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Na-mas-ummer-day

 

I woke up with pillow stripes imprinted on my face. Sweat had soaked through the front of my t-shirt, and pooled down the deep, fold of venus between my breasts.

No, I hadn’t been jarred from sleep from one of my recurring nightmares. Nor did I wake up disoriented, wondering where I was. I had boldly carried out a fleece blanket and old pillow from a couch that made an unlikely escape from the 80’s  and landed at the cottage. I carried my blankie down from the deck, across the broad granite that led down to the water, and pulled it across the dock like a ball gown. There are unspoken cottage rules, and this was a ginormous no-no.

I spread out the no-no blanket in a flourish, flopped the pillow just above the finished edge, and fell to my knees in a half-cat-half-collapsed-forty-four-year-old-woman-with-a-white-wine-spritzer-buzz, and collapsed onto my stomach. For two hours.

No, I did not wake up with a sore neck. I did not have a sunburn. I did not care that the neighbours likely thought I was an eyesore of a wildwoman with curly hair that set a bad example for their granddaughter.  Swayed by the rocking motion of the dock, and the clear conscience of a woman who is both tipsy and morally upstanding, I slept the sound sleep of a child. And then I drank more wine.

marshmallowThis weekend, I slept late into the first morning in the bedroom that mercifully faces northwest and is properly dark (as all bedrooms should be). I ate an entire bag of marshmallows roasted over  late night fires. The kind that snaps and crackles and leaves you mesmerized by the flames until there are only coals left, illuminating the deafening silence of the sounds of the forest.

I spent an extra-long weekend just being. I read.  I napped. I wrote. I sipped.  I watched the movie version of one of Roald Dahl’s adult novels, and I did not come anywhere near the minimum ten-thousand steps a day which are supposed to keep all of us supple and clot-free.

And then I came home to my day-to-day habits.

There are no marshmallows in my cupboard, and I’ve rid the house of  secret chocolate stashes. Don’t get me wrong, I raid my adult son’s candy stash left over from little gifties from people who still think of him as a kid. Usually I do that late at night when my anxiety flares and my imagination won’t lay down and go to sleep like a good demon.

There is energy to be nurtured and built up during these precious, lazy days of summer, when you don’t wander anywhere but through the still, muck of your own thoughts until it settles; clear. I believe our bodies recharge like our smartphone batteries when exposed to enough sunlight and very little expectation.

A regular diet of this makes maintaining good habits much easier to abide.

Let me be clear; the marshmallows also help with clarity…the singular focus required to toast it perfectly on every surface without coming too close to the flame is a meditation in itself.

As is the sugar headache I wake up with the next morning.

These are the kind of things that remind me that getting my skinny-dipping-chunking-dunking  buns back to every-day-life and yoga class isn’t so damn bad at all.  Namaste my marshmallow-loving compadres. Na-mas-ummer-day.

 

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Sweet Summertime

Summer solstice is almost upon us. You know, the phase of this trip around that sun that marks the true onset of summer.

We’ve all seen the social media posts with funky patio lights and carefree al fresco dining; vintage glassware, impossibly perfect outdoor furniture (that would wither with one rainfall), and no mosquitoes.

This side of 40, we all know that it’s never that perfect. But it can come pretty damn close.  The secret to enjoying summer, or anything else at this stage of the game, is a certain dude-ish je ne sais quoi.  A few flowy, funky, retro tops to hide a multitude of middle aged sins, and plenty of liquids.

The idea of cottaging, camping and celebrating everything that can be celebrated is a great idea, but the reality can be a little tiny bit exhausting.

So I’ve created a little backyard oasis which includes a couple of sets of dated christmas lights which are now trendily referred to as ‘fairie lights’, a water feature from my partner’s ex’s house, and a load of carefree climbing vines.  I added a few palms just to remind myself that when winter arrives, so do the snowbird deals to the Caribbean.

Creating your own, personal oasis leaves plenty of time (no snakey fifty kilometre traffic nightmare into the muskokas or Haliburton Highlands) to tear off your work-a-day clothes, throw on something loose, pour an icy cold gin and tonic and turn up the Jimmy Buffett in the backyard (before and after work, although you might want to substitute coffee before work).

In order to make summertime a little bit more summery and a lot less hectic may I recommend a few of my mid-life-mid-summer-secrets?

  1. The muu-muu. Call it a caftan, or whatever you like, but it’s a lifesaver. No bra. No panties. No public entertaining in this either, but you will feel somewhat goddess like with a generous heap of nonchalant I-could-give-a-craplessness.  Mrs. Roper to the rescue.

2. An easy cocktail. I recommend a simple gin and tonic. Either Tanqueray with Lime, or Hendricks with cucumber. Either works. Poured over ice, it’s simple and refreshing.

