Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The day after Labour day....

BC Ferries
At the end of June it always feels as though the summer will be long and endless, so when September arrives, I always wonder where it has gone. Alas, the nights have become cooler, the days shorter and this morning the big yellow bus pulled up to the house to get our daughter as she begins the first day of grade 9. Where has the summer gone?

Evaluating summer, it was fine, busy, worked a lot, held the 5th Annual Golden Unicorn Arts Festival, ran the coffee shop 12 hours a day 7 days a week with the exception of Farm Market days when we were gone for part of the day.  Went swimming when the weather was decent as often as we could and last night had the last swim of the year as we watched the clouds darken and cover East Grand Lake. 

Headliner - Mike Biggar Band
Guests enjoying the afternoon
As the summer went on I realized that the coffee shop was less viable than in the past, fewer customers, less walk ins and more of what I did was pre-ordered baking for people. I have to evaluate what to do in the future. My husband Len and I also spend a year working on the arts festival and all summer preparing for it and as we approached the 5th annual event we had high hopes for a great weekend. However, for whatever reason although we had a good crowd for part of the day it died down, fewer people came and the end show was not well attended. This was disheartening since we had put so much work into it, provided an excellent band with no cover charge and there were some great artisans for people to come and see. You can only do so much, as they say, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." So we have to re-evaluate our future, what we do and how we do it. I must say I grieved over this, cried some, wondered what if anything we could do differently and finally came to the conclusion that we gave it our all, we did an excellent job and it was a good run, but perhaps it was time to pack it in. 

Me & My Girl 
Having had the coffee shop, opening at 9AM daily until about 7 or 8PM at night for the past five years, I have learned that after the third weekend of August things die down fast. People are off spending the last days of summer elsewhere, getting in those last trips, doing their back to school shopping and just don't come into the shop. So, this year as of August 24th I closed for the summer. It was a hard decision, I hate letting people down, not being there for them, but it wasn't viable to keep the shop open, machines running, stock in the fridge and not have customers. So, as hard as it was, I decided to close up for 2015.

The Rocky Mountains
West Jet was AMAZING!
On August 19th I put my 13 year old on the plane to travel to BC and since we had a mini family reunion happening on Vancouver Island I was able to get on a plane and join her. I am so grateful for this. I had no idea how much I missed Beautiful British Columbia until I was flying over the Rocky Mountains and felt my heart beat faster and the excitement and joy I experienced as I saw my adult daughter in her environment. Truly amazing!

I highly recommend this cottage and campground!
Although the trip was short, a whirl wind really, I was able to do a lot and see some of my dearest friends as well as bond with my family. I am so grateful for the friends who I did see, for taking the time from their busy lives to meet up with me, as brief as it was. For letting me, the narcissist "hold court" like the diva I am in the living room at our cottage on the shores of Westwood lake.

Me & Baby Brother
My cousin waiting for his turn

My "baby" brother surprised us all with a trip to Mudge Island - this is two islands away from Nanaimo - so I had my share of boats! I took the "big" ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point. We then traveled to Gabriola Island via a small vehicle ferry to a beach where my brother had his 12 foot aluminum boat to take us across to Mudge Island. It may not be far in distance, but it was in travel time! We had a fabulous time, fresh caught bbq'd salmon, boat rides, tours of the island and despite the weather (the first rain seen in about four months in BC) we thoroughly enjoyed it! I even managed to get to the Gabriola Farm Market to get supplies for the rest of our weekend! Yes, we love shopping healthy and local, no matter where that may be!

They Like Me! They Really Like Me!
On Saturday we "Giesbrecht's" got together and played, visited, cooked, gathered and just bonded. It was the first time in 8 years that we had come together for something other than a funeral. These days that is all that seems to join us, so we truly appreciated the fact that we could visit and reminisce the good times as well as to create new memories. We really did think about all those who couldn't be with us for various reasons, time, travel, money, etc. and hope to get together again before we are all too old and decrepit! 

The Peter Giesbrecht Clan
I even managed to win over the "little cousins" of course I had to pull out my secret weapon to convince them that I was fun and not ancient. (Yes, the ability to put your tongue up your nose will never cease to grab a 5 year olds attention! I do not recommend doing this when you have a cold!) Of course because we now loved each other we had to take a field trip, hence time to hit the craft aisle on Sunday where we created the "Traveling Giesbrecht Family Frame." For those of you who did not get to be with us, watch for the frame coming soon to a house near you and we expect to see some pictures! Thanks Angie for starting it off on the way to Alberta!

