Good-Bye’s

"True good-bye's are the ones never said or explained." ~Anonymous~

“True good-bye’s are the ones never said or explained.”
~Anonymous~

Saying good-bye is an emotional thing. Unless someone has over-stayed their welcome, and then it comes with a quick hug, little peck on the cheek and swift closing and locking the door.

As I say good-bye to a seven-and-a-half year run in my career, I have had to say numerous good-byes.  A lady can only be subjected to so much stress before she turns to booze, sex and the sultry tunes of Leonard Cohen. You’re all lucky I survived the trip!

After 30 days of good-bye’ing, I think I’m all good-byed out. I’m tired of hugging, kissing, and mourning.  I’m tired of the pull my heart feels every time I send an email, have a meeting, or am the honoured guest at a good-bye party. I have  professional-good-bye- burn-out.

Most of all, I’m tired of not crying.

Yes, you heard it right. I’m off on a new adventure, and I’m a little nervous. Good-bye parties and cake and cards make this stepping out into the unknown that much more real.  You can’t go back after everyone’s signed the card, that’s just bad manners my sweet little kumquats.

Everyone seemed to have the same question about moving along to a new station in my career, ” Aren’t you nervous?”, or a statement, “I’d be so scared if I were you.”

Way to make a girl feel confident.

My every trustworthy girl-gut is telling me that it’s all going to be great, that my next stop will be a challenge and a success. My intuition has never been wrong, and I’ve never ever thought that I would fail at anything.

We do become our thoughts, so I like to keep mine strong and positive.

This month has been a challenge. Getting through good-byes, and just peeking over a new horizon is pretty awesome stuff.  Not crying takes an incredible amount of energy for me…and as it turns out, some scotch, a little Willy Nelson, and a road trip…..but I digress…

I have hugged and re-hugged every co-worker except the one with whom I’ve held a peaceful truce throughout my stay. There’s always one, isn’t there my little darlings? I just know my professional nemesis is doing a happy dance somewhere right now.

A professional nemesis is good for the soul. They keep us humble, patient, and always ready for a good drink, or a long, sweaty, naked snog when we throw off the coils of the work day. Good-bye nemesis, I shall miss you. I promise to toast you with something icy on the patio tonight.

I’m so looking forward to getting back to my writing, my poetry, my music and the silliness that all of this good-bye’ing has put on hold.

As summer starts to roll out hot humid days, I will be donning ultra-conservative suits and starting a new journey. Please send bourbon, bubbly and a boy my way….

 

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Bourbon, Bubbly and Being a Girl

bourbon caramel

bourbon caramel (Photo credit: rosebengal)

Yes, I really do drink bourbon. On the rocks. As a matter of fact it’s usually a couple of shots on the rocks, with a swift gulp of the top end of the glass before it gets too watered down.

My delicate rationale is that if I’m going to drink something that’s going to be my moral and physical demise, I’d like it to actually feel like it’s killing me the moment it hits the back of my throat. Kinda like drinking bleach, but a little more slowly, and with much more grace.

Good bubbles on the other hand suck the moisture out of your mouth upon first swish, and slink down your throat like a slowly tightening noose. Wine – it’s gotta be red, rustic, and ready for food. Any-which-way, I like my poison a little on the rough side.

You see darlings, any woman can tottle a cocktail, rock at gin and tonic (which has a special place in my pretty pink heart), or nurse a glass of wine. It takes a woman with substance, class and a mind of her own to manage a less polite beverage and get on with the real issues of the day.

On the subject of ladies (or gentlemen) drinking alone, my bible-thumping grand-dad would say drinking anything, especially alone was a mortal sin. This is simply a load of tepid hog-wash darlings. Tepid hog-wash indeed. Sometimes drinking alone is much more called for than drinking in the company of other fabulous women and men.

Simply put, when you need a stiff drink, it’s not likely your choice of refined companion can handle the resulting dialogue and truth-telling.

Don’t wag your finger and tell me about the evils of drink, addictions and the moral disintegration of society by the likes of women like me. Chances are my sweet little apple dumpling, you contributed your fair share to the recession-induced-LCBO-economic-boom. Besides that, I’ve lived with abusive alcoholics, and there is a difference between having a drink now and then and being dependent on it by using it as a crutch to be a jackass. But I digress….

A good-stiff drink can be the mint-sprig in the julep of life my darlings. As such, I provide you with a list of how-to and how-not-to enjoy your adult beverages;

1) If it’s too sweet, you’ll drink too much and become a poster-child for the before side of waterproof mascara adverts. Stick to something you can feel going down, and you’ll set a more reasonable pace to keep you from over-indulging.

