Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's a Blustery Day!

Gopher: If I was you, I'd think about 
skedaddlin' out of here. 
Winnie the Pooh: Why? 
Gopher: 'Cause it's "Winds-day." 
I used to love to read the book and turn 
the pages every time the story DINGED
 turn page... The sounds effects 
were captivating and my anxiety built as
 I worried about Pooh and Piglet on
 their latest adventure!

Well, it's Thursday but it feels like Winds-day! After weeks of extreme sub-zero temperatures, frozen pipes, no hot water, the block heater in the truck going kaput and being unable to stay warm even huddled next to the fire with a blanket, we have a reprieve! Feels a little bit like an Albertan Chinook today! Last Thursday I was completely at a loss, unable to stay warm, the truck on a winter vacation and I couldn't even warm the house up enough to make bread - well I could if I wanted little lumps of dough... If that is not bad enough, my 100+ hens have also gone on strike. Those girls have no intention of letting out any nuggets. The egg production has almost completely stopped. We are getting (when lucky) about 1 dozen eggs a day! Sure hope those girls get back to work with the warmer weather or we might be switching from omelets to chicken stew for dinner!

Today is completely different. The past few days the weather has improved, warmed up and at the moment it is actually +12C outside. Considering last Thursday, baking day, it was -37C with the wind chill... brrr! The weather has caused the school district to make a few closures - last week wind chill was -41C and they closed some schools. Yesterday, closed due to freezing rain, even though we were hovering around 0 degrees. Our pipes froze again last week so it was a welcome surprise to wake yesterday to hear the toilet bowl tank filling with water as the thaw began.

Today, I have to wonder how baking will go since the rain and winds have been thrashing against the house all night and the power keeps flickering. I woke up about 3:30AM and finally got up at 4:30AM to read for an hour. Then tossed and turned from 5:30AM until 6:15 when Jess woke up and wondered if there was school. Both girls woke early, I am guessing it is our blustery day that disturbed them too. (Another grateful moment, not waking up to any flooding or leaky roofs! Sending out positive thoughts to those who are going to have to deal with running water issues!)
Poor Jess, she was up and ready for school, dressed, lunch made, all by 6:50 AM (which is when she is usually pulling her sorry butt out of bed) AND she still missed the bus! Not our fault this time! I guess there was a replacement bus driver who showed up about 7 minutes early... She is normally picked up by good old MaryEllen between 7:13 and 7:17 AM. Today, we heard the bus drive AWAY at 7:09AM! I was furious! The only saving grace was Rachel has a car and was driving to school so Jess could catch a ride... Otherwise, I would have had her home today or had to drive an hour and spend $30 in fuel to get her to school! Grrr! So glad when our driver is feeling better!

Now I have to bake for market. We didn't make it last week, what with no truck and a kitchen cold enough to freeze a witches toe. Now I have to catch up, put on my Cinderella shoes and get to work. All I really want to do is crawl back into bed and take a nap! Did I mention that a good fairy (new fab friend) sent me a surprise? I woke up on Saturday morning to hear voices in the kitchen. It was so cold out I was staying in the warm blankets as long as possible. I decided to get up and see who was talking to Len. Well, am I ever glad I did! Our neighbour and friend Clayton had brought a gift from his beautiful sister Jane... A NEW QUEEN SIZE DOUBLE CONTROL ELECTRIC BLANKET! Woo Hoo! HAPPY DAY! 

Funny story about the blanket, then time for me to work so I can really earn that nap! The first night with the blanket was heaven sent, Len and I were SO happy to crawl into a pre-warmed bed ... I can't explain how GOOD it felt! The next morning though we were less happy and I didn't know how to tell Jane there was something wrong with the blanket. It would be my luck and very typical to buy something with any type of power associated to it and expect to have to return it at least twice to get something that works properly. 

OK here is what happened... Night one, the night began with us both warm and happy. End of night one, Len boiling and turning his side OFF, me freezing and turning my side to HIGH. He had to get up and cool off. This was not working out very well so we knew we had to figure it out better for night two. Sunday night, we crawl into bed and once again adjust the controls, maybe the cords didn't work right, maybe they were really working on the opposite controls... We both set ours to about half way and slept. It was better but I was still too cold. Night three, A HA moment! It turned out that when we placed the cords under the bed and plugged it all in we had reversed the controls for each side of the bed. No wonder when I put mine on HIGH I felt nothing and poor little Len baked and when he turned his to OFF I froze! DUH! YAY! Dear Jane: The blanket is not faulty - but we are apparently challenged when it comes to making a bed! 

Is it time for my nap yet?
I guess I better bake before the power blows... literally!
 Have a great day!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My daughter has written, her thoughts on bullying...

