Flowers for Life
By Abbey Wolf
July 26th, 2023
Although I consider myself blessed with good health, loving family and friends, I am at the age where I wonder about some depressing facts while I sip my morning coffee. “Who died? What is on fire? And what is the status of the Ukraine?” Same three questions, as of late. Today, we lost Sinead O’Connor, new Forest fires are raging through Ontario and there hasn’t been any peace in Ukraine; despite some rumours about a possible Russian government takeover.
These aren’t the topics I want to wake up to, and I am never satisfied with the explanations. Nonetheless, I will wake up the next day with the same state of mind, seeking out the news regarding these subjects of sadness. My mindset is such because I care. I want to learn. I want to believe that there is hope or progress. I want to know which great artist we lost today so I may celebrate their life. Once I have separated the dirty laundry of the day, it’s time to wash it all down with some good news. I’ll leave you with some. Rwanda’s mountain gorilla population is holding at 1004 despite poaching. Another good thing for forests and their inhabitants is that deforestation in the Amazon fell 26% due to a recent cease-fire between the Columbian government and FARC rebels. It is a data-driven fact that flowers help to boost morale. No matter what happens in the world, something tells me there will always be flowers.
El Niño Dances with Global Warming
By Abbey Wolf
July 14th, 2023
This is the summer of El Niño dancing with global warming, insufferable heat, fires, drought, flash floods and storms. This is just the tip of the iceberg, which is melting, by the way. All this appears to have happened overnight, though it has gradually intensified since the industrial revolution. Is there hope? Can we reverse the damage human activity has caused? Scientists like Stephen Hawking and David Suzuki, believe it is too late and we have entered the beginning of the end of life as we know it.
Human activity, riddled with chemicals and toxins, is the result of an illusion that we are absent from nature. Somehow believing that we are separate from nature rather than a part of it. We have planted trees and created green spaces in our cities, preserved national parks and even boast about our house plants and compliment how well they fare after our care. We have only scratched the surface with our efforts. We need to do more.
My awareness started in 1989, when David Suzuki aired his radio show series “It’s a Matter of Survival.” We had ample warning about global warming. “We,” as in governments. The people in charge who “we” voted for. The expression “time flies” is underrated. Thirty-five years later and we can’t reverse the damage. We can literally see the effects as they begin. The forest fires in my province are burning at record rates. I’ve never seen a smog covered sun in my province before. The news is overwhelming, yet, we do not have all the answers.
I am writing this today not so much as to reiterate the already-known issues surrounding global warming but to applaud and commend all the firefighters and volunteers who worked and are still working around the clock. The fires are under control. They succeeded. For the first time since the fires started in May, and although the fires are still active, most are under control. As reported by the agency SOPFEU. I do not doubt that I was not the only one asking the universe for it to rain. Blessed rain! We have had a lot, thankfully. Don’t complain that you can’t take the boat out or go camping this weekend. Be happy because of the rain, you can breathe cleaner air.
So now that we have reached the end, what is positive? If we are at the beginning of the “end” of all things as we know it, I have hope that we as a species will find a way to survive. Coping mechanisms are natural and innate. With time they may offer solutions so that we may make better choices for our future. Not “our” future, but the one for the next generations.
Believe that only one drop can make a difference. Change your ways if you haven’t. Stop throwing your cigarette butts out the window of your car. Walk or ride a bike to the shop instead of taking the car. While you are at it, quit smoking. Teach your kids not to litter. Recycle, it works! Especially if everyone does it.
Make better choices so that one drop (which is you) will provide all the positive energy and mindfulness needed to be happy. Imagine how just a few drops can make a substantial ripple effect in an ocean of neglect and denial. Be a drop! I am!
Mimmi is back!
By Abbey Wolf
June 9th, 2023
Last Friday morning I received an email from the SPCA with an image of my lost cat. They had her, she was safe! She snuck out just after midnight on Halloween night EIGHT MONTHS AGO! After all that time, we feared that she had fallen victim to the harsh weather conditions in Montreal. I preferred to believe she was safe and happy in a new home with a kind person who took her in from the cold. It turned out that neither of these was the case. She was outdoors possibly the whole time consorting with a gang of alley cats only about two kilometres from our home.
A group of volunteers for the Trap-Neuter-Release-Maintain Program rounded up all the cats, when the woman who was feeding this colony of cats pointed that our cat was likely domestic. Thankfully she separated her from the other cats and brought Mimmi directly to the SPCA. They took fantastic care of her there, treating an eye infection with meds and ensuring she was vaccinated and well-hydrated. They had shaved her belly, revealing the scar of her sterilization. Again, thankful that the woman had made a good observation and Mimmi did not have to undergo unnecessary surgery.
I was out of town when this happened and thankful I have a partner who acted fast and took time off from work to pick Mimmi up from the pound, while I journeyed back to the city.
Mimmi was almost unrecognizable and she hissed and clawed at anyone who tried to pick her up. The technician at the SPCA had to use a blanket to cover her head while she placed her into the cat carrier. Afraid that we would not be able to bathe or care for her at that moment, we tried to find a groomer. There weren’t any available. One of the groomers I called informed me that “pet groomers do not do cats.” My partner took her home and kept her in the washroom where she could be safely isolated until I got there.
