I Propose a New Prayer

Lord make us the
Sharers of love
Bestowers of compassion
Keepers of peace
And by peace it is 
One that is shown
For all persons
Not merely some.

Let us be the
Forgivers of our
Human ways
Sometimes faltering
Oftentimes unknowing
But willing to say sorry
Then move on.

Let us forgive others
Of everything we don’t
Understand or like
For we are not them
And will never know
Fully their reasons why –
Realizing it is not
Our place to judge.

Let us respect
The things we don’t
Comprehend even if
We’d never do that
Ourselves, may we
Keep silent on 
Differences for 
There is no one
Right way in life
And we
Accept that.

Let us affirm now
There is no 
One true religion
Correct culture
Hue of skin
Language
Body type
Partner preference
That is better
Than any one other.

Let us put away our
Anger
Petty grievances
Jealousy
Envy
Bitterness and
Greed
Remembering that
Today’s glory can be
Tomorrow's agony
Therefore we must be kind
To those who are currently 
Less or more ostensibly
Than us.

Let us be such that
If we are unable to be
The community icon
Let us be thankful
For what we have
Doing no harm
Leaving no damage
Appreciative always.

Let us silently
Carefully live out our
Lives being the person
We think others should be
Living the example 
Allowing others to
Show their own light
Their own way.

Let us say thanks for today
Leaving yesterday behind
Looking forward 
Planning our path
The kindest way onwards.

I propose a new prayer
To unite us as one
One world
One people
Honouring our uniqueness
Conquering division
With our words and our deeds
Putting down weapons
Rejecting cruelty in 
All its forms
Today and every day.

Universal spirit
May we remember that we
Are ourselves spirit 
Therefore tiny 
Devine parts
Of the whole
Of what is.

Amen.


©Catherine M. Harris 24-07-2022


Hold Up Now

Do you think 
Banning abortion
Is a wonderful thing?
Hold up.

Have you never 
Borne a child?
Hush up.

Are you not 
A woman?
Shut up.

Are you wealthy 
And secure?
Hush up.

Do you have all the 
Support you need?
Shush up.

Are you trying to resurrect some
Utopian view of decades past that
Never really existed?
Shut up.

Are you a politician garnering votes
Regardless of your own belief 
Or experience?
Shut up.

Do you think denying someone a 
Health decision because of their 
Gender is progressive?
Shut up.

Do you think that pulling back rights
Will stop right here on 
This one issue?
Wake up.

Do you thinks this will stay 
Within your 
Borders?
Wake up.

Do you think your vote 
Doesn't count?
Wake up.

Do you think that this
Oppression will end here?
Wake up.

Do you think that only
Sluts and hoes 
Will be affected?
Grow up.

Do you think this will
Mean happy families and
Supportive 
Husbands/fathers/boyfriends/parents?
Grow all the way up.

Do you think your voice
Doesn't count?
Speak up.

Do you think you can't 
Change anything?
Speak up.

Do you have the heart to 
Allow a person to make 
Their own decision?
Speak up.

Do you think this is 
The Way Forward and
The Future, hurray?
Listen up.

Everything is wonderful,
Theoretically.
Every choice has its
Alter ego.
Every decision
A fall out.

Listen up
And remember
This is only
A beginning.

So please,
Just
Don't 
Give
Up.


(c) Catherine M. Harris 25-06-2022
with props to Margaret Atwood, 
who saw this coming in her way.

Soixante et Vous

It took me until
I was 40
For people to 
Listen to me.

Before that
I was just pretty
With a brain bigger
Than my boobs
That nobody
Cared for
Maybe not
Even myself.

They weren’t 
Interested really
In what I had to say
Take away the allure
That drives the boy out
What do you know?

Now that I’ve
Blown out
The flame
On my 60th candle
I don’t have to
Explain myself
Anymore or
At least 
Most of the time.

So if you think
This is where I
Exit stage left
Sorry to say
You’re quite
Mistaken 
My friend
This is where
I get to soar
In my own way
Unfettered, real.

There’s only so much
Time and I’ve
Used far too much
Turning the 
Other cheek
Consider this
My fifth one
I’ll just keep on
Carrying on
Doing as I please
Now that the
Choice and
The voice
Is my own.

Here’s to what
The future holds
I hear
It’s simply
Grand.



© Catherine M. Harris
May 14, 2022

Our Wedding and Other Miracles

Here it is, a creative non-fiction piece I wrote in 1988 after my wedding, go figure. The whole situation was so ridiculous I couldn’t not write this. Anyway the reason I’m posting it here is because it’s a reminder I need to finish my essays book and publish it, and also because I submitted this as a first paragraph to a radio contest just for fun. My disclaimer is: yes, I’m crazy, this really happened and all the people involved in it are real with names changed to protect the guilty. What can I say but I told you so?

————–

The matron-of-honour was keening rapturous wails while clutching my shoulder for balance. The Groom was quivering gently beside me that fine snowy day in mid-April. The Minister stood bedecked in his finery intoning those last fatal words:

Those Whom God Hath
Put Asunder
Let No Man
Join Together…

Wisely I heeded sundry prophets of doom and married a little later than average. That I am now married at all is still a bit of a surprise to me; however, I did live to call myself a Missus. So, at the expense of persuading a few singles to forgo their own nuptials, I tell you my tale.

