Well, y’all have been booking up my schedule with Pet Sessions like *crazy*! It’s so fun, and I am looking forward to MONTHS of pet sessions thanks to you!
I have decided to book just two more pet sessions at the discounted rate – these bookings will push my schedule into November, and I want to leave some room there for people to book regular sessions before the end of 2020.
So! If you’re thinking of booking a pet session this year, now is the time!
Thank you everyone, so much, for your support of this summer’s Pet Session Special!
I hope you are enjoying my recommendation of “Screwed Up Podcast” with our friends Dr. Lana Holmes and Mimi Bonhomme! If you have not read my post of their new project, click here!
It is my deep hope that each and every one of you is safe, healthy, and able to participate in supporting your community.
As well, please take care of yourself, and your mental health. Whether you’re a social justice activist, a homeschooler, an essential worker (like me) – each and every human on this earth has a special purpose, and we are all being asked to work very hard now, and for the foreseeable future.
I have held back on promotions for quite some time, and I really want to offer a Pet Session discount this summer! I know there are at least three of you waiting for this (hi!) and I hope this offering will help bring some more joy and lightness into your life.
Our pets lives have changed too – perhaps not in the profoundly significant ways that us humans have been affected, but they know what we are feeling, they know our routines have changed, and they have *certainly* noticed if a new animal has joined the family during the quarantine stay-at-home time.
If you have a new pet in your home, if your pet’s routine has changed and you’d like to check in with them, if you’d just like to feel a little closer to your animal friend, now is a great time to book a phone session.
I have not offered this discount in two years, and I’m going to keep this available *just for the summer*.
I want people whose income may have changed to have a chance to access this sale, which is why I’m letting this discount run until August
I will be returning to part-time studies in the fall (hurray!) so in September, the pet session discount will disappear.
Please feel free to share this special with your friends who have animals they love – this is the best price on Pet Sessions that I’ll be offering for at least the next year!
I’m so looking forward to talking with you and your animal family! Talk soon!
The topics which Mimi & Dr. Lana confront here have been plaguing our woo-woo, new age community for DECADES, and – daaaaamn – people who claim enlightenment are super-slow to change!
Do y’all remember two years ago, when I wrote about why I no longer smudge, and ever-so-gently suggested that if it isn’t your culture, you shouldn’t either? That ended up being the most controversial thing I have ever posted in my history with social media. I *still* get random hate mail from so-called light workers incensed about my criticism of the use of a spiritual practice that may not belong to them. (Hot tip! If you read that post and got angry, you really SHOULDN’T be doing it.)
Dr. Lana very kindly agreed to come on to my podcast; we admittedly trolled the comments for a bit, and we also expanded upon cultural appropriation in the very white-lady space that is modern-day “spiritualism”.
Psychic stuff, by the way, is in no way the exclusive domain of western folks – nearly every culture and religion I can think of includes some form of psychic or intuitive practice. However, the popularized / standard form of spiritualism you will find when you just walk into an new-age book store now, if you cast your eyes around, you’ll see a *lot* of us white ladies. The big problem with that is it creates an echo chamber where everyone validates what everyone else is doing, and if there is any dissent into the doers’ right to do, well, let’s just say you’ll spend the next few weeks moderating comments across multiple social media platforms. That’s gotta change, folks. Enlightened people need to have open ears, and be willing to sit with our own discomfort, our own imperfections, our own unfair advantages over others, and our own internalized prejudices.
That’s a part of our work, folks. Engage!
I was so grateful when Lana was happy to help me expand upon this hugely important topic.
Now, two years later, during a pandemic that could not deter Black Lives Matter social activists from weeks of demonstrations in streets all over the world, this discussion in our own spiritualist community is escalating in importance.
Dr. Lana and Mimi have stepped forward to tackle *alllllllll* these difficult topics, and they DESERVE to have us in their audience, cheering them on!
Please join me in subscribing to the new podcast, Screwed Up!
It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t cheap. It wasn’t fun. But by god, I DID IT!
You know, there was a time when I wasn’t intimidated by technology. Not only could I produce basic programs, but I replicated a complex accounting program in MS Excel, as a backup and a project to mitigate the risk of just one programmer knowing our custom-designed financial reporting program.
I knew how to work with MS Access databases and I enjoyed troubleshooting. I was even unofficial tech support for our office for a year or so, helping my colleagues with basic office functions, performing daily backups, and installing updates.
