Holiday Fun & Pinterest Lies!

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Hello, I’m back, although I’m not really sure where this edition will go. I have so many thoughts rolling around my head right now. With Christmas coming, I seem be a bit overwhelmed right now. However with Christmas coming, I’m so excited to see my daughter really getting into it.

My mini-me will be turning three in February, and this is really the first year she’s understanding what’s going on with Christmas. Halloween took a bit for her to grasp the concept of, but she quickly caught on (we allowed her to pick out her costume this year, and she chose Batgirl…made her father proud, lol). The day after Halloween was over, she started right away with Santa Claus. They say children start developing memories around age 3, and it baffled me a bit because we haven’t mentioned Christmas or Santa Claus since last year. Part of me wonders if maybe she started to retain some memories and was able to put things together.

As much as I love Christmas movies, we started some of them much earlier than usual, and I introduced our daughter to the animated original How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Garfield’s Christmas, and the classic (and my favourite) White Christmas (she fell asleep the first two times, yes the first two times, lol). Now she loves all three. We’ve seen Garfield’s Christmas about five times as of this writing, The Grinch about three times but she’s now asking for “Mr. Grinch”, and after the first time she fell asleep during White Christmas, I used it the second time, on purpose, to get her to nap (success!!!), and two more times with the intention of getting her to sleep (failure!!!), and now she’s trying to sing along to White Christmas, which makes me super happy because that’s what I do. When she allows me to sing (I’ll start singing and she will sometimes say “no mommy!”, and my guess is, that it’s not my horrible singing voice, but she’s trying to listen to the song. When I’m allowed to sing she says, “your turn mommy!”…ever the comedienne), she will sing a line after I do. She’s trying so hard to learn these songs. “Snow” and “Count Your Blessings” are the two that she’s trying so hard to sing to along with the movie. She makes me laugh. We helped her write her first letter to Santa this year, she dictated, and I wrote the letter, and then she and daddy drew pictures on the back, and I helped her print her name. We got a letter back from Santa yesterday, and I think my husband and I were more excited then she was. Lol!!

With seeing all this amazing excitement emanating from my gorgeous little otter (one of her many nicknames), I have gotten the bright idea to make our tiny little home more festive. I grew up with super festive homes, my parents and my grandparents (my mother’s side), always did Christmas up. Christmas was my grandmother’s favourite holiday, and her house had that country Christmas feel to it. So warm and cozy. My mom did our home growing up, fun yet with a touch of country and some vintage-y feel to it. We have our traditions that I absolutely love and want to (and have carried some) over to my home and family. My hubs would say that I have a shit-ton of Christmas stuff, but I honestly don’t have enough. I don’t have festive feels in every bedroom. Next year, I plan on getting bedroom themed bedding. Can’t really do it this year as I’m so behind on Christmas shopping that I don’t have time to go search for kitschy bedroom sheets and comforters. Lol!! But I can find a way to bring Christmas into the entire house. My reason for this, is to not just teach my daughter the tradition of Santa and gifts, but also the family traditions and festivities and the importance of family. I wasn’t raised on the religious aspect of this holiday, but I was raised that it was the time of year for our family to come together to show just how much we all mean to each other and to spend quality family time with one another, and that we are there to celebrate family. It my seem strange to religious people out there that a family of nonreligious people can make such a huge deal about a holiday based on religious stories. Respect to all who go that route. Anyways, totally off topic now. Wow! See, you never know where the hell I’m going with this. Quite frankly, neither do I. Lol!!

Anyways, so I want to make the house more festive…. I made the mistake of going on Pinterest, and came away with that awesome feeling of inadequacy. Everything is so pretty, cozy and crafty. My minimal craft ability is miniscule. The most I do is add some paint and glitter into clear plastic or glass ornament balls and shake the hell out of them. These people, not only have talent, but they clearly have too much free time and a crap load of money. I work 40-hours a week, at night, for nearly $12/hr., I don’t exactly have time or money to do a lot of this amazing stuff. I’m not exactly miss Suzy homemaker. I’m not crafty, I can barely cook, and my cleaning ability has declined considerably since becoming a wife and a mother. Quite frankly, I’m pooped!! I can cook a few things, yet they’re not exactly healthy dishes, with the exception I can slow-cook the hell out of a roast beef, and bake chicken, both with and without Shake n’ Bake, and I can microwave frozen green beans, broccoli, and corn. Then I’m super amazing with Kraft Dinner (aka mac n’ cheese), Hamburger Helper, Tacos (from a kit) & nachos (super unhealthy is the way I make them but oh so delicious), frozen pizza, frozen periogies, hot dogs (boiled AND microwaved), various pastas with bottled tomato or alfredo sauce, instant potatoes, frozen chicken strips, french fries, eggs (about 5 different ways…I know impressive right?!), and I can open up a mean can of Zoodles. Not the healthiest, and as much as I would love to learn how to cook better meal, I have no time. I can slow cook a roast beef, but I still have to call my dad to find out if I put the slow cooker on low or high and for how long the slab of meat needs to stay in the thing. I’ve got a laptop full of awesome recipes (some from Pinterest, some from Facebook), and I only save the ones that say easy (they fucking lie, btw) and look at the list of ingredients and wonder two things…. 1) Who actually keeps cumin in their kitchen staples, and 2) WTF is cumin? I’m lucky if I have flour in my house during non-holiday baking season (baking I can do!). Clearly these women who proclaim to make these super healthy, super creative dishes, either don’t have children, or can afford a chef to make this stuff and then claim it as their own.

I look at all this amazing kitschy and crafty stuff on Pinterest and some of the beautiful decor for the holidays, and I have developed a theory (which doesn’t just apply to Christmas, but pretty much everything…weddings and birthdays); These women must be: 1) Stay at home mom’s, 2) Have rich husbands, 3) Don’t have children, or at least have a nanny, who watches their kids while moms take pictures of their perfect crafts, finds or food presentations. That’s my guess anyways. I’ve tried to recreate stuff I’ve found on Pinterest, and I swear it’s not possible. I’ve lost all Pinterest hope, and have renamed it Faketerest.

However, I still have butt-load of screen-shots of Christmas decor and crafting idea shit on my cellphone that I plan on trying. I can’t seem stop. It’s like a strange addiction to failure, lol! So my first plan is to re-create the following;

      1. This advent calender-like thing: So I found a picture of The Grinch’s hand (?), holding a round Christmas ornament in a frame and then you write how many days until Christmas in the ornament ball thing. Thanks to my artsy hubs, I now know how to paint on glass, but my problem is to figure out what to use to write on the opposite side on the ornament ball thing that will easily wipe off so I can change the countdown number.
      2. Then I want to make this wooden box that has three jar things, like I guess canning jars, things… Anyways, these jar things are painted three different colours and then filled with Christmas floral crap with twine around the tops. I just need to see if my dad has wood…….Um….. wait that sounded really bad.
      3. I also want to make this thingy to hang-up which has hooks on it to hang up your stockings. The wood thing is painted your choice of Christmas colours with a Christmas like saying on it, then the hooks you need to hang your stockings on. This is an excellent idea since we don’t have a fireplace, and I’m tired of sticking thumb tacks into my TV armour to hang three stockings.

