More Things that Make Me Happy

I’ve been sick. Sick as in fevered-sore-throaty-sniffly-icky S.I.C.K., sick.

Not only would you not like keeping my company when I’m feeling physically hellish, but I don’t like keeping it either.

Fear is my go-to evil. I think for most people, fear is the demon that holds us back from most things. So, being sick and still, I’ve had a lot of time to wrestle with my demons. To give my fear a kick in the ass, and much-needed, full-on southern lady-like slap in the face, I give you a list of things that make me happy;

1) The idea of Gertrude Stein’s salon/living room/artist’s confessional.

stein's living room

and artists like Amanda Palmer

amanda palmer

2) The ever-present voice of my pal Virginia saying, “Maybe you need a little Seth.”

nature of personal reality

3) Access to a zillion lovely restaurants in the city…my favourite being Terroni on Queen St. West.

terroni

4) Campfires at twilight

fire

5) Unexpected romance

goodmorningtext

6) Fall, fair food

candyapples

7) Drive-In theatres

drivein8) Perfectly mixed G&T with lime after a long day at work

gin and tonic

9) Gentlemen…whether they’re of the platonic or potential love interest type

gentlemen

10) People, places and things which remind me to embrace fearlessness and remain grounded no matter what anyone expects

whitebirch

 

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A Guide to Achieving the Perfect Life

daring adventure or nothingPerhaps there’s been a huge cosmic shift in energy, maybe we’ve had some rare planetary eclipse, or maybe it’s just the big old world shaking us up a bit to remind us that nothing is as it seems and everything changes. You see, I can’t seem to understand what the heck happened this week in Andshelaughs land.

Just when I think I have it all figured out, somebody shakes the snowglobe and I haven’t got a clue what’s going on.

When I was a kid, I used to see adults and think how nice it would be when I finally had my life together. Ha! Anyone over 30 knows how much of an illusion ‘having it all together’ really is. Throughout  years of helping people during crisis, I have come to realize that we never, ever have our lives together in such a way that we are immune to change.

Often change can cause suffering and pain; anxiety, addiction, grief, fear, or  tightly woven combination of all of those emotions. If you can make your way through it, keeping fear at bay, and even a tiny flame of hope burning, change can be the best thing that happens to you.

This week, I had a number of conversations that were difficult, enlightening, and even shocking. People I assumed to be sensitive, intelligent and thoughtful demonstrated qualities just the opposite of that, and others, surprised me by crawling out of the dark-ages and exposing excellent quality of character.

Because the conversations were not what I expected (expectation is such a fickle bitch anyway) they made me think. Hard. Should I have said that? Should I have kept silent? Can I trust you? Who cares...

fancy dark chocolateThe bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter. Most of our big decisions in life come about as a result of something we never expected.

So I’ve decided to sit back and watch. Wait and not wait; carry on. See what happens. Go with the flow. Dream. Hope, and even laugh a little at it all.

Life will always roll like waves on the ocean, sometimes smooth, sometimes rough, and every once in a while there will be a rogue wave that knocks you down, pulls you under, and spits you out, disoriented but with a fresh perspective.

The only time we ever have life under control is when we can sit back, breathe deeply and accept that life changes. When you are aware of your reactions, you can actually stop reacting, and remain calm, observant and cultivate a deep sense of who you are and what you need to do.  In the mean time, there’s champagne; bourbon if it’s serious.

A Love Letter for When You Feel Old & Worn Out

emptybenchYour voice sounded withered today, like a vine that’s gone too long without the sun; no longer offering fruit but reaching outward, for something solid to cling to and wrap yourself around in order not to break.

Clinging is such an ugly word though, and people our age know better than to cling. Yet, holding is another skill, and that’s one we all seem to be trying to master now. Holding onto: the people, places and memories that give our ego definition. But people come and go and places change. Even memory needs some reminding now and then.

If I could tell you anything now, I would read to you some words I wrote two, three, maybe four or five years ago. I forget exactly when it was that you came flooding back into my memory.  I was so sure then that I would never see you or talk to you again and at that time, I was afraid no one would remember me when I was young and so carefree.

But here we are over a decade later talking about how life is relentless, you battling traffic to a meeting, and I waiting, thousands and thousands of miles away for an appointment with a tax accountant.

Where are those two people who laughed when old couples remarked to us how good we looked together, and asked how many children we had? I remember answering them and laughing, “We have four children.” How very ironic that seems now.

If I could sit next to you again on the sunset bank of a spring river, there would not be tears.  I would want you to know how my memory has kept your boyish smile and jeans-with-no-underwear-first-thing-in-the-morning routine pristine, so I could come back to you over and over again. Sometimes in the blue light of dawn, and sometimes during that lonely hour between afternoon and sunset. There were times that your letters and photographs fell out of their hiding places and suddenly I was staring at your smiling face, and reading your letters.

After all of these years and the wear and tear of living, I would tell you that you were the last man I loved enough to really break my heart. You and I both know now what it’s like to grow more tolerant of loss, grief and the way lives become woven together, fall apart, make way for growth and maybe find each other again or forget completely.

