Holiday Traditions- Advent

I write about candy A LOT, don’t I? Sorry, not sorry.

As a child I don’t remember having an Advent calendar. We weren’t religious and advent is a religious thing, I do believe, so that’d be why. Plus, I grew up mostly financially poor. There would have been no moola for such things.

I got them periodically for my own kids, as a cultural/countdown thing and ya know how THAT goes! Eaten all within a day or forgotten about and left to go stale. Gross by any account because the chocolates were those cheap waxy ones, yuck!

Now you can get much better quality not to mention there are countdown calendars with more then jst chocolate! A person could get beer, or make up, ties or lego. The possibilities are probably limitless.

I like to stick with chocolate:

Roger’s  Chocolates is a Canadian company and their customer service is MOST excellent. There was an issue with my locked gate and the delivery service but it wasn’t an issue for long, thanks to Betty Ann. She called me personally to solve the problem- before I was even aware that there may be a problem – and was sincere and lovely in all our encounters. Not only was Betty Ann a gem, I got the feeling the entire chain of command cared about me too. The whole experience was such a treat, especially in today’s world. 

Their products are good too but honestly, even if they were crap I’d still buy them. Just to do my part to keep places and people as delightful as Betty Ann and her team, in business. Ha Ha. ( Try their Victoria Creams! )

My new morning routine is as such:

Get Up. Take blood pressure. Drink coffee. Melt one delicious chocolate in my eager mouth. Eat breakfast.

What am I ever going to do when this is all over? Somebody please invent a reason to eat chocolate every day?

Oh wait! I’m alive.

That’s reason enough for me! 

What’s something you do unapologetically? (Who would we apologize to anyway? The whole idea of that seems so silly, doesn’t it? ) How often do you think about death? 

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?

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.

Monster Baby Lessons.

This wee Monster Baby woke me up at 6am Sunday morning.

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But how could I resist such a sweet boy? I just don’t think its possible.

Besides, fuck that! I spent years as a Mum, resisting my children’s charms because I was so concerned with doing it “right”, with making sure I had positive power, authority and influence over them. Ignoring the truth that I knew damn well that I have no natural authority, ha. And I was faking my confidence and knowledge the whole time. It was all smoke and mirrors, Baby! I spent the whole time my kids were under my care being terrified of making a mistake and living in fear that I and I alone could mess them up so badly if I did. So fuck ALLLL of that 🙂

I found out, the hard way, that you can do all the right things and your kids will still mess up. You can do all the wrong things and they won’t. Life is funny like that.

Being a grandparent is a pretty sweet gig. None of that parenting nonsense.

Now, because I know different, I do things with my heart. It seems to be working out better for all.

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Best of October.

Hello November!

October was a challenging month for me. It was the two-year anniversary of a trauma that re injured my brain AND it was the first whole month in which I was not in Tanzania. Waaa! I had some readjusting to do, under stressful circumstances. BUT it wasn’t horrible. I’m here, alive and kicking in November. I learned some things and made it through. My goal for next October is to thrive rather than survive. But you know that’s my goal every month!

ANYway, I got thinking about it all and the good things that happened and really wanted to showcase that. Do a roundup exercise of all the awesome. Because our brains are wired for the negative, no problem there, ha ha but the positive…that’s a thing that needs cultivating. And that’s a thing that’s really, truly worthy of my attention 🙂

The Best Savoury Thing I Ate In October:

Tanzanian Pepper Beef Stew. I invented it based on my memory of a meal I ate whilst in Tanzania. I’m fine tuning it for my recipe book and will share it eventually, but if you want to make something similar, it’s basically beef and peppers with lots of black pepper and onion. At first bite, I was proud. So proud!

The Best Sweet Thing I Ate In October:

A banana crepe with Nutella at Cora, with two dear friends on a sunny Autumn morning.

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I’m not usually a sweets person but there was something about this warm, chocolate fruity glop of deliciousness that really hit the spot. A rare but welcome thing.

The Best Hot Drink I Drank In October: My last attempt at recreating spiced tea. It was almost perfect. Perfect spice, perfect sweet… I just need to tweak the milk – I’m going to try shelf stable milk – and see if that does the trick – but drinking it whilst reading a book in the warm sunlight, knowing I was so close was dreamy. At this point if the milk doesn’t make it so, it’ll be alright because it’s a damn fine cup of tea anyway.

The Best Outing I Had In October: This is a toss-up between two. The first one was a walk in the river valley with two friends. The sun was shining, there was a chill in the air, the leaves were crunchy and we were surrounded by birds and squirrels doing important animal things. I found the BEST sticks to add to my collection and there were lost of laughs and insightful realizations and just good fun.

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The second one was a surprise motorcycle ride with my man. He came home early on a sunny afternoon and asked me out. We didn’t go anywhere special, just out and back through an area close to the city but it was fun to be zooming along in the sunny air. There was a slight chill as we sped through traffic, turning into curves with total acceptance of whatever was to be. You can’t resist the turns on a bike, even as a passenger so I really had to surrender to them. Would we crash or remain upright and keep going? Only one way to find out. That was fucking scary and liberating at the same time.

Best Social Interactions In October: My fun and chatty conversation with a lady at the transit station who gave me doughnuts. I’ll detail it fully in another post but here I can tell you that it was really nice to have an honest, kind conversation with another human being, especially as we seemed to just click in seconds. People think it’s all weirdos on transit but that’s not true. I’ve met a lot of lovely humans as well.

Going to a new book club at my local library. Everyone was open and friendly, welcoming and engaging. Their words and their actions matched and it was just a really nice night.

Smartest Thing I Did In October: Get our wills made up! The sense of relief I feel is … well, relieving. I feel just a titch more grown up 🙂 One less thing to feel anxious about.

Coolest Thing I Bought: A Namaste Skeleton!

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The dead and dying in me see the dead and dying in you. Its perfect! I buy a lot of my regular home décor during Halloween sales. Ha Ha.

Best Shows I Watched: So yes I’m totally late to this but OH EM GEE …

OUTLANDER. 

I’d tried to watch it once before with the Hubs but just couldn’t get into it. I think watching it was my man was the problem because I had no issues revisiting it on my laptop with my headphones in! I’d read the books years ago and really enjoyed them. I’m happy the series is holding my attention the same way.

Salt Fat Acid Heat 

Is another one I’m liking. It’s on Netflix and its a fancy little cooking show -kind of, sorta – about how if one masters these four elements, Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat, one can transform their meals. I really like the host Samin Nosrat and the whole thing is just really interesting. If you’re passionate about food and people and places, this is a show for you.

What were some of your highlights in October? I’d love to hear all about them!

Love and squishy hugs!