Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ferries vs. Bridges, Oh My!!

I never, ever thought that I would be living on an island...except for maybe in my crazy dreams, being shipwrecked on a tropical island or something fun and exciting like that. You know...getting all Swiss Family Robinson and building a cool tree house or grassy hut near the beach so that I could wake every morning and go for a swim...that always intrigued me in a way...but more as a fantasy. I used to have daydreams of one day living in the country and having acres and acres of land to ride horses and pick apples and stuff. That was when I was quite young and didn't even have the reality of that situation in my who is going to take care of all of that land. It's a lot of work. Work? When you are a kid you have no idea at all what real life is like...real life as in being an adult and having responsibilities and such. I don't miss being a kid...but I miss being a kid! ha ha ha ha! Anyways...when Clint and I were tired of city living and wanting to change things up, the island seemed like the best idea ever. And it really truly was. We love living here. We love the peace, nature, community, beaches, weather and just living on "Island Time"...sloooooooow doooooown kind of pace. It's great! And I really, for the most part don't even mind taking the ferry if I want or need to get off of the island. But dealing with BC Ferries is no picnic.

BC Ferries used to be a public transportation corporation...owned of course by the Province of BC...or maybe it was even Federally run...but I don't think so. (I don't always have all of the facts...I just know what I know and sometimes pretend to know more...but eventually say that I really don't know.) Back in 2003, they went from being a Crown corporation into an independent, commercial organization. That basically means they have no one to tell them anything. Their CEO can decide on changes to schedules, routes and fares without one iota of input from the public...the people who want and NEED to use the ferry service. Today, Clint came home after getting coffee and informed me that Mr. David Hahn, CEO of BC Ferries makes $1.3 million dollars a year. Wowzas! At least he makes some decent cash, eh? His pay cheque I am sure does not make much difference to our fares, but I will tell you one thing. The rate that fares are increased is a joke to me and so many others. It is incredibly frustrating when each April 1st, fares are increased and service is the same...or even less so. Two years ago our little ferry finished getting its $16 million of the new engines blew within the first week of the costly overhaul. Our schedule had to change so that the new and improved, slower ferry could keep up to the work load. Argh! A headline in one of last weeks papers stated that BC Ferries was upset about the decline in passengers on the ferries. Well d'uh! People can't afford to take vacations to the Vancouver Island from the mainland because it costs over $150 return...that price is for only 2 people and a vehicle. What if you want to go with a family of 4? And then, say you would enjoy seeing one of the Gulf Islands...add at least another $52 to that. (again that is based on 2 people and a vehicle...and from Victoria to Salt Spring Island) It has now become a luxury vacation if you plan on taking a ferry. And these days who can afford luxuries??

Let's bring in the bridge talk...not a fun game like cards, but a big ol' stupid and expensive bridge. And for real, once you attach a bridge to an island it ceases to be an island. Does anyone ever call Manhattan an island? It is an island...same size as Gabriola Island actually. I can't even imagine a peaceful island becoming a hectic centre of activity like crazy Manhattan. That would ruin everything. I like New York...Manhattan is amazing...I really want to go back there one day with Clint and really get to check the city and the rest of the Burroughs out. But, I got to wonder what the residents back in 1693 thought about the bridge opening to get you from Manhattan to the Bronx. Did they protest it? Did they like it because it allowed them access to the "other side"? Did it make any difference to them at all? I can see the benefit for some people having a bridge built over here. They don't want to wait for the ferry to come...if it comes on time even...and then have a 20 minute ferry ride to get to the big island. I think the older population here likes the idea of a bridge for the convenience that a bridge allows. I don't mind the wait, the loading, the ride and then finally the off loading. It is all part of the experience of Gulf Island living. (it's just too damn expensive to take as much as I may like to get over I stay here, which is fine too. Why leave paradise?) I also see the "emergency" side of the bridge idea. An ambulance can just whisk you away to the hospital, no need to wait for a ferry or even a helicopter in severe cases. But a bridge to our Islands??? People move here to get peace and quiet and enjoy nature. A bridge causes more pollution...takes away even more natural space then we have already for the animals to live...causes more traffic, more people, less serenity. We would even see far more road kill due to all of the crazy speedy city visitors just trying to get to their destination in light speed...the hurry up and relax types. They have to hurry to relax to hurry back to their hurried lives. (Come to the island to chill mon...breathe in...breathe out. Forget about your work back in the will be there waiting when you get back.) The Islands would all become regular cities and lose that sweet island feeling that first prompted us all to move here in the first place. And for the would be so sweet anymore either. It would be just like home but a little more green space. Eventually, all of the green space will be filled with buildings and arenas and more and more concrete. Think about the future of this simple yet so amazing paradise. Paradise Lost!

So what can I say?...David Hahn, I feel you should understand what your "company" really is about. It's about public transportation...its about people and community. Don't lose your head over it. Decrease the ferry fares and watch your passenger numbers go up and up. You'll make far more money by charging less...amazing eh? Well, it works. Do you want people to have faith in you and ride your fleet of ferries regularly? Just do it. Be a smart man...not a greedy corporate man. Be there for the people and the people will be there for you.
I can't imagine us enjoying the simple things like floating in the quiet bay with a bridge full of rushing traffic overhead. Just say no to bridges!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

You just got to work it out "Baby Doll".

