Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sweaty Eyeballs!

I remember camping when I was younger, something always told me to wake up before it got hot.  Sometimes before the sun was even close to waking up.  That way we were comfortable and not stuck in a tent in the blistering heat.

Lately, I have been waking up with my eyes sweating.  I'm not sure if that's how I should explain it.  They feel puffy, swollen & it's hard to see.  I have a hard time keeping them open and blink often.  I say, 'my eyeballs are sweating' and no one seems to respond.  Is it because I've also gone deaf? or is it because they don't know what I'm talking about?

Yesterday in Ontario, it was 38 degrees.  Some days lately the air is so thick I find it hard to if my lungs are trying to filter a thick cream.  I don't remember it ever being this hot when I was young.  I grew up in New Brunswick.  Sweetie says he does remember it being this hot.  He grew up in Montreal.

Is it possible that it is getting hotter?  People keep talking about Global Warming and the authority figures would like us to believe it is a hoax of some sort.  So I decided to do a bit of research myself.  And here's what I found.

The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 57.8 degrees.  That was in Africa, but it was in 1922.  The highest record in Canada was 45 degrees in Saskatchewan.  And that was in July of 1937.
(Wikipedia World Record Temperatures)
 If those are the hottest temperatures recorded for the areas and we're in the middle of a Global Warming...why were they so long ago?  Shouldn't they be getting gradually hotter now?

I think the real issue here is that it has been getting hotter, for quite some time now.  Over a much larger scale and long before we were able to record such facts.  Although some would argue that we're causing it by all the pollution & so-called 'progress'....I believe that the warming of the Earth would be happening whether we were here or not.  But I also believe that we are speeding it up.  Or perhaps we as a population, are just becoming more aware of the situation.  If you would like to learn more about this theory, please watch 'An Inconvenient Truth' from Al Gore.  It's a documentary that is entertaining in a frightening sort of way.

I will admit that most times when confronted with these types of scenarios, end-of-the-world movies and breaking news...I feel extremely overwhelmed & discouraged.  Yes I want to help.  Yes I want to save the world, if it's at all possible.  But how can I do it alone?  And how could I possibly get everyone else on board?

The important thing we can learn from watching these movies and documentaries is the little things we CAN do that will make a difference.  If everyone made some small changes, it could literally mean the world to all of us.  It isn't always easy.  We tried to stop using plastic bags.  I approached the grocery stores to see if we could use re-usable rubbermaid containers to get our bulk items.  This would eliminate a large amount of packaging for our food.  But many stores refused.  They said there were health issues.  The one store that allowed it, even encouraged it, was Foodsmiths in Perth, ON.  We like to indulge in Iced Capps from Tim Horton's once in awhile for a treat.  But our local recycling organization does not allow those cups.  Not wanting to give up our treat, we decided to buy re-usable double walled insulated cup with covers & built-in straws available at Canadian Tire.  I checked ahead of time to make sure they would allow us to get our Iced Capps in these cups.   I was ecstatic.  However, they still used their plastic cups to make the drink, then poured them into our cups.  And proceeded to throw out the plastic cups that we were trying to eliminate the need for.
We have bought an ample supply of cloth shopping bags...and even remember to bring them with us to the store now regularly!  We try to buy our groceries with the least amount of packaging possible.  And when we can't avoid it, we do try to come up with another way to use it afterwards.  We recycle as much as we can and try to keep our garbage to a minimum.  We try not to use the air conditioner unless we absolutely need it.  We grow our own vegetables & fruit and try to have at least 2 or 3 reasons to go to town before we use the fuel.  I'm sure we could do more...and we are trying to implement a smaller footprint in baby steps.

For now, with the extreme heat wave I try to make sure that myself and everyone around me drink plenty of fresh clean water.  We don't avoid being in the sun, but we do try and limit our direct sunlight time.  Stay in the shade as much as possible.  If you can, plan your outdoor activities in the morning or evening.  Try to avoid being outside between 12:00 noon and 4:00pm.  That's my guideline.  Try and keep your pets safe & comfortable by having fresh water & shade available to them at all times.

