Wednesday, January 17, 2018

No Sense of Humour



“She has no sense of humour.” Have you ever heard someone say that? Or, if you are a woman, you might have had a remark like that directed at you: “Where’s your sense of humour?”
If anyone has ever said that to you, I will bet that a vivid memory of the type of situation that elicited it has sprung into your mind, along with some unpleasant emotions.
It turns out that I have no sense of humour. Here is a story of an experience that reminded me of that fact.
Recently, I was at a meeting of a community organization. I am thrilled to be getting to know my new community, and have been reaching out and meeting people through a number of different venues. Although I am new to these different groups because we have just moved to the area, I have found people to be pleasant and welcoming. It has been interesting and fun making new acquaintances and participating in local activities that in the past I simply did not have time for.
The group of people at this particular meeting included people from diverse work backgrounds. Usually the participation is about one third female and two thirds male, with about half being retired people and the rest still working. However, on this occasion, it happened that I was the only woman present.
As everyone bustled about getting ready to start the meeting, I noticed 'Frank' approaching others in the room and showing them a piece of paper. I wondered whether it might be a recent bit of correspondence, or maybe a community announcement of some sort. Soon enough, Frank came around to my side of the room and showed the piece of paper to the person beside me. Curious, I glanced sideways to see what the notice was about. Frank adjusted the angle of the paper so it was easy for both of us to see.
It was a crude joke about women’s boobs. Frank was grinning, looking for a reaction.
I was stunned. In this time of heightened awareness of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and with all the recent media coverage of entertainment and film industry “big names” being called out for sexual assault, how could anyone think that it was okay to pass around dirty jokes about women’s bodies?
This is not a new situation for me, of course. Being a woman who came of age in the 1960’s and 70’s, I remember that this kind of male behaviour in groups was more the norm than the exception in the past. As I often found myself in mostly male groups (because I was a skier and an active outdoors person, and because I climbed the education and career ladders to a level where women were rare), I learned to grin and bear it much of the time. I didn’t want to be tagged as a troublemaker, a prude, or someone with no sense of humour. I wanted to fit in.
I am also a lifelong feminist. Over time, I developed more confidence and began to speak out about sexist and male bullying behaviour. In one of my career positions, I initiated a sexual violence awareness campaign and led the development of a sexual violence policy in our workplace.
So how did I respond to Frank’s ‘joke’?
I would like to report that I spoke out and said, “Frank, jokes like this make me feel uncomfortable. They are not appropriate at our meetings.” I would like to say that the others in the room (all men) spoke up and supported me. But that is not what happened.
I looked at the piece of paper and said nothing.
Old habits kicked in. There was a tone of suppressed hilarity in the room that evening, and to me the dynamics felt very uncomfortable. I felt voiceless, and like the butt of the joke.
I was really angry, just boiling. I was angry at myself for not speaking out. I was angry about all of the men in the room who said nothing and let Frank get away with this behaviour. And I was angry with all the Franks of the world who feel they have the right to use sexism to put down, humiliate, and exclude others.
I tried to understand why I and the others present had behaved the way we did.
In rationalizing my own behaviour, I can say that I was a new person in this group, the only woman, and possibly the youngest, and therefore in a position of low social influence. I have been socialized throughout my life to know ‘a woman’s place,’ even though I also have fought against sexism throughout my life. As far as sexist jokes go, this particular one was quite mild, even kind of cute. I didn’t want to be seen as making a big deal about something that is trivial compared to the horror of sexual assault that so many women experience. In an uncomfortable social situation, it is easier to remain silent. I didn’t want to embarrass Frank (!!).
As far as the behaviour of the rest of the people in the room went, I wondered why none of the men had the courage to say something. Several of them are professionals for whom this sort of thing certainly would not be tolerated in their workplaces, so they must have known that it was was not appropriate. The chair of the meeting has the designated authority to manage the conduct of people at the meeting, but he said nothing. I speculated that perhaps this kind of sexist joke sharing has been the norm in this group, and if that is the case, perhaps also racist jokes. If so, why would I want to be part of such a group? 
Frank is elderly and is the most long-standing member of the group. Perhaps the other men were afraid to challenge Frank because of his senior status. And then I felt mad at myself all over again for expecting the male members to speak up when I didn't have the courage to do so.
And what about Frank? Is he really so out of touch that he innocently thought the joke was funny and just wanted to share it with us? Perhaps, steeped in a lifetime of white male privilege, he actually believes that women have no place attending such meetings, and that women in their role as wives should simply serve as adjuncts and supports to male-run groups. Perhaps this was his passive-aggressive way of putting me (and all women) in our place.
Days later, I still feel angry about it. I am still trying to decide what to do about it, because being silenced is not an acceptable option. 

