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To All of You Miserable SOB’s

miserable bastardListen up for a sweet minute, all you eye-rolling-smugger-than-thou-would-be-hipsters-if-you-weren’t-too-freaking-old; over-use of sarcasm just makes you annoying and irrelevant. Which will eventually lead to you sitting down to a big ole’ thirteen course meal of humble pie. In public.

Unless you have something fun and constructive to add to any conversation with generally contented peers, you may want to consider shutting the hell up. There is little more debilitating to your general attractiveness as a human being, than being a social rain cloud.

As a young woman, I thought I could change the world via the inevitable truth in journalism, protests, and heated conversations at social gatherings.  I am convinced now that I was wrong.

Change happens slowly, like the relentlessly gentle passage of water which eventually cuts clean through rock.

Sarcasm never wins the day, especially if that is the only weapon in your tiny arsenal of wit – Because you are annoying.  And although most people will either pitch their tent within two camps; camp silent resentment or camp rage out loud, your miserable SOB comments will eventually stir waters that run very deeply.   At that point prepare to be just as publicly embarrassed by your underdeveloped personality as you try to embarrass everyone else.

 

 

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Gratitude Schmatitude

tootsieJust steps from my laptop, ready to write this post about how annoying the recent trend of the ‘Gratitude Challenge’ is, I stumbled upon something sharp. When I bent down to look, it was a diamond and emerald pendant that I bought years ago while travelling with my best friend.  I was grateful that I had  found it before the cat or the vacuum.

And then my new-home-page popped up with reports of the first confirmed Ebola case in the U.S.A.  I was grateful that my loved ones aren’t in Texas, and to some extent, that I’d just placed two professional presentations on my desk about how I would need to be prepared for an Ebola outbreak here at home.

I work in a profession that was greatly impacted by the SARS epidemic, and know what it’s like to live in fear and be obligated to care for those affected.

So, writing a tongue-in-cheek post about gratitude-schmatitude seemed ironic because within 60 seconds I had felt deep gratitude not once, but twice.  It seemed somehow inappropriate to write a cynical post about gratitude, like I was mocking the universe.

But I do inappropriate so very well, and I believe we all need a break from the madness.

Universe, if you’re listening, I work and live from a place of deep gratitude every day. Please don’t feel that it’s necessary to teach me any lessons. Just have a laugh with the rest of us, and leave karma to do the serious work tonight.

My gratitude list for today;

1) That no one questions my need for coffee before anything else happens. Should there ever be questioning, there shall also be violence on the treacherous path to the coffee pot.

2) I found not one, not two, but three mini tootsie-roll candies in my dwindling candy dish today. Just enough chocolate to soothe the over-achieving, deadline striving, driven beast I pretend to be when I’m in my suit.

3) I put my undies on the right way today. Seriously. ‘Not a morning person,’ doesn’t even begin to tell my morning madness fairytale. When I wear pants instead of a skirt, I often make it half way to my car and then check to make sure I actually did put my pants on. I’m not kidding.

4) I bought the big bottle of wine Friday. The really big bottle.

5)  I don’t care any more. As in, I don’t give a rat’s ass. What I mean is, I take chances when it come to matters of the heart, and know that it’s better to have  been made a fool of in love than to have never made anything of it at all.

6) That I’m not married to or shacked up with a skirt chasing perv. Ew. My peers and I are too old for this to be cute. It’s just creepy.  Stop it. We have moustaches thicker than you do now. It’s gonna take more than words  for us not to devour you and spit you out like a teeny-tiny grape seed.

7) I’m also grateful for Sinead O’Connor lyrics that make me wonder if anyone could possibly ‘get‘ her like I do. You’d have to be a woman to get that.   Thanks Sinead for keeping it oh-so-real.

Wishing you o- so-much to be grateful for in this mad, mad world…xo

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Dear Princess

worldpeacepedicure“The State shall strive to promote those circumstances that will enable the successful pursuit of Gross National Happiness.” So reads the Kingdom of Buhtan’s ninth article of their Constitution.  Sounds pretty great.

