Monday, June 27, 2011

I packed my bags, I`m ready to go, ... Leaving on a jet plane!

The much awaited and anticipated trip has arrived. 12 hours from now I will be sitting in the airport in Fredericton waiting to board with my girls. It is their first air travel and they are somewhat nervous and excited. I am only going for a week so my packing is not too tough - besides the fact that I don`t have much to take to start with. My girls however, well let`s just say I hope they are not overweight on their luggage and they get to board with it all. Can you imagine their devastation if they don`t get on with it!

Glenn is going to drive us and Len will stay home - will miss him tons and hope I figure out how to sleep without his human furnace to cuddle up to! Anita says she will check on him to see if he is ok - of course she won`t cuddle UP to him - just make sure he has all he needs!

7 days is not a great deal of time to see everyone I love  - my family and friends. I am making sure I get to spend several days with family though - I don`t know when I will see my parents again. The girls are staying for the whole summer and they have time to see everyone. Please do contact them it will make their day!

Back on the home front, Len shall keep the fires burning, the garden watered, the coffee on and the barn building moving forward. I hope he doesn`t overdo it and that he stops to eat. He doesn`t answer the phone much so I am hoping he checks the messages - we do have an arts festival in the works and he needs to stay on top of that too!

It is almost 1am, I had gone to bed but couldn`t sleep and I will be up again at 7am to finish the work and pack a small bag for myself. If you are on the list to see, I can`t wait! If you aren`t then I am sorry I will miss you this trip! Like I said, I am leaving on a jet plane, don`t know when I`ll be back again!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's raining, It's pouring, the Barn building is not boring!

Happier than a pig in poop!
Today was the big day! We have been talking barn raising for months and after much planning, a lot of de-construction, plenty of baking and cooking and a great neighbourhood full of helpers, we are going to "git 'er done!" Well, we have been trying! The weather did not want to cooperate and although the meteorologist called for "light rain of 2-4mm in a 24 hour period" the heavens opened and thunder, lightning, monsoons and even a few short power outages all deluged the best laid plans! 
You, Men! Work!
Clayton, Has helped TONS since we moved!
Brendan & Bill, Father/Son Team
The rain  and damp, wet cold, did not stop my mountain men from continuing on! WOW! Personally, I was glad to have the job of keeping coffee on, baking cookies, muffins and making lunch. I was tired and busy but MUCH warmer than the wet guys who stopped to change wet clothes about every hour or two. Who said there aren't hero's anymore? Bill and Brendan have spent the last couple of days here. Clayton has been in and out helping and checking on things. Georg has been contributing with his expertise, Gary S. came by to help and bailed us out with a huge bucket of needed nails, Doug showed up and worked for a few hours - even though it was his birthday! Forgive me because I am sure I am forgetting someone else! Thank you guys!

Anita brought us burgers and dips and breads for dinner last night and stayed late to help make pies. She also contributed greatly to my cracking open a few bottles of red to keep going. Only a TRUE friend will bake and drink with you! We traded recipes and give great thanks to our friends at ! Sandra dropped off cornbread and peanut butter cookies, big hit! Margret popped in and washed up all the tough pots and pans for me. Wonderful friends ladies thank you! (For some reason there are no pictures of the women - the real workers behind the scenes, I guess?)

The kids have been good, eating up a storm, not complaining too much about the bad weather and their parents being preoccupied. Kudo's to our children! They even decided at 8:30 at night to walk up to the Leeman's and were ready to challenge any bears! (Of course only a rabid insane bear would mess with 4 messy, dirty, noisy little ruffians - so we figured they were pretty safe!) 
Today was long - for the men particularly. They barely began this morning when the sky let loose upon them. I am so impressed with their fortitude and clearly when these men have a mission, nothing stops them. I know that we are new here and we are really pleased that we have became good friends so quickly. I realize this is not the case for everyone. We have made an effort to accept others for who they are and have worked to fit in rather than trying to make the community fit us. It is working and this weekend is evidence of that. It is my great pleasure to know that although not all participants were necessarily on good terms with each other, they let their differences stand aside to help us. What a tribute! 
A long day, people coming and going - all so helpful!

