Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Do not Fear...You CAN do it!

It's been 4 years since my latest blog post...either I have been locked away in a dank dungeon with a few skinny rats as my only friends, or I have just been living this wacky rollercoaster that we are blessed to call life. It's the latter, of course!! And much has definitely been going down. We moved back to Gabriola from Winnipeg Beach in April 2016 and couldn't be happier about it. We left in hopes of finding drier weather to help fight this daily and chronic pain I have. Well, turns out the dry is nicer on my aching body but I cease to live loud and proud as I can't go out to play in -30 degree weather! Yikes! I am thankful for those three years on beautiful Lake Winnipeg though. 4 distinct and most gorgeous seasons to be enjoyed and witnessed. The winter, it was actually my favourite, in terms of photography. An ever changing landscape of white and glassy ice...eye candy all day long! Grateful for all that I saw...I explored so much. 
Time still moves along. As has my pain. Unless you live with chronic pain yourself or with someone who suffers with it, you really can not understand what life is like. It is a daily battle of getting out of that bed even though your body is telling you to continue to lie still. My sleep averages about 3-5 hours a night of broken and unsettled rest...I am constantly mentally and physically exhausted. It's just the way it has been for about 14 years now. Who knew that one could literally get used to always being in pain. But, to everything there must be a flip side...and I hope that I have found mine.
So, here is my latest update in this pretty big part of my life...

Can you notice that slight curvature of the spine there? It’s actually a result of what I like to call; a "Medical Science Miracle". Up until I was the age of 24, that slight curve was more like the hook of a J. I had severe scoliosis and pretty much stood up straight like the leaning tower of Pisa. You see, I was born with a few slight differences. One of them affected my left leg, resulting in it being shorter by 6" to the right leg. A few days after I was born, a paediatric ortho surgeon suggested to my already stunned mother, that she should have my wee little "deformed" (the dr's referred to me as unfortunate and deformed in the clinical notes, back in 1974) baby leg amputated. What?! Thanks to my beautiful wise at so young an age mom for seeking a second opinion. My first surgery was on my knee at the ripe young age of 10 years old. My orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Hubert, removed all four of my growth plates to slow the growth of my right leg helping my left leg to grow closer in size. This surgery left the gap at only 2 1/2” by the time I stopped growing at 13 years old. As a teenager I thought it was really cool that I no longer needed to wear a 6“ lift on the bottom of my left shoe. I still needed a lift but it could be mostly hidden inside my left shoe with a little on the outside. Phew. πŸ™‚

The remaining leg length discrepancy left me to continue to suffer from shin splints and back pain, I eventually headed back to my doctor at 22 years old. He referred me to  his son, an orthopaedic surgeon also. Once he moved back to Winnipeg at the end of 1997, the young Dr. Hubert said he could help me by shortening my right leg. Shorten my leg?! This, I was greatly astounded by and was ready to have my leg sawn in half to make this happen. And on September 9, 1998, he performed an new and improved femoral shortening surgery on me (I was the first person in MB to have this new procedure done), removing 2 1/4 inches from my right femur through a hole up near my hip. By drilling the inside of my femur out, he was then able to take a circular saw and cut out the 2 1/4" section of bone. With another saw, he sliced this fragment in half, pushing it to the outside of the bone, closing my two sides of femur back together, placed a titanium rod down my femur and screwing it into place through my hip and knee. All I have is two little scars on my right hip...wow! Amazing technology...Medical Science! 

I remember the first time standing up, having both my feet flat on the ground and hips at almost the same level...miracle!!! I had to learn how to walk again...that was strange. I had always walked either with a lift on my shoe or being on my tiptoe. And actually, more painful than sawing my leg into two pieces, was teaching the muscles/tendons in the back of my left to actually work as they were meant to. They had never been used in nearly 24 years...ay yi yi that was painful!! But, I now walk with a fairly normal gait and my scoliosis is almost gone. That is awesome and so worth all of the rehab to get me back to happy and free. No leg harness, no cane, just me running free baby! 

I never once hesitated on choosing to do that surgery. I didn’t have any doubt in my mind that I wanted to be able to walk properly and never, ever wear a stupid lift on my shoe! ha! 

In January 2017, I was faced with another surgery decision to make. But this one was quite a bit different...I was told that I need to have surgery on my one and only beloved shoulder. My only arm...my arm that has been my all and everything. My sidekick that has had my back every single time I announced, "I CAN do it!" I basically have spent my life always wanting to do everything anyone else did, but do it bigger. Like I had something to prove to everyone else. And I did. I also spent most of my life hearing people say, you wouldn't be able to do this Pam... Well, I showed them! And through it all I seemingly ruined my super strength arm...bah! Oh pride, I have felt thy awful and penetrating sting. What is the life lesson there? Do not overdo it, ever. You need not prove yourself or your capabilities to anyone. Do what you want for you because it serves a purpose. It's incredibly important to have self confidence, this is true. But never let that confidence exceed a healthy and humble perspective in life. 

