Posted in Advice for Women, Art of LIving, Christmas, Christmas Gift Ideas, Christmas Letters, Christmas Lists, Creative Life, Fearless Living, Friendship, Friendships, Girl Stuff, Graceful Living, Gracious Living, Healthy Living, Joyful Living, Life, Life Lessons, Living, Meaning of Christmas, Meaning of Life, Mindful Living, Professional Women, Relationship Advice, Relationships, Simple Living, Spiritual Living, Sprititual Living, Student Life, The Art of Living, Toronto Life, Uncategorized, Whole Living, women, Women's Issues, Working Women

November 30th – Time to Commit to Christmas Carousing

women-coffeeThere’s nothing I admire more than a woman who doesn’t whine.

Perhaps a well matched wine to a hearty meal or a really comfy pair of walking shoes, but strong women always have a special place in my heart.

Whenever I get discouraged, down on myself, or frustrated, I think about how few women I know have overcome the adversity I’ve faced and kept it all together.

And then I automatically think of my mumster. The woman who took me under her wing when I was a rowdy thirty-something year old.  In my adult life, I never had a mum.  It kinda felt weird taking on a new one seeing as I was an adult already. But it was a good weird. It took me a while to understand that depth of kindness, even though I knew what it meant to be a mother.

Last night I came home from a weekend away, working on a relationship that only middle-age could inspire. Mumster had been here overseeing the household and my giant kiddo. The first thing that I noticed when I walked through the door was that the house was clean. Clean! My kiddo was still alive, and the kitties were happy. Prior to going away I had been working long hours, staying in the city, and trying to make everyone else happy. Mumster to the rescue.

Come to think of of it, it has been mumster to the rescue in a lot of cases; old broken down cars, old broken down hearts, and old broken down patterns of coping.

As busy as life gets, I think of her every day, I just don’t take the time I should to let her know. So, at Christmas time, I look forward to our visit, our time together, and giving her a thoughtful gift just for her.

I also like to take time to see the other fabulous women in my life; my bestie the Lovely Mrs. L, my crazy aunties, Cindy, Darleen, Virginia, Carrie, Karen….the list is long and beautiful, and yes, Carlo and Colin, rest assured, you are both considered one of the girls. You too Dennis.

Even though cynics criticize Christmas revelers as hypocrites for getting together only in December, I have to make a statement on the other side of the line. I really don’t care what the excuse is, I’m grateful for it and I will use it to connect with the people I love for as long as I’m able. Amen and hallelujah to that darlings, now pass the nogger and throw on your santa suit ’cause mamma loves to celebrate!

 

 

 

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Posted in Comedy, Creative Life, Friends, Friendship, Friendships, Girl Stuff, Girls Stuff, Humor, Humour, Life, Life Lessons, Life With Cats, Meaning of Life, Professional Women, Uncategorized, women, Women's Issues, Women's Issues, Women's Rights, Working Women

Friendship:Urine My Good Books

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Tonight I had to laugh as I dogged my way through backed up email.

The first email I opened was from a friend encouraging me to drink my own urine.

No, I did not freak out or wretch.

I laughed. Out loud. And it was a most welcome sound.  I could laugh because anyone who didn’t know us would think she was crazy, and that I was too. But that’s their problem, and their brand of crazy.

I haven’t done a lot of laughing of late, and having a friend who can talk about drinking pee makes me smile – laugh even.

I’m not going to get into the whole pee-as-a-beverage conversation, but let me just say this; she’s not crazy. She’s my friend.

That email (and the prior conversation we had about the entire process), reminded me of just how lucky we are to have friends with whom we can share our brand of crazy with. It is a wild and crazy life after all, and I think that’s easy to forget.

“I haven’t been myself lately,” was something that I said to a colleague today as we sorted out Chinese undies (don’t ask). I think that might have been the grossest understatement I’ve made in a while. Truth be told, I haven’t been jolly-old-over-the-top-flamboyant-self in a while, and hell, I MISS her!

