Be like a Symphony or Professional Football team

Football and a Symphony seems a strange juxtaposition? I went to a most interesting talk yesterday at the Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg, a “Conversation Circle” about Identity and a sense of belonging, a discussion inspired by the Time to Act: Rohingya Voices exhibition.

A group of strangers most with very little knowledge of Rohingya but wanting to learn more about it and humanity, and a facilitator, or two.

Refugees, their experience, how does it happen? What can we do about it, before, after, during?

We spent some time looking at the exhibit, talking and learning about the situation. 600,000 in a refugee camp, the largest in the world. right next door to Bangladesh, north of Thailand, in a country called Myanmar. “Officially, on paper, the country’s name is Myanmar. In 1989, the ruling military government changed the name from Burma to Myanmar after thousands were killed in an uprising. The city of Rangoon also became Yangon. … The name change was also a way to rid the country of British colonial influences” This country has over 100 ethnic groups, yet one, the Muslim Rohingya have been targeted as unwanted, even though they have been there for 1000’s of years. Who is doing this? The Military under Buddhist extremists. I always thought Buddhists wouldn’t hurt a fly, literally?

It seems there are many refugees worldwide being displaced, forced to flee their homes because they fear for their lives. People in positions of power often through violence deciding that another group of people is not wanted in their area, a “cleansing” a “genocide”. How does it often happen? Sometimes a telltale sign to watch for is “Identity cards”, when we signal out by class, by ethnic group, possibly by health, gender, religion, one from another and we make these identity cards, symbols in the case of the Jews in WW11 being made to wear yellow stars on their sleeves. People use these symbols, these identity cards, to paint a generalized picture of these people. Often those in power then start to blame their area’s current issues on these “identified people” and they become the common link, the target to fight against. They are de-humanized.

De-Humanized. Seen as unworthy, not even valued as much as an animal,  how else could people carry out such barbaric crimes against them? Atrocities. How did they convince themselves that these “identified people” are no longer their friends, their neighbours, but the enemy?

So many thoughts were shared during the Conversation Circle. One stated early on they were there to see how it related to our own indigenous people, and it does in many ways, unfortunately. They have been given identity cards, plots of land they can live on. Many were not allowed to vote until 1947 or later. On 31 March 1960, portions of Section 14(2) of the Canada Elections Act were repealed in order to grant the federal vote to status Indians. First Nations people could now vote without losing their Indian status.

Our conversation circle ended, with what could we do, or us as individuals do to help with the refugee situation? Should you voice your concerns to others, to others with differing opinions or stay silent, one asked? Speak up I said, or if everyone stays silent we will believe that their silence means they agree with oppressors.

It comes down to the bullying on the playground, to peer pressure and not speaking up for those that need to be defended.

One said if we could all strive to remember to treat people with the human rights they are entitled to as humans. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. To be kind, to treat others as we wish to be treated would do a lot.

Later that same day I went to the symphony, different groups of instruments, all playing together for a common good, instruments like ethnicities or characteristics, can we not have leaders that bring out the best in us all? So that together we make beautiful music together?

This also reminded me of a talk from a football coach, Saskatchewan Rough Riders I believe, he was presenting at a School Trustee Conference in Winnipeg. He spoke of how his team was made up of many walks of life, different ethnicities, different socio-economic classes, different religions, etc, they were strangers and he had to lead these players to play as a team. He needed them to understand that though they had differences, they needed to focus on how they would all work together to be the best team they could be.

We need to work together.


The Shoe Maker and his elves

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You’ve heard the story, haven’t you? An old shoemaker overwhelmed with work, poor  I believe too, barely enough materials to make the next pair of shoes. He goes to bed before he has finished his work, tired, knowing he has to get that pair of shoes finished first thing in the morning. He goes to sleep as soon as his head hits the pillow, that’s how exhausted he is. The next morning he wakes up and low and behold the shoes are made! He couldn’t believe it a miracle. This went on for a while and he felt so lucky, it was amazing.

