N is for * Neighbourhood Nonsense. A-Z Challenge.

As a child in poverty, I have lived in a lot of interesting places.

As a young home schooling mother of two, in a one income home, I have rented in a lot of interesting places.

And as a late bloomer first time home buyer, I am currently living in an interesting place!

I’ve seem some crazy stuff, some awful stuff too but I’ve also seen a lot of nonsense. I don’t know about you but I LOVE nonsense!

It’s not really scary, at worst it’s just…frustrating and there is usually an element of humour in it, somewhere! That’s the best part .

My favourite community for nonsense was Williams Lake, BC.

A mill town, in the interior of the province, it’s a kind of backwards place. They have some social problems and some race problems and some housing problems and some…lets just say they have some problems!

Most places do, right? It’s just that in a place with a population of just under 11,000 people, those problems are like RIGHT THERE!

It wasn’t a horrible place to live and nothing majorly bad happened to us. Williams Lake has the honour of being the place where I met my very first circle of ladies. The ladies who loved and accepted me so generously and in doing so taught me so much! So, the city has it’s place in my heart for sure.

But the nonsense! Oh my!

The rental rate was at .1% vacancy. We were living in a crappy trailer, in an even crappier trailer park when our lives took a turn!

  1. Frequent drunk male visitors to our neighbour, Elsie who was the neighbourhood bootlegger. Her customers would make their way down the hill from a visit with her, fall and then just roll to the bottom. It was awful to watch at first because… human dignity…but after a while, I’m ashamed to say we’d usually just laugh and call the cops to get the guy off the road and safely into the drunk tank for the night. This happened more than a couple of times a week!
  2. The old man and woman across the “street” who’d have rip roaring fights about ???, who the hell knows! But they were mad and they were loud and they were outside and it usually ended with Kay yelling “Oh go to bed!” at Dolphus, while the rest of us giggled and took that particular phrase as our own. I even say it unironically these days, ha ha.
  3. Peeing! Everywhere there was peeing! During Stampede Week, I saw a rather large lady drop her drawers behind a very thin sapling, in the middle of town and just let loose. The next day, some dude in the trailer park walked behind an empty trailer and took a leak all the while yelling at me ” I wasn’t pissing, Lady!” when I freaked out at because he was RIGHT there by my freaking window! And he WAS SO pissing! But the last straw and the thing to make me laugh was the next day when I looked out that same window again and saw some thing else relieving itself. A deer. A bloody deer, just squatting there all casual like, peeing on the grass. Even in my pissed off -ha!- state, I could see the joke in that. A Universal joke.
  4. Stampede Week again, middle of town, again and this time we see a commotion in the bushes. Someone is struggling to stay upright. They lose the battle and a MOON appears. The whole town is mooned by some drunk guy falling down, pants around his knees, bare bum hanging out, in the bushes. I still think of that and laugh. Bare bums are just funny and I don’t know, I just felt such affection for the guy. This is how you know I was acclimatized to all the nonsense!
  5. Speaking of drunk people- are you noticing the trend?- The kids and I were having a quiet night at home when “BOOOM!!” the whole house shakes and rolls on its wheels, my 15 year old cat flies ( like literally flies) out of the bay window and we watch one of Elsie’s clients, maneuver himself out of her parking spot in a 1000 point turn. This was really helpful because it gave me time to call the 5-0. They caught him at the bottom of trailer park hill and he was so drunk, they weren’t sure how he was even alive. His blood level was so crazy high that the cops came back to tell me what it was in amazement, lol. Of course I don’t remember the number but it must have something really high! Now there is nothing funny about drunk driving BUT there is something funny about his slow getaway that enabled him to get caught.
  6. Elsie loved my daughter and my daughter loved her. I was totally OK with this relationship because Elsie was always appropriate. Well, usually appropriate. There was one night when she came creeping onto our porch with a bag of candy for her at 3am and when she didn’t get an answer, tried her very best to break in by jimmying the lock! My 15 year old son had to tell her he’d send Jig over in the morning and she went away. (After suggesting that maybe an afternoon visit might be better)
  7. Elsie was a sweetheart but a tough lady and she had exacting standards of behavior that she expected her many boyfriends to uphold. Elsie had boundaries like nobody else and when one of her boy toys crossed them, well we’d all be in for a treat. I cannot count how many times we watched Elsie running out of her house screaming with fury while she beat some dude with a mug. Or a broom. Or his very own bicycle..Elsie was tough! I really admired her for that. Don’t worry, we always watched, phone at the ready in case the situation turned murderous but honestly, we were cheering her on.

