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When Life is Good; Top Ten

"A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked." ~Anais Nin~
“A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.”
~Anais Nin~

Life is good when we think it’s good.

Yes darlings, I know that sounds corny, but it’s a universal truth. Gratitude makes everything just that much more fresh, innocent, crisp and fabulous.

The less fortunate can be the richest people in the world, just by virtue of their attitude, and ability to let the drama of others pass them by without absorbing the synthetic crisis of the mind.

As the years pass, I realize that life does not get easier. Nope. Not at all. Even the old folks I see every day must make major life changes, say good-bye to life-long lovers, give up their homes, and adapt to change.  Wealth may be selective, but karma is universal.

As I predicted and hoped at the turn of the year, 2013 has been a wild ride of letting go, change and hope.

Today, we took a break from our working toward a different life. We packed up the umbrellas and headed west, enjoying the turning of colours in the fields that are the lesser appreciated openers to the autumn symphony of colour we all know and love.

Today it was delicious chocolate at Rheo Thompson, a cold beer and scrumptious sandwich, a visit complete with laughter at Balzac’s, one of the most beautiful little coffee shops in the province, and most importantly, the company of two people I love.

As the world continues to spin out of control in the midst of our false, global economy, we, three of the increasingly squeezed middle class, stopped the world and enjoyed what it had to offer.

My list of ‘Good Things’ for the week;

1) Colleagues who giggle

2) Healthy children

3) Relatives you love and who you love back

4) A secret crush on a really great guy.(Yes my sweet peaches, at this age, you can just enjoy the thrill of the emotion, regardless of whether or not it ever happens.)

5) Becoming a ‘football’ mom for the first time

6) Gorgeous coffee shops

7) Chocolate that feels like silk and tastes like heaven

8) Harlequin romance novels for the nights you just want to escape before you have to go back to work the next day.

9) Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson and Eminem

10) Homemade cookies still warm from the oven

Simple abundance is highly under-rated. We all have a multitude of people, places and things for which to be grateful.

Send this to someone with a note… “Of all the places I can’t wait to be this winter, it’s wrapped up in your arms in front of the fire, dreaming of the simple things.”

 

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Poetry of Life

laughatoddsThere’s nothing like poetry to raise a mirror to the quality of your life.

I know when certain things are neglected in my life, that I’m prioritizing all wrong.

Sure I have to work hard, do my job, cook and be a mother, but I don’t have to give up the things that make my  life poetic.

My bath time has always been sacred. It sounds silly, but it’s a ritual before I write, make love, or prepare for any significant event.

There is ritual about this time for me. I light candles. I listen to music with lyrics by Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and a plethora of other songwriters. I pour a glass of wine and have it within arms reach. I line up my soap, my razor, my cloth and loffah.

By candlelight I soak in the hot water, and let the music and lyrics penetrate the hard thoughts that have been pulsing through my  brain throughout the day.

Language is a  construct of logic. That’s why it’s often difficult to express emotion. Emotion defies logic.

Poetry  seeps into that space between our physical selves and our human spirit. Poetry, with its similes and metaphors is as close as we can possibly come to expressing everything about ourselves that is emotional.

Since it seems our ability to express our emotion is basically all that separates us from apes, our poetic ability is pretty important.

Whenever my life has lacked poetry, time for creativity, or the exquisite indulgence of friendship, wine and  blissfully rambling conversation, I have suffered.

…Now you can say that I’ve grown bitter, but of this you may be sure

The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor

And there’s a mighty judgment coming, but I may be wrong…

(Lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song)

When my ritual gets lost, so does the time I dedicate to my creativity. For me it is writing, for others it’s painting, cooking, music or any other creative act. Hell, if it’s good, lovemaking is a pretty intense creative endeavor.

If your ritual to make creative space has gone by the wayside, or if you’ve never had one of those rituals, consider this;

Imagine, bringing a fresh, soft-ripe peach to your lips, and having the juice drip between your fingers and over your lips. You can’t help but savour the sweetness and that taste of  fresh peach that you just can’t have any other time of year.

Now imagine biting that same peach, with the same juice covering your fingers, but you can’t taste anything. Your mouth is wet and full of the tender flesh, but there is no sweetness, there is no hint of that precious and rare flavour that you crave.

That my darlings is life without poetry.

