If you follow me on Instagram (andshelaughs1 & pattywaxing), you’re likely a little tired of my June holiday photos.
I spent a week in the great outdoors, enjoying a whole lot of nothing other than some icy cold wine spritzers, a few cocktails, and local craft beer. I spent hours on the dock stretched out in the sunshine reading, and catching up with my man. We spent every night by the campfire, and slept the deep sleep of those with a clear conscience.
It was languorous and it was blissful.
The other thing that I did this week is set up my new business so that I’m ready to take on the appointments that have been waiting in the wings. Because this isn’t a have-to, I find myself completely enjoying it!
But tomorrow it’s back to work.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate going in to the office. I like my colleagues, but I’m so over having to do anything.
What I discovered this week, while doing absolutely nothing but what pleased me was this;
Having purpose makes mornings a hell of a lot more easy.
Awareness of purpose isn’t something everyone thinks about.
Self-care does wonders for the quality of my sleep.
Two meals a day are enough with some healthy grazing in between.
I have residual issues regarding housework leftover from my OCD upbringing.
Having a hobby with your partner is necessary for the rainy days.
Life without a kitty-cat isn’t a quality life.
Fresh and local is damn good when it comes to food and wine.
I will always, always, always miss my kiddo when he’s not close to home.
Gratitude is something I need to practice more often so life doesn’t slip by unnoticed.
Summer solstice is almost upon us. You know, the phase of this trip around that sun that marks the true onset of summer.
We’ve all seen the social media posts with funky patio lights and carefree al fresco dining; vintage glassware, impossibly perfect outdoor furniture (that would wither with one rainfall), and no mosquitoes.
This side of 40, we all know that it’s never that perfect. But it can come pretty damn close. The secret to enjoying summer, or anything else at this stage of the game, is a certain dude-ish je ne sais quoi. A few flowy, funky, retro tops to hide a multitude of middle aged sins, and plenty of liquids.
The idea of cottaging, camping and celebrating everything that can be celebrated is a great idea, but the reality can be a little tiny bit exhausting.
So I’ve created a little backyard oasis which includes a couple of sets of dated christmas lights which are now trendily referred to as ‘fairie lights’, a water feature from my partner’s ex’s house, and a load of carefree climbing vines. I added a few palms just to remind myself that when winter arrives, so do the snowbird deals to the Caribbean.
Creating your own, personal oasis leaves plenty of time (no snakey fifty kilometre traffic nightmare into the muskokas or Haliburton Highlands) to tear off your work-a-day clothes, throw on something loose, pour an icy cold gin and tonic and turn up the Jimmy Buffett in the backyard (before and after work, although you might want to substitute coffee before work).
In order to make summertime a little bit more summery and a lot less hectic may I recommend a few of my mid-life-mid-summer-secrets?
The muu-muu. Call it a caftan, or whatever you like, but it’s a lifesaver. No bra. No panties. No public entertaining in this either, but you will feel somewhat goddess like with a generous heap of nonchalant I-could-give-a-craplessness. Mrs. Roper to the rescue.
2. An easy cocktail. I recommend a simple gin and tonic. Either Tanqueray with Lime, or Hendricks with cucumber. Either works. Poured over ice, it’s simple and refreshing.
3. Non-alcoholic beverages. Let’s face it, middle-age and empty nesting lets us fall into a relaxed way of being that does not always require assistance. A simple pitcher of pink lemonade in the refrigerator or a sumptuous hot tea can do the trick. My favourites include T by Daniel’s Night in Rio, or Tazo Wild Sweet Orange.
4. A damn good book that you can sink your teeth into. This could be a post unto itself, but I’m going to stick with just one book for now. If you are a mid-lifer, empty-nester, or a woman who feels like change is on the horizon, I highly recommend, Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Reading this will make you 100% confident wearing your muu-muu. I promise. No gin required.
5. Fire. Yes, that’s right you need some fire. It’s primal, it’s hypnotising, and it can bring you back to yourself after a long day at work. If you have the space, try a firepit, maybe a chimenea, and for smaller spaces, try a little fire-pot.
6. Soundscaping. A water feature can add that lovely trickling sound that makes you think that you’re somewhere other than your urban cage. If there’s no room for that, or no budget, try some of the 1990’s Dan Gibson Solitudes tracks cranked up to drown out the neighbour’s nattering,
Celebrating the sunshine is quintessential to summertime, and creating your own oasis optimizes all of that joyous vitality that the season brings. Wishing you the relaxed kind of muu-muu, gin-drinking, pink lemonade, feminist-reading kind of summer you deserve.
This morning I opened the top of the coffee container to find that someone had used all of my flavoured coffee while I was on vacation. In 2013, all of my delicious half-caf vanilla flavoured coffee would still have been there.
And without my current employment, I also wouldn’t have been able to afford a little escape to worship the sun near the equator. So, I guess I’ll take the near-empty coffee can, thank you very much.
Without an awesome kiddo, I also could not have taken a break. I mean, how many parents feel comfortable leaving their kid home, with access to the car?