Every once in a while, I get up in the morning with a heavy, lethargic feeling in my head and in my body. My mind does not want to get out of the dreamworld that I escape to every night...I try to wake myself by looking at the clock and seeing it is already after 9:00, so I had better get my lazy butt outta bed. But seconds later, my eyes shut and I am back in the same place I left...back in my semi-reality life. Dreams are our life...we are in them sometimes as much as we are out of them. (I suppose, realistically, on average, dreams are 1/3 or even 1/4 of our life.) I don't always remember my dreams, but I do have incredibly vivid even to the point where I will remember a dream months or years later, with specific detail, then try to pinpoint that day and where I was. And then my brain does a double take and I realize that it wasn't for was just a dream. ha ha ha. (Oh man, I could write a whole blog on dreams...I sure AM a dreamer!) Anyways...this morning I could have stayed in my "second life" and been quite content. Nothing wants to work today for me. My head feels foggy from the muscle relaxant I took last night...this is why I RARELY take the little house shaped pills. They do work. They really do. Each and every single muscle in my body relaxed all over that all I can do is just fall asleep. And that is exactly what I needed last night. I have been really busy lately with a whole bunch of things...I've been overdoing it. And yesterday my body was telling me to slow move too fast! 

Sometimes I just want to have a little pity party, just for me. "Why do I have to have chronic pain? Why was I born with one arm?" Wah, wah, wah...meh! I am not the only one to have these or similar "problems" one's life is perfect. But, oh how easy it is to let the ego take over and feel sorry for myself. Whatever. I have learned that I need to listen to my body...I need to pay attention and take care of myself. I am still young...there is much living to do...if I do the right thing for me. I haven't been doing that lately, so now I am body is beating the crap out of me. I can barely even hold it together to write this all out...but I need to. I need to write it to remind myself why I shouldn't be going going going all of the time. I shouldn't have to take pills to make me feel body should be pampered. I don't mean pedicures and massages what have you...I just need to be aware of it.

So, today I am sore. And that is okay. I will take a day off from my regularly planned schedule. I will rest myself and not feel bad that I am not cleaning the house, doing yard work or whatever else. A day for me. Perhaps I will watch some movies while lying down on the comfy spare bed...maybe I will go to the beach, lay down on the soft sand and read a good book, have a quick swim in the ocean to soften the muscles a bit more. I will not think that I am lazy by having a "do nothing" day. And I will not feel sorry for myself. I was almost going to go to the "woe is me" this morning too...I started to think about me being lame, then Clint was talking about his oldest brother Kim. (Kim is awesome. He is 18 years older than Clint, so almost father like to Clint...but not. Just a cool older bro that always has great advice.) So, when he finished speaking and my mind could go back to the part where I was feeling sorry for myself, I heard Kim say..."Take it easy baby doll". ha ha ha ha ha haa! Baby doll! He'll call everyone baby's quite funny. Maybe just to me and Clint...but it's funny when he says it. And just the thought of him saying it to me made me smile and realize that is indeed what I must do. Take it easy. You just got to work it out. Deal with the bad day you think you have been dealt. So what if you are sore, or feeling bad about something. Get over it. Move on. It all may seem so super sucky whatever it is that is bugging you, but this is your day today. What are you going to do with it. Be sad and depressed all day?? What good does that do? I have spent many a day in my life like that. It truly is not worth the effort because you just end up losing a day. We are not here forever...might as well make the best of it. I would like to go to sleep tonight feeling joy in my heart because I had a good day...doing something or nothing. As long as it was happy thoughts and just enjoying the fact that life is actually pretty good. And there pretty much is always at least one thing that is awesome in life...focus on it.

Huh...I actually feel better in my head. The heaviness is gone. I got to remember this. Let it out. Spill it. Unload the weight that brings me down and I will do much better for it. I really just got to work it out every day...and then I know that my life, my reality is good. Peace.
See...reality is sweet. Spending a beautiful sunny Saturday, witnessing two wonderful people getting married...feeling love for my is good.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Love is what you put it out there too.

I have no idea what is happening these days. It seems like tragedy after tragedy keeps my community, to my friends, to leaders in my country. It's like, when is enough enough already?? How can bad things continue to happen...when is it going to get better and softer and sweeter and happier?? Well, I suppose I know the answer to that. Life is life. It happens every single day. Good things, bad things, lovely things, tragic really is just the way life goes. In life there is death...unfortunately we do not live forever. I don't even know if I would want to live forever if I really think about it. Seriously. I have seen a whole heck of a lot of things in my life already...imagine being 378 years old and all the crap you would have seen and gone through in that time. I really would not want to be a vampire...I think they are sad "people". ;op In my lifetime I will have lost many people I love dearly and I also have to watch my friends sadness as they lose people they too love dearly. It's a whole lotta heartache I tell you. But, again, part of life is heartache. And with that comes the other end of the our lives we will also witness the complete and utter joy of new life. Babies being born in our families, our friends families, to people all over the world. (we even get to share in the joy of our beloved "Hollywood Stars" having their babies...if we care to or not. I only care because babies are cute and I like to see them....but I don't buy the magazines! lol) Nothing sweeter than holding the fresh new life of an innocent baby. Each and every single day is new...I believe that is a blessing. Yesterday has happened no matter if it was good or bad. But we always have is where it is at! Really...the moment is it for what it is. Our hearts will heal with time no matter what tragedy has seemingly messed up our lives. It's hard to believe that when you are in the middle of loss or hardship. But it all comes around. Life IS good. And I believe that in order for me to live life to the fullest I have to be full of love. Love my Family. Love my Friends. Love my Community. Love everyone that I come in contact with. Some people have no love in their life. So a smile from a stranger may be the one thing that keeps them going that day. Love is all you need. Giving it away makes it come back ten fold. Love love love.