Sounds like the sign that should be hanging on the door to my spa, right here in civilized Canada.

Sadly, there is no such sign, and the idea of happiness is a very selfish one inside our once-upon-a-time sacred-spa-space.

Today I made a visit to my spa. You know, that sacred space of femininity don’t you my juicy little plums? A sanctuary of women getting buffed, plucked, polished, wrapped, primped and waxed.

The spa used to be a sacred place of released sighs, silence, and minimal eye contact. It was once the modern day equivalent to the ancient sanctuary of the fabled ‘Red Tent’. Except no talking, just a few quiet whispers between BFF’s.

Alas, like most sanctuaries the spa is no longer sacred, silent or civilized.

Tonight, my visit was longer than usual. Anything over and above my routine waxing and bi-monthly pedicures is considered spa-indulgence. I’ve been in a funk, and with no one but myself to consult on such delicate matters as my own mental and emotional health, I did what we all must do; I took myself for some pampering and much-needed TLC.

My quiet time was contaminated by women who are ignorant of social grace, or just grace in general. To you my dear readers, I give my open letter to the spa Princesses.

Dear Princess,

I can only imagine how difficult it was to squeeze yourself out of your five-million dollar home and drive yourself (gasp) to have your shellac filled and your stubby toes polished. My heart goes out to you. Truly it does.

Do you realize how ridiculous you look with your oversized, designer bag filled with what appears to be very official looking ‘work’ documents sitting on your lap, as you simultaneously juggle your blinged-out cell phone in your chemical-coated talons?

That wouldn’t be so bad, if the rest of us could simply divert our eyes or even focus on the chick flick that’s playing.

But we can’t do that because you’ve got your lips, which look disturbingly like the arse-end of a baboon in heat,  buzzing a thousand miles a minute at a volume Beethoven could have heard above his 5th-freaking-Symphony!

This is a spa, not a public phone booth. You are an adult, not a pre-teen at a pajama party. Stop acting like one.

Oh, and just so you know, the women who work in the spa are people too. The rest of us don’t really give a rat’s patooty if you like your decrepit looking toenails, “Not that short.”

That you have to cover your phone and yell at the woman who is crouched at your feet, less than a metre from your face, is an indicator that you should really pull your rude and demanding head out of your tiara-lined (and likely bleached) bumhole.

Clearly money is no object, and from the look of the rock on your ring finger, hubby could afford to send staff in to help you out. But I suppose that wouldn’t give him any ‘me’ time.  That, or your ‘rock’ is actually  a little stone you picked up at the flea market along with your spray-on tan and hair dye.

Forgive me sweetpea, but maybe I’ve got you all wrong.

You’re not the cultured sophisticate you want us to believe. You’re just like us aren’t you?

Do everyone, including yourself a favour. Leave the phone and the warrior-princess bravado in your ginormous knock-off handbag. Lean back, exhale, and relax. We’re all in this together darling. No one here will let your secret out of the bag.

With much love,

Your similarly stressed out sister. XO

Please share this with your similarly fabulous gal-pals. Mwah!

 

 

 

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Kindness and Her Annoying Little Brother, Sarcasm

1 flowerWhen you find someone whose sarcasm is sharp and quick, likely two things are true about them; they’ve had to develop their sarcasm as a weapon against cruelty, and they have been shown very little kindness.

But that’s not your problem.  It’s enough of an effort to cultivate deep compassion within yourself. When you do that, it will eventually radiate outward and infect those around you.

Kindness is a rare and beautiful quality these days. I mean real kindness, the kind that just kinda hangs around with someone all day despite their being tired, stressed or lonely. It is not some magical quality. No, darlings. It needs to be cultivated like that six-pack of abs, or your ability to cook.

Now, given that my last post was titled, ‘I Took Etiquette Lessons – Asshole’, I openly admit, that my supply of kindness runs out rather abruptly when I’m encountered with someone who is plainly rude in order to make themselves feel superior to me, or anyone else.

