Category Archives: life

Lest we forget.

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day here in Canada and it’s a time to reflect and thank our veterans and those who lost their lives in all the wars over the years.

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My grandpa (on my dad’s side)

Both of my grandfathers were soldiers for Canada in WW2, I don’t know the story of my dad’s dad, but I know the story of my mom’s dad’s time. All of this information I know about his time overseas is second hand, from my uncles and grandmere, as he never talked about it when he was alive, I can understand why, it wasn’t a pretty time, full of sunshine and rainbows. I have a “letter” that was written by one of my uncles but it was written from my grandpere’s point of view (from what my uncle was told by his dad), this is where I’ve gotten this story.

 

My grandpere didn’t join the Canadian Royal Air Force until 1942 and was sent over to Gloucester, England in 1943 where he completed his training. The squadron he joined, #415, was based in Leeds, and most of the missions that they flew were done at night, from 8 or 9 p.m. – 2 or 3 a.m. He was a co-pilot and flight engineer on one of the Lancaster bomber planes. The last flight they were on, they were being shot at from the ground by anti-aircraft fire and were hit on the wing, and the with the fuel tanks being on the wings, it would be a short time before the plane itself would be completely on fire so they were told to evacuate.

My grandpere grabbed a flashlight and attached it to the top of one of his boots and jumped out of the burning aircraft. As he pulled the rip cord of the parachute, it would not open, he started to panic and tried to open the small parachute from his chest. It eventually opened and he landed on the ground, separated from his squad. He had lost one of his boots, the one with the flashlight attached to it and buried his parachute, which he had been instructed to do. He later regretted burying the parachute though, as it would have kept him warm during the night. So he wandered around aimlessly, not knowing where he was, with one boot, both socks on the other foot and hoping to find a place to hide before daylight.

He came up to a bridge and hid under that the whole next day, making himself as small as he could, but he was miserable and cold.Once it got dark again, he thought it was safe to leave his hiding place and he tried to get his bearings, hoping he was walking in the right direction, towards Switzerland and freedom. He walked all night, but didn’t meet anyone.

As daylight returned, he saw a sign on the side of the road and quickly read the name and located it on the map that he had in his survival kit.He laid there, crouched on the ground, nervous, scared, cold and hungry, and a young boy came by on a bicycle. Short while later, the German police came and he was taken prisoner.

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My grandpere’s POW card

Along with other prisoners, they were taken on long forced walks, and whenever possible, they would steal potatoes from farmers fields or whatever they could because they were starving. They were spat at, kicked and yelled at. “Kanada shiiwne” was shouted whenever Canadian prisoners were seen by civilians who were also suffering. (not sure of the translation of the word “shiiwne” from German to English. But I think it might mean “shit”. “Kanada” means “Canada”). An American prisoner had a mouth organ and he would play songs during their marches. His favourite song was “The Yellow Rose of Texas” which was able to help the gloom a bit. That song remained in my grandpere’s memory, likely until the day he died.

 

They finally arrived at a Stalag in Mooseburg, Germany, and the compound held about 15,000 prisoners. Food had been rationed all over Europe and so whatever was available, was very meager. They ate thin soup at dusk so they couldn’t see the grubs in it, they slept on the bare ground of the camp. He was held prisoner for a few months, but it felt like an eternity.

The Stalag was liberated on April 29th and they were free. My grandpere eventually made his way back to Canada and back to St. Claude, Manitoba where he returned to his family, friends and his bride to be (my grandmere).  grandmere-grandpere

My brother and I had asked my grandmere at her birthday if her and my grandpere were together when he left to go to war, she told us that she was, but she didn’t want to marry him before he left, just in case he didn’t come home. But he survived, came home, had a beautiful family, 6 kids, many grand kids and grand kids (who never got to meet him, but I’m sure he would be proud of them).

This year, I work with refugee kids, many of them Syrian, some of them, victims of war. I can’t imagine what they’ve seen, what they’ve gone through. We had our Remembrance Day assembly yesterday at school and some of the students sang this song. Very fitting.

So tomorrow, think of those who have risked their lives for our freedom, those who lost their lives and those who have lost loved ones because of wars.

