Jack’s Walk

Sugar Maples at Ye Olde Sugar Shanty © Voyager, all rights reserved (click photo to see it full-size. You can do that with all of our photos!)

This building is a fully functional sugar shanty, just like the sign says.  The syrup is boiled over a wood fire, and it’s my favourite maple brand because it carries a hint of Bubba, who pees on all the trees. Sugar maples do more than make good syrup, though. In autumn, they have the most vibrant colours of any tree around, and they make the landscape into a brilliant work of art.

Well, at Least Nobody Got Hurt.

One of the reasons why I spend less time making knives than I wanted to that I did not tell you about is my parents’ health. It started to get a lot worse in the last year and if I still did have a daily job, I do not know how we would manage – I spend two days on average every week driving them to and from various doctor appointments. I do not want to complain about it, because I love my parents, and the more than deserve all the help I can give them. But it is slowly getting too much for one person to bear alone.

Today I had to drive 150 km on short notice. At the destination, I got severely stressed out trying to offload my mother as close to the hospital pavillion she was supposed to visit as possible because she has limited mobility and has to use crutches – one of the reasons why using public transport is not an option for her.

And when leaving the hospital, I went to pay for my parking ticket and I completely fortgot to secure the handbrake. The car rolled forward a few meters and bent the front door of another vehicle, and only noticed it after I paid for the parking and turned around to return to the car. In hindsight, the unsecured car followed probably right behind me, and had I been just a bit slower, it would probably either go over me or press me against the other car.

Nobody got hurt, police did not need to be involved (I asked them), my car has no damage and the other car has probably only some minor sheet metal bending. The insurance should pay for the damages and the damaged party took it better than I deserved. So probably the worst damage is to fill out some paperwork, which I hate.

But it was a reminder that I am severely stressed out and it is starting to impact my ability to function properly. And there is not much that I can do about it.

Degupdate: They Do Run Run Run, They Do Run, Run, Run

The new degu run is set up now and Candy just loves getting out. When we come to Degustan she’ll go downstairs and wait for the door to be opened. then she takes a longer or shorter stroll before returning. By now she has deemed me fully safe. The degus love to run, and in doing so, they slow me down, as I spend some time sitting quietly.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

We tied a few old T-shirts against the door to close the gap so no degu gets hurt falling down. Of course they#re also playthings and the string is a highly sought plaything.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Looks like a leaf but isn’t edible! Cheating!

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Hi friends!

Estelle is coming around. Candy does actively encourage her to go outside and today she even sniffed my hand. We’re getting there.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The obvious advantage is that it’s much easier to take pics of careful Estelle than of whirlwind Candy.

But talking about “sitting down”: As I sat crosslegged today for 45 minutes, barely moving, I managed to cut off circulation in my feet to the extend that when I got up, I fell flat on my ass again. Thankfully the degus were inside by then and all I suffered was a laughing attack at my own stupidity and a headache.

The Art of …

Emily Carr. Although not officially part of The Group of Seven, Carr’s work is a well-considered part of their movement, and is a part of the permanent collection at the McMichael Art gallery (The official gallery of the group of seven, in Kleinberg, Ontario. If you ever get a chance to go, you should. It’s less than an hour north of Toronto.)

Big Raven, 1931, by Emily Carr, image from the CBC


Jack’s Walk

© Voyager, all rights reserved

I’m in one of those periods where my brain doesn’t want to write. It doesn’t want to read, either, which is a bitch, and math is simply out of the question.  It’s a neurological thing related to fibromyalgia, and it comes and goes, but it’s sticking around for the moment. Rather than fight it, I’ve been doing outdoor things and enjoying the season, so this week expect some pretty autumn pictures and not so much storytelling. Jack says hi.


Boy was I happy to see this fellow peek over the sunflower’s head and pecking at the seeds. I have planted the sunflowers to feed them to birds anyway, so I do not mind him eating some a bit prematurely. Next year I will plant even more.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Permission to Grieve: Miscarriages and Stillbirths

Very obvious content note for death, loss, stillbirth and miscarriages.

Last week, celebrity couple Chrissy Teigen and John Legend lost their third child to a pregnancy complication, because all the fame and money in the world can sometimes not make a pregnancy safe. Teigen, who is a very outgoing person who shares lots of her personal and family life on Twitter also shared about her loss.

Accompanied by a black and white picture of herself in hospital she talks about her pain, her loss and her love for her child who couldn’t be saved. The world and the internet being what it is, she was both accused of being a hypocrite for being a staunch pro choice woman, but still mourning the loss of her child, and of milking the death of her child for cheap publicity by posting about it.

Of course you’ve got to have some deep seated hatred of women if you believe that the lady who kept tweeting about being pregnant for months, happy and proud, would just use a life threatening pregnancy complication that resulted in the loss of her child for publicity, because obviously women are heartless shallow creatures devoid of real feelings or something.

But however you would personally feel about making your loss public on social media, by doing so herself, Teigen gave others a great gift: The permission to mourn. Because miscarriages and stillbirths are still hushed in our societies. If you tell people you’re expecting, they’ll tell you you shouldn’t say anything before those critical first three months are over, because…

Well, because what exactly? It’s not like the words leaving your mouth will retroactively curse the embryo with a genetic condition incompatible with life, or suddenly make your thyroid stop working so your body won’t carry the healthiest of embryos to term. Biology doesn’t work like that. The reason you’re not supposed to talk about it is because people would like to pretend it doesn’t happen. This, ironically but not unexpectedly, rather logically, includes the very same people accusing Teigen to be a hypocrite for being pro choice. If you pretend that a fertilised egg is the same, no more important than a six years old, then you mustn’t face the reality that most fertilised eggs never even implant, and that of those that implant a large number will still not make it past the three months mark, and that of those who make it past that mark some will still not result in a living baby.

The result of this is that women and others who lose wanted pregnancies are shushed up, their feelings are denied and their need to mourn is ignored. While Germany still has some very restrictive anti abortion laws, it’s only been a couple of years since people were allowed to bury their stillborn if it weighed less than a kilogram, which included fetuses up to the eighth month of pregnancy. While the day before you were forced to carry “your unborn baby” to term whether you wanted or not, suddenly there was no baby, just clinical waste.

Emotions around pregnancies are complicated, because they are tied to so many concepts in our societies. From the idea that this is the ultimate test of femaleness (even for people who are not, you know, women), over the idea that this is your duty, to the fact that it can also be your greatest desire. For everybody who can get pregnant and who has sex that could get them pregnant, the idea of a pregnancy hangs over our heads. Depending on how you’re personally feeling, it can be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or the albatross around your neck. Being able to talk freely about all those emotions is important. This must include the ability to say “I am devastated for losing a pregnancy/not becoming pregnant” and also using terms like “baby” which denotes an emotional attachment, but also the ability to say “I will never ever again consent to being pregnant”. Because yours truly has done both, and I’ve been hurt both times by people who tried to deny the validity of my feelings and position. Occasionally by the same people. Because apparently at ten weeks it’s both a baby if you don’t want to be pregnant, and just an error of nature if you want to be pregnant but lose the pregnancy. Fuck that shit.