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Galentine’s Day

galentine-s-gifts-1575491888I don’t even know when it is? Is it separate from Valentine’s Day, or is it on the same day for particularly empowered femmes? I don’t know…

For me, I try to celebrate what I think is the gist of  “Galentine’s Day” all the time.  I love getting together with my friends to do stuff that doesn’t involve action films starring old men, pvr’d sports, or more testosterone fueled shit like that.

To be honest, being a mother makes getting the gals together tough. We’re beleaguered as much by relationships, motherhood and career as we are by the wacky disproportionate media we’re fed about it all.

According to social media, television, movies, magazines, and people with money, I’m supposed to be unhappy about the way I look, tired of my spouse, unable to control my spoiled children, and be on-call 24-7 at a career that keeps me grinding on the treadmill economy which we’ve all subscribed to.

Urban Dictionary:
Lucy: I don’t have a date for valentines. You wanna be my galentine?
Louise: sure

I’m nothing if not a rebel, and although my waist disappeared about 5 years ago, I don’t feel unsatisfied with my life. Yes, I would like to be independently wealthy, not have to go to work, and have a personal trainer who showed up every morning with a tasty, uber-healthy smoothie and a rippling, masculine 6-pack. Alas, I have toast, and a bluetooth headset to take with me on my walks.

When it comes to Galentine’s, I do feel like women don’t make enough quality time for one another. Hell, we find it hard to take time for a half-hour bath, let alone a weekend away, or regular coffee dates.

As always, I try to make Galentine’s a thing all year long, but on this Galentine’s day (because I have time while the oven is on self-clean and I’m afraid to go very far in case the house goes up in flames), I want to send out my best wishes for all of the gals out there.

May you be surrounded by your gal-friends throughout your lifetime.

 

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Get it While You Can: Valentine’s Advice for Cynics

tacky undiesIt’s all bullshit.

That’s what you want me to say isn’t it? That the flowers and jewellery and lingerie and night(s) of hot sweaty sex are romantic hypocrisy akin to people who only go to church on Christmas eve.

Well, I’m not going to say it.

No. I’m going to suggest that you suck it up and get it while you can darlings. I’m going to tell you that life is short, and you’d best just damn well lighten up and enjoy it.  I’m going to tell you to quit denying your decadent desire to ooze sensuality.

 

Splurge. Buy the panties or whatever other ridiculously tacky, dirty and would-embarrass-you-to-death-if-anyone-you-knew-walked-in-here-and-saw-you-buying that.

If you’re going to do it, do it right. If it’s love, be bold. If it’s not love and it’s just a bow-down to the great gods and goddesses of sensuality, don’t insult them. Go all the way. Sacrifice up something hot and steamy. Make them blush.

Trust me, you’ll have many, many opportunities to be self-conscious, be disappointed, feel insecure or give in to fear and cynicism. You’ll have other days to be realistic about your relationship, lack of relationship, ‘it’s complicated’ status, or other such nonsense.

Get it while you can darlings, and for the love of all that’s pink, give it a good squeeze when you do get it.

 

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Happy V.D. From the Happiest Place on Earth

"A ship at harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are made for."
“A ship at harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are made for.”

No, the happiest place on earth is not Disneyland.

Provided nothing terrible has happened, as you read this, I will be sunning my buns on a sailboat in the Caribbean Sea with some of the best kind of sailors a gal can find; Parrotheads.

The happiest place on earth therefore, is sitting on my deliciously voluptuous buns on a sailboat, somewhere in the middle of the ocean.

Never forget that we carry the happiest place on earth with us my darlings. As importantly, never let the men in your life forget that either.

That being said, I will hopefully be falling in love with a tall, icy gin and tonic, whilst you are back on dry land suffering through another dreaded, red and pink Hallmark-holiday-hell. By the time 1p.m. rolls around I’ll be concerned with sunblock, sand in unseemly places and how much ice has melted in my drinky-poo.

Now that I’ve given you the ultimate suggestion to escape the holiday, the reality is that you may be stranded, land-locked, and without lover to turn you winter-white skin, pink in all the right places.

