First off, I’m going to apologize, this is not a tutorial or anything like that. Just observations. I’ve had this theme a while now. It was completed mostly from scratch from a blank starter template because I am too lazy to code it from the beginning (and honestly I am guessing I am not the only one, it’s beyond laziness it’s about productivity). I don’t really know everything I need to do to make one that will be responsive etc, so I started with _s (underscores) and then it was suggested to me on the WordPress forums to switch to components a little while back as it was more up-to-date. At the time I was just getting started with _s and getting used to taking a design which I had conceptualized either in my head and/or in Photoshop and turning it into a theme in WordPress, so I wanted to continue with _s before delving into another starter theme.
For those of you not familiar with a starter theme and I am sure a lot if not most of you are but I will give a brief explanation of what it is and why some developers use them. I’m no developer by far but I plan to be one eventually. Basically a starter theme is a WordPress theme that is blank with minimal or no design, they usually come with the most commonly used templates in WordPress. You can add templates, edit the existing ones, change and add CSS and much more. So why should WordPress Developers consider using a starter theme? Well, it gives them a head start on projects, gives them a good solid base to start on whether they have created their own starter theme that they re-use, or whether they are using one of the other good ones that are out there already.
I hope one day to create my own starter theme that I will use for projects with everything I think a good solid design needs and with options that can be added or omitted for certain types of designs. I think once you have a good foundation of PHP and WordPress templates along with HTML and CSS it should not be too hard to do. It has taken me a while to get this theme where I want it. I have been working on it ever since I put it up back at the beginning of the year (or was it last year some time? I don’t even know). I have been able to create a good theme for my blog that I can use as a basis and I want to eventually start re-creating it in components or another starter theme. I’ll look into them more when the time comes.
In the meantime, I have made some changes over the last few days to this theme. Obviously I have changed some of the colors a little (not much) and added a background that shows at the top and bottom to make it less plain looking. I’ve been working on fixing errors, bugs or whatever you want to call them. If you happen to notice any more please let me know. I want to try and recreate and fix them as they are found. I was able to fix a few things as well that were driving me nuts. My 404 and search pages were missing the sidebar and just looked weird so I fixed that as well.
I am not so sure about the responsiveness right now. I have been looking for some good tools to help me test things out so again if anyone knows of any please let me know what your go-to tools are for testing your websites. I know for instance that depending on your screen size the menu may not look quite right. I have tried to fix it but not 100% sure I have. I am not sure how to make a good responsive menu and looking it up has not really given me anything that seems to work right so I a still working on that and a few other things especially when viewing the site from a mobile phone or tablet.
So far I really feel a sense of accomplishment with what I have taught myself over the years and it just goes to further cement in my mind that this is the right option for me. I love this and could not imagine a life without blogging and creating themes and designing websites. Right now I am most comfortable with WordPress but I want to start learning and exploring some other content management systems and website and blogging platforms that are popular at the moment (or at that time). I am really happy where things are headed and feel like I finally have found something I am good at and now I am finally realizing that with a bit of guided structure I can become much better and really make a good career out of it.
This is not necessarily only about diabetes but my depression and anxiety too, that being said diabetes is such a frustrating disease! Just when you feel like you are getting somewhere and you are proud of yourself something happens and it all goes to shit. I’d like to blame being at home but really I can’t, that should be one of the times I have more control, not less. I’d like to say I am eating the same things as I was when I was out working but again I can’t, I’m not. I do eat a lot of the same things. But now I have free access to everything in the fridge and the cupboards and though sometimes I am not even hungry other times I feel constantly hungry. It’s a little hard to explain, to be honest. I think honestly it’s more mental than physical.
Since childhood, I’ve always just been a creature of habit. I get into habits easily. Even if it makes no sense. I don’t get great pleasure out of food usually. I’m not huge on tastes or textures, in fact, a lot of textures turn me off. I’m sensitive to smell. I won’t eat certain food just because of the smell. When I was little I survived on Kraft dinner and bread and water. I would not eat anything else. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I even tried pizza and then I would only eat cheese and pepperoni. I got used to some of the dishes my parents made in my pre-teens and teens such as spaghetti, sheppard’s pie, tacos, scalloped potatoes, and ham or bologna but I was very limited. No matter how much they tried I would not eat anything else.
