Thank You….

A great big, wet smooch to say thank you to everyone who dropped by and shared some giggles with me in 2013. Thank you for commenting, reading and sharing my posts. Here’s to a fabulous 2014, a witty one, a healthy one, and a sexy one too!

happy-new-year

 

Now get on out there and have a little fun as you send 2013 packing and get ready for 2014! Be safe. Have fun. Stay gorgeous!

 

 

Advertisements

Love is Another Country

“To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.” ~Anna Louise Strong~

“To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.”
~Anna Louise Strong~

Ever one to be in line with the mindless consumer push, I decided to write a post about love. After all, it was just on December 24th that I spotted the first signs of Valentine’s Day tidbits taking over the jingle-bell-and-kiss-me-under-the mistletoe section of a local shop.

Don’t be disheartened my wee little sprites. This isn’t a syrupy sweet Hallmarkish promotion of red fish-net stockings and silicone lubricant. Not that I’m into that kind of stuff anyway…..ah hem

It’s about a topic I believe is close to the sentimental chamber of our very human spirits. It’s about letting yourself give and receive love without letting the pressures of  what-we-should-be-doing ruin it all.

As is tradition in my home, I fall easily into my nightgown in front of a slew of chick flicks when I have the place to myself. Usually I have a cup of tea or a spicy hot chocolate. Wine, I have learned only leads to more tears and possibly drunk dialing.

One of my favourite shows is New In Town. Far from a blockbuster, but so wonderful, and at the same time anti-feminist too. It just tears the hard-ass-independent-woman in me to bits to admit that I love it.

Perhaps it’s because I see myself falling for the ever-able-to-save-the-day-rough-around-the-edges Ted Mitchell. You know, the classic strong and silent type. It doesn’t hurt that Harry Connick Jr plays the character of Ted. Meow!

During a classic mother-daughter talk, my mumster and I waxed nostalgic about the bad boys we loved and (thankfully, in retrospect) lost.

As hard as it is to admit, sometimes it takes a few bad boys, heartbreaks and major losses to help us realize that it’s the gentlemen, the nice guys, the ones who open the door for you when your hands are full, who always seem to have put thought into a conversation, date, or drink at the end of the day, who are the ones who have always really had our hearts despite our steamy trysts with the tall, dark and handsome ones.

These are the guys and gals who really make our hearts pitter-patter. For a long, long time. These are the fellas worth the red fish net stockings and chilled bottles of bubbly, or perhaps the gals worthy of some well planned manscaping.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, whether you’re the educated one, or the blue collar one, whether you’re too old for him and he’s too young for you, or he/she doesn’t come with the vamp/hunk stamp of approval of your pals, they’re too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, have a funny  accent, maybe, just maybe, none of that stuff matters.

In our culture, love, indeed is another country.

Any kind of deep love, whether platonic or romantic is a deep reach down into our day-to-day, nine to five bag of consumer culture. We constantly measure the losses and gains, benefits and drawbacks, pros and cons of ‘what if’.

We’ve all had our hearts broken and taken risks. We all love the solitude of our own home. We also all yearn for that special someone who is there when we get home to help us celebrate, or hold us when we need some encouragement.

In order to know great love,  you must take a grand leap of faith to find out whether you’re being led down a path with no breadcrumb trail, into a dark, tangled, wilderness, or to a brilliant  life you only dared dream of.

Love is only between two people, not his sister, the hairdresser, your brother-in-law, the dental hygienist, your granny or Dr. Phil.

Love is a state of its own, declared the moment you enter into relationship. You are the sovereigns, the populace and the lawmakers. Love is indeed another country.

2014: The List

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible."  ~Walt Disney~

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
~Walt Disney~

Last year I had a total of three items on my 2013 To-Do-List.

Two of them were within my control, and I’ve checked those off. The third….let’s just say it’s a little more…it’s going to have to be an addendum to the 2014 list.

So far there are two items on my 2014 list, and the 2013 addendum of course. But I’m working on that one, making an effort to keep my mind and heart open to all possibilities.

Of the two items on the 2014 list, I will share only one of them with you my darlings. That’s right, it’s a lady’s prerogative to keep some things to herself and herself alone.

The number one item on my 2014 To-Do-List is to……(drum rolllllllll please!)….FUN.

