It’s Pass the Game on Time!

École élémentaire Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau
Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ramblings from a Mum has passed on a cute game to me and I’m passing it on to others. Hope you have a little fun with this! 🙂

Rules:

1. Post these rules.

2. Post a photo of yourself and eleven random facts about you.

3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.

4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them.

5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they’ve been tagged.

Please note that I have to break rule # 2. Can’t post a picture of myself as I would be concerned that my ex-narcissist/husband might find it. Sorry. But I will explain the blue square. I’m sure you’re dying to know.

It’s supposed to be a picture of some clouds taken from above them. That picture actually shows up in bar at the top of the page, but nowhere else. For some reason only known to Zeus and Aphrodite, when I go visiting other blogs it simply shows up as a blue square. And actually in my sidebar, too. Go figure. Anyway, sky and clouds and weather are a big thing for me because I’m a pilot.

So, on to the game!

Here are Rambly’s questions to me:

1. What started you blogging?

I started because I wanted to throw my voice into the growing chorus of warning about the dangers of narcissists.

2. What are your worst and best traits?

Hummm. You just want one of each??? Especially the best traits? 😉

I have many worst traits. One of them is that I have had to really work on creating personal boundaries; in the past people have taken advantage of me.

My best trait is my sense of humour. Sometimes I can be funny. Really.

3. What is your favourite animal and why?

Dogs! Who is ever going to be as unconditional as a dog?

4. Who would you like to meet and why?

Good question. Not sure. Probably Pierre Trudeau. He was a PM of Canada who’s dead now. He was witty, smart, and completely irreverent and arrogant. He had something to be arrogant about, though. Lots of people really disliked him, but no matter what they say, he loved this country.

5. What is your favourite memory?

My most recent one is the day I met M. 🙂

6. If you had the power to change something in the world for the better, what would it be?

Wait a sec … just getting out my Harry Potter wand – oh yeah! I keep forgetting! It’s in laundry. Good chance I’ll never see it again. Well. To the answer. Everyone would have an equal opportunity at education.

7. What country would you like to visit that you haven’t been to?

Australia! No kidding! Have always wanted to visit! 🙂

8. If you could invent something, what would it be?

A yard work robot/machine/whatever. Something that will do yard work for me. I HATE yard work.

9. Who inspires me?

There have been many inspirations. M inspires me. A colleague inspires me. Seeing people give of themselves inspires me.

10. What is your favourite food?

Anything Italian. I love pasta! Yay Italy!

11. Have you read my memoir and if not, why?

Um, no. Have you read mine? 😉 (Actually, have been meaning to read it – just haven’t gotten to it yet.)

Okay. So now it’s my turn. Here are my questions (with my thanks to my predecessors from whom I have stolen one or two):

1. If you had a chance to go back five years from today, and knowing what you know, what would you tell yourself?

2. Who inspires you?

3. What makes you laugh?

4. Why do you blog?

5. What is your favourite animal?

6. What is your favourite travel destination?

7. Who would you like to meet (dead or alive)?

8. What is your favourite food?

9. What annoys you?

10. If you could change something in your life, what would it be?

11. What do you do to relax yourself?

I hope you play!

1. Jenny Pellett

2. Living in the Lange

3. I Am a Heathen

4. Lusiana Njo

5. One Old Sage

6. Teeny Bikini

7. Kimberly Harding

Thanks for the Awards!

Wind on a daisy
Wind on a daisy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been nominated for a couple of awards!

My thanks go out to Janice for the Liebster Award and Madeline Laughs for the Shine On Award.

Thank you! Your thoughtfulness and kind words are very much appreciated! 🙂

I don’t really accept awards but I do want to pass on the nominations. Please take a look – there might be someone you like!

From Janice:

1. After Narcissistic Abuse

2. Broken but Stronger

3. Dree Speaks Freely

4. Every Day Red Flags

5. Paula’s Pontifications

6. I Won’t Take It

7. Jana and the Stone

8. Kinky Little Girl

9. Lexicon Lover

10. Life Begins at 45

From Madeline Laughs:

1. Brunch for Every Meal

2. Sunday Night Blog

3. Inga Photography

4. View from in Here

5. One Hot Mess(age)

6. Lady Blue Rose

7. Pondering Spawned

8. My Emotional Vampire

9. Subhan Zein

10. Being a Beautiful Mess

11. George Flores

12. Paro Express

Here are my suggestions  – these are GREAT blogs! Some I’ve suggested before and some I haven’t:

1. Ramblings from a Mum – one of my favourite blog buddies!

2. One Old Sage – another of my favourite blog buddies!

3. Dust and Soul – a thought-provoking,  eclectic blog.

4. Teeny Bikini – outrageously funny and warm. I so look forward to her posts!

5. Jenny Pellett – a funny, witty, engaging blog.

6. Luiana Njo – a very talented photographer and cook.

7. Frances Antoinette – she says that she can’t write, but she’s completely wrong!

8. Lori – Lori has gone back to school! Take a look at her adventures.

9. Rarasaur – an amazing writer.

10. Zen Doe – fabulous photography and writing.

 

I hope you find a blog among these that you really enjoy! 🙂

Making the Best of It

Happy..Happy.. Mother's Day :-)..
Happy..Happy.. Mother’s Day :-).. (Photo credit: Thai Jasmine (Smile..smile…Smile..))

