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Lady Luck & The Duchess of Doom; Surround yourself with good people

whatwouldjimmydoI bought a cheap watch from a crazy man
Floating down canal
It doesn’t use numbers or moving hands
It always just says now
Now you may be thinking that I was had
But this watch is never wrong
And If I have trouble the warranty said
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

This year I have been host to the Duchess of Doom. Let me re-frame that. The middle part of the sandwich of this year has been a doom filling with bread made of ick.

Lady Luck strikes rarely and very singularly in our lives. The Duchess of Doom seems to visit more frequently and in clusters. In other words, some years just seem full of tough stuff, and others pass with barely a blip on the radar of ‘Eww‘.

I say that because we’re headed into the final quarter of the year, and I’m really hoping it’s less fraught with gunk than May through September. I have a fresh start to look forward to, a new routine, and a fall list which this morning seemed like an impossibility…but one just never knows.

I see a lot of people in crisis every day. I see sad people and angry people, and all of these people carry themselves with at least a smidgen of grace which I respect very deeply.

Usually they look to me for some indication that their suffering is normal, and I validate that and assure them that things that suck come in multiples, and send them on their way.

This too shall pass.

If a hurricane doesn’t leave you dead
It will make you strong
Don’t try to explain it just nod your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

It just passes much more quickly and less painfully if you let friends support you, you keep your sense of humour, and you don’t lose sight that this ride called life does not offer the option of more time. Surround yourself with good people who stand as reminders of that, and let the rest go.

Stay true to yourself, be kind, be gentle, and for the love of all that’s good and holy, don’t be afraid to laugh your ass off.

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Music As Therapy: Knee Deep with Zac Brown & Jimmy Buffett

peenMusic is an ancient form of magic. It can transform the atmosphere within seconds, and conjure emotions that have been buried deep.

If you are excelling at the art of living (and it is an art darlings), despite the middle-aged or just aged person looking back at you in the mirror, you still manage to rejuvenate, dismiss the nay-sayers with a regal gesture of your arm, and still have lots of life left in you.

We play music at all of our rites of passage and carefully select which melodies and lyrics reflect the emotions that words seem inadequate to describe.  For instance, on the way to a funeral, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell came blaring out of the radio. It certainly changed the mood in the car, especially for the priest.

At an outdoor summer concert with my kiddo, after a spring and summer of emotional bull-riding, I let the music of one of our favourite-fun bands wash over me.

Gonna put the world away for a minute
Pretend I don’t live in it
Sunshine gonna wash my blues away
Had sweet love but I lost it
She got too close so I fought it
Now I’m lost in the world tryin’ to find me a better way

The sun was setting over a ferris wheel lit up with bright colours, seagulls were flying over the roof of the amphitheatre, and all around me were thousands of people  had paid out their energy (aka money) to escape from the stress of life to sing and dance and be washed clean of the crap of daily living.

Wishin’ I was
Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky, breeze and it don’t seem fair
The only worry in the world
Is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise, there’s a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

This tune brought me back to a holiday I took with my kiddo.  We had so much fun listening to this song as we planned, packed and piloted away. Every time I hear it, it’s like a trop-rock meditation bell reminding me to chill-the-heck out.

Wrote a note, said “Be back in a minute”
Bought a boat and I sailed off in it
Don’t think anybody’s gonna miss me anyway
Mind on a permanent vacation
The ocean is my only medication
Wishin’ my condition ain’t ever gonna go away

I recognize that my note to the world saying, “Be back in a minute”, can apply every day. We have happy hour at our house. It’s a relaxation ritual that involves letting the demands of the day wash off, and lots of laughing about everything.

As it turns out, you can abandon stress right here, right now, if you so choose. Life has relentless stamina, and even though there may be times you don’t want it to go on, it just keeps on rolling like the ocean after a storm.

This champagne shore watchin’ over me
It’s a sweet sweet life livin’ by the salty sea
One day you can be as lost as me
Change your geography and maybe you might be

Whether you’re cleaning the house or front-row-centre, always, always, always, choose the soundtrack to you life carefully.

Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowin’ wind through my hair
Only worry in the world
Is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise, there’s a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

Come on in
The waters nice
Find yourself a little slice
Grab a backpack
Otherwise you’ll never know until you try
When you lose yourself
You find a key to paradise…

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Finding Your Happy Place: One Particular Harbour

sunset_sailboatThis one goes out to the great Jimmy Buffett, the One Particular Harbour of my soul and Robert Mondavi.

In other words, I’m writing this with the teeny-tiniest of hangovers. You know the kind I’m talking about; the kind that leave you just spent enough to feel relaxed, refreshed and embracing a new perspective.