Yes, this year I’m going to have more fun.

Yep. I know, I know. It seems like my life is one day of sunshine and rainbows after the next, but that’s not the case. 2013 saw its fair share of hard work, worries, and sleepless nights.

With a list of just two things and an addendum, I think I can manage a little more fun.

I’m not just talking about your run of the mill, go-to-the-fair-sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-in-the-shower kind of fun.

I’m talking about making the most of every moment and enjoying it. Having more fun at work, with my kiddo, while I tidy the house, and as I make my way through traffic every weekday morning. Now that will be a challenge.

I suppose the more intellectual folks our there may call it mindfulness, being in the moment or some such sophisticated spiritual way of being. I’m just going to call it “fun”.

This may take some later nights, a case of bubbles, and a sprucing up of my business suit inspired wardrobe, but I’m willing to do the work. Besides that darlings, laughter is sexy.

What’s on your list?

 

 

 

Waiting for a Sign; 2014

Guiding lights

Guiding lights (Photo credit: James Jordan)

Today is a rare and wonderful lazy Sunday. I know it will be filled with great music, leftover Indian food, and much thought about the closing of one year, and the revelation of another.

2013 was a challenging year. However challenging, in true Scorpio style, I rose to meet those challenges, mostly, I think. Well, let’s just say that I got by with a lot of help from my friends.

Not one to make resolutions, last year, I made a list. A short one. A “To-Do-List”, that would most likely take a year to be fulfilled.

With only three items on it, how could I not focus on each and every one, however massive and life changing those listed items may have been?

Unlike resolutions, lists are finite tasks which are intended to be completed. Resolutions are the equivalent of the late night booty call whom we wake up to sometime in March. Only then do we realize that our  resolutions  packed their carry-ons and quietly left around January 5th, leaving us with their ugly, snoring, unshaven twin-brother.

With a grand leap of faith and some ferocious determination, I whittled my 2013 list down to one, last, frustrating item. Frustrating, because I believe that except for being open to it, it’s out of my control.  That one thing is niggling at my insides.

Trust me, I’ve tried to tame it with stilettos, champagne, adorable men-folk, and fabulous lipstick. I have waxed philosophical and tried to surrender to it.  On more than one occasion I’ve tried to tame that little niggling #3  with bourbon and writing.

Alas, it remains unsatisfied, and teases me. It whispering about the universe and her grand sense of humour and mischief. I may, indeed, have already achieved what I set out to achieve in item #3 of my 2013 ‘To-Do-List”. I may be able to check-tick item number three, but I don’t know for sure. Nor will I before the clock strikes midnight and 2014 rises like a virgin debutant, casting her blinding light over the future.

Watching the tail of 2013 slither off into the shadows of the new year is something that I’m looking forward to, even though I know it will coil up in a corner of my soul like every year has since my birth, reminding me of lessons learned, and that surrender is necessary for graceful living. Le sigh darlings. Le sigh, indeed.

Not only is the new year upon us, but it comes in unison with a new moon. My body is so tightly bound by the cycles of the moon that I’m always tempted to hide until the tides of new and full moons are over. I’d like to say that I bring out my surfboard and camera when this happens, and play in the energy. The truth is, most times, I only don a brave mask, persisting rather than surrendering.

So, as I began this post, I fall into my lazy Sunday. It’s not lazy according to the standards of most. I will begin to take down the glitter and gold that welcomes Christmas. It is my ritual, and every year I do it alone, with intent, feeling that something has ended and something new is about to begin, even though I can’t define the ends or beginnings in concrete terms. I liken it to watching the last embers burn in the fireplace, and then rise again as new fuel is added.

Through a brilliant blue streak of profanity, the tree and the ornaments will be packed away. The fridge will be purged of leftovers, and I will begin to consider my list for 2014.

It will be a gentler list, a more spiritual one since my basic needs were at the heart of what I needed to change in 2013. I will be more specific and gentle with the thoughts and wishes I put out to our beautiful universe. But I will be as persistent. I will even be grateful to the beastly nature of 2013 that forced me to birth a new life, to challenge my self-confidence, my values and my spirituality.

