For Women Only: Tips For Staying Youthful Looking

Granma-hippieWaking up and checking our smartphones is a sign of the times I think.

I check to see if my kiddo needs me. I check to see what the schedule is like at work, the weather, how many of you read my latest post, and what some small-minded arsehole of a man has decided I need to know about making myself beautiful.

Ok, the last point – I really don’t wake up to read that. I am exposed to it.

This morning, while scrolling through my feed Cheech Marin shared a post that suggested what not to do to stay youthful looking. Some of the tips included;

Do not wear jersey anything

Do not wear long hair.

Don’t wear loose fitting anything, but don’t wear skinny jeans either

Don’t wear chunky, funky frames for your glasses.

Don’t wear a specific shade of pantyhose.

Although some of the suggestions may feel right to some of the women out there, it all felt a little too 1950’s-keep-your-ankles-crossed to me.

And really, Cheech Marin is sharing this? Cheech, I’ve got news for you; grown women don’t give a shit what you think, and perhaps you might take a look in the mirror? Oh, no, I’m not going there and being nasty about his looks. Nope. That’s not what this is about.

Cheech, like everyone else on the planet is beautiful because of his smile, his authentic style, and his way of being Cheech, nothing more and nothing less.

Which brings me to the essence of what I want to say; screw everyone else’s ideas. For instance, I demanded a small piece of chocolate cake for breakfast…

Ok, maybe make healthy choices for yourself so you don’t end up with gout, but do be (doo-be-doo) sure to enjoy this life.

phyllisMy suggestions for staying youthful for women and men;

Don’t let your weight hold you back from anything. Back fat and belly rolls do not mean you deserve to be holed up in the house alone. Laughter and curiosity are healthy, no matter what your size.

Wear your hair however you damn well please, and don’t worry about it all day long.

Make-up: Do whatever makes you feel good. Some days I’m glam, some days I’m  ma’am.

Clothing; Are you comfortable? Yes? Then that’s good.

Pantyhose – do whatever floats your boat – men, women and everyone on the spectrum.

Jersey fabric – absofreakinglutely.

Eyeglasses; You likely will need them as you age. Wear something funky, wear something classic, just fucking wear them so you don’t have to ask someone else to read menus or street signs to you.

Do not be so infatuated with yourself that you miss out on the wonderful world around you. Do not be a navel gazer…

And that my darlings is your list to help you stay youthful. Look outward. See the world, and engage in it. No one cares about your hair, or your panty hose, or the shade of your frames. We do care that you are clean, authentic and kind.

Don’t stink.

Be true to your personal values.

Be nice.

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Three Little Birds: In My Head

There have been a few things rolling around in my mind lately.

What would the new year be if we  weren’t inundated with media pimping health and wellness gimmicks?

squatI’ve never been a skinny chick, and I don’t know that I’d be that comfortable being all angles and bones, but I don’t really dwell on it. I haven’t always loved my curves, or my height . As a young woman I struggled against the unrealistic messages that bombarded me via the media.

But I grew into my body, and I learned to love it and rollick in sensuality.

With a partner who finds it necessary to grab my love handles while asking, ” Are you going to the gym?”, the last thing I need is to second guess my own chutzpah. So this brings me to the first thing on my mind; why do people obsess over fitness and diet instead of trying to incorporate healthy habits?

bruce-trailPersonally I find it hard to seek support because people go overboard with it all. I need a workout buddy who can make being active fun. I also, like most women need less housework, a shorter commute, and a thyroid that works.

I need a workout buddy like the person who came up with this quote; I found out today that you can’t get a gym membership, ‘Just to watch’.
I don’t do well with being uncomfortable taking my clothes off in front of a man. My solution: be good to myself. Not to feel sorry for myself, but to rejoice in my over-the-top voluptuousness, sense of humour, joie de vivre and to get my groove back. I’m even going to try some reading material; The Self Esteem Coach, and the classic, The Art of Seduction. 

I honestly hope that something fun and delicious interrupts me so I don’t actually have to do the work and I can cop out, but I likely should do the work.

Honestly, I’m over 40, and I’m convinced that at this age women ought to be comfortable in their own skin and totally owning their goddess.

So that was my first one.

The second thing on my mind has been the take over of mocking Donald Trump in social media. Satire (and this is proven) does not change politics. Humour makes it funnier in a sad and apathetic way, but it’s ineffective as a tool to use against change.

