Frog in my Throat

“A Frog in my Throat”

I have been invaded by a virus. I have a runny nose, a scratchy ‘frog’ in my throat, and a dry cough. I don’t know if I encountered the virus while still in Alberta, or if it caught up with me during the three day drive from Alberta to Arizona. I don’t know if it is a common cold or if it is one of the Covid variants like Omicron.

I do know that medical advice in both places says stay isolated at home for 5 days after the start of symptoms and don’t clog up the medical system unless the symptoms are well beyond what I’m experiencing. In Alberta, PCR tests are not available unless you are deemed to be severely sick. I’m assuming the situation is similar here in Arizona too.

What isn’t the same in the states we traveled through to get here, is mandates. In Canada, we have been ‘mandated’ up to our eyeballs. Today, if The Car Guy or I wanted to get back into Canada, our vaccine status alone would not be good enough; nor would a promise that we would drive immediately to our home and quarantine for 2 weeks. No, we would also have to have proof of a negative molecular test OR we will be fined $5000 per person. (When we crossed into the USA from Canada we didn’t have to provide any proof of even having been vaccinated. The restaurants and motels we used did not have mask mandates, though some had mask recommendations that few people were following.)

To put this difference between Canada and the United States into perspective (recognizing there are state/provincial/municipal differences), I’d like to start with  a section of a post from Mike Rowe (Mike Rowe Works Foundation):

How much more mandating are we willing to endure to avoid a virus we’re all going to get?

…I’m worried that we’ve become irrationally averse to risk. I’m worried that mask mandates will lead to vaccine mandates, and vaccine mandates will lead to vaccine passports, and vaccine passports will lead to QR codes on our phones, which we’ll all need to present at every restaurant, every gym, every library, every theater… everywhere we go.

Yes, I’m also worried about overcrowded hospitals and stressed-out healthcare workers. And of course, I’m worried about those who won’t survive this thing. But I’m more worried about the path we’re headed down… and that path is paved with mandates.

In my province (as in most Canadian provinces) Mike Rowe’s fears have mostly all come to pass. We have to wear a mask to enter all public settings and workplaces. We need to show our vaccine passport (with a QR code) to enter restaurants, theatres, concerts, fitness facilities etc that want to operate at normal capacity. We can’t board a plane or train without our vaccine passport… and we can’t enter our own country without a vaccine passport…

“I’m worried that we’ve become irrationally averse to risk. – Mike Rowe. Graphic Source: https://xkcd.com/

On a safety spectrum, I’d say much of Canada is highly Safety first. Some parts of the USA – maybe not so much. Which makes it kind of funny that the
Canada Travel Advisory is to Avoid Non-Essential Travel to the United States; the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory: Canada – Level 4: Do Not Travel Due to very high level of COVID-19…

My post on A Safety Third Philosophy in a Safety First World

Baa Baa Black Sheep

CBC’s list of words

CBC News Ottawa recently published a list of ‘banned’ words according to the anti-racism and language experts they consulted. Some of the phases contain the word ‘black’ which the experts said can be hurtful to people because of the negative historical and cultural background of the word. (Some people would like to add Black Friday to the list).

My Black Sheep Tangle

I was surprised to see the term Black Sheep.  Historically, black sheep were less desirable than white sheep only because the black wool could not be easily dyed colors. The phrase eventually evolved to refer to the oddball member of the family who did not fall in line with the others.

What about blackmail? It was first used in the 16th century in Scotland where it was a payment exacted by plundering chiefs in exchange for immunity from more pillage.

While in the current context, both words have evolved into negative portrayals, the word ‘black’ can also be a positive or powerful word, such as black belt, black diamond, black coffee, black pepper, black ink, etc.

The word white can also have an undesirable connotation – white elephant, white lightnin’, white out, white trash, show the white feather…

Hopefully, some day black and white will no longer be a source of conflict – Yin Yang will prevail.

Moving on, I’d like to know why CBC didn’t put the word ‘short’ on their list. If I was a sensitive ‘vertically challenged’ person, I would object to the many phrases that contain the word ‘short’: short changed; short end of the stick; the long and the short of it; a day late and a dollar short; one brick short of a load; a few sandwiches short of a picnic; draw the short straw; short circuit; short fuse; short sighted…

Rex Murphy, of the National Post, responding to the CBC list, constructed an editorial about these words by using them all: Rex Murphy: Tongue-tied by CBC’s 18 words you can’t say

Alas, it is the case that the rich tribe of consultants employed by the CBC to make sure Canadian English never falls into bad-speak is being pilloried on Twitter and elsewhere as lame , and even (shudder) tone deaf .

Other even more savage criticisms are raining down on the corporation, such that its executives and high-profile personalities have been called together in a kind of public relations powwow , to brainstorm some way of responding to the crisis.
– Rex Murphy –

Normally I would ask you what your thoughts are on this subject, so here goes: Do you think the legs I drew on the Black Sheep look a bit like piano keys?

Update: thanks for your comments about the Sheep’s legs. As per your input, the Sheep has now been named ‘Little Piano Legs’.

Spike and the Variants – Will Omicron be the New Lead Singer?

Spike and the Variants – a Zentangle by Margy

‘Spike and the Variants’ continue their highly successful world tour, though their lead singers continue to be ousted and replaced by members of the new generations. In Alberta, Alpha finally stepped back (for the good of the band) and let Delta lead the climb to the top of the charts for the second half of 2021. Today there are rumours that Omicron might push it aside, but time will tell whether the new upstart has what it takes to lead a new wave of ‘dispopularity’.

