family, life

Tiny House Escape: Pender Island

We planned to take our tent trailer over to Pender Island for a couple of nights, until we heard the forecast. When we saw it was supposed to pour rain the whole time, the thought of driving an hour west to pick up the trailer then an hour south to get on the ferry, made camping significantly less appealing.

So two days before our trip, I looked on AirBnB and found a tiny house available for rent. Like many people, our daughters are fascinated by the tiny house movement and the minimal lifestyle so it seemed like kismet that it was the only detached accommodation available.

And boy, did we have fun!! Hiking on the nearby trails, getting caught in a cloudburst, playing cards (Cheat – such a hilarious game), watching the random movies left in the tiny (Mermaids – Cher and Winona Ryder= bizarre movie), playing tetherball and just enjoying being together away from regular life.

The bridge between South and North Pender

This sign on Mt Norman cracked me up. I didn’t see at the time that someone had scratched out Steep Trail and wrote ‘falling zombies’. It was very steep, we didn’t get to the top because we were just scoping it out on our morning walk. Next time…

We love going to the playground at the community school to play tetherball. It’s the only ball sport I’ve ever enjoyed – probably because the ball’s attached! It brings back great childhood memories at the same time as creating hilarious new ones with our youngest; we end up laughing so hard we can hardly play.

Not so into tetherball. 😴😴😴

The most incredible thing that happened was that this Prairie-born girl finally saw whales on the ferry! Despite the ferry running late, the captain was kind enough to slow down when he saw the whale watching boats congregating.

After 30 years living here, never seeing whales on the ferry (off the ferry? 🤪), I was skeptical and didn’t spend too long looking. For whatever reason, at the last minute I decided to stand on the edge of the truck so I could see over the edge of the ferry and – oh my! Humpback whales!

So small and insignificant in my little photos, but there is something so magical about the ocean and the creatures that inhabit it. When we are blessed enough to see them, even for a second, it’s an important reminder about the magic and beauty of this world, and our place in it.

So even though we were disappointed to not use the trailer (grateful after the cloudburst!!!), it ended up being a great trip in a completely different way.

Life is funny that way.

❤️ Amanda

chronic illness, life, Poetry

Voodoo Doll: MS Awareness

Huge stakes pierce my heels

Burning red hot fire

Millions of minuscule knives

Flay the insides of my feet

A giant vegetable peeler slices off

The bottoms

*

I’m sorry to those I squashed

Those I looked down upon

From any temporary high ground

I believed I held

I am your voodoo doll

And you will have your revenge

Over and over

*

The burning piercing spreads

To hands, up legs, then forearms

Who needs to work on abs

When they stay contracted constantly

Holding in the moans

And the nausea from the pain?

*

I’m sorry to those I squashed

Those I looked down upon

From any temporary high ground

I believed I held

I am your voodoo doll

And you will have your revenge

Over and over


I don’t really believe that my chronic illness is a matter of revenge, but it’s an easy trap to fall into when I’m trying to pretend all is well but the pain is overwhelming. I think of myself as a kind person but I know in my past immature, insecure life I wasn’t always the best person I could be. However, we can only go forward and try to do better.

Kindness is the answer.

❤️ Amanda

awards, nominations, challenges, writing

50 Word Thursday #27: Friendship

Oscar coughed and shifted in his recliner. Felix checked his watch then stared out the window, dying to open it and let air into the dark room. Silence the whole two hours he’d been there. He hoped that by remaining where he was, he might do some good, even there.

(50 words)

I haven’t done one of these for a while but I’ve missed them. It’s a great writing warm-up to pare down my writing before I get some words in for Camp NaNoWriMo. I failed at Camp in April because I was M.I.A.: Lost in the Garden so I’ve lowered my word count goal in the hopes of getting my writing moving again.

So far so good, but fingers crossed…

❤️ Amanda


Kristian from Tales from the Mind of Kristian is hosting this week.

The Rules:

• Find the muse within the photo or line provided and follow where it leads. It can be a story, anecdote, poem. Anything!

• The Story must be between 50 and 250 words, in 50 word increments. (so 50, 100, 150, 200 or 250 words)

• Link back to this post with the tag 50WordThurs so that everyone can find it, or post your response in the comments on his site.

• HAVE FUN!

awards, nominations, challenges, life

Twittering Tales 7-2-19: Just listen!

