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And God Created Temptation

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Perception

"The truth can be  seen from different doorways."
“The truth can be seen from different doorways.”

You call it a lie, I call it protecting someone from a painful truth.

I call it a lie, you call it protecting someone from a painful truth.

From either perspective, the other is an inconsiderate pimple on the bum of life.

Perception is as unique as our fingerprints,  as  delicate and yet  impossibly strong as a spider web.

When you open your eyes to limitless perceptions of the most seemingly insignificant things, it can take you down an endless rabbit-hole of realities you never dreamed existed.

As I sat across from a woman whom I hadn’t seen since she was a girl, this concept of perception whispered underneath the chatter of the café.

I had always thought of her as meek, raised in a traditional Mennonite family. She, as it turns out always thought of me as bubbly, cheerful, having a wonderful life. After 22 years of living our lives and becoming the women that we are, we learned that none of that was true. Twenty years ago, she was thirsty for travel and adventure, and inside I was a trembling mess of insecurity trying to escape a life of abuse. Who knew?

What is important, is that today, we are both strong, capable, very amazing women who have both travelled, and come home to roost, comfortable in our own skin and knowledge of who we are. Yes darlings, we’re deliciously confident women. Perception.

The creative spirit is one that needs sustenance. If we deny it, it withers like tender shoots in the scorching mid-day sun.  I wish you all simple abundance, unfettered joy, and true love.
The creative spirit is one that needs sustenance. If we deny it, it withers like tender shoots in the scorching mid-day sun.
I wish you all simple abundance, unfettered joy, and true love.

Later that day, having tea with a friend at the AGO, I shared the news of my recent professional triumph, and we discussed the world we work in, both from very different perspectives.  The conversation left me with a richer sense of the industry within which we work, and a delicately beaded clutch of knowledge to bring to the boardroom table.

I chose my galleries with care, and wandered off to see Scott McFarland’s; Snow , Shacks, Streets, Shrubs exhibit.  The wide-format photos were magnificent, and just like the review said, it made time slow down as I stopped to consider each piece.

Two of the photos were taken just up the road from where I live, in Caledon. The photos had been edited, one side of the wide print including snow and barren trees, the other, carefully blended  the snow with green grass and trees in their full, early summer splendor.  Seasons of nature and an individual’s lifetime lend their own light, shadows and perspective.

seaworldBrian Jungen and Duane Linlater’s Modest Livelihood film installation was my final stop at the gallery this weekend. As someone intimately familiar with the clinical aspects of human anatomy, I found the film (presented from the perspective of two indigenous artists who are moose-hunting), fascinating with regard to our perceptions of mortality, our own bodies and how we relate to the natural world.

Having grown up in the country with hunters and farmers, my perception of what we put on the table is much different than most. When I balk at the idea of a ‘juicy steak’ from the grill this long weekend, very few people understand my perspective, and why I can’t think of anything worse.

Perception; stretched out with an old beaux on Friday night, toasting my success with a glass of  bubbly, we had the opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings about why things went side-ways all of those years ago. Like side-ways in a ‘what the hell just happened’ kind of way. After all, when two people care about and even admire one another, what could possibly go wrong? Perception, expectation; basically everything.

I’ve been around here for a while, and I’ve learned that my perception is mine alone. It takes some sincere caring, courage and ego-dropping not only ask for another’s perspective, but to chew it over when it has the potential to leave a stinging, bitter taste.

The truth can be seen from different doorways indeed. I hope I’m always brave enough to go linger a while with my neighbour on their doorstep, and consider their point of view. Sometimes the bitterness we expect turns out to be something very, very sweet.

 

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Darkest Before the Dawn

"Surely a man has come to himself only when he has found the best that is in him, and has satisfied his heart with the highest achievement he is fit for.” ~Woodrow Wilson~
“Surely a man has come to himself only when he has found the best that is in him, and has satisfied his heart with the highest achievement he is fit for.”
~Woodrow Wilson~

Stick with this one darlings, it’s going to be a meandering read, but it will make sense in the end. I promise.

We all have days that mark significant changes in our lives.

Yesterday was one of them. Well,  for me anyway my juicy little plums.

It was the kind of day that demands a popped cork,some kind of celebration with someone special, and the quiet contemplation of feeling the satisfaction of accomplishment.

Although I love order,  knowing the next step, the next task, and the next expectation, I love happy endings even more. Which aren’t  endings at all really. They’re just bright shiny markers on the twisting, turning road of life.

