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Blowing Out the Candles

candlesOn the eve of my 4o-plus-somethingish birthday, I cannot help but reflect upon the lessons I have learned this year. In theory I’m an expert.  In practice, however, that’s another story.

I do believe that the difference between theory and practice is the key to successful living though darlings, because bridging that gap is the difference between annoying should-sayers, and the people who shine brightly and inspire the rest of us.

Grace has been a concept I’ve wanted to put into practice  throughout the past few years. There are  times I have failed miserably; my birthday breakdown at a bar while trying to sort out my mother issues; my insecurity as a partner, my ability to maintain a positive attitude in light of the every day demands of living. Yah, I’ve failed a few times.

But I have learned a few things from all of that bluster, and I’m old enough to take the liberty of sharing them with you;

  1. I have spent way too much time on my hair.
  2. We allow ourselves to be led by a false economy and fabricated news. Does it feel right? Do it. Does it feel wrong? Don’t. The world would be a better place if we all followed the golden rule.
  3.  If you love your body, it will love back. At a certain point you realize your body feels better when you eat this and not that; when you do this and not that.  It loves water and apples and decadent butter cream chocolate from your favourite Chocolaterie. It does not like to listen to people incessantly rambling about fad diets or extreme routines. Love your body, let it gently communicate to you, and it will love you back.
  4. Kindred spirits aren’t terribly hard to find, but it’s terribly hard to be vulnerable enough to get to know one.
  5. Create things. Anything. Creativity is your human spirit making itself present in the world. Let it sing, paint, write, carve, stitch, bake….whatever! Let your mind wander and your spirit reveal itself.
  6. Do not let bitchy people ruin your day. Attitude is contagious – be sure to protect yourself.
  7. Nobody’s watching. Seriously. Just relax.
  8. Change is scary, but constant. If you can be excited through the fear, you have life licked.
  9. You need friends of all ages; older ones and younger ones, and people who transcend age. You need nurturing and affection and the awesome healing power of human touch.
  10. Flannel jammies, hot tea and a good hobby to keep you occupied are three simple things that are highly under-rated.
  11. Always, always, always buy the shoes.
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Friendship:Urine My Good Books

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Tonight I had to laugh as I dogged my way through backed up email.

The first email I opened was from a friend encouraging me to drink my own urine.

No, I did not freak out or wretch.

I laughed. Out loud. And it was a most welcome sound.  I could laugh because anyone who didn’t know us would think she was crazy, and that I was too. But that’s their problem, and their brand of crazy.

I haven’t done a lot of laughing of late, and having a friend who can talk about drinking pee makes me smile – laugh even.

I’m not going to get into the whole pee-as-a-beverage conversation, but let me just say this; she’s not crazy. She’s my friend.

That email (and the prior conversation we had about the entire process), reminded me of just how lucky we are to have friends with whom we can share our brand of crazy with. It is a wild and crazy life after all, and I think that’s easy to forget.

“I haven’t been myself lately,” was something that I said to a colleague today as we sorted out Chinese undies (don’t ask). I think that might have been the grossest understatement I’ve made in a while. Truth be told, I haven’t been jolly-old-over-the-top-flamboyant-self in a while, and hell, I MISS her!

My friends are grand reminders of who I am, how far I’ve come, the hope and the silliness still left in the world.

Just this week alone, I have been given all kinds of wonderful advice: drink your own pee, quit your job, have an affair, call in sick…

What would we do without our friends?  You see, it’s not about taking or giving advice. It’s about being caring enough to want to know how someone is feeling,  curious enough to look at alternative ways of being in the world and courageous enough to live out our choices.

As I plucked through my email, I came across a little email from ‘the crazy cat lady’ who used to be my neighbour,  I had a copied and pasted message from one of my friends’ lovers ( a seriously well-written love letter…swoon), and an invitation to some sort of kitchen party. I had a reminder about a dinner a friend planned for me knowing my love of all things bourbon and spicy. I also had bills, a library pick-up notice, and a reminder about my e-signature on a contract.

As I muddle through the darkness of ‘not quite being myself’, emails about urine as medicine, torrid love affairs and kitchen-knick-knacks I don’t-need-but-want are most welcome reminders that these seemingly frivolous distractions are the substance of life, not just unnecessary distractions.