It's just a little thing, but if I and the other members of this group lack the courage to deal with the little things, how are we ever going to make progress on the big things like sexual assault, rape culture, the glass ceiling, and the fact that women in Canada today who are working full time only earn 74.2% of what full-time working men earn? I am filled with admiration for women and men who have spoken out as part of the #MeToo movement.
But, too bad that I have no sense of humour.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Grandma Day

On Sunday, I got to be Grandma all day long. My two little grandsons came over to our house for the day while their parents went skiing.

Although I have babysat them a number of times at their house since moving here, and although they have been to our house many times with their parents, this is the first time that I have had them here all day. Their mom said that they were excited and eager to come stay at Grandma's house. 

We're Here!
Look at This, Grandma!















We started the morning right. Grandpa made his signature pancakes (yup, Aunt Jemima). Both little boys ate many, many pancakes.

Mmm, Pancakes
It was a windy, stormy day, so we stayed indoors rather than venturing out. The weather was a bonus on the ski hill -- lots of fresh powder for my daughter and son in law!

We coloured and drew pictures (art for my fridge), read stories, played with LEGO and Grandma's toy stash, and played with stickers. The younger grandson was very pleased that he had his own little bed to sleep in when nap time came (a fold-out cot that I set up in the spare bedroom).

Colouring and Drawing
Another big hit of the day was baking cookies. Actually, licking the beater and spoon at the end of the cookie-making was the part that the boys enjoyed the most. They also really liked eating the chocolate chip cookies, after they cooled off. A tin of cookies went home with them at the end of the day to share with Mommy and Daddy.

Licking the Bowl
 Their uncle spent lots of time in the afternoon playing with them. They adore their uncle!


Having Fun With Their Uncle
Everyone had a terrific day -- Mommy and Daddy at the ski hill, the two boys at Grandma's house, and Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle. Even our dog, Kate, was totally delighted to spend the day with my grandsons.

The previous weekend, I went with my grandsons and their parents to the Tube Park at the ski hill. It was fun, and the boys loved it.

Ready to Go
On the Magic Carpet















Yesterday, Rob, my son and I had our own ski day. We couldn't have timed it better. We had sunshine and fresh snow.
Happy Skiers
Retirement is awesome! I can't even remember why I was so worried about it.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Mental Illness and Families



During the holidays, we tend to focus our energies and blog posts on the positive aspects of celebrating with friends and family. Yet, Christmas can be a difficult time as well, remembering loved ones who are no longer with us, or feeling sadness or guilt about those friends or family members whom we have lost touch with. Christmas can be especially difficult for individuals and families struggling with mental illness.

In one of my former career roles, I was involved with creating a welcoming environment to help students flourish on campus; setting up systems and services to help support students struggling with addiction and mental health issues; and promoting open discussion about mental health in an effort to reduce stigma. It was important work, and I believe that those initiatives have made the post-secondary experience better for many students.

But what I would like to write about today comes from a more personal perspective. As with most of us, mental health issues have impacted my life because of illnesses experienced by members of my family, and by close friends and their families. I would need more than my ten fingers to count the number of family members or close friends who have struggled with depression, anxiety, or both. This is not surprising, as depression and anxiety are extremely prevalent in our North American society. Other mental illnesses include schizophrenia, psychosis, personality disorders, and eating disorders.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health reports that:

  • In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem.
  • By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 have – or have had – a mental illness.

Although depression and anxiety are the most commonly reported mental illnesses, and especially prevalent among young people between 15 and 24, substance abuse often goes hand-in-hand with mental health struggles. In my extended family, over the past ten years we have lost two young adults to addiction related deaths. These were smart, successful, personable, well-loved young people. Being loved, and having supportive families and partners, were not sufficient to protect them from substance misuse that ultimately led to their deaths.

