November 30th – Time to Commit to Christmas Carousing

women-coffeeThere’s nothing I admire more than a woman who doesn’t whine.

Perhaps a well matched wine to a hearty meal or a really comfy pair of walking shoes, but strong women always have a special place in my heart.

Whenever I get discouraged, down on myself, or frustrated, I think about how few women I know have overcome the adversity I’ve faced and kept it all together.

And then I automatically think of my mumster. The woman who took me under her wing when I was a rowdy thirty-something year old.  In my adult life, I never had a mum.  It kinda felt weird taking on a new one seeing as I was an adult already. But it was a good weird. It took me a while to understand that depth of kindness, even though I knew what it meant to be a mother.

Last night I came home from a weekend away, working on a relationship that only middle-age could inspire. Mumster had been here overseeing the household and my giant kiddo. The first thing that I noticed when I walked through the door was that the house was clean. Clean! My kiddo was still alive, and the kitties were happy. Prior to going away I had been working long hours, staying in the city, and trying to make everyone else happy. Mumster to the rescue.

Come to think of of it, it has been mumster to the rescue in a lot of cases; old broken down cars, old broken down hearts, and old broken down patterns of coping.

As busy as life gets, I think of her every day, I just don’t take the time I should to let her know. So, at Christmas time, I look forward to our visit, our time together, and giving her a thoughtful gift just for her.

I also like to take time to see the other fabulous women in my life; my bestie the Lovely Mrs. L, my crazy aunties, Cindy, Darleen, Virginia, Carrie, Karen….the list is long and beautiful, and yes, Carlo and Colin, rest assured, you are both considered one of the girls. You too Dennis.

Even though cynics criticize Christmas revelers as hypocrites for getting together only in December, I have to make a statement on the other side of the line. I really don’t care what the excuse is, I’m grateful for it and I will use it to connect with the people I love for as long as I’m able. Amen and hallelujah to that darlings, now pass the nogger and throw on your santa suit ’cause mamma loves to celebrate!

 

 

 

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Firekeepers: The Responsibility of Passion

mad but magic.pngI watched the fire die down last night in the fireplace; the glowing red log and the one on top of that that heated, snapped, and eventually burnt down to a few dull embers.

Ironic, I thought. Or maybe not so much. Our language is very delicate and descriptive. Watching flames die is a lot like watching any passion burn brightly, flicker, and cool to nothingness.

Like a good fire, any passion requires tending. Firekeepers have always been valuable members of our communities, and for good reason. If a fire burns out, the life around it dies too. In relationship each person is a firekeeper, whether it’s in a workplace, a friendship, or a romantic partnership, firekeeping is everyone’s responsibility.

If you wish for stability, you have to tend your passions very carefully. Tending a flame is a lot easier and satisfying than spending energy trying to light a dead ember. Letting your passion burn brightly is less dangerous than letting it burn out.  Always, and without exception.

Christmas Etcetera; It’s all about Passion

vintage-love1What else is this life about if it’s not about passion?

By definition, passion is defined as a strong and barely controlable emotion.

Yes, I get it, eventually we all reach the point of  trying to decided whether we fly the flag of nothing-surprises-me-any-more or people-never-cease-to-amaze-me. Same thing really.

Christmas is about passion. The mystery of advent that leads up to the 25th. The not knowing. The curiosity. The promise of something better and maybe even a little joy. This is the symbol of the lights in the darkness and maybe, just maybe, if cynasism hasn’t gobbled you up yet, the gifts we wrap and hide from the people we love the most.

Christmas bursts with flavour, music, beauty and passion. Passion is at the heart of all of this. Perhaps this is why there is so much romance at Christmas time.

And I advocate for this. This passion is what sparks our vitality.

After an anti-climactic dressing of my Christmas tree and reassessment of where my Christmas-Kick-Off weekend went wrong, I made a promise to myself. That promise was to never let my own passion be dampened by the lukewarm and moist ambivalence of people who do not share my joie-de-vivre.

This Christmas breathe fire into your own passion for living. We owe no one the value of our enthusiasm for life. Whether I go it alone, or with company, I will celebrate this holiday and share my joy with whomever cares to receive it. I hope that you do the same. Life is too short to quiet your own joy.

Wishing you every joy that the season brings; good food, wine, friendship and the unbridled carnal knowledge that begins under the mistletoe.

