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Are You There God? It’s Me. Where’s Margaret?

itsmemargaretFinding your father’s copy of Playboy. Playing two-minutes-in-the-closet. Wearing a bra for the first time. Buying your first maxi-pads.

Those were all of the things that made 11 year old Margaret Simon’s  character so relatabel in Judy Blume’s  ‘Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret’.

I can’t remember who lent me the book, but I do remember hiding it from my parents and older sister.  Although the book was a decade behind (those girls had to wear belts with their pads),  it was as a staple in my generation’s pre-teen reading diet.  It was our porn.

Wanting to know about my changing body and emotions wasn’t easy. I was shy, a bookworm and a tomboy who was raised in a body-shaming-Baptist family.  Ballsy Margaret who crushed on Phillip and bought her own pads  from a boy cashier, was my hero.

How things have changed.

After having spent my adult years fully loaded up on contraception, today was the day that I would have my Mirena removed. This morning I stood in the drugstore looking at a wall of pads, tampons, and Diva Cups wondering just what the hell I was going to need. I would have loved to have had Margaret’s advice.

croneI no longer need birth control. What I need is to return to my feminine body. To experience the shift from motherhood to new-cronehood with some modicum of respect for the awesome female form that I inhabit.

I am from a generation of women who have been convinced that our natural cycles should be stunted. We are being convinced that unless we want to get pregnant, we need to saddle up on hormones and keep a constant, obedient level of functioning that does not include paying attention to the natural rhythm of our bodies to stop, rest, rage, weep and rejoice. We have been twisted into she-men.

If I could do it all over again, I would do it like a woman, and not try to be the she-man that our you-can-have-it-all-girl-boss-culture would like me to buy into. I would get pregnant again and rejoice in my body. I would revel in my sexuality. I would do so many things differently with regard to my divine feminine.

Much like young Margaret’s character, I’m wondering about what will happen next. Except I’m in my mid-forties.

I’m noticing changes in my body; less firm, more round, a greater comfort with my own self when I look in the mirror after I slip out of my clothes and into the hot bathwater.

I wonder what happened to ballsy, Margaret when she hit forty? I’d sure like to hear from her now.

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When the Amazing C is Silent

"Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty." ~Sicilian Proverb~
“Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.”
~Sicilian Proverb~

You’ve read about her before right? The Amazing C?

She’s a funny bird, but I love her.

Unlike my bestest friend who has known me since I was a virgin, the Amazing C came into my life later; After a marriage, a divorce, once-tight abs and my belief in fairytale endings had all faded into the sunset.

She’s my soul-sister in suffering and absolute fabulousness. She, more than anyone else understands my world of work, and understands when words are inadequate to describe the suffering of a higher calling.

She also understands how that relates to raunchy escapades, a bottle too many, and emotions that run so deep, even you don’t know they’re still there.

I like to believe that although life pressed the ‘normal’ button on our life-cycle, when we next meet face-to-face for a girls weekend, we will remember what it’s like to be ‘delicates’.

You likely have a friend just like the Amazing C. Don’t you think it’s time to make the effort to reconnect?

All women have years that pass quickly and deplete their buckets of empathy. We’re all  trying to keep up with daily life. But in doing so, we lose ourselves just a little bit. Reconnecting with our friends helps us rekindle that spark that made life exciting and cast a long shadow on fear and self-conscientiousness.

I’m off on another little globe-trotting adventure where I hope to re-connect with my creative, dynamic and energetic self. Maybe I’ll find that delusional girl with stars in her eyes who I used to be. I’m sure she’ll be there with your twin-double, cleavage at the ready, drinking martinis with sexy Scottish rugby stars.

When I get back, let’s do something stupid together again.

 

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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!

 

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The Amazing C Strikes Again

"Talking to an old friend makes you realize just how much your life has changed and how much your dreams have remained the same."
“Talking to an old friend makes you realize just how much your life has changed and how much your dreams have remained the same.”

I need a girl talk and The Amazing C can’t talk. Get your vagina out, ” I said as I inched my way through traffic.

If I could do that, I’d be in front of the mirror. Seriously. Can you hold on? I have to get in my hammock and need to switch phones.”

That was my alternate  gal-pal. As you might have guessed he’s sans girly-bits, but one of my very best-of-all-time friends. He’s my surrogate girlfriend and I love him like no other man.

It has been an eternity since The Amazing C and I have had a chance for a long, giggly girl-talk like we used to have. I do have the Delightful D who has earned an honoured place in the fairytale of  Andshelaughsland, and I don’t know what I’d do without her. The Lovely L has been in my life for over 25 years, and I couldn’t be without her either.

Having said that, The Amazing C is the only, I mean ONLY, pal who can appreciate the things that I have to talk about right now. The reason is that she is the only gal-pal who worked in the same, mythologized industry as me, and knows about the unique stress and satisfaction of the calling.

