Posted in Advice, Andshelaughs, Columns, Creative Writing, Creativity, Economics, Entertainment, Feminism, Girl Stuff, Guy Stuff, Health, Humor, Humour, Inspiration, Lean In, Life, Living, Lyrics, Meaning of Life, Men's Issues, Motivation, Music, Opinion, Perspective, Philosophy, Professional Women, Relationships, Singles, Travel, Wisdom, Women's Issues, Words of Wisdom, Working Women, Writing

Take it Off…All Off!

takeitalloffYou have absolutely no idea how excruciatingly wonderful it felt to slip my tailored suit jacket down my arm and across my back as I kicked off my heels and walked toward my bedroom.

“Good-bye fancy ear-ring,” I said, as my fingertips gripped the back of the clasp…

You will never comprehend how decadent it felt to peel off my pantyhose and know that for two-whole weeks, the only big wardrobe choice I have to make is flip-flops or bare feet.

Sah-weet!

When you wear a uniform or uniform-like attire to work every day, it becomes part of your identity.  Not that that’s a bad thing. I happen to be among the chosen few who actually love their job and the people they work with. Having said that, every now and then, it’s nice to put some distance between your skin and the clinging sheath of your professional persona.

Sometimes it’s just really nice to reconnect with what it means to be a free-creative-music-and-art-loving-spirit, connected to the earth and sea. For me it’s always been the sea. It’s always been the water, and the fresh wind, and the dark night sky and it’s been so terribly long…

Stepping out of my suit and taking off my ear-rings, necklace, watch and rings, I relished the feeling of freedom that comes with not having to.

I write to you my lovelies because I care. If you, like me, get lost in the routine of every day, occasionally get overwhelmed with anxiety and fear of the future, are thankful for all of the blessings in your life, and don’t want to rock the boat, I urge you to resist your fear and make time to reconnect with what you love.

The margins in my life are narrow. My resources are all self-mined and lean toward the depleted side. I look death in the eye daily, and I know that life is short. It’s all a gamble my friends. It’s all water under the bridge to never-never-land. Every now and then you need to take a leap of faith, jump for joy and do something that rekindles the spark that made you absolutely fabulous once-upon-a-time.

As I slip out of my suit and into something the good-lord made comfortable, I raise a glass to the simple joy of saying, “Fuck it”, and then doing just as you please.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Creative Writing, Creativity, Economics, Education, Entertainment, Girl Stuff, Health, Humor, Humour, Inspiration, Life, Living, Opinion, Perspective, Travel, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Working Women, Writing

Reply All: A Guide To Email Etiquette

"Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much." ~Robert Greenleaf~
“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.”
~Robert Greenleaf~

I happen to have the very best friends a gal could ever wish for. I also happen to be associated with some incredibly gifted, kind and passionate professionals as well. Having said that, we all do crazy things now and then, like hit the ‘Reply All’ tab when we’re responding to email.

Reply All. Hmmm….

A great idea in theory, but it’s the digital equivalent of the paper junk mail that clutters my inbox and kills bazillions of trees. I have to admit being guilty of it in the past month, replying to a  group email that has to do with a vacation that I’m really, really, really excited about.  I’m guilty of reply-alling.

‘Reply All’ is usually unnecessary however. Generally the person who generates the email is the ‘organizer’, the nerve center of communication, and they will ultimately gather responses, send out information neatly tallied and succinctly explained in another email, thus avoiding the thousands of irritating responses.

Asking for directions and parking is a no-no in a ‘Reply All’ response. MapQuest? GPS? Yes, techno-wizard, use it. The other common and particularly stunning faux pas with ‘Reply All’ responses is asking, or delivering personal information that ought to remain personal between the emailer and emailee . Yes, consider those your first new words of 2015.

More often than not ‘Reply All’ is not necessary, overflows already bursting inboxes and annoys the ever-loving-shit out of most folks.

You can thank me for your modern etiquette lesson later on darlings, for now, just nod and carry on being your fabulous selves.