International Overdose Awareness Day in Vancouver, BC, August 2017. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck, retrieved from Huffington Post

I believe that it is important to speak openly about mental health matters, and to encourage people to seek appropriate help rather than being ashamed about their illness and hiding it. I believe it is important to support each other and to recognize that mental illness is an illness, not a willful behaviour or lack of individual strength. De-stigmatizing mental illness helps people reach self-acceptance and develop strategies to stay healthy, and helps families and friends to behave in more understanding and supportive ways. Increased awareness about mental illness also is the first step toward addressing discrimination within our workplaces and other social organizations.

in the last decade, great strides have been made in enhancing awareness about mental health. There is excellent research being done, and better support and services at universities, colleges, and through government provided social services. Organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, and here to help serve as portals to information and services. Online "self-serve" resources are increasingly available, such as the info sheets and tool kits provided by here to help.

Image from Canadian Mental Health Association:  https://cmha.ca
 
However, we still have a long way to go. There simply aren't enough services available to help everyone adequately, as can be seen in the current opioid crisis, and the high levels of homelessness.

Very often, families are left to struggle on their own to cope with a family member's mental illness or addiction, or to deal with the aftermath of an addiction death or suicide. With many types of mental illness, such as schizophrenia or dementia, the person with the illness shows little self-awareness. They may not recognize that they have an illness. They may have paranoid delusions about family members or health professionals who try to help them, and resist the assistance. They may refuse medication or counselling.

People who are deeply depressed, self-harming, manic, addicted, or delusional can be difficult to be around. A family member in a helping role may feel helpless and anxious about whether their loved one will find ways to survive and thrive, and to overcome or live with their condition.

Similarly, people struggling with a mental illness may try to hide it from family and friends because they don't want them to worry, or they don't want to be a burden. However, speaking about the issues openly can help to relieve the pain of keeping it bottled up. It can help family members understand, reduce their anxiety, and enable them to provide better support.

One of my hopes in this Christmas season is that each of us reaches out in some small way to someone we know who is struggling. Whether we provide a listening ear, make a phone call, send a card, donate to support mental health research, or make a point of including someone in the festivities who otherwise might be on their own, each one of us can add a little cheer in the Christmas season.

In British Columbia, Canada, the province-wide Crisis Centre phone number is 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). The Crisis Centre also provides an online crisis chatline and a youth chatline, as well as a number of free services for parents and families.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Berlin!


Amazing art on the walls of buildings all over Berlin. This mural was across the street from our B&B.

As a person who grew up during the years of the cold war, I was fascinated with the story of the division of Germany into East and West Germany. Berlin, located behind the border of East Germany also was divided into three western controlled sectors and one Soviet controlled sector, East Berlin, with West Berlin accessible via road and rail corridors and by air. Berlin was also the place where Hitler and Eva Braun spent their last days in the Fuhrerbunker, and of course it is one of the great cities of the world. Although I have travelled to Europe several times, I had never made it to Berlin.

So when Erica and I discussed where to travel after the film festival in Hanover, it was obvious to both of us that we must go to Berlin. She has exhibited her work there before, and knows some people in the online art world and film industry in Berlin. Whereas I was especially interested in the history, the art galleries, and also the chance to connect with my niece, who is currently living in Poland.

My first morning in Berlin, I went on a Cold War Berlin walking tour. Our guide, Pip, a historian, was wonderful. The Berlin Wall (das Mauer) stood from 1961-1989, dividing East and West Berlin. During those 28 years, people were not allowed to pass from East to West, and access for West Berliners to the eastern part of the city was limited. The Berlin Wall began to be spontaneously dismantled by residents of East and West Berlin on November 9, 1989, following an announcement (possibly erroneous) by an East German official that people were now permitted to to cross from East to West freely. Reunification of Germany took place in 1990, after the Wall fell.

A small section of the Berlin Wall remains standing at Bernauer Strasse

Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) was in the neutral zone along the Wall.

A memorial to 57 of the people who died trying to cross into West Berlin, including children and a baby.

