A Perfect Ten – 2017

Previous years, HERE.

Because the 27th of September falls so near by Birth Day (30th Sept) I’ve noticed a trend of the nearby posts being variations on that theme. Who’da’thunk! … and while those are important to me, I’ve chosen to skip along to the nearest post that isn’t about my Birth Day.

Case in point, this one, on the 1st October 2017, in which we build our garden shed.

Storage has always been a premium here on Widder Island, because as I mentioned in the 2017 post we have a large farmhouse’s worth of equipment stored in a little two-bedroom cottage … and moreso now that we’ve shifted our ‘Wunder-Luster’ gears to focus on finding our ‘forever’ home and then travelling in our trusty travel trailer, rather than the other way around as we initially planned. Thank you Convid-19.

I’ve often thought throughout my three-score years (mostly during the second one-score of ’em anyway) that the fact that I didn’t have, nor need, many possessions to be a mark of independence.

Given my upbringing, it’s not surprising I felt that way. Permanence and security, safety and trust, were illusions that were inherently dangerous to my young self. It was best to carry as little with me as possible … a survival strategy that made for a quick getaway, when and if necessary.

But, that kind of ‘independence’ relied on the stability of a whole lot of social conditions which are no longer secure (if they ever were) Thank you, again, Covid-19

However, in order to live my life the way I yearned to do, (Mrs Widds too, by-the-way. That’s one of the reasons we get on so well together) which was to live sustainably and comfortably, it would require the gathering of certain possessions. Tools and equipment to be precise.

Since we’ve been on Widder Island (8 years, at last tally) we’ve been accumulating what we needed, when things came on sale, or good quality 2nd-hand or thrift-store purchases.

By the time September 2017 came around we just didn’t have enough room for storage and live our lives at the same time.

Hence the shed.

By the end of 2019 we were ready, finally.

2020 was going to be our year … we were going to put almost everything in storage, hitch up our travel trailer and head  off into the wild blue yonder. … and, recording it on our Wunder-Lusters YouTube channel, we would seek out strange and wonderful new places, meet all sorts of strange and wonderful new people, and if we came across our ‘forever home’ that was all the better … well, we all know how that turned out don’t we? … for everyone.

T’was a bitter pill. One that I still joust with on occasions … but then what’s life without a few jousts?

I don’t know when we’ll get there now. I’d like to think we will, but, there’s a giant gap between then and now. It’s funny isn’t it? I thought this series would be a bit of a celebration of my ten years blogging on WordPress.

Going back in time is enabling me to clarify going forward … which isn’t a bad thing at all.

The Troubling Dichotomy Of The Time We Live In

Last Friday I stubbed my little toe, (well it, and the one next it, as it turns out)  and now, they and that part of my foot, has turned a lovely purple/green colour and are very, very, sore … probably some cracked, if not broken, bones.

It’s funny isn’t it, that until we do even the smallest of damage to our appendages we don’t fully appreciate just how much we need ’em.

I’m not going to get my foot x-rayed, or go anywhere near our regional hospital at the moment. For one thing there’s nothing the medical establishment can do for my tootsies that, with a modicum of common sense, I can’t do for myself … and …a local outbreak of Covid-19 was traced back to the hospital and until they get a clean bill of health, I’m staying away.

In the early days of the known outbreak, I say ‘known’ because the more time goes by the more we learn that the virus was out in the world earlier than first thought. Current estimates have it hovering somewhere around December of last year.

What were you doing in December of 2019? I bet you weren’t social-distancing, or wearing a mask, or self-isolating if you felt a bit ‘flu-y’.

Anyway … In the early days of the known outbreak, I started keeping tabs on the global confirmed numbers registered on the John’s Hopkins website. In hindsight it was a way for me to make sense of the horrific tragedy that I knew was coming even back then. I check, every night, around midnight.

The first date was the 8th March – 103,369 confirmed cases, an increase of 3,923 from the day before. (those numbers seem almost like a fairytale now don’t they?)

From there it took 23 days to reach one million. Yesterday (Monday) the total was nine million, and only 7 days before it was eight million. The average infection rate, at the moment, is about 150,000. Per day. (the actual rate of infections is probably ten times those ‘official’ figures)

When you look out your window, does the world look normal to you?