It took a man with true leadership skills to cut the bullshit;

If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try talking with them in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.  Show up.  Dive in.  Persevere.

protestQuit whining and gather in the streets. Don’t just bitch there darling, do something about it. If you’re not willing to do something about it, please shutupinski.

The third thing that’s been on my mind is the incredibly fast pace of doing absolutely nothing meaningful. Go to work, pay the bills, eat what you’re supposed to, take as many steps as the latest gadget deems healthy, measure every single aspect of your life until you’re too tired to enjoy it. Oh my gawd! What a wonderful life! Pass the lorazapam and tuck me in for the next decade. This sucks.

moomooUm, no thanks. Burn my bras and send me a moo-moo. I don’t really buy in, and I never have. I do find it incredibly more exhausting to be surrounded by people who do.

So, I beg of you. Get off your ass and have some fun. Call me (please!!!) so I can do that with you. When we’re having fun, being creative, laughing and working together toward a kinder, more gentle society, I believe that changing ourselves and the world will happen, just a little more organically and way more joyfully.

P.S. Seriously, I need this moo-moo.

 

Snow Days & Simple Things

My blogs are generally my writing warm-up. Some writers paint, pray, meditate or cook. I write.

This morning as I pulled open the blinds to let  the blue light of morning into our little home, I was grateful to be inside where it was warm. My writing coach, Willy Nelson, blinked as he stretched awake from the warm folds of his new, fleece blanket, and Dinger, our in-house mad-man sat up from his lolling on the living room rug.

As I dug through the laundry pile to find my favourite slippers, I decided that today, I would share with you some very simple things that bring me great joy. Let me clarify; this will not be a deep, meaningful post. It will truly be about little things, such as Willie Nelson leaving the comfort of his snuggly blanket to keep me company at my desk.

My hope is that my writing warm-up, will warm up your spirit on this dreary, icy, cold and wet winter day. My wish for you is that  you are able to rest in the gratitude of simple things.

10 Simple Things I’m Thankful For Today

  1. My Snoozies skinny slippers (also the skinniest thing about me). Seriously, best, most cozy couture for your tootsies.

snoozie

2. Vanilla flavoured President’s Choice Coffee. De-freaking-licious, especially on a morning when the snow and ice make going to Starbucks seem about as sensible as taking a trip to Mars for a margarita.

frenh-vanilla-coffee

3. My internet connection. Seriously! I can stay in touch with friends, research and feel connected all from the solitude of home without having to if I choose not to. Email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…

4. Well designed, super-sized coffee and tea mugs. Not the ones with wide brims, that any science amateur knows will cool down before you get to the last drop. By well designed, I mean they actually keep your coffee or tea  hot while you swill down a bucket sized portion.

giant-mug

5. A great story. Too often people gravitate toward the obvious and logical as we age. Stories stir our creativity and open our minds.  I will indulge in one today; The Witches of New York by Ami Mckay.

witches-of-new-york

6. Beautiful lotion to make my skin feel less like a cold-blooded reptile during the dry, winter months. I’ve fallen in love with Lush’s Charity Pot.

charity-pot

7. A view of nature. Laugh if you must, but it’s rare in the city. Even though I have a small space, the green space that is right outside my window is soul-soothing.

lake-aquitaine

8. Little knick-knacks that remind me of special people and places.

snail

9.  Silence. Yes. Silence is so necessary. I promised this wouldn’t be a deep, meaningful post, so I’ll leave it at that.

silence

10. Bookshelves filled with writing from great authors like M. Scott Peck, Maya Angelou, Pema Chodron, Caroline Myss, Charles Bukowski, Leonard Cohen, Atul Gawande, Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami, Rupi Kaur, Diana Gabaldon, Simon Sinek, Carl Jung, Thomas Moore…and being able to dream about having a library at home one day.

library-home

New Year’s Resolutions for People Who Have Their Priorities Straight

winter-tableTime changes people. I’d like to think that it’s mellowed me and smoothed down some of the rough edges. Not all of them though, the coolest women I know have some pretty groovy edges.

Today I was snuggled in under my fluffy, white duvet, snuggled in between cozy flannel sheets coaxing myself to get up and press the button on the coffee maker when I got that little tapping glass signal that a text message had arrived.