Whaaaaaat happened to me??? OH MY GOD! Actually, I know exactly what happened: so much new technology flooded the world, and the old tech I used to know changed everything to look more like the new tech. (Who else hates those ribbon menus and wishes microsoft would go back to the drop-down menu style???)
Well, anyway, I think I became discouraged because every new technology I would encounter would require not just a learning curve, but a significant time investment just to learn how to use it.
I think I lost patience.
But this time, I was determined! It took three calls to tech support and five days to figure out, but my friends, we finally have it!
We have quality digital phone call recording!!!!!
I AM SO EXCITED! I have wanted quality, reliable, easy-to-use call recording since I hung out my shingle as a practicing psychic.
No more phone static! No more sounding a million miles away! What I hear on the phone through the receiver is exactly what gets recorded!
For anyone who is interested, here is how I did it. Maybe you have a reason to set this up for yourself. Beware, for the path to VoIP call recording is a winding one. Perhaps your needs could be met with a Zoom or Skype call recording service.
But if you’re like me and need a solution that doesn’t require a web browser to use, steele yourself for a journey through tech support.
First thing: Have a reliable, high-speed internet connection.
Next, select a VoIP service provider with a really nice technical support team. You want someone who isn’t going to try to foist you off to the tech support for the phone manufacturer. These things are made in China, and you’ll be exchanging emails for weeks trying to solve your problems. If you’re like me, and need someone to walk you through the setup if you hit a snag, you want to find that person before you embark upon this journey.
You need to prepare yourself for frustration. You need to set aside a good chunk of time, over several days. You may not need all that time, but it’s good to have it available, as I find that eases some of my exasperation.
After all, shouldn’t this technology just be plug n play by now?
Why yes it should, but you cannot allow yourself to dwell upon the way things should be. We are dealing with the technology available to us.
My specific setup involves a physical telephone which has a USB port in the back of it. I plug a flash drive into the back of the phone, and initiate call recording after I have dialed the phone number. After I end the call I can unplug the flash drive, walk over to my computer, and upload the files to dropbox as I do now with my MP3 recorder.
Perhaps an easier alternative to doing what I did might be to subscribe to a VoIP service that provides a call recording service. Instead of recording the call on your physical phone, they record it on their servers as the call passes through. Then you can log into their servers and download the file to your computer.
If I did that, I’d have to download the hours of calls, which takes time, before I could upload it to dropbox and send it to my clients. I did not want to create another time-consuming step to my workflow. I also didn’t want to pay a fee every month in perpetuity for the privilege.
I purchased a Yealink T42S. You have to buy the power supply adapter separately. Good thing I noticed that when I purchased it. I also bought a high-capacity flash drive that’s about the size of a fingernail.
When the phone arrived, I called 1-VoIP up and set up an account. And so began my dance with tech support to get my phone working… see, even though it LOOKS like a landline phone, it’s basically an unprogrammed computer. It is NOT plug n play.
I had to log into the IP address of the phone, using a computer or my ipad, and configure the settings of the phone with the help of the 1-VoIP tech support. The kicker was the call recording by default is a hidden feature on the phone which you have to tell the program to turn on.
The ridiculous part was I had to create a freaking TEXT FILE with code copied and pasted into it, and change the .txt file extention to .cfg so that the phone’s online brain would know to allow me to record calls.
Maybe there’s a legal reason you have to actually tell the program to initiate the option of call recording.
All that does is create a softkey on the physical phone which says “record call”. That’s all you have to tap to start recording the call, and I can either manually stop the call recording or it will automatically stop when the call ends.
Easy peasy, right?
Then I just take my teeny tiny flash drive over to my computer and upload the files to dropbox as usual.
Now that it’s set up, it’s very easy to use, and I sincerely hope I won’t have to spend any time doing software updates for the phone. That’s something I’ll just have to deal with should it happen.
So my friends – better call recordings are now here!!!
I just finished my Mother’s Day sessions from my new workspace.
I will probably move all of this around soon, but for now, it’s lovely to be surrounded by plants while I am in medium mode.
I hope this Mother’s Day finds you well… and if it finds you in mixed spirits, you’re certainly not alone.
It’s Mother’s Day in heaven, too.
