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Things I’m (NOT) Thankful For

"Hope is when you suddenly realize that reality sucks." ~Unkown~
“Hope is when you suddenly realize that reality sucks.”

Thanksgiving, yet another opportunity to celebrate a holiday in the shadow of dysfunction.

If holidays are not your most joyful time, don’t feel alone. You have plenty of good company.

If you’re all alone behind closed doors, getting by on contraband prescription drugs and booze just like ma and pa used to, you’re in good company. It’s not that people won’t admit it, it’s just that they don’t remember in the morning.

Having hosted a wonderful get-together with friends yesterday, I have the remainder of the weekend to my glorious self, and the myriad of closed cafes which otherwise occupy my solitary, hermit-like lifestyle.

Oh, don’t give me that bullshit darling, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Loosen your pretty little peter-pan collar my dumpling, and belly up to a true tale of what a lot of folks suffer through every time Hallmark rings their celebratory bells.

Don’t worry my delicate little forget-me-nots, I will, eventually move on to a list of things that I am thankful for. After all, gratitude is highly prized by the LuluLemon set, and being ungrateful is just so very out of vogue and (gasp) ugly.

So let’s get on with this ugliness, shall we?

The first thing I’m not thankful for is my gimpy left index finger which I almost cut off in my rushed attempt to get thanksgiving dinner on the table after a 65 hour work week.

Yah, not thankful for that, seeing as writing is my great passion and it’s causing me to make all kinds of typos, which, for the purpose of authenticity, I’m tempted not to correct for the remainder of this post so you might experience my typing-gimp pain right along with me.

The second thing I’m not thankful for is surviving a childhood of learned poor coping and communication skills without even a smidgen of a  psychiatric diagnosis, therefore having to continually draw on my own human reserves to get through every, stinking lonely night sans any type of ‘____onazepam’.

The third thing I’m not thankful for is the shitty selection of movies on Sunday night television. Seriously Women’s Network, Sunday nights suck just as much as Friday and Saturday for single, middle-aged women. Don’t give me this how to decorate your home garbage. I want shirtless hunks wooing Sandra Bullock.

The fourth thing I’m not thankful for are invitations to dinner that come so very late that you know the host/hostess is banking on you not showing up, but having the politically correct right to say that they did invite you. Really? Don’t bother. Go choke on your butterball.

The fifth thing I’m not thankful for is having big boobs. That’s right, they get in the way, and manage to catch every single drip of contraband chocolate or ewey-goey goodness that you try to sneak. There’s nothing like having extra large ta-ta’s that scream, “I have food issues”.

Ok, that’s enough negativity. Let me move along to a list of the top ten things that I am thankful for during this glorious holiday;

1) Fat pants. Yes, elastic waste bands, and hell, why not, I’m gonna give a shout out to my non-underwire bra too. Thanks for sticking by me when everyone else is gone.

2) Fake Bailey’s Irish Cream.  Oh yah, comfort booze that’s affordable. They should just call it, O’Maybe’s….I’ll just drink the whole damn bottle.

3) That one relative who ‘gets me’. You know, the only other sane-insane person  you’re related to by consangquinity who doesn’t think you’re a raging, ignorant twat.

4) Honestly, I can’t come up with number four. Or five, six, seven, eight, nine or ten for that matter.

Frankly if you don’t like it, you can sod off like the rest of the world.







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A Twisted Sister & First Aid Thanksgiving

dogrockIs it too much to ask to just have a man in your life who wants to go see a movie, come home, drink until you’re both horny, screw like monkeys and pass out until 10a.m.??? Seriously, where’s my soulmate?



That’s what I asked myself as I drove home from the final errand before hitting the kitchen to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for twenty or so of my closest pals.

I was listening to Twisted Sister screech out We’re Not Gonna Take it, and chomping on a Coffee Crisp Bar, licking my  battle wounds from an extra long week at work  that included an office fire and  suffering from a head cold that rivaled the pressure of a sledgehammer making contact with a guinea hen egg.  Oh yah, and another round of ‘what the fuck was I thinking’ would happen in the land of middle-age love angst.

Perhaps the Twisted Sister turned up to 11 and the pre-dinner candy-bar were giveaways leading up to the burn-out finish line? Perhaps I had managed to push my usually wonderfully over-functioning self to the edge? Perhaps I should have come home, made an easy dinner and tackled everything at a more even pace?

But no. I had twinkle-lights to dig out of the shed, pumpkins to carry up from the garage, a table to prepare, salads, desserts and stuffing to make. Time was, as always, of the essence.

Out of sheer desperation, I sent a text to my friend asking if she would mind terribly stopping and picking up the one, elusive item I had overlooked during my three trips to the grocer this week. If you know me, you know I rarely ask for anything. But tonight, at the point of exhaustion and feeling a little sorry for my unloved self, I asked for help.