It started so innocently with my boyfriend of five years pronouncing that he was being transferred to Mississauga in a little under six weeks. During a fit of nostalgia at our favourite tavern, perhaps egged on by the mention that my mother had several prospective husbands lined up, with a delicately trembling hand, he took mine in his and gasped, “Wanna get married?” With tomblike gravity, my response was a quick and decisive utter silence. “Take your time.” he told me, so I did.

After half an hour of maniacal giggling and catatonic wall-staring, my dearly beloved announced, “I have to go to the can.”

Five minutes later, I brushed off the cobwebs, sipped some tepid wine and followed him to the bowels of the restaurant. As I descended, there in the shadows at the foot of the stairs emerged my intended.

In a wave of impetuous affirmation, I fell into his arms and whispered a firm, “Uh huhn.”

I’d like to say that at this treasured moment a choir of angels sang and flowers rained down from above. But the angels were singing for some other lovers and all that rained down on our blissful kissing was projectile vomit that flew past our heads from a woman who lurched down the stairs.

Now lesser souls might have taken that as an omen of what was to come, but not us. Instead we began our plan of attack. First there was the sticky problem of telling everyone that no, we are not crazy, and yes, we really intend to do this. My father was of some concern to me since he held the firm belief that if I really wanted to I should have children but, “for God’s sake don’t get married!” As for the others there was the inevitable “you pregnant?” which we expected after the length of time we adamantly refused to get married or even live together.

There was also two apartments, two cats, a piano I’d had mouldering in storage for four years and of course, the delightful chore of telling my wholly disliked employers that they could stick it. Also there was the matter of finding an apartment in an area where only dead relatives and lottery winnings will ensure you a place to live. And last but not least was the question of where and by whom we’d get married.

Telling people was the easiest part. Everybody loves to see others get themselves into the same mess they’ve been in and so they were delighted. Friends and relatives from near and far were happy to come to the wedding to see this for themselves. A Minister was found in the form of my brother-in-law’s brother and the church where I had once sung in the choir provided the place.


Now came the dirty work. While my fiancé was apartment-hunting I had one week to pack up five year’s accumulated detritus from my apartment. We decided that it would be better for me to move to his place before the wedding which left me cheerfully attending to a myriad of details, lunches and meetings at work, things to buy and movers to coordinate.

Our local charity organization would pick up the furniture, and yes, it was all in good condition, sort of. They came the day before the movers and after an opera of expletives about the front stairway, they decided there was no room for the couch. Instead, one particularly avaricious helper was entranced by a waterbed I was planning to throw out. Sure he could take it; of course it was in mint condition. Except for the two supports I forgot to tell him didn’t exist any more. Just slipped my *%&! mind. Honest.

The boxes came forty-eight hours before the move, and at midnight the day after, I ran out. In desperation I crammed all my left-overs into garbage bags; with a living room that resembled your basic town dump, I finished my packing at dawn. My movers were friendly, efficient and late; they worked wonders but not miracles. They didn’t have room for the couch. Mario, if you read this, sorry about the poor lonely behemoth I left in your living room…

Suffice to say that the apartment-hunting trip is a story in itself, best left for my husband to tell. After one false start and two and a half month’s rent deposit, we weren’t going to have to live in the parking lot of Pearson International after all. Mildly exasperated, he returned home triumphant only to find that the woman he left just barely resembled the simpering wraith that awaited him. You see there was a wee problem with the church…


I will confess here and now that neither my intended nor I were avid church-goers in the past; in fact, I never quite got around to getting confirmed. My taller half had never been baptised and was raised in a different church. No matter, we were both Christians. We just didn’t have thirty days to post the banns. Barring a marriage in the middle of Bank Street by a justice of the peace, we decided to go for a dispensation from the Bishop.

As Norman Mailer could tell you, waiting for a dispensation from the Bishop is much akin to waiting for the Governor’s word on the eve of the dawn of your execution. With promises of hurried marriage preparation meetings, post-marriage courses and assurances there was absolutely no way we would get married two weeks after we moved (what? you want us to live in sin for a month? Shame on you!) we were finally, two weeks before D-Day, given dispensation.

Our meetings with the Minister were delightful except that I would burst into laughter every time the word troth was uttered. You see, my first reaction to hearing “I give you my troth” was where can I get one? With visions of little hairy fang toothed troths dancing in my head, any mention of a troth was enough to get the giggles started.

Complimentary banns were read the Sunday before the wedding at the request of my mother. Naturally we attended one of these services. After vowing – and yes, believing – that any offspring to this union should partake in religious training, this was a good refresher course in church activities for both of us, and a source of considerable admiration by all. And the bets were heating up nicely on whether I’d break out laughing at “I give you my troth” during the service.

The week before was a joy of coordination. The Matron-of-Honour, living in Philadelphia, came to Ottawa the day after being a Matron-of-Honour at another wedding. Now this was also the city where she had lived with her late husband shortly before he died; she hadn’t been back since, but for the delight of seeing us married (and as for the wager on that, Russell, wherever you are, you won) twenty-two teams of wild horses would not have stopped her coming. Those same horses would not have stopped my fiancé’s mother and grandmother either; they had long since given up on his ever getting married. But I digress.

