Downhome magazine only has space for a mere fraction of the great stories sent to us by readers. Luckily, they're all available here. You'll find fond reminiscences about the past and personal experiences to which we can all relate.
From the Boston States
Long before droves of hard working Newfoundlander's headed to the construction sites and factories of southern Ontario, or to the oil sands of northern Alberta, they headed to "the Boston States". The Boston States is a term used by other Maritime Canadians ... click to read moreLong before droves of hard working Newfoundlander's headed to the construction sites and factories of southern Ontario, or to the oil sands of northern Alberta, they headed to "the Boston States". The Boston States is a term used by other Maritime Canadians to describe the frequent migrations of people to the New England area. At around the turn of the nineteenth century, as a result of a growing Newfoundland population and increasingly sparse and sporadic employment, Newfoundlander's headed to the Boston States in search of work and a new beginning. Some would go seasonally to fish and work in the lobster industry or as dock workers in Boston, but others stayed and became scattered throughout the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Others went on to big cities of New York and Philadelphia as brave ironworkers on the new high-rise skyscrapers that rose up during this period.
Nearly three years ago, I myself landed in the Boston States, and as far as I can tell, I'll be here for a while. Like nearly everyone else who leaves Newfoundland, I did so not so much out of want, but out of necessity. Despite two college degrees and a few years of experience there was no work for me in my chosen field. With my education however, I had options. The reason I ended up in New England, as opposed to Alberta or elsewhere in Canada was two-fold. For one, my wife, who I met in graduate school, is from Massachusetts; and secondly, the first job offer I received was from a company in Albany, New York, not too far from where she grew up. The move made perfect sense, and we married there that same summer. While Albany is not technically in New England, being just 30 minutes west of Massachusetts, it certainly is within the Boston States.
I often think about home, and sometimes when I do, I wish that I was fortunate enough to have stayed in Newfoundland with my wife to raise our family. Without getting too upset however, I remind myself that's it's not that bad...it could be worse. After all, I have a decent job, an amazing wife and a healthy family. I enjoy a fun and active lifestyle and I even have a great dog. Sure I wouldn't be able to write a country and western song if I tried. I also think about how worse off those who came to the Boston States more than a hundred years ago must have been. I don't have to deal with any of the hardships, desperation or isolation that they must have endured. Nor did I have to uproot my entire family, or spend weeks and months at a time away from my loved ones, as so many Newfoundlander's continue to have to do today. I've even got the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean within a two-hour drive if I ever get really homesick.
I really do love it here in New England, and if it can't be Newfoundland, I couldn't pick a better place. My in-laws have a boat, and every summer we go to beautiful, rustic Maine where the family has a pair on cabins hugging the rugged cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean. From here we pick blue berries, sea kayak, dig clams, catch cod, haddock and lobsters, and eat chowder. In fact I continue to do many of the things I've always done, such as trout fishing, snowshoeing, hiking, and playing hockey both on the pond and at the rink. I've even taught my new friends and family a few things along the way, namely the importance of a boil-up and the odd bit of "Newfinese".
In this day and age it is easy to stay connected with friends and family, and with the granite rock stuck out in the North Atlantic I love and proudly call home. Between international telephone calling plans (aka "the package"), and Internet mediums like email, Skype and Facebook, sure I talk to some people more now than I ever did. That still doesn't come close to replacing all the house parties, night's out listening to Irish music, weddings and hockey tournaments I've missed, but it helps nonetheless. The Internet also lets me keep up on all the news and shenanigans of our fair province. I can even listen to VOCM's Open Line, if I wanted too. And it goes without saying that my Downhome magazine and the "Life is better Downhome" website are well appreciated, especially for expatriates such as myself.
Another thing that keeps my heart and soul close to Newfoundland is music. I'm a huge fan and advocate of Newfoundland music, especially traditional Newfoundland-Irish music. I listen to Radio Newfoundland online at home and at work, and on the weekends I'm streaming the popular morning radio shows which play this genre. Hearing the familiar voices, strums and beats of my favorite artists puts me in good spirits, and the classic Newfoundland advertisements from the likes of Pipers or the Old Port Nan make me laugh out loud every time. When not listening to the music online I'm playing CDs at home and playing along with my bodran, with memories of singalongs on the beach, mini-folk festivals at my parent's house, and too many nights to count at the pubs in downtown St. John's fresh in my mind. I've got to say, the live music is one of the things I miss the most. There's not much chance of a shed or cabin party with guitars, an accordion and an ugly stick breaking out here any time soon. With that being said however I have seen Great Big Sea down in this neck of the woods twice now, and I have been to a few excellent Irish music festivals. It's not the same though as having the choice, no the luxury, of seeing incredible live Irish-Newfoundland music any time you want to is a privilege.
