Category Archives: Sign of the Times

Only Child finds a little joy in horrid world

Busy city street - sign of current times

Busy city street – sign of current times

Yesterday a friend and I were talking about the world today, the world we live in. We both agreed that is is a horrid world – too digital, too hurried, extreme weather, the terrorism, etc. I said it all got going into this state when we entered the new millennium and she agreed, with the addition that back in the 70s there was the Vietnam War. I added that back then there wasn’t so much of everything.

I don’t think it is because we are both seniors (albeit at the lower end of the seniors age bracket).

Truth is we are inundated with too much crappy stuff these days.

It is hard to find a little peace, a little joy. But we need to. The only other option seems to be to “get the hell out of Dodge.”

Last night while hurrying along a Toronto street to do some grocery shopping, I realized – hey, the weather in Toronto is warmer than usual for this time of year. No actual winter weather. True we’ve been getting a lot of fog and clouds and rain is coming later this week. I think something my ex said in an email earlier yesterday also was somewhere in my mind. He and his wife live out west and while they are getting a lot of rain he likes it because it is warmer then.

So, I did a momentary mind pause, slowed down my walking, and stopped cursing the Food Basics store for having one cooked ham on sale left (and it was awful looking – too much fat and a small string curled up in it – you know the “ick” factor).

I actually started to enjoy the evening, thinking it wasn’t bad weather-wise, still warmish.

How do you find a little peace and joy in your life?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Carpe Diem, Cities, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Friends, Happiness, Seniors, Sign of the Times, Winter Weather

Only Child looks for any silver lining

Only child contemplates the world we live in

Only child contemplates the world we live in

The world circa 2015 is going to worse than hell in a hand basket. Try nowhere in a rocket. Even Superman, faster than a speeding bullet, can’t save us.

Every day I wake up to more bad stuff – both in the wider world and personally.

The worst part may be that 90 to 95 per cent I didn’t cause.

Consider the following:

Worldwide: the weather – there is not a place in the world that is safe from extreme weather. Those who follow my blog posts here know who I blame for this (Hint: “dog” spelled backwards). Even waking up to the sun shining doesn’t provide much hope. Think skin cancer, windburn to evergreens, etc.

Worldwide: terrorism, financial debt, unemployment, overuse of too much technology, rudeness as the norm, etc.

Personal: problems with utility companies (don’t get me going here), computer problems, house and yard damage (much due to weather) and resulting financial problems and health problems, time management problems (some of the latter is my fault), etc.

I think you get the picture and it isn’t pretty.

The only solution seems to be to get away from it all – but where to go – a one-way ticket to outer space?

So I “hide” deeper in my writing. But excuse me – first I have to finish going through all the year-end bookkeeping for my business and do the tax stuff. No doubt to get “robbed” by the CRA – more money I don’t have much of to be forked out.

I am polishing up my tin can – a big tin can.

Lottery tickets don’t work for me.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Civility, Computer problems, Health, Income Taxes, Only child, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford, Sign of the Times, Technology overload, Technology problems, Uncategorized, Weather, Writing

Only Child welcomes the return of vinyl records

thumb_record_vinyl_45_rpm_record_gerald_g__01Vinyl records are making a big comeback and that makes me feel happy. Not just because I kept my old turntable from years back. But because I see this movement as a sign that not everything technological is going to hell in a virtual hand basket.

During the last few years technology has been on a roller-coaster ride, bombarding us, with so many of us now plugged in 24/7. Every trend, every movement hits its peak at some point. Perhaps modern technology already has. When that happens, the equilibrium needs to be adjusted to a more even keel.

Vinyl records may just be what technology needs to get a grip, to maybe even (dare I say) slow us down. For the past few years musicians have been recording both CD and vinyl. That includes my son Martin and his band Beams. They have a 45 (yes, you read this correctly) with the required two songs – one each side – coming out this week. It’s not called a 45 anymore – but a seven-inch. For those of us old foggies with old 45’s, measure the diameter and then it will twig in.

Did I say old foggies? The vinyl revolution is grabbing all ages – both for recording and buying. While I still have my really old Sears basic turntable (don’t laugh, but I have to physically place and remove the needle on and off the record) there are newer modern versions being manufactured with the built-in feature of converting to digital.

