Saturday, June 26, 2021

Quarantine Report, Week 67: Carleton Rocks

 The week started with Father's Day and ended with mild side effects from the second shot, so a better week than most.  My daughter has not been with me the last several Father's Days, but I get to see her soon, so that is a good enough present.  My wife helpfully bought a few silly presents for the day--aprons given the past year of cooking and baking.  

And, yes, I went overboard on the baking this week to celebrate Father's Day and then the vax day.  First was the Irish Cream Pound case, which had, yes, a heap of Bailey's.  It was pretty terrific.

And then I made this after I got vaxxed.  To thank Dolly Parton for the miracle that is Moderna.  It was a funfetti cake with more sugar in a cake than Mrs. Spew has had since ... she was a kid?  Super sweet just like Dolly and the prospect of breaking quarantine.




So, yeah, we went to Carleton, got in line, the nurse at the front was cheerful and super-organized, and then it was easy peasy from there to the end.  The only hard part was finding our way out of the building since we were directed through the a back way so that we didn't encounter the un-vaxxed.  It was smart, but kind of reminded me of that scene from Spinal Tap where the band could not find the stage.

The big question is: what next?  The Canadian health folks put out the rules or guidelines yesterday, which are not nearly as wide open as those the CDC put out.  In terms of my own behavior, in two weeks, once the vaccine has been processed by my bod, I will continue to wear masks inside in stores and such.  Partly because I don't want to send confusing signals, partly because that seems to be the rule for being among the unvaxxed, and partly because catching an non-fatal, non-hospitalized case of COVID is still not pleasant.  And we don't know enough about the long term effects of mild cases of COVID in those who are fully vaxxed.  It will also depend on the local rate of infection.

I will get a haircut (floofy no more?), I will go to the movies (without Mrs. Spew since she is a bit more nervous than I), we will start going to patios and then eventually inside restaurants.  And, yes, I will go to the US to see my family in August.  That is the big one--seeing my mother, my siblings, and, yes, Hollywood Spew!  I will probably call my weekly reports something else in two weeks, as I will no longer be "in quarantine."  Of course, breakthroughs, new variants, another virus may cause us to return to this state of being.  And that would suck, so I am not throwing away the masks (which I will wear now when I have a cold, Asia-Pacific style) or the sanitizer stuff.  I do hope that stores can stop practicing hygiene theory--wiping everything down after every client--and I hope schools focus on improving ventilation.

This week was busy in both expected and unexpected ways.  The CDSN Personnel Team held a workshop on the Power of Diversity on Friday/Saturday.  It was really interesting, with most of the focus on the status of immigrants (previous workshops had focused more on women and on historically excluded people).  I chaired on session and served as a breakout room moderator as well despite not knowing much about this stuff.  The upside, of course, is that I learn a lot. 

The unexpected busy-ness involved a bunch of media hits as there was much attention by the journalists on the end of this term of parliament.  The timing was perfect for me as I had a meeting with Dave and Phil for our project on legislatures and oversight over the armed forces.  So, that stuff was fresh in my mind as I was observing that our initial stance that the Canadian House of Commons Defence Committee is less relevant than most was perhaps an understatement.  What I learned this week is that a minority government still controls the agenda of the committee, so, yeah, the committee didn't issue a report about the Vance/Sajjan mess.  This video has most of my rants in one place as Dale Smith, fellow fan of Nigella Lawson, asked good, triggering questions. I did dodge some media hits by recommending people who have far more expertise on the stuff, such as maritime disputes.  I was asked by Matt Gurney, a radio host, whether there will be any real change in the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence with the media soon to be distracted by the possibility of an election.  I suggested that post-election, there will be a new Defence Minister, so they will likely be attentive to that choice (please no more senior military types), and the report by retired Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour will serve to energize the media.  I do think there are many folks in the CAF now are motivated and interested--but the old boys network remains powerful, and culture is hard to change.  So, no easy, instant fixes.

The meeting with Dave and Phil led to a surprising division of labor with me focusing on the short term article and the two of them focusing on writing the start of the book.  It is late in the summer (it is nearly half gone!), so my teammates are skeptical we can finish the book by the end of the summer.  However, I think we will have a bad draft of a good book by then.  While we are doing that, Phil and I are finally working on the Canadian case, so I interviewed the Conservative Defence Critic, James Bezan.  He was struck that the questions we wrote were written six years ago as he thought they were most relevant now.  So, woot for us!  

In the big picture, things are getting much better in Canada and the US and much worse in much of the rest of the world.  We have to keep that in mind--that the planet needs to be vaccinated, not just our immediate neighbors.  We also have take seriously what our countries have done.  The finding of perhaps 750 Indigenous kids' graves at a second residential school (kiddie concentration camps may be offputting, but it should be) is just a start of Canada coming to grips with its history.  Having an Indigenous Secretary of Interior in the US, Deb Haaland, will mean that the US may look at its own legacy of similar policies of stealing kids from their families and putting them into awful circumstances.  One of the bright spots of Canada's pandemic response has been that the First Nations have been in the front of the line for vaccines, and there has been much effort to help them deal with ... damn ... crappy health care infrastructure.  So much more to do.  

As we turn to the big national holidays--Canada Day and Independence Day--we need to reflect what the values of our countries are, how we have fallen short, and how we can do better.  We sure as hell need some Critical Race Theory, precisely because the party of bad faith and of white supremacy is pushing against it.  

Be well and get your vaccines!

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