We visited the Tranenpalast (Palace of Tears) at Friedrichstrasse. This border crossing at a rail station was where West Berliners who had applied for a visitor's visa passed through for 24 hour visits to East Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse was the only border crossing that foreigners were allowed to use to enter East Berlin.

This famous photo of an East Berlin border guard escaping by leaping over the barbed wire Wall (before the concrete wall had been erected) appears on the side of a building near the Berlin Wall Memorial.

Reconciliation Sculpture: "The sculpture created by the sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos is a call for reconciliation following the devastation of the Second World War. Copies exist at sites that were deeply affected by the war: in the Coventry Cathedral, in the Hiroshima peace museum -- and in the former border strip at the Berlin Wall."*
We spent most of our time in the part of Berlin that used to be East Berlin. One morning I went for a walk to see Karl-Marx-Allee. It is a wide boulevard flanked with apartment buildings that the socialist government in East Berlin built as a "workers' paradise."

Karl-Marx-Allee
Hackescher Markt S-Bahn (train station)
Of course, during our visit we did more than visit historical sites. We went for a Thai massage. We went to a Christmas market. There are more than 60 of them in the city of Berlin alone! We had a wonderful visit with my niece and her boyfriend, who travelled all the way from Warsaw to meet up with us. We went out for dinner to many great, not too pricey restaurants.

Out to dinner for Wurst und Bier with Laura, Marcin, Erica, and a Berlin friend.
A Christmas Market
We also went to several galleries/art shows. We attended a fabulous art show by Carla Gannis at the DAM Gallery. She uses augmented reality and self images. Her body of work provides a fascinating commentary on the human/technology interface in contemporary culture. We attended an art opening featuring work by five photographers, which I found distasteful -- definitely not a style of photography that I appreciate. However, it was an interesting opportunity to people watch, as the "cool" people of Berlin milled about in their finery, trying to be noticed.

I spent a happy half a day in the Alte Nationalgalerie, one of five art museums on Museum Island, a UNESCO Heritage site. I spent most of my time looking at the collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, as well as the Rodin special exhibition. (I love the Impressionists.) My photos are not adequate to capture what I saw.

A beautiful blue dome
The Thinker, by Rodin

Renoir

Looking out the main entry door of the Alte Nationalgalerie
We were only in Berlin for five nights and we did a lot. Erica's schedule was even busier that mine; I have a greater need for sleep. But why sleep in Berlin, when you can catch up on sleeping during the flight home?

Catching ZZZ's in the airport
It was a fantastic trip, and I am so glad that I went.

*Caption in English posted beside the Reconciliation Sculpture

Monday, December 4, 2017

Film Festival in Germany

With my daughter, Erica Lapadat-Janzen
 So, if it seems as if I have been a bit absent from my blog lately here’s why. I have been travelling in Germany.

My daughter is a net artist and also works in art design in the film industry. She was invited to present one of her short films at an international film festival in Hanover, Germany, the Up and Coming Film Festival. And lucky me -- I got to come along! We went on a mother-daughter trip, with the first part of the trip in Hanover at the film festival, and then we went Berlin for a few days. So exciting!

Up and Coming Film Festival

Erica Lapadat-Janzen

This film festival features young film makers from all over the world. With only 167 films selected from over 3,000 submissions, it was exciting that Erica's film was one of the two presented from Canada.


As it turned out, Erica's film was scheduled as a headliner film, screened as part of the Opening Ceremony. I had a proud mommy moment as I sat in the theater and watched her film, and then again as Erica was invited up onto the stage to speak about her work. She did a fantastic interview.

Erica Speaks About her Work
 As a guest of one of the young film makers, I had a festival pass for the four days. It was really fun watching the films, which included a wide range of genres: narrative, action, documentary, animation, experimental, and so forth. The talent of the young film makers was astounding, and they did not shy away from taking on difficult topics and world issues.

As an example, one memorable documentary, Ici, personne ne meurt (Nobody Dies Here), showed the plight of gold miners in Benin, Africa. Another film that really made an impression on me was Terrorist, one of the films in the German section. It addressed how easily blame for a terrorist act can be misdirected, and the terrible consequences for family members who are left behind. Another film that I'll mention here, one of the winners in the international section, was Parallel. The title of this  U.S. film references the division of the Korean peninsula at the 38th parallel. The film maker, Jiwon Choi, interspersed interviews with her grandfather, who served in the Korean War, with clips showing the rise of Korean pop and commercialism. Of course, there were many additional amazing films, including some excellent short animations and some 360 degree films.