The next generation...
A Gaggle Of Giesbrecht's
I can't even express how much this trip meant to me. The time I got to spend with my daughter in her home, just two women, hanging out, wow! The people who came to see me, one friend even took a ferry from Victoria to Vancouver to have supper with me! The family who I spent time with, laughed, cried a little bit (yes, a little wine and few laughs can generate tears, right?) The moment when my Uncle Peter threw his head back in laughter and I saw my dad before my eyes, that blew me away. It was like Dad was in the room, saying, yes, family is what it is all about and I am so glad you are here. That moved me like nothing else and I had to sit quietly for a few minutes while I gathered my emotions. Being with my mom, who drove from Alberta to Vancouver Island, it was brief Mom and busy, but I love you and always will. Spending a night with my BFF and her family, which was heart warming and so important to me. She accepts me unconditionally and I love her to bits! To my friend Debra who took Jess for a few days and showed her a good time, thank you!

Some of the first cousins
Some of the second cousins
It was a short trip, it wound up a busy summer, a summer that made me realize I have to reevaluate how I work in the future, but it was an important trip. I am so grateful for my husband encouraging me to go, even though it was really more than I could afford financially, it was exactly what I needed emotionally.

Now, have a great September as we all get back into the school spirit! 
PS: Angie, we made a great team! Until next time....
(note: I had more pictures but they wouldn't work for some reason,
although I do believe everyone has been represented in the photos!)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mid Summers Night Dream....

Today is August 9th and we are more than half way through summer. The next week is the busiest week of the year for us, followed by things slowing down rapidly and as I reflect on the past few months I think of the highs, lows and how I have been feeling. I lay awake at night and play out scenarios on how to deal with situations, then eventually, I roll over and fall back to sleep. Over all life is good, I am happy, content and so grateful for what I have, where I am and those close to me.

Me - learning to like myself
I try to be authentic, real and true to myself, but there are times where I just feel like I am never going to fit in with those around me. All of my life I have been a bit of an outsider, at church, at school, in my group of friends and even within my extended family. It hurts me deeply when I believe I have said the wrong thing or offended someone and when grudges are held. It saddens me as a parent to know that when  I make a mistake based on poor judgement or lack of thought or expressing myself poorly, that it affects my children and spouse. These are things I berate myself for and struggle with. I have absolute complete recall - sound, words, actions - of those times where I have screwed up and I hate reliving them. One thing I have recently done, in my effort to not "offend anyone" is that on Facebook I have discovered I do not have to "unfriend" people but I can "unfollow" them - this helps reduce my emotional pain while balancing my "need to be liked."

As much as I am in the best point ever in my life, there are times that the anxiety, depression and fear build up in me and make it hard to move on, sleep, or forgive myself. Some of this is post traumatic stress disorder. With PTSD I set myself up for failure, I remove my ability to be successful and I create illness in my own body. It is less frequent, but it still happens. I wonder why I put things off that I need to do, why I ignore pressing issues and why I let that knot build up inside of me that prevents me from creating harmony in my life.

The last couple of years have been devastating to some of the families I have met since moving and I have witnessed others go through trauma and loss. I commented to my family the other day on how I see a difference in how people move through their grief, stories and experiences. I thought about how we express ourselves in our lives and I also wonder what I would have done differently if social media had been around when my life fell apart. 

We all do our best and we are different but the common thread is the suddenness of how quickly our lives can change and how we deal with it. I want to say to those families, it will get better, it will never be "OK" but you will find a way to continue and move forward. Some days it will come back and haunt you and other days you will get to the end of the day and feel bad because you didn't think about it that day. It will become a part of your "before life" and your "after life." This is your "new normal."

Most often I feel good now and except when I realize how the circumstances of the past affects my children to this day, I can "forget for awhile." What others may not realize, is that trauma is hard for anyone but to a young child or person who is still developing, it changes them. When they told me almost 11 years ago that PTSD would come back at different age levels for a child and they may have difficulty with certain milestones or hormonal changes, I thought OK, no big deal. However, when I see how certain life lessons have been so much harder on my girls than they need to be; when I watch them have trouble relating to people they way that others think they should react; that is hard. The anxiety and depression that they live with, is their normal. I get it though, life experiences affects us all individually and we may find it hard to share ourselves with others, open up, express our emotions, or may OVER share and tell to much; both scenarios can alienate those around us. Some people will accept this about us, others will not be so kind or forgiving.

