Everything you need to know about Nova Scotia's South Shore

November 18, 2011

where there’ll be lots of eating, drinking and laughing…

7:32 pm | No Comments » |

I’ve had lots of feedback about the beginning of my new blog and the end of Oh Brothers.  Some sad but excited and others who are bloggers and who “get it”.  They know of the love hate relationship that some bloogers feel towards their blogs.  I mean, I never realized until after I stopped just how much I love writing.  That’s not a bad thing.  I have other projects that I should be working on (like that wee book that I have committed to publish during my 35th year…fyi, I turn 36 in February, and yes, I’m starting to panic about meeting my own silly deadline).

But here’s the thing: generally I believe we get out of life what we put into it.  We get the happiness we deserve, we get the body we work toward, we get out of our work what put in it, and I guess that would mean, that we get the satisfaction out of our hobbies that we put in it.  And I guess you could say that blogging is a hobby.

I’ve received great things from this blog.  Lots of friends and lots of support.  I’m not looking for money or fame, just a community where I can share what I know, which isn’t a lot, but I do love life, and can’t we all, including myself, learn how to love life even more?

I started Oh Brothers as a journal of my life for my boys, until I realized that I didn’t share as much about me as I shared about them.  I just don’t think that’s fair and wasn’t true to why I started it in the first place.  I want my boys to one day check out my blog and be proud of who I was, not cringe and say, “Oh mother, no you didn’t just write that?!”  That’e why I’m doing this. It’s that simple.  I hope you follow along aren’t shy about telling me what I’m doing right, and yes, what I’m doing wrong.


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October 26, 2011

I’ve lost that bloggin feeling

2:09 pm | 9 Comments » |

I know…it’s been awhile!

Many have asked what’s going on with me.  Why haven’t I been blogging?  Have I not been inspired by an old tin can?  Am I out of spray paint?  What’s up Tina?  Where have you been?

The truth is, I’ve been very busy and I have been intending to blog.  I mean, I’ve been canning…

I’ve been filling my freezer with meals…

I’ve been making wreaths for Halloween with a sting of battery operated Christmas lights and a black feather boa (when I finished with it:)

And I have been taking pictures and I have been intending to tell you all about everything. I’ve even uploaded a few pictures and wrote a few words…then…I hit ‘delete draft’.  I don’t know…I just…I’m stumped.

Here’s the thing…It’s not so much that I’ve been in a depression since my dad died, with the exception of week two, where I seriously thought I needed anti-depressants, and listen for me, that’s scary because I live in happy land, so being depressed is not cool.  It just got me thinking…what are we doing all this for?  This life?  The effort?  The time?  The energy?  Is it all for not? Who is it for anyway?

Don’t get me wrong, I love this little blog.  It’s fun, people like it, and when I said I was stopping, our web manager said, “No- you can’t!! You’re the most popular!! You can’t stop!”  But my boys are getting to an age where it really isn’t as cute to write about their melt downs or when one uses my tooth brush to wipe their bum. I just dusted off an oldie for some of you vets. And when I’m proud and write about their accomplishments, it might come off braggy.

And lately I’ve been writing a bit about my mothers isms, which I know some of you really get a charge out of.  The thing is, how can I write about how my mother, who recently got cable, wondered how she was going to get to all her new stations, when her remote only goes to 9?  I mean, how can I write that?  That’s just…wrong.

Change is as good as a rest, so, I’m going to start a new blog. I’m excited about this chapter in my life.  It’s under construction and will be similar to Oh Brothers, I’ll have tutorials, some fun home improvements, I hope to feature video, occasionally I may include the family, but I’m not sure about that. But I hope you’ll all follow along with my newest adventure.

I’m going to do all of the things I love in spite of my fears. I love to write, create and give, but I fear failure so while this could be a flop, I’m going to forge ahead.

Until then, thank you for following along with my life.  I’ve enjoyed these 4 plus years.  Even the church lady who sends me hate mail, I think even you got to like me a little, or maybe I just got under your skin, which makes me so happy.

So please stay tuned, and as always, offer feedback.


September 26, 2011

What do you do with old file folders? You harvest them.

3:02 pm | 2 Comments » |

I was cleaning out my office (thou if my colleagues here at work read this they’ll disagree) and I stumbled upon dozens and dozens of old file folders and big orange envelopes that I thought should be discarded. I mean, here’s one for Bills Store. How long has it been since they were here?  Trivia Question:  How long has it been since Bills store was here?

Anyway, I threw them in the corner when I noticed that all thrown together like that, they just looked like the most beautiful fall scene, like a drive along the Cabot Trail, and I thought, jeeze Tina, surely you can come up with something so that these beautiful colours aren’t wasted.