The cats were getting along fine, all and sundry were in various stages of ecstasy, the gynaecologist had his grope and our Matron-of-Honour was stepping off the plane. The wedding rings were bought, thankfully, by a generous donation from my aunt.


Four days before the wedding, my dress (yes, the real thing) was bought on sale in one hour. The next day was shopping with my Matron for everything else and getting into arguments with salesclerks and waiters. My intended meanwhile was arranging for a loan with the bank to help pay for the move. Despondent, he returned with the verdict that without collateral no one can get a loan and without a loan no one can get collateral. The employee counsellor at his work put it most wisely; moving and changing jobs is right up there with getting married in terms of stress. His face said it all when my working half told him he was also getting married. He knew whereof he spoke. Wait, it gets better.

In our last week of frantic activity, grandmother, mother, aunts, uncles, sister and brother-in-law complete with nephews began arriving. Ma Bell is still enjoying this and I’m sure Blue Line Taxi is still thanking its blessings. You see, our not having a car meant that it was also necessary to arrange our transportation to and from the church, something that occurred to us the day before the wedding.

The last two days were the greeting of relations, the packing of bags, the long nights of heartfelt discussion with anyone but my almost-husband. I had not gotten to the stage where I was wondering “who is this person?”, but getting awfully close to “what the hell am I doing?” Everyone involved naturally had their own ideas of what should be done and everyone contradicted the other. Small things like what brand of champagne to buy suddenly became issues of monumental proportions; for example the realization that one magnum of champagne couldn’t possibly serve 32 people for a toast, which occurred to us the night before. This critical situation was nicely solved by the intervention of our “missing link.”

The whole procedure being such a hurried affair, it came right down to the wire when we realized we still had NO BEST MAN. Attempts had been made, sure, but travelling persons and unanswered phone messages do not a best man create. Finally, two days before Ground Zero he was found in the personage of a long time good friend. In the amount of time given, we can only say that he did his job admirably. This man deserves an award.

Day One was a delight and everyone was up for it. The phone was surgically removed from my ear in time for the rehearsal and all parties concerned were at the church before it was unlocked. The torrential downpour was really refreshing.

Once inside the church, all of us giddy from too little time and not enough sleep, the jokes came fast and furious. The Minister, meanwhile, tried desperately to keep things in some semblance of propriety. The Matron-of-Honour remarked that the Mets were playing the next day, so we concurred that the wedding should be postponed on account of the Mets. By this time our Minister could only shake his head and regard us with baleful eyes. At the trading of the troths the proceedings ground to a halt with everyone, including our poor beleaguered pastor, laughing so hard we were crying.


Wine on top of the lack of sleep and high emotions made for a very interesting post-rehearsal dinner-and-meeting-of-the-grandmother. We tried, really tried, to behave ourselves but things did get a little out of hand. One such moment begs to be repeated: the tradition of not seeing the bride before the wedding flew out the window with our sanity. When grandmother remarked that we shouldn’t see each other, our Matron quipped, “Why not? They’ve been sleeping together for the last two weeks.” Needless to say, Grandma nearly fell off her chair with that one. Our idiocy was reaching gargantuan proportions.

Dinner over, the rehearsal group retired to our apartment for toasts to tomorrow. Of course it was tomorrow by the time the toasts were finished. Living on adrenaline and hysteria we went to bed just in time to get up.

The alarm clock rang with the subtlety of an air raid siren. Time for Armageddon. After five cups of coffee and countless cigarettes, I went to get my hair done. Apres french braids, the flowers arrived and then came the dressing. Our Matron was quietly lurking around taking X-rated pictures to kill time. We weren’t nervous at all, just shell-shocked.


At last the cars arrived and amid a slight blizzard we were off to the church. The groom was ushered there by a psychiatrist; meanwhile Matron and father were plotting possible escape routes and getting pretty emotional, complete with lectures on sex from the bride.

At the church our psychiatrist (every wedding should have one – I highly recommend it) quietly passed around prescriptions of Doctor’s Own – little sample bottles of Cutty Sark. Pockets bulging, we retreated to the church library to await the arrival of the groom to the altar.

One o’clock came. No sign of the groom at the altar. One ten arrived. Groom, but no bride. One fifteen: bride, father and Matron-of-Honour are running down the aisle with the song “Can you hear that funky dixie land? Pretty Mamma’s gonna take you by the hand. By the hand! Hand! Take you by the hand!” playing in our heads.

The service began beautifully and everything was going as planned. Soon I could hear heaving sobs to the left of me. A hand began massaging my left shoulder. Looking over, my Matron was standing in a torrent of tears. The groom glanced over, smiled, and we waited for the troths. No laughter here. Fine.
The licences were signed, the end was nigh. A sombre Minister intoned, “Those whom God hath put asunder, let no man join together.” This is a moment of comic relief truly meant to be savoured.

The service over, we forgot to kiss, raced down the aisle, down the stairs that eventually led up to the church annex where the reception was being held. From the depths of the church came a thundering “YEE HAH!!!” compliments of our Matron-of-Honour. The celebrations began.

Our reception was short and sweet, much enjoyed by all. We hitched a ride to the train station in a taxi and soon were off to four days of feverent honeymooning.