Oh the trials and tribulations of a full-time working mom with limited crafting-ability.

While I’m still sort of bitching (is this bitching? Or just randomly figuring shit out?), Why is it so hard to find white garland? Like this….

06 SF white garland

About 9 years ago I found some in the States at this Christmas store, that I cannot remember where it is or what it was called, and it wasn’t expensive at all. I bought one 9ft piece, because I lived in my parents basement and that’s all I needed at the time. I need more, plus about 6 medium sized wreathes made of the same stuff with white lights around it. I just don’t want to spend a butt-load of money. Because of this conundrum, I have decided to see what I can salvage of my first white Christmas tree (it wasn’t pre-lit, my new white tree is), and I plan on taking the pieces off the metal stems and up-cycle them…somehow. Get creative, ya know, Pinterest the crap out it.

With money being tight, partly because I’m so behind on my Christmas shopping, my usual Christmas baking isn’t happening. I don’t have the time and baking ingredients is ridiculously expensive this time of year. If I do decide to do something, it’ll probably be sugar cookies cut out with my Christmas cookie cutters, and then make different coloured icing and let my little otter go to town with decorating them (it’ll be messy AF, but fun). I plan on helping my mom with her baking. I just figured since my mom and make basically the same stuff, that we don’t need all the same things. I make the same stuff because those are the baked goods that I’ve had every Christmas for 30 years or more. It’s Tradition!

This weekend, we will be putting up our Christmas tree. I feel like I’m so behind in that too. I have seen, while driving, many people with their trees up and pictures of people with their trees already up on Instagram and Facebook, and I feel completely behind. Strange thing is, I always put my tree up the first weekend of December. So I’m really not that behind. So crazy. I’m also sort of dreading it. River’s been great with the tree the past 2 years, but this year we have a kitten, who loves to climb, and I do not want that cat in my tree. I have glass ornaments that I really love, and don’t want broken. I’m a dog person, and our dogs only ever sniff the damn thing, and maybe wag their tails into the tree but otherwise don’t bother with it. I love the way my tree looks. To me it’s perfect. It’s pretty and fun all at the same time. I don’t exactly want the cat to break the tree because she needs to climb it. So the spray bottle will be on hand until she gets the picture (sadly, she isn’t that smart of a cat. Our other cats were so much smarter). This should prove interesting.

With that, I’ll do my best to do an Update blog on my crafting, and the status of my tree. I’ll take pictures (I won’t post my versions on Pinterest), and share with all my readers. If, however, I get too busy to actually write the update before Christmas, I’ll do my best to get it out right after. Just in case….

 

Merry Christmas from Our Home, To Yours!

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Yoga Mom….Sometimes!

 

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I’m not in any means a fit person. I’m healthy (for the most part, as I currently have a cold), and I don’t eat the greatest or exercise regularly, but I do enjoy doing yoga. I’m a mom, and I work a forty-hour work week, on night shift, so unfortunately I don’t always feel like working out. I will make a plan at work with the mindset that I’ll go home and do a quick yoga sesh, but by the time I get home, I’m too tired and it’s a Hell No!!!

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My routine when I get home from work is simple; I come in from working my night shift, and I am welcomed by the sounds of my beautiful daughter, calling me from her room, “hey mommy, you comin’? Mommy, you comin’?”  and once I put my stuff down, I’ll open her bedroom door and I’m greeted with “morning mommy!” It’s my favourite part of the day. I get her and her stuffed animal pals of her choice that day, and carry them over to her change table where I get her night diaper off and then let her down half naked so we can continue on our potty training adventure (see previous Straight Fire blog), I then ask her what she would like for breakfast (cottage cheese has been her answer every morning for the past two weeks), and put the television on either The Octonauts, Puppy Dog Pals or Paw Patrol (I can’t stand Paw Patrol, btw), while I feed the kitten and then clean the cat litter. I proceed to wake up my husband (on Monday’s and Wednesday’s; I stay up longer on Tuesday’s). There are the odd days where I think to myself, I could get in 25 minutes of yoga in, but then I either get busy playing with her, or cleaning up a bit, and by the time I’m done all that, I’m pooped! I’m sure anyone with small children know that doing a yoga routine with a 2 1/2 year old, is not an easy thing to do.

I have two favourite yoga DVD workouts that I love. I refuse to workout in public because I have some serious self-confidence issues that are mostly because I hate my body (another blog for another day). We have a very small house, and there isn’t a whole lot of room to do yoga, but I make it work. Anyways, my two favourite DVDs are Stratusphere Yoga and DDP Yoga. Both have similarities, but right now I’m using DDP Yoga (or DDPY).

What I love most about DDPY is that it’s challenging, and the only equipment you need is a yoga mat, some water and a heart rate monitor. I love that it’s challenging, and that the different DVD sets come with so many great routines, which target different areas or different reasons for doing yoga. Some are to help you gain mobility, balance, and flexibility. Some are there to build strength, and some are there for fat burning, and then you get the ones that do all of that. It’s amazing, and you can’t get bored. Diamond Dallas Paige is always coming out with new DVDs with new routines. And, you can modify every routine to make it your own and start of using the modifications that you need and work your way up to no longer needing those modifications. It’s amazing. I absolutely love it. It’s complex and doesn’t just focus on yoga. It’s an entire lifestyle change, promoting clean eating. The packages come with a chart for clean foods that you can eat, with portion sizes, and schedules, recipes, yoga chart, three different levels to help you achieve your goals. It’s amazing.

Stratusphere yoga is a bit quicker if you want it. There are five 10-minute workouts that you can choose from; Legs & Glutes, Ab & Core, Calves & Shoulders, Biceps & Triceps, and Chest & Back. You can even customize your routine from the menu. It’s been a while since I’ve done Stratusphere yoga. Now I’m thinking I need to whip this baby out and start working it. Lol!!

When I first started DDPY, I followed it to the best of my ability for two months. I know it doesn’t sound like long, but I saw and felt the results in a week. I had more energy, I felt my inches go down on my body. I just felt better. I was doing the clean eating as well. Gave up my precious Diet Coke, that was so hard for me. I got sick with hand, foot and mouth after my daughter managed to contract it, and I couldn’t do anything. My hands just burned in pain, and plus I was highly contagious, so food prep was difficult and my husband had no idea how to make my food. So I easily fell back into old habits, and I haven’t been able to get back on track since. Another reason is because for some dumb reason, non-processed, fresh foods are way more expensive when maintaining a clean-eating lifestyle, than it is to eat processed and junk foods. I’m thinking that is so backwards, that maybe if the processed and junk foods were more expensive and the fresh, non-processed stuff was less expensive, maybe there wouldn’t be an obesity issue among lower to mid-income families. I went from eating two meals a day with some shitty snack choices, to eating three well-balanced healthy meals and two healthy snacks a day. It added nearly an extra $200 a week, for just my food.  My daughter is a picky eater, which makes things difficult. I’m also a very picky eater, so following a list of foods and beverages that I can eat, was hard. There was lots of choices, but some foods I won’t eat. Which means I get bored faster with eating the same things over and over again.