My first meeting with my new orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Landells, left me with such high and great hopes for an easy sew up job of a labral tear in my shoulder joint (this is the what causes me the greatest pain...I can feel it tear when I move my arm too much). After seeing so many doctors since 2001 to figure out what is going on with my arm and why I was having troubles, this sew job seemed so easy and I was all for it right away. He gave me hope when I had almost lost it all. Thing was, he needed a new MRI as he was basing this thought on an mri I had in Manitoba in March of 2014. After getting the report back from this latest mri, all of a sudden things became "complicated" and my surgery was now a "challenge". Ugh. I have a couple of things going on in my shoulder congenitally which causes my surgery to be a greater challenge than usual. My shoulder joint already has osteoarthritis making an easy, arthroscopic sew job not so easy. It will exacerbate the arthritis and I will need a full shoulder replacement sooner than later. Hearing the words 'complicated' and 'second surgery sooner than later' absolutely tossed me overboard in a stormy and angry sea. I was filled with such great fear cranking my anxiety up to a level I was unable to handle. I couldn’t even think straight. The thought of my arm never working again or worse never working…well, I just couldn’t compute that thought. I was literally driving myself crazy with fear, self loathe, feelings of anxiety and utter hopelessness. I mean really, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal having surgery on your shoulder. Yet, when you only have the one shoulder attached to one, beautiful and helpful arm...it's scary as heck! It really just threw the biggest curveball into my brain. Simple answer, I wasn’t ready for it. My decision to not move ahead with surgery disappointed some people in my life. They truly believed that it was what I should do for myself if I am suffering so much. For, if I don't do it, my pain must not be so bad. You can't even imagine how that makes your heart sink so deep into the pit of your bowels...so hurtful. Ouch. I know they just wanted the best for me. We really must choose our words so carefully when someone is going through a struggle. The simplest words can cause the most damaging effects when someone is in great inner turmoil. Always be kind and mindful of your words coming out of your mouth. If you don't know what to say...just love. Love on people hard. Love can change everything. 

Bottom line, never do something you are not prepared for. EVER.

I’ve gone through many changes over the past 18 months. Research showed me that a vegan diet will help with pain from inflammation. Ok, I stopped eating meat, dairy and eggs...it really DOES help! Hallelujah! I decided to stop hating myself, feeling sorry for myself and wanting to disappear. Instead, I began telling myself that I am a good person who deserves happiness, peace, less pain and a beautiful life. I started wearing a sling anytime I was up and about. It took weight and stress off of my exhausted shoulder and gave me great comfort (I am still getting used to going out in public with it for it attracts many questions, statements and judgements. I am just trying to take care of me). I started going to pilates classes. This helped me with my balance when I was tripping a lot  with my arm always slung. It helped me use my body in different ways when I am doing things alleviating stress all over my tight, sore and exhausted body. Right now, in this moment, I am feeling pretty fabulous mentally, emotionally and physically. I have decided to go ahead and have this surgery...whatever surgery it ends up being. Even now, at this point they still don’t know what route they are going to take (sew job or total shoulder replacement). I had a ct scan yesterday morning that will give my newest surgeon the best look at what is going on in my wacky old shoulder joint. 

I really am thankful that I waited on making this decision. In the past 18 months, Dr. Landells (who has 30 years experience, worked on olympic athletes at the 1992 Albertville Olympics and is a highly respected shoulder surgeon) has decided to retire from surgery. What!?! Yeah...I was shocked too when he told me. I had based much of my decision to go ahead with surgery on him, his talents, experience and olympic athlete fan base. I had to hold back fear tears when he gave me that info! But he is not leaving me. He is going to be a co-pilot in this surgery. My new surgeon, the pilot, is an incredibly talented and highly recognized doctor who just came back to BC after working alongside some of the top surgeons in the world, in France. (Dr. Saliken...his track record is pretty good from what I garner from ye good ole world wide web.) I mean, how can this not be good news? All because I chose to prepare my mind, body and heart for such a crazy undertaking, I now have a larger, way cool medical support team now looking after me. Two amazing specialists are going to work on my shoulder, doing what is best for ME in the long run. I truly am so happy that I waited! πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ˜†❤️

Fear is definitely one of our own worst enemies. It is us that puts it there. We have to pull those fears out of us and face them. Challenge yourself daily to do things that scare you or make you a little nervous. It will broaden your world and open up parts of you that you never even realized were there. We are all superheroes you know!

I’m so thankful that I have gotten over my fears and pushed through to get to a point where everything seems all right. I don’t know what my future holds in terms of my BFF left arm...whatever happens, it’s going to be ok. 🌟 It’s medical science! They make miracles on a daily basis. πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ’™

Life is so darn good! It’s so much easier to just be happy and hopeful than living in the shadow of fear and anxiety. Getting to the place where you feel happy, free and at peace with life can be tough. But there is great strength inside all of us to do it. Changes are so important. That’s the first step in finding peace. 

Believe in yourself! 😍πŸ’ͺ🏼❤️

Wow man… I did not expect to write so much. If you actually got to this point, I commend you for your patience. πŸ˜†πŸ˜˜

And I love you for caring enough to read it. So much love… SO MUCH LOVE!! ❤️❤️❤️

Friday, December 19, 2014

A House is What YOU Make of it.

On October 12, 2013, Clint and I moved into our very first house...OUR home! We became home owners...sooooooo exciting. No more landlords, we can do whatever we want, paint any colour, hang up tons of art, have as many animals as we choose (I can't stand THAT much fur, so 2-3 is plenty! lol) and of course tear the ground out and build a veggie/flower garden. Hooray!! Oh wait...the fridge died ugh, the pipes are freezing ugh, oh man the floor is sooooo freezing when it's -30 outside (uninsulated crawlspace) and so many other things....ah, the homeowners responsibility! ha ha ha! And still...I am super stoked to be a homeowner.