2) Only indulge when in the company of other refined ladies and gentlemen who enjoy stimulating conversation, dry-wit, sarcasm, and who keep up with current events. Otherwise, you keep the company of mere drunkards and simpletons.

3) Decide on the flavour of the occasion. For example; a) celebrating an achievement with a group – stick to bubbles. ( I recommend local Hinterland vintages), b) for thoughtful conversation and intelligent subjects go for bourbon or some such delicacy as scotch. c) All meals should be accompanied by wine regardless of your cocktail or aperitif d) Martinis – a wonderful after work celebration for any day of the week

4) Martinis should not be consumed as a dessert in a glass. You will never, ever be Carrie Bradshaw or look like you fell out of an episode of Sex-In-The-City, nor do you want to sweety. Follow the triple D rule for this as in bra sizes; dirty, dry, and double. Accept no substitutions.

5) Only imbibe with those who do not become boorish or nauseated. Keeping the company of rude folks is simply insufferable, and cleaning up vomit is not on the roster of things anyone-wants-to-do-ever.

6) Learn to create and enjoy your preferred beverage at home. Always have the ingredients on hand.

7) Only drink and backseat drive. This is much more fun and you have the advantage of being able to give hand signals out the window without interfering too much with traffic.

8) Always have a man who is willing to come over in the case of over-indulgence-emergencies such as incurable horniness, the overwhelming and insatiable desire to have someone of the opposite sex read poetry to you while soaking in a hot bath and continuing to drink, or if you’re afraid you’re going to sleep through your 4am airport limo pick-up…not that I have ever succumbed to any such nonsense of course.

9) Do not offer to have your companions, ‘try a sip’. What is this a choose-your-own-oral-bacteria guessing game? No ’tis decidedly not. Stick to your own drink and leave the straws at home.

10) If someone asks if they should bring wine the answer is yes. Always yes.

The Wonder of Man-Pals

Ripe Plums on a plum tree

Ripe Plums on a plum tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During one of our famous, rambling conversations one of my man-pals dared to criticize my blog posts.

Imagine that my luscious little plums?! A man brave enough to make a suggestion to the woman who is known for her scathing tongue and hot sexy temper.

But that’s the kind of friendship we have. We talk about EVERYTHING. Like everything, EVERYTHING. Yesterday the conversation started with me saying, ” I hope you’re on the toilet because what I’m going to tell you is going to make you….”. I’m sure you have a good enough imagination to figure out how that sentence ends.

My friend, let’s call him _________________, suggested that although 55% of my readership is male, I frequently direct my posts to ‘gal-pals’. Just to clarify, when I use terms of endearment such as darling, sweet little peaches or plums, I am indeed including my mysterious man-pals in the group.

Just a note to my male readers, I picture you all as cowboys, sophisticated southern gentlemen in smoking jackets, or cute little younger kittens who are mute and have washboard abs.

Although I give loads of credit to my dear gal-pals for keeping me out of a permanent psychiatric facility for the fabulously insane, I do have some pretty darn incredible man-pals. As a matter of fact, the past few days have been man-pal packed. I’ve had lunch and coffee, relaxed and watched a movie and had long, sprawling telephone conversations with my man-pals. They too keep me sane, and nurture my very natural and dominant tom-boy side.

There are indeed obstacles to overcome if you have friends of the opposite sex, or the ‘sexual’ persuasion that you’re attracted to. In fact, some of my man-pals and I have test-driven the highway of carnal hell and decided to keep things on the ‘let’s stay clothed’ side. Once pride is knocked out of the way, we’ve developed wonderful friendships.

Unlike my gal-pals who see my stubborn nature and my ferocious ‘go for it’ attitude as motivating, most of my man-pals get a little kick out of my temper. Coming off of a huge passionate rant, one of my man-pals once commented, “I get such a kick out of you when you lose it. It’s hilarious man.”. The same man-pal takes the battle of the sexes to a fun-at-the-fair-muddy-tug-of-war level, and we have hysterical conversations. God bless him.

If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m a pretty straightforward gal. I like to put my cards on the table, and expect my friends, acquaintances and colleagues to function without pretence. In the past I’ve been accused of being blunt, naïve and having high expectations.

Yes, I think, as I nod my pretty little head, I am indeed all of these things. Of course being blunt, naïve, and having high expectations can be troublesome, it can be wonderful too, especially when you find kindred spirits who share the same expectations, disappointments and joys as you.

