Celebrating International Day of Education while our schools are closed seems like a contradiction. Education continues at home and on line. I wonder how lucky we are that it is assumed everybody in our Province has a computer and access to the Internet. What are the long term effects will be of sitting children down for an entire day of screen time with their faces on the shared screens. Technology moves so quickly and has removed the need in person learning. How many children will return to in person learning when this is over? Or will people choose to keep their children isolated and safe at home?
But at least National Peanut Butter Day can be celebrated by Peanut Butter lovers. Peanut butter, a wonderful inexpensive source of protein has been banned in all schools due to peanut butter allergies. The amazing thing is that research is showing that delaying the introduction of peanut butter is probably the largest cause of the allergy to develop. So peanut butter is being encouraged to be given to children before the age of 2. Parental fear may have been the largest cause of this deadly allergy.
National Compliment Day is something we should be practicing everyday. Kind words of encouragement should be spread generously everywhere. It seems we don’t give or receive compliments often enough. I read an article yesterday on how to respond to a compliment. Start by saying “Thank you” and don’t negate the compliment with negative phrases. Also don’t return the compliment immediately unless it is heartfelt. So continue practicing giving compliments until it becomes part of your nature.
Quit putting things off until later. Celebrate Just Do It Day by doing that thing you’ve been putting off. Quit over analyzing and over thinking. You’ll never know if you can to it or not until you just do it. As the commercial says change one day into day one. Put the music on, dance, sing and exercise. Get the brushes out and try painting. Or get out the colouring books and spend some useless time colouring, either inside or outside the lines. Whatever you’ve been putting off Just Do It today.
The days are beginning to run into each other. Not just because I’m retired, but the lockdown has exaggerated this meaninglessness of the different days. For some reason yesterday seemed like a Thursday. It wasn’t until supper time that I realized it was Friday.
Religious freedom is why free people came to North America. Whenever the state controls worship people either leave or take up arms. Many religious sects are claiming that the temporary lock down and stay at home orders are an infringement on their rights to gather and worship as they please. When people don’t go to church their tithing also tends not to go into the collection plates. Without the financial support, wages can’t be paid and building maintenance requirements (heating, cooling, cleaning) can’t be paid. Then because the building isn’t being used there is the danger of it being surplus to requirements and liquidated or sold (As we’ve seen with the Seniors’ Centre in Strathroy ON). Please remember to support your church so it can remain a church when the pandemic is over. I’m so glad that Strathroy United Church quickly changed to on-line only services, but I still miss the weekly in person worship and seeing my Church friends.
Chasing dragons becomes an almost fulltime occupation during the lockdown. Mental Health has been highlighted as one of the most serious consequences of people being isolated in their homes. Suicide, drug overdose, alcohol over use, domestic violence have all seen increases. Those who are homeless have even less resources, as no one is venturing onto the streets to give donations. Homeless shelters are being avoided now due to the possibility of them becoming COVID-19 outbreak sites. In the middle of this crisis, I’m glad to say we have a new homeless centre for youth that has opened at 37 Frank Street, Strathroy ON. (37 Frank Youth Centre). A special thank-you to the donators and volunteers.
My favorite celebrations on this day is National Tulip Day in the Netherlands. Tulips always are a symbol of spring and new hope. Although I won’t be able to attend the May Tulip Festival in Ottawa this year, I usually buy some potted tulips to brighten up my kitchen. I love buying the potted tulips because when they are done blooming I can plant them in the garden where they will bloom again year after year.
So being forced to celebrate NothingDay by legislated provincial lockdown we should get out those gift cards, go on line and buy something locally to help fight the personal dragons.
Today’s quote reminds me of the story of a man that was running down the beach when the tide went out. He was picking up star fish and throwing them into the water. Another person said to him, “You’re not making any difference. Star fish will still die when the tide goes out.” He bent down, picked up another star fish and threw it into the ocean, “It did to that one.”
Making a difference in just one life may not change the world, but you may change the world for one person.
History changes the perspective of events and people. Sir John A. MacDonald the first Prime Minister, was born January 11th (or 10th). He wasn’t an original man, just one who reflected the current opinion of the time. It was a time that only British (or French) white men were permitted to vote and they were busy conquering a new Continent. John supported giving male Indians the right to vote, but he also supported the introduction of Residential Schools. He denied women and people of Chinese decent the right to vote to (actually imposing a tax of $50 on Chinese people to immigrate to Canada). He liked to drink and had to be carried out of Parliament after imbibing too much. But he was one of the composers of the BNA (British North America Act), was Canada’s First Prime Ministers, and was instrumental in the building of the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railroad). So now as history is being reviewed and becoming more inclusive Statues in his likeness are being torn down and we are being asked to re-write history. My fear is that if we eliminate everything and everyone we no longer agree with that those very people will be allowed to rule again without the inclusiveness that we’ve grown as a Country to go forward with.
