Tag Archives: environment

Only Child finds a little sunshine between rainstorms

Part of Only Child's rose garden in front by the sidewalk

Part of Only Child’s rose garden in front by the sidewalk

Southern Ontario has been blasted with rain, thunder and lightning from late Sunday evening. The thunderstorms kept me awake with the noise and the worry of possible power outages and basement floods. I even got up once and checked the basement, but no water getting in then. The weather forecast looks very gloomy this week, except for Thursday, parts of Saturday, and Sunday. We don’t need all this rain in a short time – neither do the gardens and lawns.

But we all know the weather is screwed up no matter who or what we think is the cause. And it isn’t going to get any better according to a study from Australia. This Toronto Star story by Raveena Aulakh, from June 8, 2015 “ Risk of flooding rises with global warming, says study” looks at the research on the inner workings of rain storms and some disturbing implications come to light (or dark, which may be more appropriate). The story starts with: “After analyzing data from 40,000 storms, Australian researchers found peak rainfall intensifies when temperatures are higher.”

That is especially true in urban areas. The study was conducted in Sydney, Australia at the University of New South Wales where scientists focused on 40,000 storms that occurred in Australia during three decades. Just that number of storms is terrifying. What the scientists found out is even more terrifying – these warming temperatures (and yes, they used the cop-out cause of “climate change”) are messing up the patterns of the rain within the actual storms. The two researchers – Ashish Sharma, a professor in the university civil engineering and environment school and Conrad Wasko, a PhD candidate there – also figure that this is true for around the world.
While frightened and yes, angry, about all this, I am really not surprised. From what I’ve seen, not just from The Weather Network, but up close and personal, the weather worldwide has been going beyond hell in a hand basket as we entered the 21st. century. There were a few signs in the late 1990s but the situation has escalated a lot since we hit 2000. These bad weather patterns are only the tips of the rainfall (we may not have much in the way of icebergs in the near future) – that show me, the whole world in too many ways is skyrocketing off balance.
The Toronto Star story goes on about a few really bad flooding storms from two years ago in Canada, the June 2013 one in Calgary and southern Alberta, and the July 2013 one in Toronto, Canada. The Alberta one is the most costly in Canada (so far) and the Toronto one beat the 1954 Hurricane Hazel one in amount of rainfall. I said beat a hurricane which the July 2013 one wasn’t. You can read the full article at http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/06/08/risk-of-flooding-rises-with-global-warming-says-study.html
No wonder I am crabby and angry a lot of the time.
But I received a most welcome blessing last evening. Besides not getting the thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon and evening (God listened for a change), the sun was shining, so I decided to go for a walk. As I headed down my driveway a man walking by was verbally admiring my garden.
“I call it my wild garden,” I said. “I’m still catching up with all the weeds.”
“Yes,” he said, “but look at all the colour from the flowers.”
He’s right. The first lot of rosebushes are blooming red and white and they are fragrant; there are pink peonies, even the chives are doing their part with purple flowers.
It made me think. My garden is beautiful. It is also one of the few good things about this climate.
So, go out in your garden and enjoy. If you don’t have a garden, go to a public garden or park with a garden; walk along the street and look at your neighbour’s gardens. Do this while you still can, while all this is still here. Before the rain comes and floods it all away.
Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme rainfall weather, Extreme Weather, Gardening, Only child, Rain, Roses, Weather

Only Child on mother’s dresser drawer and inheriting personal characteristics

Only Child with her parents in saner times at her grandfather's farm

Only Child age 11 with her parents at her grandfather’s farm

Do we inherit our personal characteristics from our parents? Or is it all environment or a little of both? The experts seem to be undecided, some research even pooh-poohing the genetic aspect. See the excellent Psychology Today article online at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/under-the-influence/201307/do-genes-influence-personality.

Lately I seem to be subconsciously following in both my parents’ genetic footsteps as I try to sort through the aftermath of a difficult 2013 and move forward. Until the last few days when I had sort of an extended “aha moment.”

I realized I was using my mother’s logical and practical modus operandi to budget my finances, to organize my days (both for work and other) and stay on track. What put the light bulb in my head about this was remembering Mom’s simple basic files in a dresser drawer in her bedroom. Nothing fancy but it kept her on track with her finances. She also seemed to have a plan in her head about what she did – whether sewing clothes for me, knitting, gardening or cooking and baking. Even after Dad died and her health went downhill she still retained some of this organization practical skill to keep her going. Until we actually were moving out of the house I grew up in – but that’s another story.

Mom came from a mixed bag of right brain and left brain ancestors. As the name suggests, the Strauss side members were artistic – music, painting, crafts – and not too practical. The Schefter side members were very practical and business-like. I think Mom inherited mainly that side – particularly from her father, my Grandfather Charlie – although Mom’s sewing, knitting, gardening, and even cooking bordered on the creative side.

