Category Archives: Reflection

Niagara Glen

I went hiking in the Niagara Glen today with a good friend, my three dogs and her lovely yellow lab. We traveled over rough stone and rock, up and down difficult paths along one of the most picturesque spots in all of the Niagara Region.

It’s a tough haul for the little guys with big boulders to traverse and sharp rocks to avoid. A little dip into the swirling waters could end in disaster if you’re under ten pounds.

Poco and Taz took the challenge like champs and only required bits of help to jump up onto big rocks and climb the stairs where the gap in the grates was bigger than their little paws.

Jackson needed a bit more help. We were about three quarters of the way through when I looked back and he was standing in the middle of the trail swaying a bit with tail down and tongue lolling. I walked back and picked up the little bag of bones and carried him to our next rest stop. He’s very soft and a little fleshy, but easy to tuck under my arm and carry.

We kept up a good pace and only stopped briefly for water or to go back and get Jax. When the cool breeze would blow off the swirling water everyone was relieved. Which is an incredible shock for March.



New Years Eve 2012

This year we were invited to a wedding for New Years Eve. We don’t usually make plans for New Years because we like to spend it at home with the puppies, but the wedding sounded like such fun. Last year we threw a small party at the farm.

Friends and family gathered on New Year’s Eve and romance was heavy in the air as we watched Nick and Miranda tie the knot. Love was the decided theme for 2012.

Brent and I held hands during the service reminded of our wedding just over a year ago. We shared smiles and giggles with the bride and groom.

Afterward we gathered at the hall to enjoy a delicious dinner listening to speeches filled with thank yous and promises for a bright future.

The music started and I was in the dancing mood. With my comfortable dancing boots already on I hit the floor with my cousin H.R. – a self proclaimed dancing fool.

We were having a blast when my dad decided to join in a dance and Brent was quick enough to catch my dad and I on video.

What a blast. We rang in 2012 surrounded by family and friends. Perhaps there is hope for 2012 since love is in the air and the Green Bay Packers are in the playoffs.



Birthday Wishes

I haven’t caught the fever and Santa didn’t puke in my house this year. I can’t muster the enthusiasm to do more than basic decorating and making mandatory peanut butter chocolate balls.

Even celebrating the 11th anniversary of my 29th birthday is not putting me in the spirit of the season.

I did a sad job of decorating, only putting up half of my Christmas decorations. I made an adequate batch of peanut butter chocolate balls. I’m having the requisite company and the puppies have had their Christmas bath, but the magic of the season continues to elude me.

It feels like a little piece of my happy is missing, torn from a heart that has yet to heal.

It will be a nice Christmas with all the Christmas fixings, but my heart isn’t in the celebratory mood. My family, friends and puppies deserve a good Holiday and I’ll do my best to make it fun.

To kick start the spirit I started the Eight Days of Amy Birthday Wishes this year. It’s a new idea. Why eight? That’s the random day I came up with the idea (thank Billy).

The Eight Days of Happy Amy Birthday Wishes:

Happy Amy Birthday Wish 8: May all the little heartbeats have warm bed, full tummies and loving families.

Happy Amy Birthday Wish 7: For every huamn to have one day a week where they become a vegetarian… and to stop Katinka Simonse from doing any more “art”.

Happy Amy Birthday Wish 6: Stop all laboratory testing on animals.

Happy Amy Birthday Wish 5: Less urban development and more lakes, meadows, trees, rainforests and natural habitats.

Happy Amy Birthday Wish 4: To discover the true meaning of Christmas without the use of pop culture.

Happy Amy Birthday Wish 3: The Green Bay Packers win the Superbowl… again.

Happy Amy Birthday Wish 2: End all atrocities against animals. All of them: hunting, slaughter, neglect, abuse, starvation, art, testing, genocide, entertainment, forced breeding, experimentation, int he name of science, mass production, as a christmas gift… See their incredible souls shine and realize they are worthy of a beautiful life too – just like you. Now… go hug your pet.

Happy Amy Birthday Wish 1: To cuddle my Gizmo. Please be happy, safe, warm, loved and with a full tummy. We miss and love you.

Happy Amy Birthday! May all your dreams come true and your wishes be magical.