I am truly blessed.
Three years ago during my annual June life review (yah, I do it in June, don’t ask why…that’s another story for another time), I decided that there were a few things out of order in my life, and I set an intention to work toward them. One of them being a coffee-addicted-partner who leaves just enough of my favourite coffee for four cups and a kid who has such a busy social and sports schedule that he needs the car most nights. Good damn thing they’re both cute.
Lately I’ve been waking up with a health concern on my mind. First thoughts being hopeful; is it gone? No. Is it any better?
Health was at the top of my 2013 list, and I’ve been pushing my own self-care aside like most women do when they are juggling parenting, work and relationships. It’s evident that I need to adjust my priorities. It’s also evident that I can.
What I mean is, my life is pretty darn good right now (knock on wood).
So, if you are like me; A ‘Type A’ working mother with a creative streak, life can often seem overwhelming and time extremely limited to work on all of the clever projects that cultivate vital energy in us.
Just take a moment to let the piles of paper remain where they are. Take a deep breath and sit your ass down with a cup of tea. Count your blessings. If you don’t have that many, begin to think about what you need and how to get there. Live with intention despite being pulled in a million directions; resist distraction and carve out the time you need to apply for a new job, create a relationship with a loving partner, take a walk…
And be sure to be thankful for the near-empty coffee can and empty tank of gas. It’s all a matter of perspective.
My sweetie and I are not of the same vintage. We often find ourselves WTF’ing about our friends’ antics, and our choices of entertainment .Yet we persevere, giggle, and learn A LOT.
It was this past weekend at a Teenage Head concert that most of my Buddhist training came back to me. Present moment? Pul-eaze, these folks were hanging on to the past harder than me hanging on to my only child’s innocence.
The present moment was nowhere to be found. Hanging on to beer bottles like the social-teddy-bear-comfort-of-underage-drinkers, fifty and sixty-somethings duded themselves up in outfits that should never, ever, be seen in public. Ever.
Were they having fun, or out there hoping to have the same kind of fun that they organically experienced in their youth? It’s a spiderweb issue, never really to be dissected.
I’ve had the good fortune of being exposed to trauma and crisis. Yes, I did say good fortune. I say that because I’ve witnessed true grace under presssure. Whatever the age or stage, it takes grace to transition to another phase with success and with some modicum of fabulousness.
Which brings me to the crux of what I’ve been thinking about lately; how to remain happy in the present moment, and continue to be spontaneous even as fear disguises itself as good sense and responsibility.
It’s tough. “We get cautious“, my gal-pal said to me during a conversation about how we’re feeling ‘old’. Just yesterday I was stretched out in a worn blue gown that ties at the back on the pale green sheets of a gurney, being told about parts of my internal organs that were not healthy.
I regret nothing; The crazy nights out, my falling in and out of love, career changes, my devotion to my kiddo, and especially my larger-than-life-sometimes-too-much-for-you personality.
What I do regret though is the caution that has gotten comfy and is taking up space in my psyche.
So, I hope to find joy in new places, experiences and acquaintances, that maybe, just maybe will scare me a little bit.
I beg of you. Let the 80’s hair, leather and old artists go. rade it in for the some half-shaved version of the now, more sassy leather, and support new artisits. Find something new and fresh. Live in the present moment. Allow your body and your soul to mellow and change. Rejoice in your softening.Read new authors, go see new plays, listen to live music written and performed by kids who could be your own, paint your living room red, learn to code….
Whatever you do, do it with all of your heart, and laugh. Laugh a lot.
Some of the best advice I ever received was to go make memories while I could. That was advice. It was said in good fun, at a time when I still believed there were memories to make with people who still thought I was worthwhile making them with.
The truth is, some day, you will realize that everyone but your best of friends will not consider you worthy enough to make memories with. Most people don’t have the fortitude to keep their hearts alive and daring (as hearts are meant to be).
As Hemingway once wrote; A man alone ain’t got no chance. True love is the wish of every heart, whether you have the courage to admit it or not.
What no one told me was that as we age, we also get the hell beaten out of our hopes and dreams by people who are too scared to feel any more. Some hearts are courageous, and some are cowards. The odd part is, it’s the cowards who end up killing us all. It’s the cowards who bore through the dreams of the hopeful.
When it comes to a woman’s attention that she is not worthy of the lust and longing of true love, any formal commitment, or courtesy of priority, it ought to make her snap to it. It’s not a pitiable circumstance my sweet little peaches. It’s simply life in a world where ego and economics trump human connection.
So, despite the recent confirmation of the collapse of my own desirability currency, I shall carry on as usual. I may have had my belief in romance and second chances at true love taken from me, but I will always tend to my own wild, untamed heart. Because I’ve worked hard to keep it that way. After all, that’s what makes me beautiful.
Oh, don’t get me wrong darlings, my heart is still willing, it’s just that the rest of the world has been damned to cynicism and I’m experienced enough to know it.
