PIctures from The Swamp – the ‘big dog, small bed’ edition

Small Bed

Big dog in small bed

Who me?

Published in: on February 29, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Music from The Swamp – the ‘David Francey’ editon

Welcome to what I hope will be a semi-regular feature here on Dispatches from The Swamp. I am passionate about music and I hope I can share some of the artists that make my heart sing!

David Francey

I was introduced to David Francey through a couple of sources. I first heard his song ‘Red-Winged Blackbird’ covered by James Keelaghan on the CBC. I immediately loved the song.[1] A couple of weeks later some friends of mine were over and they loved David Francey. While I really liked some of the songs I heard initially, it took until late last year before I started to discover some of the gems.

Francey is one of the few singers who still sings acapella. He has an amazing ability to build a song with just his voice. My absolute favourite is Torn Screen Door. The lyrics in this song are absolutely brilliant.

Here is a live version of Torn Screen Door:

Another stand out acapella song is the ‘Brakeman’s Daughter.’

Anyone who has ever had a school crush will immediately relate to ‘Broken Glass.’ Francey has an amazing ability to capture life’s moments in a way that listeners immediately relate to him. This is a live version. Francey is as amazing live as his studio recordings.

Enjoy!

 

 


[1] I was seriously mocked for liking this song!

Published in: on February 27, 2012 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Dispatches from The Swamp – the ‘update edition’

  • Things have been going relatively well at The Swamp. We had a minor roof leak that was caused by some shingles being too tight up against the chimney. The roofing company I called fixed it for free. They say we need a new roof but I don’t really buy it. Good news is that the leak is fixed.
  • We had a huge willow tree that had to come down. It had been dropping huge branches and I was worried it might just come down on our house or across the road. It was a huge liability. The Urban Lumberjack in Maple Ridge did a fabulous job of getting it down. However, one of the rotten branches fell on the hydro and cable lines knocking both of them out. Hydro was back on quickly but they decide to cut the cable line.[1] When I first called Shaw to get it reconnected they were quoting a date of March 2. Anyway, I worked my magic and they were here the next morning at 8am. I am really glad the tree is down now as it is really windy here today.
  • Tru has picked up. She is eating more often than not. Her stitches are out so she could finally have a much-needed bath. She absolutely reeked! Now we will know whether her swampy smell is coming from her needing a bath or her horrible teeth. Regardless, she is soaking up the love and companionship at The Swamp. She still likes to greet you by tasting your hand. It is cute.
  • We bought a home theatre system last week. We set it up without too much difficulty.[2] The speaker stands took much, much longer to set up! The system is amazing. It has solved the problem of the TV being too loud for Deb as I now have a speaker beside my right ear. Music sounds absolutely fabulous! Diamond Stereo is a fabulous place to get great advice and products.
  • We also decided I should get better car stereo speakers.[3] They went in yesterday and they sound so much better. The sound is much richer. I have actually heard things in my music that I did not know where there. Music is so important to my self-care that these investments in my sanity are very important.
  • I have been feeling much better the last couple of weeks. I really hope it is a result of some nutrition changes.[4] I have had more energy for work. Getting up and going has not been the burden it is at other times. I do seem to experience a winter improvement in my ulcerative colitis. I am hoping it is not just the winter bump.
  • All of the dogs are doing well. Zoe is a bit of a worry at times because she is old but she is fine. Kiefer gets a little sore after going to the park. Piper and Sawyer are such a bonded little duo. They love hanging out together especially in Deb’s truck. We are so lucky to have such a great crew of dogs! The Cat is still doing well. She is as demanding as ever and is showing no signs of being sick. She is still using her litter!

[1] Hydro says it was for safety reasons, tree guy said it was laziness. I am going with the tree guy.

[2] The only error we made was putting 2 of the speakers on the far right ports as per the diagram. However, our receiver can actually take 6 speakers (plus a sub-woofer) so the first 2 ports on the right are not used if you are setting it up as a 5.1. It took a little thinking to figure it out and we (buy we I mean Angelina) fixed it the next morning.

[3] And by we I actually mean Deb.

[4] I have started drinking smoothies made of yogurt and fruit in the morning. The suggestion came from my friend Lisa.

Published in: on February 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘Tru’ edition

Tru looking at the camera

After an almost 2 ½ years of our moratorium[1] on fostering and adopting senior dogs we relented and Tru came to our house last Friday. We don’t know much about her. She came from Chilliwack Animal Control after she had been found at the side of the road. She was injured and had to have a huge gash sewn up on her chest. No one really knows what happened.

Here is the truth about Tru – she is old, she has likely had a hard life and she has never known the comforts of a home. One more truth about Tru is that she is dying. Right now we are focusing on giving Tru all the comforts of life she has never known: soft beds and hands, human and canine companionship, and a warm and safe bed to sleep in at night. Even though Tru has been through hell and she is dying she is one of the most affectionate dogs I have met in a long time. She greets you by tasting you, a warm, soft lick to the hand. Tru loves the boys often she can be found laying with Sawyer or Kiefer. She is not sure about Sienna and Zoe. Piper just keeps trying to be her friend.

Tru relaxing..

If Tru’s story has touched you (and I know it has touched many) please consider making a donation to Chilliwack Animal Control[2] and Big Heart Rescue, who also stepped up to, help an old dog in need. The work that is done by rescues is often thankless and very difficult and it is dogs like Tru who really need someone to agree to help them. Think about helping the next Tru that comes along because sadly, Tru’s story is not unique. This is the sad reality for many dogs in British Columbia today. We really must do better. Please consider donating.

