Surviving winter in a 5th wheel.

I’ve been busy driving the grand-kids back and forth to school, and looking after them until my daughter, Jada, arrives home from school, where she is doing her RMT. ( Registered Massage Therapy). It seems like only yesterday that I was completing my thesis for my Masters Degree in social work, and here I am now, already retired. Life flies by at a pace I can’t keep up with, and those birthdays just keep coming around.

Despite being retired, I’m as busy as ever, penning the new novel, kitting scarves, cooking meals, gathering the eggs from the hen house, and a host of other tasks.  I recently wrecked my lower back, climbing under the 5th wheel  and crawling on my belly in dirt and gravel in order to plug in three heat lamps which will hopefully prevent the pipes and lines from freezing. I insulated the septic and water lines, as well as applied heat tape, and am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing will freeze solid when the really cold weather hits. If the septic line should freeze, you get something called a “poopsicle”, according to those winter campers who post tutorials on line on how to survive a winter in a 5th wheel.Let’s pray I never experience that particular joy.

Thus far, the electric space heaters are keeping me reasonably warm, so I can’t complain.

Oh, and I’ve already decorated for Christmas.


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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in My so called Life, Uncategorized


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Bad dream….


Smoke haze is a little better this morning….. Fed and watered all the critters. Man can those little chicks eat. I’m refilling their pellets at least five times in a day. Last night they were acting like they were on cocaine…. fighting with each other, chirping like crazy and flapping their little wings. I went down there at 11:30 pm for a final check to ensure it was warm enough, and found a hen lying on hay bale beside the chick shack. Had to carry her over to her house. Weirdest dream ever this morning. Dreamt I was 14 and back in the joint. I had tried to escape with another girl and when they brought us back they sentenced us to death. At first they were going to put us in a gas chamber and one of the “nicer” staff tried to assure me that it would be over quick. Then the superintendent changed his mind and decided that we were going to be electrocuted. (so much better… NOT!!) I decided I had no intention of experiencing either one of those so escaped and found old clothes hanging on someone’s clothes lines. I figured the scent of another person would confuse the dogs that they were undoubtedly going to send after me. I found an open car and hid and when the female owners found me they felt sorry for me and agreed to take me to the borders of the province. They dropped me off and I went into a bus depot hoping to catch a further ride. I saw a man with long blonde hair and asked him if he owned a pick-up. He said he did and I explained my dilemma. He helped me chop off my hair, dye it, and bind my breasts so I looked like a boy. We drove as far as we could. I made him promise me that if I was caught, he would shoot me twice in the chest because being shot and killed by a friend was far more preferable than being executed by an enemy. Then it occurred to me that something was intrinsically flawed with a system that would kill 14 year old kids and I contacted the media. Just before I woke up I was giving a compelling radio interview…. Jesus, where did all this come from??

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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Home alone….

feature1-1They’ve left me home alone with two dogs, three cats, fifty –nine, two week old chicks, and sixteen laying hens. The dogs and cats are easy, but the fifty-nine chicks require constant watching. They are insatiably hungry and thirsty, and I have to be vigilant about the two heat lamps hanging from the ceiling lest the chicks become over-heated, or too cold. Little do they know that in approximately six weeks, they will be resting comfortably in my daughter’s downstairs freezer. The thought of it makes me re-consider my position on vegetarianism. Each time I check on them, I am forced to harden my heart like pharaoh.

The hens follow me around like dogs, whom I refer to as “the girls”. They allow me to pluck their eggs from the straw-lined nest boxes, some of them still warm. I shoo the girls away whenever they follow me to the ramp leading up to where the chicks are housed, and some of them peck at my shoes, confusing them for food.

The cats are as easy as the dogs. Jimmy spends most of the day lying curled on my daughter’s unmade bed, and Michael lurks around the trailer, keeping a close watch out for Diesel, our neighbor’s evil tom-cat. Diesel routinely slinks onto the property for the express purpose of causing trouble. I break up the cat fights with water, tossing it onto the cat in closest proximity to me.

From my trailer window I can see the empty house, a forlorn rug hanging limply over the deck railing. Despite thinking how wonderful eight days alone was going to be; eight days without the sounds of grand-children scrapping, I’m surprised to discover how much I miss them all. I distract myself by reading, and doing yard-work.

I’ve recently discovered what appears to be a bunion on m the side of my left foot. A small knuckle that serves no purpose whatsoever other than to signal the fact that time is no longer my friend, and in fact is doing its level best to spring unhappy surprises on me on a fairly regular basis. I still haven’t grown wholly accustomed to the softening of my upper arms which my grand-daughter enjoys patting and referring to as “peachy”.