It was from my best friend; The woman I met the first day of high school as we hunted for our new lockers and found ours side by side. We’ve been through a lot together, mostly in spirit and via telephone as we live at a distance from one another.  She never fails to make me smile, or let me know she cares, and I hope I do the same for her. When was I going to see her during the Christmas holidays…hmmm….good question. You see, I’m a mortician, and death is far too graceful to care about holiday time.

At this time of year, I am more aware than ever that I don’t see my friends as often as I would like; Vicki (my mumster) and her crazy sidekick Jim, Cindy and Jacques (my fabulously stylish friends), Virginia (the magic woman who is connected to the universe), Virginia (the crazy pet lady), Darleen (a woman who knows how to conjure the teenage girl in me), Carlo (a woman trapped in a man’s body with more empathy in his babyfingernail than most people have in six lifetimes), my cousin Mark ( one of the only people I share DNA with that I’m not ashamed to call family), my Auntie Penny ( a woman I admire for her zest for life and ability to mix a grand cocktail…. 

Instead of writing about not seeing the people who matter in my life, I think it might be the time to whip up some resolutions for the new year…

  1. Set up social time with all of the above listed people who matter in my life.

  2. Finish my second novel.

  3. Publish my first novel.

  4. Work toward my goal of getting out of this crazy cycle of socially accepted bullshit in order to live in the country in a house with a huge harvest table so all of my friends can gather on a regular basis for intelligent conversation, support and life affirming connection.

  5. Practice my ukulele more.

  6. Write more poetry.

Blowing Out the Candles

candlesOn the eve of my 4o-plus-somethingish birthday, I cannot help but reflect upon the lessons I have learned this year. In theory I’m an expert.  In practice, however, that’s another story.

I do believe that the difference between theory and practice is the key to successful living though darlings, because bridging that gap is the difference between annoying should-sayers, and the people who shine brightly and inspire the rest of us.

Grace has been a concept I’ve wanted to put into practice  throughout the past few years. There are  times I have failed miserably; my birthday breakdown at a bar while trying to sort out my mother issues; my insecurity as a partner, my ability to maintain a positive attitude in light of the every day demands of living. Yah, I’ve failed a few times.

But I have learned a few things from all of that bluster, and I’m old enough to take the liberty of sharing them with you;

  1. I have spent way too much time on my hair.
  2. We allow ourselves to be led by a false economy and fabricated news. Does it feel right? Do it. Does it feel wrong? Don’t. The world would be a better place if we all followed the golden rule.
  3.  If you love your body, it will love back. At a certain point you realize your body feels better when you eat this and not that; when you do this and not that.  It loves water and apples and decadent butter cream chocolate from your favourite Chocolaterie. It does not like to listen to people incessantly rambling about fad diets or extreme routines. Love your body, let it gently communicate to you, and it will love you back.
  4. Kindred spirits aren’t terribly hard to find, but it’s terribly hard to be vulnerable enough to get to know one.
  5. Create things. Anything. Creativity is your human spirit making itself present in the world. Let it sing, paint, write, carve, stitch, bake….whatever! Let your mind wander and your spirit reveal itself.
  6. Do not let bitchy people ruin your day. Attitude is contagious – be sure to protect yourself.
  7. Nobody’s watching. Seriously. Just relax.
  8. Change is scary, but constant. If you can be excited through the fear, you have life licked.
  9. You need friends of all ages; older ones and younger ones, and people who transcend age. You need nurturing and affection and the awesome healing power of human touch.
  10. Flannel jammies, hot tea and a good hobby to keep you occupied are three simple things that are highly under-rated.
  11. Always, always, always buy the shoes.

April’s Fool

notwastedtimeIf you read these little posts regularly, you know that I keep a little running “To-Do” list in my head as every season approaches. April caught me off-guard.

As I woke, I remembered how much fun the first of April always was as a kid. Lots of pranks and jokes, and no worries at all.  The house was quiet today, and I wondered at how time seems to slip by ever more quickly as the years pass.

Even though I knew this already, I’ve yet to gracefully master time and task management. It was beaten into me as a child that any leisure time I spent pursuing activities that I simply derived joy from was selfish and a waste. Even though I know that not to be true, it’s hard to break the habit of feeling like I must always be productive. Creative time – quiet time, is so necessary to the health of a kind soul.