My heart sank when I saw my twelve-year-old fur child cowering in a corner next to the toilet. Filthy from months of outdoor city dirt, her soft white fur was matted and dingy. I spent the first hour sitting with her, feeding her favourite treats and telling her about things she missed while away.
I never heard her purr so loudly. I knew she was happy and felt safe. She let me clip her nails and even give her a full bath! Remarkably, she didn’t have a single flea or egg (I did the paper test). We were so relieved, we slept exceptionally well. Mimmi was comfortably home, rediscovering the rattan chair she used as a scratch post and rubbing her face on every other corner wall in the house. Happily perched on the bench just below the window sill, it was clear she was in a familiar place.
It is a week later, her eye infection is virtually healed and her fur is back to its fluffy white loveliness. Her blood tests came back negative for any anomalies. The only challenge left for Mimmi is to grow accustomed to our latest addition to the family. Bo. He seems more excited than us all, now that there is a furry person like him in the pack. Bo’s reaction is to get her to play with him, but, Mimmi prefers playing with humans rather than other animals. She can be somewhat social, easily adapting to change without too much resistance. When Nina our husky was a puppy, she handled it well and Nina quickly learned who the real boss was. We have yet to see how different she will react now that a kitten is marking his territory in her home. This might be the least of her challenges, after all, she was outdoors rumbling with some badass cats for months, so this should be fairly easy. Despite a solitary nature and grumpy old-cat attitude, I am confident that as soon as Bo’s excitement fades, they will become best of friends. Well, maybe not the “best of friends” but will happily co-exist. Here is to new Boginings with Mimmi on the bench!
On a final note, if you haven’t already had your animal microchipped, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, please consider that it can literally mean life or death. It is the kindest way to show them you love them.
WE got this
By Abbey Wolf
May 1st, 2023
Two months have passed since my second visit with my biological family. My head was less “in the clouds” this time around. I hoped to document this trip and get to know my family better. The day before I hit the road, my sister told me she felt ill, believing her symptoms were a sinus infection, she was confident that her condition wouldn’t affect our visit. I didn’t think twice about it and decided to make the trip despite her feeling “under the weather.”
Each day her condition worsened. She was thankful I was there to help, as she did not want to expose her mother to anything she might have. Well, that “anything” was COVID.
It was only on my voyage back when she called to tell me she tested positive for it. Remarkably, our mother did not develop symptoms and tested negative with a PCR. It was the most comforting news I had during that visit.
Rather than return home, I headed for our cottage up north. I would quarantine there for ten days. Grateful to have another place to go and see this through, I simultaneously felt sad for those who don’t have such luxury. I tested positive the day after my return. I want to stress that COVID is not like a cold. It feels like something else, other than a common cold. I am fully vaccinated and thankful because my symptoms were very mild.
I thought about my dad and how that wasn’t his case. He died from it in 2020. He contracted it at the very start of the pandemic, one week before the shutdown in our province. I was likely asymptomatic at that time because I never felt a thing. I contend with the notion that the vaccine works. Considering all the data-driven facts that support the evolution of this virus and my own experience, I’ve no doubt I am living proof of this.
So what is so positive about my story and experience with COVID? It’s regarding the support and the love I have that surrounds me every day in every way. “Fortunate” or “blessed” are understatements because my life experience rises above these adjectives. Having strength and persistence to grind through hard times comes easy with such building blocks as these. We aren’t “out of the woods” as of yet. Our sweet little mother had taken a fall and broken her hip. In addition to the fall, she tested positive for COVID and influenza at the hospital. Her will and constitution are ironclad! I am confident that she will make it back home soon enough. Until then, I hold on to the last image of her, saying my name in Spanish, the name she gave me, and singing the song “April Showers” of which she named me. With spring in the air and opportunities blooming like the buds on the trees and the flowers under the moss, I am hopeful and happy to be there for my friends and family as they are for me. The bitter sweet saga that I spew into my blog monthly continues…
By Abbey Wolf
March 31st, 2023
A month has passed since my last visit to NY state. A lot has transpired since. Although at a slow pace, my projects are progressing and moving forward. I often feel like I am living a new life now that I have found my bio-family and processing this NEW TRUTH. It wasn’t an easy transition, grappling with dilemmas and scrambling for reasons. I started to get the wheels of investigation and research rolling so I can have the facts; well the real ones this time! My sister and I agreed to dig deeper and we are in the process of filling in government forms to have access to archives and legal information, My story just became a life-changing one and what was once believed to be a mystery, has begun to unravel.
With this and other life changes happening, what better distraction than to rescue a kitten? It was a challenging decision because, last October, I lost my 11-year-old cat to the street. It was Halloween, and just past midnight, I opened the sliding door to the backyard to let Nina (our dog) out for her bedtime pee. I remember hearing something rustling in the leaves towards the back of the yard. “Was it a squirrel or maybe a skunk?” I called Nina in so as not to take a chance it was the latter. I hadn’t noticed that Mimmi managed to slip passed me. Throughout the years, she had made some attempts to run outside, but we were very vigilant. That night, she super Ninja’ed her way out.