So there you have, some neighbourhood nonsense. Thinking about this all kinda makes me miss the “dub”. There were some issues yes, but those people were still human beings who treated us well and accepted us for who we were. They taught me a lot and really helped define my sense of justice, integrity and powers of empathy. I became a better person for living amongst them, that’s for damn sure. They made me laugh, they tested my patience and inner compass and they showed themselves, warts and all so authentically to me. What a beautiful gift ❤

F is For *Favourite Things. A-Z Challenge.

Sadly, unlike Oprah’s favourite things show, this will not be a giveaway post. Nobody is getting a diamond bracelet, or a trip. There is no parking lot full of cars to be gifted out to you, my darling readers. I am sorry! If I could, I would. Of course!

What you will get (hopefully) is inspiration to think about your own favourite things and why those things are your favourites. What do they mean to you? I’m into living simply, that’s for sure BUT I also strongly believe that it’s important to express one’s self through the objects we keep in our lives and there is much we can learn, positive and negative from the things we surround ourselves with.

I saw this at Michael’s Craft store around Halloween and fell madly in love! Why? Well, That is Lotus Pose – my kind of lotus pose! I am not flexible enough to get my feet up either, haha- with hands in Namaste. I am a half assed Buddhist and this is all my jam! But more than that, I love this piece because it is a skeleton and it reminds me to relax fully into life and death. It reminds me that we all suffer, we all die, and we all have great potential to experience peace, calm, love and joy in the meantime. It reminds me of this ” No mud, no lotus” and this ” May I Live Like The Lotus. At Ease In Muddy Water” and this ” Let The Mud Settle” Mantras and lessons and ideas that I find very helpful in my everyday life. Plus, it’s so cute sitting there on my art table, all creepy and such. I get a kick out of freaking people out and then engaging in deep conversations with them, or at least popping positive ideas in their heads about life and such.

My son made me this little owl and I adore it. Of course I do, right? I adore it for another reason. When he brought it home to me he said it wasn’t very good and even though I reassured him that it was “most excellent!” he struggled still and while that totally broke my heart, I understood completely. I am a perfectionist too. So when I look at my owl I’m reminded to go easy on people and go easy on myself.

What? A yellow plate? Hell yes a yellow plate! Food looks better, tastes better and feels better on a sunny yellow plate. This bistro set- plate, salad plate and bowl- by Fiesta ware makes me happy every time I look at it. I have all different colours but I love this one so much I think I might just replace the others and sub in more yellow 🙂 Especially helpful in the drab winter months!

My Hubs bought me these giraffes at a stall in a mall for our anniversary. They are from Kenya, and it was my longest dream to go to the continent of Africa to see the animals, so they served as a reminder and motivation for that. I’d walk past them, give them a stroke and remember. They kept the dream alive in my head and strengthened my resolve each day. They made it seem possible for I had not thought it so before then!And then one day I went! To Tanzania AND Kenya- we popped into the Maasai Mara whilst in the Serengeti- Now, my giraffes remind me that dreams require action, however small, that they are possible and that I’ve seen giraffes ( and lions, and elephants, and hippos, and hyenas, and leopards, and warthogs) and a million other amazing creatures, in the wild and it was amazing.