Spring got away from me this year. Besides being the ugly step-sister to Summer and Autumn, I really find it hard to get too wound up about being out in the chilly muck. Seriously. Throwing the curtains open to let the sun shine in is a great way to burn off the anesthetizing properties of winter, but I’ve made little time to enjoy even this simple act.

In an effort to organize my anxiety-riddled self, and get out there to enjoy what this (my least favourite season) has to offer, I give you my ‘To-Do’ list.

  1. Fix my bike (Must google local bike shop).
  2. Tidy the patio and ready it for much sun-worshipping and happy-hour-cocktail-sipping. (This includes moving my tires and making an appointment to get the  snow-tires off as soon as the darn forecast is devoid of snow).
  3. Clear out my little guerrilla garden to make room for more morning glories and my herb pots.
  4. Lots of Art Gallery time with those friends who continue to inspire my creative spirit.
  5. Ready myself for the first year of true ‘Football Momming’. I’ve mastered the art of Baseball Mom, but this year it’s changed.
  6. Get back to my running – new shoes, new playlist, new attitude to carve out some time.
  7. Plant my little planters with flowers and herbs.
  8. Daydream about my summer list.

If we can concentrate on the simple things that make our heart light, this is the best therapy in the world.

It’s the Simple Things

Welcome to Monday.

Let’s hang on to the gloriousness of the weekend, shall we darlings?

I offer you a list of ‘weekend things’ that made me happy….domore

Text messages from old friendsmegabestfriends

  1. Artisan pizza

artisanpizza2

3) Play-off Baseball

octoberbaseball4) New Undies

Knickers1 A new, old book

zenmotor

6) Coffee shops that stay open late

coffeeshop 7) A fresh bar of Ivory soap

ivory8) Afternoon naps

nap

9) Pink nail polish at the spa

OPIPinkaDoodle

10) Catching up on gossip with your friend and finding out she has a potential latin-hottie to set you up with…

gossip

How to Get Up & Get Going For Fall

The older I get, the easier it is to make up excuses not to do stuff.

It’s easy to come home, go through the motions and then fake like a boob and get stuck on the chesterfield all night.

It was thanks only to my genius Summer-To-Do list that I accomplished anything fun this summer. You see, my summer turned into a bit of a gong-show, thanks to my self-indulgent je-ne-care-pas, and a schedule only five-star anal-retentive could memorize.

I managed to accomplish all but one of the fun-things on my list. I’m ok with that though. It’ll give me a starting point for my 2016-Summer-To-Do-List.

So, with the proven success of making a list of fun stuff to do,(spontaneity is best, but what the hell, I’m Type A) I am going to formulate an Autumn To-Do List. This will not include anything that I don’t want to do, like finish most of my Christmas shopping, grout cleaning or dragging out our winter clothing.

1) Host our annual Friends’ Thanksgiving Dinner

andrewnamecard

2) Spending a day at one, or a number of, our local Niagara Winerieswinetour

3) Purchasing 12 bottles of wine directly from said wineries

bottlesofwine

4) Hallowe’en Hay Ride, corn maze, or some such shenanigan…

corn maze

5) Road trip with someone who makes me laugh

roadtriplaughing

6) Smores in the fireplace

fireplacesmores

Waving Good-Bye to Summer & How to Like What Comes Next

sunto

Every summer has it’s own story…

It’s hard to believe, that today is the last ‘official’ day of summer, what with being in the middle of another heat alert.

It’s a bittersweet season of not wanting the long, sunny days to end and looking forward to the delights of autumn.

I must make a confession, although I’m loathe to see another summer pass by, I have to confess that I love the fall.

Growing up a wild-haired blonde-beach-bum, summer was a season of freedom and self-discovery. Fall was the beginning of nesting, wrapping up our sun-soaked bodies and snuggling in for the winter.

Each year as summer draws to a close, I reminisce about what the summer brought; new love, broken hearts, shenanigans and road-trips. I also look forward to all the pleasures of autumn;

…clear, crisp air, and the beauty of watching green turn to shades of gold, rust and deep ruby reds…

autumnlandscape

…a fireplace on a wet November day…

fireplacewine

…weather cold enough to have an excuse to stay inside and write…

williegreeneye

…baking all kinds of yummy Thanksgiving treats…

autumn food

…sumptuous, comfort food shared with friends…

thanksgiving al fresco

…pumpkin spice lattes of course…

Pumpkin spice latte recipe

…rainy November days perfect for sleeping in, reading or movie-watching…

catwindowI hope that you’ve had a delightful summer, that your skin is smiling from the sun, and your wanderlust is somewhat sated.