Would I say that my man-pals are a good check and balance to the strong-feminine energy that my gal-pals and I exude? Perhaps, but I don’t see it that way. My pals are my pals regardless of the shape of their underpants, soft and frilly or masculine and tight ( oh sweet love of Mary, now there’s a thought to make your hearts go pitter-patter!). In fact, I could care less how my friends gender-identify, they  are all human, lovely, and wonderful! I think some of my pals don’t even wear underpants most of the time….but I digress…perhaps that last bourbon didn’t have enough ice?

My man-pals help me with my man-issues. I can run by the ultimate single in your 30’s and 40’s question, “What the hell was that?! Was that supposed to be a date?”, and trust them to give a no-nonsense answer. Usually it’s one of the following;

1) Yes you dumb ass, he was trying to be romantic.

2)Hell if I know, he sounds screwed up.

3)No, don’t be stupid, he just wanted to get in your pants.

My man-pals can be counted on to soothe my fears and tears and provide the same solutions as my gal-pals to my rare weepy rants;

1) Oh sweety, I wish I was there to give you a hug.

2) Are you crying? You never cry.

3) Hahaha. Don’t be silly, you’re fabulous and you know it! Fuck’em.

My man-pals do often give beauty advice much different from that of my gal-pals. When I make negative statements about my body;

1) Who cares about a couple extra pounds, you’re jiggliscious and lots of guys want to jump your bones.

2) So what,work it off with a little sex.

3) Get off your ass.

My man-pals are as glorious, wonderful and priceless as my gal-pals. They offer me a balanced male energy, and maybe, just maybe, one day, one of them might turn into the man of my dreams. More bourbon please.

So, for any of my man-readership who have felt marginalized or offended by any of my posts, I sincerely and deeply apologize. Regardless of what treasure you hide below the belt, you are all my sweet, succulent little plums, and I wouldn’t change any of you for the world.

Growing Older But Not Up

Bath

Bath (Photo credit: Jagrap)

Ah yes, the famous Jimmy Buffett lyrics, “Growing older but not up….”. Never was a truer lyric written me thinks darlings.

I’m starting to reach the age where I finally understand some of the truisms told to me by those folks who had bravely gone before me, and had indeed grown older but not up. I remember people telling me that despite their age they still felt like the same person on the inside.

I interpret this now to mean they still feel the same emotions, fears, desires, regrets and dreams that youth think are unique to them.  Despite the general stiff upper lip with which we lead our days as productive adults, we all still have the same butterflies in our stomachs about falling in love (again), about new beginnings and relationships.

Somehow, and somewhere, logic over powers emotion. Alas, we are essentially emotional creatures, and we cannot repress our desires forever. We’ve just learned to hide it, push it aside, and carry on as if we’re stoic souls not moved by mere emotion.

But I challenge you my fabulous readers. For every woman who enjoys a long, hot, candlelit bath, there is a woman who still lets her imagination get carried away with romance and love stories.  As the hot water softens her skin, and the razor skims her calves, she remembers the way a lover’s touch felt, or imagines a first kiss.

No matter the storms of marriage, separation, divorce, child-birth, death, or loss we have weathered, there is always a little spark burning inside of us. One that, with just a little encouragement, burns more brightly as we unbind our hearts from fear of losing again.

We all grow older, but you cannot convince me that our gentle hearts ever grow up, or ever should grow up.  If you don’t believe me, draw a hot bath, light some candles, put on some of your favourite slow songs and observe where your mind goes. A glass of bubbly won’t hurt either my sweet darlings. Don’t be afraid of your heart’s desires, rejoice in your vitality.

Someone, somewhere is thinking of you tonight.

 

With Friends Like You…

holding hands - age 10, and age 8

holding hands – age 10, and age 8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you know my darlings, I attribute most of my fabulousness to my wickedly delightful gal-pals and on occasion, a smidgen too much of bourbon, the elixir of heaven and all things delicate.

As we age, my friends and I are in less regular contact, yet have a stronger affinity.  I chalk this up to a lifestyle more acutely aware of our mortality, and a significantly decreased tolerance for  crap. Personal integrity and authenticity ranks high among the common personal characteristics of my  friends, as does potential for shenanigans and general silliness.

Throughout the past weeks and months, as life has followed the usual path of twists and turns we’ve come to expect from this mortal rodeo, contact with my friends has waxed and waned with the pull of our grown-up responsibilities.

This morning (yes, darlings, I was up and out before 10am ) I met with an acquaintance for coffee. We hadn’t seen one another in over ten years, but had managed to stay in touch.  We hugged as though the years had been days, and caught up with one another’s busy lives with the same ease.

