happiness

Facing a bully

It should come to no surprise to those who know me that angry men intimidate me. I think as a single woman this would probably be true anyway, but I lived in a war zone with a man who raged at and threatened me on a regular basis, so there’s a lot of trauma that I’ve been working through since I left (thank goodness for therapy).

Yesterday when we were driving home we saw that there were tons of swans on the slough, and that there were tons of people stopped to watch them. It’s a happy sight for the most part, the swans have been missing the last few years, and since we have all been home more I know they bring joy to so many people.

As we drove by, there were a few people climbing the fence to go in the field to get closer to the swans. Trespassing isn’t really a great thing at the best of times, but there were two newborn calves right beside where everyone was climbing and it’s not a good idea to get between a mom and her baby.

So we stopped and asked the people to please stand on the outside of the field. They were super polite and apologetic – and like I said, I get it- seeing the swans is so exciting and we need a pick me up now more than ever.

But, as I was chatting with them, a man who was probably 10 years older than I am walked by us and started climbing the fence. I asked him politely to please not go into the field. He looked at me and kept climbing. I asked him again, and he said well, he was just going to walk along the road (in the field) then. I said no, the road was IN the field which made it trespassing, and pointed to the calves right beside him and explained that it wasn’t safe to be in the field with the calves.

He then asked me if I owned the land. I said yes (I don’t but it’s family land and I live right beside it). He said he didn’t believe me, and started yelling that he could do what he wanted because I was lying. I pointed to my house and said I lived right there and that he was welcome to follow me home if he didn’t believe me (while crapping my pants because who wants a crazy person following them home?). He said the only way he would stay out of the field is if he had proof it was my land. I responded by saying if it wasn’t my land why would I be standing here being an asshole? He stood there glaring at me for several more minutes before taking a quick photo and leaving.

As this was going down I heard the other people standing there laughing, and heard them comment what a rude person he was and how there was clearly a gender issue going on. I have to say, as things got deeper I was pretty glad I wasn’t there alone because that man was going out of his way to intimidate me.

So, here’s the happiness moment in this. First of all, I stood my ground to the man who was trying to intimidate and bully me. Secondly, I had some great conversations with the other people looking at the swans. Thirdly, the people besides “angry man” who were there were really kind and nice people who genuinely seemed to enjoy being out watching the swans. Finally, I got to see swans and calves which really along with crocuses (still haven’t seen this year) is my sure signs of spring.

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happiness

Signs from above

I woke up this morning to find my facebook feed was filled with photos from last night’s Northern Lights. I love watching the lights dance across the sky, and usually get myself out of bed to see them when I know they’re out. Somehow, last night I missed the memo and was soundly asleep while the lights danced.

One lady took some absolutely amazing photos and I’d like to share them.

I see an angel, what do you see?
Here’s the rest of her pics along with her name for credit

The universe does some pretty cool stuff. How blessed are we that we are here to experience it!!!

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happiness

Speaking up

Our local rants and raves page has been going crazy the last 24 hours after someone spoke up about a restaurant owner who has been verbally abusive. Hundreds of people have chimed in saying they have had similar experiences with this individual, while others are upset because they believe this will ruin his business.

In the 2015/2016 school year, my kids were at different schools with different start and end times. Many times I’d pick up the girl and go to this cafe with her while we waited for the boy to be done school. We would have tea or hot chocolate and share a treat and visit while we waited. The owner would come over and visit and it was quite enjoyable.

However, one time we were there and the owner began berating one of the young female workers. I don’t mean just yelling, or upset but yelling at her (in front of us customers) about what a worthless piece of shit she was, asking her over and over if she was stupid and what was wrong with her, and making other personal attacks.

It was distressing, but because we’d been there several times before I brushed it off as a one time thing (by the way, I’m learning to not do that, when my intuition says something is off, I’m listening from now on). The next two times we went there he did the same thing to her. She would quietly, with her head down, head over to wherever it was that he’d barked for her to be.

We have never returned.