How would I describe my daughter? Pure love. She’s fierce in her love and open and honest about it. She was born that way and twenty years later, she’s still that way. My girl painted this for me when she was 10 years old and every time I see it I feel loved. I’m also reminded TO LOVE, greater and wider then I have before. My girl inspires me to be a better person and taught me more than I ever could have learned on my own. She says she’s the way she is because of me but I say I’m the way I am because of her!

I used to do this on New Years Eve but have since changed it to my birthday. What is this? I collect notes to myself, receipts from fun times and such, quotes, things I’ve learned, experiences I’ve had and pop them into this FABULOUS bottle I found at Home Sense for twenty bucks. THEN, once a year, I dump them all out and read them. It’s a fun little exercise that shows me just how cool my life really is, how much I’m grown, what I’ve learned and how lucky I am. I highly recommend it!

So that’s that. A few of my favourite things. What is your absolute favourite thing? Why?

Best of March!

OK! March flew past, so fast! I think the awesome warm up we all experienced in Edmonton really helped with that. One minute it was Winter and then next it was Spring! Things have since leveled out and it seems we’re back to average now. We still have to go through Second Winter but then we’re home trees.*

The best overall experience:

Blurry Coffin.

The End of Life Care Doula course I took, through Douglas Collage at NAIT. It was an inspiring, empowering, life altering experience. It was interesting to go as an adult learner and see what a difference that makes in an educational experience. I learned so much, not only about the subject matter but about myself and other humans as well. Well worth the money-I traded a trip for the course!- and time spent.

Best four year old:

Miss Sassafras.

This girl was so sweet, offering to bring me her friends since I don’t have any of my own. When I asked her why she thought I didn’t have any friends she said it’s because I’m always alone. Ha! She “bought” Grandpa and myself a bath bomb each and asked me to scrape the ice cream out the cone so she could eat it plain. And guess what? I totally did it! 🙂

Best baby:

Mr. O didn’t get into any of my stuff this time! He did take his diaper off during naptime which is why he’s in the tub. He also … took six big steps! Three in front of me and three more so Grandpa could see. He seems to like me better now, reaching for me and smiling at me more. Not such a Grandpa’s boy anymore. Suck it Grandpa! 😉

Best of things we celebrate just to eat the food:

This doesn’t look like much but it was GOOOOOOD! I made Colcannon for St. Patrick’s Day. I used garlic-y kale this time and it was so much better than with cabbage. Plop some peas on top and stick a sausage in the side and you’ve got yourself a tasty meal.

Best dessert:

Raspberry Rhubarb Custard Pie

Another thing that doesn’t look that great but tasted fantastic. So tart and creamy. My Hubs had one slice and I ate the rest. I REGRET NOTHING!!! No recipe, I mashed two together to rig up my own. Google “Custard Pies” and see what you come up with.

Best IDGAF meal:

Seven Layer Dip n Chips! This was after being in school for a week. It was an exciting, exhausting time PLUS I was trying to process an incident that happened that still has me perplexed. People are so strange…would you seriously just plow through your teacher like you were a bowling ball and she was a bowling pin and then say absolutely nothing? Yeah, me either. It was so fucking weird…anyway, this dinner wasn’t weird. It was delicious! Does anybody else just have chips and dip for dinner?

Best times with friends:

I have a number of those! My bestie took me out for breakfast and then we went antiquing. We went to Hathaway’s Diner and WOW, I was blown away. Service was sincere, friendly and efficient and the food was homemade with love and great care. I didn’t take pictures because I was too busy eating but trust me, go! I highly recommend.

Then this:

I’m playing school bus driver! Another friend picked me up in her gigantic school bus and we went for coffee. It was such a hoot! She just learned how to drive the thing and she does amazing. They use her bus to train other drivers because she keeps it in such good shape and has a lot of interesting things for the kids in her care. This friend of mine used to work with me at the daycare centre from hell and was the focus of some bullshit. I’m super, super happy for her that she’s a. free from the nonsense and b. living her best life with her usual care and integrity. She totally deserves it!

