The Walrus Brings Us One of the Last Studies of the After Effects of the Pandemic; The Walrus Mission Statement Finds Favor; It Seems My Brain was Affected by the Effects of the Pandemic But I SnapedBack; Staunch,Shoals and Intuitive Defined; Two Bulletin Boards Photographed with Their Paraphernalia Explained. 

I have a new source of news and views which will guide me through the shoals of misinformation and the trivialities that we social medians face on a daily basis.

Many definitions of shoals but this one most suitable: a hidden danger or difficulty; a navigational hazard. Therefore, yet again, a perfect word. (She said humbly. hahaha😂😂)

Faithful readers will notice that quite suddenly I have developed the ability to place emoji within the confines of the blog. LOL taught me. He, not only posts with remarkable efficiency but,  also personally assists with computer matters. During my early Apple computer days I did not learn anything on my own – I had the assistance of an adept grandson and Apple stores offered 1:1s. No more 1:1s and no more adept grandson. This left me feeling most frustrated. But now with LOL,  coupled with  the occasional West Edmonton Mall Apple Store visit, I am feeling blessed and most well taken care of. One must adapt to change, I am very good at adapting to change. (She said humbly. hahaha😂😂)

A current adaptation is changing my source of news and views. I am now a staunch Canadian; staunch is loyal and committed in attitude – that is the new me. Therefore I require a reliable source of information that offers a Canadian perspective – clearly not a USA source simply because USA media seems not to know that Canada exists. Instead they focus with fear on Mexico (which is to the south of them, for all those who are, like me. geographically challenged). Those (dis) United States have nothing to fear from us – we do not want to cross the border seeking refuge or a better way of life. That is fortunate – imagine if they had decided to built a wall spanning the vast border between the US and Canada. Even Trump, in all of his glory, was not that grandiose. 

But onward to the new found source of information. It is The Walrus. This from their website: 

The Walrus provokes new thinking and sparks conversation on matters vital to Canadians. As a registered charity, we publish independent, fact-based journalism, produce national, ideas-focused events, and train emerging professionals in publishing and nonprofit management.

The Walrus is invested in the idea that a healthy society relies on informed citizens.” 

Is not that profound and profoundly true? The idea that a healthy society relies on informed citizens – so I am definitely on board (as they say). I will subscribe to their magazine, at the moment subscribe to their newsletter. Thereupon, immediately  received information about what happened to us during the pandemic but it brought a totally new approach, explaining many factors not revealed previously. It appears that events, people, and/or  knowledge did not slip from our brains; the stuff never got there in the first place. “Why We Made Fewer Memories During the Pandemic”, written by Jadine Ngan has the following subtitle: Monotony and anxiety wrought havoc on our brains. Can we bounce back?  

Enlightening information was revealed. “However, it’s more likely that our brains weren’t storing that information in the first place. Morgan Barense, a University of Toronto professor and Canada Research Chair in cognitive neuroscience, explains that, to encode new memories and retrieve old ones, our brains use “event boundaries, or changes in context.” Those alert our brains to pay attention to our circumstances. In other words, we’re more likely to remember the events of a day if something out of the ordinary happens.” 

In short, Barense says, we made fewer memories during the pandemic. That phenomenon explains why some people have felt a distorted sense of time in the past few years. If you’ve encoded more memories, Barense says, you believe more time has passed. Without regular memory function, we struggle to mark the passage of day.” 

Ngan discusses other consequences of the lifestyle changes we were forced to make. 

“Issues with time perception and memory may not be the only consequences of pandemic-related lifestyle changes. These changes may also have taxed us mentally. Donna Rose Addis, a senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute in Toronto, points out that, in general, as our routines shifted during the pandemic, we needed to process a lot of information. For some people, that may have resulted in suboptimal day-to-day cognitive performance. She also says that the brain can’t help but look ahead, and in situations like these, it will “work out a new set of predictions for how you’re going to navigate through life.”

“That work of adapting can be tiring, and it can take time,” she says.”

I relish immensely Ngan’s writing because she relies on more than one ‘expert’ – they all contribute and all have standing and credibility. They are professors, not just self appointed social media fools. Ngan cites another professor. “University of Toronto Scarborough psychology professor Steve Joordens acknowledges that it’s possible for the human brain to undergo physiological changes over the course of a year or two. But he remains skeptical that the pandemic has changed our brains in any considerable way. “Brain evolution—evolution in general—is a slow process,” he points out. Instead, he says, living with the pandemic may have placed us n a state of chronic stress. When we feel threatened, our bodies divert blood flow from our frontal lobe—which is responsible for rational thought and concentration—to the limbic system, which is responsible for survival behaviours like the fight-or-flight response.” 