In my teens, I started trying other things, got hooked on Pepsi and root beer, pizza, chicken nuggets, fries, and other things. Typical teen things. Again though, I would not try anything else. If my parents got Chinese I would eat plain steamed rice and soya sauce. Eventually, I took a liking to ginger beef but even now that’s the only Chinese takeout food I will eat. I can’t handle spicy. I started eating stew in my 20’s and fajitas. Everything though I liked rather plain. I was never a fan of sauces, spices, or anything like that. Imagine eating spaghetti with nothing but margarine and maybe a little sprinkled parmesan? Or a hamburger with nothing on it. Eventually, I started adding bacon (my go-to now) but otherwise, I wouldn’t eat much. Even veggies it was simply corn, carrots, or cucumber. Greens I would only eat romaine or head lettuce. Fruits it was apples, oranges. Berries it was simply strawberry or raspberries.
Over the last few years, I have really opened up my tastes and started trying things I wouldn’t even consider before. I had started eating more veggies and trying new ones, same with fruits and greens. I started liking more varieties of stuff and was getting more adventurous. I have never been much of a cook but Edward likes cooking. I do know how. It’s not that. I even know a lot of the recipes my parents used off by heart but I would walk him through it rather than doing it myself. I guess I had no confidence in myself and still don’t. Sometimes I think it has to do with depression and anxiety as well though. The anxiety makes it so I get overwhelmed, frustrated, and then anxious really easily. I see this a lot with every day things like cooking, cleaning, and other household chores. I also don’t like going into the grocery store alone. The selection intimidates me. Trying to turn recipes or meal ideas into a grocery list overwhelms me.
Anyway, I had been doing really good with drinking more water, only diet pop occasionally and cutting back on sweets, eating veggies and fruits and we were making (well, Eddie really) meals up ahead of time so we had leftovers and using my freestyle libra I was getting decent results with my blood sugar. Now I just seem to have lost all control. I eat what I like when I like again. I drink more diet pop or even sometimes regular rather than water. We don’t make meals up ahead of time much anymore. We don’t by veggies or fresh meat much. I guess some of that can be blamed on supply which is a little rough right now but I know that even with exercise and eating semi-decent foods I can get my sugars back under control.
Mentally though I am having a hard time rallying myself and getting things back under control. I feel a bit lost actually. In so many ways. Some of it has to do with things going on right now all around the world but it started way before this. It started about the time I stopped working. It was such a big setback to me at the time and I still haven’t quite got over it. I have things that I feel like I should be able to do easily that seem such a big struggle, like cleaning and cooking. I’ve never been big on either but I did it out of necessity. Maybe having someone else around is fostering laziness in me that was already there? Not sure.
One thing I was really proud of this past month was the fact that I lost 20lbs, but looking back on it I realized that I was kind of cheating myself because I did not lose it due to good control, healthier eating, exercising, etc., instead, I lost it because I was extremely sick at the beginning of the month (again). I didn’t want to eat anything, I wasn’t eating anything, I had constant bouts of diarrhea and slept 20 hours a day or more with whatever it was that I got. Add antibiotics to that which caused more issues and it was easy to lose 20lbs in about 3 weeks. In less then a week I have gained 5 back. So yeah, I really can’t take credit for that. One good thing though is the 20lbs lost made a big difference in my pain. So I need to grab onto that, grab onto the way it made me feel good and work on losing more, getting healthier both physically and mentally, and really concentrating on school so that this is not another missed opportunity.
Speaking of that, I have school starting in a month. I registered my courses and have my list of courses for the semester. I got my school email account all set up. I’ve been doing some prep work to ensure I don’t get stuck or lost in my courses, but not as much as I would have liked. I’ve stalled there a bit too, which scares me. I feel like my biggest issue right now is my loss of control on so many aspects of my life. So many good things, but so many bad things. Even the good are daunting and cause me anxiety. Normal, I know, even for someone without depression or anxiety. The difference is they learn to cope. At the moment I don’t feel I am. Thankfully I have a Zoom appointment with my psychologist this week on Thursday.
