Saturday, May 16, 2020

Canadian companies retool for pandemic, why not climate change?


Here's an opinion piece that came out this weekend on the CBC-Manitoba website.
Pandemic proves companies can change in an emergency-so what about that climate crisis?
True confessions:  I actually wrote this at the end of February.  I didn't write this in response to the pandemic.  However, the news was changing so fast at that time, nobody had room to run it.  I was supposed to check back in at the end of March. Well, we all know what happened by then...I was at home, home schooling and so was everyone else.  I forgot all about this piece.

I reread it at the beginning of May...and changed about three sentences. (that's about all I have time for, right now!)  It seemed more likely than ever that Canadians could make fast change if the political will was strong enough...so I resubmitted and it went live this morning.

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Friday, May 15, 2020

May stories

It's been such a long time since I posted here...because I've been swamped with real life stuff.  Homeschooling, job issues, and a death in the family in NYC --not the virus but she died alone in the hospital because of it--awful.  
I decided to  show this last month mostly in pictures...with one article link.  Thanks to the Vancouver Jewish Independent, I still get to write a column every so often!  This one is about how three big world religions find common ideas to discuss and help us get through during these challenging days. 
In our province, our PC (Progressive Conservative) premier, Brian Pallister, has decided that this would be a good time to cut the budgets of Manitoba's universities and also to cut public sector jobs.  
According to every economist and all the business leaders and columnists in the media, this will create an even more depressed provincial economy...think of Herbert Hoover in the US for a reference point. 
 However, our premier keeps pushing this.  It will definitely affect our household--our biology professor--and since my work is uneven or nonexistent these days, it feels very personal.  We made signs and went in our car to a couple social distance "honkathons" at the Legislature Building.  Here are the signs.

We've been doing school at home.  Kids built a 'bonfire' for Lag B'omer...and played outside, of course.  (This would be jousting with pool noodles, on hobby horses, if you have not seen this particular version of the game before.)  We also had hotdogs and I had to bake buns for them.  Cause it would not be a day outside without them...

I've been knitting whenever I can, mostly to maintain my sanity...and I finished the next Woolly sweater for the kid who is growing a lot but still really wants to wear a sweater with sheep on it.


There were some pretty great Mother's Day cards.

The professor took boys on a lot of bike rides, which gave me time to do crazy stuff like work and have an hour by myself.  (Hahah, not kidding.  One hour!!)
I've baked a lot of bread. Our local bakery is closed, we shop about once a week, and these people in my household are like locusts!  You'll note here that now I have to cool the bread on a rack on top of the refrigerator.  When Sadie the dog stole and ate an entire loaf of bread (anyhow, that's what we think happened, although she may have shared some with Sally, hard to say?)---well, I got creative.

It's been a long month...but I hope you'll still come back and check in and I'll find time to write more...
  Stay well!  Wash your hands!  Take care.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Positive things

  My column came out in the Jewish Independent last Friday:

This article didn't run in the Winnipeg Jewish Post & News and is potentially my last column for a while--until, perhaps, government funding helps these small publications or advertising picks up again...I wrote it a while ago, but it ran, and right now, every small bit of work is a good thing.
We celebrated a big birthday, my dad's, by family Zoom chat.  My kids made amazing cards, which we sent by email.  My parents are doing well and the 'party' was fun!  (I was a bit sad not to celebrate in person, but that isn't possible these days, considering the Canada/US border is closed, among other pandemic reasons...) 

I dug around in the freezer and came up with apricot/apple puree from last summer, and I made some jam.  In April...and it makes darn good brisket for Passover, as well as being delicious on homemade bread beforehand.

We've had a couple spring snow storms, and one of them was quite a bit of snow. (8-10" or 20-25 cm or so.)  I was able to catch a photo of my family shoveling team from the window of the second story of the house.
We've been busy learning at home, doing science experiments in buckets, reading Dr. Seuss, and more.  Every day is full...but now, we are taking a break.

While everything else crazy has been happening in the world, we've been getting ready for Passover.  As I write this, kids are busy setting the table, helping their dad make special desserts, and producing lots of matzah balls... we will celebrate, and we will remember.  There were other plagues before this one.
Aside from dog walks, playing in the muddy, snowy front yard and once a week trips to the grocery store, done by one adult...we're staying home.  And it's fine.  Honestly.  We all have to cooperate, and work together, because staying healthy is the most important thing.

