Andshelaughs · Autumn · Back to School · CNE · Fall · Friendship · Girls Stuff · Inspiration · Labor Day · Labour Day · Life · Living · Love · Meaning of Life · Meditation · Motivation · Relationships · Seasons · Thanksgiving

How Will You Spend the Last Week of Summer?

“The end-of-summer winds make people restless.” ~Sebastian Faulks~
The 31st day of August, and all is well.


The end of August, although not the official end of summer, is the end of summer-as-we-know-it.

Yesterday at the grocery store, I found myself sniffing pumpkin-spice scented candles and wondering at the orange, red and brown accessories that accompany back to school granola bar and juice box on-sale-specials. As I wandered the aisles, the reality that another summer was waving good-bye with her candy-apple red manicure, sunk in.

Did you manage to do everything that you wanted to do this summer? Did you go skinny-dipping under the stars with your sweetie? Did you plant your garden? Did you stay up too late drinking wine and talking the deep, soul quenching talks with your true-love?

Once again I have a summer-to-do list that is still unfulfilled. I did manage to do a few things though, and I still have a few days left. A concert, a day at the CNE and goodness-knows-what will be crammed in there. I hope to make every moment of this last week of summer count. I hope that you do the same.

During the past two weeks, I’ve silently mourned the dwindling hours of daylight. Yesterday, in the humid afternoon air of late August, I made a pathetic attempt to reorganize our shed, but made just enough progress to untangle lights and recycle a couple of empty boxes.

I hung twinkle lights on the patio, and dreamed of our annual fall Friends-Thanksgiving-Gathering. I imagined the pumpkins and corn stalks and decorations that would take the place of my petunias and geraniums.

summersunflowerAt dusk, under the twinkle lights with my cup of tea, I let my mind wander to the blessings in my life. For even though this summer has been the first time in my life that I have really come to know sadness, I have so much for which to be grateful.

The sunshine of summer is transforming to the warm colours of fall. Seasons change and turn with no regard for how much we feel we have accomplished, how satisfying our relationships are, or our ability to appreciate the swift, unforgiving nature of time.

We have one week left darlings; Wishing you a week of summer that is full of the light-hearted delights that only summer can offer.

Advice · Andshelaughs · Buddhism · Girl Stuff · Humor · Life · Living · Magic · Meaning of Life · Men's Issues · New Age · Psychology · Self-Help · Spiritual Living · Spirituality · Women's Issues

Women’s Intuition & Other Things that Make Perfect Sense

intuitionI’ve been criticized, laughed at and accused of being dishonest. I’ve had people give me funny looks, and think that I was crazy. Well, I am sorta crazy. Just crazy enough to let my hi IQ and creative side shine, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

What I’m talking about is a woman’s intuition.

Oh, don’t go all eye-rolly and flippant on me. If your are a woman, or you know a woman, you’ve experienced this sixth-sense phenomenon first hand at some point in your life.

If you are hiding something, it will be found out anyway. Oh lawdy, yes it will.

My general rule of thumb is if you have a gut-wrenching inclination to check facts, you already know the truth. This is also known in the common vernacular as; being fed a beautifully creative line of el poopo. Why give it any energy? That kind of stuff burns itself out soon enough.

So, let’s go back to  being sorta crazy. First let me say in all seriousness, and with no sarcasm at all, that most women fancy themselves at one time or another to be sorta crazy. We all like to think that there is a wild fierceness about us. I believe that this is drawn from our desire to connect with our ideas of archetypes which combine great femininity, power, love and magic. Sorta crazy is not at all like bat-shit crazy, but it does live in the same town.wildwoman

Regularly, you will find me up on my soapbox, preaching intuition to my friends, younger women, and those who have sought my confidence.

Despite this, I’m not so  good at is using my intuition when it comes to  matters of the heart. Well, only one matter of the heart; my romantic interests.

Yep, I sorta suck at that.  I tend to get dreamy-eyed when my heart is feeling warm, cozy, and snuggled up to a deliciously wonderful man.

Even though I believe intuition is king, I ignore it when it comes to matters of the heart. Why? Because, it’s ok to be dreamy, to believe in something, to want something, and it’s also ok to be wrong.

When intuition can’t be heard over the pitter patter of your heart, remember that your friends still make perfect sense. They are the voice of reason when our heads are buried in the sand, up our bums, or on Cloud 9.

The bottom line remains the same; have the courage to just go with your gut. Raise your intuition high on a pedestal and honour it. Sometimes the things to which we cannot apply logic make us the most human and make us feel alive.

Being wrong is not a sin. Being too afraid to live, is.

