I shared with Janis how our house in Nanaimo had a bidet in the ensuite bathroom and a laundry chute.When friends and family came over to visit the first thing they wanted to see was the bidet.Then they would throw something down the laundry chute.Janis brought up a good point. “As long as your guests didn’t get the bidet and laundry chute mixed up.”
Iceland is very windy. Cement filled tires secured to the porta potties.
Cement filled tires secured to porta potties. An exceptionally windy area of Iceland.
Downtown Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is very windy.
April Fool’s Day.
I decided April Fool’s Day was a perfect day to make a fool of myself and share some silly and fun photos.
Every day is a perfect day to take care of our mental health.
Yes, life is exceptionally challenging and serious right now.
If laughter is the best medicine, then I choose to distract myself, even temporarily, with something that makes me smile.
I hope it makes you smile, too.
Do you have an April Fool’s Day story or prank to share?
I have had very vivid dreams all of my life.My dreams are in full colour and they contain elaborate story plots. When I wake up I remember all of the details of a complicated story, the colours, the smells, the emotions.
When I wake up, I also realize it was all a dream.
This past week, for a brief second, when I wake up I feel life at the present moment is a dream.The present events are surreal.
I feel I may step out of the movie sets, “The Truman Show” or “Capricorn One” at any moment.
Then reality sinks in.
When Did We Begin To Take This Pandemic Seriously?
Is it social distancing, social isolating, quarantining, shelter in place?
Last Sunday, my husband and I made the decision to completely hunkerdown.
Up until then, my husband was still going to the gym daily and I was on Day 16 of a 30 day yoga challenge at my yoga studio.
No more gyms, stores, visiting with family and friends.This is a serious pandemic and we need to take it seriously.
“You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem,” my husband’s quote.Sometimes he does have something smart to say.
Many Things Have Not Changed
We are fortunate we live in a home and we are comfortable with basic necessities.
Everyone in our immediate family is healthy.
Spring has arrived. We have access to trails and many walking areas in our immediate neighbourhood.
We had tickets to a James Taylor/Bonnie Raitt concert in April.This event is also cancelled or postponed.Cancellations are common around the globe right now.
My early evening walk is usually filled with the sound of children laughing and playing at a park nearby.Yesterday, all of the parks were closed. Yesterday, the park was completely empty and eerily quiet.
I met with my best friend last Saturday, and for the first time in 50 years we did not hug good bye. We giggled and stepped back.
Inside, I am choked up.
We usually have a lot of interaction with our daughters and their families.The grandchildren are 4 weeks, 23 months, 4 and 6 year old.They are very huggy, smoochy, drooly, and they touch everything.They would not understand boundaries.Our goal is to help keep everyone healthy.We FaceTime and Video Chat.This is temporary and this is important.I put on a brave, happy face and I tell them this will only last for a few weeks.
Inside, I am choked up.
The Question: Do You Recognize The Common Denominator?
I have continued my yoga practice and I am doing a 30 Day Challenge with “Adriene’s Yoga” on YouTube. Thank you to Deb The Widow Badass for this great recommendation.I love and miss my yoga family at Found City Yoga. How Hot Yoga Changed My Life
Thank you to Marty, Snakes in the Grass for your witty, humorous posts, always.Your last post reminded me how I should keep a thermometer easily accessible.I hunted through the house and I found the thermometer we keep for when we watch the children.I tested it twice.36.6 C each time. Whew.
I am going on longer and more frequent walks.Thank you to Mark, Swinged Cat for sharing information about the Voice Recorder app and Voice Memo app.When a bolt of inspiration hits me or I need a simple reminder, I can just press on the big red button and record my thoughts.
Janis’s post Retirementally Challenged “In this time…” contained many gems that resonated with me.I copy/pasted her last paragraph into a Gratitude/Positives file. Thank you, Janis, for your wise words “….we don’t have to distance ourselves from much that nourishes us.”
Pam’s words Rough Wighting warmed my heart. “I wish we could all meet in a safe place and hug each other and talk for hours. Well, I suppose that’s what we do right here in the blogosphere!”Thank you, Pam, for reinforcing the importance of connections.
