Unpleasantness on the Home Front; Better Safe Than Sorry; Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Back to the First Absolutely Amazing Magazine Sighting: Life is Not Perfect; July 11, 2023 Photographs 

This has not been an altogether blessed morning – that is for sure. The air quality index is 11, deemed a very high health risk. This Health information is provided: 

“Reduce or reschedule strenuous exercises outdoors,… At-risk populations, children and seniors should avoid strenuous activities outdoors.  The primary pollutant is a particulate matter that is less than 2.5 (microns). The particulates are small enough to enter the bloodstream.”

I am not a child, but I am a senior, a limping senior at that, able to walk but for me walking is a strenuous activity.  Although outdoor activity was planned it became an inside day, with closed windows. It is better to be safe than sorry.  

The widely used phrase “better safe than sorry” is a pretty self-explanatory proverb. Ultimately, it means it’s better to take any precautions and just be safe, even if it seems excessive or totally unnecessary. It’s just better to do it rather than risk harm or regret later. The literal meaning: It is better to act cautiously beforehand than to suffer afterward. Where did it come from? “The earliest known use of this proverb is by the Irish novelist Samuel Lover (1797-1868) who used it in his book Rory O’More (1837).” 

Recalled I had spoken of wildfire smoke on an earlier blog, typed wildfires into the search engine finding a  August 5,2023 blog where aa New Yorker article was featured. I am now  quoting myself quoting a learned man, Dr. Dhruv Khullar

“This Hazy Day article, founded totally on fact and research, can be dow-right frightening. Read on: 

“When it comes to our health, wildfire smoke may be the most injurious form of air pollution; according to one study, it can be ten times as toxic as other forms of pollution, including car exhaust. Wildfires release enormous amounts of fine particulate matter known as PM2.5—toxins up to 2.5 microns in size, or roughly one-twentieth the diameter of a human hair. These particles travel long distances and are readily inhaled into the lungs; from there, they can slip into the bloodstream, lodge in organs, and even enter the brain. Their effects may be especially damaging to children, whose bodies are rapidly developing and whose immune defenses haven’t fully matured. There’s still much to learn about the hazards of wildfire smoke, but research on air pollution more generally paints a morbid picture. When the air quality is poor, studies have shown that crime goes up, test scores go down, umpires make more bad calls, and investors make more mistakes. Exposure to air pollution has been linked to asthma and emphysema; Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; cancer and strokes; depression and suicide; miscarriages, premature births, and infant mortality. Each year, air pollution contributes to as many as ten million deaths around the world. Given the scale of damage, the status quo represents a profound failure of mobilization and a striking feat of normalization.”

Dr. Khullar’s There is more. You can either go back to the August 5, 2023 blog, or find it on the Internet. The choice is yours. But that was only the beginning of my woes. My UTI symptoms are worsening, my doctor’s appointment is on Wednesday and this is Sunday. There is no way I could possibly travel to Saudi Arabia until recovery, and I have not been treated as yet. Did some research, using the Mayo Clinic website, so I am not in a state of panic – just in a state of delay. Tremendously happy to report that I am patient. Those Saudi men in their thoub/thobes, disdashas or pandoras are most going to have to wait. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.   The origin of the phrase “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” as “Always toward absent lovers love’s tide stronger flows” from Sextus Aurelius Propertius – a Roman poet from 15BC. The absence, it is said  helps them to appreciate their partner more and makes the relationship stronger. In fact, people in long-distance relationships tend to maintain their relationships longer, be less likely to break up, and be more in love and satisfied than people in geographically close relationships” But here comes the bad news: “And, people in long-distance relationships often believe if “we can survive this separation, we can survive anything.” Not so.” When the couple move to the same location – statistics show they break up. 

I am not going to worry about that – I am not in the same location as any Saudi man gorgeously clad in his thoeb. It is back to the Quest, with this newly acquired information. A man can purchase a sultan complete ‘outfit’ on line for only 599.99 pounds sterling. That Sham Sultan was such a phony. He could be legitimately wearing such finery for a national occasion or a celebration. But I rather doubt it.

The photographs taken on that fatal day reveal it was July 11, 2023. AK gathered me up at the Riyadh Hilton, we sped off to the King Fahad National Library. Three Saudi men greeted us upon our arrival. I cannot recall my exact words – but did convey to the  English speaking trio the purpose of the first, of hopefully many visits. It was my desire to trace the history of Saudi Arabia, learn extensively about it and then inform the world, engaging them on the blog. One of the man graciously (and immediately) escorted us to an enormous room, in one section English books speaking of Saudi treaties, boundaries, history all written at the time. The man, I later learned, was the Head Librarian for that particular section of the enormous library. We spoke of many things: the ‘bad press’ Saudi Arabia has received, the reforms of MBS, my reversion to the Islamic faith. He then afforded me an absolutely incredible honour. AK almost fainted dead away – he could not believe it. AK went with me, taking a photograph (his presence is reflected in a window). The photograph – Alexis Dryburgh McBride, born in Saskatchewan, sitting at the desk of Royalty. I was speechless (and that is saying something). Unfortunately, It was closing time, we were politely escorted from that special sanctuary. 

Glanced to my left as we left the the sanctuary.  I could not believe my eyes. There, protected under glass, was what I had spent over two years looking for.    

Me: The magazine!! The magazine!!! There is my magazine!! It is here! It is here!! 

AK said that he will never forget the look of absolute joy. Apparently it was the face of a woman in complete and total ecstasy. At this moment, as I I write, I am weeping with joy, remembering that moment.  On that day I hurriedly took a photograph. I was in stunned disbelief – vowed to go back, to discover where and how the library obtained the USA 1943 Life magazine. 

Fast forward: I did go back on July 31, 2023 but access to that particular section was closed, the Librarian I had spoken to not on duty. I shall OF COURSE return again for further research and to find out more about the acquisition of the magazine. But at this precise moment, I am imprisoned in my sixteenth floor Edmonton apartment with bothersome UTI symptoms and outside air of eleven degrees causing a severe health risk. Which goes to show that life is not perfect 

As someone once said: “The perfect life is spread before us every day, but it changes and withers at a touch.  Nobody’s perfect, so don’t go out there and try to act like you got to live a perfect life. Be yourself, and be happy with it.” 

The discovery was announced on the July 12, 2023 blog using photographs. Some will be shown on this blog. I was too busy touring to write at that moment. It was off to Jeddah, then Taif, back to Jeddah where another discovery shall take place.