Great post from Life in the Boomer Lane.
Great post from Life in the Boomer Lane.
HERE COME THE DUTCH!
On Saturday a week ago I happened to watch an update on the Olympic Games with speed skating going on. I heard that the Dutch team won 24 medals, 23 in speed skating. They apparently won in each distance and each colour of metal, a force to reckon with, and the team to challenge. Wow, how did that happen? A country as small as the total size of Great Bear Lake, a mid-size lake in the NW Territories, how did they specialize in speed skating? A nation of rain and hardly any significant ice, with about half the residents of Canada, it sounds almost not logical. The nations with months on end of temperatures below zero, like Canada with double the residents of the Netherlands and many times it size, or the Scandinavian countries, or Russia would make more sense to have won all that metal.
As a Dutch-born and raised woman, I remember we all went outside as soon as it started freezing to try out the ice; when it had been freezing a few days on end, we were out skating on a purposefully frozen pasture (our skating rink), or on a pond or canal. Because the levels of the Dutch waterways were strictly controlled throughout the year to prevent floods, the canals made a good network of natural ice all throughout the nation. The nation is as flat as a pancake, no hills, no skiing, and no reason not to take the bicycle everywhere.
Stands would spring up along the side of natural ice, selling hot cocoa, hot water with brandy, or with lemons and sugar, which went down easily. This was in the time without much TV and no video games. Soon after, talk would begin about the seven-city tour, a challenging ride across natural ice, the participants skating along the edges of the large inner body of water, called the IJsselmeer. That tour was extremely challenging and took over a whole day, really a marathon on rough ice and the photos of frostbitten faces appeared on the front pages of the new papers. I still remember the names of winners of those tours. Unfortunately, due to climate change that tour happens less often, maybe every 15 year or so when it’s extremely cold. Skating was a passion in the Netherlands. When the country became more affluent in the seventies, the outdoor rinks were replaced by indoor rinks, ovals they call those in Canada, where skaters could fine tune their skills and train in relative luxury. Speed skates developed into speed machines, and were a common birthday present in those days.
During the years of the Second World War a lot of people in Europe did not have enough calcium in their diet due to food shortages; thus after the end of the war, milk was promoted up the Ying Yang by parents and the milk industry, resulting in large-boned children, and their parents became even larger. The Dutch are supposed to be the largest (not heaviest) people in the world, follows that they have long legs as well. It was funny to see a race of the Koreans skate against the Dutch: enough said about that.
In Canada, the provinces that have several months of cold weather and that are flat, making skating the natural option for recreation one would think, are the Prairie Provinces, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and much of Alberta. It is often minus 20 Centigrade and colder, so one doesn’t think of going outside, unless suicidal. I have no idea what those people do in the winter. Oh, yes, I do know: they are playing inside in rinks, curling, hockey, and the girls (and some men) do the twirling on white figure skates. They enjoy beer while doing this and the bonspiels in small towns are famous for the overindulging in that golden liquid during those times and sometimes followed by scrapping. I am not a reporter or sports aficionado, but it seems to me that hockey is all about scrapping or waiting until that happens. I am showing my ignorance here. In spite of talents who are great to watch, such as Gretzky and Sid the Kid, I cannot get excited: I hardly see where the puck sails off to. In Canadian affluent society, rinks are everywhere; most small towns have one, the ice time shared by every club and the public as well. Due to the cold weather, it doesn’t even costs that much to keep the ice good; the rinks’ roof and the bleachers inside make it rather OK to be inside.
Canada is all about hockey. Canada IS hockey, the national past time. Everybody can play in the summer, in the streets with a cheap net, or just two rocks or backpacks as goals at each end of a stretch in the street—skinny hockey. In winter it takes a dad to flood a backyard. Wayne Gretzky’s dad is famous for giving his kid a good start in the game on their backyard rink. Unfortunately, even with programs to help poorer families to get their kid into the game, as it is expensive to play with a club, where the road to become professional begins. Nevertheless, many families scrimp and save to have their kids play and hope for a golden future. The salaries are enormous and in my view, rather outrageous. I am sure the footballers in Europe and Brazil have comparable salaries.