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at The Time

tired-womanYou know what I’m talking about don’t you?

Most of my biting-off-more-than-I-can-chew moments come to me after I’ve been relaxing for a while and feel like I have energy to do something extra. Or after a couple of glasses of wine.

What the hell was I thinking? Trying to clean up and clear out with Christmas coming?

I have giant box filled with miniature Christmas village tid-bits beside the couch, and am still finding leftover Hallowe’en confetti every time I go into my bathroom. As much as I love the decorations and lights of Christmas, I’m relieved to have it all come down and the house back in order as soon as possible.

Being festive from Thanksgiving through the new year takes some work. I’ve discovered my pattern though. I get inspired when I feel rested (which is rare), and commit to the projects after work, or on days off, which leaves little time for the stuff that makes my spirit let out a big sigh of relief.

Rounding up ingredients for a new recipe to bake at the end of a long day seemed like a grand idea, you know, something to look forward to. Until the cookies stuck to the pan and the recipe did not turn out like the cute little photo on Pinterest.

During  quite time at work, coming up a big menu to cook on my day off brought me joy. The thought of having the ones I love gathered around the table helped get me through the long 13+ hour day. But a nap is really nice too after long shifts at work and days off spent working around the house.

But declutter I must. Decorate and cook I must. Must? Should? Have to? Yah, kinda sorta. You catch my drift. There’s always that one person in the house who carries the weight of injecting joy into the seasons. That person is me.

Everything festive seems like a good idea at the time, until effort is required. And then it sucks. And then it’s beautiful. At the end of the day the effort it takes to decorate brings me joy. I love nothing more than turning the lights off before bedtime and sitting quietly in the glow of the Christmas tree lights.

I love having a fire burning on cold, wet, rainy and snowy days.

I love having people gathered at my table; the conversation, sense of family, and knowledge that everyone there feels loved.

But in order to do all of these things, I know I need to energize.I must also not forget to spend time alone writing, and playing my ukulele and remembering to enjoy the slowing-down-moments-of -time to myself with nothing on the agenda but whatever the heck I want.

Life moves fast. Be sure to step away for a little while every day to do what makes your spirit soar.

After that, you can curse the Pinterest gods, the untested Facebook recipes, and the tangled Christmas lights that you can’t seem to coax into something beautiful.

 

 

Nasty Woman ; Courage & A Sense of Humour = Freedom

courage-and-freedomLast night my partner informed me that you catch more flies with honey than sugar. I informed him that the time for honey had passed.

I was advocating for my friend’s health care. My friends are my family, and I protect people I love with passion and ferocity when need be. When a man does this he is seen as being a provider and a protector. When a woman does this she’s a bitch, or, as one privileged male recently was quoted as saying; she’s  a “nasty woman”.

Sometimes being a nasty woman is the only way to go in world dominated by a masculine norm.

Women who are intelligent and assertive have to be way more careful about how and what they say in every situation other than a wine-and-yoga-pants night with the girls. Take the recent defeat of Hillary Clinton in her bid to be president of the U.S.A. A woman with experience was vilified more than a misogynist, narcissistic business man who has robbed the nation of millions (if not billions) of dollars by way of evading taxes. But I digress…

We know when it’s time for the vinegar, and most importantly, we think it’s hilarious to watch your gobsmacked reaction to good sense, boundaries and intelligence. Those of us who identify as being anything but masculine are forced to function within the norms of a society based on the concept that male dominance and strength are the only values that everyone should aspire to. Our economy, education and news media are all based on this basic foundation of patriarchy.

Look at Hillary’s pant suits for goodness sake. Do we really have to dress like men to be taken seriously? I don’t give a flying fuck if you’re wearing a chiffon tutu and a smocked blouse, I will respect you if you know what you’re talking about. I will respect you more if you stand up for your rights, have boundaries, and can laugh at it all at the end of the day.

In the midst of my stern advocacy last night, any woman would have had a grin on her face. My mumster laughed this morning when she checked in to see how my pal was doing, sure in her knowledge that I would be successful in getting the care that was necessary.

When my ill pal finally met with her health care provider, she texted me; “Lol! I assumed that was you on the phone.”, I knew that not only would her health care improve, but she would get a chuckle out of it all too.

Being a bitch, nasty woman, or f’ing c@&t are all words that strong, independent women hear every day when it comes to expecting the same respect and treatment as men. Keeping your sense of humour about it is essential.