Sending out my gratitude for my crazy, lovely, ever-so-wonderful friends…xo

 

Posted in Advice for Men, Advice for Women, Comedy, Dating Advice for Men, Dating Advice for Women, Entertainment, Girl Stuff, Guy Stuff, Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Meaning of Life, Men's Health, Men's Issues, Men's Sexuality, Mens' Issues, Mental Health, Personal Development, Social Commentary, Uncategorized, Winnipeg, women, Working Women

Winnipeg: What Wonders Await?

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So here I am in Winnipeg.

Discovering that the curtains don’t close over the white blinds isn’t exactly a night owl’s dream.

Being woken up at precisely 6:00am by my morning lark sweetie (and not for sex)- also not delightful. And I’m all about delightful. It’s a damn good thing he’s cute and conscious of my AM limitations.

After rolling over and trying to get back to sleep I decided to get up and start the day. I opened the blinds and welcomed the sunlight, begrudgingly at that hour, but welcomed nonetheless.  I pulled up the crisply dressed all in fluffy white bed, and welcomed some quiet, ‘me time’.

The day takes me a while to ease in to you see, and I’m still adjusting to someone who is a morning person. Sweet love of Jesus, help us both.First of all, I can’t see a damn thing any more without my specs, but I can usually get to the washroom ok. Excess noise (as in anyone speaking words other than, “Would you like a coffee honey” makes my blood pressure raise in a flight or fight response, and I become at risk for a stroke, or homicide.

Despite not having my glasses on, I did spot a giant, black bug in the crack between the tub and the tiles. Suddenly I needed my glasses. Very nice. Sweetie of course was no where to be found. He was either in the gym, pool, or walking around doing some such nonsense that normal people wait to do until noon.

I was stuck with the bug.

I decided it likely wasn’t going anywhere to quickly. Big bugs aren’t like the little wirey bastards that skitter around like crack addicts. Given my AM logic, I proceeded to the in-room coffee station to make what I hoped would be passable joe.

I opted for a flip flop over a running shoe, simply because the sole is flat and I figured there’d be no losing the damn thing in the arc of the toe, or the deep grooves in the tread. Flip-flop samurai. Mission accomplished.

The coffee was a let-down, but I knew what to expect. The local Starbucks sign just down the street was taunting me, but I’m a strong woman, and I can wait until we hit the road later on today.

With my weak coffee and morning fog still lifting, I decided I would find a nice, easy jazz station to listen to while I started my first day of vacation with some writing. Right. I managed to tune in to a full-blast version of ‘Dirty Deeds’, and a twenty year old Trisha Yearwood song that reminds me of my days on the California coast. Seriously, Winnipeg? Really? This is what you’re listening to…le sigh.

I sent a quick text to my kiddo (the reason I’m here), and we laughed about the bug and my morning struggles, and in the end, were thankful to be here, together.

After my early morning of watery coffee, 70’s country and rock, and beatles in the bathtub, I don’t think this fair city can disappoint. It can only charm me….after 10:00 am of course.

In the mean-time, there is sunshine and vespers on Jazz 107.

 

 

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Afraid of Being Happy: No, Just Tired of Explaining

vintage-love1I’m in a hotel room sipping vino, sitting in, what I must admit is the most comfortable office chair I’ve felt on my tushie in a very, very long time.

Tonight it was brought to my attention that I have mentioned a ‘someone special’ in these posts, but not enough to call him to your attention as a character in my book.

Ah yes, I confess, there is a man on the scene.

I don’t write about him because first of all, I think he reads these posts from time to time, and secondly, I’m kind of tired of explaining the ups and downs of my love life. Correction: what some people consider to be my love life.

Frankly, I’m tired of explaining darlings. T.I.R.E.D. Your idea of a love life and my idea of a love life are likely worlds apart. Men have, for the most part, been recreation for me. Curiosities of a sort to be examined, and put back without having damaged anything. Fascinating and lovely in their own unique way, there are few that I wished to have taken home. Kinda like lamps. Because really, who needs a bunch of funky lamps in the house? I would not call this my ‘love life’.

Anyway, I do have a lovely man in my life, and I mostly don’t write about him because I like him. I don’t want to jinx anything, and I don’t want anything about his being to be trivialized. I save the juicy bits for face-to-face-girl-talk. Mostly though, I don’t want to jinx anything and then have to explain why he’s an asshole. It’s just not a pretty thing to have to do.

However, given that I was asked by a friend ( and follower of Andshelaughs) about this mysterious man o’mine, I shall give you a list of some of the reasons he is a lover, not a curiosity.