My own mother’s funeral was five years ago, yesterday. It’s been quite a journey, since she passed. I’ve changed, my relationships have changed, and I think that’s an important part of moving through loss – finding out who you are, now, and accepting all the change that follows.
I can look at albums of family photos now, without feeling sad. That, in itself, is strange, because we associate the acuity and persistence of our grief with love we hold for those we lost.
I feel like now, I can love my mother in heaven with less of the grief. More of the good stuff. So today is not so much a sad day, as a day to remember her, her guidance, and her continued presence in my life.
Happy Mother’s Day, to all the moms in heaven, and here on earth.
I’ll bet you’re thinking I’m talking about a new cell phone – my friend, I am not!
For, pretty much, the entire existence of my psychic business, call recording has been a challenge.
Generally, the challenge has been the unreliability of skype or zoom technology, with calls dropping, sounding digitized, and with an extra burden on my clients having to know how to use that technology and have access to the equipment to do so. It just wasn’t a realistic solution for my session calls, though I did try it for my podcast guest episodes…. with varying success. When it went wrong, it went *very* wrong and the audio was un-salvageable.
Since the beginning, I have stuck with reliable but obsolete technology – a good old landline phone with a patch to capture and record the calls. My clients have always noticed static in the recordings and asked for a better quality keepsake of their calls with me. I upgraded from a spyware-quality phone patch to a radio station quality in-line phone patch from JK audio, and while the quality improved marginally, it has never been great. This has to date, been the best I could do.
While I’m certainly not technology-averse, I have been reluctant to introduce technology into my session calls. When I’m in “medium mode” I just need the tech to be easy and reliable. I need a phone, a notebook, and possibly photos from my client. I really don’t want a laptop in that mix.
Well, since Sweetie and I moved to Victoria, the audio quality has gotten WORSE. I can’t understand it, but it seems that while the internet is cheaper and better, the old copper phone lines are going to seed, and the phone company is no longer willing to maintain them. Clients are saying I sound far away! That’s no good!
So I have engaged in many hours of research, and I am now investing in a VoIP phone setup. I spent some time with a very kind tech support fellow from 1-VoIP who helped me to solve the problem of how to incorporate the new technology (stop laughing) in the easiest, most user-friendly way possible.
I also need to be able to sit in my chair (an amazing la-z-boy recliner which makes it possible for me to talk on the phone for hours at a time) so I did NOT want to have to use my aging laptop to make phone calls – and lets not forget, I need to be able to record these calls.
Well! It turns out you can buy actual VoIP phones which – get this – have a USB port in them where you can just stick a flash drive in and record the call RIGHT ON THE PHONE! And there will not be additional “noise” on the line the way there currently is with the old analog phone lines – all digital baby! The call recordings should be very high quality!
As a resident of civilization now, rather than rural wilderness, the internet connection is a reliable utility I have begun to take for granted.
I have placed my order for this technology and signed up for the service. I will of course do all my testing and set up before I get on calls with clients, but if you do have a session with me in the next six weeks, I do ask that you be patient with me just in case I run into new tech challenges. There’s always an adjustment period.
I’m excited though! I have always wanted easy, high-quality call recordings, and now I think I’m going to get it!!!
I received a media inquiry from a lovely fellow named Calvin, who had some great questions about pets and the pandemic.
I thought I would share his questions and my answers here. When his article comes out, I will post a link in the comments.
Here are Calvin’s questions:
1 Do pets—cats and dogs specifically—know we’re experiencing a pandemic?
2 If so, how are they sensing that?
3 Would that knowledge be distressing for them?
4 Can pets detect illness—specifically something like the coronavirus—when someone they live with contracts it?
Speaking in generalities, Most pets don’t have a context for understanding a pandemic. Their world is their home and people. They are usually quite tuned into their people, and if there has been a change in routine, or their human’s stress levels, they will certainly understand the change, though they might not know exactly why.
My own cats are living their best lives at the moment, as my wife at home most of the time, and while I still go to my (essential services healthcare) day job, I am spending more time at hime in general. Our cats’ happiest place is when in body contact with one or both of us, which they are getting now more than ever.
Having said that, they are both aware when my stress levels increase, as my smell, and my body tension / language changes with tension. Their response, like a lot of animals, is to “fix it” with distractions, antics, affection, or otherwise redirecting my mental state.