Love, not war

As I sit here, trying to figure out how to describe how I feel about all the craziness that has been going on on Facebook and other social media for the past week, I’m overcome with a sense of sadness. A sense of sadness towards those innocent lives that have been lost, those innocent lives who have been trying to flee their homes because they’ve been through hell due to the wars in their countries, those who have lost loved ones because of other people’s senseless and destructive acts. There has been too many bombings, attacks and killings lately. Too many people pointing fingers and blaming one specific religion, grouping everyone into the same group. That all Muslim people are “terrorists”. Mainstream media and other groups have been instilling fear into people who aren’t aware, who aren’t educated in the subject of that religion. The more fear is instilled in the general public (aka you and I), the more the group doing this wins. The more hatred they see, they win again. We can’t show them that, they want hate, they want war. I’ve seen a few videos on Facebook over the past couple of days that shows exactly that. It shows that we cannot show fear or hatred. That we have to stand up, united and go upon our daily lives. That we still need to be trusting of others since not everyone is a terrorist.

If only all fathers were like this one. ❤

12243403_10156247857950581_4405667613859825433_n As sad as what happened last Friday in Paris, don’t just “pray” for Paris, but hope for peace for Syria, for Beirut, for Iraq and all the other places where innocent people have lost their lives because of this “war”, these inexcusable acts of terrorism. What you and I can do is be nice to everyone, don’t accept xenophobic comments on your social media, accept and care for those who aren’t the same race, religion, culture or whatever than you. Learn about the Muslims, learn their values, their religion, don’t just go and dump them into that “terrorist” group just because they’re different.

I hope that one day, for our future generations, they won’t have to live in fear, that they can still live in a free country and have all the rights that  we, here in Canada have. After all, all we want is love, not war right?

Where has the time gone?

Where has the time gone? Summer flew by as it always does and we’re back into the swing of things with the school year already a month into it. My summer was awesome as it always is, the 6 weeks of work with the day-camp was entertaining, as always; Connect was spectacular (I love being able to see my out of town friends, it’s very much like a family reunion); MEME was hectic with all the volunteering I did and then I visited friends in Calgary the weekend after which was exactly what I needed. It was relaxing for the most part, unlike the last time I was there which was a whirlwind of a weekend.

School year is back in full swing, I’ve been moved once again to a different school. (This is what happens when you have a special skill, mine being sign language), it’s been crazy hectic, I’ve mostly been computerized note-taking for a couple of hard of hearing grade 9 students. But it makes the day fly by. I miss my old school though, just as you get settled in, there’s a chance you get moved because of student needs (or lack there of).

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in Canada, and it’s been an absolutely gorgeous weekend. Normally, in the middle of October, we’re seeing the leaves changing colours and falling, the sun is setting much earlier making the days shorter. The days and nights are also normally much cooler/chillier. Not this weekend, though, I was able to do the much needed yard work in a t-shirt and jeans and not have to worry about getting cold. The sun was warm, it was about 24c, much warmer than normal for October. I got a lot done yesterday with the yard, just have a little more to do, but I don’t want to let the last bit of summer go just yet, some of the plants haven’t died yet in my front flower bed, so they’ll stay there a bit longer.  I’m sad to see summer go, it’s never long enough here. Winter is long, and usually cold. It brings hibernation, warm hoodies, blankets, hot chocolate and hockey. (at least there’s something good about it, hockey! lol)

I’m grateful for a lot of things, my wonderful, supportive family, my amazing friends (aka my chosen family), my house, my cats (who are like my kids), a free country that will hopefully be changing for the better on the 19th (GO VOTE! I did yesterday!) and so much more.

 As for today, I’ll be relaxing at home, watching movies and trying to figure out why my cell is being sketchy. I think I’ll have to back it up and factory reset.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you reading if you’re in Canada 🙂

Dreams are weird.

I’d have to say for the past two and a half years (or so), I have very odd/vivid/strange dreams for at least a week every month. Now, normally, I don’t remember my dreams, unless they are those odd ones. Those ones are usually the ones that can set me off for the day, usually throwing me for a loop depending on who was in the dream or what it was about.