  1. He’s cute. Yah, I know, it sounds really shallow, but I do genuinely think he’s adorable. I look into his eyes and my icy heart melts just a tiny bit.
  2. He tries. Mostly he’s emotionally oblivious, but he tries. In his own way, and in his own time, and I respect that. A lot.
  3. He’s passed the curriculum of adequate love making and is being considered for the advanced class.
  4. He does the dishes. Not kidding. This is huge. Any housework gets a bonus smack on the ass or two, and if he keeps going, he’ll be in for a full paddling. Perhaps I should introduce him to the vacuum and dust rag. Now that makes me hot!
  5. He gets me moving. When I feel worn right out, I like his company enough that I make the effort to go for a walk, or do whatever it is he thinks he needs to be doing.
  6. He’s not a romantic (which entirely sucks for a head-in-the-clouds-wish-I-may-wish-I-might kind of gal), but he consistently communicates. I’ll take that any day over an MIA flower sender.
  7. He eats my cooking and doesn’t complain. Ever. Need I say more?
  8. He’s touchy-feely and snuggly. Sometimes he needs some coaching, but he’s coming along quite nicely. Don’t tell his buddies, but I think he may be headed for  national-cuddle champion recognition.
  9. Although he watches CNN, he is capable of a conversation about current events and philosophy without sounding like a Warner Brothers stuttering pig. Politics however, now that’s another story…
  10. He drives all over hell’s-half-urban-acre of traffic to see me all the time…and he hates driving.

So my darlings, there you have a small snapshot of why I may not write about someone who is pretty special to me. You are also likely thinking that he’s one hell of a lucky guy to be keeping the company of a stunning, free-thinking bucket of devoted lust like me.

Simply put; He is.

 

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Sink Or Swim; Nostalgia & a Little Shove

mylifeHolidays tend to make us nostalgic. Thank goodness that they’re officially over for 2015.

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve heard, “2015 was a terrible year“. Wow.

I prefer to frame my year as a deli sandwich. The bread was delicious, but the meat of it was a little sour. In other words, the first and last thirds were great (as in; good enough), but the middle really blew.

How often as children did we say a year was terrible? We didn’t darlings. We just did the 10 second countdown to the new year and moved forward with joyful, curious abandon.

sufferingNow we yearn for the days when life was simple and  we still believed in magic. Friendships and family were taken for granted, and happiness was just on the other side of the screen door.

As adults, we tend to overcomplicate things. ‘Be kind and play fair’, seem to have gotten lost in the big, adult personal ethics playbook. And that just stinks. Because it hurts. Yes, people can be selfish and cruel, but they can also be kind, giving, and lovely to snuggle up with. Naked.

As human beings, we all want to be loved. We all need and want strong friendships, a true love with whom we can  share our most intimate selves , and bourbon. Ok, maybe the last bit is all about me, but whatever.

When we lose ourselves in the fray of losing the one person we fell in love with, we feel broken. I’ve been there. It hurts. It’s scary, and it puts a pretty harsh filter on our vision of the future.

Just this summer, I sat, sobbing on my friend’s front step, while she nursed my broken heart and damaged pride. I felt empty, hopeless, afraid and lost.

We live in a world that prizes the individual and yet makes it impossible to live without the safety net of community, family and friends. Yes, the great Western-way-of-life has unfolded into a wonderful cock-up of psychological dissonance. But what do I know? I’m just a girl after all.

I do know this. The holiday season has seen a lot of falling in and out of love; happy hearts and hearts that have been broken and need time to heal, relationships that are worn thin, or worn out altogether.

The beautifully terrifying part of it all, is that the only way to heal a heart is to live life. The very life that has tossed you like a small boat on a big, angry, ocean, leaving you feeling washed up and broken beyond repair.

Cling to curiosity. Let your friends lead you when you are  blinded by tears. Be wary of the seductive pull of too much sleep, lack of self care, and try to remember how good it feels to laugh after you decide to, ‘fuck it’.

As a quasi-Buddhist-lover-of-Christian-ritual, this speaks to me. You have two choices; get up, dive back into that same unpredictable ocean to wash yourself clean, or wallow in the sand getting burned by the sun and possibly gnawed to death by vicious, exotic fauna.

Sometimes you need a friend to role you back into the ocean. In some cases, you need a friend to drag you, kicking and screaming, back to life. It’s called tough love, and we all need it once in a while.