I know I don’t get there often enough
But God knows I surely try
It’s a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe

Life is a wild ride, and a wonderful one, if you can convince your mule-like perception that there is beauty even in the darkness. Ok, that’s a load of shit. Sometimes the darkness is just dark, and it sucks to feel stuck there.

After a passive aggressive berating about how annoying, selfish and vocal I can be, I thought it might be time for a little introspection, a look at what a horrible, selfish woman I am. I poured some hooch so my wee, little, female brain didn’t start to ache as much as my heart, which incidentally was implied to be nothing more than a cold, hard, lump of coal.

After some careful consideration I decided that caring had been construed as selfishness, and that I was suffering someone else’s pain. When you care about someone, empathizing isn’t  a sin nor is sharing your perspective about well-being. Being attached to what you can’t control though, ahhhh, now there you go darlings. That’s a killer, and I was definitely guilty of that.

And then, as el vino is want to do, a very clear meme-ish insight made a sudden appearance, tap-dancing onto the main stage of my consciousness;

Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

That’s as deep as it got. I decided to stop with the back-hoe of emotional torture, and went with the child’s sandpail and plastic shovel model. Besides being less painful, it’s a prettier picture. I poured another glass.

I heard the word, “Surrender”, being whispered in my ear. Surrender. That’s a tough one for a woman who has always had to go after what she wants with a gene-pool of quicksand always threatening to pull her back and bury her alive. In work and life, I tend to go boldly forward until I’m satisfied I’ve done my best.

Surrender is a dangerous precipice promising both apathetic failure and great joy all at the same time. Ah, the paradox of the human condition – thank you for coming to visit, you squirrelly bastard.

Today, as I sip my morning coffee, and take a thorough look at my thoughts and feelings, I understand that where I need to be is my One Particular Harbour, feeling safe, loved, and like being me is not only good enough, but appreciated.

Most mysterious calling harbour
So far but yet so near
I can see the day when my hair’s full gray
And I finally disappear

Wishing you the courage to surrender, and safety of your one, particular  harbor to drop anchor and enjoy the view of this one, short, precious life.

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Take it Off…All Off!

takeitalloffYou have absolutely no idea how excruciatingly wonderful it felt to slip my tailored suit jacket down my arm and across my back as I kicked off my heels and walked toward my bedroom.

“Good-bye fancy ear-ring,” I said, as my fingertips gripped the back of the clasp…

You will never comprehend how decadent it felt to peel off my pantyhose and know that for two-whole weeks, the only big wardrobe choice I have to make is flip-flops or bare feet.

Sah-weet!

When you wear a uniform or uniform-like attire to work every day, it becomes part of your identity.  Not that that’s a bad thing. I happen to be among the chosen few who actually love their job and the people they work with. Having said that, every now and then, it’s nice to put some distance between your skin and the clinging sheath of your professional persona.

Sometimes it’s just really nice to reconnect with what it means to be a free-creative-music-and-art-loving-spirit, connected to the earth and sea. For me it’s always been the sea. It’s always been the water, and the fresh wind, and the dark night sky and it’s been so terribly long…

Stepping out of my suit and taking off my ear-rings, necklace, watch and rings, I relished the feeling of freedom that comes with not having to.

I write to you my lovelies because I care. If you, like me, get lost in the routine of every day, occasionally get overwhelmed with anxiety and fear of the future, are thankful for all of the blessings in your life, and don’t want to rock the boat, I urge you to resist your fear and make time to reconnect with what you love.

The margins in my life are narrow. My resources are all self-mined and lean toward the depleted side. I look death in the eye daily, and I know that life is short. It’s all a gamble my friends. It’s all water under the bridge to never-never-land. Every now and then you need to take a leap of faith, jump for joy and do something that rekindles the spark that made you absolutely fabulous once-upon-a-time.

As I slip out of my suit and into something the good-lord made comfortable, I raise a glass to the simple joy of saying, “Fuck it”, and then doing just as you please.

 

 

 

 

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Vacation Planning Tips

Life is a trip!
Life is a trip!

They say that the anticipation of your vacation is as much of a high as the actual vacation.

I would have to agree. Although, I also am going to throw an idea out there; when you’re too busy to enjoy the anticipation of the vacation, you’re far over-due for a getaway.

That seems to be the case at my place. On top of an already hectic schedule, I have had to pre-organize meals and lunches. Even the weekend is booked solid with kiddy obligations, leaving me precious little time to clean and prepare for the people who are coming to fill in while I’m away.

Then there are logistics, schedules, emergency numbers, travel insurance and last-minute packing items.

