ho’oholo pa’akiki

difficult decision (Hawaiian)

It has been an odd two and a half years.

As of October 1, 2022 all federal Covid protocols were lifted. As much as time seemed to stop, it still marched on. Recently, while waiting for our pizza to arrive, a very close friend and I briefly discussed the pandemic. and she asked, “Would you do it again?”
We both have children in the USA and other parts of Canada. I had a very sick father and she had family members receiving cancer treatments. We had to make some very difficult decisions, one of which was to get (or not get) the vaccine.
“Yes.” I replied at first, then I waffled and said, “I don’t know,” then I changed back to “Yes” and then waffled again to “I don’t know”.
This bothered me. A lot.
Not that she asked the question, but that I didn’t know the answer.

I could not make up my mind.
There is a risk when getting any vaccine, but there is a risk to everything. Just to put it out there, I am not against vaccines, but I do not always get the flu shot. I seldom get sick. I remember having the flu twice in my life. Once when I was in high school (I think I missed two days) and again in 2018 (I was sick for a month).

Vaccines have changed the world.
At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, polio would paralyze or kill over half a million people worldwide every year (this is a wikipedia fact). The 1918 Spanish flu is estimated to be have killed 50 to 100 million worldwide, roughly 5 percent of the global population. Nearly 55,000 Canadians died — almost as many as Canada lost during the First World War. (two more wikipedia facts)
The bubonic plague hit Europe, in the Middle Ages, killing millions. The Black Death, spread by fleas from rodents, is still with us today, and cannot be prevented by any vaccine. (food for thought)
Ebola is a virus without a vaccine. Would I get one, if there was? I think I would, even though the death toll and number of cases is really, really low, SUPER low compared to other diseases.

I have experienced both sides of the vaccine issue.
If the shingles vaccine had been available prior to 2006, perhaps my father-in-law would not have died after a long and painful bout with post-herpes neuralgia, a by-product of the shingles.
Conversely, my oldest daughter was missing a multitude of vaccines so that she could go on a missions trip in Mexico. We blew up her immune system and she ended up with Candid Albicans, that took several years to get under control.

Did the governments of the world do everything right during the past two years.

Probably not. Did they do the best they could while trying to nail down a moving target? I would like to think so. I don’t believe there was a conspiracy by the world governments to entrap everyone in their homes. What would be the end game to that? But more importantly (and this is just my opinion), I don’t think our world leaders get along well enough to be that organized.

I know people that have done all the “right” things and still caught Covid.

I also know people who did everything “wrong” and caught Covid. I have friends and family who caught Covid. My dad tested positive, but was asymptomatic. When my mother-in-law caught it we were told to ‘Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst’. She is going to celebrate her 90th birthday this month. A friend’s heart will probably never completely heal.

Would I do it again?

Are we talking about going back in time? Would my dad still be with us? Would my mother-in-law be in a locked-down nursing home? What would travel be like?
The real question is “When the next pandemic strikes, what will I do?”
If I had chosen not to receive the shot, I would not have been able to visit Dad for the last two years of his life. Travel to to visit my daughters would have been very problematic if not impossible.
So, the answer remains the same.
‘a’ole maopopo ia’u
“I don’t know.
(I did all the translation through Google. I hope I got it right.)

What’s in a name?

“Rech? How do you say that?” A question I am often asked. My father-in-law was the youngest of thirteen. So it really depends on which brother you are talking to. Some say “Wreak”, some Resch (soft e). My husband uses Ree (long e) with the “ch” like the beginning of the word cheese. His brother, a musician added an “a”, making it Reach, so it would be easier for Emcee’s to introduce him. Their sister gave it up and married a Smith.

When my Dad’s dad came to Canada from Czechoslovakia, his last name was shortened, a lot. The first letter was changed from a “Z” to an “S”. My dad’s birth certificate carries the original long name. My brother still proudly bears the shortened version.

Myrna married my brother. Murr-nah. Easy peasy, right? Nope, she informed me. She is often addressed as Mi (long I) – earn (show me the money) – ah. Mi-earn-ah. Who would have thunk it.