The view from my desk is still of the Summer Tree, the green grass of our front yard, (which in this humid weather we’re having right now is growing like gangbusters, and isn’t going to get mowed any time soon – see above-mentioned broken toes), and the wee lad across the way who has progressed from trotting to a flat-out run-waddle.

The global climate crisis hasn’t gone away. Once things get back to ‘normal’, pollution, sea, and temperature, levels will continue to rise, and ecosystems will continue to experience catastrophic collapses.

I can walk out to the garden and pick strawberries that are sweet and juicy, and know that in a few weeks the blueberries too will be ripe for the picking, and we’ll go ‘hedge-harvesting for blackberries along our road (my toes better be all healed up by then!) after that.

Will we experience food shortages in Autumn and Winter? Not here, perhaps, but what about countries where people are already running drastically short of food, medicine, fresh water, etc?

This dichotomy troubles me. Not all the time, that way lies madness, and no-one can hold the enormity of what we, as a species, are facing, for long and stay sane.

It troubles me because there are times I don’t give a flying fuck about the enormity of what we are facing. All I want to do is nurse my broken toes, make something nice for dinner, read a book, write some words in my next story, and forget that anything else exists … but, thankfully those times don’t last very long either

Is this denial, grief?

We strive for balance in our lives, don’t we? Balance between things, whatever they may be, that are important to us. And yet on some level we know that that balance, once achieved, is fleeting. It never lasts, then we teeter off in another direction, perhaps far, perhaps not too far at all.

So, I teeter this way and that, and thus far, I haven’t stubbed my broken toes on anything else.

A Note To A Bank

To:  The’Let’s Think Of How Many Ways We Can Screw Over Our Customers During A Pandemic’, Department.

Re: The changes you’re implementing to your credit card ‘Terms of Service’, wherein you are going to add the unpaid interest charge to the account balance, resulting in charging ‘interest on unpaid interest’. (which began in March 2020, just when the global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic were being felt – wot a coincidence, eh?)

Also, your intention to raise interest rates if the cardholder misses their minimum payment twice within 12 consecutive months, rather than the current practice of 2 missed payments in a row. (beginning in June 2020, just when the financial impacts of the ‘shutdowns’ around the world are heavily impacting the personal finances of … well, just about everyone – wot another coincidence, eh?)

What this means is that if anyone who is unable to make the appropriate payments to their credit card (and remember folks we’re in the midst of a pandemic where literally millions of people have lost their jobs/reduced income/etc) then those nasty defaulters will be suitably penalized, because hey, even multi-billion dollar corporations are hurting just as much as the little fella, amirite?

And just to round out this trilogy of ‘business as usual’ horror-fest, is the wonderful news that you are now offering Extended insurance to under your ‘Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Protection’ … which I’m sure will only cost the cardholder a small monthly fee to add to the many already supporting the spectacular, and I’m sure, ‘value-added’ services you offer.

Here’s the thing, Dear Bank, it’s not your money … let me say that again slowly … It’s … not … your … money. All you are, if all the bullshit is stripped away, is a replacement for the sock full of money stuffed under the mattress. Everything you’ve built for yourself out of that basic premise is has been founded on the principle of greed and venality.

Yours sincerely, The Person The Money Really Belongs To.

-oOo-

Funny how the bigger a company/corporation/service provider/business/institution is, the less willing they are to remember, and remain true to, where they came from.

So to each and every one them who has made the choice to put profits before people, (and I’m not talking about the idiocy of shooting yourself in the foot so you can give your shoes to someone else who’s walking barefoot – metaphorically speaking. ie people who are barely getting by anyway) let me ask you this, do you think you are immortal?

Our world is a closed system after all, and limits will be reached. Do you believe that ‘things’ will ‘return to normal’? Do you think we will not remember each and every one of you in the years and decades to come?

This time is a defining moment in the social evolution of our species.

Choose you way forward wisely.

A Perfect Ten – 2019

Here we go … as I mentioned in my last post, I’m doing a review of all my posts that published on or around the 27th of September going back over the last ten years.

Turns out I wasn’t very prolific last year and the closest to the date was this bit of absolute (video) cyootness, and what was probably the first of a string of ‘Have you ever’s’.

Here is the original … and because the link’s still live, I’m going to repost the video.

Having a bit of a read of other posts around this date, I see that I was focused on getting The Wunder-Lusters underway, and how we would be able to balance traveling in our little trailer and not lose our sense of personal space, that both of us value very highly. Underneath it all was the urgency to respond to the ongoing and ever-growing environmental crisis.