My friends are grand reminders of who I am, how far I’ve come, the hope and the silliness still left in the world.

Just this week alone, I have been given all kinds of wonderful advice: drink your own pee, quit your job, have an affair, call in sick…

What would we do without our friends?  You see, it’s not about taking or giving advice. It’s about being caring enough to want to know how someone is feeling,  curious enough to look at alternative ways of being in the world and courageous enough to live out our choices.

As I plucked through my email, I came across a little email from ‘the crazy cat lady’ who used to be my neighbour,  I had a copied and pasted message from one of my friends’ lovers ( a seriously well-written love letter…swoon), and an invitation to some sort of kitchen party. I had a reminder about a dinner a friend planned for me knowing my love of all things bourbon and spicy. I also had bills, a library pick-up notice, and a reminder about my e-signature on a contract.

As I muddle through the darkness of ‘not quite being myself’, emails about urine as medicine, torrid love affairs and kitchen-knick-knacks I don’t-need-but-want are most welcome reminders that these seemingly frivolous distractions are the substance of life, not just unnecessary distractions.

Sending out my gratitude for my crazy, lovely, ever-so-wonderful friends…xo

 

Posted in Art of LIving, dating, Dating Advice, Dating Over 40, Fearless Living, Friendship, Graceful Living, Gracious Living, Healthy Living, Joyful Living, Life, Life Lessons, Living, Mature Dating, Meaning of Life, Mindful Living, Romance Dating, Spiritual Living, Student Life, The Art of Living, Toronto Life, Uncategorized, Whole Living

Can I Get a Witness?

old-man-kissing-old-woman-on-foreheadSome time ago, I stared across the table at a man who used to be my lover. The menu wasn’t all that spectacular, but that didn’t matter.

What mattered was that after all of this time, we were still close in one another’s hearts.

What mattered was that we were there.

Back almost where we started so very long ago. Less than a block away from his old place, and the same distance from where I spent some of my most difficult and formative months at work.

It was fun to listen to him. Another man of privilege, just starting to find himself on the other side of the horizon of adulthood.

For people like me, who’ve had a harder than normal life, who’ve been alone, had no one to turn to at times, watching someone get to know themselves is an eye-opening process. It always makes me thankful that I had to be grounded in my own personal ethic and morals for so long.  It also frightens me thinking that so many adults wreak havoc with one another’s hearts trying to ‘find themselves’.

It can be frightening to watch someone twist and morph into a thousand different personas that they are not, being a bystander until they finally settle into who they are. Sometimes settling at peace, but more often catching peace in fleeting moments of sunlight, solitude or minor successes, and still not understanding that these small moments are peace.

Sometimes having the luxury of luxury isn’t such a great thing. You have the time and means to run away via travel, hobbies that require gobs of accessories, and buying highs (whether that comes in the form of delicious meals, booze, drugs or expensive cars and toys).

Ah yes, to be able to run away. I’ve done it, enjoyed being away, but also know the feeling of having the weight of a shadow on my back, despite being half way around the world.

To be at peace means to find joy in moments, and to come to uncertain feelings, thoughts and emotions without letting fear cloud the path to clarity.

Sitting across from this man whom I’ve known so well, I sat forward, happy to hear about his journey to becoming. What I forgot was that throughout the years, he had also been witnessing mine.

 

Posted in Advice, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario, Battle of the Sexes, dating, Feminism, Friendship, Girl Stuff, Guy Stuff, He Said She Said, Life, Living, Love, Marriage, Perspective, Relationships, Romance, Series, Single in the City, Singles, Wine, Women's Issues, Writers, Writing

Uncorked Part 2: If a little Her-Heming-Way Becomes Her, So Does An Entire Bottle of Chardonnay

IMG_7058Ah yes, Part Deux of deux.

The prerequisite for reading this post is Uncorked Part 1.

