Categories
Sideways Sally

Sea to Sky

Sigh…

My brain hurts from overload. Some days it feels broken. Between a few flights, I’m back on the ocean, full of emotion. Taking to the skies early last week I landed in winter.

From +10 on the west coast to -20 in the Canadian praires… brrrr. I was hiding in a hotel from snow and bitter cold winds. I was in a kid bubble. It was a good place to be.

Max is 7, Wendy is 4. They luv the pool and the hot tub!!

Flying into Winnipeg, Manitoba and driving to my family in Brandon took me on a two hour stretch of highway through the flat white prairies. The four lane #1 Highway was full of big semi trucks and rigs delivering the goods that keep this country going.

I thanked them silently, knowing there’s good people behind the wheel working hard every day. Keeping going, mile after many miles through blustery blizzards and frozen nights, stopping long enough to grab a hot meal or a shower, far away from their families and the comforts most of us enjoy after a long day of work. These are the reliable truckers I am proud of. I respect and admire their fortitude through the last two years more than ever.

Getting back to the trenches in Vancouver for a few days of brain drain, I’m working in community mental health. The world feels topsy tirvy, on one hand we feel the lightening of restrictions and the return to normalcy in our communities. On the other hand we watch in shock as the city of Ottawa struggles to deal with “Freedom Protests” and the assault on our collective common sense. The additional stress on top of the last two years is the final straw for some folks.

The question I can’t stop thinking about is “WHY NOW?” Why in the middle of a long, cold winter? Why now, after two long years, when numbers of hospitalizations and deaths are trending down, and restrictions are lifting? Why now, when we are getting closer and closer to endemic? What changed that all hell breaks loose with these unvaccinated thousands protesting the mandates that have brought us this close?

The question is unanswered. It’s Friday and I’m back to the sky and the soothing sunset. Landing in Maple Bay on Vancouver Island, the smell of salt air mixed with the cedar forest is intoxicating. Relaxing from a demanding job and the travelling I’m tucked into a cozy spot by the soothing ocean. It gives me time to reflect…

We all want to get to freedom, free from the pandemic and free from covid restrictions. Our rates of infection and death are much lower than many countries, especially our close neighbors to the south. Here is why according to an article from the BBC:

Canada has a universal, decentralised and publicly funded healthcare system administered by its 13 provinces and territories.

“That means that people, regardless of their socioeconomic status, have access to healthcare,” said Dr Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. “What makes that an important factor is that, regardless of where you are in your phase of illness, you will still be able to get healthcare.”

The last two + years we have learned how to look after each other and how to cope with the isolation, physical distancing in all venues, loss of income, health challenges, losing loved ones, and “managing expectations.”

Home… our true north strong and free. We’ve had an assault on our common senses. The “Freedom Truck Convoy” has spread a new virus of distrust in our communities, the pandemic of disinformation has resulted in a movement that has led to the disturbing disruption of progress in our great peaceful country.

How this affects us as a society is shocking. The shear power and noise of unhappy people behind the wheels of huge machinery has paralysed our capitol city, has gotten into our communities and in our face. Our drive into sleepy small town Duncan was totally plugged by huge trucks with flags flying, heading to Victoria to surround the Parliament Building, and disrupt another city. How do we manage our expectations around the force of roughly 10-15% of our population having the entire focus of our country and our government tied up to manage this ridiculous uproar?

All I know is this:

Victims of the Covid disease deserve much more. Our citizens who have been stricken with illness and loss of loved ones deserve so much more. The medical community, businesses that have lost income, people who have lost work, or worked all day in a mask all day, every day deserve more. Teachers and students in our education systems that have dealt with adjusting and readjusting constantly, to keep each other safe deserve more, much more. Our seniors who have faced horrendous illness, death and isolation deserve so much more.

According to MacLeans:

“They Were Loved”

“The magnitude of COVID-19’s impact on Canadians’ lives is difficult to fathom. Canada has already lost more than 20,000 people to the pandemic, with the number ticking steadily upwards; each of those losses has cascaded through families and communities, leaving many more thousands bereaved. Public health guidance around social distancing has resulted in restrictions around traditional mourning customs and rituals—heart-wrenchingly, many were unable even to say goodbye.” (https://www.macleans.ca/they-were-loved/)

NOTE: Feb, 2022 – Total number of deaths exceed 36,000.