Lately, a friend of mine who passed away 3 years ago tomorrow has been on my mind. Craig used to visit my dreams quite often, until a year ago December. I don’t remember the exact details of the dream, since it was so long ago, but I do remember him giving me advice on a few things and telling me that he is okay. It was a few days before Christmas break and I woke up to go to work the following morning, feeling a bit off. Went about my day and as I was doing something, I could hear Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” (which happened to be a song that my friend loved), I walked into the back room and saw that my coworker had put it on the smart board. I knew Craig was there, visiting me at work. That was the last time he was in my dreams until about a week or so ago, where he literally walked into the room, which was filled with a lot of our friends that we had in common; and he kept walking through and out the door on the opposite wall. As much as we were all trying to get his attention, he didn’t stop. It was almost like he was just “passing through”. But for the most part, it has been silence from him. And it has once again, thrown me off.

I’ve had dreams of friends and family who have passed away before, and I’m not entirely sure what the exact meaning of the dream was, but it seems to be one that I can’t shake.

Its funny what a simple dream can do to the mind, its a mysterious tool. tumblr_ll6yjcVsrH1qjwngso1_400

#BellLetsTalk

Today is Bell’s #BellLetsTalk. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a campaign to hopefully end the stigma of mental illness. Something that has been, for years, something that has been “swept under the rug” and pushed to the back burner. Something that people are ashamed or afraid to talk about because they could be labeled as “crazy” or “psycho”. Meanwhile, they’re very likely just scared and they don’t want to be known in society as those labels.

I have personal experience with mental illness, with family, friends and even myself. I’ve never wanted to talk about it to people, in fear of being called one of those labels I mentioned before, but my close friends and family know about my bouts of anxiety. You always try to look tough on the outside but eventually you do break down and that is okay. Cry, scream, yell, punch a pillow (or something soft), talk to someone, write it out, but let it out in some way or form.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post, I’d type a few words and then delete it, that subconscious anxiety voice of mine tells me “its not good enough, nobody will like what you’ve written.” Its really hard to write or talk about something that is so hard to explain. With me, my brain is in overdrive most of the time. Jumbled with words that are moving, what feels like, a million miles an hour and they don’t want to seem to slow down so I can decipher anything. I have so many thoughts that I want to get out, but sometimes honestly have no clue how because of that “inner-voice” that tells me that nobody wants to hear it. That nobody cares or that I’m wasting my time.

I’ve been told I’m shy, well, here’s the main reason for it. Anxiety can be a bitch and I’m usually second guessing everything that I want to say or that I’ve said. Fighting with that inner voice as I said before. Worrying about what the future holds because of my past mistakes.

anxiety1I’ve been dealing with anxiety issues since I was about 12 years old. For about 3 years, I had thought so many times how I could run away because of certain people in my life at the time; then I eventually did, I switched to a different school where I had friends, wasn’t bullied because of the way I looked and acted. When they say “kids can be cruel”, I totally agree. It’s really surprising what a few words can do to a person’s self-esteem. For a bunch of years after graduating, I had, what I thought was a good grasp on my anxiety. I had met a lot of people who were in the same boat as I was. Bullied in school, was considered the “out-cast” and the “weird one” etc. Then a few years back, due to reasons I won’t get into in my blog, the anxiety sky-rocketed again, just as bad as it was, if not worse than it was when I was 12. One again, I wanted so bad to run away, but I fought through it and found another group of friends who know the issues and I know they still care. As much as my brain doesn’t believe it at times. I’m not saying that I’m completely overridden with anxiety, and that’s because I’ve been doing my best to have a grasp on it again. But I do have a ways to go before its gone, if it ever will be.

I’ve had friends commit suicide and if that is something that has been a thought, please call the Manitoba Suicide Line at 1-877-435-7170 or visit http://www.reasontolive.ca/ or your local suicide prevention help line.

Always remember, you’re not alone. There are more like you out there and no matter what people might say, people do love you. Lets end the stigma of mental illnesses, no matter what they are.

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Another holiday season comes to a close

The craziness of the holidays are winding down, with only New Year’s coming up in a few days.

Normally, I love this time of year, all the family gatherings and food but this year felt a bit, shall we say, off. I guess it was because it is the first Christmas without my memere, so we didn’t do anything Christmas-y with my dad’s side of the family since we were all together at the beginning of the month. My immediate family got together Christmas eve, had a very non traditional supper and opened our gifts; then my mom’s side got together on Christmas day for supper so there was that at least. Too much food, and some beer and wine were consumed, came home after and tried my best to not succumb to the inevitable food coma that was trying to take over while sitting on my couch watching a movie.