In a time when slavery no longer exists, human trafficking of children, women and men for the sex trade is an ongoing problem. This atrocity is prevalent throughout the USA and Canada. Hidden in big cities and small rural towns. Signs on the back of restroom doors along major highways, tell people to reach out and seek help for themselves or report strange behaviours that often indicate human trafficking. So be vigilant and help eliminate human trafficking. You could make the world of difference for one person.
We are finally at the 12th day of Christmas and the end of the Christmas Season for 2020/21. This is the first time I’ve left my Christmas tree up until the end of Christmas and it will be coming down on the Epiphany (tomorrow). My Ukrainian friends and co-workers waited until January 6th to celebrate Christmas. One of my friends always said it was great because Christmas trees and presents were cheaper. One of the things I miss most about working was the multi-cultural and multi-ethnicity of my co-workers. All of the different ideas that I was exposed to by just going to work and being able to to put a face to the colours and cultures. Especially during lockdown we’re limited to our own little world and ideas.
Thank goodness for the internet and the way it has opened the doors to so many new things. Virtual tours of almost anyplace you would want to go and almost anything you want to learn. Allowing families to see each other and lessening their isolation. But a virtual tour doesn’t compare to the feeling of snow on your face as you toboggan down a hill or the sound of the wind in the Rio Valley tree tops.
The dwarf mallards in today’s picture are a variant that I’ve found only at my local conservation area pond. They are only about 2/3’s the size of the other mallards on the same pond. These females are also brighter and more caramel coloured that the other females. Their heads are also more rounded and compact. Apparently the small sized mallards are referred to as “Call Ducks” a domestic variety that was bred to lure other ducks by hunters.
*The Ontario Province wide lock down began this morning at 00:01. Only essential services will be open for business. All none essential services are to remain closed. Gatherings are limited to immediate household members only. Hopefully in combination with the COVID-19 vaccine these extreme measures will curb the rise in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Vaccinations have begun with Health Care Professionals and the most vulnerable.
Boxing Day sales on line only or only in “essential” stores. So my daughter-in-law and I aren’t able to do our annual shopping at Whiteoaks in London ON.
And the countdown is on. Not just ’til Christmas but to total lockdown and isolation during the Holiday Season. I can always remember my father telling me this time of the year was the hardest for people who were alone and suicide rates were probably the highest at this time of year. SAD or Seasonal Affected Disorder is higher during the winter months, but apparently the myth of higher suicides during the holidays is not true*. Instead the rates in the are actually higher in the spring, when most people are feeling happier with the longer days and those who truly suffer from depression don’t feel any better or may actually feel worse. Still it is important to keep loved ones close and help those with significant loses to know they are loved, because they are people not statistics and even one suicide is one too many.
*Here today and gone tomorrow is the reason given usually for lavish spending, drinking or dancing. Perhaps instead it should be for just living and love. It is the small moments that add up to a lifetime of memories.
*12-12-2020 is the day that my youngest son and his beautiful fiancé have chosen for their wedding day. From this day forward we will remember the anniversary of the combining of their two families into one, and their pledge to each other. Last night they spend apart as per tradition and they won’t see each other until the ceremony mid-afternoon. Pre-wedding celebrations are done and when the dawn breaks they will begin the final preparations in earnest. Their timing couldn’t have been better.
*London-Middlesex goes into Red Covid-19 restrictions on Monday. Starting Monday, no more than 5 people can gather. Hopefully, this measure can avert a full lockdown. Christmas/holiday season gatherings are being pared down and cancelled. So much for our Christmas Eve tradition of meeting at my house for supper and gifts. But Christmas will still happen, just a quieter more intimate version as we all will be in our separate homes for the celebrations.
*London-Middlesex COVID-19 numbers have now pushed our area into “Orange”. The numbers were significantly impacted by an outbreak at University Hospital in London ON. Allegedly because the staff from all floors shared a common lunch area (rumoured that the administration wouldn’t let them use boardrooms on individual floors). 12 deaths are now linked to the UH outbreak, (The health unit said Thursday that the outbreak has now been linked to 124 cases at the facility, with 62 involving patients and 62 involving staff. )
*The impact on my son’s wedding next Saturday, December 12, 2020 is that there will need to be more tables at the reception as maximum number at a table goes from 6 down to 4. (Stupid because families of 6 can’t even sit together) So my sister won’t be able to sit with my husband and I.
*I will be playing my flute behind a plexiglass shield. I tried my new microphone for my Nikon D750 and with a little technical help from my Oldest son we were able to make the following clip.