10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

Jackie-Alana-YMCA
My youngest playing soccer at YMCA Grand Bahama Island. She’s on the ball! (Photo: Robbin Whachell)

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out.

Wonderful article about the benefits of living healthy with exercise!  You either embrace fitness and make it a part of your life, or you choose to do nothing and your life starts shortening… that’s what I believe anyway.. USE IT, OR lose it! I have three daughters and they had to join soccer, because it was something we did as a family.  Or rather I started with my eldest and the others naturally joined in.

For our children’s sake

Jackie, bottom right
Jackie, bottom right

I’ve enjoyed watching the development of my youngest daughter Jackie as an actor throughout her life. From her first play to her most recent (now in grade 12) she usually has always had the lead.  I’ve marveled at her confidence on stage, even during times when life has been overwhelming at home, or at school, or in her love life. One particular year, I missed her opening night, and the second night she came down with the flu. I felt awful that I’d not seen my daughter perform, and vowed to always make ‘opening night’ no matter what thereafter.

In the rush of our lives, there are times when our friends, family, and yes even our kids say to us, “Don’t worry. You don’t need to come. It’s not very good anyway.”  This is what my daughter said to me this year. She’s been taking drama every year, so we have become accustomed to attending her plays.  She made this statement on the morning of the play. I asked her what part she had, and she said, she wrote , directed it and had to do the sound, lighting etc… the whole shebang.  I almost fell over, as her lackadaisical attitude toward her brother and I coming almost had us numbed out!

So of course we went and her play was amazing. Here she is (bottom-right) pensively looking on, and running the lighting and sound as her student actors did an excellent job delivering a play that made me laugh, and get a bit teary at one point, as I realized a lot of it was autobiographical.

And, she’d told us not to come…!

[Note to self] No matter how your kids (in particular, teens) tell you not to come to see whatever they are doing publicly at school (or elsewhere), just GO! They really do want you there… and you don’t want to miss it!

Jackie-Drama-2013
High school drama at Gleneagle Secondary. Jackie is far right.

The Perfect Nap

The little sponge that could...
The little sponge that could…

For over 16 years now I’ve had this wonderful little sponge apparatus that has traveled with me, moved countries with me, and has become synonymous with my afternoon nap on my bed. It’s two round sponges covered in nylon, and I place them below my head in the occipital area. It’s specific pressure points that relax the head, fascia tissue, and brain. I learned about it when I studied cranial sacral therapy, and it provides the “CV-4 Still-Point Inducer.” I always prop my feet up on pillows too to enhance the effect.

“This is a good “shotgun” technique for helping tissue and fluid motion in and around the head, especially relaxing connective tissues throughout the body, and restoring flexibility of the autonomic nervous system response. It is beneficial for acute and chronic musculoskeletal lesions, including degenerative arthritis (wear & tear). It can lower fever as much as by four degrees (4) Fahrenheit. It can reduce brain or lung congestion, and dependent edema. It has been used to improve auto-immune disease, autistic behaviour of children, and anxiety.” More info here: http://tinyurl.com/ktct9yw

Walk a Mile in My Moccasins

 

Juanita Sloss, Montana
Juanita Sloss, Montana

Being of Native American heritage (and it being Rock Your Mocs Day), I use in my title a native saying that represents an interesting idea. Although quite obvious to some, it means that one should try and imagine placing themselves in someone else’s shoes to get a good accurate view of that person’s life in hope to bring understanding of that person. Another way of looking at this idea is to simply say, “view with compassion.

But what is compassion and why should we have it? Compassion explained in the dictionary is , “pity aroused by the distress of others, with a desire to help”, and pity is described as , “feelings of sympathy for the sufferings of others”

I think many of us do at least have feelings of gratitude with what has been given to us, no matter how grim our own lives can be at times. That internal mantra of, “I am grateful for what I have, as life could be far worse for me”, shows that we are aware that life is not perfect, and that many suffer way beyond ourselves.

How is it that we can judge another man’s child if they are behaving inappropriately, yet we give our own children a million chances to do better? You will say, and I have to agree, that this is the role of the parent – one of unconditional love. But can we not have compassion for another’s child or troubled teen – an unconditional love for all? Does it not indeed take a whole village to raise a child?

Can we be compassionate to the man in the street looking for spare change to buy some food? It may not even be food he needs or wants for his happiness, but at least he has the courage to be out there begging for it.

There may be a family living down the street from you and their son or daughter may have just gone to prison for a felony. Do we now judge this family? Treat them differently, even if perhaps they were upstanding citizens until this situation arose? IF a child of yours commits murder would you still love them?