I find it still a rather strange premise under which the Olympic are allow athletes to play. The Dutch speed skaters are amateurs, I bet, while the Canadian hockey players definitively are not. In the two nations, different circumstances led to specialization.
As a mountainous nation, Canada has many ski resorts where kids play and party during the winter months. The trip to the mountains is part of being young, ski hard, party hard: better than becoming a couch potato in front of the idiot box. Being active outside is the best way to enjoy the long winter.
This year the winter Olympics saw the Canadian and Dutch athletes established in their own specific sports. Canadians, with their crazy skiing, with their knack for performing at breakneck speed down a mountain in a sled, or on skies or a board, and on a rink with a stick and puck, or a rock and a broom, had a quite substantial number of medals, and the gold for hockey, while the Dutch with their long legs and buns of steel, took 23 of the 25 medals in the speed skating field (losing two to Canada).
Way to go, congratulations!
Did you enjoy the Olympics? What is your view of it, waste of money, enjoyable, other?
What was your favourite sports or moment?
When I read the paper at the coffee shop this leisurely last Saturday morning, my horoscope said to keep a low profile today and go my own way. I was exactly doing that already and enjoyed the luxury of my breakfast Panini and “Americain” coffee— an Italian bun and French coffee that is called American. Since I began to read my favourite newspapers on line a couple of years ago, I hardly ever have an actual newspaper in my hands anymore and I have missed that, I now realized. It’s not the same and in fact a less social thing to read at home on a tablet, although I am not speaking to any of the others here in the place.
On the page with the obituaries (that I usually skip) my eye fell on the photos of the people. Underneath a photo of a youngish looking woman, I see a date exactly 2 days before my own birthday and I feel weird all of a sudden. I started reading the ad. The woman had suddenly died abroad. It said that past year she had had a bout with breast cancer. It mentioned a lustrous career with accolades from the world she had made a career. She left mature children, a husband and parents behind. I wondered what had happened to her. Had she decided she did not want to spend the rest of her days battling and undergoing horrible treatments? Had her illness been discovered too late? Had she decided to go to a warm place and enjoy her last months the way she wanted to? I hope she had company and enjoyed her time. I feel for the family.
Maybe I was projecting what I think I would do if I was discovered to have advanced stage cancer. But then, what would anyone do? We are conditioned to fight, not to give up, as that is considered weak. Then there would be the physicians and relatives that want you to fight, as it is well known that motivation and mental state are strongly associated with becoming healthier. Relatives just don’t want to face that you might die and having to say goodbye to you.
Thinking about this sad description in a rather long obituary that expressed someone’s admiration for this woman, but still a life measured in only a few words – about a 2 inch advertisement – about a woman, I could not escape noticing that she was much like me and only born two days earlier. I suddenly was flushed with gratitude. All that I have in home and friendships, and at this age physically healthy, I must admit, it was quite extraordinary. Yes, some years are less easy than others. I have been resentful and had losses in the last years, but all of that seems so trivial, so petty. I have many opportunities ahead of me; the world is really opening up for me with newly discovered talents and the assurance that I can follow my dreams.
Encouraged, feeling warm and energetic from the coffee and my spinach, sun dried and cheese Panini I left the coffee shop and headed to Winners. Yes, life is too short to believe that thoughts of scarcity and saving money are better than spending a bit and enjoying life. I needed socks. In my last move in the summer I had been feeling generous and wanted to move less stuff. I had given away all my socks, most of my jeans and lots of my long sleeved tops to the Goodwill. Time to make a few purchases that can be justified at prices up to 70% off, as that is the slogan for their everyday prices.
Life is precious and so short. I am very aware of the need to make every moment count. The need to be true to oneself, to spend time alone and to be grateful for life and the people that surround me, I Have become very aware of this. I am grateful for the fact that my new second hand laptop is working and even publishes this blog post automatically with Windows 7 without having to log in on my website. I am sure I can download photos too, once I have figured out how.
I would love to hear from you. How are you feeling these days?
