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I haven’t been blogging these last couple of weeks because Fran, my mother, had to go to the hospital. She had an persistent UTI, which upon further investigation at the University of Alberta Hospital also coincided with a pneumonia. Fran was already suffering from the damage of two previous heart attacks along with atrial fibrillation and diabetes.

On Friday March 5th Fran had just come out of ICU she had stabilized and was in the regular care rooms, my visits on that Friday and Saturday were hopeful as she seemed to have stabilized and was beginning the road to recovery.

Late Sunday night the situation drastically changed. All of her vitals plunged and she was rushed back to ICU. I was not called until early Monday morning. My girlfriend Tara and myself rushed to the ICU where Fran’s doctors outlined the situation and then had the ‘you need to sit-down’ talk.

Fran was barely responding to the highest levels of medicine to keep her blood pressure up and antibiotics to quell the pneumonia and now septic infection that was ravaging her body. Everything that could be done, had been done. Her body was simply overwhelmed and a systemic cascade of organ failure had begun.

Fran was disconnected from life support at 2:55pm, Monday March 8th. She was not conscious or lucid (I don’t think), but I spoke with her, held her hand and told her that she was loved and her pets were safe.

Fran’s vital ceased at 3:00pm. She passed calmly with dignity and in the presence of her family.
——

Today I awoke and went to the living room.  I sat on the couch and looked out the window.  That’s Fran’s car behind our still winter slept tree.

 

 

I could think of nothing to do.  So I put on Mozart’s Requiem in D minor and listened and remembered all I could about my Mom’s life and started to grieve over her passing. Please honour her passing as I did with the last movement, the Communio from the Requiem.  It begins at 41:46 in the video.

Communio – Lux aeterna

Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis mis in aeternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis,
cum sanetis tuis in aeternum,
quia plus es.

May eternal light shine on them, O Lord.
with Thy saints for ever, because
Thou art merciful.
Grant the dead eternal rest, O Lord,
and may perpetual light shine on them,
with Thy saints for ever,
because Thou are merciful.

 

Her cat Angel came and sat with me for the entire requiem.  She knew.

 

  I am lost without words.

 

(Thus, I am taking a bit of break from blogging.  Know that I have my Tara and my family supporting me through this time.  Thank you all for commemorating with me Fran’s life, it’s the best one can hope for in these Covid times.)

We Survived.  Let us celebrate our perseverance and fortitude in dealing with 2020’s challenges.

 

Thank you to my friends and followers who read and comment on my blog.  I’m glad we can come together to share our arguments, thoughts, and opinions.

Take care friends, all the best to you and yours in the New Year.

 

Arbourist

Mystro

Bleatmop

 

In Alberta our current government is off the rails.  They are enacting austerity programs that are targeting the public sectors of our society during a pandemic.  The quarrel with Alberta doctors over their working conditions during this exceptional time exemplifies the negligence of this UCP government.

This same radical right United Conservative government laid off thousands of Educational Assistants and support staff during the pandemic as well.  The pattern is clear.  The UCP are starving each of the public sectors of our society of the funds and people necessary for them to function efficiently.  The next round of bullshit will be point out how these same gutted public sectors are not doing a good job and therefore must be replaced with private, more efficient, systems of delivery.

The UCP of Alberta are taking plays from the very first page Disaster Capitalism’s playbook.  They are pushing through reactionary anti-education, anti-worker, anti-public health, reforms in the legislator at a marathon rate with essentially no debate.  Albertan’s will be waking up to a very different set of ground rules in society, and most of said rules will be making their lives marginally worse.

Speaking of marginally worse, the contract for Alberta Teachers is up on August 30th.  There will be no joy at the negotiating table this year, let me assure you.  Austerity will be the only option – while we generously fund pipelines to nowhere – for Alberta Teachers.

Plastic shields for students? Netherlands is doing it.  Alberta is not.

Concomitantly, Teachers will be asked to perform their duties under conditions that are directly hazardous to not only their students’ health, but theirs and their families as well.  No additional funding for pandemic measures is on the table for the opening of the school year.  No PPE, no classroom caps of 15, no additional cleaning personal or cleaning routines will be available.  Teachers will be expected to take up the pandemic slack, as do ‘the best they can’ with the dangerous circumstances mandated by the UCP government.

This is unacceptable.  Teachers should not have to unreasonably risk their lives and the lives of their families working in unsafe conditions.  Is it just to expect teachers to be responsible for the death of their aging parents, or young children because of the government’s mandated unsafe working conditions in the schools?