What Doesn’t Kill you… mutates and tries again…

… doesn’t this sound like elections too?

‘Rona Virus – Goodbye Restrictions, Hello Summer Heat!

Covid Be Gone!
Good News here in Alberta. All Covid restrictions were lifted on July 1, in time for Canada Day! (Some municipalities and businesses will still have mask and/or social distance mandates and masks are still required on public transit, in taxis and in ride-share vehicles.)

Covid Virus – Spike and the Variants
In early May I wrote a post about ‘Spike and the Variants‘, likening them to a really terrible rock group. I’ve used my drawing of Spike and the group to make some thank you cards for the people who have helped us maintain our sanity for over a year now.

I also used the Spike zentangle drawing to make a dimensional paper tole picture. Using four printed copies of the Spike drawing, I cut and pasted successive layers, removing more of the drawing each time.

Here is the picture from an angle, to show the layers.

I mounted the finished paper picture on a glazed ceramic wall tile. The Car Guy built the frame, which I painted a semi-gloss black. I finished this project just a few days before the restrictions were lifted – good timing!

Heat Wave and Canada Day
Our part of the world had a week of unseasonably hot days, with temperatures peaking at 36.3C (97.3F) on Canada Day. Fortunately, our celebration this year was low key compared to Canada Days of the past. Some years we have hosted up to 40 people for a BBQ, but this year we opted for a small brunch with two close friends. Good choice. The temp by brunch was 30C (86F) with winds gusting up to 43 kph (27 mph or ‘umbrellas used with difficulty wind’.) Also, a wasp nest under the deck, directly under the shaded area I planned on dining at, was sending up swarms of attackers. We moved the brunch indoors – much easier to do for a table of four!

That night the city nearest to us had a half hour fireworks display which we could see and hear from our back yard!

The Heat Wave is over
… for now. We’ve had several soaking rains with more in the forecast. My garden is much happier. The Car Guy and I didn’t suffer as much as the plants did. Our 40 year old house was well built to withstand cold and heat. The original owners also installed an air conditioner. We normally only use it for a day or two each year. For the past week it has been kicking on like clock work when the outside temperature peaks at about 3 PM. Kudos to Sears for a reliable workhorse.

Perhaps after the past 14 months, we’ve learned and grown, and now that we’re once again free to do those previously mundane activities coronavirus took from us—hugging one another, crowding into concert venues, fighting a stranger for the armrest on airplanes—we’ll be so grateful to be back to our old ways. We’ll be walking around aglow in appreciation, utterly unwilling to go back to taking such basic everyday freedoms for granted.
– Clay Skipper, msn –

What denied ‘mundane’ activity have you resumed doing with a feeling of freedom and happiness?

Christmas Tangle 2020 – Carrot Noses and Glitter

My Annual Drawing: Christmas Tangle 2020. Inspiration for this years tangle came from the Golda Rader blog.

This:

What the Snowmen know to be true:
A person is snown by the company they keep.
Boldly go where snowman has gone before.
Dance like snowbody’s watching.
Keep your ice on the prize.
Mother nose best.
Snowman is an island.

That:

I don’t want Christmas season to end, because it’s the only time I can legitimately indulge in my particular addiction: glitter.
– Eloisa James –

The Car Guy is a man of many talents – one of them is wood-working. Recently he has branched out into projects using pieces of wood inlaid with epoxy resin.

In order to keep down the costs of epoxy trial and error, he bought a few small molds to make snowflakes. Then he discovered glitter… We not only have enough glitter snowflakes now for a small avalanche, snowflakes have been slipped into every Christmas card we have sent out. Glitter has been added to epoxy drink coasters too.

I have fond memories of the Glitter phase that our children and grand children went through. They all grew out of it. I expect The Car Guy will too – until next Christmas.

The Other:

I’d like to end this post by wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

If, like us, your government has decreed that you cancel any  ‘gathering of the clan’, I hope you find a way to make this Christmas a good one anyway.  You might want to consider purchasing some glue and some glitter.

Christmas Tangle 2019 – Red Berry Tree

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow –

May the Christmas season
fill your home with joy,
your heart with love,
and your life with laughter.

From Margy and The Car Guy

All my favourite holiday Quotations: Christmas Quotations

Previous Christmas Tangle Posts: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

My very first Christmas Post: The Annual Christmas Letter. (This year I will mention that The Car Guy and I are observing our 50th Wedding Anniversary!)

Perhaps my best Christmas Story: Home – The LEGO Businessman and the Oranges

A Gallery of my Christmas Tangles:

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Christmas Tangle 2017 – A Star

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.
– Author Unknown –

May the Christmas season
fill your home with joy,
your heart with love,
and your life with laughter.

From Margy and The Car Guy

All my favourite holiday Quotations: Christmas Quotations

Previous Christmas Tangle Posts:  2016, 2015, 2014

Christmas Tangle 2016 – Pine Needles

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
There’ll be much mistletoeing and hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
— Eddie Pola and George Wyle –

May the Christmas season
fill your home with joy,
your heart with love,
and your life with laughter.

From Margy and The Car Guy

All my favourite holiday Quotations: Christmas Quotations

Previous Christmas Tangle Posts: 2015, 2014