I was so certain when I saw you last, that I would never see you again. Certainty is a fickle thing though. One minute it exists and the next it has vanished, never to land in our consciousness the same way ever again. Now I know that if I were to see you again, I would carry with me that visceral knowledge that  it may be the last time, whether by choice or chance.

Life’s magic rests in the not-knowing, the uncertainty and the ability to really live with all of our senses, in the moment and from the heart.

Words may not convey everything the way a slow, sensual all-the-time-in-the-world kiss that leads to a dreamy weekend of love-making and laughter might do, but for now, these words will have to suffice.

All those years ago you were my best friend and lover. Your laughter, conversation and the way your body moved in the night delighted every part of me. I want you to know this one thing; no matter how much life wears us down or how old we feel, you will always be that handsome, once-in-a-lifetime man to me, and I am grateful for the memory.

Top Ten List – We’re Not So Different After All

200276829-001This morning, as I sipped my coffee with Willie Nelson cat perched with his paws on the window sill and his bum next to my shamrock, I  scanned my social media pages as usual.

Silliness has a way of captivating me. I crave it like I crave long, solid hugs and deep wet kisses. Silliness is ageless, does not care what your hair looks like, and certainly doesn’t worry about whether or not your socks match.

So, this Tuesday, a day that always proves that life is like a jester, full of surprises and harsh reflections, I give you a rebuttle of a Top Ten list that expounded on the ‘Top Ten’ things that women do wrong in bed. Pul-eaze!

1) Not grooming – that includes your face gentlemen, and that mess of bushy pubes you’re so terribly afraid of giving some style to. Don’t mercilessly hack away at it. Go get it groomed by a professional like we do. If your wee-wee resembles King Lear raging on the stormy heath, we will stay away. Let me also point out your toe-nails. We notice. In fact, poorly groomed feet have hampered one recent rendez-vous pour moi. I must say that this ties in to point number four about not shaving your legs, but a man wrote this, and I think he actually had difficulty coming up with a total of ten things we ladies do wrong.

2) Sex in the dark. We’re visual creatures too you goons. Throw us some candlelight in your disgusting man-caves.

3)Leaving birth control up to her. Are you serious? Whomever created this man’s list is delusional. What right-thinking woman would ever leave this up to a man? Ah yes, and what right-thinking man wouldn’t come prepared with a stash of first-class condoms that he prefers???  Grow up.

4) Not shaving your legs. Ok gentlemen, please don’t shave your legs, or your back or your chest. It just leaves you picky and feeling like we’re snuggling shoreline scrub.Groom thyself to be a snuggly, lickable piece of man loveliness.

5) Laying there like a flounder. God no. There is nothing worse than a man bouncing on the matress and spreading out like a sultan ready to be serviced. Ick. If you put your hand on the back of our heads for a little mouth to mouth with sir-dribbly- bits, forget it. Especially if you have toenail issues. Barf. Go get a hooker.

6) Using Cosmo as a sex bible. First of all gents, if you date a woman who has yet to graduate to Vogue or the New Yorker, you get what you pay for. P.S. we suggest you don’t use porn as your sex bible. Use it just enough to let us know you care about your performance, and use your own imagination just enough to let us know you’re a thinking man. Smart is sexy after all gentlemen.

7) Expecting her to cuddle. Amen and hallelujah! Do not assume you are EVER spending the night. Call a cab, take the bus or put on your walking shoes until you’ve successfully completed level one darling. Don’t leave your toothbrush.

8) Making her responsible for your orgasm. Well, we like to make you happy, so I’m going to adapt this one. Don’t have an orgasm like a baby bird, with a little chirp and go limp. Give it some gusto gents, like the man we know you are.

9)Assuming sex means love. See number 7.

10) It’s not that easy, men are not machines. You don’t say. Neither are we. I guess we’re not quite that different after all.

The Stone Lady Wept

stone angelI don’t cry much any more. You see, I’ve borne witness to more suffering than the average bear, and I am exposed to trauma on a daily basis.

Some people think that it’s hardened me, but it’s quite the opposite. It’s just that a lot of folks don’t know me that well. By well, I mean beyond a few cocktails, a politely entertaining dinner party, or a quick shag. It’s a precious few who have earned a place inside my lair of friendship and loyalty.

Today I cried twice. No it’s not hormonal, and no I’m not PMS’ing. Valid questions though.

Watching the 60 Minutes report on the use of Sarin in Syria, I cried for the unimaginable vastness of human suffering at the hands of other human beings.

I cried for the little school girl who witnesses her father’s anguish and knows that her happiness comes at a great price.

Is it because we’re too tired to care, or because we’ve become so numb to the suffering around us? Why bother watching the latest 60 minutes episode that challenges us with footage of the massacre in Syria when we can click to a baseball game, the latest drama, or simply have a few glasses of vino and curl up with a juicy spy novel? After all, with the widening of the income gap, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and everyone has to look out for their own.

Sometimes you see so much suffering that your whole world just shatters. There is no bubbly, no handsome men-folk to drool over, no juicy peaches to quench your sweet tooth. There is just suffering, and the irony is, it makes you grateful, complacent even. So grateful you’re afraid to want more, or rock the boat, or risk your family’s happiness to stand up for someone else.