Lets be real here, sometimes a girl just wants a giant plate of nachos (and if you knew how I made my nachos, you would see just how unhealthy, but delicious, they are). I’ll never really understand how some women can handle (or balance) being a working mom, who takes their kids to school, and then picks them up and takes them to their after school activities, making healthy meals, doing four or more loads of laundry, pinning crap on Pintrest, keeping the house perfectly clean, picking their kids up from said activities, going to the gym or yoga classes and getting sleep in. I’m going to have to call SHENANIGANS!!! It has to be as impossible as re-creating an “easy to do” Pintrest post. Impossible. I have one kid, and do not plan on having any more, and I can barely get the three loads of laundry I do on Saturday, folded and put away in the same week. I just cannot find the time to throw in a work-out routine.

The last time I did DDPY, I was doing it two to three times a week, and the very last time I did it with my daughter running around, she decided it was the best time to climb on my back during plank, and play “horsey”. Here I am, with my 30-Ibs toddler on my back, while in plank, and trying to slowly go down into cobra, and then push back into down dog, all the while trying not to dump her on the floor. I actually buggered up my back (even more than it has been, I’ve suffered back issues since I was 14) and my shoulder doing this. I would love to get her to do this with me, and maybe she will, however I just don’t see my little girl at the point in her life where she’s willing to listen to instruction and keep interest long enough to follow me or Diamond Dallas Paige on the television.

I love yoga. I love the way it makes me feel and I’m assuming my adorable hubs will agree, that I’m much more relaxed when I’m consistently doing it.  Maybe it’s time to get back into it. When I have 20-30 minutes, toss in the DDPY dvd, or if I only have 10 minutes, toss in the Stratusphere dvd. It probably couldn’t hurt me to work on my eating habits. Give up the pop again, and watch my portion sizes. Cut out the crap, but at the same time not deny myself completely. It’s time to start doing kettlebell again too. Baby steps, right? Maybe teach my daughter to do yoga with me, so then maybe I’ll be more motivated to do yoga, because it means we are spending time together and being active at the same time. I’ll post some links below so everyone can check out my favourite DVDs and even my favourite Kettlebell routine (which trust me, is killer, but excellent).

If anyone have any requests on topics for me to cover in a new blog, you can post it here in the comments, or hit me up on the twitter @OrcaDiva80. Thanks for reading!

DDP Yoga:   https://ddpyoga.com/

Stratusphere Yoga:    http://www.trishstratus.com/shop/dvds/dvdsy.htm

Favourite Kettlebell routine:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiC0zylTB0w&t=1s&index=5&list=WL

Beluga Palooza!!!!!

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Welcome back! I wanted to talk about a very special event taking place in Toronto on November 1st, 2017 at the Opera House. It’s a fundraising event to help the Phil Demers who is being sued by Marineland.

Belgua Palooza

The event is being put on by an amazing non-profit organization called Ontario Captive Animal Watch (aka OCAW). They are supporters of Phil Demers who spoke out against the treatment of the animals being held captive at the Niagara Falls amusement park called Marineland (Feel free to Google Toronto Star Marineland Investigation article). Phil took a huge risk after leaving his job of working with the Walruses for 12 years in order to speak out against the many issues that were taking place behind the scenes. The OSPCA have spent a large amount of time investigating this facility, however, with the lack of experience with Marine Mammals, have never placed any charges regarding the Belugas, Dolphins, Seals, Sea Lions, Walruses, and the one lone Orca. However, the OSPCA this past November charged Marineland with eleven counts of animal cruelty (guinea hens, peacocks, deers, and bears). The charges were dropped this past summer due to the excuse of “lack of public interest”. I can assure you, there was tons of public interest in this matter. With all that aside, Phil knew that once he went public to the Toronto Star, he would be sued by his former employer. And sure enough, he is. In turn, he is also counter-suing the facility, and it is extremely imperative that we get this lawsuit going in order to allow Phil and his lawyers to examine Marineland Owner and Operator, John Holer (google his name too) on the stand.

Directly from the Event page, here is the event description:

 

Come lend support for Phil Demers in his ongoing battle against Marineland!

This is sure to be an exciting evening full of fantastic music and events!

We are extremely pleased to have OMFG (Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost) and Kevin Foster in attendance to lend their exceptional talents in support of this event.

There will also be a silent auction, 50/50 draw, special guest appearances and a Q&A with Phil Demers.

In 2012, Phil Demers and several other former employee’s at Marineland came forward to expose their concerns regarding the treatment of the animals at Marineland. In doing so, they are now facing multi-million dollar civil suits – but have still not wavered.

Ontario Captive Animal Watch has been involved on several levels throughout this fight and we are also very concerned for these animals. We stand firm in our position and support these brave individuals, through and through, who have come forward and risked it all for those animals.

It is our position, that through these civil suits, we may be able to obtain pertinent information and documents to further assist the animals in the future.

COME JOIN US AND LEND YOUR SUPPORT!

*Tickets $35 (or $40 at door)

*19+ event

*Cash bar

*This is a charitable not for profit/educational event. All proceeds will go to Phil Demers to continue his fight for those animals.

The Opera House

735 Queen St. E

Toronto, ON

M4M 1H1

7pm to 10:30pm

If you look back on some of my past writings before I officially started this blog, you’ll see some of my writings about Marineland.

So if you’re in the Toronto or southern Ontario area, or even further but believe in the cause, please come out and join us at this amazing event. I’ll include links at the end so no googling is required.

I first got into this cause around the time the Marineland article came out in the Toronto Star, but I’ve always loved whales and all marine mammals ever since I was seven years old. This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart. All animals matter and it’s important that after decades of research of animals in captivity, the only thing that we have learned is, they just don’t belong in captivity. I’m not trying to be preachy here, but many people now days don’t want to see this barbaric practice (ok that was a little preachy). Places, like Marineland, that don’t seem to care about anything but profit, need to stop and evolve.

Thanks so much for reading, and please check out the links below, and hope that you all will check out the event.

https://www.facebook.com/ontariocaptiveanimalwatch/

https://www.facebook.com/events/1807791859511894/

https://www.thestar.com/news/investigations/marineland.html

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2012/08/15/marineland_animals_suffering_former_staffers_say.html

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/08/10/animal-cruelty-charges-dropped-against-marineland.html

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2012/08/17/exposing_horrors_at_marineland.html

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/marineland-sues-college-student-for-1m-over-unreleased-orca-film-1.3591042

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/03/05/marineland_owner_john_holer_shot_dead_neighbours_dogs_according_to_witnesses.html

http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/2011/04/04/body-found-in-trailer

Potty Training HELL!!!!!!!

