Posted in 60 Minutes Life, Advice for Women, Art of LIving, Creative Life, Death, Death & Dying, Fearless Living, Graceful Living, Gracious Living, Healthy Living, Joyful Living, Life, Life at Starbucks, Life Lessons, Living, Meaning of Life, Mindful Living, Perspective, Simple Living, Social Anxiety, Social Commentary, Spiritual Living, The Art of Living, Uncategorized, women, Women's Issues

Wharehouse Shopping & My Mortality

shoes

I’ve been feeling miserable as hell, but faking it quite well.

Sounds like the lyrics of a B-class rock song, but  it’s true.

I’ve been on the downhill slide of feeling like absolute shit for months, and mostly successful at ignoring it. Until yesterday. Yesterday was not a good day in the health diary of your-fabulous-one.

But here I am, at home, and not dead. Go figure.

Haruki Murakami wrote that pain is inevitable and suffering is optional. It’s a particularly Buddhist quote and it resonates with me as does the fact that the natural state of our bodies is one of health.

So, today, faced with setting up more appointments that will see me sitting in dirty yet sterile looking waiting rooms, I decided that despite pain and suffering, I was going to get on with the business of life.  I mean, I have shit to do man.

Spring has sprung in our little corner of the world, and I fully intend on taking advantage of it.

 

Today after my appointment with the doctor, who confirmed that I am indeed NOT dead, I went to get myself a new pair of  shoes. While I was shopping at one of my sketchy wharehouse sales that make me feel the essence of living on one salary, cue the gunmetal steps with the wood two by four railing and bald fluorescent  lighting….

Anyway, I needed these damn walking shoes…at about twenty five steps into what I am convinced is the next best thing to illegal merchandise, the namesake of the wharehouse gets on the intercom and I shit you not, he says this…

….You’ll have to excuse me because I don’t speak Chinese, so you’ll have to put up with my English. To all of you who are tearing apart my store, I’m going to have my staff ask you to leave. I paid for this stuff and I don’t want you ruining it. I’d rather you shop somewhere else because I don’t need your business…

At first I was appalled, and then I almost died laughing. What a circus!

Often I’ve been accused of being too direct, too bold, too independent, too smart,  wearing clothes that are too loud, and having boobs that are too big.

“Have you ever thought of having those reduced?” Um, yah genius. Would you like to pay my bills while I heal? No? Then shut up.

"No, no, no! It's longer with a bigger blade!"Having been feeling loogy for the past few months, I’ve had some time to reflect. I’ve actually been scared. Yes, afraid. I’m not often afraid of things, but the thought of really, really bad news about your mortality can make you a bit anxious.

What I realized is that I have very few (if any) regrets. Other than having my finances in better order, or a little less clutter for my son to clear out, or maybe not being able to be a mom for longer, I really have had a life well-lived.

Most of that is because of my too-muchness. I have lived out the curious corners that most people avoid as they tread the safe line of social acceptance and keeping up with the Jones’.

what are you talking aboutSo I had to give kudos to the man who called out the rabid greed of warehouse shoppers today. I love being with people who know how to cut to the chase when it’s necessary. Life is, indeed, short.

The last thing I want to waste time on is bullshit, and the first thing I want to waste time on is good conversation, delicious food, wonderfully thoughtful company, playing, laughing and being present in the joy that the present moment has to offer.

For now I will cope with this ill-health in the best frame of mind possible, remembering the comforting truth that the natural state of my body is one of health, and that although I may be in pain, suffering is optional.  I will also wear bright clothing, speak my mind, and laugh at everything.

So, if you’re mucking up my present moment, I’m going to ask you to leave. I don’t need your business.

 

 

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Posted in Advice for Women, Andshelaughs, andshelaughs writing, Art of LIving, Creative Life, Fearless Living, Graceful Living, Gracious Living, Healthy Living, Joyful Living, Life, Life Lessons, Living, Meaning of Life, Mindful Living, Perspective, Professional Women, Simple Living, Spiritual Living, Sprititual Living, The Art of Living, Uncategorized, women, Women's Issues, Women's Rights, Working Women

Flannel on Fire; A Sure Sign of Burn-Out

womanonfireBurn-out. It’s a thing.