I wish you a lazy Sunday, or any other day. One, during which you can take stock and reframe your purpose. May your ‘list’ for 2014 be true to what you need.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

3WiseMen

Since I was a teenager, my very favourite part of Christmas has always been the late service at church, where, in the quiet sanctuary, people come together to replenish their souls, and meditate on the true meaning of Christmas

Singing ‘Silent Night’ in the candlelit glow, my heart lightens a bit, and I know with deep certainty that life is as it should be.

Whatever this day is to you, I wish you all of these things; joy, courage, hope, peace and love.

Merry Christmas.

Christmas Rant Part II

Something to ponder as we gaze upon the star of wonder, and open our doors and hearts to Christmas;

jesus

Christmas Rant: Part I

The War in the Vendée was a royalist uprising ...

The War in the Vendée was a royalist uprising that was suppressed by the republican forces in 1796 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, ‘Part I’. There may, indeed, be a ‘Part II’ , depending upon how stupid things get before the new year.

Last year the grand ‘we’,  declined to see the value in the Occupy Wall Street campaign, that was staggeringly avoided by major press agencies.

We let the dreadlocked-live-our-values-over-charged-for-our-mediocre-educations-and-under-employed youth, fight it out in the streets for the middle class. The middle class, who are losing their ever crippling grip on the edge of affluence as they march to the hypnotically convincing drum of ‘The Man’.

‘The Man’, yep, that pretty much almost sums it up. Consider two facts from Joseph E. Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality;

“The top 1% earned more than 65 percent of the total national income [in the United States], ” and, ” …the ratio of CEO annual compensation to that of the typical worker by 2010 was back to what it had been before the crisis, to 243 to 1“.

While the media reports on Miley’s junior-miss sized twerking patooty, in above-the-fold-full-colour-coverage, they give about half of that coverage to reports about unions being vilified (by the powers that be), as unfairly over-compensating workers.

It doesn’t take a PhD in maths to know that the statistics mentioned above impact the majority of folks in not only North America, but everywhere on the planet.

When we treat silver-spoon born Conrad Black as a real journalist, and Rob Ford as a misunderstood ‘average guy’, we’re wrong. Dead wrong. Rob Ford’s Escalade is worth 3x that of the average vehicle (a simple Honda Civic) owned by those living in the GTA, and his assets multiply to have net value in the millions.

Toronto has a mayor who openly flaunts the rules, degrades homosexuals, women and anyone else who thinks differently than him, and uses the excuse that the press is too rough on him to get away with it all. Actually, his big bully brother does the talking. The day I knew we’d lost all dignity as a nation was the one that showed Mr. Ford and his compadres dancing like  idiots in council chambers just days after having his mayoral power stripped from him.

Only someone with the wealth of Mr. Black has the gumption to whine about being incarcerated for being a liar and a cheat. Call it fraud, bad accounting, whatever…it’s lying and cheating at the cost of everyone else who shares the same planet.

The worst part is, we let it happen. Yes, read this slowly; we allow this to happen. Instead of rioting in the street, we go to work, pay our taxes, and our over-inflated power, cell phone and health care bills.

Let me get back to the subject of unions. We’ve seen unions vilified by the Conservative government and big business, so much so that we’ve bought into this anti-union perspective.

Unions may have been gauche in the booming 80’s, but today we live a different economic and social reality. The reality is that unions are needed now more than they were needed in the past thirty or forty years. For over thirty years, the average annual income of a full-time worker stagnated, while the profits at the top have multiplied at astonishing rates.

Young adults entering the workforce are under-employed at alarming rates. Not to mention everyone one else. The days of full-time jobs with benefits that sustain a comfortable lifestyle are over. Instead, we have the majority of people working at part-time or contract jobs, unable to sustain themselves, or have any measure of security.

Besides being unable to pay their bills, folks in jobs that are not secure suffer from more illness and social problems than ever before. Economic instability feeds fear, and that creates a downward spiraling quagmire of social issues; homelessness, addiction, abuse, crime, and all of the other wonderful side-effects of poverty.