When in doubt...just love. It really is that simple.

You will sleep really good when you are full of love...look at sweet Maggie May. She gets all the love in the world. :o)

Peace and love to all who have aching hearts right now. I send you my love. I wish you all the very best. But know that you are loved by someone in the world...and love is good! Just keep on keeping on. xox

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are they trying to tell us something???

I believe that animals are far more advanced with thought than we they use at least 10% of their brains also. But, maybe that 10% that they have tapped into allows them to function in a far more superior mode than us humans. I am not saying that animals are smarter than us...although they are far more intelligent than "some" humans I have had contact with. What I am saying, is that perhaps not enough credit is given to them in the whole "let's learn from them" aspect.

Take for instance, a dog that due to cancer or other illness has to have one of it's limbs amputated. Now that is a pretty harsh thing for any living being to go through...I can't imagine. (being born with one arm, I have not had to re-adjust my way of doing things or deal with phantom pain and the whole psychological affect it can have on one self) I can imagine that it brings about a whole new way of looking at life and the world and of course the way we do things. When a human has a limb removed, it can take years of adaptation and self acceptance and all of that whole lovely "new you" package. When an animal has a limb removed it gets back up on its "leftover" limbs and keeps on keeping on. I am sure the very first thought once they are off the anesthesia and on their feet again is..."what the...hmmm...this is different than before I went to sleep. And hey, the pain in my leg is gone. Sweet. Let's rock!" And off they go. They figure out the whole balance thing and never look back. They aren't feeling sorry for their self...why did this happen to me? Shit happens...I believe you can find that phrase on t-shirts AND bumper stickers. So that means it's true right? ha ha ha. Well it is true. For real. Bad stuff happens in everyone's lives at any given time. And we just have to roll with it. Not get caught up in it. Once you are in the head space of non-acceptance you are taking away from your own happiness. YOU create your own happiness. We all create our just be happy with what you have happy that you still have life in you and friends and family and you can breathe. Breathing is good...real good. In a nut shell, animals can teach us perseverance and acceptance of the way things are and the way things happen. It's all good. That is what they are saying to us.

I get these emails once in a while from friends that are photos of amazing nature interactions. You know...the momma cat breastfeeding a fawn, et cetera. I remember the first time I saw two animals who shouldn't be friends, get along as only best friends can. The Fox and the Hound! Yes, I know that it is only a cartoon made by Disney...but as a child, I believed that cartoons, and my stuffed animals were real, (maybe I still do) and they made me feel good. To me, knowing that a hound dog that is bred to chase and capture foxes still manages to make best friends with his "prey"...makes me feel like all can be good in the world. A photo I remember seeing as a child, that struck me as so beautiful, was of an alligator with a little yellow bird on it's head. That alligator could just open it's huge wide mouth and swallow that bird whole. But he doesn't...they are friends. The most recent photo I saw was of three cheetahs about to pounce and eat for dinner a sweet little baby impala whose "family" all ran off when the cheetahs made their presence known. This little dude just did not have the stamina to run as fast or as far. So he was caught. :o( Well, that is how the wild kingdom goes...shouldn't feel bad about it. At least they don't cage and feed their prey to fattenthem up before the slaughter a whole lot of them. Anyways...these three cheetahs didn't eat her/him. They kind of cuddled and loved and then walked away leaving the impala unharmed...probably bewildered too. I like to think that all of this action happened for a reason. Perhaps these cheetahs had been followed and photographed by this particular photographer for that whole day, or even several days in a row. Maybe they were tired of a human being around waiting for some action. So they served it up real fine. The cheetah's were trying to tell us something through this patient and photo saavy character. "Yeah, we eat meat. We hunt it and catch it and eat it and share the nutrition with our pack...our family. And we are satisfied for a while...and then we do it again. We are wild animals and this is how we survive. We are near the top of our food chain and this is how it works. But we also respect those animals that we call our "prey". They too have families they have to take care of and love. And we think that is what life is about. Family...and taking care of them. We share this land with many. And we must love and respect all that live here. Hey Human! Are you the same way in your land? Do you love and respect all those around you?" Maybe that is what they are trying to say?

I am not 100% sure of what the animals are saying...I can only imagine and dream about it. I do know that they are still innocent. I know that we as a human race do not give proper respect to them...we use them far too much to gain things for ourselves. Listen to them. Watch them. Learn from them. They have much to say...but they don't use words. Remember that we too are we also need to respect ourselves.

Peace out animals!! ;o)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My ode to V.

Those big ice blue eyes can warm any heart
That wide and teethy smile makes the song birds sing
And your laugh...oh my that fabulous giggle
Three of my faves that are presently missing

Terrible things will come into our lives
Events that we can't feel ready for
Find the strength so deep within
You're stronger then the god of war

Let the hurt out...a million tears
The pain will start to heal
Hold you and your creator tight
So that love is all you feel

To you I send my loving thoughts
For you a community mourns
Until your ready to flash that big old smile
And take back the bull by the horns

All my love to you I and your lovely mum. May you feel wrapped in love from the warm thoughts sent to you by a big old loving community that just loves you to pieces. You are so special. Take all the time you need in the world to get back to the place you are best. I love you V.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wouldn't it be nice...