Shortly afterward, in a rush, a very large, very sharp, very serrated knife found its way quickly through my left hand.

If anyone were with me, they would have wrapped up my hand and driven me to the ER for a few stitches. Perhaps they may have said some soothing words, or done something comforting, but no. That’s not how I roll darlings. Instead, I gave my kiddo a  first aid lesson in how to identify arterial blood from venous blood, and how to wash and sterilize a wound in order to begin the clotting cascade.

No, I’m not kidding. That’s exactly what happened.

Life has a way of slowing us down when we won’t listen to our bodies; overloaded immune systems, fatigue, forgetfulness.

Whenever I stumble, fall, or in this case cut myself wide open, I know that I have to slow down, stop, and pay attention to just how thin I’m trying to stretch myself with no one to support me.

When my friend arrived at my door with my forgotten grocery item and a beautiful bouquet of flowers, it was all I could do not to cry. She’s a one-of-a-kind pal. Sometimes it is a simple kindness that brings me to my knees and  touches my  soul when it feels the most alone.

It’s time to take some of my own good advice. Who knows, maybe I’ll treat myself to some TLC this weekend; sleep in a bit, give my body a chance to recover, dawdle over the Saturday news on Sunday morning, and tuck myself in at the theatre with a big bucket of popcorn and watch the movies I want to see.

Tomorrow we won’t have corn stalks and twinkle lights, and someone is going to have to help me peel the turnip, set the table and lift the turkey and ham. But that’s ok. I’ll be thankful for the friends I do have, and for another opportunity to gather together.



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Canadian Thanksgiving

bagpipersThere’s nothing like a fall day in Canada to make you appreciate everything that’s good about life.

Last night, as we stepped out onto a quiet street, the streets and sidewalks littered with dry fallen leaves, the strong scent of autumn’s riches reminded me of all of the blessings in my life for which to be thankful. City living dulls the splendor of the changing seasons.

After rolling with the bumper-to-bumper traffic that defines the GTA during long weekend commutes, we finally found the open road, serenaded by Dr. Hook and our own voices raised in silly song.

As much as I love the night time lights of the city, especially on cold nights, when the lights shine more brightly, and the darkness is more intense, there’s something about simple, small town living that takes you back to yourself.

As I nestle in at a centuries old Bed & Breakfast, tour the town, and stroll along the St. Lawrence river, the stress of every day escapes my body. The sunlight, the changing colour of the leaves, and the clear chime of church bells that mark the hour to the clouds help to quiet my busy thoughts.

Three quarters of the year have passed. My 2013 wishlist is well on the way to being complete, thanks to hard work, and the determination to look to the future and not to the past.

In the garden, beside the pond, we sipped Moscato perched on comfy lounge chairs that rest on a stone path. We watched the water fountain trickle onto the happy tongue of Chloe the Great Dane, while her partner Roxy the Jack Russell wagged her tail on the cobblestone wall, and barked at wild things unseen.

Yes, these are moments that call for full presence (and more wine). For letting go, deep breathing, and looking to the future.

On the moonlit dock, a piper piped us into the sweet story of Saltwater Moon. How can a woman not be hopeful that perhaps love is just around the corner? The theatre entrance wound us down and around a wooden building until we were on the docks where sailboats were moored and moonlight glistened on the water.  The piper piped the perimeter of the building, walking the length of the darkened dock, letting the wail of the pipes echo across the water, until the sound slipped away entirely, leaving small crowd in silence and then gathered us together in applause.

We strolled home, up the hill, with old stone churches and the swift St. Lawrence at our back.

You can’t help but romanticize what living here must be like. That is until you find out that the “Coolest Place In Town” turns out to be closed down, and you remember how wonderful it is to have access to arts and culture from around the world within a half an hour of home.

The night-time streets, but for a few dog walkers and late theater goers, were empty, and the evening mild enough to leave the door open as we settled down to read.  A good friend, a good book, a beautifully decorated inn, and the windows open for fresh, night-time air….

Indeed I have much to be thankful for.

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Everything That’s Wrong With the World

The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis...
The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night I was reminded yet again of the unfortunate state of our fortunate society when a television network aired a commercial for a children’s version of Hell’s Kitchen, or some such ridiculous program.

Really? Is this what we want to teach our children, to criticize their peers at work, and work in a threatening environment?! Give me a break.

What the world needs now is kindness, compassion, and generosity.  A new generation of pretentious bots doesn’t give me much faith that the growing trend toward spiritual ignorance and egotism is going to make this planet a better place to live.

I daresay the little darlings who will star in this heinous entertainment debacle and their misguided parents would even recognize the subtlety of sarcasm my sweet, juicy, peaches.

