Category Archives: Environment

I wish I could do more about the stench of crude oil but it may take the efforts of the next generation

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As I laid awake again for another night of clanks, bangs and grinding steel, metal and horns I wondered when it would happen. I wondered when the explosion would occur and I would be running beside Chris carrying Willow amidst an inferno so grotesque that there’d be no use of even trying as we wouldn’t survive the explosions to begin with. We’d likely be incinerated and scientists would be identifying us through use of dental records.

I spoke with Chris about my fears this morning. He carries the same ones. We live somewhere where the trains carrying toxic crude oil and natural gas outnumber humans five to one. And we live 500 meters from the end of the line where all the tanks are unloaded of their black liquid gold which is then pumped to the Irving Oil Refinery a few kilometres away for refining.

Neither one of us would have purchased homes back in the old neighbourhood that we grew up in had we known there were going to be HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of freight trains unloading there oil in our backyard for Irving to refine.

The stench is more than we can bare at times. It permeates our home and makes it impossible to breath outside or open your windows when the wind is calm and humidity high. Old women and children plug their noses on public transit buses as they near the intersection of Bayside Drive and the Courtenay Bay Causeway and it sickens me that I need to pull the buzzer and step off in the thick of it. The smell has been so bad on occasion that I thought there was an oil leak in my home. I have dashed down and into the basement to check the tank for cracks on more than one occasion. How ironic that my home is heated with oil and that it is some of the most expensive oil to buy in Canada even though it is refined right here in my backyard.

I feel angry and cheated out of the peace and quiet that used to pervade this neighbourhood. The noise pollution level has risen to the point that we rarely sleep through the night anymore. And what is this doing to our six month old daughter.

I’d like the end of the line to be moved or for Irving to buy my home and my boyfriends home so we can relocate at a minimum 2KM away from the end of the line if it’s to be here permanently. I’d like the refinery shut down and converted to windmills but that’s akin to wishing the Pacific ocean clean of plastic debris. These things will not happen in my lifetime.

There are people who tell me to shut up and not say anything because if I want to sell my house I better be quiet about it. WHY be quiet about it… This is everywhere. You.can.not.escape.it. This industry dominates the skyline of of the City of Saint John.

I tire of living in fear, on a constant alert that an all out oil apocalypse is going to happen and no amount of new overpasses and evacuation routes will save my family and I, living here, at the end of the line.

If the Plutocracy can spend billions on retrofitting DOT-111 tanks they can certainly move the end of the line to the refinery or purchase the neighborhood so we can all move. We were duped into thinking a park would be where the terminal is.

They say things happen in three’s. Lac Magentic, Plasterock… The end of the line?

Photo Credit – (Selfie) My daughter Willow and

Walking on the East Side of Saint John, NB in Early Springtime

Growing up, we all walked everywhere, biked or rode the bus to get from point A to B. We were all in shape.

irving oil refinery

Recently, I’ve begun walking and hiking through the back fields, railroad tracks and forgotten lands, that I used to travel through when young, with a wonderful person who enjoys walking them as much as I do.

fog rolling in

These are some photo’s from our latest trek. You can see the largest oil refinery in Canada in the distance while the fog rolls in from the Courtenay Bay.

If you are unfamiliar with the Courtenay Bay Area of East Saint John, it is home to homes that were built shortly after WWI and WWII. This place is nestled in between a few major thoroughfares, is located on the best bus route in the city and is genrally a very safe area to live in for both young and old alike.

100 years of smashed liquor bottles

irving pipeline east saint john

This area is five minutes by bus or car to Uptown or 25 minutes walking. It is surrounded by industry, sea water, fields and rolling hills.

irving oil trains east saint john

Anyhow, I love this area… even when the fog rolls in and blankets out the sun and you can’t see across the street anymore.

All Original Illustrations are 50% Off in my art shop right now. Prices are already reduced in the originals section. Decorate your home with one-of-a-kind whimsical art today!

Organic Seed Starting in the Sunroom

saint john nb, seed germination, seed starting, gardening, urban gardening, flower, veggies

A couple of weeks ago Mom and I began starting seeds in my sunroom. The sunroom has large windows that face South, West and North. It’s bright and warming nicely in there this Spring. This is the first time I have ever started seeds having always purchased vegetable and herb starter plants for transplanting in previous years.

seed starting supplies

I was given the orchid three years ago as a house warming gift. Surprisingly, I’ve kept it in continuous bloom and alive for the last three years. Thus far we have started squash, cucumber, green onion, lettuces, broccoli, various tomatoes and beets to name a few.

We purchased the organic seeds from Hope Seeds and some of the containers for seed starting from Canadian Tire. I also picked up some Sharpies from Staples and popsicle sticks from Michaels for labelling what is planted where. The organic potting soil we bought last year from Brunswick Nurseries.

Missy Two Shoes the cat turns 15 this coming Summer! Sadly, I need to lock both Missy and Little Orange out of the sunroom as they both enjoy eating the plants, stepping in the containers and smushing seeds down and licking any and all water of the plastic pots. I only let them in when I’m in there.

Little Orange Tabby Cat

Eleven month old Little Orange particularly enjoys eating the green onions for some reason.

And this coming weekend I’ll be planting a few things outside that can take the cooler Maritime overnight Spring temperatures!

You Can’t Handle The Truth

Happiness is a Beach in Kauai

So I’ve learned something.

I went to Kauai to find answers, not really even knowing what my questions were, but feeling like there was something I was missing that I needed to find. Or maybe I needed to be found. One of those. I don’t know.

I wait for answers too often. If I want something to happen, I assume things are simply going to work out, eventually. Someone or something will swoop in with neon signs and arrows showing me every step of the way. 