Thank you to Liesbet Roaming About for always reminding me how little we need to lead a happy, simple life.We are all living “a life less ordinary right now.”In your last post you discussed the positives, negatives and reality of the present events.Your phrase “our solution is our flexibility” has stayed with me.Thank you.
Anabel Glasgow Gallivanter shares a great deal of history and information about Scotland.The photos on her site are breathtaking.Thank you, Anabel, for helping us plan our next vacation.You have helped put Scotland high on our list.
Jo Restless Jo shares posts containing stunning photography of exceptionally beautiful, historical buildings. Thank you, Jo, for reminding me how humankind has weathered many challenges over the past thousands of years.
This too shall pass.
The Answer: “You” Are The Common Denominator.
I am sharing a quote from Suzanne, Picture Retirement “I have always been grateful for my connections throughout the blogging community, but now, more than ever.There is so much sharing, caring and outright humour being delivered to my inbox daily.”
I strongly agree with Suzanne.I am entertained.I learn something new.I laugh.I cry.You touch my heart.
This Is Not A Dream
I realize when I wake up in the morning, all of this is not a dream.This is our present day reality, changing by the hour. We are also in the early stages of this pandemic.
I have a great deal to be thankful for always and especially right now.
People have been very kind and thoughtful.Almost everyone in our neck of the woods is respecting the social distancing, social isolating guidelines.
We are going to get through this together.
I appreciate the connections in my personal life and in the global community.
Please continue writing, sharing and connecting.You will not always know when you have made a difference in someone’s life.
Thank you for making a difference in mine.
How are you connecting with friends and family?
Has someone recently made a difference in your life?
I shared only a few posts from blogger friends.I could easily include gems from every single post I read.
I just finished listening to a very good, empowering podcast.“The Tim Ferriss Show #414:Jack Kornfield – How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos.”
A Bonus Gift:“People Be Weird”
Kate’s witty posts Coffee Kat Blog often bring a unique perspective to daily life and the human condition.She sometimes addsa “people be weird” in her post.
I was walking by a house yesterday and a couple, likely husband and wife, were quibbling about whose turn it was to take their dog for a walk.The husband yells out how “the dog had better not poop.I am not picking up dog poop.If the dog poops, I am calling 911!”No humour in his voice.
Likely cabin fever and too much togetherness already setting in.
When our two daughters were very young, Sunday was always Family Day for us.Nowadays, the kids call it Sunday/Fun Day.Same day.New name.
We carved out Sundays as a day we would spend together as a family.We would go swimming, cross-country skiing, or hiking, depending on the season and the weather.
We would often take our girls on long Trail Hikes.Nowadays, we call it Forest Bathing.Same walk.New name.
We would have fun, relaxed family time.
They would learn to appreciate nature.
We would all get some exercise and fresh air.
The goal was simply to be together.
Hiking With Very Young Children
It all sounds like a great idea.
For the first fifteen minutes.
How do you keep young children walking on a long hike, having fun, with minimal complaining?
My husband and I can only carry a thirty to fifty pound child for a short period of time.We want to tire them out, not tire us out.
One Sunday, a spur of the moment decision resulted in the
Birth Of A New Adventure!
We Will Search For Licorice Trees
Thirty-five years ago I packed some licorice candy strings along with healthy snacks in my knapsack for one of our hikes.
I began to discretely hang licorice strings further ahead on our path.I did have an accomplice to distract the girls and keep an eye on them.My complicit husband.
Finding the licorice trees did energize the girls and now they were running along the path.They would squeal with delight when they found licorice strings hanging on a tree branch.
Long hikes became a lot more fun for the entire family.
Fast Forward Three Decades
My two daughters were recently reminiscing about our Sunday adventures when they were young girls.They began giggling about the licorice trees.
I found out they believed for many years afterwards, licorice strings grew on trees.
A fleeting pang of guilt.Am I a terrible Mother?