I had definite plans in my head about how this long weekend would roll-out. I allowed myself the indulgence of daydreaming about seeing someone very special on Friday night, working my ass off on Saturday and Sunday, and relaxing on Monday.  Even though I had some work to do, I was ok with what I had thought my plans would be.  (Refer to How to Enjoy a Long Weekend).

But my plans went the way of good intentions around 9:30am yesterday morning.  I arrived home at least two hours later than I had planned and had to rush or entirely abandon all of my deliciously sinful daydreams. Instead, I  settled for a quick shower and threw on some comfy clothes.  It’s amazing what a combination of total freedom and stability can achieve emotionally.

So, although my day, and as it turns out, my evening was not what I had expected, I experienced one of the best days I’ve had in a long, long time. So good in fact, that my plans for working my ass off today and tomorrow have been abandoned. Apparently all of my hard work has already paid off for now, and I can take time to re-focus, creatively strategize, and allow myself the indulgence of a little hope.

Between work, parenting,  friendships and men, I’ve re-learned a few lessons this week;

1) Always believe, deep down in your core, that you have value and something wonderful to offer the world.

2) You never communicate as clearly and brilliantly as you think you do. Make space for intentional conversation with no expectations. Speak from your heart.

3) Logic will never speak the language of emotion. Sometimes our hearts take us to places more rich, a bit scarier and way more satisfying than our heads ever will. Be brave and pack a lunch.

4) Given the truth in item #2, there are always people out there who care about you more than you know or could even guess.

5) To be still and present in the darkness of the soul is a skill that takes practice and incredible courage. Learn to connect with your breath.

6) Prepare for the worst, expect the best, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Enjoy a Long Weekend

victoria-day-278x300As it’s Wednesday, and it’s been a hell of a long month this week, I have allowed myself not-so-present-moment indulgence of looking forward with eager anticipation to the weekend.

In Canada, the May long weekend is  fondly nicknamed ‘May Two-Four’, not for Queen Victoria whom the holiday was created to celebrate, but for the stereotypical Canadian love of beer in cases of…you got it – 24 bottles.

Regardless of what you may read in the above link, there is no real celebration of Queen Victoria. Nope. Nothing. Even the fireworks are background to the unofficial shenanigans that kick off summer in the Great White North.

For teenagers and twenty-somethings, the weekend involves as much time spent outdoors as possible, with as much alcohol consumed as possible, with as many friends as possible. Perhaps a smattering of I-shoulda-known-better-sexual-liaisons thrown in for good measure as well.

If you’re past the age where your body forgives you for spending three nights out in a damp, cold, and sometimes wet, tent, the weekend may take on a different tone.

Alas, it’s only Wednesday. We have a full two days of weekdays to get through before we strip off  our work-a-day girdle and bras and let our hair down.

In the past, when life has gotten me down, dragged me around by the hair, and kicked me in the soft spot, I’ve curled up and worried my days away.

Life has gotten me down lately. It’s dragged me around by the hair, and indeed kicked me in the soft spot a couple of good ones, but I’m choosing to balance the fear with delight, dread with grateful anticipation, and my desire to jump off a cliff with time spent with my favourite people (whether it’s actual time, emails, or telephone calls).  It’s a hard thing not to give in to fear.

However, it’s the kick-off to summer darlings, and although my life is far from easy, I don’t want to stop making memories, or let my spirit wither away inside of me like a neglected violet.

So, I will allow myself some at-home pampering, daydreaming, and the absolute luxury of fantasizing about some well deserved sensuality. Good food. Good wine. Good people…..

….inside where it’s warm, with a lovely view of the lake and the trees…..

My body doesn’t forgive me so easily for nights spent outside in a damp sleeping bag under the stars. On no-alarm-clock-days, it does forgive a tipple-too-much of bourbon, and late nights with deliciously satisfying men.

So, if you’re having a hard time, don’t forget that there is life worth living, people worth spending time with, and it’s ok to be kind to yourself.

You’re absolutely fabulous my sweet bundle of energy. Don’t ever forget it.  Go ahead, plan something wildly decadent for this long-weekend.

My friend Ms. Teri M gave me one of the best pieces of advice ever, “Go make your memories now.”

Because now is, indeed, all that we have.

 

 

 

 

 

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For Our Kiddos on Mother’s Day

mammaMother’s day, next to Valentine’s Day is a quintessential ‘Hallmark Holiday’. After all, great mothers are celebrated every day through the wonderful relationships which they cultivate with their children.

