Wednesday, 29 April 2015

An unread letter

Dear Mother in law...

Though I have never met you, I have thought about you countless times. I only know you through stories and the photographs my husband holds dear. What do I know about you? I know that you were an incredibly loving mother who dedicated your life to your children and husband. You were a wonderful mother and friend to both your children. My husband, your son, has told me many stories of the happy times of dinners and movies together.

He was a mommies boy through and through. I know as his mother you will always hold a huge part of his heart and I will share what remains and take it in honor. How I wish I could have known you. Known the magnificent woman who raised such a man. I have never known any man to have such kindness in his heart and such a need for the ones he loves to be happy. When asked why he is such a good man his answer is always the same, "My mother".

I often wonder, would you like me? The woman who captured your sons heart. Would we have gotten along? I couldn't say I am the perfect wife, I am not sure anyone is exactly perfect, but I sure know I try. I love him unconditionally and more every day. I believe we have missed out on each other. It saddens me to no end. I feel I could have learned a lot from you, about who you are, who your son is and about life in general. He holds you in such high regard... I only wish I could have known you.

I know you would be proud of who he has become. His heart is no longer in constant agony. He has blossomed into a new person and we have  two beautiful little girls who in many ways resemble him perfectly. At times they are the spitting image of their father and I believe that you would have loved them immensely as only a Grandmother could. I wish you could see what joy having a family brings to him. I wish you could see what he means to all of us.

I will do my best to make you proud as well. I will always long for an acceptance I will never get. My life will be for my family, for him. You have raised the man of my dreams and for that I am eternally grateful.

Until the day we meet.....
                                                                                                                   
Your loving daughter in law

Dora Pajaro





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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Wishful thinking

There are certain things in my life I have just had to have. Things I have seen in a store, things I have seen in Venice. The ones that do not leave your mind and you just have to have them. 

These are my things and I wanted to share them with you all

When in Venice I saw a man who was selling paintings and they struck something in me. I couldnt stop thinking of them. I bought one the second time I was in Venice. I had always wished I had bought more. I even looked him up on the internet to no avail. Our third visit I hunted him down. And I found him!! These are the paintings that stuck in my head for years. There is just something about how he works with color that has me sucked in. This is the first one I bought



These are the ones we bought our last trip in Venice. 




Even just looking at them now they make me smile. It sounds funny that one just has to have something, but these, these at whatever cost I had to have. I love them. I can not wait to frame them properly




The second item I had to have is a ring. From the moment I was a little girl I wanted a big fancy ring. When I found the ring I wanted, knowing my husband, it was only a matter of time. He made it happen. 

Its beautiful! I love it.   





Now I am not a spoiled girl who gets everything she asks for. It would be nice. But lets get real here. We struggle like any other family out there. He has just seemed to make these things happen for me.

I have never been a girl who is into all the brand names.I am far from the pinnacle of fashion. I do not have to have a Louis Vuitton purse of $3000 or a $400 pair of True Religion jeans. But every girl does have certain things that they wish for.

Out of Designer items I never had much of a list. There were only 3 items


                                                   1.  Something from Tiffanys


     2.  A pair of Manolo Blahnik's





     3.  A pair of Christian Louboutin's



Now I am not unreal in expectations. I know that these are items of a "Dream" list. They are beyond any rational price for a pair of shoes or even jewelry.


But as a girl, I am sure, we all have these lists. 



I have received one item on this list. I got this bracelet for Christmas.



Tiffanys!!!!

YAY





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Thursday, 23 April 2015

A dream and a hook

I have always been a crafty person. Since I became a mom those things faded away. It wasn't until I wound up taking almost a year off work that I found something in me I never knew existed. A certain talent that would end up making me very happy.

My sister had started crocheting blankets. She was damn good at it. She made everyone in the family a blanket. I asked her how she learned how to do it and she said "I learned from you tube".  Sitting at home with my children for the better part of the year I started thinking... I think I can teach myself to crochet too. I was battling depression and desperate for something to occupy my thoughts. I started watching a video. I bought my materials and I thought, you bet, I am ready. I made the most horrendous disaster of a hat there could be. I can now laugh at the atrocity is was and is, however at the time I was mighty pissed off. We now joke if you starched it, one could probably use it as a fruit bowl.