Our house was built in 1919. It is amazing. Much of the original beauty inside is gone...covered up with drywall and layers upon layers of flooring. But it is exactly what we were looking for. It takes me under a minute to walk to the beach...VERY important to me! ;o) And, it is located in the downtown core and in the commercial zone. This will eventually make our dream of an in home art gallery/shop come true. When the previous owner showed the place to us everything seemed like it had been done. Well...everything had been covered up to make it look like it was done! lol Make-up, as we all know, can do wonders! Ay yi yi!

For the most part...when you are looking at homes for purchase, you will never find exactly what you are looking for. But I feel that is because most people can not see beyond what the present owners have done with the place. It could be as simple as wallpaper and gross carpet...that can turn a person right off. But remember, you will OWN the place...you can do whatever you want to it. I would go as far as to even say that most people can be handy with a bucket of paint, strength to tear carpet out and the will to make it look like your home. It's amazing what a coat of paint can do to transform a room. That has to be the easiest renovation ever. :o) Look beyond what you are seeing with your eyes and use your imagination when checking out homes. I would suggest getting an inspection done on ones that you are REALLY hungry for. With this place we didn't do that...I regret it, in a way. But, also, this home, location and ability for great change made me want it so bad. Even though I could feel the uneven floor beneath the carpet...I didn't even say anything about that when looking. duh!! My bad. But still, I am stoked to have this home. And even more stoked because Clint knows how to do the renovation repairs himself. Saving us thousands of dollars in labour.

The first completion we have done already is on the outside. Being in downtown and our backyard facing a big open field that is used a giant parking lot in the summer, puts us right in the middle of some of the action. (this is a resort town and summers are very busy. Clint calls it Daytona Beach! lol) Our backyard was open to it all...no fence. I LOVE my privacy. Nothing like sitting in the sun, relaxing with a corona and all the beach goers watching you as they pull all of their gear out of their cars to spend the day at the Beach. Seriously...stop starting at me!!! ba ha ha! Anyways...because we also have pets, I wanted a fenced yard to allow them outside and not have to be out there with them if I don't want to be at the moment. But, of course I LOVE being outside. So, this past summer, Clint built me a beautiful fence. (a family day at the house and my brother and brother in law helping Clint dig the post holes. you can make fun out of any kind of work day!) Even placed my painted stained glass window in the gate. Soooo pretty!!

Privacy at last!!!!! Thanks Clint! xoxo
 Now that it is winter at the Beach...we are indoors working on stuff. Our front living room will be transformed into a gallery space...oh yeah. So far Clint has ripped out three layers of flooring...plywood, 60's carpet and more plywood. Tons of labour...and tons of dust. Our living room is unlivable...a plastic sheeted wall encloses the "work area" and we have moved most of our belongings upstairs. Like as if we live in an apartment. Cozy and nice actually. And all good stories for after the hardest part is over. "Honey...remember when we lived in dust and wood chips and everything was upstairs?" It is a long process but one that will leave us smiling and happy with exactly what we have...what we have made!

Just as life evolves, so can our homes...but with our homes we are the evolution creator! Have fun...get some paint for your walls, build shelves for your walls, tear out some gross old carpet...make your house your home, exactly how you dreamed! Even if you don't know how to do something...you can find tutorials of everything on YouTube!! ;o) (I wouldn't recommend touching electrical though! yikes!) 

And when you are looking for a home to buy...there are many ways to do it. You don't always have to go through an agent...there are always listings through sites like kijiji or craigslist or individual sites all across North America. Like, I can imagine finding your right home is a tough one in the big awesome city of New York...that place is immense. And, also has incredibly cool homes with much character. Imagine owning a Brownstone?! Oh, the things you could do in that place! Well, for all you who want to be in the city that never sleeps...here is 'Compass', a "NYC neighbourhood guide"to find the right area for you to live and then find the perfect house...and then make it your home!

Good luck finding a home, renovating your home or yard and just making your home yours! 

Most importantly though...Have a ton of fun! :o)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Baby steps...loss, grief, responsibility, forgiveness...acceptance. Oh Larry Boy. xo

"It was his time." No...actually, it wasn't. It was cut short...too short. He may only have had a few months longer in him...but in actuality, his life WAS cut short. These words, just so y'all know, are not consoling to someone who is so full of grief and remorse. For I am in the middle of great pain and sorrow for what me and my Larry Boy just went through. Larry had been sick for a while...probably longer than we realized. But he never really showed it...he was such a good boy. We had been treating anemia and a deer tick parasite before we found out, through ultra sound, that Larry had a cyst growing on his liver. Upon the advice of someone who was supposed to know what the very best thing for my VERY BEST Friend was...I chose surgery. I chose to allow Larry's vet (who is a good vet and does have a love for the animals she treats) to perform an "exploratory" surgery, with hopes of cyst removal, on him. I had asked all of the right questions...especially the repeated one..."Can Larry's sweet little heart and body take it?" "Yes"...that was the response each and every time I asked. Right up to the moment when they carried his already sedated body out on a soft purple towel from the room in which I waited for over an hour...a room that felt so cold and tiny and dark underneath the glowing noisy fluorescent lights. I sat there hovering over my phone on which i had displayed the photo I just took of him while we waited for them to finish preparing for his surgery. I played "Beautiful Sun" by Little Miss Higgins...I sang along...I sang sweet music to my sweet little sunshine. The "Sun" who lived and breathed and loved in my home. My "Sun" that made me feel warm and bright every single day. It was me and him...me and Larry against all odds. For the last 14 months he had been my closest friend. Most days my only friend that I spoke with. Larry and I, along with of course the amazing Clint and Wensday started a brand new life last summer. New adventure for all of us. With Clint gone each day it was me and Larry fending for ourselves. And we fended well having one another...we were side by side...holding each other's hearts close. Well...now he is gone. my days are very quiet with much time to reflect. But right now my reflections are sad. The loneliness is overwhelming. my sorrow is too heavy for my soft and light heart to handle. I can't figure out what keeps it beating right now. I am thankful I have Clint and Wensday and all the birdies and Chippy the chipmunk to feed. (I might build Chippy a nice warm, insulated home ;o) ) So anyways...it was NOT Larry's time to go. He had much life in him and was just beginning to really feel the freedom he had been given for the past 26 months. Too soon.

