Spoken from a Past Abusive Relationship Escapee

I mentioned in a previous rant – the one where I just loathed not just Monday mornings, but the anticipation of Monday mornings being somewhat far worse – the numerous co-workers I have to deal with. And the stories I can tell. And yes, I realize that the title of the linked post is about zombies because that’s where the post was heading, but there was, still, a point there somewhere of the ‘werk jerks’ I sometimes I have to deal with.

This subject, however, is one close to my heart. Because in my late adolescent years lasting to my early 20’s, I was in an abusive relationship. I’ve brought this up before when describing the psychological win an abuser has over their victims. I won’t go into it further in this post except just to emphasize it’s not about the victim being weak in staying in a relationship. The victim has been weakened over time through extremely strong mind-control which is a skill an abuser has.

So at work, I have heard more than once, sadly, more than many, many times, of which each time I say something and each time I get a dirty look, where people question WHY the victim stays in their abusive relationship. Accusations and questions come flying out: Don’t they love their children to leave their husband? Why doesn’t she just run away? It’s not like we’re in a third-world country that has no support/shelters… what is her excuse for staying?

When I try to combat each of these accusations, I am met with an angry and frustrated, “Yes, I know. That’s why I started with saying ‘I know it’s easier said than done…'”

It’s easier said than done, BUT…

I’m not racist, BUT…

Not trying to sound sexist, BUT…

When will people learn that just because they use mere words to say they aren’t something doesn’t mean that what they are about to say is negated and excused… and clears them of all notions of being a fucking asshole.

I am probably not in the minority of working with dicks like this. I am aware of this being all-to common in the workplace. And everywhere else. It never makes me give up, though. I will always try to educate whomever will listen to reason (if possible). with a steady and patient voice, I always try to give them information (founded, scientific information, whenever possible) to just try and make them think.

Still, I admit, I get so tired of hearing these words. The worse are the women who say, “If I were in that position, I would grab my kids and walk away right away!”

I have heard this many times myself. So naive and immature – I wonder if these people realize they are basically saying, I am better and stronger than SHE is. Look at me! I show no empathy to the weak because they should be strong! Like me!

It is tiring. I need to try and distance myself from these conversations. Which is why I am such a loner at work. Thank God.

Easter Weekend 2017 was EPIC!

And I say it was epic because, as usual, we hosted Easter dinner for my family. This year, however, we outdid ourselves.

No. Seriously. I think we raised the bar. There’s no way we will top what we did this year unless we win the jackpot and fly my entire family to Hawaii, first class and hire high-end catering with only the most expensive vintage wine.

Oh yes… followed by a private Polynesian dance performance. And massages on the beach for all!

It’s nice to have her old enough to help now.

The menu consisted of:

Italian Spring Salad – tossed with Bocconcini, Heirloom Tomatoes and Prosciutto

French-cut Marinated and Grilled Lamp Chops

Smoked Rainbow Trout

Roasted Leg of Lamb

Grilled Asparagus

Tri-Colour Sweet Potato and Bacon Casserole

And everything turned out PERFECTLY! Plus, I paired dinner with an amazing Shiraz from Australia. It helped it was 15% alcohol level.

17880990_1981008182123123_4855271287573970944_n

I love finding boardwalks in the middle of a forest!

To back up, the weekend started off with a 1 hr and 20 min hike. It was semi-challenging due to all the constant up and down climbs. However, very much worth it because, well, as you can see, we needed to start working off our dinner even before we ate our Easter dinner the next night.

Overall, it was a wonderful long weekend!

But what made this year’s Easter shindig of ours was epic was the following conversation:

Dad: When marijuana becomes legal next year, can you get some?

Me: I suppose. Why?

Dad: I want to try it.

Most excellent!

Chai Coconut Latte and Diana Krall

Being extremely spoiled by my best friend Ada during my mid-20’s, I’ve never been able to have the store-bought, pre-made Chai tea bags. Nor the cafes that make the latte’s from boxed, sugary (too sugary), processed liquid mix which they add to black tea. Nope. Sorry – that’s just not real Chai tea.