My sister married a Zborowsky. I suggested that she keep her name from from her first marriage, which started with a “B” so that her kids wouldn’t always be last in line. She declined.

Don’t get me started on hyphenated names. Please, just pick one.

Manitobans are funny ducks

We have always been reactive as opposed to proactive. New stops signs don’t go up until there is a fatal accident. Speed zones don’t get changed until a child is seriously injured. We will not take this Covid 19 seriously until someone close to home dies. Then, being true to our nature, we will complain, kvetching over our Timmy’s cups. “Why didn’t the government do more? Why weren’t we warned better?’
Well, guess what people?! The government is warning us. They are telling us what we need to do. A reporter asked Prime Minister Trudeau why he has not enacted the emergencies act. His answer, and I paraphrase because our PM never says anything simply, “Because! If we do what what we should be doing, we may not have to.”
So much changed in a week. Our two daughters arrived for a surprise visit on Wednesday, March 11, the day that things really started to get serious. They did get a nice visit with my mom the next day, but we were in a busy restaurant. Sarah is in a fall wedding and on the Saturday we were in a crowded bridal shop helping her pick out her maid-of-honor dress. Then we went to visit Larry’s mom. She is in a lock-down facility for dementia sufferers. I had called on Friday to find out what their protocol for visitors was. They asked that we take her out, as opposed to four people coming in. In the time it took me to walk to her suite, change her hearing aid batteries and put on her boots and coat they had begun to close down the facility. We went for a fast-food burger, had a quick chat and then drove back to the residence. Thirty minutes, tops! When we returned, the facility was only allowing essential visits. The next day ~ no visits.
Sunday, we had a family dinner. The girls saw my parents, aunts and uncles and cousins. They did not see any relatives from Larry’s side. By Tuesday, we were scrambling to get Samantha on a plane so she could get home to her husband. She arrived in Utah just in time for the earthquakes. She and her husband both work from home. Sarah headed back home on Wednesday afternoon, her retail job had closed its doors, so extended holiday for her. Her boyfriend is in school, so on-line courses for him.
Personally, Larry and I have done our best to self-isolate. We began preparing early, Larry is a bit of a worry-wart/prepper. We got food in the house and plenty of TP,(before the panic hit) and enough pet food. Now we sit and wait. We cannot go visit my parents. My mother-in-law, who is deep in the throes of Alzheimer’s, is without visitors. We have friends who are nurses, who are worried about infecting their families. We have friends whose children are nurses, and must self-isolate. We have a friend whose son-in-law works at Costco and is an official TP disperser. We have friends who are working out of town and cannot get home. We have friends who were traveling and need us to buy groceries for them as they quarantine for 14 days. We have friends whose children were overseas and had to come home through Dubai. Dubai!!
But we, Manitobans, just sit back, because this kind of thing doesn’t happen in Canada and would never really affect Manitoba.
But it can and it has. We have a very low infection rate right now. Let’s keep it that way. Don’t wait for the first senior, or infant or cancer patient to die. Stay safe, stay healthy.

Be Careful What You Ask For

How time flies.
Two years ago, I became part of an on-line writing group. We formed the SSWG after participating in a six-week prompt challenge. Unfortunately, I felt we were no longer providing an uplifting writing scene for each other. It had gotten stale.

I was wrong.
It was me who had gotten stale. I have been working on the same story for a very long time.
I love my characters and like the story line. Revisions were kicking my butt. I had never seriously revised anything. I have tweaked stuff, rearranged words, checked grammar and spelling. I was spinning my wheels, really getting nothing of value done.

I had my first 500 words reviewed by another group.
Several ‘AHA‘ moments emerged. I approached my SSWG group and voiced my concerns. Guess what!! They were all feeling the same way.

We had spent the last couple of years getting to know and trust each other.
Some of the founding members have drifted away, but we now have a fabulous core of dedicated and committed writers. We revamped the schedule and structure. I got to submit first. I gave them 5000 words of my precious story. Now, I’ve really got some ‘!AHA!’ moments. Their suggestions and incites were amazing and spot on! I have to totally rewrite the opening of my WIP.