"You gave him such a good life." Yes. I gave him the VERY best life. WE gave him the very best life. He came into our home...a new friend for Maggie May. A new friend for us to be there for the time coming up when we knew Maggie would no longer be with us. She was almost 19 when Larry came home with us. They were a team. They taught each other many things...it was wonderful. It made my heart feel good. When it was Maggie's time to go, Larry was drowned in love and affection and ALL of the attention. And soon thereafter out to Manitoba we came...all of our belongings to follow suit. Our little family was on a mission...on a new adventure to start a new life. Oh man...did we have some adventures. Every single day was a day at the beach or laying in the grass listening to the birds. In the harshest winter of my life...there were days me and Larry did not venture out...except of course a quick run out and pee for Larry. We spent those chilly winter days holed up in the spare room...cuddled on the bed with Wensday and watching NetFlix. Larry loved movie time. Larry loved to relax...he learned that from Maggie. If we can't be running around outside we will cuddle inside. I still sometimes hear him breathing next to me when it is really silent. It is just that sound that was so natural and commonplace to me...strange that it is gone now. Oh...Larry knew he was loved. He knew he was loved beyond measure. Larry knew 110% that I had his back...he knew NO harm would come to him if mommy was around. I protected him. And last week...if I could have given him my life...I would have. His life was so valuable to me. Yes...Larry was a dog. But to me...Larry was also my baby boy. He was full of emotion...hidden for the most part...but I saw it all. He showed me. He trusted me. I DID in fact give him the best life...but this simple fact will not bring him back nor make me feel better right now. I am grieving...don't patronize me with words that are meaningless. Love is all I need right now...not advice that is moot in a time of tragedy.

For Larry I would have given anything for. I tried real hard to give him my breath in his very last moments...I didn't know what to do. How do you save someone whose lungs have filled with fluid? How do you save someone who was obviously bleeding from the inside out? I didn't know this was happening. I brought him home from the vet 6 hours after surgery. They said he was fine. She told me that he just had to take it really easy for 2 weeks. The drive home was sad...Larry was not himself. But he had just had surgery...it's a big deal. Then I saw his scar...my first moment I regretted the surgery. 10" long...Throat to penis he was cut open. WHAT THE...?!? If she had told me she was going to splay my sweet Larry right open I would have told her to take her surgery idea and shove it right up her... (I am still VERY upset about this. I am so angry at myself for putting him through that ordeal. I am so upset I trusted someone with Larry's life. I need to forgive her...but I am not ready. I am so angry and hurt and tortured over that whole event. And it's just the tip of the crumbling iceberg.) We emptied out our living room to make it our bedroom for two weeks. Oh how much Larry wanted to be upstairs where we always went. Stairs were blocked so he could not tear open his large wound. The night was incredibly restless. Larry needing to go out. He would pee then walk out onto the field and just fall down and not get up. I would caress him and love him and beg him to get up. I had to wake up Clint twice to come out and carry him  back into the house. In my mind, because I was told everything was ok...I thought he was just struggling with coming out of anesthetics and fighting the pain with the morphine. He was internally bleeding and his lungs were filling up. He would cry and moan. I would lie next to him and calm him again. In the morning the moans were louder...sadder. I held him, he would settle. I went to my computer to update my status as I had been asking people to pray and send healing loving thoughts to Larry. I got off the computer to his moans and noticed his legs doing the "stretch"...he was suffocating. Oh my God...what could I do. I went to him...he looked up at me with such fear and begging me to help him. I held him...I screamed out...I loved him and kissed him...he died. Right there. I breathed into his nose to give him my breath...it gurgled. I screamed and screamed and screamed. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! His limp little body...no life left just laid there next to me. He was gone. NO! How do I wake up from this? His life began in tragedy...now it ends this way? How can this be? Who do I blame? I blame myself of course. I feel like I should have made different decisions. I want him back...impossible. I called the vet and cried. I called Clint..."Larry is gone...please come home." My sobs were uncontrollable. My heart was lying on the floor next to me, still, silent, beat-less and staring back at me with glazed open eyes. How was I still alive? I was dead. I am still trying to come back to life...I am trying REAL hard.