When you’re the glue that holds it all together, it’s dangerous for everyone when you get so worn out that you crack.

My therapist calls it ‘over-functioning’. I call it every-day living, or at least I have since I became a parent.

When you’re too busy to even think about taking a break, and nobody cares enough to pick up the slack, something’s gotta give.

Something’s been giving for a while here, and tonight I think it snapped.

If you’ve read enough of my sagas, you will recall when I super-glued my foot into a pretty little open-toed sandal. You will remember when I had tummy-trouble in the middle of a boot-camp fitness class. You might even recall the cat setting his giant fluffy tail alight. You will know that very little passes by without getting a deep, full belly laugh reaction from me.

But not tonight.

Absolutely burned out at home and work, I allowed myself the indulgence of a candlelit bath.

With my face covered in an organic chocolate cleansing mask, and my hair dangling in the front of my wet face, I thought I detected the smell of something burning.

I have a terrible sense of smell, so I wasn’t too alarmed. But that quickly changed.

With deep conditioner in my eyes and a slippery hold on the edge of the bathtub I skittered to attention as I glimpsed a trio of candles burning rather too brightly on the vanity. Wait. I didn’t have a trio of candles, I realized as the smell of something burning became overwhelming. I had a candle. One.

And that was smoke in the air not steam.

And something was burning!

In my hurry to retrieve my forgotten face mask something had snagged my all-time-favourite-snuggle-in-at-home-costume; my mommy-flannel-nightie. The one my five-year-old son insisted was the most beautiful piece of clothing I owned. It was flaming on the vanity, melting a bottle of lotion, and shooting flames up, up and away.

Sometimes we ignore the signs when we need to slow down, that we need to administer some strict boundaries and compassionate self-care.

But trust me when I say this; a flaming flannel nightie gets ones attention. Fast.

“Mom, are you ok in there?”

Barely, I thought as I pulled my charred nightie into the sink and then returned to the bath, resigned to the fact that perhaps this was as good as it gets.

Thank you universe for reminding me that not protecting my own time, energy and values will cause me to burn-out, by sending me a big hunk of burning-flannel.

 

Posted in Advice for Men, Advice for Women, Advice for Writers, Aging, Andshelaughs, andshelaughs writing, Anxiety, Anxiety & Depression, Anxiety and Depression, Art of LIving, Artists, At Issue, Break Ups, Break-Ups, Breaking Up, Breathe In Breathe Out, Breathe In Breathe Out Move On, Broken Hearts, Buddhism, Buddhist Philosophy, Buddhist Writers, Canadian Writers, Coffee Talk, columns Dating Advice, Columns Relationship Advice, Comedy, Communication, Communications, Creative Life, Creativity, Dating Advice, Dating Advice for Men, Dating Advice for Women, Dating Advive, Dating Love, Dating Over 40, Dear Asshole, Depression, Entertainment, Falling In Love, Fearless Living, Fearlessness, Free Thinkers, Freedom of Speech, Friends, Friendship, Girl Stuff, Graceful Living, Guy Stuff, Happiness Project, Having Fun, He Said She Said, Healing, Health, Healthy Living, Human Rights, ideas, insight, Inspiration, jealousy, Jimmy Buffett, Jimmy Buffett Toronto, Joy, Joyful Living, Kindness, Kindness Project, Laughter Therapy, Leadership, Lean In, Lean In Girl Stuff, Learning, Life, Life Lessons, Living, Loneliness, Loss, Love, Love Letters, Love Songs, Lovers, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Mature Dating, Meaning of Life, Men's Health, Men's Issues, Men's Sexuality, Mens' Issues, Mental Health, Mindful, Mindful Living, New Age, New Feminism, New Year's Eve, Nostalgia, on-line dating, Pema Chodron, Perspective, Philosophy, Psychology, Rants, Relationship Advice, Relationships, Religion and Spirituality, Romance, Romance Dating, Sadness, Singles, Social Anxiety, Social Commentary, Society, Songwriters, Spiritual Living, Spirituality, The Art of Living, Therapy, Uncategorized, Wellness, Whole Living, Women's Issues, Words of Wisdom, Working Women, Writing, Writing Inspiration

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.