Now most people would think that our honeymoon went well, replete with joy every living moment. Well, it certainly was memorable. Stay tuned for the sequel, “Robert Bourassa, the night the lights went out in Montreal and the Honeymooner’s Guide to Pharmacopoeia in Quebec.”
—30—

Names of the living have been omitted to protect the guilty. Any resemblance to actual events is purely intentional…

The photo was taken the night before the wedding.

Cathi’s Comments Dec. 31, 2021

I’ve been trying to find a word that would best describe 2021 for me and I think equilibrium just about covers it.  It’s been a time of finishing off or starting to finish off things that have dogged me for years.  There’s been some form of resolution – whether actual or my acceptance of what is.  I’m in a much better place mentally and emotionally than I have been in what? 5 years?  So it’s been healing.  There’s a lot of areas I was trying to heal, and it’s kind of ironic that in year two of a pandemic my own personal healing has accelerated. 

You see for me, coming into this pandemic my life was a shambles and I was trying to pick up the shards of irretrievably lost (or so it seems) things:  relationships, status, my heart – I lost so many people and pets over those 5 years leading up to 2021.

My career had been on a downhill slide for quite a while and at times it felt like I was subtly being nudged towards a retirement I couldn’t afford. Doors start closing when you hit 50, I have learned. Hasn’t stopped me from trying and applying for jobs though.

My life situation was confusing and strange with people who chose to make up their own minds about how my life is without asking me (hint:  they’re wrong).  But unread letters won’t provide answers and me railing about being called my former no-longer-legal married name from 20 years ago doesn’t help anything.  I will defend the provenance of my legal name, my relationship status, and my history if need be, but I’m not worrying about this anymore.  Life is for the here and now, not old angry memories.

If you’re wondering, I’m not concerned that writing comments like this could deepen the rifts because I’m not naming names and they won’t read this anyway.  If they did maybe it would open a respectful dialogue; reality is, they aren’t interested. And I’m okay with that.  This is just me echoing off a canyon in my soul.

One revelation I came to this year and I feel good about is that in the end, this is my life.  Mine.  So I get to tell it the way that I’ve lived it, other peoples’ opinions be damned.  I think I’ve spent way too much time trying to please other people, which is fine unless it becomes you trying to live your life that way.  It’s inauthentic:  you can’t please everyone and in doing so you can lose who you really are.

I’m a writer, painter, singer/songwriter (though sadly quite rusty in this department right now).  That’s who I am.  Everything else I do is purpose driven or emotion driven. 

There are two creative things in my life that for emotional reasons I just couldn’t finish.  One is a painting of a photograph I took of a little boy in a raincoat splashing in puddles after a heavy rainfall.  I loved that photo – it spoke of a special time in my life.  I had started painting it thinking maybe it was one I could sell or maybe I should keep.  But a life event made continuing with it too painful.  I put it away out of sight for a couple of years because it hurt just to see it. 

This year though I felt it was holding me back – there are several other paintings and illustrations I want to do and this unfinished business was crippling my ability to do that.  No more, I decided.  Come hell or high water, I was going to finish it.  And you know what?  I did.  It hangs on my wall because I have a right to enjoy the memory of that moment in my life.  I’m happy it’s there.  I am also planning other paintings now, time permitting.

The other thing that is kind of holding me back is a book I started before my mother was diagnosed with dementia but it took on a whole new aspect when she was.  The book is about a man who visits his mother for Thanksgiving one year and realizes she has dementia and shouldn’t be on her own – how to cope with that, which for him was a couple of weeks that turns into years and what it does to his life and his view of himself.  I had to stop writing it – it was too painful, and after my mom passed I couldn’t read any of it, it hit too close to home. 

Last year I tried, got a little further in writing, then got to a point that had me in tears.  This year though, I tackled it differently.  I decided I should edit what I’ve already written which made me question the format of the timing and noticing several detail mistakes in characters that need fixing so there’s that.  But in reading it now I think I can finish this once I’m comfortable with the major edits that need doing first. 

But before I came to these conclusions about my in-progress work, I had a crisis this year where I felt there was no way I could continue with any of my creative endeavors.  I didn’t have time to finish or start anything and here it was, my entire life going nowhere with these things even though I’ve been published and won awards.  Awards don’t mean anything though, not really.  Selling and eyeballs on your work, that does.  I was thinking that if nobody gives a damn about it, why should I? 

I started to rewrite my website to be a one-page farewell.  I took all my paintings off the walls, stopped short of throwing them and my supplies out (I almost did – they went in bags), instead choosing to put them out of sight.  I decided that if nobody cared then neither did I, but maybe I could give them to someone. 

The blank walls felt empty.  I thought, why take down my history which is what my website is, why not just leave it? If nobody is interested, well, I am.  Slowly I reminded myself – I don’t do these things for other people.  I do them for the love of doing them and shutting that door, however softly, hurt a lot.  I came to an understanding that this is another area in my life I have to say:  who cares?  I do, and that’s what matters.

That was the nudge I needed to finish the painting that now hangs on my wall with the rest of them, restored to their places.  My website?  It still needs a major revamp but it’s not been taken down, not yet anyway.   Like so many things web programming is something I haven’t had time to do.  Someday.