The ugly person is judged, yet so is the beautiful. And we judge based on sex,  job status, attire, sexual persuasion, and more.  We speculate and assume what life may be like for others, but until we walk in their shoes, we will never know their pain, or their joy.

My ten year old came to me to ask why some of her teachers were mean. I explained to her that they weren’t mean; they simply may have been having a bad day. IF days pass and she repeatedly tells me about these same teachers we then try and find compassion for their manner or unhappiness – easier than just saying, “Mr. X must be just plain mean and miserable”…because we know that Mr. X is known also to smile and be nice; but more importantly he is just like us – human.

” It is our compassion that reminds us of the interconnectedness of all living beings and inspires us to take action when we see others suffering. …compassion reminds us that there is a wide world beyond our own physical borders, populated by individuals who are valuable and vital. When we feel compassion, we respond by giving the support and aid we are capable of bestowing upon those in need of our care. It wakens our hearts to the fact that the entities with whom we share the planet feel pain as we do, and it lies at the root of all charitable acts—even those seemingly fueled by selfish motivations.”

So next time someone turns your nose, pisses you off, cuts you off, upsets your morning news read, remember gratitude and compassion, and do as Jesus, Buddha or Gandhi would do

And as Albert Einstein once said,

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Still not getting it? Better to then walk a mile in someone else’s flip flops.I mean moccasins!

(This article was originally written in January 2007 when I lived in Grand Bahama)

Easy Carrot Soup

My kids love it served  with toasted ciabatti with pesto   Photo: Robbin Whachell
My kids love it served with toasted ciabatti with pesto Photo: Robbin Whachell

I’ve been making this recipe for a long time. I adapt it like crazy… no rules… just do was you like, and flavour to taste. The following is just a base with options… but do as you wish.

Here’s the base part:
1/2 cup chopped onion (or as much as you like)
2 tablespoons butter, lately I put coconut oil… but butter tastes amazing
half clove or whole of garlic, crushed (optional)
2 cups chopped carrots (bagged baby carrots are fast)
2 cups chicken broth (or enough liquid /broth of choice to just cover the carrots by an inch or so)
2 tablespoons uncooked long grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
parsley, or thyme, or herb of your choice OR orange peel, ginger, etc. (optional)
Directions
In a large saucepan, saute the onion in butter. Add the carrots, broth and rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until carrots and rice are tender. Cool slightly.
Transfer to a blender; cover and process until smooth. Return to pan. Season to taste. (optional) Sprinkle with fresh herbs of choice, or grated cheese, or whatever.

*Keep it simple or jazz it up. Some put in 1/2 C of whipping cream to the blend… but I find the rice  does the same trick to make it thick. I’ve also done with brown rice and it works too.
NOTE: if it is too thick when blending… add water or liquid of choice.

Morning Song…

 

First light - Coquitlam  Photo: Robbin Whachell
First light – Coquitlam Photo: Robbin Whachell

Into the edge of darkness lies a wide open sky of immortality, immorality.

Shadows, darkness, light wings of effervescence… Fluttering upon a sunrise of golden light.

Weeping widows wake with worry. Dust and dusk mar the sun. Edgy moments of translucent moon beams awaken me to times undone.

Happenstance…trailers of memories reminding me of who I am. Vibrant orange, azalea blue, singed so deeply in the pit of my stomach.

Ride with me Lord. Feel the depth of my knowing. The ache deep inside enlightened with passions and desires of what I cannot have.

It’s all an illusion.  I own the ultimate. It’s right here in my hand, yet the whip lies next to me still warm and soaked with my blood.

It’s time to run, it’s time to wait… Silently whisper everything I must know. Torture me with nothingness steeped in eternal knowledge. I can hear you with my deaf ears.  Rock me with the knowing, that it’s all come undone.

Madness, crazy madness…wanting me, wanting you…   How can I be more than I am?

Feeling the pointed finger I poke in my own eye.  Truth speak to my heart. Heal my wounds of sorrow. Break the barriers, bonds, and burst the bounty within.

God hath no furry that I do not feel myself.  I run…to only trip on my destiny.  To stumble on sagas of days gone by.

This moonlit night reminds me.  To walk in power, peace, poised with pride and patience.

As the sun rises a new day dawns with greatness. I take the child by the hand and see my salvation. Hallelujah.

Deep deep intimacy on gilded wings of light, fly past me and circle into a radiant shower of glee.