Whether you are a biological, surrogate, adoptive, or fur-baby Mama, you wake up every day, and do your best to make another  being feel confident, capable, loved and secure.

As a mother, I often reflect upon what being a mother has meant to me. All of a sudden, my baby has turned into a handsome, capable, thoughtful 6’3″ (and growing) young man with his own perspective and life.

I do believe that had it not been for motherhood, I would have been found dead in ditch somewhere by now, with fabulous stilettos, a designer bag, and a great tan.  Ah yes…becoming a mother certainly sets a girl’s priorities straight!

Motherhood is a journey of a lifetime, often only realized and experienced in retrospect. In present moments, we are bustling to cook a meal, do homework, get to practice on time and make sure everyone has what they need for the day.

…and then they grow up. Just a little bit. A little more independent. A little more sure of what their preferences are. A little bit more their own person.

You notice when you give them a kiss good night, or when they walk in the door after having been away for a few days. Your baby isn’t a baby, or even a child any more. They have, in those rushed moments, turned into a young woman or a young man, and they are their own person.

Sometimes, even when life happens right in front of us, it’s only through recollection and nostalgia that we piece together how those tiny babies we gave life to have become the wonderful, awesome people that they are at this moment.

From all of us moms out there to all of our kiddos –  Thank you for the most amazing times of our life.  We love you.

….did your take your jacket?….do you have enough money?….call me if you need a ride, even if it’s at 3am…

 

 

 

 

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Tinder – Let’s Review

My sweet little darlings, life has been, well, interesting, and challenging lately.

I have had a barrage of well-intended advice, assistance, and even passive aggressive jabs to my self-esteem by friends who find it their duty to point out my weak areas. …and you thought I didn’t notice …Thank you. That’s just what I need.

Anyway, a gal must do what a gal must do. I’ve found late night and middle-of-the-night-can’t-sleep-refuge in cheesy Nora Roberts novels and my Tinder APP.

You can go get yourself a Nora Roberts novel if you like, but I’m going to go ahead and give you my Tinder review.

The best way to do that, is to encourage you, my very dear readers, to sit back, and allow me to paint a mental picture for you using words to describe actual Tinder matches who are waiting for me, even now, as I type this.

*** I have changed the names to protect the identity of these fine men***

Matthew

First photo is of a gentleman sprawled shirtless in the back of a fishing boat. Moderate light brown/reddish chest hair and a ball cap. He has an ‘inney’ belly button. It’s just wrong that I know that.  The following photos involve landscapes and a dog eating something in the garden. My apologies Matthew. Good luck on the water. Left swipe.

Luke

Very impressive opener; a professional photo of himself with a well-groomed patch of facial hair.  Nice teeth, bald, 40 years old. What about photo number 2? Luke is speaking at a conference wearing a very delicate, white side-mic. Interesting. Let’s move on to photo number 3 shall we ladies? Ah yes, Luke in stages. Luke is shirtless with his arms around an electric blue and a neon green mannequin. Photo #4 Luke in full body spandex wearing a Santa hat. If it makes it seem less weird, he appears to be at a water sport event with other people wearing similar gear.  I’m not so sure about you Luke. But I’ll swipe right, what the heck.

Mark

Mark is 40 and has chosen to include a child (I’m assuming his) in his photo. No one wants to see pictures of kids on here. Three more photos of Mark smiling. Kinda cute. I’m sold; swipe right.

John

John has a beautiful cover photo, clearly a selfie, but well executed and no evidence of being in the powder room or car. Bravo John. Followed by 3 photos of John in combat gear with a paintball gun. John is also 109 ladies, or so it says. Sorry John, have fun playing in the woods. Left swipe.

Tony

Tony has only one photo. He’s wearing a New York Yankees cap and is at the ball park. Not a selfie, which means he either has friends, or isn’t shy to ask someone to take his photo. The only problem is that the only thing more annoying than the New York Yankees is a New York Yankees fan. But, he likes baseball, has a cute smile, and I like to banter with other baseball fans. You get a right swipe Tony, but if this works out, your closet will no longer contain Yankee Blue.

Mitchell

Initial photo; sitting on the back of a boat at sunset, beige shorts, navy top with a plastic cup in hand. Next three photos are gymish pictures of Mitchell. I think his nipples are actually bigger than mine, and that’s saying something. Next photo, Mitchell with a child. Meh, sorry Mitchell, I can’t compete with the nipples. Left swipe.