I can’t help but think of my Medical Professional Colleagues on a daily basis. The front line nurses who have endured this horrible pandemic, some of whom have been overcome by the fight. The job is the most difficult it has ever been.

The crass behavior of those who brazenly demand their way of ending mandates while doing nothing to help end this pandemic, adds insult to injury. Medical staff have been warned in my city of Vancouver to refrain from wearing our scrubs to work, or to show our hospital ID while out on the street trying to get to work.

It’s absurd, and unfathomable. I understand the frustration with having to comply with medical protocols in order to work. I’ve had to do that for 30 years in order to keep my job as a nurse, I get flu shots every year, or wear a mask. It’s my choice.

Just as it is our choice to be vaccinated or not, in the interest of the public health to make us all safe, we choose, we work, or we lose our jobs.

These mobsters are not that special, anarchists have existed throughout history. They deserve what has now complicated their lives. We do not deserve how they have complicated other’s lives. It all comes down to simply making choices. Part of being a responsible citizen is taking responsibility for the choices we make, paying taxes, insuring homes and vehicles, abiding by the rules of the road, and using our voice at the voting polls. That’s who Canadians are. We wait and we watch, peacefully but horrified by the bad behavior of a very small minority.

We stand together for “OH CANADA, THE TRUE NORTH STRONG AND FREE.” I am a nurse. I proudly fly this flag.

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Sideways Sally

IT’S NOT FUN TO LOSE TO THE SCIENCE OR DEFIANCE.

OH CANADA,

THE TRUE NORTH STRONG AND FREE

Lately, you have not been letting me sleep. I’m watching my beautiful peaceful country becoming embroiled in an impasse. My people are hurting themselves and hurting each other. We don’t mean to, and we will apologize, but everything is so mixed up right now that we don’t know what to do.

I watch and I wait, like Sideways Sally, my mind takes off in all direction. My common sense side of the brain can’t stop thinking about how much omicron loves a crowd. My brain wants to go have a drink with Prime Minister, and make it a JT, (Justin Trudeau), for those disliking the flavor, it’s better than all the rest. I’ll tell him how much I love him and ask him to resign, but only if all the fuckers, I mean truckers get vaccinated and go home.

We are not going to win this, and it’s a dangerous game.

Covid, Delta, and Omicron are laughing and having an orgasm in the back row.

We are pretty used to winning. We’ve had the best odds. We’ve lived through the best times. We’ve always had plenty. There’s been challenges: disasters that have taken lives, floods, fires, tornadoes, unemployment, inflation and 35 thousand covid deaths. We’ve had the health, wealth and the knowledge to fix, or mend most of our problems.

IT’S NOT FUN LOSING, TO THE SCIENCE OR DEFIANCE.

We’ve seriously fucked up caring for our elderly, our Indigenous and our mentally ill. We locked them up or lock them out and threw them to the wolves. But the wolves run free and have lots to eat. YUP, the H.A. run the ports, and the drug dealers have profited beyond belief, right in front of our eyes.

The private care industries make their dirty money by ignoring the needs of our seniors. The mismanagement of our mental health system is fodder for the wolves who get fatter and fatter. Did I mention they get away with it right in front of our eyes??

The last stage of this pandemic is completely unknown. Is COVID-19 endemic?

“Officials from the World Health Organization have warned that it is too early to treat COVID-19 as an endemic disease, stressing that the evolution of the virus is uncertain and noting that on a global scale the pandemic continues to rage. Jan 29, 2022”

It doesn’t matter what any of us do, it’s really hard to stop an orgasm.

So how the hell can anyone make decisions when there are no magic formulas for the pathway forward? To keep things simple. Yes we all hate our lives the last two years. The stress on our medical systems, our health, our jobs, our economy, education system, individual and collective mental health is immeasurable.

We all miss going to our favorite places that sustain our body and souls. That can be the gym, the church, the pub, the rink, Tim Horton’s, you name it for Canadians. WE LIKE TO GET TOGETHER.