So I wept today for suffering, and for the reasons why our own little corner of the world remains apathetic.

Makes you think about what makes the news and what doesn’t darlings. It’s no accident.

The Smarter You Are…

readingRumour has it that the smarter a woman is, the more likely she is to be single. Rumour also has it that the higher your emotional intelligence, the more likely you are to suffer anxiety and depression.

Ok, rumour, evidence based research, whatever. I’m just going to roll with it. All of it; with a bottle of J.P. Chenet 2012 Reserve and a whack of Lindt Dark-Chilli spiked chocolate. Bob Dylan will also be joining me whether the neighbours like it or not.

After a recent series of intense, weird and full-on encounters with men, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am clueless about what they want. Seriously darlings, they fascinate me.

“1983. It was a good year,” a lovely gentleman said to me during a meeting.

I looked up from my paperwork and asked why.

“That was the year I thought I knew everything about women.”

We both laughed. Being of the same vintage, and tipping the scale on the early side of middle age, we both had come to realize in our had-seen-better-days-bones that neither of us had a clue what the opposite sex wanted. Forget about binary sexuality even, I believe that intimate relationships have a fluid comfort zone, with ever-changing boundaries.

At this time, I happen to have a handful of men who have made a debut in my life, only to remain in the wings, which, may be exactly what should be happening right now.

I have a deep need to de-clutter, re-decorate, and nest right now.  I also have a desire to pack a bag and hit the highway.

Usually this is a sign of something life-changing on the horizon. So, for now, while the deliciously, dilly-dallying men-folk in my life decide what their next move is, I shall carry on making my home brighter, more tidy, and more delicately my own.

You know why? I just don’t care to care any more. Life has taught me that the good ones make you feel amazing from the beginning, not lacking or wanting. They leave you sated and smiling.

I shall also carry on with champagne, chocolate filled strawberries and the occasional afternoon delight. I am human after all.

As it turns out, the smarter you are and the more emotionally intelligent you are, the more careful you are about choosing your companions.

May the best man have the tenacity to take the spotlight, and may my decluttering be ruthless.

Selling Yourself Short One Glass of Bourbon at a Time

whiskeyJust so I make myself absolutely clear, this one is for the men out there.

Last night I met a sexy beast of a friend of mine for bourbon.

“Did you get new glasses? New look?” He said, as he stood up to give me a hug.

I was confused. My glasses are over a year old, and well, I’ve been rockin’ the same look since I refused to wear leotards to grade-school. In other words, I was a bit concerned about his perception of time. Hadn’t it just been a few months since we’d last met to discuss writing over a few shots of bourbon?

No. In fact, it had been almost two years. Two. Yeeeeaaaars.

Time flies darlings. Faster than you know, and much faster when you’re having trouble keeping your head above sea level.

So, we sat and chatted as we always do about life, writing, and bourbon.

Neither of us are aficionados, but could be if we put our minds to it. Bourbon has just been an excuse to get together every once in a while.

I also have a confession. I’ve thought this guy was hot since the day I met him and my existence barely registered on his mid-40’s radar.

I met this gentleman about 14 years ago in his backyard. He was rushing off to play tennis, and I was the third wheel in a conversation with his then wife. I’m not sure if she was his first wife, or second wife, but one thing was clear even to my somewhat naïve and cynical divorced-at-25 eye; the marriage was not best described as blissful.

Fast forward to last night. He’s divorced and I’m a champion at remaining single. We have never, ever, not-even-once known what I’m sure would be the mutual delight in one-another’s flesh.

After a beer a few glasses of good-for-what-ails you, he confessed that he was in a sexless relationship.

bourbonglassTake that in; Sexless.

Time flies.

“We don’t’ have sex, we don’t share a bed. What is that?”

“Fucked up,” I said, swallowing the last delicious caramel nosed swig of my Woodford.

We talked about his age, his relationship (great companionship other than the sex – which, if you didn’t know, is called friendship). Don’t get me wrong, friendship is amazing, but let’s face it, relationships come down to one more thing than friendship; heart-stopping, sweaty, messy, endorphin-releasing, sex.

Being able to drink alcohol, walk around naked in my own place, and thoroughly enjoy a long, luxurious boink are a few things that I appreciate about being an adult. No matter how my finances are, my perspective, or my schedule, I always make time for each of those things.

So, to hear this man confess his lack of sexual engagement was heart-breaking for me. Heart breaking as in; I, more than most, know how fleeting and precious life is.

womaninlingerieWhat I wanted to do, was to lean over, and give him a soft, slow, very wet and deliberate kiss on the mouth, and have him take me home for a thorough and proper ….

But I didn’t…because he’s clearly a lovely man who doesn’t want to hurt the woman whom he is remaining in this friendship with.

Gentlemen, it doesn’t matter if you’re 26 or 76. Life is what you make it. If you are still a nostril-flaring stallion at 65, get it on and praise the universe that you still have it.  Because you do. And we still want it. Every, single delicious drop of it.

Don’t sell yourself short with a glass of bourbon and a fantasy.