The stats show that vinyl sales increased from 2013 by 71 per cent from 2013 in 2014 in Canada. That’s 400,000 pieces of vinyl sold. In the United States vinyl sales reached 9.2 million in 2014, an increase from 2013 of 51 per cent.

And the vinyl presses can’t keep up with the demand. The old companies have to expand and upgrade or give up, but new ones are popping up. It is an expensive venture. I’ll let Ben Rayner, in his Toronto Star article, January 24, 2015 bring you up to date at

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2015/01/24/vinyls-pressing-problem.html

But this vinyl movement might signal the way of the future, the answer – combining the old with the new. Think “radio.” Yes, radio; you know that audio device that’s been around for longer than me. Radio was the main way people found out quickly about events in World War II (The other modes around then, print news and film newscasts shown in movie theatres were not so up-to-date).

When television became very popular, pundits said radio would die. It didn’t. I’m sure the same has been said about both radio and TV since the Internet got going and spawned more and more technology.

Not true. Radio and television, while still operating on their own (somewhat. I’ll clarify that in a minute), are also connected to the Internet. You can watch TV programs online. Radio programs are broadcast online, often live-streamed. And there are online only radio and TV channels. For those of us who still like to watch our TV on an actual TV instead of online (the screen is larger for one thing), cable companies and the like offer program packages. There is also satellite TV.

True, a lot of the broadcasting companies for radio and television have amalgamated. But there is also more diversity on what is broadcast with all news stations, all sports stations and my favourite, an all classic music radio station (96.3 Classic FM for those who want to know).

Maybe this combination of old and new technology is the answer to the frenzied technological mess we are in. Maybe this is how the world gets back its technological equilibrium. And none too soon – before anyone else texting while crossing the street collides with a moving vehicle.

Now, if only all other extremes in the world (like the weather) could find their happy medium.

Meantime, my son’s band Beams will be holding a launch party for that seven-inch late this Thursday evening (January 29) at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Check it out at http://beamstheband.com/shows/

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under 1960s, LPs, Music, Nostalgia, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Sign of the Times

Only Child on gardening and weather

 Only Child as a toddler  in the backyard garden with her late Mom

Only Child as a toddler in the backyard garden with her late Mom

Yesterday I spent a bit of time clearing some of the garden. Removing  the dead perennial stems and branches so that the tulips, crocuses and hyacinths could appear in all their glory (finally) helped bring on the illusion of spring. I say “illusion” because of all the crappy weather occurring in North America and elsewhere in the world. I’m not convinced spring is here to stay but I’m taking what is offered.

The ritual and actual practice of doing anything in the garden tends to slow me down, including my usual racing mind. I can admire the different colours (although mostly purples so far) and smell the hyacinths. I can check out the tulip plants and see the beginning of a bulb in one and imagine the red tulips that will emerge and colour my garden.

If the “weather” doesn’t mess it all up.

Not a fanciful worry if you take into account all the recent/current floods in Ontario’s cottage country, in Illinois and Texas and what is just waiting to happen in North Dakota and Manitoba. There was even a tornado in Shelbourne, Ontario over the weekend as well as snow in different parts of Canada and the US. Around the world there are earthquakes, snowstorms, heavy winds, droughts, extremely hot and humid weather, etc. – much of it way out of typical seasonal weather.

But nothing is normal about the weather on planet earth anymore. No matter where you live you can’t escape it. The mostly calm and normal weather when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in southern Ontario, Canada (Toronto to be exact) no longer exists. Sure we had hot humid summer days (and no air conditioning). My mother used to set up the card table and chairs in the shade in the backyard or in the unfinished basement and bring out all the dishes and food for supper. Sure, we had Hurricane Hazel hit us in fall 1954 (and that is dating me) but that was it for extra-ordinary (that I can remember). None of these extremes in weather we experience now and certainly not what is now a given – basement flooding at some point or points in time.

And I’m going to go out on a limb here (figuratively speaking, for now anyway), and say I’m not sure it is all human-caused global warming. I’m not religious, but I think there might be something in the “ranting” and “predictions” of some religious groups. The world didn’t end in October 2012, but when you see/read about all the crazy weather, you start to wonder. To paraphrase a line from a commercial “it’s not nice to offend Mother Nature” – however, Mother Nature is a figment of someone’s imagination. I’ve touched on this in a previous post. The very word “Mother” does not bring up visions of constantly living on the edge of a bad weather precipice.