Pour a glass of your favourite tipple darling, and snuggle in. In fact, just bring the whole damned bottle with you.

Two Christmases ago (is that even a word?…anyway), my friend, the Determined D. gave me a very heartfelt gift. She was very familiar with my love of fine wine, and my love of not-so-fine men.

Determined D presented me with a beautifully, purple organza wrapped bottle of Chardonnay. When she gave it to me she said, with sweet, wistful, Disney-like-fairy-tale, earnestness,

” I want you to open this with the love of your life. I just know that this is the year you will meet him.”

I really, really, really wanted to believe her.  So, I took the bottle (still wrapped), and placed it with my stash of vino that I keep on hand should I have the good fortune to keep the company of a wino with expensive taste, such as my own.

…and I waited….

And waited. And then I met Mr. Wonderful-Love-Of-My-Life-Everything-Just-Clicked! Ok, so it took a few months longer, but still! The Determined D was right!

I poked my head into my secret wine stash. “There it is!” I thought to myself. I’m going to open this on the big day when everything is official. Given the discussions we’d had, I figured that would be September sometime. Maybe October. You know, perfect weather for a little autumn al fresco dining.

Keep in mind darlings, that I’ve been single for the better part of a decade and a half. Not a year and a half. I’m talking a DECADE.

Long story short, he turned out to be the adult-equivalent of my high-school sweetheart stomping on my heart with the whore whose dad was the town dentist. Oh boy did it hurt.

After a bit of a parade of useless men during the past few weeks, and a really bad week on other fronts, I decided that tonight was the night that I was going to uncork my hopes and dreams of meeting the love of my life.

So, what exactly does a lady do when she officially surrenders? When she knows that there is never going to be the love-of-her-life to share that special, thoughtfully and beautifully wrapped bottle with?

She takes herself out to one of her favourite places. Mine just happens to be a world-class art gallery, with a Member’s lounge boasting an award-winning chef. She orders a tall glass of something boozy, a mouth-watering meal and stays to hear the world premiere of a piano concerto written specifically for the current exhibit.

She then get’s somewhat loose, toasts a grand good-bye to the lying, cheating, multiple-personality, whack-job, dickwads that have broken her heart, and goes home alone (listening to classic 80’s rock so loud the car shakes) to a fabulous bottle of Chardonnay. That’s my guess anyway….

Tonight I went to my go-to feel-better place. I stared out the window into the darkness of the November night, into the beauty of a city fully alive. I meandered the gift shop and decided to forgo buying a guilded acorn that Nordic legend holds will ensure a long life.

You see, the way things have been going, I don’t know that I want a long life. I want a happy life, a simple life, a life filled with love. An acorn isn’t going to give me that.

Neither is the Chardonnay, but at least it’ll get me though the night.  See Part 1.

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When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

IMG_6406I wasn’t going to write tonight.

What I wanted to do was to turn out the lights, curl up in a ball and shut out the world.

What I really wanted to do was to turn out the lights, curl up in a ball with my sweetheart, and shut out the world, possibly hearing those magic, fairytale words, “It’s ok”.

I don’t have a sweetheart to curl up with, and I can’t sleep. Right now, it’s not ok.

You see, today, despite always trying to be kind, loving and the world’s greatest promoter of open communication, I was hurt by two people very dear to me.

Call it what you will; lying, omission, whatever.

Being played for a fool, and not being trusted with emotional content is the emotional equivalent to tunneling through my heart with a grapefruit spoon. It’s messy, and it hurts like hell.

When someone  isn’t honest with me, I figure it’s for one of two very basic reasons; They’re afraid of being judged, or they’re an asshole.

Very few people I care about would fall into the latter category. So that makes me think that it’s something that I’ve done wrong. I must make them feel like I’m critical…They must think I’m stupid…They must be ashamed and are afraid to tell me…I’m a terrible person who makes people feel like they can’t talk to me….