Posted in Andshelaughs, Buddhism, Catholosim, Christianity, Economics, Education, Faith, Girl Stuff, Health, Humor, Inspiration, Lean In, Life, Living, Meaning of Life, Men's Issues, Motivation, Opinion, Perspective, Professional Women, Relationships, Singles, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Working Women, Writing

An Open Letter to Mothers With Young Children

"Mothers are the people who love us for no good reason. And those of us who are mothers know it's the most exquisite love of all." ~Maggie Gallagher~
“Mothers are the people who love us for no good reason. And those of us who are mothers know it’s the most exquisite love of all.”
~Maggie Gallagher~

I was you once – giddy with affection and unconditional love for my child.

Every moment was a miracle, and every second I could kiss, cuddle, snuggle or coo my little one, I did. Unapologetically.

I see you out there, proud as punch as you push your strollers and post your photos on social media of your naps, and first steps, and messy little-helping hands of your budding cookie bakers.

Don’t stop.

That’s right. You read that correctly. Don’t stop falling in love with your babies.

I’m the middle-aged woman you pass at the coffee shop, or in the shopping aisle who stops to tell you how beautiful your baby, toddler or young child is. I’m the woman who coos over the outfits and little faces, and even the tears.  I’m one of the kazillion middle-aged women who look at you through their newly increased lens prescription and says; “Enjoy them while they’re young.”

Don’t stop being amazed at every new stage. Ever.Don’t stop wondering how they are when they head off to school, and don’t stop bothering them for a hug, or stories about their day when they become teenagers. Trust me, they will challenge you sometimes.

Whatever happens and whatever they get up to, don’t stop being the ferociously loving mother that you are.

I’ll be honest with you. When my child turned three, I was tempted to see what the return policy was. Four was better. Like a light switch being turned on, the ‘terrible three’s’ (it was three not two) turned into the fabulous four’s, and I had my angel back.

It’s true, every age and stage holds some surprise. Some stages, much like the prize your potty-training-darling hands to you while proudly shouting, “Poo-Poo”  are less satisfying than others. Sometimes you will despair at how you will get through the day; emotionally, physically, financially. Sometimes, you will have nothing left to give. But that’s when us older gals come in.

We’ve been there; the smiling photo-posting-proud-as-pie times and the lonely-how-am-I-going-to-do-it-times. Pick up the phone, talk to us in line at Starbuck’s, or at the grocery store. We’ve been there sister, and lived to coach you through it.

For now, just keep doing what you do. You’re great at it, even when you’re not sure you’re doing it right, you are.

~Enjoy them while they’re little. They grow up too quickly.~

 

 

Posted in Andshelaughs, Christianity, Christmas, Church, Creative Writing, Economics, Entertaining, Faith, Girl Stuff, Health, Inspiration, Life, Living, Meaning of Life, Men's Issues, Motivation, Opinion, Perspective, Philosophy, Relationships, Religion, Religious Studies, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Working Women, Writing

Why It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas

 

"I close my eyes and drift away into the magic night I softly say a prayer like dreamers do. Then I fall asleep to dream my dreams of you." ~Roy Orbison~
“I close my eyes and drift away into the magic night I softly say a prayer like dreamers do. Then I fall asleep to dream my dreams of you.”
~Roy Orbison~

It has been decided and declared from our home to yours; it does not feel like Christmas this year. At all.

It’s been an odd festive season, and I had held out hope that as the day approached, I’d start feeling Christmasy. I kept hoping for that Christmas miracle I’ve been praying for would manifest in some way shape or form…until this evening as I assembled my ‘goodie’ platters for the office tomorrow.

I thought to myself, “I’ve done everything right. I’ve put up the outside lights. I’ve decorated the house. I’ve entertained and baked. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree, and I’ve stocked the pantry with treats and nibbles, so why on earth does it just suck this year?”