If there is one other thing that lets me stay connected to Newfoundland it is food. It's not a secret to those who know me that I love food and I love to cook for both my appetite and other people. I have even started a blog dedicated to my cooking and the cuisine of both Newfoundland and New England, called A Wicked Scoff (http://awickedscoff.blogspot.com). I encourage you to check it out. With my shipments of Mt. Scio Farms savory, salt fish, gravy browning, Quidi Vidi beer, a pea's pudding bag and Purity crackers, it almost like I never left Nan's kitchen. The added bonus of being able to buy Newfoundland Screech dark rum in New Hampshire (at $11 a bottle no less) almost brings a tear to my eye. The cooking traditions of Newfoundland and New England are very similar, and through food, I am able to share my love of food, Newfoundland, and my new found home here in New England.
So while I find myself here in the Boston States, I know that like everyone else who have had to leave Newfoundland, it will always be home. I will return for vacations as often as I can, and like everyone, someday I plan to retire there, although that's some time away. When we have kids, and they grow up and go to college, we will encourage them to go to Newfoundland. I have many miles of the East Coast Trail left to hike, festivals to attend, trout to catch, rocks to skip, and fish and chips to eat. There are so many things I still have to do there...I've just got to find the time.
Sealing versus Slaughterhouse: A Comparison Sealing versus Slaughterhouse: A Comparison
Non-vegetarians who oppose the seal hunt, while usually hypnotized by animal rights and anti-sealing propaganda, might fail to recognize the process by which the meat they consider "humane" to eat ended up on their plate. It's been said before, and it stands true today: people want to separate themselves from the violence. The modern supermarket shopper doesn't waste time considering the conditions of the chicken that will be ... click to read moreSealing versus Slaughterhouse: A Comparison
Non-vegetarians who oppose the seal hunt, while usually hypnotized by animal rights and anti-sealing propaganda, might fail to recognize the process by which the meat they consider "humane" to eat ended up on their plate. It's been said before, and it stands true today: people want to separate themselves from the violence. The modern supermarket shopper doesn't waste time considering the conditions of the chicken that will be the star of tonight's dinner. They don't want to know if the pig felt pain before being processed and ending up as bacon in the frying pan. Ground beef doesn't represent "cow" to them, it represents hamburgers. People who oppose the seal hunt, while continuing to eat commercially slaughtered meat are not only ignorant, but tremendously separated from the kill, that undesirable act that led to the end result, the finished product, which is probably on their grocery list.
The reason that consumers can tune out the violence and remove themselves from the bloody mess that is commercial animal slaughter is simple. Everyday people are aware that slaughterhouses adhere to a code passed and set out by the federal government to ensure that the animal is put to death in a humane manner. They know that regulations exist inside these abattoirs to guarantee a "good death" for the animals in question. The whole topic usually doesn't go beyond that for them. Slaughterhouses don't have glass walls for a reason, and they accept that. What they don't realize is that the animals that make up the meat products they regularly consume arguably endure more suffering than any seal on the ice floes. Is commercial slaughter inhumane? It depends on who you ask. Commercial slaughterhouses have been rather shielded in terms of media coverage, and the only footage the average person sees is tear-jerking images of cruelty towards the animal by a minority of abattoir workers unwilling to respect the rules and the animals. Similarly, any footage obtained from the Canadian seal hunt is nitpicked, spliced together, and falsely presented as a killing ground of cruelty.
So why do people continue to eat beef, swine, poultry, and other meat while mustering the gall to protest the seal hunt? It is because they are uninformed and misguided. I will now outline a few practices of commercial slaughterhouses compared with the regulations and practices of Canadian sealers.
Animals need to get to the slaughterhouse before meeting their fate. Unfortunately, many of the animals endure unavoidable stresses on the wait and journey to slaughter. Fowl are crowded into cages, unruly or stationary steer and swine are shocked electrically to facilitate order and progressive movement through the abattoir. The crowding alone can cause stress to the animal. Then there are the variety of stunning methods employed by workers to ensure the animal is unconscious or stunned enough for the bleeding process. The most popular device to stun the animal is the captive bolt pistol. The animal, sheep, swine, goat, calve, cattle, horses, or mule, is led into a device which locks and positions the head to ensure that the animal is immobile prior to stunning. The captive bolt is then positioned on a specific area of the head and applied. The device penetrates the skull and enters the cranium causing catastrophic damage to the brain. The animal is then considered unconscious and is fit to be bled. The animal does not die as a direct result of the captive bolt, it dies as a result of the following bleeding. All animals slaughtered in commercial abattoirs ultimately die by exsanguination, which can last as long as five to 10 minutes. The skulls of the animals are too large to be crushed, so there is no palpation of the skull to ensure unconsciousness. There is also no blinking reflex test performed, mainly because the animal most assuredly will blink if the eye is touched until well after exsanguination. The captive bolt pistol is also just that, a pistol. It requires aim, technique, finesse, and proper training to utilize effectively on every animal.
