- World Childless Week webinars or read any of the submissions? I will admit I quickly fell behind and am still trying to catch up on all the wonderful content -- which, luckily for us, is archived permanently on the WCW website.
- The Independent (UK) posted a great (albeit brief) opinion piece in connection with World Childless Week last week: "We need to stop describing women based on their maternal status." You will need to register to read the article.
- Between WCW, the federal election here in Canada last week (dh & I voted at an advance poll a week before the election day, and stayed up till midnight, watching the results), visiting Little Great-Nephew at his grandparents' house, and getting ready for (and then recuperating from...!) our cottage weekend, I am feeling a little swamped lately. I've been trying to catch up on everything that I've missed online while we were away (and failing miserably) -- blogs, social media posts, newsletters and emails, WCW content, a towering TBR (to be read) stack of books (both paper & digital), some with "deadlines" of online book club meetings and related screening dates of film versions. If I haven't commented on your blogs lately, I apologize!
- It was, apparently, National Daughters Day on Saturday. And even though I had put it on my calendar after being overwhelmed by social media posts on the same day last year (here's my post about it), it kind of slipped my mind.... so I wound up being overwhelmed and annoyed all over again. After a few perfunctory likes, I just started scrolling quickly past any posts of beautiful happy smiling young girls and their proud moms. (Apologies if any of those moms were you, but there's only so much a bereaved childless mother can handle sometimes...)
- Related warning: Apparently it's National Sons Day tomorrow (Sept. 28th).
- Finally: Anyone have any tips on pandemic air travel for me?? I may be putting them to use soon..! ;)
Monday, September 27, 2021
Saturday, September 25, 2021
Friday, September 24, 2021
"Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens is this month's pick for the NoMo/Gateway Women book club (and yes, there is a childless angle/character in the story, albeit childlessness is not a particular focus). It's been in my "to read" pile forever, and it's been enthusiastically recommended by several of my friends (and even dh!! who picked it off our bookshelves, read it earlier this year and loved it).
The protagonist/heroine is Kya, who grows up alone and unschooled in a shack deep in the marshes near the coast of North Carolina after her mother, her siblings and finally her abusive alcoholic father abandon her and leave her to fend for herself. She survives by foraging for mussels and fish, and selling them to a kind black man who runs a nearby general store. With little human contact, she becomes a keen observer of the natural world around her, known to the curious locals as "the Marsh Girl."
The story develops in two tracks that gradually merge: Kya's solitary growing up years in the 1950s and '60s, and a murder mystery that grips the nearby town in 1969.
I'll admit, this one was slow going for me, initially. The writing was beautiful, but I found myself wondering what all the fuss was about. Once I got midway through the book, though, I couldn't stop turning the pages.
4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 on Goodreads. It was, in the end, a really, really good read -- but I was expecting it to knock my socks off, and it didn't quite do that for me, so I don't feel like I can give it 5 stars.
"Where the Crawdads Sing" was a Reese (Witherspoon)'s Book Club pick, and Witherspoon has produced the movie version, to be released next year. British actress Daisy Edgar-Jones, who was an amazing Marianne in the screen adaptation of "Normal People," will star as Kya. (David Strathairn, whom I have adored ever since "The Days & Nights of Molly Dodd," years ago, will play lawyer Tom Milton.)
This was Book #47 read to date in 2021 (and Book #3 finished in September), bringing me to 131% of my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 36 books. I am (for the moment, anyway...!) 21 (!) books ahead of schedule. :) You can find reviews of all my books read to date in 2021 tagged as "2021 books."
Thursday, September 23, 2021
The book is not without its flaws -- there were certain elements that bothered me -- but nevertheless, the themes of post-war grief and loss and trying to move forward resonated with me too. As a bonus, we also get a brief visit to Amberwell -- the setting of two other Stevenson books -- and a glimpse at what's happened to some of the characters we grew to know and love in those novels.
As usual, our group read deepened my appreciation of this book, as well as my awareness of its flaws -- but not enough to affect my Goodreads rating. My initial rating of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4, still stands.
(Next up, we'll be reading & discussing Stevenson's "Gerald and Elizabeth.")