Advice · Andshelaughs · Anxiety · Buddhism · Canadian Poets · dating · Depression · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff · Life · Living · Love · Meaning of Life · Mental Health · Poetry · Poets · Psychology · Relationships · Writers · Writing


walking away

The forgotten hairs after towelling off

curl up in the corners

where wall meets floor

the clues of our lives lay piled thick

remind me that you were here

and now you are not

A coffee stain on the counter

A forgotten toothbrush

The scent left on your pillow in the cavern created by your absence

Hangers empty and drawers gaping like starving mouths

You were here

now you are not

Until it just becomes dust, something to be cleaned up, tossed in the trash

and stretched out upon, lingering and letting go

space waiting for a new dress, old clothes

once again reclaimed

not wanting

just there

Clues about the lives we live.

Advice · Art · Birthdays · dating · Happy Birthday · Life · Living · Love · Meaning of Life · Men's Issues · Patti Smith · Poetry · Poets · Romance · Women's Issues · Writing

What Will You Choose???

"In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth." ~Patti Smith~
“In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.”
~Patti Smith~

Tonight my darlings, I offer you a list of things I would do all over again and perhaps  for the first time.

It’s up to you to decide which may be which. Either way, I hope it’s an inspiring list.

What will you choose to do with your one precious life?

How will you decide to move forward each and every day?

When you reach a certain age, celebrating your birthday becomes more than a celebration, it becomes a spontaneously choreographed victory celebration.

Christ, we’re half-way there,” my gal-pal told me today as she finished reading the birthday card I’d written for her. Following which we exchanged stories of our lives; children, men, home…

What I wanted to tell her was that, if we’re lucky, we’re just half-way there. Based on genetics and historical data, my life is two-thirds caput.

When you frame it like that, perspective becomes brutally clear and time becomes even more precious.

We discussed our priorities, wishes, lost opportunities, and we  both came to the same conclusion. As strong, intelligent, very delightfully succulent women, we decided that the things that were important to us in our 20’s were over and done with.

Oh, don’t mope. It’s not that bad. What we meant was that we have seized those moments and have no regrets. Instead we each have a list of wishes that we’ve checked off. Sure, it sounds a little like we’re finished with all of the great, wonderful, and awe-inspiring things that life has to offer, but that’s not true.

What we have, instead, are lives well lived. Lives in which we have done exactly as we’ve pleased, with all of the gratitude, regrets, miracles and mistakes that anyone could ever ask to have. We know the thrill of travel, passionate love affairs, birthing and raising children. We will not dignify a mid-life, ‘what-if’ crisis. We are too freaking fabulous for that.

We know the value of a life well-lived, of choosing joy every, single,freaking day despite imperfect conditions. We don’t have the dreaded bucket list. A bucket list is for someone who didn’t have the courage to live while they had the benefit of exuberant youth and no safety net. They missed the point. A bucket list is for those who court fear and bow to the status quo.

If you live in the moment, you know joy as you know your own self. You  have a smile that spreads into your bones, and you know exactly what I’m talking about.

So, as I had a long hot soak in the bathtub tonight, with a glass of Ironstone and a head full of memories and desires, I thought about the things I would do again, and what I still wish for.

Here is your promised list

  1. Quitting a job to follow a dream
  2. Being flat-out in the darkest of country nights next to a handsome stranger on a mission to spot falling stars, wearing make-do baggy sweaters and wool socks
  3. Being kissed against the wall of a beach bar by a stranger in the rain in a foreign country
  4. Skinny dipping with a lover in a hot tub and laughing so hard tears come
  5. Taking a last-minute vacation with my bestie and living like there wasn’t a tomorrow for just a few days
  6. Fall, deliriously in love and keep that falling-in-love happening until I’m so old and wrinkled that I don’t even know how to spell the word.
  7. Decide that life is too short to wake up feeling inadequate.
  8. Road-tripping on a moment’s notice across borders, with nothing but a few dollars and a great playlist.
  9. Saying good-bye to people who are vampires of joy, energy and my happiness.
  10. Saying yes.

Say yes darlings. Just say yes to life. I promise, you will slide into old age, delirium and death a very, very happy soul.

Advice · Andshelaughs · Battle of the Sexes · Columns · dating · Friendship · Girl Stuff · GQ · Humor · Humour · Life · Living · Men's Issues · Psychology · Relationship Advice · Relationships · Romance · Women's Issues

Dear Emotionally Ambivalent Male & You too Girl!

poke the bearTonight one of those smarmy articles popped up in my newsfeed. The hook was, Dear Emotionally Ambivalent Male.

I almost read the damn thing, but stopped short. You see, all women have experienced the emotionally ambivalent male. Read; emotionally unavailable, angry, fearful or man with his head up his arse. I do concede that men have experienced the same of women, and everyone else who has entered into relationship with another human being.