Alone at Christmas

I’ve been sad lately. The holidays are upon us and I’m thinking of my Gizmo. The emptiness that I feel at his death still grabs me by the heart and makes tears fill my eyes.

I keep trying to decorate, but I stop part way through, sit on the couch and sip my wine. Gizmo always used to help me decorate. He’d put his head into the boxes to see what delights might be in store. He’d pull tinsel and then dance when it would tumble down on his head.

I’d find him chewing on the cord to the christmas tree lights and when I’d tell him to stop he’d look at me with his eyes bright and his mouth open in delight. I’d laugh and pick him up turning in a slow circle I’d give him a good neck cuddle before putting him down with a safe treat or a toy to play with while I continue to decorate.

I’m finding the pictures from past years of the pups at Christmas. With his deep chocolate hair a bit too long he looks like a hippy in his christmas vest.
He’s always right next to Taz as company comes to visit. He never barks. He never growls. He loves everyone. My Gizmo.

Losing Gizmo has been so hard and heartbreaking. Seeing something you love with all your heart suffer and die is one of the worst trials to survive. Add the sweet tender innocence that was Gizmo and it’s nearly unbearable.

I am changed. I am different. I am not as powerful as I was before I lost my Gizmo. His death has affected my every day life. I feel insecure. I feel exposed. I feel broken. We are no longer a complete family. 

Years ago I decided that I would spend my time doing the things I love and I love being with my puppies. I love spending time with them and loving them with all my heart. Unfortunately, losing the thing you love with all your heart has consequences that are paramount and life altering.

Making that decision years ago contributed to my broken heart. I can see why people would chose to never love again after this pain. The ache is incredible, but I have a Super Taz and Poco that need my love, and now I have a Jackson. Why? Why would I ever chose to suffer this pain again? Why would I open myself to the possibility of more heartache?

Because. Because I cannot bear to hear of their suffering and do nothing. Because I need him as much as he needs me. Because Jackson deserves a better life. Because the only way I’ll get stronger is to love more. Because the only way to heal the heart is with love.

Merry Christmas Gizmo. We miss you so much.

A Special Moment in November

It’s been an busy few weeks at work. I’m a paramedic and usually I live in what we in the business call a “white cloud”. Meaning.. I miss the big calls involving horrific trauma or obscure death, but lately I’ve gotten “those” calls. The calls that make you redefine your life. The calls that make you rethink your thoughts. So, when I say I’ve had a bad week, that means I’ve seen things that I dream about and wake up in the middle of the night with a scream caught in my throat.

It’s been bad. It’s made me want to open up a puppy sitting service. It’s made me consider hair dressing school.

Right this moment I’m in the living room of my century old farm house surrounded by puppies and I feel pretty good. Maybe it’s not entirely real, but it feels pretty real right now.

Brent is snoring softly in the pale beige recliner with Super Taz curled at his calf. I’m in the over sized chair with a Jax stretched out along my leg. Poco is on his favorite green pillow and Simba is passe out on the red couch. It’s a good friday night on the farm.

Next week brings more of the unthinkable, but for tonight I am at peace. I wonder what it would take to open a puppy sitting service?



It’s a Tuesday night and we’re off to dinner with friends on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. I’ve had a horribly busy weekend and I’m tired. I got up early today to do a transport for dog rescue. The pup is an adorable and horribly misunderstood chihuahua who now has a second chance at a Canadian Rescue.

For as good as I feel about the transport I’m brought down by fatigue. I come home and try to nap for an uneventful hour before I get up and shower.

As we drive across the border I confess to Brent that I’m exhausted. Too tired for this adventure, but since we’re already on the move I’m game. He confesses that he’s tired too, but very excited about the prospects of dinner on the town. We rarely go out for meals. It’s a bit of challenge to afford the farm, so we limit our spending. It’s worth every chicken dinner in.

We arrive at the restaurant and see our friends through the window seated at a table. The place is small with lots of home art on the walls and I’m instantly taken. I feel energized as I walk to the table and am welcome with smiles and delight. Ah… to be accepted.

It feels good to be in a mix of family and friends with everyone talking at once and holding several different conversation. The restaurant is small, cozy with fantastic food. I couldn’t ask for a better venue or better friends.

I wish I would have spent more time on Elmwood as a young adult. It might have made a difference.