So what is one to do? I’m going to try to get out in the garden as much as I can…and enjoy the relative peace – that is when I’m not anchoring down garbage bins, chairs and potted plants.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Only Child' front garden - later in summer.

Only Child’s front garden – later in summer.

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Filed under 1950s, Extreme Weather, Floods, Gardening, Mom and Dad, Only child, Rain and wind storm, Sharon A. Crawford, Sign of the Times, Snow, Toronto, Weather

Only Child says road construction sign of life’s discord

Only Child’s front garden – headed for some destruction?

Last weekend I did a lot of walking in downtown Toronto and was appalled at all the road construction. Supposedly it is to improve Toronto’s streets and sites. But as I slogged through the heat along Front Street West and down York Street I couldn’t help wonder if underneath it all there is a more serious sign. If you throw in the extreme weather conditions worldwide – more severe thunderstorms with flooding, tornadoes, forest fires, and the worst drought since the Depression in the mid-1930s, you have to wonder. No, folks, I’m not talking the end of the world, although some people believe that will happen later this year. I mean the extensive invasive construction and extreme weathers conditions  just might be signs of the clutter, overwhelm, and disharmony in people’s lives throughout the world.

It didn’t used to be so much construction at once, although I remember as a five-year old, poking my head out the front door and seeing the whole street dug up for pipe replacement.

Now, Union Station – Toronto’s railway hub – is going through a big renovation. From the diagrams displayed inside the station’s big hall, the future looks great. But the process is taking a long time and producing a spill-out of more construction nightmares. The actual entries to Union Station and maneuvering around inside appear tolerable. Front Street outside is something else as the islands of gardens in the middle of the street were removed last year and this summer more of Front Street is one big long hole while sewers, etc. get updated. In June, the construction and the extreme weather created a flood inside Union Station and the subway platform below.

This weekend, yet another street where streetcars run, entered the construction act – to upgrade the tracks and prepare the area for a partial pedestrian walkway for Toronto’s Harbourfront. These streetcars (as well as those on Spadina Avenue) use a dedicated track line. The buses don’t. So, we have people, cars and buses (when they come) jamming streets and sidewalks. I gave up on waiting for the bus transfer from the subway (up the stairs, around the corner and down the street) for the walk to Harbourfront. Along with many others, I trudged through heat over to York Street and then some shade under the Gardner Expressway (which has had chunks of cement falling down in various places) and finally to Harbourfront. I was trying to make it in time for the classical music concert in the Harbourfront Music Garden. So I walked in the heat and humidity over to the west end of Harbourfront. As I arrived (late) and started through the gardens I could hear the “music.”

Somebody was insulting an accordion, hitting random chords of discord. I decided to skip the concert and wandered through the gardens. Here, beauty appeared and I found areas of the garden I hadn’t known existed. Truly this is an oasis of calm (except for the occasional sound from the concert popping through). When I walked back to Harbourfront Centre proper as I passed by the main outdoor concert stage, my ears were hit with more discord in sound. Another sign of the discord everyone seems to be experiencing in their lives?

And if I think sitting out in my garden will help, I have to think again – at least for the front garden. In my walk along the downtown streets Sunday and in my walks in nearby neighbourhoods the past month, I’ve seen the big gas pipe movement – replacement of old pipes for presumably newer and better ones. And if they have to, they go on your property and dig, although for the lucky ones, it stays on the sidewalk, roads, and maybe the driveway.

Not for me. I have gas lines under part of my front garden (once a front lawn). Why would gas lines (except the one connecting to the house service at the gas metre) be under a lawn? Who was at fault – the house builder/developer or the gas company back in the day when the area was developed? Somebody screwed up. And I’m terrified they will be coming to get my front garden – if not this year, then next. I’m having nightmares and daymares.

I need to find out more and make a plan.

Does anyone else find the extremes in weather, and such occurrences as too much radical construction, etc. a sign that our lives are really out of whack and we (I use the royal “we” here) need to make some changes before it is too late?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Clutter, Extreme Weather, Garden Destruction, Home and Garden, Music, Only child, Road Construction, Sharon A. Crawford, Sign of the Times, Union Station Toronto, Walking