For many other animal companions, who have a greater contact with the outside world, they have an acute awareness of the differences they see and hear about from other species.
For example, a dog who has access to several acres of property, or who lives in a rural community where she can live with more off-leash freedom, will have a more enriched world and will have contacts outside her own family.
Dogs and certain species of birds can develop relationships if it benefits them both – crows like to team up with dogs, especially if the dog can help them get food. If there is a pre-existing relationship with a dog who has more freedom, and a wild species who has unlimited freedom, then that dog can have access to information like the widespread reduction in human activity, and the results of that in the natural world.
Songbirds are pretty stoked about the reduction in noise, but crows, pigeons, and other birds who benefit from people being out and about are having to expand their territories looking for new food sources.
Dogs on walks, or who go for pack walks with a dog walker (a great enrichment activity) will be able to see for themselves, and share information with other dogs about their observations. Dogs are generally very invested in what people do and why they do it.
Cats who have unlimited access to outdoors are less likely to talk with species that could prey on them (dogs / wild canids / large raptors) or with species that are potential prey (smaller birds, rodents, mammals). But often cats develop relationships with neighbouring cats, cat-friendly dogs, and other people. News can pass through the cat’s world in this way, so they become aware of the changes in human behaviour that have happened on a larger scale.
All animals understand the concept of sickness and contagion, and all have generally experienced some illness or seen an illness pass through their own family, or in their litters as young animals. However, most animals do not worry about getting sick, or about an illness that is happening to others outside their own world, because most animals don’t stretch their logical thought process into worry about hypotheticals.
Pets who live with us usually become so tuned into our lives that they sense small changes in human bodies before we notice them ourselves. A pet could notice we have contracted a virus by noticing our resting heart rate has increased, our body temperature has increased, or out rate of breathing has increased.
Our bodies are constantly changing all the time, so a pet would not likely notice the first subtle changes and thing “my person is getting sick”, they would simply observe the changes before we would. Of course the moment we start to feel unwell, they are aware of our distress.
Many pets have learned to detect patterns in our bodies that indicate a health event like a seizure or low blood sugar. (Some are trained for this, but many simply learn through observation as their people are most of their world.) Cats and dogs have a much more acute sense of smell than people do, so early indications of illness are far more obvious to them. That combined with their daily observations of us give them an advantage in detecting an illness in their humans early on.
When we come home from outside, we bring in smells from everywhere we’ve been that tells the story of our day. My cats would know I have been to the grocery store, but they would not know if I had been in contact with a virus until my body started to change, hours or days later. Viruses themselves don’t have a smell.
Bacteria does have a smell, and bacteria is everywhere. Dogs may smell an increased bacteria load on some iffy chicken, but would not necessarily conclude it’s bad for humans to eat.
Well friends, what do you think? Do you have any questions about pets and the pandemic. Ask in the comments 🙂
I hope everyone has what they need, and I am thinking about those of you living in countries where I know the government is not doing as much to support their citizens as they should.
Sweetie and I are doing fine. Sweetie is not working right now, though we are positive that once things in British Columbia start to settle into a “new normal” and places start to hire again, that she will be able to find a good job. The job she had before was always a bit dangerous, and the hazard just became too high to tolerate after you throw a pandemic on top of it. Our finances are of course tight as a result, but completely manageable and we are so fortunate and thankful for that. We are very lucky.
Our new home is great too. Well, we have had an issue with the shower, that has resulted in the need to tear out the wall, and because of the pandemic, we can’t have that project completed right now. One of our shower walls is actually plastic vapor barrier, and we hope it will hold up until the contractors are taking work again, which we expect them to do soon. Fun stuff.
Sweetie and I are making our new condo feel like a home. We had the luxury of space in Ucluelet, 3 bedrooms and nearly 2000 square feet. It’s the biggest space we have ever lived in! We may never have that kind of square footage again, so we are getting creative with our lovely and modest 1 bedroom, which, by the way, feels so much larger at 675 square feet than our 500 square foot apartment did.
We have set up the bedroom to be an art studio / sanctuary for Sweetie. When I have sessions on Sundays, Sweetie is usually in the bedroom where she won’t disturb or overhear me. It was important that she have a functional creative space in there.
