Curious minds

You have to admire the curiosity of children. They explore with a sense of wonder, not knowing what the outcome will be,,,,and not anticipating the consequences.

I have a friend who has 3 young children. One day her toilet starts to overflow when she flushes it and after attempting unsuccessfully  to plunge the clog out she reluctantly calls for a plumber. (never a cheap call) The plumber, unable to remove the clog, proceeds to drain and disconnect the toilet. The plumber is puzzled by the solid blockage and the mother sees dollar signs flying out the window. After what seems an eternity (he charges by the hour) he produces the source of the clog,,,a big green apple. Two hours  and $175.00 dollars later the toilet is fixed and the plumber departs so the mother calls her children in to the kitchen to get a confession. Knowing neither of the three children will own up now, she washes up the now bruised apple and offers it to the children as a snack. Two immediately accept. The third says he’s not hungry….we have our culprit. Turns out he just wanted to see if it would go down. (now he knows,,,it doesn’t)

I went to school with a girl who shoved a cherry pit up her nose to see if it would come out the other nostril. It didn’t. In fact it had to be removed by a doctor in emergency. Lesson learned,,,the hard way. (wouldn’t it be easier to just ask someone?)

My granddaughter shoved a mint up her nose because she thought it would make me laugh. I didn’t. (at least not until after I’d extracted the offending candy with tweezers) Needless to say ALL candy is now distributed with a warning in my house.

When my son was 3 he wanted to see if the thermostat could turn counter clockwise. It did, of course, but once wrenched in the wrong direction it cost just under $300 to repair.

Children do what they do out of curiosity. They’ve no way of knowing if the outcome will be favourable or not, until the act is completed. The dilemma for us is that we don’t anticipate what they’re going to do. I would never have expected a child to try to flush an apple down the toilet, and I can’t imagine why anyone would shove anything up their nose (it’s gotta hurt) yet they do. Maybe we need to think like a child, with complete trust that all will be ok no matter what we do.

I suppose it’s this same curiosity that prompts a child to dip their popsicle into the flower pot just to see what it would taste like. (ok, that was one of mine)  Or the child who fabricates a story just to see what the reaction is. (ok, also mine,,,,,ok, that was me…I had issues)

At the end of the day I guess it’s a good thing that our children have this sense of curiosity. It reaffirms that their brains are at work, always turning things over in their minds, always asking questions.  Sometimes it just catches us off guard and sometimes it’s expensive so we need to be vigilant. If a kid is too quiet, something’s up….check it out quick before you need to pull out the cheque book or  make that mad dash to emergency.

Ideally most infractions are relatively minor and the resulting damage insignificant. In fact, more often than not we can probably thwart a potentially disastrous act of curiosity or comment  by reasoning. For example, recently my lovely granddaughter mentioned that a woman she spotted at the park, while we were playing, reminded her of me. I saw no similarities so I asked her what she thought was so alike about us and she replied “she’s spongy, like you”. Now this is a prime example of a situation where discipline and reasoning could be employed. I simply told her I saw no such similarity…..and advised that Christmas for the next three years was cancelled.

See, reason isn’t so far off……..


The character traits that define us as individuals are the very ones that also distinguish us, and there’s an endless list of adjectives that describes our traits, good and bad, and we are all capable of both. To many the image of being in good character is paramount and they consistently strive to maintain their squeaky clean reputation. They’re the good Samaritans, the boy scout who helps the old lady with her groceries, the friendly neighbour who helps you shovel your driveway. They feel good being the good-deed doers, and the world needs them because they restore our faith in human kindness.

By contrast, there are those who feel no such ‘kindness’ to the world. They have a singular focus and it centers around them, their creature comforts, their popularity, and reputation matters little, as long as they have what they want. Now these are not stupid people because they know how they are perceived by others is integral to their mission. Without the buy-in of the public they cannot achieve their ultimate goal of self indulgence so they master the art of manipulating others to ‘see things their way’. And if that doesn’t work they just blatantly lie because, it’s not a lie if they really believe it. At the end of the day it comes down to their character traits and how much or how little shame they have.

