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When Christmas Isn’t So Merry


“Christmas makes me sad, ” one of my colleagues said in passing this week.

Sad was a theme for me in 2015, so her comment caught my attention.

My head jerked up from what I was working on and I listened to what she had to say.

“I still put up the tree and decorate. You know, for the kids.”

“Me too.” I said.

We were speaking with a younger lady who is still a starry-eyed romantic like we used to be. I hope she never loses that magic, because once you lose it, you can’t get it back the same way.

Loss during the holidays spreads a pall over the joy of the season. Loss as in a you’ve experienced the death of a loved one during the holidays, you’ve experienced another type of loss during the year (relationship, job, ability).

As you get older, there tend to be more people and more things to miss. There are deeper elements of life to reflect upon, and joy comes less and less from what is under the tree than from the quiet moments you get to spend with people you love.

When I was a child, the season of Advent was not a spiritual experience. It was a season of ribbon candy, clementines, chocolate galore and lots of toys. As a young woman, it was a season of party dresses, romance and giddy fun.  As a middle-aged woman, I realize the meaning behind the season of Advent; living in darkness, anticipation and mystery, meditation, and the cultivation of patience.

For those who find the Christmas season emotionally challenging, please try and remember that you are not alone. Our silver-bell-and-city-sidewalk-smiles hide a multitude of sadness.

For those who still find Christmas deliriously happy, don’t be afraid to share your enthusiasm. We love it, and are happy knowing that although we may bring peace and love to the season, there are others who bear the burden of bringing the joy.

Wishing you peace this Christmas. Wishing you love. Wishing you the joy of friendship, romance and the thrill of experiencing some of life’s  unfolding mystery.



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Canada – The True North Strong & Free

Condolences to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s family.

We will not be terrorized or intimidated.

We will not stand down.


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Work Schmirk

Computer cubicles inside the Digital and Multi...
Computer cubicles inside the Digital and Multimedia Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WORK – noun, adjective, verb, worked or wrought/ working.

1. Exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labour; toil.
Work, you know what I’m talking about right? That  nebulous, mundane thing that folks talk about doing every day?  The stuff you do to pay your bills and take your bi-annual much-deserved vacations?
Work – the very thing that makes some of you wonderful little plums dread Monday morning.
We all work. Whether it’s around the house, or in the yard, or on something we take up as a hobby. Perhaps it’s even your 9-5 pay-cheque gathering activity darling.
Of all the things people say about ‘work’, I think that this quote by the brilliant poet Charles Bukowski describes it best;
How in the hell could a person enjoy being awakened at 6:30am by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress,  force feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, fight traffic, to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
I have met people who complain about their suffering because they have chosen long commutes over time with their young families. I have also met people who chose to ‘work’ as little as possible and pursue their happiness elsewhere.
Ideally, we all get the opportunity to work at something we find meaningful and feel passionately about.
At the very least we should all work just enough to be able to have time and resources to pursue our great loves; Family, Spirituality and Art.
Stay fabulous my delicate peaches, and don’t let work dull your sparkle.
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What Were They Thinking

Boys Play with Toy Guns in Bagram, Afghanistan
Boys Play with Toy Guns in Bagram, Afghanistan (Photo credit: United Nations Photo)

Tonight, immediately after work, I travelled to my physicians office to refill the prescription that helps me put up with other people’s stupid shit. Seriously.

After a leisurely drive through city-rush-hour traffic, I dropped of the script and then I picked up the kiddo. We headed home to enjoy the first real day of spring. Pulling into our little piece of urban-heaven, I said, “Mmmm! Smell that! They just cut the grass.” The kiddo turned to me and smiled. Yes! Spring has finally arrived!

We scrambled to the kitchen and unpacked our lunches, tossed a load of laundry in the washer, and headed outside to scrub our Adirondack chairs and sweep the lonely patio. Our poor miniature parrot had to get in on the festivities, and after being manhandled in a crib sheet (yah, I’m not going to get into that), she is also enjoying the 24 degree (centigrade for my American pals) weather.

With the patio cleaned, dinner in the oven, laundry washing and the parrot out for the first time in months, my kiddo and I settled in to our ‘happy hour’ routine. I with a glass of wine and triple-cream-brie and he with a sandwich and glass of milk, settled in for a long spring-day chat.

Until I heard…”POP! POP!POP”

After my tumbler of wine, I was pretty relaxed. Until that racket started again.

Now, where I come from, it wasn’t uncommon for boys to carry BB Guns and shoot squirrels, or cats, or your bike tires. In the city it’s another story. For a minute, I thought my new neighbor was having a lot of trouble with his BBQ lighter, but it quickly became apparent that no BBQ that hadn’t exploded already ever sounded like that.

After a second rather insistent round of the loud popping, which, incidentally made my parrot crap, I decided to get up and see who the a-hole was disturbing the peace.

Ah yes. My neighbours. Wonderful…they’ve outfitted their teenage boys with play cap-guns. Do I even need to explain why this may not be the ideal leisure activity for young men immigrating to North American in the midst of violent religious-political upheaval in their own part of the world?

