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Not What It’s Cracked Up to Be

laughingcoupleAs it turns out darlings, falling head over heels in love is not what it’s cracked up to be.

In other words, it turns out, I think I’ve fallen, and it’s not a bit like I thought that it should be.

Should is the mere smear of hidden dog-pooh on the sole of life, the gum stuck to the bottom of a school-room desk, and bitter taste left in your mouth after swallowing your own voice.

Should is buying the sensible shoes when you really want the rhinestone, feathered stilettos.  Should is for cowards and those who lack imagination.

When I tell you that falling head over heels in love is not at all like it should be, you likely need to pay attention. You see, I’ve had an entire adult life with false-falling-in-love-alarms. I’m an expert in almost-falling-in-love and attracting duds.

I’ve primped, preened, pruned, pushed, pulled and plumped various and sundry wiggly bits and personality traits to try to get things to work, to fit, to feel right. The only thing that has happened, is that it all feels wrong. Uncomfortable, or in the words of the Duchess of Bourbon and Juicy Man-Steaks, it feels “Icky”.

Icky is not lovely. Nor is it sexy, or attractive, or even desirable. Icky is just icky. You can’t possibly feel like a lady if things are icky.

soullookingforyouWhat isn’t icky is enjoying the company of someone so very much that you forget about your mascara running, and hair being mussed up, or (gasp), that you don’t have to worry what you say or how you say it because you just ‘get’ one another.  That isn’t icky, it’s incredible.

Really loving someone and feeling loved in return is a gift that we often deny ourselves by playing gracious host to our fears of failure, abandonment and loneliness. When we do this, they park their asses in our psychological parlour and overstay their welcome. While fear lingers over the same old cold cup of tea, telling us stories we’ve heard a thousand times,  we lose our opportunity to give serendipity a whirl, and everybody knows what a great party serendipity can throw.

More than fearing being a dweller in the kingdom of singledom, fear dwelling in the kingdom of joyless half-lives and meaningless stuff.  Flowers on the first date may check all the Harlequin boxes, but they rarely plant seeds which take root in our souls.

Falling in love is not all of the things we are taught it should be; the right time, the right place, flowers for no reason and grand romantic gestures. I’ve lorded over that kingdom, and it kind of lacks substance. Ok, ok, I confess, I did like the champagne.

All kidding aside, there’s nothing fun about discovering your paramour is an ignorant sociopath disguised in the glitter of fairytales.

Falling in love is akin to coming home after a long, cold, winter day,  curling up in your favourite duvet, and having it hug you back, kiss you tenderly on the forehead, and tell you that it’s all going to be… fantastic.

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Why Bother Reading Chick-Lit

jewelsofthesunMixed in with bag of qualifications and academic letters is an English degree. I’ve studied and written and read some of the best literature on the planet according to the almighty ‘They’.

I have also read a lot of smut. During certain moods and times of the year, I devour Harlequin novels like a Canadian eating blueberry flapjacks. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of reading a genre that most people won’t admit to enjoying.

Alas, I will come out of the chick-lit closet and admit that I’m a lover of lovers, love-stories, and happily-ever-afters.  Go ahead and look down your long, literary noses. I can take your criticism, because I know that somewhere out there in the crowd of literature snobs are the bazillion hypocrites with reams of chick-lit stashed under the mattresses.

This afternoon I picked up another Nora Roberts novel, Jewels of the Sun. It’s an older novel, but, like most other things that I read, including philosophy, religious texts and business books, it has come at the right time and I can relate to it;

All the signs were there, had been there hovering and humming around her for months. The edginess, the short temper, the tendency toward daydreaming and forgetfulness. There’d been a lack of motivation, of energy, or purpose.

Most working women can relate to feeling like this at some time or another. I happen to work in a profession traditionally (as in from the dawn of time) dominated by men. Work isn’t just work, it’s working to change the entire language of what it means to be a professional.

As a barely middle-class, well-educated  single parent, just keeping up with the demands of every day living is exhausting, so much so that I forget what it means to be feminine. It is an indulgence that I can not often afford to feel or express.

When I pick up a piece of chick-lit, I can escape into characters who mirror exactly what I’m feeling;

Every morning the simple task of getting out of bed to dress for the day’s [work] had taken on the proportions of scaling a mountain. Worse, a mountain she had absolutely no interest in seeing from a distance much less climbing…

Imagine, she thought, not having to talk to anyone for several days in a row! Not being asked questions and expected to know the answers. Not making small talk…No schedule that must be adhered to.

Not only are there characters written who normalize the exhaustion I feel, but they have lovely old crones who are well rooted in the goddess of the earth dishing out advice;

…Still, it’s a good spot, the hill, for looking inside yourself ot your heart’s desire. You look inside yours while you’re there.