Compare this with the open abattoir that is the commercial seal hunt. Seals are in their natural habitat prior to being killed. They are not crowded into cages, trapped, or transported. They are simply on the ice and in their natural environment as they always are. Sealers come to the seal, and not the other way around. The animals are under no visible stress. In fact, most seals are completely docile as they are used to being predators of the ice and ocean, not prey. The harp seal's skull is smaller and thinner than any cattle or pig or other livestock, and therefore easily crushed. High velocity bullets and rifles in the hands of an experienced sealer can quickly deliver a shot that causes more damage to the seal's skull (regardless of age) and brain matter than a captive bolt pistol on livestock. The humaneness of the hunt is exemplified even more so by usage of the hakapik. The hakapik is a fail safe weapon for killing seals, and was designed specifically as such. Seals less than one year old (which in turn have considerably thinner, weaker skulls) are rendered unconscious or "stunned" by a single blow. Multiple blows are often administered to completely destroy the skull, cerebrum, cerebellum, and sever the brain stem ensuring death before exsanguination, something a captive bolt cannot and does not do. Seals are bled, but the animal is undoubtedly dead before the process begins. It can then be argued that seals are slaughtered quicker and more effectively than livestock in commercial slaughterhouses. The skull and contents destroyed and palpated to verify that sufficient damage has been inflicted, the eye is touched to ensure that not even involuntary reflexes and/or electricity is active in the body, and they are bled for a minimum of one minute before being pelted. By comparison with commercial slaughter, the process is as about as humane as any type of slaughter gets.
So why the public outcry and protest against such a humane slaughter? It is based entirely on emotion and cultural imperialism. You can see the slaughter clearly because it takes place in the open and on a white surface, making blood appear much more gruesome. The tools that are used in the hunt are not conventional to the layperson, as many people do not even know what a hakapik is. The pelting and processing takes place in nature, and is not enclosed in walls meant to separate the general public from the kill. These factors combined with the mass propaganda efforts of animal rights groups who deceptively show spliced and altered video, images of the not-hunted whitecoat harp seal and blueback hooded seal, and the positively racist hate campaign perpetrated upon the maritime Canadians who participate in the hunt lead the public to believe that the practice is barbaric. The fact is, it is no more barbaric, and arguably less barbaric than the methods of slaughter that put the meat you regularly consume into those nice, clean, pretty packages at the supermarket. To separate oneself from the kill, from the violence, the blood, the mess, the gruesome raw humanity of it all, is to lie to oneself. Convincing yourself that the leather on your back or the meat you consume came from animals that were slaughtered "acceptably," and that the seal hunt is altogether different is essentially a lie. It is the wool pulled over the eyes of the everyday consumer that has lead to the seal hunt being viewed in such a derogatory way. A quote from Dr. Keith Rondald, Dean of the College of Biological Science at the University of Guelph further outlines the staggering humaneness of the hunt:
"From a total of 509 animals examined at this time there was reported to be only one other case of the animal not being rendered unconscious. This appears to be a fantastically high average of humane killing. (99.82%)"
I am certainly not suggesting that the commercial slaughter of livestock is inhumane. I am merely suggesting that the Canadian commercial seal hunt is more humane. The regulations are tighter and highly controlled for sealing as the sealers are in the view of anyone who cares to watch and document the hunt. The humane stunning practices are more precise and thorough than captive bolt pistols with the hakapik, and just as humane with the rifle in the hands of an experienced marksman. There are fail safe methods for ensuring unconsciousness or death that are never employed in slaughterhouses, and the animal is treated with utmost respect and dignity when compared to livestock slaughtered in abattoirs. For Canadian sealers to be treated as so many cruel, heartless barbarians and viewed as inferior beings that are incapable of feeling is untrue, unfair, and unjust. Sealers, like slaughterhouse workers, are the means to an end. They tread through the blood and mess of animal slaughter every day to provide the consumer with the aesthetically pleasing finished product. Sealers are skilled hunters and trained professionals, and deserve the same respect that any abattoir worker would get. These people are human beings who are capable of humility, respect, and dignity towards all creatures, especially the seals they hunt.
'Where Have All the Old Songs Gone?' By way of background, my father was born in Conception Harbour, my mother in Colliers, and my husband, Bell Island. Although my five siblings and I were born and raised in the States, my sister, who worked as a court stenographer in Fort Pepperell and Harmon in the middle fifties, married a man from Brigus; my brother married Marie Mahoney from Conception and moved back in 1989 to live in Middle Arm until his death ... click to read moreBy way of background, my father was born in Conception Harbour, my mother in Colliers, and my husband, Bell Island. Although my five siblings and I were born and raised in the States, my sister, who worked as a court stenographer in Fort Pepperell and Harmon in the middle fifties, married a man from Brigus; my brother married Marie Mahoney from Conception and moved back in 1989 to live in Middle Arm until his death this past June, and my brother, Fred, married a New York girl whose father was Gus Costello from Conception Harbour. As previously stated, I married a Bell Island man. Newfoundland runs deep in our veins and roots, and we all share a love of her customs and ways, literature and music.
