Are we a Defiant Society?


Recently I attended an event, where I volunteered as an usher and general support for the organizer. As the keynote speaker was about to begin his speech I was asked to help corral participants (about 150 people) to the designated seating area to hear and watch the presentation. It was a mid-morning event, and people had coffee cups and snacks in their hands. Most of them happily listened and took a seat in the designated area. But a few people were defiant and refused to listen. No matter how many times they were asked, in many different polite but firm ways, they stood, or sat, where they wanted.

I’m all for standing up for yourself, being a strong person and holding your ground. In the right situation. I hope that I am raising my children to be confident, strong people. But, that’s not the same as defiant.

When I look up “defiant” in my word processor’s thesaurus, I’m intrigued that its suggested words are everything from insolent and insubordinate to bold and cheeky. Interesting. Actually, I’m laughing. My middle child, Julia, is most definitely a cheeky little girl, and her personality can definitely be defined as bold. But for me, that’s not the same as defiant.

Insolent and insubordinate are definitely the terms I would use to describe the people who defied my requests to sit with the rest of the group at the event. These people were just plain rude and they stood out from the crowd in a negative way. And I don’t believe their behaviour is unique in our society anymore.

I see defiant behaviour every day when I drive around the city. The person who jumps the stop sign and rolls through when it’s my turn to go or the aggressive driver who pushes into a turning lane last minute so as to avoid the long line to get on the highway. How about the cyclist that flies through a red light or rides the wrong way on a one-way street? Defiant? I think so.

Maybe this behaviour is situational. For example, have you noticed how defiant people can be at the airport? When you travel, how many times are you forced to line up? If you check a bag, line up at the desk to hand it over. Then line up for security. There’s always a line-up to get food or drink, and my gosh, what a process to line up to get on the plane. People try to cut in and cut you off all over the airport, every step of the way. The person who pushes in line ahead of me to get on the plane first – is that person defiant or has he or she just had enough of the stresses of travel? Based on my many experiences traveling, I would say, defiant.

Maybe I’m just a crank and have become too touchy as I get older. Maybe I am easily bothered by what I see as purely impertinent behaviour. I feel it’s important to show consideration for those around you – whether it’s a driver in the other lane, the traveler ahead of you in line at security or the person who asks you to take your seat with the group. Be bold and cheeky when the situation calls for it.  Be respectful and compliant when it doesn’t.

The Invictus Games Honour those who are Unconquered

Invictus Games

I like to follow the comings and goings of the British Royal family and have fond memories of that summer day in 1981 when Charles and Diana got married. I grew up reading articles and seeing photos of the couple’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. International media are always interested in covering negative news about the famous princes and any trouble they got themselves into as they came of age. But I’m proud of the media this week, in particular, Canadian media, as they celebrated the Invictus Games and the role of its founder, Prince Harry.

I applaud all men and women, from countries around the world, who serve in the military. It takes tremendous commitment and dedication to be a soldier, and it’s not for everyone. Prince Harry served in the British military from 2005-2015, and he was deployed to Afghanistan during some of that time. He saw with his own eyes what war can do to a soldier and the physical and emotional scars that go with serving.

I had the opportunity to meet and speak with many Canadian soldiers and veterans when I was Director of the Sears Canada Charitable Foundation when we sponsored a program called Operation Wish. This was our salute to the Canadian Armed Forces and our wish to help soldiers, veterans and their families during the Holiday season.

While some of these Canadian soldiers had obvious physical disabilities that they suffered while they served their country, many of them shared with me the long-term personal challenges and demons they faced as well.

When I heard about the Invictus Games I immediately applauded Prince Harry and the people around him who created this wonderful international competition. I learned today that Invictus is the Latin word for unconquerable. The hundreds of athletes who have competed in these games since 2014 are truly unconquerable. Not only have they overcome some tremendous physical and mental disabilities, they have conquered them, through sport.

I will admit that while I live in Toronto, close to many of the venues, I have not attended any of the Invictus Games’ events yet this week. It runs from September 23-30 throughout the city, with hundreds of athletes competing in various sports such as cycling, golf, athletics, swimming, and wheelchair basketball, to name a few.

There are soldiers and veterans from 17 different countries competing at 9 different venues throughout the city of Toronto. There is Wheelchair Tennis at Nathan Phillips Square, at the foot of Toronto’s City Hall. The Archery competition is happening at the Fort York National Historic Site, in downtown Toronto. Fort York was a military battlefield during the War of 1812. Cyclists have the opportunity to ride around a custom designed course in High Park, our city’s beautiful 400-acre park on Toronto’s west side.