This is what we are seeing right now in Ottawa, people gathering together that have similar passions, beliefs and dreams. The common ground that they so boldly display invites the world to join in. That’s an amazing thing. That’s an amazing part of who we are as a country. People around the world can’t believe what’s happening, and neither can we. Something does not belong here, something is very wrong.

Truckers are our modern day knights in shining armor. They sustain our food chains, medical supplies, bring us fuel to keep us warm in our cold Canadian winter, and cool in our blazing hot summers. We can’t live without you.

Human nature gives us the ability to be strong and resilient. We have the freedom to choose our perspective on the challenges we face. We have a population of 38 million. We have 34 million vaccinated people. We have a few thousand having a temper tantrum.

When it comes to a pandemic, we are toddlers. We’re trying to learn a new and exciting way to get around, after having enough of sliding down the stairs on our bums. There’s lots of advice and encouragement on what’s the best way to walk, we have gadgets that prop us up and contain us in safe places so we can’t get hurt. We lay on the floor kicking and screaming when we can’t get our way. When we get what we want by having a fit, it encourages us to have an even bigger fit next time. The good part about a tantrum is all the attention it gets. The bad part of a tantrum is that if it lasts too long it gets harder and harder to calm down, wears everybody out around you. And makes us not fun to be around. When we learn that having a tantrum put us in a time out, it makes us think about our actions and make better choices.

It gets so confusing when there’s too much information that my mind can’t keep up. We feel like we don’t quite have control over what happens next, cause we don’t. Then we get brave and try again. Then for no apparent reason we get bitch slapped again by Mother Nature, omicron is just pissing us off.

We are learning many many things during this interesting period of time in our country. Most of us have not lived long enough to go through the last pandemic. We are learning what our family, friends and neighbors are thinking and how they’re behaving. We’re learning how to stir up so many issues in one pot that it gets too thick and starts to burn.

When we lick the spoon it tastes like crazy shit burnt soup. Our peaceful, democratic country is burning the bottom of the pot. On the side there’s a loaf of depression and anxiety, it’s all really expensive.

Thank God we legalized marijuana. That was perfect timing. It does help me sleep…

A nurse and a trucker hold hands. Drawing by my four year old granddaughter Wendy Jean.

Categories
Sideways Sally

The Giant Spotlight

the play called “Pandemic”

WANTED: ACTORS TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT

written and directed by

“the pandemic”

the spotlight finds the performers

doing the spotlight’s job

forcing attention

revealing the stage

like a powerful play

no one can look away

while they disappear

into the darkness

surrounding the spotlight

whispering and waiting

for the play to move on

for the light to be gone

Canada is the stage

a peace loving country

things aren’t moving fast

stuck in a gridlock

hoping this won’t last

for those sitting quietly

in the seats

wondering about the cast

the play is three parts

first we applauded the nurses

second we applauded the truckers

third is desperately

seeking the past

which is gone

a pandemic stops for no one

the spotlight waits restlessly

for the last part of the play

when it will happen

no one can say

the house lights come on

the spotlight fades away

standing now

in the light for all

applause for the players

their roles were defined

by these difficult times

to be seen and be heard

we all stand waiting

the performers

holding their hands

together they bend

into the light

shining brightly for all

to go home

and be safe

waiting for the pandemic

to write the end

IN A PERFECT WORLD – My grandaughter Wendy colored this picture. She had a little help from her Mom Chelsea. I am proud.

Categories
OMOO

January Jumpback to Humpbacks

Humpback whales swarm OMOO on a warm summer day in Desolation Sound. These magnificent creatures are coming back in steadily climbing numbers. They are curious and love to come close to say HI!!

https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/humpback-comeback-whale-researchers-say-species-making-dramatic-return-to-b-c-waters-1.5480862

Grab a morning cup of coffee and enjoy this exciting video taken by our loyal friend and crew, Ken Wilson. Thanks so much Ken. What a thrill!!

Categories
The Skipper

Winter on OMOO

There’s alot going on under the snow!

Hershey works on his winter projects on OMOO. His current job is installing a new hold down to his battery bank. This space lives under the stern berth king size bed. With any boat project, it means folding his 6’4″ frame into 4’6″ places.