So it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and all you procrastinators and excuse-ridden forgetful people who are too lazy to get out of their own way better rush out and get a card, some flowers – even if you have to steal them from someone else’s yard – and then make your lunch reservations.

Lunch reservations?

Fuuuuck!

Probably too late for that now!

Now what are you to do? Standing there with a card that used to say “Happy Birthday” and to which you’ve applied a liberal amount of  Wite-Out while your stolen flowers droop for lack of water and and your face resembles that of a robber’s horse?

Hah! I guess you’re just going to have to make the best of it and do what we used to do years ago before the commercialization of everything under the sun, including Hang-Nail Day. Ohhh, wait a minute. I think they forgot that one.

Nevertheless.

Here’s what we used to do – and I would do now if I still had my mom:

1. Make a card. When we were kids we used to make these really goofy-looking cards that were supposed to be endearing during the Friday afternoon art class before Mother’s Day Sunday. After my mom passed away, I discovered that she had kept a whole stack of these from me and my siblings.  It’s not hard to go find a craft store, get a few simple supplies and make something that’s much better than you can buy.

2. Grow some flowers. Kidding. Actually, I did do this a couple of times when I was a child but I got the idea back in February. However. If your mom is into flowers or gardening, you could buy a plant that will bloom later in the season. In this hemisphere, our greenhouses are all just getting going and there’s lots of choice. There might even be plants available that have some blooms on them already. And don’t buy those tacky ones that they sell in the grocery store.

3. Make lunch. Or dinner. OH. MY. GOD. Make dinner? But I burn water, you scream silently to yourself.  Don’t stress. If necessary, you can always buy something ready-made and just heat it up. Remember, the whole idea is for your mom to have a day off. And be sure to do all the clean-up. She’ll probably appreciate that more than anything else.

4. Last but not least. If all else fails, go to your mom’s place and do her cleaning or her yard work or her laundry for her. I don’t think that there could be a better present.

Happy Mother’s Day, moms, stepmoms, and all you people who have endeavoured to raise us and give us a good life!

In Praise of Stepmothers

In Praise of the Stepmother
In Praise of the Stepmother (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There once was a horrible woman who treated her biological daughters better than her step-daughter. In fact, she treated her step-daughter like the most lowly of servants. Then a rich guy fell in love with the servant girl, married her and took her away from her bad situation. The end.

Sound familiar? Other than the fact that this silly story suggests that marriage is the answer to a woman’s dreams, it has historically been the bane of every stepmother in at least the last 200 years.

The wicked stepmother. By now it has become an archetype. I’m not sure what its origins are but it certainly has had staying power. It encapsulates the notion that if  children are not your own, that you can’t love them, and worse, that you actually hate them and will carry out that hatred in nefarious and crushing ways.

What an image for women to have to cope with! Not only do they have to deal with a ready-made family but they also have to overcome these ridiculous fairy stories.

Most stepmothers try to do their best. I know, because I used to be one. It’s difficult, demanding, and requires the sensitivity of a professional diplomat. And there are few rewards for getting it right, but lots of condemnation for getting it wrong.

Yes, lots of step-parents are crap. But lots of biological parents are crap, too.

Mother’s Day is coming. Its popularity did not come out of the idea of honouring one’s mother. That came out of war. Out of the heartbreaking losses of sons that women had to endure because a government decided to send them to die. And there were lots of stepmothers among them.

Hallmark and other companies have commercialized and capitalized on Mother’s Day and it has become a colossal money-maker for florists and restaurants and the makers of cards. Its founder, American Anna Jarvis, was disappointed by this. It has been turned into flowers and hearts but that’s not really what it was supposed to be about.

It’s supposed to be about work. Hard work. And love and tears and worry and sleeplessness. And lots of people, not just mothers, have done that for us.

So, this Sunday, we should perhaps honour the fight that our mothers, stepmothers and others have carried out for us. For many of us, it was the struggle that saved us, not the flowers.

Best Travel Destinations to Avoid, Maybe

Athens
Athens (Photo credit: Arian Zwegers)

I have done a lot of travelling. A lot. It is probably my absolutely most favourite thing. I love observing the culture, trying the food, learning about the history, exclaiming over the scenery.

There are things that I have learned, however, and one of them is that I should be a little cautious about the more famous tourist hotspots.