Nostalgia and wishing for a happily-ever-after is a waste of time.

havetimeYou and I both know that more than anything else, this is true; life is short and precious.

Take the time you need to sit quietly with your broken heart. Don’t run away from it, or deny it what it needs to tell you.  Take your sadness and swaddle it like a helpless infant. As difficult as this may seem, you will see that soon enough, you will be at peace with it.

Weep. Cry. Scream into your pillow…and as you take your last gasp of sobbing breath, get ready for a shove back into the ocean of life.

You’ve always been a beautiful swimmer darling. Always.

 

 

 

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Random Thoughts on This Mild December Night

elfonshelfRandom thoughts from a relaxed mind;

  1. It makes me sad that sarcasm has replaced wit and intelligence. It’s a cheap and pathetic substitute.
  2. The Christmas spirit may not be strong this year, but I have much to be thankful for every day. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel Christmasy. I’m just happier than I was ten years ago, so the gap between every day and ‘Christmas-spirit’ is practically non-existent.
  3. Despite having had a run-in with a sociopathic, fraudulent twat of a man this year, I still do, really love men.
  4. Champagne is going to replace bourbon for a while.
  5. Dating in my 40’s is more fun than it’s ever been because I’m way happier with who I am.
  6. I want a red sweater.
  7. An 80’s themed hairdo might be in order for my boxing day date.
  8. It’s been too long since I went on a Saturday night bender and kicked someone out at 3 a.m.
  9. Professional waxing is worth every, single, penny.
  10. Nice still wins in my book over hot, sarcastic and mean.
Posted in Andshelaughs, Comedy, Customer Feedback, Girl Stuff, Guy Stuff, Humor, Humour, Life, Living, Starbucks, Starbucks Canada, Starbucks Reviews, Wisdom

Dear Starbucks,

starbucks2015This letter has been coming for a long time. An event this weekend encouraged me to reach out to you, my beloved.

First of all, let me say that I adore you.

I love everything about you. I love your dark wooden décor, and your comfy leather chairs. I love your hipster music, and the red cups and aprons you’ve brought to us for  the winter holiday season.

I love that you are a relaxed place for dates, getting together with the girls, and allow writers like myself to occupy a table for an hour or two with just enough stimulation to feel like we’re not crazy, isolated artists.

As a self-proclaimed city girl, I am convinced that I could not survive winter without your eggnog lattes and cranberry bliss bars. Simply put, you are one of the simple pleasures in my life. I love you.

I love you so much that I must share with you a little suggestion regarding your tea. You see, as much as I live for your coffee, I also adore your tea. Youthberry is my favourite followed closely by Peach Tranquility. Your tea is often my most reliable counselor during times of self-doubt and rejection. It is however rather hazardous to drink. if I’m not enjoying the ambiance in-house, I’m likely enjoying your beverages and nummies on-the-go.

Which brings me to the tea. Yesterday, the cute, little, paper tab attached to the string on the bag was tucked directly under the little sippy hole. I’d gone through one of your drive-thrus prior to getting on a very busy highway for a roadtrip. Did you know that the cottons string wicks the moisture from the tea, soaks the little paper tab, causing it to drip down the side of the cup? Perhaps you didn’t. Well, it does, and it gets kinda messy.

Whilst trying very hard not to get wet from the drippy tab yesterday, the lid of the venti cup popped off as the paper cup folded, and splashed boiling hot tea all over my hand, my lap, and inadvertently, the steering wheel.  Fortunately I had a co-pilot with quick hands and a lovely sense of humour.

We managed with giggles no-less, (while still in 120 km+, four lane traffic) to wipe the steering wheel and wedge all of the serviettes I had prudently stashed in the glove box under my soaking wet derriere. I managed to drive to the nearest service centre, all the while holding my plump rump up off the seat, kind of like holding a 120 km an hour squat  for ten minutes.

My pinky finger was burned, as was my pride, but it could have been worse had I not been an old experienced driver. A precautionary word to drivers – you may wish to order two beverages instead of a venti.

My darling, precious, true-love coffee-house Starbucks, my suggestion to you is two-fold; please fix the tea bag wicking problem, and think of a way to make your venti cup design less tippy, less likely to collapse, and still hold all of the nummy-nom-nom goodness that your beverages are known for.

Please know that I relate my tale of warm-woe to you so that you can simply become more awesome.

Your most devoted fan,

Andshelaughs