The Skipper’s pride and joy comes from designing performance and safety enhancements on OMOO.

The crew at Maple Bay Marina are battling the snow, making access to OMOO safe.

This back saving contraption to assist with lifting the batteries is a block and tackle attached to the rope secured through a port hole to the handle on the table in the cockpit, making it easy to lift approximately 80+ lbs of each battery. (left). Whew! That was a run on sentence!

During the last melt down of one of the batteries, acid bubbled out the top. This destroys the wood. This has happened twice, in spite of regular checks to top up the batteries with distilled water. As batteries age, they deteriorate. Both times the super smeller on Sideways Sally detected the problem!

The metal hold down for the strap over the batteries needs to be through bolted to the sides of the battery box.

The anchor for the hold down strap, which sits in position to be used. In the adjacent compartment (left) side of the battery box is the charger/inverter for the boat.

The black strap inside the yellow outline is attached to the brackets and now functional.

WARNING: For safety reasons the wood compartment for the batteries should be encased in fiberglass and epoxy.
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Sideways Sally

City to Serenity

Leaving the city on a floatplane shakes the city off of me in minutes.

The harbor separates the North Shore from downtown Vancouver and creates a unique community close to the wilderness and the wildlife.

Sailing into Howe Sound in the summer we pass in between Horseshoe Bay (right) and Bowen Island (left). There is almost a gaurantee of wind in the Sound, created by the inlflow and outflow of the land breeze in this wind tunnel.

The float plane was full of passengers either commuting home from work, or travelling to explore the Gulf Islands. It was promising to be a warm January weekend which is a welcome reprieve from the previous two weeks of unseasonal cold and snow.

Sideways Sally has been pulling double duty in the job she loves the most. “They” say keeping the brain active is the best way to stave off dementia.

Along with case management at the community mental health team, she is doing intake for new referrals coming to our team. It’s a transition to full time intake, but the process takes time.

Being Sideways to begin with, it’s easy for her to get goofier and goofier. The shenanigans that go on with her work family keeps things going. It’s laughing hour over lunch that keeps her going back for more.

Yup, those people know how to get the work done, and have fun. There is no better way. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Sideways and team have devised a plan to “work smarter, not harder.”

Of course, we have our bumps in the road, like roadblocks. Eventually we find a way around them. The team of twenty clinicians, psychiatrists and admin staff look after 600 folks in the community.

The best moment in Sideway’s week was when she was able to bring a young man to an addictions support group for the first time. She’d been talking to him about it for a year or more. In a state of psychosis, exacerbated by crystal meth use, he smashed up his room in the group home and was taken to hospital. Finally, after being away from his crystal meth use, he was able to think straight and make the choice to get treatment.

Sideways Sally would love to get her hands on the drug dealer and heaven help them if it ever happens. Seems like no one else is doing a damn thing about it.

But work/life balance is vital so she’s heading home sweet home.

Listening to so many stories in one week, and now she gets to tell them to you, she thanks you for listening. The kindness and patience in listening is sometimes all that is needed.

This new fav singer and song is filmed at the fabulous Orpheum Theater here in Vancouver. https://vancouvercivictheatres.com/venues/orpheum/

Ummm…. as for her brain, she thinks she broke it. But it will be fixed after some twelve hour naps… and some sunshine.

Home sweet home with Hershey!!

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Sideways Sally

The “BIG ONE”

Shortly after posting about my dream this happened: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/tsunami-advisory-bc-jan15/

Do you ever have the most vivid dreams that are earth shattering? I had one that startled me awake and left me shaking.

I was shattering and shaking along with the earth. It was the big one.

In that moment I was standing in Maple Bay and watching the cliffs across the bay come tumbling down. First one then another. Houses fell down the cliff, people fell out of the houses as they broke and the water rose. I was standing near a dike, trying to climb up it to see what was happening on the other side. As I neared the top I was able to peak over the top only to see the ocean quickly rising to the top of the dike. I started screaming out to Hershey, “where should we go, what should we do.”