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Well Hello! So I’m back with yet another one. I’m guessing it’s obvious as to which topic I am touching on this round.

Recently we have started potty training my 2 1/2 year old daughter. We started about a month ago and things started off not too bad. My mother bought a bunch of underpants for her so that we could skip the pull-ups, and we bought training pee-pads for dogs to put on our furniture in case of an accident (great idea btw), and we thought we were off to the races. The first day I think we had two, maybe three accidents, thankfully not on the couch. The underpants thing didn’t really work that well, as she just peed through them. So I decided to let her free-ball it. Without pants, diapers, all that wonderful stuff that keeps bodily fluids from landing on your floor. One accident like that, and my daughter didn’t enjoy the feeling of the warm liquid gold fluid running down her leg, after that, she’d run to the potty, which we moved from the bathroom to the living room to help her get used to it. For two weeks, we were doing super great with it. Until my parents house. My mom totally understood letting her run around with nothing on her bottom half, as the idea of underpants was still not something my daughter was grasping, my dad however, was uncomfortable looking at his granddaughter’s whoo-ha. I think he missed the point of the reasoning behind it. So he was nice enough to go and buy her a couple of sun dresses to wear as a cover-up and then they were on a roll with her too.  All of a sudden, she just decides she wasn’t going to do it anymore. Some days she was good and used the potty, and others diapers was the word. I still kept asking her frequently if she needed to go potty and I would get “no mommy!” After doing it every 15 minutes, she would get more aggressive with her “NO MOMMMY!!!!” The hubs was very much like my dad, that letting her run around bare-bottomed was an uncomfortable situation for him, so the pull-ups or diaper would go back on.

Needless to say we have hit some road blocks, and it doesn’t help that I have no freaking idea what I’m doing, that clearly going pee on the potty is something I’ve taken for granted because (with the exception of a few sneezes during pregnancy, and maybe the odd one after), I haven’t peed my pants in over 34-35 years. It’s just something we’ve always known.  It’s been a very tough go as of late and we have since taken a break. Any tips would be wonderful, for the record. Lol!!

So here is what we know and what we’ve done thus far:

1) We’ve let her free ball it (go bottomless)

2) Don’t yell when accidents happen, or say “ewww gross!!!”

3) Rewarded her at the beginning (1 smartie for sitting on the potty, 2 for a pee on the potty and 3 for a poopie on the potty). We stopped doing that after awhile and she didn’t even notice.

4) Moved the potty so it was in sight which kept it in her mind.

5) Asked/Reminded her frequently (every 15 minutes) if she needed to use the potty

6) Don’t force it on her.

7) Try to implement a routine (When she wakes up, we put her right on the potty, and go from there)

I’m sure we aren’t doing everything we should be doing, but we are doing what we know, and I think that all of us need to sit down and make sure that we have the same routine in place. Mornings are hard for both my husband and I, as we are not morning people. But we need to at least make the attempt. My parents have River two nights a week, and they need to be a part of the routine planning as well. I know we’ve tried, WE need to all try harder, without forcing our daughter/granddaughter to do it if she isn’t ready for it. I’m not sure if she’s ready or not, I’m certainly ready. My pocketbook (yeah I said pocketbook and no I’m not 80) is ready to stop buying diapers.

Needless to say this whole experience is stressful for me, and my daughter as well. We just really want this transition to go smoothly for everyone involved. Everything with her has been super easy, until this point. So if this is the first major issues of transitioning her from one thing to another that we are having a struggle with, I guess I should count my blessings. Formula to regular milk, baby food to normal food, crawling to walking to running, all went smoothly.

 

***Addition*** Since Thursday, things have been going quite well with the potty work. As much as mornings are hard on my hubs and myself, we will do our best to make sure that she’s using the potty. However today, our daughter did something my husband wasn’t quite ready for… She brought the pot full of her pee to him, however he was in the bathroom and had no idea that she was standing behind the door, which happens to open into the kitchen and the pot full of pee went everywhere. Lmao! I’m sorry this is funny to me, but I couldn’t laugh because as he is telling me this I could see the frustration on his face. Pee 1- Daddy 0, hahaha!! Oh god He’ll read this and probably kill me. We will continue this trek through potty training hell, and hopefully by Christmas she will be the Potty-Princess!!

That’s it for now. Any potty training tips on what worked for a quick transition is very much welcomed. You can comment here or hit me on the Twitter @OrcaDiva80.

 

Shopping: Online vs. In-Store

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Hey, I know it’s been a while since I wrote a blog. Life just gets super busy being a working mom and all.  I have so many topics that I wish to talk about but just no time to actually put them into words.  However, news recently broke that toy giant, Toys R Us is filing for bankruptcy, which is a shame. So I’ve decided to take a look at the reasons as to why. My guess is, people shop online for multiple reasons.

1) Time: With most households having parents who work full-time, shopping can be time-consuming and takes away time with the kids. Some work 40-plus hours a week, which makes shopping tiring, and inconvenient. So, we shop online. I do a majority of my Christmas and birthday shopping online because I work nights. I can’t just go to a store whenever I feel like it because I have a limited time to do so, and then I feel rushed. Sure I could go on my days off, but I have my daughter and doing shopping for Christmas and her birthday is, well not easy. Especially when it comes to the surprise aspect of it all. I’m sure many other parents feel the same way.

2) It’s Too Peopley Out There: Don’t judge the new-age term of too many people, I like the word/phrase. I’m someone who often does not want human interactions. I like to be left alone while shopping, I don’t want wasteful conversation while checking out. I also don’t want to be rude either, so there are days, when I will choose to shop online in-order to avoid people. To avoid lines, crappy conversation, being accosted in stores while shopping for clothes (which as a bigger girl, sucks to begin with and I’m happier shopping alone or with a friend I’ve chosen to bring with me). If I have to run into a store for a few food items and I’ve just come from work, if the option is there and I’m not in the mood for people, I will do the self check-out. I don’t do it all the time, but it’s there for those kinds of days.

3) Price: Toys R Us, is way more expensive than Walmart, or in the United States, Target. Part of the problem with Toys R Us is cost. I’ve gone in there and found a WWE action figure priced at $18.99 for one figure, and then found it in Walmart for $14.99. Where am I likely to buy it? Walmart, right? Exactly. My daughter’s superhero girls that she likes, are cheaper by two-dollars at Walmart. Sure to some of you two-dollars is nothing, but a lot of families are struggling, and two-dollars adds up.

Ex 1: Toys R Us Canada

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Ex 2: Walmart:

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These are the same doll, both from the Canadian Toys R Us and Walmart websites, and there is $5.02 difference in price.

