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Why I Open My Door At Thanksgiving

give thanks…because I’m truly grateful for the abundance of friends in my life.

My Thanksgiving celebrations are always potluck, jeans and t-shirt style. I put on the turkey, and everyone else brings something to share. That way no one has to do a lot of work and I’m not too stressed out to enjoy my friends.

Potluck is also a good conversations starter; Mmm! I love this! Who made it? What’s the recipe?….and the conversation goes on from there.

That’s what life is about.

I’ve been through hell and back as a child and as a young woman. Throughout all of it, I’ve had wonderful friends who are each, in their own way, unique and perfect.

Holiday times used to be sad for me, lonely even . I was often new in town, without family, and I felt very alone. As time went on, my new friendships deepened, and although I went through times of despair and loneliness, my friends would always show up in ways that helped me understand what was really important.

So at Thanksgiving, many people are caught up in family tug-of-wars about who goes where and who is hosting what. Or, maybe they have no family at all.

Autumn is the time of year when we start turning inward. The changing colour of the leaves wave us into shorter days and cooler nights. We cozy up inside, in big sweaters and under cozy blankets. We begin the journey into a season often spiritually described as one of mystery and hope.

I open my door at this time of year so that friends have a place to come and relax. My friends are my family, and I love them all.

I don’t have much, but I hope I offer a safe space to be yourself, laugh, and be nourished; both body and soul.

 

 

 

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Christmas is For Friendship

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I had the pleasure of getting out for dinner/dessert with a handful of people whom I don’t get to see too often.

We agreed on a place and a time, and enjoyed an evening at a gorgeous restaurant.

Life is busy, and as I get older, I prioritize my free time very carefully. Well, at least I try.

Many times I’ve heard that getting together at Christmas time is hypocritical. That the Christmas spirit is bogus. That if you can’t make time the rest of the year, why bother at Christmas time?

I’ll tell you why. It’s a damn good reminder that there is more to life than work, bills and wishing you were living on a secluded island with a muscular, pool-boy who who knows how to shake a mean margarita.

It’s a good goose on the bum to motivate you to make plans.

So, tonight was a kick-off to what I hope will be a season of cozy catch-ups over coffee, boozy brunches with the gals and lingering dinners with friends.

Tonight, as I sat listening to, and talking with my friends, I realized just how fortunate I am to have people in my life who are genuine, kind, and more intellectually and spiritually evolved than the general public.

I’ve come to beware of people who zap my energy and I know my personal boundaries.

So rest assured, if I’m spending time with you, I not only like you, I respect you. Ok, ok, I admit that I do spend time with some folks for the sheer entertainment value they provide. Use your imagination…

My wish for you this Christmas is the same as my wish for me; that you have enough time to spend with your friends to refresh your soul, and enough entertainment to keep some fire in your soul.

 

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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.

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Happy Birthday To Me!

now at lastIt’s my birthday.

Today I officially begin the second half of my life. I am, by most accounts officially middle-aged. 40.

Time to step up my serenity and sense of adventure.

Time to be gentle on myself and keep myself occupied learning new things.

Time to settle into the contentment that comes with accepting that this is, in all likelihood, as good as it gets.

Time to do exactly as I please!

I’m so very much looking forward to my birthday party, a birthday cake, and a room full of the best friends anyone could ever dream of having!

 

 

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For Our Kiddos on Mother’s Day

mammaMother’s day, next to Valentine’s Day is a quintessential ‘Hallmark Holiday’. After all, great mothers are celebrated every day through the wonderful relationships which they cultivate with their children.

Whether you are a biological, surrogate, adoptive, or fur-baby Mama, you wake up every day, and do your best to make another  being feel confident, capable, loved and secure.

As a mother, I often reflect upon what being a mother has meant to me. All of a sudden, my baby has turned into a handsome, capable, thoughtful 6’3″ (and growing) young man with his own perspective and life.

I do believe that had it not been for motherhood, I would have been found dead in ditch somewhere by now, with fabulous stilettos, a designer bag, and a great tan.  Ah yes…becoming a mother certainly sets a girl’s priorities straight!

Motherhood is a journey of a lifetime, often only realized and experienced in retrospect. In present moments, we are bustling to cook a meal, do homework, get to practice on time and make sure everyone has what they need for the day.

…and then they grow up. Just a little bit. A little more independent. A little more sure of what their preferences are. A little bit more their own person.

You notice when you give them a kiss good night, or when they walk in the door after having been away for a few days. Your baby isn’t a baby, or even a child any more. They have, in those rushed moments, turned into a young woman or a young man, and they are their own person.

Sometimes, even when life happens right in front of us, it’s only through recollection and nostalgia that we piece together how those tiny babies we gave life to have become the wonderful, awesome people that they are at this moment.

From all of us moms out there to all of our kiddos –  Thank you for the most amazing times of our life.  We love you.

….did your take your jacket?….do you have enough money?….call me if you need a ride, even if it’s at 3am…

 

 

 

 

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This is How I See You: Grandmothers & Christmas

Frosty Footpath - winter snow
Frosty Footpath – winter snow (Photo credit: blmiers2)

This post is for all of the Grandmothers out there.

It’s for all the grandmothers who teach us how to bake and cook, how to always make room for one more at the table, why homemade gifts are the most meaningful.

In doing so, they also teach us how to hold our heads up day in and day out, even when the magic of Christmas has been gathered up and stored away for the next year.

I start celebrating Christmas as soon as I get the itch to play Christmas music. That usually happens in July sometime.