I’ve never been kean on house cleaning, I do it but if there is anything more exciting to do it is easy for me to choose that over house cleaning, which is almost anything but doing taxes. Cleaning does get done though, just not up to some of my friend’s standards.

Anyways I ended up in a wheelchair for about 3 weeks, I couldn’t leave my house unless I could find 2 friends to lift me in and out. I could barely get myself to the toilet and bed, but I did figure out a way. The first time, living on my own, had its drawbacks. Friends checked on me, helped me out when I needed things. My son came out and build me a ramp, so it was easier for people to get me in and out of the house, too steep for me to do it by myself, he installed railings as well. Thank goodness for rainy weather during that time which is unusual, as when it was nice outside I would look out my south window wishing I could just go for a walk in the sunshine.

Due to being in a wheelchair I needed everything close and handy, I had friends pull the microwave to the edge of the kitchen counter, make sure dishes and bowls were on the counter where I could reach them. All kinds of things like that. A few times I had friends come over offering to clean my kitchen, they wanted to put things away and I told them politely, “No” as then I wouldn’t be able to reach things. Then I had a friend come over that was determined to help clean, she decided each spice bag needed sealed? What the heck, it was important to her. Then she started moving things I used away from the microwave which I used every morning with the microwave. Next, she opened my fridge, screwed up her face, and pulled out a small green pepper grown in my garden, “Really, Yvette” she said, “This has to go!” No,” I said, “It was picked from my garden just the day before,” it couldn’t help that it wasn’t a perfect pepper. That was the end of that cleaning.

3 weeks or so later when I was using a walker when I went out but not in my house, we had a huge snowstorm. We never have them that early in the year. It wasn’t very cold thank goodness but the snow was super heavy. Just previous I had managed to mow my own grass, it took me three days, bit by bit so I didn’t hurt myself, I sure didn’t want to go back to being in a wheelchair.

When it first started snowing I thought if I cleared the driveway every time there was an inch of snow, I might be able to keep it cleared and not hurt myself. I managed that twice, concerned about slipping. Then it got dark and it just kept snowing, thick and heavy. The power went out at 5pm, but I had a headlamp and some pre-cooked food to eat. I went to bed early to stay warm under the covers and read a book. The next morning the house was 14.5′ a little chilly, I got dressed and put my housecoat on over top to stay warm, the power was still out.  I couldn’t leave because my driveway had a pile of snow on it and I had no electricity, so what was I going to do? Well, I decided, this was the perfect time to clean the house. I walked into the kitchen, I looked around, and I laughed out loud. Here I had had all these elves offering to clean my kitchen, and I had turned them all away, now it was all up to me. Man, I had wished for house-elves all my life what had I been thinking?

I did get a lot of cleaning done with nothing else to do, but it sure doesn’t take long to go back to looking like it did before.

(I was without power for over 50 hours, and we were supposed to limit our use of water as the water treatment plant was struggling. Some friends were without power for a week!)

Oh, the “will power”, not.



My sister became a vegetarian when she was a teenager, it probably didn’t help that I would describe in detail any biology class whenever we got to dissect something, I knew it would get a reaction from her, it was fun, for me anyway, sorry Sis.

Down the road, her daughter became a Vegan, Won’t even consume vegetable oil? Overboard I think, judgemental of others, like a religion, really? Oh well, each to their own. My Daughter-in-law became a Vegetarian as well, and she’s a dietician. On goes the learning, for me. I look for recipes so I can offer Vegetarian options when I am hosting a Vegetarian. I listen and read up on going towards a plant-based diet.

Another friend of mine ended up in the hospital due to her intestine erupting, not enough fiber in her diet. To recover she had to eat a no fiber diet until it healed and chew 30 times a mouthful, that’s a lot of chewing. I tried to be supportive of her when she got out and chew each mouthful 30 times as well. OMG, you can’t even have a conversation when you are chewing that much.

