November Book Brag *11

Eleven Books! Woot Woot! I’m so proud. 

The first book I read this month is not pictured because I’m lazy.

Bleeding Hearts by Scott Hay, a local author, was an interesting read. As a young man something shockingly horrible happens in his family and this book is all about the incident, the after effects and its impact on his life. I found the book to be very … Albertan. The story was something else, and I’m very grateful I’ve not had to experience such a thing. If you want a quick and simple read, this book is for you.

Depression: The Comedy by Jessica Holes was irritating at times, had me laughing out loud at others and in the end left me respecting the author. If you can get through certain aspects of the writing style, this book is a good read for anyone who has a brain.  I learned a thing or two and had a lot of a-ha moments. Always a win for me when that happens.

The Insight Guide : Scotland was one of the best guide books I’ve read in 45 years of living. It was interesting with its friendly and thorough style, not just informative. I felt like I was reading a novel or something.

HikerTrash by Erin Miller was excellent. I’ve read a LOT of books about hiking the PCT but I wasn’t bored once reading this one. Her writing style was descriptive and fun, I laughed a lot and recommend this book if you’re looking for some inspiration to hike something BIG!

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This one ^ was pretty good. That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam Its about a white family who adopt a black child. It had me cringing with second hand embarrassment a lot of the time. It left questions lingering within me after I was done. I just love that. A good read.

Still Mine by Amy Stuart was dark and gritty and weird and human. There are other books in the series – or at least one- and I’m not sure if I’ll read them or even how I feel about the character (who is on the run from her abusive husband and struggling with a drug addiction amongst other things) I have issues with addiction in the content I read because addiction plays a prominent role in my life but that’s personal to me. The book was a quick read at any rate and capably written.

Not horrible. Typical guide book. Not overly inspiring.

Oh my gosh, I love this one! Complicated content laid out in an engaging, easy to read manner. I felt smarter and so much more understanding of our species and the world we live in. I think this one should be required reading for all humans 🙂

 Book Club #1’s book. Its a collection of short stories. Weird short stories. There is a bit of a formula here. They were alright. I’m not a fan of short stories so take that into consideration. Would I recommend this one…meh. It is capably written though. Just not my jam.



Book Club #2’s book. An epic, delightful tale of witchcraft and other things. Not your typical story and not your typical characters. I really liked it. Its a little long but I may have felt that because I didn’t start reading it until a week before Book Club, ha ha. 

Loved this one! LOVED IT! Its written sort of … stream of consciousness style and its just so lovely and kind and informative and heartwarming/wrenching. A very good read on a very important subject.

What did you read in November? Anything good?

Family Dinner, Bullies and Pie.

For the first time in a long ass time, the Hubs and I had everyone over for dinner. Just because. As of late our family has been fractured. Disconnected. 

First there was ( and is ) my son’s drug addiction. Then there was The Great Marriage/Mental Health Fiasco of ’16. We’ve been struggling! Grasping at what was. Hurting with what is. Longing for what could be. 

But fear not! A shift has occurred, as shifts do and somehow – I’m unable to pinpoint it all exactly – our family is coming back together, once again.

Dinner went well! There was food- mac n cheese, roasted sausages, mixed vegetables- there were laughs-lots of good natured “roasting” lots of chasing the kids around, lots of jokes and silliness, there were grandkids..

and there was pie!

When I was making said pie, I was triggered by a memory of a former life. 

My very first job after having my son was in this crappy little bakery, tucked away in the back corner of a garden shop. I was a clerk. I sold treats, sliced bread, made sandwiches, washed dishes and sometimes got to bake cookies.

It would have been an alright job had it not been for one of my co-workers. A spoiled, rich asshole and son of the owners. A man prone to temper tantrums. Legit, tantrums. The kind a toddler would have.

So I’m working away up front, his mother is in the office and Dickhead is in the back doing baker things. I’ve got customers in the shop and we’re all distracted from our calm by the sound of metal clanging and things flying around , followed by the slamming of a door. What the…??? I know what’s going on but the customers don’t so they very quickly finish up and take their leave, visibly disturbed by the commotion. I don’t even remember what I said to them…probably nothing. I have no idea WHAT the problem was this time but from past experience, but I’m sure we’ll ALL hear about later.

Dickhead comes back in after a while – Shawn! His name was Shawn!- Anyway, Dickhead comes back in and the mystery of why is solved. I hear him talking to his mum about how his egg whites wont build because apparently I didn’t wash the bowl properly- grease in your meringue bowl impedes lift-  and how I’m an idiot and this and that and on and on. He’s totally raging and trashing me, saying the vilest of things. 

This is all said out loud with no regard for privacy. I can hear every word. Mommy is trying to calm him down and placate him and he eventually chills and tries to make it all again, saying nothing to me. Nobody says anything to me! Which makes the whole thing even more awkward. 

I carry on with my job, tense as fuck, not knowing what I should do in any direction. I’m not the only one who does dishes in that place! Do I say something? What should I do? Ahhhh! I hate this! I have to walk past Dickhead much later and he is still simmering with rage. So much so that, as I pass him he spits out at me ” You stupid fucking cunt!”