She is really great. She encourages my blogging and encourages me to get out and try new things and explore. I have never felt in the past that therapy has helped me much and always had rather bad experiences with it. She’s different though. I feel like I’m making breakthroughs with her. My husband and family back me up on things as well. They are super supportive. My husband sometimes though gives in because he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings or he just wants to make me happy and sometimes pushing me to eat healthily and not eat things I want feels to him like he is being mean, at the same time though he understands my health is in jeopardy so I think he struggles as well with that balance as well.
I know I will get through this, if nothing else I a stubborn as fuck. Even if I sometimes give in when the going gets tough I pick myself back up, tell myself no, I can not give in and I try again, even if it takes a while to get to that conclusion (umm… like 20 years for school, but who’s counting anyway). Again, I know I will get through this. I have support both professionally and through friends and family some of who have always been there and others who are newer but super supportive. I’ve just got to keep pushing myself outside my comfort zone and never give up and on that note, it applies to my diabetes as well. I can’t give up. If I make a mistake I need to just get up, dust off, and try again. Really use the CGM to watch for trends, watch how certain foods affect me, and find suitable alternatives that I still like and satisfy any cravings I have.
I so badly want to get everything under control. I feel better obviously when my blood sugar is in my goal range (5-10 mmol/l) and I know that the complications can be really bad if I don’t regain and keep control. I have seen it in my father and my grandmother. My mom too to a point. She’s a little better at controlling hers than my Dad and I though (yes, my mom, dad, and I are all type 2 and so was dad’s mom). It can be frustrating but at the same time, it can be interesting too. I know being able to cook and bake would be beneficial here because I can learn to change recipes to suit my needs (ie. no sugar, low carb, etc) but still satisfy my sweet tooth and still make me feel like I am not sacrificing. I just have to get better at it. Really push myself, the problem is there is so much I need to change, so much I need to improve or learn that it again seems so daunting. I am not giving up though. Never. I will always keep trying.
I have mentioned my parent’s house before in my blog. The picture above is a house similar to theirs only theirs has been added onto on the right-hand side of the house (if you’re facing the house) in a couple of sections. The house was built sometime in the 1840s-1860s, we don’t know the exact date. It’s beautiful and old. I have also mentioned before about it being haunted by a woman who at the time we were told was named Ethel (or Edna, poor ghosts been called all kinds of things). I want to tell you a bit more about the haunting(s) and some stories about things that have happened in the house since they moved in. I believe I might have mentioned in a previous post about one of the earlier things that happened, however, I can’t remember if I have so if this is not new, I’m sorry
My parents moved into the house knowing it was supposedly haunted. For the first few weeks, they didn’t sense, hear, or see anything at all, and neither did we when we visited or stayed over. Within a few weeks though, they started hearing some footsteps upstairs. Nothing too alarming just steps when they knew there was no one up there, knowing the history of the experiences past owners had of the house they didn’t think a whole lot about it.
Within the first few months of living in the house, something rather spectacular happened, depending on how you look at it. My parents were asleep in the house one night when my Mom was woken up by knocking on the wall above her bed. She described it to me later as three knocks in a row, followed by quiet and then repeated. This went on for a little while becoming more insistent over time. Knowing the stories about the house Mom said somewhat jokingly “Ethel, what in the hell do you want?” After that, she said the knocking stopped for a bit. The master bedroom basically covers the whole left side of the top floor when looking at the house from the front. Their bed was against the back wall of the house at that time and the knocking started over her head, but she said it sounded like it was coming from the outside of the house. Well, that would be on the second floor.
It continued and started to move around the side of the house onto the left side of the bedroom, so Mom woke my dad and he listened and said he heard it too. Being skeptic he assumed someone was outside trying to steal something and the sound was echoing up to them. He woke up my younger brother who lives at home and they went outside and looked around, not finding anything at all. They headed back into the house and back to bed. As Dad was falling back to sleep they heard the knocking again, they talked a bit trying to ignore it but it was still quite insistent. Dad grudgingly got back up, got my brother again who said he could also hear it, it was echoing. They headed back outside again to look around and on the side of the house, they found the electricity wires going into the box on the side of the house on fire and sparking and the siding starting to melt.
