Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Odds & ends

  • New computer report: I am still missing some photos & documents from the past two years, as well as my older emails and genealogy program & files (for now -- until I can get to Manitoba and have my sister's boyfriend look at the old laptop's hard drive to see what he can retrieve from that...), but otherwise, so far, so good... 
  • Unnerving news: A cluster of five cases of a COVID-19 variant that originated in South Africa has been detected in a condo building in Mississauga (west of Toronto). What's really concerning is that none of these people appear to know each other or to have had significant close contact with each other -- i.e., the virus may have spread via common elements, such as elevators and hallways.  All 1,800 residents and staff are being tested by public health officials.  
    • On the bright side, we're not in Mississauga (this building is a good half-hour drive away from us)... and our building is much smaller than 1,800 residents (not sure how many residents we have, but there are approximately 120 units). We don't leave our unit that often, masks are mandated in all common elements (so we wear them in the halls and elevators every time we head down to the parking garage to go out), and we are very careful about thoroughly washing our hands as soon as we return. 
    • Dh HAS been making maskless trips to the garbage chute down the hall (which I have not been happy about...), but he has promised me he will start to wear a mask for that two-minute errand as well.  
  • Not just one but TWO of my friends became first-time grandmas last week (one from high school, one from grad school -- a granddaughter, whose middle name is her grandmother's, and a grandson, respectively). The baby photos were adorable, I will admit, and I am happy for my friends -- but I will also admit I felt more than a twinge at the unfairness of life and the thoughts of the grandchildren I will never have... 
    • On the same day in England, Prince Andrew & Sarah ("Fergie"), Duchess of York, also became first-time grandparents, as Princess Eugenie gave birth to a baby boy (still to be named). I know Andrew has become a bit of a pariah in recent years (and not without good reason) -- but he's less than a year older than me, and when I was a teenager, he was something of a heartthrob for me and my friends. He spent a year at a private boys' school in cottage country northeast of Toronto, and accompanied his parents to the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton in 1978. 
  • Brooke has written a book!! If you're a fan of her wonderful blog (as I am), or if your life has been affected by the loss of a baby in some way, you will want to read "Unimaginable," the memoir she has written about her first daughter, Eliza, and life after pregnancy loss. Both Kindle and paperback editions are now available on Amazon, and I downloaded a copy to my cellphone app as soon as it became available last Friday. Reading now;  review to come soon...  :)  
  • Further to my post about Family Day, after I hit "post" I found a related opinion piece from Elizabeth Renzetti in the Globe & Mail (which I mentioned in the comments of my post):  "After a year of forced togetherness, could we celebrate UnFamily Day this time?" I generally like her columns -- and she does nod to the fact that "many people are not lucky enough to be driven mad by boredom and proximity."  But it didn't do anything to make me feel differently about Family Day...!  
    • I posted my #MicroblogMondays/ Family Day post before looking at my social media feeds that day. Everyone was posting photos of their families and wishing each other "Happy Family Day."  I guess this has become A Thing To Do.  Sigh.  
  • In The Eggs I Sold, the Baby I Gained -- a first-person piece from the New York Times -- a young woman ponders her egg donation 10 years earlier, her marriage, and the premature birth of her son after a precarious pregnancy -- events that may (or may not) be interconnected.  A lot can change in 10 years that can't be predicted...!  
  • The New York Times also recently had a big series of articles under the collective title of "The Primal Scream: America's Mothers are in Crisis," about how moms are surviving the pandemic (or not). 
    • The NYT & other publications *have* published occasional articles on how people living alone are coping with the pandemic too... but by and large, it seems like the media's focus has been on moms and families.  
    • The comments on all the articles in the series are (mostly) worth reading, with two themes in particular that I found interesting:  (1) many young women saying that watching how mothers have struggled during the pandemic and the lack of social supports for parents has helped them decide they will not be having children of their own, and (2) "Where are the men??"  
    • The one article in the series that raised my childless hackles a bit was titled "Working Moms Are Struggling. Here’s What Would Help. What government, employers and the rest of us can do."  Under a section titled "How individuals could help," the article notes that 
...the pandemic has made it undeniable that raising children is, and always has been, a community endeavor — and mothers need their communities now more than ever. 
We are only going to survive this by recruiting non-mothers to our cause,” said Katherine Goldstein, creator and host of the Double Shift podcast about a new generation of working mothers. [emphasis mine]

A little further down, under "Friends, do your part":  

If you don’t have children at home, think of ways to help those who do. Set up a meal train. Offer to take children for a distanced park walk or read to them on Zoom. Mail an activity kit. (Just make sure it’s one that doesn’t require much adult involvement.)

Ummm, ooookkaaayyy. Seriously, I understand that it does, indeed, take a village. And I daresay many non-mothers *are* helping out their sisters/nieces/neighbours/friends who are moms... I have two issues with this exhortation, however:  (1) I have seen comments in private forums from several childless women who have indeed offered their services to help out neighbours during this pandemic (not just moms, but elderly people, etc.) with dog-walking, grocery shopping, etc. -- only to have those offers politely rebuffed. (Even in non-COVID times.)  And (2)  The concern, the check-ins, the offers to help, are so very rarely reciprocated. How many parents are checking in on US and how WE are doing?  (Especially those who are not only childless but unpartnered/living alone?)  Everyone is dealing with extra stress and pressures these days, and we all need to keep a friendly eye out for each other -- regardless of who we *think* most needs our support. 


  1. Such fascinating links! Ugh to the family day parade of photos. Was there a Family Day Challenge? And yes, where are the men? is a GREAT question. Why are women shouldering the weight alone during the pandemic? And shouldn't the emphasis be that we should all be helping and checking in on each other at this time? Not just childless checking on moms to be a part of the "village?" Hmmmm. I do know a handful of younger women who have decided not to have children as they watch older women struggle with support and balance and watch the world fall apart. Ack, the South African variant is scary--I'm glad it's not super near you got Mississauga is near enough! I keep hoping that the variants will miss us. Guess they are just taking their time. Always love your Odds & Ends!

  2. I use to go gaga for Prince Andrew (no prince after all! #understatement) and Fergie also. I hadn't heard that they'd become grandparents.

    Ugh on Family Day.

    And my hackles are up, too, about that last article.

    May your condo building remain outbreak free!

  3. Ugh again to Family Day.

    And ugh too to that last article. I can totally see the mothers I know being lumped with all the tasks, and the men hiding themselves away doing important work. (Or then playing computer games, like one man I know). I've always offered to help and be available to my friends who are mothers, but it has almost never been welcome. Simply because I'm not a mother, I think. So, grrr. And yes too, to your comments about people checking in on us. I wish people just checked in on each other regardless of our status.

  4. Sarah at Infertility Honesty offers some utterly brilliant commentary on the New York Times article I mentioned -- we both noticed the very same quotes/passages, lol.