Ah yes, the sweet temptation of foreign vistas and solitude.  We all need a bit of prodding to leave our comfort zones and get back to our own authentic selves. A gal can only get by on daydreaming in local coffeeshops or long-hot-candle-lit-baths-so-you-can’t-see-the-grime, for so long.

While I begin the final countdown to my own time-out on the sea, I will internalize the advice of the old granny in the book;

…don’t stand back too long and watch the rest of the world. Life’s so much shorter than you think.

…and don’t we know it.

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You Think You Have Time

thinkyouhaveI’ve had a lot of pretty deep conversations this week. In my line of work, that’s not so odd, but in my personal life, I try to keep things gloriously simple and straightforward.

After all, time ticks by quickly, and no matter how wealthy you are, you can’t buy more of it.

My own summer has seen three young lives suddenly lost. My professional life partners me face-to-face with loss and life choices every single moment. We all, do, think that we have time. But we really don’t darlings. Life is a dazzlingly slick dance of smoke and mirrors that we barely have the ability to comprehend.

If you want to be happy, be happy. Love is rare and beautiful in this short and precious lifetime. Leaps of faith are required to make the most of your precious and delicate debut on the planet.

A delightfully delicious specimen whom I think is relatively gaga over yours truly said to me, ” I think you like being single.”

make someone love you

After having lived my words, and taken many great leaps of faith when it comes to matters of the heart, I have been let down each time.

So, my response to this wonderful man was that of course I like being single. I like my own company, and over the years myself and I have gotten to know one another pretty well.

We’re both hilarious, brilliant, and we share the same taste in men and wine. Why on earth would I give up spending time with myself unless my male counterpart weren’t as equally loving and kind?

So, that’s the crux of the matter folks. Although I won’t be making the cover of Vogue any time soon, and I’m pretty sure that regardless of however fabulously engaging this blog is, I won’t be winning the Nobel Prize for literature this go’round, I’m worth at the very least, a kind, loving partner.  We all are.

 

There you have it. Life in the nutshell of a few sentences. Everyone wants someone, but that someone must make life happy and good. You may even have that person in your life, but failed to wake up to that realization or be courageous enough to do anything about it.

Isola FarneseSo, as I make my debut into the foyer of the grand ball of middle age, I realize that however imperfect the circumstance may be, I will continue to take chances when it comes to matters of the heart.

I hope, that in the middle of that leap of faith off of the trapeze of love, I will catch the hand of my partner, and make a spectacularly sublime landing.

Time is short and precious my darlings, and I have every intention of taking a firm hold of what makes me happy and I shall passionately follow.

 

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Darkest Before the Dawn

"Surely a man has come to himself only when he has found the best that is in him, and has satisfied his heart with the highest achievement he is fit for.” ~Woodrow Wilson~
“Surely a man has come to himself only when he has found the best that is in him, and has satisfied his heart with the highest achievement he is fit for.”
~Woodrow Wilson~

Stick with this one darlings, it’s going to be a meandering read, but it will make sense in the end. I promise.

We all have days that mark significant changes in our lives.

Yesterday was one of them. Well,  for me anyway my juicy little plums.

It was the kind of day that demands a popped cork,some kind of celebration with someone special, and the quiet contemplation of feeling the satisfaction of accomplishment.

Although I love order,  knowing the next step, the next task, and the next expectation, I love happy endings even more. Which aren’t  endings at all really. They’re just bright shiny markers on the twisting, turning road of life.

I had definite plans in my head about how this long weekend would roll-out. I allowed myself the indulgence of daydreaming about seeing someone very special on Friday night, working my ass off on Saturday and Sunday, and relaxing on Monday.  Even though I had some work to do, I was ok with what I had thought my plans would be.  (Refer to How to Enjoy a Long Weekend).

But my plans went the way of good intentions around 9:30am yesterday morning.  I arrived home at least two hours later than I had planned and had to rush or entirely abandon all of my deliciously sinful daydreams. Instead, I  settled for a quick shower and threw on some comfy clothes.  It’s amazing what a combination of total freedom and stability can achieve emotionally.

So, although my day, and as it turns out, my evening was not what I had expected, I experienced one of the best days I’ve had in a long, long time. So good in fact, that my plans for working my ass off today and tomorrow have been abandoned. Apparently all of my hard work has already paid off for now, and I can take time to re-focus, creatively strategize, and allow myself the indulgence of a little hope.

Between work, parenting,  friendships and men, I’ve re-learned a few lessons this week;

1) Always believe, deep down in your core, that you have value and something wonderful to offer the world.

2) You never communicate as clearly and brilliantly as you think you do. Make space for intentional conversation with no expectations. Speak from your heart.

3) Logic will never speak the language of emotion. Sometimes our hearts take us to places more rich, a bit scarier and way more satisfying than our heads ever will. Be brave and pack a lunch.