Unfortunately I have had to endure meals sitting with such gastronomic goons. Their obsessive criticism is a less than convincing smoke screen of negativity spewed forth in order to boost their image of superiority.  Talk about indigestion my darlings!

Breaking bread together has long been more than a way to sustain physical health and strength.  Meals have also been a ritualistic way for people of all cultures to celebrate rites of passage, express spirituality, and welcome others to our family and home.

Thanksgiving is a particularly poignant reminder of what it means to share a meal together. Sharing food has been an act of peace for thousands of years.

It has also been used as an aphrodisiac in the arsenal of skilled lovers since the dawn of time. Imagine the mood if, while feeding your lover a chocolate dipped strawberry,  they piped up with, “That would be better with slightly less chocolate”. I’ve never been a fan of mud wrestling, but I think the ensuing nude mayhem would be akin to Roman sporting events.

The recent trend toward people self-describing as ‘foodies’ has marked a decline in civilization as we know it. I like to call them ‘rudies’ instead.

That’s the polar opposite of the folks whom will be sharing our Thanksgiving meal next weekend.

No, don’t panic darlings, we’re celebrating a week early so that yours truly has an opportunity to take an extra-long weekend for the actual ‘Thanksgiving’ holiday.

But enough of my wonderful life, back to ‘Everything That’s Wrong With the World’.

I am an advocate of good company and gracious living. That means that no matter how terrible a recipe has gone awry, or how bold the wine-food companionship, you ought to graciously  thank your host and get on with the real matter at hand – enjoying  precious time together.

A few reminders for foodie-rudie’s this Thanksgiving;

1) First and foremost we don’t need to hear that you think the stuffing is too ‘sagey’. Sagey isn’t even a word.

2) Do not suggest a ‘better’ wine match. There likely are many better or ideal wine matches to the meal. We don’t want to know. We just want to relax and enjoy the bounty which is set before us.

3) No. Not everyone thinks that the dessert you brought is the best thing they’ve ever tasted, nor do we need to be corrected with regard to the ethnic pronunciation.

4) Your job is not to upstage the host/hostess. Your job is to be kind and entertaining. Should you fail those most basic social requirements, do not expect a second invitation or a second date.

5) No one cares how you ‘prefer’ your food to be prepared. We prefer that you maintain the most basic rules of civility.

6) Expect someone to roll their eyes and tell you to shut up if you make even one negative comment in your outdoor voice.

7) Rest assured that you will not get laid by anyone, ever,  should you talk about what certain foods do to your digestive system. Know your food limit and eat within it.

Everything that’s wrong with the world begins at your very own breakfast, lunch and dinner tables my sweeties. Kindness, good manners and the ability to enjoy simple blessings is nurtured every day as we ‘break bread’. If you fail to appreciate this, you really fail to understand the meaning of life.

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It’s a Writer’s Life For Me

Despite a wedding, a number of  Thanksgiving invitations, and an Oktoberfest  pub night, I still was blessed with time and space to write in the most serene of settings.

Words come so much more easily when there is beautiful distraction. The past few days have been a rush of beautiful distraction – a blur of contented sighs.

Friends, relatives, and yummy man-cakes were inspiration for prolific writing, laughter, and the kind of conversation that weaves its way into the sunrise.

As an adult, we often need rest from the home of our own creation and seek refuge where we are nurtured and loved. This is that place where I find respite.
Inspiration comes from natural beauty and  deep appreciation of simple abundance.
Joy. Hope. Love.
The creative spirit requires sustenance.
Without it, it will wither like a tender shoot in the heat of the mid-day sun.
Wishing you all that you need to sustain the flame your joy, passion and creativity.
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Thangsgiving View From The Point

 A rare glimpse of some ANDSHELAUGHS poetry inspired by the many hundreds of miles I have driven this Thanksgiving weekend. I  not only have been entertained by wonderful friends, but also by the beauty of the changing leaves; crimson, ruby, rust and gold.

The earth, despite cuts of concrete and swaths of asphalt, sings out its beauty for one last show of power before the snow falls and sends us into a darker season lit by the steady, clear winter constellations.

The beauty that I have just a few steps from my front door is what I am thankful for every day. Blossoms in the spring, cool shade in the summer, and beautiful colour in the autumn. There is indeed much to be thankful for.


Even this rock has life

Grass pricks up in the hollow scar

like the waking fuzz on a toddler’s head.

Reservoir of battered water,

tossed by speed or storm,

from the deep lake.

There was a moment when seed took root,
what was barren became fruitful;
Beauty from despair.


The whispered gurgle

of water kissing granite –

Is this our human hope-

That in the echo of sorrow

despair will wear like rock,

and in the smallest crevice

meaning will take root?

A cradle from the deepest cut.