Oh and I almost forgot...try to get up as early as you can to prevent sweaty eyeballs.
It is known to cause extreme crankiness.  At least it does in our house.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Welcome to Canada

How is it that someone that was born in Canada, lived & worked here their entire life can be refused a job or a chance at education....while a new resident, from another land is given money, a home and access to jobs & schooling?

Where have we gone wrong?  And who exactly is 'we'?

I was born in Canada, New Brunswick to be more specific.  I've lived and worked in both New Brunswick and Ontario.  I've worked such long days that my children were all asleep by the time I got home & I was so tired I cried.  I've also run into bad luck a few times, lost my home and been unable to find work in almost 2 years....I find it quite appalling to find in my mailbox a brochure from my local MP asking for my vote on whether newcomers to Canada should receive better health/dental benefits & opportunity than Canadian citizens.  How did this even become an issue?  Why should it be a question?

Does it make sense that the government should be handing over thousands of dollars to 'new' Canadians.....when 'true' Canadians go hungry or homeless?

Who has made these decisions and what could they possibly be thinking?!  The worst part is, the wording of the flyer suggested that it was already going on.  Not asking if it should start, but if it should continue.

I have a very hard time with the way the system works as it is, let alone having new issues like this arise.  We Canadians, work hard for our money, (most of us) long work days, short vacation time.  Raises are few & far between.  Most of us can't even afford to go anywhere on our time off.  I saw a picture online the other day that showed a man sitting in his backyard with his feet in a kiddie pool.  The caption said, 'I can't afford to go on vacation so I'm just going to drink until I don't know where I am'.  It was meant to be a joke.  But sadly, it's not funny if it's true.

You can be sure that the politicians' families are not going hungry.  Or without anything.  They have private jets, after all.  They have to spend our tax dollars on something.  And what exactly are they working at to earn this money?  Oh yes, their job is to listen to the people's needs and make things right.

Last Fall, I tried to arrange college tuition for myself.  There was so much red tape to go through to get funding, I ran out of time.  Yet there are countries that offer secondary education at no cost.  Each step I took seemed to cause more steps (if that is possible and I know it is). I contacted our local members of parliament to see if any of them knew of grants for stay-at-home Mom's or single parents wanting to get back in the work force.  They simply turned me towards other organizations that also had no answers.

The only way I could get funding was through an OSAP loan, which would need to be repaid.  For the 2 years I would be in school, I would not be working.  My only income would have been that tuition loan.  And then once I had my degree & began to work (hopefully) I would have to start paying off that loan.  At which point are we supposed to feel that we've finally gotten ahead?

By the time I was 3/4 of the way through the process, I was told that it was too late to start the it had already began 3 weeks ago.  It was about one month later that I received a flyer stating that our government was awarding $10,000 to 'new' citizens for business start-up & education costs.

We work our asses off to pay our taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, taxes on services, taxes on our food...and then we even have taxes taken off of our income.  People that have had their home for years, generations even...having the mortgage long paid off are now losing their homes because they can't afford the taxes due to the government.

With all the money that is going to the government from every little resource....shouldn't they be in a surplus by now?  How is it that the government is always short on funds?  Re-paying loans, which oddly enough, we have to make the re-payment payments for them.  I remember seeing on my Hydro One bill that a portion of my bill was paying off debts incurred by the Hydro company.

Wouldn't it be great if I could pay my phone bill and include a breakdown of portions of it that are missing because I had to put it towards another loan or bill....and have that amount forgiven?

I used to work for a bank in 3 different locations.  I had first hand knowledge of what people were paying, what they had in their accounts & what they were doing with their money.  It didn't take long to realize that the banks were rewarding the rich and penalizing the poor.  Did you know that if you have thousands of dollars in your bank account, that you don't have to pay your monthly fee?  The people that can afford to pay the fee & not miss it, don't have to.  But the people that are living paycheque to paycheque on a tight budget have to worry about having enough left in that account to cover their bank fees.