Alas, the vulnerabilities that the measures we’ve undertaken to keep ourselves safe in these first stages of the Covid-19 pandemic made it very clear, very quickly that our grand adventure was no more.

I have friends who are full-time Rv’ers, who’ve had to scramble for places to stay and wait out the shut-downs. Their stress-loads are terrible.

After much discussion, Mrs Widds and I agreed that to travel full-time without a home-base, even if it’s a bit of land that we can park our trailer on, would be the heart of folly now.

The fallout from this pandemic, both personal and global is literally unimaginable. no-one can imagine it, because there is no history to base such imaginings on. (the world was very different one hundred years ago during the last truly global pandemic so although there are similarities to be drawn on, they cannot, in any real sense be compared)

So, for the time being, here we will stay, on our little island in the middle of a lake. When our corner of the world opens up again, when there is a viable antibody test, when vaccines have been tested and not found wanting, then we shall see what we shall see.

Self-Entitlement

‘Of all the nasty human traits we’ve acquired over the centuries that Covid-19 has uncovered, self-entitlement is at the top of the rancid pile.’ … written by me, as a comment on a post by Luther Siler, wherein he has a wonderful rant about self-entitlement.

Each and every one of us, as we try and negotiate our way forward in a world which has changed forever, has a story about encountering arrogant idiots like the one in Luther’s post, who refuse to acknowledge that they are not the center of everyone else’s universe. (not that they ever were, except in their own delusions, but that’s another story)

Funny thing is, and what probably freaks them right out is that for every one of them, there are hundreds, thousands, of others who are holding the line.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got better things to do with my time and energy, (apart from a few swear-words and dirty looks, and occasional pointed comments in the direction of afore-mentioned idiots) like listening to the perfect song for these times we live within …

Bon Voyage, Little Richard – wherever you are, keep on rockin’ …

Cast A Giant Shadow

Some shadows, like pandemics, cover the world. Others, like this one, are bigger. (with thanks to Bob, the Bluebird of Bitterness, who is more about Silliness and Strangeness)

The Numbers Game

I’ve settled into a place, adjacent to where my Spirit finds equilibrium. Hardly any news-chasing, once a day really. Daily needs are met, and I’m feeling the stirrings of creativity. They don’t last, not yet, but I feel the day coming when they will.

I have one little quirk going on though. Each evening at around 11pm I open the Johns Hopkins Corona virus/Covid-19 site and log the confirmed cases numbers and compare them to the previous evening’s tally. Just the confirmed cases. I know if I did the same thing with the deaths, my still fragile and vulnerable ability to see my way clearly through this would not survive the immersion.

What solace I find in this, I’m not sure of. Perhaps it connects me to the stark reality of what our entire species on this planet is going through, especially because of how physically isolated I am here on our little island in the middle of a lake.

Oh, and one other quirk. I catch myself wrapping the fingers of my left hand around my thumb, most of the time without realising it. Not quite a fist, more of a protective gesture, because there are times when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and stay there.

Why am I telling you these things? I want you to know that no amount of peppy/supportive/uplifting videos, or tweets or facebook posts or ‘lifestyle’ articles is going to keep the grief and fear every one of us is feeling, (to greater and lesser amounts at any given time, it ebbs and flows) at bay for ever.

There IS a monster stalking us, and to deny our minds and bodies the ability to express those feelings is to give the monster another way to threaten us.

I’m not saying go dig potholes in your front yard, (well, maybe I am, a little bit, so long as you don’t have any close neighbours) but allow your body, your mind, your spirit, to tell you what it needs from you, your conscious mind.

Embrace the quirk … go crochet yourself some toilet paper.

Re-usable as well!

Re-usable as well!

 

Also … because I’m also feeling hopeful and sentimental…

Guns N’ Rosaries

Just heard on CBC news that the US government considers churches and gun shops to be ‘essential services’ …

… words … fail …

And the Typhoid Mary Award for What-The-Fuckery in 2020 goes to …

… Naomi Davis… and Clea Shearer…, a couple of plucky gals who aren’t going to let a little thing like a GLOBAL PANDEMIC stop them from doing something BREATHTAKINGLY FUCKING STUPID, (yes, I’m SWEARING and SHOUTING) like getting into their big rigs and heading out on the open road in search of … well, in search of more communities to infect.

