My Regiment for Defending Against Colds and Flues

I would consider the colds and flues I’ve gotten before 2014 average. I’d get one or two a year until my kids went to school, then I’d get three or four. I could mark the calendar with the first cold of the season: 2nd week of October. I’d get sick again in January, then again in February and if it was a bad luck cold season, I’d get sick again in the spring.

The worst cold I had was delivered via a birthday cake in April 2013. That’s when I learned about viral load and its link to how severe one gets sick. It’s also the exact time I stopped eating birthday cake anyone – whether sick or not – blew out the candles on. In this house, that meant a piece of cake was cut for the birthday boy or girl, candles were put on it, and they blew them out and ate their own spit.

Because I had been hit with such a high viral load, I was sick within 12 hours, and I stayed sick for three months. It was the worst cold I ever had with a horrible cough, and coughs are the one area I excel at. I’m a natural cougher, so when a cold hits, I can cough so hard, well, let’s just leave that right there. Even when I’m not sick, I’m coughing. It’s the way I’ve been since I was a child. I’d cough all night except I slept through it and the only reason I knew I was coughing is others heard it and told me. My uncle John was the same way.

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A Solid Explanation of Society’s Behaviour and Mass Formation

In my struggle to understand people in society, I’ve listened more than I’ve spoken. I’ve spent countless hours sitting off to the side in crowds to watch and listen to conversations. Obviously, this is good research for writing characters. Yet, I am often baffled by what I hear because much of it is illogical. Spock makes sense. Fauci does not.

Listening to lectures and conversations given by people of all walks of life in many countries of many cultures and professions, including Carl Yung, Vandana Shiva, Jordan Peterson and Thomas Sowell, have provided perspectives I’d not get in my circle of family, friends and associates.

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RANT: The Canadian Government Rules on a Slippery Slope

I hate you, Ian Rankin. I hate everyone like you. You believe you have the right to limit the freedoms of Canadians living in Nova Scotia unless they participate in an experimental, untested and unapproved medical treatment, one with unknown short and long-term side affects, one that doesn’t even do what vaccines are supposed to do.

What is a real vaccine? A vaccine protects the person who gets it. Think of the Tetanus vaccine. I got the booster a few years ago. When I stepped on a rusty spike last fall, I was protected. I didn’t bother going to Emergency. I kept the wound clean, disinfected it three times a day and elevated my foot for about a week. It healed with no infection. I wear a suit of armour against rusty objects, and it’s a good thing. Working like I do around nails, wire and other metals, I get scratched and poked a lot.

That’s what a real vaccine does.

A real vaccine doesn’t work for some and not others. It doesn’t leave you unprotected where you can get sick and pass on that sickness to others. It doesn’t do more harm than good to the individual.

Did you get that? Individual. The concern is for the individual, not the collective.

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Camping in the House

Today, we’re dealing with the aftermath of a major winter storm that swept across Nova Scotia in the past 24 hours, dumping more than a foot of snow and blowing that snow into drifts, some five feet tall. I’ve done my share of shovelling, including clearing the large deck before it collapsed from the weight of three feet of snow and clearing paths to feed the animals. My oldest son was out ploughing driveways and hauled out my son-in-law when he got stuck ploughing five o’clock this morning. My youngest son has been out shovelling with a crew since 10:00 pm Sunday night. It’s 3:00 pm Monday, and he’s still not home yet. He’ll be one tired and hungry fellow by the time he rolls in.

It is February, and I think of this month as the snow month. January is the cold month. March the ice month.

Of course, this is relevant to Nova Scotia; other locations will see the seasons differently.

This is the second storm in a week. Last Tuesday February 2nd, we dealt with a major wind, snow and rain storm that blew our electrical panel. We spent two days without power and only after replacing the fuse panel, sinking two 10-foot ground rods into the ground and building a platform to meet safety code did power surge through the wires again.

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Writing Hangover

In the past seven days, I’ve written 23,546 words of my current novel, Seeds of Life. I surpassed the expected 90,000-word draft, and blew by 100,000 words without realising it. Every waking moment when I wasn’t caring for the animals and the children, doing basic housework, cooking, baking, moving furniture (my daughter’s moving back in), building a duck house and shovelling snow, I was writing.

Currently, the draft sits at 106,002 words.

This morning, I’m suffering from writer’s hangover, but the story won’t let me go. It’s all I dreamt about last night. This evening, after the chores, collecting drinking water from the spring, moving the ducks to their new house, cleaning up the basement and picking up chicken food, I’m diving back into the story to see if I can get the main characters out of the danger they’re in and bring them home.

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Freedom to Choose

This is not about writing; it’s about freedom. Freedom is what every human wants and deserves. Without freedom, we are slaves. Without freedom, we do not prosper. Without freedom, we do not have personal rights. I would give up everything for freedom.

Freedom is what my father, my grandfather and all veterans fought for in the great wars. Freedom is what our ancestors sought when they left countries where they were mere peasants under a monarch’s rule. Freedom is the ultimate goal in every society.

Fighting Against Freedom

There’s been horrible rumblings in society over the past ten months about taking away a person’s freedom to choose what goes into their body. I’m going to come right out and say this, and if you don’t like it, too bad.

This is my body. I decide what goes into it and what doesn’t. If you think otherwise and try to go against my choice, you’re in for a fight. I don’t care about your health as much as I care about mine. I’m not threatening my health to appease you. I am NOT responsible for your health – you are!

To think otherwise is foolish. To think otherwise means I have the right to tell you how to live your life to better your health. That means no more cigarettes or recreational drugs. No more three meals a day; you’re down to two. Watching TV for more than four hours a week? Not anymore. You don’t spend a minimum of two hours outside walking or doing another activity regardless of the weather? Get off the couch! Pig out on six donuts? Nope. Drink pop? Not on my watch.