When a woman pulls someone up on the rug, it’s only because the ‘honey’ that we’re conditioned to communicate with has been denied again. 

Be courageous ladies. We need to care for one another. Above all else, keep laughing in the face of those who don’t understand how wonderful nasty women are.

Your Invitation Awaits: Shine On My Wonderful Friends, Shine On!

centenary_red_tan_50406bNow that you feel comfortable in my writing space, come on over and get cozy with www.andsheshines.wordpress.com

If you are in the midst of change, and looking for inspiration, this is the place. Pack a bag and a fabulous pair of shoes my darlings…xo

See you there… https://andsheshines.wordpress.com

 

Life As Poetry: A Lesson From L. Cohen

bubblesI woke up this morning and don’t you know it, that tiniest bit of fear about change had crept in while I was sleeping.

Change often is an uncomfortable process that yeilds beautiful results – if you let it.

So, as I padded around in my bare feet looking for my glasses, I paused to open an email from a couple whom I consider kindred spirits.  It inspired me, motivated me, and chased that little inkling of fear right out of my heart. It reminded me that my life ought to be more like my poetry; free flowing and without too much overthinking.

It’s time for change. It’s time to give my creativity, ‘land, lots of land under starry skies above,’. It’s been fenced in far too long.

I have work to do, and what better way to get motivated to clear physical and existential space than to listen to the wisdom of Leonard Cohen???

Wishing you a beautiful day…xo

Go Get It

Just a reminder to everyone out there who has a partner, friend or employer who diminishes your desires.

Speaking from experience, I refuse to wait on someone who treats my needs like a hassle. Go out and get what you want; the intimacy, the coffee, the job…

timeforwhattheywant

Pussy Grabbers & A Feminist Who Sends Christmas Cards

holiday-partyIf you’re offended by the headline, you might want to buckle up. If a disgusting greed-pig like Donald Trump can say the word on a global stage, any woman can use it to express herself. Suck it up.

I run a single-income, single family home, and I do it with chutzpah and pride. Until yesterday, I had forgotten about creating our annual dysfunctional-family-Christmas-card. Christmas here consists of a lot of visiting, a lot of food, lots of love, and a liberal sprinkling of wine. Self-described as a feminist-Buddhist-quasi-libertine, Christmas is another excuse to enjoy life. Don’t judge.

So this morning, job one (after making coffee and putting in a butternut squash to roast for a pot of soup) was to create our card.

Flipping through an old issue of the Shambala Sun (now The Lion’s Roar), I was reading an article about how a lady used to do the same thing, and how the card adapted to life’s changes; children, pets, grandchildren, her spouse…very sweet. But then one year when she placed her order and the question of quantity came up, there was no one left to send the card to. All of her contemporaries had passed away. Very sad.

So this is life. This passing of time. Just yesterday I was explaining to a colleague that I view ‘spending’ my time, much like a miser considers ‘spending’ their money. Time is the most precious thing that we have, and in the wake of the election results in the United States, I think that it’s important to take some of your precious time to consider exactly why and how the good ole’ U-S-of-A (and quite frankly, the rest of the modern western world), got where it is today.

And please, don’t misunderstand this as a jaded feminist perspective. It’s a justified, feminist perspective.

The most powerful ‘leader’ in the world, elected to office via a ‘democratic’ system, routinely and openly flaunted his disrespect for women, going so far as to comment that he would date his own daughter because she’s ‘hot’ (there’s a word for that  you incestuous slob), and how about his ‘grabbing them by the pussy’ moments? I’m sure a heterosexual man would be pleased if his fearless leader ok’d homosexual rape in the same nonchalant way.

When I think about how I spend my time, I can’t help but consider how much of the values of men (and women) like this steal my life, moment by moment.

I do not hate men. I happen to love men. But I will not abide this male-value-system, slut-shaming bullshit any longer. My life is too precious.

This year, I ordered my Christmas cards and remembered the story of the old lady who no longer had anyone to send them to. I will not live in anger as the majority of the world runs around chasing a commodity that will exist long after our last breath.

I will live freely. I will enjoy the finer things in life; friendship, creativity, meaningful work, making love with whomever the hell I like. You know, the things in life that don’t require a ticket, and  don’t require the approval of men who grab pussies.