Thats when I cut then in 1 to 1 1/2 inch strips, punched a hole in each end, mixed the colour variety up a bit, because I just think they looked better that way, and with a lovely ribbon, pulling the ends together…

I made a lovely pumpkin that will not rot on my fireplace mantel and attract those pesky fruit-flies.  Fruit-flies, how I loath thee!

And when I did a bunch of them…

Well, what can I say…can you believe I almost threw them out?


September 22, 2011


7:44 am | 3 Comments » |

I hummed and hawed at what would be my first post after dad died.  I thought geeze, how do I go from my last post to my latest spray painted project? Several people at Dad’s “Celebration of Life” told me that they wanted me to post what I wrote and said, and several others wanted me to post what he himself wrote.  Then others said, “Don’t you dare post that!  Your posts have been too sad lately!”

Seriously, this is the third time I’ve written this post.  I write delete, write, delete.  And right now, I’m merely writing and writing and writing and writing and hoping that something inspires me…

I thought I could write about the feelings I’ve had; like the relief that he’s out of pain; the anger I feel from watching someone die, when, if I allowed my pet to endure that same pain, I’d be up on charges of animal cruelty; the guilt; then pleased from losing five pounds from the guilt, then the guilt from being pleased…I mean there are alot of messed up emotions that I’m feeling.

Mostly, I feel …lucky.  People have been so kind.  I’ve received food from so many friends, including neighbours, even neighbours mothers!  I’ve had so many kind calls and e-mails, and the cards!! Even from the ladies at Tim Hortons! Seriously.  We got a card from Afghanistan, and I got a call from my Nadia.  I think I felt more sorry for her that she wasn’t here more than I felt sorry for myself that she wasn’t here with me.  I could tell from her voice how badly she wanted to hug me.

And you…you who read, and stop me at the grocery store, and at Frenchies, and who have e-mailed me…you really have no idea just how amazing you are.

My kids, boy, they’ve been great.  Colin even wore a sweatah and weal pants as he calls them to the funeral.  And then he had a meltdown.  He was playing soccer with friends, and he started crying, and I asked him what happened, and he sobbed and said, “Well, my grampy died!”  As if to say, You stupid woman, don’t you know anything??

And my David.  He really is a stand up guy.  Why he chose me, I’ll never know, but I’m glad he did.

So I thought the best thing to post about would be, to say thanks.  Life is beautiful, people are good, and you all are the best!


September 13, 2011


8:38 pm | Comments Off |

I went to bed on Monday night with my tank of gas hard on empty.  I whispered to David, remind me to leave a little early in the morning to fill up before work.

At 2 am we got the call.  Dad wouldn’t live until the morning.  I raced to get dressed and drove to Aberndale, hoping that I’d make it, knowing that the only place to get gas at 2am was the North Street Irving, but fearing I wouldn’t have the time to stop and get more.  I decided to risk it and headed straight for their house.  I knew I didn’t have enough gas to get me home, but I wasn’t really thinking about anything else but getting there.

The sky was calm and the moon was full right above the house as I ran up the long walkway to my parents house.  The closer I got, the louder I could hear my mothers sobs.  I opened the glass patio door, “Dad’s gone.”

I was too late.

I sat beside him and watched him as he lay peacefully, but exhausted after a long fought battle.  I could say nothing but, “I’m sorry, Dad,” I repeated it over and over.  For what I was sorry…so many things.

I was sorry for not driving faster, for the party I had in 1990, the worry I caused him, his Whisky that I watered down, the daughter I was and wasn’t, the thanks he didn’t received, that boyfriend he hated, the time I could have given and didn’t, I was sorry for the dignity that his country denied him, and I was sorry that he had to die leaving the world a little less kind.

After a really good cry, and a really good nose blowing, I looked out my parents living room window. There was just silence.  No sound of the oxygen tank, no sounds of strained breathing.  The air was lighter.  He was gone.  No more pain.  I felt such gratitude; grateful for this home that he built for us, this life that he made for us, the work that he’s done, and I started to smile and breath a sigh of relief.

Crazy as it sounds I can’t get this image out of my head: it’s my dad riding a big, black, wild stallion that he tamed two decades ago, galloping through the tall, lush grass of a big pasture.

I struggle with my faith, God and religion, but this looks a lot like heaven to me.

Celebration of Life for Bruce Edward Rafuse

Saturday, September 17th 2-4 pm

Midville Branch Fire Hall.

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August 30, 2011

Karma is real…

2:00 pm | 17 Comments » |

I have a lovely story for you.  It’s a sad but beautiful story and it comes at the perfect time, because I have slowly been losing faith in people.

My father has spent most of his life as a roofer.  Roofing is a tough and unglamorous profession but it’s something he loved doing and took pride in it.  He didn’t make a lot of money doing it, but he made enough.

