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Misfit Thanksgiving – Getting to Know You

give thanksI had the pleasure of getting to know an acquaintance much better last night as our Thanksgiving celebration wound down into the quiet evening hours.

I had known this gentleman and his wife for years, but never really had an opportunity to speak to him. He discussed community, politics, religion and generally, the stuff that makes the world go ’round.

This is the beauty of what I have come to call our, “Misfit” get-togethers; gathering people together who are kind and intelligent to share an evening of, well, true sharing.

The definition of Misfit is; One who is unable to adjust to one’s environment or circumstances or is considered to be awkwardly different from others.

As we age, being around people we actually like is a big deal. It’s rejuvenating, fun, and renews our belief that good triumphs over evil. Being surrounded by thoughtful (as in they think independently, and care about how they impact others), intelligent people with a true sense of who they are and how they show up in the world every day is something that I am thankful for.

Most people define themselves against their first experience of ‘them’ and ‘us’, basically, how and where they fit into the family unit.

For some, family gatherings are just another uncomfortable event they feel they have no choice but to attend. Others have tossed decorum and bunk to the side, and have decided to live a life less complicated and simply spend time with people they actually like.

As we charge full-steam ahead into the season of holidays that seem to be tied to family tradition and sanguineous relationships, don’t forget that it’s all a load of crappola.

These traditions of gathering are an opportunity to spend time with the like-minded, differently-minded or whatever-mined, kind, loving, wonderfully diverse people whom you call friends. If you have been invited to our home to share a ‘misfit’ holiday with us, know that you have my respect, and that I like you.

The good people whom I like; they are my family of friends, and for them, I am truly thankful.

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How to Get Up & Get Going For Fall

The older I get, the easier it is to make up excuses not to do stuff.

It’s easy to come home, go through the motions and then fake like a boob and get stuck on the chesterfield all night.

It was thanks only to my genius Summer-To-Do list that I accomplished anything fun this summer. You see, my summer turned into a bit of a gong-show, thanks to my self-indulgent je-ne-care-pas, and a schedule only five-star anal-retentive could memorize.

I managed to accomplish all but one of the fun-things on my list. I’m ok with that though. It’ll give me a starting point for my 2016-Summer-To-Do-List.

So, with the proven success of making a list of fun stuff to do,(spontaneity is best, but what the hell, I’m Type A) I am going to formulate an Autumn To-Do List. This will not include anything that I don’t want to do, like finish most of my Christmas shopping, grout cleaning or dragging out our winter clothing.

1) Host our annual Friends’ Thanksgiving Dinner

andrewnamecard

2) Spending a day at one, or a number of, our local Niagara Winerieswinetour

3) Purchasing 12 bottles of wine directly from said wineries

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4) Hallowe’en Hay Ride, corn maze, or some such shenanigan…

corn maze

5) Road trip with someone who makes me laugh

roadtriplaughing

6) Smores in the fireplace

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Dear 2015

Photo ritghts are not not mine. I believe they belong to : www.b4men.nl "Write it in your heart that every day is the best day in the year." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson" "
Photo rights are  not mine. I believe they belong to : http://www.b4men.nl
“Write it in your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson”

My darling 2015, what took you so long?

I’ve been waiting for you since 2013. I thought 2014 was my soul mate, but it turns out I was wrong. So many of us were wrong about that charmer.

But you, you’re the one. I can just feel it in my squishy girly bits.

Take off your boots and put your feet up by the fire. Let me get you something to warm you from the inside out my deliciously, mysterious friend.

This year we’re going to have a lot more beach and a lot less stress. Yes, my sweet new love, let’s make that promise to one another so that when we toast one another good-bye and I move on to your big brother in 2016, we know that we’ve shared a special once-in-a-lifetime. Sand and sea breezes always bring out the best in me, and I’m ready to give it to you! In a pinch, we can settle for pool-side or more long, hot, deliciously candlelit baths. Bring poetry.

Already you’ve gifted me the pleasure of new company thanks to Vicki and Monica. What a delightful way to begin our relationship; surrounded by completely wonderful people who I didn’t know before.  It’s always a blessing to meet kindred spirits who know how to laugh and enjoy life.

You really need to introduce me to your friends. Don’t be jealous 2015, think about it. I’m going to need a lovely man to stick beside me after you leave. That’s your number one priority this year. Do you hear that 2015? A good one; kind, funny, loving, and if it’s not too much to ask, a little younger with some little giddy-up left in him. I will defer to your judgment here as mine has historically sucked.