I watch as we all find ways to fit people into our lives, try to learn what is and is not acceptable to us for our own health and well being. I cry and feel empty inside as we sometimes have to leave behind people who either don't get it or who won't believe our truth, won't offer understanding and friendship or love. Sometimes these are old friends, sometimes extended family, sometimes complete strangers. We can't let everyone in, we - people in general - need to insulate ourselves with a safe network around us or we have to isolate ourselves from those who don't understand, don't care or hold grudges.

One of the biggest things I have learned is that I can't make everyone happy. I tried for many years and because it isn't possible, I gave away pieces of myself until I wasn't me anymore. I have found that I can now, mostly, separate the memories of truth, positive moments and allow myself to forgive myself for what wasn't my fault in life. As a parent I will probably never forgive myself for not keeping my kids safe or protecting them from grief and trauma. I can however provide many learning moments for us to discover together where we are now, what we went through and how to move forward.

It is hard for me to tell my kids they have to let some people go in life but, as Robin Williams said "I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone." So, even if we love someone we sometimes have to leave them. Being alone is NOT the worst thing, being made to feel that you are always doing the wrong thing or are never good enough, is much worse. 

As I now finish the first 50 years of my life I realize that we never stop learning. We always have to try to do better. We must continue to grow. My family is smaller and my circle of trust is very small but that is all right. I don't say anything to anyone that I don't want shared elsewhere, I don't ever lend money that I need back, I don't go a day without saying "I love you" to my husband or children and I value each breath I take, even when I have a PTSD moment that makes me want to ignore the big stuff. 

So as summer starts to close, as the final weeks and warm days begin to come to an end, I hope that we come through the next week successfully; and that I start to reward myself vs. berate myself. I  hope I can impart a little understanding to others on the ongoing long term affects of PTSD. It is different for everyone and whether  a person created the trauma, worked through it or was simply a victim, we all do our best. As the old Native American saying goes "I may not criticize my neighbour until I have walked a mile in his moccasins."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

March 8 - International Women's Day - Domestic Violence in Canada

I have shared this before, but it resonates with me, about 13 or 14 years ago, the BC Government was drastically reducing funding to women's shelters and resources. At the time we didn't have online petitions or Facebook or crowd funding - we had email - and not everyone had that. There were requests and emails being sent out to help support the programming available to women and children and those trying to leave domestic violence situations, and I shared them. I was stunned to get an email back from a family member who stated to me and I quote , as I said this resonated with me "Please do not send me any more of this. People in my social circles do not have this problem." 

Education and equitable employment
are some of the first steps for women
Of course this is not accurate. We know that domestic violence transcends all socioeconomic levels, all cultures, races and gender. We know that most people will know someone in their life time who has suffered from or escaped a domestic violence situation. At the time I worked in an income assistance office and I met with, interviewed and did home visits to people who were in crisis. Many were in crisis because they had been abused as a child or young adult, maybe turned to drugs or alcohol or the sex trade to escape. Others were in the process of leaving a partner who was abusive. I regularly had women and children in my office who were staying in shelters or trying to find out what was available to help them leave their situation.

Of course underneath all of this, I was going through the same thing. I however continued to keep it a secret, I didn't share and just tried to keep my children safe. Now, if you haven't been in a mentally or physically or financially or controlling relationship , you may say, so leave. How come you stayed? I would never have put up with that. It certainly is easy to say and even as I counselled those women I wondered that about them. I didn't completely see it in my own life. I thought I was coping, handling it and that I could deal with it. I thought I was keeping my kids safe, they weren't being hurt; I took them away when things were bad; I sheltered them. In retrospect, that was obviously impossible. The tenseness, the vibes, the walking on egg shells, is no way for children to live. 

And all the bruises we can't see, inside...
Yes, I am sure people have judged me and the choices I made or didn't make, that is their prerogative. But did you know that - Abuse doesn't start immediately - if it did, I am sure I would have walked away and not remained with that partner for almost 18 years. 

It is slow. Take a vulnerable woman, someone with low self esteem, who doesn't feel that they matter or have friends or is suffering from anxiety or depression. Slowly begin to isolate her, drive her friends  and family away, begin to be her only friend. Begin to influence how she looks, what she wears, how her make up and hair are applied. Care about where she is and with who and when and how long did it take to get there and how long it should take to return. Begin to monitor who she speaks with on the phone, via email, has lunch with at work. He isn't controlling, he cares, he loves her, he wants her safe.