Our city has come alive this week, thanks to the Invictus Games and its Royal Patron, Prince Harry. This international competition celebrates a group of people who deserve to be celebrated and honoured. Prince Harry put it best:

“These Games shine a spotlight on the unconquerable character of servicemen and women and their families. They highlight the competitors’ “INVICTUS GAMES spirit.” These Games have been about seeing competitors sprinting for the finish line with everything they have and then turning around to clap the last person in. They have been about teammates choosing to cross the line together. These Games have been a display of the very best of the human spirit.”

When you ASSUME You Make an Ass out of You and Me


Oh yes, I am going bold with my headline today. I am talking about the word assume, which I think is a great word. Actually, it’s a dangerous word. I believe that when we make assumptions we end up with unintentional, often bad consequences.

I thought of this most intriguing word last week, at a business where I am doing some contract work. The team at this business is a group of hard-working, dedicated, good people. They are a mix of young and more experienced employees; some have been there many years while others are new.

An event was carefully planned by the group, with specific roles communicated. Every detail seemed to be in place, but a few key players did not follow through with the roles they were assigned. We all assumed that everyone would do their job, and we did not check in with each of the players. The team came together fast and picked up the pieces, but our assumptions showed holes in the plan.

Once everyone was calm, later in the day, I looked at one of my wonderful colleagues and said to her, “Today will make a great blog post because when you assume…,” and she answered, “You make an ass out of you and me.” Correct.

It’s exactly how we felt that day. And we all learned never to assume.

But did we learn? How many times can we all say we made an assumption and lived to regret it later?

Sometimes our assumptions can have minor, almost laughable consequences. It’s a beautiful, sunny morning. You throw on a t-shirt and head out for the day, leaving the umbrella at home of course. You assume that if it’s sunny outside the weather will be nice all day. Hours later, you regret that you did not check the weather forecast, which would have told you that rain was expected in the afternoon. You arrive home soaked and cold.

Sometimes I go out for the evening, to the theatre with my mother or dinner with the ladies. I leave my husband, David, at home with the kids. The kitchen is not quite cleaned up and the house is a mess. When I leave my house, I assume that I will come home, hours later, to a clean kitchen and sleeping children. Boy, am I wrong, every single time. Maybe one child is asleep or maybe the leftovers from dinner will be in the fridge and David is usually asleep. But, clean kitchen and three sleeping children? Never.

When you assume, sometimes there can be more serious consequences than getting wet in the rain or finding three children running around your house at 11:00 pm. If your child had a fever overnight and woke up in the morning with a lower body temperature don’t assume he or she is better and send the kid to school. That fever will be back in a few hours and you will get the call of shame to pick the kid up.

When you are waiting at a traffic light to make a left turn and it’s about to go red do not assume that the car accelerating towards you will stop when that light goes red so that you can make your turn. Wait a couple of seconds, because most drivers want to make the light. If you assume that car will stop and you start to turn, then you may get into an accident. I never assume that a car will stop.

Okay back to some assumptions with less dire consequences. Has your child ever come up to you and said, “Mommy (or Daddy), I think I need to throw up.” You assume you have time to get said child to a toilet or to get a bucket. But, moments later, you are covered in vomit.

Have you ever walked down the street after a big rainstorm, where everywhere around you are huge puddles? You see a big car coming towards you and assume the person will slow down. Oh, but no. The car drives briskly through the puddles, leaving you covered in dirty, disgusting rainwater.

There are so many more examples I can cite when we assume and then must deal with the consequences. So, I guess there is a simple solution: go with your instincts, and never assume!

Maybe I should just Wear Black Every Day

wear black

I open my closet and look around. Then I open a couple of drawers in my dresser and consider my options. Do I wear a dress today? Pants? What colour shirt? It’s cool this morning but the weather forecast says it’s going to be hot this afternoon. Maybe I should wear a sweater? I can’t decide. The daily decision, to choose what to wear, is just too hard. Maybe it would be easier if I just wear black every day.

I will admit that I probably own too much clothing. I will further admit that I probably don’t wear much of the clothes I own, but I am unable to go through my clothes and discard the stuff I don’t wear anymore. So, my closet is stuffed with too much clothing, which makes my decision of what to wear each day even harder.