The following morning we realized that Mimmi was missing and that the rustling in the leaves was her and not some other kind of creature in the night. She had been out all that time and she hadn’t come home. This occurred a couple of days before I had planned to meet my biological family. It was early still and chances are she will come home. I believed. Having more than my share of emotional baggage, I felt the devastation upon my return since she still had not returned. I withdrew. I had to. My heart had a hole in it.
Taking the time you need to process trauma is important. It took some months later, but I am now able to accept that my beloved cat was gone. She moved on in whatever way her new reality dictated for her. Letting go was not easy, though. Mimmi wasn’t just a pet. She was family. An affectionate and social stray that lingered around the building I lived in over 11 years ago. Not even a year old, she would greet the residents at the entrance of the building never afraid of a pat on the head. I fed her; everyone fed her. But everyone had some excuse for why they couldn’t take her in. Aside from the fact my unit was small even for an adult, I did not have an excuse. Seeing her outside, watching her interact with the other strays, I saw that she was skittish and submissive. Winter was around the corner and I just could no longer imagine her outside in the street. Most street cats in my city will die before 5 years of age. The winter can be brutally cold here. Mimmi was not even a year old and she was so tiny. I had to take her in. This beautiful creature doesn’t belong in a street alley, she deserves nature first, but if not, at least a warm and loving, safe place. I wanted to see her happy and out of danger. So it wasn’t long after I met my cat that I offered her a home in my little abode. This was a period in time when I had just moved back to Montreal from Finland. I spoke Finnish to Mimmi (a Finnish name) to practice the language, which, took me years to learn. I think she enjoyed the tonations when I spoke it and she seemed to learn faster than I did! She knew how to “sit” and come running in a flash when I shook a bag of treats and called her name. We didn’t even have to call her name when we were making chicken. That was her favourite thing. The smell would draw her out of any sleep or snuggle spot. We miss her. We will always miss her. When I say “we” I am not just referring to my partner, but every person who knew this sweet and funny cat. Like the proverb, “you never know what you got till it’s gone,” I felt I had taken her for granted. I know I know, guilt is ugly so I don’t let it fester. I moved on with love and hope in my heart. Putting out to the universe that if she is still out there, she has found a safe place.
Recently, my neighbour took in a stray a few years back but never had her spayed. He doesn’t feel it is “natural.” Although I strongly disagree with this type of mentality and with some restraint, I try not to confront him with this decision, but, on the occation I will suggest it. No surprise, his cat had a litter and we decided to take one of the kittens in. I was missing my Mimmi and although it felt too soon to have another cat, couldn’t stop thinking this baby could use a loving home. “Bo” is his name and at just 9 weeks old, he knows his name. He has also learned the word “no” unfortunately, but he handles it so much better than I would have at that age! Bo is sweet, smart, bold and brave! We are amazed at how fast he has adapted to his new home and family.
Sadly, Mimmi has moved on, and to help us cope with our loss we offered a loving home to this beautiful kitty we named Bo. I call him “Bo baby boy” and he comes running when he hears me. I am always in awe of new life, pure and simple, living in the moment. That is true peace, happiness and love. Now you might have a better understanding of why I call this moment new “Boginnings.”
Road Trips and Revelations
By Abbey Wolf
February 3rd, 2023
Road trips are fun and exciting for some, while others may find them long and tedious. I enjoy travelling and driving along scenic routes, “putting the pedal to the metal” on a trip to see something new.
Last November, I took a road trip that was far more eventful than a typical drive to the countryside. More like a revelation and perhaps the most poignant yet, this was a trip to meet my biological family for the first time.
As early as my first words, my parents told me I was adopted but they deliberately skipped some details. It would be years later that I would learn the actual story from my biological “mami” which means “mother” in Spanish. When I was younger and curious about my adoption, I frequently asked questions. The story my parents recounted was my biological mother had been fatally wounded in a car accident and that I had survived. This was a borrowed story, it wasn’t mine. The “cat got out of the bag” one summer when visiting my mom’s friend, Polly and her daughter Heidi at their summer cottage. It was the first time that I met Polly’s daughter Heidi. I remember that it was a beautiful day and I was happy to have made a new friend. We went for a pedal boat ride on the lake. During our conversation on the boat, the subject of adoption came up. Heidi told me she was also adopted. As she told me the details of her adoption, I learned my parents had used her adoption story for mine. Astonished about this discovery, we pedalled quickly back to confront our mothers about it. My mother immediately broke down. Shame and fear took over. Aunt Polly told us to leave it be and go back outside. Since that day, whenever I recalled that moment, my mother would choke up, get teary-eyed, then ask me to stop. Of course, I did as she wished. My mother was wonderful and loving, and I would never try to hurt her feelings. I suspect she never wanted me to know that I was “abandoned” (so she believed). She wanted to protect me from what she considered to be a horrible thing. She asked that I accept the fact that she is the only mother that raised me and who loves me. That was all that mattered.
