Chasing the elusive sleep

Not how Only Child wants to sleep at night

One of my goals for 2019 is to get more sleep at night – more specifically get to bed at a more normal/earlier time than 2 a.m. My problem isn’t waking up and getting up at 8 a.m. – it is getting to bed early enough to get 7 to 8 hours sleep.

But I have identified the gremlins. And yes, I don’t need to fall asleep for 30 minutes watching the news on TV. As part of my hopeful new regime I can do half an hour of that plus 10 minutes of the Weather Network and still get to bed in good time. No, it is the real gremlins behind this that have to be taken to task. So, going through the layers, there is first my health issues and all the extra crap I have to do for them. But, the basic extras would be okay to fit in. It’s the extra extras caused by flare-ups in one or more of those health issues which steal my time. Another time-stealer is the daily evening chores like doing the dishes, etc. (much more etc.). Even they can be reigned in.

IF ONLY I CAN GET RID OF THE HOUSE, COMPUTER PROBLEMS, ETC.  THAT JUST COME AT ME OUT OF NOWHERE.

If I thought or even hoped that 2019 would be any different from 2018 in having to deal with problems “coming from outside” as I call it, I was wrong. I’m referring to problems I don’t cause; problems caused by others, other organizations, etc. But I am the one that has to deal with the aftermath problems. And all this is not helpful to getting to bed at a reasonable time and getting enough sleep.

I’m a Sagittarian and to those astrologers who said because my sign is in Jupiter for 2019, I will have a much better year than 2018, I say “Stop talking through your hat. Take off your damn hat and think. All Sagittrians are not alike.”

Having said that, I am still determined to get my sleep – and not in front of the TV. And woe to anybody or thing that gets in my way.

And that includes health issues over-reaction – no doubt thanks to the stress from the problem

So, I am pursuing one of my other 2019 goals – start meditating. And one of my friends is helping me find resources to get me started. Thank you to her. Meditating may not solve the problem, but it can help me calm down and get my much-needed sleep.

And I just remembered what another friend told me many years ago  and to paraphrase her – Picture in your mind the culprit responsible for your problem(s). But picture them wearing some outlandish outfit – like boxer shorts with well (this next part is my idea) pictures of daggers or a big hand ready to grab them and shove them somewhere. (Well, I do write mystery/suspense so that can get rather dark)..

Well whatever works – as long as it is not sleeping pill prescriptions, large quantities of booze or even cannabis, although I am in favour of the latter for medicinal purposes under the direction of a doctor, but not recreational. So would this constitute medicinal? For more info on the cannabis and its consequences, etc., go to the first episode of my TV show Crime Beat Confidential which I tape every other month at thatchannel.com where I interviewed James Wigmore, a forensic scientist who is an expert on what cannabis is all about, and not from personal experience,

Meantime, here are a couple of links on sleep and stress. Please note: I may not agree with all the information below. There  is much more info online about stress and sleep deprivation but consider the source for helpful info.

Tips to reduce stress and sleep better

Stress and insomnia

And the Mayo Clinic on sleep disorders

Happy zzzzzzzzzs  – at night in your bed.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Life Balance, Life demands, Sleep and Health, Sleep deprivation

New Year New Outlook

Teddy reminding me to slow down

I am one of many who is glad that 2018 is past, deceased, down the drain. It was a very bad year for everybody and for our planet. On my Facebook page, my New Year’s message for all is:

Happy New Year to all my family and friends. May 2019 be your best year yet and the best year yet for our world, especially earth. May we all learn how to slow down before we burn out.

That is what I base my intentions, goals, etc. on. I don’t do resolutions. Instead I do a few lists under headings such as “Want to do/have to do”, “Don’t want to do/have to do”, “Want to do/don’t have to do” and my favourite “Don’t want to do/don’t have to do”. The latter is a bit longer than other years – the first has the longest list, which is good –  it is always better if what you have to do is also what you want to do. What is on my list is for the whole year and I don’t intend to do all at once. But it helps me realize what I have not been doing and what I have been doing too much of. And the focus is on CHANGE.

And no, I’m not going to list the whole she-bang. Just a few highlights.

I have not been able time-wise to do as much reading as I like and enjoy – so that is on the want/have to do list. So is something that has been eating away at my psyche and my health for a few years.