The top 1%’s after tax income reached an average of $1.3 million in the United States in 2010. That of the bottom 20% only reached $17,000. No wonder big-business-journalism and politics doesn’t like unions. Unions distribute the wealth and offer job security.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are issues with unions too. Look at the billions of dollars of bailout money that went to Automakers with no conditions to streamline their production or offer more affordable, environmentally friendly products. Despite the obvious lazy-barnacles that infest unions (they also infest non-union environments at the same rate though), I’d rather live with unions to ensure more people with full-time jobs, than with what is happening now.

Canada and the U.S.,  live in a world of performing-party-politicking that leaves us without leaders in a wild-western-hemisphere black-hole of civilization.

If we leave the world up to those with no social conscience, and a taste for greed rather than loving-kindness, there will be many darker days to come, than this, the longest night of the year.

 

 

Luxe Gifts For Women

You know how I feel about over-spending, over-shopping, and basically being taken, hook, line and sinker by the flashy adverts extolling excess, gluttony, and greed. If you don’t, I’ll summarize; It’s hogwash.

However, should you require a very special gift for the Princess in your life, and don’t know where to begin, let me help you.

If you’re going to go overboard, do it whole-heartedly with abandon.

You may also require a bank loan, 12 shots of Christmasy tequila, or, perhaps a new lady-love with lower expectations. But we don’t judge here do we ladies? No. We just dole out advice, and then sit back with your dainty crystal-wear filled with some wonderful southern comfort.

So, for those looking for that je ne sais quoi over-the-top-glitz-gift, I offer up a list of indulgent gifts and experiences.

Luxe Gifts for Your Christmas Princess

1) A sparkly bangle. Think of it as a 50 Shades reminder of your hold on her.

14 Carat Gold, Twisted Diamond Bangle

14 Carat Gold, Twisted Diamond Bangle

2) How about a nice little weekend property in the Cayman Islands. Just connect with one of the locals and voila – she’s putty in your sandy hands.

Nothing says, "I love you", like a few cool million.

Nothing says, “I love you”, like a few cool million.

3) Ok, let’s not get carried away. How about a simple handbag?

Leiber Precious Rose Bag - $92,000  This unique little gem boasts,  1,016 diamonds(42.56 carats), 1,169 pink sapphires and 800 tourmalines. LIke your lady-love, there is only one of these to be had.

Leiber Precious Rose Bag – $92,000
This unique little gem boasts, 1,016 diamonds(42.56 carats), 1,169 pink sapphires and 800 tourmalines. LIke your lady-love, there is only one of these to be had.

4) How about Maison Victor’s diamond ring-ed dildo. Ideal for the couple who travel independently. Nothing says I love you like 8 inches of white gold and diamonds.

For just over $55,000, it's the gift that just keeps on giving...

For just over $55,000, it’s the gift that just keeps on giving…

5) One of my favourite romantic gifts is a case of something bubbly, labeled with dates and events during which you will pop the cork and enjoy a bottle of something cool and refreshing with your lady-love. Think events like; First Snow Storm , Valentine’s Day, Evening before our Winter Get-Away…..

For the woman who expects the best, why not try a moderately priced bottle of Dom Perignon, which you can order through our local Ontario Vintages?

I was an arts major, but even I know that 12x$222.95 = getting lucky for sure!

I was an arts major, but even I know that 12x$222.95 = getting lucky for sure!

6) For Princess you are just beginning to court, how about a nice, unassuming box of chocolates? How about some Knipschildt truffles? Recognized as the most expensive chocolate in the world….half a dozen should do it! Add a bottle of Dom, and you’ve provided a little snackie-poo for the princess’s next bath.

Delicious!

Delicious!

 

7) If you’re ready for a commitment, why not pop the question and offer you hand in matrimonial bliss, along with this humble symbol of your undying adoration from Tiffany?

The answer will be yes, yes, YES!!!

The answer will be yes, yes, YES!!!

 

 

8) If your Princess is a bit of an intellectual like myself (I prefer being called, “Duchess”, as Princess is too naïve for me), how about a good book? Perhaps one of two copies of  Ptolemy’s 1477 Cosmography? Don’t ask me how, where or if this is available, but you’re a man right? There’s nothing like overcoming a challenge to impress your little lady. Go for it cowboy.

Knowledge - Priceless!

Knowledge – Priceless!

 

9) If you can afford these gifts, your Princess’s number one complaint will be that you don’t get to spend enough time together. So, why not buy her the gift of companionship. After all those who say that money can’t buy happiness, just don’t know where to shop darling!