Am I okay to be all one? Alone? Me?  In whatever capacity it means?

Flying phantoms circle in to show their ugly heads.

I blow them away with a POOF!

Let the games begin…

(Written in 2010)

Awake

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 9.23.06 PM
Coquitlam dawn Photo: Robbin Whachell

I awake, not yet awake

Yesterday lingers all over my skin

Fuzzy translations of dreams whisper over my halo

I await clarity

Move my stiff and heavy body

That moved so weightless just hours ago in sleep

“Make it a great day,” I write

As I listen to sounds of morning

Will I ever really feel a part of ‘this’ world?

When there is so much comfort in the other?

Coffee soon fills the cracks of confusion

My vision sharpens along with my intention

And I am off!

Into the wild blue yonder

Of another amazing day…

Scarlett Wilson wins best documentary in Brooklyn: On My Blocks Neighborhood Film Challenge

Scarlett-Win
Brooklyn, NEW YORK – New Bahamian filmmaker, Scarlett Wilson just won Best Documentary in the onmyblockfilms.com short film challenge. Wilson created a film based on people in the neighborhood where she lives.  The short film, “Fireman’s Corner” takes you into a day into the lives of members of the Crown Heights community, where she shot the film on the corner of St. Johns Place (Fireman’s Corner) and Washington Avenue in Brooklyn.

What happens when you take the time to discover the hobbies and relationships of those neighbors you often see but never really seem to notice?

“It is hard to sum up in one or two sentences just how much working on this project has effected me. When I first began with this, I was not sure which direction I wanted to go. Having found out about the whole challenge within a little over a month before the due date, I knew I was not giving myself very much time,” said Wilson.

Her friend Pedro lent her his 60D Canon and a microphone and she set out to make her first ever “real” short film.

She said she always saw the same group of men hanging out on Fireman’s Corner. Some playing chess, one man whittling sticks and selling them from a little table in the middle of the block, a man wearing a top hat and walking with one crutch, another slyly taking sips out of a brown paper bag, a man with only one leg and several other characters hanging around.  “I thought to myself ‘Why not make a film about these men?’ I know nothing of them and most of the time walk right past them, sometimes barely acknowledging them. Yet, these are MY neighbors.”

Wilson said she realized that she waw not the only one ignoring them. “Most people, new to this quickly changing neighborhood, would do the same thing, never thinking twice to stop and check out some of the goods Roy was selling at his little table.”  Roy was the first man she became friends with on the block. “Roy is a special and generous human being with a huge heart who has encountered his fair share of hardships in life. He created his own little street hustle and everyone from the hood knows who he is,” said Wilson.

She then walked up and introduced herself to the men and asked if she could get to know them, and that with their help she would put together a short film which would be shown in a big theatre. “Their genuine excitement and enthusiasm at being a part of something like this was overwhelming,” she said.

“A few of the men are recovering addicts, living in shelters and disabled, yet they are outside together everyday, bonding, telling jokes, sharing food and sharing stories (with of course the occasional arguments). There is always some sort of drama, or natural performance taking place amongst these men and their everyday lives. It was an honor and great privilege to get to know them, to be treated with respect and encouragement and to be considered a part of their crew. It was important to us to take the focus off of gentrification and their hardships. I just wanted it to be a simple observation of some of the people we see everyday in our neighborhoods but oftentimes don’t REALLY notice.”

The young filmmaker who grew up in Grand Bahama Island said that during editing her eyes would often well up with tears. “I have learned so much from these men and we have now added to each others’ lives. It was quite a challenge to make a film only 3.5 minutes long as I had so many details to try and fit in.”

Wilson said she was inspired to see how many talented people there are right down her street, and for that moment in time she was able to relate to their talents, struggles and hopes. “I am happy my neighbors were able to see me working on this film, and to help out, and see the possibilities of film, acting and creation as an actual job or career. We were able to plan future projects and discuss possible future films.”

“Making this film has been a remarkable journey and an unforgettable opportunity to form lasting friendships with my neighbors in such a short period of time. Although I was able to impress my friends and family, more importantly I created a film in which these men can be proud to be who they are.”

Watch her video here: https://vimeo.com/78036033

 

CAST & CREW:

Interviewed:

Carlito Santiago (Neighbor)
Pedro Labriosa (Non-Block Resident)
Roy Douglas (Non-Block Resident)
Walter Love (Neighbor)
Ralph Campbell (Neighbor)
Carlito Santiago (Neighbor)

Producer / Editor
Scarlett Wilson (Neighbor)

My Story…

Identity… who am I …. ?