Those of you who follow this blog have probably read my occasional posts where I complain about water getting into my basement sometimes with heavy rainfalls and why it happens. In 2018 a friend offered to pay to get the waterproofing done and so I interviewed five prospective contractors who specialize in waterproofing the basement. But there are two black walnut trees near the house and on my neighbour’s property – trees neither of us planted – the pesky squirrels did it. As digging is required for outside waterproofing and I was concerned about tree roots, I decided I better get in an arborist to look at the tree situation. I kept my next door neighbour up to date on everything.

The arborist came and said the trees had to come down. He was going to charge a  ridiculous fee, plus there is a permit to get, etc. etc. – so  more fees BEFORE the waterproofing could be done. No way did I want my friend paying for trees to come down – she had offered to pay for the waterproofing and I was grateful for that. Anyway, for other reasons, both my next door neighbour and I do not want the trees to come down (shade, etc.) – they have been trimmed in the past by another arborist (who didn’t return my calls to do an assessment).

These trees weren’t big enough to be in the way when the original contractor, one Nigel Applewaite, did the job and did it wrong. He didn’t dig down to the weeping tiles like you are supposed to. I distinctly remember him telling me then that he was digging down four feet (weeping tiles are 5 to 6 feet down at least). Of course, then I didn’t know any better.

The first two years no water got in and then it did – obviously from below where he stopped digging. After he told me to get the drains checked (I did – city workers said they were clear), he ran the hose against the wall in one area to see if any water got in (not from that spot)  and that was it. Never heard from him again.

So I’ve been letting people know not to hire him because of what he didn’t do – including my insurance agent’s manager when her basement flooded for the same reason. “Don’t hire Nigel Applewaite” became my mantra for all.

Well, I’m still suffering thanks to him. So, this year I’m going after him – all legal. I have some options up my sleeve for this.

The rest of my intentions for 2019 are not nasty unless you count dropping so-called friends who betrayed me in 2018. But from that and other experiences I have learned to treasure my true friends and to try to spend more time with them. To that end I am cutting back or deleting some of the unnecessary time-wasters from 2018. Or just saying “NO” to what other people think I should do.

 

I will still be writing (more than in 2018 I hope), doing book promo for my Beyond mystery books, editing clients’ manuscripts and teaching writing workshops. All that will be  covered on my author blog here. But I probably won’t get to this week’s post until tomorrow (Jan. 4, 2019). But posting weekly to both my blogs (as I used to before forces outside me took over it seems), is one of my 2019 intentions

So, happy, prosperous, joyful, productive, peaceful, etc. 2019 to all.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Basement Flooding, Family and Friends, Life demands, New year's resolutions, Only child

Will striking hydro workers actions be the death of us?

Christmas tree with lights – endangered?

LEGISLATION WAS PASSED THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2018 TO BLOCK A STRIKE BY ONTARIO HYDRO WORKERS. READ ABOUT IT HERE

BELOW IS WHAT THE SITUATION WAS BEFORE THE BILL WAS PASSED AND MY COMMENTS ON IT.

Looks like the big Grinch this Christmas and afterwards is the Ontario Power  Workers Union (PWU) who are in a “legal position” (quotation marks mine) to strike since Friday December 14. If the strike goes ahead, these workers plan to shut down Ontario’s hydro power plants starting with the nuclear ones and then moving on to the other plants. Brownouts and blackouts would be a certainty. The nuclear generators take 21 days to completely shut down and the shutdown could begin seven to 10 days after the “legal strike position” day.

That means as early as this Friday December 21. This is scary stuff.

What is wrong with the above?

Everything. Why are hydro workers even allowed to strike? Any utility service should be legislated as essential service. It is for the safety, health and even life of people – you know, us the general public who get stuck unwillingly as the third party in these labour disputes.

This is not an inconvenience strike. People could die. Not just seniors, but all ages. Remember the big blackout  in December 2013 just before Christmas? That was caused by an ice storm so not people caused. Obviously the PWU workers don’t remember it. And they were the heroes then, working so hard to restore power. How the mighty are falling – as the saying goes.

But this strike – if it goes ahead and people die from no heat and no light because of workers’ actions, isn’t this murder? The workers have the intent to shut down the power knowing what it could do. At the very least, criminal negligence causing death. Actions bring on consequences.