I woke up with a headache this morning, and I’m assuming that’s because you knocked all of the negative el-poopo out of my energy field last night while I was getting my beauty sleep. Not so rough, eh? I need my lessons delivered gently, with a slow hand and generous heart. After all, I am a lady.

So, I’m all yours 2015.  Fully, completely, and unabashedly committed to making you a year to remember as one that brought good health, joy and love to not just me, but everyone I consider a friend.

Now, enough of all of this talk. Let’s go snuggle.

 

 

 

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So She Drove, So She Drove, So She Drove

wildandsingleOh, the weather outside was mild

And she was feelin’ kinda wild

So she drove, so she drove, so she drove…

It’s been unseasonably mild here, with nary a tiny pile of white, fluffy, hideous snow or ice to be found. Although it makes for romantic scenery to snuggle up by the fire with, while the snow falls outside, snow sucks.

Let me clarify; Driving in the snow sucks, walking in the snow sucks, and shoveling the snow sucks.

Yesterday, as I bee-bopped along the top of the GTA, being tailgated by Rudolph, I was pretty happy. No, wait, it wasn’t Rudolph, it was a mini-van duded up with a fuzzy red nose and antlers. Get off my ass Rudolph, you mini-van driving boxing-day hording freak, it’s Christmas!

Besides the load of work I do leading up to the holiday for our annual dinner, and get-togethers, the December 26- January 1 days are a major part of my holiday celebrations.

Off I trotted to an annual out-of-town open house and traditional too-much-Christmas-cheer overnighter. It took me an hour to get there. Record time, but during that blissfully peaceful hour on the highway I could feel the stress and fatigue get up and start gathering their holiday luggage. Whew. It was delightful and an absolute gift to be a guest in someone else’s home.

In the morning, I woke with a slight twinge of regret, and a bit of optimism. After all, I was off next to lunch at the home of dear friends. After popping into my favourite shops, The Gentle Rain,  for some local honey and Rheo Thompson Candies for the best chocolate dipped cherries in the entire universe, I was back on the road.

I was once again tailgated by  another mini-van driving Rudolph wanna be. I’m sure that the ‘Rudolph’ mini-van  is the preferred vehicle of all of the Cousin Eddie’s in our lives.

Off to lunch with friends who understood  my red-wine Christmas themed over-indulgence from the night before. They once again opened their home to me, and set out a fine and delicious selection, “Please, have some more salmon, it’s good for a hangover,” the host offered.  Artichokes, olives, lox, handmade quiche and a little, white, hair-of-the-dog-that-bit-me.

These visits are what Christmas is about; connecting with the wonderful people in your life whom you see far too little of, but think about daily, and miss like crazy.  The company of kindred spirits is sometimes hard to find in a life of work and single-sports-momming, but during these days I find it and savor the moments.

Today, it’s off to lunch at a small airport just north of the city with another wonderful friend. I’m so happy to be able to travel on clear roads and do all of my catching up with so many of the people in my life I feel blessed to count as friends.

Life is good when we slow down and enjoy the friendships that buoy us up, and make life worth living. For the time to do that, I am truly grateful.

 

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Why It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas

 

"I close my eyes and drift away into the magic night I softly say a prayer like dreamers do. Then I fall asleep to dream my dreams of you." ~Roy Orbison~
“I close my eyes and drift away into the magic night I softly say a prayer like dreamers do. Then I fall asleep to dream my dreams of you.”
~Roy Orbison~

It has been decided and declared from our home to yours; it does not feel like Christmas this year. At all.

It’s been an odd festive season, and I had held out hope that as the day approached, I’d start feeling Christmasy. I kept hoping for that Christmas miracle I’ve been praying for would manifest in some way shape or form…until this evening as I assembled my ‘goodie’ platters for the office tomorrow.

I thought to myself, “I’ve done everything right. I’ve put up the outside lights. I’ve decorated the house. I’ve entertained and baked. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree, and I’ve stocked the pantry with treats and nibbles, so why on earth does it just suck this year?”

Decidedly it sucks because ‘we’, as in the royal, collective ‘we’ are caught in a vicious commercial and capitalist cycle of bullshit.

There is no break and no ‘taking it easy’ because it’s the holiday season. We work to the limit and squeak out a few days off to catch up with the people most dear to us.  Holiday house parties? Forget it. Who has time for that? Fun office parties? Nope, I’m afraid we’ve taken our professional selves to the edge of robotic functionality with no room for emotion, compassion or humour. Snarky sarcasm has replaced sincere humour as it’s older, wiser cousin. Dear god I miss laughing.

