Have You Ever …The Write Stuff of 2021

(continuing my occasional series of weird and wonderful things that never, seriously, never, happen to me)

… been struggling to write anything of significance for the entirety of 2020 and came up with bupkis, but just for laughs on the 8th of January 2021 you decide that, by-gosh-and-by-golly, you will write 3,000 words on a new story every writing day (not every day but the one’s designated as writing days)

… and by the end of January you’ve settled into a steady rhythm of writing 2,000+ words every day, and not only are they words that form congruent sentences but they’re good words …

… and one night you have a particularly brilliant scene pop into your mind fully formed  …

… and by the time you’ve finished it’s three-o-clock in the morning and you still need to wind down so by the time you actually do get into bed it’s nigh-on 4am …

… and just as you’re falling asleep another scene pops into your mind, only this one’s not quite so well-formed so you decide you can get away with just making notes on the notepad that you take everywhere with you these days, without getting out of bed again and possibly disturbing your spouse who’s asleep in the next room and who’s not sleeping well at the moment anyway …

… and you reach across your bedside table to find a pen because the one you were using has run out of ink and you bump your lamp and send it crashing to the floor …

… and you get out of bed, pick up the lamp (it’s still working) and your pen, which has rolled under the bed …

… and get back into bed, get your writing tools reorganised, and knock over your bloody lamp again?

Nah. Me neither.

Freek Week!!!

Things are moving along a little faster than we expected.

Just before the pandemic closed down the world last year, Mrs Widds started working at a temp job that, luckily for us was in an essential industry.

Through a series of circumstances, that ‘temporary’ job extended and extended and extended, until we arrive here at the first couple of months of a new year.

At the beginning of February I did a wee Wunder-Lusters update, wherein we were planning to initiate the new and revised plan by the middle of this year-ish.

As the song goes, ‘t’aint necessarily so,’ folks.

Mrs Widds discovered today (Monday) that the company she’d worked for all through the pandemic pandemonium of 2020, was taking applications to fill the temp job she’d been working for the last year, with a permanent employee. Interviews for which got underway today, and Mrs Widds will be cleaning out her desk by the end of the week.

We were thinking that the job would wind down by May/June-ish anyway so we were ramping up our preparations with that timeframe in mind.

I understand the company’s position about the costs involved in hiring a temp versus paying an employee, but for fucks sake they could’a held off for another month or two.

So, money’s tight again, and the curve of our adventure has edged closer to vertical by about six weeks.

Are we freaking out right now?

Not at all. Why would you think that?

Not at all. Why would you think that?

In honour of our, hm, let’s call it , ‘enhanced’ timetable we have declared the rest of this week to be, FREEK WEEK … where all manner of squeaking, shrieking, weeping, freaking-out, procrastinating, denying, and assorted other coping mechanisms and stress release vocalisations are encouraged.

After that our motto is going to be, ‘It is what it is’, and we’ll get on with it.

I encourage you to take advantage of this burgeoning international movement and embrace your inner and outer FREEK WEEK, and then get on with it too.

The White Stuff

The view from our back door this afternoon.

SNOW!!!

SNOW!!!

A New Dawn, A New Day – The Wunderlusters: Plan B

When last we met our intrepid lesbians in the waning days of yesteryear, they planned to head out, in their trusty little travel trailer, into the wild blue yonder that is Canada.

Their motto,’ Two women, Eight Wheels, Coast to Coast to Coast’, would’ve taken them to such diverse places as Tyuktoyaktuk, which shakes hands with the rather chilly Arctic Ocean, Peggy’s Cove, nestled up against the mighty Atlantic Ocean, and catch a few waves off the shores of Ucluelet, brought in by the hemisphere-spanning Ocean that is the Pacific, just to name a few.

… … yeah … … about that … …

2020 – The Year That Changed The World!

We may yet get to visit all those places, but our priorities have changed … and who among us hasn’t had to rearrange a few things here and there over the last year?

Here’s the new plan.

We still do all of the above, but first, we get ourselves settled on a piece of land that’s not on a flood plain (here on Widder-island we’re barely above seal level as it is), or a major earthquake zone, or one of the battlefronts of the effects, social, environmental, economic, and political, that the climate crisis has wrought, and will continue to wrought (anyone know the present and future tense of ‘wrought’?) for decades to come. Decades that Mrs Widds and I, in our 70’s and 60’s respectively, hope to live long enough to survive.

What, I hear you ask, are a couple of middle-aged biddies going to realistically do to change their circumstances? Why don’t they just stay where they are? It’s comfortable, if a little small, all the services they need are nearby, and let’s face it they’re not getting any younger, and who knows if all the above mentioned crises will pan out as ‘worst-case scenario’s’ predict.