Clint came home...we cried together. I found a blanket to wrap his little body in. We decided where he should lay...definitely our backyard. (laws schmaws...it's MY property!) I took down the prayer flag that hung above his bed. I clipped some pretty flowers from the garden where Larry used to lie near when we sat in the yard to watch the birdies. Clint dug a hole and in it we laid our sweet sweet Larry Boy...prayer flag and flowers to keep him bright. Oh Larry...my heart, my love, my best friend...I love you boy. May you rest in peace until the day I come to heaven and we'll catch up then buddy. Until then you hang out with Maggie...I hope Opi found you too. He loves dogs...he'll play with you guys, take you on walks and adventures. He was the one who taught me to enjoy those beautiful and simple moments...like the ones we shared daily, my Boo. I am sure Syder is with him too. So you guys will just have to wait for me. As much as I'd like to come now...I know I have lots more in me to give down here...even if I don't feel like it right now. I need to accept your are gone...I need to forgive myself (and the vet) for the decisions that were made that ended your life too soon. I will, as a few people have suggested prematurely, invite a new friend to live with us. It is going to take some time before I am ready...but, I WILL rescue another lost and needing soul. My heart IS big and has capacity to give out lots of love...but not now. My heart is still working on getting its beats back...i need my rhythm...it's lost right now...I'll find it. I will find it because of my love for you Larry. You also loved me and taught me so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you my sweet Larry boy. I love you forever. 

And Ever. 

Larry Boy
November 7, 2008-August 7, 2014 

I have made a wonderful playlist...all videos with Larry on my YouTube. He was so good.
RIP to the best dog, friend and animal child anyone could EVER have.

Peace & Love

Sunday, January 19, 2014

How I Love The Beach...

I have always loved spending time at the beach…who doesn't? As a kid it was to swim and play, as a teen it was to tan and get out of the city and as an adult it is to notice all of the beautiful objects and scenery that you will only find on the shores of a lake or ocean. I honestly could spend an entire day beach combing and staring out on the waters or laying on the warm sand underneath the heat of the sun. These days…being winter and all, there ain't too much laying down happening. There is a lot of "Larry, lets go walk on the beach for a little while before we get too cold!" We live 30 seconds from a great beach…and we can't wait until the water comes alive again. But for now we will walk the boardwalk and watch the skidoos speed by on the ice and snow covered lake. I'm actually very excited for the spring thaw to happen. There will be some gorgeous images to capture during that time. But for now I will just have to look at my pictures from this past summer of the fun times we spent on Lake Winnipeg taking notice of the special features surrounding us. ;o)

From the Summer, through the Fall and into Winter months.
The change is so beautiful.

Me and my "friend" hanging out On the Lake…that's right…there's about 20' of water underneath us! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Random Laundromat Thoughts...