To know; to perceive directly; to have direct cognition of
By nature, age plays host to ghosts of pain, heartbreak and disappointment. It’s up to us whether we invite them in as demons or angels. Demons suffocate the ability to hope, to heal, and to recognize that our hearts are just as, or even more important than, our heads.
To my friends who are watching their chutzpah walk away; try to change your perspective. At the very least, be open to making new memories. To those of you young enough to not relate to what I’m talking about; take the advice of my dear friend-go out and make your memories now.
This post was inspired by chocolate chip cookies, samosas and margaritas.
Ok, mostly just margaritas. But let’s not get stuck on that little piece of trivia my darling.
Immediately before driving home and mixing up a batch of ‘Coconut Margaritas’, I attended a philosophical talk by the Vedanta Society of Canada. At the end of the lecture, they sent everyone on their way with a packet which included a samosa and some Indian sweet I’d never eaten before.
When it was handed to me, I smiled and said thank you. After all, someone had gone through the trouble of making sure everyone left sharing some food.
Earlier this week, I offered a young child a cookie, not, of course, before going through the requisite permission asking of the mother. Well, I didn’t get past the mother. No, it was not due to a nut allergy, dairy intolerance, soy aversion or gluten issue. It was religious and cultural.
The mother looked at me as if I were breasted-satan, and physically pushed the cookie away as she said (emphatically and rudely), “No, we don’t eat that. We only eat Halal.”
So, first lesson here; we live in a highly culturally diverse area. Second lesson; across cultures, and without exception, being offered food is akin to being friended. Third lesson; you take the f-ing cookie and say thank you. Yes, inter-faith and inter-cultural living is that simple.
Margaritas are made with ice, tequila, lime juice and salt if you’re nasty. They are not made with coconut, strawberries or any other pooh-ha that rides the current culinary trend of we’re-so-wealthy-we-don’t-have-anything-better-to-do-than-make-up-recipes.
The same goes for any martini other than a straight up, shaken-not-stirred. Cosmopolitans? They are Cosmopolitans, not martinis. Appletinis – apple cocktails. Chocolatinis – chocolate cocktails. Sidecars – not just bourbon, bourbon mixed with other crap.
Single women are not scaled, withered up virgins. We are highly sexed, independent women who enjoy a good man, and a good sleep. No need for the sleepover or the snoring gents. Please pack up your tired testicles and take them home when we’re finished. We love you, and we need our space to do important things. You’ll get a call-back when we’re ready for another performance.
Gal-pals. The most important element in a woman’s life. We love one another no matter what, and we disclose everything. We give one another hope to carry on. We also give one another our stories so we don’t feel so silly. Thank you gal-pals for all that you do for me!
Loud children. I love children. They are vibrant and bring a fresh perspective. If, however, I wanted to hear your children howl and scream at all hours, I’d invite your entire family over and pinch the kids at random. Hard. Please soothe your children and love them.
Glassware. It’s important to have an assortment. A great glass can change the mood of any drink, no matter what the immediate atmosphere. Second-hand stores have a terrific assortment. Note to whomever broke my French, antique pedestal serving dish; I will find you.
Belly laughs. They are the best when they are had unexpectedly while wrapped in the sheets with a best friend and lover. Thank you for the belly laughs my friend – you know who you are.
People who pass the buck. Yah, they are still out there my friends, despite the plethora of inspirational memes and social-media jargon. They make you appreciate real professionals. Amen.
Candlelight. A professional single’s best friend. Housework is for the elite. Us working girls don’t have time to waste on tasks that need to be re-done immediately and go unappreciated. Strategically placed and lit, candles hide a multitude of domestic, and anatomical sins. Get some.
One margarita to go, and then a hot soak before the man of the hour arrives…I hope you were entertained my friends. XO
Relax. Trust the process. Surrender. Good things come to those who wait.
The world, and social media sites are awash with pithy statements. Stop. Go. Om.
Along with our waning attention spans ( over half of you have stopped reading this already), our ability to trust our instincts has been lost as well.
Whether you’re stuck in a bad job or a bad relationship chances are you’ve sought out advice about what you should do. Stick it out or make a run for it?
In the past, I’ve had relationships that I’ve known are no good from the start. Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and I can see now that those relationships lasted as long as they did because I wanted a relationship, but the one I was in was not the one.
There have been other relationships that were interfered with by a third-party, and I took that as a sign it wasn’t meant to be. Hindsight reveals that it was a good relationship and the interfering party was wrong. Not just wrong, but wretched.
Whether it’s a lopsided friendship, job, questionable lover, relationship with a faith group or business partner, experience has taught me two things. First, engage your trusted friends and colleagues in a conversation to fully explore what may or may not be happening. Second, and most importantly, come to a conclusion and develop a course of action based on your own intellect and intuition.
Sounds simple doesn’t it?
Are the things that are meant to be, supposed to be a struggle, or feel effortless?
Now it’s time that I must seek some solitude and listen very closely to what my intuition is whispering….perhaps two fingers of bourbon will help….bottoms up darlings.