My brother took off running into the house, called 911 asking them to send the fire department, yelled for my Mom to get dressed fast and get downstairs while my Dad grabbed a ladder. The fire department showed up in a few minutes as they were just down the road about a kilometer and a half, they put out the fire, turned off the electricity and told my parents to call Nova Scotia Power and an electrician before it could be turned back on. One of the firefighters asked my parents how in the middle of the night while asleep did they manage to wake up and find it and my parents said: “You wouldn’t believe us if we told you”.
The next day they moved into the house we are in now temporarily which they own and they called me and told me and my husband what happened, all of it including the knocks, the fire, everything Mom was convinced they were being warned of danger. Even my Dad seemed to think that “Ethel” the ghost was trying to warn them of what was about to happen and trying to get them to save her house and to save themselves and I have to say, I agree. After that, even Dad seemed to enjoy their housemate and talk to her when he thought she might be listening. They thanked her and things quieted down for a time. During this time they were told by the previous owner that her name was Edith not Ethel. Mom never really questioned if this was a name they were told by someone or if it was a name they gave her but we both really feel that it’s the correct name. Odd as that sounds.
More recently my parents have been experiencing things again at the house. I have also had a few experiences as well before we started social distancing. Things had settled down between then and recently however, they still heard footprints, had the feeling they weren’t alone but never felt uneasy during the time in between. Instead, they said they felt welcome and felt that there was someone watching over them and the house and felt peaceful and comfortable in the house. They have never felt anything menacing or felt overly uneasy beyond the idea of sharing the house with someone who left the world years ago. In fact, Mom said numerous times she would wake up to a warm feeling after feeling cold and more than once woke up to watch a blanket being pulled up after falling off her by an invisible hand and feeling comforted by it.
So over the last few months, my Dad has been having issues with his legs due to a slipped disk causing issues with going up and down the stairs which are steep and narrow. The upstairs landing has a small alcove, if you look at the image above which is similar to their house it would be where the window is upstairs on the front, so the stairs and landing or hall area or whatever you call it are in the middle of that section of the house and there is a low railing all along with the stair opening so you don’t fall down. The flooring is tilted toward the railing and it gives you the feeling of being in a funhouse in a fair or theme park. It’s a bit unsettling and combined with the stairs makes it unsafe for Dad to go up and down right now so they have been sleeping on the couches downstairs (which are thankfully recliners) in the living room under the master bedroom on the bottom floor. This is significant for the next part of the story I am going to tell you because if they were upstairs I don’t think they would be experiencing it.
Since sleeping downstairs Mom said she has been seeing a light shining in the window waking her up early every morning before the sun was even coming up. She described the light to me as a lantern light when she finally told me about it. It actually took her a few months to tell me. It’s been months of it every morning at the same exact time. At first, she was scared and woke my Dad up and he saw it numerous times as well and says the same thing, that it’s a flickering lantern-like light. Thinking someone was trying to break in and they scared them off they went back to sleep. After a few times of this happening, they started to realize it was the same time every morning at exactly 4 a.m. and they started feeling less afraid and more intrigued. They never told me though, not at that point. It was a few months before they finally told me about it. It’s still happening to this day but they are no longer afraid.
Before they actually started experiencing the light in the window I actually experienced something that was outside the window on the lawn when I was in the kitchen downstairs, which I never told them about as I thought my Dad was uneasy about everything and because my brother gets really freaked out by some of it, so I kept it to myself. Over Christmas Edward and I stayed a few nights. The night before Christmas Eve I woke up in the middle of the night to use the washroom. I don’t like the one upstairs, it’s small, claustrophobic and I have to walk the part of the landing area I don’t particularly like to walk on so I usually go downstairs to the one down there.
I went down the stairs, across the kitchen, and turned the kitchen light on. The bathroom downstairs is off the kitchen which is on the right side of the house under my brother’s bedroom and the spare bedroom we sleep in when we stay there for the night. It’s in one of the add-on parts to the right of the main original part of the house and so I used the washroom, left, turned the kitchen light off, and turned towards the front window in the kitchen and out on the lawn out front was a floating light. It looked like a lantern, I say this because it was more yellow then white which a newer led flashlight would be, it was flickering like a flame but also bouncing up and down while basically going across the lawn.