I am proud to call this place my home and these people my friends.
Dear Fosterville and area, THANK YOU ALL for making us so welcome

Friday, June 24, 2011

1 AM is it late Thursday night or early Friday morning?

My days have been busy since we had our grand opening of our little coffee shop last weekend. This week has consisted of work, baking, kids, getting ready for our trip to BC and a quick trip to Fredericton. It is now almost 1AM as I sit to write this blog and I am up because I am still baking for the Farmer's Market tomorrow morning...

I have had a busy mind in the past week with so much going on, school ending for Jessica and our barn building happening in about 36 hours. The neighbours have been amazing, helpful and such great friends. I am truly grateful for the friendship that has been offered to us. People willing to give us their valuable time to spend a day working on our barn and property. A local youth who has offered us basically two days of his time, he will help Len lay the floor tomorrow and then help again with the barn raising on Saturday. Thank you Brendan, you are a good kid!

Meanwhile the girls are starting to tremble with anticipation at returning to their homeland - Vancouver Island, the place to be! The excitement is growing and apprehension - will it be the same? Will we sound different, look different? Who do we see first? Can we pick up again where we left off or have our friends moved on? The joy at reuniting with Grandma and Grandpa and everyone else... Yes, in a week, I will be sleeping in my parents home... I will wake up on Canada Day with my family and spend my birthday (45!) with them and my friends. I have much to be thankful for.

I have also spent the week reflecting on my children, their lives, their past, present and future. I wish so much for them and I want them to have everything they need - not necessarily everything they want. I want them to have enough. Enough love, enough joy, enough passion, enough learning, enough food, enough shelter, enough ...

Sadly, last Saturday night an old and dear friend called to tell me that her son had had enough. Enough pain, enough sorrow, enough life. I can only imagine the grief a mother feels at not being able to take away her child's fears, nightmares and anguish. The agony she must have gone through in those years that he suffered and she couldn't make it better. The guilt she was tormented with when she needed a break and had to say no. He was a beautiful boy, a bright young man and a tortured adult. It is heart breaking that the only thing he knew to do was to take his own life. At the same time there is relief to know that he is no longer hurting.

Mental illness is horrific and difficult to talk about. When discussing mental illness there is often fear in a person's eyes; How will I be accepted? Who will understand? Will they judge? Wonder what the family did to create it? Was the person abused as a child? Is it hereditary? Is it an excuse for bad behaviour? Having been close to someone who I believe was torn apart slowly and steadily without a diagnosis I understand the agony that the loved ones go through. I wish my dear friend peace, knowing it will take a long time to come.

I can't be with her on his last day and I know her faith will be tested. Her sorrow will be immense. Her surviving children will be by her side as they lay their beloved brother to rest. This is for her: My friend, your heart will mend although there will always be a whole  for the boy you loved so dearly. Go on with your life, give your other offspring and grandchildren the remainder of your days and never for a moment believe that you failed him. You didn't, you helped him stay with you for so much longer than he could have on his own. His legacy is the love you hold for him. 

A final note, of hope... While this young man's life ended, another man's life is hanging on. Recently my friend's father had a terrible, freak, bicycle accident. He is about 80 years old and was still active, golfing, riding his bike and enjoying his beloved wife and retirement. In late May, almost a month ago now, he veered into the road, no one knows why and was terribly injured. He has held on. He has defied the odds, is fighting to heal from his injuries and is a true miracle. Walter McQuade, you are an inspiration. I wish you many years, much strength to continue and believe that you are here for a reason.