We hear all the time in the news that the Canadian government is so very helpful with the rest of the world.  We send money to Africa, Uganda, money to help disaster victims & third world countries.  It sounds as if we are doing great, doesn't it?  To be able to afford the luxury of having so much that we can share with the less fortunate.  Unfortunately, we have men, women & children right in our own backyard that can't afford new shoes or food for their supper...let alone a trip to the movies or a new car.

And where do you think the money comes from?  The taxes that we are forced to pay.  So that we don't become criminals or heathens in our own home.  Our own children are being told it's not right to sing 'O Canada' in the schools because it is offending these newcomers.  Our own children can't afford to go to camp or play hockey.

I read an article recently that said newly arrived immigrants are encouraged to get involved in politics.  So some day, and it could be soon, our Canadian decisions could be made by not-so-quite Canadians.

We need to stand up and get our voices back.
The government is supposed to be 'of the people' .... 'for the people' .... to represent our thoughts & beliefs. To be the voice of the Canadian logger, the fisherman, the school teacher and yes, even the stay-at-home Mom.  People all over the world come to Canada to visit.
They fall in love.  For many reasons.
But if we continue making changes to accommodate each new arrival, what will we have left that is truly Canadian?

Speaking of greener pastures....

I wanted to let you all know that I have branched off to another blog.  It involves green thumbs, gardening & flower identification.  So if that interests you, please feel free to have a look.

 Help! My Thumb is Green!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Follow me into greener pastures....

Follow me across the great divide...
Follow me because you trust me...

But most importantly follow me :-)

I now have figured out how to have a button on my blog for you to 'Follow' my posts!

This way you will be alerted when I publish a new post, and never miss another of my amazing and utterly ground-breaking articles!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I want my Mommy!

Yes, I'm having one of those moments.  They used to come more frequently after my Mom passed away.
You would think that after 19 years I would be over it by now.  Doesn't time heal all pain?

That's what it was supposed to do.  But it really doesn't.  Not for everything.

I'm alone in the house right now.  Well, by alone, I mean I'm the only one awake.  I can't sleep.  I'm stressed out, I'm anxious, I'm overtired.....whatever else kind of excuse I can use.

On a normal day I am the most upbeat, happy individual going.  People have told me for years that my smile has gotten them through the worst of times.  And for the most part I am always smiling.  At least when I'm around others.

But sometimes, like now, I just feel like crawling into bed and crying...for days.  Why is that?
Am I depressed?
Am I crazy?

Some people have suggested it's due to my 'time of the month'.  But it's not every month that this happens.  And it's not always at the same time.
'Take a pill' is mostly what I hear.  There's a medication for everything.  Unfortunately, taking a pill doesn't fix the simply masks the symptoms.

I have a home.  I have a man who loves me dearly.  I have three beautiful children who are all healthy.  I have food in our fridge and money in my pocket.

I have more than a large portion of our planet's population has.  What could I possibly have to be sad about?

As I said, for the most part I am great.  Laughing and smiling, joking around with everyone.  But every once in a while....
all I can think about are the bad things....people that I've lost.....hurts that I've endured.....things that I haven't  yet achieved....and on top of all that....I miss everyone....I love everyone...even the people that I have chosen to not have in my life anymore.
I picture them....and they're smiling at me....and I feel such love.  And it makes me so very very emotional.
And then I cry.  I don't want to cry.  But since when are we able to stop that from happening?

And once I start, I cannot stop.  And then I want my Mommy.  I feel like I'm 5 again and I just know that being in Mom's lap will make it all go away.  There are so many people that still have their mothers in their lives.  They take them for granted.  They complain about them.  They avoid the phone calls.

I would give almost anything to have my Mom here again, telling me I need to do something with my hair.  I try really hard to remember her voice....or how her hand felt when she touched my cheek.  It seems to get harder and harder every year.