Last Sunday, A Funday
My husband and I took our two granddaughters for a hike last Sunday to a pretty area called the Kinsol Trestle.
I told four-year-old, Abby, and six-year-old, Sadie, to keep a lookout for licorice trees and licorice strings.
They both gave me a puzzled, curious look.
Sadie brought up a good point.They had no idea what to look for?
Until they came across rainbow-coloured licorice strings hanging over a tree branch.
The Rest Of The Afternoon
Sadie and Abby searched high and low for this rare treasure growing in the forest.For the rest of the afternoon there was no stopping the two of them.
We finally had to insist we turn around and head back to our vehicle.
Promises were made to return in the Spring to continue looking for this tasty treat.
Our granddaughters did not question the existence of licorice trees.They looked up at me with trusting eyes.
Is this wrong?Have I gone too far?
A fleeting pang of guilt.Am I a terrible Grandmother?
Perpetuating The Myths
Licorice trees belong in the category of the Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.Fictitious, imaginary characters and fantasy brought to life by adults.
I do have fleeting pangs of guilt when I bring these stories alive.
I also hear the squeals of laughter as Sadie and Abby run along the trail.I see the joy and delight in their eyes when they find the licorice strings.
My husband and I share a secret, knowing smile.A moment in life where we are in this together.
Sharing memories.Creating memories.
At The End Of The Day
We return Sadie and Abby to their parents late Sunday afternoon.
They were bubbling over with excitement sharing the adventures of their day.They also shared their bag of licorice strings with their Mom and Dad.
As we were leaving, Sadie yells out, “The Best Day Ever!”
If This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right
Sadie and Abby will eventually find out the truth about the licorice trees.I suspect they will giggle when they reminisce about their Sunday/Funday adventures.
Three decades from now they may take their own children on a forest hike looking for licorice strings.They may want to share the joy and delight of a new adventure.
They may want to spend a fun, relaxed Sunday, simply spending time together.
“The Best Day Ever!”
Have you played games to make long hikes fun for children?
Did you believe in imaginary characters when you were a child?
About the Kinsol Trestle:The Kinsol Trestle is also known as the Koksilah River Trestle.It is one of the highest wooden railway trestles in the world. It provides a spectacular crossing of the Koksilah River. (Weblink)
Your visit:If you come onto The Island Vancouver Island Link and visit the Kinsol Trestle, be on the lookout for licorice trees.Please keep the rainbow-coloured licorice strings our little secret.These trees are very rare and we hope to find some licorice strings in the Spring on our next Trail Hike.
Warning:We make sure the girls do not touch anything or put anything in their mouths they find in the forest unless their parents or grandparents have given their approval.They have received strict warnings in the past to not touch any mushrooms.We do have poisonous mushrooms on The Island.
Especially two weeks before our wedding anniversary.
Is there ever a good time to lie?
It is actually an act of omission.Something I did not want to tell him.
Is this still considered a lie?
It Started Last Sunday
I had booked a massage.A real treat.
Before the massage, I took off my wedding ring and I placed it in my wallet.
An hour of bliss followed.
On the way home I stopped at Discovery Coffee to buy coffee beans.They have the best coffee in Victoria and it is worth the drive to pick up the beans.
A perfect end to my week.
I realized I was not wearing my wedding ring.
I was quite certain I had placed it in my wallet.
I checked my wallet. No luck.
I did have spa brain yesterday, so I might be wrong.
I completely emptied my purse.No luck.
I phoned the Spa to see whether anyone had turned in a wedding ring, a simple gold band.Nothing.
I phoned Discovery Coffee.They checked the back desk where lost and found items are placed.Nada.
Darn.I Feel Sick To My Stomach.
It is just a ring.A material object.
I am actually surprised I haven’t lost it before now.
I take it off before every yoga class, sometimes placing it on the towel next to me.I used to take it off before running when I used to run.My fingers swell and I am not in the mood to have anything cut off.
It is only a physical item.It is not as if anything serious has happened, especially to anyone I love.
Physical items can be replaced.