I want to believe in the magic of Christmas. I want to wake up one morning to whatever that Christmas miracle is that I’ve been hoping for, but I don’t have the energy this year to dig that deeply.

Perhaps I will find that magic in the candlelit sanctuary of church this Christmas Eve, after the Eucharist,  as we raise our voices to sing silent night and remember the true meaning of Christmas.

If ever we’ve needed your magic Santa Claus, this is the year.

 

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Santa Strike: Stuff That Won’t Get Done This Christmas

"Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself." ~Hermann Hesse~
“Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
~Hermann Hesse~

This is one of those Christmases. I’ve had very few of them, but this is going to be counted as one.

It’s 11:25 am, and I am still in my nightgown, staring out at a beautiful sunny sky, thinking of my to-do list, and giving myself permission to mentally rip it up and set it on the Christmas fire.

Having been an eager little elf in years past, people expect my bounding red, green and jingling-bell joy every year; the cards, sweets, treats, carols, and extra little gifties. They expect my home to be clean, neat, decorated and the door to be open. There is always wine and coffee and tea, and time to sit and visit in the midst of the lights on the tree and mantle.

This year, is not one of those years. Sure, the lights are up, there is definitely wine available, and tea or coffee if you prefer, but you’re likely to find me wandering around with a book of Rumi’s brilliance and braless until noon, and I’m ok with that.

You know what that means? That means you have to be ok with it too. Yep.

Instead of good old Bing and Ella belting out classic Christmas tunes, I’ve got Hozier on high, and Sam Smith. If you want treats, the ingredients are in the cupboard, and you can help yourself to my kitchen. While you’re at it, mama would like some Scottish shortbread and some macaroons. The floor could really use a scrub and the dishwasher needs unloading. Too much bother you say? I totally get it.

Sometimes you just have to take a break from being everyone else’s jolly elf. Sometimes you need to just forget about what you think you have to do, and do what your soul is telling you that you ought to do for your own well-being. I’m going to pioneer a new field of study; The Ethics of Self-Care.

Take it from the master of flipping-off-elf-class-101. I’m headed to the tub now for a long soak with my coffee, Patti Smith art book and Eminem. If you need me, you’ll have to drag my pudgy,wet, steamy body from the bathtub, and that won’t be pretty.

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The Amazing ‘C’ at Christmas

IMG_3684The Amazing C Strikes again.

She is that wacky, wonderful, outrageous friend that every woman needs in her life.

Why? Because she reminds me of what it’s like to be carefree and young again. She reminds me that my troubles are not as insurmountable as they seem. She reminds me that I’m not only a mother, or a friend, but I’m someone fun and worthwhile.

We had a bit of a snow storm a few days ago, and I had one errand I absolutely had to run. Before I left, I checked the mail, and there was a parcel slip. I had a package waiting.

While my car chugged through the snow still piled on the roadways, I cursed myself for forgetting this errand yesterday, but looked forward to getting home and opening my annual Christmas gift from the ‘Amazing C’.

The Amazing C is  a full-fledged couponer. She has a stockpile and posts her grocery items on Facebook with a, “Guess how much I spent”?  She always amazes me. I on the other hand have a schedule that barely allows enough time to get a load of laundry out of the washer and hang it up before I leave the house.

So, as I sat, hair wet from the snow that fell while I was shoveling the step and a pathway to our little patio, I opened up the purple and gold sparkly wrapped parcel.

Inside, she provided everything  a girl would need for a sexy night in; soap, toothpaste, matching pink and blue toothbrushes, a razor for him, yummy smelling lotion, hair stuff, a flask for my hooch (love that Amazing C!), a scented candle, condoms, laundry soap for the sheets the next day and some herbal tea. I’m assuming the batteries and chocolate were just in case the ‘romance’ turned flat.

Thank you for believing I still have what it takes to bring’em in Amazing C. This holiday I dedicate my sleazy nights to you! I shall toast you whilst naked between the sheets after each conquest…or I will curse you for the extra pounds that come with the chocolate as I sit home in my flannel watching Renee Zellweger flicks.

2014 was not a year we did much to celebrate our friendship. She was busy with her kiddos and a pregnancy. I was busy with my kiddo and career and this writing gig.  Our phone calls more often than not were under the 30 second mark, and ended with a hurried, “Gotta go. Love you!”

Thank you Amazing C for thinking of me this year, and posting your Christmas package. You made me smile and laugh, and that’s not been easy this week.

Wishing everyone a friend as wacky and wonderful this holiday season as the Amazing C!