Decidedly it sucks because ‘we’, as in the royal, collective ‘we’ are caught in a vicious commercial and capitalist cycle of bullshit.

There is no break and no ‘taking it easy’ because it’s the holiday season. We work to the limit and squeak out a few days off to catch up with the people most dear to us.  Holiday house parties? Forget it. Who has time for that? Fun office parties? Nope, I’m afraid we’ve taken our professional selves to the edge of robotic functionality with no room for emotion, compassion or humour. Snarky sarcasm has replaced sincere humour as it’s older, wiser cousin. Dear god I miss laughing.

I want to believe in the magic of Christmas. I want to wake up one morning to whatever that Christmas miracle is that I’ve been hoping for, but I don’t have the energy this year to dig that deeply.

Perhaps I will find that magic in the candlelit sanctuary of church this Christmas Eve, after the Eucharist,  as we raise our voices to sing silent night and remember the true meaning of Christmas.

If ever we’ve needed your magic Santa Claus, this is the year.

 

Posted in Christmas, Economics, Entertaining, Fashion, Girl Stuff, Humor, Humour, Life, Men's Issues, Relationships, Singles, Women's Issues

Gift Guide for Middle-Aged Women

its cold outside
its cold outside (Photo credit: carbonated)

In other words, what to buy for me this Christmas….just kidding. Sorta…

Although I may not be the same dress size, complexion, or ethnicity as every woman, I offer you a guide to buying for women who are between 38 and 45…or somewhere close to that.

1) Matching glove and scarf sets. Yes, we’re matchy-matchy. It’s our generation. Make it a bold colour with no pattern We will think of you every time we wear it, and have it for at least three seasons.

2) Spa dates. Yes, that’s right, schedule and pay for the whole fandango. If you get us a gift card we may not go. We’re busy you know, sandwiched between generations, working, and trying to juggle it all.

3) If you are buying for  the special lady in your life, just make it easy on yourself and buy jewelry. We like shiny things…that fit.

4) Beautiful mugs, pens, business card holders or a lightweight mirror compact for your purse. All of these things are useful and remind us of you when we use them every day.

5) Booze. Seriously. Something special, vintage or rare. For instance a lovely bottle of scotch, our favourite bottle of red, or even a bottle of fairly priced bubbly. If you are a lover, we will share with you after you’ve performed your mandatory duties. If you are a friend, we will toast with our tipples by the fireplace. If you are our boss, buy us one of each….No, I’m not kidding.

6) Treat us to a live performance, not you doing a randy striptease in your fruit of the loom at the end of the bed darling. No. How about a concert, a play, a Christmas concert.

7) Do something sweet and thoughtful. For example; buy twelve bottles of wine ( all different kinds, some for winter, some for spring, autumn and summer). Attach a cute tag to each one telling us when and where we’ll be drinking it together; “The first snow storm”, “The first day over 30 degrees”, “On our anniversary”….you get the idea.

8) Gift cards from our favourite lingerie shop. Whether it’s our every day bra’s or our finer pink and whites, we like to choose them ourselves.

9) Travel mugs. The be all and end all of every woman’s weekday routine. We like pretty ones…

10) Any trinket or gadget or book related to our favourite hobby….cycling? running? running? needlework? cooking? decorating?

This is just a primer folks. Whether you’re buying for your aunt or your girlfriend, we all love the thought that you put into the gifts that you give to us, and more than a gift, we appreciate the time that we get to spend with you. So don’t forget that.

 

Posted in Andshelaughs, Buddhism, Christianity, Christmas, Creative Writing, Creativity, Economics, Entertainment, Faith, Feminism, Girl Stuff, Health, Inspiration, Lean In, Life, Living, Meaning of Life, Men's Issues, Motivation, Opinion, Perspective, Philosophy, Professional Women, Relationships, Religion, Religious Studies, Sexuality, Singles, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Working Women, Writing

I Believe: Christmas Miracles

"Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Claus. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don't, who will?" ~Jon Bon Jovi~
“Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Claus. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?”
~Jon Bon Jovi~

For weeks I have been waking up, and saying a little prayer to the universe before I step out of bed; Please give me the strength to get through this day and the grace to find beauty in it.

