Category Archives: Thoughts

LEST WE FORGET

Remembrance Day is tomorrow, a day when we reflect on the sacrifices made by everyone during conflict, peacekeeping and war.  Everyday men and women, taking up the call to arms, and sacrifing so much for their service.  Not all service personell see combat, but they serve and are affected just the same, and for this I thank them.

My family has a long line of military history, service and sacrifice.  I would like to take this moment to remember and honour them, some making the ultimate sacrifice.

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Most recently my cousin Cort Barker, served with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), where he did two rotations peacekeeping in Bosnia and a tour in Afghanistan.  If you see him about, thank him for his service.

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Cort Barker – Bosnia
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Cort Barker – Afghanistan

My cousin Micheal McKoy British Army, serving and toured in Afghanistan

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Micheal McKoy – British Army

My Uncle Robert Clements served with the Royal Medical Corps, 19 Field Ambulance in the 70’s.

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Robert Clements  – Royal Medical Corps 1970

Both my Grandfather’s served in WWII.remembrance_day_header.jpg

My maternal Grandfather George R. Hartley (Sgt.) was the 3rd man in Saskatchewan to volunteer for war duty in 1939.  He signed up 3 days before Canada even declared war on Germany.  He served with the Saskatoon Light Infantry (M.G) from 1939 until disbandment near the end of 1945.Crest.jpg

Upon arriving in England, his regiment spent 1939-1941 on training and home defense, traveling up and down the British coast in defence of German attacks.  1941 – 43 they began and endured the Italian campaign seeing action in Pachino, Scisily, Monte Cassino, Ortona, Hitler Line, Gothic Lien and Liri Valley to name a few. From the end of 1943 ti 1945, they worked their way bach up north and into Norther France, and ultimately into Holland.  The SLI had a hige hand in liberating Rotterdam.  Finally then returning home to Canada in 1945.He spent 6 continuous years in war.

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Sgt. George R. Hartley 1943 – Italy
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Pvt. George R. Hartley – 1941 England

My paternal Grandfather, David Clements served with the Suffolk Regiment in Ipswich, England.  Grandad Clements did not see combat action, but would have dealt with the fallout from the blitz and bombing of London.wlogosuf.jpg

 

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David Clements – England

Many of my Great Uncles served in WWII as well.

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James Andrew McWhirter 1943

Andy McWhirter with the Canadian Signal Corpse – D-Day Landing and France.

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PFC Reginal Gustafson 1944

Private First Class Reginal Gustafson US Army – Battle of the Bulge – Purple Heart Recipiant.

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Sgt. Jim Hannan – RCAF

Sgt. James (Jim) Hannan – Royal Canadian Air Force

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PFC Floyd. R Chamney USMC – KIA Iwo Jima 1945

( Cousin) PFC Floyd R. Chamney,  born in Estevan, Saskatchewan Canada moved with his parents to Iowa, USA in the 1930’s. Floyd enlisted into the United States Marine Corps where he was killed in action 15 March 1945 on Iwo Jima.

My family in WWI.

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My paternal Great-Grandfather LCpl. Syer John Ratcliffe of the Suffolk Regiment, went missing on the battlefield in Northern France. He spent 18 months as a Prisoner of War (1917-18) in Limburg POW Camp in Germany. His POW List Number was Y39034.

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POW’s at Limburg Prison, Germany WWI

My Gr-Great Uncle Rifleman Tom Hartley of the King’s Own Liverpool Regiment, was killed in action 30th November 1917 at the Battle of Cambrai, in France.  This was a signifigant battle as it was the first time tanks had ever been used in war.  He is buried in France and in 2010 I had the honour of travelling to his place of burial.

My Trip Video to France 2010

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Rifleman Tom Hartley – KIA Nov. 30, 1917 – Cambrai France
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Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France.
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Tom Hartley’s name inscription
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Myself standing under Tom’s name.

There are numerous Chamney cousins that fought in WWI, I know one was gassed and killed at the 2nd Battle of Ypres, and another at Paschendale.

Some Chamney’s fought in the US Civil War, and the American Revolution (For The Crown).

I have traced some of my ancestors back to the 100 years war between England and France.

It is with humble fingers that I type up this small list of Remembrance and thanks for my family.  For their service and their sacrifice.

“In Flanders Fields” is a war poem in the form of a rondeau, written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. maxresdefault.jpg

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Merry Christmas!

Xmas 20152015 was a tough year, working in the Oil and Gas industry, but we made it!

My 2015 started with me turning the BIG 40 in February, where I promptly threw myself a kick ass party (well I hope it was, cause I sure don’t remember much of it!)

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As always, I make my yearly trip to Calgary in April for the Calgary Expo – Comic and Entertainment Expo in which Friends and newlyweds Rob and Linda Beam came with me.  We hit the con, and also took a spin up to Banff and played in the mountains for a day.