My oldest friends are all busy with their hubbies and children, while I remain, the sole single gal on the scene, doggedly working at her career.

Which, incidentally my darlings, has paid off, as I haven’t been this fulfilled at work since, well, since I was young and naïve.

Despite lack of doting, hunk-a-hunk-a-burning-I-love-you-so-much-I-can’t-possibly-make-enough-love-to-you in my life, I’m still satisfied. More importantly I’m old enough to appreciate that this isn’t happening at the same time as my intense relationship with work.

Despite texting, and trying unsuccessfully to connect via phone (we live 729 km apart), The Amazing C and I can’t seem to get it together. Either I’m working, or….well, working or she’s momming.

So today, when I tried to eek out some girl-time on my way home, she said, “Can’t talk now. At GT Boutique”. I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed. Again. The let-down goes both way with us, but we continue to make it work.

“Ok, bye. Luv ya.”

“Luv ya back”….click.

Le -girl-sigh.

BUT….The Amazing C called back because she knew I needed to talk to her and only her.  We talked for less than 10 minutes. I heard about her crisis at work, and she heard about my ‘holy-crapoli’ revelation. When you have such a good friend for such a long time, sometimes that’s all you need.

 

 

 

 

 

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With Friends Like You…

holding hands - age 10, and age 8
holding hands – age 10, and age 8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you know my darlings, I attribute most of my fabulousness to my wickedly delightful gal-pals and on occasion, a smidgen too much of bourbon, the elixir of heaven and all things delicate.

As we age, my friends and I are in less regular contact, yet have a stronger affinity.  I chalk this up to a lifestyle more acutely aware of our mortality, and a significantly decreased tolerance for  crap. Personal integrity and authenticity ranks high among the common personal characteristics of my  friends, as does potential for shenanigans and general silliness.

Throughout the past weeks and months, as life has followed the usual path of twists and turns we’ve come to expect from this mortal rodeo, contact with my friends has waxed and waned with the pull of our grown-up responsibilities.

This morning (yes, darlings, I was up and out before 10am ) I met with an acquaintance for coffee. We hadn’t seen one another in over ten years, but had managed to stay in touch.  We hugged as though the years had been days, and caught up with one another’s busy lives with the same ease.

I distinctly remember the last face-to-face conversation with this fellow. He was rushing off to a tennis match and tossed me a few tidbits of ‘older-wiser’ information for writers. I was in awe of his talent, and the number of years he’d been getting paid to do what I loved – write. Today it was different.  Both of our perspectives have the soft edges of sea-glass, and it was reassuring to  witness this gentle effect of time. As writers, he found his joy in the day-to-day news business of folks who actually want their stories told, and I find my joy writing fiction and poetry as reflection of my other professional passion. More importantly, I think (because I hesitate to speak for him my sweet little peaches) that we’re both genuinely happy for one another.

Throughout the years, age has this beautiful way of polishing the edges and dulling the rough spots. It puts our flaws and desires into perspective, with this wonderful side-effect of peeling away layers of ego so that our empathy and joy take over.

Last night I  enjoyed a glass of wine and  a movie with a former colleague. His life has taken some surprising turns, but whose hasn’t?  Even though we don’t know the minutia of one another’s lives, there is comfort in spending time with someone you’ve known for a while. Not so much of the past matters really, just that you’ve come through it, and have become a better person for it.  I guess that’s why my friends are so amazingly fabulous.

All of my long-time friends live at a distance, and whenever we talk or email, it’s like no time has passed at all. We know one another, and really ‘see’ who they are. There is always comfort in having those witnesses to your life, who have known you for years and understand your quirks and reasons without having to ask. They know your wounds, and what shape the scars took as they healed. They remember the young dreamer you once were who is now satisfied with a little garden and the peace of watching your children grow.

New friends bring a different joy, a joy of retelling  your story, recreating who you are, and connecting with other lives that you will witness for years and years to come.

Friendship is a precious gift my darlings. Don’t ever waste your time feeling guilty for the time you take to cultivate these precious gems.

 

 

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Amazing C Strikes Again

Vintage mailbox
Vintage mailbox (Photo credit: arichards63 – smile if you missed me)

I had just settled in with a sweet, juicy, orange, cup of tea, and a totally empty page when there came a very light, very short tap at my front door.

For two full seconds I debated whether to disturb my cozy position to answer, and then popped up to see who was there. No one.

Just a box on the threshold. From the thick black ink used to write my address, I knew that it was a care package from  the Amazing Ms. C.

My faithful pal, the Amazing Ms.C is fabulously insane in so many ways, I can’t possibly love her enough. She is a couponer extraordinaire, and has a taste for comical,twisted, jack-ass inspired vengeance that only rivals my own.