I watched the video and tried again. It worked. I made half a hat and I decided right away that I wanted to go bigger. I looked at a pattern for a My Little Pony hat. I thought.... if someone else can do this, I sure as hell can too. I bought the pattern for $5.99 and my journey started. 

In the courses I was taking for depression they talked about positive thinking, it was what we were going over for the week. I thought alot about it as I started this hat. It was not an easy feat. I went from a beginner pattern to something quite out of my league instantly. But this is who I am. Go big or go home right. I tackled that hat with everything I had in myself. It was difficult and there were many times I wanted to give up and say f this, I am done. But I thought back to my classes and positive talked my ass through that hat. I finished that hat and I have to say it felt like a damn trophy instead of a hat. I felt on top of the world, I did it!! I finished that hat and it looked damn good. I couldnt have been more proud of myself. Here is the first picture of the first hat I completed.



Once I started people started wanting me to make them for their kids. I had just started but I felt on top of the world like I could do anything. I took on the challenge. If someone asked for a hat, I figured out a way to do it. I only ever bought one pattern, this My Little Pony hat pattern. I used the base hat pattern for every hat I made, but 98% the other appliques I freehanded myself. This in itself I was proud of. If I didn't know a stitch I watched it on youtube. I became quite the little hat maker. It was alot of fun and the people were very happy with the hats I would make for them. My first "order" was for an Elsa hat. I will have to say this was the most difficult hat I made. In the end I made 3 of them and decided to never make it again. It is that much of a pain and unfortunately the most popular hat. 

She gave me this picture of what she wanted it to look like. 




I have to be honest, I tried and tried to get the hair to look the way it was in the picture she sent me. I couldn't do it. So I took ,my own approach. I started to make the hat my way. I improvised to that she would be happy with mine even thought it didn't look like the picture. This below is what I made for her. 



I went on to make many hats for many people. I spent a 3 months making hats. By the time I decided I was done, I was happy. I did it! I mastered this. People paid money to have me make them hats. It was very rewarding. It helped me in a time that I needed a distraction from my own thoughts and in turn it helped my confidence as well. It was a true story of if you put your mind to something you can do it. I mean, I went from making that fruit bowl to people paying for my hats. These below are a few of my favorites. 











I havent touched my crochet since. My depression is gone and I do not need the distraction. By the time I decided I was done crocheting I was a little tired of it. It was fun making them for awhile but each hat took about 6-7 hours to complete. I am a complete perfectionist so if one didnt look quite right I would pick it apart and do things over.

Would I start it up again? Possibly, but not in the same way as before. 
I would do it not for money but for myself. 





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Saturday, 18 April 2015

A legend in its own time

My husband came from Italy some 6 years ago and fell in love with buffets as well as with me. I can not tell you how many buffets I have been to. If there is a buffet, we have been. I would have to say that after the amount we have been to, we could probably call ourselves the connoisseur's of buffets lol. I do not particularly like buffets. As we all know they are full of mediocre food and its usually about quantity not quality. I would rather spend my money on a decent meal rather than a buffet. But there is one exception. One exception I will go as far to say is the best buffet I have ever had. And coming from me, the one who has been dragged to every buffet possible, I truly know the good from the bad. This my friends, this is the good!!


Barb & Enrie's Old Country Inn. 

A legend in its own time. The gem of Edmonton when it comes to places to eat. I have been coming here since I was a little girl. I keep coming back because the food is unlike any other restaurant there is. It is like you are being fed from the absolute best cook in your family. Everytime you go! 

Now their buffet. Their buffet is something I look forward to each week. When the weekend comes around we usually go for our Friday night dinner. What is on our minds? Barb & Ernies buffet!! They start you with a bowl of soup. I can not tell you how unbelievable their soups are. Made by the owners themselves (not bought) they are hands down the best soups I have ever had! It is so good in fact it inspires you to want to make your own. You have not tasted good homemade soup until you have tasted a bowl of theirs! The buffet is just as wonderful in every respect. Their cold salad table is always filled with a special item I can not refuse. Homemade by them they never disappoint with a new recipe. 


Their buffet is the piece de la resistance. Tonight featured Beef Wellington bites that were so savory, I was in pure heaven. Start with their Schnitzel & Sausages. Do not forget Char's special mustard as it is as essential & even a more important staple than ketchup. Next comes their Spatzle, now they rotate a meat dish and any meat that they put in there is fantastic, but if you make it to Thomas' meatloaf night you have hit the jackpot!! Your vegetable of the day and my absolute favorite Red cabbage & Sauerkraut. I have tried to make Red Cabbage after tasting it at Barb & Ernies. I will warn you now, do not waste your time. It can never be as good as the make it. I am officially hooked. 