One can never know why any of us are here or for how long. I believe we each have a purpose, our life has meaning and although it may not be clear at the time, each of us live, learn and pass on when it is our time. Life is so valuable, I want to cherish each day, enjoy the simple things and try not to rush so fast that I miss the meaning. I am now going to bed, as I fall asleep I will look out my window and watch the miracle of the fireflies as they flit about - quickly though - before the bats get them!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's the final countdown!

One month ago we opened our new little coffee shop. It has been a 'soft' opening, no real advertising except a few signs out front and the word of mouth. So far based on that method I've been pleased with the response. I ordered my official ad's via postcards that I'll pop into mailboxes in the next day or so. We have fun, prizes (every purchase wins a prize... anything from a Tshirt to a tote bag to a coffee mug to a coffee or a cookie!) and even a raffle! I hope the community will enjoy what we have to offer in the way of festivities as well as a bevy of baking.

I love my little coffee shop and the amazing fair trade organic coffee and tea. The baking is popular and we have some great customers who come regularly as well as new ones each day. (Thanks Anita, Bill and kids!) The coffee loyalty card is popular - buy 9 get one free, who doesn't like a promotion? I'll be updating the website and expanding my wares... You are ALL invited! I plan to continue opening every Saturday and Sunday and then when I return from BC I will be open daily - except Monday's - that's my day for Glenn and Edna! So looks like a busy summer - I hope it is financially exciting too!

In order to try to please everyone, I am just making a quick trip to BC so I can get back to help Len after I have settled the kids in. Due to Jessica's medical and legal appointments to tend to - they have made this trip possible. I am very excited to see my friends and family, in particular my parents. I don't know when I will see them again and in my minds eye they look the same as last year. It has been a hard year for them and they may look and feel very different. I worry about how it may be different but I hope to enjoy my time with them and let anything that might be troublesome stay out of our lives for that time period.

I plan to leave the girls in BC in the company and care of family and friends. Rachel needs some positive reinforcement after a year filled with confusing friendships and being completely shunned or cast out at times. People she thought were friends didn't seem to see past gossip and animosity which left her out in the cold more than once. She worked hard to gain respect in the community and sadly did not receive a well deserved reward. I only hope that going to BC she will realize how good life is for her and know that she does want to stay with me for the last few years of her high school. She loves her mom and wants to be here but, as I can attest to, a small country community can shut you out when you are a lonely teen. I have been there and experienced it. I had hoped to protect her more but I know that as it is I try to hard and that might hinder rather than help her. Love you baby girl, don't let things get you down and PLEASE come back to me.

Jessica is so excited to see her grandma and grandpa - she can barely stand it. The anticipation is overriding the fun she should be experiencing in the last few weeks of school and she is having more irrational emotional outbursts. I know she is struggling with the enthusiasm about going and the fear about being away from me for so long. You are a survivor baby girl - you have survived one of life's toughest tests and you will survive a summer without me.

Will I survive? I will... but after the relief at not having to tend to kids, drive them places, make "good" food for them constantly, do all the laundry, listen to their boredom and fight with them to help out just for five minutes ... after that all wears off... I will miss them desperately. The countdowns have started - 14 days until we leave - then 58 days until they return. I am grateful for a good phone plan and the internet. I will be able to keep up with them on Facebook and with good old Ma Bell. 

I start to tear up thinking about their little bodies needing hugs and their hands held while they are so far from me. My throat swells when I think about their sad voices when they have a bad day - who will know what to do for them? Will the person they are with be able to read those tell tale signs that something is wrong? I have explained that if they are sad and lonely they can't just come home... Do they really get that? Sigh.... I have to place my trust and faith in them and my friends and family - please watch them like your own, hug them when they need it and kick their ass when required!

In the meantime, my little coffee shop will be open 9 to 5 daily, I will try to get more website work, I will spend my day or two at the McLean's and I will struggle to keep my little homestead running with my husband. I have to take those 58 days and make them work ... for our family... for our future. My hope, my goal, is to give my girls a finished home when they return. The clock is ticking, there is SO much to do... 