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Thoughts About the Highest Tides in the World

On Saturday, on our return trip from getting a load of hay, my youngest son and I ordered our last ice cream of the season from Dairy Queen and drove the short distance to the Shubenacadie River to watch it as we ate our treat. The last time we were there, we arrived just in time to see the mud flats swallowed up in 15 minutes by the rushing tides. It’s a sight to see if you’ve never seen it.

1986 F150 Ford loaded with hay

My son, who has always had an interesting perspective on the world and life, said after a few minutes of staring at the river, “The world’s highest tides. I guess somewhere had to be the highest.”

Ain’t that the truth.

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A New Season Starts Today

Can you smell that? If you were in Nova Scotia, you’d smell the crisp, single-digit morning that tells the primal self fall is on the way; time to prepare for winter. Or is it the unmistakable aroma of school supplies being sorted at the kitchen table with anticipation of the first day of classes that ignites your energy?

While some look at September as an ending to summer, I see it more as a start to a new year that holds the potential for something fantastic to happen.

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Safeguarding Our Personal Treasures Before and After Death

One of my genealogy columns published over the summer was titled There’s No Guarantee in Life or Death. It’s about wills and estates, something I’ve been thinking about a lot in the past six months because my mom is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m thinking about my final wishes more than hers (hers are taken care of) and wondering what mess I might leave my kids to sort through. I’m also wondering about the things I value, such as my genealogy research and the books I’ve written, and who would appreciate them most.

“In these days where diseases, such as dementia, are on the rise, I believe it is less likely the well-thought out plan for estates will be executed.”

Why? Because a person’s ability to control their affairs and stuff while they’re still alive becomes almost impossible when diseases of the brain take hold. This leaves control of their stuff with those they live with or those, family or friends, who enter their home to see to their daily needs.

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Music Inspires, Motivates and Keeps Me Between the Ditches

I’m going to state this right upfront; get it over with; air my thoughts before we delve into this subject deeply: I don’t understand how people get through life without music. A life void of melody is unfathomable to me.

My parents listened to music every day and I’m told when I was strong enough to stand, I was holding onto the crib rail and bobbing to Cal Smith singing on the old black and white television. The radio in the kitchen was on every day without fail. If it broke, as tight as money was, a new one appeared without delay. The radio in the truck was always tuned to music; no talk shows for us. When my dad installed an 8-track player in the truck, that played more than the radio.

We had a floor model stereo with a radio and record player, which could easily be moved to the deck or the lawn. That thing is more than 40 years old and still going.

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My Unplanned Future is Filled with Unknown Possibilities

I’ve let go of the regret I carried since I was 17 and the mistakes I’ve made along the way, forgiven myself for what I did and didn’t do, removed self-imposed lines that set limits on my life and found peace within. I’m working on increasing my confidence and self-worth, and I’m transforming this body into one that is healthy and strong.

Where will I go from here? Honestly, I thought I had the next ten years figured out and a good idea of what the rest of my life would contain, but…that was before the transformation this spring. I began making alternative plans, but they kept changing as new possibilities popped into my head, and one thing conflicted with the other. How can I do A if I want to do B? I’ve always believed I was suppose to have my future planned.

My parents preached it, and so did the school guidance office: secondary school for X-amount of years, work for X-amount of years, retire.

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Like Every Wise Boy Scout: Be Prepared for Opportunity

In this minute, if you were given the opportunity you had always dreamt of, would you be ready to accept it?

I’ve asked myself this question many times since the new year. Before May, my answer was an undeniable, regrettable NO. The no applied to many areas in my life, not just writing.

Ready means I’m able to accept that opportunity at the moment I’m offered it, or, given one hour, I’d be ready to accept it.

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The Magic of Confidence and Letting Go

Two weeks ago, giddy from riding a wave of confidence growth, I tried to explain to my sister how I felt. In my mind, it was like dragging that Krazy Karpet to the top of the hill in two feet of snow, then pushing it to get started because the snow was soft and the friction kept me still. After about six feet, I felt the momentum of the Karpet, and I had to use less effort to increase speed and then, I hit the smooth, icy section and I was off!

Confidence is like that. I’ve never really had much in life; it was something others had, something I envied and sometimes felt annoyed by because some had too much and were in my face or not bothering to look back to see how they looked from the perspective of others. That was my problem, not theirs.

Long ago, I gave up the desire to obtain confidence because I thought it was something not for me. It was like the talent to play guitar, the ability to recall phone numbers after hearing them once, the skill to walk in high heels and not feel like an idiot.

Over the past two months, that’s changed. I can’t thoroughly explain why; I don’t understand it myself. I just feel different.

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Stop Putting Limits on Living

This is one of four posts on life and how my perspective of it has drastically changed the past three months. The transition started July 2018, but it has taken me until this spring to fully realise the path I travelled up until last July has changed. From the outside, I look the same (except I’ve lost over 35 pounds). The major changes have taken place inside. It’s like someone else’s brain fell into my head, and it’s looking around thinking, let’s renovate this life. There will be exceptions to how I think, but the exceptions don’t change the rule.

I’m writing these for two reasons: 1) to remind me of my journey and where I really want to go (out there, beyond where I’ve been); 2) to share my experience with the hope others will be inspired to change their perspective, so they can live a better life. My journey has been helped by those who put into words a better way to live.

Last fall, while sitting around dreaming about what 2019 would give me, something clicked in my brain: I didn’t want it to give me anything; I wanted to earn and control what entered my life, take what awaited me. I could only do that if I had the courage to change my attitude, the way I looked at my life and what I was willing to give in return.

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