International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.

And before you ask, yes, there is an International Men’s Day, it’s November 19th. So there.

I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by fantastically strong women my entire life.  Women who have been through so much it’s actually indescribable. First, of course, is my mother.  I haven’t really gone into detail about her life and what made her an incredibly strong person previously because, well, it would have been an invasion into her privacy.  I feel guilty doing so now, even though she’s gone.

My mother faced hardship from the minute she was born. She was continually given up into foster care by my grandmother off and on for years, for reasons I was never really clear on besides the fact that it was easier for my grandmother that way.  She was a resident of reform schools and mental hospitals in her very young youth, something they routinely did with kids back in the day. She went through sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse by numerous people, including my own father. She wasn’t perfect; she had some emotional issues until the day she died.  But despite all of that she raised four children by herself. Four children who are now all successful adults (if I do say so myself), who are that way because she was the one who raised us.  We are very lucky to have had her, even when she drove us crazy. We miss her dearly every day.

My grandmother, despite her flaws, worked hard and followed her own will at a time when doing so was looked down upon.  That meant being the only girl in her family to not marry another Italian. No, grandma went on to marry and divorce an irish man, and then followed that up with a marriage to another irish man. She followed her heart into forbidden love in between, but didn’t let that love break her down when it wasn’t meant to be.

There are my sisters, Angel and Susan, Joy and Nancy, each with their own battle scars and some who never made it out of the fight (we miss you, Joy). But each of them have given the world the amazing gift of their children, and the world is a better place because they are in it. Growing up with sisters is a special thing (just ask my brother, Peter), especially as the youngest.  There’s so much you learn about life from your sisters, everything from how to deal with your first period, to how to dress for your first high school dance.  My sisters were my first friends, even when we hated each other.

And then there are my friends.  I don’t make friends easily.  I’m an introvert who takes a while to warm up to people.  But I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by such phenomenal women, particularly in my youth. Some, like Amanda, Kate, and Darla helped me grow into the woman that I am today and have given me the best memories a girl could ask for. Some, like Jasmine, Sara, Alice, Jennifer and others know me as the woman I am today and are helping me become the woman I will be tomorrow.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without these amazing women.  I cannot find the proper words to thank you for all that you have given me.

Happy International Women’s Day to you all.

What’s In My Bag?

So most of us carry stuff around with us during the day, especially women. I am no exception. In fact I carry a lot of stuff. A LOT. So I thought I would treat my readers to a peek inside my bad, thus a peek into my life.
So here goes.

1. Bag (not pictured) is a handmade bag by Mariclaro sustainable bags. Mariclaro makes bags out of repurposed car materials. I’ve had this bag for years and I love, love, love it. I bought it from a little store here in Ottawa that sold all sorts of handmade local stuff. It goes with me almost everywhere. Highly recommend.

2. Headphones – Sony MDR-XB950BT. They come wired or Bluetooth wireless at my choice (or mostly when I don’t charge them). They were not cheap, but they are excellent quality build with great sound. I definitely use them almost every day.

3. Bag of Yuedge Anti-slip cleats. I have yet to use these, but it’s been a fairly mild winter with a distinct lack of freezing rain, both weird things for Ottawa. But I carry them around just in case. And these things are monsters. If I ever need them, I’m sure they will keep me from falling.

4. Supernatural wallet. To hold all the money I don’t have while staring at the pretty, pretty boys.

5. Lipgloss. Because a girl can never have enough lipgloss.

6. USB drive. I have no idea what is on this. Probably work stuff.

7. Travel Aleve. Because you just never know.

8. Pens. I have a lot of these.

9. Lighter. I clearly haven’t cleaned out this bag in a while.

10. Medication. That I stuffed in there on my way out the door this morning so I’d take it once I got to work. Did I take it? Of course not.

11. Another pen batch of pens and a water pen/brush thingy. I have no less than 3 pink pens in my bag apparently. I don’t know why either.

12. YMCA Gym Membership card that I almost never use. But it’s in there because I’m endlessly hopeful.

13. Victoria’s Secret bra sizing card. Just in case I forget what size my boobs are? Yeah, no clue.

14. Current journal/notebook. Where I write all my non-freelance, not fiction, personal crap that doesn’t go on this blog.

15. Barley’s Angels pin, because I am a proud, proud member.

16. Plastic reusable bag. Because I intended to pick up my veggie basket today. Instead, I am going for beer.

What’s in your bag?