 

 

 

Posted in Buddhist Philosophy, Buddhist Writers, Christianity, Christmas, Christmas Gift Ideas, Christmas Lists, Christmas Marketing, Coffee Talk, Columns, Columns Relationship Advice, Family, Fatherhood, Friendship, Guy Stuff, insight, Inspiration, Joy, Joyful Living, Kindness, Kindness Project, Life Lessons, Living, Loss, Love, loving, Magic, Meaning of Christmas, Meaning of Life, Mindful Living, Motherhood, Nostalgia, Personal Development, Perspective, Psychology, Relationship Advice, Relationships, Simple Living, Student Life, The Art of Living, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women's Issues, Working Women, Youth

Everyone is a Kid at Christmas

kidsThis is for teenagers, young adults, and parents.

Let me tell you a short story. Today was my day off. I work long hours, at a very (physically & psychologically) demanding job (which I love). Even so, I L-O-V-E my days off.

No-alarm-clock days are luxurious. After all darlings, I have mastered the art of living and relaxing. But today I set my alarm for 6 a.m. You see, my kiddo had to get up and out before 7 a.m., and I wanted to give him a drive.

Yes, he’s old enough to get there himself. Yes, he knows how to pack his own lunch, cook, clean and do his own laundry. Despite the kiddo’s protests,  “Mom, why do you want to drive me? I’m fine on my own. Go back to bed“, I often get up even on the days I work a late shift.

Why? Well, as any parent will tell you, they cherish those moments with their children, and those moments come fewer and more far between as our children grow up.

The Christmas season offers many opportunities to argue, fight, and to feel annoyed with one another.

When we want to be with you to decorate the tree,  have dinner with friends, and participate in family traditions, please remember that it’s not intended as a form of torture.

When we ask how your day was, we’re not so much checking up on whether you were a stand-up human being, we want to make sure you’re ok. Ok as in, we’ve been there, and we know that the world can be cruel and hard. We want to make sure you never leave for the day, or go to bed at night feeling, ‘less than’.

When we pack you a lunch, or suggest you take more food, we’re not criticizing your menu choice. We don’t want you to be hungry.

When we make sure you have a winter coat for the season, and suggest you take a hat or gloves, it’s not because we want to send you out looking like an over-grown toddler or out of style. We don’t want you to feel the cold.

When we ask you about your first crush, we don’t want to give you a moral lecture on sexual behavior. We want to know if your crush is treating your tender heart with care. We don’t want you to feel heartache.

When we ask you what you want to study or what you want to be be when you grow up, we don’t care if you have a definitive answer. We want you to go after your dreams.

We don’t want you to suffer; to feel pain, cold, hunger, loneliness or sadness.

No matter how old you are, if you are lucky, you will always be someone’s little boy or little girl. At a certain point in life, the roles reverse, and like I feel about my mumster, you’ll want to swaddle us in protective love too.

Wishing kids of all ages, a very happy holiday.

 

 

Posted in Advice, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario, Battle of the Sexes, dating, Feminism, Friendship, Girl Stuff, Guy Stuff, He Said She Said, Life, Living, Love, Marriage, Perspective, Relationships, Romance, Series, Single in the City, Singles, Wine, Women's Issues, Writers, Writing

Uncorked Part 2: If a little Her-Heming-Way Becomes Her, So Does An Entire Bottle of Chardonnay

IMG_7058Ah yes, Part Deux of deux.

The prerequisite for reading this post is Uncorked Part 1.

Pour a glass of your favourite tipple darling, and snuggle in. In fact, just bring the whole damned bottle with you.

Two Christmases ago (is that even a word?…anyway), my friend, the Determined D. gave me a very heartfelt gift. She was very familiar with my love of fine wine, and my love of not-so-fine men.

