It is catastrophic in many respects. Many have died. Many have lost their regular income, and may lose their businesses. But good has come of it as well. As a society, we have been forced to reconsider our priorities.
The pandemic has affected the elderly, and marginalized groups the most – people of colour, indigenous groups, and lower income neighbourhoods. We have to ask why, and what we can do to correct it. Racism has no place in our pluralist society. Our elders must be cared for with dignity, and respect. Everyone has the right to be protected by the police. And, everyone has the right to support their family, and earn a living wage.
As an advanced, wealthy society, we can do something about these issues. We don’t have to accept the status quo. But we must react. We must do something. And we need to do it collectively. The same way we have listened to the medical experts to physical distance, wash our hands frequently, and wear a mask if we can’t stay 6 feet apart from others. This has been a huge change, but we did it here in British Columbia to flatten the curve. We did it. And we continue to do it. And we did it without listening to the politicians. We listened to the experts.
We need to elect politicians that listen to the experts. The climate change experts. The medical experts. Sociologists. Mental health experts.
It’s a matter of political will. Do we have the will to deal with these problems? Or, are we content to let things stand.
With gyms closed, I make due with a couple of 15 pound dumb bells, and a series of body weight exercises. Once or twice a week I do 3-4 sets of 15 full-body exercises, gradually increasing the # of repetitions. The 1st set is a warm up doing ~ 10 reps. The 2nd I do 15-20 reps. And the final set I continue until I fail. Until I can’t do another rep. That might be 40-50 reps for some of the exercises. The entire workout takes ~ 90 minutes, and I’m left fully spent.
This week I came across the above video that outlines the use of strength training to failure. It can help to break through plateaus, and build strength. Even with light weights.
I suppose I could purchase heavier dumb bells. I might still. But I realize heavy weight is not the only method to improve strength, and endurance. High reps with pauses, and slower reps increase the time muscles are under tension, which has a similar effect as high weight and low rep workouts. It may even be better. There is less of a chance for injury.
During the summer months when I cycle more, I intend to continue with this approach. In the fall when I’m inside more, I may consider purchasing more weights.
My mother passed away 17 years ago, and left me the family cottage. A cottage that my father built when I was a youngster. A cottage where we spent summer weekends, and holidays.
When my mother passed, I thought I would sell the place. I live on the west coast now, and seldom visit. My kids are grown, and although they love the place, it is difficult for them to spend much time here. So, several years after her passing, I arranged to meet a realtor at the cottage. When I arrived, I was horrified to discover significant water damage in one of the bedrooms and the bathroom. The rood had been leaking for who knows how long. I couldn’t sell it like that. My parents would have never forgiven me. I can hear them now.
So began a 17 year project to restore, repair, and renovate the family cottage. I would steal long weekends when working in the area, and spend a week or two whenever I could. Over the course of the past 17 years, I have put on a new roof, restored the water-soaked bedroom, replaced the bathroom floor, built new decks, installed a floating dock for swimming and moorage, reupholstered an old sectional couch and chairs that belonged to my mother, installed double-paned, picture windows, replaced the Franklin wood burning stove with a propane one that is more convenient and easier to use, and had an arborist trim the numerous pine, red maple, silver birch, oak, and cedar trees that populate the property. There is always something to do it seems.
When my mother passed, her girl friends brought a poem my mother had written in 1988 about the cottage, and placed it on the chapel stage during the service. I copied the poem and several of the pictures, had them framed, and mounted it on one of the cottage walls. In 2008, I wrote a similar poem highlighting the changes that had been made to the cottage. Again, I had the poem and several more current photographs framed, and hung it on the wall beneath my mother’s poem.
This summer, 2017, I wrote another poem called “I have seen it all”, attached several current photographs, and will have it framed and hang it on the same wall with the other poems. These poems, and I use the term loosely, have recorded the transition of the cottage, and its meaning to us, over the span of 30 years.
When my son visits, I encourage him to pen a poem about the cottage, but he refuses. He doesn’t think he can do it. Write a poem. I tell him I didn’t think it was in me either. And I’m not suggesting that I have a talent for it, but when I am here alone, the words come more easily.
He’s visiting next week. It’s time he continues the tradition.
Every Wednesday I post an image without words. Sometimes, words are not necessary. These are not necessarily recent images but rather ones I like and have saved, and in some cases, hung on my walls. I have ~ 8,500 images stored on my hard drive, and don’t know what else to do with them
Did you know that in 2013, Oxford Dictionaries declared the word selfie as The International Word of the Year, describing it as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”?
Of course you did.
Well, selfies have been around for a long time, long before smartphones, and I have always been fascinated with them. They tell a different, more intimate story. And, now that they can be shared more easily, they have become an indispensable part of our lives.
Selfies are an art form. If you doubt this, watch this video.
They empower the artist to chose what, when, and where to shoot. I’m not suggesting my selfies are art. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But my smartphone empowers me to shoot frequently. That’s the difference. It’s ubiquitous. Always with me. Even when I’m on the bikes. And, surprisingly, it boasts a lot of technology, comparable to my old SLRs that are collecting dust in the cupboard. Features that can result in good, even excellent, photographs.
I used to think selfies were an age thing. Something only millennials did. Narcissistic in a way. The American Psychiatric Association even consider taking selfies is a mental disorder.
The disorder is called selfitis, and is defined as the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem, and to fill a gap in intimacy.
Borderline selfitis : Taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day but not posting it on social media
Acute selfitis: Taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day and posting each of the photos on social media
Chronic selfitis: Uncontrollable urge to take photos of one’s self round the clock and posting the photos on social media more than six times a day.
I don’t fall into any of these categories. That’s a good thing. Right? I only take selfies when cycling, and seldom share them in any way, except perhaps on this post.
Let’s face it. Selfies, as we know them, are a recent phenomenon. People of all ages, sexes, religions, and political stripes take them. It seems, at least to me, there is a universal need to document, and as we grow older, validate our lives. We always have. The prehistoric cave drawings are no different than the digital images of today, a record of life at the time.
I take selfies when cycling. Not while moving, although I suppose I could do that as well. No, I take them when stopped, perhaps at the summit of a climb, during bathroom breaks, or when relaxing afterward. Why do I do this? And, why don’t I take them at other times? Well, I’m a cyclist. And, I suppose that’s how I think of myself, and want to be remembered.
These images picture me enjoying rides.
I have included a random collection of selfies taken over the past several years. They are always a head shot, sometimes with an interesting backdrop, always with natural lighting. I don’t take myself too seriously, and usually have a smile on my face, even during a 20 km climb up one of the local mountains in the rain.
That’s what cycling does. It puts a smile on my face 😀
Oh yeah. Did you notice that I cycle all year in the cold, rain, and hot sun 👏