My parents, along with other Newfoundlanders, chartered and ran The Newfoundland-America Club of New Jersey, where those away from home could find friends, music and dance and food from "home." It started in the early thirties and lasted until 1993, when due to a lack of membership, had to be disbanded. The moneys in our treasury at the time were sent to several Newfoundland communities for charitable works.
May God watch over you until you get a chance to meet Him.
Very truly yours,
Carol Keating Cole
Where Have All the Old Songs Gone?
My dad loved to sing, and my fondest childhood memories are hearing him sing the "old" songs that he brought to the States from his home in Conception Harbour, Newfoundland. The youngest of six, I was raised in a big house that was filled with people and music. The piano was in the corner and our friends, Mickey Mahoney and Eddy Penny, played the fiddle and the tin whistle. There was never a party without them. My mom didn't sing but knew the words to every song that was ever sung. My dad had a wonderful voice full of feeling, and he loved to be a little dramatic when singing a sad tune. He made you feel as though you were in the middle of the story which the song told. Today these songs are seldom heard. The younger generation does not know them, and I am fearful that they will soon disappear.
Whenever there was a party or just a "gathering," songs were sung. It's funny to recall how each Aunt or Uncle (and if you were a child, everyone was given that title of respect whether or not they were related) had one or two songs which they were required to sing. I can still see Mickey Wade, down on one knee, saying, "Come on Biddy, Give us 'The Black Sheep.'" Aunt Bride sang, "The Lessons That I Learned on Mother's Knee;" Uncle Sam sang, "The Badger Drive;" Bucky had to sing, "Babes In the Woods;" and Bernard, my father, was always requested to sing "The Valleys of Kilbride" and "A Little Before the Last Great Charge." Once he got started, he would continue with "Annie Dear I'm Called Away" and "Binjin on the Rhine." Someone would lighten the mood with "The Moonshine Can," but then, Aunt Kay would sing "Two Little Orphans." When our aunts visited from Newfoundland, we were treated to "Away By Halls Bay Line" - a song they said was given its "air" by our grandfather, John Keating, while working on the railway.
When my husband, Jack, who lived on Bell Island, and I visited "home," we went to O'Brien's Music Store in St. John's. Jack wanted tapes or CDs by his boyhood friend, Ray McLean, before they were gone. I inquired if there were any CDs or tapes of someone singing "all the old Newfoundland songs." The young clerk thought that "The Little Boats of Newfoundland" was old. We didn't find any that contained the favourites we had both heard as children. Jack was especially looking for "The Colour of Amber is My True Love's Hair" which his Uncle Ed Power sang.
It grieves me to think that the "now" generation has little knowledge and love for those old songs that were so much a part of a Newfoundland family. I realize that groups such as "The Great Big Sea" and others have musical talent and record great songs, but I wish that some group would take it upon themselves to record the truly OLD songs that once were a part of many Newfoundland homes. I also believe that they could be marketed and would be bought not only in Newfoundland, but across Canada, in the States and other countries, where so many replanted Newfoundland people are living. Like me, they want to hear again those good old Newfoundland songs.
Wine With Wings
Newfoundland Wine shipped country wide (except in NL)
Shipping special $10/case Visit website
The Alternative Skiing Holiday Kay Cottrell
First Canadian Rights
The Alternative Skiing Holiday
Imagine my disappointment when just 4 weeks before departing for my ski holiday to Marble Mountain, Newfoundland, I have a slight altercation with a table tennis table and break a couple of toes, just brilliant! My skiing isn't the most accomplished at the best of times, let alone with only 8 good toes! Of course there is nothing for it but to ... click to read moreKay Cottrell
First Canadian Rights
The Alternative Skiing Holiday
Imagine my disappointment when just 4 weeks before departing for my ski holiday to Marble Mountain, Newfoundland, I have a slight altercation with a table tennis table and break a couple of toes, just brilliant! My skiing isn't the most accomplished at the best of times, let alone with only 8 good toes! Of course there is nothing for it but to go ahead as planned; after all, my husband and two friends are not injured and are raring to go.
I soon discovered that the key to enjoying a skiing holiday which doesn't involve any skiing, snow-mobile trips or dog sledding is location and accommodation. Luckily, Marble Mountain has a fabulous lodge at the bottom on the slopes, perfect for viewing and resting your foot, and our luxury chalet is only 10 minutes drive away from the slopes, which is excellent (after all, you only need one foot to drive an automatic!) The other activities will just have to wait until another time, although my one-legged hot-tub routine certainly caused a laugh!