This was Book #46 read to date in 2021 (and Book #2 finished in September), bringing me to 128% of my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 36 books. I am (for the moment, anyway...!) 20 (!) books ahead of schedule. :) You can find reviews of all my books read to date in 2021 tagged as "2021 books."
Monday, September 20, 2021
Sunday, September 19, 2021
When did you know you’d started to move forwards? Did you wake up one morning and decide today was the day to makes changes or did you reflect over the last year and see subtle differences? Perhaps you accepted an invite to an event that you would have previously declined attending?
What has changed in your life and how does it make you feel?
Whenever anyone asks me this question, I think back to one particular incident, at Christmastime, a few years after we had thrown in the towel on infertility treatments, which showed me that perhaps I was further down the road of acceptance than I had realized. I wrote about it here.
Another would be my ability/willingness to enter a Baby Gap store. Once, it was a source of pain, to be avoided. I eventually did get to the point where I could go in to buy a baby shower gift. These days, I love to go there to shop for Little Great-Nephew, albeit the little girls' racks still have the power to give me pangs...
There are probably other markers that I've written about over the years, although I can't recall any other specific posts to share here with you right now. The passage of time and looking back on certain milestones will often bring a shock of recognition of how things have changed and how differently I feel now than I did then. One advantage of getting older is that fewer and fewer people ask and hint and prod you about pregnancy plans... although eventually, you start getting questions about how many grandchildren you have instead...!
One thing I remember from our pregnancy loss support group days is that you never realized just how far you'd come down this road less travelled until someone new arrived, fresh and raw in their own grief. I still see that to some extent today when I read social media posts and responses from younger women who are new to the stunning realization that they will not have the children they assumed they would have.
Check out today's content on the WCW site, including community members' contributions and several live webinars -- including several that will explore creativity and self-compassion. Stephanie Phillips, WCW founder, will also be hosting a live webinar on "Ways to Remember and Release the Grief of Childlessness," at 7 p.m. UK time/2 p.m. Eastern Time in North America. All webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the Day Seven page for anyone who cannot make the live events.
(Unfortunately, that would include ME, lol -- we will be up north for a weekend at dh's cousin's cottage. But I will look forward to catching up when we get back home!)
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Do you feel worthy, or has society and the increase of pronatalism made you feel unworthy? Do we need to change our own narrative before we can rediscover the worth we hold as unique individuals, independent of our circumstances? What makes us worthy as a human being, the ability to give birth or a heart that is supportive, encouraging, open-minded, loving and caring?
It’s time to explore and celebrate our worth.
Three years ago, there was a summit for childless people during National Infertility Awareness Week on the theme of "We Are Worthy," and I wrote about it and my thoughts on the subject of worthiness here. I can't think of any others I've written about worth/worthiness in particular, but I have pointed out examples of pronatalism and how the childless/free experience has been marginalized, when I've found them. I didn't know the term "pronatalism" when I first started this blog, so they're all tagged "mommy mania," which was the best I could come up with at the time. Someday, perhaps, I'll go through them all and change them! (There's 140+ of them, so I'm not in any rush! lol)
On the flip side, I suppose, would be the posts I've written about or touching on feminism, tagged as "the f word." I was brought up thoroughly steeped in the second-wave feminist messages of the 1970s (for good and for bad); I have always believed and often said that I am more than my uterus. Unfortunately, that's still not the message that society tends to send us or the people around us....!
Check out today's content on the WCW site, including community members' contributions and several live webinars. All but one of them will be recorded and uploaded to the Day Six page for anyone who cannot make the live events.
(Unfortunately, that would include ME, lol -- we will be up north for a weekend at dh's cousin's cottage. But I will look forward to catching up when we get back home!)
Friday, September 17, 2021
So many of us (too many of us) have had this comment thrown in our face without any consideration of our feelings. How did it make you feel and how did you respond? Did you tell the truth or laugh it off, because sometimes that is the easiest response? Did you try to adopt and face unexpected hurdles, criticism and heartbreaking endings? Was adoption a conversation that split your relationship?
It’s time to tell the truth about why this comment hurts so much.
