This Christmas, Leave it All On Ladies

You’d have to have your head buried in the sand not to have seen the calendar pic of Amy Schumer having almost taken it all off in the 2016 Pirelli Calendar. schumer.jpg

The Calendar traditionally featured pin-up models, but this year, the change in shape and degree of, shall we say, modesty has changed significantly.

I’m still not convinced that having iconic women and pop-culture cuties being coyly half-naked is a giant leap forward for women. I’m not an automotive buff, but I’m pretty sure Pirelli doesn’t offer escorts with the option of coffee breath.

The reality is that  when it comes to the real world women continue to be measured against male standards and values.  It’s like being upset that your cat doesn’t bark like a dog. Insane, and a complete construct of the human mind. Balderdash to it all I say.

What I don’t understand is why women feel they still must bare all to prove their strength, femininity and ultimately their worth?

Can you imagine how absurd it would be to have Jimmy Fallon clad in a banana-hammock , wearing dress shoes, teetering with his bare bum-cheeks on a stool while sipping a latte and looking into the camera?

Or perhaps let your mind wander to a full rear nude of Robert DeNiro with is hair blowing in the synthetic wind.

venus

 

Alas, you may have questioned Donald Sutherland’s value as an artist until you saw him suggestively posed on a stool in a top hat, tails and a pair of hosed legs stretched awkwardly toward the camera.

yoko

For the love of all that’s right in the world ladies, please, stop taking your damn clothes off in an effort to prove your equality.

No one has the power to strip you bare and shine the spotlight on your beauty and your flaws except yourself.

Love yourself; body, mind and spirit, and to hell with trying to prove a point to the people who simply don’t get it.

 

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Advent Challenge: The Life-Changing Power of Small-Talk

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What better place to start a conversation than in a long Christmas-shopping-season line-up?

The season of Advent is upon us. A season of darkness and stillness, awaiting the mystery to unfold.

 

Hell, if that’s what it’s about, I think perhaps I’ve been living a lifetime of Advent!

It’s strange and wonderful how conversation and communication work.

I remember being a little girl and hanging off my grandmother’s shirttails, head thrown back, eyes lolling at a great and dangerous sarcastic angle, whining, “Come oooooo-ooooon! Mom!”, while she jabbered away to someone.

When I was younger I used to think that long, winding conversations were pointless.  Much like advent, impromptu conversations can be ever so revealing about our own hopes and dreams.

Exposing your ideas and dreams to concrete language can be the first step to creating a new reality for yourself.

Once upon a time a poet-mentor of mine asked if he could read some of my poetry aloud to me. I felt reserved and shy at first. He knew that hearing my own words spoken would be a very powerful experience. And it was.

More than once I’ve had a conversation with someone I don’t know so well and then ask myself where the heck that came from. Engaging in conversation with a diverse cross section of ages, genders and intellect is a wonderful way to get to know yourself.

For instance, tonight I had an unexpected and rather lengthy conversation with a gentleman who worked with my mumster (he thinks she’s the cat’s meow). We discussed his career, the professional acquaintances we have in common, his semi-retirement and subsequent move. That lead to a review of my C.V., and some of my dreams for the future.

As only perspective from someone older, more experienced and wiser can do, the conversation really shed some new light on what my future might hold. If only I have the courage to pursue it.

One thing that I’ve learned in my lifetime is that you have to ‘put it out there’. In other words, whatever it is that you want, that you crave, that gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning; you need to talk about it with everyone and anyone who will listen.

It’s not what you know darlings, it’s who you know. The person next to you in line at the coffee shop may know someone who knows something about what you’re dreaming of.

Put it out there. Give a friendly hello, and start with the dreaded small talk. Just talk to people.

Wake up with intention and do something about it. Research. Ask Questions. Go do it.

This Advent season, let the mystery of what’s holding you back from the life you desire, unfold in your every-day interactions with the people around you.

Starting Fresh at Christmas: Relationship Advice

kissingmeistletoeThis afternoon I had a lovely surprise. A rather handsome man whom I’ve known since once-upon-a-time popped in to say hello at the little coffee shop where I was writing .

I wanted to give him a long, slow, deep, wet kiss right there on the spot.