Never would I have thought that I would complain about a computer since I became the owner of one with the windows operating program (what was it, 1995?) that made \\dos a thing of the past and the ten year old Windows easy to use for the most computer challenged person. After all these years with a few upgrades that required no more than dropping off my tower at the tech and receiving some additional bytes and programs, the time has come that I have to get a whole new hard drive. My old one has not enough memory to even upgrade to the latest versions of software. I found that out when I could no longer download photos to my websites and when it took a whole evening for that to take place with freezes and much frustration.
I write and need to be sure I can find what I wrote in my folders. I received messages that said to make more space on my hard drive or to upgrade. I have Windows XP operating system. I started deleting programs that I never used and while I was busy with that, I deleted my Word program as well, by accident, mind you.
It took a while to find that out. I could not open my old work anymore. Until I had only the most basic accessories left, I kept deleting stuff. I assumed that now I would have enough clear space to download a newer version of Word, as the older version I had deleted, and was not available anymore to download from Microsoft. I had to get, at the very least, the Word version included in the Office2013 software package, the only available Word on the market now it seems. I had heard that the new Windows 8 is for touch screen versions and would not work that well with the regular screens. Office 7 was the one to get.
I started downloading Office 365 from Microsoft. Once in the process of downloading, the message came up that this program would not work on my current Windows and I had to upgrade to at least a Windows 7. So I did. It went OK, although that was a very slow process and at the end it was clear that my system had all it could handle with Windows 7. There was no way I could upgrade to Office 365. I contacted Microsoft to ask for a rebate as my computer was not equipped with enough memory or whatever the proper term is. I did get my payment credited back to my account.
What to do next? I decided that maybe there is Word somewhere that I could get without the other office programs that I don’t need as a writer. I found one from a program for free. When I downloaded it, all kinds of pop-ups appeared FOR A WHOLE NEW TASK BAR WITH A BUNCH OF THINGS I DID NOT BARGAIN FOR. So I deleted that bar and stopped the downloading process.
Next I asked a few people for advice. I am not a gamer and do not need many applications. I also have a Facebook and a Twitter account and two websites for writing. Other applications are wasted on me. I basically use the computer for email, Internet searches and as a word processor for writing and sending my stories out. I would recycle my own old system and I can’t afford to buy a new system.
For everyday checking and reading I have an iPad, the first version, and am pretty happy with it, although there’s one problem: I can’t download photos and text on my blog website on WordPress from it, and since that is a weekly activity, I need a PC to do that, or possibly a MAC that is not touch screen. I send my writing pieces from the iPad to the PC, or write and save directly on the PC. I signed up for Dropbox, but have been unable to make that work. Now that I can’t use my Word program on my PC anymore, I have another problem. I would like to know how to fix my old PC. My writing work is now in Notepad version only, although I am grateful I have at least access to those again.
I did in the meantime find a 2 year old laptop with Windows 7 on it, on which I downloaded the new Office 2013 with Word, but that version (for Home office and Student at $139) has no Outlook, so I can’t email my pieces from my iPad to the laptop to download on the websites, although I have Internet on it. I probably should have bought the more expensive version of Office 365 with Outlook. Such overlap and still not what I want and need!
So to conclude all this misery: I have a MAC tablet, a PC and a laptop with Windows and none does what I want it to do.
I would appreciate any help and suggestions that don’t cost a month wages. Commiserate comments also very welcome.
My last post was dated July 4, 2013. What happened since? I am sorry I was unable to keep writing and I hope I did not lose too many readers in the meantime.
ON WORK AND MENTAL ILLNESS
BAD BEHAVIOUR OR SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS?
My last blog post was written a long time ago. The hiatus was due to other things happening and taking over my life. The year 2013 was one of upheaval and change for me, all of it leading to the realization that the next stage in my life is pushing hard to take the place of the present. Yes, that would be retirement from my day job.
I have not been able to write. My brain would not focus. My usual ability to take distance from my daily life–finding refuge in imagination and writing–was completely shattered during this time.
In the months since I last wrote on this blog I was assigned a new job over the summer, and failed in the eyes of my superiors. I was assigned yet another new job with reduced responsibilities and less exposure to stress at a new work site, new supervisor, plus less salary. I was ill with anxiety.