4) Given the truth in item #2, there are always people out there who care about you more than you know or could even guess.

5) To be still and present in the darkness of the soul is a skill that takes practice and incredible courage. Learn to connect with your breath.

6) Prepare for the worst, expect the best, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Booty-Call of the Human Spirit

"Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realizationof what you already have." ~Unkown~
“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of what you already have.”
~Unkown~

This past Friday, I was prepared, as much as one can be after a 60 hour work week, for a deliciously naughty date.

Decidedly, at this age, the term booty call, (A late night summons to arrange clandestine sexual liaisons on an ad hoc basis), is gauche.

We still have booties as it were, but they are older, more tired booties, and should not be spoken of without the greatest respect.

Regardless of the linguistic box into which you try to neatly categorize whatever you want to call it, I was so looking forward to whatever was going to happen Friday night.

What happened was not what I expected. No, he did not arrive naked with leather ties and stainless steel attached to his tender bits. Nor did he appear tuxedo clad with a bouquet of my favourite daffodils.

He arrived beautifully simple (and late) at my door, and gave me a warm, genuine, hug. You know, the kind you give someone whom you’ve known for years. And we have known each other for years.

I had managed to slip out of my suit and into the bathtub before he arrived (late), having had to circle ’round the city to retrace his steps due to a forgotten briefcase.

I mention the word ‘late’ here, because in the past I would have been seething mad at someone having had the nerve to be late for, well, whatever it is you want to call this.

But with age comes a lot of things other than tired skin and squishy mid-bits. Patience, wisdom, even kindness.

The usual anxious anticipation was gone, and I settled into a deep joy knowing I could spend some time with my not-a-booty-call-guy (even though I have always thought he was totally gorgeous and amazing).

Because of the time mix up, I was not worried about my make-up, my hair, or what to wear.

In the past booty-calls have been scheduled to coincide nicely with a hot bath and my third glass of bubbly in the tubbly. I simply pull the plug, towel off, and answer the door naked. After all, I’m nothing if not practical. Why bother ruining an outfit for someone you wouldn’t tolerate over a three course dinner and a show?

I had settled in with a white wine spritzer, light on the wine (I was on day 20 in a row at work). He settled in with a diet soda, and we stretched out on the couch and got lost in a conversation that was full, rich, and, considering the relationship we’ve had in the past (when we were both in our late 20’s, and full of ego, insecurity and fear), a significant depth.

We met at time when nothing was important and everything was crisis;

 

Before we knew it, our little visit had taken us to a place on the clock that demanded he make the drive home, and I tuck in for another early morning at the office.

I stole a quick kiss, and a hug, and that was it.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that after a good round of hide-and-go-seek-in-the-sheets, I glow. I smile non-stop, and I generally exude a radiant, freshly frisked aura.

Saturday morning was not really that different. I woke, felt the warm fuzzies inside from having had such a nice evening with someone I’ve known a long time. Someone whom has always held his emotions close to the vest, but felt comfortable enough to share some of those same emotions with me.

Aged emotion steeped in spirituality is a wonderful thing, even better than cellared wine. Time can be a bold thief, and I’m learning that it can also be a benevolent giver.

So, for a booty-call that wasn’t, it was pretty damn good. Love has many faces, and they can be seen from different doorways. Friday night I saw a new face on an old lover, and I liked what I saw. It may be a week, it may be a year, it may be never, when I see him again, but as always, with this man, he will have a special place in my heart.

Ode To a Watch in the Night

by Pablo Neruda

In the night, in your hand

my watch glowed

like a firefly.

I heard

its ticking:

like a dry whisper

it arose

from your invisible hand.

Then your hand

returned to my dark breast

to gather my sleep and its pulse….

 

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Love is Another Country

“To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.” ~Anna Louise Strong~
“To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.”
~Anna Louise Strong~

Ever one to be in line with the mindless consumer push, I decided to write a post about love. After all, it was just on December 24th that I spotted the first signs of Valentine’s Day tidbits taking over the jingle-bell-and-kiss-me-under-the mistletoe section of a local shop.

Don’t be disheartened my wee little sprites. This isn’t a syrupy sweet Hallmarkish promotion of red fish-net stockings and silicone lubricant. Not that I’m into that kind of stuff anyway…..ah hem

It’s about a topic I believe is close to the sentimental chamber of our very human spirits. It’s about letting yourself give and receive love without letting the pressures of  what-we-should-be-doing ruin it all.

As is tradition in my home, I fall easily into my nightgown in front of a slew of chick flicks when I have the place to myself. Usually I have a cup of tea or a spicy hot chocolate. Wine, I have learned only leads to more tears and possibly drunk dialing.

One of my favourite shows is New In Town. Far from a blockbuster, but so wonderful, and at the same time anti-feminist too. It just tears the hard-ass-independent-woman in me to bits to admit that I love it.

