Monday Morning Musings

Posted on May 4, 2020 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

 

“The Gift” – A Keith Currie original

 

Start with one simple, positive act.

It is very hard to remain positive these days. Most of us are cocooned in our homes, watching too much television and eating too much food. Not everyone, mind you. Our heroes working in nursing homes, tending to our love ones as they battle the specter of Covid-19 while battling loneliness, must show up for work every day. Ditto for all our health care workers, first responders and our RCMP who do their best to keep us safe even when all hell is breaking loose. Our grocery store employees and those actively involved in the supply chain are certainly not sitting at home picking out their next Netflix series.

How do we battle all the negative forces surrounding us? How do we overcome feelings of loneliness and despair? How do we reclaim optimism when it seems so elusive?

I have a suggestion and it doesn’t involve legalized marijuana.

Start your day off by making your bed.

Oh my, Len, you truly need to get way more fresh air and possibly some counselling… or both. “Are you suggesting that making my bed first thing in the morning is going to change everything?”

It might change your attitude.

You see, the simple act of making your bed is a small victory. You have just completed your first task of the day. It is a simple task, but you will feel like you started your day on a positive note. From there, you can just build on it. It might encourage you to do other things. This is where your “to do” list comes in real handy.

I am a notorious list maker. Of course, I always have a grocery list on the go on my fridge. The fridge is a very popular place these days. Long before I started having lapses in memory, I was a list maker. (You know the kind – you walk down the hall and enter a room and can’t remember what you were looking for? Yup. I see you nodding. Glad it’s not just me!), Lists remind us of the things we want to accomplish on any given day. There is something very satisfying about putting a check mark beside a job completed. I seriously believe it triggers dopamine. Dopamine is one of those feel good chemicals in our brain that plays a vital role in how happy we feel.

Three positive things.

Long before Covid-19, I was struggling in my new role as a classroom teacher in Northern Quebec. I have admitted openly and will do so again in this space, that I felt completely overwhelmed when I arrived in the north. I left home with most of my worldly possessions including some personal baggage which I have been trying to unpack. I arrived in November. The days were long and dark. It was bitterly cold and I found myself back in a classroom for the first time in 40 years.

About two months in, I was laying out my woes to one of my work colleagues. After listening to me bitch, whine and complain, she offered me this piece of advice: “Every morning when you get up, write down three positive things that happened to you in the past 24 hours.” I liked the idea but wasn’t sure if I could conjure up three positive things. I realized that these didin’t have to be big things. Drinking the first cup of coffee is a positive thing. No, it is much more important than THAT. It is the salvation of mankind. While your coffee is brewing, make your bed.

That small piece of advice got my dopamine firing. It wasn’t dramatic at first, but I did find in time, that I started to look for positive things in my day. And I started to feel more optimistic.

Making your bed. Writing down a “to do” list. Trying to find a few positive things every day. None of these will help in finding a vaccine for Covid-19 but they may help you get through the next day with a bit more purpose.

You’ve made your bed, now lie on it.

But don’t forget to make it once you get up!

Have a great week.

P.S.

I would like to propose to town and county officials that they host a massive post coronavirus party when better days allow us to mingle. Music, dance, art, and food from our local restaurants would go a long way in bringing back joy and community.

P.P.S. I commissioned a former classmate of mine from high school and university, Keith Currie,to paint this picture. A friend in Northern Quebec gave me some seal ribs and arctic char as a gift.

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 27, 2020 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment

 

 

Watercolor by Faith MacKinnon – Pleasant Bay, N.S.

 

A few updates on the Coronavirus front.

I know that you probably trust Dr.Teresa Tam and Dr.Bonnie Henry more than you trust me. That is hardly surprising, but they get to go out of their houses every day to do their press conferences so they’re probably not going shack whacky.

The longer this goes on, I am starting to notice some things going on in my apartment that are worrisome, perplexing, and often amusing.

Take for example, the porcelain cat. I know that this cat is an inanimate object, but I swear to god that it is starting to move around the room. And even worse, I am also certain that I heard the cat singing “Wasn’t That a Party” – “I saw someone under my kitchen table, talking to my old tom cat; They were talking about hockey, the cat was talking back…”

My bathroom scale is voice activated. I call it a shaming device. I have refused to get on it recently as I know it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I had to move my belt buckle up one hole to accommodate my expanding girth, I reckoned I better do the deed. I stepped on the scale. This sarcastic comment came up from the regions of my feet – “Only one person at a time is permitted on the scale.” The scale is now in the recycling bin. “Take that, you arsehole.”

Ok. You have watched every single Netflix movie at least once. You have watched Outlander twice, Breaking Bad 5 times and Downton Abbey 12 times.  Back in the 1960s, it was all the rage to play vinyl records (33s) backwards to see if you could uncover some hidden meaning. Once I figure out how to do this with Netflix films, I hope to do something similar. Of course, I will know the ending before the beginning but who cares. When you’re living alone during a pandemic, it hardly matters if your actions are peculiar. The only person who might notice or care is the porcelain cat.

I have noticed that my hardwood floors are starting to fade but just in one particular area. It is the runway between my armchair and the fridge. The fridge has also developed a sense of humor and starts laughing every time I come near. I keep a supply of protective masks close at hand to at least temporarily stop me from eating.