After years of harassment and bullying my daughter has said enough... There is so much more that she could say, but she aired her emotions and feelings and is trying to share and help others, for this I am very proud. She posted her story on a Facebook site that Opposes Bullying. I am reposting her story, unedited how she posted it.

I've been debating whether or not I would post my story, but I think I will share.
My name is Rachel, I am 18 years old & i have never done anything like this before. Ever since i joined this page i have been reading many peoples story's and some of them really touched me. When I was younger, much younger, the bullying started when i was in a french school, so kinder garden to grade 2. I had many friends as did the other children, but i was one of the few kids that didn't understand the french at all. The teachers had their "favourite" students which were my friends, & i was the one that often got left out by the teacher and picked on. I would ask the teacher for help and she would often ignore me or give me a dirty look. My friends eventually stopped hanging out with me and no longer wanted to be friends, i got picked on bad. My mother then got fed up with it so I switched to another school. This Elementry school was not a french school, I was in this school from grade 2 to grade 7. Things went great there, had another click of friends, they didnt judge me, or didn't not like me because I couldn't speak french,they just were good friends. Until grade 4 hit. A new girl came to school and changed them all, i then started to get bullied very bad again, by five different girls, which i thought were my best friends. I was in therapy and nothing was working out for me. a couple months later i found out that my father had died and my sister had gotten badly hurt, this of course effected me even more and i didn't know what to do. Things weren't going good at school, nor the personal life. Couple months all that went down i went back to school and these girls were my friends again because they felt bad for me, i new this wasn't right, but i didn't have much choice but to be their friend or not, i just needed to be loved at that time. Of course the years flew by and then i was in high school, me and those five girls went into the same school together and said wed always be friends no matter what happened in high school, of course, that changed. They all found different friends and i was left hanging with nothing again. Few of those girls picked on me again with their new friends, I couldn't take it, And i didn't understand why it was all happening to me again.. I was hurt, lost, confused, Id go home crying everyday after school wondering what was wrong with me. Asking myself if i really belonged on this earth.What was the point of being here anymore? My mom then put me into more therapy. A couple months went by and it was grade 9, a boy i new that was in my class also got bullied at the high school very badly, I didn't know this.He was so quiet, always had a smile on his face.. I never talked to him, but i wish i had, because if i new what he was going through maybe things would of been different.. days went by and the school got terrible news that this boy had killed himself to get away from the bullys.. This hurt me, & effected me ALOT. To know that such a good human being was in such danger and no one even knew about it.. I still think back to that horrible day wishing i could have done something to help him.But it was too late. Semester 2 of grade 9 came, and i left that high school, the death of this boy effected me and i no longer wanted to go to school so i started home schooling. I thought this would of helped me. but it made me a lot more depressed, realizing i only had 2 or 3 friends..No one to talk to during the day, no one to hangout with, what kind of teenager life was this? I couldn't focus on my home schooling work, it didn't work out for me either. Being in that city with everything that went on in my life was to much. So i asked my mother if we could leave that province, and we did. Me, my mom, my sister, and step dad all moved to new brunswick.. whatever my mom could do to get these horrible memories off my mind she would. So we left, hoping that this new place would help me and i would find better friends and make new memories with great people. I moved to a small town, much different from what i was used too, A city girl moving to the country was definately hard on me but i figured it would be worth it. September came and i was in grade 10 when i started, girls looked at me strange and i then began to get picked on at this school too. I was nice and friendly to everyone. Wondering why these girls were picking on me? was it just because i was a new girl? did i dress funny? was it my accent? It didn't make sense. I am now in grade 12. And i have only made Two very good amazing friends here. High school is almost over and i am SO happy to be finishing school, When people say "oh you'll miss high school when its done" whatever,. I have been through enough in my life to tell you that no, You're wrong. School was hell for me. Sometimes i think and im amazed how truly lucky i am to still be here. After all the crap i have been through. I feel all this has made me stronger & the person i am today. i couldn't of done it without my amazing family. From now on I am going to try and help others the best way I can with bullying. NO ONE deserves it, Everyone deserves a chance to be happy. So if you see someone picking on someone. CHANGE it. Do something about it. You could be changing someones life forever..
I am Rachel Bethell and i oppose bullying, xo

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A week....

It is Sunday morning and much milder than it was just one week ago. Today's weather is a warm 2 above zero while last week this time it was -21C plus the wind chill for about a nice -28... brrr! Winter break for the school kids ended on January 9th and I was prepared for a day of rest, relaxation and me time.

I  worked Monday and Tuesday and on Wednesday I was booked in for a reflexology appointment. I spent the morning of January 9th researching a writing contest, reading through the rules, regulations, past winners and reviewing work that I have yet unpublished. I then spent a relaxing lunch with my husband and headed to my appointment.