Most of my posts on this subject (including reviews of relevant books I've read and movies/TV shows we've seen) have been tagged "adoption." In particular, I would point you to this post from 2015, in which I expound (at some length) on "The A word: Why we didn't adopt."
Check out today's content on the WCW site, including community members' contributions and a live webinar at 7 p.m. UK time/2 p.m. Eastern Time in North America titled "Oops! I Completely Forgot About the Adoption Option, Thanks for Reminding Me" (lol), hosted by Stephanie Phillips, founder of World Childless Week, and featuring a stellar panel -- including Jess of Finding a Different Path (and formerly My Path to Mommyhood)! This webinar will be recorded and uploaded to the Day Five page for anyone who cannot make the live event.
(Unfortunately, that would include ME, lol -- we will be heading up north for a weekend at dh's cousin's cottage at that time. But I will look forward to watching when we get back home!)
Thursday, September 16, 2021
SO. MUCH. GREAT!!! stuff out there for World Childless Week... to be frank, I am having trouble keeping up with it all! Good thing that it will all remain on site for the days, weeks, months and years to come (past years' content is also still available). I expect to be going back to read things and watch videos for a long time...!
In addition to all the wonderful essays, poems, webinars and podcast episodes available on the WCW website (and if you haven't done so already, you really do need to check it out -- there's new material being added every day this week), here are a few other WCW-related things I've run across so far this week... we're starting to move awareness of WCW and involuntary childlessness into the mainstream media, and that is FABULOUS.
- The "Life Matters" radio program on ABC in Australia did an hour-long episode/podcast -- an intelligent and sympathetic discussion -- on the topic of "Being childless in a world that encourages people to have kids." Along with a psychologist and medical expert, the host takes some listener calls from childless-not-by-choice people, including Michael Hughes of The Full Stop podcast and Sarah Roberts of The Empty Cradle.
- The Telegraph (a prominent UK newspaper) featured a first-person article by CNBCer Kat Brown about World Childless Week and "How the childless women of Instagram helped me come to terms with never having a family." You will need to register in order to read the article but trust me, it's worth it...! ;)
- World Childless Week was featured on @allontheboard, which posts inspirational messages on whiteboards in London Underground stations. Here's a link to their WCW Facebook post.
- Beware some of the comments, in which, curiously, people talk about the grief of... secondary infertility/having just one child. Secondary infertility is certainly another form of disenfranchised grief... BUT... as someone commented on the Gateway Women forum, it's WORLD CHILDLESS WEEK... "Time and place, people!!"
- I have not watched this yet myself... but "The Clan of Brothers," a Facebook group for childless men, held a video discussion on the topic of legacy. There's so little out there for the childless men in our lives, I am sure this is well worth watching!
What is your childless story? Are there aspects you have hidden because that is supposedly “what men do”? Have you buried your emotions, to support your partner, or dismissed them as unimportant? We need to change the narrative and ensure every male voice is just as loud as every female.
As with the Day Two topic (Childlessness and Sexual Intimacy), I have not written a lot about my dh's perspective on these things -- it's MY blog, and (although I've occasionally asked him if he'd like to do a guest post!) he doesn't want to be in the spotlight --it's not his "thing" -- which is fair, I think. I can't think of any particular posts I've written that are focused specifically on this topic, although I've you may find some relevant material under the label/tag "marriage/dh."
I should say that dh was actually the one who first suggested we should become facilitators for the pregnancy loss group we attended -- and we wound up doing it for 10 years! Our particular group/chapter was able to attract -- and retain -- more men than the groups in other parts of the city/province, simply because they knew that at least one other guy would be there. I can think of a couple of guys who occasionally came to meetings by themselves, without their wives (albeit once they'd already attended and gotten to know us and what the group was all about -- not for their first meeting!).
Check out today's content on the WCW site, including community members' contributions and a live webinar at 7 p.m. UK time/2 p.m. Eastern Time in North America. Kevin Davidson of Mindful Masculinity will be discussing "Beware the Fatherhood Bonus," particularly related to the workplace. This webinar will be recorded and uploaded to the Day Four page for anyone who cannot make the live event.
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Legacy feels connected to blood; the bloodline that we can’t or won’t continue. Do you feel sad or guilty that: your family name, traditions and collectibles ends with you? Why does the pain of not being able to pass something on hurt so much?
