With Friends Like You, Who Needs Enemies?

flappersI’m in a waiting room…waiting.

You see, I’m struggling with a health issue.  In short, it makes me feel like shit, and takes the fun out of life.

When there’s not a lot of fun in the first place, you begin to cherish it even more. Hell, fun is my middle name!

The point of telling you this is two fold; first of all, we’re not getting any younger, and two, anything that brings you great joy is precious. Silliness for example brings me great joy,  as does a double shot of gin with tonic and lime, over-the-top-lovers, brave poetry and a slow, indulgent waking from a solid sleep. None of these are things I’m willing to give up.

The other night, I sat out on the stoop of a pal’s house sipping  gin and catching up on what was going on with each other. We laughed and vowed that our gin-sipping-stoop-sitting shall continue on a weekly basis. Just this morning we missed our planned coffee date…and so it goes.

Anyway, here I sit. Now. Waiting. In this room that reminds us that we won’t live forever.

And I’m thinking about my friends and just how shitty our friendships have become.

Women suck at actively nurturing the relationships that make us feel young at heart and ignite our vitality.

After years of being the organizer for lunches and dinners and events, I’ve pretty much given up. It is not my job to drag everyone from their work-a-day doldrums and ho-hum lovers.

It is time to commit to my own joy and vibrancy. It’s time to get my chubby buns in gear and connect with those who respond when I have a spectacularly fun idea. I also solemnly swear to make a special effort to get together with friends who come up with some shenanigans as well.

Let’s face it. Women put themselves last. You know and I know.

If your adult partner and teenage children can’t dress themselves and find food for a day or two, I hate to break it to you, but they’re likely too stupid to justify their space on the planet. If that’s the reason you neglect your friendships, congratulations.

So take a good look around and see if you feel alive. Like really alive; excited about something that makes you lose all track of time, makes you stop worrying, checking your phone and excited to share with kindred spirits. I’m talking about more than hiding in the bathtub with a glass of wine for half an hour every night.

Having said all of this, I’ve lost some of myself lately looking after paying the bills and building a strong foundation from which my kiddo will launch into the world. I’ve lost some of myself digging in to a committed relationship.

I see it now, and I desperately need to adjust my priorities.

There’s this old wives tale that life goes faster the older you get. I  no longer think it’s just something old people say. I know it to be true.

Basically, we’re all in a waiting room, forgetting that life is meant to be lived; joyfully, fully, in the present moment with people who cherish you for everything that you are.

If you haven’t heard from me in a while, it’s because I’m trying to find that joy again with people who also appreciate the fleeting nature of our own vitality.

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A Father’s Day Meditation

coffeemorningToday is the day that we celebrate Dads. Fathers, step-dads, adoptive dads, and for some of us, those men who became mentors and ‘father figures’ to us fatherless sons and daughters.

If you have a father who loves you, mentors you, and is an example of kindness, goodness and integrity, I hope that you celebrate him well today.

If you have a father who, provided mentoring in a much more zen-monk-beating-you-with-a-stick kinda way. Raise a glass. Yes, I’m being deadly serious my succulent little tarts.

Maybe having a jackass for a father has made you a better person? Perhaps the experience has inspired you to a deeper spirituality, taught you the wisdom of forgiveness, or just simply clarified how not to be. If not, then you really need to work on yourself darling. Seriously…

Being ‘fatherless’ has been a blessing in disguise. At first there was pain, anger, hatred, and a deep desire to roll my pretty little sleeves up and spew fire and hate his way.  But after awhile, slowly, like a fog lifting, I began to realize just how wonderful my experience has been. I know that being fatherless has opened up a whole new world of goodness and hope.

I have been blessed with a plethora of wonderful men in my life. Really, really great men who are kind, thoughtful, ethical, and a whole lot of fun. These men are all my fathers, and I thank them all this Father’s Day, from the bottom of my fabulous heart!

For all the ‘Dads’ in my life, this is for you;

My Culinary Relationship with Mother Earth – We Be Jammin’

rearviewmirroI remember the year the apple blossoms froze on the trees. It was 2012. We didn’t have fresh Ontario apples that year, and the prices sky-rocketed.

That was also the year I stopped making apple juice.

So what?

Well darlings, I’m a country girl at heart, and a big part of enjoying the seasons is enjoying whatever our harvest yields. A big part of showing love and coming together as friends and family is sharing a meal together.

The lack of apples impacted a generations long tradition of baking apple crisp, apple pie, applesauce and apple juice.While I live within the rushed pace of the city for now, I stay connected to the seasons and to what matters most by enjoying the tradition of preserving. Apples are the end of the summer fruits, and it was a strange feeling knowing that something as stable as our seasons and harvest were being affected by the impact of consumerism (aka global warming). Our harvest seasons are part of the essence of who we are and the organic rhythm of life.

flat of berriesStrawberry season signals for me the start of true summer. Rhubarb is spring. Of course you can’t forget asparagus and radishes. With the appearance of little white blossoms and bright, juicy, red fruit, I know that the strawberries cometh and that it’s time to enjoy in abundance what the earth provides, and squirrel away the rest for winter.

Yesterday I took a beautiful drive out into the country, got a flat of strawberries, and came home to make my first batch of jam. Next will be raspberries, and this year there will be beets, peaches, pears, tomatoes, and salsa.

 

 

pouring jamEvery year, I think of my grandmothers and my mother, who carried the tradition and taught me how to do these things.  I remember standing on a stool to stir the jam as it cooked, and when we used to use wax to seal the jars.