The downward slide in my career stopped this year with an appointment from a pool I was in that ended my many years of assignments between 3 different employers at that level and giving some stability in my finances, which was a huge relief.  Having fewer expenses with working from home also has helped with my tackling bills that went back years; I even paid off two major ones that had haunted me.  Doing that also means the others are disappearing.  I still need a new vehicle (ours runs but is 11 years old and is on borrowed time I think).  I also still have one major thing to pay off.  But the end is sight and the relief of that is enormous.  Jim got his US pension finally and as a thank you, he bought me the heat pump I’d been dreaming of installing.  So, yay on these fantastic developments too.

I end this year on these high notes, fully vaccinated and boosted, going with the flow of the waves of the pandemic and regardless of what’s happening outside, moving forward here.  With writing I finally got the I Ching Jukebox paperback out, and now have to see why Off-Air isn’t showing on Amazon (it should be – it is available on Lulu).  I didn’t submit much this year because I did so much last year however, I do want to finish the novel I’ve nearly done, finish my book of essays, and my short story book.  That’s my challenge for 2022. 

I also want to do at least one or two paintings and make headway with my children’s book The Troll of Barondale as an illustrated book and hopefully animated one if I can find the right inexpensive program to create it in.  But that’s getting back to my computer programming which I’ve sadly let slide since moving to New Brunswick.  We’ll see.  

Other things I hope is to end is this now 9-month plateau of weight loss – I hate to think that 1200 calories a day has become my maintenance number, but I am exercising daily as much as I have time to do (1/2 hour to an hour a day).  Not sure what else to try but at least I reached the weight I was before the 5 years when my life went to hell and I gained 20 pounds.   Now I’m trying to get back to normal weight then the weight I’ve been most of my adult life.  Fingers crossed I find that answer this year – if you’re wondering I’m following Noom which is a good, healthy program – I’m not a fan of omission or single element focused diets, it’s not sustainable.  The plateau is something I’m doing or not doing; I just haven’t figured out what.

Looking at the bigger picture, there are lessons in the pandemic that I hope people will learn.  While it is forcing society to look at some things that had lurked under the surface such as long-term care homes and how they are managed, the cost of working versus not, job stability, financial social safety nets, the supply chain and where our food and goods come from, it’s also at a deeper level in that it’s forcing us to re-evaluate our lives and the people in them, the jobs we do, what we truly want in life.  It’s hard, but these are good things to look at and hopefully improve. 

What has gotten worse though is division between people because of ideology and the politicization of things that really shouldn’t be politicized.  Skepticism of facts based on data versus ideology became dangerous on Jan 6th in the US and I don’t know how we, the society of the world, can reign in this culture of non-acceptance of data in favour of belief that is happening everywhere.  Science shouldn’t be a belief, neither should numbers. 

How do you convince people to listen when they don’t trust the sources?  There’s a lot of clean up needed in media and reporting but I don’t know how that can happen and still allow opinion – like this piece, for instance.  Maybe by focusing on hate speech and removing that?  The odd thing is that while one side of this bellows opinion being the right of everybody, real human rights are eroding dangerously. Take for instance Texas and the anti-abortion laws they’ve enacted.  There are legitimate health reasons for allowing abortion regardless of the human rights angle but when those hard-won rights are taken away, they are so much harder to get back.  We should be guarding those rights, no matter what our personal beliefs are.  For those of us outside this area, keep a close eye.  This could be the bellwether for what’s to come.  Remember that.

That’s the thing – you are free to believe whatever you want, but when it encroaches on and possibly endangers others’ rights, that’s where I draw the line.  In the bigger picture, and in my own life.

So now we’ve gone full circle.  My final thoughts for this year are:  as always, have compassion and show it.  I don’t mean by saying I love you to everything in your vicinity – that’s not compassion, that’s words.  What I mean is by being a caring person, accepting peoples’ differences and their beliefs and life choices even if you don’t like them.  Listen.  And maybe, just maybe take a few minutes to find out the facts on matters that have empirical evidence.  Lastly, please don’t turn personal opinions into hard core rules for everybody.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion but nobody should have to live by someone else’s opinions.  Take the time to form your own, and stand up for what’s right, even if it means going against the grain.  Be authentic.  The world needs a whole lot more honesty and empathy right now.  Let it start with you.

À la prochaîne, and here’s to a better 2022.

Cathi

2022 Predictions

Here we are, it’s the end of another year and time for my annual predictions.  If you’re new to this I do my own form of remote viewing in that I get myself into a quiet meditative state and imagine that it’s Dec. 31st 2022 and I looking at a year end retrospective.  Then I write down what stands out.  That’s it, that’s all.  Sometimes I’m right so that’s why I post them. You can check my last year’s predictions if you want to know how I did last time around https://mrssauga.wordpress.com/2020/12/31/predictions-for-2021/

Why don’t you try this exercise and see what you come up with? 