Years later, when I was well into my 30s, my father came to visit me at my Bistro. Dad loved the coffee my beautiful Astoria espresso machine would make. While I was preparing some food behind the counter, he asked me to come to sit with him for a moment. There was something he had to tell me. I was afraid he was about to ask me (yet again) for some money to give to his criminal-telemarketing son. Instead, he said that he had a confession and that I should know the “truth.” He told me I was an “abandoned” baby, left with an elderly Czech woman, perhaps a nanny. There weren’t any other details besides that. The nanny had called the authorities to report me as an abandoned baby. After that, my adoption was “arranged by lawyers,” my father explained. He also commented on the high cost of the lawyer’s fees, which would be substantial even by today’s standards. The story sounded dodgy that I enquired about documentation since it was handled by a lawyer, to think there would be something. Dad said he signed something and did not have a copy. I accepted it as the truth and finally had a sense of peace and closure. Although I was told I was abandoned, I never felt “abandoned.” I was more comfortable believing that my mami wanted a better life for me. A life she perhaps couldn’t provide me with at that time. I didn’t feel the loss of love, rather, I felt she made a sacrifice for love’s sake. For many years I was inspired by this new “truth” and incorporated it as a theme in several of my writings; poetry, short stories, and a screenplay.
Thirteen years after my father’s confession, my fiancée gave me an Ancestry.com DNA kit for my birthday. I once mentioned to her that getting a DNA test was on my bucket list, so, she made it happen! I was excited about it and couldn’t wait to get the results. I was interested in finding out my ethnic origins and the idea that I could discover my biological family had not even crossed my mind. In the DNA kit, was a test tube; I spit in it, placed it into the packaging it came with, then sent it back to their lab for processing. Once the results came in, they were emailed to me and added to the account I set up for myself on the Ancestry.com site. The results revealed my DNA connections and provided some information about my ethnic origins. Here is where I discovered I was half Puerto Rican, and, the other half, a mix of Western European (English, Scottish, Irish, French, and a small percentage of indigenous Peruvian and North American. Included with my account, is a chat module where I could message DNA connections. I have 100s of cousins, mostly 4th – 8th, but some are close cousins. I received a message from one of these close cousins. He inquired about our connection and was curious as to how we were closely related, yet, he never knew of me. I told him that I was adopted. Our relationship remained a mystery for several years until recent events. It turns out that this cousin was my biological father’s first cousin. This cousin introduced me to other close cousins, (sisters) on my European side. I am so grateful to have met these two amazing women who have welcomed me with open arms into their hearts and family. Connecting with my biological family was fantastic! It was a pleasure considering I rarely had anything to do with members of my adoptive family and had survived abuse from several of them.
Close cousins are one thing, but, I had one mysterious connection identified as “close family”. Ancestry labelled him as “NOT a cousin, but rather, an uncle, nephew, or, sibling” which took me off guard because this meant he might know something about my adoption. So, I messaged him through the app on the site. I waited several weeks, but no reply. I sent another message, this time in Spanish in case he was not English speaking. Still, no reply. Every once and a while, I would log into my account to see if I had a reply. But no such luck. More often than not, people will use a nickname rather than their given name. I did a quick search on Facebook with the name this connection used on Ancestry. Nothing came up. I figured he was an elderly uncle who had passed away or was sick and unable to check messages. I quit logging in to check for a reply. I let it go.
Time zoomed into 2019 and it was the start of the pandemic. I put my energy into my blog and a few work projects. I even wrote about my adoption in a blog entry, but that was before I learned the truth. Angelia, one of my closest friends, read my post and told me that it so happens that she was on a personal journey, conducting research and making discoveries about her adoption story. She strongly encouraged me to look further into my own story. She also had some mystery surrounding her story and she sought to have questions answered and hopefully get some closure. She invested a lot of energy and time into putting the pieces together. With the help of a “Search Angel” (a genealogist) and a few other resources, she successfully located her biological family. As her experience was such a positive one, inspiration overflowed. Angelia was motivated to encourage me to follow her lead. At first, I was quite reluctant and skeptical, being that the only information I had was that I was abandoned without official documentation regarding my adoption. For instance, the actual day of my birth is unknown. “Throwing caution to the wind,” I followed one of her suggestions by joining a Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/CanadaAdoptees/members that supports and aids Canadian adoptees in their search for biological family. Despite a tiny shimmering light at the end of this tunnel, I was reluctant to believe anything could come from it. I posted an introduction of myself in the group and provided what few details I knew about my adoption. Only my DNA results were factual. Other details were speculation. Perhaps I was born outside of the province or even the Country! In addition, there wasn’t any record of my actual birthday. My post in the group was such a paucity of information that I was hesitant to believe anything could result from it. “Female born (perhaps) in Montreal, Quebec, 19XX end of January or beginning of February, no hospital records. Ancestry.com DNA reports I have Puerto Rican and European descent.”