I was born Catherine Rosanne Wachell to Curt and Rose Wachell. My father heritage is Czechoslovakian and my mother’s is German, French and Native American (Cree and Sioux). I like to say that makes me a ‘canceled Czech’. I was raised only knowing I was Canadian.

My mother (nee Rosaline Hintz) was a devout Catholic and taught catechism and Sunday school and read to us from the bible. I remember my first communion and my confirmation and always felt close to God, likely from my mother’s strong influence.  When I was about 6 years old I had a profound dream about Jesus and the devil ( good and evil) that my family still talks about to this day.

We moved to Alberta where I started grade one and completed  my schooling at Sturgeon Composite High School just outside of Edmonton near the Namao Air Base. In grade four my mother started studying numerology and I was thrilled to choose a new name for myself!  I confidently announced to my class, with my teacher at my side, that I was now, Robbin Whachell.

For most of my teen years I dated the same guy (5 years).  My first job was with Standard General Construction, where my father was manager of road works. It was not until after high school graduation that I found myself single again. I moved into my oldest sister’s home. I’d been working with the Alberta government in records and information management. At one point I took a moonlighting job as a coat check girl in a nightclub.  I did so to help earn money for a 6 week European vacation which I know altered my view on the world. I moved up the ranks in my information management career to a couple other Alberta government departments before moving to BC with my brother. There I continued in information management with Price Waterhouse Chartered Accountants.

It was in Vancouver that I met and married chiropractor, Dr. Brian Blower within a couple months and we began a family immediately. I had been busy developing a career in the corporate world for about 8 years, but with my husband being in the health profession, I decided that his world was a far more fulfilling field to be involved with, and so I started assisting as an office manager at his clinic, and began studying healing modalities.

After I had my first child my desire to return to my love of acting had me sign up for night classes. I got an agent, and soon began dabbling in auditions, bit parts and took filmmaking workshops.  We moved to North Vancouver up Indian Arm and had three more children around 2 years apart; those last three I birthed at home in water. So much for my acting career! Motherhood became all consuming, but was and still is the most fulfilling career of all.

We decided to move to The Bahamas after our fourth child was born. We longed for  warmth and ease of life, and no taxes. I immediately fell in love with Grand Bahama Island. I never knew the feeling of euphoria in everyday life before, but I felt it there. I felt I’d come ‘home’.

Ironically it was in The Bahamas where I became more connected to my native heritage. I read the book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and had an identity awakening that I had not expected to be so profound. It was also during this time that my family in Canada discovered that we could apply for Metis Status due to my mother’s lineage to the Dakota (Sioux) and Cree tribes.

Life in Grand Bahama continued on, and I was a busy active young mother, involved in local soccer programs as a coach and player. I studied Reiki while there, helped form a writer’s group; and even home schooled my children for four years.

During that time I started something I had no idea would grow to be so big today. I began to share information via email to my local contact list.  I began harvesting email addresses, always blind copying, and would send out emails about island activities, upcoming events, news bits, etc. I soon moved to a weekly newsletter and my email list grew as people began requesting to be added to my database.

The idyllic island life took an ugly turn as my marriage unraveled and a lengthy separation and divorce ensued for eight years. After separation I put the children back into school.  Could I now – a single woman, survive in a foreign land while continuing to nurture the growth of my children? I so loved The Bahamas, that I had no thought to return to my birthland. Being female in the Bahamian court system was not an advantage, and my lawyer and I fought to keep my children and family life in balance.

My weekly newsletter continued to gain popularity and my email list grew exponentially with readers even from the USA. I was not allowed to work due to my immigrant status, and continued this activity as a hobby, and saw it as a good deed, and my way of giving back the community I lived in.   The financial hardship of the separation, as a non-working mother was extremely difficult and I realized something had to give.

Then I heard about the Bahamas Film Studios, a proposed 70 million dollar facility that was coming to Grand Bahama. I had to pinch myself, as I’d given up all thoughts of being involved in film again.  I reached out to the CEO and he hired me as his personal assistant after reading my online overview of his project.  This did not go over well with the locals, but I was approved through immigration and things were good to go. However that was short lived, as it didn’t take long for the local ‘coconut express’ to have words buzzing all over the place and within government. My boss, a foreigner, was so worried about all the red flags he was seeing, due to my hiring, that he felt he had no option, but to let me go. Ironically he hired another foreigner and got into the business of bringing in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean (POTC), which interestingly enough I was also hired for, but it took them two months of  struggle with immigration to get me on board.  I worked my butt off for 8 months on POTC II and III, to find out that Disney had not paid my work permit fees, so a day came when the guys in green suits escorted me out of the production office for questioning. Management for Second Mate (the title of the Disney project in Grand Bahama) had by then changed hats and the new head  felt I was not worth the immigration fees and let me go. The project was three quarters through, and it was sad to not see my name in the film credits, and instead see names of so many I had a hand in hiring.