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Of course at the Expo I got my nerdle on an fangirled over cast members of The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones, True Blood and Arrow.  Linda was loving on the boys from Beverly Hills 90210 and Rob was enjoying Neil Patrick Harris.  It was a fab weekend!

June saw me taking a trip to see one of my besties is Los Angeles.  I hadn’t seen Lara since she moved down there over 3 years ago.  I spent a week with her, where we stayed overnight on the Majestic Queen Mary in Long Beach, California….meeting up with a friend of Lara’s that I had befriended on Facebook Tanya, for some drinks (Nice to talk to you in person Tanya!).  We did some ship tours and an evening ghost walk which was totally awesome, except Lara T. got me drunk!  Bah!!

We went to Universal Studios, toured Hollywood, even saw the cast members of Magic Mike XXL as they were having their movie premier.  Had drinks in the historic Roosevelt Hotel and saw the room where the first ever Oscars were held back in 1921.  Went out to Santa Monica and Venice Beaches as well.  Had Cactus salad made by Seniora Pasada, Lara’s landlady from the cactus in her yard.

I did some wedding Djing over the summer, and was happy to Dj for three coworkers weddings.  The first wedding was for Jon Lewis and DeLee Lischka, that was out at their family farm, and was a fantastic time!

Second wedding was Kayla Malaryk and Brandon Frank.  Again another beautiful day…HOT day, but such a good time.

 

 

Concerts attended this year:  Bryan Adams, AC/DC, Ed Sheeran and Madonna!

Still being relegated to the “Kid’s table”!

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Football games with friends!

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Riding motorcycle with Oliver! (PS, He effing LOVES it!)

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Halloween with Gnomes!

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And finally just this December, Mexico for Doug and Tara’s wedding!  Spent a fun 5 days in the sun, booze, water and great company of friends, and shirt-tail relations…you know who you are!  Had supper on a pirate ship, swam with dolphins, lost my voice, went to the Coco Bongo night club, where I got to dance on stage (YIKES) and had an all around awesome time!

So this year of turning 40, I must say was awesome!

Merry  Christmas to you all!  Love and Peace to all my friends and family here in Canada, The United States, England, Northern Ireland, New Zealand and the UAE!  Thank you to all our service men and women, past and present who have to be away from their loved ones during the holidays.  Be safe, have fun and as always Don’t Drink And Drive!

Cheers to 2016!  Let’s hope it is a less turbulent year, a more prosperous, more tolerant year.

The light of the Christmas star to you

The warmth of a home and hearth to you

The cheer and good will of friends to you

The hope of a childlike heart to you

The joy of a thousand angels to you

The love of the Son and

God’s peace to you

– An old Irish blessing

40 REALLY IS THE NEW 30!

This past Monday, I turned 40 years old.  Now in the grand scheme of things, that isn’t really old, but I am looking forward to my 40’s.  My 30’s are my “lost” decade.  I was very sick in my 30’s and spent a great deal of time trying to change my lifestyle and my health so that I could enjoy my 40’s.  I first started noticing health concerns in 2005.

A little background about me, I have always been heavy, just who I am, but pretty active for my size.  I never lived what you would call a healthy conscious lifestyle, I worked, I ate lunch and supper, I drank socially and I smoked.  I live my life on my terms, pretty stubborn and set in my ways.

Ok enough of that… back on topic, first inclinations that something might be wrong was early in 2005.  I was noticing odd dizziness, heart palpitations and at weird times.  Sometimes just rolling over in bed would make me dizzy…this was odd, but not really concerning.  Over time, progressively became more noticeable, like when getting out of my car, and having to hold onto the door until I would stop spinning. Sometimes it was over immediately, sometimes I felt unsettled for hours afterwards.

This continues on for a couple of years, and I am noticing weight gain, but at this time I was working at a more physical job than I had been previous, so was baffled at the weight gain.  Fall 2007 rolls around, and I am done in.  Physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted.  Depression and mood swings are hitting me hard, and I am just plain tired, lethargic… done.  Still not really sure what’s going on, I am returning from a trip to Regina, driving by myself and I black out while driving.  i awake on the other side of the highway barreling into oncoming traffic.  WAKE UP CALL!

FInally, have had enough, go to the doctor.  Tests are done, and a decision was made to refer me to the Sleep Clinic in Regina.  Appointment made, 6 months later get the call for assessment.  Long story short, I have severe sleep apnea.  I quit breathing more than 110 times an hour, and have been suffering it since early 2005.  With sleep apnea, it is impossible to lose weight, in fact you gain it, as your body never goes into REM sleep, and your body is so starved for energy, it stores everything…hence gaining weight.  I gained over 100 pounds in the 3 years I had untreated sleep apnea.  I was prescribed a V-PAP machine, and began using immediately.  Within a few days of the machine “breathing” for me while I slept, I felt like a new woman, totally reborn.  I was amazed at how much sleep really affects everything in your life.  Not just your physical self, but you emotional and mental self as well.  How you relate to your surroundings and the people in your life is all affected as well.