The waiter who offers to clear a colleagues table on the pretense of helping out then he pockets the tip. The dog walker who ‘looks away’ and appears not to notice their pets ‘deposit’ to avoid having to clean it up (ok, ok, a minor infraction, but this one really cheeses me off) The one who steals, the one who lies, the one who intimidates, all with the goal of getting what they want, because their satisfaction is the ultimate goal and their reputation matters little. I’d like to believe these flaws in their character are learned because it would be hard to accept that we are born with such damaged character.

Watching the news recently I was astonished by a story about US President Trump taking excerpts of Doctor Faucis’ statements with respect to the handling of the global pandemic by federal public health officials, and twisting the words to make it look like a compliment to his presidency. (It was this that prompted my topic for this blog) The man has no shame and less character. Now granted, some would say there’s no such thing as an honest politician but to blatantly plagiarize anothers comments to build a political reputation?  How desperate are you for a compliment? And more over, how stupid do you think your public are?He points the finger of blame at everyone but himself, and takes credit for everything positive whether he’s the maker of it or not. (He is a cockroach, and as we all know cockroaches are resilient creatures. You can beat them with your shoe but they simply will…not…die!) If he can be so duplicitous in the bold face of the public, just imagine how shifty he likely is in private, i.e. what kind of character is behind the mask?

Character by official definition is “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”  but I believe it should include “the behaviours one displays when no one is looking”  because that’s when a persons true character is revealed.

Great Expectations

There are some in this world who feel entitled. They ‘expect’ that everything in life should be good, if only for them, and this expectation can often manifest in positive outcomes. (are they on to something?) Poverty, illness, issues with family and friends; these are situations destined for others, not for them. And if they can get through life unscathed, lucky them, because the reality is that life will occasionally disappoint us, all if us, regardless of our ‘expectation’. And how we recover from these disappointments will form our mindset and dictate our path.

We all harbor feelings of insecurity – some just hide it better than others. Feeling ‘beneath’ others, not an equal, for no apparent reason. We expect others to surpass us, to live better….because why? Are they more deserving? Is it youth? Or maybe our upbringing? I took the better part of 50 years to find my confidence and now that I have it I see the error of my ways, the error of my thinking. I was so intimidated by others I perceived as successful…more successful than I, I shifted the blame on everyone and everything but me, until I eventually realized I was the maker of my own destiny, sort of. I ‘expected’ not to shine, so I didn’t, at least I thought I didn’t.

More importantly I came to realize that expectation plays a great part in our overall self-image. If we ‘expect’ that others are superior to us, they will be, because we have just inadvertently elevated them. And if we see others as more deserving than ourselves, they will get more, because in doing so we have joined the line that feeds them. They expect to be adored, and we’re right there expecting to adore. Until we mature. Then we get a better sense for what is and isn’t ours, what we should and shouldn’t expect from life and others. Maturity, it seems, gives us perspective, and confidence, and clarity, and it resets our expectations. (and it’s about time!)

Life isn’t a bed of roses, and if you plan on it being so, prepare to be disappointed. People will disappoint you. ‘You’ will disappoint you. It’s all part of the learning process and what we need to adjust is the ‘expectation’. I expect to make mistakes. I expect to suffer some hardships. I expect to disappoint another, not intentionally. And I expect that others will occasionally disappoint me. What I expect in return is knowledge, and grace, and the respect of those walking this path with me, and most importantly, I expect humility, because we are all flawed.

I’ve learned from previous experience not to anticipate the actions of another because in doing so I set my expectations too high and was ultimately disappointed.  My strategy is to aim for the mid line, just above mediocre, so I abandon any notion of ‘great expectation’, and to date I’ve not been disappointed. (I still set high standards for myself however….old habits die hard it seems)

So much of our expectation is based on what we think another is thinking, and that’s never good, i.e. it never works, especially when it comes to men. Here we need to be clear.