After dropping off the gang at the "hill" and watching from the Lodge for a while, I would return home and admire the gorgeous view across the lake from the chalet. The lake is spectacular and immensely beautiful and peaceful. Somehow it gives you energy, there is no doubt about that. At first I thought looking at the sunshine and crisp snow was compounding my disappointment, but in fact, after several days of studying the landscape, I really started to notice what was out there. There was the red squirrel with his big eyes, scurrying around his home tree, collecting goodies to bury and hide. Not to mention the moose tracks that baffled me on a daily basis, and the trees that moaned and groaned, but also laughed. After the first couple of dull days feeling sorry for myself, I began to look forward to the quietness and solitude waiting for me back at the chalet and neighbouring woods.
After my first intake of caffeine perked me up, I would venture out for my daily exercise. I had not given up all hope of skiing, and I planned to work my toes to get them back into training. Within five days, I'd managed to shirk the rather large soft boot (three sizes too big) to get my snow boots on and walk almost without a limp from one end of my road to the other; admiring the view on the way - at the speed I walked, there was plenty of time to see everything! What a rushed world we live in. Taking in deep breaths of the gloriously fresh air makes you feel intoxicated in a good way. I wanted to wrap it up and take it back home to London with me. I would stand and soak up the scene, listening to the familiar cry of a bird, which I believed was a crow. I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure crows are not that popular. I made a mental note to ask a local for more information as to what birds frequent the woods.
Meanwhile, the gang were having a great time on the Mountain. On their return they tried their best to play down the excellent snow conditions and the fun they were having. What troopers! Anyway, after a disappointing start, I quite surprised myself. Yes, I did ski for the last few days, which was wonderful and yes, I was a little sad to say goodbye to my alternative world. I also became quite addicted to Downhome Magazine, and now never miss an issue! ... Hide full submission
(0 rating, 0 votes)
Confessions of a Self-Proclaimed Junk-A-Holic
January of last year I decided to start changing my life and loose weight once and for all thanks to a horrifying result on the Wii Fit. The result was non-existant. I was too heavy to even register. I joined a gym, ... click to read moreJanuary of last year I decided to start changing my life and loose weight once and for all thanks to a horrifying result on the Wii Fit. The result was non-existant. I was too heavy to even register. I joined a gym, threw down the junk and started a Facebook group called "Friends Fighting Fat." The group originated because a good friend of mine who lives in Stephenville was experiencing the same problem I was...wanting to loose the weight, needing the support but no one around her area in her peer group that could fully relate to how she felt. So, seeing how Facebook was predominately how we would communicate, I decided to create a group whereby people going through similar struggles can converse, relate, discuss, share and vent all that they were enduring and embarking upon...thus, how my article writing began. I wrote several articles and posted them in the group so that people could read what I was going through and hopefully relate and help them in some way. "Confessions of a Self-Proclaimed Junk-A-Holic" was the first of these, written January 30, 2009...a 103 lbs ago. It's basically a confessional as to how I got to where I was. The first step is admitting, right?
Confessions of a Self-Proclaimed Junk-A-Holic
Hey everyone!! Well, I guess you're wondering how I got to be this size? I've often wondered the same thing from time to time. Well, the only thing I can tell you is that it didn't happen overnight despite it seeming that as each day began it seemed like my body had magically attached another piece of flab to my already bulky exterior. I was like the chick in Clueless who got a makeover to take her from beast to beauty only the opposite. I was going from beauty to beast or prehaps I should say FEAST. My name is Kerri and I am a junk-a-holic.
I wasn't always this size. I mean, I was big, bigger than most, but in an athletic way, not in a pathetic way. I survived potential years of body hatred from name-calling and teasing by excelling in sports. I found that so long as you have some talent you could overrule the fact that you were an above normal weight individual and somehow walk the halls of a school with some sense of confidence and pride. Sports was my saviour. Not only did I love them and meet lots of friends through them, but they gave me social acceptance all throughout my schooling years.
Although I was larger than most people, going from a swimming pool to a hockey rink to a rugby field, all in one day sometimes, prevented me from becoming massive. I was seriously overactive back then and not to mention younger, therefore, whatever I put in my mouth (when I had time) was always burned off in the matter of hours. This plan of action was working wonderfully I thought until one day my desires to be a junk-a-holic without gaining the weight came to an abrupt end when four little rugby players on the opposite team decided it would be fun to take a ride on the back of my jersey. I was literally running up the field with these four little cheerleader types,so-called rugby players, hanging off my jersey to try and take me down. It was raining earlier that day which left the field a pond of muck and bog. As I was running towards the goal line I only hoped that one of the little "angels" didn't fall off my back and kill themselves because I wasn't stopping until I got that goal. Then it happenend. My feet got planted in a giant mudhole in the field and because of the weight of the four so-called rugby players on my back my legs twisted to the side leaving me with two anterior crucial ligament tears, one in each knee. I couldn't believe it; I had survived an amazing run despite my size up the entire length of the field with the rugby ball in hand, I had survived four little "angels" hanging off my jersey, yet I could not survive that blasted little mudhole. So, that was the end for me. The end of my meal ticket. No longer was I able to play sports therefore, no longer could I gain from the perks of playing the sports, namely, eating junk with no consequences.