Perhaps you’ve found a way to lessen the pain or create a legacy in a new way; through teaching, sponsorship, art and creativity, innovation, gardening, charitable work or donations etc?
"Legacy" (including the practical matter of "what's going to happen to my stuff?") has been something I've struggled with over the years. Longtime readers will know that my family (my mother's side in particular) generally has a keen interest in its history, and I'm one of the main cousins researching our family tree(s). I've already decided that if no one from the younger generation shows sufficient interest in the subject, I will donate my genealogy files and old family photos to the local museum in the county where my grandparents lived. They already have several important items from my family in their collection (one of my second cousins is on the museum board), and they are a valuable resource for research into local families.
I've written posts in the past about passing on my grandmother's class ring and pearl necklace to my cousins' daughters (one a disappointing experience and the other more satisfying), and my vintage stereo and vinyl LP collection to Older Nephew (here and here).
And this is one of my favourite posts that I've ever written, I think, about my childless spinster great x3 aunt, and the legacy she left us. It's a great reminder that we will never know exactly what sort of a legacy we might leave or the impact we might have on future generations, even when they're not our direct descendants.
If you're interested in delving into some of my other back posts on the subject, I recently added a new tag, "legacy" to some of the relevant posts I was able to find. I will tag more as I encounter them.
Check out today's content on the WCW site, including community members' contributions and a couple of live and pre-recorded webinars/discussions on this subject. The first, at 7 p.m. UK time/2 p.m. Eastern Time in North America, is hosted by Kirsty Woodard and Patricia Faulks, about setting up an AWOC (aging without children) advocacy group. The second is at 8 p.m. UK time/3 p.m. Eastern Time in North America, hosted by Jody Day of Gateway Women -- one of her regular "Fireside Wisdom for Childless Elderwomen" chats with an amazing group of older childless women. These webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the Day Three page for anyone who cannot make the live event.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Do you feel like your body has failed you or have you been able to forgive, accept and love you body again? Has your relationship suffered and fallen apart or have you found strength in each other? Does the aspect of being childless for any reason play on your mind in connection to new relationships and physical intimacy?
This is probably the one topic I haven't written much about -- mainly because it's so very personal -- not to mention that it involves someone else, i.e., my dh. I have certainly written about feeling like my body failed me, albeit I can't think of any one particular post on the subject, offhand, that I can link to here.
There are posts on this blog tagged "marriage/dh" and "our wedding/anniversary," in which I reflect (in some of them, at least) about our relationship and how it's been affected (for better and for worse) by infertility, loss and childlessness.
Check out today's content on the WCW site, including community members' contributions and a live webinar on this subject at 7 p.m. UK time/2 p.m. Eastern Time in North America, hosted by Jody Day of Gateway Women and featuring a great panel of notable members of our community. It will be recorded and uploaded to the Day Two page for anyone who cannot make the live event.
Monday, September 13, 2021
No matter what anyone has said to you (including your own inner critic) your story is important. The dreams you had to become a parent: the struggles of trying to conceive, the sadness of not meeting a partner, the life choices and circumstances that restricted or denied your opportunities. The harsh reality of knowing you’d never be a parent; the anger, anguish, confusion and grief.
These are the stories we need to share and yours are the words that need to be heard.
I'm a firm believer in the power of telling our stories (if only to each other, at least at first). Meetings of the pregnancy loss support group that dh & I used to facilitate would always begin by going around the room and having each person introduce themselves and tell us their story, what brought them to us. Sometimes (especially at first), the stories would be long, detailed and filled with tears. Over time, new details would emerge that we hadn't heard before. And we'd learn to develop a shortened "Reader's Digest" version of our story, which left more time for the longer stories (plus, over time, the "regulars" would all get to know each other and each others' stories pretty well, so it wasn't quite as necessary or important to go through all the details for the umpteenth time).
Telling and retelling our stories to each other like this, week after week, in a supportive environment among others who had similar stories to tell, was good practice for handling those inevitable innocent questions and awkward encounters that all of us experience, sooner or later. In training sessions, we also learned that telling our stories, or some version of them -- over and over and over again -- helps us to process what happened.