The mechanic wouldn’t listen. Something was wrong with Norman, but he refused to hear that it might be the battery. My university stuff was crammed in the back seat, on top of the battery. My dad drove 7 hours through the Rockies the next day, we emptied the back seat, and Norman started right up. What would I know, though? I’m just a woman!

Characters: 280

This is the first time I’ve participated in Twittering Tales and it was really fun. The picture immediately brought to mind this memory and after some tweaking, I was thrilled to get it to 280 characters exactly. Oh, and thanks, Dad! 😊

Here are the rules:

https://katmyrman.com/2019/07/02/twittering-tales-143-2-july-2019/

Instructions per Kat:

“About the challenge: Each Tuesday I will provide a photo prompt. Your mission, if you choose to accept the challenge, is to tell a story in 280 characters or less. When you write your tale, be sure to let me know in the comments with a link to your tale. This is important as I have noticed that some of the ping backs have not been working. If you would prefer to post your tale in the comments (some people have very specific blog themes but still want to participate), I am happy to post a link to your site when I post your tale in the Round Up.

A final note: if you need help tracking the number of characters in your story, there is a nifty online tool that will count for you at charactercountonline.com.

I will do a roundup each Tuesday, along with providing a new prompt. And if for some reason I missed your entry in the Roundup, as I have occasionally done, please let me know. I want to be sure to include your tale.

Finally, have fun!”

❤️ Amanda

chronic illness, life, mental health

Milestones and Reflections

At the beginning of June, I celebrated the first year of my blog. It was a huge step for uber-private me last year but the response once I finally faced my fear and hit publish was unreal. I can’t believe I have over 500 followers. More importantly, I can’t believe the support I’ve received and the friends I’ve made in this wonderful community. I’m so grateful. Thank you all. 💕

On this day four years ago, I received my MS diagnosis in the morning before going back to school for the last afternoon with my class. I didn’t know it would be the last afternoon I would spend as a teacher at the time.

It’s been an interesting journey, to say the least. The physical symptoms, especially the fatigue, stopped me teaching but the mental gymnastics associated with being chronically ill really stopped me in my tracks.

Fear, grief, anxiety, depression, guilt. Oh, the guilt! Learning to say ‘I can’t’ – especially to my children, forcing myself to stop when I ‘should’ get a little more done, unable to enjoy the good days because I ‘should’ be working.

I’ve learned to mostly maintain perspective when the anxiety and depression hit because I know it’s temporary, no matter how black. The fear hits pretty strongly when my body does it’s weird party tricks. (numbness, tingling, burning, buzzing, dizziness, tinnitus, spasms, trembling, pain and the fatigue that courses through my veins. #msawareness)

But life is scary for everybody in one way or another. Perspective.

The guilt has been the nastiest of the negatives. It comes up over and over and I’ve struggled to gain the same perspective, especially on the good days. I’d love so much to be back in the classroom that when the uglies lessen a bit, I forget how bad they are and feel I should at least try to go back to work. When they inevitably reappear, I remember why I can’t do the job I love so much.

Four years on, I’m done with the guilt on my good days. I won’t compromise the health I’ve regained since I stopped working by forcing myself to go back to work. And I won’t waste the bonus time I do get feeling guilty anymore, dammit! So there, MS. 🤗 From now on, I’m doing ‘jazz hands’ any time the guilt creeps in – haha!

This day marks a milestone for each of our younger children as well. After knocking our socks off at her Variety Show on Monday singing ‘Defying Gravity’ – (check out my instagram or facebook for the video), our youngest is finishing her last day at elementary school. It’s truly the end of an era, as we started there an unbelievable 15 years ago when our eldest was in kindergarten. Not to mention that my husband and his mother also went to the same school!

Our son is finishing his last day of high school, heading across the country to study Economics at Western University in September. Needless to say, we are incredibly proud of his achievements so far and excited for him, but there will be a big hole in our family that will take getting used to. It’s all as it should be and we can’t wait to see where he goes with his life. This kid is motivated!

Finally, our eldest got her first car so now we have our own taxi 😉 she’s embarking on a whole new level of independence and financial responsibility. We have no doubt she’ll manage her shiny new car with her usual attention and responsibility, and have lots of great adventures in the years to come.

So it’s the end of June and the beginning of summer vacation. The garden’s in great shape, the kids all have exciting plans for the summer, and we have lots of camping planned in our new tent trailer. It’s going to be a great summer!

❤️ Amanda