To maximize the floor space, we pushed the bed against the wall – something I haven’t done since I was a teenager, but was *totally* worth it. There is space in there now to do yoga, and half the room is set up with Kat’s easel, a soft pine bookcase with sea-grass baskets holding her paints, pencils, gesso and other mediums, her art inspiration books, and her dozens of sketchbooks.
The top shelf is half-full with mason jars holding her 100+ paintbrushes. One side of the book case has a teal wire magazine rack holding 1970s “how to paint seascapes / trees / mountains” over-sized booklets with gorgeous cover illustrations, reminding me of Bob Ross.
The side of the bookcase nearest to the wall supports a stack of large “work in progress” canvasses, some blank but primed, some partially completed, some still untouched. It makes me want to sit down and paint again myself, something I haven’t done in over 10 years.
In the center of the room there is a decently-sized window with a wood venetian blind we will replace at some point (it came with the unit). In front of this window, we installed three ceiling hooks (because we own the place and can put holes in the ceiling if we want to!) Suspended from these hooks are three spider plants, who instantly spread out to embrace their new space. These plants transformed the energy of the space, granting it a relaxed, nurturing feeling.
I have mentioned before how I have allowed my enjoyment of houseplants to run amok since we moved away from the rainforest. Victoria does have impressive access to nature, but it’s no longer a part of my daily life, so I am doing my best to turn our home into a jungle. This process is even more interesting given our access to multiple nurseries and thus a variety of unusual and sometimes rare species of plants. I like to focus on the ones which feature purple or pink foliage. I installed a few more ceiling hooks in the living room, so the jungle transformation has begun!
The living room is currently in disarray. The dining table is dominated by my computer set up. I think I will have to make room for a proper desk, or we will just not have a dining table ever. I need to think about where I’d actually PUT a computer desk. These are spatial problems I really do enjoy, and I have a few ideas, but these things will require some more time and probably some more purchases to execute. I really do need a dedicated office space, to replace the office I left behind in Ucluelet, and to provide space for my continuing education studies, once “normal” life resumes. I just can’t find the mental headspace to start studying right now, given the pandemic, the work-in-progress bathroom, and Sweetie who is always home. I also would rather keep the tuition money in the bank right now, just in case.
The cats have adapted well to apartment life, though I do feel a bit guilty to have to confine them to a smaller space. They have each other though, and now that we are both home quite a bit, their happy place is right in front of our faces, breathing our breath and using the mysterious force of feline gravity to discourage us from moving and disturbing them.
I did buy a little mini Nintendo, the kind that is pre-loaded with games, for indulgence in our quarantine amusement. I found a second-hand knock-off one in the facebook marketplace for $50, and the contactless-exchange of goods for dollars went off without a hitch. It plays Super Mario well enough for me to really enjoy, but it’s a kinda glitchy, so that Sweetie, a veteran player of the 1990s, can’t pull off show-boaty moves like getting 100 free lives as she would like to do. In fact, her aggressive style of play may have resulted in a broken controller in the first week! There is a slight chance it may have broken when dropped, though, or maybe it was pre-broken when I bought it. I have seen how she plays with her whole body though, so I think the jury’s still out. The return to Super Mario game play is very fun! We may decide to get a “retron” for Christmas if we are still enjoying playing the vintage games of childhood.
On Sundays, I am working through the line-up of New Year Report Card sessions! I really love doing them, and it’s so nice to talk to the folks who book these every year. If that’s you, thank you so much. It has been so cool to hear how these sessions work out, year-to-year.
I have left the New Year Report Card booking option active on my professional website for now, mostly because I haven’t had time to update my website in months! You can see it still says “Now booking Fall 2019” – LIES! See, this loops back to me needing an office area, or so I tell myself!
I will give a sneak peek into the future and confirm for my regulars that yes, I will be doing another Pet Session Special this summer! Keep your eyes out for that post. I will launch it by August, maybe sooner depending on how other demands on my time pan out in the next few months.
Meanwhile, I do have a pet session discount available which you can always use – just enter “ILoveMyPet” in the coupon code space 🙂
How are y’all doing out there, in Covid19 land? I hope you’re minding the social distancing advice, I hope you’re eating carbs and checking in with your friends and family.
I have been connecting with George Harrison these last few days, having a preliminary conversation almost in the background of my consciousness. I’ve been concerned about some things I’ve been seeing on the internet about the Corona virus outbreak, and I’ve been rolling these questions over to George, so he can roll them back with some ideas and feedback.