This morning I had a phone call from a friend whom I’ve lost touch with. We had a difficult conversation earlier this year which ended, badly?

I’m not sure if it ended badly, or just ended where it needed to end, so I left it alone and thought that time, like it always had, would lend some clarity

…but let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you…

~Kalil Gibran~

After reaching out with a Christmas card (yes, I still send them), I had a phone call from my friend. Maybe that was a Christmas miracle? I can’t help but think so. He left a beautiful message and caught me up on the important things including his health, book, and new love in his life. I was overjoyed that perhaps the rickety bridge to our friendship was still in tact.

I’ve had a few of those calls this year, from people who have drifted from my life just due to the demands of daily life with family and career. I’m so thankful for this time of year when something more powerful than the rat-race pulls us together again.

The past two years have been difficult. This one has been difficult in a good way. Busy in a good way, and at the same time exhausting and an emotional marathon of isolation.   I’m tired of worrying about how we’ll survive the next day, and the one after that. I’m tired of being tired.

So after a day of spoiling myself and hoping that my visit to the Alex Colville exhibit,my favourite  shop, Wonderworks, and our favourite bakery, Forno Cultura, I went to bed in full surrender. My only request was that whatever happened next, ‘be gentle with me’.

This morning I woke up in the quiet of my room. I could tell that the day was going to be another grey, drizzly day, and already I was thinking ahead to the demands of the week and worrying about how I would make it all happen. “Magic,” I thought to myself and snickered a bit.

But that’s what this season is about isn’t it? Magic.  We’re almost smack-dab in the middle of the darkest days of the year. All of the seeds we have planted are working furiously to take root and get ready to blossom, making beauty appear like magic from the fallow darkness.

Mystery. Magic. The magic of Christmas. A Christmas miracle. Hmmm?

So my daily prayer to the universe changed this morning; Please give me the strength to get through the day and the grace to find beauty in it. Please send me a Christmas miracle…

…and then for good measure I added, “…that I can recognize and am not afraid to accept.”

I rolled out from under my fluffy white duvet and let my feet hit the floor.

Any time now universe, any time…

 

 

Posted in Andshelaughs, Christmas, Creative Writing, Creativity, Economics, Entertaining, Entertainment, Food, Girl Stuff, Health, Humor, Humour, Inspiration, Lean In, Life, Living, Meaning of Life, Men's Issues, Motivation, Opinion, Perspective, Philosophy, Relationships, Sexuality, Singles, Travel, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Working Women, Writing

A Box of Chocolates for Christmas

chocolatsOne of my gal-pals told me that whenever someone gifted her a box of chocolates she felt insulted. Insulted that the gift-giver gave her a generic gift.

Hmm? I could see her point, but I also had my own feeling about the matter as well – surprise, surprise.

When was the last time you bought yourself a box of chocolates? Not a chocolate bar, or a chocolate snack of some sort, or a decadent dessert while you were out for a girls’ lunch. Just a box of chocolates?

I’m known as  being an ‘-aholic’ of all sorts; chocoholic, manoholic, wine0holic, you get the picture.  But despite loving chocolate, I can’t remember the last time I went out and bought myself a really nice box of chocolates.

I’ve discovered that as we get older, the things we really need are generally not things, or, if they are things, they are necessities or large-ticket items that we have to choose for ourselves.

This does not apply to romantic gift giving either. This must be pointed out for the man-dumb among us. In this case gents, send jewelry and plan and evening of very hot romance which ends naked under the glowing lights of the Christmas tree. Oh, also, because the Andshelaughs ladies are real, please  have breakfast planned.

So, if someone give you a box of chocolates this Christmas, don’t be a raging twatcycle. Remember that they didn’t have to give you damn thing, but they made the effort to give you a special treat, and really, what more could we ask for?