Staff Blogs
Never happy when it comes to the weather PDF Print
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Wednesday, 17 July 2013 17:17

By Jamie Rieger

Too much rain, not enough rain, too windy, too cold, too hot. It does not matter what weather is thrown at us it is never what we want or need.
This summer, if you could call it that, has so far been a mixed bag of weather events. The spring was one rain storm after another and while there have been some nice days this summer, it certainly will not go down in the record books as one of the hottest.
That is fine by me, for the most part. I don’t like the sweltering temperatures that turn one’s skin to shoe leather in just a few outings. But, I don’t want the summer to be filled with rain and storms, either. I think we all have had our fill of storms for the season, thank you very much.
All that would be nice would be moderate temperatures with the sun and not a ‘slough’ of moisture sitting around to attract the ‘skeeters’.
That would be ideal for me, but I don’t have crops that need the sunshine or fields that have been pummeled by hail or are sitting in water. I’m sure there are many out there hoping for the hot days of summer and I’m equally sure that those days are still coming. Those ‘dog days’ that keep the children in the pools and running through the sprinklers or everybody retreating to the air conditioned house are still on their way (at least that is what I keep telling myself)!
Maybe, we will be in for a nice autumn this go-round, given all the  nastiness that has come our way so far this year.
We all deserve a little cooperation from Mother Nature, whether we are watching our crops, our basements, or our back yards. I’m not sure what has caused her to become so temperamental and I’m also not sure I buy into all the theories out there or if this is all just part of a natural cycle of weather. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I think. She’s going to do what she wants, when she wants to do it and all we can do is hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

 
Sometimes all you need is a sunny vacation PDF Print
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Wednesday, 10 July 2013 14:46

By Cassie Weiss

Just like the title of this column says, sometimes all you need is a sunny vacation to remind you just how good life is at home.
As I write this I sit in a hotel bed in the Disney All Star Music Resort, in Orlando, Florida, looking at packed suitcases, waiting until it is time to fly out of this lovely paradise.
I’ve been in Florida a week now, since last Saturday, and man, is it time to go home.
From day one this trip has been a bit crazy, from the delayed flights in Chicago on the way in, to the countless hours spent running around the different Disney parks, Universal Studios, and many other locations.
I don’t think my feet have ever hurt more.
I’m not really a people person, and during this trip I have never met more rude people, from butting in line, to yelling at cashiers, and everything in between.
I bought many things, the best being my Ravenclaw scarf and lanyard from the Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Those two items I will treasure always as it was that theme park that drew me to this trip in the first place.
I bought some things at Epcot, at Universal, and at the different Disney parks, some things for me, and some things for family and friends.
But sitting here writing this, I realize that buying souvenirs are great and all, but all I really want, and all I really need, is more than 1,000 miles away, sleeping on my couch, sleeping on my bed, or walking around the house making noise because I haven’t been home in weeks.
And this is a true statement. Maybe my trip was only seven days, but I haven’t slept in my own bed since before the flood, almost three weeks ago.
I miss my bed, I miss my cats, and I miss my puppy.
Georgia went missing a couple days ago and I was ready to jump on a plane early to come home and find her.
Luckily she was just hiding in the house, but Kat says she hasn’t been the same since she’s been back in our home; walking around meowing like crazy. This is how I know she misses me.
I’m the only one she talks to, so when she starts talking to others, then you know something is up.
I know I needed a break, although I’m not sure you can call this vacation a break due to how busy we were every day, but it was a nice change, getting to laze in the sun and spend some time not worrying about work (apparently I’m a workaholic according to Kat).
I should be home Monday, and I will miss the Florida sun, but god will I be happy to be home.
And from what I’ve heard, there has been more sun in Medicine Hat this week than in Florida anyway.

 
Itching and scratching season is back PDF Print
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Tuesday, 02 July 2013 19:10

By Jamie Rieger
All that moisture in the air and water lying around sure is drawing out the most unwelcome of guests. Those darn mosquitos are out in full force and making a perfectly good outing in the yard not so perfect any more.
Usually, the skeeters leave me alone for the most part, but this year, they've apparently added me to their menu. So far, I have only been bit a few times while out taking photos and none of the bites have been unbearably itchy. You know those ones you get between your toes or fingers or on the bottom of your foot or in the middle of your back, just out of reach. Considering I do not like my feet covered in the warm weather (sandals or barefoot for this girl in the summer), I feel fortunate my feet haven't been attacked yet.
And 'yet' is the key word here. I know full well that they will seek and find my toes and leave a bite that calamine lotion will not be able to soothe. About the only thing worse than being kept awake all night by mosquitos' constant buzzing around the house is being kept awake by the constant itching and scratching. When the itching and scratching is between my toes it is just about enough to send me over the edge...and the mosquito knows this. Why else would they keep targeting the same place time and time again?
Now, I could live my summer life in a layer of bug repellent, but that does not sound very appealing and probably is not a very healthy option. Citrus also is supposed to work, but rubbing my feet with orange peel before going outside doesn't seem like a very good option either.
I hear a more aggressive breed of mosquito is invading our summer this year, one that is going to attack all day, not just in the mornings and evenings and carries a lot of diseases, including West Nile virus. (The Culex tarsalis, Culex restuans, and Culiseta inomata are the prime vectors for West Nile and strike mainly at dawn and dusk.)
All right, that was a pretty easy decision to make. The bug repellent with DEET is the winner. Experts recommend shoes with socks as well to help protect oneself. Yah, when the temperatures rise to 35C, wearing shoes and socks is probably not going to happen, an extra layer of bug spray for the feet.