Wash it all down with your favorite beer or a German beer on tap


Friday nights dinner sounds good doesn't it? If you cannot make it Friday, they have it Saturday too. You could even go twice! I tell you, it is that good, and we are not even done yet. I havent made it to the desserts. 


How do you explain that these are some of the best desserts I have ever tasted. She is a master at her craft when it comes to desserts. Always make sure to save room for this. You will be missing out on a great experience if you don't. Tonights desserts featured Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake, Butterscotch Lasagna, Coffee & Baileys jello, Apple pecan crumble & Bacon Maple Walnut Cake!!! The desserts rotate as well and you will always find something extraordinary on this table. I have yet to come across something I do not like. Oh if I could give everyone a taste of the Butterscotch Lasagna.

 PURE BRILLIANCE!!!



Ever since we found this hidden gem of a buffet we have been coming for it whenever possible. The quality is there, the food is beyond amazing! The owners are wonderfully friendly people! Most owners of a restaurant you never see. From the moment we have started coming as a family they have watched our kids grow with us. If you ever hear people say they treat you like family, this is what they mean. You come here, you are not a customer, you are treated like family. 


Combine that all together and you have one heck of a place to come eat, wouldn't you say? Are you in? Have you eaten here? If not, do not walk, RUN!! You are missing out!!


One thing you do not want to do is miss out on their breakfast. I would say hands down this is my go to breakfast place. It goes beyond all expectations for a good breakfast. You will find the best plate of breakfast served to you from a restaurant. People believe me when I say, this is the be all end all for places to eat. It has it all!! Personality, charm, good food and good people. Need I say more?


Remember, I have been to possibly every buffet in this city. The price for this buffet is excellent for its value. WORTH EVERY PENNY!





                                                        Barb & Ernie's


                               9906 72 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 3R3

                                                       (780) 433-3242



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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Interview schminterview

I decided to interview myself for this blog. 

That's right, interview myself :) 




1. Where were you born? Edmonton

2. Do you recall any interesting stories regarding your birth? I came out bum first. (Sorry mom)

3. Did you have any pets as a child? My mother was scared of animals so I never had a pet

4. What was your favorite board game? As a child I loved the Game of Life

5. Did you have any nicknames? My mom calls me Bear

6. What were you most afraid of as a child? Caterpillars. As stupid as it sounds. I am sure my mother gave me this irrational fear because she was terrified of them and as a child I watched her freak out. 

7. How would you describe yourself as a student? I hated school. I would have rather done anything but.

8. What was your first job? McDonalds.

9. What was your worst job? I worked a second job when I was 20 as a hostess at a restaurant. I despised it. I quit

10. What is your goal as a parent? To raise them with good values. Teach them to be good people.

11. What is your relationship like with your parents today? Fantastic. I would have to say we are a super close family and I love it. My parents are not only my parents but my best friends too. 

12. Who was your first love? Warren Scott. We met in Junior high and were together for many many years. He was one of the best people I have known. I had so many good times with him. My memories run deep :) 

13. Have you had your heart broken? Yes. a few times... 

14. Have you broken any hearts? I have. But unintentionally. I would have to be honest and say that when their hearts broke mine did as well

15. Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes

16. What accomplishment are you most proud of? Overcoming depression

17. How do you think people will remember you? Those who are closest to me will remember what a nutball I am

18. What do you think happens after death? I dont believe there is a heaven. I think there is an afterlife, but it doesnt include a god and the gates or whatnot. Not to me at least. 

19. What place does religion have in your life? None really

20. Any body piercings? I had a tongue ring. I chipped my teeth with it. It came out after that. 

21. Any pet peeves? When people say "Gong show"

22. What is your worst memory of childhood? One Christmas my sister and I got up early and asked our parents if we could open a gift. They said yes. We opened Santa's gift. We got in trouble for opening the gift. It was awful.