We had some adventures getting to Hanover. We barely made our connection in Frankfurt because there is a lot of construction going on at the airport. We had to disembark our flight way out on the tarmac and be bused to the terminal, clear customs, and run to our gate (through a very big airport). We were among the last to make it to the gate, then we were bused out to the plane which also was parked far from the terminal. Although we just made the connection, our luggage did not. (It eventually arrived the next afternoon.)

We Barely Made Our Connection
We stayed in a cool "Euro-style" hotel -- which was not surprising seeing as we were in Europe! Breakfast was included. I love European breakfasts. The spread included cold meat, cheeses, smoked salmon, yogurt, fruit, many nice breads, jam, as well as eggs and other hot foods, and cereal. My breakfast beverage of choice was Klein Milch Kaffee. Coffee and beer are better in Germany.

View From My Hotel Room
We ate at nice restaurants, including a Bavarian schnitzel restaurant and a couple of great Italian restaurants. I had been brushing up on my German in preparation for the trip. Unfortunately I am nowhere near fluent, but the bit of German I knew was helpful from time to time. However, most people we met spoke English much better than I speak German. Erica did lots of networking. I continued working on my novel, and managed to write another 58 pages during the ten-day trip.

I tried to write blog posts while I was there, but had technical issues. I was unable to upload photos to Blogger from my phone or tablet, which was frustrating. I had to wait until I was back home, where I could send the photos from my phone to my computer, and then upload them.

After Hanover, we went to Berlin, a city that I have long wanted to visit. More about that in another post.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Why I Enjoy Writing Fiction

Image used courtesy of National Novel Writing Month
November is National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. This year, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world are toiling at their computers trying to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. That works out to writing an average of 1,667 words a day every day for thirty days.

I am one of them. Last year I participated in NaNoWriMo as well. I started a new novel, a post-apocalyptic tale about a group of women who have survived in an underground shelter for eighteen years after the global collapse of society. I continued working on it throughout last December and January. Then I set it aside, and did some other things, like renovations, selling a house, buying a house, retiring, and moving. This November, I decided to pick up on writing the novel from where I left off, 50,000 words and 13 chapters into it.

I have been spending hours on it every day. (That is why I have been neglecting my blog.) I am a slow writer. I do not write the way the NaNo website suggests — just flinging words onto the page without worrying about sentence structure, cohesion, or flow. I write carefully, rereading and editing as I go. I build the story brick by brick. That way, when it comes time to go back and revise the first draft, I will have something solid to work with, rather than a mess that seems overwhelming.

I am really enjoying writing this novel. I spend my days in a fog, preoccupied by thinking about my characters and their trials and tribulations. Then when I sit down at the computer, the story just spools out of me.

Why do I love writing fiction so much? It is a good question in this era of the self-narrative, when autobiographical writing, or memoir, or autoethnography is so popular. After all, in memoir, the plot has already happened; you don’t have to make anything up. You have a ready-made story. “This is what happened to me.”

Well, autobiographical writing has a couple of big challenges. Although autobiographical writing, such as memoir, is about the self, every person is embedded in a social context. Therefore, when you write about yourself, you are also writing about people close to you. It is easy to offend, or to disrespect others' privacy. That can be hard, especially when you are in an ongoing relationship with those others that you would like to maintain, or when the things you are saying are negative.

If you write innocuous things about other people, perhaps this issue of privacy is less of a problem, but bland accounts of past experiences do not tend to make very interesting reading. People like to read about conflicts, where there is a villain and a hero, and challenges are faced and overcome. There can be a real temptation to spice up the truth a bit, to add a bit of drama. But in memoir, as Mary Karr says, writing the truth is the fundamental rule that you must not break.

So this is one of the reasons that I love to write fiction. I can make my fictional characters as nasty or as foolish as can be, without the risk of alienating someone in my real life. In fiction, I don’t have to leave out the embarrassing bits to spare someone’s feelings. Really, those juicy details are what make the story.