Most songs make me sing along happily, but one always makes me stop and remember the wonderful Christmas times I shared as a  young woman with my Grandmother;

“Sense of joy fills the air
And I daydream and I stare
Up at the tree and  I see
You’re a star up there”

(Wintersong, Sarah McLachlan)

 I’m writing this today because today would have been her birthday, and being only three days apart from my own birthday, memories of her start flooding my mind from now until Christmas.

My grandmother seemed to have a magic kitchen. For weeks she turned out baked goods and meals for our large family.

The space around the bottom of her Christmas tree was a black hole that just kept delivering gifts for the entire family, many of them handmade.

Every year she decorated her tree in a different theme. All of the decorations were handmade, and she made at least 101 of them. When I asked her why she made 101, she said it was so that she could say, ” I made over one hundred….”, and then she laughed.

Each year the tree took on her whimsy. One year it was Cabbage Patch Kids, one year it was farm animals, another year it was quilted hearts, and yet another year her tree was graced with finely crocheted white angels.

No matter who tagged along for the holidays; boyfriends, girlfriends, neighbours, clients, friends….there was always room for ‘one more’.

Whether it was a happy year, or a sad year, Grandma taught me that life, indeed, does always go on, and it was up to me to make the most of it, and carry on with my dreams.

For the grandmothers out there with grandchildren whose toddling threatens to break all the decorations on the tree, or the ones with teenage grandchildren attached to their cell phones, don’t lose heart.

We learn more from you than you could ever imagine, and we are deeply grateful. Well, at least when we grow up we are.

Things My Grandmother Taught Me During Christmas Time:

1) You can never, never, ever, have enough butter.

2) A deep-freeze is a lifetime investment.

3) Always have a little hooch stashed away for the really, really long days.

4) Do a little bit every day, and it’s not so difficult.

5) Handmade gifts always hold more meaning than anything else.

6) There is always room for one more at the table.

7) Invest in a table that expands

8) Presence is a gift, not presents.

9) Buy flour, icing sugar, coconut, cocoa, gingerale, and green and red maraschino cherries in bulk.

10) Stop to enjoy a cup of tea by the light of the Christmas tree at the end of the day after everyone else is in bed.

In honour of my wonderful Grandmother, I dedicate this song. It’s ‘her’ song during the holidays. I hope you listen to it, and remember your grandmother, and the wonderful things that she taught you.

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Lake is frozen over Trees are white with snow And all  around reminders of you Are everywhere I go

It’s late and morning’s in no hurry But sleep won’t set me  free I lie awake and try to recall How your body felt beside me

When silence gets too hard to handle And the night too  long

And this is how I see you In the snow on Christmas  morning Love and happiness surround you As you throw your arms up to the  sky I keep this moment by and by

Oh, how I miss you now, my love Merry Christmas, Merry  Christmas Merry Christmas, my love

Sense of joy fills the air And I daydream and I stare Up at the tree and I see You’re a star up there

And this is how I see you In the snow on Christmas  morning Love and happiness surround you As you throw your arms up to the  sky I keep this moment by and by

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Christmas Countdown

 "I don't care. We'll decorate it and it'll be just right for our play. Besides, I think it needs me. " ~Charlie Brown~
“I don’t care. We’ll decorate it and it’ll be just right for our play. Besides, I think it needs me. “
~Charlie Brown~

Whether you like it or not, it’s that time of year.

I’ve seen countless pithy social media posts whining about holding off on Christmas celebrations until after Remembrance Day.

Pish Posh!

Celebrating anything after Halloween and before Remembrance Day does not minimize the solemn honouring of the men and women who have fought to keep our country free. Rest assured, that on November 11th, I will be not only wearing my poppy, but attending a memorial service.

Note to the cynics out there who are rolling their scrooge-like eyes; I finish my shopping before the end of November. My idea of Christmas is not fighting over parking spots and being elbowed like a pinball through the mall.

As I begin to squirrel away special gifts for my near and dear, and drizzle more rum on the fruitcake, I am giddy with the thought that I might be fortunate enough to celebrate all  of the following between now and the new year;

1) Coffee chats with friends over eggnog lattes, caramel brulee lattes, or even a glass or two of wine.

2) Leisurely shopping to finish up the last few gifts that I need to buy.

3) Writing Christmas cards and receiving Christmas cards.

4) Mistletoes kisses

5) Hearthside humping love-making

6) A toasty shot or two of bourbon or scotch with my writer pals

7) Escaping into the world of Christmas romance novels

8) Baking every kind of cookie you can imagine

9) Outdoor, night-time skating

10) A night-time parade

11) Civic tree-lighting, carol singing and outdoor Christmas markets

12) Our annual visit to the craft show with my mumster

13) The first night admiring the lights on the Christmas tree

14) Donating to my local food bank and  the Salvation Army

15) Christmas afternoon and dinner with my friends

16) Communion on Christmas eve and singing Silent Night by candlelight in the sanctuary

17) Watching my favourite Christmas movies; White Christmas, Christmas Vacation, The Sound of Music, It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story

18) Hosting dinners and gatherings

19) Listening to Christmas music

20) Always having ‘room for one more’ when it comes to sharing the spirit of the season.

21) Raspberry Schweppes gingerale

22) Hot apple cider

23) The smell of cloves and pine

24) Invitations to parties and dinners

25) Listening to the Christmas story read in our candlelit church

26) Watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special

 

……what are you looking forward to this Christmas?