Here, in no particular order is what I got for the world:

  1. A year like no other, in recent memory at least.  No one alive now would have experienced such a year.
  2. Trump will be in hospital again staying in for a while likely not running in the next election, may not even be around at that time.
  3. Cost of everything is going up – hunger – there’s a lot of unemployed and many jobs unfilled so why the dichotomy?  Society isn’t able to provide child care easily so one parent staying home is a thing for a while yet.
  4. Goods will be difficult to get, varying times, trouble with China and Taiwan partly to blame but also severe weather also causing problems for factories in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and other parts of Asia. 
  5. Thailand will suffer another large tsunami.
  6. People are thinking it’s time to move from harsh weather-plagued countries around the world.
  7. Japan is going to have another severe earthquake that causes huge problems for weeks if not months.
  8. A peoples’ secret society in North Korea is a possible threat to Kim Jong-un or an attempted coup.  However not much interest in reuniting North and South, they want to join the world is their focus.
  9. Spain – fires and very hot weather, volcanic activity/earth tremors.  Italy also experiencing volcanic eruptions, earth tremors.
  10. China is in for a difficult year with an unforeseen financial collapse – the supply chain problem is hurting them too and they have lost a lot of business.  Trouble at the Olympics related to politics and illness.   May wind up ending early than anticipated if IOC can’t stop countries pulling out while they try to continue.  The show must go on, as they say.
  11. The Queen will survive 2022 however much concern about her health continues.  She is stronger than that, should live to see 100; in 2021 she was in mourning but comes out better in the springtime.  She has another grandchild coming from William and Kate (unexpectedly).  Like it or not Harry can’t pull himself out of royal duties completely – an urgent matter comes up where he does step in.  Summertime?  There’s anger in his household about something but also a sense of relief.
  12. A t.v. media giant may fold, not keeping up with current trends – streaming and other delivery methods of content is here to stay so they don’t.
  13. Education and a closer look at jobs will be the focus of 2022 – a revolution in how we educate, what we teach and what is truly necessary for performing work will be a big deal going forward several years.  In some ways going back to how it was before the ‘70s/’80s when university and college became expected even though not necessary.  University and college will be more results focused and for specific professions rather than just needed to have a job for no reason.  People are looking at the cost of education and the method.  Much more remote learning increases access and affordability since much of what is taught can be learned online.
  14. Going out of the pandemic (another year at least) there will be more socializing but people will be more selective in where they go.  The lessons of the pandemic are hard to unlearn so large crowded events will be less as people turn away from big in-person things.  But that’s not bad, promoters see that you can get a lot more money streaming events at the same time as a smaller in-person attendance.
  15. Theatres and movies will make a comeback but movie theatres are on their way out as too expensive to maintain.  Plus people are happy to watch at home. 
  16. A lot of what we took for granted before:  packed transportation, dirty full movie theatres and the like just don’t appeal to people anymore, not like it used to.  And in a sense we don’t have to as much going forward.  Attending jam packed events and using standing only buses and subways feel off to many.  So these too will evolve.
  17. The bright light recently has been the growth in scientific discovery related to health care and that will continue.  A shot for a few forms of cancer is coming: lung, glioblastoma, kidney, pancreas, and liver.  Viruses are used to target cancer cell destroying them, which is very interesting and effective.  The vaccine for covid is also being tweaked for a common cold vaccine (sort of, likely needs annual similar to the flu shot).  But eventually people get less sick from this so the need for vaccines will be less.
  18. There’s a breakthrough in eyesight restoration, MS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s coming soon – may be hints of that in 2022.
  19. Energy revolution underway, there will be home energy generation coming sooner than later.  (yes, I know I predict that every year lol).  Job growth will be in this area while the petroleum jobs go away.
  20. US politics remaining unstable for several years due to the division. Eventually common themes will restore but may take a generation to fully heal the rift.
  21. Snow on both coasts of North American causes severe damage.  Western earthquake.  There are floods in the west but the drought isn’t over. East coast can expect more thunderstorms and a possible two hurricanes to affect Atlantic Canada.  Also an earthquake big enough to cause damage but few injuries in Eastern Ontario/Western Quebec.  Hotter than usual summer across Canada including the north.  Drought and wildfires continue in the same areas as in recent years across summer and including northern New Brunswick – this one will be curtailed by hurricane rains.
  22. A male movie star goes missing in 2022 and may never be found so becomes a mystery.  Age is mid-30s, white.
  23. Babies having trouble breathing in Asia – not sure if because of covid or a different reason like air quality but this makes the news.
  24. North Korean sabre rattling but is curtailed by the internal strife noted earlier.
  25. Greenland ice shelf makes the news this year.  Also something interesting is found in melting ice in Antarctica that raises speculation about ancient times.
  26. Aurora borealis will be seen much further south than on record – this is a sign of something.
  27. Financial markets heading for a tumble, a sudden rise and equally sudden fall.  Keep an eye on the housing market and also fresh produce markets.  A lot of volatility there could result in huge losses for people.  The flip side of course is that some people will find ways to make money off this.  Not smart, but some will.
  28. More social guarantees for various countries as the world sees this the trend moving forward at least for now.
  29. Anglican and Catholic churches are looking again at a form of unification to bring more people back to the pews.  It’s one way to resolve the married priest issue.
  30. Consider these times a universal house cleaning in a sense, shedding of old ways that need to be.

Alrighty, that’s a lot.

Take all of this with a boulder of salt, and Happy New Year everyone!

©Catherine M. Harris Dec. 30, 2021

Me and You

I want to believe the
Best in you
I want to see the
Best in you
Why can’t you see that
Best of you
Why can’t you show that
Best of you

Why do you seem to believe
The least of me
Why must you think
The least of me
Why would you see more than
The least of me
It’s the least that you
Could do dear
It’s the very least that you
Could do
Could do
It’s the very least that you
Could do.