That’s when I woke up. Terrified, I checked around me and all the cups were still on the shelf. “OK, it’s alright” I told myself. Then I checked online for earthquake news. This is what I got:

Here on Vancouver and Vancouver Island we live close to the The Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ). It is a 1000 km fault that runs from Northern Vancouver Island to Northern California. The fault itself is a boundary between two tectonic plates: the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate is moving towards and getting shoved under the North American plate.

On any given day there is an earthquake somewhere close by. I’m writing this because the dread I felt in my nightmare was so real I cannot help but pay attention to it.

https://earthquaketrack.com/r/british-columbia-canada/recent

Recent Earthquakes Near British Columbia, Canada

Sorted: Recent  Filter By Magnitude  Nearby Places 

British Columbia, Canada has had: (M1.5 or greater)

  • 2 earthquakes in the past 24 hours
  • 10 earthquakes in the past 7 days
  • 32 earthquakes in the past 30 days
  • 451 earthquakes in the past 365 days

The largest earthquake in British Columbia, Canada:

Squamish is a destination we love to sail into during our summer sailing in Howe Sound. The marina is in the shadow of the “Chief.” This magnificent cliff towers above the wood sorting operation we transit when heading to the Government Dock to tie up.

This cliff…I can’t even let my imagination go there.

WHEW, thank my lucky stars, that night ended when those stars disappeared with the morning sun!!

I leave you, my friends, with this lovely tune.

Categories
Sideways Sally

Happiness and Perseverance…

go hand in hand. Perseverance gives results, which ends up in satisfaction, satisfaction leads to happiness.

per·se·ver·ance – persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

I took a drive along the shores of English Bay today and thoughts of the journey to the sea washed through me.

I’ve read about many people who work hard and save to buy a sailboat, give up their worldly possessions to move aboard. There is no better feeling than getting out on the ocean and relaxing while watching the sunset..

Perseverance is what it takes to get there. Buying a boat is not for the faint of heart. It takes some hard knocks (on the hull, no pun intended) and a thorough survey to get all the answers to the mystery of a new to you sailboat.

Resilience is a trait that gives one the will to go on, especially when the “dream boat” turns into a nightmare. So many things can delay, or ruin setting out to chase the wind. Many moving parts inside and outside to consider each and every day.

Why do people stick it out? Because it’s freedom, plain and simple. Living on the highway to the world, with no home address appeals to the adventurous gypsy in each of us.

Did you ever meet a really cranky boater who hates their floating life? Likely not, cause they wouldn’t be there if that were the case. So we float around, one big happy bunch of sailors.

When boaters are stuck to land, for whatever reason, we dream of the day we’ll be back out there. It makes living on land more tolerable. It makes doing everything we need to do to make ocean voyages all more worthwhile.

I walked down to the ocean on a sunny winter afternoon, feeling akin to the boats in English Bay. Knowing how it feels to bob along this shore felt so surreal. I’ve looked across the water to Kitsilano Beach so many times.

ENGLISH BAY, VANCOUVER BRITISH COLUMBIA

As we sail into English Bay.

Looking from the sea

the beach beckons me.

The land

and the sand

comfort me

We’re together

in time

walking along the shore

soothing my mind

soon…

I’ll be back on the sea

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Sideways Sally

2021 Refections and Thoughts

I was in a funk on New Year’s Eve.

I left work with sadness and sorrow for those who suffer, and it landed hard in my heart and mind. The last conversation I had was with a lovely lady who suffers from depression and anxiety. We have a team called “Hope Team” who go into people’s homes and help them sort their belongings. Sometimes people get hoarding for unknown reasons and lose the ability to sort or dispose of their things. This lady lives in a lovely condo but her environment has gotten to a point where she can no longer manage it. The project with the Hope Team had been going well until her brother died suddenly of a heart attack and the traumatic loss put her behind the “eight ball.”

I told her I didn’t feel right saying “Happy New Year” to her so I told her that I was thinking of her and planning to provide extra support in the new year. She appreciated that.

I went home with Hershey, and started debriefing as we often do. He’s such a good listener. He reminded me that the folks I look after have our amazing team to help them and that they may suffer even more without our support. He reminded me that I offer them a positive perspective when they may not be able to find one.

He reminded me of my awesome, cohesive team, that works and plays so well together.