 

4) Content: Both my husband and I are avid toy collectors, and we have a 2 1/2 year old girl who has a very specific taste in toys as well. My hubs collects Transformers, and I wrestling figures (and I’m very particular). My daughter loves The Octonauts, and the Wiggles. She’s just beginning to expend her tastes and recently has added Doc McStuffins, Puppy Dog Pals and Paw Patrol to her list of favourties. All three of us have our favourite Superheroes as well. Where we are here in Canada, we have basically two choices for in-store shopping: Walmart and Toys R Us. You cannot find anything Wiggles in Canada, with the exception of odd DVD. So, I had to order her her Emma doll for last Christmas from an Australian site. The Hubs and I have also gone hunting for Octonaut toys and have had such a hard time finding them in either Walmart or Toys R Us, so we’ve had to go to Amazon.ca in order to get certain ones for our daughter. They’re hard to find.

If the stores, especially here in Canada, carried updated and current content in toys (focusing on toys, since this is mostly because of Toys R Us),  maybe people wouldn’t have to go online as frequently in order to find certain and newer toys. Neither Walmart or Toys R Us up in our area ever have updated and new Wrestling figures or Transformers. They still have figures that were released three years ago that just sit there on the shelf. Clearly not moving. If you have a full row of John Cena figures (for the record, I hate John Cena, and own nothing of his likeness) that have sat there for three years, it’s time to write them off and either send them back to the manufacturer or take the loss and donate them to underprivileged kids. They need to cycle out the stock. My hubs has the same issues with Transformers, he’ll go in, and they’ll have the same ones that were released two series ago, or longer. It’s frustrating.

These are probably the biggest reasons, and I’m sure there are other reasons as well. I do know that these are my reasons. I feel shitty that Toys R Us is going bankrupt because I do love going to the store and taking my little girl and seeing her just take it all in. She too loves going to Toys R Us, and is something she will likely never experience again. It’s a shame really.

Seriously I promise I will try to be more active as I have tons of things to say and having such a wonderful outlet, such as this, makes it so much easier and maybe even a bit therapeutic, so I will do my best.  Actually I might just LEAP into another one right now.

Take it Easy and I would love to have some feedback. My Twitter is @OrcaDiva80

 

New Blog Format… First Edition of Straight Fire

Straight Fire Logo

Welcome to my very first solo blog attempt. Lol!! I say solo because before this, I spent nine years writing a wrestling blog with three of my closest guy friends called the Fatal 4-Way. It was a fantastic nine years but just got to be too much at the time. Now I’m venturing out of my comfort zone and into an unknown. This blog will be about everything, and anything. It won’t be about wrestling, although I’m sure I will do some wrestling. But first let’s get to know me a bit.

My name is Sarah, I’m newly married, and have a 2 1/2-year-old little girl. She is my life. I’m a security guard at a condo and I could probably do a few blogs on just what I’ve seen in my 12 years here. I’m an animal rights activist, although I’m not a crazy one. I love wrestling, and some sports, I love dogs, I love humour. I want to share stories and jokes and commentary on things that either make me laugh, mad, or just questioning in general. I am a very creative person who, since having my daughter, has struggled to keep my creativity going, so I’m hoping I can refuel that with this type of creative outlet. I am very family oriented. Family comes first, always. I’m stubborn, funny, have issues, I’d like to think some wisdom, and a bit nutty.

I want this blog to be honest, fun, full of humour, and even crazy at times. I can be very opinionated and stubborn. You may not always like what I have to say, and that’s ok. I’m not a fan of stupid people, and I’m sure you will get a lot of posts about the people who live in the city where I live because it’s a horrible city full of stupid. I can make it humourous however. I have tons of ideas for this blog, but also welcome ideas and questions as well.

I’m not setting a schedule for my posts, but I’m sure they’ll start off quite frequently, lol. For now, this is my introduction. I plan on writing about various topics, wedding planning, marriage, motherhood, life with a toddler, work, favourite products, favourite places, animals, wrestling, other sports, family, holidays, dieting, etc.. So hopefully I can make people laugh and maybe even cry. I hope I can inspire people as well. I don’t want every blog to be too serious, but I’m sure some will be, as I plan on making this my safe place where I can express myself, whether it’ll be ups or downs. Some blogs maybe short, some might be long. Some will have photos and some won’t. So wish me luck as I embark on this epic journey of craziness.

See You Next Time; Don’t forget to just enjoy life!

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Pay-offs and Bullying Marineland Style!

Pay-offs and Bullying

Marineland Style!

On August 10th, 2017, Marineland was back in court once again for the 11 charges by the OSPCA for animal cruelty. Back in July, the pre-trial was closed to media and the public after asking for multiple adjournments since back in January. The case is closed. Sources who were present at the courthouse say that Marineland attorney and the Crown attorney went into a back room and then came out and POOF!!! All charges were dropped because the Crown felt they couldn’t get a conviction and that it wasn’t in the “interest of the public to pursue”. One; Who are they to say that the public isn’t interested in this being seen through? Because I know a ton of people who wanted to see this through. Two; The OSPCA wouldn’t have 11 charges of animal cruelty and brought their case to the court, unless they had signficant evidence. My thoughts? Well I’m fucking pissed off. I know some are feeling like this might make people say “why bother reporting animal cruelty when the OSPCA can’t do shit about it?” or stuff along those lines. Well no matter the case, always report animal cruelty.

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For years now Marineland has been in the forefront of their sub-standard care of their animals. The OSPCA has not laid any charges pertaining to their marine mammal collection, as it is in my opinion, that they do not have anyone on their staff who would know these animals enough to know what they’re looking for. The lack of experts in that area of the animal kingdom makes it difficult. That’s no excuse, the OSPCA received $5.5 million dollars for their “zoo task force” and yet nothing has been done to bring in any sort of experts to actually properly investigate these places.

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I’m not sure I can completely blame the OSPCA for today’s miscarriage of justice, that lands on the lap of the Crown attorney.

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What happened in the backroom? What deals or pay-off transpired? We will never know but I know we can speculate and from all the posts I’ve read from very angry people regarding the breaking news earlier yesterday, that we are all on the same page. Marineland bullied the Crowned into dropping the charges. One post I read was from someone who was in the court room at the time;

“Crown sided with Marineland’s promise that a lengthy, costly legal pursuit is not in the best interest of the public. Dropped charges. Bullied!”

Other comments I read were along the lines of:

“Makes you wonder who was paid off in this deal!”

“Who is paying these prosecutors? Are they blind? There are countless reasonable chances of conviction if they just opened their eyes and stopped being baited by money.”

“Disgusting and infuriating. What a complete failure of the justice system when facts and mass amounts of evidence are overlooked in interest of a corporation.”