Clea, accompanied by hubs, his mum, and their two kids are going from California to Nashville.

Naomi accompanied by hubs and five children, all shining bright with that true frontier spirit, are already on their way from New York to somewhere west.

Here’s the article that inspired me to make this award, and after reading, I’m sure you’ll all agree they are truly worthy recipients of this particular award. (there are, of course, many other types of ‘what-the-fuckery’ awards and recipients to be had during this time)

The article has live links and screen shots of their social media posts in case you think I’ve finally been taken over by the Twilight Zone.

Apart from the incredibly valid concerns mentioned in the article, there are a few more than haven’t been considered.

Emptying out the grey and black-water tanks. (that’s waste water, from the sink and shower – grey, and toilet – black) The corona virus has been demonstrably proven to exist in feces, (poop) so I don’t care how big your tanks are, with that many people pooping and showering and washing dishes, you’re going to need to empty them with alarming regularity.

Believe me, no matter how clean the facilities are, no matter how careful you are, you are guaranteed at least one splash. Even if you aren’t carrying the virus in your innards, you have no idea who was emptying their tanks, and had their singular ‘splash’ before you, or what they were carrying in their innards.

The corona virus has been demonstrably proven to remain airborne for up to 3 hours. (because the virus itself if really, really, really tiny) It has been demonstrably proven to remain on surfaces for hours to days, depending on the surface.

(Dr John Campbell has all the proofs to back up the ‘demonstrably-s’ I’ve mentioned, scattered throughout the last few weeks of his videos, usually from various global CDC’s and medical journals, scientific papers, etc)

Plus, the nomad community, although gaining more and more acceptability is still seen by many to be the lifestyle of those ‘unfortunates’ who can’t or won’t get a mortgage and live in a ‘real’ house, and can’t or won’t get a ‘real’ job … so when this finally blows up in these idiots faces, and it will, the fallout won’t be just on them.

But they’re not considering the true impact of the consequences of their actions on others, are they?

Funnily enough, when you think about it, that’s how this whole mess started in the first place.

-oOo-

It’s not that there aren’t other people out there doing reprehensible things like this, it’s just that out of an abundance of common sense, Mrs Widds and I have cancelled our ‘Wunder-Lusters’ plans for this year, and these reprehensibly arrogant fuckwits really got up my nose.

‘Common sense’ because until an antibody test becomes readily available, neither of us will know (unless we actually get sick) if we’ve even be exposed to the virus. (we’re both in the ‘vulnerable’ category. Mrs Widds is a disgustingly healthy 70, and I’m 61 with a compromised immune system) On top of that a viable vaccine won’t be readily available, probably until the end of the year.

About ‘Typhoid Mary’

Noticing Strange Things …

… like WordPress still not letting me ‘like’ comments on other people’s blogs, or my own for that matter … my solution: I’m going to reply with ‘liked!’ instead. The really weird thing is that every now and then, if someone has already ‘liked’ a comment, mine will stick too … very strange.

… like not being able to watch or listen to the news anymore without bursting into tears. Not huge tears, usually, just the leaky throat-catching, heart-squeezing kind … reading it is fine, (‘fine’ being relative these days) my exception being Dr John Campbell’s daily video updates. He’s the voice of grown-up, clarity without the sugar-coating or sensationalistic sound-byte-chasing that exists in mainstream reporting, and he’s usually onto things days before them too. This is his YouTube channel.

… like losing time, as though the gap between one moment and the next expands and I come back to myself still looking out the window five minutes later.

… like people having an ‘oops’ moment and stepping back a bit when they come together and realise they’re inside the two-meter ‘exclusion zone’ – fun fact, which may not be a fun fact per se, but after a bit of observation and subtle inquiries, most people tend to judge that distance to be the height of the person in front of them.

Give it a try and see what happens. (BUT only with someone in your HOUSEHOLD) … Without thinking about it too much, stand facing each other at what you think is 2 meters, then measure what the distance really is and compare that to how tall you both are. Let me know how it goes.

Here’s a little mnemonic device that I learned when I was a wee lass in the 70’s and Australia was in the throes of converting from the old Imperial system of measurements, to Metric … ‘a meter measures three foot three. It’s longer than a yard, you see’. So, 2 meters is 6’6″ … ooh, here’s another one … ‘a liter of water’s a pint and three-quarters’ … Heavens to Murgatriod! The things I find tucked away in the dusty corners of my mind!