If people all around could come together...together as a community to feel safe and secure.
Not everyone can live on a little island or in a small rural town where you definitely know your neighbour. And anywhere you go someone knows your name. But it is matter where you live. If you are in the city, be aware of who is around you. Know your a neighbour. I know that when I was still a city dweller I would see the same people each and everyday en route to work or whatever. I would say hello or at least give them a flash of my pearly whites. (too much coffee these teeth ain't so pearly anymore, I feel) Sometimes they would respond with a " are ya?" That would make my day, and I bet made theirs too. Know your makes life a heck of a lot sweeter. Try it.

If everyone owned their own home.
A place where you could make perfect for you and your family/friends. A home that you could feel secure and not afraid of being kicked out because the landlord has sold it or wants to move in themselves. A home to keep your dreams alive and always be warm when it's cold outside. A home that you could invite friends to stay if they lost their home...but you knew that soon enough they would have another home because they are actually affordable. I dream of this for Clint & I and all of our friends on a daily basis. This is a tricky one...smiles don't make the kind of $$$ it takes to buy a home in a province like BC. Let's all but homes in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and make an awesome community! ;o)

If everyone had food each and everyday to sustain themselves.
Hunger is rampant in our world. Presently there are 38 million people (children AND adults) starving in Africa alone. Famine. How sad it is to see the desperate and sunken eyes of beautiful children in a beautiful part of our world. Absolutely depressing to see the absolute feeling of devastation and heartbreak in the faces of the parents just wanting to give all they can to their children to allow them one more day of life. They are living on a day to day basis...and it is not some kind of Tolle example of how to gain inner peace. They are struggling for life and live in each moment to make it to the next hoping that some form of nutrition will come their way. And yet, here we are complaining about shitty fast food restaurants and the stale bread that was offered at the beginning of our "dining out" meal. Maybe if we...North Americans, weren't so gluttonous, we might have more to give to these countries of famine and starvation. What can we do?? Brainstorm...c'mon politicians and leaders of our can we help??? I do know that one way we can help is to start in our own communities...that is what we can do as individuals. Every community, town, city what have you, has at least one Food Bank. And it is so easy to bring a little something to one of those organizations. People NEED food. Let's do what we can.

If there were peace in the world.
Oh man...would it ever. But is all baby steps. Love thy neighbour first. We are all very different as human beings. Personalities differ, likes, wants and needs differ...we are individuals and that is the beauty of the human race. Part of that beauty is to allow those around you to be who they are and try as hard as possible not to judge. Easier said than done...I know. But the more we practice acceptance...the easier it becomes. I am not saying that you have to accept your neighbour's loud and incessant music at all hours of the day and night. But imagine if you chose to have a nice, quiet chat to them over the a respectful way. Give respect...get respect. I believe that. Baby steps. When we start with those closest to us it will spread further and maybe...MAYBE one day those feelings can reach out to the ones who start wars. Who cares what religion someone is...if they believe something different or have no belief at all...that is okay. Does it affect your beliefs in any way? No. Same goes for oil! If someone has oil and you don' happy that they have it and are willing to share. Don't need to take the power of it. I'm just saying. Peace out...everyone.

If no one ever died.
That is definitely a hard one. I think in terms of dealing with death, most of us have the same opinion of it. It sucks! It sucks when someone you know and love is suffering from a terminal illness and you watch them slowly disintegrate as a human, as your friend/lover/parent/ them wither away like a once beautiful oak leaf turning in the fall chill. It sucks when your friend takes a bad turn on his motorcycle and ends up under a car tire fighting for his life to only lose it moments later in the back of the ambulance. It sucks when your neighbour that you didn't even know gets murdered in the middle of what is seemingly a peaceful day. It sucks to watch your grandparents and even parents minds slowly deteriorate...forget who you are and the love that you share...and then they die. Death just feels bad. But in life...there is always death. We don't live forever. So I believe that each and every moment is so very special when you are sharing it with a friend, family member, lover. Tell them everyday that you love them so that there is no secret about it. It feels good to say I love feels even better to hear I love you. We are all going to die one day...wouldn't it be nice to die so full of love? I love you.
Wouldn't it be nice if everything was always  nice?? It sure would be. But it also would make life too easy and what would we learn from it. When things go wrong...find the lesson in it. Take knowledge from every situation and turn it into goodness. Do what you can for your mind, heart and soul...and then continue to do with the knowledge you gain and give it to others. Spread the love.
"LOVE" scratched into a picnic table on our road trip. Remember the love...always.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Top 11 Things Pami Says You Shouldn't Ask A One Armed Woman.

These are some of the comments made to me over the years from people who first meet me in any kind of circumstance. My suggestion is to think first before the words actually come spilling out and you can not take it back. Not that I am not mature enough to know how to handle such ignorant just makes it easier to not judge you for those you judge me for being who I physically am...and what I can not ever change. Good thing I like myself now...but it took many moons to have those positive feelings towards myself. Hard to feel good when others seemingly don't feel good about you. In my old and wise years I do know that these comments are not made with malice, (for the most part) but it's just something to consider when words are forming in the brain.

Things NOT to say to a "One Armed Girl/Lady/Woman"...