The comments on the FB page have really helped me understand why people who have been the victims of abuse are so often hesitant to come forward. They are being told to think of his business, or that they should brush the experience off, even though their experience is valid and it’s being confirmed by hundreds of others who have similar stories with the same individual.

I feel this to the core of my soul because I know how hard it is to speak up after you’ve been abused. I know how people don’t want to believe you because they’ve never seen it themselves. I know how it feels to be told to stay quiet and endure the abuse so that you don’t interfere with their ability to earn money.

It’s bullshit.

I am SO proud of the people who are speaking up. The only way to change how things are is for us to talk about our experiences.

I have thought about the young woman who I watched being verbally assaulted by this man many times. I feel like I let her down by not saying anything at the time, because that’s when it should have been said. But I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t speak up for her when he was attacking her. I was scared. It’s scary when you have lived similar abuse to speak up because you know how quickly it can escalate. But still, I should have said something. It’s frightening to have a man yell at you and tell you you’re stupid and worthless. She endured that in front of many people who were dining and while we all listened, none of us did a damn thing.

It’s time to start doing something. We need to speak up, we need to talk about this.

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happiness

Gingerbread Houses 2020

Gingerbread houses have always been a big deal in our house, which is not to be confused with us being good at decorating them. When the kids were little I found a great kit at the Whole Foods in RI that we’d bake and decorate, then later they made ready baked ones which made things easier. Those kits would get packed in our suitcase and travel home to Alberta with us so we could build with cousins and grandparents.

This year the boy had the Millennium Falcon, the girl had an Oreo cookie house, and I had a Troll Doll village. Just in case anyone is wondering, the Troll Doll village is the lowest quality crap house I’ve ever bought.

So, as I was struggling with my house, discovering none of the walls and roofs lined up, that some of them were missing from the box, and that the whole thing was made of such poor quality cookie it kept crumbling, the kids started laughing at my village. At one point I got so frustrated with a house that I may have punched it out (which felt great), and it ended up in the trash. When I was done, the kids announced that it looked like Santa’s crack village.

And that’s when things became fun. The girl made Christmas Trees that looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy had diarrhea, the boy laid out Santas along the path, unable to get themselves home. Then the girl decided she didn’t want her Oreo house next to Santa’s crack house, so she started building a wall… out of Santas… to protect her home.

By the time we were done, the houses still looked like crap, but we were laughing, covered in icing, and quite pleased with ourselves. For me, this is the magic of the gingerbread house. We have very little skill, and rely on having good quality houses (not this year), and a ton of extra candy to create yards for our houses. But no matter how bad we are, or how bad the houses are, we laugh and truly enjoy the moment.

While the Falcon was easy, it was pretty plain
The crack village and the wall
Apparently this Santa is breaking in looking for candy

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happiness

A beautiful night

This feels like it’s been a long week. School has been challenging for all of us, we are on top of each other, and to top it off the doggies decided to visit the skunk today.

And yet, no matter what goes on in our human lives, the world carries on. One benefit of life being quieter is that there is more time to notice the beauty that God put out in our world.

Tonight the girl and I were making pizza when we had to drop everything and run outside. Not only is it a balmy 9C, but there was a beautiful sunset lighting up the mountains. I am so grateful this is where we call home, I am grateful I love the people I live with, and I’m grateful we are all healthy and safe.

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happiness

Ride a pony

The last couple of weeks, I’ve switched it up from riding the gentle giant thoroughbred to a cute little grey pony. His colouring reminds me so much of my old horse Rolex, but his size and the fact that he’s half Welsh reminds me of Pirate the wonder pony. It’s so weird to be on a pony who reminds me so much of two of my great past horse loves.

Being on him I can remember how I felt on Pirate, they were probably some of the most free moments I’ve ever had in my life. We were invincible together and still when I look back at some of the crazy things we did and the jumps we cleared, I am in awe of our bond and our combined courage.

At this stage of my life, it’s really good to be reminded of how I felt when I was brave and courageous. I actually don’t think I ever stopped being brave, it just got clouded by anxiety and insecurity (and abuse). Every time I go for a ride, I feel like a more whole, complete version of myself.