But clearly, for awhile now, I’ve been unhappy. I’ve felt unsettled and awkward, almost like I was intentionally avoiding something. And for the first few days in Kauai, I wasn’t settled either. I was thrilled to be there, of course, but I felt a little like I was phoning it in. The truth was, I was starting to panic. What if I didn’t find answers here? WHAT IF THERE WERE NO ANSWERS?! Gack. Continue reading

The DIY Deck in Pictures

My feet on the new deck!

When I purchased this home a couple of years ago the side stairs and small 3 by 3 foot landing were in pretty rough shape, but still usable. By the beginning of this Summer they were detaching from the house and were unsafe to continue using. My Dad and brother dropped by about a week ago and built this new 6 by 8 foot deck and staircase for me in one day.

This is the story in pictures… (click them for a larger image)

My Dad (John) the mason and younger brother (Stephen) the journeyman carpenter are awesome! I love you both and the new side deck rocks!

The good in becoming vulnerable

How do you deal with unwanted attention or attention that perhaps you didn’t expect to get from something you wrote, said, posted, tweeted, shared or facebooked for the sheer fun of it; basically because you could, because it’s your personal space to share and create on.

Getting sick and feeling awful certainly puts one’s life into perspective. It has a way of making you take stock of where you are, where you were and most importantly where you want to be once you do begin to feel better.

Do you count your blessings? Do you make yourself vulnerable to new friendships, new business initiatives or even romantic relationships or do you avoid them out of fear? Do you take risks or do you always walk on the damn line like everyone else and fit into the mold that society markets to you?

Something snapped inside in March after travelling to Fredericton. I haven’t been quite the same since. And that could be due to the Synthroid beginning to work and stabilize the hypothyroidism. Or, it could be that in being honest with and surrounding myself with people who inspire, share, challenge and grow with me rather than work against or hold me back, I’m growing as a person again. And this doesn’t mean that we agree all of the time… in fact it’s quite the opposite… it just means that we like each other and like the dreams we talk of. That Waitress Story is more important than ever.

I applied for a creation grant in early April. It was rejected three weeks ago.

I signed with an artist representative a few months back. I ended that relationship quite abruptly a few weeks ago after learning that all was not what it seemed to be.

I also turned down a part-time College level teaching job earlier this year after realizing during the uber-complicated negotiation process that we were not a good fit after all.

I am dating and realizing more and more what it is that I’m looking for and it’s not so simple or black and white as what is written on this list as many men seem to think from the sheer amount of emails I’ve received from them about it. Look, I don’t date men that I meet online anymore, well maybe…

All it really takes in life is a genuine smile and an outreached arm to dance. Actions speak much louder than words and it’s those actions that make a person back away or grab on and enjoy the ride.

Really, life is that simple and if you are not experiencing that then you must do everything you can and get off of that straight line and enjoy the bumps along the way.

Today I’m grateful for family and friends who while being kind and gentle are challenging me to break out of the shell that I slid into sometime last year.

Photo Credits: Andrew of Park Imagery

  1. Me and my beautiful friend of 20 years, Vikki (Fredericton, NB, Canada)
  2. Me and Vikki again (Fredericton, NB, Canada)
  3. Me hoola hopping with 50lbs of homemade hoops (Quispamsis, NB, Canada)
  4. Doing my best to keep those hoops spinning (Quispamsis, NB, Canada)
  5. My good friend Anne hooping (Quispamsis, NB, Canada)
  6. My good friend and roommate Andrew, hooping! (Quispamsis, NB, Canada)
  7. Harrison’s Dad, me and Harrison (Cambridge Narrows, NB, Canada)

The 20 Year Reunion Part 2 – and into the night we danced

While everyone in attendance likely has a different opinion of how the St. Malachy’s High School 1991 Graduating Class 20 Year Reunion went and of what they remember, made them laugh, made them uncomfortable or even made them think twice of another person, the following is from my point of view only.

A few days before the reunion an old acquaintance that I see once or twice per year facebooked asking if I’d like to get together with a few others for supper and a drink before hand. I immediately agreed as up until then I had many horrid day dreams of walking into and having to face the reunion alone.

I showered and dawned the special $3.00 second hand dress and 10 year old sandals and waited for Lisa to pick me up. We met up with Cynthia, whom I’ve been great acquaintances with since age four and Brian whom I don’t quite remember from high school, but was impressed that he is as geeky and nerdy as I am. We met at the Ale House, a popular local restaurant and enjoyed some great food and conversation together.

My stomach had been hurting and turning for days and as we left the restaurant and began walking to The White Room, a high end licensed venue a few short blocks away, it really picked up in the knot factor. Continue reading

The 20 Year Reunion Part 1 – the fear of violence

About six months ago the anxiety surfaced after someone added me to a newly created Facebook group for the 1991 St. Malachy’s High School Graduating Class 20 Year Reunion. Fear ebbed through my body when it happened.

While high school was everything everybody always says it is, it’s not always what people see that is important but that of what people don’t know that comes to light and must be dealt with in an honest, empathetic and forgiving manner.

The first taste of physical violence I ever experienced as a female being targeted by a male was in grade three. A good female friend of mine, who is still a good friend of mine to this day, had a fight with me, well a fight as best as two nine year old girls can have at yelling and pulling each others hair on a front lawn. Kids fight. Good friends fight. BUT her older brother came out the front door. He was 13 years old and twice my size. He kicked me in the legs. He kicked me really hard and proceeded to harass and maim me all through elementary and middle school whenever he saw me walking on the sidewalk alone. He’d surround, throw rocks and worked very hard at intimidating me for years.

Violence from that day forward seemed to follow and engulf me. It wasn’t until I moved away from Saint John at age 19 that the violence that men cast on me ceased to exist which brings me to the 20 year reunion that I attended on Saturday night. Continue reading