Sadly, the day quickly changed, from a day of peace to a day of sadness and reflection. We moved to New Brunswick 2 and a half years ago and arrived knowing no one. Since we moved here we have met many wonderful and amazing people and some people that you connect with more quickly and understand and relate to deeper, even if you don't see them much.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 we lost two of those new friends. One of the friends passed unexpectedly at the young age of 50 years old. He and his lovely soul mate had been introduced to us about two years ago and we immediately felt drawn to them. He, had moved here "from away", he had also spent time getting back to nature, developing his sustainable farm, growing his own food and built his straw home from the ground up. A very inspirational man on many levels, intelligent, interesting and fun to be around. He is survived by his loving lady who's friends dub her "Laura Ingall's of Little House on the Prairie" fame. She is beautiful, sweet, talented and draws from the environment to grow herbal medicines, teas and healing energy for all of us around her.

About two hours later, I received a call to inform me that the woman I worked for and had become friends with had developed pneumonia while in hospital for her broken hip and succumbed to illness after years of fighting it. She was 76 years old, had 3 sons she was extremely proud of and I feel honoured that I could meet them all including her grandchildren, while working for her. Both she and her husband had retired to their farm in New Brunswick over 30 years ago and had a farm with all types of livestock, they milked their cow, made their butter, sold baking, eggs, meat, vegetables and more... They had both grown up on farms and were known all around for the quality of their product. I was very fortunate to get to know them, work with them, become "family" if I may be so bold and mentor under them. I will miss her and I know that her husband of almost 56 years and who did everything he could to make her comfortable will miss her very much.
So, how does this affect me? Why am I talking about it? Of course when anyone dies, whether they are 50 of 76, whether one had lived their life or thought they had much left to live for, death comes when it is our time. We have no control over our own mortality. Yes, we can be preventative, healthy, safe, avoid activities we know are likely to reduce our life span, but we never know when it will happen.

I am 46 years old. I was a widow at 38 years old. Left alone with two young children, not where I expected to be. I hope I am here for my girls forever, during their formative years, childhood, young adulthood, hopefully until they are into their middle age... but,  I may not be. I now have an 18 year old preparing to leave home, she will be out on her own, living her life and I will have had time to offer her as much as I can as a child. Of course, it would be hard for her if I passed away in the next couple of years, but she would get by. She at least has had one parent to unconditionally love her for as long as possible...

On the other hand, I have an 11 year old, she still has at least 6 years at home, 6 years of parenting left to do. Who will do that if I die? I suppose, she would go live with her sister. This is not an optimal plan, but really all I have.It would be hard for her as a young adult to see her sister through troubled teens, but I know that she would do it. My parents are not in a situation to take her, god parents are downsizing and planning to travel... I love my husband, he is a great husband, but parenting, well they are my kids, so that is my job. 

It is hard enough for him to have young kids at home at his age of 71, he never thought he would still have kids at this time of life... Also, when he had kids at home, he worked full time, long hours so it was his wife's job to do most of the parenting... We have different perspectives on this matter, how to parent, (neither are right or wrong, just different) so, my pending mortality is frightening to me, where it may leave my daughter... Let's just stay healthy and alive and hope that the grim reaper has no plans to take me for at least ten years!

So, this week of turmoil, tears and contemplation has been draining. I feel for my friends who are left behind after the loss of their spouses; I feel their pain; I worry over how much time I have left with my handsome; I fear for my girls should something happen to me.... 

I am grateful for yesterday, our community recreation council sponsored a "Women's Wellness Day" - a retreat of sorts. For 4 hours we left our lives behind, we felt peace, reached inside ourselves and felt our emotions, we spent time in relaxation, listened to stories of inspiration, had an amazing first class lunch, left the chaos of life and set our minds to the future. It was emotional but essential.

I shall send my strength to my friends suffering right now and offer any support or help I can give. I commit to doing all I can to be here on this earth as long as possible and love my little family dearly. Thank you dear readers for your kindness, thoughts, likes, dislikes, observations and communication. 

Much peace, love and happiness to you all!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

-21? It must be January in New Brunswick

The North Lake F.D., Len and our well being filled

The winter elements have been extreme this year. Three heavy storms in less than a week, close to 3 feet of snow all added together, 27 hours without power, sub zero temperatures at -21C and -30C with the wind chill, lots of wood burning in the stove and if that wasn't enough, this week, frozen water pipes and an empty well! 

British Columbia, you are starting to look good again! Yes there has been more than one moment over the past week where I have contemplated about returning to the land of milk and honey, the Canadian Hawaii, Vancouver Island. Alas, it will not be, we do like it here but even if we wanted to, the price of property and resale would not get us back. We are here to stay, endure, enjoy and work. 

During the last week it was impossible to stay warm. We bundled up, layered clothing, had blankets on our legs, covered our heads while we slept to keep the snot from crystallizing in our noses while we snored and I was grateful that my husband's body temperature seems to perpetually run about 20 degrees higher than the normal person as I lay entwined with him all night just to keep warm.