Every girl should know the love of a horse

Current Grey Pony
Rolex
Pirate
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happiness

My first snowbow

The girl and I were driving home from Costco yesterday (which was exciting enough itself, I love that store) when I looked to the north and saw a giant rainbow.

Now, it’s October in Calgary, and there’s a ton of snow on the ground and the weather was sunny and about +5C which is not your typical rainbow weather. We checked where the sun was (waaaay south in the sky), and there’s no way it was a sun dog. It really was a rainbow.

We waved at it, and briefly pondered the meaning of this sign. Who couldn’t use a little reassurance from beyond that everything will be ok?

This morning I looked it up, and it seems that snowbows are a real thing, but I’m not sure they aren’t meaning sundogs. This was not a sun dog (I see them often). This was a real rainbow and was in the opposite “end” of the sky.

Whatever the reason that it was there, it was really cool to enjoy and beautiful to look at. I feel honoured we were able to see it.

* edited to add- apparently this really was a thing https://cochranenow.com/articles/was-it-a-rainbow-or-a-cloud-iridescence-over-cochrane-yesterday?fbclid=IwAR1wOKvYvmdX-r2FHvax7wzfKiPuSdKBB-McSo2pFzxi-3WYewGRSp5Y3Ek

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happiness

The Lord of the Dance

Years ago, when I was a little girl (and the dinosaurs were still around), my Grandma took me to a special event at her church. At that time she attended the United Church in Cochrane, and I loved going because of their music. Likely there also were good “after church snacks” which also was a measure I used to evaluate how good a church was.

The details of this particular Sunday are a bit vague (I wish I’d talked to Grandma again about this) but someone was there playing the Lord of the Dance music. It was a big deal, and people were excited about whomever it was that was presenting it (again, I wish I could remember). What I do remember is totally and completely falling in love with that song. Grandma bought the album (yeah it was that long ago) and I listened to it over and over.

40+ years later it still sings through my head on a regular basis. It makes me happy, it makes me want to dance, it makes me want to put down my burdens and follow Jesus.

Ok, that last one is a bit harder. It does make me happy, it does make me want to dance, it makes me look at my burdens and assess whether or not I’d rather carry them or lay them down. It’s hard when those burdens feel like they are part of who I am. But they’re not. So why am I carrying them? They’re heavy after all.

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happiness

Little moments of kindness

I bought a dresser on Marketplace yesterday. It’s actually a dresser I’ve had my eye on for quite some time but the price in the store was more than I was willing to pay. So, when I saw a gently used one for sale for 1/4 the price I was in.

Although I measured things carefully, when I got there I discovered that the dresser didn’t fit in my car. I discovered this after telling the boy we didn’t need to get a bigger car, driving for an hour, and my boy and the seller’s boyfriend carrying the heavy, solid wood dresser down two flights of stairs.

The guy was so kind about it, and gracefully carted the thing back up into his apartment. He then offered to take it to a nearby store for us to pick up the next day (today) so we wouldn’t have to deal with the stairs again.

Today we went back, and the friend who owned the store helped us maneuver it into a larger vehicle. When we were done he gave us some special moving straps he had and said they would help us get it into the house – and just to drop them back off the next time we were in town.

My heart felt full with these interactions. These people went out of their way to be kind, even when things weren’t going according to plan and they could have chosen to be impatient or frustrated. We commented how happy we felt after leaving them. With COVID we have so few interactions with people that the ones we have seem that much more important. I’m grateful that the vast majority of the interactions I have with others are really good ones. Most people are good.

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happiness

An Irish Blessing

I had to stop on the way home this morning and enjoy the beauty of the valley near my home. As I was admiring God’s creation I was reminded of this Irish blessing that I heard often as a child.

Traditional Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm on your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

May God be with you and bless you,

May you see your children’s children

May you be poor misfortune,

Rich in blessings,

May you know nothing but happiness

From this day forward.

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind always be at your back,

May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home,

And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,

May blue be the sky above you,

May pure be the joys that surround you,

May true be the hearts that love you.

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