Here’s our conversation.
K: Hi George. Thank you for coming in to help. It’s been a while since we’ve talked, or done a blog post together.
G: Friendship ages well.
K: I have been really concerned about the harmfully misleading information I’ve seen, particularly when it appears on a psychic / intuitive influencer’s blog. Why do people say things like the novel coronavirus was engineered by malevolent governments to scare people into vaccinating, or to submit to further surveillance by the state?
G: Incredibly complex question there. The answer begins in the human condition, in our desire to make order and sense out of, what seems to be, chaos.
Some might seek to position themselves in a position of authority, or to solidify a position of authority among a group of fans (or followers) they may already have. It’s a pursuit of the ego.
Others might truly believe the fiction, and they recycle it to others (spreading much like a virus.)
One may inoculate oneself against such fiction by quietly observing, from a peaceful and loving perspective, exactly who is making these statements. When this observation is done not from a place of fear that their words might be true, but from an attitude of curiosity (not judgement), their motivations, their position among their peers, and even their isolation will become apparent.
We all have this ability, to decipher truth from fiction. It has served us well in the past.
K: So doing things like checking the posting history of a person speaking with authority would be a good strategy? If they have a history of conspiracy theory posts, then that can provide some insight into what they say now?
G: Yes. Others simply want to join in on circulating the message. Any message. They want to feel… like a part of it all. Intimacy with a conspiracy theory can feel more comforting, a tighter more exclusive circle of compatriots who dare to believe. It reminds me of the early days of transcendental meditation, rebels we were back then!
K: Rebel meditators.
G: Peace Spiritualists! We were spiritual children. I believe, (our current generation, born 1980 and later) was born wise.
G: Yes, allowing for community and environment. The current youth (chuckles) have had access to information, free discourse, their entire lives.
K: I know that’s comforting to a part of me. I am still concerned about the people disseminating conspiracy theories in a time when the actual truth really matters – an individual being responsible with social distancing and quarantine could literally mean life or death for another human being. People are scared enough without the added stress of imagining this viral pandemic was engineered and released, accidentally or intentionally. How is that helping anyone? It’s just adding to the legitimate stress people are feeling right now.
G: I invite all those who know and love (me – feel a connection with me) to join me in meditation at a time and place of their choosing. I am available for comfort, guidance, and support. Meditate, and join me. I am here, in love.
(To take) You, yourself, are disseminating fear at this very moment. (Said with love.)
K: Yeah… people bug me sometimes. Wash your damn hands.
G: (Chuckles, reminds me energetically that we cannot affect the actions of others by feeling bugged by them.)
K: Okay, that’s a great point. What is a good thing to do right now, to be helpful to ourselves, and each other? We have checking in on neighbors, (through a closed door, obviously) friends, family. We have taking walks and maintaining physical social distance, while still connecting with our bodies and nature.
G: (teasing me that I’m basically saying “I know all that, but what is the REAL secret to ____”) How many times, my friend, have I been asked versions of this question? (Shows me “I know how to meditate, but what is the real secret to serenity?” All of this, is a rephrasing of the ultimate question. How do we really matter? How can we make our lives count?
Our lives do count. Do not discount your own actions by comparing it to those of others. Picking up the phone, writing a letter (or sending electronic notes of care) are all actions of consequence. This time of global stress is a perfect opportunity to watch your actions ripple outwards, and see in action the great web of light and life which connects us all.
K: Wow, George, you got ethereal there.
G: Is that not why I am here? (wry smile)
K: Of course it is. I really would like to offer some helpful, practical advice for folks who may read this.
G: Donate to food banks, donate blankets, bedding, donate to shelters, share share share the resources. The collecting (hoarding) is antithetical to the comfort, community, and solidarity (people incarnated on earth right now) are seeking at this time. If you have extra, give it.
I believe many people will come to regret (grocery hoarding). Do not allow that food to expire, unused. Donate it in a few weeks, or a few months. People need it. We will all get so sick of pasta.
K: Thank you so much for your help today, George.
G: My pleasure, stranger (teasing).
Well people, I hope this was helpful, and I hope you are finding comfort in your community right now.