Determined D presented me with a beautifully, purple organza wrapped bottle of Chardonnay. When she gave it to me she said, with sweet, wistful, Disney-like-fairy-tale, earnestness,

” I want you to open this with the love of your life. I just know that this is the year you will meet him.”

I really, really, really wanted to believe her.  So, I took the bottle (still wrapped), and placed it with my stash of vino that I keep on hand should I have the good fortune to keep the company of a wino with expensive taste, such as my own.

…and I waited….

And waited. And then I met Mr. Wonderful-Love-Of-My-Life-Everything-Just-Clicked! Ok, so it took a few months longer, but still! The Determined D was right!

I poked my head into my secret wine stash. “There it is!” I thought to myself. I’m going to open this on the big day when everything is official. Given the discussions we’d had, I figured that would be September sometime. Maybe October. You know, perfect weather for a little autumn al fresco dining.

Keep in mind darlings, that I’ve been single for the better part of a decade and a half. Not a year and a half. I’m talking a DECADE.

Long story short, he turned out to be the adult-equivalent of my high-school sweetheart stomping on my heart with the whore whose dad was the town dentist. Oh boy did it hurt.

After a bit of a parade of useless men during the past few weeks, and a really bad week on other fronts, I decided that tonight was the night that I was going to uncork my hopes and dreams of meeting the love of my life.

So, what exactly does a lady do when she officially surrenders? When she knows that there is never going to be the love-of-her-life to share that special, thoughtfully and beautifully wrapped bottle with?

She takes herself out to one of her favourite places. Mine just happens to be a world-class art gallery, with a Member’s lounge boasting an award-winning chef. She orders a tall glass of something boozy, a mouth-watering meal and stays to hear the world premiere of a piano concerto written specifically for the current exhibit.

She then get’s somewhat loose, toasts a grand good-bye to the lying, cheating, multiple-personality, whack-job, dickwads that have broken her heart, and goes home alone (listening to classic 80’s rock so loud the car shakes) to a fabulous bottle of Chardonnay. That’s my guess anyway….

Tonight I went to my go-to feel-better place. I stared out the window into the darkness of the November night, into the beauty of a city fully alive. I meandered the gift shop and decided to forgo buying a guilded acorn that Nordic legend holds will ensure a long life.

You see, the way things have been going, I don’t know that I want a long life. I want a happy life, a simple life, a life filled with love. An acorn isn’t going to give me that.

Neither is the Chardonnay, but at least it’ll get me though the night.  See Part 1.

Posted in Advice for Writers, Andshelaughs, Art, books, Canadian Writers, Chapters, Death, Dying, Ernest Hemingway, Feminism, Girl Stuff, Guy Stuff, Heming Way, Hemingway, hemingway in love, Life, Living, Meaning of Life, Perspective, Writers

Uncorked Part 1: A Little Of the Heming-Way Becomes Her

heming wayWhatever story you buy about the character of Ernest Hemingway, you have to admit that he’s a hell of a writer. He lived a remarkably interesting life, and didn’t pull any punches.

Personally, I find the stories and myths about his life fascinating. Maybe it’s the era within which he lived, keeping company with Picasso, the Fitzgerald’s, and the fascinating Gertrude Stein.

Maybe I just love men who are assholes. That could very well be it.

There have been books written, tongue-in-cheek, on the ‘Heming-Way’; How to be a manly man.  In case you can’t read the font, the cover of the book reads; “How to unleash the booze-inhaling, animal-slaughtering, war-glorifying, hairy-chested, retro-sexual legend within, Just Like Papa!”

After reading Hemingway in Love, I fell in love (writer to writer of course darlings) a little more with Mr. Hemingway.  This from a woman who has written in his old haunts in Havana and Paris, France.

You see, the book is a tale of regret regarding lost love. Or rather, love pissed away by ego and, well, that’s it.  Just ego.