We have been in each other’s bubble for the last two years, supporting each other, crying and laughing together. We are very lucky.

We have a special bond.

He reminded me of all the good things that have happened in this crazy time of the pandemic.

Hershey, the new you, for 2022, under a new hat.

He stayed out of the hospital all year. I got two surgeries while many elective surgeries were being cancelled due to the pandemic.

We didn’t get to sail much but he was able to repair a vital piece of equipment, the anchor winch. It broke down close to home, instead out in the middle of nowhere, where we usually are.

He reminded me that variety is the spice of life. He didn’t have to say anything to remind me about that, he is variety.

We were enjoying a “breakfast burrito bowl” provided by “Fresh Prep” and friends Suzanne and Oscar. We were enjoying their lovely condo over looking False Creek. We were enjoying the view of the city and the water where we have anchored many times.

We were enjoying the sweet dogs we were pet sitting, and having family for a day at Christmas.

In the middle of the breakfast bowl Hershey leans over and asks, “do you know…” haha, anyone who knows Hershey will be familiar with this opening phrase. “What the oldest English speaking university in Canada is?”

My question back was, “Is there other universities that are older that don’t speak English?” My inside thought is “Here’s another zig zag thought that comes from who knows where.” That’s how his brain works, it’s very entertaining, and educational!

The response was “good question.” Then he did more research. He found out the oldest university is French speaking and it began in 1663, The University of Laval. The oldest English speaking is University of New Brunswick, started in 1785.

There is no shortage of variety in my world. In my quest to wander further than the Canadian border on a sailboat so I can expand my stories, I have met a few characters. The sailing world is full of characters.

I met a merry, chubby, smart Santa Sailor, who keeps his boat in Lund, which is a favorite stop on our travels north. He talked non-stop on a one hour drive we took from Vancouver to Delta to pick up a compressor. When we returned I treated him to my new favorite cocktail, a Black Manhattan. This loosened his tongue even more.

He informed me he had Asperger’s Syndrome. That make perfect sense. He’s 75 and wants to take off sailing the south pacific. He’s also refitting his very old boat, and building a tiny home to live in while refitting his boat.

I asked him when he wanted to leave. He said, “In April.” Well, he was buying the compressor for his nail gun… I’m so curious. I will need to visit Lund to see his progress. He’s fixated on the steam ship routes that travelled up and down the coast, and he has been to many of them while commercial fishing. He’s extremely knowledgeable and well informed.

Unfortunately, due to Asperger’s he is socially awkward, and has trouble reading cues from other people. This has led to alot of rejection and he is desperate for company. It would take a special person to be on a sailboat with him for any length of time. But there is a lid for every pot, he just hasn’t found her yet.

I am also trying to find a boat to crew/journal/photograph in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. I met a man on the crew site who invited me to visit, but he only wanted to write back and forth about sex, and having sex in his cockpit (no pun intended), like I’m 21!!

At this age I can’t imagine starting that again. I’m so happy being comfortable with farting in bed. Along with the odd snort that startles us both awake…

The other skipper I met is a gentleman from Alberta. I admire him for starting life anew after his wife passed from cancer. He left his ranch to his daughter, bought a sailboat and will join a flotilla to Alaska this spring. His boat is at Shelter Island here on the mainland. I have told him all about Hershey and they will enjoy talking about so many things when they meet.

I plan to join him to crew, along with some of his family, in Prince Rupert and navigate the inside passage to Juneau. I’m so excited to document a “new to me” coast and tell his story.

https://www.google.com/search?q=image+Juneau+alaska+map&rlz

Let me leave you now, with this beauty shared from a colleague and dear friend working in Iqaluit, along with music that enriches the soul.

Leave a light on in 2022…

Categories
Sideways Sally

Anchored near the Edge…

Waiting for the fog to clear

wrapped in your warmth

with nothing to fear

Love is our rudder

Faith is our keel

Reflection is lost

on the waves of last year

While the fog lifts

I ponder the gifts

of family and friends

We stay the course

in the worst of times

Love fills our sails

We watch and we wait

for the fog to clear

Side by side

take my hand

While we quiet the mind

and wait

for the sun to shine again