I think the same principles apply to our stories about our childlessness. Our stories matter, because they're OURS, and because by telling them, we light the way for other childless women looking for support and comfort. Our stories remind each other that we are not alone.
This entire blog, of course, is my story :) (or at least parts of/a version of it) and it has evolved, along with my story, over the past 14 years. A barebones, thumbnail version of my story can be found in the "About me" Blogger profile near the top of this page on the right-hand side (or in the link here). You can find a slightly longer version in the "About me" page (found just under the title/header of this blog). The "Timeline" page (link right beside the "About me" link) also gives you an idea of how my story unfolded and some of the significant dates & events.
If you're really interested in all the gory details (and some of them ARE a bit gory, emotionally if not physically), I wrote a series of posts tagged "1998 memories" in which I relived my one doomed pregnancy, 10 years after the fact. I did the same thing with "The Treatment Diaries," all about our foray into infertility treatments, 10 years after we abandoned them and resigned ourselves to permanent childlessness.
I also wrote a few posts shortly after I started this blog, where I told a condensed version of my story (up to that time):
- Blogtivism: My Story (& how mandated coverage could have helped) (November 2007)
- How we made "the decision" (November 2007)
If you have some difficulty telling your story to others (and I know I have!) -- especially to parents who might not understand/appreciate the subtleties of involuntary childlessness -- take comfort in the words of Brene Brown -- who emphasizes the importance of telling our stories -- but also this:
Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: "Who has earned the right to hear my story?" If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.
Check out today's content on the WCW site, including community members' contributions and two live webinars. The first, "Telling Our Stories: From Hurting to Healing" with childless therapists Sarah Roberts and Judy Graham, will likely have ended by the time most of you read this; but the second, "Releasing Our Grief Through the Power of Words," begins at 2 p.m. Eastern Time in North America. Both webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the Day One page for anyone who cannot make the live event.
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Emily, now 14, is delighted when her family decides she may continue her education at the high school in the nearby town of Shrewsbury. She's not so happy when she learns she may only attend if she promises her Aunt Elizabeth not to write any stories/fiction until she graduates in three years' time. She also has to board with her Aunt Ruth -- a persnickety childless widow who calls her "Em'ly" and accuses her niece of being "sly."
But her friends Ilse and Teddy and Perry are there too -- and she still has her poetry and her journal as creative outlets. Much of the book is in the format of entries from Emily's diary, vividly detailing the trials and tribulations and rivalries of teenaged life, along with her/LMM's usual luminous descriptions of nature and sharply observed character portraits -- but there's some episodes of real drama (a scary night spent locked in a church with a mentally deranged old man, a community's search for a lost little boy) and (as with the first Emily book) a few supernatural story twists.
Eventually, Emily's poems begin to be accepted for publication, launching her on "the Alpine Path" toward what she's certain will be fame and fortune. And then she's faced with an unexpected opportunity -- and a decision that could change her life forever.
I was glad to continue reading and discussing Emily's story with a group of devoted and knowledgeable Montgomery fans and academics. I'd read this book before, but it's been many years since the last time, and there was much I did not remember. I'll admit the childless part of me was a little irritated by the unsympathetic character of Aunt Ruth -- although Aunts Laura & Elizabeth at New Moon are also unmarried and childless -- and yet, by the end, even Aunt Ruth's edges have been softened a little. There's also a highly successful unmarried childless woman near the end of the book who returns to her PEI hometown for a visit. Emily clearly admires her, but she's also the subject of much local gossip and derogatory comments.
Our group discussion of this book begins on Sept. 20th and will continue through mid-December with video readings of new chapters, questions and supplementary material posted on Mondays and Thursdays. You are welcome to join us! (I will count this book as a re-read when we are finished our discussion.)
A solid 4 stars on Goodreads.
This was Book #45 read to date in 2021 (and Book #1 finished in September), bringing me to 125%! of my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 36 books. I have now completed my challenge for the year, and am (for the moment, anyway...!) 20 (!) books ahead of schedule. :) You can find reviews of all my books read to date in 2021 tagged as "2021 books."