I know that I am not alone in having this daily challenge. As my father puts it well, it’s a first-world problem. But it’s something so many of us face. And it’s not only adults who deal with this problem, but kids and teens too.

I remember when I was a teenager, and each morning I carefully chose my outfit for school. I’m not a fashionista, but back then I cared about what I looked like and how I carried myself. It would have been much easier if I went to a school that had a uniform. My gosh, it must be so much easier each morning to put on the same shirt and pants (or skirt) and head out for the day. Yes, I’m in favour of school uniforms.

By the time I hit university I didn’t care as much what I wore. I noticed that many of my fellow students, especially those who lived in a dorm, often looked like they just rolled out of bed. In particular, if I attended an early morning class, few people were awake during a lecture, never mind wearing anything close to high fashion.

My first “real” job was at a sports radio station, where I worked with a great group of people. It was me and a few dozen guys. Jeans and a t-shirt was considered dressed up for work. I literally threw on whatever I found first in my closet. When I switched over to sports television I wouldn’t say the dress code improved much. I remember when I then moved over to an office, when I started to work in communications, I had nothing to wear!

How often do you wake up in the morning, open your closet and say to yourself, I have nothing to wear? Or you look at your clothes, ponder what to wear and just say to yourself, maybe I should just wear black every day. Wouldn’t life be much easier? Black shirts, black pants, black skirts, black shorts. I understand why waiters wear black in restaurants or clerks dress in black in stores.

When I wear black I think I look chic, neat, tidy and always in style. Okay, some could say that black is the “colour” when in mourning, but really, it’s a come a long way. Others could say that getting dressed is more than just about the colour you wear. Fair point. If I owned 30 black shirts I would still have to choose one of them each day. But at least it would be one less step in the line of decisions. I would know it would always be black.

And so it’s Monday today, the start of another week. Another week with crazy weather when I just don’t know what to wear. Maybe the Paper Bag Princess had a good idea….

It’s High Time for some Holidays

 It’s that time of year again. As the evenings grow cooler (or are supposed to) and the leaves start falling from the trees, it means another year on the Jewish calendar is coming to a close. Tomorrow is the final day of the year 5777, and in the evening, we will ring in the new year with family festivities and a whole lot of food. That’s right, it’s High time for some Holidays.

Different religions and nationalities celebrate the New Year at a different time of year. Chinese New Year typically falls between January 21 and February 20, during the coldest part of the winter in Canada. Hindus don’t actually have one common day and instead have at least three different New Year’s days on the calendar. From what I read, “the celebration of the new year has more to do with community, language and region, than with religious affiliation.”

For Judaism, while some feel like the spring, during the month of Nissan, when Passover falls, is the new year, the Holiday in fact happens when summer turns to fall, in the Jewish month of Tishrei. The Holiday that many of you have heard of is called Rosh Hashanah, which directly translated from Hebrew is head (Rosh) of the year (Hashanah).  Simply put, it’s Jewish New Years.

There are no street parties, fireworks, or counting down to midnight beside a dropping ball. Rosh Hashanah, like all Jewish Holidays, begins at sundown, and  people celebrate in different ways. But one common thread through all celebrations, like so many other Jewish Holidays, is food and family. What would a holiday be without this pairing?

Not to minimize the role that synagogue, prayer and the blowing of the shofar (the traditional ram’s horn) play on this most important Holiday, but today I am focusing mainly on food and family.

David and I both come from large families (David is the youngest of five kids and I’m in the middle of three), all of our siblings are married, each with at least two children. If you put our two immediate families together you have more than enough people to play a baseball game, with extra pitchers in the bullpen and players on the bench. So, when it’s Holidays time, we draw on a large group with whom to celebrate.

Our wider family circle is just too big to celebrate together (and members of the family live all over the world), so we don’t see everyone in one evening. Whether it’s a large group of 25-30 people, with tables lined up across the back of my house, or a more intimate crowd of 10-12 in my dining room, I always look forward to the Holidays.

The emails about menu planning and food combinations start swirling around weeks (sometimes months!) in advance. Who’s making the soup? How many proteins do we need? Are five kinds of dessert enough? Will the children eat any of the food we are preparing? Do we care if the children eat, as they will behave so badly anyway and probably won’t eat anything, no matter what it is….

As the days draw closer to Rosh Hashanah, I suddenly realize that Matthew grew two inches over the summer and his only nice pants look more like capris. Julia’s feet are suddenly two sizes larger and running shoes really don’t go with her beautiful new puffy pink dress. Should Nessa wear tights with her dress, as she most definitely will bum walk all over the floor.