I worked at Sunnybook hospital during SARS, and I actually contracted H1N1 while working there during that outbreak, (not fun), so a lot of what is happening right now is familiar, though neither of those outbreaks resulted in a global pandemic and the necessity of isolating in the our general population.
I do remember what it was like to work at the epicenter of the extremely scary SARS outbreak, when everyone in the hospital had to get screened upon entering the building, and had to wear a surgical mask at all times while in the building. It felt pretty apocalyptic at the time. The social impact of everyone wearing masks was profound. People couldn’t recognize each other, read facial expressions, and the psychological impact of wearing masks was determined to outweigh the very small benefit of a slightly decreased risk of non-symptomatic transmission of SARS.
What I learned then was the social connection piece of our life as humans is literally life-sustaining. As we physically isolate from each other, remember to make up for it with authentic connections. We have to make the additional effort to make authentic connections with each other.
And social media doesn’t count, people! Close facebook, and invite a true friend to have a facetime / messenger conversation. Drink tea and cookies while you’re at it! I have a list of people I would like to catch up with, if I find myself isolating at home… for now though, my day job is essential services, and I will be going to work.
A close friend of mine advised me not to make any big life decisions when you have experienced a major upheaval… but this is a decision I’ve been working on for years.
Here’s a little background.
As a child – teenager, I always wanted to be a veterinarian, so much so that i determinedly applied repeatedly to a local animal hospital until they hired me on as an assistant at minimum wage, from the time I was 16 until I was 19. I can’t believe it was only 3 years, because it seems like such a huge and formative part of my life.
Thing is, gaining entrance to doctor of veterinary medicine programs is extremely competitive, and while I was a smart kid, I wasn’t the smartest kid. I was on the honour role until I became seriously depressed (for a laundry list of reasons) and my grades dropped enough to disqualify me from the bachelor of science program at Guelph University. I was accepted to the agriculture program, but by the time I received that news, I just didn’t have the willpower to go. I promised myself then that I would go to university later in life, when I knew what I wanted to do.
I was so young then, that I didn’t know that depression can make you think you don’t want the things you used to want, and I have wondered in the years since, what would have happened if I had just gone and taken the agriculture program? How would my life been different?
I don’t dwell on that, I just reminisce on that particular fork in the road.
What I did instead was go to college and take nursing. This was a program that would get me into the work force quickly, (the RN program was just two years back in 1998), but I found my depression followed me into nursing, and that I am not really cut out for primary care. I felt like I couldn’t continue in that, and so I just decided to enter the workforce.
From there, I moved to Toronto, quickly attained a management position in one non-profit, then after two years switched to finance in the healthcare field. I took night school courses and got promotions.
But I wasn’t happy. I didn’t like living in Toronto, and was thinking about leaving for a smaller tourist town when I met Sweetie. Well, I decided to give that a shot, and I’m so glad I did.
Together, Sweetie and I moved across the country to Ucluelet / Tofino, where we would spend the next ten years, where I ended up in a hospital job I loved, and where I started my psychic business. We lived a challenging and charmed life for years, yet it always had a sense of impermanence.
For two years before we were evicted by the new property owners of our rental so they could “move in family” and of course rent it out for more than double what we had paid, I had been ruminating on the question of what I should do – and this is when I seriously began to consider my options for a university degree.
Student debt was always something I have wanted to avoid, so attending a full-time program is not an option. I am also mindful of how burnt out I felt attending school full time, and I would really prefer to take courses as I can fit them into my schedule and build to a degree.
So that limits my options substantially, but there are a few great programs that meet these parameters. Quite a lot, actually. All of which were expensive, and I couldn’t justify putting money into school when the housing situation on the West Coast seemed so precarious (and it was!)
All that brings me to now – we are settled into our little Victoria condo, in a diverse neighbourhood (that we LOVE) and after all the stress and uncertainty, I am so so SO grateful to live here. At this point, I would not move back to Tofino if we had the option, as much as I miss it, it feels so good to be here.
Almost involuntarily, I found myself focussing on the university question. Time to make a decision! But how?
I was pointed down a rabbit hole when someone suggested massage therapists are in high demand in Victoria, and can earn 100k / year. “That doesn’t sound right,” I thought… but I had to investigate. I know six massage therapists, off the top of my head, and none of them are living like they earn that kind of money. Most are just trying to pay the bills, a few like to travel, and all have other jobs supplementing their income. Not what I had in mind.
