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Vacation Planning Tips

Life is a trip!
Life is a trip!

They say that the anticipation of your vacation is as much of a high as the actual vacation.

I would have to agree. Although, I also am going to throw an idea out there; when you’re too busy to enjoy the anticipation of the vacation, you’re far over-due for a getaway.

That seems to be the case at my place. On top of an already hectic schedule, I have had to pre-organize meals and lunches. Even the weekend is booked solid with kiddy obligations, leaving me precious little time to clean and prepare for the people who are coming to fill in while I’m away.

Then there are logistics, schedules, emergency numbers, travel insurance and last-minute packing items.

Someone suggested going to a tanning bed to get a ‘base’ so I don’t burn. Who has time?! Yesterday was a 14 hour workday.  This all explains why I’m kinda known for my famous Irish suntan.

So far, it’s been just a hectic anxiety ridden rush to keep up at home and work. It was only yesterday when I booked my final pre-holiday spa visit to take care of the finer bits that it began to sink in…just a few more days until my chubby porcelain-white buns will be resting on a sailboat in the Caribbean. Ahhh…….

The following is not so much a list of tips, but a reminder to fit in travel necessity planning if you have an already busy schedule;

1) Book your spa time to coincide with your departure; bikini and any other necessary waxing, pedicure, manicure and most importantly about an hour while your tootsies soak to unwind while you flip through the latest edition of your fave fashion magazine.

2) Book your airline limo. Let’s face it, no one is going to offer to drive you to the airport in the wee hours of the morning while it’s minus-this-is-crazy-degrees-Celsius out there.

3) Flight and emergency information emailed to anyone who may care where you are and when you should be home.

4) Currency exchange. Have enough cash stashed to get you there and back, including your pre-flight anti-anxiety bottle of wine – mimosa if it’s a morning flight. Mimosa’s don’t count as alcohol when you’re on vacation darling.

5) Plastic zipper bags. Oh yah – best thing to take on holiday. It will save your luggage from leaking beauty products. Zip them and go my sweets.

Don’t forget to dream a little, and relax while you’re away. Have fun, and remember what it’s like to be carefree.

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Mistletoe & Manson

"What happens under the mistletoe, stays under the mistletoe."
“What happens under the mistletoe, stays under the mistletoe.”

Each year I hang my mistletoe with the distant hope that perhaps, just maybe, there might be a slim chance that Mr. Wonderful will knock on my door while I’m tapping at the keyboard, and sweep me off my slipper covered feet.

I know, it’s crazy, but I’m absolutely convinced it could happen. Maybe I’d have to get asked out on a date first, but it could happen.

That’s the thing about love and lust and matter of the heart isn’t it? We hope, we dream, and we all want to be someone’s special someone.

Tonight I just about gave up all hope when I read a Yahoo news clip;  Charles Manson was issued a marriage license, and the plan is to get hitched to some young twenty-something?

In my head I exclaimed, “Hellooooo? WTF?!”, and ” Are you freaking kidding me?!”

But then I thought about it, and I decided that there is still hope for me.  After all, I’m just an amateur nut-bag compared to Manson. My eccentricities and extended single status are nothing compared with Manson’s brand of wacko.  My mistletoe is waiting…

Dear Santa, Please send me someone to love….

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Ritual, Devotion, Faith & Fruitcakes

monkcakeI’m very fortunate to have the ear of clergy representing many faith groups at many levels. Recently, during a conversation we discussed the idea of ritual in opposition to devotion.

Raised Christian, with a background rooted in the rich and terrifying land of Religious Studies in combination with being a present-day-barely-practicing-Buddhist, I must admit that I  equally find comfort in the ritual of a Protestant service,  Catholic mass and chanting of the Sutras.

I’m one of those heathen hybrids that most faith leaders find irresistible when it comes to their calling to convert. That I can somewhat intelligently discuss a vast variety of religious dogma and texts makes me somewhat slippery when it comes to devotion, and a ritual junkie. My values of honouring the human spirit, practice of kindness and stripping interpretation of sacred text of its ancient and oppressive cultural superstition also makes me a bit of a pariah.

The idea that devotion and ritual can even be opposed left me gob-smacked.


devotion; noun (pr. dee-vo-shuh-n)
1. profound dedication; consecration.
2. earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.
3. an assignment or appropriation to any purpose, cause, etc.:

the devotion of one’s wealth and time to scientific advancement.

4. Often, devotions. Ecclesiastical. religious observance or worship; a form of prayer or worship for special use.

Devotion embraces elements of ritual, often as prescribed by religious texts and demanded by rites of passage.

I do believe that perhaps the faith leader I was speaking with perhaps intended to say that people often go through rituals without understanding the intended meaning within the faith. Ritual is a step on the pathway of devotion.

Ritual often reveals itself in real-life-every-day habitual activities. Think about our rituals around food.

Today, for instance, I spent  some time preparing a fruitcake recipe that has been handed down for generations. ‘What does fruitcake have to do with ritual and devotion‘, you might be asking yourself right now. Everything.

The ritual reminds me of my grannies, and all of the lessons about life I  learned at their apron strings; patience, planning, generosity, the value of work, taking time to teach, listening, and even the value of humour.

You see, it’s not about the fruitcake. It’s about what you do with it. Your fruitcake might be wine, or cabbage rolls, easter ham, serving tea or technical skills. It’s about whatever it is that helps you create something to be shared with your community.

After all, isn’t a life of faith, devotion and practice about creating a more compassionate, loving world? Religious scripture, ritual, and organization are creations of our own, intended  to guide us on a path of living a life of purpose, meaning and compassion.

Whatever your creations (even if it’s a controversial culinary masterpiece like the oft-debated value of fruitcake), they are  your gift to share.

Small,  daily rituals such as opening a door for someone, shaking hands or  sharing food are all stepping-stones of devotion. That we don’t recognize them in such a busy world, where the human spirit often struggles to shine,  does not diminish their value .

Your small gestures  in this big machine of North-American life do matter.

Celebrate your mundane creations, and the people who share them with you. Faith has such vast connotations, but why don’t you try to think of faith as  the ability of the human spirit to shine through our every-day-existence.

Whatever your particular faith, ritual or devotion, please share your own fruitcake with the world.