As months went by I endured mulitiple knee surgeries, mostly minor ones but one major one and I found myself lost in a world that I had ignored if it didn't have a score board or score clock. I didn't know what to with myself. No sports? It was a nightmare. I was born into sports, sports is what I identified with, sports is what made me who I am, sports I thought, defined all that was Kerri. I found myself supplementing what would normally be game time with a night out with friends that consisted of eating, eating and more eating. This of course, did not go unpunished as slowly but surely my stomach was getting pissed and decided to grow. Because my stomach was growing and I was now deemed "crippled," I had no defense mechanism to go out and burn off the angry calories. Common sense didn't kick in either telling me that hey, maybe you shouldn't eat so much, so often because to me it filled my void.
This journey of the fat and the furious only intensified as I eventually got into a relationship and realized that hey, he loves my fat ass and no matter how fat it gets he'll still love me. You see, my boyfriend who is now my husband, was a junk-a-holic as well. So, what did our dates primarily consist of but eating in some way, shape or form. Eating at the movies, going to restaurants, eating at the fair, going to parties, cooking together, baking together, EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT!!!! Gradually, we grew closer and as that closeness increased so did our pants size. But we had love right? Who cares? Wrong. Eventually we were beyond the point of no return. We were spending tons of money on junk food and eating out and like hermits were too ashamed to eat in front of anyone so we spent our evenings cuddled up to a movie gorging. Did we enjoy this? Maybe after the first three bites, but after that it was like we were hypnotized by Mr. Hershey and Mrs. Doritio and all they wanted us to do was to stay in McDonald land. When we came out of our hypnotized state we realized what we had done and simply got angry and shameful and went to bed only to starve ourselves the next day as punishment and redemption. This process continued over the years and got even worse for me when I injured my back. I had three back surgeries all within a six month span. This left me crippled even more. For three years, although I had had surgery, I could not walk the length of myself, could not sit up to the table, could not even take a shower without being in terrible pain. I lived my life like an overweight dog on the floor. I couldn't go anywhere unless I was able to lie down. It was horrible. This coupled with my addiction to food did not mix well together. In fact, it proved to be quite a toxic substance. I slowly got into a funk or depression, whatever you prefer to use. And, what did I do to ease my pain? I ate. I ate when I was happy, I ate when I was sad, I ate when I was celebrating and I ate when I was stressed. I could not escape it. Food was the ultimate choice for any occasion. This left me an overweight slob lying on the floor. My husband and I tried several times to diet and lose weight but as one got a craving it fed the other one's craving. It simply did not work. Until now.
It seemed like an overnight epiphany happened. All of sudden, after endless talks and attempts to loose weight, I woke up one day and said, this is it. I decided no longer would I let pain stand in my way or the almighty power of a Value Meal at Rotten Ronnies. I was going to do this and that was it. I started going to the gym. I was in so much pain but I stuck with it. I started forcing myself to sit up in a chair despite the feeling of multiple stab wounds in my back and the pins and needles in my legs, and I cut back on the junk as much as I possibly could. Eventually, despite the fact that the doctor had told me I could be like this for the next ten years when it came to my back, I got better and better. I was able to get myself back to what one would called a "functional state." I lost weight, about 15lbs or so, just before I went to my brother's wedding. I was able to endure the long plane trip to Winnipeg where before I couldn't sit long enough to urinate without being in pain. I was on the road to recovery. It was fantastic.
After my brother's, wedding I kind of fell off the wagon again and reverted back to my junk-a-holic ways, but when New Years hit and I didn't register on the Wii Fit, I vowed to my little cousin and my aunts that I WILL be able to register in a month. My cousin and I made a date for me to come back and try again and I have not gone back on my commitment since. I started this group as an attempt to help not only others but mostly to help me. You have all helped me stay on track by joining. You see, I have gained the intrinsic motivation to loose weight simply by not wanting to fail you all and not wanting to look like a hypocrite. Thank you. This is the start of a new journey of self discovery for me and although I will always be deemed a junk-a-holic, I hope to one day soon say I am a recovered junk-a-holic.
I am happy to report that as of the date this article was written I have lost a total of 12lbs and I am sure inches. I go to the gym everyday faithfully and if I miss a day I watch what I eat that day more carefully and am sure to do some physical activity at some point during the day. I attend healthy weight management classes and I am the creator of this group. I live by Canada's Food Guide now and most importantly, I lived up to the promise I made to my cousin and aunts. I registered on Wii Fit and had a Wii Fit age of 30!!! This can only get better because I won't let myself go back, ever, ever again.
Thanks for reading the Confessions of a Junk-a-Holic! I hope you can relate in some way and that it inspires you to keep going. We can do it!
