Abounding Grace & The ‘F’ Word

angrywomanFor months, maybe even years I wrote about how I had observed the incredible life-affirming beauty of grace in action.

I wrote about people overcoming heart-shattering loss, adversity, and hardship with incredible grace; without fists to the sky, without making the lives of those around them miserable, without despair.

I wanted to be able to handle shit that way. I think we all do. What I have discovered is that we don’t necessarily want the practice that it takes to be graceful. In other words, it takes hardship to to learn how to navigate the rough rapids of change with some savvy and style; Without using the ‘F’ word, without letting the shit show shadow all of the other other elements of our lives that we have to be thankful for.

As I have been chronicling in my mid-life-move blog, Andsheshines, (Be sure to subscribe!!!)

I believe I’ve finally leveled up when it comes to coping. You can read about some of my experiences in the great adventure of preparing to empty-nest,  moving in with a man for the first time in two decades, and everything else that goes bump-in-the-night while those stages of life march onward. Time waits for no woman, and I’m going to ride my time like the wild woman that I am.

I Need Your Help: Podcasts & My Fat Ass

rsbushesBefore I go on a rant, let me point out that the purpose of this post is to get your feedback…

This morning, on my day off, my precious day off, I woke up early to annoy my kiddo before he set out for school and maybe, just maybe get in a nice walk and some writing.

So, it’s raining, and some big goof ball in a blue shirt just walked all over my daffodil greens while using his  leaf blower. Not only do I subscribe to the theory that the use of the leaf blower is evidence regarding the downfall of civilization (I’m sure Donald Trump has one to shoe away the leftover talcum powder that he spritzes his undies with apres shower).  I also subscribe to the theory that some giant lanscaping a-hole should know enough to not be blaring that ridiculous contraption prior to 9am outside of bedroom windows.

Anyway, with the drizzle and the bad atmosphere at my little writing window, I decided to make my way to the treadmill next door and walk a bit while my laundry was laundering.

Why? Well, because I’ve been unwell and rather inactive lately. Walking is easy exercise, and frankly, I need it.  I’ve done classes, punished my body with hard workouts and long runs, but I just can’t seem to work up the chutzpah to spank myself into fitness submission lately.

I’m more in the mode of loving the goddess. Which means my taste in music has changed. In fact, I want to listen to stories. As a writer, I do believe that we are nothing but the stories we tell ourselves, and that sharing our stories is the spiritual equivalent of excellent nutrition.

Which brings me to my latest fascination; Missing Richard Simmons. It’s a Podcast about the theories surrounding the disappearance of Richard Simmons.

Not only am I fascinated with this story, I’m a big fan of Mr. Simmons. Despite a terrible relationship with my late mother, I fondly remember her telling me to get off my fat, ugly, ass and sweat to the oldies with her. Ah, yes, Richard Simmons.

I’ve listened to TEDtalks and CBC writing podcasts, but there’s something about this one that has me hooked. Maybe it’s the anticipation of an answer about why such a charismatic man decided to duck out.

But I’m almost finished with the series, and I want more really great stories; nothing sinister or dark, just a really, good story and a sincere desire by the storyteller to enhance our lives. With this, I feel like I could walk forever. Fitness could be my bitch.

Please share your podcast suggestions to keep my butt and my heart in shape. Also accepting DVD copies of Sweatin’ To the Oldies. Not kidding.

PS – To GK – give up your argument about massive amounts of leaves, give up the wasted fuel and instead give the neighbour kid thirty bucks and a rake.

 

 

 

Santa & The Single Mom: Christmas Stress

unclelewis

Last night, while making a right hand turn at a busy intersection (during rush hour no less), I was so anxious having a little cry and panicking about paying the bills that I drove into a snow bank, went into auto-pilot and put the car in neutral, and then stepped on the gas (while still in neutral), and basically scared myself back to sanity. I did not shit my pants and I consider that a victory.

Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas.

Any single parent knows how difficult it is to keep the ship afloat at home.  You finally get a little savings packed away, and voila, an emergency and then POOF, it’s gone. It feels like a really blue collar Harry Potter life without the magic of cool creatures.