But there is some hope from our stick-wielding (figuratively speaking) new Premier of Ontario – Doug Ford. I am not a fan of his, but if he can pull off what he is trying to do (and it is legal), then maybe it will be the one good thing he has done. Mr. Ford has called the Ontario legislature back to business, back early from its Christmas hiatus, and his party is trying to pass back-to-work legislation with the issues between OPG and PUW to be solved by arbitration.

That’s if NDP opposition leader Andrea Horwath doesn’t stop it. She is over-making an effort to do so. But hopefully Ford’s Conservative party will out number her in the vote and hopefully the vote will be done by Thursday. It would also be good if the Conservatives passed legislation for utility strikes to be illegal.

His late brother Rob Ford did this when he was mayor in Toronto – but not for a utility – for Toronto’s public transit system (TTC) workers.

In this day and age, strikes – full scale or otherwise – are not in anyone’s best interest and don’t really solve anything. Both sides suffer but it is us, the third party. the general public. who suffer the most. And we are not even on either side and so not involved until the plug is pulled (pun intended here) with a strike. Negotiations with binding arbitration might have to be the answer – at least for essential services. And more services need to be legislated as essential.

So, I’m keeping toes crossed (can’t type with crossed fingers) that Ford’s legislation gets passed in time this week and the strike and its killing consequences are avoided.

Meantime, you can follow stories on this at various newspapers and TV stations on line (as long as we have power and batteries don’t die on cell phones), such as these. I’m not providing direct story links as the stories will be updated.

If you Google “Ontario Power workers and hydro strike” with or without Doug Ford’s name added you’ll get a list of the stories.

Let’s hope we will all be in the light for Christmas and after.

Cheers (I hope)

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

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Filed under Actions Consequences, Essential Services

Only Child on postal strike and GM closing Oshawa plant

I was 16 and became close to a pen pal (if you are over 50, remember those?) living on the Prairies. We wrote often and after mailing my letter to her I would start looking in my mailbox for her reply. Then the unthinkable to a teenager happened. Our correspondence came to a halt. We didn’t fight and neither of us had stopped writing.

But the Canadian postal service had stopped. No mail delivery because the union and its workers were on strike.

I had never heard of or experienced strikes before. But I learned fast that strikes between employees and management aren’t just between them. There is a third party, an innocent pary maybe you could call them victims – they are called “general public”.

It was my rude welcome to the club. From then on I never was in favour of strikes as a means to settle labour disputes – no matter which side was at fault (and I learned that most of the time there was fault on both sides.)

But not on the third party’s – general public – side.

Yes, I once worked for a government agency and belonged to a union. We weren’t allowed to go on strike because we were considered essential services. But we all got very good raises in pay at contract negotiation time.

Now the federal government has finally passed legislation ordering these postal  strikers back to work.  And their union leader Mike Palecek has the nerve to stick his face in front of a camera and complain that it is not right. Excuse me, but just obey the law. Your strike may have been legal up to now, but now it is time to sort and deliver the mail backlog.

And maybe Mr. Palecek should turn his attention to the real worker problem – not a strike, but a company closure. I’m referring to General Motors closing all of its Oshawa, Ontario, Canada plant by the end of 2019. It will put over 2500 out of work, just from General Motors alone. It will also affect where they took their business – shops, restaurants.

And all these are people. It breaks my heart when something like this happens. This is not disgruntled greedy workers striking for more money and perhaps what they want in working condition improvements. This situation is  no pay, no job. Some of these GM workers have moved their families several times to follow where GM put them, where the jobs were. Now they have nothing, thanks to a parent company decision.

And finding out about this in the Christmas season makes it worse. Even Scrooge will be crying into his Christmas tree.

So Mr.  Palecek – quit complaining, do your job, and let arbitration sort it out. You will have enough to do to sort out the mail – despite online shopping (or maybe because of it) there is still lots of mail waiting to be processed.

Several empty mailboxes awaiting mail delivery

And when you do this, you might also like to pay attention to the GM workers situation. And count your blessings.

Cheers.

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Canada Postal Services, CUPW, Labour Unions and Strikes, Mail Delivery Canada, Unions and Strikes

Banks card security procedures stymie card holder

Pondering the complications of online bank security changes

Both my bank and my credit card company have new security measures for their clients. While I applaud this step, it thumbs down for their procedures to do so. Why? Because they are making it difficult for the avtual card holder to do the changes. I thought these security measures were for our benefit, but if we can’t access our accounts, something is wrong.