I wanted to tell him that planning to be disappointed during one of the most magical and romantic times of year was a really stupid thing to do.

I wanted to make wild, dirty, love to him underneath his yet-to-be erected Christmas tree.  It was all I could do not to give in to my desire to erect things….

But that wouldn’t do.

No. I’ll tell you why. He’s torturing himself with the slow and painful ending of a bad relationship.

We’ve all done it. We’ve all put ourselves through the agony because we’re afraid of pulling the pin. Like much of life, we’re afraid of endings when we don’t know for sure what comes next.

While deployed in the trenches of love, I learned  that swift and complete is the only way to end something that’s dying a painful death.  I still kinda suck at it though.

Anyway, Mr. Slice-of-juicy-man-steak and I had a little chat. I rambled as I often do when I can’t focus and I’m visualizing my sweater being ripped off, breasts heaving, and tumbling naked into a candlelit bed. But I digress….

The crux of his matter is hinging on a do-or-die-show-up-or-no-show performance on Christmas day.

For everyone out there in relationship purgatory, please consider another perspective.

Why hang another expectation on an otherwise emotionally stretched holiday? It is THE holiday of the year. It’s a time to gather together with  the people we love, and share our lives.

Why not count-down to something a little more magical and heart-warming than, ‘if he/she doesn’t do this’, I’m ending it?

Why not shift the negative, I-dont’-want-to-feel-unloved-and-miserable, to an, I-can’t-wait-to-be-happy-focus?

Maybe I see the world differently because I’m surrounded by loss; people who didn’t get a chance to do the things they wanted to, or say the things they wanted to say.

The man who sat beside me this afternoon has a strong, protective side that I admire and respect. He still has a playful side that I miss seeing, and that I’d love to spend time with.

For everyone out there with a partner who doesn’t treat you like you are amazing,  who does not choose to adore you every day, who doesn’t make you laugh until you’re breathless, I beseech you to stop wasting everyone’s time.

If my sexy, juicy, delightfully sensual friend is out there reading this, know that I hope to see you soon. This time at home, laughing, with a little too much champagne, and a giant heap of  clothing on the floor.

There is mistletoe hanging at my door just waiting to fulfill it’s destiny.

Everyone is a Kid at Christmas

kidsThis is for teenagers, young adults, and parents.

Let me tell you a short story. Today was my day off. I work long hours, at a very (physically & psychologically) demanding job (which I love). Even so, I L-O-V-E my days off.

No-alarm-clock days are luxurious. After all darlings, I have mastered the art of living and relaxing. But today I set my alarm for 6 a.m. You see, my kiddo had to get up and out before 7 a.m., and I wanted to give him a drive.

Yes, he’s old enough to get there himself. Yes, he knows how to pack his own lunch, cook, clean and do his own laundry. Despite the kiddo’s protests,  “Mom, why do you want to drive me? I’m fine on my own. Go back to bed“, I often get up even on the days I work a late shift.

Why? Well, as any parent will tell you, they cherish those moments with their children, and those moments come fewer and more far between as our children grow up.

The Christmas season offers many opportunities to argue, fight, and to feel annoyed with one another.

When we want to be with you to decorate the tree,  have dinner with friends, and participate in family traditions, please remember that it’s not intended as a form of torture.

When we ask how your day was, we’re not so much checking up on whether you were a stand-up human being, we want to make sure you’re ok. Ok as in, we’ve been there, and we know that the world can be cruel and hard. We want to make sure you never leave for the day, or go to bed at night feeling, ‘less than’.

When we pack you a lunch, or suggest you take more food, we’re not criticizing your menu choice. We don’t want you to be hungry.

When we make sure you have a winter coat for the season, and suggest you take a hat or gloves, it’s not because we want to send you out looking like an over-grown toddler or out of style. We don’t want you to feel the cold.

When we ask you about your first crush, we don’t want to give you a moral lecture on sexual behavior. We want to know if your crush is treating your tender heart with care. We don’t want you to feel heartache.

When we ask you what you want to study or what you want to be be when you grow up, we don’t care if you have a definitive answer. We want you to go after your dreams.

We don’t want you to suffer; to feel pain, cold, hunger, loneliness or sadness.