I had little input in these changes; I felt chastised and very vulnerable. Never before in my life had I felt less control about my work life, or less sure about my rights as an employee. Perception of the reason for my incapacity is everything. Was my poor performance wilful defiance and did it warrant discipline? Was it a mental health problem and accommodation for illness would be more relevant? How can one tell the difference? What is the right course of action?
Just now the discussion of incapacity on the job is front and centre in the media with Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto, as the subject of the scandal. The man is obviously mentally unhinged and possibly ill, besides being a bully, but he does not seem to know it.
My trip into mental deterioration started in 2011 and resurfaced this year, 2013. I became aware that I was not myself mentally in January 2012. My deterioration happened due to several causes, but the most obvious was that the stress I experienced from the particular work I did. The exposure to hostile and aggressive clientele during long years on the job, added to the absorption of the trauma told to me on the job by many women and children, finally affected my resiliency. I became ill: my ability to focus and to cope with stress decreased acutely as a result.
I won’t speak here about other factors that were related to the work site. Suffice to say that I made mistakes on the job, followed by more scrutiny from superiors. As a strong person, a straight shooter and outspoken, a shop steward for many years, and a volunteer on committees and in associations, it was hard to see for others what was going on with me. Besides the perception of me and my illness, others have their own agenda: office politics always play a role on any worksite.
Once cool-headed and able to deal with the most explosive or hostile rant from any difficult client, I now was crumbling on the job, breaking down crying, hiding from calls, confused, exhausted, full of irrational fears, unable to stay at work. I was off sick for several months. However, I recovered with a short period of prescription medications and by leading an active and healthy life style, yoga a very useful part of it. I returned to work gradually and was deemed rehabilitated, although I felt somehow different, changed forever, vulnerable.
I was easily unhinged: return to the same job with increased stress (as my case load increased) caused a similar flight or fight response and similar reactions of withdrawal as before. Yes, my illness returned. This time I recognized the symptoms and turned to my physician and therapist sooner. I was able to prevent deterioration to he previous point of serious illness and was off for only a brief period.
My illness lingered anyway at a lower level of intensity although my capacity to work was clearly affected. Eventually, the medication prescribed by my specialist together with the clinical counseling I have enjoyed in the last months helped me get back on an even keel. I enjoy the desk job I now occupy. I feel functional again. I have less fear and anxiety about going to work. I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel and know that I am heading for the end of work as I knew it.
Will I ever be the old me again? No, I do not expect that. One always changes through the experiences of life. I would be very concerned if I would not have changed through this ordeal. That would mean that my self preservation instincts were dismantled and then I really would be in trouble.
I have never been a fearful type and usually entered any adventure or challenge put before me. I was proud of my lack of fear. My mantra was “I will try anything once”.
In the least three years I learned what it means to live with anxiety and be fearful.
My trust in others has drastically changed. Everybody has an agenda, although it may be hidden. What is obvious to me, might not be to others. Trust in myself has changed. I obviously cannot get out of any difficult situation anymore without harm. This is nature; growing older and wiser is part of aging; knowing one’s limits and strengths is part of wisdom.
In a few years I will retire. I will have gained another increment of wisdom towards becoming a Sage. Ha! I don’t have to prove myself any more, nor compete with the Gen-Xers. In this time of overvaluing looking young and unblemished, when plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons is not frowned on while, strangely, young people are not really valued, I am content. I am not young. I am not old, but aging, looking forward to being able to devote more of my time to writing.
I will continue to write stories and will blog again. Who knows, my experiences of the last years might come in handy one day and show up in a story.
First I will leave tomorrow for a vacation in Mexico. Stay tuned…
On CANADA DAY (July 1) we could easily have had a disaster on the lawn in front of the British Columbia legislature in Victoria, with similar effects in terms of injured and maybe deaths as occurred only two months ago at the Boston Marathon.
Canada experienced the dubious “first” in recent times of having the first female involved in a planned bombing. (I remember the left wing Baader-Meinhof terrorist group with the famous couple staging attacks in Germany in the seventies).