"Oh my gosh...I am so sorry for you!"
"How do you dress yourself?"
"Your parents must have been so heartbroken when you were born."
"I feel so bad for your parents...what a hard thing for them."
" can hold down a job? Wow!" (honestly...that is NOT a compliment...c'mon!)
"You are married?" ( I not good enough for someone to love?)
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!" ( I a monster...I do not think so.)
"Mommy, why does that lady have one arm?" (That IS a very logical question posed by most children...and quite all right. They are children and need to learn.) Mommy's response..."DON'T stare at the lady...leave her alone. Come, let's go get ice cream!" (That is ignorant and actually quite abusive to your child. They want to learn...they are curious. I have no problem explaining to a sweet and innocent child why I look a little different than the average person.)
"It must be terrible to be you." ( must be terrible to be so unconscious!)
"How do you survive?"
"I would die if I only had one arm."  ( would not would be stronger than you could even imagine. And if you lost an arm or leg you would be even stronger than someone like me who was born this way. You adapt and find that you can conquer anything you put your mind too. Humans are amazing!)

These are just some of the comments that come to mind first. I could sit here for hours and hours thinking of more and even explaining the comical looks that people can get on their faces. But that would put more of a negative spin on this. I am trying to be a little funny here...I do see the humour in these statements. Even though the people were and are being 100% serious when they spew them. I have a way easier time shrugging them off. But not everyone has gotten there yet. So be kind in your words. Be kind to everyone you meet no matter what your "differences" may be. We are all here, living together on this big old planet Earth...maintain the peace...spread the love. Be accepting of others because they also are accepting you...remember that!

Peace out!

P.S. like my one armed Hawaiian Bobble Head? I think she is perfect! Thank you Veronica! xox

Friday, August 12, 2011

The New Adventure's of Ooooold Lady Maggie May.

 Day One...Maggie is lovingly kissed on the top of her head at a ridiculously early hour, she is on her "travel" bed on the floor of an apartment in New Westminster with a cat that was quite unimpressed with Maggie's soft and kind nature. Within moments she is whisked out the door and into the the elevator...too scary. She leads the way to the staircase to walk down the mere three flights to the ground floor and out to the car...which seems to be packed with a heck of a lot of things from home. Maggie did not know that once she was in that backseat that she would not get out for 2 whole weeks!! After a "pit stop" in Vancouver and then back on the road, Maggie decided it might be good to try and get a little more shut eye. Sleep will not come...there seems to be a problem because the car is not stopping. Not too long after passing by a town called Hope...Maggie seemed to have lost hers. "Stop the car and let me out!" Bewildered and still so sleepy she is let out of her backseat cell. "Oh Maggie...we still have 1900 kilometers to go...chin up sweetheart!"...her mumma exclaimed. ;o)
 Here lies Maggie...first overnight spot of her adventures...Stemwinder Provincial Park on the Similkameen River. The rain is coming down, but a dryish spot is found for the tent. Take it easy Maggie, it's a good time to rest. Smell the ribs cooking?? Cause you are also going to enjoy some you spoiled Old Lady! ;o)
Day Two...Morning time brings the warm sunshine to welcome us to the mountains...there is still a day and a half of driving through their majestic fortress. Are you ready Maggie? Of course you are!

Highway 3 is a beautiful travel...Maggie enjoyed a lunch break in the desert hot heat of Osoyoos and a nice walk up the Lakeside Boardwalk. That was a nice rest stop for everyone. In the late afternoon the final destination for that day was on Moyie Lake. Time to set up camp and get to cooking so that we can get in a nice long walk before bedtime. It's nice to be an Old Lady Dog when you are free to enjoy some good sniffs in the new area and laze around while everything is being made to "feel like home". Nice campsite there...quiet neighbours and peaceful surroundings. A good shower for the drivers in the morning and life is good.

Day Three...Starts up just like the morning before. Up early, breakfast made, camp take down...get back in the car and drive. The rain didn't start til the car was just outside of the Park It is seemingly following us on our road trip. Maggie is unimpressed as the feeling in the car seemed to be. It's all right. It can rain THAT hard...welcome to Cranbrook and the freakish pour down that causes a lake to rise in the Safeway parking lot. Did we really need coffee and butter...yes, I suppose we did. Ahhhhh...the tent and camp gear that is in a hockey bag bungeed to the tunk...will it get soaked...ahhhhh!!!!! Stress rises...deep breaths everyone. Alberta! The dark clouds are moving away and sunshine and happy clouds are the replacements. Thank goodness! Maggie felt the need for a pee/poo at this lovely spot on the highway. Some grand entrance for some factory...but check the view. Pretty sweet. A half hour leg stretch and play about on the grass and onward to look for a campsite that nobody in the car knew. Hee hee. Wrong turn on the WORST EVER gravel road just east of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. ARGH!!! There wasn't even a site there...why is it on the stupid map??? Get back on Hwy 1 and stop in Gull Lake at their pretty quaint ummmm grassy and cheap campground. Good thing Maggie May is deaf...the dump trucks burning down the road behind our tent and then loading what sounded like boulders into a train car from 1 AM til 6 AM was more than just a thorn in the side...oh...and then the rain that lasted an hour from 5-6 AM...worst camp spot. EVER!! Let's just get up and drive to Swift Current and get stupid McDonald's. Everyone is over it!

Day Four...Maggie anxiously waiting in the car. Today is going to be a long drive. Gull Lake, SK to Tyndall, MB...roughly 850 kilometers. Yikes! There will definitely be some pit stops along the way today.