I distinctly remember the last face-to-face conversation with this fellow. He was rushing off to a tennis match and tossed me a few tidbits of ‘older-wiser’ information for writers. I was in awe of his talent, and the number of years he’d been getting paid to do what I loved – write. Today it was different.  Both of our perspectives have the soft edges of sea-glass, and it was reassuring to  witness this gentle effect of time. As writers, he found his joy in the day-to-day news business of folks who actually want their stories told, and I find my joy writing fiction and poetry as reflection of my other professional passion. More importantly, I think (because I hesitate to speak for him my sweet little peaches) that we’re both genuinely happy for one another.

Throughout the years, age has this beautiful way of polishing the edges and dulling the rough spots. It puts our flaws and desires into perspective, with this wonderful side-effect of peeling away layers of ego so that our empathy and joy take over.

Last night I  enjoyed a glass of wine and  a movie with a former colleague. His life has taken some surprising turns, but whose hasn’t?  Even though we don’t know the minutia of one another’s lives, there is comfort in spending time with someone you’ve known for a while. Not so much of the past matters really, just that you’ve come through it, and have become a better person for it.  I guess that’s why my friends are so amazingly fabulous.

All of my long-time friends live at a distance, and whenever we talk or email, it’s like no time has passed at all. We know one another, and really ‘see’ who they are. There is always comfort in having those witnesses to your life, who have known you for years and understand your quirks and reasons without having to ask. They know your wounds, and what shape the scars took as they healed. They remember the young dreamer you once were who is now satisfied with a little garden and the peace of watching your children grow.

New friends bring a different joy, a joy of retelling  your story, recreating who you are, and connecting with other lives that you will witness for years and years to come.

Friendship is a precious gift my darlings. Don’t ever waste your time feeling guilty for the time you take to cultivate these precious gems.

 

 

School Concerts; How not to be a Photo-Pig

Bowling Green High School Symphonic Band and C...

Bowling Green High School Symphonic Band and Concert Band Mid-Winter Concert (Photo credit: rkleine)

It was with some bittersweet nostalgia that I attended my kiddo’s spring concert. It wasn’t just any concert, he was also going to be surprised with winning the school music award.

Needless to say I was beaming. My friend and I found two seats just two rows back from where the bands were setting up. In front of me, was a woman who set up a tri-pod to record her son or daughter’s performance.  I wondered whether or not to say anything since clearly the tripod was a sight-line nightmare for any parent sitting more than the second row back.

I began to marvel at how far my kiddo had come. How we take for granted our children’s safety and educational interests every day when we send them out the door.  I felt a deep gratitude for the teachers that have spent time teaching my child a skill that will remain with him throughout his life.

I also admired all the kids as they filed in, smiling at one another, and generally being civilized.  My minded faded back to my middle-school days and all of the in-fighting and mean girl bullying. “Yes,” I thought to myself, perhaps the world is becoming more gentle and tolerant. I was wrong.

The reality is, we send our kids out, and they reflect back our own level of tolerance and respect.

As the young musicians filed in and took their places, the woman in front of me, two over from tri-pod lady, held up her iPad and began filming her wonderful musical prodigy. I must note here that it was not an iPad mini.  She held a full-sized iPad up and fanned it around so she could get a panoramic view of the bands and choirs and she didn’t put it down.

My darling child was featured right in the middle of the staged area. He was up front where everyone could see his amazing, inherited good looks and musical talent (clearly from his mother’s  side of course). This was his moment to shine. His father was lined up with the other parents who were video-taping, and mindful of being in everyone else’s way.

I tapped the woman’s shoulder in front of me, and asked that she please lower her iPad as no one could see. She glared at me, held it up a bit higher, and carried on. I have to admit that even though I’d like to say I took a deep breath and let it go, that I wanted to rip the offending iPad out of her hands and smack her over the head with it. Not once, but a few times until she got the message.

Her rudeness categorically shifted her in my perception from being a doting parent to being a selfish cow. At the end of the first song, having almost entirely missed my kid’s performance because of said cow’s iPad filming, I tapped her on the shoulder again and this time I told her that no one else could see.

The once ‘selfish cow’, graduated in my mind to the ‘ignorant twat’ category.  The entire first row of parents held up iPad’s, virtually screening the audience from any possible sighting of the particular kid they came to see perform.

After my second attempt to have Ms. Photo-Pig consider her rudeness, the cracked, high-pitched voice of a lady in her twighlight years came from one row behind me, “Put down your damn iPad!!”, she hollered. Immediately all iPad’s dropped and I was able to watch the rest of the concert without having to break out my Cassius Clay moves. ‘Cause you know I would have.

Remember that you are always setting an example for your kiddos. I refrained from beating the living daylights out of the Photo Pig, and someone else backed me up when I needed help to work toward the ‘greater good’.