Take Scotiabank’s new debit cards. Traditionally, you kept the same debit card, same number for ages (unless the card was stolen, lost, or mangled). I have had the last two happen to my debit card over the years. No problem getting a new card and get it working – including for my online account. And that’s where the problems are now happening. Here’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Last Friday a new card arrived in the mail. No warning ahead of time from Scotiabank – by regular mail or in an online notification at my account. Remember, old debit cards have no expiry date so unlike credit cards you can’t check to see when the new card is expected to arrive. The new cards do have an expiry date, which will help somewhat for the future. But for now I decided yesterday afternoon to go to my bank in person and get all the changes made.

No problem with changing my card number for in-person banking. But the teller couldn’t change my online account because she didn’t have my password. I didn’t either – on me. I don’t carry my passwords around with me. She explained how I could to change it online. I wasn’t happy about the situation and said that I would have problems.

And boy did I – worse than anticipated. I wasted the rest of the afternoon with this. Starting with my laptop I tried to change the card number in my account but each time I tried to log in it kept going back to the old number and flashing ERROR # etc. at the top. I even changed my password. Didn’t work. So I called Scotiabank customer service and got a very patient helpful rep.

First she tried to help me fix it on the laptop. Didn’t work. Then we tried my desktop computer. At first it kept doing the same return to the old card number and wouldn’t let me in. Finally she had me click on something else and got me to the security questions which are necessary for this change. (That didn’t happen on the laptop). Finally we got in. Because computers are linked when I went to my laptop, I got in to my account immediately.

I thanked her profusely for her patience and help and got the Scotiabank phone no. to put in a complaint. I was very clear that the complaint was not against her or the teller but against the card being changed with a changed number  at all without any notice and the setup up for changing it on line (Instructions not in the cover letter with the card from Scotiabank). Again I got a sympathetic bank rep (so far – we’ll see what the result of my complaint brings). Again I was clear that my complaint was not against the teller or the customer service rep. – if anybody, it would be the assholes (pardon my language – I could use stronger language) who initiated this change and decided on how it would be done.

As for the credit card change – that is another bank and so far all I have done is go online to my account. After I enter the password I get this box about all the new security measures and the procedures for doing so. There are points in it to click on for more info. I did this. But I couldn’t see all the information because you couldn’t scroll down the pdf.

So I phoned to get some help. Got through to someone called Sarah right away and complained about the faulty design. She agreed and put me on hold and never came back. I was on hold for over 15 minutes before hanging up. Definitely I will be putting in a complaint about Sarah – if I can get through. I’m still mulling over whether to cancel my card and get another one from another bank….but why should I have to do this?

What do you think of this? Is security getting too complicated for the card holders to get around? Or am I just a luddite?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bank service, Bank service complaints, Banking, Consumer action

Only Child says don’t order me around

My Mom and Dad

When I was a child my mom and dad told me what to do. And so they should – that was part of their job being parents. Fast forward too many years to now and people are still telling me what to do – or trying to. I’m a senior and should be able to make up  my own mind, including weighing in on pros and cons of different situation.

That doesn’t mean I don’t ask for help, for suggestions from friends and family – the big word here is “ask”. It is the unsolicited advice – sometimes almost like orders I’m talking about.

That also doesn’t mean that I don’t listen to experts talk/suggest in well, their area of expertise. For example, with my handyman, Mike, if I call him in with yet another house repair problem. Sure, we can get into a discussion. But I listen to what he says and will probably have him do what he suggests – as long as I can afford it. Sometimes, the work just gets postponed until I can afford it – like the old rec room window that last month just started letting water ub during heavy rainfalls. That’s a closed window, folks.

And for medical/health advice, I listen to the experts and read expert info – although in the end,  a lot of that is up to me. But I don’t pretend to know everything. As a former journalist I am very familiar with the word “research” and do lots of that.

It’s when people who think they know what I should do start in. For example telling me to get the basement waterproofed now. When I explain there is the window to see to first, then they try to draw up a schedule for me to get it all done. They know I am a writer and have my third Beyond mystery novel to promote, etc., etc., so…

News flash: I don’t have a husband or any other type of partner. I’m in this myself so that means I have to do and/or organize everything in my life.