23. What medical issues have you had to deal with in your life? I have had high blood pressure for years. Medication keeps it balanced however when I get sick, a cold or the flu, I cannot take any medicine to help relieve me as it raises your blood pressure. I hate getting sick. I have to suffer while everyone else pops cold medicine

24. List 20 things about yourself.
  • I hate summer, I hate the heat
  • I get motion sickness. I hate driving in the back of a car
  • I have allergies to pets even though I have two cats and a dog. I just take allergy meds everyday
  • I cannot get enough vermicelli
  • We used to vacation in Kelowna and Penticton every year. I loved it. I loved playing in the lake with my sister
  • I dye my hair every two months
  • I love wearing high heels
  • I never thought I wanted kids. Kids irritate me. I was never a babysitting kind of girl. But.. I guess they grown on you, I have two ;)
  • I dont like to cook
  • I will not drink water from the tap. I can tell if its from the tap and my husband is trying to pass it off as Brita. 
  • My first car was an 83 Pontiac Grand lemans
  • I still get along with my old boss. We had lunch the other day. It was a great time. 
  • I love mint chocolate
  • I love to decorate for halloween. I have tons of decorations but cannot put them up until my girls are a little older as they are scary as hell
  • I have restless leg syndrome and shake my legs until I fall asleep and ALL day at work
  • I love watching cooking shows. I can watch hours of it
  • I am the worst backseat driver, but in my defense my husband is the worst driver I know. So I have a reason :)
  • I once went on a camping trip where we locked ourselves out of the car and than the car broke down, my parents had to drive 5 hours to rescue us and than the car broke down again! Worst trip ever
  • I love peculated coffee when camping. Just the greatest
  • I would live in flip flops if I could

25. Did you ever have pets? I seem to have had all the weird ones. When I broke up with my ex boyfriend he left behind his Piranha and two ferrets. I took care of those ferrets for 7 years. Worst pet anyone could ever have. I would never recommend them to anyone. They are like having bad bad bad children 

26. What is your favorite holiday? I love Christmas. I love the feeling you get at Christmas. The lights, the festivities around the city. The baking, the family time, the get togethers with friends. Big dinners. Watching the kids open their presents from Santa. The food, have I mentioned the food? ;)

27. Do you remember bullying in school? Absolutely, Girls are vicious bitches. 

28. What is your ideal phsical look? I dont think I need a bangin hot bikini body, but I would like to feel comfortable in my own skin

29. How would you hate to be decribed? Ugly

30. Would you fall head over heels in love with you? Not at all. I think I am a great person. But would I fall head over heels for me? haha no!









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Monday, 13 April 2015

When the kids are away the parents will.....RELAX!!!

I live in Edmonton, Alberta. My parents do as well. My Grandfather however lives a good 16 hour drive from here in Terrace, BC. My parents for the time being while I work, look after my children daily. My mother decided she wanted to go see her Dad and would like to take my girls with them to visit. I was ok with the idea as long as they were flying. Since my father was going to, they decided to drive. I have to say I was not overly thrilled with my daughters taking a 16 hour drive.




As a kid I have done this drive many times. Almost every year as a child. I am used to it. It no longer phases me. But my children are 4 and 2. How are they going to handle a 16 hour drive? Not only that, how am I going to handle the anxiety of them driving on the highway for 16 hours. I will admit I was more than nervous. These two girls must have their mommy's genes for long drives because they pulled through like champs.



Was I sad to see them go? Yes. Did I cry? Absolutely! I spent the day they left in worry and sadness. That night I thought, I am going to go about this differently and I thought to myself, hell, I am going to not look at this as how much I am going to miss them, I am gonna look at this like a vacation!! I mean who is kidding who now right? When do you get a solid week of silence when you have a 2 & 4 year old? Unless you are completely deaf the answer is never!

Any parents and tell me people, am I wrong? Any parent craves for some peace and quiet. Well here it is. What to do..... The funny thing is, your kids take up 98% of your time. What to do when you dont have them? Ha! Everything they interrupt you doing when they are here! I sat and watched tv in peace. I blogged in peace (which is a first) I usually have one if not both little girls wanting to sit on my lap. Once this laptop is in mommys hands it is like the symbol for them to both come and want to sit with me. Everytime! It was about half way through the first night I turned to my husband and said, damn.... this is nice hey? And it was!
Dont get me wrong, I miss my children. But when you can not even go to the bathroom alone when they are here, this is paradise! 