No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on…

I love Christmas, and I love celebrating it. The reality is a single parent home is a vortex of anxiety and stress during the holidays. The best you can do is try to breathe deeply, and most importantly, remember that you always get through it. Always.

Now, getting through it this year has been a bit easier as we’ve had some exciting and positive distraction in our home thanks to my fabulously awesome kiddo.  I’ve also had a lot of practice throughout the years, so keeping that in mind helps to relax me a bit. If you have little ones at home, trust me; it gets easier. Not that the pressure eases, no, it actually gets worse. You become more graceful about it as the years pass if you try.

…and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye.

The truth is I get through the holidays with a few vices. Tipples in my morning coffee when I don’t have to go to work or be out on the roads. Knowing I can play my ukulele for distraction despite how badly I suck at it. Baking, stitching, and staying under my cozy blankets on my days off for as long as possible to meditate by counting my blessings. Oh, a fabulous drug plan, and a  good therapist go a long, long, way to always having a ho-ho-hold the stress holiday.

Mostly though, it’s counting my blessings and appreciating all of the fabulously weird, wonderful and kind people that I am proud to call friends.

And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.

The Toilet: Where You Find The Best Things

no-mudFor years I had this je ne sais quois quality about me that, dare I say was charismatic, charming, and could even make your grouchy old granddad giggle.

But then I lost it. I guess for a while I didn’t much care. I figured it was just the normal aging process. Recent events have had me re-evaluating, and realizing that like my black tights which make their way onto hangers under the next sweater I’m going to wear, my chutzpah hasn’t died, it’s just been hiding in a corner where I had, out of sheer exhaustion, dropped it.

For a couple of months I’ve been getting hints that it’s still around. I’ve been reclaiming my own joy; creativity, physical activity, rest…and with that, I’ve felt it was coming back; that fabulous zest for life that is my legacy. Our legacy ladies. Everyone’s legacy.

No, it wasn’t hidden by the old stack of House & Home magazines in the corner, or next to an errant knee high and old slipper that continually fail at making it into my laundry bin. No, I found it in the loo at a crowded bar,dressed up and fevered to the point of sweating through my clothes and being yelled at because of it.  Yah, it’s true, we find miracles in the darndest places.

At some point (and yes, it was a sober some point as all I’d had for two days was gingerale and tea) the reality of reality sets in.  When you find peace in a tiny stall with a toilet, you should know that something is wrong.

One cannot seek meaningful solace next to the shitter darlings. One can only hope to apply fresh lipstick and get their kit together.

If you find yourself in a similar circumstance sweeties, look at it less like a dirty toilet in a pathetic re-run bar, and more like a time machine, transporting you from whomever made you want to shrivel up, or feel shrivelled up, to all of your gloriousness as a woman who is true to herself.

In those toilet-hiding moments, we find our je-ne-sais-quoisness.  These are the moments that give you the confidence to strut.

Last night, after having suffered for someone else’s comfort, and being yelled at and treated poorly, I made a trip to the lady’s time machine where my wee little girl brain asked me what in the hell I was doing suffering for someone else who was supposed to be not just a friend, but the best of friends.

The night got worse before it got better, but it was at least efficient.

Quite often women retreat to the bathroom as their only place of quiet and peace. Whether it’s out and about, or at home. Quite often they are there because someone has attacked their self worth. Those quiet, albeit gross moments near the toilet are generally where you can find your value again. Dare I say your,  I-Don’t-Give-A-Shitness.

It’s sad that we are forced into the shit to find ourselves, but that is life. No mud, no lotus right? Whatever…

Just remember if you find yourself in the loo with a tear in your eye, it’s a grand opportunity to make things better.  I mean, after all, how much worse can it get than hiding in the same place a thousand other people have pooped? Not much.

 

OM & A Sharp Tongue

pointy endFor someone who goes on and on about kindness and spirituality, I can be a bit of a bitch. Just a tiny bit. Sometimes…

A ‘bitch’ in the best sense of the word darlings, of course. Only in the most fabulous way. Or not.