Yes, I'm knitting and spinning and sewing whenever I get the chance, as a sort of mental health break if nothing else.  However, we also spend time every day remembering to be grateful.  We have food, shelter, heat, family, and dogs.  We are able to email and zoom and facetime with people.  We can learn, grow, jump, play, sing, and dance... and the goal is staying healthy and staying alive.  We can do this.

If you celebrate it, Chag Sameach, Happy Passover!  Next year, let's get to spend it together, with our families and friends, wherever they are.  Stay well.  Take care.


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Thursday, April 02, 2020

Boosting virus testing

This opinion piece I co-wrote went live today in the Winnipeg Free Press:

Manitoba must boost testing capacity

And, it’s snowing in Winnipeg.


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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

waving from home


I've been teaching my kids since there's no school now.  Yesterday, twins learned to sew on a button for the first time.

The good news is that everyone here at our house is fine, we have food, shelter, and good company.  We're all trying hard to work together.  My professor husband is managing his class online, and working in between helping with twins.  I have done a bit of writing when I can stay up late enough, or fit it in.

The rest of the time, I've been homeschooling two eight year olds, cooking, trying to keep things even remotely clean (hard with twins, two bird dogs, an old house and a spring melt), and keep everyone afloat.  And Passover is coming, and we need to get ready for that, too.

For me, it's not that different than usual, because I usually work from home.  However, I now have a lot less time to do it, and very little time to do it alone.  (Right now, twins are out bike riding with their dad helping them maneuver their way through all the snow melt puddles...)

The bad news is that I appear to have lost one of my writing gigs.  Today I received my copy of the Winnipeg Jewish Post & News and to my surprise, my column wasn't in it.  I contacted the editor to ask what had happened.  Apparently, my column didn't run--it was an oversight, but oh, by the way...from now on, he would no longer be paying columnists.  So, if I wanted to write for free, he would still put my columns on the website. Things change fast during a pandemic.

I'll be direct.  I was paid $75 an issue to write for this publication, which is not very much, but I wanted to support the Winnipeg Jewish community, so I did anyway...but I didn't write for free.  (Freelancing is, after all, my job and not my hobby.)  The editor did hook me up with the editor of the Vancouver Jewish paper, and for a while, both papers would publish my column and I would get paid more.  But now, due to the current crisis, I'm unsure of if and when my column will run again.  No more publication = no money from that gig.

Again, we are lucky, we have food, shelter, heat and health. (for now.)  I am grateful for what I have...but just now, I'm really sad and surprised to lose this-- I'll no longer be writing a column every other week for the Winnipeg Jewish community.

If you're sad about this too, contact the Jewish Post & News.  Show them your support.  Maybe somebody could help sponsor the column and help keep the newspaper afloat during this hard time...cause writers deserve to sometimes earn money to eat, too. 

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Tips to stay sane



I wrote this on Monday,  the CBC ran it today. (Wednesday)
Things are changing fast,  I hope this will help if you are home, have kids, and are considering hitting the booze early! (Joke!)
Top tips for families to stay sane

The piece went online fast. Here are a few additional ideas, off the top of my head, that may help.

-If you have stairs in your home, and are healthy, consider stair climbing as exercise.  No, it is not Stairmaster!  It is running up and down your stairs to get our heart pumping and do aerobic exercise.  It will burn off some energy! (use caution, do not do this if you aren’t up to it!)

-If you’ve got a multi vitamin right now at home, it is not a bad time to take it.  Our diets may change during this time and this may be a helpful boost to your immunity.  I say “may” because doctors disagree on this one, but a single multivitamin is not generally harmful. (Again, practice moderation!) On a personal note, I know that Vitamin D really does help me get through Winnipeg’s winters...

-Step away from the news!  If it is stressing you out, take breaks from media.  24/7 newsfeed is bad for our mental health.

-This is a stressful time.  Make sure you talk about it with your family, especially your kids.  We have had a lot of meltdowns in my house, we are all worried.  It is only natural.

Take care!  Stay healthy!
Joanne

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Monday, March 16, 2020

Everybody, WASH!

Nearly two weeks ago, I wrote this piece, which appeared in the Vancouver Jewish Independent newspaper on Friday:
Be sure to wash your hands 

A quick summary?  Handwashing and social distancing are ancient ways of preventing the spread of disease.  Hoarding's not new either.  You can find it all spelled out in the Torah.

That said, here is a particularly funny memory I had (and mentioned in the article) --of Sesame Street.  You can see that this skit was done long ago, when Mr. Hooper was still alive.  The news, about washing, isn't new...but this skit? Well worth seeing it again!

I hope you are healthy, washing your hands, and practicing social distancing. 
Wishing you all good things,
Joanne

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