All through this very busy time, I was still dealing with my divorce, a teen daughter who was venting out via drugs and alcohol, and keeping my weekly newsletter going, which seemed to be the one thing that remained consistent. My email list and newsletter had grown so much that I had to find new solutions in disseminating all the information I was gathering and being given.

I ended up partnering with Bahamian, David Mackey of Mackey Media Ltd, and we developed a website called TheBahamasWeekly.com, providing a location for my newsletter content and a platform to send my weekly updates from. We worked day and night, and I continued doing so without an income.

Then a miracle happened. We interviewed a man that used to head Bahamas Immigration and was then an immigration consultant. He said I was a tourism ambassador by the work I was doing for The Bahamas and he took on my case.  I had a  permit to work within the year.

Over those years (and through those jobs) I dealt with racism and jealousy. Because I was a white foreigner, many assumed I had money. Because I dressed well and am attractive, people assumed I was ‘taken care of’ by someone, or had money,,. Believe me, at times I wished I was big, fat and ugly, because then many people, mostly women, would have paid no mind to me.

I’ve been the brunt of much controversy in The Bahamas, most of which was behind the scenes from the general public. Through all that adversity I put on a happy face, kept my poise and maintained my dignity, and stayed true to the task at hand, that of creatively sharing information that brought good light to Bahamians and the country; and the enormous task of raising my growing children on an extremely limited income.

The Bahamas Weekly grew and grew and still has  a great reputation to this day. My business partner David Mackey and I were pioneering in online marketing and of course we also had fierce competitors and copycats. Some of my competitors took it upon themselves to  personally try and have me run out of the country… for doing what you may ask? Simply supplying information and getting an income for it via advertisers on our site. A Bahamian friend would often say to me, ‘You love The Bahamas more than Bahamians do.’ I just see such promise and beauty there, sitting idly, and I want to shout and share it with the world.

I was attacked behind the scenes so to speak. A couple of my competitors were out to get me out of the country entirely. They stopped at nothing and for years slandered my name to anyone they could, but mostly to politicians and those that ran immigration. Each year I had to prove why I should remain there, and how I was different than a Bahamian. You see, for IF a Bahamian could do what I was doing, I could then not do it. Without this work, I would not be allowed to remain in the country, even though my separated husband lived there and we had 4 children. Even though this was an online business and one I created and drove.  It became my annual struggle. The work permit renewal process itself took almost 6 months. I’d get approved with a great sigh of relief, put my head down and work, and in 6 months it would start all over again. There were lawyers involved and many people came to my aid to support me in my staying. The irony was, that TheBahamasWeekly.com WAS ME. How could I let go, or hand off something I created, worked tirelessly on to someone else? It was my baby!

Through all of that my love for The Bahamas grew and grew, and of course so did my opportunities with my work. I was lucky enough to interview such notables as Sir Sean Connery, Pierre-Yves Cousteau, Johnny Depp, Lenny Kravitz and many many others through my work. For two years, I was seen on a Grand Bahama Island tourism TV channel,  when my business partner started sharing looping video content of years of our work through our connection with the local tourism office.

Finally, with my children growing into their teen years, and the older ones heading back to Canada for school, coupled with my parents being in their golden years, I decided I was exhausted from the annual immigration fight. With social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and tools like Skype,  I knew I could likely run my internet-business from Canada. I also had developed a wealth of contacts in the industry. I took a leap of faith, and I decided I had had enough, It was time for a change, and to come back to my homeland.

Coming back to Canada was not what I had expected. My sister, the angel, had an apartment all ready for me, right down to food in the fridge and beds to slip into directly from the airport. I live on the 32nd floor of a highrise now, up in the clouds in my nest. I only missed two days of down-time in my work in the transition from Bahamas to Canada.

My world here has changed so. Long gone is the Canada I remember from my youth. I am okay with it, but it’s quite different. I often feel like a minority here now. My neighbours are mostly Asian, Persian or European. Hearing foreign languages is an everyday occurrence.  I am still adjusting to being back and have been tapping in to some of the Native developments that have taken shape during my time away.  We just found out our status as Metis’ may soon be full Native status in the latest court rulings. That’s cool too, whatever that means… and if it really happens.