After months of this, maybe something will happen, he will lose his temper, scream, yell, maybe hit her for the first time. He didn't mean to, it wasn't his fault, he is sorry, but maybe she provoked him, perhaps she should be more careful about who she talks to, what she wears and where she goes. He begs for forgiveness, she has no one else, she relents. The next time won't be right away, things will become complacent again, relax. This time it will be more violent, he will hurt her deeper , emotionally as well as physically, he will tell her she is useless, no one else would want her, she is stupid and worthless. Then he will leave, she is relieved. He doesn't come back this time, it is hours, days, a week, she rethinks things and knows it was her fault, how come she did that? How can she show him how sorry she is? 

It happens slowly. No woman asks for it. No woman wants it. Woman sometimes do think they deserve it. They think there is nothing more - but it isn't true. She has just been so worn down she can't think straight anymore. Then he comes back and he forgives her. She is so grateful and is good and moves forward and life is wonderful, a honeymoon period, but always, wondering, waiting.... Life falls into a pattern and it isn't easy to leave. Women are threatened, physically, financially, with losing custody of their children, emotionally - damaged goods and it can literally be the fight of their lives to escape. Who can they tell now? When they will get judged and people will say "I wouldn't put up with that." How can they ask for help?

In Nanaimo over about a 2 year period there were several domestic violence cases that ended in murder. How could a woman feel safe leaving when she or her children could be next? So, when someone says, "Why doesn't she just leave?" or "It doesn't happen in my social circles." I hope that these things make you think twice about judging her and her choices or lack thereof. I hope that rather than make her feel lower, you realize that just getting through one day to the next is about as much as she can handle. That leaving may put her children at risk for their lives and what mother can cope with that?

The murders in my town and area involved a fairly well off family where the mother was murdered by her estranged spouse outside a gas station with her child present. The other was a mother who was an immigrant, struggling to get by, murdered outside her home by her ex as she left for work one morning. Both were tormented, stalked and had restraining orders. Restraining orders don't help. I know that a piece of paper does not make you safe but it does allow you to get help and to press charges. When I and these other women finally made the choice to leave, we knew that our lives were in peril, that we and our children may not survive, but what choice did any of us have? Do you think knowing these women had been murdered and their children left alone, made my choice any easier?

So please, today, on International Women's Day - keep your hearts and minds open - know that we all struggle and suffer and do our best. None of us ever thought it would happen to us. None of us wanted to be a statistic, a survivor or a victim. 

Please support your local women's shelters - I am so grateful for the support I received from the Haven Society in Nanaimo and I know that Sanctuary House in Woodstock offers help to women and children here. Please stop the judgement, please support the programs and know that not all bruises are visible. Be cautious of what you say about victims of violence, you don't know what the person you are talking to may be hiding. 

I fell asleep crying last night, that hasn't happened for a long time. I thought of my sick little hurt baby who will suffer from her physical wounds for the rest of her life. I thought of the decisions I had to make that day 10 years ago and the agony we all went through. I cried for my little girls who loved their daddy, and he who loved them but who couldn't be a daddy to them anymore. I cried for the loss they suffered, for the safety I did not provide them and the ghosts they have in their lives.

 I cried for their strength and recovery and the hope that they have seen what love does look like and wish them a life time of International Women's Days. A life time of fairness, equality, safety and acceptance. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

When it is all said and done, who's right is it anyway?

This is a topic that I have thought long and hard about in the past year. The right to die with dignity. I can honestly say that yes, it had crossed my mind in the past but never really deeply and never in a way that impacted me so greatly. As any reader knows, I lost my father in October 2014 - but only after watching him suffer and waste away from a debilitating disease. Of course this was emotional and painful for me, my mom - his wife of over 50 years, for my siblings, grandchildren and loved ones.

November 20, 2001 - Jessica's birth
If it was hard for us, how hard was it for him? This big burly man over 6 feet tall, almost 300 lbs. who wasted away to a man who couldn't feed himself, couldn't walk, couldn't speak, couldn't use a toilet, could do nothing for himself and dropped to a weight of  under 140 lbs in his final days. If it was hard for us, how devastating was it for him? 