Best book:

I’ve read 14 books as I write this. I’ll probably finish one more before the end of the month. Not too shabby!

The best one?

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The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row. by Anthony Ray Hinton. This dude was wrongfully, unlawfully and racially convicted of a murder he did not commit and placed on death row. The state did everything they could to block his appeals and kill him even though it was SO obvious he was innocent. They would rather let an innocent man DIE than admit they were wrong. This book tells his story. It will enrage you. It SHOULD enrage you! It was a really good read too. Well written, honest, heartfelt and humane.

There is so much scripting of our lives, here on the old interweb SO just to keep things real I bring you this:

“Best” conflict or shitty thing:

A family dinner with a former girlfriend and a new girlfriend. Things didn’t go so well, and I was forced into making a choice that did not please all parties. I absolutely made the right choice, based in love for all and integrity and people made their own choices but still, it was a new experience for all of us and it was a wee bit tricky to navigate! How would you handle something like that?

This will be the last “normal” post for a WHOLE month, as on Monday I start the Blogging from A-Z Challenge. My posts won’t really change all that month, same type of content, different prompts. Prompts being the letters of the alphabet. It’ll be fun! See ya Monday!

*PS: Bonus points if you know where “home trees” comes from!

Simple Pleasures: Hot Laundry

As you all know, this Winter has been a cold one. ( As Winters are…) I’ve survived mostly by keeping the cold goings on, in the background. I don’t remark about it, I don’t pay any attention to it. I focus on whatever is in front of me at the time. It’s been working great and has allowed me to start noticing all the LOVELY things about Winter, all the little gifts from the cold. Like:

Hot laundry on a cold day!

There is something so comforting about folding hot laundry when you’re freezing your ass off. Its not just the temperature that makes me feel good, its the great contrast between temperatures. Icy air against burning hot fabric. The hot makes the cold feel GOOD! Which in my mind, is something of a miracle 🙂 I may almost miss this one. I may even look forward to this come Summer…whaaaaaaat?!

With Spring well on her way, our lives are heading for a big change! The things we find pleasurable will change so I want to know, what are some of your Winter pleasures?

Best Of: February

Happy March!

How was your February? Mine was pretty eventful! I love that. I also love that it’s a short month because our weather was especially atrocious! It’s all OK because a. we can’t do anything about THAT. b. Spring is nigh! It might come to us here in Edmonton in dribs and drabs but it will come. In twenty days we hit, my favourite equinox. Spring. Woot Woot!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So GOODBYE February. Thank you for the abundance!

Best TV series: Black Earth Rising  

This show was the BEST thing I watched this month. Starring the familiar John Goodman and the amazing Michaela Coel.

I don’t want to say too much about it except to say its worth the watch. Michaela Coel is FIERCE and real as Kate Ashby. I have a little bit of a girl crush on her 🙂 ❤ She’s such a great actress and the story is gut wrenching and satisfying in it’s truth and justice.

Best self care:

It didn’t last long but I LOVED seeing myself all grey. Sigh…it’s back to yellow again. I guess the toning shampoo I bought is not powerful enough. I have a fix up my sleeve though. If it works I’ll let you know!

Best: Conversation.

I talked to my mum in law for two hours on the phone, ha! She had just gone on her very first holiday. She’s 72 years old. It was heartening to hear her joy and excitement. The woman sounds like she’s finally living and she so deserves that!

Best Lunch Out: Valentine’s Day with my Hubs.

Best Concert: Also, the only concert this month:

Justin Timberlake!

It was such a cool vibe, we had great seats- JT was like RIGHT THERE- and it was good hearted joyful fun.

Best Visitors :

Best Lesson:

Don’t waste your energy on anything until you know it’s true worth.