The FIFTH annual World Childless Week starts tomorrow! -- an entire week filled with inspiring and comforting things to read, watch, listen to and participate in, focused on a different topic/theme each day (and new material posted daily too). If you miss some of the live webinars, don't worry; they are posted on the WCW website later in the day/week to be enjoyed and consulted indefinitely. (The past four years of amazing WCW content is also available onsite.)
As usual, I didn't manage to get my act together to write something new -- but it occurred to me, as I scanned this year's topic list, that I've covered many of these things in my blog over the almost (gulp) 14 years I've been writing here. So each day, I'll post about the day's topic here, with some links to some of my own writing on the subject (if I have written about it... and in many/most cases, I have...!).
In a case of great minds thinking alike ;) Mali did something similar on her No Kidding in NZ blog recently. You can read her post here, which contains links to relevant past posts she's written.
Saturday, September 11, 2021
20 years ago was an awful, awful day -- even if you weren't American, even if you live elsewhere, even if you didn't know anyone personally who died.
I wrote in detail here about our experiences that day, in 2008 (seven years later). There's really not much more I can add, so I'll just post the link here and you can click over if you want to:
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
- It's the first day of school here (for most kids, anyway)... and for the FIRST TIME (that I can remember, anyway), alongside the numbing flood of first-day photos from my parenting friends, I've been seeing memes from some of the pregnancy loss and childless accounts that I follow, recognizing that for some of us, today can be a tough reminder of what we've lost and/or what we'll never experience. Progress?
- Dh & I marked the day by going for gelato and a bookstore browse this afternoon... there were more people at the store than we expected, but it was still blissfully peaceful compared to our summertime visits...! ;)
- After we got home, I took my book and sat out on the balcony for a while, reading. We may be in for some thunderstorms overnight, but right now, it's perfect weather outside -- partly cloudy, 25C/76F, with just a touch of humidity. Ahhhh!
- For the second summer in a row, CBC Radio One aired Sunday morning reruns of "The Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean," one of Canada's best and best-loved storytellers, who sadly died in 2017, far too young, at 68. (I've written a few times here about the show and how much dh & I both loved it, most notably here.) The last show for the summer was broadcast on Sunday (and I'm hoping they'll do it again next year...!). The story of the week centred around sister & brother Stephanie & Sam and their memories of spending time on Cape Breton Island with their grandmother, and ended with Stephanie raising a glass and saying "Here's to Grandma." I immediately burst into tears. I may be 60 years old, and she will have been gone 22 years next month, but I still miss my wonderful grandma. :(
- I often find myself crying over Vinyl Cafe stories. "You did it again, Stuart," I will say as I reach for the Kleenex.
- Half-listening to a CNN news item about hurricane Ida yesterday morning... more than a week later, and many affected communities are still without power -- no refrigerators for food, no air conditioning (among other hardships). I didn't catch the entire interview with this one woman, but my ears pricked up when I heard her saying something about basic needs not being met, and "as a parent, I just can't imagine..." Hmph. I'm NOT a parent, and I just can't imagine either...!
- Speaking of "as a parent," Kate Kaufmann, author of "Do You Have Kids? Life When the Answer is No" (reviewed here) now has a regular column about childlessness on the Psychology Today website. It's called (wait for it)... "Unapparent." :) Her most recent column, "The Childless Are Worthy to Be Seen and Heard," is all about World Childless Week (which is next week!), featuring an interview with WCW founder Stephanie Phillips. Have a look!
Monday, September 6, 2021
I'd heard of Elora -- one of my friends (my college roomie) had been to stay at the Elora Mill and recommended it for a weekend getaway -- but I'd never been there, and neither had dh. SIL had been there once before a few years ago to see the gorge with her brother and his girlfriend.