Almost immediately after I made that post, a couple of “Search Angels” AKA “SA”, were drawn to the challenge of locating my relatives. The first one was not officially associated with the group, so I was advised not to share my DNA results with him. The second SA was affiliated and I proceeded to share my DNA information with her. Less than an hour later, my SA, who is indeed a true angel, was able to identify several biological connections. Using the various tools and resources that genealogists have, she succeeded in identifying my biological family from both my PR and my European/North American roots. Using my DNA results and searching obituaries, she discovered that my biological grandmother on the European side migrated to Canada and had a son. Sadly, Charlie, my biological father, passed away in 2016. It would have been a great pleasure to have met him. A linguist, translator, and passionate Shakespearean theatre director, I would have adored him. I contacted Charlie’s stepson, Rick, a wonderfully spirited and friendly man. Whoever said that you can’t make friends after a certain age?
Another mystery connection was solved, as cousin Paul who messaged me, turned out to be my father’s first cousin. The SA also matched some findings with a couple of Facebook profiles. It turns out that the mystery connection that I believed to be an uncle, was my half-brother. The SA also discovered that I had a sister. Just when I thought my investigation into my own story was over, it was actually about to take off.
I needed time to process all this enlightening information. I found myself asking more questions than when I had zero information! How could that be? It was likely because the ambiguity was beginning to dissolve. When I started with nothing, I now had faces and stories. Navigating the Facebook profiles of my newly discovered siblings, Alex and Dean, I felt like a stalker! Thoughts filled my mind like, “what if they didn’t know I existed,” I felt like I was an intruder, a spy, an outsider looking in. I was hesitant to send a message to either of them because I feared rejection. After all, I was the one who was given away or “abandoned.” I was torn, blocked and numb. Angelia was my mentor throughout this entire process. She recommended I send a message to my sister first. She provided me with a template for the initial “first step” message, which I modified to better reflect my situation. When I mustered enough courage, I sent the icebreaker to Alex. Although she didn’t seem very active on Facebook, I hoped she would eventually get the message. But, soon after I sent that message, I got a welcoming reply. This discovered sister was equally curious to learn more. We exchanged numbers and talked on the phone for hours. Alex told me her mother would often tell her the story that she had a baby named April and that the infant was taken from her without her consent. Claiming her child was stolen! Just when I believed I was coming close to knowing the truth, there was yet another mystery to solve. I would not be alone this time because Alex was just as enthusiastic as I was in getting to the bottom of it.
First, we quickly initiated some processes in obtaining my birth records to set the record straight. Finally, we planned to meet. Since they all live a few hours across the border, I could drive there. It was the quickest four hours I had ever lived. It felt more like forty minutes.
I had planned to stay for a day or so, but I ended up staying for five days! At times, the whole thing felt surreal, I was with my baby sister, her two beautiful children and our delightfully animated mother, Theresa, who loves to sing and drink coffee. I wonder if DNA determines what our likes and or dislikes can be. I have also been called animated because of my love for singing and drinking coffee… Fascinating! I recognized multiple shared similarities. It felt liberating to see this happening in real-time.
One day, Alex and I drove to meet Dean, who lives a few hours from her. Another road trip yay! Meeting Dean in person, I learned he never saw the messages I sent him. He won the DNA kit in a raffle and only logged on to the site a few times. It was a relief to know that it wasn’t because he was skeptical or that he hadn’t any interest in meeting his long-lost sister. Dean is a hard-working and generous man. I felt welcome and comfortable, surrounded by his crew of bright and beautiful family. Although my visit was longer than expected, time maintained its usual way of passing by too quickly. I returned home with a mission and new directives. I have another road trip planned this year. Undoubtedly, it will be exciting and wonderful. I’ll be sure to share the details but for now, I’ll leave you with a quote by Seneca, and links to the two songs that resonated with me while on this magical road trip.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
Incubus – Drive
Muse – Starlight
Back to the Blog with a BANG!
By Abbey Wolf
September 28th, 2022
Just after the Autumn Equinox, I am fully charged and anxious to start the new season and year with some unique and exciting projects! First on the list of my adventures, is Morcheeba’s live show this upcoming Friday, and I simply can’t wait! They are one of my favorite bands since hearing them back in 98′. I was traveling Europe and heard their music playing in a dance club. I asked the DJ the name of the band and ever since, my ears and heart have been in love.
The summer before the pandemic in 2019, I reviewed their show here in Montreal. It was the first time I saw them live and up close. It was also one of the best live music shows I had ever seen. If you know them, then you know how amazing they are. But, If you have never heard the band Morcheeba and are looking to have an epic time this week, go check them out this Thursday at MTelus. You won’t believe how magical music can sound. If you can’t make it to the show, cry, then come back here to read the review.