 Moosehead Sask! Stopped in at the Visitor Centre for a stretch and pee. :o)
Above is Maggie May taking a rest in Whitewood Saskatchewan outside of "Archie's Diner" where we shared a burger, fries and a chocolate shake! Yummy! (notice the tarp covering our the event of more rain...the prairies never shed a drop on us!)
No...Maggie did not get all the way down South to Austin Texas...this here is a picture of our first rest stop in Manitoba...finally, the destination Province. Still a few more hours of driving though...

Tyndall Manitoba...just northeast of Winnipeg. Maggie's stopover for the August Long weekend. Here she is, with her caretaker and friend, Howard at the Cade Ranch. (Maggie was so grateful to have had love and attention for the weekend as her "folks" spent time in Pinawa at a family reunion. Is Maggie not family? Yes, she definitely is...but no furry family members allowed. Wah.)

 walked the streets of downtown Winnipeg you lucky Old Lady. All of the old and fabulous heritage buildings lining each and every street. So very cool. ;o)

 Mmmmm...sausages from the Shrimp Boil for Omi's birthday. Lucky Old Lady Dog!
 Sunshine and happiness. It's REALLY hot here in Manitoba...but the family is so super cool. Fun times playing with the children.

Day Eleven...Another early start...back on the road out West. Left Steinbach, MB after a comfy, cozy and air conditioned sleep in the basement (thank you Uncle Mike for allowing Old Lady Dog into your home.) we can get back into the car for the long (2300 + kms) drive home. First overnight stop was the most amazing, wouldn't you believe...Saskatchewan! Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. Where the lake is refreshingly beautiful and the view is astounding. That was a fun late day of swimming, (not Maggie) cooking, walking and sunset watching. Perfect spot for camping!

Maggie on top of the hills watching the sunset on Day 11 of the Amazing Adventure.

Day Twelve...Beautiful day...sunny skies...headed West. Quite the journey this day...740 kilmometers from Buffalo Pound to Calgary West. Where a massive storm broke out just as camp was being set up. Maggie wandering about in the pouring rain as her overnight accommodations are scramblingly set up. Maggie...get in the tent!!! Hail starts...wind is MAJORLY gusting, lightening and thunder all around us. Again...good thing Maggie is deaf. It was a pretty crazy and heavily anxiety driven moment...15 minutes later the sun is out and a rainbow blesses our evening. :o)

Day Thirteen...Enter into the Rocky Mountains. Yippee! We are sooo close to home...yet still so far.
 Stopover in Finch Creek...a little wander about was very much needed at this point. Lovely spot to take a break...the water was chilly and super tasty.
Maggie couldn't get enough!

 End of Day 13 Maggie relaxes into an air conditioned motel room at the HoJo in wickedly hot Kamloops. I don't think anybody was ready for another night of camping...the set up, the take down. Let's take her easy tonight. Sleep tight...we are only 4 hours away from the ferry!!!

Day Fourteen...Everyone gets up feeling happy and well rested. Good morning's 6 am...hit the road!! Just after Abbotsford, Maggie gets an olfactory shock...the ocean smell! Are we home? Almost Maggie...almost. (just have to arrive at the ferry...wait one sailing...arrive in Nanaimo...wait for another sailing and then home we are!) ;o)

Maggie arrived home safe and sound on August 7th at approximately 4:20! An awesome trooper you have been. 17 years old and half way across Canada in a car and rock Old Lady. Welcome home Maggie May! xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Double Rainbows...everyday??

I saw a turtle in these clouds...lovely!
Rainbows are just one of those magical natural occurrences that always cause me to smile...ear to ear. Well, if I am completely honest, there are a ton of things about nature that can make me feel overwhelmed with happiness and peace...when I take the time to notice them. You know...smelling the roses kind of a thing. ;o) The more that you do take the time to look up at the sky and fall in love with the blue sky dotted with big fluffy clouds...the way the leaves on trees swirl individually on their branches on a gusty day...the scent of the air just before the rain, mmmmm...the more you remind yourself to do it, the more you will find yourself enjoying these simple yet astounding moments in nature as habit. And I guarantee that nature alone can bring more joy into any one's life.