If we are all thinking the same thing, then we all must be on to something, right? I truly believe that Marineland will do anything to get what they want. I bet they are well versed in the line, “How much do you want to make this go away?” Is it a mob-based mentality? Maybe! But money talks, and it talks a lot. It shouldn’t when it comes to the welfare of animals or humans, but the truth of the matter is, it does. If the Crown pursues this, then it will cost them and the public so much money because Marineland will make it a lengthy trial and yadda-yadda-yadda!! Probably a threat to sue the Crown, probably threatened to sue or will actually sue the OSPCA, because that’s what Marineland does. They are well-known for their bullying tactics. They don’t give a shit who you are, whether you’re a well-respected newspaper, or an 18-year old college student, they’ll sue you.

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I also feel like if they didn’t have the case heard in the Niagara Region, things may have turned out differently. I personally wish that they had taken it out of the Niagara Region and had presented it in Toronto. There is just too much corruption in Niagara Falls because the city revolves around money. If you listen to all the arguments at the senate hearings for Bill 80 or Bill S-203, every argument will always have something to do with the Niagara Falls economy being threatened if Marineland loses its animals and/or closes. They fear that the tourism industry will suffer greatly if anything happens to Marineland. Well I’m pretty sure that Niagara Falls has a lot more going for it than an out of date amusement park where the rides are far and few in between and usually broken down, and animals who are suffering and a bad reputation for their treatment of animals (charges or no charges), and an owner who is so far off his rocker with reality that he’s become a major joke. The empty parking lot week after week says a lot. Yet, I’m pretty sure Niagara Falls tourism is still booming. I know a lot of people who go there and don’t go to Marineland because there are other stuff to do. Closing Marineland will not hurt the tourism industry for fuck sakes!!

I think I’ve ping-ponged many times throughout this. I have so many random thoughts going through my head that they are just ending up here without rhyme or reason. I am just so fucking pissed off and disheartened and disgusted about the outcome today. I’ve read so much about what happened and I keep drawing the same conclusions over and over. The Crown was bullied. They were either bullied or paid off. End of story. Corruption and greed reign supreme!

It’s not fair that the Crown dropped the charges with the excuse that it’s not in the best interest of the public, because it isn’t about us. The public is very interested in this case and want to see justice be done. But it’s not about the best interest of us, the public. It’s about the best interest and welfare of the animals that are suffering in that place and in all zoos. So what can we do? Call and/or write the Crown attorney and flat-out tell them they were wrong and that these charges against Marineland should never been dropped. That we ARE interested in this case and that we are extremely disappointed and disgusted with their decision.

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Do it! Call and write. We will not give up fighting for these animals until they are all in the safety of a sanctuary and that hell hole is closed.

Why? Why Kiska?

Why? Why Kiska?

By: Sarah

kiska

“For Man Cannot Give Wild Animals Freedom, They Can Only Take It Away.”
Jacques-Yves Cousteau

I’ve been trying to write this for a while. I have already done a blog on Kiska’s history and her story, but there was no passion, there was nothing from my heart. Her story is sad and horrifying, and I will never be able to get past her life. All I want for her is to get her happy ending. To be free from the concrete tank where she is merely existing.

Why does this single animal mean so much to me? Why does she mean so much to others? And, what does she mean to Canada?

Obviously I cannot answer for other people who love and fight for her, but I will take a guess that their reasoning isn’t that different from my own.

Kiska has been an inspiration. She’s a reason to never give up no matter how tough life gets. To never give up on her, and to never give up on myself. She has fought so hard to live, even if it’s just in that tank. She is still fighting the heartbreak from watching all five of her babies die before the age of six.The loneliness she feels. Watching tank mate after tank mate die or be taken away to another park. She’s had to fight for space against other orcas she didn’t get along with. Fight through losing the only person, her former trainer, who paid attention to her and genuinely loved her. She has not given up on herself, so why should we?

There are a lot of us who haven’t given up. We trudge on for her, to make things better. To do right by her. There are some amazing people right down in the trenches fighting for her in Canada’s Federal Government system, and those same people fought for her in the province in which she is trapped in. I am very lucky to call these incredible people my friends, and that is because of Kiska.

There are times that I feel that I haven’t been able to do more for her. I don’t have the means to up and leave and go to our nation’s capitol with my friends to stand before our Government. But I really wanted to be there. It killed me that I couldn’t. I’ve battered through depression because I feel that I’m not doing enough for Kiska, that she deserves more from me. There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by where she isn’t on my mind, or that I’m not racking my brain for some way to bring her story to a wider audience, or get someone who has a huge public following to come on board and be her voice along with us. There isn’t a time where I am laying in bed, not thinking about her. I’m always thinking of her, of what I can do for her. I’m always left with, it’s not enough. Kiska deserves so much from me.

Kiska has inspired passion. Passion that reignited my love for orcas. I’ve never stopped loving these amazing animals. I fell in love with orcas when I was seven years old. It’s funny how life just gets in the way and although you never stop loving them, you just don’t have the time to pay attention. But it was Kiska, and her former trainer, Christine, who were able to bring back my passion. Another former trainer, Phil, came forward in the summer of 2012, exposing Marineland in a newspaper, and that was the catalyst which brought me to the fight. Both who I need to give credit to. Both have put a lot on the line. I’ve known Phil for some time now, and I’m so proud of the work he’s done, for the risks he has taken. I just recently met Christine for the first time in January, after attending a court hearing with my amazing friends I mentioned above, and I was in such awe of her. I went back to being shy, and just couldn’t get over how in awe I was. I really wanted to talk to her to get to know her more, and hear stories of her life with Kiska. I got to see that she’s a beautiful, bright, caring, and funny person in the brief time that I got to sit down with her. I so do admire her and her courage. I am notorious for chickening out, in person, when it comes to sharing my feelings. Both Christine and Phil have had it rough, yet they’re still standing and fighting. Kiska and Christine are two very strong, and very courageous females.

Courage is Kiska. She shows that every single day that she’s stuck in that concrete prison. Her courage is all the tragedy that she has endured; being kidnapped away from her family in Iceland, watching all of her babies die, being alone with no tank mates for the past six years. Courage comes with dealing with the painful dental procedures every day. She has no teeth left from dealing with the stress of captivity, and now, what’s left of her teeth, need attention for health reasons. This one animal, is dealing with so much stress that wild orca do not have to endure. Kiska is still there, swimming endless counter-clockwise circles in her pool, everyday. With no shelter from the hot sun, nothing to stimulate her mind except the occasional rubber tire on bungee cords that a trainer may or may not put in for her to play with, she doesn’t vocalize, she doesn’t jump or do tricks. No family. Just a rotating door of trainers and strangers who gawk at her. How is this living? How heartless does one have to be, to think that this is OK? To just turn a blind eye to this amazing, beautiful and majestic animal? How can anyone look at her and not feel sadness, heartbreak, and anger? It baffles me. The excuses from certain people, sicken me.

What does Kiska mean to Canada? Everything.

She represents change. Change that has happened, change that is happening, and, hopefully, future change on a global scale.