The end part is my favorite with Lynn telling childhood stories. I’m delighted with her generational tales that seems to transcend time. Perhaps I cling greedily to her words seeking my own comfort, but Lynn is so generous she doesn’t mind me soaking up her positive energy.

This is a woman who has found herself and is accepted into her community and her family. She’s the one who gave me the wonderful words of comfort when I lost my Gizmo. Lynn said Gizmo was so happy running he didn’t realize he’d run straight into heaven. Her words help to heal.

I look forward to my visits with Lynn with an enthusiasm that is a dim reflection of my youth with horses. Don’t be offended Lynn, horses were my salvation. Don’t be intimidated either, I don’t expect you to be my salvation. I would never expect that of one person.

I am grateful to have these friends and family and I want to say thank you. When I came home that night I heard some sad country songs that reminded me of my Gizmo and had a good cry before Jax began some wonderful antics and drew me out of my grief.

I poured a glass of red wine and sat on the floor and listened to by puppies snore for a little bit before retiring to the comfort of my bed. Thank you friends. Thank you family. Thank you puppies. I’m a lucky person. 
I look forward to my next meeting with the gang from number eight. I just hope Bella can make it this time. 

Long Beach

It’s September 25th and is one of those perfect weather days. Clear blue skies, butter yellow sunshine and a soft breeze that feels like a tender kiss.

I’m sitting on the newly built front deck of number four of the Long Beach Cottages owned by the Lindhurst family, of which I am a member.

After Labour Day Long Beach is mostly deserted. The beach becomes my own private paradise where I can let the dogs run safely along the beach each and every morning. We end our sun soaked days with a huge bonfire on the sand. Brent dragged a tree stump onto the beach in the spring and we’re still trying to burn it.

We were suppose to go to North Carolina this week with our trailer, but Super Taz became sick and we had to cancel our trip. After our visit with the Internal Medicine Specialist on Tuesday we learned our Super Taz fatigues easily, but she should make a full recovery. It was too late for North Carolina, but the need to escape still burned strongly in both of us, so we took the thirty minute drive to Long Beach and found our paradise.

The last few years have been busy and we hadn’t taken the time to enjoy the beach. I wonder if we both forgot how soothing the lake can be with her healing powers.

The sound of the lake is the base beat with her steady rhythm. Ebbing and flowing as the water laps the shore. The breeze rustles the leaves adding a wind instrument to the mix and the crickets provide the strings. A lovely orchestra of nature, until Taz throws in the horns.

I am not completely alone. There are small pockets of people, but they want their privacy too. We smile and wave and everyone keeps moving. It makes me feel like I’m not isolated, but I don’t have to become involved.

Adjusting to life without Gizmo has been difficult and these few days at the beach has been a soothing balm to my damaged heart. The water is warm as it washes over my feet on my morning walk. The sun warms me and the breeze keeps me cool. It’s a delicate balance. We can learn how to live our lives by watching how nature keeps the world’s equilibrium regardless of how we try to control it.

Somedays are important for going with the flow. Learning to appreciate the good things. Brent and I are very lucky. Once again…

Keep Your Mouth Shut

This phrase has been a part of my life for a long time and maybe its time I start listening.

There are people who are thrilled to hear my new motto, but it makes me feel a little dead inside. It makes me feel sad. I’m reading a book right now called Speak and on page 122 I read this tonight:

“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You’d be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside – walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It’s the saddest thing I know.”

Maybe the last two months have been too much. Maybe I’ve been surrounded by sadness. Maybe it is time to keep my mouth shut for a while and see where my new found silence takes me.

So, if I seem a little quiet next time we visit I’m trying something new.

Night Shift

It’s 630 am and I’m just home from a night shift. The dogs are fed and I’ve just had a tasty turkey sandwich for breakfast with two cookies. There are a handful of benefits to working nights and eating cookies for breakfast is one of them.

The house is pleasantly quiet and the dogs are sleeping in their most favorite beds. The dishwasher is humming and the kitchen is clean. The farm seems quite peaceful this morning.

The drive home was uneventful and it’s one of those overcast mornings that’s great for sleeping. I’m about to go up and crawl into bed knowing everyone else is getting up to start their day. There is some comfort in crawling into bed in the morning and napping guilt-free until noon.