Here’s to autumn my darlings, and all of the comforting beauty that it brings.

Being Fully Present and the Wonder of My Awesome Mind

buddha-kiyoshi-nakamuraMeditation training sought as higher education following my graduation from the School-Of-Hard-Knocks seems to have paid off, both for my peace of mind, and my twisted sense of humour.

Grace, patience and discernment have all been qualities that I have had to nurture within myself. I was born a fiery, emotional, passionate, jump-in-with-both-feet kinda gal. Grace, patience and discernment are qualities that I’ve observed in others that I decided would look good on me. Likely a much wiser choice than my candy-apple red alpaca boa. Don’t judge.

So, with the challenge of challenging times, I make great efforts to both feel fully and completely my range of emotions, and balance those with being present. Fully present. As in holding the bridle of my ever-turning imagination of what-if’s and being in the moment.

Last night, as I lay in bed, the room was in complete darkness. Black. There was nothing but myself, and my monkey mind. I was wondering about all sorts of things; my parenting, my job, a deliciously handsome man….

…and then I caught myself. I was not in the moment. I was not still. I was not appreciating the cool air, the cozy sheets or the soft bed in which I was luxuriously stretched out. As soon as I brought my mind back to the present moment, my breath instinctively deepened, slowed, and I was happy. Happy! Happy in the moment.

My gift to you is a list of, Being-In-The-Moment-Moments, that I’ve experience so far this week;

  1. Stopping to smell the flowers (literally), and first being overcome by their beauty (one of my favourite shades of the softest pink), second feeling sad thinking of how long it’s been since someone sent me beautiful roses, and third, thinking funeral flowers come as a poor second behind real flowers while someone is alive.
  2. Observing traffic. Watching a man deeply and thoroughly clean out his left nostril with his index finger buried past the first knuckle, check to see if anyone was looking (he didn’t see me gaping in my rearview mirror), and then continue to analyze what he had mined. He then proceeded with the right nostril.  Hilarious. A good reminder that a firm hand shake may be second best to a curt nod.
  3. Being in a meeting with a person with such high anxiety that my gut reaction was to meet it head on. Instead, I took a deep breath, visualized a cocoon around my body and carried on without having my energy zapped. Why meet crazy when you can let it zip right on past? I hope this person either had a bottle of wine waiting at home or a really good prescription.
  4. Nesting. I tend to nest at back-to-school time. I like to stock the shelves, bake and cook. It feels good to nurture. I also noticed that at this point in my life, I would like someone to reciprocate the nurturing. Note to self; wear your cute smile whenever you go out.
  5. The peace of petting the cat. Seriously. This morning I was doing my regular social-media routine before heading out the door, and my trusted literary advisor hopped up on my desk and pinned his cute, little, pink nose to the window glass. I stroked his back and his purring caused great joy.  Note to self, spend more time with the cat.
  6. Needlework. I know, I know, who woulda thunk it. It’s a productive meditation that calms my nerves. Besides that, it results in really pretty stuff.
  7. The ring, ting, or beep of a cell phone. Conditioned like a dog am I. Ting, ting, harp string ring…yes, I’ll even risk life and limb to pick up the important things. Powering off the darn phone results in having to sign back in to APPs and a rash of ridiculousness, hence, it’s always on. Now, if I could just discipline myself to turn off the damn ringer!
  8. The virulence of mood. It’s amazing how easily a negative, or positive mood can impact those around you. Beware energy vampires, negative Nate’s and Whiney McWhinersons. Ick. Make sure you have a good dose of sappy happy hippies.
  9. Winding down for the night. I’m amazed at how tired I am when I get home from work, and then as the work day wears off how energized I am. That means I’m shocked when it’s midnight and I have to get up in five and a half hours. Hello snooze button and speeding through morning traffic…to everything there is an equal and opposite reaction. My hectic mornings are a direct result of my creative evenings.

Wishing you the peace of presence, the wisdom of discernment, and the ongoing cultivation of grace.