Yet the colleges offering these programs would loudly say massage therapists can make this kind of money…. and maybe it’s my finance background, or my aries tenacity, but I just needed to see the proof.
This search led me to a great little corner of the statistics canada website! I’d been all over statistics canada before, looking for ideas on what career path to pursue, but had not landed on this particular page… a page listing the top 100 growing fields in BC. You could click on each job title and see the median, low and high end reported incomes for each job title, along with projected job posting numbers, and educational requirements.
Sure enough, massage therapist was among the top 100 – and I clicked on it! Ha ha, I was right! Massage therapists in canada, on average, make nowhere near what the programs want you to think, in fact, they make significantly less than I do in my current job. So that’s a no. I couldn’t really see myself working in a spa, anyway.
What I then did was click on every job title that intrigued me, even the ones I knew were impractical to pursue, and wrote down the key information in my little purse notebook (a handheld palm-size notebook with a picture of a beaver and the words “dam it”). I made a little chart of educational requirements, (2 year, 4 yr degree, Masters or doctorate) the projected job growth statistics, and the median salary.
I then made notes on the lifestyle and hours of the job. Did it require on call hours or shift work? If so, I eliminated them. Did they offer Monday – Friday, 9-5 hours with holidays off? If so I highlighted them.
Finally, I circled the job titles with educational requirements I could achieve through part-time study. This narrowed my list down to to three titles: healthcare management, which I have already been considering for years but I know is a thankless and stressful job, healthcare policy which is provincial government employment, and I just don’t have much information on what that job is actually like day to day, and… human resources. Huh!
I stopped at human resources. Here is a career path I have never considered. I thought about it. It actually makes a lot of sense for me.
The best part is a degree in human resources would still keep the other two career paths of provincial government employment and healthcare management open to me, but it would also open MANY more doors, as a degree in HR is widely applicable.
My favourite part of this plan is that there are programs that offer a 1 year certificate, a 2 year diploma, and a 4 year degree. I have found job listings that require only the certificate or the diploma, which do pay me more than my current position, so I could start reaping the rewards of continuing education along the way.
It’s not all about the money, of course, it’s about the stability and the choices making a higher income will allow; and I want to be sure that if I invest money into an education that I will make that money back in a reasonable time frame. I have about 25 years of working life ahead of me, and it will take a chunk of that time to earn a degree on a part-time basis, so it helps to be in a field where I can see some benefits earlier on. I also need to make sure that sinking money into an education will work out financially in the years I would have in the field.
The problem nagging me in Tofino was the math that just didn’t work for us long term. We were managing to get through, year by year, but it always felt like we were surviving, and our survival was a bit uncertain and precarious. I want a more solid plan for our life, and I want to make good on that promise I made to myself at 19 when I decided after completing my first year in nursing that I would not return for the second year – that I would pursue a degree when I knew what it was that I WANTED to do.
And I finally do! I’m so happy to have finally made a decision – and I know I’ll do well in that field.
My next step is to engage in a prior learning assessment, which will transfer my relevant college credits (from nursing and night school) and assess the skills I have acquired in the job market, through my early management experience, my finance job, and my hospital supply chain job. I am hoping to start with a year’s worth of credits, but we’ll see.
For now, I have to deal with a pipe that burst behind our shower and flooded the communal bathroom below… this is my first major issue as a new homeowner and it’s quite a stressful experience. We are going to have to rip out our whole shower to dry the wet wall behind it. This is just one of life’s hiccups and we will figure it out. Once we do, I’ll get the ball rolling on education.
This is the stuff of life my friends. Sometimes spirituality is set aside, temporarily, so we can engage fully in the practical matters of our home and community. Nothing wrong with that.
I can’t help but wonder if this burst pipe is a gift?
Did I tell you that I found out the previous owner of our condo has the same kind of brain tumour my mother had? There is a connection there I am tempted to make, as I’m sure my mother and grandparents were as involved as they could be from heaven in helping us find an affordable condo in the high-demand Victoria market. The one thing I wasn’t so keen on is this condo has a shower, not a bath. If it all has to get ripped out anyway, maybe I can have a bath tub installed while they’re at it. I would not be putting money into renovating the bathroom if this hadn’t happened, but since it has, maybe it’s just a tweak to fully feather our new nest.
We will have to see how things work out. Wish me luck!