Apparently, alcohol sales are up 40% across the country. Did you say 400 %? I have done my share to keep that part of the economy functioning on all cylinders. As a matter of fact, my contribution has been so significant that I have been forced to take out my recycling under the cover of darkness for fear of embarrassment.  I never realized the weight of 15 wine bottles. I’m joking. There were only 9 in the last bag.

Maritimers are always kidding each other about “storm chips”. Yup. At the first hint of a snowflake, pandemonium ensues as people nearly cause a stampede at the grocery stores as they go to pick up the essentials of life in case the power goes out: candles, matches, and potato chips. “Corona” chips take this to an entirely different level. These babies are like storm chips on steroids. Nobody knows when we will be allowed to get outdoors more often (There are some telltale signs of confinement in this piece!). One can’t have enough corona chips in the house.

I realize that most of this post centers around food and drink. Yeah? And so what.

For years, I used to go for a long run early every morning until my body rebelled. Then I took to long distance walking until I went up north and a polar bear sighting curtailed my enthusiasm for long walks in the outdoors. Because I had to immediately quarantine upon my return to Nova Scotia, even short walks weren’t permissible.

Now that I can get out of the apartment for my morning waddle, I have to go through the door sideways.

I do hope this all ends soon. I am getting strange looks from people who see me walking a porcelain cat.

Have a great week.

P.S. The painting that accompanies this post was done by Faith MacKinnon, an 18-year-old from Pleasant Bay. I met her during my Cabot Trail walk. She is smart, talented and engaging. She is planning to go to CBU this fall to take Mineral Resource Engineering. She travels by bus 2 hours each way from her home in Pleasant Bay to her high school in Belle Cote. Her artwork is available at the Whale Interpretive Centre in Pleasant Bay.

 

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 20, 2020 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

A wardrobe fit for a king

 

“I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.”
Lookin’ For Love in all the Wrong Places – Johnny Lee

It seems like we’re looking for love in all the available places these days including Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, Tik Tok, and Snapchat.

We are either on the cusp of the next great baby boom or on the verge of extinction.

Here’s a very brief primer on the baby boom for you youngsters out there. A baby boom is a period marked by a significant increase in the birth rate. In a lot of countries, the baby boom was a result of couples holding off on having children due to the Great Depression and World War 11. In the United States and Canada, among other countries, the baby boom was attributed to the number of veterans returning home after the war ended in 1945. Veterans were encouraged to get better educated, buy homes at very favorable interest rates… and make babies! (That was NOT government policy but an unintended consequence).

“I was lookin’ for love in isolation…”

Various media outlets are recording huge spikes in virtual dating. Self -isolation and social distancing are making it a bit tricky to have personal contact. What is going to happen if the “6- foot rule” becomes the norm and we can no longer hold hands, hug, kiss or cuddle? How will the species be propagated?

Safe sex has taken on a whole new meaning.

This is a very good question and one that doesn’t have an easy answer. I mean, most of us know how babies are made and I don’t think a woman can become pregnant because someone sneezed.

While pondering this weighty question, lets look at what is happening in real time.

People are meeting online. Apparently, some people are ordering the same meal and having them delivered to their respective homes so that a meal can be shared. Glasses of wine are being clinked on Iphone screens and tablets. Some are even having a movie night picking a Netflix show and hitting the start button simultaneously. They can even share a virtual hug and kiss.

But is comes back to the pressing question of how babies will be made?

I was discussing this during a “live” Facebook show the other evening. A friend cheekily suggested that now some women don’t have to use the old standard line of “I have a headache tonight, dear.” They can simply say, “If you take one step closer or lay a hand on me, buddy, I’m going to call Dr. Tam.”

Our best hope, by the way, is for a vaccine. Sorry, but I couldn’t come up with something more original.

This just in.

Queen Elizabeth takes a bath every day at the same time and like everything else in her life, it is regimented. I won’t go into the details for reasons of privacy, but I have it on good account that the bath water must be exactly 7 inches deep. (Cue the Bee Gees – How Deep is Your Bath”) Someone’s job is to take a measuring stick to make sure of the depth and also measures the water temperature. While the queen is bathing, someone is laying out her wardrobe for the day.

I’m afraid my butler would be unemployed on Day 1 if he had to minister to my needs. I have coffee and toast followed by a two- minute shower. My entire wardrobe consists of two pairs of faded jeans and three well worn t-shirts. “Mr. MacDonald. Would you like your Stanfest t-shirt or your Highland Games Volunteer t-shirt today? Will it be your five- year old Wranglers or your 7-year old Levi’s?” I have one pair of sneakers, a pair of sandals, and my only pair of dress shoes are in northern Quebec. I’m not expecting any formal invitations this summer.

However, I always have my well -worn kilt made decades ago by the late Lucy John L.

I leave you with a line from one of my all-time favourite Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young songs in these times of isolation and distancing:
“If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

If you’re a single that might be tricky!

Have a great week.

P.S. Birthday wishes to my son, Peter. He’s a great musician, a really decent human being and a wonderful travelling companion. Hope you have a great day.

 

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