Then she had to go on a high fiber diet. I tell my Daughter-in-law my friend was supposed to eat 35gms of fiber a day! She, replied, “Everyone, should be eating that much fiber a day.” Hmmm, I better be more conscious of how much fiber I am eating. To eat that much fibre I deduced you needed to be a vegetarian. Okay, I will try and eat more pulses, lentils, beans, nuts, quinoa, vegetables. I can do this, I’ll be a vegetarian at home, and when I go out to eat I’ll have whatever I want.

Seemed to work, of course then I was away for a month, that whole vegetarian thing went down the toilet. Then, all of a sudden I find myself in a wheelchair, man that really put a crimp in my style, so much for the independence that I pride myself in. Thank goodness for all my wonderful friends though. Getting better every day.

I watched a show on Netflix, “Game Changers”, not the first movie I’ve watched that slants toward plant-based eating, and I’ve read books the “The China Study”, still I like meat, and cheese. That movie was very convincing, and it offered hope that eating a plant-based diet opened arteries, helped against inflammation, and meant quicker recovery time from injuries, check, check and check.  Probably just needed to be told over, and over, and over again. I wake up the next morning, research how to make Vegan cheese, I can’t live without cheese. Go to the store and get the ingredients.

On the way home I stop at a friend’s house, “Would you like some cheese and crackers?” “No, thanks” I reply, I have resolve, I am proud of myself. Ten minutes later, I have a piece of cheese, then she offers me a piece of cheesecake, I can not turn it down, can not. It tastes so good, lol.

Lentil stew waiting for me at home. I’m trying.


Physical activity, I love to walk, hike in nature, dance, garden, as a kid and teenager I loved gymnastics, running fast and doing the hurdles.

I remember running a 5 km race with my 2 sisters and my Dad, a family effort. I was the sprinter, quick to get started, but a 5k is definitely suited more for the tortoise and hare story, soon enough they past me and I was huffing and puffing behind them. We still won an ice cream maker and that was pretty cool.

I loved gymnastics, especially floor work and the uneven parallel bars, not so much the balance beam, that could hurt if you fell, but the other two it was almost like you were air borne. At one time in high school my gymnastic coach took the great big school bus just to take me to meets over an hour away, just her and I on that big bus. It seemed silly to me at the time, but I guess for insurance reasons that was the way to go. Nadia Comaneci was the gymnastic star of the time, from Romania. We watched her performance one there was one move that my coach said, “Yvette, I bet you could do that”, and so we tried, sure enough after some effort I could. My Uncle loved it when we went to visit. “Yvette, you just sit there in front of the TV and I am going to call my friend over, once he is here a bit just jump up and do that thing that you do, it will shock the heck out of him”. And it did, me the trick pony, oh well it was fun. The last time I tried to do a simple walk over, which always came so easily to me I was probably 28ish, I practically ripped my arms out! Ouch. Lost that flexibility and probably developed too much upper arm strength, carrying kids around.

Embarrassingly enough, I also recall camping at Waterton National park, my favorite National Park to date . This day we were picnicking near the tennis courts when someone hit a high one and the ball escaped the caged enclosure. No problem, I ran to get it and throw it back…opps, it landed behind me. Try again, only laughing so hard, I don’t know how I managed to get it the second time.

I was taken to a couple of hockey games when our towns team was doing really well. They have a puck throw to raise money, my beau at the time bought me a puck to throw, wow, I did so well, actually I think I was closest to the spot, but darn, no one wins unless you are right on the spot and the pot just continues to grow. Still I was pretty proud of myself.

The second time, at the next  home game he again bought me a puck, this time they called us to throw when he was off doing something. I threw the puck, and…..I don’t think it even got over the barrier, OMG!!! Now that is embarrassing, I think I actually quickly looked around like did anyone see that? Don’t think I said anything when he came back accept that no, I didn’t do as well as last time, LOL.