Here I am…again at the laundromat, that also brings me eggs, toast and hashbrowns. Mmmmm…it comes on a styrofoam plate that usually has melt marks on it when the food is all gone…but it still hits the spot! Plus it has WIFI which I do NOT have at home and That fact alone is really starting to irk me. ;op And the fact that all we have at home is iron water which puts rust into the water that comes into the house causing all things that can soak up water to turn orange. Not fully orange…but you will find rust spots all over your laundry. All I do at home is darks and underwear that I don't care if it has rust spots on it. (I will treat Clint & I to fresh undies when we move outta there…a getting out of da country and into the town present to ourselves!) I like that there is a laundry line though. Yesterday I washed Larry's van seat blanket while I was giving the van the "treatment"…rinse, wash and chamois of the exterior plus the hubcaps, and a full interior clean with vacuum and windex and those cleaning wipe things. It took no time for everything to dry up nice…the van and the blanket. Super sunny hot day with a good wind…perfect for outdoor drying. The van is…was spotless. I have to drive 7 ams up that friggin' gravel road to get anywhere…ugh! All that work…5 hours I spent on Windy the Windstar. She almost looks like I never even washed her. Seriously…we REALLY need to get out of that place. Too bad. The country really is so very lovely. I open the door and all I will ever hear are crickets or birds or moos from the cows across the street. I like it when I can hear the cranes flying across the pasture. It was pretty insane when I realized that the odd shriek like sound I kept hearing were big old birds. They are amazing birds…just like the blue heron but they are more creamy grey coloured. I will miss seeing them when we leave the country. Ohhh…and my barn swallow family that I watched hatch and grow up and get flying lessons from their mom and dad and I think an auntie and uncle maybe too with their little ones. I felt like sometimes they were even showing off to me their fabulous flying skills. I know I am strange that way…but I really feel like Snow White sometimes! lol Animals always seem to like me and I will talk to them and watch them and they get used to me and hang out. They haven't sewn any dresses or swept my home yet for me…one day. ;o) I am pretty darn sure that the animal kingdom are just like us but more wild and untamed…yet compared to some people they are the socialized ones! They feel joy and pain and sorrow…but I feel that they also get over it. They live completely in the moment. Joy is more of an overall sensation they have as they have zero stress. Until of course a stressful moment happens…like a predator chasing them or a big storm that is threatening their home. But when it's over…if they live through it they don't relive that moment over and over and allow it to affect their mood for days, weeks, months or years. They live through it and just keep on keeping on. That must feel nice…to never play the "oh, woe is me" game. It gets so old, yet we all do it. I am sure there are some of us who never complain or feel sorry for themselves…but that takes mucho strength. You have to be a Buddhist monk and in constant meditation! My mind is far too busy to get there…maybe one day. Enlightenment. ;o)
Anyhow…it's another beautiful day in the neighbourhood. Sun is shining, cool clouds are pure white and are float float floating around. The mornings and evenings have taken a turn…they have that fall chill. The days are still getting quite hot. I had to sit in the ice cold water that I filled into my blow up pool yesterday after the epic van detailing job. Then I took Larry on a walk to our camp site home…we walked pretty far and it was so hot and beautiful. I had to jump in the wavy water. And it felt delightful. Oh how I love to be in the waves…I just love the water so much. Nice to be on the lake…my prairie ocean. In a few months that "ocean" will be frozen over and I will be ski-cooing all over it! So strange that the same body of water that feels so warm in the middle of August will actually freeze for 4-6 months and then become warm enough within weeks of thaw to swim in. Amazing if you think about it! I might want to try ice fishing this winter. I really don't like to fish cause it makes me kind of sad. But if I am going to eat meat I really ought to catch it myself…otherwise I am a hypocrite, I have been told. That too makes sense to me. Perhaps I should just not eat meat. Or maybe only fish…become a pescitarian! 
Oh my…these two cute old ladies just walked in with mounds and mounds of laundry! They are too cute. Little Icelandic women speaking together. What a strange language it is…sounds so very different to me. There really are no words that I can ever pick out to get any sense at all what they are talking about. But I love to listen to the conversation. Although presently, the weird guys laundry is in spin mode and he is using the triple loader so it is causing quite the deafening sound. And he keeps reading something on the machine that is in Spanish and saying the spinning of the laundry is so romantic. What!?! I just want my laundry to dry already so that I can get out of here and take Larry on a nice walk somewhere. I also have to fold the two loads…ugh. I hate folding laundry in front of people. They love to watch me in their peripheral (like as if I can't notice them doing this.) to see how I do it with only one arm. Of course I must look strange as I do it because I use my chin to hold a t-shirt whilst folding and towels too...I must look almost comical at times. So I kind of play this game in my head that I am teaching them whilst paying little to no attention to them. But still…I find it quite embarrassing. I work as fast as I can with looking like that is just the way I am...efficient! ;op Will I ever get over myself? I will be 99 years old and still self conscious…oh brother, I hope not! lol
Well, weird guy keeps wanting to talk to me and I keep typing furiously so that he thinks that I am deep in my novel that will be a NYT bestseller! ha ha ha ha ha! He grosses me out too…but I shouldn't say those kinds of things because that is not nice. Even though the only reason I now see him as creepy is largely due to the vibe he is giving me...with his greasy hair, John Lennon glasses, army jacket on a warm sunny morning and his moronic tone of voice. ew. But doesn't he see that I am wearing a wedding ring??? I am actually holding my hand in front of my face periodically in a way that it is like a target that you just can't miss. Sooooo annoying. Why can't people notice these things and then back off. Obviously I am not really interested. But it is hard for me to not engage when I am being spoke too. Phew. He just left. As he walked out the door he was saying something about enjoying my laundry time and then said good-bye…adding "you will probably be gone before I get back, eh?" Like YEAH!!!! Too funny. Mine must almost be dry his will take at least half an hour. I gots to get a move on it. ;o)
I'm coming Larry...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ode to Isolation

(Well...to be honest I ain't entirely sure on the definition of what an "Ode" actually consists of...lines/verse/prose...what have you. It's just pretty much my feelings at the moment wrapped up in a neat little easy to read platform. All is good of course...just my way of letting it out of me so that I can move on.) 

My eyes usually open before I am done my dreams
I get out of bed in a lucid state and a sweaty body
Am I home or not is usually the first question I ask myself
I feel this is home…well this province WAS my birthplace
This "home" we are living in is just a house to live in
Life doesn't feel real these past few months…as though in a dream
Is this the reason for my constant lucid awakenings…am I asleep
Each day is the same as the 24 hours just gone by the 24 hours previous to that
I break from typing to scratch the new mosquito bite on my left calf…itchy
Each morning I walk out the front door as I let Larry to chill outside
There really is no chilling, per se…it is hotter than the gates of hell on that deck
But I breathe in that thick, hot air and listen to the cranes flying over the pasture
I hear all of the chirping of various sweet little birdies…I love their tunes
I love the way the crickets and grasshoppers accompany the music in my ears
I love that big, blue with fluffy white cloud sky that surrounds my upper peripheral
Encompassing me each moment I am outdoors…not too many tall trees around
Not too many anything around these parts out here in the middle of no man's land
I take back the words "I don't mind isolation"…for I really had no clue
Spending time alone is something I crave each day…I like the silence
But…when all you have is yourself, the alone becomes your shackle
Tying you to yourself, your thoughts, your identity, your longing for friendships
I am not a hermit…I admit being wrong…I am a vibrantly coloured social butterfly
The colours are fading along with my zeal for happiness
How could this be? This is not me…I'm no longer free…This I now see
My sadness comes out in lashes…oh poor Clint…I know you hate it too
Hard to be the "optimistic one" when you just want to run back home
The home I loved for the past 6 years…I left my friends there…stupid me
I was searching for health to bring me happiness…screw my health
I want to live in pain if it means I live with peace in my heart
Daily greetings with smiles and hugs to fill my day
My heart is torn…here: family love…there: friend love
More than just friend love…nature love, ocean love, island love
My love that I wanted everyone else to experience in visits to see us
Family makes my heart sing like a mezzo soprano to a full house at the concert hall
The smiles and warm hugs of my sweetie ones take my breath away
Oh joy joy joy joy bliss…it streams right out of them into my heart
If only that strong sensation took away my pain
Whine, sob, wallow in the mire of that very same pain
The pain envelopes me more than the prairie sky in an open harvested field
I need to locate a great sunflower field STAT…run through the yellow towers
Find some joy and laughter throughout that sun drenched field of beauty
Something has to save me…save me from my misery
I'll try to keep smiling…for Clint…he is my greatest love…my true passion
"We got to get out of this place…if it's the last thing we ever do"
Confusing having two homes in separate places
Which place do you choose…do you only get the one choice
The choice was made…plan set in motion…that's ancient history
Well…for now it is what it is…we are where we are
We've got to keep on keeping on
With a smile on our faces of course…even if just for show