We don’t really do gift giving either anymore, both my brother and I are in our 30’s so for the most part, if we ever want something, we get into our respective cars and go get it. The only thing I really wanted was some money so I can have some for the upcoming trip to Jamaica. I remember growing up, getting all these toys and presents, and now, it is definitely more about family being together.

I still have a week left of my holidays before school starts up again. I always find that January is the longest month since we have no inservice days or holidays. That being said, here on the prairies, it’s been a pretty mild “winter” so far. We don’t have a crazy amount of snow like we normally do and honestly, the coldest it’s been has been I’d say has been about -17 to -20°c (that’s 1 to -4°F for you Americans), when normally it’s much colder than that. This, I can deal with. It’s been a nice change!

I know that January won’t be as long for me since I have 16 more days until I’m on the (hopefully) hot and sunny beaches of Ocho Rios, Jamaica! Actually, I just looked online and it looks like the temps are averaging +30c! YAY! I’m looking forward not only to getting away, but also getting to see some of the best people I know and be there to see two of my very good friends get married. I can already hear my liver screaming at me with all the rum punch and other booze I’ll be having lol.

New Year’s is coming soon, I’ll be spending it with a bunch of friends at a local bar here for a DJ night, should be fun. Normally I don’t do the whole resolutions thing, but I continually try to improve myself and the way I live. There will be no changing that aspect, except I will try to focus more again on the positive in life; although it can be hard when in the winter time, when its warm outside, there isn’t much sun. My body craves sun!

To all of you reading, I hope you have a safe and happy New Years, whatever you end up doing! And all the best in 2015 🙂

Rest easy.

On Friday, the world said good bye to one of the most sincere, humble, devoted, strong willed women I’ve ever met. I’m grateful to have had her as my grandma, she’s taught us all the value of family because she would do anything for hers. After my grandpa got sick, she did everything she could to take care of him, up until his final days, she never gave up hope. All while taking time to take care of the rest of her family in any way that she could.

I remember being a kid and going out to my grandparents’ house in the summer, my brother, cousins and I would play games in the backyard, or the times when my mom was still in university and my brother & I would have to stay out at their house for a week; or at Christmas time, we’d pack up the van and bring every single present there to open (only to turn around on Boxing Day and bring most of them back home). My grandma would always make sure there was plenty of food on the tables and things for the kids to do. She never sat in one spot for long when the family was there, she always had something to do, even after we’d all tell her to “sit down and relax”. I’m going to miss going there, that house has a lot of memories for me. It will be weird going there on Wednesday after the service and not having her there, just like it was weird at first when my grandpa passed away a year and a half ago.

I always thought that I was more like my mom when I was a kid, but as I’ve grown up more, I think I’m a good balance of both parents. My grandma always taught me how important family is, my family is pretty close. Just shows how precious life really is when someone is gone suddenly.

I’ll always remember the amazing times we’ve shared Memere. ❤ I hope that you’re reunited with Pepere & uncle Gerald. Watch over the family and thank you for everything.

R.I.P. We’ll always miss you.

True inspiration.

98. When you see that number, what do you think? A number close to 100 right? What about if you hear “98 years old”? I think when I hear “98 years old”, I think of someone who has lived a long life, someone who has a lot of history, someone who has a lot of stories to tell.

Tomorrow, my Grandmère turns that magic number. 98. She’s an amazing woman who raised 6 kids (my mom and her siblings) with my Grandpère, taught for who knows how many years in their small town. She was the head of the choir in the church for as long as I can remember, she played piano until arthritis made constant playing too hard to do. I remember going out to their house for Christmas as a kid, even though her and my grandpère would be away, they would go south in their RV for the winter, but their home was always open for us. After my grandpère passed away in ’91, she continued to live in the house where my mom spent most of her life in, she lived there until recently, maybe the past year or so. More recently, having my aunts/uncles/parents helping her out with all the yard and house work. It was hard for her to leave the house where there were so many memories, so many stories.

The times of me sitting on the coffee table with my grandparents playing guitar & piano and singing with everyone, or me sitting at the piano playing whatever tune was there, my grandmère has definitely been a musical inspiration for me. She still sings when the family gets together, her voice carrying over everyone else. I don’t have my piano at my house (due to lack of space) but if I did, I would definitely be back to playing it more. I sing, but mostly at home, when I do sing in front of people (other than family), it usually surprises them because it’s something I keep quiet.