This young woman, Amanda, was born in 1983 and is two years older than my daughter who lived also in Victoria until recently. Together with her boyfriend, John, born in 1974, Amanda placed three home made bombs in the crowd that was celebrating Canada Day, a rather friendly and sedate–and typically Canadian–festivity where we enjoy being Canadian and listen to bands performing for free. It was Canada’s 146th birthday.
Canadians paint their faces with little maple leaf flags in red and white. Ethnic foods are offered and readily consumed. More exuberant youth dress in flags and paint part, or their whole bodies red and white. In the evening crowds gather for the fire works while many youth take this opportunity to indulge a little in the alcoholic variety of drink. This takes places all over Canada in small and large towns, and in our big cities. It is a nice day off that offers one day in the year for use to be (guardedly) proud of being Canadian.
Analogue to the home grown terrorists that caused such mayhem at the Boston marathon, these two BC residents placed pressure cookers with nails and other sharp object in the crowd. It would have been an even greater disaster than that unfortunate event that shocked the American people and their neighbouring Canadians. Nobody of the public knew about this operation in progress,were it not that the bombs did not go off.
On July 2 these you radicalized youth were arrested in a city on the mainland close to Vancouver (Abbotsford) on Monday at 2 PM by the RCMP. They were brought before a judge, charged with conspiring to place an explosive device in a public place with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity and being in possession of an explosive device.
It is getting close to home: 2 young people, one of them a musician from the province of BC, the so-called California North, and I wonder why these young people with their whole life before them resort to such a destructive act that surely would bring them a whole lot of attention and notoriety in this otherwise laid back province and equally peaceful nation.
The police are closed mouthed and only informed the public that the Canadian Security Intelligence Services detected the plot early, in February, and that many targets and locations for the assault were discussed since then. The police stated that they made sure that the devices would not be alive and were completely under their control, and presented at no time a threat to the public.
They gave no motive for the attempt and pronounced that no links to international organizations were present. This couple allegedly acted strictly on their own, and no direction from any terrorist group was connected to them, although for some reason the police spokesperson found it necessary to add that the threat was “inspired by al Qaeda ideology”, whatever that might be. The next court date will be in a week.
The pair has been living in basement suite in Surrey, another suburb of Vancouver. No other information was presented.
The newly elected premier of our province, Christy Clark, stated that she was informed of the pending arrest that same morning, shortly before she headed out to celebrate Canada Day in Kelowna–my city! It so coincidentally happened that she is campaigning here. Ms Clark lost her own seat in her riding as member of the BC Legislature in the last election. It is weird fro the premier not to be elected herself, so the caucus arranged for the current member to step down and create a need for the by-election in our region: a traditional area where her party is strong.
I did not watch any TV at all as I was out most of the day on Canada Day, watching performers in concerts and having a few drinks myself. When I heard the news the following day, I was pretty shocked, but pleased that these two young people were stopped in their tracks. I also wondered whether staging attacks with home made bombs is now the new bad boy/bad girl thing to do, when nothing else can hold their attention–or get them attention? I surely hope not.
Many of our young people stay quite sedated and passive, causing nobody grief. I wondered what happened to BC bud (the notoriously strong local weed with high levels of THC) that it did not manage to keep these two placated and passive. Maybe they did not smoke it habitually or not often. I am sure eventually we will hear what happened to these two young people who ruined pretty much the rest of their lives, for the most part. I am glad for us and for them that they did not become killers.
Do you have any thoughts about this event or anything you wanted to comment on? I would love to hear it.
I would love a “Like” on Facebook, or a retweet, and if you rate the top that would be even greater.
Last weekend a so-called SUPER MOON appeared in the night sky. The moon was closer to our planet than at any other time in the year; it is also called a Perigee moon. The moon appeared to be more visible, because it was a full moon and we had clear skies.
Those that believe in the super-natural powers of the constellations might allocate meaning to this phenomenon in the universe. A photo below shows the super moon over a mosque at the Univesity of Tampa, Fla. on Sunday June 23, 2013 (Photo courtesy AP Photos/Chris O”Meara on the website on Huffington Post of the Super Moon slide show. Other photos of the Perigee moon can be viewed as well on the website.