Have you ever had the joy of seeing a double rainbow? :o) Recently, on our camping trip back home from Manitoba, Clint, Maggie and I saw one. It was breathtaking. I felt moved. I was in an incredibly emotional state at the time. So, when I turned around and there, in all of it's majesty, the Double Rainbow appeared in the sky, my heart was immediately saturated with an abundance of pure bliss. Only minutes earlier, I was full of panic and unease...scared for what was to come. My fear came from the insane and fierce weather that we had just had the "pleasure" of going through. That morning we left beautiful Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, Saskatchewan...the weather was absolute perfection. After driving through Medicine Hat, Alberta we could see that the sky in the horizon was nothing but a dark cloud. We were both like, "Aw maaaan...welcome back to the wet and grey West...just how we left it." We felt so tired from the 4 day drive east, a weekend a fun in the sun and family time, a few days of more family visit and now on day 2 of our drive back West. You know...I love to camp, I think it's pretty awesome...but I like to stay in one spot for at least a couple of nights. We would get to a campsite in the late afternoon, set up, make food to eat, take Maggie on a walk, maybe chill for a bit and then go to bed to wake up early, like 6 amish, make breakfast, pack up camp and head back out onto the road. It was quite exhausting...but still immensely enjoyable...I can not complain about our excellent adventures. But, when you just can't wait to be home in your own space and you look out to see a storm coming your way and darkening your feels so frustrating. When we finally arrived at the Calgary West Campground, (not an excellent's like being in a can of sardines with absolute zero privacy and the sardines next to you are kind of rotten.) the clouds overhead were dark grey, HUGE and looking quite menacing. There was even this cloud that looked like a funnel...which one of the dudes in the campground office also exclaimed to me while I was checking in. (Nice...thanks for that, man!) In my mind, I am freakin' losing it at this point. I wanted to just turn around and go get a hotel/motel room somewhere...yet I knew there really was no $$ in the budget for that...booooo, I felt. As I am checking in, a super booming thunder and flash of lightening occurred right above our heads. The dude checking me in fell to the ground, I screamed as did everyone else shook the ground. Wah!! I just couldn't believe we were going to pitch tent in such a hostile environment...well, we did. We parked at our very open to the elements and every other camper site around, and Clint started hauling out all of the equipment while I quickly called my mom to tell her we arrived at the campsite...but we might die! I didn't exactly use those words, but there was a part of me that was trying to convey how scary and dire the situation seemed to me and that maybe she would say..."go get a hotel room and we'll pay for it!" She didn't...she IS a good mom...she is a smart mom. Deal with it is basically what she was saying...figure it out on our own. Of are 36 years old Pam...yet it still seems like the first thing I do when I am sick or scared, or REALLY happy...I call my mommy. ;o) I got off the phone to a panicked Clint trying to set the tent up as fast as possible on his own because now it has started to rain. I help as best as I can...I can't get the fly over the tent on my own though and Clint is almost done getting the poles up and done. We get the fly on as it starts pouring...I haul Maggie out of some tall grass and thin bush where she is eating something...I don't even want to know what it was! I drag her into the tent where Clint is calling us...we zip up the starts to hail 1" nuggets. Ahhhhhhh. It was so loud in the tent as they pelted the roof and made access for the rain to penetrate through the fly AND the tent. Thank goodness Maggie is deaf. The wind was so harsh and furious...I kept looking out a window for the funnel cloud to sweep us into the freaky dark sky...I was scared. I don't like to say that...I am tough...but nature is a strong force. Another reason to respect it. ;o) The storm lasts about 10-15 ended as fast as it a flash! We made it it REALLY over? We abandon our wet and chilly shelter and stand out in the open...the wind so strong it is managing to push those evil clouds away from us...we can see blue sky in the close distance. The road is a rushing creek still from the flash flood of rain. Thankfully no one has the campsite at the bottom of the's soaked. As I am accepting the completion of the horror and looking around at what the storm left behind, watching people pull up to their sites and finding everything in and out of their tent right saturated...I turn around to watch the stormy clouds disappear, and there before my eyes is a double rainbow! I couldn't believe the vibrant colours...and the layers upon layers of them. It was fantastical...fantasial! It was awesome. I couldn't help myself but shout out..."look everyone...a double rainbow...isn't it beautiful?" Those surrounding us that heard me kind of gave me a dead pan stare...looked up into the sky then quickly back to what they were doing. What?? How can you not be moved by this? I set up my chair and sat down to enjoy it...take it all in. I knew that this majestic presence in the sky was surely a sign that the rest of our trip would be calm and beautiful. It calmed me and gave me peace...happiness in my heart. 
Maggie also enjoyed the peace of the rainbow.
I feel like that experience was another lesson I needed to learn. Life isn't always pretty...I know that. Bad things can happen at any moment to any one. If we let can just bring us down. We have to keep the faith that things ALWAYS can get better. Remain positive in thought, as that will only manifest good in your life. There is always a double rainbow at the end of every just need to see it...acknowledge it and keep on keeping on. Life IS grand if you let it be. It's always a work in progress to keep up the positive always will be...but work that is definitely worth it! Smiling a lot everyday sure can help. Hugs too! And just simply loving the double rainbow that is life...cause Life is Beautiful. hee hee hee...I LOVE rainbows!
This was the best pic I got of the double went across the whole sky!
p.s. I had not even heard of "Double Rainbow Guy" before I told my friends about that whole experience. They were laughing at me because they said I was just like him. And the YOU TUBE has millions of the campers may have thought I was making fun of that video...who knows. I watched the video...pretty funny. Some say he was probably on drugs and that is why he was relishing the view. I say he was just high on life and enjoying the moment that was so spectacular. Double Rainbow rock!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The road to Family...

Just arrived home safe and sound yesterday...phew, what a trip! 4 days on the road to Manitoba and 4 days back. But a blast was had by all...Maggie, Clint & I! Road trips are so much fun...when you have the time to do it AND enjoy the scenery along the way. And that we surely did do. Canada is such a beautiful country and one day I would like to make it ALL the way to PEI and even New Foundland. That would be the vacation/road trip of a lifetime...coast to coast baby! One day. For now I will just revel in what we did and the things we stopped to see and enjoy. Even the stops we took solely for Maggie May needing pee breaks and just a "get me outta this backseat, I need to stretch my aging legs" stop. She was such a good girl the whole drive...a trooper!