Fall 2007 I quit smoking.  I had enough, I was sick, I was tired, and I wasn’t sure if I would live to see 50, that’s how terrible I felt.  Even felt like packing it in a couple of times, that’s how low I was.  Again, my Doc, puts a bug in my ear about bariatric surgery to combat all the extra weight gained from the sleep apnea, and a plan was presented.

Weight Wise Clinic in Edmonton, Alberta was where I was referred to.  I travelled there many times over the next 3 years as I learned about nutrition, and how my body worked in regards to foods, exercise, mood and so on.  I was approved for Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass which I had May 5, 2011.

January 2014 I had plastic surgery to remove excess skin and to this day I have lost over 170 pounds.  I have been off the V-PAP for a full year, and have completely reversed the sleep apnea.  I am literally half the woman I used to be, and am proud to say I am smaller now than I was in highschool….so, 40 is my new 30.

Now it’s time to do that decade up properly.  The miracle of modern science, the insight by my personal Doctor, support of the Weight Wise Clinic Doctors and staff, and support of family and friends has made the last 10 years although difficult at times, ultimately bearable and has given me the opportunity to live my life healthier, happier and God willing…LONGER!

So peeps, if you have a milestone birthday coming up, just remember…things can always be worse. Be grateful everyday for what and who you have, have faith in yourself and never give up.  Take it from me (stubborn is as stubborn does) if I can change, than It can happen.

Ang's Transformation
Ang’s Transformation

When I was younger, Christmas was…..

As Christmas fast approaches, I often think back to how I celebrated the holidays with my family when I was a kid.  As the world has changed, and I have changed, I realize that a lot of the traditions of mine have stayed the same in an attempt to regain a time where Christmas actually meant something to me.

One of the biggest things I remember is always celebrating Christmas Eve with my Grandmother at her place.  We would all invade her apartment or house and exchange our gifts with her. Even after 15 years of her being gone, this is the most thing I miss about my Christmas and I think of her always on Dec 24th.

To this day, I still get tingles when the “Bible” aka the Sears Wish book comes to the house…my brother and I would fight over it, to study it and circle all the things we wanted from it.  The pages would be ear marked and wrinkled and well worn, like a gas station “Hustler”…used an abused, but very well loved.

Snow…I remember there ALWAYS being snow for Christmas, and people always had more decorations and lights.  Holiday specials on TV, and “The Sound of Music”.  They always played it a Christmas on TV and for the longest while, I actually thought it was a Christmas movie until I was older and figured out it wasn’t…the songs just kicked some serious ass! (And totally is still my fav Christmas movie).

Going to church on Christmas Eve, before Grandma’s house, the lighting of the Advent candles, and ganging up with my cousin Cort to burn his brother Brett with the hot wax from our candles….hehehe still giggle about that (what?…we figured it was too close to Christmas for Santa to put us on the naughty list).

Listening to the TV newscast as NORAD tracked Santa’s movements from the North Pole and around the world and getting more and more excited as he was spotted over Canada and then Saskatchewan.

Performing in the school Christmas concerts, all the practicing before hand.

Toys…I MISS TOYS!  Maybe that’s why I still buy them for myself, but disguise it as gifts for my cousin’s kids.  Same as cartoons, I couldn’t wait to watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and the “Charlie Brown Christmas”…Ok I still watch them, don’t judge!

My family is small knit due to proximity, but it has expanded bringing in 5 bundles of energy and pure joy…ages 2 – 6….and they have infused an overdose of adrenaline to revive my Christmas experience. Like a shock from a Christmas AED.

For me having worked retail for years really made me despise the holiday, you really see people at their worst in that field during holiday times. I still don’t like to deal with decorations, crowds or the sheer greed and commercialization of the holiday, it sucked the life out of Christmas for me.

So it is my purpose to “like” Christmas again, I feel I need to reminisce about when Christmas was fun for me, to try and make the holiday mean more, like it did when I was young.  The kids bring laughter, cartoons, toys and purpose to my Christmas, and it’s a very good start.  I look forward to seeing them rip into the presents.

I won’t wish you Happy Holidays to be politically correct or assuage someone’s beliefs, I don’t believe in that. It is my belief and my tradition and my RIGHT to say “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year”, so this is what I wish for you.

Merry Christmas!

A

Canada Day Weekend…A BUST…over 200mm of rain

Camping OliverWell, even though I hauled out the old tent camper, set it up, decorated and all…the steady monsoon rain really put a damper on the festivities. Still we spent time in the lodge, had drinks, ate good food, played “Cards Against Humanity”…seriously one of the funniest games out there, and the more you drink, the more ridiculous the answers get.

As drinks were had, there was NO driving, so Oliver and I trudged out to the soggy old tent camper and hunkered down for the night.