Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Outraged-out and heading to the greenhouse.

I am feeling outraged-out. I am tired of working myself up over the insanity and iniquities of a world that seems bent 
on self-destruction. I am allowing myself a break from signing and passing on petitions. 

It seems so obvious to anyone with half a brain that humanity needs a way to wean itself from oil. How come the Powers That Be have not figured out the real bottom line: 

Water will get us through times of no oil better than fossil fuels will get us through times of no water.

Canada is rich in the precious substance that future wars will be fought over. Meanwhile most of the economy is based on selling off non-renewable resources, and never mind those pesky environmentalists. 

I am too aware of how many people all over Canada are employed in the Tar (it ain't oil) sands to advocate just closing the whole project down tomorrow. But if oil is about to run out, should we not make the most of the last bits of it? Should we not save it to make things with, instead of burning it? And when there is conflict between oil and gas and water, should water not get equal consideration at the very least?

Anyway.......I am tired of the world's conflicts. One thing I love about gardening is the lack of moral ambiguity. Gardening is always a Good Thing to do. I am spending a lot of time right now drawing grids and figuring out what to plant where when. Leeks and early greens are going strong under the grow lights. I may buy another grow light. And I am seriously considering sticking some snow peas in the greenhouse tomorrow. We have nothing to lose but a few seeds. 

Wanted: more peasants, urban or otherwise, AND the people who can get us into space. But that is a few other blogs.
I am just going to enjoy some farm and garden porn.
Start here: http://theruminant.ca/2012/11/06/farm-glance-green-city-acres-winter-production/

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Some Fun for Valentine's Day

Relax, all you sad disappointed romantics out there. You are not alone. Yes, couples exist who are still nuts about each other after many years of marriage. I know some. And I also know divorced singles whose lives were blighted by the search for the romantic perfect, when they had the imperfect but adequate.

The psychology industry, with its over-emphasis on self actualization at the cost of family and community, has much to answer for. But that is several other topics. Let's keep it light today.

Quotes about why marriage is doomed from the start:
Women marry a man of 25 and think they'll change him.
Men marry a woman of 25 and think she will never change.

Albert Camus:"It lasts or it burns. Why can't it last and burn?"
There is now scientific research into pheromones and hormones and such that explains why that initial magnetic pull diminishes after about 2 years. Time to move on to the next level of a shared life. Supporting each other's life work. Dinner with in-laws. Perhaps mortgages and babies. Some boredom may be involved. 

Lord Chesterton: "It doesn't matter who you marry. A month later you will find out it was somebody else anyway".
Case in point: My husband thought he was marrying a fellow gypsy. Our happiest times together involved travel. Neither of us knew I had this inner peasant waiting to burst out.
Any half decent astrologer could have seen it at a glance, but we did not believe in such nonsense at the time. 

Beth James, reflecting on past agonies of love from the safe shore of her sixties: "All this ANGST. About....just another human being!"

John Gray with his Mars/Venus nonsense drives me nuts. As my Aries (ruled by Mars, for the astrologically illiterate) mother said: "It just isn't true!". Amen. 
Astrology is the oldest form of psychology, and as such a fascinating study. A woman with Mars in sexy Scorpio or sensuous Taurus is bound to have a stronger sex drive than a man with Mars in airy, intellectual Gemini. 

Unfortunately all the stereotypes and jokes assume it is the other way around.
Says a female stand-up comedian: "Men will screw mud!"
No they won't. Just like women, some may not always be in the mood. There is nothing wrong with that, but how does that joke make a woman feel whose partner is such a sensitive man? Lower than mud?

Even though they are sexist, Mark Grungor's talks about the difference between men and women are too funny to resist. The concept of the "nothing box" is hilarious. Will women  discover the joys of the nothing box on their own, now that men are doing a fairer share of the chores? It would not surprise me one bit if some of this material will be irrelevant to newer generations. Time will tell. 

I could have used some of his advice earlier, though he too suffers from the John Gray fallacy. 
For your entertainment, here is Mark Grungor on men's brains and women's brains. 


P.S. for Dutch readers. The Nothing Box concept reminds me of an old Kronkel column by  Simon Carmiggelt.