Also need to learn how to throw a frisbee with more control, but both throwing balls and frisbees I really don’t have much experience with. Have you ever played disc golf? I did once, I must admit, I may again, even though as you probably guessed, I need a LOT more practice. Oh well, I’m sure it’s the most tries that wins right?

It is always good to be able to laugh at yourself. In some sports like golf not counting the swings is much less stressful, and I am sure I play a better game that way. I’m just out there to have fun with friends.

Bit by bit I learn a little more about sports, how many periods, ends, matches, sets….what does “Love” mean, “A birdie” or “Eagle”, how about the “5 hole”? Actually I always thought the saying the whole 9 yards had to do with football, wrong, it has to do with determining the quality of a kilt, it should be made with 9 yards(meters) of material! That’s a lot of material.


How about you, any embarrassing sports stories to tell?



Team sports/relationships

I went to watch university volleyball the other day, I don’t know that I have ever done that before? It was a nice change, but curiously what had me most bewildered was how often they touched each other, I mean I’ve watched some hockey, soccer, even football and yes when someone scores  there is tons of raw hurrah, butting heads, high fiving, belly bouncing, butt slapping, that kind of thing. Basically puffing themselves all up because they are the best, most ferocious, fastest animal on the Sahara. Chest thumping kind of stuff, after all most of us belief we  have evolved from chimps. But watching volleyball, everytime, everytime … a serve ends, which I suppose also means a point is scored so I suppose like a goal, …but there are soooo many of them, 25 for each match/set what ever they are called and then there are 5 of them. So there is a lot of bum patting, hugging, high fiving etc, and it is kind of like having a glass of wine and making a toast and trying to chink glasses with everyone, every single time, each member of the team tries to have some physical contact with each and every team member, and that is whether their team got the point or the other team? Okay good for them, they don’t want any one to feel bad for missing the ball, hitting the net while serving or what ever. To me that seems kind of like when we celebrate “Graduation” from Day Care, Kindergarten, etc, not just High School or College or University, a little over kill. Or it’s like your child playing sports and no one wins or loses, they just get participation awards…..To me this seemed very strange, but then I am not much of a team sport kind of person. I was on the gymnastic team and on the track team, but there you still preform as an individual, “The Team” would not necessarily feel let down if I didn’t place in hurdles, or the 100 yard dash.

Since this seemed rather unusual to me, it had me wondering past that, the last relationship I was in the fellow was a team sport kind of guy, to me he needed reinforcement, “That a boy” type of encouragement for even the smallest of things, I wasn’t really use to that and found it needy, different perspectives, he had played Volleyball and Hockey, maybe this was just what he saw as normal? He insisted that I back him, even if he was wrong, in front of others (support the team I guess kind of mentality)….not going to happen. This was an interesting way of looking at our differences and why maybe they existed. If I did something and took on a project he would refer to it as “We” did what ever it was.

I have all my life been a very independent person, not a crowd follower, not someone who succumbs to peer pressure. I march to my own drum, I am true to myself. I remember one of my friends in high school said that if I wasn’t going to drink when we went out to a party, I could at least “pretend” to be drunk….how silly, no I would not be doing that. Heck, even my Mom, one drive into Vancouver said to me, “You know Yvette, it’s okay to have a drink when your out” Wow, a Mom encouraging their child to drink! She was concerned I guess about me fitting in. Yes, everyone probably wants to feel like they “belong” but to me I wasn’t going to sacrifice my beliefs just to fit in. What did I believe? I believed I could have fun, enjoy myself with out drugs or alcohol. I’m not saying I never ever drank or had experiences with alcohol that weren’t stellar, but I certainly never drank, just because others were and I didn’t drink often.

Too me, being a sheep, a follower, just wasn’t something I admired. That’s how all kinds of horrible things have happened in history, genocides, mob riots, gang rapes… to me it is much more important that people think for themselves, and follow their hearts and own morals.

I bet I have hit a few cords with others on this one, but that is what makes this world so interesting, isn’t it? We are all so different.