And so we headed out together late Saturday morning, with BIL driving. To get there, though, we had to battle our way through horrendous traffic on the 401 (the main highway running through southern Ontario). Now, traffic is generally always horrendous on the 401 all through the Greater Toronto Area, but other complicating factors this particular day included:
- (1) roadwork
- (2) it was a long weekend and
- (3) it was the Saturday of the September Labour Day long weekend -- i.e., school starts on Tuesday. Last chance before then to cram in all the things you talked about doing with the kids all summer long...! And many of the cars we passed had boxes and luggage stacked in the back seats -- obviously parents taking their kids to campus at one of the several universities and colleges in cities along (or at some point off) the 401 southwest of Toronto, including Hamilton, St. Catharines, Guelph, Waterloo, Kitchener, London and Windsor. Not something that dh & I (non-parents) or BIL & SIL (grown kids -- only one of whom went to university, and that was locally) had thought about!
|A tourist-filled street lined with picturesque limestone buildings. |
The mill is at the end of the street on the left.
We had ice cream from a shop in the dark building on the left.
|The lovely old buildings were enhanced by the beautiful hanging baskets of flowers.|
Sunday, September 5, 2021
- One of my cousins, who is a nurse, posted a meme on Facebook that you might have seen going around, listing all the various diseases that have been eradicated or controlled because of vaccines (ending, of course, with a line urging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19).
- At the same time, my L.M. Montgomery Readathon group on Facebook was nearing the end of our group read of "Emily of New Moon." In Chapter 30, Emily becomes very ill with the measles. Her friend Perry nearly dies from the same illness, and several local children do die. No vaccines back then!
- It got me thinking about my own childhood. I'm (gulp) 60 years old now, born in 1961. Many childhood illnesses that were common for me and my peers have since (more or less) gone the way of the dinosaur because of vaccines developed since then.
- Measles, mumps and chicken pox were all very common illnesses that children were expected to get when I was growing up -- and did. Most of us survived, of course -- but some did not, and you could still get very sick. Even being mildly ill was not fun, both for us and for the moms who nursed us back to health. I remember how itchy those chicken pox scabs were, even when they were covered in cooling pink calomine lotion (my sister even had some in her ears!), and how sore my swollen glands were when I had the mumps (and how much I looked like a chipmunk).
- I remember getting chicken pox in the spring of 1968, when I was in Grade 1, and then mumps in that fall, when I was in Grade 2 (or maybe it was the other way around?). My sister also got them both around the same time as I did. In both cases, the germs spread through my class and through the school like wildfire. Back then, kids sat in assigned desks arranged in long rows, and I have a vivid memory of one entire row of desks, empty, because everyone who normally sat in them was home sick with the chicken pox.
- I do remember getting a vaccine in the late 1960s for the "red" measles -- pre-development of the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine. I wasn't sure whether it was still effective, or even whether I'd had the measles at some point in my childhood, but I had my family doctor test me for immunity to rubella when we wanted to begin ttc, and I did have the antibodies.
- Everyone from my generation was vaccinated for smallpox before we started going to school (and we have the scars on our upper arms to prove it!). I still remember mine: my mother took me to the local public health nurse's office for it. She had me colour a picture of a rabbit, and then she said, "Now we're going to give the bunny some carrot juice," and put the needle in my arm. HEY...!!
- I did have a bad reaction to the oral polio vaccine when I was a toddler. I'm not sure exactly when, or what that reaction entailed -- I was too young to remember -- but thereafter, whenever we lined up to receive our booster shots at school, everyone else got the sugar cubes while I got the shot in the arm. Ow. Thanks, Mom. ;)
- (Seriously -- I am grateful, both that the vaccine was available in another form, and that anti-vax was not a "thing" back then. Mom just made it clear to both our doctors and the school nurse, wherever we moved, that I was NOT to have the oral polio, and I got the shot instead, and that was that.)
- (I'm sure I wasn't grateful back then, though, lol.)
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
*(an occasional (mostly monthly) meme, alternating from time to time with "The Current"). (Explanation of how this started & my inspirations in my first "Right now" post, here. Also my first "The Current" post, here.)
- To BIL's 4 times -- mostly to spend time with SIL & Little Great-Nephew. (We go once or twice a week for a couple of hours -- generally mid-morning to lunchtime, as LGN takes a nap in the afternoon.)
- To Staples (for printer ink and pens), Canadian Tire (housewarming present for Older Nephew & his wife), Chapters (bookstore -- also went there on Aug. 10th & 31st) and Carters/Oshkosh (for PJs for LGN), all on Aug. 4th. (When we get out of the house, we get out of the house, lol.)