June 18/19 - Grand Opening     June 25 - Barn Raising   June 28 - July 7 - trip to BC
June 11 - get my laying birds    June 12 - August 24 - work my ass off

Have a great night everyone! I don't know who is playing hockey or what the score is, but I know that I am homesteading and building my future and I love where I am. Take a moment to appreciate all you have, the people who are there for you and the people you would give your life for. This is Sarah, signing off from Fosterville, New Brunswick - Golden Unicorn Farm

Post Script: If you are enjoying what I have been writing just take a moment to let me know via the reactions. If you don't or think I have become dull or less interesting and life is too busy to read this, please let me know that too, ok? I have to say I have not felt particularly inspired lately and don't want to wear out my welcome on your beloved computer! Have a good one, eh?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Has decided to take Dr. Seuss on as my mentor and follow his words of wisdom...

"So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads."  Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss, truly a brilliant man! From "I do not like your hat" to "One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish" he has influenced my life. Who knew that some of his most poignant lines would still affect me today? Of course I read many Dr. Seuss books with my mom growing up and in return read many more with my girls. One book I NEVER heard of though was "Oh the places you'll go!" which I heard for the first time, when my oldest completed grade 7. What a book! Insightful, true, amusing and relevant to what we live in our daily lives.
 "You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left."   Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You'll Go!)
Simple, true and deep. We can read his story and enjoy the rhyming, pictures and images we take away. We can also read the story and realize that so much of what happens to us in life is not really all that important as much as it may feel life altering when we are in the moment. The last few weeks have taken a bit of a toll on me. One of my poetry readers saw this and reached out to me, thank you L. P. It meant a lot. I am OK though. I just had to re-center myself, determine who I am and what I am made of. I had to separate the what from the who and let myself make do. (Am I starting to sound like Dr. Seuss?)

I think I have done that. Often when life happens it feels targeted and personal, but it isn't. Oh, not that people aren't building their own empires and looking out for number one rather than looking at how the ends reached the means, but I don't have to be a part of it. Even when situations occur that indirectly involve me, my life or my family, there is usually another purpose driving it. I am me, I don't deliberately try to hurt people, I speak my mind but try to be respectful while doing it, I hope I am really listening to the other person and not just waiting for them to quit talking until it is my turn and even if it is directed, targeted or personal, I can walk away. It sure can be hard at times though!

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..."  Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You'll Go!)
 So, when life brings me confusion and despair, I can turn and move those feet and walk away. I steer myself, no one else. I do have brains in my head and I will decide where I go! We all lose face at times or make mistakes or get involved in a circular discussion that isn't going to move forward. That is when I can decide to walk on... (Maybe you can tell I got a little nap in today and my mind is more clear.)

In conclusion, read Dr. Seuss your whole life, the man is brilliant! (I don't think he was really a Dr. but he cured me so I am going to bow to the great man!) In one of my old lives and previous personalities, when we went out on home visits we had our own Dr. Seuss book - "Looking for a spouse in the house" - don't worry we often found them in the cupboard, bathroom or garage hiding... maybe that isn't what the Dr. was looking for?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The words we say versus words we hear...

Some days I think, YES, it is all working! No problems! Happy! Good! What else could I want out of this life? Other days, I just wonder about the point of even getting out of bed. I could just shuck off my responsibilities, say FORGET it! Either way, life goes on. 

Our new and improved farm market booth!
I think it does. I watch people, a lot. When I was younger I would watch people in restaurants and turn to my friends and "tell" them what the people were saying. Most conversations were ridiculous, some very serious and sad, others a come on. I started to figure out body language and how we all interact as humans. I was a pretty naive person for an incredibly long time. Maybe that is why reading people is so much more important to me now. I hear the words, but listen to the body. I became quite adept in my old job at reading people and seeing what they were trying to hide, sometimes for the good but often for a dishonest purpose. Now when people talk to me, I listen to their movements, watch their eyes, are they defensive in their movements or words. I reach past what they are saying and try to discover why they are saying it. No, I am not a human lie detector like Robert de Niro in "Meet the Parents" but I do see more than some people want me to see. So beware, next time we talk!