No matter how old you are, if you are lucky, you will always be someone’s little boy or little girl. At a certain point in life, the roles reverse, and like I feel about my mumster, you’ll want to swaddle us in protective love too.

Wishing kids of all ages, a very happy holiday.

 

 

Christmas Shopping & The Meaning of Life

christmas shoppingThis one goes out to the Costco employees at the Laird Road location in Mississauga.

Thank you for reminding me to be kind and friendly this holiday season.

Your rude behavior and obvious annoyance at being bothered by your customers has made me rethink how I show up in the world every day.

In other words, you’re a shining example of how I don’t want to be.

The art of living truly is about mastering how you show up in the world wherever that place may be; home, work, school, or even Costco.

Trust me darlings, I too would rather be at home relaxing with a cocktail than being locked in a metal, windowless box spending my hard earned money with a bunch of people who feel the same way.

Before you ask, yes, I have worked retail, and yes, I know how annoying people can be.

Also, in case you thought I was independently wealthy, I have to work  as hard as you do for my money.  By the way, newsflash, I can spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars, somewhere else for the very same products. If dealing with customers is such a pain in the ass, try dealing with no customers and no job.

Your brand of misery is the reason why people are giving up their materialistic Christmases of gluttony and trading them in for the simple joy of spending time together.

Spending time and energy buying stuff from people who are rude really doesn’t scream Merry, or Joy, or Peace on Earth.

The more I interact with you, the more I resent spending an hour finding a parking spot, being jostled like cattle through your aisles, and then ending the long-journey-of-consumer-monotony with a cashier who doesn’t know how to engage in a polite greeting, look me in the eye, and throws my conveniently-mega-packaged purchases into my cart like they’re trash.

Wishing that you and yours find the joy of the season where you least expect to find it; your own, every-day life.

 

 

 

Being Jolly on a Budget

Each year I come up with some grand ideas about how to spend time with the ones you hold near and dear without breaking the bank.

I mean really, isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Spending time together is my very favourite gift.

So, this year, I bring you a list of ideas for being jolly on a budget, and I encourage to you to do at least TWO of them.

 

  1. Have a Christmas movie marathon. Define that however you like, but it implies watching more than one movie. It requires that you snuggle under a cozy blanket and sip hot cocoa laced with something that will make you giddy.

snuggle up

If you’re not sure which movies to watch, try one of these;

White Christmas

Holiday Inn

The Holiday

It’s a Wonderful Life

Miracle on 34th Street

2) Wander through a Christmas Market – no purchase required, except for a minimal entrance fee and optional hot cocoa or eggnog. If you go on a cold night, all the better; it’s a great excuse to snuggle your sweetie.

distillery market

3) Attend a local carol sing. Usually the admission cost is a bit of food for a local food bank. What better way to celebrate the true meaning of the season?

Children's Christmas Pageant 2011 + Christmas in Fan Concert

 

4) Have a Christmas themed games night with your closest pals or your family. BYOB and a snack to share. Voila!

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5) Go for a walk on a snowy night. Take in the Christmas decorations and talk about your hopes, dreams, what your favourite traditions are.

windowshopping

6) Bake and decorate a gingerbread house of your own design. Pick out your favourite candy together, make the gingerbread (gingerbread often has to sit overnight before you bake it, so it could be a romantic pj party!), decorate the house just the way you want I to be.

gingerbread house

7) Read your favourite Christmas poems or stories.

robert-frost-the-road-not-taken

8) One of my favourite Christmas traditions is to watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas. It makes me smile, laugh, and remember what the true spirit of the season is really all about.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season that brings you closer to the ones you love.

 

The Perfect Gift for Her

You can never find the perfect gift when you’re looking for it. Never.

That’s why I hate Christmas shopping so very much. I hate feeling like I have to buy something for someone.  I prefer to see something that makes me think of that someone special and snatch it up.

Alas, no one is perfect, not even me, and we’re smack dab in the middle of the busiest shopping season of the year. Yikers.

I’ve personally never been told that I’m hard to buy for, but I’ve heard the cry from my friends, their spouses, and the singles among us who are inspired to use the romantic leverage of this time of year to spring something wonderful on their true-love.