Someone suggested going to a tanning bed to get a ‘base’ so I don’t burn. Who has time?! Yesterday was a 14 hour workday.  This all explains why I’m kinda known for my famous Irish suntan.

So far, it’s been just a hectic anxiety ridden rush to keep up at home and work. It was only yesterday when I booked my final pre-holiday spa visit to take care of the finer bits that it began to sink in…just a few more days until my chubby porcelain-white buns will be resting on a sailboat in the Caribbean. Ahhh…….

The following is not so much a list of tips, but a reminder to fit in travel necessity planning if you have an already busy schedule;

1) Book your spa time to coincide with your departure; bikini and any other necessary waxing, pedicure, manicure and most importantly about an hour while your tootsies soak to unwind while you flip through the latest edition of your fave fashion magazine.

2) Book your airline limo. Let’s face it, no one is going to offer to drive you to the airport in the wee hours of the morning while it’s minus-this-is-crazy-degrees-Celsius out there.

3) Flight and emergency information emailed to anyone who may care where you are and when you should be home.

4) Currency exchange. Have enough cash stashed to get you there and back, including your pre-flight anti-anxiety bottle of wine – mimosa if it’s a morning flight. Mimosa’s don’t count as alcohol when you’re on vacation darling.

5) Plastic zipper bags. Oh yah – best thing to take on holiday. It will save your luggage from leaking beauty products. Zip them and go my sweets.

Don’t forget to dream a little, and relax while you’re away. Have fun, and remember what it’s like to be carefree.

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I Wanna Be There

iwannabethere“I wanna be there….”, a phrase that always causes me to hum Tin Cup Chalice by Jimmy Buffett.

When I saw this picture, that’s what came into my mind. “I wanna be there…”

My mumster once said something about our spirits being out there and our bodies waiting to catch up. I’ve felt that way in work, and in relationships, and every time I feel that way, I know it’s time to move on.

I’m feeling that way right now about home.

Maybe it’s just this time of year, maybe it’s recently having had someone deeply disappoint me, maybe it’s simply time to move.

I wanna be there, at the foot of the dock, with nothing and no one around. I want my heart to have silence when it whispers its deepest desires to me. I want to hear what it says and let the echo of it reverberate in my bones.

After that, I want a plan!  A doable, achievable goal, with my eye on a future that I craft for myself.

Often it’s in the midst of the fast pace of life that we most need to slow down, assess where we’ve come from and where we really want to go, who we want to take along with us, and who we need to leave behind.

The wonderful thing about being single is that there are no romantic heart-strings to untie, and those we love and who care for us will ‘be there’ wherever we go. I wanna be there, but wherever it is, I just don’t know… yet.

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Shhh!!! This is my Favourite Part…

shhmyfavouritIf you don’t have one, you need one. At least one. If not a few, you know for special occasions; waking up, driving to work, road-tripping, wine-sipping, skinny dipping, cooking, cleaning, bathing, preening  and everything else you get up to in life.

You don’t have any idea what I’m talking about do you? I could be talking about pairs of shoes, but I’m not. I know, I’m straying from my usual bubbly-without-brains banter. What I’m talking about in this case my darlings, is music; playlists, albums, or, if you’re an 80’s child, mixed-tapes.

Today I share with you some of my favourite lines from some of my favourite songs. I’ll give you the line, you give me the song or artist.

1) Don’t let yourself fall. Don’t let yourself stumble. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime…

2) And it ain’t that I’m wiser, it’s only that I’ve spent more time with my back to the wall…

3) You came to me this morning and you handled me like meat. You’d have to be a man to know how good that feels, how sweet…

4) Another Saturday another date. She would be ready but she’d always make him wait in the hallway in anticipation…

5) Oh it’s hard to be a boy when all the men have lost their joy and they can’t find the ones they’ve left behind…

6) Take the ribbon from your hair. Shake it loose and let it fall, laying soft against your skin like the shadows on the wall…

7) Drive in. You guzzle gin, commit a little mortal sin. It’s good for the soul…

8) When you’re loving somebody, baby, you’re taking a gamble against some sorrow. But who knows, baby, ‘Cause we may not be here tomorrow…

9) No, there’s nothin’ you can send me, my own true love.  There’s nothin’ I wish to be ownin’.  Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled from across that lonesome ocean…

10) Nothing could be sadder than a glass of wine alone.  Loneliness loneliness, is just a waste of  time,  But you don’t ever  have to walk alone…

This may have left you with a song in your head, or maybe a bit annoyed that we don’t share the same taste in music. Whatever else, I hope  it reminded you that music can change your mood, and can speak to your heart when words are inadequate.