According to a website that teaches about astrology, the cycles of the moon relate to the seasons in nature (and by extension also on a personal level to your productive life) and its meaning for growth: from the winter solstice (beginnings) through spring equinox (growth) to the summer solstice which means clarity and on to the fall equinox: decline.
“In the full moon phase, the Moon and Sun are in opposition to each other on opposite sides of the Earth. This corresponds to the time in the planting cycle for the flower to emerge. This phase symbolically relates to the Summer Solstice, the time of maximum light in the cycle of the seasons.
During this phase, you are very aware of the effect of your work on others. You are operating out of a mode of visible clarity rather than blind faith, and your watchword is objectivity. You are open to the influence of those around you, and are aware of the influence that you can have on them as well. In this sense, your work has meaning for you only in combination with other people.”
So how did the SUPER MOON affect your weekend? Did you find any evidence that the symbolism and meaning might have been at work for you? Do you believe that the constellations have any effect on you?
For me, although I do not believe in constellations’ effect on people, this weekend was an accumulation of strange events and I am tempted to find explanations beyond simply coincidence. Suffice it to say that it seemed indeed more intense and that friends (and strangers) appealed to my skills, and my support, and my objectivity in some way or another.
On FRIDAY I missed an appointment, due to the fact that we were mistaken with an hour difference about the time we were supposed to meet. I was more than forty-five minutes early and waited at our meeting point, relaxing and having a coffee at Starbucks with my friend. I wondered where my appointment was and why she did not call me on my cell phone; my appointment was doing the same about me.
I called her after returning home. She said the appointment was an hour earlier; she would call me back to reschedule when she was finished what she was doing. She never called me back, so I called her again. By that time she was annoyed that I had not responded to her phone messages. I had not received any messages. I was baffled.
It would not have been a problem, had my phone worked. Eventually we did notice that my phone must have not been working after my friend decided to use her phone to call me to test: my phone did not ring. I could call out, but incoming calls did not get through. We rescheduled the appointment for a bit later that same evening and found out then that our paths had crossed earlier that afternoon, with at the most only five minutes difference: she had waited for a while and we were 40 minutes early. I guess the stars did not align and the new iPhone did not do its job. We do need more than technology to get lucky.
Later that day, I spent the good part of Friday evening in the hospital emergency with an ill friend from around 9 PM till the early morning of Saturday. I noticed the extra large full moon while driving home at 1 AM.
My SATURDAY was taken by texting with another friend with troubles of her own of a financial and romantic nature, after strange and unusual events that happened to her the night before. My objectivity was a factor and I needed all my strength to balance emotions of empathy with rational thinking.
On SUNDAY I was walking with a friend along the lakeside beach boulevard in a neighbouring town, enjoying the beautiful weather, like so many walkers and sunbathers after a week of rain and cloudy, cool days. Neither of us carried a purse or a phone: we focused on just enjoying ourselves as it was our day off.
Fifty yards away in front of us two boys of about 10 were skateboarding; one of them fell hard and did not get up. My friend said: ”Oh, oh, he is hurt.” We casually strolled up to the boys while the injured boy came to a sitting position, holding his left arm with his right hand.
My friend is a nurse who changed careers midlife to become a social worker. She checked the boy’s arm visually, all the while talking to him and engaging him in a conversation, so he would not pass out. His arm was visibly broken and his face was ashen-white. He said his name was Jared. He wore no protective gear; neither did his friend.
Jared’s friend said he had a cell phone and we asked him to call Jared’s mom, who was somewhere in a house a few streets away. When she came on the phone, my friend took over the phone from the boy and explained to the mother that her son had been injured and could she please come immediately to the beach area. The mother replied she would come right away and instructed my friend not to call an ambulance, repeating that a few times. We waited, but nobody showed up for at least twenty minutes.
In the meantime, another walker, a man who had seen the incident, came to assist and talked about maybe calling an ambulance, as the boy was in poor condition and his arm visibly broken just below the elbow. He turned out to be a first responder. We passed the mother’s instruction not to call an ambulance to him.