Kerri-Leigh Ivany-Pittman (written January 30th/09)
UPDATE (FEB. 23/10)
Since this article both my husband and I are still changing our lives forever. We sweat ourselves crazy at the gym, I hired a personal trainer who has been fabulous in all areas, we are eating the right foods and in one year I have lost 103 lbs and my husband has lost a whopping 207 lbs! That's a total of 310 lbs between the both of us. Together we did it and together we will keep it off because at the end of the day this is for us and no one else will benefit more.
The Tiniest Gift Ever It was Christmas Eve, 1953. I was working my paper route as usual in the early morning. I was distributing the Daily News to patients at St. Clare's Hospital in St.John's. St. Clare's had been my exclusive paper route since I was 10 years old. I was then 13. My two older brothers had worked it long before me.
One of my regular customers was an elderly Priest who for years was the Chaplain ... click to read moreIt was Christmas Eve, 1953. I was working my paper route as usual in the early morning. I was distributing the Daily News to patients at St. Clare's Hospital in St.John's. St. Clare's had been my exclusive paper route since I was 10 years old. I was then 13. My two older brothers had worked it long before me.
One of my regular customers was an elderly Priest who for years was the Chaplain there and now in his old age was a permanent patient. His room # I still remember- it was 407. He had a private room with a lovely view of downtown St. John's.
I knocked on his door, as usual, and found he was sitting in his chair looking rather dejected. Thinking he was having a bad bout of something serious, I laid his paper on his trolley-tray, scurried off to the hospital Mother Superior's office and reported what I had witnessed.
Mother didn't seem too concerned. "Oh, Father is having a bad day, Billy," she said. "He lost the stem of his watch yesterday. It is a very special watch. It was given to him by his sister when he entered the Seminary over 60 years ago," she explained.
"Maybe I can help him find it," I said to her. "I am good at finding things. Once I found a gold chain my mom lost. I found it in the potato drill on my grandfather's farm. Dad always said it was like finding a needle in a haystack."
"Oh, sure you can try," she said. "I'll go to his room with you."
Father was in a bad mood. Mother Superior reassured him everything would be OK, and his watch stem would eventually be found.
"Billy wants to help," she said.
"He won't find it," the aged Priest growled. "But, go ahead anyway. The nurses couldn't find it yesterday, and they even stripped my bed - with no luck," he added.
A thought came to my mind. Perhaps it is on the floor under his bed.
"No point in crawling in there," he insisted, "they even swept in there last night, with no luck."
I got down on my knees anyway and lay on my stomach, then crawled under the bed.
It was still quite messy. What I remember most were the dust balls pushed up against the baseboard. I started to make swimming motions with my two hands, in hopes I would drive it out towards the hospital chair Father was sitting in.
Something stuck into my index finger. It was like driving a splinter under a fingernail.
"Ouch," I cried. "That hurt!"
In seconds, I noticed my finger was bleeding. A small drip of blood was evident, and to my delight and surprise, the stem of his watch was sticking out from underneath my fingernail.
"I got it, I got the stem of your watch, Father," I yelled.
"You are not kidding, are you? Oh, praise God, thank you, thank you," he replied.
Mother Superior picked the stem out from beneath my fingernail, and wiped my blood-stained finger with a tissue.
Hugs and handshakes followed, and soon the word spread throughout the 4th floor. Nurses and other patients knew all about it in about fifteen minutes. News spreads fast in hospitals I realized.
Later I learned that the watch was a quite expensive Longine. The Longine name on any watch back then placed it amongst the Cadillac of watches.
I felt quite overjoyed I found it for him.
Christmas Eve back in those days was a time when newspaper carriers received generous tips from their regular customers.
On Boxing Day, when I delivered Father's paper, he invited me to come inside. Usually I'd knock first, open the door and lay the newspaper on his wash table or trolley-tray and go on my way. I got paid once a week - on Saturdays.
"Billy," Father said, "In all the excitement over your finding my tiny watch stem on Christmas Eve, I forgot to give you something. Here is a special Christmas Gift for you, and I am sorry I am late giving it to you," he added, with a smile on his wrinkled face.
It was inside a Christmas Card. I still remember it was a holy card with the baby Jesus in his crib embossed. On my way down in the elevator I opened it. Inside was $25.00 cash.That was a lot of money for a young lad back then.
On my next delivery to Father's room (on Boxing Day) I thanked him for his generous gift.
"It was a pleasure, Billy," he said. "You will never know how important the watch stem you found is to me. They don't make that type of old watch anymore, and I doubt if I would ever get it repaired," he added.
Leaving his room I felt so good and truly blessed.
"You gave me the tiniest gift I ever received in my life - God bless you!" the old priest yelled with watered eyes and appreciation in his aged voice.
