A Year in Review and a Year in the Making!

Me;  It's been a good year.

I was out for a drive yesterday and took this photo--

The epitome of Newfoundland in winter.

Slob ice in Little Burnt Bay

One step in front of the other, sometimes with sand between the toes, other times with running shoes or rubber boots and most recently with the crunch of snow underneath snowshoes. Such is how we make our way through each year of our life, marked off by human hands on a calendar in our infinite and wasted need to organise and categorise our world.

And this is the day we mark of the the beginning of a new year.  Today, January 1, 2014 is New Year's Day according to our calendar.

For someone like me, who loves beginnings this is a day I embrace.  The energy of all of those who feel optimistic about the upcoming year is palpable and I do so I love the joy of others.

Today I made my resolution--to continue to be as happy as I can be and to take as many people along with me as possible.  It's simply a reaffirmation of how I spent last year.

And oh what a year it was.  The best one ever full of exactly all the right people.

Life comes down to the wonderful people in it and this year mine was overflowing.  I have met so many amazing individuals this year, too many to count.

Just a few of the amazing people that stand out are  in no particular order:

The Stairs family;  an outstanding family here in Lewisporte who host music shows featuring world class musicians and have a recording studio in the basement of their home--a renovated Salvation Army Citadel--appropriately named Citadel House.  Through them I've met award winning musical acts that have MusicNL nods, ECMA awards and nominations and even a Juno prize winner.  The Stairs family have become friends, their girls take turns babysitting mine, we attend shows regularly and will be there for their Open Mic night on January 3.  This homeschooling family with ten(yeah makes me feel like an underachiever) children are truly special and a blessing to my life.  I look forward to working with them in the future.

The Cranfords:  my good friend, Jerry and his parents, Garry and Margo, owners of Flanker Press, the largest publishing company here in Newfoundland.  Great people with who I share a common goal--to bring the stories of our people and our province to the world.  I hope to finish a book for them to publish at some point this winter.

Sabrina Whyatt, musician, crab fisherman, business woman, television personality and all round sweetheart.  I interviewed her about her autobiography that was released this year. I think I may have been the first to do so.  She was one of the Newfoundland entertainers of the year and a very interesting person.

Bill Rowe;  What can I say?  He's a legend in Newfoundland and well known in the rest of the country. He is former Liberal party leader, host of Open Line on VOCM for over 30 years and best selling author.  It is in the latter category that I connect most with Bill and we've forged a nice new friendship over the past year.  I attended the launch of his last book in St. John's and then brought him out here to Lewisporte with the help of my friend Dean Stairs who hosted a book signing and reading at Citadel House.

I've met numerous local authors--reviewed quite a few of their books, talked to people at all levels of government, interviewed a plethora of interesting people and enjoyed every single interaction.

And interspersed within these familiar names are the extraordinary people I've met and befriended that you wouldn't know.  A great many of those joined with me as we forged into new territory in the Aviva Community Challenge Fund, an endeavor we undertook to try to win a new barn for the Change Islands Newfoundland Pony Sanctuary.  With a population of 200 our community came second to just one other cause(by a few hundred votes in a city of 200,000 no less) and exceeded the necessary 20,000 vote mark in a remarkable show of teamwork, community spirit and resourcefulness that still leaves me breathless in bewildered and grateful at its scope.  People reached out and found every possible connection and with each one taking different approaches and with the talent of each individual being utilized fully we reached the finals. The sanctuary will get $5000 and on January 28th after a panel of judges have looked at the results of the semi finals judging us on community impact, sustainability, the budget and our entire proposal which resolves around a provincial effort to save the Newfoundland Pony from extinction, we will know who the winner of full funding for their project might be.  The sanctuary has a chance, and we gave them the chance, everyone of us by working together.  I've never been prouder to be a Change Islander or a Newfoundlander and I've never known with greater confidence that we can do anything we set our minds to--if we work together.

And it is to that end I also started an effort to convince the Federal government to make a permanent solution to the oil seeping from the sunken ship Manolis L off the coast of Change Islands a priority.   I am very concerned about what one member of our group called a "ticking time bomb" and it is, in fact some form of that.  For when all 520 tonnes of bunker C oil spills into Notre Dame Bay it will be disastrous for then region and indeed will impact the entire province.  And while the environment minister Leona Aglukkaq ignores our request for financing of such an operation the provincial government sits mute on the topic with not one word of solidarity with the thousands of people in the region who want this resolved and who will be affected by the disaster and indeed the MHA who lives in the Isles of Notre Dame seems very unconcerned as well.  He should be locking arms with his people as they beg from attention on this matter and instead he separates himself from his constituency. Perhaps he doesn't realise that he isn't an employee of the government but rather an employee of the people with a review coming in under two years. Perhaps he will redeem himself and help us find a solution.

I feel though, we will resolve this problem in 2014, and that the right people will come forward to ensure it does.

I miss my Ontario family and friends, specifically my older daughters and my sweet grandson. And my friends, especially the St. Mary's ladies, Denise Fergusson,  Anna Ferguson, Janice Middleton, Nancy Harper, Carol McLeod, Darlean Morris, Rosemary Radcliffe and in all the naming of them feel for sure I'm missing a bunch.  I miss my Tavistock neighbours and friends also.

Now, the snow piles high, the sun sets on the first day of the year and I sit here with a nice gin and tonic drinking to a most perfect year gone by and another laid out before me.  A chocolate cake is cooling and a pork roast and cod au gratin are on the menu for supper.  My family is healthy, my home is warm and my friend gave me snowshoes to explore the trails that transverse the town.

My entire year will be devoted to one thing--my resolution--and the writing of my book.  I am looking forward to the winter's hibernation.  I feel 2014 is going to be another amazing year and I look forward to watching it unfold with more of exactly the people I need to have in my life.

Happy New Year and much health and happiness to you all!


Happy New Year, Carolyn
Hugs ~ Eddie
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