Grievances, Big and Small; Ten Weeks In

Big Grievance: Masks

Despite my diatribes about shopping carts, I like to think that I am a very open-minded person. Unless a person is blatantly racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or similar, I am usually able to see things from their point of view, even if I disagree, be it about politics, parenting, books and movies, or moustaches.

Small grievance digression: the boys are STILL sporting moustaches, and have no intentions of shaving “until this is all over” which, really, is so vague as to make me believe that I am going to be looking at Ned Flanders/ Errol Flynn facial hair until the end of time.

Anyway, back to the big grievance. I have a policy not to get into arguments online; such arguments are futile and pointless and only lead to bad feelings. Generally speaking, no online argument has ever changed anyone’s mind and it only serves to fuel feelings of frustration about ignorance and the state of the world. However, a woman who I know vaguely through the yoga community posted a link about Costco requiring masks to shop at its warehouses, with the caption “Not a chance! I will stop shopping there if they push me to wear a mask. How ridiculous!” The comments – don’t read the comments, people – were supportive of this anti-mask stance, in that “we have to stand up for our rights!” Our rights to shop at Costco maskless? I guess.

At this point I wasn’t trying to start an argument, I was curious. Why though? Why no mask? Was there an actual physical issue that precludes mask-wearing? What is the big deal? I equate stores requiring masks with the ubiquitous No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service policy; I really wanted to know her reasoning.

The answer, such as it was, that it was she did not think that masks are useful and that she believes in her right to choose.

Her right to choose, as if this was an abortion issue, not a let’s-wear-masks-during-a-global-pandemic-for-an-hour-to-buy-groceries issue.

Also, you know who DOES think mask-wearing is useful? The entire medical community.

I pressed on a little, and kept getting comments that “people’s rights are being taken away” and “this was oppression,” which, really. Oppression. Rights being taken away. If wearing a mask indicates one’s level of oppression and lack of human rights, then one is living a very charmed and lucky life. Imagine equating a mask with oppression. Imagine talking to a woman from, say, Iran about your rights being taken away.

All this from a yoga teacher, who should, by all definitions, be concerned about the more vulnerable in our society and who also would require people visiting her studio to remove their shoes upon entering. Even in my old stroke survivor yoga class, students removed their shoes upon entering the studio, the only exception being a person who was in a scooter and whose feet never touched the floor. If we yoga teachers can require shoe removal as a sign of respect and cleanliness, then I think we could also put something over our noses and mouths in a time where an extremely contagious respiratory virus is rampant.

Well, I don’t unfriend people easily – it took me twelve years to unfriend my cousin who constantly spewed anti-vaccination information and promoted his diet as precluding the need for vaccinations and modern medicine – but this was a no-brainer. I have no time for this. However, there is always a bright side. Based on the people who are going to boycott Costco for mask requirements, there should be fewer people in the queue to get in; fewer STUPID and SELFISH people in the queue. Oppression of human rights indeed.

(I don’t know who to credit for this image but I like it)

Small Grievance: Child Benefit

I do not ever apply for the Canada Child Benefit while filling out my tax return. As far as I can see, I do not qualify for anything, which is perfectly fine, of course. So when I received an envelope from Revenue Canada, I stared at it before opening. Did I file something wrong? Nothing strikes fear in the heart quite like an unexpected envelope from Revenue Canada. What I found inside was startling: my Child Benefit had been calculated, and my annual entitlement was to be deposited into my account shortly. My annual entitlement of $3.28.

$3.28! I’m sure the costs of calculation, mailing, and depositing far exceeded that amount, but okay. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a very small latte, or a block of tofu and a pack of gum.

Very Small Grievance: Rogue Spinach Leaves

Every day I make myself a green smoothie and every day, every single day, there is one spinach leaf that gets stuck on the side of the blender and refuses to be a part of it. That is, when I’m lucky it’s stuck on the side of the blender; sometimes it drops into the smoothie, unperceived by me until I drink it and get a soft, weird-tasting leaf in my mouth.

I’ve tried everything, and still, one leaf.

Not Really A Grievance: Goutweed

My very lovely elderly neighbour, many years ago, transplanted and watered a particularly invasive and ugly non-variegated variety of goutweed in the space between our houses. She is unable to do yardwork now, and the goutweed had spread and grown and started to choke out our shrubs and the variegated, snow-on-the-mountain goutweed that was also growing in that space. It had also started to creep into one of my gardens, and something had to be done. The boys and I spent two and a half hours yesterday digging it out. Have you ever tried to dig out goutweed? There is a reason it is used as an aggressive groundcover. As I said, this is not really a grievance, as I really enjoy this type of work, and it was a Project that was Very Satisfying to complete. My muscles are a TINY bit sore though; apparently goutweed can be used medicinally for inflammation. This seems like the ultimate irony.

