Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Sorrow

I wanted to post a quick blog because I was reminded today of how fragile life is. We all think that we don't need reminding but we do. My niece, Koral lost a friend to the icy winter roads. I didn't know her and I think Koral knew her through her friend, Tay. All I know about her is her name, Melissa. She was 14 and played soccer. I don't know the colour of her hair or the music she liked or if she had a crush on anyone. All I know is that she wanted to live and see Spring come again, and Summer after that.
She was driving with her daddy and the passenger side of the car where she rode was demolished in the collision. I know she left a mom to suffer forever and one or two sisters who will always grieve. Probably many, many more. I want to ask you to lift up a prayer, however it is you pray to whomever it is that you pray to. Say a prayer of thanks that you are with your loved ones tonight and that they are all safe. Say a prayer of passage for a little girl who had to cross over far too soon and leave behind lives that will never be the same. Say a prayer that her daddy will make it so that there is one more tree in her family's forest to withstand the long winter that is that is ahead. We don't need to sink ourselves in sorrow because we all have much to be joyful about tonight. But surely we can spare a prayer for this little girl, her family and her friends left behind.
Thanks guys.
Many Blessings.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter's Arrival

There is finally a soft blanket of white on the ground. It is a thin blanket, to be sure, but long overdue. When my sister-in-law, Patrina, Twyla and I walked into the Y yesterday so they could take my nephews swimming (I do not partake), it was a grey day but not so terrible. One hour later, as we bundled the little ones to leave, a right howling blizzard had begun. By the time we were driving back home last night at about 10:00, it was a fright. In fact, it could have turned very bad as the car in front of us began to spin uncontrollably while at the same time figure-eighting back and forth in front of us. We barely missed them as they frantically tried to get the car under control, pulling to the side as we slid by them. If another vehicle had been involved, one of those brainless idiots in a pickup truck who thinks they are invincible (invincible ignoramuses), it would not have gone well and I likely would not be writing this now. For our safe return home, I am so very grateful. Please be careful. There is no place you need to be so badly that you have to risk your life or anyone else's to get there. A truck, no matter its size, does not grant you super powers. Pass it on.
Chester had his check up this week. He's doing great, though his doctor looked a little run down and tired. She 'felt' funny and didn't seem herself. Hmmm...
I guess Happy New Year is in order. For us the holiday season was quiet. Didn't do a lot of visiting. The New Year was brought in with a little champagne and some really nice chocolate cake at home and the hope that all was well with everyone.
Can I tackle the bitter moaning about the snow? Please cut it out. We have had it pretty warm for close to a couple of months now with temperatures way above seasonal normals. We have had next to no snow and as a result we've had to put up with a sheet of ice on the ground instead, making walking (and driving) a nighmare. I am the first one to admit that I am not very happy with the idea of minus 33 coming up this week, but fer crissakes, you're Canadians. We laugh in the face of this kind of thing. Put your game face on, joke about it a bit and shut up. What I do fear for is the animals out there that are going to suffer while we are safe and warm in our centrally heated homes. We have a number of kittens (young adults now) in the basement that we've managed to trap. They are brought in cold, skeletal and fearful. These are just the ones we can catch. They have been dumped here because it is a dead end or their owners just don't care enough to keep them inside and they wander off. There are others I've caught glimpses of. They are too fearful to let me get near. But no worries. This cold snap will take care of them once and for all. And there's always more where they came from, right. Then there are the jackasses who chain up their dogs outside with no care for their suffering. If you can't keep your pet inside, especially when this kind of temperature hits, then you do not need to own an animal. And while we are at it, whenever you begin to complain about the cold, think of the many homeless people who will be huddling in doorways to try to keep warm the next few nights. Try to keep things in perspective.
I have been interested in just how many people think that the end of either the world or the world as we know it will be arriving shortly. There's the Mayan thing and the Niburu (sp) thing and the Elinin thing...comets and planets and calendars, oh my! But then a friend of mine, who runs the archery department of a sporting goods store told me that people have been coming in looking for weapons that are good to use on zombies. They actually think that a Zombie Apocalypse is or shortly will be upon us. ~pause in silent thinking for a moment~
Yes. I said zombies. Now, I'm not saying I think with utter conviction that all of the above stuff is bullshite. I don't know. I am of the mind that not much is actually impossible. But ZOMBIES? How are we going to get zombies? Twyla told me there's some theory about how the rabies virus will somehow become airborn and that will do it. I've seen a few animals with rabies and they just look really sick. I never heard of one of them trying to get at your brain for a light snack. I will re-iterate what has always been my stance. Things could go south, there's no doubt (all zombies aside). We could experience a solar flare that knocks out the grid or a super volcano or some other thing that makes us an immediate endangered species, because we can barely get along now, never mind if a lot of us are starving. I'm guessing that bad manners will win the day. People tell me things like "oh, solar flares have always happened and the world didn't end." What I say to them is that, I don't think the actual world will end, but if the grid were somehow knocked out, our world certainly would. How many things can you do without electricity. I imagine that without that furnace in your basement, you wouldn't do any better than those poor abandoned animals out there in the cold. For one thing, you have no fur. There is a certain sense in being prepared for whatever emergency might take place. Here's a fer-instance. What do you have in your vehicle for an emergency? Probably a spare, maybe a flare or two. Maybe even a snack. How's that going to work out of you are stuck on the side of the road with no help in this kind of cold? I can answer that right now. It's not. Here's a little run-down of what we have in the car. It's all kept in a tote bag: candles, matches, lighter; socks, mittens and hats; energy bars; blankets; emergency heater (this consists of a medium coffee can inside a larger one. Inside the smaller can is a roll of toilet paper with the tube removed. In the tin is also a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a set of matches. In case of an emergency, the cans are set up one inside the other, the paper roll is saturated with the alcohol and can be lit to provide heat. It will burn quite a long time.); we also have a power pack that can be used to plug in the battery or phone chargers if necessary; radio; multitool; knife; first aid kit (this is quite extensive, put together myself. I don't think those pitiful little kits you get at Canadian Tire are much use at all); first aid manual; rope; several large garbage bags. There is a bit more that I can't think of right now, but you get the picture. I also want to add a tarp and a couple of those self light logs. They store under the seat and take up almost no room. We also keep a bottle of water in there that is changed regularly. In winter, I make sure that everyone has or brings along boots and a parka, even if what you are actually wearing is lighter or dressier. You'll look stupid trying to change a tire in dress shoes and a trench coat in the midst of a blizzard or even just a cold day. We've never had to use most of the stuff but I will sure be grateful to have it if we ever do.
The same goes for being prepared wherever you go and however you get there.
It may (and likely will) come to pass that the most interesting thing to take place this December is The Hobbit: Pt 1. If on the off chance things get icky...does it hurt to be a little prepared? I look at it this way. There's a lot of people out there who are capable of a lot of mischief. And there's a lot of pretty shaky climate stuff happening. Just, you know, try to be a bit of a forward thinker is all. Spend less time complaining and more time going "If I don't have power for a couple of days when it's -32 outside, what can I do about that?"
I have a lot of yuck chores to do outside today so I'd better get started. You guys keep warm, stay safe, put some food out for the birds and animals having a hard time right now. Make a nice pot of cocoa this evening, make a fire if you can. Then sit and gaze into the flame (a candle will do) and dream about the spring to come. It's really not so far off. And remember...wherever you go, take your toque and mittens!
What's on the menu: Mushroom soup and sammiches
Listening to: Best of Enya
Reading: Resurrecting Michelangelo
Goals: Above mentioned yuck chores
Viewing tonight: Star Trek Next Gen