The lesson here my darlings is that we all have children whom we adore. We all want to see them perform, and we all want pictures.  There is nothing wrong with snapping your kiddo’s picture afterward. Don’t be a Photo-Pig and ruin it for everyone else.

 

 

The Importance of Being Civilized

Rude Cow!

Rude Cow! (Photo credit: foxypar4)

When I was a teenager, I remember rolling my eyes at my boyfriend’s dad when he said something about getting older and appreciating the little things that make us civilized.

I heard his words echo in my mind as I made my way up from the parking garage, dodging a big loogie someone had thoughtfully  horked up on one of the stairs.

As it turns out, I don’t know that anyone has ever spoken words more true than that proper old man as he bemoaned the irritation of rudeness.

I miss the little things that make the world a nicer place to live. You know, like not leaving wads of snot on public stairs.

Public areas are filled with people abusing our unwritten rules of etiquette. At my local mall, you can barely drive your car through the masses of other driver’s who are convinced that their need to park in no-parking zones supersedes everyone else’s need to get where they’re going  or their safety.

At the movie theatre, there is always someone (and not always a teenager my lovelies, most of the time they’re obnoxious adults) whose need to check their phone is way more important than everyone else’s need to relax without distraction. Every single time I go to the theatre, I have an opportunity to practice patience. From a different perspective, I also have an opportunity to do a gross surgical procedure involving the latest cellular technology and  someone’s rectum. It does all really just depend on your perspective.

And then there’s noise pollution. If I wanted to listen to music at 2am, trust me, I’d turn it on, and quite likely, it wouldn’t be what’s blaring from your house.  If I wanted the windows in my car to rattle from a thumping bass line, I’d make sure it happened all on my own my sweet little plum.

In case you’ve forgotten, or were never taught, the library is still a sacred bastion of silence. That means no cell phone sisters, I don’t care what the fashion crime of the day is, put it away.  Chances are the editors at Vogue will understand you’re unavailable.

In short, to make a summary point,  if I want  to walk in snot, I’ll come up with something all on my own without being exposed to your slippery little gem of infectious-contagious generosity.

Indeed, as I’ve aged, I have come to value the importance of being civilized.

 

When Everyone Else is a Jackass

OK, let me drive...

OK, let me drive… (Photo credit: F H Mira)

“You can discover a lot about your practice while you’re driving.” That’s one of the greatest pieces of advice that I received studying the Dharma at my local temple.

One of my English Dharma teachers, a tall, strapping man, added this wisdom to one of our discussions on the meditation hall floor, and then smiled in his gentle way giving a little chuckle.

Every time I mutter, “You jackass,” under my breath while I’m behind the wheel, I think of what he told me, and am reminded that practice is never-ending. Opportunity exists in every moment. I am reminded that I need to keep being present, aware, and, during those days when practice is outweighed by frustration, out of reach of a firearm.

Jackasses! “I found myself muttering to myself on my way to the office this morning. Ah yes, there it is, my practice failing. I can see the vapours of it twisting and turning and disappearing into thin air with the breath from my angry,less than sublime rush-hour, mumbling.

I have come to realize that the more ‘jackasses’ there are on the road, the more I need to sit and breathe and meditate . Perhaps even take a mini-holiday with a gin and tonic on the rocks.

But I’ve always been a believer in the idea that you can’t really practice if you aren’t really living, and living means interacting with other people on the planet who have their own ideas, agendas and values. That really sucks doesn’t it?

That means that I can’t sit in the peace of my little green space, wrapped in a wispy slip of thin cotton, sipping tea all day and rambling around in my own mind with my own ideas thinking that I’m doing wonderfully well, and nearly achieving sainthood.

Crap, it always looks so darn easy on the pamphlet!!!

So, although my nature is to withdraw when I’m tired, and rest is highly undervalued in our society, I do know that there is a priceless alchemy between friends. It is that magical exchange that can rejuvenate faster than any tonic, ten-day retreat, or gin on the rocks with a juicy wedge of lime.

Today I had the good fortune of sharing the company of a friend I haven’t seen in over a year. Despite a year passing, it feels like I just saw him yesterday. Our friendship holds no obligation.

We discussed personal leadership, professional impotence, service, poetry, writing and being responsible for our own success or failure. It was a breath of intellectual and friendly fresh air that I am deeply grateful for.

Believe it or not, there wasn’t a single jackass on the road during my drive home. Hmm?

When everyone else is a jackass, perhaps it’s because I have my jackass sighting eyes turned on. Perhaps it just takes someone you trust enough to help you choose another view, through different eyes, so you witness the world with gratitude again;the gift of presence, the value of creating, and power of choice.