This morning a social media pal posted something about someone  pointing out that he had gained weight. His quick retort was funny, but my pal, with what I can only imagine was a voice in his head wondering loudly, how the heck anyone thinks saying something like that is appropriate.

I on the other hand tend to land retorts deep and quick in the guts of my passive aggressive commentators. When  a colleague called me ‘pretty good looking for being so stout’, I smiled and replied coyly that he wasn’t so bad for a fat old man himself. I looked in his eyes and smiled for a one-two-three beat, and then turned my back and walked away.

I try to say something positive and kind every day when I enter my workplace, when I’m greeted, or before I tuck my kiddo into bed. That doesn’t mean that I passively accept rudeness, mean-spirited comments, or bow to sarcasm. I kindly return the bitterness to the sender on a lovely silver platter with a smile, as little sarcasm and as much honesty as I can muster.

Kindness is; telling someone you like a certain outfit, rather than telling them that something makes them look fat.

Kindness is; passing a breath mint instead of waving your hand in front of your nose and telling someone their breath stinks.

Kindness is; asking someone who’s put on a few pounds if they’d like to go for a walk instead of pointing out their weight gain.

Kindness is; seeing someone in distress socially, and buoying them up with your smile and gentle defense.

Kindness is; handing back mean words, rude observations and a bad attitude so that the person generating negativity has a chance to reconsider and come up with something more positive for themselves and those around them.

Sometimes, kindness is also just keeping your mouth shut, coming home, putting on your stretchy pants and having a nice, cold, white-wine spritzer while listening to Solomon Burke….well, for some of us anyway.

The Amazing C and I often used to say to one another when asked our opinion, ” Do you want me to be honest, or do you want me to be nice?”

Well, I’ve done a lot of living since those days, and I believe that you can be honest and nice all at once. So now, instead of honesty, I want honesty delivered in a kind way.

We’re all old enough to know when we’ve done something stupid or been duped. We know that we make mistakes when we’re vulnerable and in love.

At the beginning of my study of the dharma with monastics, my partner at the time laughed at me when I became emotional and said something about wanting to be a more kind and gentle person. Having been known as a strong, independent woman, it took courage to want to tear down some psychological barriers and it took courage to confide  in him.

His response was not gentle or kind, but sharp sarcasm…and that my darlings, was the beginning of the end.  In that moment, I knew he was not the one. I did not need sarcasm, discouragement, or belittling. I needed kindness.

This Sunday morning, I give you this recitation by George Saunders….

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Bourbon, Bubbly and Being a Girl

bourbon caramel
bourbon caramel (Photo credit: rosebengal)

Yes, I really do drink bourbon. On the rocks. As a matter of fact it’s usually a couple of shots on the rocks, with a swift gulp of the top end of the glass before it gets too watered down.

My delicate rationale is that if I’m going to drink something that’s going to be my moral and physical demise, I’d like it to actually feel like it’s killing me the moment it hits the back of my throat. Kinda like drinking bleach, but a little more slowly, and with much more grace.

Good bubbles on the other hand suck the moisture out of your mouth upon first swish, and slink down your throat like a slowly tightening noose. Wine – it’s gotta be red, rustic, and ready for food. Any-which-way, I like my poison a little on the rough side.

You see darlings, any woman can tottle a cocktail, rock at gin and tonic (which has a special place in my pretty pink heart), or nurse a glass of wine. It takes a woman with substance, class and a mind of her own to manage a less polite beverage and get on with the real issues of the day.

On the subject of ladies (or gentlemen) drinking alone, my bible-thumping grand-dad would say drinking anything, especially alone was a mortal sin. This is simply a load of tepid hog-wash darlings. Tepid hog-wash indeed. Sometimes drinking alone is much more called for than drinking in the company of other fabulous women and men.

Simply put, when you need a stiff drink, it’s not likely your choice of refined companion can handle the resulting dialogue and truth-telling.