(Father died at age 95. On Christmas Eve quite often I think of him. And I wonder what eventually happened to his valuable and cherished watch.) ... Hide full submission
Bill Westcott Clarke's Beach, NL
(0 rating, 0 votes)
Day in the life of a fisherman A Day in the Life of a Fisherman
It was once said that there are three jobs that civilization owes its existence to: One is the carpenter, second is the farmer and who can tell me what the third is?
Well it's the fisherman. Not the factory ships that stay out all year long, but the little guy that battles the ocean in an 18-foot wooden boat with a 30 hp outboard ... click to read moreA Day in the Life of a Fisherman
It was once said that there are three jobs that civilization owes its existence to: One is the carpenter, second is the farmer and who can tell me what the third is?
Well it's the fisherman. Not the factory ships that stay out all year long, but the little guy that battles the ocean in an 18-foot wooden boat with a 30 hp outboard motor.
Being out on the ocean for 2 or 3 weeks at a time, before bringing the catch home to the merchant.
He stays in a little shack with a little stove, and a bunk that feels like garnet and smells like death has been waiting for its next victim.
Let me take you through a day in the life of a fisherman.
First you wake up late about 4 am, light the lamp, make in a fire in an old oil drum cut out for a stove. For breakfast you cook whatever is further along on its path to being poison than the others.
You then take a look outside to see what the weather is up to, to see what way the wind is blowing and to look at the sky to see how bright the stars are to give you an idea what to expect.
The wind is coming from the north and the stars are flickering so you know that hard times are coming, but you know you have no choice, because you could not get to the nets yesterday and now you must. You make sure that all is secure for you know that when you see this old shack again it will be about 14 hrs.
It's the middle of August and it's warm on land but little does that help you for you spend all your time on the ocean.
You put on your sweater over you warm shirt and of course there is not a sailor on this side of Davie Jones Locker that doesn't have his long johns on. Then it's the double lined pants and double knitted socks that you slide down into cold rubber boots.
You fill up 10 gallons of gas and put it in the boat and by now the sun is playing peek a boo with the horizon, and you cast off the boat and pull up anchor.
It's so quiet; the waves hit the side of the boat like the rhythm of a leaky tap. You push the boat out with the paddle until you can put the motor down, then you pull it over with a mighty yank and it's at that very second that you realize that you are not alone, in fact the whole world seems to come alive all at once. You hear trees snapping and you look quickly to your left toward the shack and you see the moose by the pond and all kinds of birds taking flight at once. One of which you have a hatred for - the sea gull that hangs around the camp and who took that salmon you had cleaned on the rock yesterday for supper.
You let the engine very slowly move you toward the mouth of the harbor while you put on your rubber coat and pants, fixing your hat against the wind so the water can run away from your face. Like a good warrior a good fisherman always tries to stay a step ahead of his adversary.
You now open her up full speed leaving the harbor that shelters you and as you round the last finger of land the wind of the ocean greets you like taking a bite of ice cream after a sip of hot tea. The thought enters the mind that maybe turning back till later would be best, but you recite that old saying "a calm sea never a great sailor make" and you keep your goal in mind.
After a hour, you reach your first net and you know that it's full of dog kelp because of the North West wind last night. The sea is consistent in dealing out disappointments.
You go on the far side and shut the engine off and pull it up so it won't tear the net. You go for the front as fast as you can letting the wind take you to the net and you grab the rope.
Pulling yourself along looking toward the bottom for salmon, wishing you had the eyes of an eagle. Half way up the net nothing, wait there's one shinning like a mirror in the sun. No there's two, three, now 9 in total. The sea is now your nursing mother and you're hungry because you have caught nothing the past three days only frozen hands and a chiseled spirit.
You have 4 more nets to check and the waves are now 3 feet high but they must be checked or they will sink with the seas refuge.
You pray that Davie Jones locker is in no need of more souls today and veer around and head for the next in line. You are now on the last net and the sun has seemed to found a better place to be and heading there in a hurry.
The final catch is 20 salmon and 2 scoplings, now scoplings are only fit to feed an enemy, and you have one in mind that sea gull who took your supper yesterday.
Your hands are bloody from the rope being pulled through your hands with every upward thrust of the now 8 foot waves. You head back now for the shack, and how sweet that bed would now smell and how soft that bunk would feel to your beaten aching body.
The sun is now gone to bed on your world and the stars are now your friend. You see the lighthouse and you let out a sigh of relief. You come around the finger of land that you seen just 13 hours ago and the waves are not permitted to come thanks to the shelter of the harbor, but they will be waiting there for you tomorrow.
You let the anchor fall to the ocean bed and you soon fall into yours and you feel that maybe death won't have to wait much longer for another victim. But what a satisfying feeling.
When you feel that your having it tough and want to give up, look to the fisherman and be happy that your storms of life is not what your life depends. A fisherman looks at the circumstances that leads up to the battle and doesn't make that mistake again. He knows that by her grace he lives and by knowledge she lets him have he is preserved.
I don't know if all civilization owes something to the fisherman, but I sure know we can learn some lessons from him!