Then on Wednesday, I took Rachel and her boyfriend Adrian to Moncton to shop for prom dresses. (The dress is for Rachel, they didn't have Adrian's size so we settled on a tux for him.) This seemed like a good plan, no snow or precipitation in the forecast, clear skies, but the wind! OMG! It whistled through the car, I had the heat going on almost full blast the whole trip and a car blanket on my legs! BRR! 

The best part of the day, besides finding her dream princess prom dress that made my heart scream with joy at her beauty, at her future prospects and all she has gone through to get to this point... Sorry, I digress, the second best part of the day was meeting old friends from Nanaimo in Moncton for lunch. We spent at least 2 hours sitting, talking, visiting, reminiscing, comparing our lives now and I know we could have easily stayed twice as long if we did not have a schedule to keep. Thank you Janice and family - it was WONDERFUL! PS And I loved winning the free entree!

Every time we got out of the car, the cold and wind would literally suck the breath out of our bodies. The worst part was on the way home, when we stopped at Costco in Fredericton. Walking in I must have left my deerskin fleece lined gloves in the car, because coming out, I could barely hang onto the cart - well that would be true except that I think my fingers had frozen to the bar handle. By the time we got to the car, the tips of my fingers were tingling that painful frozen feeling and I yelled "OPEN THE CAR! Get my gloves out!" There was no way to empty the cart without them, I could barely hang onto anything I had bought.

Thursday, we were happy to be home, if not completely warm, at least inside. That is until we discovered the downstairs bathroom had completely frozen - all the pipes, pfft! Nothing. So we called a neighbour, nice young buck, about 50 years old (um, in this neighbourhood, that is young!) He spent a good two hours, in the crawl space, under our house, trying to thaw the pipes and warming things up (not him, he was damn cold!) but with little success. The week prior we had a similar problem and I think in that time the heat tape for the pipes was unplugged which after the next extreme week created a complete freezer under my house.

As if this wasn't enough, Thursday is my baking day and I did get it done, however, by the time I went to finish washing up for the day and I went to turn on the tap, pfft, nothing! Again! But this time in the part of the house that doesn't freeze up! Well we were shocked, couldn't figure out what was going on... An old neighbour (the young bucks father ) told us to look down the well and see if we had water. OF course we had water?! What is he, crazy? I mean it is January, we had rain, we had snow, we HAVE water! Nuts, but to humour him, at 9pm on Thurs night, Len went out with a teeny flashlight, popped up the old wooden hatch that covers our dug well and ... ok, so he was right... NO water!

What could we do? We went to bed, got up early to prepare for market and wash eggs up in cold water that I had melted from snow on the stove. Finally ready, truck about to be loaded, when the next blow hit us, the truck did NOT want to start. Yes Buddy has a block heater, he is plugged in, he has new batteries and starter but nope, he said, too damn cold for me! And spluttered and stopped. Good thing, Rachel was home so I confiscated use of her car for the day to get us to and from town. (Yes, I, Sarah, was starting to feel discouraged with my life, just a little at this point!)

We ran into our neighbour in town who has pulled a few strings to arrange for us to get a load of water from the fire department to fill our well. We hurried on our errands for the day and no sooner had we pulled into the driveway than the volunteer fire department showed up to put water in our well. YAY! They are a great group of guys and we are ever so grateful! Of course we still didn't have water, it took several hours of pumping and priming and poking and prodding and swearing, yes just  a little swearing, to get things going again. Kudo's to Len and our neighbour Clayton F. who helped him out. 

Saturday was spent with the cellar door open to the kitchen and guys in big winter clothing walking in and out of the house with big snowy boots all day ... (my house is a mess!) They spent hours and hours trying to get things all working again. Thank goodness the world had warmed up to about -5C but the weather dropped steadily all day. After about 6 hours of work, they had managed to sauder pipes back together in the frozen section of the house and get us cold water again in the lower bathroom. We are making progress. The well, seems to be emptying too quickly again and we are not sure why... 

Oh well, another day on the chicken farm! I am grateful for having a home, for the wonderful people who have helped us, for the opportunity to go prom dress shopping and have a fun day lunching with friends. These things will all go in my Gratitude Jar... I think I will put a paper in my Hopes and Dreams jar to ask for a new well!

As my neighbour just said, who popped in to see Len , "Happy New Year! OR Should I say HAPPY WATER YEAR!" ... Yes, after running out of water three times in less than six months, I think HAPPY WATER YEAR works for me too!
The girls and I started these jars (thanks to Facebook and Pinterest)
We began this on Jan 1/13 and plan to read through them next Jan 1/14.
I will be adding WATER to my Hopes and Dreams,
and I have already added AMAZING neighbours to my Gratitude jar!