I think Taz stays up most of the night on her watchdog bed waiting for me, because she loves to nap all morning. She’ll curl up beside me and start snoring before I’ve had the chance to close my eyes. Belly up and totally relaxed she snuggles into the blankets and gives her therapeutic doggie sigh before she closes her eyes and nods off.

Poco curls up on my feet and seems asleep immediately. He usually falls asleep nose to tail and only relaxes once he’s really out. He slowly unwinds and expands until he’s laying along my leg snoring. He’s acutely aware of everything, but puts his army training on hold for a few hours of morning naps.

Gizmo never really woke up in the morning, so his nighttime napping and his morning nap would simply expand until noon. I don’t know how he did it. I don’t know how his bladder wouldn’t burst. Even at noon I’d have to wake him up and carrying him down the stairs with his tail wagging making his little old man noises. I’d put him the grass and he’d give me a look like I was crazy and promptly pee on the flagstone patio.

Shift work is hard on the body and the mind, but I do see the benefits when chocolate can be had for breakfast and the calories don’t count. It’s getting to be full light, so it’s time for me to go hide under my blankets and wait for lunch. I think beer for lunch?

Another Car? Really?

A year ago I sold my 1998 Volkswageon Jetta TDI with nearly 500,000 kms on the original engine and body. I really loved that car, but it had reached the stage of life that required a large influx of work and I didn’t want to invest into a car over a decade old.

Brent and I thought we could get by with his Jetta aka “the tomato” and the F350 truck, but we soon learned that the price of fuel would make it next to impossible to affordably drive the one ton dually. We started looking for something fuel efficient and cost effective.

Together we decided to purchase a vehicle from Florida and drive it home. In mid-December we flew south and brought home the 1986 mercedes benz. She is a tank. We named her Bertha and it became apparent that Bertha was a thirsty girl. She was also old.

It didn’t take long before the car hunt began again. With Bertha listed on numerous websites I started my search for a car that was a little fresher. Perhaps born in this decade.

After some internet research and talking with friends the first thing we decided was to discover what was most important to us in a vehicle. In about a second we agreed it was fuel efficiency. We also wanted something green and friendly.

Size was our next discussion. Eke. We had the truck for big things, so size was not an issue. We don’t have children and our three little pups will fit anywhere. When I saw the Smart Car I was drawn. It fit everything we wanted including: size, green and at 68 mpg it is the most fuel efficient vehicle on the road.

Hours were spent looking on line for our Smart and the prices were all over the place. Ten grand could buy you a 2010, 2009, 2008-05. Milages ranged from 40-156,000 kms. We set our budget and struggled to find our Smart.

We weren’t in a rush, but when I found the 2006 with 56,000 for under $8000 I was excited and she was close: St. Catharines. Most of the Smarts for sale are in Toronto. They market it as a city car, but I think they’re missing the rural market who are forced to drive fifteen minutes or more to hit a grocery store.

We learned that Smart came to Canada in 2005 and to the United States in 2008. They introduced a gas version (much less fuel efficient) in 2008 thinking it would be better received than the diesel. The first Smart was created by Swatch and Mercedes in the mid 1990’s and the engine notably died at the 60,000 km mark.

After over a decade of German engineering the three cylinder Smart will go forever on a thimble of diesel fuel. It makes my environmental heart beat a little faster.

I was overly excited when we pulled into the dealership to look at the 2006 and when I walked up I immediately said “no. no. no.” It was so small up close. Tiny. I could see why people would make fun of this clown car, but then I drove it. The passenger compartment was spacious and extra care was taken to make the driver’s side comfortable. The car ended abruptly behind the driver’s seat, but you could still fit a couple of puppies and some groceries in the back.

The semi-automatic shifting was fun and the vehicle was peppy. I loved it as soon as I pulled a U-turn in the middle of a narrow street. Fun to drive and fun to park.

On the QEW it was stable and quickly accelerated up to 130 km/hr without hesitation. We passed a few transport trucks with ease and moved through traffic with agility. I was searching for a draw back and couldn’t find one, except my husband was not that keen on the Smart. A guy thing, but it was too late because I was smitten.

Now, to negotiate. Gizmo’s time to shine.