Now part of this is just me, I’m highly sensitive and anxious. But I do have a say in my experience and I CAN choose where to focus my energy on. The job experience was a great reminder to chose carefully.

Best Opportunity:

The End of Life Care Doula course I finished on Friday! I’ve been in it all week and my intention ( and hope and wish ) is that this education is the start of something really special to me and my world.


Best Book : I didn’t read too many this month. I don’t know if it was the offerings I came across, my mood or what but my reading was really … meh. Having said that, I read 10 books and this was the best one out of the lot:

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A heartfelt read.

Alrighty then! I hope you have a delicious Sunday and an even more delicious March!

The Best of January.

Ha Ha Ha. Goodbye January and Helloooooo February!

How did you make out? I am alive and well, and grateful for the month behind me and the days ahead of me!

Let’s do a recap!

BEST THING I ATE: Sweet- Chocolate Wacky Cake. Savoury- Hub’s Lettuce Wrap. I ate a half pound of ground beef. Oooops!

BEST THING I DRANK: A perfect cup of spiced chai. I have finally mastered the recipe. Oh yes I have!

BEST OUTING: Taking baby OV out to the Farmer’s Market. Why? I don’t know. It was just good to be out with our boy.

PERSONAL VICTORY: Hearing my husband speaking about me with pride, telling his mum about how brave I am as a traveller. ❤

COOLEST MEMORY: A house full of family, good food, shot gunning’ with my girls in the kitchen and enjoying my grandbabies. Everyone was civil and relaxed. There were lots of laughs, no meanness just… love and fun.

BEST BOOKS:

BEST THING I LEARNED: To better prepare for the looooooong days of January. Have things planned. Don’t just sit around and whine, do something!

BEST WAY I LOVED MYSELF: See above. And see below!

I finally have my grey hair! It’s coming in white and silver and I’ve been wanting the whole process to just hurry up. I adore grey hair and was excited to get this. It took two years but my stylist finally got me to a place where we could just ash it out. The brown is still in there but not as noticeable. I am finally a grey haired sea witch 😉


I’M MOST PROUD OF: Making it through the month just fine. And resolving to do different next year.

SOMETHING UNEXPECTED: The length of this month! And my reaction to it.

SOMETHING UNCERTAIN: Everything. Specifically, will I find a job this month and will I care if I do or don’t ?

WHAT AM I LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE MONTH AHEAD: EVERYTHING! Valentine’s Day, Justin Timberlake, a long weekend, a trip? maybe, book club, my witchy group, reading, reading, reading, family dinner.

What are you looking forward this month? Happy Friday and Happy February!

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Dogs, Cat Speak, Situations & Time.

Ha! This is totally what it feels like if you are a dog lover. Meeting new dogs is the best! See also getting jumped on and licked too 🙂 Owners are always so apologetic but inside I’m thinking ” Yes! You’ve chosen me! I love you too!” I would pet every dog I saw if I didn’t think it would bug the crap out of people. I know myself, sometimes you just want to go for a walk and not chit chat with every person you come across!

I still remember one of the greatest days of my life. On a patio at Starbucks, squeeing over a Boxer puppy being walked on the sidewalk toward me. The puppy’s owner PICKS HIM UP AND PLOPS IT ON MY LAP! Seriously! What a gift. It’s be twenty years and I still remember the thrill of that moment. No words were exchanged just love. Sigh … what a day!

I’m delightfully unemployed at the moment but still looking for work because the household needs money to run … and I like to travel! It’s been six months of talking to my pets for 8 hours a day so I relate this one strongly. Meow!

Snicker. Speaking of not working. Oh. EM. GEE! Social skills get lost when you don’t have to practice them every day! I’m such a weirdo these days. Its hilarious. I have to actually remind myself to be mindful of acting ” normal” before I go anywhere! I’m grateful I don’t embarrass easily, heh.

I just adore this. A much better way to measure time. ❤