Do I throw disposables on the table and make it easy or do I dress up my dining room table for once and pull out the fine china? Do I dare try to host an elegant evening? Okay, forget that thought – elegant and High Holidays meals don’t go together.

Will I get the annual Rosh Hashanah photo of the kids? I have been successful a few times, but usually someone misbehaves and the resulting picture is too embarrassing to share publicly. I have included just a few here, as really most are not acceptable for public consumption.

Matthew’s first Rosh Hashanah, from September 2007
The kids actually cooperated for a fun Rosh Hashanah photo last year
They behaved for a nice picture on the eve of the Holiday last year

And since the Holidays begins tomorrow, I had better get cooking. To all my readers, whether you celebrate or not, I wish you a happy and healthy New Year. Let the celebrations for 5778 begin!

Insects are not my Best Friends


Picture it: a beautiful and warm Sunday morning in September. The sun is shining. I brew myself a latte in my espresso maker and stroll out to my deck that overlooks my backyard. I sit down in a comfy chair with my coffee, ready to relax and enjoy the morning.  Then a wasp appears, then another, and another. Are they attracted to my coffee? No way. Are they attracted to me? Maybe? They always find me – not just wasps, but all insects.

I can’t sit there with these invaders. I quickly get up, grab my coffee and run indoors. The wasps have won again. Every year, when we hit September, my backyard is overrun by wasps.  Or at least, I think they are wasps. I will admit, I am by far not an expert. Some people may call these insects yellow jackets. I don’t think we have hornets, and I am quite sure that what I see in my backyard are not bees. Whatever they are, we don’t get along.

I am all for a balanced ecosystem, and I understand that insects, even the invasive wasp, must be respected. But why do they love my backyard so much? And my front yard? Okay, I know why they love my front yard. Some tree, which possibly lives on a neighbour’s yard, drops a sticky substance in September, and for sure that encourages the massive social gathering of wasps every morning on and around my car. The wasps seem to glue themselves to the windows of the car and hang on tight as I drive away each morning. They are stalking me.

Now let me be clear – it’s wasps that are my enemy. I don’t have a problem with bees, or at least, I don’t have a problem with honey bees. To be even more specific, I don’t have a problem with worker honey bees. Why? Well, I learned something very interesting this past weekend when I did some online research about the honey bee.

The worker bees in every honey bee colony are ALL female. These tough ladies will live for only about 6 weeks in the summer, and they NEVER sleep. That’s right. They work and work, all the time, until they die. The worker honey bee seems to represent the life of all working women, and I have the utmost respect for them.

Then there are spiders. As I type this, my daughter, knowing how I shake with fear at the sight of this arachnid, coincidentally just placed a rather large, very real-looking plastic spider on the table beside me. I contained my inner shriek, but I did flick that thing away very quickly.

I don’t like spiders. They capture and eat mosquitos (yet another insect on my “I don’t like” list) and I know they make incredible webs from the silk they produce. But they terrify me. The way they cling to the ceiling and run across the floor on those eight legs. It makes shiver just thinking about it.

Back to my backyard family of wasps. I don’t know where their hive is and I can’t get rid of them. I must have some sensor on me that informs the colony that Alicia has come outside and it’s time for the party to begin. It means no al fresco dining in September, minimal tending of my garden in September and definitely no morning coffee outside in September. If you have any suggestions about how to mitigate my problem, I would love to hear your ideas. Leave me a comment here, put a post on Facebook or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.

Oooooh Kisses Sweeter Than Wine

kisses sweeter

Sometimes, after a long, tiring and stressful day I would like to have a glass of wine. I’m not much of a wine drinker, but I think about it. Thursday was one of those days. It was a long day with a lot thrown in, and it was well after 9:00 pm when I finally settled down at home. But I didn’t have a glass of wine. I put my kids to bed, and as I cuddled 15-month-old Nessa to sleep, the song Kisses Sweeter than Wine came into my head.

Kisses Sweeter than Wine is a love song, written by the folk music group, the Weavers, in 1950. The singer describes meeting the love his life, how he kissed her, married her, they had children and grandchildren. But I wasn’t thinking about the lyrics of that song last night. Instead I was thinking about the song title and how true it is: kisses can be sweeter than wine.