Spoiler alert; during a twilight-years  discussion with his dear pal F.Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway admits to the failure of his grand affair (basically he left his first wife whom he met, fell in love with and married while he was a nobody, for a spoiled rich girl who got whatever she wanted, including Papa). inlove

I made a mistake with Pauline, that’s all. A goddam fatal mistake….No mater what they tell you about reliving the past, it’s not a bridge…She tried to use her wealth to connect us, but it just put me off. I’d made it on my own and I had to keep it that way.

Ahh, yes, there you have it. “I’d made it on my own“.

So many women have made it on their own, in spite of….

…you name it; sexual abuse, poverty, physical abuse. Whatever it is, choose your poison.

Others have not had to face such adversity, and so, they have never had the necessity of having to cultivate their inner Heming-way; toughening up with no one to pour their pink champagne or hold them while they cry.

I for one have never had a father (brother, husband, uncle…..) look out for my best interest or protect his little girl. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done on my own and under my own steam.

Women who have had to walk with their heads held up high, without the benefit of daddy, husband or family-money funded Louboutin’s know what it’s like to have to maintain some rough edges in order to cut through the barbed-wire of independent life.

Kindness matters, yet sometimes a lady has to know when to drop an f-bomb to get the fair result of her efforts. A little booze-inhaling, retro-sexuality can go a long way as a salve to the harsh reality of single living, and letting the silver-spoon-in-mouth born crowd know that you mean business, and have the balls to carry that business out.

As Hemingway allegedly said, reliving the past is not a bridge. We all live, and we all learn. Bridges burn and crumble.

The Her-heming-way’s among us know what it’s like to cry yourself to sleep and plaster on a smile in the morning so you can bring home the bacon. They know that reliving the past is definitely not a bridge , and they’re glad that it’s not.

To all of the Her-Heming-Way ladies out there,  I salute you.

Posted in Advice for Women, Aging, Andshelaughs, Birthdays, Celebrations, Girls Stuff, Holidays, Life, Living, Men's Issues, Opinion, Perspective, Women's Issues

Happy Birthday To Me: I Don’t Give a Rat’s….

Birthday GirlI don’t get it. You know, the people who guard their age like the Hope Diamond? What is with that?

For the love of all that’s holy, give it up you pretentious nit-wit!

Life, if you’re lucky and appreciate the journey, is a grand adventure, of which not a single one of us is guaranteed another day.

Years ago I denied a very creative, photog of a lover the privilege of taking pictures of me a la mode. “One day you’ll wish you had pictures,” he said. I should have listened to him. I miss that twenty-something body. I miss the perky firmness of all of the soft spots.

I should have taken his advice. He was older. He knew.

Sure, money might buy you life-extending medical care, a bimbo with a boob job, or a gigolo with a gigantico jiggler, but none of us get out of this circus tent alive or with parts that don’t break down. I figure you may as well appreciate some of the gifts that come along with loss of skin turgor, middle-age spread, and loss of your faculties.

For instance, as I look at turning another year older in a few days, I realize that I no longer really give a shit about what people think of me. I know who I am, what I stand for, and where my ethical boundaries are. I’m a good person.

I’m more confident, and even more certain that I fall short of perfection and always will. At this age, I know that I will make mistakes, and I’m not devastated by it. In fact, I appreciate, however inconvenient it may be, that mistakes have always been one of life’s most effective (if not efficient) teachers.

A bad hair day no longer makes me wish I could disappear. I don’t worry about taking sick days because I know that the only thing that heals me is rest.

If he doesn’t call back, or ever again, I know that it wasn’t meant to be – in other words, I’ve learned to temper my romantic expectations.

I know you can’t get blood from a stone, so there’s no use trying. I know that life goes on even when you’re blinded by tears and wounded with a broken heart. Nothing lasts forever; the bad stuff, or the good stuff.

When someone asks me how old I will be on my birthday, I tell them. You may think I’m too old, or too young to understand you. You might think I’m crazy or brilliant. Perhaps you have an opinion about my hair, my make-up or my weight. Frankly darling, at this age, I don’t give a rat’s ass…

…and that’s such a liberating feeling.

Happy birthday to me.