Monday, July 22, 2013

Livin' in the Sticks!

The sun shines bright and hot each and every morning…the heat punches you (softly) in the face when you walk out the front door. Some mornings the herd of cows are across the street in the pasture…mooing and grazing and hiding in the patch of trees searching for shade, reprieve from the sun. Their tails constantly swishing the flies away. They are pretty darn cute I must say. There are about 60 of them…including about 20 little calves. I cross the empty gravel road in hopes that perhaps this morning they will come to the fence and greet me…my voice must be starting to sound familiar. As I approach the gate they walk away…sometimes the little ones will run. Like what do they think I am going to do to them? I speak in a soft, calming and loving tone…don't they see me holding delicious greens in my hand? Some of them are dark brown, some light brown and there are a few that are tan coloured…they are my favourite! (never seen cows that colouring before…unique and beautiful)

Today is a breezy morning. I have not heard the cows across the road…they must be up pasture, near the creek. The line of poplars surrounding the 3 acres that our home is on are swaying with the cool breeze that last nights storm brought in. I hear their leaves rustling in the wind and I watch the sun dance on the beautiful lime green "feathers" on each branch. The sky is a soft blue and the big fluffy puffy white clouds are just streaming by. Is that a big fat duck in the sky? Maybe a mushroom? The cloud in the prairies are the mountains here…but they are ever changing their shapes and colour. Pure white, grey, dark grey and looming…sometimes they look like sand ripples in the sky. And they just go on and on and on. You can see them forever. I love that. It is so beautiful to me. Reminds me of childhood…lying in the freshly mowed soft green grass in my backyard…staring up into the wild blue yonder watching all the animals and ships and strange shapes float on by. Happiness.

The skunk and the fox that live in the area are pretty cute too. Foxes are such lonely sad creatures…I never knew this. He…or she is always crying and just roaming between our property and our neighbours (the real farmer). The first morning that I heard him I was worried that one of the farmers cats had been attacked by the pack of coyotes that I hear some nights out in the fields. I heard this strange wailing sound…it was 6 am. I got out of bed and stood on the back deck scanning the area for where the sound was coming from. That's when I saw the cartoon like red tail with white tip running around that flower bed…a fox! So cute! He must be also wanting to get a taste for one of the farmers feral cats.  I know Larry loves to chase the cats from next door. They are far too quick for him though…thankfully. I do not know what Larry would even do if he did catch them. I feel like he is just chasing them out of HIS yard. He is protective of his property. He just loves it here. I can't stop him when he chases the cats…he ignores my calls. But when he starts after the fox or the skunk…he seems to get why my voice is a bit more shrill in my call. One…I do not want to deal with the hurt a fox could put on him, plus the vet bill! ;op Secondly…I am not into bathing dogs in tomato juice to rid of the obnoxious "perfume" the skunk will spray out on his cute face. Skunks are funny creatures too. She is young, quite small still. Walks into the yard only following the perimeter of the house then runs across the yard to the garage where she then again follows the perimeter of that building to the fence then all along the fence. She was within 6 feet of Larry and I and never once looked up to pay notice to either of us. I was calmly telling Larry to keep back while she just sniffed her way to where she was heading. She too is VERY cute! Larry seems to understand that her and the little fox are different animals…he must smell their "wild". That is definitely a VERY good thing!

Living out in the sticks is quiet, peaceful, exciting at times, lovely and just plain perfect in so many ways…but it's also isolating and lonely too. I felt that Gabriola was a rural place to live. Compared to here it is an island metropolis…events and functions, a bustling downtown and people everywhere that know my name and I know theirs. And if I didn't want to be around people or events…I could easily hide too…the hermit Pami inside of me does like solitude also. Here…well, we are 7 kms down a dusty gravel road (that I suspect is killing the integrity of our van) from the town of Fraserwood. A rural Manitoba town. The one store is the "General Store"…selling food staples, wine, liquor, meat, the post office is in there, they have a gas pump too. Across the street from there is the "Tourist Hotel" ($25 a night for a room!!) which has a nice little cafe and a pub on the ground level. The first Friday of each month is Karaoke…so you know where to find me those nights!! lol We went July 5th…what a hoot! It happened to be the one night of the year that the Cadet camp kids come to the bar…so they packed the joint. (I swear some of them must've been about 16…they looked like babies! hee hee) The locals came out too which was fun…a woman who sang just like Patsy Cline, real cowboys wearing their hats and one dude even had his spurs on. It was VERY interesting to say the least. I rocked the house of course…and I am sure I shocked the heck out of them as the "singing one armed woman!" It does seem like a nice community…but I never see any of them living way out here in the sticks. I may not be the "rural" woman that I thought I could be. I think I am more of just a small community woman…I don't want the city, but I do need people. So…a move will happen sooner than later I am sure! Ugh. Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!!