Whaaaaaat?! 

Now, present day Lael would have stopped whatever she was doing, gathered up her belongings and walked out the front door, never to be seen again. No question.

Past Lael wasn’t as wise. Or as brave. What did I do? I ignored him. Which I guess is a defense in itself. But then I kept on working there until I eventually quit because Dickhead started sexually harassing me.

OY!

The thing of it is, I didn’t tell anyone about that first incident. Why? I felt ashamed. Like his asshole behavior was a reflection of me. Maybe I really did do a shitty job of washing the bowl…I was paralyzed with fear and doubt and …the ickiness that comes from being around adults who have temper tantrums and treat people like garbage. Of course, even if it was my fault, is a poorly washed bowl ANY justification for being so aggressive and awful to another human? Nope! Of course not! I wish I had said something to someone, I know now I would have gained wisdom and clarity. But live and learn!

Silence is NOT golden. Silence is isolating. I’m grateful for the lesson.

I’d love to go back in time to redo THAT experience. In a way now, every time I speak up, stand up and take myself out of a toxic situations, I am! 

All this from pie 🙂 

Which was delicious! I found the recipe online, here. 

Have you ever been in a situation like that? Have you ever thought back and wondered WHY you put up with something so obviously toxic? What did you learn in hindsight?



Monday Meme

I love memes. I think they are an ingenious way to share a thought, idea , joke or inspiration in  a succinct and culturally relevant way. 

I find them helpful too. When I need inspiration, courage, validation or just a laugh all I have to do is scroll through my vast collection and, there it is. Something I’ve saved for this exact moment. 

Here are two from last week that really stuck with me :

Have any of you read anything by Brene Brown? She’s spent the past two decades studying shame, courage, vulnerability and empathy. The first meme really brings home a lot of what she writes about. I’d much rather engage with curiosity than shame. I like the reminder this meme brings me.

The second meme feels so empowering! Yeah, I might love you but I don’t have to trust or respect you. That’s entirely up to you. Its your job to be trustworthy and worthy of respect through your actions ( never words) and I decide to give or not, depending on my interpretations of your actions. And just because I love you, doesn’t mean I have to put up with the things you do that cause me to not trust you or respect you. Trust and respect are earned based on behavior, not just given as a gift alongside love. Being able to separate these things was HUGE in my personal growth and evolution as a human. 

How about you? What do these memes say to you?

Olmoti Crater

We left Sopa Lodge and drove to the Nainokanoka Ranger Station…



where we met our ranger and then made our way up a short but steep hill…

Yes, that is a rather large gun our ranger is carrying…it was purely for show. Don’t get me wrong, its loaded. Its just that we were never approached by any creature -human or otherwise- that required force.


until we reached the top, overlooking Olmoti Crater.

It was one hard hike up! We were at 3000feet and boy oh boy, my body felt every foot of it. I wasn’t alone in that, we all suffered. Those who had never been at altitude wondered why they were so out of shape but I knew it had nothing to do that nonsense. It felt good to hike and be so bloody winded and just accept it for what it was. When I hiked the Inka trail I really struggled, not just with the altitude but with the truth of the altitude, blaming myself, blaming my fitness level instead. Why are we so quick to fall into self hatred? I was grateful for another opportunity to show myself that it was all OK 🙂 

 We sat on top of the edge of the crater and chatted with our Ranger and our very own Maasai Warrior, enjoying the views, asking them questions. I felt so grateful for them, for the conservation work they do. It felt so good to thank them both for their efforts, to show my appreciation for them. They really care about the job that they do and are absolutely dedicated to it. They have my highest respect.

We practically skipped back down the hill to have lunch at the ranger station:

Lunch from Sopa Lodge was amazing. A full container of roast beef plus fruit and an egg and chocolate and the best.hot.sauce ever! Oh! We even had chips, yum! 

After lunch we hiked through the Maasai village, meeting people along the way, waving at our warrior’s mum as we passed by his house :), stopping to chat with people and take pictures…it was so peaceful and interesting. People were super friendly and curious about us too, even taking time to teach us some basic phrases (which we butchered horribly much to their delight, ha!) 

The plans for the night? Overnight in the village, with a host family 🙂 That experience requires its own telling…it was quite a thing! 

Western Family Crème Brie & Apple

Save On Foods had something that caught my eye the other week:

I like chicken. I like cheddar. I like apples. I like brie. I like cranberries…it was on sale, so I picked one up! I used to buy similar products all the time when my Hubs and I were first married. They were a good way to enjoy a “fancier” meal on a budget. That was really important to me, in my poor ass life and even now I still think its important for people to enjoy food that not only fills their bellies but their souls as well. 

Eeesh! Look at the sodium count.  

ANYway, here it is, still frozen:

And into the oven it went, only to come out like this:

Booo! I HATE it when that happens! All the stuff leaked out. I was starting to feel like this was going to suck. I understand there’s going to be a little leakage but geesh, this seems excessive. 

