Tag Archives: Canada

Are You There God? It’s Me, Emilie

4 Mar

I did some organizing about a month ago and found some of my old journals from when I was between the ages of 10 and 13. I’ve been home sick for 3 days so I have some extra time on my hands; I’ve been reading my entries and dying laughing.  As an adult I am not one for flowery emotions and drama – I am pretty practical and nonchalant.  It seems I was that way as a kid too. One of my favorite books growing up was ‘Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret’: a book that details the thoughts and emotions of a 6th grade girl.  Boys, bras, periods, family disputes and everyday emotions. I wasn’t so much like Margaret as I didn’t really ‘journal’ so much,  I more ‘documented’ the daily going ons in our house.

Below is one of the entries from my journal.  To give you a better understanding here a few additional details:

I grew up on a hobby farm.  We had a few horses, a few cows, pigs and some chickens.  We only had female cows.  If Dad wanted one of the heifers to get pregnant he would need to call Joe Van De Valk and ask him to come over when she was in heat. Joe Van De Valk is not a bull from a local farm, he is an Artificial Inseminator. Joe was somewhat deaf so he spoke in a not typical manner (which was great as I love to do impersonations of people and I can do a humdinger impersonation of Joe).  Once we got older we had a great nickname for him ‘The County Cow F*&cker’

Saturday, October 5th, 1991 (I was 11)

“Joe Van de Valk came over today. I woke Dad up because he was taking a nap when I saw his van pull in the driveway.  Dad and I went up to the barn.  When we got there Joe pulled out a catalogue with pictures of bulls in it.  He said ‘Jesus Christ Leonel I got some real nice stuff today.  That fella there (pointing at a picture of a bull from Ontario) he has some beauty calves.  Throws big ones.’  (insert – just like a modern day sperm bank Dad would choose the sperm from the most suitable bull).  Joe then put on a glove that went up to his arm pit.  After that he pulled a long rod from what looked like a bucket with dry ice in it.  He then took his arm with the rod in his hand and put it up the cows bum.  Ginger bawled.  After some poking and prodding he took his arm out.  The glove was full of hot steamy manure.  After Joe left Dad and I went into town and picked David up at basketball. When we got back it was lunchtime and Dad made us cream peas on toast (like he always does when Mom is working).’

End of entry.

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The truth is…

22 Jan

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Seeing as I am Canadian I sometimes feel pressed to say that I like winter.  In truth: I hate it.  It makes me feel like less of a Canadian but I can’t hide it anymore.  As I type this post I am sitting in sunny Hawaii soaking in vitamin D and feeling fabulous.  I just received an email from my mother saying that a foot of snow is expected this evening and that today the local plough shed burnt down along with 3 ploughs.  Isn’t that bad timing?  I clearly remember being a kid and on the days that it was storming we would wait by the radio to hear if school had been cancelled or at the very minimum that our bus was going to be late.  This is the time in my life when my hatred for winter began…

I grew up in a community called Maryvale (the department of highways moved the sign once and for 2 years we lived in North Grant)  and where my parents house is we call it Hell’s Gates (original I know).  There is a weird combination of a small mountain, a 200 acre open field across the road and some kind of wind tunnel.  From November until March our entire life was controlled by the weather.  I remember waking up and thinking the bloody Apocalypse happened – our windows would be covered in snow, the car was buried in snow and wind howled like crazy.  Whatever plans I had that morning were at the very least delayed or even cancelled.  We would need to wait for someone to come and clear our driveway out and that could take hours.  After a few storms snowbanks would pile up higher than the roofline of our house.  So after waiting 2 hours, pulling on snow attire, warming the car up, and clearing the car off we would attempt to get out of the driveway (this was a whole other challenge).  My Mom would throw her aside her conservative ways – she would turn into Mario Andretti in an attempt to get out.  The end of the driveway was usually a total whiteout in both directions.  Someone would have to get out of the car and stand in a place where they wouldn’t get hit in order to see if any cars were coming.  The wind would be blowing so strong that this already hateful event was made worse. So, Mom would hammer the gas down, we would fishtail out of the driveway and spin down the road.  We would think Old Man Winter had lost his mind, however, when we got a mile over the road all would be relatively peaceful.  I can’t tell you how many people went off the road in the front of our house – we always had knocks at the door from forlorn travelers stuck in the ditch.  There was a few years when the military actually came in with some sort of a machine that blew the snow so high/far I think it ended up at the North Pole. The Department of Highways for many years put a snow fence across the road in an attempt to block some of the blowing snow. Waiting for the school bus was a brutal cruelty – it would get so windy and wild that my brothers (probably begrudgingly) had to hold my hands so that I wouldn’t blow away into the great white abyss.  Seeing that big orange school bus pull up was the most amazing feeling. We got so much snow at our house that we would jump off the roof of the house into drifts.  I think David lost his boots on one plunge and they weren’t recovered until the spring.  When we were kids we had so much fun outside – playing in the snow, jumping off the house, cross country skiing, but that was when I didn’t know what day of the week it was, I didn’t have to run errands, I didn’t cook my own food, I didn’t have to clean, I didn’t have to work – i didn’t have anything to do other than play. Now, all winter brings me is shoveling, a dog full of snowballs and cold hands and feet. 

Fashion is a big part of winter that is a challenge for me as well – salt stains make my blood boil, when I put on a pair of pantyhose/tights I nearly have an allergic reaction, my head is too big for most fashionable hats and I detest how pasty my poor legs become due to not seeing sunlight for 5 months.

The good bits of being a Canadian exceed my strong feelings about winter and thus I have not given up my citizenship, but I think we need to add another province to Canada (one that is sunny all year round) – let’s trade in our worst province for Turks and Caicos.  I would volunteer to be the first resident.