So this is interesting. The leadership in Banff showed their caring and strength by asking people to stay home and not visit. This from a town that is built on and relies deeply upon tourism. So far people are respecting that and a curious thing is happening. The animals are taking back place. Cougars, packs of coyotes and herds of elk and deer are roaming the streets. As we push into spring it will only be a matter of time until the bears join the fray.
Thank you everyone, for respecting, abiding by and promoting staying at home. And when you must go out, please don’t be like these wolves, give others space. It’s for the health of all of us.
So, I decided to take the hound for a run and due to the fact that I know the beasties are out, I strapped on my bear spray. We’ve had a good season of snow so the back gate that separates our property and the forest can only open about a 1/4 of the way due to packed in snow and ice. It’s not such a big deal, I just have to squeeze my body at the right angle to get through. Except on this occasion, I didn’t do it quite right. Mid-squeeze I was shocked to hear a loud and pronounced “HIIISSSSSSS” emanating behind me. There was a brief moment where time stopped. I stood there, squashed between fence pole and gate door, one leg up thinking to myself, “Is what I think happening really happening?” It was.
My left butt cheek was on fire.
With Olympic calibre speed I sprinted to the house, threw off the bear spray and belt and peeled off all my bottom layers – much to the surprise of my son who stood agape. I could feel the the heat intensifying as I raced passed him saying “The bear spray exploded on my ass!”. Naturally I did all the wrong things – rubbed water on it instead of misting whole milk (who knew? I know now…), lost track of what my hand had touched when ripping off my infected clothes and only realized as I wiped sweat from my brow and left eye – which now also burned, albeit less intensely. A raging orange welt of capiscum (a waxlike extract of hot pepper) tattooed my cheek and the burn was unrelenting for an hour. It’s still slightly raw. And that’s through two layers of fabric (which I now have to clean with gloves, cold cream and much soaking). I couldn’t begin to imagine the pain of getting a shot of that in the face.
Today may not feel much different than yesterday but perhaps we can all drop the schedules and connect in a way that conjures up some of that weekend magic. Be well.
Two metres. Six feet six inches. These are numbers we understand in a literal sense but when we’re asked to keep that distance apart I like the idea of associating a visual with it. So, keep a fridge, a cow, Michael Jordan between yourself and someone else. Social distancing – sorted.
So, how goes your journaling?
Emotions are hard to sort out at the best of times. In today’s new reality it’s even harder. Give your kids a hug. Listen. They need us now more than ever.
I can’t imagine being a student these days. The pressure to exceed in school, athletics, the arts, with friends, online… it’s overwhelming just being a parent of a student.
I worked hard at school. Marks mattered to me. My mom used to say, “Jase, you’ve got to slow down sometimes and smell the roses.” She was right, but I still do struggle with this today. I’m hoping to pass on as few neuroses to my children as possible, so we effusively cajoled our daughter to take a break from exam studying and breathe in the mountain air, feel the rush of snow beneath her skis and just play. It’s something we all as a society seem to do less of these days. It’s perceived as a bad thing. A waste of time. As our teens navigate the realities of growing up, I believe it’s our duty as parents to show them that playtime is what will make them more creative, better thinkers, fitter, brighter and perhaps most importantly, happier.
So yeah, take a break. Whatever you’re working on will be there when you get back.
I miss appointment tv. Long gone are the days when you had to drop what you were doing, or you scheduled your time to ensure you were ready at 8:00pm to watch the newest Seinfeld, or Little House on the Prairie. Commercial breaks allowed for mad dashes to the bathroom or to the kitchen to grab a snack before leaping over the back of the couch to catch the first line of dialogue when the show started again. Next mornings at work or school were filled with conversations of what George had just said or Murphy Brown did. We weren’t compelled to share our immediate thoughts online, instead we could let them percolate, chuckling while lying in bed thinking about which anecdote we’d talk about the next day.
As a kid, my family and I revelled in Walt Disney sharing the magic of movie making and cheered another botched performance from Gonzo. We laughed together with Newhart, wiped tears together at The Wonder Years and shouted together at Richard Dawson and Family Feud. My teeth had to be brushed and my pajamas on which made for an easier bedtime for my parents and something I saw as a fair deal in exchange for staying up later.
The television landscape for my kids today is far different. Netflix opened the door to online viewing anytime on almost any topic on a variety of broadcast platforms. With the “if you liked” nudge, tv viewing has become increasingly customized to individual consumption. Our workdays are longer, our kid’s afterschool programming more complicated and families rarely eat dinner together, never-mind sitting down and watching something together. Even when we do decide the scheduling has allowed for a rare Friday night movie, it takes over half an hour to sort through the myriad of choices only to find that the chances of finding something that no one has seen in a genre that everyone likes is damn near impossible. There is hope though.
The emergence of high quality tv programming has opened the door to watching series with characters we care about in situations that are meaningful with real stakes attached to actions. Our family recently watched Apple TV’s newest offering, The Morning Show, and it was better than I expected. It examined a difficult and current issue and afforded an opportunity to discuss the #MeToo movement and workplace harassment in another way with our teenagers.
Last night we all found ourselves with an hour and a half of unscheduled time. My daughter had been following season 3 of “Amazing Race Canada” and was periodically updating us with stories of the foils and follies of some of the teams. We hadn’t planned it, it wasn’t scheduled on a network (we don’t even have cable), but boy was it fun to sit together and watch the last two episodes, wondering which team would win and laughing along with a brother duo who’d captured our hearts with their pluck and humour.
Appointment tv scheduled by networks isn’t coming back but perhaps we can create our own “must see tv”. Much has been written about today’s teenagers being overwhelmed with the demands and expectations of school, online identity curation and what they’re doing with their lives. There can be no rest from the continual bombardment of content, questions and demands to share one’s YOLO. Maybe we should take a page from the 1980’s and create our own appointment tv without any expected goal or outcome. Think of it as mindful viewing. I’m pretty sure our family would benefit from sitting together to laugh, cry and shout at our television on a more regular basis.
Well, the first week of school is in the books and the madness associated with it put me behind on sharing this but I found the night before the first day of school very different for high schoolers than grade schoolers. Here’s what it looked like 8 years ago:
And here’s what it looked like a few days ago:
That’s one of the marvellous things about the journey of parenting, nothing ever stays the same.