I can’t knit to save my life but I spent a number of years quilting by hand and sewed all my maternity clothes back in 1977. Now to get me to mend anything is a big deal. Then there is my writing and gardening. The latter is definitely inherited from Mom, but the gardening environment I grew up in plays a big role too.

Besides the Strauss influence I need to go to my Dad’s side of the family – the Langevins. There is a Langevin, a novelist who lives or lived in Quebec province. No idea at this point if I’m related to him. To my knowledge my Dad didn’t get involved in artistic endeavours, although I have a vague memory that he once did some painting (the artistic kind). I do know he was a terrific house painter and he did spotless and creative painting jobs inside and outside our house. That wasn’t his profession, though. He was a time-keeper for Canadian National the railway company and became obsessive about being on time.

I’ve inherited that time-obsessiveness. I also seem to have inherited some of my parents’ temperaments. Both Mom and Dad worried a lot so I have that one big time. Dad had a short fuse and so do I. Mom thought things out a lot and so do I.

Where does that leave me? Yo-yoing in my approach to life?

Maybe that’s a good thing – combine both sides of the fence to get you through life. Whether it’s hereditary or environment or both, plus what you can bring to your life yourself from all experiences – good and bad can help you in living. From the bad (among other things) you can learn what to kick out of your life. From the good, you can learn what works and how to apply it in future. I know – good and bad are relative to each individual.

And the reference to the Langevin side of my family? One of my goals this year is to dig up (not literally) all my dad’s ancestors. Dad was born in Montreal, Quebec. I have the book Finding Your French-Canadian Ancestors to get me started and the Internet searches it suggests. Maybe even a trip to Quebec City and Montreal, Quebec later this year.

I’m saving my money for that one – using this unique weekly plan posted the end of 2013. Check out http://www.digtriad.com/news/article/263861/1/52-Week-Money-Challenge-Save-About-1400-In-2013  There is a link to a chart for those of us mathematically challenged so we know how much to put in the “kitty” each week.

What do you think about where we get our personal characteristics?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Genealogy, Hereditary, Uncategorized

Only Child looks (again) at seniors and happiness

Only Child in one of her happiness situations - the garden in summer

Only Child in one of her happiness situations – the garden in summer

Are today’s older adults happy? If so, what makes them happy, or not? The more I googled for information, the more widespread information I found. The one I heard on the radio earlier today (and it doesn’t seem to be online) is the one I’m going to talk about.

According to this one, older adults’ happiness is based on four areas – each one “worth” 25 per cent.  After considering the genetic factor for pre-disposition for happiness or unhappiness, the areas are: environment, debt-free, relationship, passionate about something.

According to that survey, I’m about 50 per cent happy in winter and 60 to 75 per cent from spring to fall. Here’s my breakdown (pun intended):

  1. Environment: This is the variable one. It’s practically 0 in winter because I hate winter – the snow, ice, cold, even the rain, but mostly because I can’t get outside and garden or attend outdoor events without freezing. In the summer it goes to 20 to 25 percent because of the outdoor/gardening factors. The fluctuating 5 per cent is if there are house repairs and the like.
  2. Debt- free: Not me. I live the proverbial “hand-to-mouth” no matter what I do. So far I’ve managed to pay regular bills – including credit cards as payment comes due (except for the line of credit one – it gets the minimum payment and a bit more when I can afford it), even some house repairs (for the biggies I’ve had some help from my ex-husband) and for some unexpected bills. I’ve told my son that my estate will have to pay off my line of credit debt after I’m gone,  but that’s what small life insurance payouts are for. Unless I win the lottery or my book(s) reach best-seller status or no. 3 below happens, that’s the way it is. So this category rates 0 per cent on this happiness scale.
  3. Relationship – also 0 per cent for obvious reasons. After a few years of online dating, in-person singles events, and yes, even the see who is available at groups sharing your interests, I’ve come up with less than slim pickings. This doesn’t mean I’m not interested; I’ve just given up wasting my time looking.
  4. Passionate about something in my life – definitely a full 25 per cent – with my writing, teaching writing, gardening, reading, and a few others, even watching favourite TV programs. I can get transformed out of my misery (albeit temporarily, especially if a telemarketer phones) when doing any of those things.

So there you have it. But the survey/study organizers forgot one big factor here, especially for us older folks – good health. Sure, some of that is genetic and maybe some could come under “environment.” But I think health should be a factor on its own, changing the happiness factors to 20 per cent each.

Comments anyone? What makes you happy or unhappy?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Debt, Gardening, Gardening health benefits, Happiness, Health, Health Seniors, Hereditary, Money, Only child, Passion, Seniors, Seniors and Happiness, Sharon A. Crawford, Zoomers