I never really thought much of it and just sort of shrugged it off. No one else at that point was mentioning having any experiences other than the footsteps, which I had heard as well, but stuff like that never bothered me as I experienced it before when we lived in Germany and also when we lived in my grandparent’s house on Digby Neck when I was in high school. I’ll tell that story and some other ones another day. On the property behind the house there is a path down through the backyard, then woods, then a field and down to the beach. I think they mentioned it’s a little over a kilometer. Over the summer camping there I found the woods sometimes I felt like I was being watched but again I never really felt more than slightly uncomfortable. I still felt and I think we all feel that whatever presence is protective extends out there even if the actual spirit can’t.
It wasn’t until about 2 weeks ago when Mom and I were having a conversation that she finally told me. The day before she told me about a dream she had one night a few weeks ago. I don’t remember the exact conversation but in the dream, there was a poem and when she woke up she felt she needed to write it down, so she did:
RAY OF LIGHT
He came to me on a ray of light
He came to chat in the middle of the night
He came to say God needs me home
Where God needs me I will roam
He took me home on his wings of white
All the way on that ray of light
To see my family again at last
All of them who have previously passed
Mom and Dad were there
And my brothers too
With open arms
That said we all missed you
Smiles and hugs all around
Love and joy did abound
God said you have family here
But your earthly family also cares
If you feel they need you still
It can be arranged with your free will
I had the choice to stay or go
My earthly family still needs me so
I still had things to do down there
Before my time on earth was done
He said the choice was mine to make
All the time I needed I could take
I hugged my family and said goodbye
My time left on earth would surely fly
He took me back through the ray of light
To my earthly home on his wings of white
To finish what I started there
And for my earthly family to prepare
For my journey on earth would soon be done
And I would then be in my heavenly home
At first, the night she sent me the poem I was concerned about her. I thought it was about her as she has two brothers in heaven but no sisters. Her sisters are alive and both her parents have passed on (third paragraph). I don’t know what I thought but it didn’t sit right with me at the time. Then the next day she told me about what was happening at 4 a.m. and what she thought it meant and that Dad agreed with her and that they both believe that the poem was not about Mom, that it was about her, about Edith. I’ll go into that a bit more near the end.
They believe that the person or spirit outside the house is likely the husband of the woman inside the house and is looking for her and that they either don’t know each other is there or that they can see each other but can’t interact for some reason or something similar. They have the feeling they both want to. It kind of fits with stories we have heard from the previous owners about a Sea Captain and his wife. That his wife passed away while he was out to sea and she was put in a shed waiting for him and for the ground to thaw out as it was winter. A common practice in the Maritimes at the time they would have been alive.
Mom did some research on a genweb website for the area and found some couples who she believes lived in the house or on the property around the time the house was built and one of the women was named Edith, her husband William. I was able to pull up quite a bit of information on the couple with Ancestry.ca and Ancestry.com as well as some other sites including the dates they were born, their parent’s names, and addresses. His parents actually correspond with the right timeframe the house would have been built and are listed as living at what would be the address now. Her parents were from the next community over and she was born there and married him in their early 20s in a church close by. After that though, it doesn’t quite seem to fit as they moved to Massachusetts.
She died in Massachusetts in her late 40’s leaving behind 2 young kids. He didn’t die until his 80s also in Massachusetts. There is no record of where she was buried even though there are records for him and both children as well as a baby they lost in between the two children, all buried in Massachusetts except her, or at least as I said there is no record of her being buried there that I can find. Somehow it makes Mom and I both wonder if she was sent back to Nova Scotia for some reason for burial. William’s brother got the property we believe is Mom and Dad’s house. We are wondering if she was sent to be buried on the land or maybe her parent’s land or a cemetery here. I plan to go looking when we finally can get out.
I don’t know why but I really think we are onto something but at the same time, there are a lot of things that don’t quite fit. Mom feels the same. As mom said she felt the poem was about Edith, in fact she said she feels Edith gave her the poem. I didn’t mention it above but after Mom told me she wrote it, that it was not a poem someone else wrote but that she wrote based on the dream I literally looked the poem up line by line on google trying to find it, trying to find proof that someone else wrote it. I couldn’t find anything at all. It appears she did write it, or Edith did. Of everything, it’s the one thing that really unsettles me. It’s a beautiful poem but at the same time, I did not want it to be about Mom or Edith, who at this point feels like family, and interestingly enough we did find out that the Edith we researched is related. So maybe there is something in that?