Another thing about fiction is that you can make the plot do whatever you want. You are not constrained by the history of events as they actually happened, and therein is the true joy of fiction. You get to use your imagination to invent whatever strange world your creative self can envision. You can work out the complexities of your protagonist’s personality, and toss one crazy challenge after another at them, just to see how they behave.

When you write fiction, you pose the question “What if?” What if a group of women lived in a shelter in tunnels and basement rooms under the ruins of a shattered university while lawless gangs roamed through the destroyed city scavenging for material goods? How would this character behave if she was spurned by her lover? What ethical choices would that character face when torn between following the rules of the collective or helping an outsider?

Ultimately, that is the great value of fiction. You can put yourself into someone's circumstances and try to understand how they might think, feel, and act in that situation. Through fiction, you can acquire a deeper empathy for someone unlike yourself. Through fiction, you might just get a little closer to uncovering a truth of human experience. And, most of all, writing fiction is fun!

Where I Write

By the way, if you are a NaNoWriMo participant and you would like to find me, I write under the pen name AnnaHarvey, and my current novel is called The Age of Grandchildren.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Family, Small Towns, and Fall Fairs

I grew up in a small Canadian town. As a child, I loved that little town and fully intended to live there forever. But my story turned out differently.

I had aspirations to go to university. Looking around, as an adolescent, it was clear to see that there were not many career opportunities in my small town, especially for women. Going to university meant leaving my town to move to a big city far away.

After leaving to go to university, I came back to my home town for a few summers, but I never lived there full-time again. I became qualified in a profession that did not require living in a large city to obtain employment, but by that time, there also was my my husband's career to consider. Finding satisfying work for both of us ultimately meant choosing to live in larger centers.

Later, I made a career switch and was fortunate to find a great position in my new field. I relocated to a mid-sized city within driving distance of my home town. A decade later, I moved even closer, and lived in a small city only 200 kilometers away.

During all these years, several of my family members have continued to live in the little town. So I have returned again and again to visit, celebrate Christmas, go skiing, go hiking, and attend the Fall Fair.

The Fall Fair is an annual highlight that takes place in the late summer. Although I have attended similar fairs in other places, there is no Fall Fair quite like the one in my town. Recently, I attended the Fall Fair again.

Fall Fair Parade
The Fall Fair starts with a parade. The weather always seems to be terrible during Fall Fair week. This year we went early to get good seats on the curb to watch the parade, and found ourselves shivering in a cold wind. Someone made a run back to the house to get blankets and warm sweaters, and even so, we were thoroughly chilled off before the last tractor and dancing cow had meandered up the main street of town.

The next day, my young nieces were exhibiting some of their animals in the 4-H events. The whole family got involved in leading the sheep to their stalls in the sheep barn.

Preparing for the 4-H Sheep Event
There were two large buildings hosting the agricultural and handicraft exhibits. My mom and I strolled up and down the long tables examining the tomatoes and zucchinis; the homemade bread, biscuits, pies, and brownies; the homemade wines and jams; and the flower arrangements. When my dad was still alive, he always entered his homemade wines and usually came away with several ribbons. This is one of the first years that my mom, now in her eighties, has not entered her homemade jams and jellies.

We also spent a long time admiring the art categories. One of my brothers and my sister in law won ribbons for their photography, and my brother and both nieces won several ribbons for their art. I recalled entering my own paintings and drawings in the Fall Fair when I was a child. I also used to enter flowers from my own little garden during my teen years.

We ate perogies and sauerkraut, and corn on the cob and fries. We spent time hanging out at the barns enjoying a brief period of sunshine. Rob said that sitting around in the hay barn was his favourite part of the fair!

Robby Hayseed

Uncle Hayseed
Later on, there was a rodeo, and we cheered for my sister in law's younger brother as he rode the bucking bronc. And of course, the kids were thrilled about going on the circus rides and eating cotton candy.

I am grateful that I have family who still live there. I can go back year after year, and feel as if I still have a foot in my hometown. There is a wonderful sense of continuity of the generations that I sometimes miss, having chosen instead to lead a more transient life.

Creative Commons License
This work by Dr Sock Writes Here is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.