I used to feel alone in my church as well as in my junior and senior high schools. I was always an outsider, lingering on the edge. I was the last person picked for the sports team, the one who sat on the sideline at the dance or was asked by the geekiest guy there to hit the floor. I was incredibly literal, never knew a line or got a joke and thought that I had absolutely NO sense of humour. (Of course about 3 years AFTER highschool I realized that people thought everything was funny in homeroom because they were stoned! I was clueless! My brain thought they had Visine in their bag and Listerine spray because they were really hygienic!)

Gullible and unsophisticated described me to a T. Innocent and shy. I guess that made me an easy mark. The upside is that when an adult in power was molesting half the girls in my youth group, I was left out. I was actually upset that he liked them all better and not me. I am not sure if he stopped when he asked me an inappropriate question because I was so clueless to what he was talking about or whether he was deathly afraid of my dad. At the time Dad was 6'2", about 240lbs. had a gruff voice and always looked like he was frowning. All of my friends were afraid of him, until they got to know him. He protected me unknowingly, so thank you Dad! (Speaking of my dad, until recently I was cautious of what I wrote because my parents might read it. My Mom isn't on the computer and my Dad JUST told me he deletes everything I send, so I can be more forthright in the future!)

I am also not quite sure if my husband reads much of what I write, I suppose after this post I will know. I think he does, often, but not sure if always. Let's test that today! A few weeks ago Len's brother came to visit. They were busy, working and playing. It was good for them both, I had no issues with it. Larry left, Len got sick. After a week of being sick we realized this was probably NOT a cold but allergies. Len is a man, he does not take any medication very often whether it is prescription or over the counter. I on the other hand, believe that medicine was discovered to help combat disease, pain and irritating ailments. I am also a mother and am legally responsible to make every effort to ensure that I tend to my children's health to the best of my ability - love, hugs, good food, medicine and over the counter medication. I have to watch the body language of everyone who surrounds us. New friends, old friends, strangers, my husband, my children - always reading to determine what I should do next. In the past I have not made all the right moves, now I try each day to mediate and keep the world going in the best direction I can - as much as possible - for all those I love.

As many people agree, I have been rather busy myself. Working part time, baking and selling for the farm market, opening a coffee shop, carting children to medical appointments, dance classes and school events, shopping for our family, cooking, cleaning - well to some extent, trying to get more website business, keeping in touch with my family, planning our trip to BC, advocating for my girls, dealing with lawyers, doctors and whatever else may come up from time to time in my off hours (between 12am and 6:00 am - otherwise known as sleeping hours - sorry my lazy time.) Yes, during the winter I did go back to bed, life was slower, less to do, I don't nap during the day, and it was dark and cold out. Now it is spring, almost summer, light by 5am or earlier and more to do. I am not going back to bed often, in fact it is less than once a week and only until about 8am or so most days. 

Of course on Thursday, Len had to go up Green Mountain which is a hell of a hill. Long, steep, arduous, heart thumping, breath catching and with the bugs these days, fly swatting. Len as I said has been sick. He is congested, sniffling, sneezing, puffy from bug bites and kind of grumpy from not sleeping well. I told him do NOT walk up the hill, let me drive you. I can come get you again too or you can walk home, but the hill is TOO much as you have been suffering from fever too. Thursday morning I went back to bed. Apparently the night before I had several nightmares that Rachel had to wake me from and I was feeling a bit run down myself. When I start to think of all I have to do, I get overwhelmed and my energy was underwhelming. I went back to bed. I set the clock for 8:45 am and got up. I puttered, wrote my last blog, had coffee, decided what to bake that day and at 11am when I hadn't heard from Len, I messaged him on MSN (yes that is how we connect from the house to his studio) "Hi honey! How are you feeling? I should drive you up soon so you can work in the raspberry patch because I have to start my yeast/bread soon. Come in when you are ready! - a little heart and happy face attached to the note. " No answer. 