So, here are some of my best travel destinations to either avoid or be more pragmatic about, given whatever your interests, time and/or financial constraints might be.

Stonehenge. I was a child the first time that I went there. That was a hundred years ago when you could walk among the stones. Alas, this is no longer possible, the result of vandalism and stupidity.  Because one can now only view them from quite a distance, I would recommend spending your time (and your money) in Salisbury instead. Beautiful cathedral, interesting city.

Eiffel Tower. The first time I viewed Paris from the Eiffel Tower I was 12 years old and I could actually view Paris! Now it’s bound up with so many protective layers that you can’t really see much of anything. Unless you’re an architect,  going to the Musee d’Orsay to oooh and ahhh over some of the world’s most impressive art works might be a much better choice. A lot smaller than the Louvre – you can enjoy the art without being totally overwhelmed by the size of the place.

Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s out of the way and it takes about five minutes to see.  A much better spot is Verona, a very charming, laid back city  with an old Roman amphitheater that’s still in use – see an opera there. Juliet’s (of Romeo and Juliet fame) house is also supposedly preserved; it’s unlikely to be hers but it’s a great old house and fun to visit. Check out her statue!

Verona
Verona (Photo credit: G_Malaussene)

Venice in July and August. Venice has really suffered of late, especially with the concerns about its elevation. There have been attempts to limit the number of tour ships coming through because those large groups of people are doing a lot of damage but aren’t spending much money to help with the upkeep. If you go, it’s much better to visit in May, June or September. I have been there in all three months. The weather is great but not too hot and it’s also not so crowded. Try visiting some of the lesser known, smaller islands rather than focusing on Venice proper – you will find some of the very best local food and you will be able to take your time and explore.

Westminster Abbey. Seriously impressive, of course, and everyone should go there once. But right next door is St. Margaret’s Church, almost as old as the Abbey, and beautiful, historical, and very overlooked. Its smaller scale makes the history of the site much more accessible.

Florence. Don’t get me wrong. I love Florence, but the locals are weary of tourists and this attitude will colour a visit there. If you go, expect it and accept it. I recommend staying outside of Florence, in Siena (a completely gorgeous ancient city about 30 minutes outside of Florence), perhaps, and taking day trips into the city to visit the museums and the Duomo. This is Tuscany and the food, wine and scenery are fabulous almost anywhere you go, and staying outside of Florence will give you more exposure to the Tuscan people and culture.

Santa Fe. I love Santa Fe. But if you have limited time to visit the area, I would suggest spending it in Taos, which is about an hour and a half, very scenic drive into the mountains away. Artistic, beautiful, historical and slightly eccentric, Taos should not be missed.

Quebec City. Again, very beautiful and historical, but Montreal has everything that Quebec City has with the addition of being more cosmopolitan. The restaurants are fabulous and I love the Old City and markets!

Banff National Park. This is Canada’s oldest national park and also one of the oldest in the world. I love this park, especially the Lake Louise area. However, if you’re looking for something a little less crowded or touristy and that will really give you a taste of the vastness and beauty of Canada’s mountains, try Jasper National Park. It’s more off the beaten path and much less well known.

What destination suggestions or tips do you have?

Necessary Evils

There are lots of things that I don’t like and they seem to fall into two categories – those things that I don’t like but have to put up with, necessary evils, you might say, and those that I don’t see any reason for putting up with at all. Today I’m going to whine about the “necessary evils” category. In no particular order, here are the top ten irritants that can really get under my skin and make me grit my teeth in irritation (clichés, anyone? I’ve got lots.)

1. Housework. I HATE housework. It doesn’t help that I also hate dirt and clutter and feel compelled to clean it up. As M says, I’m a bit of a germophobe. There’s probably a psychological explanation for this but I don’t know what it is. OCD, maybe? Maybe I’m turning into Howard Hughes? Hope not. He was weird. Actually, I think I’m better than I used to be – I can now tolerate a little slobbery.

2. Politicians. If ever there was a necessary evil, they are it. Most of them don’t give a hoot about the job they are supposed to do and only care about re-election and/or getting a plush post-political job somewhere. They can interfere – and often do – in the democratic process by throwing up obstacles to change and improvement in order to further their personal agendas and those of their cronies/henchmen. If the alternative wasn’t so dire, I’d advocate getting rid of them.

3. Tax Abuse. I actually don’t mind paying my taxes. We need schools, roads, hospitals and lots of other things. What pisses me off, though, is when I find out that some politician has used my (and your) tax dollars to stay at an incredibly expensive hotel while attending a conference that she didn’t attend. Then she has the nerve to change to another, more expensive hotel because she can’t smoke in the first expensive hotel. What are we running here? A smokers’ playpen?