Yes, in the present moment, our lives are ‘secure’, but all we have to do is lift the veil and peer out from it’s comforting obscurity and see the world as it really is, and what it really will become in our lifetimes. (assuming, of course, we both make it happily and healthily into our 90’s and beyond)

That’s the thing with a slow moving crises, it’s really difficult to see any movement until the damn thing is breaking down your door.

There is hope in the world. Scientists are on the case, huge numbers of individuals, smaller numbers of corporations, governments, etc, are making changes to how they live their lives, conduct their business, make policy. I believe these efforts will be sufficient for the continuation of our species, but as to the quality of life for the greater percentage of eight billion-ish humans? That I think is where the dark might days lurk.

I have no wish to live out the remainder of my life in dark times if I can, in the immediate future, take steps to change that fate.

We have time, we don’t need to rush.

… back to the plan …

First, we’ve rented a storage space, sufficient to hold all our worldly goods. Then, after judicious sorting and taking of sorted stuffs to thrift stores, over the next couple of months, we’ll pack up everything into boxes and deposit them, (after carefully considering the order in which we will need to unpack) into storage.

In the meantime, we will set up all sorts of searches for land in our chosen area, that of the Kootenays, a mountainous region of the British Columbian Rockies, along the Columbia River, going both north and south.

In the meantime of that meantime, our trailer will be out of storage and I will be finishing off the last of the renovations so it will be livable for us both in the long term if necessary.

In the meantime of meantimes, our province has scheduled the covid-19 vaccinations for our age-groups in May-June-ish (all things being relatively equal-ish, and travel restrictions lifted) at which point all our meantimes should be aligned and we’ll be off.

We’re not foolish enough to believe that we won’t encounter any hiccups along the way, after all, this was our plan, with a few new tweaks, at this time last year, but without taking action all we’ll be doing is sitting here stewing in our own regrets … and I’ll be damned if I let that be my epitaph.

Science Plays Catch-Up

A headline in my daily Space.com news feed caught my attention today. It reads thusly, ‘The full moon may influence sleep and menstrual cycles, scientists say.

OK, they’re not actually sleeping, but this is too good an image from Clip Art to pass up

OK, they’re not actually sleeping, but this is too good an image from Clip Art to pass up

Fancy that! Looks like what people have been saying about their sleep patterns and women have been saying about their menstrual cycles, for eons, can now be added to the roster of SCIENCE FACT

I could go about the irony of ‘science’ ignoring ‘folklore’ to the detriment of those same folk, until ‘science’ gets off it’s monolithical arse and admits it might’ve got it wrong, but those of you who know me know that I would never gloat like that! Suffice to say I had a good chortle.

(in all honesty it’s not all ‘science’ practitioners, and since a good many scientists have moved on from that delightfully Victorian/patriarchal-centric view of the world, ‘science’ has the process of reforming itself well in hand)

The interesting thing the article revealed, which in itself is another ‘duh’ moment, is that the effects of ‘moon-sleeping, and moon-menstruating’ (I just invented those terms) wane with the introduction of, and prolonged exposure to, artificial light.

I’m not knocking artificial light though. If it wasn’t for artificial light my writing binges would not go well, and I’d be one very cranky writer let me tell you!

This isn’t me being cranky about not being able to write, this is me being cranky about not being able to write and not having had my first cup of tea in the morning

This isn’t me being cranky about not being able to write, this is me being cranky about not being able to write and not having had my first cup of tea in the morning

Snow?

It’s cold enough to snow.

There’s enough moisture in the air to snow.

The forecast is for snow.

I look out my window and the Winter tree is covered in … raindrops.

This wee duckling is a lot happier about the rain than I am, but thanks Clip-art for the cute image 😊

This wee duckling is a lot happier about the rain than I am, but thanks Clip-art for the cute image 😊

I’m sure I have some pictures from the Snows-of-Winter’s-Past (2017, I think) around here somewhere to console myself with …

Ahh, that’s better

Ahh, that’s better

 

SNOW!!!

SNOW!!!

A Numbers Game

On Sunday the 8th March, 2020, I started a list of dates and numbers. The first number was 106,369. Every day thereafter I recorded another number, as well as the difference between the new number and the previous day’s number.

Almost an alternate universe ago

Almost an alternate universe ago

On the 1st of June 2020, the number was 6,274,136. An increase 101,688 from the previous day’s tally.

(I never recorded a third set of numbers. That would’ve broken me long before my meltdown at Winter solstice)

Even back in March the numbers were already out of control. The everyday public didn’t know that, but those of us who were following the science realised that something was amiss.

It wasn’t until Wednesday the 19th August 2020 that I managed to rein in my impulse to record a daily number. Thereafter I only noted them every week or so.

The last time was on Thursday 7th January 2021 – 87,753,382. By that time numbers were meaningless.