I want to introduce her to her grandchildren.  So she can see how Cecely has grown into such a beautiful young lady.  Nanny spoiled her little granddaughter something fierce in that short time they had together. I want her to meet Justice who is so much like her that it scares me some days.  And I'm thinking she might be able to help wrangle Braeden sometimes when I feel that I can't.  I want to show her my garden and see the excitement in her eyes.  I want to sit with her on my front porch and have a tea.

More than anything I want to see who she would be today.  How would she have her hair?  What kind of clothes would she wear now....and what would she think of the many things I want to tell her, ask her...share with her. I never got to know her as an adult.  Would she be proud of me today and who I have become?
I'm sure she would adore Peter, who also misses his Mommy.  Maybe they're together, having tea or watching 'Another World'.  I wonder if they know we think about them every day.

And now that the tears have subsided...the tiredness sets in....I am always exhausted, feeling my tense muscles relax.  Now I can go to sleep.
Where my Mom will be waiting....for that much needed hug.  And all will be better tomorrow.

Love you & miss you Mom

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Are green thumbs hereditary?

And if they are....where did I get mine?

I have to admit, it is not something I was born with.  My first home, I think the only thing I planted was a tree.  It was a red maple.  We called him 'Red'.  I ordered him through a catalogue.  I was so excited.  Picked the perfect spot for him in the yard.  I named him.  I watered & spoke to him every day.  Then Dad ran over him with the bulldozer. 
And I never planted anything else.  At least not while I lived nextdoor to Dad.

Our next home was a rental, so I didn't really put much love or effort into making it mine.  Besides we were surrounded by concrete in the city.  And I was still a bit stung from my last planting tragedy.
My third home, five years after 'Red' I finally ventured out to make a statement.  This was also a rental, so we weren't allowed much space for creativity.  And I knew nothing about gardening.  All I knew was I wanted something that looked pretty in contrast to the brick.  Oddly enough, I was proud enough to take a picture.

I knew absolutely nothing about flowers or what to buy.  I didn't know a perennial from pomegranate.   So all I bought were annuals and I was devastated when they didn't grow back again the next Spring.  When we bought our first home out in the country with lots of room for anything.  There were two existing flower beds and another that wrapped around the veranda.   I remember ripping out dead things & buying lots of 'perennials' (still not knowing what they were).  But I had no idea how to properly care for them.  I was learning as I went along.  By the second spring/summer I was finally getting the hang of it.  I knew that the 'dead things' that I pulled out were probably perennials waiting to come out again. ~sigh~

Sadly, I had moved out before the 3rd spring, so I really didn't get to see the fruits of my labour.  It seems with each move though, I gained more and more knowledge.  I searched the internet, I lugged home book after book from the library about plants, flowers, trees, name it and I fell asleep with it on my chest.

I was almost bursting the first time I went to a nursery and was able to identify plants without looking at the tags!  And my 42nd year...with my most important seedlings growing strong and moving away, I have more time than ever to tend my 'plant' gardens. 

I have apple & cherry trees, rhubarb, raspberry & strawberry bushes.  I have a veggie garden with everything from onions, lettuce & spinach to tomatoes & watermelon.  I have not only plants with names, but entire gardens.  I have birdbaths, rock formations, hand-made cedar fences (thanks to Sweetie) ornamental objects in each garden, some even with a center conversation piece.  But most of all, I have plants that are growing, thriving in a bulldozer free environment. :-) Sorry Dad, I had to say it!

I can't tell you how excited I was to see my plants sprouting up this Spring saying 'hello'.  Bigger, stronger and spreading from last year's crops.  I can sit happily and watch my flowers & plants for hours (if life didn't interrupt as it usually does in the form of 'what's for supper?')

Some people don't understand the ultimate joy I feel from working in the dirt, soil under my fingernails, watering late into the mosquito infested nights....
But there's no way to say in words, how it feels to see the little petals of absolute purple or shocking pink peeking through at you, blinking in the sunlight...saying their 'thank you' for believing in me.
The only thing that comes that first time your newborn baby opens their eyes and looks into your own.

Call me crazy...but I love my thumbs being green.