What can I do
To show you my truth
What can I say
To tell you my truth
What can I give you
So you’ll take my truth
What can I do
When my truth
Won’t be heard?

What are we losing
When hard words are thrown
What are we gaining
When hard measures taken
What is the point
Of this hurtful circle
How do we square
With the past
When you always look back
Not to the present
Not to the future
Forever stunted
In long buried points
Sharpened and polished
Now gleaming in sunshine
While all the good things
Lurk in the shadows

This isn’t right
That’s why we’re left
Blind to what’s real
Clinging to grievances
Tenaciously hoarding
Pockets of pyrite
You’re right and I’m not
If I disagree
Oh my lord
When did my life
Become fodder so
Utterly
Foolishly
Heartlessly
Wrong?

Somebody give me
A listening horn
And a trumpet
I can hand you
To blow out the cobwebs
Spun by drunk spiders
And three eyed jokers
Here’s where I lay down my hand

I’ll sit here poker faced
Calming the storm
Riding the waves
Till you crash my shores
With the next high tide
And I hope I’m a beacon
Out in the darkness
Not a horn in the fog
But one steady beam
Round and round merry
Glowing strong
Standing tall
Here on my own
With you.

©Catherine M. Harris, 18-Dec-2021, all rights reserved

20 Years On

It’s Sept. 11, 2021. This week I watched an excellent documentary on 9/11 and I’ve listened to various pundits discussing the events of New York in 2001. It’s triggered a lot of memories for me, and as much as I hate to say this, the horrible day for the US that changed everything was a pivotal moment for me as well. It may seem odd that as a Canadian I say this but I am. I remember that day very well indeed.

The events of that particular day actually started for me a few months earlier with a dream that I shared on an online fellow webmaster/writer’s blog. It was a weird one but I thought he’d appreciate it for its detail. One thing that spoke to me was a fence. At the time I dreamt it I understood it as an allegory of what was happening in my life.

So first, the dream: I was walking down a street that was mostly fields on both sides. I saw plane flying so close I could see the pilot’s face and I thought that was weird and then it dove to the ground and crashed. I ran to the crash site, hoping I could help the pilot but I couldn’t get to him because it was behind a fence. I tried to find a way around it or over it but I just couldn’t it was too tall and I decided to run back to where there were buildings to get help and as I ran back I saw another plane crashing and then I was terrified and ran into a building that had (oddly) a Chinese restaurant where I went in with other people and we all hid under the tables.

I woke up wondering what the significance of all of this was except that I was in the very last days of my marriage at the time so for me it was maybe a symbol of the two of us going down in flames. I couldn’t save it, it was not possible. Just like those burning planes beyond the fence to me salvation was unreachable. To this day I have no clue what the Chinese restaurant meant. It doesn’t matter though – it was so vivid I had to share it and see if somebody else on the blog could figure it out. So my Connecticut friend let me post it.

That summer was strange and I was exiled to the couch while waiting for my rental townhouse and it was spent in sad stony silence in between decisions about furniture and the basics of unravelling the tangled mess life had become at the point. I was trying to smile for small children and stay professional at work while inside walking on emotional thumbtacks. That was a dark time indeed. Necessary, but oh so difficult. I try not to think of it. There are some points in a person’s life it’s better to not dwell on – just mentally close the door. By the end of summer that’s what I did physically.

In 2001 I was in the Toronto area working in an aviation environment where I was dealing with things at the international airport and other airports across Ontario. My online friend was involved with a non-profit radio station in Connecticut. We shared writing we were working on, helped each other with web programming problems and enjoyed being part of a group of like-minded creative folks who would have group MSN Messenger chats where we talked about life and all that was.

That group was in fact where we met in 1999 and I am pleased to say I still am in communication with several of those folks. I was focussed mostly on being a mother, trying to learn web programming on my own and fitting in my hobbies while working full-time at an office where it felt like I drove halfway around the world to get to. Most of the time it was an hour and half drive each way. Looking back I have no clue how I did everything I did in a day except that I do know I rarely got more than five hours sleep, and never without interruption. Which is how that dream was even more remarkable in that I even had one long enough to remember. Everything I did back then – dreams included – was in snippets and usually simultaneously.

At the beginning of September 2001 I was in a rental townhouse with brand new furniture (ask me how fun it was to build a bunkbed almost all by myself – thank you Andrew for saving the day when I simply couldn’t finish by myself), and trying to figure out the next minute in life. Until then, my Messenger friends were a lifeline when in the deep of the night I needed a listening eyeball to chat with – no one knew what I was going through because I just didn’t want to share that except to real life people.

It gets exhausting going over the tough stuff all the time, so those chats were also me listening to their lives and talking about creative things so it was refreshing. However, at the advice of my lawyer, communications with friends of any type that could be used against me in any way had to go. Since pages of fiction shared between us could be misconstrued I told the world the truth, that I had to delete any drafts of anything or shared worries about life and that included my Connecticut friend’s stuff. Of all the people I chatted with at the time, he was the one who was mostly likely to be on when I couldn’t sleep and I had to tell him also to please keep anything important, I have to delete it all. I was going to be offline the few days in early September and it was at that time I explained why.