It looked alright otherwise. Nice colour.

The leaky stuff actually looked kinda pretty once I scraped it on top…

The inside:

Forgive me this photo.

As you can see there was very little filling on the inside but it didn’t really matter because the filling added absolutely nothing to the chicken. Instead of brie flavour there was just basic creaminess that could have come from any cheese. Don’t sell me on brie and then fail to deliver. And there was zero evidence of cheddar. I didn’t even know it was supposed to be present until I read the box whilst preparing the photos for this post!

There was a tartness but it could have been from vinegar for all I know because I got no cranberry flavour at all. Were those red bits even cranberry? Who knows! And there were these strange bits if unidentifiable gelatinous white things throughout. Onions? OH! Apples, according to the box. I couldn’t tell. Gross. I should never have to wonder what’s in my food.

Wonder I did not when it came to two things: Was salt added? and was this product frozen? , because those two elements were the only flavours that really shone through, sadly enough.

It wasn’t horrible. I ate it but I’m not sure I’d buy it again. There are better options out there. 

Have you tried such a thing? How was your experience? 

Havin’ A Time.

I’m havin’ a time. And not a good time! Boooo to that!

Some shit is happening in a loved one’s life and there is nothing I can do about any of it. As a human with a pathological need to do something this is a huge challenge! Its a challenge for most people. We want to help. We want to fix. We want to soothe. We want to make it better and we want to make it all go away.

Sadly, that’s impossible so instead I’ve turned my attention toward self care until the suffering passes. I’m distracting myself with memes!

When I worked at the child care centre, I was in charge of the Facebook page. I posted relevant things to the page like a social media whiz. I was good at it and received much praise. What they don’t know is that toward the end of my days with them, I was >this< close to posting this helpful infographic about The Scorpion Pits, ha.

Dogs!

This one always makes me laugh like a loon. Its a good, solid plan!

Seems like this would work! Plus, you’d attract all sorts of other dogs just in the day to day too, which is never bad. Unless the dogs are vicious. Then that’s bad but we’re being optimistic here! No bad days and no bad dogs!

Cats on the other hand…cats are assholes. Which is precisely why we love them!

Except for maybe these guys. Yeah…for maybe like 5 seconds! I fostered a litter of kittens and had them sleeping with me in my bedroom. THAT was an experience. Have you ever had your eyeball scratched out? Not pleasant and the thing is, they don’t care. Kittens think its perfectly reasonable to attack your fucking eyelashes as you sleep. Jerks. Cute, little fluffy jerks. I’d totally do that again. Thrill of my life!

Ha! Catthew! I’m totally naming my next cat Catthew . I’ve had cats named Ned Buckle, Wallace, Miles, Larry, December, Wizard, Hyena, Orangey, Stripey, Dot, Dust Bunny, Spider and Cornelius. Catthew seems almost normal.

This one doesn’t make me laugh so much as it inspires me.  It’s got a swear and its trying to be helpful. I like.

Distraction and silliness do work! I still have chest pain but my mind isn’t racing, so that’s something. I’m going to keep at it…I really like the idea of furiously dancing 🙂 What do you do to help yourself through tough times when you feel powerless? 

The Awesome Impact Award

I’ve been given my VERY FIRST AWARD by the ever lovely Victoria at Tashnee V. Mavee. Isn’t that so nice? I thought so 🙂 Thanks so much!

The Awesome Impact Award relates to sharing an incident that impacted your life in a really positive way. This is so my jam!

The rules of this award are as follows:

  • Tag the person who nominated you. Tashnee V. Mavee!
  • Take “The Awesome Impact Award “image and add that to your post:

awesomeimpact-award1

  • Talk about an incident that impacted your life in a really positive way.

See below 🙂

  • Nominate other awesome bloggers for this award.

Stacee

Richa

Suzanne

So.

A recent conversation about trains brings to mind something that had a MOST positive affect on my life.

I grew up in the suburbs outside of Port Moody, BC amongst two other cities. The three cities, known collectively as the Tri-Cities were all stretched out between the Fraser RIver and various mountain ranges with many miles of interconnecting rail throughout. We didn’t have light rail transit back in my day and bus service cost money, was unreliable and was most definitely NOT COOL. So, we did what any asshole teenager would do, something dangerous! We hopped trains to get around.

Well, my peers did. I was a. not cool. and b. smart. Not at first. Initially I did try to hop a train. It was an impromptu event. We were all near the tracks in the process of making our way to “the bush” which was an hour walk away. The boys saw the train, grabbed the girls and started running. My boyfriend at the time ( Jim.  A decent guy from what I remember, and VERY adventures for a teen age boy 😉 ) hopped up first and I quickly followed. Now, I’m not the most graceful of humans, so when I ran-hopped I was not in time with the train and missed. Jim grabbed me by my shirt collar just in the nick of time and up I went, gasping with exertion and shock. I would have died. He saved my life.

I think its safe to say that, that was an incident that had a rather positive effect on my life. I’ve gone on to live 30 more years, all thanks to Jim.