OK, I am staying inside. Yes, it is nice out but the bugs are wicked. The little black flies are voracious and get through my hair and chew on my scalp (apparently I have tasty shampoo!) As it was I was swatting mosquitoes all day and that was enough for me. Around 1:30 or 2pm Len wandered in. Now my husband is a pretty easy going guy. Not much really pisses him off and he doesn't have a bad temper - much. Having said that, a week of little to no sleep, a face that was swollen from bites, earlobes that looked like they should have lobster claws attached and a wheezy chest, made him a bit, dare I say, belligerent? I looked at him and said, "Len! I told you I would drive you up the road! You shouldn't have walked!" At that moment I was a caring wife who was very concerned about the state of his health, that is until he turned to me and said, "Well, I can't wait for you. If I want to get something done I can't sit around all day waiting for you to crawl out of bed at 11am!" OK I heard the words and watched the body language, neither very comforting at that moment in time. I had watched his frustration building up the past few days with being sick, being held back from what he needs to do and was sympathetic to what he was going through.

My empathy waned, quickly, my back rose up and I turned around to cook, seething the whole while. 11am? What the hell was he talking about? Just because I wrote my note at 11am doesn't mean that I was in bed until then! Yes, sure, I have done that before, but can't remember the last time! How come my friends and family can see that I am busy and have lots on my plate? How come even when I am sick I still have to function as much as possible to keep the house running? How come! How come??? I shook my head and hoped it was the fever talking, the man was sweating like he had done a marathon and the bites were getting bigger and his face was starting to glow. I recommended STRONGLY that he go take a bath, get his fever down, have a beer and maybe take a nap. I really did not want him near me at that moment. I am pretty caring and attentive but I too can get p'od! Not sure if he read my body language very accurately at that moment, but if he did he was smart to leave the room. It would have completely ruined my bread dough if I had thrown it in his face, no doubt the multigrain and flax would have been soothing to his ailments.

After his bath he was still owly but not as noticeably so I steered clear of him while trying to contain my inner monster. The kids came home, I got them fed, ate with Len and by then he was finally recognizing he might be fighting allergies. I convinced him against his better judgement to take some 24 hour Allegra to fight the venom of the evil creatures that have been harassing him. He relented. He took a couple and in the morning still sounded awful. He decided NOT to go to the farm market - his one day a week out and to stay home, not move much, try to get the fever down and rest. It seemed like a good plan. I did tell him if he did not improve we would have to go to a doctor even if that meant another trip to town.

I drove the girls to school and hit the market. Made my weekly trip to market, errands in town, banking, across the border for fuel, groceries and then back across the border again. When I came home Jessica met me outside and I unloaded everything, put it all away, sat down for ten minutes then went to check on my husband. Oh my! My first words were, "You are looking better!" this was my thought since the bug bites no longer looked swollen and his face was all the same colour of red, not multiple hues. He said, "Really? I am all swollen up." Jess and I looked closer, noticed that Len didn't have any facial wrinkles, his eyes were slanted and his ears were, to quote Jessica "the size of Dumbo the elephant". I made Len remove his glasses and hat and there were indentations in his head from where the pressure had been - he was completely swollen up, like Will Smith in the movie "Hitch"!

I couldn't believe it, I laughed. How awful! I laughed at his swollen face - he looked like an Asian who had undergone Botox treatments! Scary! The good thing was, his humour had returned and grumpy guy must have evaporated! Poor Lenny! It was pretty funny and it was enough to convince him again, to try Benadryl. I knew this would help somewhat with the itching, inflammation and make him drowsy so if miserable again I wouldn't notice. Yup, doped him up! Thankfully his face is calming down, his ears almost normal again and he just has a few small welts on his face.