By Abbey Wolf
July 15th, 2022
I decided to blog about why I haven’t blogged in a while. True, it defeats the purpose since blogging about why I am not blogging is actually “blogging.” But enough of the silly me! I needed to express my opinion and my thoughts of late. I haven’t been preoccupied with the printed pages for several reasons. We got a country cottage that needs some love and upkeep; this has been my main focus. I endeavour to take the summer off and tackle some of these needed repairs. Although I can take some time to write, I have been low on motivation and creative flow. Ergo, the other reason is my mental preoccupation. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the war in Ukraine and worry about them, particularly a dear friend I have who lives there. Nothing positive about war. It is the epitome of everything ugly about humanity. The only light and hope I see lies in the hearts and efforts of all the brave souls who have united and continue to fight this illegal Russian invasion.
I feel conflicted because I, like most of us, have had a gruelling two years, and despite this, I am fortunate to thrive where I live and to be who I am without fear or apprehension. I often feel like I am living my best life while watching the world fall apart. There is a war against peaceful people; women have lost the right to choose. I often feel helpless at times and wish I had more power or money so that I could affect more change and support others who are suffering. But the truth is, I am not powerless and can do something, even if it is simply blogging about why I am not blogging. I have the power to push the message. I do what I can to keep the dialogue going. If you read this and can identify with it, do something. Share your thoughts about the war or women’s rights with others, or send some money if you can. If you aren’t in a war zone and have your health, and if you exist in your beautiful shiny bubble without any fear of it getting popped at any moment, enjoy your freedom and never take it for granted. Liberty is a privilege; nothing is more valuable than freedom and the right to choose.
The song that came to mind while writing this was Earth Wind and Fire’s Fantasy. The piece is perfect, save for some “wording.” It reminded me how vital dialogue and language are to our very existence. With that said, I would petition the band to change the phrasing of the first verse of the lyrics from Every “man” has a place in “his” heart, there’s a space, and the world can’t erase “his” fantasies, for, Every “ONE” has a place, in “THEIR” heart there’s a space, and the world can’t erase “THEIR” fantasies.
Earth day 2022
By Abbey Wolf
April 22nd, 2022
Today officially marks the 52nd International Earth Day, acknowledged in over 200 countries across the globe.
On this day, myriads of organizations and individuals (yours truly included) celebrate environmental diversity and discuss the dangers to the environment.
Although the focus is (and should be) on industries to do more to address the issues caused by their impact on global warming, we see individuals stepping up and making changes in their routines to assist in the battle. On a micro level, many individuals who weren’t recycling a few years back now find that they are taking part today. Their attitudes and responses are switching sides in support of helping the movement rather than hampering it.
Governments and municipalities continue to provide recycling services to the public and contribute funds to non-profits and businesses that promote environmental awareness and change.
I remember it was towards the end of the 80s when we first received a large green recycling bin. I noticed how multiple households would use the bins for purposes other than what they intended. Our bin was frequently stolen from the door stoop or poorly discarded after being emptied. We took responsibility and ownership of our bin by marking our address on it with a large bold “Sharpie.” That certainly discouraged the thieves. Today, it is more common than not to recycle in a household and the overflowing trash and recycle bins on the corners of the street, lay testament to our conditioning to pitch in and clean up. One might get the impression that the city is neglecting to empty the bins, or, they should empty them more frequently. In reality, the issue is more complex than how it appears. Recently, China banned certain materials from our recycling. Consequently, the processes used to recycle these materials are required to change. The city is doing everything it can to source a new buyer and market for recycled materials as they struggle to manage these currently banned materials. Montreal along with many other cities in North America are faced with the fact they must now address this issue and that will require some drastic changes in the structure of these recycling facilities.
As for we the people, it is safe to say that most individuals are doing as much as they are able with what tools they are being given. Despite our collective efforts, valiant as they may be, environmentalists continue to raise the flags and sound alarms. It is in my opinion that organizations must seek alternative measures to pressure governments, industry leaders and large corporations to do more than what is currently being done. I believe it is important to keep in mind that we are on the right path and although the question “are we doing enough” is still the buzz, hope has not been completely removed from the table as many may fear or suggest.
For Canada, the ultimate goal is to reach zero emissions by 2050. The plan starts with Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, a comprehensive 200-page report outlining the Canadian government’s intentions and plans to reduce greenhouse gasses and lower the rates of harmful emissions. There is a multitude of examples of nationwide programs to reach these goals. Many of these plans are underway, or, “on the backburner” waiting for funds or legislation.
There is a lot of information in the report regarding the current state of our environment across the provinces. There is extensive research regarding the levels of heavy industry emissions and their impact on the environment.
Investments are detailed and matched up with plans “to support the decarbonization and sustainable growth of Canada’s largest industrial emitters through investments in the adoption of clean technology and processes that will dramatically reduce the GHG footprint of these industries by 2030, and create pathways to net-zero by 2050.”
Tentative programs and shelved plans can be daunting, but at least these examinations are in line with the possibility of a brighter and cleaner future. I believe that much of the needed challenge remains with the public and small businesses. There are still far too many litterbugs and those who deny we have an issue at hand.
Hopefully, those who continue to flick their cigarette butts, or drop their candy wrappers without thinking about their actions, will eventually cross over to the clean side with the greener grass and join us in our endeavor to clean the mess we all made.