As a passionate Scorpio, ambivalence is akin to sporting tangy, unbreathable B.O., that makes your eyes sting and your throat close. Ambivalence is lazy, without passion, or any kind of zest for life that is attractive or sensual. Ambivalence is a sin against the nature of our spiritual selves.

Ambivalent Men; We know them, and we love them, just as they know us for all of our strengths and weaknesses.

But hold on here.

All men are not emotionally ambivalent, unavailable, angry or  fearful of showing emotion. Nor do all men find themselves breathing the stanky air of their colon when they become verklempt.

Ladies, when was the last time you bumped in to one of your school chums? You know, the male kind who used to do all kinds of silly stuff in school, didn’t mind getting muddy at recess, or that his sock was soaking wet and dangling off his foot like a dead sea creature. These are the men whom you will always remember as the class clown, the boy who carried your books home, or was single during everyone else’s double-dates.

Well, of late I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with an old school chum. Ironically, it’s at a time when the man-o-my-dreams is doing a smashing job at clamming up.

If you’ve had the good fortune of having a good chat with one of your little-boy-all-grown-up-into-a-man classmates, you’ve known them since you were a kid, pre-bra, and pre-adult-life-sure-isn’t-all-it-was-cracked-up-to-be. They remain in the platonic way, completely emotionally available and not emotionally ambivalent at all. They are generous with their time and opinions, sharing their life stories, and they give you the old go-get’em pat on the ass that we all need sometimes.

After some chats with men you’ve known since they sported Underoos, you can rest assured that one thing is for certain; Men and women both struggle with regard to having the courage to be vulnerable. For my pals out there who do not relate to binary relationships, let me be crystal clear; Anyone involved in a romantic relationship is afraid of rejection, stripping themselves down to their emotional birthday-suit, and standing in the spotlight of authenticity.

When I’m faced with an emotionally ambivalent, unavailable, man-cave-dwelling partner, my instinct is to poke the bear. If he comes out on his hind feet pawing at the air and growling a frothy growl, I fight back. In a loving way of course. Some people run like hell, but that’s not gonna do any good now is it darlings? Nope.

So here I am, all ready to get naked (in the existential sense of course), waiting

I don’t have the answer to emotionally ambivalent partners. I don’t have an answer because I don’t think that there is one. There is no such thing as emotional ambivalence. Emotion is what makes us fully human. To not feel is to despair, and in the words of the great L.M. Montgomery, ‘To despair is to turn your back on God’. If you don’t believe in God, it’s the same thing as turning your back on humanity.

For those going through the dark-night-of-the-relationship-soul, do not despair. Feel what you feel deep down to your bones until it seeps from the soles of your feet back into the earth where it will be filtered and washed away by the rivers of life.

If there’s one thing that my conversations with my old chum have taught me this week, it is that there are people out there who believe in love, in life, and that the best is indeed, yet to come.

Ambivalence, schmivalance, someone get me a stick!

Andshelaughs · Buddhism · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff · Jimmy Buffett · Joyful Living · Life · Living · Love · Men's Issues · Mental Health · Psychology · Relationships · Robert Mondavi · Wine · Women's Issues

Finding Your Happy Place: One Particular Harbour

sunset_sailboatThis one goes out to the great Jimmy Buffett, the One Particular Harbour of my soul and Robert Mondavi.

In other words, I’m writing this with the teeny-tiniest of hangovers. You know the kind I’m talking about; the kind that leave you just spent enough to feel relaxed, refreshed and embracing a new perspective.

I know I don’t get there often enough
But God knows I surely try
It’s a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe

Life is a wild ride, and a wonderful one, if you can convince your mule-like perception that there is beauty even in the darkness. Ok, that’s a load of shit. Sometimes the darkness is just dark, and it sucks to feel stuck there.

After a passive aggressive berating about how annoying, selfish and vocal I can be, I thought it might be time for a little introspection, a look at what a horrible, selfish woman I am. I poured some hooch so my wee, little, female brain didn’t start to ache as much as my heart, which incidentally was implied to be nothing more than a cold, hard, lump of coal.

After some careful consideration I decided that caring had been construed as selfishness, and that I was suffering someone else’s pain. When you care about someone, empathizing isn’t  a sin nor is sharing your perspective about well-being. Being attached to what you can’t control though, ahhhh, now there you go darlings. That’s a killer, and I was definitely guilty of that.

And then, as el vino is want to do, a very clear meme-ish insight made a sudden appearance, tap-dancing onto the main stage of my consciousness;

Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

That’s as deep as it got. I decided to stop with the back-hoe of emotional torture, and went with the child’s sandpail and plastic shovel model. Besides being less painful, it’s a prettier picture. I poured another glass.

I heard the word, “Surrender”, being whispered in my ear. Surrender. That’s a tough one for a woman who has always had to go after what she wants with a gene-pool of quicksand always threatening to pull her back and bury her alive. In work and life, I tend to go boldly forward until I’m satisfied I’ve done my best.