I remember hot jam slathered on homemade bread. The smell of granny’s kitchen when she made her chili sauce with the cheesecloth sachet of spices simmering in the pot, and being told countless times to go get another jar of this or that for whatever was on the stove. We used to count the number of jars of jam, tomatoes, beets, etcetera in order to ration them until the summer came again. It was never because we couldn’t afford to go to the store to buy more, it was because we subscribed to the rationale; who the hell would eat a can of fruit or vegetables plied with preservatives and chemicals that tasted second rate at best, when you could eat something that tasted good and wasn’t laden with other goop? It just didn’t make sense. And it still doesn’t to me.

There are few people my age who know how to do these things anymore, and I wonder what they must be missing out on, counting summer by work-weeks instead of by the season; strawberry season, raspberry season, plums, pears, apples, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers…

This might even be the year that I get back to making apple juice. Just the thought of hot cider by the fireplace makes me want to cuddle with someone. During the winter months, there’s nothing like opening a jar of peach jam to remind you that soon, summer will be upon us again. Or maybe it’s a jar of tomatoes for a rich, hearty stew.

jam 1Living in the city for the past 16 years, you’d think I’d prefer the convenience of buying something off the shelf, but I don’t.

I love the slow process of gathering, preparing and preserving my own food, knowing that it’s fresh and wholesome. Knowing that what I’m eating and what I’m sharing with the people I love is the best that I can give them.

Wishing you a bountiful summer, and an extra pair of hands in the kitchen.

 

Getting a Gal’s Groove Back

andshelaughs

“How do you know when you’re finished making love?”
~Jackson Pollock~

What to do? What to do?  How on earth does a gal get her groove back after a really nasty relationship? Hmmm????

First of all, I’m not a fan of ‘the relationship’. Generally you know that it’s going nowhere, but you just don’t want to be alone. My last relationship was like that. I spent two and a half years with one of the world’s most useless men.

Upon meeting him at Thanksgiving dinner, my bestie, was quite honest, and yet very supportive as we besties can be. She told me that he was rude  because he criticized the wine, the turkey, and the general lack of space that we had at the table. She said that she was afraid he would kill my spirit. What?! Kill my spirit? You must be joking right? She also said that…

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I’m Sorry I Was An @Hole

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“I’m sorry I was an asshole. I love you and don’t know what I’d do without you.”

That’s what a friend of mine told me he wanted to say to his wife today after being a colossal douche during the weekend. He also spun his wedding ring around on his finger and said that when he got home (late), he noticed that his wife had placed her wedding rings on the counter.

She’d never taken them off before.

“Did you tell her that?” I asked.

“No.”

“You need to dial a florist, send her a beautifully girly bouquet, and write exactly that on the card.”

“That’s so cliché.”

“How the hell is she supposed to know if you don’t communicate to her?” And because I know his wife, I also suggested that if she walked out on his dumb-ass, I wouldn’t blame her.

“True. You mean I should really write that, I’m sorry I was an asshole on the card?”

“Yes, and that you love her and don’t know what you’d do with out her. Because it’s true right?”

“Yah, it is. I do love her. What the hell was I thinking? She’s a great woman, and I don’t want to lose her.”

Off he went to send the flowers, which should have been delivered a few hours ago if all went according to plan, and the florist didn’t misspell asshole. Tomorrow I hope he comes in all smiles and thanks me for kicking his butt into high gear.

This man was not going to send flowers because he thought it was cliché, tacky, and overdone. Let me reassure you gentlemen, romance can never be over-done. Never. No woman will ever not swoon if there are flowers, jewellery, sweet letters of love, or any other grand romantic gestures.

Life is short and precious, and when it comes to truly-madly-deeply-relationships, we can never say, ‘I love you’ or ‘I appreciate you’ or ‘I want to ravish your naked body’ too much.

It’s one thing to be comfortable with one another. It’s another thing completely to take one another for granted or treat one another with anything but respect. You are each other’s rock. Don’t let the rings come off, or the relationship disintegrate into two people lonely together.

A suggestion for you darlings: 10000 Ways to Say I Love You by Gregory P. Godek. If you suffer from Lackofromanceinyourpants Syndrome, you need to buy this and use it.

Send the flowers. Write the note. Leave a trail of rose petals. Buy the lingerie. Hold hands and kiss passionately in public. Be gloriously in love.

Once Upon a Time: Adventures In Plastic Surgery

fairytalecastleOnce upon a time I found myself in a plush waiting room with comfy chairs and glossy fashion magazines…

Today I found myself sitting in a questionably disinfected examination chair, clad in a mint green hospital gown and wondering what the hell is wrong with the world.

You see, I was in a plastic surgeon’s office. Not because I’d requested to have my belly banished, my nose narrowed or my melons maintained. No, it was a mistaken referral which should have been to a dermatologist.

In the waiting room, a screen played images of women’s bodies over and over, giving us all a good 3-D look at the natural flaws that ‘appear over time’. I saw nipples and bum cheeks, lips and noses. Not once did I see a man’s saggy testicles or jowly chops. Not once did they put man-boobs or beer guts in the glaring spotlight.

Nope. It was all women. Every bit of marketing was directed toward women and just how insecure we should feel about our bodies. Every single image dissected women’s bodies and divided us into pieces to be criticized and rebuilt into a singular image of beauty.

manBalderdash. How freaking boring is that? Pass the gin and bring me a man.

With catchy little tag-lines on brochures like, “Never Fear the Mirror”, and  “Love Your Lips”, it was a bit crazy.

The only thing I could think was,  “Fuck off. We’re perfect. Now get me outta here.”

My darlings, you are perfect as you are. Love your body and yourself, nothing less will transform you into a beautiful person inside and out.