Perhaps it’s because I see myself falling for the ever-able-to-save-the-day-rough-around-the-edges Ted Mitchell. You know, the classic strong and silent type. It doesn’t hurt that Harry Connick Jr plays the character of Ted. Meow!

During a classic mother-daughter talk, my mumster and I waxed nostalgic about the bad boys we loved and (thankfully, in retrospect) lost.

As hard as it is to admit, sometimes it takes a few bad boys, heartbreaks and major losses to help us realize that it’s the gentlemen, the nice guys, the ones who open the door for you when your hands are full, who always seem to have put thought into a conversation, date, or drink at the end of the day, who are the ones who have always really had our hearts despite our steamy trysts with the tall, dark and handsome ones.

These are the guys and gals who really make our hearts pitter-patter. For a long, long time. These are the fellas worth the red fish net stockings and chilled bottles of bubbly, or perhaps the gals worthy of some well planned manscaping.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, whether you’re the educated one, or the blue collar one, whether you’re too old for him and he’s too young for you, or he/she doesn’t come with the vamp/hunk stamp of approval of your pals, they’re too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, have a funny  accent, maybe, just maybe, none of that stuff matters.

In our culture, love, indeed is another country.

Any kind of deep love, whether platonic or romantic is a deep reach down into our day-to-day, nine to five bag of consumer culture. We constantly measure the losses and gains, benefits and drawbacks, pros and cons of ‘what if’.

We’ve all had our hearts broken and taken risks. We all love the solitude of our own home. We also all yearn for that special someone who is there when we get home to help us celebrate, or hold us when we need some encouragement.

In order to know great love,  you must take a grand leap of faith to find out whether you’re being led down a path with no breadcrumb trail, into a dark, tangled, wilderness, or to a brilliant  life you only dared dream of.

Love is only between two people, not his sister, the hairdresser, your brother-in-law, the dental hygienist, your granny or Dr. Phil.

Love is a state of its own, declared the moment you enter into relationship. You are the sovereigns, the populace and the lawmakers. Love is indeed another country.

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Decolletage & Other Temptations

Free Pink Woman's Foot in Bubblebath Creative ...
Free Pink Woman’s Foot in Bubblebath Creative Commons (Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography)

My sweet darlings. It’s been too long. I’ve been busier than a bee in a clover field, but I have not forgotten you. NO! Of course not, how could I?

As last summer was as season of pure indulgence and delight, this summer has been equally intense with hard work and business.

With the onset of summer’s end and harvest (yes, yes, I’m afraid, I did see a leaf fall from a tree today), I have begun the work of nesting for the long, cold, winter months that are meant for snuggling and indulging in all pleasures of the flesh; Rich wine and food, long stretches of night with our lovers and languishing weekend afternoons reading, writing and socializing to our hearts’ content.

I was listening to some Rachmaninoff in the tubby-wubby last night, sunk up to my shoulders and sipping hot tea. I was thinking of someone special…a tall dark and handsome someone…or someone(s).

A someone who had in the past, perched on the floor and recited Neruda poetry and poured Cava for me as I indulged in a long soak. There was also a someone who always unwrapped a small, fresh bar of lemon soap and ran a bath for me while he prepared dinner (making sure to have a glass of beautiful Burgundy at the ready). The man who always knew what hors d’oeuvres and drink to order before I even got to the restaurant.

I also thought about the man who would take me to a pub every Friday night and how genuinely happy he was as we sipped our beer and took in the live music. There was also the fellow who bumped me around a perfect autumn in California wine country, in a jeep that had an endless stream of Van Morrison playing.

Ah yes, the memories came flooding back.

In my friskier days, I was a woman who knew exactly what her décolletage was capable of. I knew what temptation I could bait with a shy smile, a quick breath on the neck, an innocent dance or a look of surprise.

These days I know that the relationships I desire with the more handsome sex require no secret hooks, just sincerity, generosity and compassion.

After all ladies, these poor little men-folk think we’re all just fabulous as we are. For the handsome princes who are eager to please, so should we be. The rest can rot darlings.

As I mature, my intimate moments with men have taken on a flavor of deep friendship, mutual respect, and long-standing companionship. My lovers are my friends, and not a nemesis to be conquered or toyed with.

Don’t get me wrong friends, I still have my sly wit and twisted sense of humour. I’m not completely cured of an occasional indulgence of ego. Especially with the young ones. After all, they’re just so damn cute!

I’ve merely fallen in love, time and again, with the wonderful, lush machismo of my male compadres. The temptations are no longer superficial and fleeting. They are real, meaningful, and abundant with promise.

Wishing you the joy of lovers who are friends, lemon soap, and at least one fellow who knows how to order your favourite drink without having to ask.