I am beyond excited and rejuvenated.
I want to make these ladies proud. This means that I have to work hard and dig deep. The story I thought was ready for revision hasn’t been completely written.

The moral of my story: Be careful what you ask for. (You just might get it.)

(Group hug to the girls at SSWG)

Land of the Coots

Two white contrails sliced the cloudless blue sky as planes rumble past each other. The sound carries easily across the desert and down into the gully. The travelers are glad to leave the winter winds of Canada behind. They will rush from the planes to their hotels, to the restaurants, to play the slots, and maybe, if time permits, see a show. Most will stay the weekend, or a couple of days more for the lucky ones. Then, onto outbound planes, returning from the Sin City, back to the cold, snow and work.

They won’t see the soft, beige Pampas grass that grows tall along the edge of the gully.  Their large feathery heads bright against the tall red walls of the riverbanks. Six-foot-high reeds swaying, releasing their seeds into the gentle breeze. The skeleton of a Creosote tree firmly planted along the shore, its roots no longer reaching the life-giving water, is a look-out for the small Sagebush sparrows.

They won’t see the sand and desolation that surrounds a small, lush oasis, created by eons of flash floods. Bright snippets of green peeking out as the Mesquite Honey bushes attempt to set roots in the sandy soil.

They won’t hear the water, a wandering minstrel, that begins its song from far away.

We hear the soft melody that transforms into a deep throated song as the creek flows through the Vegas Wash, tumbling over the dark, jagged river rock.

We see two Mallards, drake and hen, sitting on a craggy boulder in the middle of the creek. The couple preens, pulling the oils along their feathers, waterproofing their wings.

We see a blue heron fly low over the water as we climb along the dusty riverbank. It lands on a nearby sandbar, and waits, silently, for us to leave. The shadow of a cormorant glides past as it lands in a nearby eddy, perhaps to steal the heron’s deserted catfish.

We see four young Coots, frolic in the small whirlpools. Their ivory beaks bright against their ebony bodies as they plunge into the depths, hunting for snails or maybe a tadpole. They dive into the smooth pool at the top of a gentle cascade, popping up in the white foamy bubbles, to join the raft of Coots downstream. Shaking water from their sleek heads, they dance through the rapids back to the headwaters of their playground.

Soon, we also must leave, to catch the plane, to return to the cold and snow.

diyMFA101 – Book Club

February 5 – Supporting Cast 

Support. To keeping something going. Your supporting cast moves the protagonist’s story forward, or backward, or perhaps slides it sideways.

DIY MFA Radio Episode 103 (sorry, I cannot get the links to work)

Writing  the Multiple Point of View novel with Emma Staub.

My WIP has many characters, but it is not a multi-character story. It has  one main character, with the story told in many POV’s. Each character moves my protagonist closer to his goal, even when he is not in that particular scene. The supporting characters’ views, on achievement and success, impacts my protagonist.

“adulthood is a moving target” – Emma Staub (Episode 103)

This is the theme of my story. I didn’t have one until I listened to this podcast. But I digress……

Back to the supporting cast.

the Fool – the protagonist’s cousin. She introduces Love Interest (2) and moves the story along when it gets stuck.
the Love Interest (1) she is toxic, pulls down the protagonist. She is messy, not good for him and bad things happen to her all the time.
the Love Interest (2) she is “normal”, has normal issues.
the Side Kick (1) he is toxic, messy, pulls down the protagonist, he causes bad things to happen.
the Side Kick (2) he is “normal”, has normal issues
(ahh, I see what is happening here)
the Mentor – his grandfather, a man who has lived life, made his mistakes, sharing what he has learned.
and of course, the Puppy, because all stories should have a puppy.

diyMFA101 – Book Club

February 3 – Ohm’s Law
Resistance = Voltage/Intensity

R= V/I


Ohm’s definition – the potential difference in charge between two points in an electromagnetic field.
My definition – the objective – getting a the first round of revision done by the end of February.


Ohm’s definition – the measure of difficulty of passing an electric current through a substance. 
My definition – the difficulty of sitting down and working on the revisions of my WIP


Ohm’s definition – the measurable amount of force used to affect change.
My definition – the amount of effort I put into my WIP at any given time.