Reading this made me understand why I, uncharacteristically and stupidly, moved to the UAE. First visited  Dubai in October of 2021, then packed up and moved to Abu Dhabi in November of 2021 planning to make it my permanent residence upon obtaining a retirement visa. I stored  most of my possessions in California, including my winter clothes, because who would need those. (That is commonly known as a mistake.) I see now in retrospect and after reading this article that I was massively stressed – not only covid but because of the persecution that I suffered in Marin County for being a Muslim woman. I in fight-or-flight mode, my blood was not going to my frontal lobe, which would have guided me rationally, allowing me to concentrate. I had to flee – so I did. 

The article and this resulting self analysis was comforting. The article also ended on a comforting note.  “But, for the most part, he (Joordens) believes in what he calls “the Great Snapback”: he is convinced that, as people return to their prepandemic environments, they will become reacquainted with their prepandemic behaviours. 

Addis says that over all people adapted. “I think that shows us something about human resilience.”

Have I Snapbacked in a great way? It is difficult to say, because the oasis in which I live now is not my prepandemic environment.  My life demonstrably different than that day in March of 2020 when my primary care physician cancelled my preoperative left knee surgery appointment because all elective surgeries had been suspended, because of the pandemic. Little did I know, at that time, that left knee replacement surgery was probably never going to be mine. At the time I was living in the Hayes Valley district of San Francisco with its multiple restaurants, theatre venues, museums and bars. My studio apartment fronted one of the world’s busiest street, the outskirts of this enclave was ringed with ghettos of homeless/criminals where insanity reined. Pandemic closures clogged the streets with stressed people walking their dogs trying to find essentials. No one talked to anyone, boyfriend of the moment disappeared.  No thanks! I have not returned to my prepandemic environment. PHEW.  

My Canadian inexpensive apartment is so quiet, no traffic noise at all. People are so friendly, not at all stressed. I can again eat indoors in restaurants with many fine establishments nearby.  Physiotherapy was recommended by my ‘replacement’ Canadian doctor, making surgery unnecessary. In this cold climate you have to be dedicated to have a dog as you are required to walk it in freezing temperatures and many apartment buildings do not allow them. (Blessedly mine does not). No problem with the missing boyfriend, do not have one to miss. There are no ghettos with crazies and criminals. There are homeless but, during the winter months,  they are housed temporarily. For example, some are housed in the Al Rashid Mosque which provides shelter, food and solace. 

So I  Snapbacked in a Great Way, now rationally and thoughtfully proceeding with existing conditions. Proof? Joined up for a Zoom seminar focusing on US Citizen Renunciation. But as a precautionary measure found a US Tax website, showing that I could do it myself. There also might be problems with MCERA – they may be required to withhold federal taxes. We shall see. Nothing in life is easy, sometimes. Hahaha😂🤣😇 But sometime, LOL can make it easy for you. 

The photographs are two of  four bulletin boards that grace my walls. I accidentally ordered four from IKEA – two are in the hallway, one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. Their displays often change. The pictured one in the hallway contains ones of fond memories of the Middle East – the Abu Dhabi Louvre, a bag from the Grand Mosque gift store, a ‘factory’ in Mecca, a UNESCO site in Riyadh and a Qatar Airlines Business class menu. 

The kitchen bulletin board now displays a recipe for frozen Mac and cheese sent by my cousin, a list of Halal markets in Edmonton provided by a helpful Security Guard at the Legislative Building, the menu from the most amazing fish market in the world – in Abu Dhabi and a brochure from the short-lived Trump Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. I was their first (and probably last) long term hotel guest in 2019. Another hotel chain took it over (I think). Holburn Group and the multibillionaire owner Joo Kim Tiah declared bankruptcy. It just goes to prove DNEFMMcB. That is a moniker from my early days at the Trump, those people (not the owner) were very smart and intuitive, seeing that messing with me was not a good idea. Intuitive is using or basing something on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning.  I wonder if any of those folks are reading this now? Intuitively: I say yes. 

Me: Intuitively I say yes. some are. 

Alter Ego: Agreed, based on the synonyms of the word. Intuitional, instinctual; innate, inborn, inherent, untaught, unlearned, natural, congenital, inbuilt, ingrown; 😼 subconscious, spontaneous, gut.

Me: I prefer innate, inborn or gut feeling. 👌🏻

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