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Damn I Hate Being Cold

Weather lends itself to many descriptive adjectives. Right now I would describe it as stupid. Stupid cold, stupid snow, stupid winter. It has been so cold the weather office has issued extreme cold warnings. The temperatures have been very low, -40 C has almost become our new normal. The cold however was not providing enough discomfort us, there was wind as well. A cold, biting, freeze you to the bone, cold. That brought the ‘feels like’ temperature to -53 C. Stupid cold, stupid snow, stupid winter. The first person to complain about it being too hot this summer is going to get a imaginary punch in the face.

I am generally prepared for almost any weather situation but the ongoing cold is wearing on the body and soul. I have managed to keep my home warm, even though I had to nail a blanket over the back door to keep the wind out and the heat in. It really is too cold to be out and since I have a well stocked pantry I am able to shelter in place, and because of the kindness of my neighbours I have not had to shovel any snow or bring in my mail.

Weather has been unsettled all over the planet, not just my little part of it. The earthquakes and sunamis that struck a few years back were violent enough to tip the axis of the earth. Climate change has contributed to the new weather patterns we are experiencing and we have to do what we can to adapt, though it is not being done on a large scale, yet. Agricultural changes will be required to adjust to the changes in the environment. This will be a gradual process as growing seasons change.

Time to bring out my seed catalogs and imagine how green my thumb will be this year. First I will get a hot cup of tea, and my favourite quilt and let my imagination run wild.

Yes, this will do nicely for a start……. stupid cold, stupid snow, stupid winter.

Winter

Record cold temperatures and extreme weather have become the new normal according to the weather forecasts on our local news. This winter has been a story across the country and every Canadian can tell and re-tell their experiences for years to come. Environment Canada has been posting warnings of extreme cold conditions has become commonplace and the new normal. Global warming seems to have skipped us and become a misnomer from my perspective; but climate change is an accurate description for the extreme weather we are experiencing.

If anyone complains to me about hot weather this coming summer, I will have to restrain myself from punching them in the face. Not that I really would (or could), I can imagine it at least. I check the weather forecast daily from more than one source, a vain attempt in looking for one that I want to see. No luck, the words ‘Extreme Cold Weather Warning in Effect’ has become the unifying theme on each source I look at.

For the first time in several years, my vehicle will not start. It is just too cold. The block heater is working to capacity and still the engine does not want to turn over. If I were to identify with inanimate items I would tell my car, “I understand, I don’t want to start either.”

I have an adequate stocked pantry and we can shelter in place for these types of circumstances. Our inventory has noticeably been reduced but we are still well fed, including the pets. I am enjoying baking and making oven meals to help keep things warm. The aroma of baked goods and yummy meals make it more bearable and give us a sense of well being.

I have been using my candles, even the ‘good’ ones, for ambiance and watching the flames make us think warmer thoughts. They also provide a tiny bit of heat. One day I will have a wood burning fireplace, I can both heat and cook with it.

The power company has asked everyone to reduce their power use, I suppose to ensure there is enough available in the grid for everyone. My thermostat stays at the same temperature year round but I have noticed the furnace is working harder to keep up. Clean filters and good airflow do help and I have actually closed off rooms we don’t use. Hopefully my next bill from them will not be too extravagant.

I will continue to shelter in place and hope for an early, warm, spring from my home in rural, flat, bald prairie. I think my friends in Ottawa have it a bit worse, not only do they have the cold, they also have a much higher humidity level which I think must feel they are frozen to the bone.

My hot chocolate is ready, my quilt is puffy, the kitty is purring, the couch is empty and my book is waiting. Stay warm and stay safe.

Socks

Laundry day today.  Everything nice and clean, folded and put away. Everything that is except the lone socks in the bottom of my laundry basket.  I am not sure if I am an eternal optimist, hoping week after week that the match will one day re-appear or a deluded homemaker that will not accept the reality of lost socks.

I know as soon as 87048052-stock-vector-socks-in-cartoon-style-elements-of-kids-clothes-vector-illustrations-isolateI get rid of any, the match will magically appear in the bottom of the basket.

I have asked others what they do and there are only three groups of people; those, like me, live in constant hope the match will be in the next laundry load,  those that callously toss the lone sock away, no regard for the lost ones that might one day return to search for their mate. And those who seek another purpose for the solo sock keeping them for other purposes than warming feet.

Some of these lonely socks are forced into domestic servitude as dust rags.  The only solo sock to find any degree of honour are those elevated to hand puppets to amuse children. With eyes and mouths sewn or painted on, their noble duty now is to entertain children.  These professionals are examples of solitary socks that have gone on to  have careers. They are to be admired and with any luck, join a troupe of entertainers.

If these socks must be subjected to laundering, they have learned the importance of navigation and will be found on the top of the laundry in the basket.

I have given stray socks more thought than is probably normal or even healthy but I choose hope and one day there will be a reunion for these brave, one of a pair, foot covers.

Out With the Old

My passion is my Christian faith, family and friends. I also have a strong interest for understanding my family history.  This is a story of immigration to the open lands in western Canada and populating this new and vast country.

I also love old houses, old furniture, old pictures, old books, well you get the gist of where this is leading.  It is with understanding about me, you might understand my sadness over my old farmhouse table.

Confused? Let me explain.  I have a sweet friend who buys and sells antiques and vintage items. One day as we walked through her shop I ran my hand across an old, round,wooden table atop a pedestal base which sat on iron castors.  I ran my hand over the table and knew it was supposed to be mine.

It took me a year to save enough money to buy it. One hundred dollars, which was a pity price for me I am sure. It took me a year to save that $100.

I brought my table home and immediately the atmosphere in my home had a comfort and happy feel.  That table gave a hominess to my place and just invited friends to sit and enjoy tea, scones and good conversation.