When my husband didn’t provide the worship I expected on past occasions I realized I needed to change his expectations.(I curled up my chubby little fist and told him if he didn’t start playing the role of devoted husband, he’d soon be the disappointed wife)

And for my anniversary this year I got 2 bouquets of flowers, 2 potted plants, a heartfelt card, and a lovely dinner. It only took 38 years, and a final but lethal threat of personal injury, i.e, I just had to change his expectation. Who knew it could be so easy?

Does President Trump really have covid 19?

I have little to no interest in world politics but I am somewhat captivated by the events going on in the US. President Donald J Trump has (supposedly) tested positive for covid 19. Does he really have this deadly virus, or is he faking it to gain the sympathy of his followers and/or national attention,,,just in time for an election?  An election he’s losing ground in.

I was watching the evening news and the entire hour was absorbed by the story of his returning to the Whitehouse after just 3 days in hospital. He would have us believe he’s made a miraculous recovery from the very disease that’s already killed $210,000 Americans. But then he’d have to wouldn’t he? He did, after all, downplay the seriousness of it from the beginning. And if he were to, say, recover from said disease, quickly, easily, well now, that would make him look like the all American hero, yes? (and just in time for an election, how timely)

Renowned Doctor’s Jonathan Reiner and Jeremy Faust, interviewed on CNBC commented on Trumps return to the Whitehouse while still technically contagious, as ‘reckless’ and ‘dangerous’. They cite his actions ‘send a bad message’ and ‘he continues to put lives at risk. He removes his mask knowing he has a deadly contagious virus with little regard to those around him’, and Trumps’ response was “Don’t be afraid of Covid, don’t let it dominate your life.

Doctors acknowledge he has been administered steroids that could cause mania and psychosis, and it is at question whose decision it was that authorized his discharge from hospital while under the influence of these drugs (the unanswered question here is ‘what reputable doctor would?’) So far no one seems willing to give the public a straight answer.

The Whitehouse claims Trump is tested every day for covid 19, yet they can’t confirm his last negative test. Why?

If the president does in fact have covid 19 why is he given the benefit of  resources most don’t, i.e a top medical team on site, 24/7, all while he still downplays the virus. What about the people who died in overcrowded hospitals, waiting for ventilators?  Why weren’t they given the benefit of top notch medical care? At least they took it seriously.

I have some serious doubts that the US president has, or ever had, the covid 19 virus. If he does, I think he’s making a show of strength to reaffirm his initial message that covid 19 is nothing serious, as he slowly succumbs to it. But I wouldn’t put it past him to fabricate the whole event as a campaign ploy to bolster his popularity.

I watch, as the world does, to see how this unfolds, but I have little faith in the integrity of this individual and more than ever, I am grateful to be a Canadian.

My lesson in positivity

My daughter had her first baby this past July, right smack in the middle of a global pandemic. Now she was fortunate in that our infection numbers are quite low so her partner was able to attend the delivery but that’s where the ‘normalcy’ ends. Typical of any first time mother, she keenly feels the isolation of being confined to home with an infant, but the confinement is much more pronounced during a pandemic because she can’t even toss the stroller into her car and wander through a mall or a library to clear her head and get out once in a while. No coffee with a friend. No mommy-baby play dates… gathering with anyone, nothing. Her ‘outings’, such as they are, are limited to walks through her neighbourhood with the baby and her dog so I wasn’t surprised to note she was feeling a little blue of late. Who wouldn’t?

To try to cheer her up I suggested we do a road trip to a local seaside community. The drive has a lovely view and there’s a great restaurant right on the water with an outdoor patio so I told her lunch would be my treat for her. My plans for a wonderful day were formulating.