I came back on line a day or so before my friend’s birthday on September 9th. We were both working the morning of September 11th. I got email notices of news bulletins and there was just the weirdest one about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Our Director had a tv in his office that got turned on. Then there was people exclaiming and the emails were coming one after the other. I phoned the children’s father and asked him if he was watching CNN. He was. Daughter was in school, son at the babysitter.

My office crowded in front of the t.v., dumbfounded, not sure what we were seeing. A couple were crying – they had relatives there. Others were worried about friends or family who happened to be travelling in the States. Our building was on lockdown for the forseeable future – there had been threats against it so nobody was going anywhere except for a few who had to leave. The day went in a blur of worried voices, stunned silence and the occasional stress-induced dark humour jokes. Sometimes you gotta just laugh instead of cry.

There were employees who deal with emergency situations – I was one of them in an administrative sort of way. It was a very long day with not much I could do except pretty much okay whatever the folks at the airport needed; there were hundreds of international flights over North American that were landing in Canada because the airspace over the US was closed. We were the next best thing. There’s a wonderful play that explains that very situation that happened in Gander – the airport that by far had the most planes landed. My concern was not the planes but more providing what area staff needed and we’ll leave it at that. What was worrying to me was that the local news was going on about what was happening at our airport, mentioning on occasion the place I worked and I wasn’t back several hours after school being let out because we were still in lock down.

My little girl was going to her dad’s after school and was going to be hearing about that on the news after not being told by the school what was happening. I know because I was told she first found out it from the tv and was a little bit worried hearing about the airport and the name of where I worked being said in the same time as some huge event of buildings falling. To this day I wish the schools had told the children about it. I mean, we were told the tough stuff. Regardless, it was late when I got home and I had many many longs days and nights of work ahead of me.

Late that evening I was on the computer trying not to look at the tv anymore, too wired to think about going to bed. My Connecticut friend was online – and more wired than I was. He was at the radio station that day, 50 miles from New York City, and talking all day to people who knew somebody, people who spoke to people who said goodbye from the planes and people who knew people in the Towers. For him this was real.

So we listened to each other that long night after that shocking day. I was glad he was alive across that now closed border. The next few weeks for both of us were mind-boggingly long and scary and strange. In my place people were threatening Muslims and I worried for the many neighbours we had that suddenly had become targets. I swore I would take in whoever would need to hide if it ever came to that and I hated that for even a minute we considered that was even a possibility. And my friend’s blog? The servers hosting it were in the basement of the World Trade Towers and so were lost.

When the border opened again and after a war was started, there came a time of fierce nationalism to the south of us which, while understandable got a bit ugly after Canada didn’t join that war. There were tales of people with Canadian license plates being turned away from gas stations and hotels when going across the border. I thought how strange after helping in the best ways we could we became one of the countries like the French (remember Freedom Fries?) .

So after the coming together and being there for one another, the anger crept in which was sad because there’s also a kindness that was lost after 9/11. I don’t know what can bring that back. What really hurts is that the anger festered and it’s boiled into a binary way of looking at things, of divided politics and a me-first thinking that is now literally killing people in this pandemic where it really will take unity or a whole lot of time for this to be over.

I get ahead of myself here though, because I found something that many other people did at that time. I found my soul. I realized then just how important it was to follow your heart because tomorrow everything can be taken away.

My online friend became my phone friend and we talked for hours. Some months later when there was time to breathe, we got an opportunity to meet in person for a coffee at least. One year later we were choosing to spend our lives together as a couple. For us, 9/11 was where several hours commiserating turned into a connection that would be strong enough to stand the test of time. We took a chance on a relationship that was unthinkable just a few months before. That’s something that this event did for a lot of people – it shook our lives so profoundly we took a chance on us. I’m glad we did.

So at the 20 year mark, I’m pleased the Afghan war is over and I hope that if there is a lesson learned here, it’s that we need each other. As we go through the second year of a pandemic one thing I’d like people to do who were around in 2001 is to remember how it felt, how no matter where we were, people wanted to help. They did what they could however they could even if there was a border between us. My allegorical fence has been almost a real one twice now – once with sick actions of terrorists and now with a terrible illness. I wonder what it will take for us to realize that if we had compassion for one another we can overcome anything?

I’m beginning to think I won’t be here if or when the world ever figures that one out. So I think I’ll just say that in my little world I did let compassion in, and I was fortunate enough to take the time to talk to someone who just needed to be listened to 20 years ago, as did I. Good things happen when you let love in your heart and truly listen.

So maybe with today’s challenges can I just ask one thing from people? Can I ask that maybe we think of other people during this pandemic and maybe try to care for one another without the divisions, recognizing that at the end of the day we’re all just people? Can we do that please?

–30–

Catherine M. Harris (c) 11.09.2021. All rights reserved

Dream Last Night

Had a dream last night
Everywhere I turned I 
Looked for you
I heard that you
Were dying in
One of those
Beds down the corridor
Full of doors - locked
Barred to me.
I didn't know why.
I couldn't say goodbye.
And when I awoke
From that dreadful
Place inside my head
Still lying in my bed
I'm thinking:
Here we go,
One more thing
Fueling my PTSD
And wondering why
The very ones
Who should be
Feeding my heart
Are instead
Tending to 
My nightmares.

--30--
(c) Catherine M. Harris, 21-Aug-2021