Thank you universe for delectable wines available for just under $12.95. Please make the noise stop. Please, please, please don’t make me go up there and give the parent’s of those poor kids a cap-gun enema.

We really need to vote for peace, social justice and common sense here in Canada before the courage-enabling LCBO and religious law meet on the battlefield.

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Proud to Be Canadian

English: Canadian Flag
English: Canadian Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week I have been very distraught darlings, very distraught. It’s enough to change a girl’s complexion and drive her to drink. My, my, my!

What on earth could upset a cool, calm, collected, well-spoken woman like me? Well, darlings, it’s all this nonsense about our Canadian criminal code not being a holy book, restauranteurs tweeting racial slurs, and a young black girl writing about why non-whites don’t care  about the Boston marathon bombing.

I’m going to make this one quick and dirty for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I’m entertaining a much younger man tonight, and I have to make sure my mood and manners are in check for such a young dollop of fresh- man-pudding. Second of all, I think most of my readers know exactly where I’m coming from and don’t need a lecture, but rather a few smiles and nods.

You may not know that I live in one of Canada’s most culturally diverse regions. When I go out for dinner, I can’t swing a cat without hitting a restaurant that doesn’t serve up something delicious from other parts of the world. As a white, English-speaking person, I am also a minority.

Of late, I have been exposed to different religious and cultural groups trying to change our Canadian political landscape to represent the one from which they fled….to Canada. Think about that.  Sounds like a great idea to me, turning the land you fled to into one you will need to flee from again. Perfect.

Second of all, what the hell are we doing to attract immigrants in Canada? I have had the privilege of meeting professionals from around the world. Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers. You know where I’ve met them? At the gas station, driving cabs, volunteering and getting paid squat, so that they can gain ‘Canadian’ experience.

Here’s a thought. How about in order to land in the country, we make sure their qualifications are rip-ready-to-go, and let them begin achieving their professional dreams as soon as they set foot on Canadian soil? I’m sure this would stunt the impact of adjusting, decrease the incidence of depression, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other not so lovely symptoms of being mislead into a life of menial labour and poverty. Just sayin’.

Our country was built on SECULAR politics. Our laws are SECULAR laws. Just FYI, this allows everyone the right to a spirituality and religion that satisfies their own human spirit.  Making our laws religious based will throw us into a turbulent, emotional sess pool of war and violence. Again, why come here if you just want to make it like the place you felt you couldn’t thrive?

To the young girl who calls the marathon a ‘white’ sport, you should check the international attendance record. Who won this year? Lelisa Desisa, a black man from Ethiopia. I would encourage this writer to pay attention to the facts. The marathon is a sport that is dominated by…drum roll please…blacks.  More importantly, it is an event that has always crossed cultural, religious and political boundaries to celebrate human strength and, peace.

For the white, bleeding heart readers who read that piece and feel guilty. Give me a break! Think about what you read for heaven’s sake darlings. Reading does not make you intelligent, questioning what you read does.

To the Muslim extremist quoted as saying our Canadian Criminal Code is not a holy book. Your’re right. Thanks be to whomever you send your prayers. It’s  the law, and as poorly interpreted as it can sometimes be,  it protects us all.

My message here is for all of us to pull our heads out of the politically correct pie-in-the-Canadian-sky. Fix our immigration problems. We have lots of folks happy to have any job, let alone flooding our cities with foreign trained professionals who have their hands tied to do any meaningful work related to their profession.

For those who think it’s ok to hate anyone, white, black, brown, yellow, red, pink, slightly off-beige, or any other shade of the racial rainbow, you’re idiots.

This may sound crudely simple, but  here’s my ANDSHELAUGHS advice; be kind to one another.

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Pope on a Rope

Pope Francis — 03/13/13
Pope Francis — 03/13/13 (Photo credit: SynergyByDesign)

Of course I have to weigh in about the new Pope my lovelies. What a great reason to celebrate! They had wine in the bible, isn’t that right darlings? Pour yourself a glass and toast the holy man.I’ve heard the yay-sayers and nay-sayers as visions of Pope Francis flash across the world-wide-web.

How about a little shushing from you nay-sayers over there? How about undoing the noose and letting the poor guy do his job before you find him guilty?

How about a little human compassion? How about just keep your lip zipped until the poor guy stops shaking and gets a grip on where the loo is and how to find his way to the kitchen for a midnight snack?

I’m not Catholic. Until I can be the Pope (you know, having a vagina -that pesky thing! – makes me ineligible), I can’t see the spirit selecting me for the team of St. Peter. But I celebrate this new beginning, with hope.

Let’s welcome this leader and pray, meditate, send our positive energy (whatever your particular schtick is) out there with the intention of supporting him.

Why not, while things are fresh, dream a little dream that maybe, just maybe, our religious leaders (Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Sikh….you get the picture darlings) are truly leading the way toward peace?

You know what they say, “Have a little faith”. Om……..