I will say with absolute certainty I had the best Saturday I have had in as long as I can remember. I woke up, no husband (working), no kids jumping on my head. I was in heaven. I cant get up when I want, I can peruse my phone whilst laying in bed for as long as I want. I got up, had coffee and breakfast which for the first time in years didnt consist of "I want toast, I want milk" oh you're going to sit mom? I want more toast (muahaha no sitting for mommy). I dont want to finish my toast, I now want what you are eating....SOB. Are you following me parents out there? There was none of this! 

It was ME first. YAY!

I sat and drank my hot coffee and wrote my blog in peace and quiet. When I got cold I went to lay back in bed and warmed my feet. I took a super long shower and took my time getting ready opposed to rushing to get my hair brushed and make up on while two little girls trash my room. I was in heaven. Still missing my girls? Of course. But I was looking at the cup as half full and not half empty. Am I gonna enjoy this time? Hells ya I am!

A childless person does not understand the struggle of having to take your kids in and out of a carseat constantly. Its a huge pain the ass. So much you would rather skip by the store or have one parent sit and wait in the car and the other go in instead of dragging your tiny, cute, SLOW kids into the stores and back out in the car seat and to another place to do it all over again. Its complete bliss to go alone. I know the parents out there are saying, damn rights Susan. 


It is amazing the conversation you can have with your significant other when there are not two kids making a mess or getting off their chairs to try and make a run for it when you go out to eat. Amazing, you can actually talk to eachother instead of saying "GET BACK ON THAT CHAIR!".

Needless to say, I have thoroughly enjoyed my childless vacation. Tonight is our last quiet night. Tomorrow after work the whirlwind of what they call parenthood begins again. I am ready for this little whirlwind to come back . Mommy has enjoyed her break. But Family is where the happiness is.

Without my children my house would be clean and my brain less frazzled, but my heart would not be full.


 I am ready for my babies. 






Do you feel me parents?




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Saturday, 11 April 2015

The forgotten class between Math and English

I can officially say that after my bout with depression I have learned many life lessons that will stick with me all the way. It brings me back to what I have learned in school. Much of it important, yes, however there is something they have all failed us on and that is how to cope with life. It is more important than one would think. Learning these, I will call them tools, would have been life changing if I would learned them earlier in life.

Never dwelling in the past and always looking ahead I am grateful I have learned them now. By no means do I call myself an expert on the subject. I am not teaching it in a class nor have I had formal training. I am typing to you what I have learned on a broken laptop, struggling with the sticky key letter y, I am one of you. But I believe that even I can help change a view, a view changed for the better.

The courses I went through were Stress Management, Life wellness, Anxiety and Emotion Regulation. For myself I was deep in depression not able to keep my house in check with two little girls. I felt the whole world was on top of me squishing the life out of me. Keeping me down. I wanted to get up, I wanted to clean, I wanted to be with my girls, but another part of me overpowered those wants and laying down sad and miserable is what I was, and did.

I would have to say for me the biggest and most important lesson is learning about ways of thinking.

On average a human has about 70,000 thoughts. 

In these thoughts we often consume ourselves and overthink and thus become more depressed.




TEN MOST COMMON THINKING ERRORS

  • All or nothing thinking - You see things in black and white categories. Eg. If your performance falls short of the perfect you see yourself as a total failure. "I am no good. Why cant I ever exceed?"
  • Overgeneralization - You see a single negative event as a never ending pattern of defeat. Eg. "I'll never get what I want"
  • Mental Filter - You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively. Eg. I never get a break
  • Disqualifying the positive - You reject positive experiences by insisting they don't count for some reason or another. Eg. Patient suddenly feels worse after showing several days of improvement and states "I'm not getting anywhere"
  • Jumping to conclusions - A- Mind Reading - You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you and don't bother to check it out. Eg. You feel someone at work doesn't like you, without checking out if it is in face true. B - Fortune teller error - You anticipate things will turn our badly and you believe that your prediction is already established fact. Eg. "I'm going to fail the test anyway".
  • Magnification or Minimization - You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof up or someone else's achievement) or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny or unimportant (your own desirable qualities or the other persons undesirable qualities) Eg. Magnification - Everyone saw the mistake I made I am going to get fired. Minimization - I know it was important to get that done by Friday but it doesn't really matter if I dont contribute my part. 
  • Emotional Reasoning - You assume that your negative emotions reflect the way things really are: "I feel it, therefore it must be true" confusing feeling with fact. Eg. You begin to work on a project and feel overwhelmed. The project seems too difficult that you watch tv instead. ou think "I just cant do a darn thing. I'll never get this done"
  • Should statements - Shoulds, shouldn't applied to self leads to guilt. When directed towards others, it leads to anger and frustration. Eg. I should have helped her more and shouldn't have gotten so angry. (Dont should all over yourself!!!)
  • Labelling - Instead of describing an error, you attach a negative label to yourself. When someone else's behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a label to him. Eg. "Im a loser", he/she is lazy.
  • Personalization - You see yourself as the cause of some negative external even which in fact you're not primarily responsible for. Eg. Your date calls you at the last minute to cancel out because of illness. You feel angry and disappointed because you think. "I'm getting jilted. What did I do to foul things up."