Not that I wouldn’t want some help and sometimes friends gift me their help – but they are not ordering me around. My son is also a big help, not just with computers but with a few practical things that surprise me. But he doesn’t push it.

Tbe big one that really gets my goat is this: If I am having so many house problems why don’t I sell it and move into a condo?

Oh, For you-know-whose sake! Is that the answer for us seniors living in our own homes? To those  who think this, I think “Get a life – preferably yours, not mine.”

Throughout my life I  have lived in apartments, townhouses, two-storey houses and bungalows. I live in a bungalow now and it’s the only type of home that appeals to me. So, I have a short answer for these meddling busy-bodies who ask “Why don’t you sell the house and move into a condo?”

Because I would rather be dead than give up my garden.

That shuts them up.

Sharon on patio backyard garden

Of course I have more practical reasons. But I am tired of going into them.

So, I say, I am a senior and as long as my brain is still working, I think I can decide what to do and when to do it. And I reserve the right to change my mind or move the timing of it and when to ask for help.

What do you say?

How do you deal with unsolicited advice to well, run your life?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Aloneness, Decision Making, Family and Friends, Garden, Help and Support, Life Balance, Only child, Problem solving, Seniors

Mr. Ford please don’t take over my TTC subways

Toronto Transit subway

Now that the reduce-the-Toronto-wards-number fiasco has been struck down in court, Premier Doug Ford can perhaps look elsewhere to do some damage. And yes, I know he plans to use the little-used not-withstanding clause. But Mr. Ford also wants to take over part of the TTC, er, his PC government does. That would be the subways. But Toronto can keep  the bus, LRT and other streetcar service. See story here.

Mr. Ford might do well to look at the history of the TTC –  when it was a jumble of privately run companies and when the Toronto Transit Commission began taking it all over. Mr. Ford can start by going here for a little history lesson. Even better read the Mike Filey  book mentioned in the article  – The TTC Story: The First Seventy-five Years (Dundurn Press, 1996). Can’t find it online or in a bricks and mortars store? Toronto Public library has copies. And if Mr. Ford doesn’t have a library card, he can get one easily – and it’s free. That should suit him.

I am a life-long TTC rider and even though I complain loudly about the crowding, the stoppages for various reasons, dividing it up with the PCs taking over the subways and the TTC keeping the rest will create chaos. Remember the old saying about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing?

When I was a child (back in the grey ages) my mom, dad and I travelled by TTC to everywhere. We had no car and my parents couldn’t drive anyway. I enjoyed the subway rides on Yonge St. to downtown to shop at department store no longer around (but that’s fodder for another post) – this latter mainly with Mom. But Mom, Dad and I used to take the subway to Eglinton and then on buses afterwards to visit family and friends. When I started work ,the first phase of Line 2 along Bloor and Danforth had started running. And yes, it was crowded then too (albeit not as bad as today). When the Yonge line was first extended to York Mills I was living in North York and commuting to work at Bloor and Yonge from Sheppard and Don Mills. This  required an extra bus to York Mills. So I was glad when the subway line got extended to Finch. And since then, there have been more extensions and something called an LRT now being built along Eglinton.

Mr. Ford is saying that the TTC will still operate the subway system and can keep all revenues generated. How generous. If  Mr. Ford wants to get his hands into the TTC, maybe he should concentrate on the province giving more funds to the TTC so it doesn’t need to use so much of the fare revenue to cover costs for maintaining and building new subway lines, etc.

Emphasis on the word “public”. I am part of this public. I pay for my TTC pass (soon to be a Presto card) and pay my municipal taxes – some of which go to pay some of the TTC expenses no doubt, as one of my Facebook pals pointed out. But we (the public) have our rights.

And for the record I did not vote for the PCs in the election this year. And the NDP I voted for in my riding got in.

Many people speculate that Mr. Ford is doing all this to Toronto in retaliation for Toronto voting mostly NDP in the election. Whether that is true or not, the fact that Toronto voted NDP says something about our wishes.

But hey, democracy seems to be turning into a bad word. Just look at south of the border.

Comments, please. And here’s the link to my Facebook page. Scroll down a bit to see some comments on this TTC ruckus.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Toronto public transit, TTC Subways