This is a video from four years ago, of her singing an old French song.

Honestly, she doesn’t look like she’s 98. Nor does she act like it. Last Christmas, it was around midnight and I was about to leave my parents house for the evening. My grandmère looked at me and asked me why I was leaving, she stated, “it’s still early!” This caused my aunts and mom to laugh and poke fun at me saying that she’s “outlasting” a 33 year old. It’s not every day you can say that you have a relative who has reached that age, who has seen so many trying times, the depression and the effects Canada had from the world wars.

mom & grandmere

I know she’ll never read this, but Happy birthday Grandmère! 6 kids, 14 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 98 years of stories, you’re a true inspiration to everyone you meet. We love you.

All the leaves are…

IMG_20140921_180823It’s that time of year again, days are getting shorter, nights (and well, days here too in Winnipeg) are getting chillier, leaves are changing colours. Sadly, we’re nearing the end of summer with the fall solstice in a few days. Before we know it, it will be Thanksgiving (in Canada anyways), then Halloween, then the dreaded white stuff will be here. But I don’t want to think about that just yet. It’s too early!

And as much as I know the white stuff is coming, fall is such a pretty season, with all the leaves turning yellow, red, orange, purple. We recently had a bit of frost and I’m a moron and totally didn’t cover up my tomato plants. Thinking that they’re done for the year because of my stupidity (or maybe it was just sheer laziness?), I just went outside to see if there are any that are ripe… turns out they survived the frost and I have a few that are turning red! I have way too many that are still green tho, and with the colder weather (and frost) fast approaching, I’m not sure if they will all ripen. That being said, I got a pretty good haul from my veggies this summer. And I’m still able to dig up carrots since they generally last for a couple more weeks underground.

This song just popped into my head, seems a bit fitting for the season… 

I already have plans for both Halloween and the day after (also Halloween themed) but really only think I’m going to dress up for friends’ wedding social on November 1st. Now, normally, I’m not one to really think about Halloween costumes, especially this far (over a month) in advance. I’ve always been much more an “oh shit, I need a costume because Halloween is in like 2 days!” kind of girl. Yep, very last minute… that’s me. But as I was sitting here today, procrastinating on doing those dreaded chores, I was looking on Pintrest (I love Pintrest, so sue me lol) for costume ideas. Well, more like makeup ideas. It has sparked up some ideas that I may end up doing and being able to use what I have at home instead of going out and buying a costume for only one night. I’m thinking of either a “dark” version of Alice in Wonderland (I have black dress, the apron, stockings etc) or doing make up something like the second picture with another black dress, boots, wig and red costume wings.

So dear readers, what do you think? Which should I do?

New blog!

I’ve been blogging for quite a long time, starting way back in the good ol’ “livejournal” days (which is now almost a ghost town), made the switch to Blogger for a few years and now here I am.

I go through phases of wanting to play video games, especially in the winter months. If any of you know how the winters can be in the prairies, you know how cold and bitter it can be here for what feels like forever. With the release of the game “Destiny” – I’ve been tossing around the idea of getting it as I’ve heard some amazing things about it. It’ll be something to keep me busy in those winter months since I’m trying to save up money for the upcoming trip to Jamaica in January! I know becoming a hermit isn’t adding bonus points in my favour for a social life, but I do go out… once in a while.

Catching a cold from the kids at my work, scratchy throat, stuffed up nose. Hopefully this is the worst of it… I have to be well enough to possibly go for drinks with a couple of friends and also help my parents again with cleaning the cabinets they took out of my aunt’s place that will be going into my place eventually. Such a huge job but the end result will definitely be worth it. It’ll look better than what’s here right now, not to mention more cupboards and drawers… and hopefully a bigger pantry! Because for those of you who have been here, know that the “pantry” I currently have is pretty much a joke.

Yesterday a friend of mine and I went out for sushi at this little place in St. B (weird to have a sushi place in the heart of the French community here), but it was amazing. Tons of laughs and the restaurant gives a scoop of ice cream as desert with the meal. Well, these are the plastic spoons we got with our ice cream (we asked it to go). Seriously, the smallest spoon I’ve ever used! Slightly bigger than a lighter… needless to say, we were both pretty amused at this.

I’m going to finish off my weekend by continuing to battle this stupid cold I’m catching and watching Breaking Bad on TV.

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