Bunions make me think of Paul Bunyan, and then Babe, which makes me think of Babe Ruth, and then of course the game of baseball, and how little I understood it when I was a kid and forced to participate during Phys. Ed. Then I think of the chocolate bar, and how ridiculous, the English language.

I’ve had free floating anxiety since my family left on their eight day holiday. I think it may be related to a recent car accident we were involved in, whereby a drunken woman drove into the back of us, doing at least 50 kms p.h. The grand-kids were at first stunned, and then scared out of their wits, but were mercifully unhurt. I could tell I had a mild whip-lash having been in three previous accidents, and my daughter had a more serious one, due to her head being turned to the right at the time of the impact. We have both since recovered, but there is that lingering sense of dread at how randomly shit occurs, presenting itself out of seeming nowhere.

The air is clogged with smoke from a nearby forest fire, which has forced me to remain inside due to allergies, hence the writing of this blog, due partially to boredom and a need to break from the novel I am currently ploughing through.

I might also mention that I recently joined a social networking site that most people attempt to use as dating site. I am fascinated by the flotsam and jetsam that troll this site, and it is this morbid fascination that prevents me from deleting it and running for cover. It’s like a bad accident that I can’t look away from.

Most of the people that send friend requests are either in their twenties, or octogenarians. The latter are sad souls, probably widowed and desperate, and the former, people who can’t get dates within their age group due to being socially inept, or budding serial killers looking for an easy target. Most of the requests originate from places like Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco. Other requests come from Israel and Palestine, yet no one seems to want to discuss their position on the Gaza strip. Sad really when you think about it.

More on this later…..


Posted by on August 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Retirement: Living in a 5th Wheel

Retirement: Living in a 5th Wheel

I’ve been away from blogging for far too long.

Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, something I’ve yet to adequately balance. But here I am, some months later.

In April, I changed my entire life. I officially retired from social work, and my job at Addiction Services in PEI. My house had sold in March, and I  subsequently bought a 5th wheel, selling almost all of my worldly possessions along with the house. I have to say it was refreshingly cathartic. Owning almost nothing was also strangely freeing. A hundred pound anvil was thus lifted from my shoulders.

Gus, the cat, flew to Vancouver  (a 10 hour round trip) and my daughter and her husband picked him up at Air Cargo, returning home the following day. No such luxury for me, however. I drove my PT Cruiser from the east coast to the west, a sojourn of five and a half thousand kilometers. I made two stops along the way, visiting a friend in Carleton Place , Ontario, and another in Swift Current , Saskatchewan. All told, it was seven days of driving.

My 5th wheel is located on the southern portion of my daughter and her husband’s property. It is tied into septic and electrical, and my water is piped in from the well. From April until now, I have been staining the deck built by my son-in-law and his brother, painting the fence, and landscaping an area previously overgrown with weeds and fallen trees.

The following photos chronicle my new home and life.11026081_10153385762374553_8472028224140878012_n 11119896_10153502215024553_8657439245988577418_o 11295657_10153385762369553_2964479049994566714_n 11393034_10153443579919553_1486042889509588515_n 11403085_10153502215049553_4259423755665367776_n 11540838_10153502214894553_4249393566818630956_n 11665585_10153502476434553_612983647626591150_n 11666053_10153502215029553_3306419254560143190_n 11666196_10153502476439553_937339566342480165_n 11695810_10153502476249553_7797146243946050498_n 11701114_10153502476429553_2140958207953541132_n 11707329_10153502476234553_8461907073719331651_n 11707482_10153502476449553_4023296355368961634_n

I’ve also changed my hair…….

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For those of you not familiar with the beautiful Shuswap area in British Columbia, this is my barrio.

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Posted by on July 12, 2015 in Retirement


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The dying of the light


The count down to retirement has begun in earnest.

It cannot come soon enough, particularly after the recent spate of storms we have been having. I swear my left bicep quadrupled in size from throwing snow off the deck and digging a tunnel along my front walkway over the course of the weekend. I still have yet to shovel around the shed, or dig a tunnel to the basement door.

My house appears to have been sold with a possession date of March 5th. Once the financing clause is removed this week, it’s a done deal. I have made the decision to sell the house with everything in it, right down to the bedding and decor, along with a snow-blower, and almost new lawn tractor. Basically I decided to give everything to the buyers for nothing, and I am only coming away with the equity I put into the house.

It’s a weird thing walking away from all my worldly possessions, material things that served me well over the years. I sometimes find myself walking through the house and gazing at all the antiques and little treasures I selected over time with such care; the myriad collection of antiques and the Victorian style decor. Whenever I feel a small pang of regret, I remind myself that Jesus walked the earth with only the robe on his back, and lowly sandals on his feet. Mostly I feel a sense of relief, and then a greater sense of freedom.

Over the past few years I’ve embraced the idea of anti-consumerism, distancing myself from the disease of spending. Ostensibly, the less I owned, the freer I felt.