This is what eight months looks like – I might’ve skipped a day here and there but this is what I did, every day

This is what eight months looks like – I might’ve skipped a day here and there but this is what I did, every day

Like most humans who are alive on the planet in this Age, I was brought up to believe, (also reinforced by every societal structure around me) that taking action, any action, was tantamount to being in control. (humans aren’t very good at being without ‘control’, being power-less – we tend to make all sorts of ill-considered decisions)

I no longer wanted to use an action, my own personal version of the numbers game, to ease my psyche through a global catastrophe (another one – as if we didn’t have enough, even before the 8th March) that I was powerless to stop anyway.

What started out as a ritual, became a habit that, at the end, I came to resent. I didn’t want to look up the numbers. I didn’t want to remind myself of how our species abysmally mutated individualism had failed, yet again, to avert another fiasco of our own making. (honestly, I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we make it to the year 2050 without the cost being reckoned not in hundreds of millions, but billions, of lives)

The numbers are still out there, expanding almost exponentially, and I am in here, making sure, as best I can, that the very uncertain near future, doesn’t blindside me …

However, you know what they say about last words being famous. I suppose we shall see what tomorrow brings.

As for those three bits of paper with numbers all over them? I feel a Funeral Pyre coming on.

What If

In honour of today being ‘Science Fiction Day’, (although for some of you it’s already the 3rd – my, how the year has flown! – someone, somewhere, decided that Isaac Asimov’s Birth Day, 2nd January, ought to be the date for it) I offer up the following thoughts …

… there are a gazillion Science Fiction stories (and a not inconsiderable number of Fantasy stories too) out there, and a good many of them have at their core the premise that there is, or was, an alien species that seeded ‘life’ throughout the universe.

The science of the day tells us that there probably isn’t any ‘life as we know it’ anywhere else, only us. I don’t know if that’s true or not … but what if … it was?

What if we, homo-sapiens were to be the seed species of the universe.

What if we didn’t extinguish our Selves over the next couple of centuries.

What if we managed to get through our adolescents-picking-at-pimples-and-poking-each-other-with-sharp-sticks stage, and actually grew up?

Look at what we’ve achieved, in spite of the ridiculous amount of stick-poking that has gone on for an embarrassingly high tally of millennia. (excluding the on-going invention of more and more sophisticated ways of poking sticks at each other … I know that a lot of life-affirming/saving tech came out of that ‘stick-poking’ research, but who’s to say we wouldn’t’ve got there anyway?)

What if we outgrew our self-obsessed selfishness, our soul-sucking greed, our terrors that sink so easily into genocide, until the urge to create finally subsumes the urge to destroy. Not for just a few ‘enlightened’ beings here and there, but for the entire species.

What wonders would we see?

I think it’s in our nature to quest. To find what’s over the next hill, the next mountain, the next solar system, the next galaxy.

And what if we didn’t find anyone else?

What would that grown-up version of our species, our Selves, do?

Lagoon nebula

Lagoon nebula

Check out the Hubble telescope website for more glorious images.

-oOo-

The thing with calculating odds, (which is basically what the article on ‘is there life elsewhere’, is doing) is that it’s a bit like playing the pokies or selecting lottery numbers. A certain kind of ‘logic’ tells us that if the odds are 10,000 to 1, then if we play 10,001 times then we’ll win, but the reality is that the odds are re-set at 50/50 every time. You will either win, or you will lose. There either is, or there isn’t, other sophont life in the universe

This leads me to two conclusions  … 1 – if you don’t play (participate) you most certainly won’t ‘win’ … and 2 – humans will always try and ‘game’ the system so the odds ‘will ever be in their favour’, and that other humans will always try to take advantage of them.

Meltdown

On Winter Solstice Eve (20th December) I had a meltdown.

It had rained all morning, a deluge, heavy enough to swamp the driveway and footpath in front of our cottage. The gutters overflowed and cascaded a wall of water in front of my eyes as I peered out through the front window, trying to pierce the gloom.

A task I had been putting off, for months really, came back to haunt my vision. I needed to cut a drainage gutter across the driveway to divert the stormwater away from the front yard, and now, yet again, my procrastination was laid bare.

Not to Self: Don’t put off yard/cottage maintenance stuff, because you might have to do it in a deluge.

I decided to wait until the rain at least eased off, and turned away to do other things, when I suddenly started crying, for no apparent (at that moment) reason. Not the sort of crying where your eyes leak a little, no these were deep sobs that felt as though they might crack my ribs on their way out of my body.

I’ve had quite a few crying jags over the past year, (who among us hasn’t?) but this one laid me low.

Incoherent words of grief and rage spewed forth from my mouth and mingled with my tears, and I couldn’t stop.