Then why do I feel sick to my stomach?
Plenty of Fish circa 1976
Plenty of Fish circa 1976
Forty-one Years Ago
This ring was given to me as a symbol of commitment and a promise we made to each other.
Forty-one years ago it was a shiny, simple, smooth gold band.
Forty-one years later this ring shows some wear and tear.Not unlike all marriages.
This ring means even more to me now.
It represents a friendship and a life we have built together.
It is symbolic of our enduring love for each other.
Riding through life together
Love is a gamble
Do couples start to look alike?
I Do Not Want To Tell My Husband
I am disappointed and upset.I will likely start crying.
He may not even notice the missing ring.
I could replace the ring with a similar looking gold band.
My husband would say the right things to make me feel better.He always does.
He has been my best friend for over forty-one years.I have always been able to count on him.
Lightning Lake, Manning Park, B.C.
Top of the World Drive, Yukon, 2011
I phone the Spa and Discovery Coffee again.
A last-ditch effort to find the ring.
Nothing was turned in at the Spa.
A friendly voice answers at Discovery Coffee.“Yes, they have found the ring!”
Am I Using Up My Good Luck Quota?
I often think of luck as a finite amount of good in my life.
I am allocated a limited quantity of good luck in my lifetime.I do not want to waste it.
I recently wrote about finding the Ruby Red Slippers link here Now my ring shows up.These are two small examples of something good going my way.
What are the chances?
I would rather save the good luck for the most important parts of my life, the people in my life.My loved ones.
I realize life doesn’t work this way.
We play the cards we are dealt, good and bad.
I am grateful for the hand I have been dealt for most of my life.
Do I Tell My husband?
Lying is not a good thing.
Yet, we are also not perfect.I am sure the both of us have kept silent at times or told white lies to spare feelings.
We believe in communication in our marriage.Even on difficult subjects.
After all these years, I could not hide anything from my husband.We know each other too well.
Communication is often non-verbal.
Lost Or Found
I was not aware how much this ring meant to me, until I lost it.
A good reminder for a great deal in life.
I also do not need an object to remind me of our respect and love for each other.For us, love is a verb.We show up for each other every day.
I was planning to tell my husband about the ring, lost or found.
When he opens his inbox today and reads this story.
Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.
Thank you for the forty-one years we have shared together.I look forward to many more.
Aukland Zoo, New Zealand
Aukland Zoo, New Zealand
Have you ever lost a special item? Are there times when not telling the truth is a good thing?
Although, this could still have serious repercussions.
I Have Been Called Different Names In My Life.
My husband often calls me “Sweetie” or “Dear.”He likely has a few more names for me (under his breath).
My daughters call me “Mom.”
My parents used to call me “Friedchen.”It is a term of endearment using my middle name.
The last few years I have had the privilege of being called “Grandma Erica.”
When Did Erica/Erika Begin?
When I began school, my teachers always wrote my name as “Erica.”I learned to write my name as “Erica.”
My signature on all of my paperwork, wedding certificate, driver’s license and bank cards is “Erica.”
Much later in life, a glance at my birth certificate revealed “Erika.”I did not think it really mattered at this point.
I was wrong!
9/11 Was Pivotal.
New passport regulations carefully scrutinized the spelling of all names.I had to make sure my passport name, birth certificate and signature were an exact match.
I now had to sign specific documents with the spelling “Erika.”I was not at all used to writing this “new” name.
My Wonderful Boss With A Great Sense Of Humour.
I was fortunate to work in a very progressive dental office for almost twenty-five years.We often had the opportunity to take continuing education courses and attend conferences.Some of the conferences were held in a different city and out of the country.
This dentist was finalizing the travel arrangements for a conference.He was initially puzzled about the “new” name, “Erika.”Our passport and ticket information had to be accurate.
He had a great sense of humour.From now on, he would address correspondence to me as “Erica/Erika.”
It aways made me smile.
Beginning the WordPress Blog.
I watched YouTube videos and I went to “how to start a blog” websites. I did not want to overthink the process.I might change my mind.