And so it goes. I beat myself up and feel like my best just isn’t good enough. I feel like I’ve failed the people whom I care the most about.

Guilt, sadness and feeling inadequate; The trifecta of feeling like crap. There is never any rejoicing in being lied to or taken for a fool.

I practice what I preach when it comes to matters of the heart. I leave it all out there every day. I don’t miss an opportunity to let someone know I’m thinking of them, and I always, always, always tell them I love them.

Life is, by the way, a matter of the heart. Just in case you forgot what being a human being is all about and have mistaken it for a game of who can acquire the most stuff, the quality of your character matters, not the quality of your clothing.

I know that being able to open yourself to love is the cost of being loved. In other words, if you put it all out there, like I do, it’s a risk. But it’s a great risk. If you don’t allow yourself to be seen (in the spiritual sense), you don’t allow yourself to be loved, nurtured, or to grow in the warm light of relationship.

As my humble roots might mutter, “If you half-ass it, you’ll get half-assed results”.

For wearing my heart on my sleeve, I’ve had it beaten up, mocked and treated like hell.  It’s a tough old heart, but it’s just as tender on the inside as it was when I was a school girl with the school girl crush, and that’s the way I plan on keeping it.

After all, if you don’t put it out there, the right people will never be able to capture and care for it.

When your best isn’t good enough, it’s ok to be sad, to cry, to feel alone, and to dig your heels in and battle on in the name of all that you believe to be good and true.

 

Posted in Advice, Andshelaughs, Artists, Comedy, Death, Dying, Friends, Friendship, Girl Stuff, Guy Stuff, Humor, Humour, Joy, Joyful Living, Laughter Therapy, Life, Living, Meaning of Life, Psychology, Spirituality, Writing

The Cocktail of Life: Make it a Double

Wild Women of the Past (8)Yesterday I was the recipient of two wonderful gestures of friendship; the first a letter from my soul mate in death and parenthood, full of the profanity and absurdity which many others would consider devastating. The second was a wonderful message from a dear friend, “I’m just at a bar having a rum and coke and was thinking of you. Just kidding, I’m having a double rum and coke.”

Both of these things made me laugh, and oh, how I needed those laughs.

When laughter has been hard to come by, these gestures of raw, imperfect, human authenticity are a gift. They are a reminder that life is short, precious and if you have the right attitude, entertaining as hell.

And so it goes, this one wild, crazy, beautifully bittersweet life. These kinds of friends are the ones who are ok to dance with me when the music is strange and I can’t see my feet.

These are the same friends who would have previously received drunken texts or phone calls, with the nitty-gritty details of my deliciously decadent personal proclivities. Before I matured of course. That would never happen now darlings….wait, yes, yes it would, but…

B.U.T.

Big freaking BUT…life gets in the way.

Or does it?

Does it wiggle it’s big ugly knee in the door jamb of our lives and force its way through, or do we swing wide the door ourselves and yell, “Y’all come on in!”

I tend to lean toward the latter. In most cases. Oh, don’t give me any argumentative who-ha here darlings. I’m all for weeping and wailing and nashing of teeth. I’m also all for blowing your nose, scraping yourself together, pouring a gin and tonic and strapping some flip-flops on, metaphorically givng the universe a very detached, “What-everrrr“.

But this comes from a woman who, when being coached through a grueling emotional exercise in counseling palliative patients, chose to give up everything else in life, (i.e. relationships, shelter, nutrition, sight, etc.), and keep her sense of humour.

My sense of humour has ruthlessly pulled me through all kinds of abuse, hard times, depression, financial strain, and the day-to-day struggle to keep on keepin’ on. The junior players were wine, bourbon, gin, younger men and pretty undies.