- To the Lifelabs clinic near our condo on Aug. 5th for bloodwork (after a phone consultation with our family dr about renewing our prescriptions).
- To the gelato shop for a treat on Aug. 10th. :)
- To visit Older Nephew and family in their new home, with BIL & SIL, on Aug. 14th (with a stop en route at the drugstore to pick up a card and a big decorative bow for the gift we'd bought them).
- To see stepMIL and family (on Aug. 21st) for the first time since the weekend before the pandemic was declared in March 2020. Her grandson (who lives with her) was turning 13, and I thought we should go see them and bring him his birthday present -- before he started school in September, with all its germs...! He's had one shot to date but everyone else was double-vaxxed. The kid has shot up in the year & a half since we last saw him -- almost as tall as his dad -- his voice has changed, and his hair has grown long and curly! Yikes!
- To a local hospital/COVID-19 testing site on Monday, Aug. 23rd (with thankfully negative results -- full story here).
- To a salon in our former community for haircuts on Friday, Aug. 27th.
- To the supermarket (after visiting the bookstore) to pick up a few things on Tuesday, Aug. 31st.
- "The Mother of All Dilemmas" by Kathleen Guthrie Woods
- "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown
- "How to Pronounce Knife" by Souvankham Thammavongsa (August book for my "Clever Name" book club).
- "The Reckoning" by Mary L. Trump
- "Emily of New Moon" by L.M. Montgomery (counted as a re-read -- chapter-by-chapter group read with my L.M. Montgomery Readathon Facebook group).
- "I Have Something to Tell You" by Chasten Glezman Buttigieg
- "Still Glides the Stream" by D.E. Stevenson (chapter-by-chapter group read with my DES online fan group).
- "Emily Climbs" by L.M. Montgomery (for my LMM Readathon Facebook group -- the second in the "Emily" trilogy. Our group discussion starts Sept. 20th -- you are welcome to join us!)
- "The Menopause Manifesto" by Dr. Jen Gunter.
- For my "Clever Name" book club:
- "The Midnight Library" by Matt Haig (September -- already read, reviewed here. Not sure if I will re-read or just skim to refresh my memory...)
- "The Radium Girls" by Kate Moore (October)
- "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver (November)
- "Recipe for a Perfect Wife" by Karma Brown (December)
- For the Gateway Women/NoMo book club:
- "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens (September -- long in my TBR pile...!)
- "The Thursday Murder Club" by Richard Osman (October -- already read, reviewed here, but may have to re-read or at least skim to refresh my memory on some of the plot points...!)
- "Widowland" by C.J. Carey (November -- not yet available in Canada in any format, but if that's still the case by November, I can order via Amazon.com in the States and have it shipped here... looks interesting!)
- For my D.E. Stevenson fan group (no set timeframes, but these are the next ones we've agreed to read after we finish the current book, in order):
- "Gerald and Elizabeth"
- "Charlotte Fairlie" (also known as "The Fair Isle" and "Blow the Wind Southerly")
- "House of the Deer"
- "Anna and her Daughters"
- "Sarah Morris Remembers"
- And a Facebook group I belong to for Canadian childless women is going to read and discuss Tracey Cleantis's book "The Next Happy," in mid-October. I read it when it first came out (and, full disclosure, I'm quoted in it, under a different name -- I filled out a questionnaire for Tracey when she was writing the book) -- and I haven't been very active on this particular group -- but I can't resist a good book discussion (especially one related to childlessness), so I'm going to try to participate -- dust off my copy and do a skim-through to refresh my memory, if not a full re-read. I first read the book before I was tracking and formally reviewing my books on Goodreads, but I did write a review for this blog, and adapted it for a review on GR.
- Trying to add more potatos & bananas to my diet, after recent bloodwork showed my potassium levels have fallen below normal. (And to eat more fresh fruits & vegetables generally, especially right now when they're in season.)
- Trying to cut back on my sugar intake, after the same bloodwork showed continuing high levels of uric acid -- and after enduring my first bout with gout. :(
- And trying to drink more water (another important element of coping with gout, as well as a good thing to do generally).