Surrender is a dangerous precipice promising both apathetic failure and great joy all at the same time. Ah, the paradox of the human condition – thank you for coming to visit, you squirrelly bastard.

Today, as I sip my morning coffee, and take a thorough look at my thoughts and feelings, I understand that where I need to be is my One Particular Harbour, feeling safe, loved, and like being me is not only good enough, but appreciated.

Most mysterious calling harbour
So far but yet so near
I can see the day when my hair’s full gray
And I finally disappear

Wishing you the courage to surrender, and safety of your one, particular  harbor to drop anchor and enjoy the view of this one, short, precious life.

Advice · Andshelaughs · Buddhism · Food and Wine · Humor · Humour · Leadership · Life · Living · Meaning of Life · Personal Development · Philosophy · Psychology · Relationships · Spiritual Living · The Art of Dying · The Art of Living · Wine

The Art of Living; I Had Wine and Sunflower Seeds for Dinner

burn with desireLife has been such a shit-show lately, that I made the executive decision (after a long day at work and a bad haircut), to have a liquid dinner. I know, I know, ‘Liquid Lunch’ sounds better, but the truth is, it was a liquid dinner. Oh, and I had a handful of sunflower seeds.

Liquid as in white Bordeaux. As in, I-pretend-to-be-strong-but-I-need-a-hug-but-there-are-no-appropriate-hugs-to-be-found, kinda liquid dinner.

It’s a sin to drink vintage wine alone. Alas, a woman has to do what a woman has to do. Besides, if I weren’t alone, I’d be with some young, ballsy stud muffin, and that my darlings would be a bad, bad thing. Bad as in, despite the temptation, my true love is worth more than that. As in, I think I’ve finally grown-the-hell-up.

Le freaking sigh…

You see, a big part of who I am is the savoir faire that I’ve acquired during a lifetime of hard-learned lessons that most folks never see in a lifetime. Combined with a calling to serve, I have an intimate knowledge of the ticking clock, counting down to an unknown end.  I do believe that despite my over-the-top caring and anxiety, I have at least gleaned the porch-light of nirvana and the art of living.

Each day I stare mortality in the face, and it’s a tremendous opportunity to remind my sassy-assed self  what truly matters.

You’ve all heard Thich Nhat Hahn’s wonderful saying;

No Mud, No Lotus

Well, if you’re like me, you’ve had about enough of this mud business. You’ve had enough of being knee deep, slogging through the stinky stuff. You’ve had enough, enough, enough…Enough anxiety-riddled panic attacks, insecurities, and weeping.

Lessons in  life  come like lightning bolts from the ground; people you never expected to learn anything from other than how to control your temper and keep your patience,  become fast teachers like beggars at a feast.

This week, I had what I like to refer to as a ‘Jazz Hands’ moment.  After an hour on the couch, I decided that I’d had enough. I’d had enough beating the hell up on myself, holding my tongue, holding my breath, and holding the damn bag of responsibility for every one else like I was some iron, emotionless maiden.


My sense of humour, and my ability to be silly, light-hearted, and unapologetically sensual are my gifts. I am not patient, graceful, or saintly. I’m merely capable of being myself. I am just who I am; simple, straightforward, and as lovable as hell.

That’s also why I know that during days like today, it’s ok to be silly, to drink a bit too much, to flirt with my honey, to joke around, appreciate the cut of a fine garment, an interesting mind, or even admire the courage it takes some young gentleman to ask an older, sexy, wise, broad like myself out on a date…for the second time.

This life of mine has always been about living fully and completely. It’s been about giving all of my heart and soul to everything I do, even though I know people will be careless with them. It’s always been about giving my best, so that at the end of the day I have no regrets. I leave it all out there, hoping that the people I care about know that I’ve given all of me.

If you’ve  forgotten how wonderful it is to rejoice, to be silly, and to really let yourself go and enjoy life, you need to step back and give your head a shake. Life is short and precious.

If circumstance and relationships have caused you to make yourself small; careful of your words and wants and actions, if you’ve left your tender heart alone to cry for the suffering of those who are dear to you, you need to remind yourself it’s ok to move on.

You need to step out of the shadow of the past so you can create something you love.  Like the rest of the world you need to know that your gifts are alive, appreciated, and loved. But first, you need to love them, to hold them up as an offering to the powers that be, and honour the simple gifts that you bring to your lover, your friends and to your work.

Silliness is the art of living in the moment, despite being immersed in the awareness of our own shortcomings, mortality, and limitations.

Silliness, humour and the ability to see a lighter side combined with a heart that aches for those who are suffering, is my gift to the world. Whatever your gifts are, my wish for you is that you recognize them, and that you have people in your life who honour them in such a way that you feel loved.