All or nothing thinking is something I struggled with my whole life and never knew that it was a thinking error. I was consumed thinking about what needed to be done in my house. My daughters clothes need to be sorted, my room cleaned, basement organized, dishes, vacuuming. It never occurred to me that it does not all have to be done at once. Why did I ever think that I can sort the clothes one day, and it isn't the end of the world if the other stuff isn't all done. It was a hard struggle.
If you struggle with this one, it is great practice to learn that it can be done in steps and it doesn't HAVE to be done right now and all of it.



Read through them again and reflect them to your life. Are you using thinking errors? I am sure most of us are. Keep in mind when these thoughts jump into your head to remember this list. Print it out, carry it with you if need be.



NEGATIVE SELF TALK


Wow, this is a HUGE one. I cannot tell you how much I abused this. My example is my body image. I would walk by a window or a mirror and think "omg how sick". How is that supposed to make someone feel inside? I never felt good after telling myself these things, how would anyone?
 It is about learning to stop that negative self talk the moment you realize you are doing it. In my case, I still do not like seeing my reflection in the mirror, but I no longer tell my self "ugh disgusting" or "omg how sick", I tell myself, "I am unhappy with my appearance but I am working on it". It is not simple to rephrase your self talk, it takes practice. But even something as simple as that, I don't go away feeling like a repulsive human being. I go away knowing I am unhappy with my appearance but I am working on it. It is a world of difference to the way our mind reacts to it. 



Not all negative self talk is the same. 

  • The Worrier (promotes anxiety) - Creating anxiety by imagining the worst case scenario.
  • The Critic (promotes low self esteem) - Constantly judging yourself.
  • The Victim (promotes despression) - Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • The perfectionist (Promotes chronic stress/burnout) - Feeling your efforts are not good enough. 
The following are great questions to challenge your negative self statements. 

  1. Where is the evidence?
  2. What is the worst that could happen?
  3. Is it probable?
  4. What is actually true about this situation?
  5. So what if.......?
  6. How would this be so terrible
  7. Am I confusing a thought with a fact?
  8. Am I being honest?
  9. Would my argument stand up in a court of law
  10. How do I know that this is true?



I have been confronted by my group leader once when I said I feel hideous. She asked me where is the proof? Where is the evidence? Do you walk by people and they say "She is hideous? Do they point and comment? They went around the room about what people see about me. The evidence is not there. I am in fact am not hideous. And in fact hideous is a horrible negative self talk judgment upon ones self. What is hideous? When I think about it, I have never met a human being who I would honestly call hideous. 



What you allow is what will continue




I have come to remind myself and others of something I truly believe. 


What others think of you is one persons opinion, NOT fact!







Remember everyone, DO NOT TOLERATE DISRESPECT, NOT EVEN FROM YOURSELF!





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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Do you smell something funny??

It was early 2012 when my sister nominated me for a contest on the radio. 102.3 Now Radio in Edmonton put on a contest where if you nominated somebody and you won, would you give them half of the money. It was inspired by their host Adam McKale. He had previously won the 50/50 at the Hockey game and it was a huge amount. Something like $80K and since he had a agreement with his friend that if they won the would split, he in turn honored this agreement. So this was the contest, would you nominate someone in hopes they would do the same and splits with you.

My sister nominated me, they picked random names and put them on a wheel, the wheel was spun and my name was it. I won...

I won $10,000

Of course with my sister nominating me, I did split half with her. It was exciting, I never won anything so big in my life. 

What we decided to do with some of the money was take a trip. A trip we would not normally take because of the cost. Since we both love the cold we decided to take a trip back up to Whitehorse. We had previously gone on this trip with Northern Tales Travel Services. We decided to go again and this time we would go up to a secluded cabin and a snowmobile also another Aurora Borealis tour. It was exciting. I always dreamed about being in a cabin, in the winter, alone and just the fire.