If you do have a lover to kiss your valentine’s boo-boo’s better and woo you with flowers, champagne, chocolate and the appropriate measure of throbbing, ever-ready flesh, stop reading right now. Just go enjoy yourself.

If you are alone, single, and think crawling into  the fetal position with a box of leftover Christmas chocolates is your only option, do not despair! Andshelaughs has come to the rescue.

If you have paid any attention to my ranting and raving, you should have at your disposal at least two back-up-boys to choose from. Either will do in a pinch. If some sordid company is all that you crave, give a call, crack the wine, and soak in the tub until he arrives at your door. No outfit planning necessary. Do set the mood though – candles and booze go a long way toward the illusion of love.

Should either of these options be unavailable, feel free to resort to Bridget Jones videos, junk food and bourbon. Sometimes it’s those evenings that make us realize the Y-Chromosome blessings in our lives.

I am toasting you from the sunny south my lovelies! Happy V.D!

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The One That Got Away – VD Advice

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” ~Albert Einstein~
“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”
~Albert Einstein~

I’ve gone from English Lit snob to chick-lit/flick junkie. Yes, at this age, I’m pretty sure I know what the real world has going on, and more than that, certain that I know nothing at all when it comes to love. There are  movies that other women think that single women (of all ages) need to watch. These gems include Pretty Woman (still haven’t watched the entire movie from start to finish), Sex in the City (Seen it, seen it again, and again), and He’s Just Not that Into You (which I finally watched this week). What I learned from watching that movie is; no one, men or women have a clue what is going on when it comes to matters of the heart. Even a lady with as much experience as myself has no clue when it comes to love. Romantic love. Nope, nada, zip. In retrospect, the most insight I have is that I let a wonderful man go whilst trying to make a miserable relationship work. Instead of heading off into the sunset with a fellow whom I happen to know is a good man, I stuck in a relationship with a doofus. What can I say? I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Now Mr. Good Stuff is engaged to be married to someone else, and I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking. All I know for sure is; you don’t known unless you try, and trust someone’s actions not empty promises. So as VD creeps up on us once again, put yourself out there and let yourself be vulnerable to love.

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Why Bother Reading Chick-Lit

jewelsofthesunMixed in with bag of qualifications and academic letters is an English degree. I’ve studied and written and read some of the best literature on the planet according to the almighty ‘They’.

I have also read a lot of smut. During certain moods and times of the year, I devour Harlequin novels like a Canadian eating blueberry flapjacks. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of reading a genre that most people won’t admit to enjoying.

Alas, I will come out of the chick-lit closet and admit that I’m a lover of lovers, love-stories, and happily-ever-afters.  Go ahead and look down your long, literary noses. I can take your criticism, because I know that somewhere out there in the crowd of literature snobs are the bazillion hypocrites with reams of chick-lit stashed under the mattresses.

This afternoon I picked up another Nora Roberts novel, Jewels of the Sun. It’s an older novel, but, like most other things that I read, including philosophy, religious texts and business books, it has come at the right time and I can relate to it;

All the signs were there, had been there hovering and humming around her for months. The edginess, the short temper, the tendency toward daydreaming and forgetfulness. There’d been a lack of motivation, of energy, or purpose.

Most working women can relate to feeling like this at some time or another. I happen to work in a profession traditionally (as in from the dawn of time) dominated by men. Work isn’t just work, it’s working to change the entire language of what it means to be a professional.

As a barely middle-class, well-educated  single parent, just keeping up with the demands of every day living is exhausting, so much so that I forget what it means to be feminine. It is an indulgence that I can not often afford to feel or express.

When I pick up a piece of chick-lit, I can escape into characters who mirror exactly what I’m feeling;

Every morning the simple task of getting out of bed to dress for the day’s [work] had taken on the proportions of scaling a mountain. Worse, a mountain she had absolutely no interest in seeing from a distance much less climbing…

Imagine, she thought, not having to talk to anyone for several days in a row! Not being asked questions and expected to know the answers. Not making small talk…No schedule that must be adhered to.

Not only are there characters written who normalize the exhaustion I feel, but they have lovely old crones who are well rooted in the goddess of the earth dishing out advice;

…Still, it’s a good spot, the hill, for looking inside yourself ot your heart’s desire. You look inside yours while you’re there.