In the spring of 2015, Ontario passed Provincial Bill-80, banning the importation, exploitation and breeding of Orcas in Ontario. A ban that was inspired by Kiska, but unfortunately did not include her. It’s not over for her yet. There are physical (non-Internet) petitions going around to have the Bill amended to include her.

It doesn’t stop there. Currently a Federal Bill, S-203, is being presented and read in the Senate to ban all whale and dolphin captivity in Canada. This Bill isn’t just about Kiska, but she is the main reason, and inspiration behind it. Because of her, all captive held dolphins, and countless beluga whales, and any other whales being held in the two main captive facilities in Canada, will all have a chance, and the end of the captive whale and dolphin industry will end. It’s still ongoing, and nothing is passed yet, but I am very hopeful.

What about the future? Kiska may not ever see complete freedom, but I am hopeful, yet cautiously optimistic, that she will see and feel the ocean one day. That she will get to live out her life feeling the tides change, the mysterious world below her, hear other whales and dolphins, feel the fresh air that isn’t tainted with chlorine. That she will, indeed, get her happy ending.

Kiska is an inspiration to keep fighting. To fight through the hard times, because there is hope. There are people fighting either for or along side you. To never give up yourself, or on others. To keep passion. To be courageous. To make, and force change. This is Why Kiska. This is why I need to keep on fighting for her.

“I Prefer Dangerous Freedom Over Peaceful Slavery”

-Thomas Jefferson

Kiska Facts

-Kiska was captured in 1979, at the age of approximately 3 years old, and sold to Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada in 1980.

-She has had 5 calves; *Her first calf, died just 2 months after he was born. *Kanuck, her second calf, died at the age of 4. *Nova, died at the age of 4 years and 9 months. *Hudson was her longest surviving calf who died at 6 years of age. *Athena, was her last calf, and only daughter, and she died in the spring of 2009 at the age of 4 and a half years old.

-Sea World loaned 4-year old Ikaika to Marineland in 2006 for breeding with Athena. However, out of concern for his mental and physical health, Sea World ordered to have Ikaika returned. Marineland refused to comply, so Sea World took them to court and won. Ikaika returned to Sea World San Diego in November 2011.

Kiska has not seen another orca since then. She has spent 6 years completely alone.

-Kiska is the ONLY orca to live 100% alone in the entire world. It is illegal, and considered cruel in most countries to keep an orca alone. Orcas are highly social animals, who live in complex social groupings. Only two other orcas, Lolita and Kshamenk, live without another orca, however both have dolphin companions living with them.

-Kiska has no teeth, as she has grounded them down from chewing on the sides of her pool. A common practice done by orcas in captivity due to high stress from living in an unnatural environment.

-Kiska is the ONLY orca held in captivity in all of Canada.

Grieving For My Grandfather

“There is a sacredness in tears.

They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.

They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.

They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”

Washington Iriving

Someone recently told me the grieving process is said to be phases, not stages, because you back and forth. Those words have stayed in my mind because that’s exactly what I feel like is going on with me. One day I am fine, the next I’m sad, and then I’m angry, and then confused, and all of that gets mixed up, and I never know what the next day is going to bring.

I don’t feel like I was robbed of time with my Grandpa Earl, but I feel that I was robbed of my time to say good-bye and to tell him how I feel about him. I stood there next to him in the hospital, with the time to say it, but with the complete denial about what could possibly happen overtaking any of my rationalle. I could have told him I loved him, but I didn’t. I was scared.

I’m choosing to write because I find it’s an easier way for me to express myself. For me to get the words and feelings out in a private way, and then publically, as to not show my physical grief. My tears will flow during this writing, and I’m sure I’ll be sobbing as well. But I’m getting everything I can down on paper, so that I can share my grief with my closest friends and family. Then I truly believe, I will be ok. I know these things take time, and time will heal this heartache, but for now, I’m using this outlet in order to help me heal.

This is my Grandpa! Earl Garnet Martin, carpener, cabinet maker, creative genius, former navy dude (I honestly have no clue what you call them….Petty officers???). My Grandpa

Born to Merlin and Blanche Martin on March 31, 1929. Younger brother to Donald and older brother to Wayne.

brothers

(Wayne, Don, and Grandpa Earl)

He met my Grandma Joyce in 1946 while skating at a local rink in Grimsby. My Grandfather love my Grandmother so much. They married January 27, 1951, and stayed together for nearly 55 years, until my Grandmother’s passing in October of 2005.

wedding day

(Wedding Day January 27, 1951)

They would have two daughters together, Debra and Joy. They raised their girls to be strong independent women. My aunt Debra is currently an editor of a newspaper in Comox Valley in British Columbia, and my mom is enjoying retirement and being an amazing Grandmother to my daughter, River.

family photo

(My mom, Grandma, Grandpa & Aunt Deb)

Christmas 1999

(Christmas 1999, Aunt Deb, Grandma, Mom, and Grandpa)

For as long as I can remember, my Grandfather has always been a huge part of my life. I was born just two days before his 51st birthday in 1980.

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(Grandpa Earl and I, a week after I was born, 1980)

Since then we have shared a total of 36 birthday’s together. I remember my mom apologizing to me a few years ago about never really celebrating my birthday on it’s own, but to be honest, I loved sharing my birthday with my grandfather. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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(Me age 5, Grandpa Earl age 56…hence just the 5 & 6 on the cake)

I loved that it wasn’t just me on my birthday because I didn’t always like being the centre of attention as I got older. I actually preferred to just sit back, and let my Grandpa shine. He did. Because he’s the brightest man I know.

He always had such a funny way of doing things with me. I have so many amazing memories that I will obviously cherish, but it was Grandpa Earl who introduced me to cold canned pasta, like Alphaghetti and Zoodles. My Grandmother would go to get her hair done and do some shopping downtown, we would drop her off and go back to the house where Grandpa would have to feed me lunch. Well he wasn’t exactly a kitchen guru, so it was either him opening up a can of Zoodles, and sticking them in a bowl and giving it to me, or we would have brown sugar sandwiches. I still eat my canned pasta cold. I refuse to heat it up. YUCK!! As for the brown sugar sandwiches, I’ll pass. I don’t think I could bring myself to eat that. For those times when we waited for Grandma, I would climb into the front seat of the giant brown station wagon (aka the Bat Mobile), and sit on the middle arm rest next to Grandpa Earl and we would play “I Spy With My Little Eye…”. I think he cheated a few times. Lol!! Taking his dentures out and chasing me when I was really little, and being the only person who I would let put eye drops in my eyes whenever I had eye infections. He taught me how to spit watermelon seeds. Most of the time we’d spit in the sink, but there were those odd times, Grandma would walk behind us, and we’d turn and let her have it. She used to get so mad.