He writes about sitting in his easy chair on a Sunday afternoon. His wife is doing something in the kitchen. Hey, this was the fifties. The children are playing under the couch, something mysterious with two blocks and a mirror. He is doing nothing and feeling perfectly happy. 

"Hem rest slechts een zorg. Dat zijn vrouw tegen hem zegt: "Wat zit je daar toch sullig. Ben je soms ziek?" Want vrouwen kunnen het niet. Zij zijn van nature te dribbelig." 

Other blogs on the Battle of the Sexes: http://reflectionsrants.blogspot.ca/2011/02/valentine.html



Saturday, 9 February 2013

Thank You, ICBC!

ICBC is the Insurance Company of British Columbia, our socialized car insurance.

Shortly after the accident several people warned me to be on my guard and prepare to get a lawyer. I decided to wait and see. Maybe some people have had a bad experience  and needed a lawyer, but I am not one of them.

At every step of the way, we have received nothing but good service and kindness from the many people working in the system. During recovery we got a state of the art ramp, a brand-new super comfortable wheelchair, a hospital bed, and whatever paraphernalia an invalid needs. We got all the Home Support we needed. We got compensation for accident-related odds and ends, all  without having to beg and wrangle.

In return, I promised total honesty at our end. I could have claimed potential lost income from Reflexology, but I had taken a leave of absence for the summer and told them so.

Yesterday the claim was officially closed with a cash settlement. If it turns out later that I am more damaged than it now appears I am out of luck, this is it. It was entirely my choice to get the money while the getting is good. There was no pressure to settle now instead of waiting longer. 

THANK YOU, claim manager Jennifer Stroes and everyone at ICBC.
You have my permission to use this if you want.

Health update:
Seven months post-accident and almost as long post-colon surgery I feel fine, as long as I remember to pace myself. I got over a bad bug that has been dubbed the 100 day cold AKA the plague in about 2 weeks. It tried to become bronchitis but got stopped at the border. Thank you, immune system! 

My hand and arm healed fine. Yesterday I climbed the stairs to the Library the regular way, instead of dragging the right leg up after the left. In daily life my knee does not hurt, we will have to see what happens when I start being more active in summer. Any remaining weakness is a matter of doing the exercises prescribed by our brilliant physiotherapist. There is bounce in the old gal yet. 

I feel very fortunate.

Monday, 4 February 2013

A Platform in time. Thoughts on aging.

You know you are getting old when a queen announces her abdication and you remember the coronation of her mother. 

This refers to Dutch royalty. Juliana, mother of the present queen Beatrix took over from her mother Wilhelmina in September 1948. I was 5 years old and remember it vividly.

There was a carnival on an empty field in our neighbourhood, and massive decorations in downtown Amsterdam. The decorations mainly took the form of lights strung along buildings, the way we now see all the time in midwinter. In those drab years immediately post-war it was miraculous. We took the tram downtown to go see the 'verlichting'. The term used translates literally as 'enlightenment', indeed the same term used to describe the 18th century intellectual movement.

We had moved to Amsterdam from Nijkerk, in the country, in the spring of 1947. Our old friends and neighbours from Nijkerk came to stay with us for a few days with their  kids. Gertie was the oldest, my age. He and I were good buddies and planned to get married when we got older. I remember having the mad giggles playing on the guest bed on the floor in my parents' bedroom. After a few years we lost touch with the old Nijkerk neighbours, but I was quite thrilled when I later got a baby brother with that name.

Anyway, about aging in general. I have never understood the desire to lie about age, or the age-denying platitudes that people spout. "You're only as old as you feel." "Age is just a number." And so on.

Age is part of what defines us, much as our place of birth or family of origin does. Born in the Netherlands in 1943, I am young enough to have no conscious memory of the war, but old enough to be marked by the fresh collective memory of occupation and by the time of scarcity that followed. This has nothing to do with health, ability or lack thereof. Age is our platform in time.

When my children were small I would wish I could freeze them for a while at a particularly sweet stage. But then the next stage would bring its own joys. I feel much the same about my own aging. So far, I am enjoying the process, including the need to acknowledge I might need help with certain arduous tasks. At any stage in life, happiness is a choice.