Tru in the living room.


[1] In our defense, we had 11 dogs at the time and we were seriously full at the Inn.

[2] They operate on a shoestring budget for vet care and need all the help they can get.

Published in: on February 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm  Comments (2)  
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Stanley Cup Riot Accused

I get that the Vancouver Game 7 Stanley Cup Riot perpetrators need to be punished. They terrorized innocent people, wantonly destroyed other peoples’ property, and assaulted people including police. They need to be arrested and charged. They must have their day in court. They must be judged. However, I am getting quite concerned about the vengeance expressed by some politicians and officials.

First off we have the premier of BC Christy Clark pushing to have television cameras in the courtrooms. I am not sure what she is trying to accomplish. If she thinks that we as the public need to see that the accused are being punished I think she wrong. I have not heard a loud outcry from the public thinking that they are going to be punished. In the same breath she is advocating cameras in the courtroom, she is saying we need to speed up the justice system. On this point she is correct. The justice system in this province is immovable just look at the slow pace at which people are being charged with riot related charges. Trying to televise the proceedings will only serve to slow down our already taxed system.

I am also concerned about the talk of minimum sentences for convicted riots. Apparently, when crimes take place during a riot they are viewed as more serious as the acts contribute to the riot itself. I believe the convicted rioters need to be punished. In cases where there is a history of this kind of anti-social behavior perhaps jail time would be warranted. I think the vast majority of the accused will be young people, fueled by drugs and or alcohol, who got caught up in the riot. This does not excuse their behavior but if they have otherwise clean records why would want to send them to jail where they will only learn how to become more criminal. They will be saddled with a criminal record and if Clark has her way, their pictures will be saved on the internet in perpetuity.

Instead I believe those who do not have a criminal record should be consigned to community service, a written apology and restitution. I am not talking about a little community service. Perhaps a group of victims could have some input into the number of hours the convicted rioters would need to serve.  Restitution should take the convicted a long time to complete.

Really what needs to happen is the convicted rioters need to have the epiphany that they actually did something wrong. They will not come to this realization in jail. Instead they will become angry and bitter. They need to give back to society. They need to invest themselves in society and their communities so that they can then become productive, civic-minded citizens.

Some Disturbing Observations…

 

  • Free trade with China in exchange for pandas?
  • Canada using information obtained under torture to help protect Canadians?
  • Shock and dismay at how truly evil people can be. I am not referring to Stephen Harper.

 

I hope the sun comes out tomorrow.

 

Published in: on February 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Struggling

I am sure it is no big surprise that I have been struggling with my adoption. Having met both of my biological parents in January, I have come away with some understanding. However, now I have different questions.

As adopted child, I had many fantasies growing up about my biological mother.[1] I used to dream that she would come and rescue me from the hell that was my childhood. She would be so nice and understanding as she took me away apologizing. I would be very understanding and we would live happily ever after. Except it never happened. Instead I grew up in a family where I felt like an alien. They spoke and emotional language I just didn’t get. I have struggled with anxiety issues my whole life and I wonder now if this was the reason. I also never felt like I fit in. I still feel like that a lot of the time. The only place I really feel like I belong and I am understood is at home. Not fitting in with your family as a child must have a profound effect on a child.

The theme of fitting in has been very present in my life. Whether I am feeling frustrated because I never really developed the ability to blend with other people or I change and bend me to try to fit in. Regardless, I have never been successful at it. I could always get along with other people but I always felt like I was on the periphery never quite getting it. At times this has caused me no end of heartache when I have been in situations where I have compromised what I know to be true and right for me to gain the approval of others. Missing out on that fundamental experience has profoundly affected my life.

I never had fantasies about meeting my biological father. In fact, I never even really thought about him until I received my identifying information and I had his name. I did not have any preconceived notions about what he would be like when I talked to him and when we subsequently met. While I definitely see a physical resemblance, personality-wise we are night and day. I have only seen him once so maybe, once I get to know him a little better, maybe I will see glimpses of myself.

Meeting my biological mother certainly gave me more answers. I could see where some of my personality came from. I used to think I acquired my work ethic watching my mother go to work every day. Now I see that while this might have had an effect, there may have been a larger genetic hard wiring.[2] Like me, she approaches life from a very linear place. Needless to say, our meeting did not even come close to my fantasy. I was very emotional when I first spoke to her on the phone. I was in tears. She said, of me locating her, “I’m not unhappy to have been found.” She is having a lot of difficulty dealing with the emotions the reunion has brought up for her. Having never told anyone that she had a baby she relinquished for adoption, she really has no skills to handle this trauma. I don’t think she has ever dealt with the trauma she experienced. Literally no one in her life knows this about her. It also seems that she never had a long-term intimate relationship. I believe that intimate relationships are key to out adult development. Experiencing love and intimacy helps us learn who we are and what we need. She has never done this and it shows. She is extremely set in her ways and does not seem to see the potential of a familial relationship with me as a positive thing. I hope this changes over time.

I used to see adoption as a rosy outcome to a bad situation. A woman needing to give up a child and that child going to parents who really want it. While this situation works well for the adults involved, I am not sure it is a great thing for the baby. I recently learned that I was over 4 months old before I was finally placed in my adoptive home. I really wonder what I lost in that 4 months of not having my mother or my adoptive mother.

 


[1] For some reason, I never really thought about my biological father.

[2] My adoptive sister and brother did not inherit my adoptive mother’s work ethic.

Published in: on February 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm  Comments (1)  
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