Don’t wag your finger and tell me about the evils of drink, addictions and the moral disintegration of society by the likes of women like me. Chances are my sweet little apple dumpling, you contributed your fair share to the recession-induced-LCBO-economic-boom. Besides that, I’ve lived with abusive alcoholics, and there is a difference between having a drink now and then and being dependent on it by using it as a crutch to be a jackass. But I digress….

A good-stiff drink can be the mint-sprig in the julep of life my darlings. As such, I provide you with a list of how-to and how-not-to enjoy your adult beverages;

1) If it’s too sweet, you’ll drink too much and become a poster-child for the before side of waterproof mascara adverts. Stick to something you can feel going down, and you’ll set a more reasonable pace to keep you from over-indulging.

2) Only indulge when in the company of other refined ladies and gentlemen who enjoy stimulating conversation, dry-wit, sarcasm, and who keep up with current events. Otherwise, you keep the company of mere drunkards and simpletons.

3) Decide on the flavour of the occasion. For example; a) celebrating an achievement with a group – stick to bubbles. ( I recommend local Hinterland vintages), b) for thoughtful conversation and intelligent subjects go for bourbon or some such delicacy as scotch. c) All meals should be accompanied by wine regardless of your cocktail or aperitif d) Martinis – a wonderful after work celebration for any day of the week

4) Martinis should not be consumed as a dessert in a glass. You will never, ever be Carrie Bradshaw or look like you fell out of an episode of Sex-In-The-City, nor do you want to sweety. Follow the triple D rule for this as in bra sizes; dirty, dry, and double. Accept no substitutions.

5) Only imbibe with those who do not become boorish or nauseated. Keeping the company of rude folks is simply insufferable, and cleaning up vomit is not on the roster of things anyone-wants-to-do-ever.

6) Learn to create and enjoy your preferred beverage at home. Always have the ingredients on hand.

7) Only drink and backseat drive. This is much more fun and you have the advantage of being able to give hand signals out the window without interfering too much with traffic.

8) Always have a man who is willing to come over in the case of over-indulgence-emergencies such as incurable horniness, the overwhelming and insatiable desire to have someone of the opposite sex read poetry to you while soaking in a hot bath and continuing to drink, or if you’re afraid you’re going to sleep through your 4am airport limo pick-up…not that I have ever succumbed to any such nonsense of course.

9) Do not offer to have your companions, ‘try a sip’. What is this a choose-your-own-oral-bacteria guessing game? No ’tis decidedly not. Stick to your own drink and leave the straws at home.

10) If someone asks if they should bring wine the answer is yes. Always yes.

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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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Canada’s Sexy Political Landscape

Yep. Our great Canadian democracy has gotten exponentially sexier since Justin Trudeau was elected leader of the Federal Liberal Party.

Oh, hold on to your uptight pants before you start criticizing my shallow insight into the politics of such a great nation.

I get it. Likely more than anyone. We have serious issues to tackle; the false economy of inflated compensation for bureaocrats in the public, private and non-profit sectors, genetically modified food, lack of environmental initiatives, and most of all, a complete snow-job on the real innovative potential that we insist on marginalizing in favour of the old status quo.

But I digress into the big, scary world of independent thought my darlings. Let us not tax our-dainty-selves with real solutions to real problems. Why, whatever would we do with real leaders? Let us rest our wee lady brains and  sip a cocktail while  ogling  young  Mr. Trudeau;

 justin4

justin2

justin3

justin

English: Justin Trudeau promotional photo take...

 

Although I’m all for change when it comes to the Canadian tradition of voting only Liberal/Conservative, the tingling in my loins may push me over the rational, democratic edge. To hell with slowing global warming I think I’ll vote to heat up the great white north.  I may vote liberal just so I can see this fresh-faced-sex-pot every day when I check the news.

Somebody please get this man into firemen overalls….and for the love of all that’s holy, top up my drinky-poo won’t you darling?