I remember when I was a kid, he went back to school to learn how to be an energy efficient roofer.  Going back to school in Halifax was not easy for my father.  But he did it.  And after many years of working for other roofing companies, he went out on his own to work for himself.

Dr. Abrial, my father’s palliative care doctor, is directing my parents in how he can die at home comfortably.  Getting a hospital bed was one of the things he advised them to do.  My mother looked into renting a bed, but in considering that my father, who has outlived expectations, by like, twelve months, mom thought it might be more economical to look into purchasing a used one.

Anyway, my mother, being ever so resourceful, asked around.  She asked my uncle, who is a driver for Senior Wheels, and he said he heard of someone trying to sell a hospital bed.  My mother and father drove up to see it one evening.

The man trying to sell this bed didn’t really want much for it.  He just wanted to get it out of his way.  He had it for his father who had Muscular Dystrophy.  He was young, had a young family and, ironically, was just starting out on his own as a roofer. Imagine that.

Anyway, my parents said they’d take it and that they’d have someone come and pick it up in the morning.  He was way up in Newburn and my parents live in Aburndale, about a 45-minute drive, it was late, and my parents drive an Echo.

He looked at my dad, who is getting weak and carries an oxygen tank, and he said to my dad, “You want to sleep in this bed tonight, don’t you?”  My dad, barley able to talk because of the growing tumor in his neck says, “No no, I’ll have someone come with a truck in the morning.”  The guy said, “No, me and my worker, we’ll load it on the truck and deliver it tonight.”

It was pitch dark when he and another guy delivered the bed as promised.  They carried down a fairly long driveway to the house, up the steps, moved the existing furniture and set it up.  My mother was telling me the story and we both fell apart.  See, that, what those young guys did,  that is something my father would have done, and probably did many times over.

He didn’t want to take anything for the bed.  My mother insisted.  Then dad laid in the bed, the first time he’s been able to lay down in months, opting instead for a recliner chair to keep the pressure off his chest.  Mom said he looked at her and said that, people are good, and it’s the thing he’ll miss most.


August 25, 2011

How I’ve learned to love water

9:50 am | 1 Comment » |

This might sound strange, but I don’t like to drink water.  It’s not one of those things that I crave.  I drink so little water that I think I’d be a great contestant for Survivor.

I don’t even like juice.  Too sweet.  Soda pop.  Yuck, I have one a year, a Pepsi, on ice, with rum at Christmas.  Milk? I’m trying not to do dairy and when I cheat, I’d much prefer to eat a wheel of brie cheese.

So what do I drink?  Well, I drink coffee and tea and wine, all stuff not good for you.  And this summer I’ve indulged.  I’ve had too much of all of it but not too much water, because I hate it and all. But I’ve found a way that I really love water, I can’t get enough of it.  It’s so simple and cheap, and if you know anyone who is like me and doesn’t like water but really wants to like it, send them this post, because they could learn to love it too.  It’s stupid simple really, but I’ve never done it before so why not share.

I have this HUGE jar (you know how I love jars).  It happens to hold 10 large glasses of water.  I fill it before bed and then add and ingredient.  I’ve been having a lot of fun with that.  Cucumber slices are my favorite, followed by watermelon chunks.  Tomato slices are surprisingly good, and apples slices make the water a tiny bit sweet.  Peach slices with a bit of mint, delicious.  Kiwi and blackberry are crazy good,  pea and lemon would surprise you and diced strawberry, amazing!!  It’s a great way to use up product that is too imperfect to eat.  I have no trouble finishing the jar of water, in fact, I find myself crazing it.  And I roam the produce section dreaming up waters.

So there you have it, how I learned to love water.

* editors note- because I’ve stopped drinking beer and wine, part of my no-carb diet, turn this delicious water into an low-cal alcoholic beverage by adding vodka and more fruit.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pee…again!

1 Comment »

August 14, 2011

Stuff My Mom Does.

7:21 am | 6 Comments » |

If I weren’t writing this blog here, I sometimes imagine what kind of a blog I’d write. There are several I could write.  One would be called, I died and went to Frenchy’s, where I’d post some of my finds and my Frenchy shopping technique, because, there is a technique you know!

Another would be just about Colin, who is fricken hilarious.  Colin is…I can’t explain it.  He just is.  He will rule the world one day just with his big personality.

But I think the best one would be called Sh!t my mom does, similar to the one that kid wrote about his dad, you know, Sh!t my dad says. He’s got nothin on the sh!t my mom does and I know it would be instantly picked up as a reality show.