I don’t pretend to know the love of your life, but I can tell you this; women, unless you know them extremely well (and if you did, you likely wouldn’t need to read this) all enjoy similar things.

Never forget that just spending time with you is what makes  her truly happy.

If you feel bound to buy a gift, unless it’s gawd-awful or an engagement ring, with jewellery, you really can’t go wrong. White gold, yellow gold, whatever gold. Diamonds? Meh. That may not be the message you wish to send. How about sapphires, rubies or emeralds? And remember, the strength of the stone represents the strength of you love for her. If you’re not thinking of taking the relationship to the next level, do not buy jewellery.

unstoppable

 

 

Perfume. Know what she wears, or what she likes to wear, and splurge on her favourite scent. Most perfumeries offer sets at this time of year, and we love them. What could be better than travelling with a miniature vanity stocked with your favourite frangrance?

elie saab

 

 

If you’re just not really that serious, but you feel like you should buy her something, try alcohol. Chances are she knows you’re also not the one, and could use a little liquid therapy. Buy her something bubbly and delightful.

les etoiles

 

 

If she loves her spa time, give her a generous gift-certificate to her favourite escape. Always, always, always accompany this with something soft and snuggly like a teddy bear or a stuffed reindeer. Silly can be cute. A stark envelope cannot.

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A weekend away. If you can both manage this one during the holiday season, I tip my hat to you. Giving of your time is often the most coveted and most difficult gift to give.  Make it romantic. Bring champers, roses, candles, and a be well rested so you can….well, you know…

room

 

Of course a beautiful bouquet at any time will let her know that you’re thinking of her…

peony

 

These are all terrific Christmas ideas, but what every woman really wants is just to spend time with her sweetie.

Stay tuned for Being Jolly on a Budget….’cause that’s how you’ll win and keep her heart.

HO-HO-HO!!!

Christmas Dreaming; Joy Rapture & Ecstasy

christmas datingEvery single woman (and women who are in relationships that lack relating) dream of Christmas Romance, passion and at the very least, a decent meal and some intelligent conversation.

Emotions run high at Christmas time, and the word Joy can be found on everything from teacups to the ass of red panties that jingle-all-the-way.

So let’s start with the romantic scenarios that inspire joy…

Joy; the emotion evoked by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

Last year I had a blast-from-the-past-he’s-the-one propose a very romantic date.

“Whatever you want. You name it. I want to do something special with you this Christmas”

I was joyous. “Really,” I though to myself. “After all of these years, it’s this guy.” This guy that I’ve known for so very long and idealized since the night he took me for a romantic dinner and kissed me outside a winter, storefront window more than ten years ago. I remember the boots I was wearing that night, and I still have the skirt.

Rapture ; the experience of being swept away by overwhelming emotion or passion.

Ah yes. It was a passionate date. We shared a delicious meal at one of my favourite restaurants. We had just enough of my favourite bottle of wine to make me even more giddy, and went for a long, romantic walk which meandered outside the Grange at the AGO and included a long, slow, kiss.

Ecsatsy; a state of being beyond reason and self control.

Well, a lady can’t expect everything now can she? Mr. Wonderful-After-All-These-Years turned out to be exactly who he had proven himself to be years before.

We never reached the ecstasy stage as date number two never happened.  Oh, don’t worry, he asked for a second date. I just didn’t give it to him. I was hurt. I cried, and I raged, and I called my bestie to rant about what a colossal, self-absorbed dick he was, and then I moved on.

What I did not do is turn to a brand of romantic atheism and man-hating.

I let myself want that decent meal and intelligent conversation. Oh, and the wine, the really delicious wine.

I let myself be satisfied with the company of friends old and new. Most importantly, I allowed my heart to stay open to all of the possibilities of joy, rapture and ecstasy.

Wishing you all three romantic stages this Christmas time, even if the joy and rapture come in the form of wonderful get-togethers with friends and the ecstasy comes from too much eggnog and a  bad one-night-stand decision…xo

 

 

Decking the Halls & Trimming The Tree

Our tree has changed throughout the years, but not the tradition.

We play Christmas carols, and put the Velcro and felt antlers on the cat.  Every year I give a special ornament to my kiddo, and I never move the ornaments he places on the tree.