By Abbey Wolf
March 8th, 2022
Today is International Women’s Day. What does that mean to you? Have you asked yourself? Regardless of how you identify yourself and how you identify with your gender? Well, it is a day where we commemorate the achievements of women and girls all over the globe.
Today, we remember and celebrate all the superheroes who stood on the front lines of the battle for gender equality and human rights. We commemorate these movements, or at least we try.
Today, International Women’s Day happens during a moment in history when we are being overwhelmed by multiple and distressful circumstances. War and plague make this day even more challenging to celebrate with joy. In the past, we have had better days indeed. We were able to celebrate and communicate the headway of the women’s movement.
Thankfully, women are resilient. Whether or not this is from conditioning or nature, women are often viewed as proverbial pillars of strength when human struggles get real-this being a common theme in human history. Women are taking the hits and the blows (as always), being the weaker sex as we are often still referred to as being.
Let us acknowledge nurses. Women represent 90% of all nurses in Canada and nearly 70% of healthcare workers globally. Imagine! All this COVID time and once again, in human history, when it comes to strife and struggles, it is women who are stepping up to carry or support a huge load of misery that affects us all.
Today, humanity is displaying vulnerabilities seemingly more than progress and hope. Not particularly the preferred direction in human evolution. As a result, the trend seems to be denial or aversion for many of us. So who is running into the fire these days? Women. Far too many at that. Burnouts are increasing for healthcare professionals. Another common statistic, women and girls still represent the highest numbers of victims (for any or everything) on the planet.
Today, looking at the trends in social media and how younger women are evolving, I often get the impression we are moving backwards in time…Much of the media is still controlled by men and or others, than women or girls …So with that said…
Today, we need to stand united more than ever before because today, we aren’t celebrating this day as we would prefer.
Today we need to reach into ourselves even deeper to find that inner strength most of us believe we have lost.
Today is not a day to be placid and joyful and pleasant. Don’t read this wrong because although the tone is frustrating and provocative, it is not negative. Rise up! This is a positive and powerful message.
All humans are resistant and it so happens that women, (more often than not) have no choice but to be directly in the face of adversity, pushing it away so that everyone can move forward rather than taking steps back.
What will you do, TODAY? Here is a suggestion, read something by Angela Davis or Gloria Steinem, especially if you never heard of these women. This is my recommendation and all be it, a vain attempt in contributing to a dialogue that is critical to help end the plight of women all over the world.
A New Year
By Abbey Wolf
December 31st, 2021
In a few short hours, it will be another bitter sweet new year for me. I don’t doubt it is the same for many others. It may just be bitter for many, it may be sweet for others. Living during a pandemic has been challenging and has caused some kind of “emotional displacement” in many of us. We have to learn how to feel differently about this situation. We need to act differently and conduct our affairs alternatively. It is quite simply not easy and I don’t think anyone is used to this yet. I know I am still trying and I have rebounds, although I do manage to pick myself up and with the intention to continue to shed light and positive energy. One of the easiest ways to feel positive is taking lot more pleasure in the simple things. I make cookies and chocolate and I do this to indulge, but mostly I do this to share and reach out to those I love.
Reach out to those you love in anyway shape or form that you can. That is the most important act we can all do, this New Years.
Be well and stay safe xoxo
By Abbey Wolf
October 13th, 2021
I don’t doubt that every soul on the planet is keeping up. Whether with appearances or spirits, it feels like the general vibe is how everyone puts effort into keeping up. There are so many ways and methods in which we can cope. They help us to cheer up, keep our heads above the water, you get the idea.
Humans are social beings. We don’t need to read about why or how we are social beings. It’s something we have known from our very first breath. It is innate. Presently, most of us are socially restricted and there are myriads of examples of how people all over the world have been maintaining social contact safely and pleasantly. Primarily, we are spending a lot more time online. We love our technology and depend on it more than ever before. It has been Noah’s Ark in the privileged world.
For those who work in the Tech industry, keeping up is critical to their work. Technology is ever-changing, so keeping up drives the need and demand for improvement. I am reading more these days than back when I was a student! It is a challenge to keep up with new trends in technology, even for those who work in the fields.
With all the change and the challenges in the world today, I believe patience is key. Patience helps to accept change. So, as we all continue to find our way in this rapidly changing world, it’s good to be confident and believe that the same technology that brought us to this very moment, can and will bring us a brighter and bolder future. We quite simply need to keep up.
Time of reckoning, time for healing
By Abbey Wolf
July 1st, 2021
Personally, July 1st has always been about and for my mother. It was her birthday. But this particular birthday rings like no other. Today, I imagine how she would have reacted if she were still alive. Recent events have triggered a slew of emotions and have filled my thoughts with complex reflections. I will start at the beginning of my mother’s story and then bring in the connections so you may have an understanding of where I am going with these thoughts.