To reduce Resistance, you must increase Intensity. The Voltage is the constant.

The accumulation of unnecessary projects or distractions (resistance) dilutes the effort I put into my WIP (intensity).  My objective is to revision 1000 words per day (voltage)

My Resistance/day: I joined a 6-week prompt challenge. My online writing group starts a new project, requiring writing, revision, rewriting. It is year end for our “real-life” business . I plan a holiday, no, wait… two holidays. I visit with a friend, it’s because it is her birthday. I started the diyMFA Book Club, WIP,  etc. etc.
R= V/I = 1000 words for WIP/8 projects or distractions = 122 words


My Resistance/day: My online writing group starts a new project, requiring writing, revision, rewriting. It is year end for our “real-life” business. I started the diyMFA Book Club (30 minutes) WIP, etc. etc.
R=V/I = 1000 words for WIP/6 projects or distractions = 166 words


My Resistance/day: My online writing group starts a new project, requiring writing, revision, rewriting. I started the diyMFA Book Club 
R=V/I 1000 words for WIP/3 projects or distractions – 333 words

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

I have already spent way to much time on this blog and not my WIP
………proving the power of resistance.

diyMFA101 – Book Club

January 31 – “Best Practice(s)” ~that didn’t work for me~

  • 1. Write “X” number of words everyday.   This is the worst. I will write, count (14 words) write, count again (17 words) and then write some more and count AGAIN.(25) I get nothing done, I become consumed with the words. I have tried NaNoWriMo four times and “won” once. 1666 words everyday was just too stressful. I was constantly in catch-up mode.  Solution: I write by time. I always set a timer, deciding on how much time I have to devote at the beginning of each session. More often than not, I overwrite my time, but I am liberated and know I can stop when I need to because I have met my criteria. (NaNo Camp in July is perfect for me.)
  • 2. Work from an outline. Nope!. I write organically, often unaware of where my characters are going to take me. I can’t outline something that does not yet exist. Solution: Once I have written a story, short or long, and extremely messy and disjointed, I return to the beginning of the journey. Then, I do character sketches and outline.
  • 3 Revision – Reread your scene and then set it aside and rewrite it from memory. I have tried to do this several time. Again. Nope! “Why,” yells Gnome, “would you try to write something you have already written?” Solution: Thank goodness for ~cut and paste~. Now I take a sentence or a paragraph, write it down on the top of a fresh page and run away with the story, organically.  It is the same thing you say? According to Gnome it is not and that is what counts.

PS. I set a 15 minute timer and have gone over that by 16 minutes and have written approximately 300 words. This includes taking a picture of Gnome. (note to self – Gnome needs a photoshoot)

diyMFA101 – Book Club

January 29 – Feed Your Creativity

I have tried several times to make an oracle, mood board and angst jar. My attempts seemed contrived and forced. It just wasn’t working for me. Then, after a particularly, and rare, bad day in the office, my husband brought me a new tea cup in a pretty gift box and a bouquet of flowers. (Even though he had nothing to do with that particularly rare bad day.) I had my box, my treasure chest! A few days later, my mom called and said she had found a little two inch gnome that had hung on my door knob throughout my childhood. She, who saves nothing, had saved my gnome. He now resides in my treasure box. I have yet to learn if he is my outer muse or inner critic, or perhaps a bit of both. Then, I found, and I don’t remember where, a giant red die. It sits beside Gnome in the treasure box.

My creativity is fed by my family, my friends, my environment, my dogs and cats, but mostly by me. I love to set challenges for myself. For instance, my current challenge is a  weekday challenge. Fifteen minutes each day, Monday to Friday, of new content for my WIP. I cannot write “X” number of words. I spend the whole time counting and not writing. (so far….7/30 days – haven’t missed a day.) I have done NaNoWriMo  four times, and only succeeded once. NaNo Camp is more my style.

Finding Word Nerd Unite and other Facebook groups has inspired me to keep going. I have met people on these sites from all over the world. I am spurred on by the positive feedback and constructive critique, by watching others with the same fears and onstacles power through and succeed.

There is no velvet rope, no exclusive club. My creativetiy is just that, MINE.