 
When disaster strikes close to (or inside) the home PDF Print
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Tuesday, 25 June 2013 17:15

By Cassie Weiss
I have never felt a moment so terrifying when I found out I had to evacuate my home. The waters were coming, and we were quite obviously going.
It was the hardest decision to make, what to take, what to leave, what we would be crushed about should the water make it into our home.
Sandbagging became our first efforts, with awesome help from some good friends, a pretty darn good boss, and my awesome mommy.
We couldn’t have gotten done what we did without their help, and I appreciate it more than they know.
By the time you read this we either will, or won’t, have water in our basement, but I tell you, this feeling of “ripping off the world’s largest band aid” (the words of a TV anchor who was covering the same press conference as I was) is one I don’t care to experience ever again.
I don’t know how many times I’ve hit refresh on Twitter and Facebook, hoping, praying for another news release that says that the water won’t be as strong, that the damage won’t be as bad.
I hope and pray that all we see is water in our basement, and maybe a broken washer and dryer.
I never really understood the gravity of a flood. I was too young in 1995, and in 2010 Kat and I were a level away from the flood. It had been another natural disaster that had damaged homes and lives, and it was tragic, but we weren’t a part of it.
This time we are. We are in the flood zone, and on Sunday afternoon the water sat still and quiet at the end of our street.
What this means we don’t know. We know it’s not the river that we have to worry about, but the backing up of the two creeks.
But what we don’t know, is how bad it will be in the end, once the peak has come and gone.
I’m hoping for a few feet of water in the basement at the most. I can live with that. That won’t crush me. But should that water hit our upstairs, life will most certainly become a bit different for a while.
For all of you out there experiencing flooding, stay safe. I understand what you are going through and I feel for you.
To all those out there who volunteered, either helping Kat and I, or just helping the city, you are life savers. We really couldn’t get through the worst flood in history without the community coming together.

 
Salute to all the dads out there! PDF Print
Local Content - Staff Blogs
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Wednesday, 19 June 2013 02:15

By Jamie Rieger

I can recall being about 14 years old when I got caught lying to my dad. I will never forget the trouble I got into for it and I will never forget the words he said to me, at least some of them.
After a good bawling out, I was in tears when he said, “I would rather have a thief in my house than a liar because you can keep your eye on a thief, but you never know what a liar’s next move is going to be.”
Then, I was really crying. I had lost the trust of my father and having the mind of a youth where everything is unrealistically magnified and often overly dramatic, I thought I was not ever going to be trusted in the family again.
I can not even remember exactly what the lie was, but I think it had something to do with going swimming before the supper dishes were done; but I sure do remember dad’s words and all the trouble I was in for my fibbing.
Swimming back then was a huge part of our lives; lessons in the morning, then public swimming in the afternoon and again after supper, provided all our chores were done for the day. All I wanted to do was get back in the pool, so it is no surprise that I tried telling a fib to get out of doing dishes.
Those stinging words still live with me to this day and I definitely did learn from them. The truth is always the best route no matter what the consequences. Had I just done the dishes as I was supposed to, there still would have been time for swimming and a lot less tears would have been shed (and no angry voices either).
But, there are a lot of very good memories, too. Every summer, we had camping trips and vacations; usually to places with museums and lots of activities for us kids. Dad did not always enjoy all the driving he had to do, but he and mom always made sure we had enjoyable and memorable vacations.
In the winter, he would tirelessly level the garden area of the back yard and countless hours hours were spent flooding it so we could have a skating area. That is, until some neighbourhood boys tracked through it on a warmer day, ruining it. I don’t think we got our skating rink again after that.
Now, when I go to visit, dad’s days are much more subdued. There is no longer five kids bellering around the house or half the neighbourhood playing in the back yard. Just mom, dad, and my brother’s dog occupy the place.
I sure do appreciate all that dad did for me and my siblings over the years, the good and the not-so good. All have stuck with me to this day and many have been lessons learned. Hats off to all the good dads out there!

 
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