Who is going to keep them warm?

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I often think about power outages this time of year and for the most part, we have been lucky. One outage so far this year, and for me it was uncomfortable enough! I wrote in my blog earlier this month about the fun aspects of a blackout when prepared. I also reflected on senior citizens during times of outages and I DID ask the question, should there be “hot spots or drop in centers offered to those in need during this difficult time. I did get some reply via the comment section , twitter, face book and e-mail. I thank all who did take the time to respond, but there were many that this blog was sent to who did not weigh in on this serious issue.

It is my hope that this blog falls on caring ears for your community, so that community champions can emerge and get their ducks in a row to be prepared, to be proactive, not reactive when the next outage happens. It is not a case of if it will hit Newfoundland and Labrador again this year, it is when. I for one am taking measures to ensure my family will be ready this time, but for those who do not have the means, I am calling on us, as residents, next door neighbors, family or friends to start a movement to ensure no one goes cold or hungry during blackouts this winter. We have groups that could band together to help in this cause now, not when the issue arises; wouldn’t it be nice to know we were ready? To know we were prepared and that those who would be potentially in need were taken care of?

There are reports that the generation plant in Holyrood is not operating at its full capacity. If this is correct, it is a great cause for concernand even a greater reason why we need to ensure the municipal emergency plans in our communities include concessions for “Hot Spots” so those in need know where to go and know where they can be safe during outages.

Please have your say , talk to your fire departments, search and rescue groups, Salvation Army representatives and above all, your municipalities. Ask yourself, who is going to keep them warm?

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Black Out 2013

Maggie, Kaegan, Cosmo and Daisey keeping nice and warm!

Maggie, Kaegan, Cosmo and Daisey keeping nice and warm!

Ok, it was not as long as the blackout in the early 90’s but never the less it was a black out and it was cold!!! There is always good and a bad that comes out these occurrences, the good, time to spend with family without too much interference from technology, the bad, the temperature dropped somewhat quickly in the house. We were semi prepared with a couple butane stoves for cooking and to give us a short burst of heat for the kids play room. We had plenty of candles and for the first night we kept it nice and warm. I took the time to prepare plenty of food for the family and the kids were thankful for having most of their toys charged including their Ipads. A week has gone by and almost all the snow is gone (even though it is snowing right now) but it is still early in the snowy season here in Newfoundland. I will be preparing a little more aggressively by probably investing in a kerosene heater or a generator of some sort. This time around I feel we were very fortunate as the weather was mild so it was a little easier to heat our home.

Kudos and considerations
I would like to thank NL Power for getting most of the power back on a swiftly as possible (even though we did not get our back until late Saturday afternoon). There work in extreme weather conditions to ensure we have power, when we are closing because of weather, there are prepping in case of an outage, so hats off to them.
I would also be remiss if I did not mention that I felt their communication was effective for the most part with their customers. The phone system was inundated with calls so it was hard to get through, but with today’s technology they were very present and responsive on twitter, it provided a forum for information to be sent and received (well done).

During power outages, I do think of the elderly and those who are sick who may not the means for keeping warm. I feel there may be a need for a drop in centre or two established in times of need. I do know there are buildings within our town that could provide such it this were probably suggested. (I would love your thoughts on this as I would gladly volunteer).

The startings of a nice Winter Stew for the Black Out, yummy!

The startings of a nice Winter Stew for the Black Out, yummy!

Toutons by candle light, ya gota luv those butaine stove!!

Toutons by candle light, ya gota luv those butaine stove

Christmas Traditions a look back on Christmas 2012

Christmas Traditions a look back on Christmas 2012

I love Christmas traditions, it is what makes this season so special; they make us reflect on what is really important and what makes us happy. Some traditions are simple, like sending Christmas cards to family and friends or making cookies and cakes to give as gifts. During our Christmas we have a number of traditions including a visit to the graveyard on Christmas Eve to visit with my grandparents. I find this yearly visit very reflective and calming, it is a peaceful place, but festive in its own way as many love ones obviously visited before we got there as many of the grave sites were illuminated. This visit helps set the mood for the next tradition, the visit to Carbonear to visit Lisa’s family. This year marked the 25th year I have been making this visit; it is a time to spend with my brother and sister in laws and their family. We have watched our nieces and nephews grow up and now we enjoy spending time with their children.

Christmas Eve, is special for many reasons, but mainly for the birth of the Christ Child our Christmas Eve was capped off with a visit to Mom and Dads to go to midnight mass  (now 9pm). it was great to be in my childhood church again, especially with my family.

Christmas Day
The sound of excited children bursting into our room heralding the news that Santa was here is a welcomed sound, even if we were tired, it is to be treasured. We spend some time opening presents then it is time to go back to mom and dads for Christmas dinner. After, we exchange gifts with my siblings and then visit my brother Ken. He has one of the best looking Christmas trees, still decked out with tinsel and garland.

We love to visit Ken's at Christmas, his tree reminds me of our family tree when we were young! (he decorated it back then too!)

We love to visit Ken’s at Christmas, his tree reminds me of our family tree when we were young! (he decorated it back then too!)

Boxing Day is our turn to host family and friends. It is one of my favorite days of the year because it is a time to eat, have a few drinks, catch up with everyone and did I mention eating?

Boxing Day Friends (Brian, Juanita, Kaitlyn and Sam Tobin) "Love there shirts!!"

Boxing Day Friends (Brian, Juanita, Kaitlyn and Sam Tobin) “Love there shirts!!”

Christmas Table Cloth
one of the traditions in our house is that all who visit must sign the Boxing day Table Cloth. It is a large white sheet that has the signatures and messages of visitors to our home dated to be remembered and toasted.

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Kaegan was the last person to sign the cloth this year!!

Christmas Fondue

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I love food and family, and with our annual fondue evening with Lisa’s Brother Darrell, his wife, Stephanie, kids Caleb and Hailey, this was a tradition I was glad we renewed. We use to do this when it was just us guys, no kids, just a bunch of family plunging meat into cooking oil!! It was, and is, delicious. Although it is only a yearly feast, it is magical; from the place settings to the  laying out of many choices of food and sauces, I love this evening!!!

One last comment!

There is only a short time left to visit out Christmas Park and Village (two separate venues) so if you are out and about drop by the Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex or the Community Gardens to see our displays. If that is not possible, here is a quick video of the park thanks to Ian Flynn (thanks Ian!!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZytHR69fFo