4. Shopping. I am definitely not one of those women who can “go shopping” all day. It’s boring, crowded and hot. My mother loved to “go shopping.” As a kid, I sometimes had to go with her. She could do it all day, from store to store to store. She might come home with some mundane item such as a pair of hedgerow clippers, or most frustrating, nothing at all. I like to get in, buy what I need and get out, as efficiently as possible.

5. Big Box Stores. This is closely related to the above. They are gargantuan, crowded and hot and you can lose your car in the parking lot. (Gosh, I’m starting to wax poetical!) I can never find what I’m looking for and store employees don’t seem to know, either. All they can focus on is to get me to sign up for some thing or other that I don’t want but will only cost me $10.99 a month. I usually leave empty-handed.

6. Christmas Shopping. Noticing a trend here? I did a post about this one.

7. Airport Security Lines. You practically have to undress. No shoes. No belt. No this. No that. I once watched an elderly couple being put through this indignity and really felt for them. The man was in a wheelchair and they made him stand up. They at least could have done this in private. Now they want you to undergo some sort of looky peeky right through your clothes and skin in that machine that looks like it’s going to teleport you to Venus. What’s next? Taking us apart piece by piece?

8. Eating Fruit. I like my vegetables. I really do. But I’m not much of a fruit eater. I have to make myself eat this stuff. Some people think that this makes me crazy. Maybe I am and living in some sort of Matrix world. Knowing my luck, however, I’m living inside a cheap snow globe.

9. Doing Yard Work. The outdoor version of #1. And to add insult to injury, I don’t have a green thumb, but at least I don’t have to do it year round.

10. Working with Someone Who Drives You Batshit. I REALLY hate this one. It’s likely someone who wants to be your friend, too. They’re needy and often not very good at their jobs. I feel sorry for them. I try to be polite without being encouraging but this usually doesn’t work. Then I try to avoid them, a difficult proposition if you have to do a project with them. ARRGH!

What necessary evils make you want to scream into your pillow at night??

Bombs In Boston

A beautiful tribute from Rambly.

Ramblings From A Mum

See the smoke
hear the noise
what has happened
look around
people screaming

people falling
debris scattered
look around
world is changing
who are trusted
what’s the reason
look around
innocent children
loving parents
daughters sons
look around
peaceful running
shattered silence
no more cheering
look around
stop the hatred
cease the death
what’s the point
look around
we are sorry
we know your pain
how can we stop it
look around
bombs in boston
you ran for fun
not for your life
look around
we are sorry….

To those whose lives have been taken away so cruelly and quickly. My thoughts are with all the families, who tonight won’t have their loved ones by their side. My sincere condolences and thoughts are with you all.  xx

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The Kitchen with the Yellow Stool

2 wicker baskets full of muffins sit on a blue...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I write this my partner, M, is busy in the kitchen making muffins. He is using an old recipe book, one of those great little gems that isn’t at all fancy but completely useful and built around the notion of good nutritious food that is also meant to be comforting and filling.

Old fashioned concepts, perhaps. For many of us, living our lives of plenty, we worry about comfort foods that fill us up. At best, they are starting to become guilty treats and at worst, calorie bombs to be decried and banned.

Sadly, they have lost their position as foods to be honoured and enjoyed after a long day of hard work.

I have good memories of such foods. Walking home from school on a cold rainy day to the yeasty, thick warmth of my mother’s kitchen as she pulled new bread from the oven. My cheeks warming up as sitting on the yellow stool, she served a thick slice, butter melting into the white softness.

We talked softly, too. About school. About my plans. About my friends’ plans. Dreaming about life to the accompaniment of pure edible bliss.

Much was discussed in that kitchen with the yellow stool while a drift of gratifying comfort foods was being prepared and consumed.

I miss it.

A New Name!

The Canadian men's ice hockey team celebrates ...
The Canadian men’s ice hockey team celebrates winning the gold medal in overtime over the United States during the 2010 Winter Olympics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s official – I have a new blog name! My particular thanks to Project Southsea for his suggestion which I then altered slightly. In his football obsessed (soccer) nation, the term “back of the net” is a reference to scoring a goal, but in Canada, a hockey obsessed nation, that term would mean that the puck is “behind” the net.

My puck is definitely in the net.

Two little words, big difference, so I made a couple of changes. I am, therefore, now officially called “In the Net! – Stories of Life and Narcissistic Survival.”

My original title, “Narcissism – One Woman’s True Story of Marriage to a Narcissist” is now a category title, and I still want to post about that topic and stick to my original intention of warning others about getting into relationships with these people. But as I indicated in my last post, there are many other things that I want to write about, too.

I will still have to closely guard my privacy by altering anything that could personally identify me or the people in my life, but there’s much that I can share.

Thanks to all of you who have supported me with your follows, your comments or just by clicking “like.” You are all very much appreciated.

So, if you’re interested, ask what you would like –  and with your permission, I may turn your question into a post!

Sometimes, life is like that.