Driving half way across the country to my family made me super excited. I couldn't wait to see everyone and their kids...there are a ton of kids...26 to be exact! ;o) But as you are driving the highways you can not help but notice the mass amount of roadkill. I mean like TONS of dead sweet animals on the side of the road...sometimes you have to swerve to avoid flattening them even more. Makes me feel incredibly sad. Just past Hope, BC this cute little rodenty guy came cruising out of the bushes and right under our tire while poor Clint was driving. We felt really sad after that. He has family that now is going to miss him. :o( Next morning, just west of Osoyoos there was a momma quail and her little baby running frantically back and forth on the Hwy...Clint tried to swerve...but we think the baby was smooshed. wah! There was a HUGE moment of silence in the car after that. He said when he looked in his side mirror the momma was just standing there. Heartbreak. Everyone has a family! But then when we stopped a half an hour later, in the absolute hotter than the gates of hell heat in Osoyoos, and had a little picnic on the lake...we watched a family of ducks swim by. Family...together and happy. Losses happen. That is the circle of crappy as it can has it's wondrous moments too. :o) So...RIP to all of the roadkill we saw...and best wishes to the families that lost you, oh sweet Raccoons, Porcupines, Prairie Dogs, Deer, Foxes, Groundhogs, Sea Gulls, Crows, Cats, Badgers and all of the other animals that we could not all around. :o)
These are the 26 kiddies!

Now back to MY family! What an amazing feeling it is to walk into a building knowing that your entire extended family (the ones who are still with us..on my dad's side) are staying there for the weekend with you...and you know that it is going to be nothing but a fun and excellent time. And that is exactly what it was. My Oma and Opa are no longer with us...but they sure created a lovely and loving family together. My mom and dad, his three sisters and his brother and wife...the oldest generation. Clint and I and my brother and sister and spouses, plus my 9 cousins and their spouses...middle generation. And then there are all of the children...what would be Oma and Opa's Great Grandchildren...there were 26 of them! What a family! And what a blast it was for everyone to be together...young kids meeting each other and bonding quickly. We all stayed in Pinawa, MB at the Wilderness Edge Retreat Centre right across the street from the Winnipeg River...great swimming! It is a lodging building built in the 1960's for scientists and staff working at the Nuclear Power Plant outside of Pinawa. So...needless to say the rooms are a bit like a dorm...but it ain't about the rooms anyways. (the rooms are air conditioned and have bar fridges and a big old full wall dresser/desk and lots of room. TV too if you like.)It's about the location and the things to see and do there. They have bikes and canoes for use for guests staying there...and these you will for sure use. Clint and I rode the Trans Canada Trail that goes through Pinawa. It goes along the river and over the Canadian Shield. It is so pretty to ride through it all. The topography of that area is quite breathtaking...imagine that...the prairies are spectacular! ;o) They sure are. We had Kevin from Wilderness Edge take us to the Old Pinawa Dam for body surfing and tubing down the rapids. Oh man...that was fun. I lost my beautiful Lindsay Godfrey Star ring in the rapids...that was a major downer. Wah! I almost felt like crying...I ALWAYS wear it! But it is a treasure for someone some day. They will be floating in the river or surfing the rapids and come across a glitter in the water...and there it will be. Shining bright like a star! I like that. ;o)
This is my jump over the waterfall.'s gone and I still had a blast. We even went to the "danger" side of the dam and took on the lightening speed fast currents there and jumped over the mini waterfall...wheeeee! Memories. While we were at the rapids, my parents and the little children plus some other adults went on a hay ride to the Suspension Bridge. Those guys will talk about that for a long time...exciting adventures. Oh yeah...I also lost my glasses that day swimming at the mini beach with my nieces and nephews. They wanted to know how deep it was where we were treading water. Of course I tried to touch the bottom to no avail...when I came shooting back up out of the water to exclaim how "it's too deep I can't touch the bottom!" All 6 of them screamed back at me, "Auntie Pam...your glasses!!" Clint and my brother jumped in to search...water is too brown and the current too strong. My pretty glasses are history. Boo. The next day we spent hours on the big beach building sandcastles and swimming in the river to the floating dock. I enjoyed lying on the dock and soaking up the sun. The weather was fantastic...and NO mosquitoes!! I am pretty stoked for the heat wave we got to enjoy while in Manitoba. I love the heat...bring it on! And there is nothing like jumping into fresh water to cool off. Later that day we had a delicious courtyard BBQ at the Edge...sausages and beef tenderloin...lettuce and bean salad, coleslaw, garlic potatoes, cheesecake and cherries...yummy!!! After dinner a whole bunch of us (sans Clint...he was heat stroked from the day before. :o( ) drove back down to the river to a gentle current, some of us got in a big old raft that we attached 17 tubes for the rest of us to float in while going down the river to the suspension bridge. It took 1 1/2 hours from point a to point b. There were a ton of laughs all the way down...peeps being dumped out of their tubes...hitting rocks...losing half of the tubes when the rope broke...but we pulled ourselves back together. Family...we keep it real! :o)

I will have those fun memories in my head for the rest of my life. I love my family and I feel so incredibly fortunate to have such an awesome and loving one...big one! I spent a lot of my "head" time on the 4 day drive back to BC reminiscing about the whole August Long weekend in Pinawa...already wishing for the next reunion to happen. ha ha ha! But I can say wholehearted...I am super stoked to be back home...with my island family. My community. And those that I am close with and thought of often too. You were all missed...I am happy to back home with my other family. Peace and love. xox
Last known photo of glasses and star ring together! At least I have the memories. lol