A young woman also stopped and offered to help. She said she was a first year nursing student. She tended to Jared, wiped his sweaty face with water and tried to keep his posture upright, so his arm would not get any pressure. She did not have a cell phone either on her. She later commented that all her training went out the window when she arrived on the scene. Small comfort was that neither of us had any equipment on us, so what one can do in that case, is indeed very little.
Another young woman with a baby asleep in a stroller stopped. She told us her dad who was sitting on the beach further down the road was a doctor; she had no phone and her dad neither. She offered to run up there and get him. We agreed to look after her sleeping baby, assuring her we are social workers and safe to look after her baby. Then she ran down the path to get her dad.
By now Jared had a really hard time coping and was giving indicators he might go into shock soon and would be passing out, if we could not get him out of the sun and addressing his pain soon. While I was pushing the baby stroller stationary back and forth to keep the baby sleeping, I looked up and saw an ambulance further down the road driving at a leisurely pace (speed restriction on the boulevard was 30 KM), heading our way.
I left the baby and stepped into the road with my hand up to stop the ambulance. The driver stopped. I asked whether they were having someone in the back already. No they hadn’t. I said: “We have a boy here with a broken arm. Would you have a look please?” “No problem, “ the driver said and pulled over his vehicle.
The paramedics got out and checked the boy. My friend told them we had spoken to the boy’s mother by phone, and heard that she would be on her way, giving us the instruction not to call an ambulance. The driver responded without seeming surprised: “No, that’s fine, you didn’t call us.” She then stepped back and let the men do their job.
We turned to Jared’s little friend, asking if he would be OK if we left. He said he would, that he lived in the city nearby, but was staying with Jared and his mom would take him home.
At that time, the mother of the still sleeping baby arrived as well, overheated and beet-red from running. She was barefoot, as she had worn flip-flops and could not run in those. She said she had asked her dad to come and he was on his way.
It’s Murphy’s law at work: as soon as the paramedics busied themselves with Jared and I saw one of them preparing a syringe with a painkiller, Jared’s mother screeched up to the curb in a vehicle on the wrong side of the street. The first thing she called out on leaving her car was: “I will take him in, we don’t need an ambulance.” My friend and I looked at each other in surprise. Would that be the first thing out of our mouth if our son were injured? We left the mother to the paramedics and left the scene to continue our walk.
Later that evening we heard from a senior, familiar with calling an ambulance for his illness, that the costs of a one way call-out for an ambulance is $80 and that the Medical Services Plan BC does not cover that. We should give Jared’s mother the benefit of the doubt. I guess she was on a limited budget and had been already aware of this costs.
We were also assured that ambulance staff is allowed to attend any accident, provide first aid and administer the medication that is needed at no costs. As we knew Jared would not be in pain much after his shot from the paramedics, we felt much better.
Anyway, this summer solstice weekend was no ordinary weekend in my life. How about yours? Any strangeness happened in your life?
I would love your comment below, a rating at the top of the page…or a “Like” on Facebook, or a tweet with the link http://www.babyboomerwrites.wordpress.com/SuperMoon/
Please, would you rate this post at the top? It might get some attention from the WordPress web master that way and be reposted as Freshly Pressed.
As promised last week, the photos of the CHATEAU DE FENELON are below. Unfortunately, the inside was too dark for my simple camera and flash was not allowed. I am enclosing the Dordogne travel website as well, so readers can further explore this rustic and peaceful area in France.
The website explains that this castle was originally built in the 13th century; the castle was a stronghold of the Cathar during the 12th and 13th century. The current form is a restoration from the 16th century with more fortifications added in the 15th century. It was an important period of strive about religion in France then (Wikipedia).
The Cathar were followers of a Christian movement that existed between the 12th and the 14th centuries. They self identified as “Good Christians”. They believed in the duality of God, as being one force: the god that is a force for good as embodied in the New Testament of the Bible, and the bad god as personified in the devil or satan, being the force for evil that they associated with the Old Testament of the Bible. (The embodiment of good and evil as two options within the same person or god is a lot like how Hinduism sees god and the principle of all humans. This principle is also displayed in the ancient Balinese figure of the Barong, the embodiment of good and evil in the ancient Balinese dances). So the Cathar were certainly not alone in their thinking.