I knew she was excited at the prospect because when I came to pick her up she was all dressed up. Even the baby had on a special sleeper. She was running late when I arrived and needed still to walk the dog so I parked the car and we did the walk together. Once back she wasted no time putting the dog in his kennel and loading up my car with the car seat and stroller. We had limited time because her dog required medication in 4 hours so we needed to hit the road. (ok, cuts the day shorter but I can work with that)

While driving we both noticed the temperature was rapidly creeping up, contrary to the weather forecast, and we both acknowledged that we were over dressed for the humidity. Then the baby woke up, clearly hungry, so I suggested we stop at my house which was on the way. She could feed the baby and we could both change into lighter clothing, so we made the stop.

An hour later, baby changed and fed, I gave her a nice summer shirt to wear, telling her to keep it because it looked good on her (and I knew she liked it) and we started out again on our road trip, well aware that our 4 hour outing would now be reduced to 3 hours. I worried that this wouldn’t be enough time to give her the ‘outing’ she needed but it’s all we had.

The next hour was therapeutic. While I drove the baby slept and we talked, or rather she talked. She poured out her feelings of isolation. She wanted so much to be the same high energy and outgoing person she was known for, but the demands of a newborn baby, the fatigue that comes with it, and the restrictions of a global pandemic, don’t make it easy to socialize, and, typical of a woman and mother, all this made her feel guilty. (why do we women think we have to do it all, all the time?) I confided my own feelings of isolation when I was a new mother (and I didn’t have a pandemic to deal with)  and assured her her feelings were quite normal. Every new mother goes through a blue period after childbirth. It’s a monumental change to your life and compounding this change with the restrictions of a pandemic only amplifies it. Talking it out and giving her someone to relate to who understood seemed to take some of the pressure off her. By the time we arrived at the seaside restaurant an hour later, she was laughing and joking, more like her old self, and it’s a good thing cause we’d just have time to eat before heading back home. I made a mental note to plan for more time next time and she commented on how much she was looking forward to a nice lunch on the patio with a glass of wine.

We unpacked the stroller, got baby into it, and walked up to the restaurant only to find it closed. The sign on the door said they were closed every Thursday (who closes on a Thursday?) Disappointed and knowing we didn’t have time to drive around looking for another venue, I spotted a hot dog vendor in the parking lot across the street. (I know, how lame is that? But I promised her lunch and there simply wasn’t time to go elsewhere) We crossed the road and she settled onto a picnic table by the water while I ordered our gourmet lunch, a cheeseburger, a bag of chips and a Pepsi (not quite the elegant lunch I had envisioned) but we made it work and on reflection, she didn’t seem as rattled by this as I was. I had so wanted to treat her to a relaxing day and nothing was unfolding as I’d imagined but she seemed ok with it. We joked about our fancy lunch, marveled at the view over the water and actually ended up having a nice time, despite the circumstances. I was stumped.

Once done we packed everyone back into the car and headed home taking the highway back instead of the lighthouse route because we were already late, and like before she chatted the whole way back. Her mood was lighter and brighter and by the time we got home we were both laughing and joking about our disastrous day.

I was playing with the baby and lamenting all that had gone wrong with this day, vowing to make it right, when I heard her answer her phone in the other room. It was her husband and he must’ve asked how her day outing had gone because I could hear her reply excitedly  “Oh it was great! We got a burger from some guy on the side of the road and I got a new  shirt!” 

And that’s when it hit me. She hadn’t seen the things that had gone wrong focusing instead on what went right. She was actually happy with how the day had unfolded, and I was humbled, because this was when I realized that this had been a valuable lesson to me, on positivity. My mission to help her see the brighter side of her life inadvertently taught me how to see the lighter side of mine. The disappointments of my planned agenda were inconsequential to hers because all she saw was that she got out on a lovely sunny day, had lunch at the seaside, and got a new shirt (ok, a used one, mine, but new to her) and nothing else mattered. Life is good, unpredictable, but good.

How’s that for a lesson in positivity!