My mother knew of suffering and struggle. She was born in Winnipeg on a small farm where her father and mother ran a fur trading post. During her early childhood, she suffered from TB (tuberculosis). At the tender age of four, she was struck by a car and had to undergo facial reconstruction at the famed Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She was the clinic’s fifth patient as they had just opened their doors to the public. As a result of the TB and the trauma of the accident, she was immune-compromised for the rest of her adult life. She had numerous battles with illnesses of various kinds, such as cancer (several bouts), chronic lung disease, and osteoporosis. She fought off each one of these illnesses until the last, which inevitably took her life. Kay (as everyone called her) married at age eighteen and shortly after left Winnipeg to start a family of her own. Unfortunately, due to her fragile health, she was unable to bear children. She had over six miscarriages, three of which went to term. Both my parents wanted nothing more than to raise children, as they had passionate intentions about creating a family. They decided to adopt. So entered my siblings and me, all newborns, spanning four and more years apart. Although they began parenthood later than most, they were as energetic in comparison to younger parents.
I, unlike my siblings, was an abandoned baby. My mother never wanted me to know this fact and couldn’t imagine how anyone could abandon their child considering what she endured trying to bear her own. She could not fathom the reality. She did not want me to know that my biological mother had rejected me. The truth was unbearable for her, so she projected and chose to “protect” me from this truth. Kay borrowed/created my adoption story. I was raised with intense love and caring from her and accepted it. I had no desire to know the details about my biological parents. But just as many truths come to light later in the years following the facts, this truth slipped from my father’s tongue when I was well into my thirties. I will never know why this was hidden for so long especially because my father didn’t know what compelled him to reveal this. He simply said that it was time that I know the truth.
Hiding the truth was often how my mother felt she could protect me. Mom was conditioned to be a survivor from a very early age and self-taught on how to overcome. Her existence and experiences moulded her into the most humble, selfless, and empathetic person I have ever encountered up until this very day.
These reflections bring me to imagine how my mother would have reacted to the genocide of over a thousand (and still counting) innocent indigenous lives. I have no doubt it would have hit home for Kay, as she grew up playing with indigenous children at the trading post. At that time and still, to this day, Winnipeg has the largest indigenous population of any major city in Canada. Although her memories of the trading post were few, she held most of them fondly. However, she recalled how her father was opposed to the mistreatment of his indigenous partners, as government regulations increasingly restricted and controlled trade. Mom would rarely share memories of her struggles and strife. Her generation preferred to “bury” rather than admit or take responsibility for shameful events. Stories as such were covered up, sugar-coated, or silenced.
I do not doubt that if my mother were alive today, she would speak out. She would have attested to being a witness of hatred and indifference towards indigenous peoples, and sadly, I believe she would have felt the remorse of her silence about it.
Now is not the time to commemorate Canada day, or take pride in that celebration. It is the time for reckoning and healing.
On Being Positive: A cliché of the times.
By Abbey Wolf
We all know how challenging life is, at least most of us do. It doesn’t matter where we live, or what we do, life will always have a shit load of ups and downs which we need to endure. Maintaining positivity and especially in the face of adversity, is one of the best circumstances in which I find the strength to resist negative circumstances.
It is also crucial to remain in the present moment, because it helps to keep a healthy mindset. Performing our best and keeping our energies high and empowering, will reinforce us and the consistency in which we do this is important to maintain. Oprah Winfrey notes how beneficial being present is when she says ” doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
— Oprah Winfrey
Positive attitudes are empowering. We all know this because we all know how good it feels to be optimistic. Although the idea of remaining or being positive is a moth-eaten cliché, it happens to be true and irrefutable. The practice and the dedication of being positive, is worthy of that cliché; which is annoying when it’s especially hard to remain positive in hard times such as these! Consider that a positive attitude and taking positive actions has a whopping amount of power. It is something everyone has access to.
Being positive can and does effect change in the world. So why isn’t everyone trying to be more positive since its common knowledge that a positive outlook is the best one to have? Because it’s easier to complain, blame and give up. Personally, I make an effort and I deny the thoughts which bring me down. Happiness is high maintenance worth all the effort! When happiness rather than misery spreads, the tides of change will be for the better. That is why I much rather laugh than cry.
Happiness is high maintenance worth all the effort!
Isn’t it remarkable how the actions and wisdom of just ONE person can spark a movement? We all know that the influence of simply one person can change the world. Famous individuals in history such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Ellen Degeneres… The list goes on of the countless individuals who have had a remarkable influence on humanity. They changed history. When masses of people unite with a common belief , it gives birth to movements. We are witnessing the rise of some of the most critical movements in human history. Greta Thunberg leads in the movement to clean and take care of our environment, especially if we want to ensure a healthy future for generations to come. We have movements to protect our wildlife, which we took for granted far too long. The Black lives matter movement can and will be for positive change. We can’t be more ready than we are NOW and at this moment in time, for positive change.
“You must be the change you want to see in the world”.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Most people believe that the power to change the world exists only in public figures, politicians, or famous people with popular platforms and hoards of followers. Having a positive attitude and taking positive actions has a whopping amount of power. It is something everyone has access to. When we emit positivity, it has a ripple effect in the world because it changes the perspectives of how others see us. It makes us engage in the things we do with more clarity and enthusiasm.
It is for these reasons (and a few more), why I am down with this particular cliché of the times,