Oh wait…I didn't mention the Buffalo that live up the road from us. I like them too! Although…the one day that we passed them and they were hanging out near the fence, I made Clint pull over so I could get a good photo. As I approached them they all moved away about 30 feet and all started to defecate. Yup…I made them all poo and pee their pants!! ha ha! I am clearly not the Buffalo Whisperer! ;o)

But, for now I am Farmer Pam. Just Living in the Sticks!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Trails, Trials and Tribulations...

What a journey the last few months have been…preparing and then leaving home where we were incredibly happy but with it's share of physical problems making the move out east the decision to be made. Going away parties…tears, laughter, love and many many hugs and kisses were had during the time of "leaving". Knowing for 6 months that you are leaving home is a long set of goodbyes and heartache…like ripping a very sticky Elasto-Plast band aid super slowly off. It was hard, heart breaking and stressful to say the very least. I was in a constant feeling of complete overwhelming mental and emotional breakdown status…like somebody hospitalize me quickly before I lose my mind, kind of deal. Not to mention the fact that each time I gave something away to a friend and explained where and why I got it in the first place...it felt as though I were doling out my worldly possessions before I leave to enter the after life. Very strange feeling indeed. But we got through it all, with all of the love and support from our Gabriola family and left our little paradise island on May 27th. The trek out east was epic, to say the least. We stayed with family and friends and the Country Inn in Regina (I would actually recommend this hotel if you have to stay in Regina…it was nice and clean and incredibly comfortable.) all along the way. We landed at Camp Morton campground on June 1st. (Marilyn Munroe and Syder the cat's b-day) It was a sunny and beautiful day. Our friend Ken loaned us his tent trailer so that we could have a "temporary home" instead of just a tent…I don't think I could have handled the tent situation. A tent trailer is pretty chic for camping I must say. We don't have power or water or anything…but we have four walls that for the last 24 hours have kept us high and dry in the Manitoba Spring rain.

This is a most gorgeous place to be situated I must say. We are right on the banks of the western shore of Lake Winnipeg…perfect for watching the beautiful sun rise over the lake! Sun comes up about 4:50am…at least it did the other morning when I woke up in time to walk down to the waters edge and gaze upon the beauty that was before me. During the week we have the whole campground to ourselves (besides some fishermen that park and go down to the beach to catch pickerel and whitefish) ad enjoy the peace and quiet and tranquility of the lake. We are surrounded by Oak and Birch trees…many different birds; Yellow Finch, Purple Martin, other little songbirds, Seagulls, Eagles, Pelicans and Crows. And yeah, I tell the crows to get lost when they are trying to snatch the baby birds from their parents. The birds are digging my help..I know it! ;o) There are cool trails of soft green grass and lime coloured fresh leaves on the Birch trees above head. Walks along the beach that could take you weeks to go up the shore line…Lake Winnipeg is approximately 25,000 square kilometres…it's big! We walk up the beach for about and hour and find beach glass and cool rocks and stones and even a fossil or two. I am really enjoying the nature part of this new adventure…that is for sure. So much to enjoy and love. And it is all so very nostalgic to the both of us. Childhood memories of mind and olfactory senses play a big role in day to day life here. We love it!

I enjoy camping…think it is great fun and just love being outdoors. But the fact that I have no idea when it will end as we have nowhere to go home too is starting to weigh VERY heavily on my heart and mind. I went to bed crying last night and woke up the same way. We are essentially homeless…it is not a good feeling at all. I sure am glad that I have always been friendly and loving towards the homeless on the streets. This is a lonely and isolating experience. We have each other and of course Larry and Wensday too…and that makes it easier just to have our little family all together. Enduring the same struggle day to day. I feel bad for Clint desperately looking for work. At 41 it's hard to be unemployed and feeling like you are not able to contribute financially to life. I have faith in him…I know he will find something good and will be great at it. He has a great work ethic and does the very best he can…just hoping there are some doors that will open soon for him too. I can not even imagine the stress that he is feeling right now. And there is nothing I can do but support him and love him the best I can.

I know that things will fall into place eventually…but when you are at rock bottom, as they say…it's hard to look up and see the light. It seems like the doors and windows have been closed on us and no light can come in to help us live and grow. But that is just the "woe is me" girl in me speaking. It's the depression of leaving everything behind, feeling regretful about doing so and then feeling as though we are completely alone. I know this is all not true. I just keep reminding myself of that as to not be sent to Selkirk to the asylum! For there are days when I feel I may actually lose my mind.

I have been uplifted twice by visits from my family…nieces and nephews and siblings. Thank you guys for making the effort and taking the time to drive up here to see us and welcome us home. It really means the world to us…in ways you may not even comprehend. Just to feel loved and welcomed right now goes a long way. Playing in the water this past weekend with the kids was rejuvenating and wonderful. The sun so hot…the water refreshing…the sand warm under our feet and malleable to make our sand mermaid. What a fun day that was.

So…here's to the future…our future in Manitoba. May you be bright, warm and open up for us to come in and become part of this world once again.