The kisses I am referring to are the bedtime kisses I give to and receive from my children every night. Bedtime is hectic in my house. Some nights it’s a downright mad house. Matthew can’t bear to miss even a minute of any Blue Jays’ game, Julia won’t be in her bedroom alone, and if the big kids are up then Nessa sees night time as an opportunity to entertain everyone.

But when they finally settle down, the lights go out and everything is quiet I can relax. I cuddle up with Nessa in her glider chair in her bedroom, I put on classical music like the Brandenburg Concerto on the iPad and she drifts off to sleep. I can’t help myself, and I have to kiss her forehead and cheeks. Those are kisses sweeter than wine.

I kiss each one of my kids good night when they go to bed, and if I miss bedtime for any number of reasons, then I make sure that before I go to bed I kiss them all. I would turn down a good glass of wine any day just to receive some sweet wet kisses from my children.

Last night I particularly enjoyed my bedtime cuddle with Nessa, who quickly fell asleep in my arms. I put her in her crib and walked over to Julia to say goodnight to her. Julia was in that state between wakefulness and sleep. She held out her arms to me. I bent down to hug her and she planted a big wet kiss on my cheek. It made my day. I promise you, kisses are sweeter than wine.


Life is Good when Playoffs Fever is in the Air


It’s Sports Wednesday today, and I have been thinking about the playoffs. More specifically, I have been thinking about baseball playoffs, and it makes me kind of depressed this year. Depending on the sport you love, the specific weeks each year leading up to the playoffs are exciting and special, especially if your team is in the hunt.

If you are a hockey fan, late March and early April can be stressful. Same thing if you follow the NBA. For football fans in the United States, December is a key month. If you are a fan of the Canadian Football League (CFL) that feeling of playoffs fever starts to rev up in October.

I love sports, and as I have written before, I am a huge baseball fan. Over the winter, I count down the days until spring training begins. I like to watch as many games during the regular season as I can. For me, each game is exciting.

But as every day passes during the long baseball season, which runs, from April 2 to October 1 in 2017, my excitement grows. I remember listening and watching the Blue Jays’ first game of the season, back on April 3 in Baltimore. The play-by-play team was already talking about the playoffs. It’s on our minds from the moment the first pitch is thrown.

If your team wins the first few games of the season and sits in first place, you start to dream about the playoffs. Could my team make it all the way, you ask yourself. Will my favourite player win the batting title? My favourite pitcher got a shut-out in his first game, so could he be up for the Cy Young Award this year?

As the season rolls on, from spring into summer, we all start to discuss the prospects of our favourite team making the playoffs. If you are a super-fan or an encyclopedia of statistics, you start to calculate the various scenarios that will either put your team or keep your team in the playoff hunt.

When we hit September, there is a special feeling in the air for baseball fans. Playoffs fever is in the air. A single pitch or at-bat can change everything. One loss or one win can be the difference between playing golf in October or going to the World Series.

That is, if your team has playoffs prospects. I was lucky the last couple of seasons, in 2015 and 2016, when my Blue Jays were deep in the playoff hunt. Our family didn’t miss a game. When I watched each day my heart beat so fast that I couldn’t sit still. I was torn because I didn’t want to miss a moment of the game, but if the Blue Jays were on the brink of losing a game I just couldn’t watch.

It was stressful, but oh was it exhilarating.

Matthew and Nessa dressed up and cheered on the Blue Jays in 2016 during their playoff run
Nessa became a huge baseball fan!

But not this year. The Blue Jays have had a rough season. This September they are focused on finishing off strong and looking ahead to next year. I will still watch they play and cheer them on, but that playoffs fever is just not there.

I am looking around at the other baseball teams in contention, and my mind quickly switches to the National League. Go Cubs Go!

What’s your Elevator Behaviour?


I walked into an elevator in a large office tower yesterday. There were about half a dozen people with me on this short trip down multiple flights. I looked around me and observed everyone’s behaviour. It was so interesting to watch the various stances and activities undertaken by the group around me. It got me thinking: what’s your elevator behaviour?

There were mirrors all over the elevator I rode in yesterday. It didn’t have just a mirrored door. The whole elevator – the door, walls and even the ceiling had mirrors. So, the first thing I did when I walked in: I looked at myself. I didn’t mean to, but where else was I going to look?

You see, no one wants to make eye contact on an elevator. It’s uncomfortable. I noticed that unless people were looking at their smartphones (more on that in a moment), they looked everywhere except at other people. They got a good look at their feet, their hands and definitely the ceiling. But the body language was clear and uncomfortable: we were all thinking, just get me down to the ground floor and out so I don’t have to look at the guy beside me.