Pandemic Reading

If we want to talk about oppression…this book deals with an “honour killing.” It’s quite fascinating and explores a community in which rules are rigid and women’s rights are non-existent.

A woman deals with her nasty husband’s sudden and extreme spiritual awakening; this book is very witty and also ended much differently than I thought it would, which I genuinely like.

This was okay, a light weekend-style read.

Yummy Things

Other than yesterday, the week was cold and rainy, which I usually find Oppressive Like Masks, but for some reason I instead found the rain to be energizing and invigorating. I went for walks in the rain – what have I become – and I leaned in hard to Cozy Rainy Day activities. I made three different kinds of ice cream – mint, strawberry, and vanilla caramel swirl – baked a lot, and made jam.

Also, three perfect avocados! At the same time!

Our Sunday dessert was chocolate-dipped strawberries, a very nice treat after all that digging.

Pandemic Fitness

My Sunday walk took me to the university; I hadn’t been on campus since 1998, and I was surprised to see so many changes, so many new and beautiful buildings. It was good to see my old stomping grounds to be basically unchanged – except for the absence of the Prairie Chicken! – and just as ugly as it used to be. Ah, I can feel the dinginess of those windowless offices just by looking at this.

Never did I think I would become a woman who would wear her son’s outgrown windbreaker to run in the drizzle, but here we are.

I hope you are all having a fabulous, unoppressed week. Fight the power! xo


  1. bibliomama2 says

    I’ve been waiting for more of our ordered masks to come in, since we only have one each and of course one has already gotten lost. Today I wore my favourite one to go shopping and the elastic broke and I didn’t have a back-up. I was slightly mortified, but it was early and the store was almost empty so I just shopped fast and got out, and some new masks were in the mail on my way home.
    Maps for Lost Lovers was interesting. Written by a Muslim (I think) who reeeeally has some big issues with Islam. I also really enjoyed How to Be Good – some of it was hysterical and some was sad, and there was some real food for thought.
    I almost bought a fancy ice cream maker the other day just because I am at the Buying Fancy Gadgets part of the pandemic, apparently. But I might buy a countertop ice machine instead, so I held off and ordered an asston of Merry Dairy instead.

  2. I already expressed on Twitter my lack of patience with the exhausting masks are taking away my freedom crowd so won’t do so again here. I came to complain/empathize over the teen boy mustache during quarantine issue. Oldest is sporting the straggliest, most hideous mustache and also won’t shave it until this is over. It’s the epitome of bad teen boy mustaches and it’s killing me slowly looking at it every day. I’d say he’s not seeing anyone so who cares but he has zoom calls 3x a day for classes so everyone is seeing it. I mean I’m ok with him never having a girlfriend again in HS but I doubt he feels the same ?

  3. I have been baffled and upset by The Mask Resistance Movement. Like you, I’ve wondered why these people are not similarly resisting the shirts-and-shoes requirements in stores: why no phone videos of Brave Souls heading barefoot or shirtless into Cosco, crying out for their “rights”?

  4. I so appreciate your comparison of the ‘mask oppression’ to the no shirt, no shoes, no service rule. Exactly! I am exhausted by the complaining about why they won’t open things sooner, mask requirements, etc. Since this is our first pandemic, I assume the authorities are more knowledgable than the rest of us, at the very least doing the best they can. Lad shaved a two inch arc above/around both ears and he literally looks like a moron. I reminded myself ‘Nicole says hair will grow back,’ but I am HOPING he interviews and is hired soon so he can afford to move out. This feels like a step in the wrong direction.

  5. The “I won’t wear a mask and re-open NOW” groups exhaust me. And really make me wonder about our education system. Surely, it must have failed these people since they can’t figure out why they should wear the masks and why we shouldn’t just throw the doors back open.

  6. You can buy a block of tofu AND a pack of gum for under $4? That seems like a deal, right there!

    People and the anti-mask stuff. What even. I just. It boggles the mind.

  7. That lone spinach leaf will not wear a mask to Costco. You can’t make it.

    I have a picture of a goose couple with three babies on my blog today, too! (Mine were more like teenager geese, though.)

    I wear Noah’s long-outgrown shoes and boots.

  8. Opression. Give me an effing break; people are crazy!!
    You look adorable in your son’s outgrown wind breaker; and again, I’m so impressed with all your working out.
    I had to google goutweed as I’ve never heard of this.
    I lol’d at your child benefit deposit. 😉


  1. […] Proof that there is always one spinach leaf that refuses to be blended. […]

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