Despite less-than-perfect-life-circumstance, these pals o’mine manage to keep a keen sense of humour which also involves spewing profanity at the offending irritants and being able to forgive themselves for failing at being present, gentle, or forgetting to take the high road. Sometimes the high road is for folks who care too much what everyone else thinks. Sometimes the world needs a good, old-fashioned bird-flipping and f-bombing to keep it real.

Sometimes, what our adult worlds of children, jobs and spouses needs is a dash of fun and a lot of, ‘Why-not?’s thrown in. Just because you’re grown up and have commitments does not mean you have to act like a Southern Methodist preacher about it.

Sometimes you have to let go of all of the crap we are told we ‘should‘ feel, do and want. Sometimes we just need to be grateful for what we have and enjoy it.

Posted in Advice, Andshelaughs, Columns, Communication, dating, Friendship, Girl Stuff, Guy Stuff, Leanin In, Letter Writing, Life, Living, Meaning of Life, Pscychology, Relationships, Roamnce Friends, Writers

When You’re Too Busy to Write About the Important Stuff

woman-reading-letterBefore I settle in to do some serious creative writing today, I must fulfill an obligation of friendship. I must escape the keyboard, and put pen to paper. I’ve been negligent of my duty to keep my friends abreast of my girl-news via proper letter writing.

My mailman hates me. You see, my mailbox doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.

I only make visits bi-weekly to clear out the junk mail; real estate flyers, fast-food coupons, and annoying letters from our Conservative political rep. Buh-arf.

On occasion there’s a little treat in the mailbox.  My friend in Newfoundland will take time to write a letter, despite her aching hands, and my gal-pal in the great-white-north, The Amazing C, will take time from her busy family life, writing to me about the things that matter to her (on sparkly paper no less).

There is something about the feel of a hand-written letter that’s so much different from something we type at our worn-out keyboards. There’s something about anticipating what’s inside the envelope, taking time to sit and savour the words that someone dear to us has thought to put on a piece of paper. There’s something about knowing that someone cared enough to get off their spectacular tushie and find a mailbox.

Perhaps it’s because I’m such a tactile person that I so enjoy holding that letter in my hands. Perhaps it’s because I’m a lover of words that I take so much pleasure from being able to read a dear one’s thoughts. Regardless, I do believe that the alchemy of letter writing is a stronger connection than digital light flashing and dying, being able to be turned off instead of being placed in my bedside drawer where a letter can be unfolded and read during those nights when sleep is somewhere far, far away, and my mind won’t be still.

The problem with letter writing is that it takes a bit of time. Not only do I type much faster than I write, but letter writing requires stationary, a pen, a stamp. It requires getting out of the house and finding a post box. It requires the person on the other end to  get their mail, open the letter, and pause to take in the news that was so important it had to be written down.

I’ve been terrible with my letters during the past two months. The speed of life has whisked away all but the essential functions; work, eat, sleep and work again. This is the first weekend I’ve been able to stop for more than 24 hours and catch my breath.

When my Newfie friend sent a text saying he was in town, I realized that I’d yet to write to his wife about the new love in my life. I kept thinking; This requires a letter. This requires her to stop, get a cup of tea, snuggle up in her chair, and take in the words that I had married together to tell her my thoughts and feelings, and how my life had changed. Communicating in a letter is the closest thing that I could do to sitting down together in her living room and seeing her eyes light up or fill with tears as I told her about my losses and my love.

Alas, time passes quickly when it’s not my own. Before I could do a damn thing about it darlings, her hubby was at my door and shaking hands with Mr. Wonderful. Mr. Wonderful of course thinking that if he were indeed that wonderful, why hadn’t I mentioned him to some of my closest friends.

I’m sure my pal on the east-coast is wondering the same thing.

All I can say is, sometimes it’s worth waiting to spread really good news. Sometimes, when it comes to the kindred spirits of true friendship, it’s worth making the effort to make the news as special as the story of your life actually is.

This rainy Saturday is a wake-up call, shaking me and telling me to catch up on some of the things that I’ve been too busy for, for far too long.