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3. Non-alcoholic beverages. Let’s face it, middle-age and empty nesting lets us fall into a relaxed way of being that does not always require assistance. A simple pitcher of pink lemonade in the refrigerator or a sumptuous hot tea can do the trick. My favourites include T by Daniel’s Night in Rio, or Tazo Wild Sweet Orange.

yellowtea

4.  A damn good book that you can sink your teeth into. This could be a post unto itself, but I’m going to stick with just one book for now. If you are a mid-lifer, empty-nester, or a woman who feels like change is on the horizon, I highly recommend, Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  Reading this will make you 100% confident wearing your muu-muu. I promise. No gin required.

women who run with the wolves

5. Fire. Yes, that’s right you need some fire. It’s primal, it’s hypnotising, and it can bring you back to yourself after a long day at work. If you have the space, try a firepit, maybe a chimenea, and for smaller spaces, try a little fire-pot.

chimenea

6. Soundscaping. A water feature can add that lovely trickling sound that makes you think that you’re somewhere other than your urban cage. If there’s no room for that, or no budget, try some of the 1990’s Dan Gibson Solitudes tracks cranked up to drown out the neighbour’s nattering,

Celebrating the sunshine is quintessential to summertime, and creating your own oasis optimizes all of that joyous vitality that the season brings. Wishing you the relaxed kind of muu-muu, gin-drinking, pink lemonade, feminist-reading kind of summer you deserve.

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Summertime To-Do List

being happyYou can’t have it all.

Seriously, you just can’t, unless you want the anxiety to go along with it.

So, instead of giving you a ‘Summer To-Do’ list on top of all of the other stuff you have on your plate my darlings, may I suggest a “Less – More” list?

 

Less City – More Beach

Less Kitchen – More  BBQ

Less Glamour – More Flip-Flops

Less Cohen  – More Calypso

Less Contemplating – More Laughter

Less Solitude – More Friend Time

Less Formal – More Casual

Less  Agenda – More Spontaneous Road Tripping

Less Accumulating – More Making Space

Less Hurry – More Mindfulness

Less No – More Yes

Less Worry – More Wonder

Less Dwelling in the Past – More Letting Go Into the Future

Less Bourbon – More Gin

Less Work – More Kiddo

Less Should – More Let’s

Less Waiting – More Freedom

Less News – More Art

putdownthatmap

 

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It’s the Waiting that’s Killing Us

2e2ace5e88f78b655e97a14a2a14a3c5Waiting, patience, giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

As we age, we begin to appreciate the value of these things. As we participate in the ride of life, we begin to realize that some of the pithy generalizations that people make are true; you can’t control what happens to you, you can only control how you react.

To a certain extent this is true. What we also come to recognize is that we can, to some extent control some of the things that happen to us.

Usually it’s by establishing personal boundaries, and filtering out the people who do not contribute to our well-being, who take without giving, and generally display sociopathic, tendencies, albeit on a sliding scale.

Waiting. We wait. We wait and we wait some more.

We wait most of all for perfect timing; for a long weekend, money in the bank or for when the kids are out of school. When we  wait with our own idealistic timeline in mind, it’s not waiting, it’s planning. Planning can be a good thing – it goes a long way to securing security, which, can never be guaranteed.

Let’s face it, every day when we get out of bed, we’re hedging our bets against our own mortality. We spend and save, worry and regret, love or protect our hearts as if we have all of the time in the world.

I hate to break it to you, but we’re not guaranteed a freaking thing; not tomorrow, not fidelity, not good health. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to throw caution to the wind and live a wild and carefree life. Goodness, what on earth would that be like for everyone? You know, living and loving and sharing as if we were all human???

What I’m saying is, align yourself with souls who are on the same path, willing to take risks with matters of the heart, and who don’t want to let life fly by without feeling fully and completely what it is to be joyful, sad, afraid and elated. Don’t settle for a partner who makes you wait, and wait, and wait some more. Don’t feel cuffed to a friend who doesn’t want to expand their horizons.

As the landscapes turn from bright summer, to pastels, and finally to the gold and oranges of autumn, I challenge you to stop waiting.

Stop waiting for someone who doesn’t want to be with you. Stop waiting until the perfect day when you don’t have to rush a little of the daily-what-must-be-dones to arrive at ah-yes-this-is-what-living is’s. Stop waiting for someone, or Jupiter to align with the sun.

Each moment you wait, you check another bar off of your lifeline. Each moment that you wait, you’re not out there meeting other vibrant, life-loving, engaged human beings.

Each moment offers an opportunity to choose something that gives us energy or zaps us. If someone continues to keep you waiting, and waiting, and waiting, I suggest getting up and getting on with the business of being fabulous. Grace and patience do not have to be self-effacing or selfless. If you are waiting for someone, you can wait and still be vibrant. You can wait and still do what you love. You can wait and meet other people to share wonderfully rich and unforgettable moments.

It’s the waiting that’s killing us darlings. Don’t wait.