A-Z Challenge- Glow

I did not know anything much about fireflies until I moved to Alberta, almost ten years ago.

I’d heard about them, and knew they’d be cool to watch but seeing them IN REAL LIFE was amazing. I didn’t know I’d love them so much! It’s one of my all time favourite memories.

I watched them glow their little glowy butts over a grassy field on a camping trip near Vermilion. It felt other worldly. They look like fairies! Maybe they are? Fairies disguised as bugs. How do we truly know? 😉

Here is a short but sweet video of fireflies and their glow butts ❤

I kinda wish I had a glowy butt. Or maybe laser eyes…tough choice.

A – Z Challenge – Feminism

With thanks to Merriam- Webster:

1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

I did not know, the shit storms that would blow into my life when I became honest with myself and all others in regards to feminism.

I did not know the people I would lose respect for and the relationships I would end.

I did not know the fights I would have. The sadness and hopelessness I would feel. The tears I would cry. The rage I would expel. The fear I would feel.

I did not know the lessons I would learn. The wisdom I would gain through the people who would teach me. The biases I would confront- internal and externally.

I did not know the assholes I would face, the strength I would develop. The clarity I would feel.

I did not know and I still don’t know, the lot of it.

This is an ever evolving journey.

A-Z Challenge – Expectations

Nothing shows a person what they don’t know than their expectations over their reality.

This can be shocking and hurtful in the beginning but as time marches on and you experience more of these little failures, sometimes they can be quite hilarious. Even some of my not so funny ones, bring a wry smile to my face. I tend to laugh at awful things, it’s how I stay alive 😉

Let’s play the funny/not funny game of expectation and reality!

1. Expectation: Homeschooling my kids will keep them away from drugs. Reality: One child will develop an addiction, straight out of grade 12. Like he waited until he was out of school, of age and out of my house before trying anything and then he really tried it.

2. Expectation: Homeschooling my kids will prevent a lice infestation. Reality: We’ve had lice too many times to count! They’d get them from public events, school kids they played with, family members in other households…le sigh!

3. Expectation: I’ve been married for over 25 years. We must be doing something right. Nothing can go wrong now! Reality: Haaa Haaaa Haaaa Haaa Haaa! And that’s all I have to say about THAT!

4. As long as I’m active and train smart, I can keep working out and maintain my strength and fitness level until I’m in my 60s. Reality: I will suffer a complete tear to my shoulder doing an over head lift with a mere 35lbs. Not only that, it will impair my ability to lift said mere 35lbs ever again. And, AND, And ; I will also suffer a nasty chronic case of bursitis on both effing hips from over use that will slow me down forever more AND dictate how far, fast and long I go. At the age of 45!

Look at all these things I thought I knew but clearly did not!

How about you? Have any expectation versus reality stories to share? Please do!

This is what it all boils down to for me now:

I’m trying! I’m sure trying.

A-Z Challenge – DOGS

I did not know that somewhere along the line, I would switch from liking dogs but being more of a cat person to becoming a total dog person.

(With great apologies to every cat I’ve ever known)

Now, I like ALL animals. But there is just something about dogs that appeal to me more and more as I grow older. They DO stuff for you. They serve a purpose. They alert you to things and if you’re lucky, they protect you.

*Special shout out and to all attack cats who do this very thing. If we could breed cats for protection, I’d be all over that!

The older I get, the more I appreciate that. I don’t want to become one of those seniors you read about in the news; alone, vulnerable and murdered in their own homes by a desperate, drugged out person. That scares me! And yet here I am, getting older by the second, living in a city where that sort of thing happens more than it ever should! It makes one think about these things…

I know having a dog doesn’t guarantee such an horrid fate wont befall me but let me tell you this : I have never felt so safe or tough as when I owned my Rotti X!

Beans was bombproof around everyday people, friends, family and other animals. She was FIERCE and protective without fail when my life was in danger, twice.

AND, people’s prejudices towards her breed kept the garden variety criminals out of my yard and away from me before they even thought to try something. Most of her work was done from afar, with a single glance based simply on her appearance.