Bobby

First photo looks like he’s a mouth-breather. You know what I mean right? The kind of person who just wakes up stunned every day. Followed by more pictures of him looking bewildered.  He has taken time to write an extensive profile for Tinder (more than a sentence), and is looking for ‘phenomenally honest conversation’. Usually code for “I’m still searching for the meaning of life and find it impossible to keep my trap shut about people’s negative qualities”. Sorry Bobby, you’re going to have to continue to wonder. Keep the faith brother. Left swipe.

Brian

I bet he liked the ‘Where’s Waldo’ books when he was a kid. Why? Because his photo is of himself with five other guys.  Dude, if I had time to guess who the hell you are, I would be out there on real dates with real men, not douching-out on some voyeuristic, shallow APP.  Clean up your act Brian. Swipe left.

Carlo

Carlo, at 43 years old is clearly an athlete. His opener is a photo of what looks like a man, on a jetski. Nice silhouette, but I can’t see you Carlo.  This is the only photo. Alas, you are too much a mystery man for me tiger. Left swipe.

David

Oh David, how could we not love you? All of you. David is sticking his tongue out, and giving us the devil’s horn hand gesture. He’s no half-asser my friends. Nope, because he’s giving it to us with not one, but both hands.  Followed by a photo with a lizard and a very intense eyeball shot. Despite your baby blues, I’m gonna have to go left on this one. You’re too much of a man for me David. Bon soir.

Duke

Duke’s mugshot. Duke a thousand and twelve years ago with long hair. Duke in a cowboy hat. Duke’s foot (WTF?). Too Salvador Dali for me. Left swipe. Good luck partner.

Bradley

Distinguished, black tie photo. Salt and pepper hair. I’m thinking right swipe automatically. We did not need to see the picture of the drunken monkey or the puppy, but you’re cute and age appropriate. Right swipe for you my darling.

Nathan

Nathan has flowing golden locks, pierced eyebrows and plays the drums. Plays the drums. Plays the drums some more. He also feeds small kangaroos at the local petting zoo. Not everyone’s flavor of the month, but I’m sure there’s someone out there for him. Likely the nicest guy in the world and an acquired taste. I have enough acquired tastes however. So, it’s a left swipe for me. Rock on Nathan, rock on.

 

As I wrote this, I have to say I’m a little disappointed that no middle-eastern guys popped up with their dark facial hair and speedos, ’cause let’s face it, we all need a laugh ladies, and a reason to reflect on how damn lucky we are that we don’t have to deal with that mess.

Tinder has not been the clear dating pool that it’s made out to be, however I have been asked to meet someone at a Comfort Inn for the evening. Um, the Comfort Inn? Sweetie, you are very, very, very sad. The great thing with Tinder is you don’t have to give a polite, “No thank you”, while thinking, ‘Seriously bozo, a Comfort Inn’? You can just press block, and they disappear.

So, for Rick who just popped up as a match (whom, I will likely never communicate with or go out with because other than hook-up attempts, no-one really communicates), go ahead text me something interesting, show me your communication chops. You like Willie Nelson and coffee after all, how bad could it be?

Tinder, the shallowest of the shallow ways to meet someone. More realistically, a great way for writers to find a spring-board into character creation. It’s like having a wall of greeting cards at your finger tips to peruse, giggle at, and cause  you reflect on the general state of society.

Thank you for indulging me my dear readers. Now it’s time for some serious work….
 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday & The Glory of Bathroom Stalls

happyday…ah yes, the blessed beginning of the five day work week my darlings. Nemesis to the weekend and all things remotely relaxing and soul-inspiring.

But does it have to be that way? Do Mondays have to suck, preceded only by Tuesdays in the seemingly endless look to our sacred two days of weekend freedom?

No. They don’t have to stink, but often we put off our true calling until the weekend, or after five, or some such nonsense like that.

Do yourself a favour, today take a little time to plan your dreams, even if it’s taking refuge in the last bastion of solitude at the office; a bathroom stall.

Yes, I know, there’s no place like the toilet to make you feel uplifted. But, as my wig-wearing-80-something-year-old-auntie used to say, “Any port in a storm dear. Any port in a storm.”

So, today I wish you deep peace, and an even deeper knowing that you are worthy of whatever it is you are craving; prosperity, health, joy and yes my sweet little dumplings, even love.