This Cathar movement existed in southern France, in Spain (Catalonia) and northern Italy and was seen as a heretic religion by the reigning pope. The Cathar believed that the Roman Catholic religion of the time and the Catholic practices were from satan and renounced the Catholic church altogether as being the Church of satan.
The pope of the time (Pope Innocent III) sent a papal legate to negotiate a peace and the sending of missionaries to the Cathar, who were hidden in their fortified castles resisting the actions against them for heresy, such as possibly the burnings on the stake–the custom of the time for dealing with heretics. The ambassador of the pope, Pierre de Castelnau, was killed on his way home in 1208 by the Cathar and thus an outright war followed: the Albigensian Crusade.
If you thought European crusades were always against the Muslims (Mores), you’d be wrong. I bet you that most murders in the name of the Catholic church and the “true religion” were perpetrated on other Christians.
The CHATEAU DE FENELON is now a museum full of artefacts and art treasures, such as some beautiful tapestries. The contents show the mix of items from successive periods in its history; of each period some examples of furniture and art are displayed. It also shows how the last inhabitants lived. Once can sense what it must have been like with only a bit of imagination: it becomes quite clear what life as a member of the French aristocracy must have been like. In times of siege, the water came right from inside the castle through a deep well underneath the castle supplemented by a large basin in the most outside wall that collected rain water from within its walls.
Triple walls surround the inner living quarters, with layers of defence systems and towers containing soldiers at each corner. Before any attackers could get to the inner sanctum and the nobility living there at the time, they had to fight the defence forces first. The castle of course like all other big estates has its own chapel. Until the reformation, all of France was Roman Catholic, with pockets here and there of sects, such as the Cathar.
For movie buffs it might be interesting to know that the move “Forever After” with Drew Barrymore was filmed in this castle and in a nearby castle CHATEAU HAUTEFORT in 1998. The castle is near the village of Mondane.
Videos that truly give a great impression of that castle and of the CHATEAU DE FENELON can be seen on u-Tube accompanied by classical music.
My friend was on her way to choir practice in the church of Mondane prior to a concert, as a member of the local choir. While she met with her choir, I walked towards the Castle, a short walk up the hill just out of town. It was a great little walk, nobody else apparently felt like walking at that time of the day (midday) and only one or two cars passed me on the way to the castle.
After the concert we all had refreshments: cake and lemonade.
Jeanne D’Arc obviously is revered in these parts as a saint.
More modern signs of resistance can be found as well. Currently, France is in uproar for political-economic reasons that affect all of the European Community and the world at large, with a recession and a period of austerity measures by various governments within the EU in an attempt to address the economic downturn and vast deficits, so vast that whole nations threaten to go bankrupt.
Although I flew in by air, I left for Amsterdam with my friends by car, at the end of their summer season at their vacation home in Degagnac. We had no centimetre of spare space left when all packing was done. We travelled with the family pets–a cat and a dog. Of course, the dog did not want to come in the car, as she understood she was also having to leave; she gave us a hard time catching her.
Then we stopped for our last meal in the evening at a lovely place and I forgot what city this was. Will have to keep notes next time!
Back in Amsterdam on my way to a visit to another friend in the city, I passed this cafe, with my name on it, literally!
because anything is possible with Charisma
Where writing is a performance art and every post is a show.
Purveyor of a buoyant & luminous lifestyle
I am French and I am blogging about French food!
Books for the multi-culti reader
Bringing readers and writers together for one-hour Twitter chats.
Books, Books, and Books
Author of Literary and Historical Fiction
Indulge - Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences
Books, books, and more books. Did I mention books?
"Late" According to Whom?
"To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting." --Edmund Burke
Book Reviews & Recommendations
Navigating the Third Half of Life
Tips and Advice for Indie Authors!
Just scribbling my thoughts
Books, Politics, + More!
and loving it