Alberta teachers will not get, as in the previous agreements, another cent more in wages.  Cost of living be damned.  We expect that, especially with this government that is so completely beholden to private sector; especially Oil and Gas.  The continued existence of the white elephant Energy War Room more than proves this egregious bias, the fact that it continues to exist during the pandemic will be one of the darker stains on this government’s legacy.

Wages aside, it is not reasonable for Alberta Teachers to risk their lives (and their families) to perform their duties.  We are being set up to be the at the very nexus of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The situation, as currently mandated, is a untenable situation.

We must seriously consider a strike because our government seems unwilling or unable to adequately protect the students and teachers of this province.  We should also consider coordinating with healthcare professionals because this government is serious about dismantling our public systems, and we need to present a united front that is too big to fail and cannot be punitively,and in piecemeal, legislated back to work (which will happen).

We let this happen at the ballot box, and now the grave consequences of voting in a American style government with a unhealthy privatization fetish, are here.  We cannot sit back throw up our hands and somehow think that students and teachers dying at school because of the malfeasance of the government is in anyway okay.  We are better than that as a teachers and as Albertans.

 

Signed,

 

A very concerned Alberta School Teacher.

 

@albertateachers

@rachelnotley

@albertandp

@ucp

@edmontonjournal

@adrianalagrange

Thank you Shadow, for your years with us. Mahler’s Adagietto says so much more than words ever could.  You shall ever be missed, and ever remembered.

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Sometimes a little life advice is in order.  I’ve read Ruiz’s book and it seems to be quite sensible.  So here are the four agreements and the Psychology Today handy explanation below.

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

 

1. Be impeccable with your word. In a sense, social constructivists are correct about words creating reality. We act on what we tell ourselves is real. Albert Ellis encouraged us to screen our self-talk for negative, irrational chatter. What kinds of words do you use when you describe reality? Do you lie and say hurtful and poisonous things about yourself and others? (Not healthy.) To be impeccable with your word is to be truthful and to say things that have a positive influence on yourself and others.

2. Don’t take anything personally. The first agreement suggests that we avoid treating others hurtfully. The second agreement provides us with a way of dealing with potentially hurtful treatment from others. Because each person sees the world in a unique way, the way that others treat us says as much about them as it does about us. Not taking anything personally is to acknowledge the unique identities of other people. We respect their subjective realities, realizing that their views do not necessarily describe us accurately.

3. Don’t make assumptions. Assuming that you know what other people are thinking or feeling about you is a limiting thought that Aaron Beck called Mind Reading. Obviously, none of us can read minds. When we try to engage in mind reading we will often be wrong, leading to undesirable consequences. The antidote to mind reading is to ask for evidence before concluding what people are thinking.

4. Always do your best. One obvious reason for doing your best is that we cannot achieve our goals by being lazy. If you do your best, not only are you are more likely to achieve goals, but you will also avoid criticism from what Ruiz calls your internal Judge. There are also more subtle issues about doing “your best.” One is that you should not try to do better than your best. Pushing yourself too hard can cause pain, injury, and mistakes. More subtle still is the recognition that our “best” will vary from moment to moment, that, in a sense, you are always doing your best. Realize this, and your inner Judge can take a permanent vacation.

 

It’s been a rough couple of months, and sometimes refreshing some core tenets of being is way to restart and attempt to regain some purchase in life.

This is my dog, Shadow.  We found her at the Alberta Sheltie Rescue society.  She had passed through two families before finding her forever home with us.

Shadow passed from this world yesterday and I miss her so very dearly.  It was time, she was 15 or 16 years old (didn’t have an exact date of birth),her vision was dim, she was almost deaf and couldn’t make it up the stairs anymore.  She loved her humans to the very end, (and they loved her), I stroked her back and held her paw as the vet gave her the injection.  She left the world with her family.

Shadow was a great dog, she was elegant and regal, but also a rambunctious goof at times.  Her smiles were always endearing.

She was a shy dog, but could always be counted on for a cold nose *boop* when you really needed it.

She was my special girl, even when we couldn’t go for the long walks any more, we did short slow ones instead. She always tried to be in the same room with me.

 

Now she’s gone, and I mourn her passing.  All I have left of her now are these photos and her collar. It is not even close to being enough.   Thank you Shadow for being my bestest dog.

 

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