My father had his first heart attack at age 49 and a subsequent much more severe heart attack that required open heart surgery almost 10 years later. This was hard for him, the first was tough but the second attack caused severe depression and survivors guilt. Dad felt Mom would be better off with him dead and hated that he was a burden and unable to do as much as previously able. He was very clear on his thoughts about the right to die at that point. He did not want to lose any further of his personal liberties or ability to make his own decisions. Yes, part of this was the depression speaking but at the same time he was vocal regarding his thoughts and beliefs on wanting to be allowed to end it all when it was time. 

My father was a religious man, right wing Conservative and anti-abortion and murder. He had strong opinions on right and wrong and black and white - but amidst all of this - he stated clearly how if and when he got to the point in his life that he was no longer able to be productive, well enough to take care of himself or was going to be in a semi-vegetative state that he wanted the right to end it all. He did not want to have family watch him suffer or to hurt them in anyway.

Sadly, his decline was slow, he started to make decisions and take actions that were highly questionable or seemed very unreasonable. Even in his state of physical decline, due to his type of dementia , he defended his actions and thought they were right. He couldn't remember everything anymore but as we sat and talked about the past, he had his memories and we laughed and cried. 

March 2014
Last March when I went to visit him, about 6 months before he died, he was already unable to do much, he did not want any life saving action and he cried loudly to me wondering WHY? Why did this happen? WHY did he have to suffer? Why was this all going on? I cried with him, I don't know Dad, BUT you can go, don't hang on for us, you can just let go. I know as I sat there, if there was a way to end his distress, I would have done it. I agonized with grief over the pain and the misery he and Mom were both in. If there was anyway I could remain by his side until the end - gone to help him daily, I would have done it. (Knowing that he would be mean, angry and hurtful to me - I just wanted to something for him and to help my mom.)

This was the moment when he should have been allowed to say his goodbyes, say I have had enough, there is no hope , my body is dying, I am starving to death, organs are going to shut down, thank you, let me go now. He should not have been forced to drain himself physically and emotionally. He should not have been forced to put his beloved wife through more agony. He should have been permitted to say - I have lived, loved, provided, done my best, made my mistakes and done what I can to right them. He should have been allowed to say it is time to end it all.

As I said, my father was strongly religious and for that reason alone the choice of dying was hard enough for him but he was also a man who fervently believed in the laws of the land. If the law had said, yes you can end it, we can provided a doctor assisted suicide - his pain could have ended. He was already down to less than 160 lbs of skin and bones at that point. He didn't need to continue to waste away for 6 more months - he didn't need to go on.

As it was, the law did not allow this. The law DID allow us to withdraw all life saving measures, no CPR, no medical treatment for illness, no antibiotics, no surgeries, no feeding tube, nothing except medication for relief of pain. Was this easy? No. We knew that withdrawing some of these measures would cause him further pain and suffering but to provide them would be to prolong a life he no longer wanted. Was this fair to him or us? No.

October 12, 2014
When his final days came, he was down to maybe 130-140lbs, bent over, unable to move freely at all. about ten days before he died, somehow he fell, he tumbled out of bed, hit his head, required multiple stitches but the true injury was the severe fracture to his spine. He did not have surgery and spent his last days in a neck brace to prevent turning or moving in a way that would sever his spine. How is this humane? Is this what he wanted? No way - he never wanted this.  In those last days, with much of his family by his side, he struggled for every breath, we could hear his chest rattling and watched as he stopped breathing for 10, 20, 30 and 40 seconds, wondering if this was it, how is this humane?

My father was strong, stubborn and he had integrity, but why was he forced to go through this? This week the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the assisted suicide ban. He needlessly suffered, my Mom went through pain, depression, anxiety, hardship and the unknown much longer than necessary; someone who needed a care bed was denied help to make space for him; the medical system was taxed to pay for someone who didn't want to be here and was waiting to die; his body was forced to struggle for every last breath, but why?

The Supreme Court of Canada now has to sit back as the government of the land creates a policy - one that will not be too liberal but one that will allow for freedom of choice. Obviously there has to be a way to attempt to prevent abuse of this legislation while permitting a persons wishes to be granted and no I don't want to sit on that board - I know it wont be easy.

I know that the right to die can be a tough choice and not everyone  will agree with it, but seeing this close up, watching the deterioration - I just don't see how this was right. I can't imagine the fear, anger, torment and anguish Dad went through. 

My father was two years older than my husband. My husband has much better health and I don't see this in the foreseeable future, but we have to plan, discuss and know what each other wants. Of course we all assume he will go first, being 25 years older than me, but what if he doesn't? What if I am first in a situation where I will remain a "vegetable"? What if I am in a situation that I can't recover from?