Ah yes, the sweet temptation of foreign vistas and solitude.  We all need a bit of prodding to leave our comfort zones and get back to our own authentic selves. A gal can only get by on daydreaming in local coffeeshops or long-hot-candle-lit-baths-so-you-can’t-see-the-grime, for so long.

While I begin the final countdown to my own time-out on the sea, I will internalize the advice of the old granny in the book;

…don’t stand back too long and watch the rest of the world. Life’s so much shorter than you think.

…and don’t we know it.

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A Soldier of Love on Buddhist VD

"Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town." ~George Carlin~
“Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.”
~George Carlin~

Welcome to February!

In Canada, it’s another month of cold weather gear and snuggling by the fire. You may only be snuggling with the cat, a good book, a tumbler of your favourite winter red, or like me, all three.

During this month of winter, I am going to try my best to warm you up with cozy thoughts of love my darlings.  This will replace my annual whining about being bombarded by pink, white and diamonds tossed at us by Cupid, the  figment of our collective imagination aptly decked out in a diaper.

This year I am determined to laud Valentine’s Day as a day dedicated to loving and friendship. I will be doing this from a sailboat in the Caribbean Sea, which may be taking the sting out of it, but I digress…. Regarless of motive, I shall persevere and not question my rose-coloured outlook.

Yesterday, I as I lounged under my pile of duvets, I had time to read a short piece in Mindful magazine by Dr. Cheryl Fraser, entitled, Make Love a Priority.

Now, I really don’t have one special person in my life, so you might be wondering why on earth I was reading an article on making relationships last. Well darlings, it’s always best to be prepared.

I was reading the article as I would a map of sorts. It’s nice to become familiar with the landscape before you arrive. Consider it reconnaissance of the most delightful kind, being carried out by this soldier of love.

The little teaser read, “Remember: “Love” is a verb”…Oh good lord I thought as I sipped my coffee, this is going to be a bunch of idealistic pooh. Since I usually refer to Valentine’s day as VD, I thought I should carry on with the article in case it might change my very stubborn mind.

Dr. Fraser went on to tell the story of her Grandparents who met at a Valentine’s dance while her Grandmother was already engaged to someone else. This meant nothing to Norman (her grandfather), who was determined to woo and romance this woman.

Now that’s my kind of love story; real, messy, and completely lived on the fly. She had me hooked;

Though she was engaged to another man, he wooed her, won her, wed her.

“Go get her Norman,” I thought as my wee little cynical heart began to beat a  faster.  In a few sentences I learned that the couple did, indeed, live not just happily-ever-after, but with passion and that little je ne sais quoi that keeps your wiggly bits warm.

Most of us know a couple like my grandparents, and we want that sort of love affair, too. None of us plan to become the couple staring blankly across the restaurant table with nothing to say. But great relationships are created, not discovered.

I’ve been that couple. But that’s the kicker isn’t it? The ever-evolving creation, the ongoing magic of spiritual alchemy between two people that needs constant tending. I wish I fully realized that when my marriage fell to bits. It’s only in hindsight I have been able to recognize these things, and fully come to realize the ongoing effort that’s involved.

I’m a great one for grand gestures and whirlwind (but time limited) romances. They are so much more exhilarating than hacking away at the same old thing, but you miss the joy of reminiscing, and looking back on the trail you’ve created together.  It’s a cowards’s way out I’m afraid. It’s a way to let fear rule, and your heart remain safely locked away.

Authentic relationships are  a fine balance with pro’s and con’s on both sides of the ‘to be in a relationship or not be in a relationship’ debate that so often wages war in my anxious mind.

Whichever side you take; better-off-coupled or better-off single, it’s an article worth the read. Most of the advice applies to friendships as well. Those can be lop-sided too. Without effort, the friendship becomes stale, and meaningless. The maintenance of  true connection and attention to care in any relationship is necessary for survival.

Treat Valentine’s Day like a meditation bell, reminding you to slow down and show up for love, over and over again.

Call me a hopeless romantic Buddhist if you must, but I do have to recommend this article to friends, lovers, and armor-clad soldiers of love such as I.