We got to the cabin and it was perfect. A cabin with a bedroom, kitchen, a loft and a livingroom with a wood burning stove to keep it warm. It was lovely. 



The day we got there we went on a snowmobile tour around the lake and stopped and had lunch on the side of the lake by campfire. 



It was gorgeous. I had never seen such beautiful ice and on some parts of the lake there was clear frozen water you could see right to the bottom. 


It was the best time! Worth every penny.



Back at the cabin we walked in and I thought, huh, smells kinda propaney in here. Neither of us knowing any different figured it was from all the propane lamps running in the cabin for the light. We made dinner that night, walked down to the lake, and in our super winter outfits layed on the lake looking at the stars. In complete silence, completely alone. It was something I will always remember. It was perfect.

We went to sleep that night and in the morning when I awoke I felt awful. I woke first and the fire had gone out in the wood stove. I tried but could not get it going. I felt terrible. Almost flu like and hungover. Hungover really really bad. But we hadnt drank a single thing. I went to talk to my husband and tell him how awful I felt. He said he felt the same so he was going to stay in bed. I decided, I would walk down to the shower house and take a shower. After the shower I felt a minuscule bit better. I was in the fresh air and I had just taken a shower. I was going to go back up to the cabin and go back to sleep as my husband was doing.

There were 3 cabins on the property. Ours, the main cabin which housed a whole lot of people if need be and a tiny little cabin. I met one of the men running the area when I went down to have a shower. I explained that I could not get the fire going and he said he would come help me. We walked back up to the cabin and the second he opened the door he commented on the smell. The heavy smell of propane. I explained to him that we both felt extremely extremely ill and at that point it finally dawned on me and on him as well that we had carbon monoxide poisoning. We immediately gathered our belongings and headed outside. We were  transferred to the smaller cabin. Upon further inspection the gas fridge had some fault to it and wasnt burning clean and we inhaled that ALL night. I can not begin to tell you how sick we felt. 

There was no offer of taking us for medical attention. It seemed nobody was really prepared for such an incident and there is no way I knew what to do. We were at least an hour or more from Whitehorse, there was no cell reception. . We slept, in this new cabin. I walked around in the fresh air a bit and we waited it out until we felt better. It took most of the day. The owner of the cabins offered us a free dog sled ride. We accepted of course but also knew it was kind of a omg these two were poisoned on my property, how do I make this better for them. I wont pretend the dog sled wasn't awesome. It was. It was friggen GREAT! 



The next day we left and came back into Whitehorse to finish the rest of our trip.

When I got to the hotel in Whitehorse I sat and wrote Northern Tales an email. I described what had happened to us on our trip and how it was strange that the steps taken afterwards were so minimal that it was as if nobody was prepared for some sort of emergency. I sent my email of disappointment to the Travel Service and I would say within the hour I had a phone call from the owner. He was immensely apologetic for the incident and explained that this was a new feature they had added third party to their service. He advised us to go to the hospital, even though it was the next day. He also added that he was refunding our whole trip for us. 

When I wrote the email I was not expecting such a response. I was at the least hoping to let them know of what kind of experience we had with this cabin trip.  

We did go to the hospital there. The Dr's tested us and as we figured it was too long after for anything left in our systems. We explained our symptoms and he confirmed it was carbon monoxide poisoning. Great hey?

We spent the rest of our trip which was two more days in Whitehorse using Northern Tales to see the Aurora Borealis. They come get you at your hotel at 9pm and take you a half hour out of Whitehorse to a baron field with a small cabin on it. 


We spent many many hours in this cabin waiting for the northern lights to show. There are books, there are snacks, coffee, pop. They have a bonfire going outside the cabin and there are many other people to talk to. It is a wonderful time, but they stay out sometimes until 3am. It gets tiring.


 But it is all worth it when someone lets you know that the northern lights are finally out. 


Would I come back to Whitehorse? In a heartbeat. Would I use Northern Tales Travel Service again? Absolutely no doubt and I would recommend them to anyone. Maybe not the cabin ;)



When we got back home, it was that night I found out I was pregnant with Ellie. 
I am thankful we made it out ok, I am also thankful Ellie did too. 



What are your crazy travel stories?





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