The Challenges and Opportunities of 2022

It seems like the year has Zoomed by, and I mean that literally and figuratively.

I just Zoomed off a French language meet-up as I couldn’t understand.  But I have been able to understand the DuoLingo conversation groups I have been attending every Wed for the past year and half and I have met many interesting people from all over the world.  We have bonded and I even met one participant from Vancouver while she was on Denman Island and I was on Hornby Island last summer.  We spent a lovely afternoon getting acquainted In Real Life in French.   Unfortunately Duolingo is discontinuing these free conversation groups but one of the groups will be switching to Meetup and still continuing on Zoom.  

And while we are talking about Zooming I have been practicing my mandolin on Zoom with my friend Barb who is learning the Ukulele.  Lessons learned.  Get the music score that includes musical notation so you can play the notes at the same time. My favourite is the Campfire Songs that has the chords for guitar, ukulele, mandolin,  banjo and mandolin.  I look forward to playing with more people more next year as I build up my repertoire.  

When I first started blogging I did a post about all kinds of volunteer opportunities.  Covid19 has made this more challenging.  Nevertheless I volunteered with Habit for Humanity to help out with their on line auction.  This involved going into their deep dusty closet store room and looking at all the weird and wonderful things that people have donated and doing some research on the value of the items.  It was pretty interesting to try to find items in Ebay and determine the value.  The best hit was a silver platter that I was able to estimate a value of about $ 1000.  Looking for vintage dental equipment?  This is the place!

I have been more conscious about how we are all getting older as I see friends and friends of friends passing away as well as seeing the mortality and morbidity from Covid. I have been getting my own affairs since your life can change in a nanosecond.  I found a lawyer in Victoria that manages estates when you die.  I have set up a Power of Attorney with a lawyer here.  I found a company to manage my investments and an accountant who relieved my anxiety about loosing my Old Age Security. 

I was also concerned about what would happen to me if I ended up in the ER without being conscious.  After several inquires online I discovered a package called My Voice you can download  from the Ministry of Health.   You can designate a Responsible Person to make some decisions about your health care on your behalf.   The document requires signatures by the responsible person and two witnesses.  I called several notaries and they would not witness the document.  I then called 3 friends and we had a signing party at the Griffin Pub.   The final part of this process was a document called MOST.  Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment. It is a document that your doctor signs and keeps a copy.  In theory if you end up in the ER, they can access your medical records with your GP.  I remain skeptical about this really happening. But all you can do is put the pieces in place. I was advised that I should put all this information on my fridge door in case EMS came and apparently this is where they look for information.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

I continue to find condo living to have it challenges.  Most recently I received a 63 page document for the annual general meeting. You would think that after 40 years of condo living I would have it all figured out but alas, this is not the case.  No one can truly process 63 pages of legal-ese about what you have to do if you renovate.  I really think that a single family dwelling might be less irritating.  Some friends have opted for a rental situation and both have 4th floor units with a view.  However, there are no shortage of stories of hostile neighbours in single family neighbourhoods as I found out when parking in a no parking zone in Comox.   I did a short drive around looking for non condo options and there are some. But I finally decided all you can do is manage how you react to the nit picky strata council and neighbours.  After looking at the alternatives around town I come back to the great river walk beside the condo where I live and decide it’s too good to move.  It is different every day of the year and continues to give me solace all year round.

One of more challenging project of the year was participation in a choir.  We had performances in the spring and Dec that required a lot of work and time to master the music.  Here is a link to the performance from the spring on You Tube.   My favourite part of Christmas is the music.  I just can’t enough of it.   COVID has inspired many online events including an online choir out of the UK.  If this doesn’t bring goose bumps nothing will.  Best wishes to all my followers for a better 2023.

Here is a 2 hour podcast of Christmas music compiled perhaps in 2020 or 2012 by a departed friend DJ David Wiseman on Hornby Island.

Why We Should Talk to Strangers More – The Atlantic

So many of us have been raised to see strangers as dangerous and scary. What would happen if we instead saw them as potential sources of comfort and belonging?
— Read on www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2021/08/why-we-should-talk-strangers-more/619642/

This could explain some of the appeal of smaller places like Hornby Island.