I quite literally couldn’t stop. Every time I drew a breath in more sobs and roars of pain came back out.

I dragged myself into the bathroom, (the only room in the house without windows) hoping the darkness would help me find some anchor to stem the tide.

Didn’t work. I was going to have to ride this tsunami to its end.

Letting go, is never an easy thing to do for us humans. We’re conditioned from cradle to grave, to strive for control, of everything, over everything. Our bodies, our families/friends, our environment, and we equate taking action, any action, with control. Needless to say, we don’t succeed all that often. A conclusion that is almost always obscured by all that action-ing we’re so busy doing.

Anyway, I stopped actioning and returned to the window and the pouring rain, and fully released the wave.

Nothing lasts forever, (although it was beginning to feel like it) not even rib-cracking emotional meltdowns, and at last I could draw a breath and release it without sobbing.

And then, as though someone turned off a tap, the heavy rain stopped … and it started to snow. Big fat splats of snow that very quickly covered the draining stormwater in a scum of ice, then layers of snow.

Those who know me know that snow is my thing … it lasted through Winter Solstice day, through Christmas and Boxing Day, and only finished melting the day before yesterday.

It was the most perfect timing of any snowfall, ever.

My snow, my footsteps, my farewell to 2020

My snow, my footsteps, my farewell to 2020

Mrs Widds Baked

She’d been shopping for Christmas ‘baking needs’ galore,
When I thought she was done, she went out and bought more.
Thank goodness for social distancing and masks,
Because I really thought she’d never finish her tasks.

Not quite bare but close enough … let’s see if our old kitchen table is up to snuff

Not quite bare but close enough … let’s see if our old kitchen table is up to snuff

Back at home the kitchen table was laid bare.
Empty of ‘stuff’ it gave me quite a scare.
But magic can happen, so closer I peered,
Then a bag of sugar and two basins appeared

That’s me with my camera, upside down and reversed … a candid shot, ne’er rehearsed

That’s me with my camera, upside down and reversed … a candid shot, ne’er rehearsed

In the bowl went ingredients for choc-chip dough,
Round went the spatula, going with the flow.
The best bit for me was licking the spoon,
After so much sugar I felt I would swoon

Swoon-worthy effects makes the picture glow … no more sugar for me – ‘til the next batch of dough

Swoon-worthy effects makes the picture glow … no more sugar for me – ‘til the next batch of dough

Next came Ginger Snaps, with treacle that oozed,
Right out of the carton, and (not-so) sparingly used.
And cinnamon and nutmeg into the batter were spun,
Then three sunny eggs … and all was done.

Baking’s a mess, that’s for sure … but t’was much more in the bowl than dripped on the floor

Baking’s a mess, that’s for sure … but t’was much more in the bowl than dripped on the floor

Although no pictures of cookies all baked do exist. I’m not Ebenezer, (Scrooge)
The dough was packed up and stuck in the freezer.
Bound for the offsprings (2) and delivered in a hamper,
Then back home through the pouring rain we did scamper.

Home again, home again jiggity jig,
Time to bake Christmas cake, all round and big.
Take all that lovely fruit for days soaked in ale,
Add nuts and batter and we’ll see who’ll prevail.

I must confess I snacked on these too … I’m not one to resist such a delectable roux

I must confess I snacked on these too … I’m not one to resist such a delectable roux

Baking’s an art with successes oft blurred,
Because Hestia and Demeter* have the last word.
From the oven the cake came with center all gooey
Mrs Widds language contained phrases like, ‘oh phooey’.

But being a woman of spirit, staunch and resolute,
She took the concoction of pudding and fruit,
And chopped and added it, to batter ready to bake,
Thus creating the forever now famous, Mrs Widds-Twice-Baked-Cake!

Emegherd! It’s delicious, I’m having a slice … it’s fifty-eleven-squillion times better than ‘nice’!

Emegherd! It’s delicious, I’m having a slice … it’s fifty-eleven-squillion times better than ‘nice’!

These are the hands of the Baker Supreme,
After ‘Quality-controlling’ her creations, a smile she did beam.
For the bread was all crusty, the cake a delight,
Her Christmas Baking all done, she wishes you all, Good night.’

The hands of an Artist are Art manifest … she’s my Mrs Widds, and she’s the best.

The hands of an Artist are Art manifest … she’s my Mrs Widds, and she’s the best.

-oOo-

* Hestia – Goddess of Home and Hearth … Demeter – Goddess of Grains and the Harvest

-oOo-

A bonus (short) stanza because you know how I go,

We had a White Christmas, Hooray for SNOW!!!

The tree, the shed, and dock all in white … somehow I think the new year just might … be alright

The tree, shed, lake, and dock, all in white … somehow I think the new year just might … be alright