So now, instead of phasing out my pets and maybe getting a cat when I hit those super vulnerable years…I think I’m going to get a dog instead!

A-Z Challenge : CUPCAKES

When my friend Carolyn and I bought a pack of cupcakes at a local bakery here in Edmonton, I didn’t know just how special those fun sized, tasty, cheerful little things would become to me.

At the time my friend was not quite a year into life with metastatic breast cancer. She’d given up sugar as a tool to help her live longer but for this special occasion – she’d driven by herself from Washington to Edmonton to visit me- Carolyn was going to enjoy herself a treat!

And enjoy them we did. They were rich and creamy, well made and delicious. I wished my friend could have more than just one but I was still glad we got to enjoy a treat together. We loved our sweets!

Six years later, Carolyn was dead. The cancer spreading to her bones and turning her into -in her words- “cancer soup”.

The first thing I felt compelled to do was bake her some cupcakes.

The urge came out of nowhere and it was strong. I felt almost manic as I quickly gathered up the ingredients from the dusty corners of my kitchen and set to work.

I wanted my friend to have her cupcakes, damnit! I wanted her to enjoy the sugar and enjoy the fats and enjoy the fun. I wanted her to be able to eat just one more. I hoped that wherever she was, she could eat as many cupcakes as she wanted. And if she couldn’t…well then I’d eat them here on Earth in her honour.

And that’s what I’ve been doing. Cupcakes, have become a thing. I think of her every time I see one. My Hubs buys them for me in memory of our friendship. You can be sure I’m going to make them again every year in her memory too!

It’s silly and fun and beautiful and highly personal. I did not know that a simple treat would become such an important factor in my life.

A-Z Challenge: BRAGGING

Awhile ago there was a TV commercial for a popular chain coffee shop here in my country. It yammers on about who the company is there for including ” The group of retirees who sit and brag about their grandkids”

The first time we heard this, my Hubs whips his head over to me and laughs with a very pointed look on his face.

“What!? I’m not a retiree and I don’t brag!”

He scoffed at me ” You do SO brag!” and he starts imitating me , high voice and everything ” Oh! He’s so smart and he’s so cute!” I interrupt this nonsense with my own scoff ” Well he is! That’s a plain old fact! How is that bragging? I’m just sharing my delight with people. That’s NOT bragging!”

“Honey” my man says with a smirk I still want to wipe off his face “that’s bragging”

So there you have it. APPARENTLY, I’m a braggart. Who knew?

For the record I dispute this. Bragging by definition is ” excessively proud and boastful talk about one’s achievements or possessions” I didn’t create my grandbabies. I don’t own them. They are amazing beings all on their own.

Why wouldn’t a person be proud of their grandkid’s good qualities? Isn’t that kind of the point!?

If you have Grands, please keep “bragging” about them. I’m certainly not going to stop talking about mine! ❤

A – Z Challenge – Addiction

I did not know how predominately addiction would figure in my life! As a parent, I did all things I thought I was supposed to do to prevent it and it still slipped in.

That was a shock, let me tell you. As it entered my family, it opened up a whole other world. Suddenly, addiction was right in my face and I learned just how rampant it is in our society.

It’s estimated in Canada that 6 million people will experience addiction at one point or another in their lifetime. That’s near 21 % of the population!

Yikes. It’s thought that every single person knows someone who has struggled or is struggling with an addiction, at any given time.

My family situation is now stable and I’m cautiously optimistic but, two other family members are struggling and 3 of my friend’s kids are too. That’s 5, in my circle. 5!

This all sounds so dire, doesn’t it? Believe me, it felt that way.

Yet it wasn’t entirely bad.

A beautiful show of love and support came out of my experience.

People I knew, people I thought I knew, people I didn’t know, came to me with their stories, love, advice and assistance.

In time, the fierce and freely given love I received exceeded the pain I felt.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still mad about it, ha ha. I’m still wary. Yet there is goodness there.

Which is something else I did not know.