Ada, see, would invite us over after we went out for dinner somewhere in walking distance from her 1-bedroom apartment on Queen St (downtown TO). She would, from scratch, create the most luxuriously, smooth and creamy Chai latte for us. The process would take at least 30 minutes but the wait was so worth it.

She often commented the tea was so rich and velvety that it was enough to pass as a dessert (even though it had a fraction of the calories from any typical dessert order one would make from a restaurant menu).

20 years later, I still have fond memories of her Chai tea latte she made for us. When I found the following Bobby Flay recipe for Chai Coconut Tea Latte, I knew I had to give it a try. I used all unsweetened coconut milk and passed on the brown sugar. The coconut milk does not froth as much as regular milk but not being one to drink dairy milk, this was my personal option.

17495146_1296175503796632_3191778038052290560_n

Homemade Coconut Chai Tea Latte

It was heavenly – crushing the spices fresh for this process is worth the time and really, very little effort! I have made this twice for my husband and I on the weekends. I add a touch of 10% cream and a little sweetener but my husband enjoys it as is.

We had this, in fact, for dessert last night. Sitting in our living room, we sipped our hot mugs of the Chai concoction with Diana Krall in the background.

It was the perfect way to end our day. And I really enjoy these introverted weekend days I have with my family. It’s a chance for me to slow down and recharge my batteries.

Scrubbing our Space and the Odd Found Treasure

As mentioned, we’ve been spending a few hours every Saturday to sort, organize, clean and chuck. Scrubbing our space, so to speak.

It’s not the most exciting thing but it’s a necessary evil.

The nice thing is, we are finding some ‘lost’ and ‘forgotten’ items we need and have been looking for. But happily, we’re recycling or donating 97% of everything we are going through.

I asked to call it quits today after about 3.5 hours. I had enough. And so, my husband and I cleaned up, got changed and practiced some yoga together. Then we poured ourselves our choice of beverage – beer for him, sparkling cava for me – and just sat in our living room to unwind.

During this ritual, I unearthed some bags and boxes of things we had tossed aside many years ago when Chaeli was young and therefore had no energy to deal with whatever mess we piled up in our storage space (out of sight, out of mind, of course), I found a single CD which is of great importance to us. It was, after all, the one audio short story called Dave and the Bike by Stuart McClean.

stuart-mclean

Stuart Mclean: April 19, 1948 – February 15, 2017

We first heard this story during one of two of his live concerts we were fortunate to experience – it was part of his annual cross-country tour before Christmas. And it was starting to become our tradition. Not every year, maybe, but we had hoped every 2-3 years. The third time we bought tickets – with best friends – never happened. It was back in 2015. We were notified the tour was cancelled due to McClean’s health problems. We soon learned he was battling skin cancer. Earlier this year, he lost this battle. May he rest in peace.

While my husband worked on his model train village (currently putting together one of the buildings his future train will pass by), I popped the found CD and pressed play. As soon as Stuart’s voice was heard, my husband laughed out loud and said, “Right on! Oh – I’m going to cry…”

I know I’m so very late in writing about our beloved, Canadian author, yet I do need to document how much impact he has had on our lives. He welcomed us into what I can only described as a fictional living room – one of which felt so real to many of his readers. The Vinyl Cafe was home to Dave, Morley, Mary Turlington, Kenny Wong (from the Kenny Wong’s Scottish Meat Pies store) and so many more. A fictional family with fictional friends in a fictional neighborhood. But of a community that could be real – to many of us, not just us Canadians.

And so we sat there, laughing our arses off while not just taking in this short crazy story we’ve heard so many times in our home and during our many road trips, but also remembering the good times we’ve had brought on by McLean’s stories, shows, books, podcasts and so on.

Thank you, Stuart. You gave us so much.

You will be missed.