Lately I’ve asked myself, do I have a right to call myself Native?  I am caught between so many worlds…my heads in The Bahamas, but my body is here. I am Native but I’ve been away for so long, while so many others have fought for the rights of many. What is my place?

I look at the word “Identity”.  [Personal conception and expression; Specifications of persons –] Who am I really?

We cling to things that seemingly create our identity, like our skin colour, beauty, religion, hairstyle, wardrobe, home, car, habits, yet its the core of our beliefs that define us when the lights go out.

I am a woman, a mother, a lover, sister, friend, colleague, confidant, teacher, and I aim to be a good example to everyone I know, but mostly someone, I can live with – day in and day out, and that is me.

The Sounds of Growth in Coquitlam

20131103_123426-1I am becoming accustomed to my 7am wake-up of pile-driving, six days a week, from my 32nd floor perch overlooking the city of Coquitlam in British Columbia, Canada. My bedroom faces west and onto Coquitlam Center mall, City Hall, the Police Station. I have a bird’s eye view of the new high-rises coming up along Glen Drive and Pinetree Way. The view is of interest, but the sound was not anticipated.  Knowing that I have at least another year to contend with the noise, it weighs on my heart and head.

I’ve only been back in the country for a couple years after island-life in The Bahamas.  My eldest daughter chose Coquitlam when she moved back to attend Douglas College and is now a student at Simon Fraser University.  Two of my other children have now attended the local high school, Gleneagle Secondary.

We used to live in North Vancouver on the water up Indian Arm before heading off to the sunny Bahamas, and so Coquitlam would not have been my place of choice to return to, had it not been for my children moving here first.

I am now comfortable with that decision, and quite happy here. As a single mother, I find the city safe and with a convenient layout. It surprised me with its plethora of services within walking distance, the stunning views of the mountains, and the proud mix of nature and city.

But, back to that noise!  I had not anticipated the downside of living up in the clouds, and was surprised to discover that noise is magnified as it carries upward. Traffic is megaphoned, and even harsher when you add rain and wet streets.  It’s okay in winter when the cold forces the windows closed,  but to get that fresh summer air, the uninvited noise is part and parcel with the breeze and the spectacular scenery, sunrises and sunsets.  It took me awhile to learn to sleep with these sounds.

I have two apartments for my extended family in this building on the same floor; one that faces west and the other east. The views are like night and day, as well as the noise volumes.  It’s been hard dealing with the sounds of the police cars, ambulances and fire engine sirens, but the early morning construction sounds that do not stop until well after 5pm are wearing on me, and thoughts of moving keep teasing.

Our east facing apartment is quieter with views onto the park by Gleneagle Elementary, which makes a great neighbor. The west facing apartment is above Pinetree which is a busy street for traffic,  ‘beeping’ cross walks,  and the construction boom.  As you can see in this photo, there are presently four cranes in a relatively small area. There are still at least 4 empty lots that have not even begun the groundwork for construction. I’ve heard that the City has put a webcam on top of our building to capture the rapid changes of this city.

I wonder about those that may have to work night shifts and sleep days. Earplugs would most definitely be a must.  And what about the businesses that are also within a block or two (or adjacent to) the pile drivers and hammers?  I am sure it is grating on the nerves of hundreds of us. We are all paying collectively, in one way or another. I am grateful I can escape to apartment east when the noise of the day gets too much on the west side.

Then there is the slap of irony that life can offer… When I allowed my daughter to have her friends over for her 16th birthday, we received a noise complaint from her music at 10pm, and along with that a substantial fine from our apartment management. The ironic bit is, that our building had workers doing resurfacing on its exterior, so we’d been suffering with jack-hammering daily for over 2 months. Imagine the sound of someone hammering right over your head all day. Yet celebratory music along with teenagers singing at the party was a no-no.

Somehow we cope, and I am sure it will all be worthwhile once the new apartments are up, and buzzing with life. We are already benefiting from new restaurants and services within walking distance. They have also started some preliminary work on the approved new Evergreen Skytrain station which will connect us into downtown Vancouver. That will most certainly bring another whole set of sounds during and after construction.

So here I am, adapting. I’ve moved from sea-level into the clouds – from walk up, to elevator up.  I’ve given up the sounds of the quiet lapping of waves on the shore, and potcakes barking on my street, to pile-driving, jack-hammering, sirens, honking, and trains in the distance…

Such is city life, and the price of growth in Coquitlam!