have had really wet weather.  So what to do in the face of this awful weather?  Another new book to read or maybe just look at some of the posts written at this time over my blogging years, in my blog Growing Younger Each Day.

I see that on January 2 in 2013, I was again bemoaning our awful summer weather.  But I also commented on a TV programme I had just watched. In this programme, Rhys-Jones introduced us to Kenneth Grahame, the retiring scholarly man who wrote this story for his somewhat troublesome only child Alistair.  At the time, Grahame was the Secretary of the Bank of England.  He had written some books about children for adults but this was the first (and only) book for children. Do you know this fabulous fable?

The story is set along a riverbank.  In fact, it is subtitled Tales of the Riverbank. We are introduced to the kindly, self-effacing, industrious Mole (Grahame himself perhaps?), Rat, Badger, Otter and of course the incredible, irascible, Mr Toad.  Who hasn’t met a Mr Toad in real life?

These woodland animals are given human characteristics and live an indolent life on the riverbank, often messing about in boats.

But Toad it is who fills the book with his antics and exploits.  He is very sure of himself and he is very conceited.  He sings about himself  “Ho, ho!  I am The Toad, the handsome, the popular, the successful Toad”.  And he thinks that he alone knows anything.   Consider –

“The clever men at Oxford
Know all that there is to be knowed
But they none of them know one half as much
As intelligent Mr Toad”

When Toad sees a shining red motor car he cannot resist it and drives it off eventually being caught and being sent to prison –

“The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop
As it raced along the road.
Who was it steered it into a pond?
Ingenious Mr Toad!”

The book was originally published in 1908 and  my copy of the book is 55 65 years old, well read, well-thumbed but still securely bound in spite of that.

Quite late in life, by then considered a confirmed bachelor,  Grahame married the shy and retiring, scatty and whimsical Elspeth Thomson.  They had only one child, a boy named Alastair (whose nickname was “Mouse”).  Unfortunately, he was born blind in one eye and plagued by health problems throughout his short life.  It was for this child that the book was written.

So then I was glad for a cold, January evening that allowed me to find this programme on the TV.  I thank Rhys-Jones for taking us along the riverbank and telling us about Grahame and his strange little family.

And as an aside in 2010 a First Edition of the book was sold by Bonhams in London for 32,400 GBP

JB Wellington, NZ
January 8, 2023

FIVE WORD FRIDAY

FIVE WORD FRIDAY, ON SATURDAY

The celebrations, activities, and festivities continue here for a couple of weeks after Christmas Many people take their annual leave at this time, so offices have only a skeleton staff and some retailers change their opening hours.

The town is quiet and fairly free of the usual hum of cars, pedestrians, and shoppers.

So I find it difficult to keep track of the days. And that’s my excuse for writing this post a day late.

Now what else to write about. Our lovely summer has come to a grinding halt. We have had rain almost continuously for the past three days. Friends came for lunch on Thursday but we couldn’t eat outside as we had done on previous days. But because PollyAnna is alive and well in Wellington, the upside is our gardens all needed the rain and I haven’t had to go out and water mine.

And today because I was heartily sick of finding things to do while the rain poured down, I made a pot of coffee and sat in my very comfy armchair with a new book.

Via Wikipedia

Have you come across Tony Park? He is an Australian author who with his wife, spends his time between Sydney, Australia and a private nature reserve near the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Many of his novels are set in South Africa. The book I spent all day reading is entitled Blood Trail and it is his latest in a long list of published books.

Apart from getting more coffee and then a sandwich for lunch, I have sat all day reading. What better way to spend a wet Saturday afternoon!

JB, January 7, 2023
Wellington New Zealand, in the rain

Better To Write

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, 
than to write for the public and have no self.”  
Cyril Connolly 1903 – 1976
English literary critic and writer

It is still holiday time here in New Zealand and today, I had a couple of friends over for lunch. They came early for coffee then we played a couple of hands of mahjong, had lunch and two more rounds of mahjong, then they left. Having tidied up after this lunch I then had to think about my blog post for today. 

I thought back on some of the posts I had written early in my blogging career, and I came across one entitled Better to Write, written in January 2012. I particularly liked the quote and thought how much I agreed with it.  So I thought I would repost it here, with a few, minor alterations.

Just as some people, particularly children, like to sing I like to write.

I have many notebooks filled with my writing and often it is work that has never been seen by anybody else.  The joy in much of this writing was just to get it down on a page.

Of course, with the advent of at least one computer in every home, writing has become easier.  Well, the physical act of writing has.  No more putting pen to paper but instead sitting at a keyboard and letting the words pour forth.  On a good day that is.

But like all writers, whether well-known or like me, just writing for the pleasure of writing, we know what it is like to step up to the page aka computer screen to be faced with a blank sheet.  No thoughts on anything.  Blank screen and a blank mind.  But then something comes and the void is filled.

As writers we are vulnerable.  We write about what matters to us and expose ourselves and unveil our deepest feelings.  Our words reveal much about us and our truths.  And sometimes, because of this, writing feels dangerous.  But this is what keeps us (well me at any rate) coming back to the screen/notebook/page.  The need to share my feelings on the page with others (hopefully) or just with myself when necessary.  It is scary and often I am looking for excuses – the dishes must be done, the washing hung out etc etc, but I keep coming back to the page.

At times we feel the need to judge, to edit our writing.  We strive for perfection but we know, unless we are one of the great writers, that perfection is out of reach.  Lord Marks of Marks & Spencer fame said “The price of perfection is too great.  Close enough is good enough.”

Photo Dreamstime

“And as the water continues in its downhill rush over rocks
and  the thoughts continue to tumble around in my brain
with no defined pattern or path,
they eventually find and settle into a safe place
and the void is suddenly filled
and my mind is active once again.”

Judith Baxter 1938 –
Writer, Blogger, Friend

JB Wellington, NZ
January 5, 2023

Don’t say goodbye…..

I’ve read a few posts where a resounding goodbye is made to old 2022, then door firmly shut and an optimistic face put forward.

I was thinking about that this morning in the bumbling about way my mind works, and it occurred to me that slamming the door on the old year, as one might on an old relationship might not be wise.

There are things I treasured about this year; events, people, lessons learned, and lessons relearned.

I don’t want to even forget about the difficult things, from which we learn and grow.

I sort of just want to gently shut the door, and give thanks.

This bit below says far more clearly my own thoughts.

Vedanta Kesari means ‘Lion of Vedanta’ and is a cultural and spiritual English monthly magazine published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai

No matter what you believe in, or do not believe in, (and truthfully it doesn’t matter), there is comfort to be found in these words.

So, that’s about all the wisdom here at North of 43. I wish a happier New Year for everyone.