It all depends on perspective.

The long and the short of it is that I let frustration get the best of me a few days ago, and well, as the story goes, someone caught hell from the pointy end of my sharp tongue.

Besides feeling a touch of regret for not just turning tail and heading home with my mouth shut and my temper tamed in the simmering pot of my mind, I felt a bit silly for not knowing my own limits.

Being treacherously independent means pushing the envelope of one’s limits, and that my juicy little plums, is my speciality. Too much obligation and nary a shenanigan makes a lady crazy.

There’s nothing better than waking up without the wail of an alarm clock, stretching out in the decadent bliss of a soft, warm bed, and deciding, without obligation to father-time, what to make of the day.

I don’t do enough of that, and that’s precisely what energizes little- old-bourbon-drinking me. This is the attitude that has carried me rather blissfully through many a day when life was scary and lonely, and exciting all at the same time.

So, here’s to being able to keep my mouth shut,my mind open, and my wildness untamed.

Get it While You Can: Valentine’s Advice for Cynics

tacky undiesIt’s all bullshit.

That’s what you want me to say isn’t it? That the flowers and jewellery and lingerie and night(s) of hot sweaty sex are romantic hypocrisy akin to people who only go to church on Christmas eve.

Well, I’m not going to say it.

No. I’m going to suggest that you suck it up and get it while you can darlings. I’m going to tell you that life is short, and you’d best just damn well lighten up and enjoy it.  I’m going to tell you to quit denying your decadent desire to ooze sensuality.

 

Splurge. Buy the panties or whatever other ridiculously tacky, dirty and would-embarrass-you-to-death-if-anyone-you-knew-walked-in-here-and-saw-you-buying that.

If you’re going to do it, do it right. If it’s love, be bold. If it’s not love and it’s just a bow-down to the great gods and goddesses of sensuality, don’t insult them. Go all the way. Sacrifice up something hot and steamy. Make them blush.

Trust me, you’ll have many, many opportunities to be self-conscious, be disappointed, feel insecure or give in to fear and cynicism. You’ll have other days to be realistic about your relationship, lack of relationship, ‘it’s complicated’ status, or other such nonsense.

Get it while you can darlings, and for the love of all that’s pink, give it a good squeeze when you do get it.

 

Pick Up The Phone if They Make You Giggle

gigglemore.jpgImmediately after I turned off my bedside lamp last night, my phone lit up.

I was zenned out after having read a chapter in a Buddhist classic. To look or not to look. Oh, what the hell…

I glanced at the screen  thinking a little dreamily that it may be a romantic good night message.

Nope.

Not my sweetie.

It was a friend with whom I had recently connected. The kind of friend whose presence immediately shakes off ten years of cynicism and seriousness. He’s the kind of pal that makes me feel vibrant, silly and indomitable.

Our friendship was always one where we could be expected to find ourselves arrested, invited to an impromptu wedding, or making our way home at 10am, barely piecing our evening shenanigans together, with one shoe off and someone else’s shirt on.

We all need this kind of friend.

I was tired when the text came in, a bit caught up in my own head, and really, just not feeling as fabulous as our friendship warrants. So, what’s a gal to do?

That’s right. I picked up the phone and called him. We giggled about his upcoming rendez-vous. We shared stories about our love life and giggled about our foibles.

For those moments, we were young again, fearless, and ready to take the world by storm, with gorgeous unmentionables, and enough confidence to march right into our next affair with our heads held high and our pink and whites of the most tacky design.

When your phone rings, and it’s one of those people who keeps you young, giggling, and feeling like there are reasons (albeit superficial and decadently sexy) to carry on living, answer the call. Better yet, make the call. These are the people who inspire your laughter, and that my darlings is what makes life worth living

Let this be the year you giggle more. Let this be the year you succumb to silliness. Let the  the youth that still grows in your wild and wonderfully fickle heart spring forth and surprise you. Toodles.