How ‘The Buzz’ Started at Her Independent Living Facility | Next Avenue

She started The Buzz to keep residents informed about COVID-19 spread at their independent living facility when management failed to do so. Read more here
— Read on www.nextavenue.org/the-buzz-covid-19/amp/

Love #grassroots

Social exclusion of older persons: a scoping review and conceptual framework | SpringerLink

As a concept, social exclusion has considerable potential to explain and respond to disadvantage in later life. However, in the context of ageing populatio
— Read on link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10433-016-0398-8

Pandemic winter dread is real. Here’s how to conquer it. – Vox

Pandemic winter dread is real. Here’s how to conquer it. – Vox
— Read on www.vox.com/platform/amp/future-perfect/2020/10/14/21508422/winter-dread-covid-19-pandemic-happiness-psychology

Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction

Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction

https://discover.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/reading-in-the-age-of-constant-distraction/
— Read on discover.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/reading-in-the-age-of-constant-distraction/

This Harvard study reveals how you can be happier and more successful

“It turns out that living in the midst of conflict is really bad for our health.”
— Read on www.cnbc.com/2018/03/20/this-harvard-study-reveals-how-you-can-be-happier-and-more-successful.html

What I’m doing in Retirement

Ok so it took me all morning to write this.  So that is one of the things I am doing in retirement but I am trying to stay away from the computer as much as possible.  The weather has been so cold and rainy this spring in Vancouver I regret not going to Costa Rica where my brother has been spending the winter. I kept thinking it would warm up soon and it did not. I had a two week March break from my teaching gig and so I tried to make the most of it with some local mini adventures. For me an adventure often involves meeting new people. So, I have met quite a few interesting new people over the past week. The first group of people I met were at the Meet-Up Group for Women 55+. There are four of these groups in Vancouver who meet at different locations. I was delighted to meet a retired Richmond school French teacher who was originally from Quebec City so we had several points on intersection as I learned French as a child, am now teaching English as a second language and I also lived in Montreal. Another woman I met was a retired surgeon. When there was a pause in the conversation, I threw out the question “ are all very well established women in Vancouver who have lived and worked here for many years.. why are we all now having to seek out friends through a Meetup Group?” Well that launched a lively conversation. Some of the comments were around the lack of time to socialize when working. IMG_4144

The second francophone I met this week was at one of the French language Meetups and she was from Oromocto New Brunswick. Since I grew up in Saint John we had a lot in common and we had both worked in Ottawa. I talked to here about my conflict between wanting to work at my teaching gig and go south to Costa Rica or Mexico. She remined me that I have a sense of adventure that I have not been tapping into that staffing of the teaching job is not my responsibility! I felt so inspired after talking to her. I also had long interesting chats in the French language Meetup with a young man from Spain who kept try to switch me to speaking Spanish and an older man who told me about his experience work in one of the “stans” in Central Asia. I began to wonder if my tribe is the Francophone tribe in Vancouver.

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The third Meetup I did was the Sketching Group who met at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I once again encountered another charming person, this time a young lady from Vancouver who is living in Halifax. She was in town to complete her book of sketches of Vancouver which is a follow up to her book of sketches of Halifax. We chatted at length on the culture of Vancouver vs Halifax. Then we set to work to do some sketching around the Gallery.

Then yesterday I went to a move at the Vancouver International Film Festival Theater which I think is the new “go to” place for seniors in Vancouver. The gentleman who plonked himself down beside me was very well informed about the arts and fashion community as I discovered at the end of the movie about a Belgian fashion designer Dires. I also went to another movie at the Film Festival this week called “C’est La vie” which is the funniest movie I have seen ages.

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The only downside to the week was a yoga class I went to that was Level 2. I hadn’t read the fine print in the class description. $ 14 for the class and $ 5.00 for parking made this an expensive mistake. I managed a few walks but am still wearing my down parka and toque and I see many others dressed the same way. So I will add a few photos of my walks around Vancouver. The cherry trees are starting to blossom, but my cherry tree pics are from last year.

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