I spent a lot of time at their house. Overnights on some weekends, when mom and dad would go away for a week, New Years Eves, we spent countless Christmas eve’s and days in that house. Birthday’s, and my weekly visits to see Grandpa. My Grandmother died in that house surrounded by us. Clogging with Grandma in the spare room (aka my room, then became Grandpa’s room), playing in the barn with Grandpa, helping plant snap dragons, and when Grandpa would be working in his workshop downstairs in the basement, I’d sit on the steps until he was done with a machine, and then I would take the little brush and clean the saw dust away from his ban saw or lathe. To this day, the smell of saw dust, wood chips, all that, reminds me of Grandpa Earl. He was a very hard worker. He would do work for other people all day, five days a week, and then come home, have dinner, and then work on their house, so that my Grandmother could have that log cabin, early American looks she always wanted. I would spend Saturday nights there, and would watch hockey with Grandpa, and then run and watch The Carol Burnett show reruns, or Benny Hill (yeah not really appropriate for 5/6 year old, lol). Their house, was my home for 35 years until Grandpa sold it in 2015.

The House

He did all that work. The floors, the ceiling, installed the woodstove, tables and armours, wainscotting, the cabinets in the kitchen, the two front bay windows, the board and batton siding, the shudders. Everything. The people who moved in, tore it all out. Breaks my heart completely. I wish we could have kept the house in our family. It’s ruined now.

Grandpa Earl’s talent exceeded anyones. He was talented and creative and could make literally anything. Stairs, floors, vanities, ducks, bears, Mounties, beds, dressers, bookcases, floors, walls, coopalas, you name it, he probably made it. In 1993, he gave me one of two of my most cherished possessions; my Orca. And in the mid 2000’s (the year escapes me at this moment), he and my dad made me a four poster bed, that matched theirs, because I loved their bed so much.

Grandpas Creattions

(My Orca whale, and yes he’s wearing a Santa hat, it was Christmas, My bed,

Grandpa & Cousin Jimmy with the bear he made, Canada Goose, and the Mountie that is

now at my Brother and Brother-in-law’s trailer)

What I miss the most about Grandpa Earl was his goofiness. His way of making me laugh and smile, even when I was having a bad day. His love for my Grandmother. I’ve never seen a love like that. Reminds me of a movie because to me it was perfect. They were both so good together. They bickered, and nagged and teased each other, but their love never changed. Seeing my grandfather heartbroken after Grandma died was probably the hardest for me to see. He spent nearly ten and a half years missing her, but still loving her. That’s true love right there.

Grandpa Earl was the first person I told about being pregnant. He said he knew already, that he had suspected it. He was excited for the arrival of his first and only Great-Grandchild. I would go over there and he would ask me how I was feeling, and try and feed me chocolate, or anything really. He would get excited to see the sonogram pictures because they didn’t have that when he had children or even grandchildren. It was all knew to him. I never asked him whether or not he thought he was going to have a great-granddaughter or great-grandson. I don’t think it mattered to him. When River Joyce (named after my Grandma Joyce) was born, I hadn’t seen him that happy since before my Grandmother got sick and passed away. I was able to give her her first 14 months of life and his last 14 months of life time together. Giving him memories and stories to take with him when he left us to tell my Grandmother when they finally were together again. Those are the memories I cherish most. That I was able to make him so happy once again. He loved River so much. He would make her laugh and smile, and he would get down on the floor with her when she was in her excersaucer and play with her. Two days before he died, he was dancing to The Wiggles in my parents livingroom with River. I loved seeing his smile back, and I will miss that immensely. My Grandpa Earl, became River’s Grandpa-Great! Because he was great!!

Grandpa Great and River

Maybe those 14 months is what he was waiting for. He wanted to have a great-grandchild before letting go. I know it’s unlikely River will remember him on her own, but that’s where it becomes my job to keep these photos for her, and tell her just how much she meant to him, and how much he loved her.

Grieving is a hard process, and a timely one. One I feel maybe I haven’t allowed myself to do. I’m so tired. Tired of not sleeping well, tired of feeling guilty for not grieving the same way I did for my Grandma Joyce, confused as to why I’m not. Tired of sadness hitting me at the most inappropriate times, tired of being locked up in my mind because I don’t want to upset or scare River. Tired of the anger, and depression. Tired of the fears. Worst part is, I’m not even sure what I’m afraid of. My bestie, Colleen, came over to help me with River one afternoon, just after Grandpa died, and while I was fixing River her dinner, everything was just going wrong and I was getting so frustrated and dropping things and spilling things. I eventually got so angry, that I whipped the bowl and spoon filled with mushy sweet potatoes into the sink and got it all up the wall, all over me, and River saw that. She was scared of me. She was scared of that anger. Colleen stepped in and took over while I took off to the front porch to just give myself a time-out. It had nothing to do with River, or the food, it was just everything hitting me all at once. Losing my focus, and losing my cool. I was so glad Colleen was there to catch me when I fell by just taking over with River. I think seeing her afraid of me like that, is a major reason as to why I haven’t allowed myself to let this grief out.

Grandpa Earl wasn’t a man who used the words “I Love You,” but I never questioned it. I always knew he loved me and yeah sometimes I wished he had said it but he never needed to. I still think he needed to hear me say those words to him. So many times I tried. I’d leave a visit and think, “say it, just tell him you love him.” Instead I would chicken out. I missed that last opportunity, and I will regret that. I regret not telling him that I loved him, that worshipped him, that I admired him. This is my way of getting it out in the open. That my grandfather, was silly, strong, stubborn, comforting, funny, accepting, carefree, free-spirited, laid back, daring, creative, talented, artistic, loyal, a caretaker, a rock, a storyteller. He loved Christmas. He enjoyed being around his family. He and my Grandma Joyce were my heroes. They were amazing Grandparents to both my brother and I.

moms wedding day

I take solace in knowing that he is with my Grandmother again.

Going through photos for this tribute to him, I realized that 2015’s Christmas was the Last Christmas we shared with him. I’m so glad that we took that family photo that year with the additions of Mathew, River and my brother-in-law, Rob. I hope that last Christmas for him was as good and fun as all the ones before it.

Last Christmas 2015

The last picture that was taken of Grandpa Earl, is also the first picture of him holding River. He never picked her up or held her until our last birthday and Easter together, just a few weeks before he died. Grandpa was afraid he might drop her or hurt her. I never had those fears but I trusted him to know what his limits were. I turned around and there he was, holding River, and I quickly snapped pictures. They’re a bit blurry, but I don’t care. I have those three photos, and those are treasured.

first and last

“It’ll all be okay in the end.

If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

John Lennon

No matter what, losing him will not make me forget him, and his life. It will not make me forget the thirty-six birthday’s we shared together. It will not make me forget the love he had for my daughter, his great-granddaughter. It will never make me forget his support, his love, his advice, his jokes, his laugh, his smile. It will never take those thirty-six years away from me. Grandpa Earl was the best Grandfather I could ever have asked for. Thank-you Grandpa Earl Garnet Martin for being the Best Grandfather ever. I’ll always love and miss you.

March 31, 1929 to April 16, 2016