I cut open the layers of packing to tape to find a plethora of her couponer-freebies (including amongst other things body cooling wipes for hot flashes, perfume samples, miniature crystal ball decorations, a full-sized tube of toothpaste, laundry and dish soap, herbal tea, and a full-sized mascara which I hope doesn’t give me eye fungus).

Thoughtfully wrapped up in a Virginia Peanut box was a cup and saucer set purchased at a second-hand store. For $2.00 the Amazing Ms. C has given me at least a full month of pleasure.

You see, I’m going to take the tea-cup to work, and teetotal around the office – saucer included –  in the most sincere of proper-British-tea-drinking-ways.  As a writer, witnessing people’s reactions is my study. The new tea-cup will be an interesting prop. It should distract me from some of the less pleasant realities of having to work for a living.

The Amazing C also sent a total of 22 coupons. 10 for Durex Play lubricant or/Toy. 10 for condoms. I didn’t even know that the local big box store/ pharmacy started to sell sex toys on the shelf.  I can’t even begin to express how wrong that is.

I may just leave them at the coupon exchange counter tomorrow morning when I go out to buy my Saturday Globe and fresh baguette.

Perhaps a better idea is to see if I can use them all at once, purchase the Durex ‘toy’, and just see what kind of quality is being offered in over-the-counter sales, next to the opaque caged cigarette display. Seriously folks, we’re being legislated like stepford-citizens…but I digress.

One item included in the package that is sure to garner further posts for my faithful female and male followers alike is a book. The Amazing Ms. C looks out for my intellectual development too!

“Boyfriend Wisdom; Timeouts, Tantrums and Other Tips for Dating Guys Who Act Like Toddlers”, will surely be an intellectually stimulating read for a simple country gal like me.

I have to admit, getting creative with the time-outs kind of has me needing those body-cooling-hot-flash wipes. Yes sirree!

That’s what girlfriends are for – brightening your day. Whenever I speak to the Amazing Ms. C, we share a laugh, and uncensored conversation about unspeakable physical ailments, acts and afflictions.

In your lifetime, you will only ever find a handful of friends you can be so uncensored with, and those friends, my juicy little kumquats, are the keepers.

 

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Too Much Advice Not Enough Lovin’

“Advice is like castor oil, easy enough to give but dreadful uneasy to take.”
~ Josh Billings ~

It was complete synchronicity that found me seated in Nashville’s historic Grand Ole Opry.  I wasn’t supposed to be there, in fact, I was supposed to be in another city, but there I was, enjoying a show that I never expected to see.I’d heard of many of the performers, and was pretty happy to have been able to say that I saw them live, but it was one musician who blew me away with his music and lyrics.

A musician that I’d never heard of, and would likely never have heard of if I hadn’t been there that night.

Mark McGuinn came out on stage and belted out the song Mrs. Steven Rudy, and I became an instant fan.  I bought the album, and listened to it over and over.

At that particular time, my life, in every aspect was in turmoil. Everywhere I turned, I got a whole lot of unsolicited advice, and quite frankly after a while, all that advice got on my nerves.

Last night, having had a recent spat with my new boyfriend Mel (Atonin), I woke up at 3am and one of Mr.McGuinn’s lyrics popped into my head, “You can’t get too much love, but you can get too much advice.” Amen Mr. McGuinn. Amen. The lyrics are from the song, “What if They’d Don it Right”, all about people we admire for their unconventional ways.

When I was younger I weighed the advice of other’s quite heavily when making major life decisions. As I’ve come into my own, as a fabulous, strong, independent gal, I have come to realize that following my heart, asking for what  I need, and expecting adequate compensation for the many skills that I have, is way more important than what anyone else thinks.

In fact, unless I ask for it, I don’t really want  your opinion. I’m betting you feel the same way, don’t you my savvy, intelligent reader?

I’m tired of my married friends telling me how much better off I am single. What I want to say is, “Yah, really, Ms.My-Hubby-Pays-Half-the-Bills-and-I Wake-Up-to-a-Warm-Body-and-Someone-to-Celebrate-Daily-Victories-With, tell me more about how you live vicariously through the glory of my independence.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s no different from my-I’d-rather-not-deal-with-a-useless-man’s-emotional-baggage-and-mommy-issues-self and advising my friends to leave their lying, cheating, useless husbands.

We’re not friends because of the advice we give. We’re friends because of the love we give. So, my advice is….did I just say that?

Anyway, I recommend we wonderful women lean toward the listening and loving when supporting our fabulous friends, and leave the annoying advice giving and attempts at fixing to the men who vex us so much.

Again, ’tis the season. Not the season for material giving or advice. ‘Tis the season for making time for friends and listening. One more recommendation….try to channel your carefree youth. Reminisce and laugh, or better yet, get up to the mischief that makes you so darn irresistable.