Search your local directory for escort services near you. She may be offended at first, but trust me, after spending a few days with her new BFF, she’ll be living in paradise. Besides that, what will she do if she has to change the batteries in her new toy – I’m sure this gentleman could help while you’re out-of-town.

hohoho

 

10) How about a little getaway to Nygard Cay to  refresh and rejuvenate the princess. If you can’t go, I’m sure you can find an escort to keep her company and see to it that her needs are met.

nygard cay

 

 

 

 

South Pole Santa Squares

Feeling the bite of the first snow fall? Already dreaming of your winter-sun-get-away? Here’s something yummy and sweet for your Christmas tray.

Be sure to click on the link below to warm up the ambiance in the kitchen!

 

South Pole Santa Squares

Ingredients

Base

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter

1 cup flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

 

Filling

1 TBSP rum

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup coconut

1 egg

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries (red or green)

1/2 cup well-drained crushed pineapple

 

Method

Base

Mix ingredients together until crumbly. Press into a 9″ square baking pan. Bake at 35o for 15 minutes and remove from oven. Have filling mixed and ready to spread over hot base.

Filling

Beat egg, add brown sugar. Combine well.

Stir in rum extract

Add flour and baking powder, stirring to combine.

Stir in coconut, cherries and pineapple.

Spread mixture over hot base layer.

Return to over and bake 35 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cut into squares after cooling slightly

***

 

 

A Christmas Kind of Cozy

tateshina-snow-tree-20130216

tateshina-snow-tree-20130216 (Photo credit: kenmainr)

Dogwood and evergreens are just steps outside my patio door. In the summer they provide shade and privacy, and during the late fall months, they stand barren against the desolate pervading grey.

Today was our first real snow fall. The kind that hits the meteorologists radar a few days in advance, and has people panicking to put on snow tires, find snow brushes, and get their shovels ready.

With the absence of having to shovel or scrape my car ( I love city living), my first-snowfall-of-the-season to-do list was more like; get all food, drink, and Christmas baking ingredients in the house so we don’t have to leave until Monday morning.

People think I’m crazy because I have my gifts together, house decorated, and even the special ingredients for my Christmas baking in the house weeks before the holiday. Other than fresh produce that I pick up through the week, we’re fully stocked.

I think people who save all of their errands for weekends and the weeks just before Christmas insane, driven by consumerism and brainwashed by the glossy-magazine-cover-demands of Christmas.

Christmas isn’t just the 25th of December, it’s the entire season. There’s nothing better than to be able to really relax when company comes by, or to take your time baking and merry-making.

As I pulled the covers up to my chin last night, I drifted off to sleep as excited as a child about not having to set my alarm, and not having to go to work. For that matter, not having to do anything at all.

I was roused from my sleep at 6am when my alarm went off. My weekend alarm. The one I only set for weekends on call, and three AM limousine pick-ups to the airport. The one I forgot I had set for last weekend for some ungodly reason.  For a split-second I contemplated getting up, but before I made up my mind, I was back in dreamland.

Managing to get out of the house before 11am on the weekend is a grand coup here. But today, so very excited to have no agenda, no ‘have-to’, ‘ought-to’, or ‘need-to-do’ chores, I was up and out at 8:45, happy to snag a newspaper and my favourite cup of take-out coffee before the snow really began to fly.

I managed to drink my coffee and read the paper without interruption, rushing, or having  pull my coat over my shoulders as I usually due at my regular café to guard against the drafty window seat.

All the while, our kitten was cozied up on my lap, and the old cat was snugged into his favourite spot on the chesterfield. The evergreens and dogwood were already covered in snow, and I was so thankful to just be inside. I had a perfect, cozy, group-of-seven-view just outside my window.

After a big breakfast and confirming our plans for ‘no plans’, our home settled in to that Sunday afternoon feeling. We peeled clementines, munched lunch,drank refreshing spritzers, and managed to bake up some yummies.

With some foresight and good planning, dinner is in the freezer, ready for a trip to the oven, and our fireplace is full, ready to start our evening fire.

Finally, after a weeks of rushing to holiday parties and school events, on this lazy day of not having to do anything, it finally feels like Christmas.