You’ve read here a time or two how she calls this blog, “that thing you do on the world wide web. I’ve written before how she brainwashed us into fearing the affects of cucumber-pealing poisoning.  I may have written before how she’ll go in strangers gardens and steal a transplant just to add it to her’s.  Well, it was almost dead, she’ll say.

When we were kids, she’d go grocery shopping and if we went in the cupboard to get a cookie she’d say, Don’t eat those, I just bought those today! Apparently we were suppose to wait until they went stale.  Then she’d give up and say Oh- eat em’ then, eat em’ all. Which, sort of is the point of food.

She’d say things like, ‘Mayswell”, ‘you fellers’, and ‘as far as that goes’, thou, she never did tell us how far it went or what it actually was!

But the blog, Sh!t mom mom does would be hilarious and heartwarming, and mysterious. Like, when she babysits my kids.  She’ll move things.  She won’t move them far.  Just…weird subtle changes, just to let me know that, while it’s my house, that she knows best.  Like a chair in my living room.  Everyday when I’d get home, she’d move it on a diagonal, then I’d straighten it, which would be futile, because she’d put it on the diagonal again.

Most days, I’d come home from work and they’ll be one item that I can’t find.  David will say, Tina, where is the can opener? Why isn’t the can opener in the can opener drawer!  Tina… ‘think like Nancy’, if you were your mother, where would you put the can opener? I’ll search the house, and then in frustration, call her, I’ll say, Mom, what did you do with the can opener, and then she’d say, almost anticipating my call,  Oh, well, I put it by the cat’s food dish.  You fellers only use it to open up cat food as far as that goes, so I thought, mayswell put it there.

And sure, it drives me absolutely crazy!! Like…I can’t explain it crazy… what she doesn’t know, is that sometimes, I take pictures of weird sh!t my mom does in anticipation of the new blog I’m going to write on the world wide web.

Your honour, may I introduce Exhibit A.

This is where I put my coffee mugs…

When I return…this is what I find….

Ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, I ask why?  How many pairs of scissors do I need and why do they need to be so visible?  I can only image that mom was looking for a pair of scissors and couldn’t find them, and got absolutely enraged about it.  Then, she went out and bought a half a dozen pairs, removed my coffee mugs, maybe even threw them out, and then used the hooks to hang the scissors, as if to say to me…there, there are your scissors.  Keep them there, or stop buying those  Mr. Freezies!!

That would be my introductory post. It’s sure to be a hit.


August 10, 2011

Kale chips…the new black.

3:11 pm | 3 Comments » |

I’ve been on a real healthy/local food kick for a while now, I actually feel terrific and have lost some weight. What I’ve discovered, through trial and failure and then trial again, is that these subtle changes really do make a difference!

I’ve given up cream in my coffee.  Small thing.  Now, I can’t imagine putting cream in my coffee.  Another small thing is snacking at night.  That’s one of my several vices.  So now, I don’t have chips in the house.  I find having a good alternative to chips is helpful.  What could one eat as an alternative to potatoes chips you might ask?

Introducing…kale chips…my new favourite snack.

This is local kale in it’s raw state that I’ve broken apart in smallish pieces (make sure to remove the tough spine), tossed with olive oil, a little sea salt, malt vinegar and paprika.  Then, put it on a baking sheet for a few minutes at 325, keep your eyes on it, it will burn and turn bitter.  But once you get it to the perfect state, they’re crispy and delicious, good for you, helpful to local farmers and dare I say, even better than potato chips.  Yeah, I think I went too far there.

Not as good as potatoes chips, but they won’t make you bloat!


August 3, 2011

Summer Bucket List

8:13 am | 2 Comments » |

The summer is half over.  Can you believe it?  Me, not so much.

I’m sure it’s the crappy July that we had that makes it feel like we haven’t had a summer yet.  You can blame that on us.  Why?  We got a pool.  You can call it karma.

Anyway, since the summer is half over, I thought I’d share with you what I did with the kids when school ended.  We made a summer bucket list.

You know how you feel as a parent?  The summer comes to an end and you start feeling incredibly guilty because you didn’t really do anything all that fun?  No?  Well, I tend to feel that way, even thou they’ve spent the summer at the pool, on the tennis court and golf course, on the soccer field and on Backman’s Island.  Doesn’t matter what we’ve done, I feel guilty because of what we didn’t do.

So at the end of the school year, I had the boys think of what they wanted to do this summer, gave them a package of clothes pins and had them write one on each pin.

I told them to use their imagination, whatever they wanted to do, write it down.

Then we attached the pins to a bucket.  When we did one of the things on their list, they can put the pin in the bucket.

Our goal is to do everything on the list, take pictures of the things we do do, and the attach the pin to the picture.

Then when the teacher says, “what did you do this summer?” and my kids say “nothing”, I have proof that that simply isn’t true.


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