My sense of it felt a loving and friendly aura from history.  It was well cared for and I imagined the great care taken as it was symbol of meals shared,  guests entertained, a place for homework, sewing, baking, and all the needs of previous owners. One can sense things about inanimate objects and this was a feel good story for me.

Time has passed and I feel the need to downsize.  I offered the table to my children and grandchildren. None of them wanted it and suggested it wasn’t even suitable for their ice fishing shacks or summer cabins.

I felt kind of sad about their refusals  but knew my table deserved a better future and more love than this.  My table deserved a better fate and continued service and my decision was made.  I covered it with a lace tablecloth and placed a vase of pretty flowers in the center. This is my joy.

This decision however did not negate my need to downsize. I decided another piece of furniture, my hoosier cabinet, will go and the table will stay. Though the hoosier was a piece that worked hard in our grandmothers and great grandmothers kitchens, this one holds no memory I can feel.

The new year has only just begun and I find myself cleaning, organizing and essentially re-working my home and what will work for me. It does feel like the time has come since my sweet husband passed away.  Time for the next part of my life.

I will take the time to put the braided rug under my precious table and use it to celebrate entertain and enjoy my dining moments. It is a warm place to share tea and meals with those I cherish.

A table with memory? You bet! A place for new memories to be captured, adding to the joy it gives me.

I am not crazy, I have been tested. hoosier

Into The Darkness

The lack of mental health resources for emergency care is available for an extremely limited, fortunate few. The lack is especially significant in rural areas. Even if a patient is under a psychiatrists care and requires immediate emergency care, they are instructed to seek out an emergency room. Straightforward? Yes. Practical? No.

The reality for rural residents is a very long wait to see a physician.  Rural physicians are alone, have their regular appointments in clinic, care for inpatients and cover emergencies. In triage, psychiatric care is in a long way down the list.

The argument is the lengthy time these patients represent. Treatment options can be medication, talk therapy, hospitalization or a combination of any of the above.  Each choice have their own problems. Rarely is their a bed available on acute care, medication has to be supervised, therapists for ‘talk’ therapy are difficult to staff; each of the barriers often result in people self medicating.

Talk therapy takes a great deal of time that is not usually available in emergency rooms. Medications can be costly. Psychiatrists are in short supply and tend to be in the larger centers with access to additional resources.

Rural medical care challenge is desperate, hospital beds closed with no sign of re-opening, limited pharmacy hours and long travel distances to get necessary medical attention.

People in rural areas are less likely than city residents to call an ambulance.  When one is summoned in rural areas they have big distances to cover and often unforgiving terrain to travel. Urgent medical care often falls to community, volunteer fire departments to respond and manage the situation until a paramedic help arrives.  In my community we are fortunate our first responders are trained not only in fire fighting but in life support and able to control a scene until more advanced help arrives.

Working in an emergency department in rural hospital, I had a gentleman come in with his hand wrapped in a towel.  In the other hand he had another towel that upon opening, were two of his fingers.  He was treated and a medi-vac was arranged to get him to a larger center for surgery.  He did regain the use of both fingers, a testament to the level-headed thinking and resourcefulness rural people manage to demonstrate.

The system works for rural residents because it has to.  Physical challenges can be addressed fairly quickly, the psychiatric challenges go untreated and undiagnosed.  The walking wounded are difficult to pick out so be kind, be caring and be aware, your friend’s life may depend on it.

Autumn

autumn leavesThe leaves float through the air as nature is telling us it is time to be grateful for what we have and to prepare for the winter that is coming.

Canning the bounty our gardens produced, the fruits we picked, the recipes we use to have our pre-made foods ready for quick meals. The jams and jellies are in the pantry and the freezer is full of chicken and beef.  Three types of pork, chops, ham and bacon.

All of our pantry and freezer items will be so tasty when snow covers the frozen land and the days are short.

Children are busy with their secret plans of Halloween costumes for trick or treat time. I think they are also thinking about what they should bring to put all those collected goodies in to carry home.

I am not one decorate or participate in the dark side of Halloween. My home is decorated with smiling jack o lanterns, smiling scare crows, garlands of autumn leaves twined over railings and the fence. The smiling scarecrows usher the little ones up to the door to collect their treats.

I enjoy the excitement these trick or treaters show when they are anticipating what treat they will get from this house. The costumes range from pre-made to those that are crafted at home, and the ones that are rather hobbled together from whatever the imagination can dream of.

It is their joy that makes me smile.  An interesting event happened the last two years, every single one of them said “Thank you” before they left the doorstep.

We have hope for the future.

Now What

I have been a widow for about three months now, I am still trying to define who I am without my sweet husband beside me. Advice is volunteered after each, “How are you doing?”, and my reply is always, ” Fine, managing alright”. There is nothing more to be said at that point. Inside I am crying at the loss and smiling at the memories. Too precious to share with anyone yet.

For now, I am content to be home, paint, scrapbook, read and watch old movies. I need the quiet right now and I am appreciating the healing time, for what else can it be?

My heart is filled with love for my family and has been brought into sharper focus since my sweet husband passed away. I have a deeper love and appreciation of my children, grandchildren, siblings and family in general. I know it is never a waste to say, “I love you.” to those special people in my life.

I am so thankful we had such a happy home, appreciated our time together and smile at our differences and how we celebrated them. I can rejoice in the passing of my parents and now my husband because of my Lutheran beliefs in Heaven and I can cry because I selfishly want them here with me.

There is no one size fits all manual on finding my way through this because we each have our own experiences and beliefs that equip us on this new journey. I can recall the happy moments shared with family members from my great grandmothers and on through the family tree. Faith and family are the bedrock I am building my new life on with each tentative step into my future.
Wild Flowers