Have you ever ridden on a very full elevator? I like my personal space, and when it’s packed, there is no personal space. I don’t need to smell what the guy beside me had for breakfast that morning or the body odour of the person behind me. If I can feel the breath on my cheek of the person to my left and touch a bit too much skin of the person on my right then I am not a happy person.

What do you do when you are alone? Do you talk to yourself? Do you look around? Maybe you just stand there and watch the numbers light up as you travel through the floors? I personally watch the floor numbers and doors and hope it doesn’t stop. I do not like to share my elevator with other people.

But what do you do if that dreaded event happens? You are standing there, happily, alone in an elevator, and it stops, and the door opens. On walks a group of people, all chattering loudly. They discuss where they want to go for lunch or the boss they all dislike or who was kicked off The Bachelor the night before (which is awful if I haven’t watched the previous night’s episode yet!).

So, let’s get to what most of us do when we wait for an elevator, when we ride one and when we get off – we look at our smartphones. We are addicted to our smartphones. We look at them when we are bored and have nothing else to. Or we pull them out of our pockets when we are uncomfortable and have to do something other than look up at the people around us.

What do you check first when you pull out that smartphone on an elevator? I looked around me yesterday on the elevator and tried to see if people were on Facebook, checking email or if they flicked on Angry Birds (do people still play that game?). But did it really matter what they were looking at? The fact is, everyone around me found an escape from the uncomfortable nature of an elevator in their smartphone. Maybe it made the ride go faster.

Whatever your behaviour is on an elevator, I hope you always get to your destination – whether it is up or down – safely. I have been stuck on an elevator a couple of times, and that was awful. So, what is your elevator behaviour? Leave me a comment here, post to Facebook or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.

I Take Hurricanes Seriously


Hurricanes happen every year during the dying days of summer. The warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean help build up rain clouds that first form into a tropical disturbance, growing into a tropical depression then tropical storm and finally, if the sustained wind speeds reach at least 119 km/hr, a hurricane.

This swirling storm travels from east to west over the Atlantic Ocean. It gains strength as it picks up more and more warm water. The forces associated with hurricanes are dangerous. The combination of high wind and tremendous rain can be destructive and deadly.

I will admit that I am fascinated by hurricanes. I respect their power and am in awe of how they form, travel and eventually die out. They are not to be fooled with, and a powerful hurricane will win against humans and animals every day.

2017 has been a particularly bad hurricane season, and right now there are three hurricanes simultaneously battering communities along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Irma, Jose and Katya are not to be messed with. Irma in particular is one of the largest and strongest hurricanes ever recorded. It has been described as a weather event that can cause catastrophic damage to everything along its path.

How do we know so much about these hurricanes and the horrific destruction they have caused? We live in a time of instant news, where we can follow a storm’s every move on TV, radio, our computers, smartphones and tablets. We don’t need to go a movie theatre or pick up a book when a massive hurricane happens – we just follow the unfolding story live.

Admit it – how many of us are glued to your televisions or various websites as we follow the path of Hurricane Irma? We are concerned for the well-being of the millions of people who have been affected by Irma. Countless people have lost everything or will lose everything as the storm rages through their town. It is terrible, and I hope everyone comes through safely.

While we are all worried about the people directly affected by this and other hurricanes, it is not the only reason we are following Irma’s every move. As I stated above, I, and I know many of you too, are simply fascinated by massive hurricanes. I don’t quite know how to put it into the right words, but I can’t stop watching.

I have become addicted to CNN in the last couple of days, and I can’t turn it off. It is ironic that their reporters stand in the middle of the hurricane, remind people to stay indoors or stay away from the water – as they themselves are outside, being blown over. I watched one reporter stand in the middle of the street in Miami Beach on Sunday, warning people about flying objects. She had to duck and run as a sign came crashing down beside her!

If it’s not safe for people like you and me to be outside, what are reporters (and producers and camera men and women) doing out there? It’s not safe for them either! And yet I keep watching.

CNN knows I am watching and knows that I, and you, want to watch. The better their coverage, the more people will watch. Maybe it’s just human nature.

Hurricane Irma is making her way up through Florida and through the United States. She will eventually break up and become a part of history. Jose and Katya will eventually break apart too. There may be more hurricanes this year that will follow them and cause more destruction.

Hurricanes are terrifying and fascinating. They are dangerous and awe-inspiring. And we must take them seriously.