The great thing about retirement is being able to channel my more bohemian side. This is an irony not lost on me. When I was younger, whenever my siblings and I were rowdy and out of control, my mother admonished us, suggesting we not act like a bunch of bohemians. I was never sure exactly what bohemians were or did, but whatever it was, it sounded interesting, and piqued my interest.

Being employed by the government as a social worker has implied a certain decorum and conservatism in dress. While the dress code is open to interpretation, and fairly loose at the addiction center where I work, I have never felt as though I had full license in which to truly express myself in the way I am most comfortable.

Funny, how life tries its level best to shape and constrain us, it’s social mores, gender, and politics dictating how we conduct our lives, and express ourselves. In many ways, life is a relentless hammer pounding away at the square pegs of it’s citizenry, forcing them into fitting into round holes. If we resist, we are ostracized. We then wander the world as solitary pariahs, speaking our truth to the wind and trees.

Yesterday, I stumbled across a photo of a man who once held me in thrall. My heart tumbled to the ground as I gazed upon him. Gone was any trace of the long, curly haired gitano, I once knew. I stared at the photo thinking that the time’s cruel alchemy had transformed his bedouin soul, changing it into that of an aging conformist. How had this happened?

Perhaps life steadfastly whittles us down to what, and who, we really are at the end of the day, exposing our true nature and selves, and ceaselessly pounding us into round holes where eventually we acquiesce, becoming subservient and bland as porridge.

The only recognizable feature was the blue of his eyes. His countenance had softened to the degree that the sharp edges of youth were no longer discernible. I saw resignation, fatigue, and apathy in the middle aged face. The idealism and drive of youth had long since fled.

Once he turned to me and said, “Sonia, you have everything.” I never knew what he meant, nor did I ask.

I hope never to become so complacent that all my sharply honed edges become blunted and dull. To no longer rage against the dying of the light is to be already dead.


Posted by on February 4, 2015 in My so called Life


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Traveling light

From the greasy, smudged window of the airplane I looked to the firmament and sensed God’s presence in the smeared pink and azure gauze of scudded clouds. Hazy diaphanous wings of angels brushed the horizon with silver gilt tips, and the steady drone of the plane’s engine reminded me of the thin fragile veil partitioning my mortal existence from eventual death.

From thirty thousand feet, the earth was a bas relief of furrows, veins, and curvatures.

We are tinier than bacteria as viewed from up there in the clouds, but just as lethal, nonetheless. We are six billion parasitic microbes, killing our host planet which has sustained our very existence from the beginning of time. Funny, how thirty thousand fnorthern-BA_2840504b eet can put everything into perspective.

Down there, beyond the discernment of my naked eye, wars were being fought, children were starving, and atrocities were abounding. But from up there, all I could see were meandering rivers, mountain chains, and the deep blue of the ocean’s surface.

The ego of humankind is meaningless at thirty thousand feet. It occurred to me that the pursuit of material goods is entirely ludicrous when viewed through the window of a plane traveling miles above the earth.

What did not seem ludicrous however, to my wandering thoughts, was the notion of human love and kindness. When pondered from thirty thousand feet, it appeared that those things transcended all physicality, floating out there in the ethos, as shimmering and beautiful as beacons of light.

When we ceased living in clans and tribes with the advent of “civilization”, where we were once wholly inter-dependent on both each other and nature, we severed our direct conduit to the spirit world. We also severed our connection to all other living things and each other, choosing and valuing individuality over community. In the process of doing so, we forgot who we were, losing ourselves in the process.

The older I get, the more I sense the loosening of the ties and desire for things I once deemed as important. I no longer want to be shackled to material things that weigh down my spirit and enslave me.

I want to travel light.


Posted by on January 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


Mostly, I am happy…


I dreamt of illicit love. The kind of love you can’t own, can’t hold, can’t nail down, or ever make your own. It is diaphanous, ethereal, intangible.

While I dreamt, the wind pummeled its fists against the side of the house, rousing the trees from their somnolent state, and threatening anarchy.

The snow swirled, and then adhered itself to the frosted tree tops.

You loved me in the dream.

In real life you do not, although you may have considered it once or twice. Like most, you settled for safety which is always the saner choice.

It seems that I have spent most of my life standing on the outside and peering in at other people’s lives and hearths, where love’s light casts a warm glow, and couples huddle together in shared camaraderie.

I walk away, a solitary voyeur, swallowed up by winter’s cold.

Mostly, I am happy, the stars and moon my trusted companions.

After supper I pull out my new banjo, caressing the gritty skin that feels like sand paper. I labor over chord charts, willing my fingers to bend into unfamiliar positions, chords so different from the guitar chords I have learned over the years.

The strings sing.

And then I am happy.

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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in My so called Life


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