When I grew up the closest thing to spirituality and grace fostered during the Christmas season was that the name of  Jesus was frequently spoken. Often emphatically. Usually it was at the beginning of a sentence.

For instance, when trimming the tree, my mother could be heard screaming, “Jesus Christ! Are you f-ing blind? Can’t you see that looks awful!” …not a creature stirred, not even her spouse…

Since I’ve had my own home and my own tree, the hall-decking and tree-trimming has taken on a new flavour.

Being a single parent, it was always really easy to feel less-than. For years we had a theme tree; baseball, candy, under-the-sea. I bought ornaments and decorations, and went overboard. I Christmased with the best of them.

I’m so over that.

I’ve officially entered the if-it’s-not-useful-or-really-damn-sentimental-I-don’t-want-it-weighing-me-down phase of life. I also have a strong preference for silliness, laughter and feeling at ease.

Decking the halls and trimming the tree is meaningful because of who you share it with; whether they’re the ones trimming the tree with you, or the ones you’re remembering as you hang ornaments they gave to you.

Trimming the tree was never meaningful when I hung  over-priced au currant ornaments void of meaning.

This year I truly did some trimming. I decluttered a bunch of ornaments I just don’t, and won’t use any more. We are down two Christmas boxes, and it feels good.

This year our tree was trimmed simply, with a few shiny red Christmas balls (because I like shiny things, and red makes me feel festive) and the ornaments we’ve been gifted throughout the years;  handmade snowmen and kitties from my mumster, a colleague’s signature, hand-painted snowflake, great-granny’s quilted hearts, the Beatrix Potter ornament I bought when the kiddo was three and I thought that perhaps he was really the offspring of satan, loads of personalized ornaments from our now-in-Newfoundland-neighbours, the candy-cane carrying Mr. Potato Head my kiddo gave me years ago, the star that was stolen for me from a tree in Venezuela on New Year’s Eve, the rubber gingerbread man the kiddo squirted with sparkly glue when he was 4, and  the Eiffel Tower ornament I bought for myself in Paris….

Life has been a struggle this year, and hanging ornaments reminiscent of more light-hearted, silly times was bittersweet.

As the season of Advent approaches, I know that I will sit quietly in the stillness of the midnight hour,  wondering by the light of this Christmas tree what mystery might unfold in my life this Christmas season.

 

 

 

She’s Just Too Much & The Man Afraid to Love Her

christmaslaughingwomenLots of women are too much of something in someone else’s opinion.

I’ve been accused of being too much: too fat, too independent, too courageous, too strong, too driven, too kind and too silly. I’ve even been advised that I’m  too intelligent, and that makes men uncomfortable.

Pul-eaze!

As long as too kind is included in a ‘too much’ description of someone, then they’re ok in my books.

You see, long, long ago  I came to understand that I will never be perfect. Shocking, I know.

Let me let you in on a little secret; women who are accused of being ‘too’ anything are usually women who live life so fully and fiercely that they scare the hell out of anyone living comfortably within the soul-destroying status quo.

They’re just jealous darlings. Don’t pay them any attention. Step over them and move one.

Wear the dress, put on those shoes, drink the bourbon, leave red lipstick prints on the crystal, and for the love of all that’s good and right in the world, speak your peace.

The world needs more of women who are too much.

Women belonging to the Too-Much sisterhood share these things in common;

  • They’re good at what they do.
  • They’re educated, have informed opinions, and feel comfortable having a hearty debate.
  • They carry themselves with confidence, regardless of what size the tag on their dress says, or what they’re wearing.
  • They indulge in decadence; food they can savour, lip-smacking wine, clothes that make them feel and look good, a hearty belly-laugh, the kind of sex that leaves you spent and sweat-soaked, last-minute holidays and cheering on their favourite team.
  • They spend time doing whatever makes them happy, and they don’t feel guilty about it.

If you are a woman who has been accused of being too much, feeling too much, being too strong, too weak, too big, too small,too true to herself to really give a rat’s ass about what anyone else thinks, I tip my hat to you.

For the men afraid to love them, well, that’s your loss gents. A woman who is too much really knows how to have fun, and that might just be what the doctor ordered for you.

This holiday season, go ahead ladies. Be too much. Be you; be too in love with life to care.