Returning to my first thoughts in order to wrap this up, I do sense his annoyance at times with is current affliction as well as with how things run around the house. Yes, I do too much - for everyone. No - I don't always do enough of what needs to be done. Yes, my girls are spoiled and not incredibly helpful without threats of bodily harm or not being allowed to do something they really want. No, they are not nearly as spoiled as many kids when it comes to material goods - just love and too much done for them from mom. Yes, the girls will be away for the summer and that will be a good break for everyone. No, that won't resolve the problems or perception of complaints from anyone around here but hopefully it will give us all time to reflect and remember how much we do care for each other. Yes, the world has changed and parenting and expectations are radically different than they were ten years ago, 30 years ago when I was young or 60 years ago when he was young. No, I wouldn't change it, I love them all desperately and I am going to miss my children enormously.

They were my babies then, 8 years ago and they are still my babies... until the day I die.
My saving grace is to hear that I am not alone. As much as I have felt that way in the past, as much as we can internalize and hold in our grief, pain, worries and anxieties, many people have many of the same concerns. A mother wants nothing more than to raise a child that will be happy, healthy, secure and know what her true values are. A mother also wants to model a positive relationship. These are my life, this is what is important to me. 

As Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

“There are two seasons in Scotland: June and winter.” Billy Connolly

I thought today I should write something... maybe you have noticed I haven't written anything for quite some time or maybe you were glad to take a break from my ramblings. Reality is, I just felt busy, uninspired and had some ups and downs in the past few weeks. As Billy Connolly said "there are two seasons in Scotland: June and winter." I think that the East coast is a bit like that. I guess I feel behind which the weather has played a big part in. The garden just started to get tilled last night, it has been MUCH to wet to try any earlier. Luckily my plants/seedlings are growing well so for the most part, I do have veggies on the go. I also tell my friend Stewart, you are right, those black flies are wicked! I expected big black buzzing ugly things, but these suckers are tiny and get in my hair and bite my head! YUCK!

I posted several pictures of our little coffee shop which I happen to think is just ADORABLE! However, having emptied the porch to reno the shop it meant that I had to clear out all the boxes that have not been unpacked yet. Since we are still "camping" out on the main floor and I need even more space to bake these days I do feel a little chaotic and cluttered. (I am by no means a neat freak, but chaos tends to shut me down.) I am trying to figure out how to walk around things, leave a big area for food prep and baking as well as find a place for us to sit down and eat since the kitchen table is covered in "stuff". Oh well, I know it will come together! I hope to earn money this summer to have BEDROOMS by September! Oh please! PLEASE! PLEASE!

On top of everything we had a wonderful visit from Len's brother, thanks again Larry, so much fun to have you here! Rachel had been working all year toward a job she really wanted. She had volunteered in the community, led the organization in an Easter party for the recreation council, had numerous letters of recommendation, a good resume, cover letter and prepped on job interview questions for about a month. She was devastated when she was not selected but became even more angry when she found out all the behind the scenes drama and how the interviewer usurped her role, went beyond what she was asked and basically told us during feedback, she never even considered Rachel.

There isn't much you can do in a situation like that. Sometimes life is ruled by who you know, not what you know and I know that for the most part, the committee did not agree with the action taken. This is NO reflection on the successful candidates... However, in order to repair things, accurately review an application and consider a candidate that was discriminated against, you have to hurt other kids who applied and were selected. It is a lose/lose situation. I only hope that Rachel has learned this is not about HER, she continues to contribute to the community and not become jaded and that she takes this as a learning experience, as difficult as it has been. 

I must admit the night we came home from driving Larry to the airport and Rachel ran outside crying hysterically, I panicked, I thought for sure something had happened to my dad. I could see she had bad news but thought, "Oh no! Dad is always predicting something bad will happen to him and now it has!" I was relieved when she told me the problem and then my mama hairs stood up and wanted to protect my baby. It was hard to explain to her that this is something that will happen to you in life. I had to share the experiences I have had, in particular a job that would have changed our lives had it come through.