This is what I want - If I am injured and I won't recover - let me go. If there is no hope, then let me say my goodbyes and let me go. Why is it OK for us to make that decision to "put an animal down" if they are dying? Why is it OK that when a family member is injured in an accident and their body reaches a certain state - that we can "pull the plug"? No, I don't equate a human to an animal - but if we thing it is wrong to let a dog or cat suffer, why is it permissible to allow a person to suffer?

I am supportive of this recent decision and I know many people wont be - some based on religious beliefs - and I won't argue those with you. However, please understand that having watched someone I love go through this - who, if he had the legal choice to leave while he still could - likely would have. Having been in a situation where I saw my two year old lying in the hospital in critical condition - and I may have been faced with a life saving decision - other people were - they had to make those choices - I was fortunate to not have to do that . I do believe that what I am feeling is not wrong and I do believe I have the experience to support my decisions.

I hope that I am not faced with such a choice and I truly hope that I wont have to help my husband make those decisions, but that may happen and if it does, I hope that we will have the support of the law, medical society and family. No one wants to be in pain or watch a family member suffer needlessly. 

Dad, I am so sorry that this decision was not made a year ago - I am so sad that you had to go through such agony and I am so sorry I couldn't make it better for you, like you did for me, when I was a little girl.

RIP Dad April 17, 1939-October 13, 2014

Memorial Service

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The January freeze....

This winter has already felt interminable for me and we are really only 1 month into real winter. My nose and toes are permanently cold! Christmas came and went as did New Year's and here we are , mid January with days of - 20 to -35 weather not counting the wind chill factor. They are saying the January thaw is going to last about 2-3 days this year, not the normal week or so. (Thaw means +4C ) That means when the thaw occurs I have a day to catch up on laundry before my back pipes get too cold again. BRR! 

Unfortunately the long term forecast is not very positive. Oh well, for people who like to be out and play or ice fish in sub zero temperatures, this is a good thing. I am happy with -15 or under, starts to get pretty cold after that. Between the car freezing up or the pipes, well, let's say the spring thaw is welcome any time! (I again am open to offers for a warm holiday - please feel free to send on those flight tickets - I don't know, I say that every year and nothing happens? Weird!)

How do I keep warm or busy? Well, life at the farm market has improved dramatically for us. After almost 4 years of plugging away we are finally turning a profit. Last May 2014 Len and I took over the market cafe on Friday's and this has increased our baking sales, bread orders, preserves and of course we serve home made local food for breakfast and lunch. I am happy with the response we are getting and my handsome waiter definitely draws in the ladies and gentlemen!

I decided my 13 year old needs to learn to do more than text, play online games and watch YouTube videos, so we started sewing as part of her Christmas present. We currently share a machine and she took to it like a natural! She even started designing and sewing her own projects. We now plan to proceed to making reversible tote bags and if she really gets into it, who knows, maybe she can even sell some! The trick is to keep us both motivated when I would rather be curled up by the fire with a hot drink!)

Len is busy writing his novel and works for hours each day. It is pretty exciting and I enjoy reading the galleys at the end of each chapter. We discuss his thoughts in the morning, I provide ideas and feedback and he writes away. Who knows, this may put him on the map! Book tour, here we come!

I am not writing like I should but I always find December and January tough with that. December is so busy baking and market and orders and January so cold, but I plan to get back at it. I have a few websites to work on and plan to finally make those curtains which will greatly help in keeping our home from the blowing winds and cold. Tomorrow sounds like a good time to start!

I also decided we need to vary our diet. We eat well and we eat good food but really, one can only get so creative with meat and potatoes - and we have two freezers of meat, so there is a lot of that! I have begun to explore my culinary skills and interests and we are very happy with the beginning results! Of course there is one draw back, I don't think my husband will ever take me out for dinner again since he likes what I make more than any restaurant we have been to! Compliment? Sure. Reward? I guess I have to find other ways of him rewarding me! (Hint: I have been searching the web restaurant supplies for new equipment! I see a wok in my future.)

I believe that in order to inspire myself to write more (I started but it got pretty emotional for me) that I will develop my short stories and put them into a book. I believe there is enough for a collection and that should inspire me to do greater and more complete work on "the big book." Feel free to pre-order your books!

Well, my nose is dripping icicles and my toes have frozen together so I guess it is time to move around and cook again to keep the house warm. I am looking forward to Chinese New Year this year and plan to cook up a feast! If you're in the neighbourhood, pop on over! 

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