“Behindthescenery” domain was already taken.Therefore, I chose “Behindthesceneryphoto.”
I had to type in a username.
I typed in “Erica/Erika.”
I did not want to interrupt the flow of setting up a WordPress blog.I could always finesse things later.
Almost Everyone Has A Story Behind Their Name.
They may have a name in honour of a family member.We were advised to name our first child, “Donat.”We politely disregarded this suggestion.You are welcome, Sara.
Basalt Columns, Iceland
Some people choose to change their name for various reasons.
Some people prefer to use their middle name or a nickname.
A glance at a birth certificate may reveal a name different from the one they have been called all their life.
My Thoughts This Moment In Time.
Most of the time I use the name, “Erica.”
Specific documents necessitate the spelling, “Erika.”My hands may shake when my signature requires this “new” spelling. I play by the rules.
In today’s world of minimalism and simplifying, “Erica/Erika” is now six syllables.Am I taking up too much room?It is cyberspace after all.
Readers in our blogging community have also been using “E/E.”
Do I Change The Name On My Blog?
I do not mind what I am called.“Erica” sounds the same as “Erika” to me.
I like and answer to all of the above.
As for the name on my blog?
I am keeping “Erica/Erika.”At least for now.
It always makes me smile.
Do you have a story behind your name?Would you like to change your name?
The Story Behind The Story
I had just completed a draft of this story about my name(s). I was not sure when or whether I would click “publish.”
The past few weeks in New Zealand have been filled with amazing adventures, exploring and long road trips.
It was now getting to the end of our trip.We arrived at Cook’s Lookout Motel, Paihia, an area called the Bay of Islands, the very north part of the North Island.
The information about this motel had indicated access to wifi.I had planned a couple of days of catching up.Messenger and FaceTime with the family.Surfing the internet.I wanted to read the blogs I follow.I was planning to research some information to add to my stories.
The owner of the motel had a complicated story about major wifi glitches in this area the past few weeks.No wifi for guests right now.
It was slightly disappointing. Although, not unexpected.
Over the last two months in New Zealand we often have had minimal or noaccess to wifi.Sometimes, we were allowed only 100mb of use.
I really didn’t know how much I rely on the internet until it was no longer available:
Researching my husband’s spider bite:symptoms;should he see a doctor?
The weather forecast each day
Sending birthday wishes to friends and family
Is the Giant Weta harmful?
Names of bird species we encounter
Opening times of attractions
Restaurant open/close times
Confirming our flights
Who won best actor category at the Oscars?
What would you add to the list?
Giant Weta – “New Zealand’s most recognizable creepy-crawlies”weblink
Kea – species of large parrot found in the forested and alpine regions of the South Island of New Zealand weblink
What did I do without wifi for 5 days?
I finished reading books I had started at the beginning of this trip.
I went swimming.
I did more tramping (New Zealand’s word for hiking).
I wrote stories.
I took photos.
I watched the sunrise and sunset.
I sat outside, breathing in the fresh sea air, truly enjoying the scenery.
90 mile beach – North Island, New Zealand
90 Mile Beach – North Island, New Zealand
Do I miss not having wifi?
We have gone camping in areas on the west coast of BC and in the Yukon where we were truly unplugged.I plan for it, and I actually look forward to the respite from the online world.
Long Beach – Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
My stress level and angst significantly decline when I am oblivious to the daily news, fake and otherwise.
Wifi affects almost every part of our lives now.It is how we communicate, surf for information and often do our shopping and our banking.Our entire vacation was researched, planned and booked using the internet.
I did not miss access to wifi while we were on the Bay of Islands.
We were there for only five days.
The first thing I did when I arrived home?
I plugged in my computer.
Postscript: I wrote this story about one week ago while we were still in New Zealand. We experienced a wonderful, life-changing adventure. Everywhere we went we met kind, thoughtful New Zealanders. I am deeply saddened by the tragedy in Christ Church this week. My heart goes out to the victims, the victim’s families and all of New Zealand. Unfortunately, this is not fake news.