Back in 1998 I was at the top of my government career. I had a great reputation, was moving up, was seen as a leader, someone who put more effort than required forward and someone to move up the chain from a staff member, to supervisor, to management. Little did I realize the real interworking of politics and the sham that many of us live through. I always had some "trust" in the upper echelons but after my stint over the next couple of years, I realized that if I had to be like "them" to get ahead, then I would stay behind. I explained to my daughter that I had worked hard for the job, interviewed as much as I could to gain experience and I applied for a job as a District Supervisor. There were 3 positions in our region, 2 permanent and 1 for one year. I will never completely know the truth, suffice it to say I was in the top 3 and offered a position. Having said that, I did NOT get a permanent position (if I had I wouldn't be where I am today.) The best information I could get was, yes, you passed, excellently, however, one of the 3 people can NOT be offered the one year term since 30 staff members will walk off the job should she be given the position. Therefore, SHE got a permanent position and I had to commute for 1 year and know that at the end of that year, I would return to work in an office with the OTHER successful candidate. Think it worked out well? No. Think he was happy to have me back in that position? No. Think a person should be offered a job as a permanent supervisor when there were 30 people who would walk off the job should she ever walk through their doors? No. A matter of who you know, not what you know? Yes. A life learning experience? YES!

The upside to everything was I had a backup plan in my pocket for my girl. I knew that I was going to be terribly busy this summer, running a fulltime coffee shop, working part time doing homecare, building websites and getting the farm up and running. Not to mention that we don't have rooms and the kids would not want to go to bed as early as we do and they would both be bored and under foot. Sometimes problems in life offer solutions. As many people know Jessica was critically injured before she turned 3 years old. As a result of this for medical and legal reasons she is required to be in Vancouver, BC at Children's Hospital by 9am on June 30, 2011. We can't afford a trip, but the legal fund is covering Jess and myself. Grandma and Grandpa have come through with Airmiles for Rachel to join us so all I have to pay is the taxes, insurance and meals. 

Can you picture the disbelief, amazement and excitement that crossed my girls faces when I told them... Guess what? Let's go to BC! Obviously they knew I couldn't afford it so they were afraid to believe me. For days they asked if it was real? Mom, are you serious? You wouldn't joke about this would you? No babies, this is real... and guess what else? Mom has to get back in just over a week, but you two get to spend the WHOLE summer in Nanaimo and Port Alberni! Our loving family and friends will put you up! You can see your friends, get your courage and strength back, know that even when it is hard here because you are new, there are people who love and accept you no matter what! Plus, we have lined up some part time work for Rachel, so she can play, see family AND make some money!

Well, parenting is hard and there are days they drive me nuts, but nothing could replace the looks on their faces. The joy and excitement and bewilderment that overcame them. I love you girls and  if I could take away every hurt that you would ever experience, I would in a second, but I can't. I can only teach you that pain, disappointment and anger go away... you don't and you learn to move forward. I am going to miss them desperately. I have never been separated from them for more than about a week at a time. I know they will be OK. They are loved and will only be staying with loved ones who I trust implicitly. Get your confidence back Rachel, it is not you, it was not about the other girls, one person did their job wrong and that has impacted you. As I have learned I could be owning a home, debts, working my ass off in a job I had grown to hate, but because someone decided to go through their job wrong... I am now happy... for the first time in my life.

The coffee shop is cute, fun and getting great word of mouth already. My only regret is I can't sleep in all summer! I guess there will be time for that during the dark days of winter. I am so excited to see my parents again, I love them very much and they are great people. You never know what can happen to change your life in an instant, but taking the time to appreciate what you have, who you have in your life, these things will make us happy. I have made a couple of really important true friends here and for that I am so grateful! But ladies, I am going to be home FOR MY 45th birthday! Nothing could be a greater gift!