Life with poetry becomes vibrant and joyful;

…And I’ll dance with you in Vienna
I’ll be wearing a river’s disguise
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder
My mouth on the dew of your thighs
And I’ll bury my soul in a scrapbook
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I’ll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross…

( Lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s Take This Waltz)

Life without poetry is like bringing home a dry, flavourless peach harvested green half-way around the world in February. It’s just not the same. It’s not juicy. it’s not sweet.  It leaves you feeling like there must be something more.

When life lacks poetry you find it incredibly tedious to prepare and dress for your lovers, until you’re finally left only with partners who satisfy a base desire and you’re relieved to see them leave.

When life lacks poetry there is no beacon of hope left to guide you toward your heart’s desire. You are trapped by habit and fear change.

When life lacks poetry you are not in the present moment. You are either living in the future, or dwelling in the past.

Whatever it is that ignites your spirit is your poetry.  Make time for it. Go after it. Remember what it means to live fully within your humanity.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

You can add up the parts, you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march, there is no drum
Every heart, every heart to love will come
But like a refugee

(Lyrics by Leonard Cohen; Anthem)

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Shhh!!! This is my Favourite Part…

shhmyfavouritIf you don’t have one, you need one. At least one. If not a few, you know for special occasions; waking up, driving to work, road-tripping, wine-sipping, skinny dipping, cooking, cleaning, bathing, preening  and everything else you get up to in life.

You don’t have any idea what I’m talking about do you? I could be talking about pairs of shoes, but I’m not. I know, I’m straying from my usual bubbly-without-brains banter. What I’m talking about in this case my darlings, is music; playlists, albums, or, if you’re an 80’s child, mixed-tapes.

Today I share with you some of my favourite lines from some of my favourite songs. I’ll give you the line, you give me the song or artist.

1) Don’t let yourself fall. Don’t let yourself stumble. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime…

2) And it ain’t that I’m wiser, it’s only that I’ve spent more time with my back to the wall…

3) You came to me this morning and you handled me like meat. You’d have to be a man to know how good that feels, how sweet…

4) Another Saturday another date. She would be ready but she’d always make him wait in the hallway in anticipation…

5) Oh it’s hard to be a boy when all the men have lost their joy and they can’t find the ones they’ve left behind…

6) Take the ribbon from your hair. Shake it loose and let it fall, laying soft against your skin like the shadows on the wall…

7) Drive in. You guzzle gin, commit a little mortal sin. It’s good for the soul…

8) When you’re loving somebody, baby, you’re taking a gamble against some sorrow. But who knows, baby, ‘Cause we may not be here tomorrow…

9) No, there’s nothin’ you can send me, my own true love.  There’s nothin’ I wish to be ownin’.  Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled from across that lonesome ocean…

10) Nothing could be sadder than a glass of wine alone.  Loneliness loneliness, is just a waste of  time,  But you don’t ever  have to walk alone…

This may have left you with a song in your head, or maybe a bit annoyed that we don’t share the same taste in music. Whatever else, I hope  it reminded you that music can change your mood, and can speak to your heart when words are inadequate.
 

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When Words Aren’t Enough

It’s been a topsy-turvy 24 hours, and I’m just headed back to work for a while. Sometimes loss affects even experts, and today is one of those days.

As it was pointed out to me last night, I surround myself with words. I have books and quotes and magazines everywhere.

As my writer’s brain whirls in over-drive, I leave you with a few of my favourite quotes by some of my favourite writers;

 

burn with desire

 

happy i muttered

 

 

whenever you come around

 

ink and rage

 

rumdiariesbook

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The Ultimate Destination

 

The fair Port of Not Giving a Shit.

It’s a fabulous destination I think I should  visit more often. It’s as near as a tub full of steamy bath water, or a lawnchair under the shade of an older than old maple tree.

After a while, it takes less time to get there, and it’s further away from where you started.

Being a ‘Woman of a Certain Age’, I know that I’ve settled some deep unconscious niggling when I arrive there, completely unattached and content.

It took me years to realize that relationships are not what I wish them to be. They are what they are, whether it’s a friendship, a job, or a lover.  I used to live in the fantasy of the potential I saw, and end up being disappointed with the reality as it failed to blossom into that ever-optimistic-potential that I fantasized about so often.

Le sigh indeed my darlings.

But it’s not a bad ‘le sigh’. It’s just le sigh. A ‘le sigh’, as in, ‘oh well, pour me another please, and don’t be shy’.

Ever the optimist, I like to believe in people. I like to believe that people are, at their most basic element, good, just, and loving.

Although I refuse to budge from that perspective, I have learned to accept that sometimes, despite potential, people are assholes. Pardon my French…perhaps I should say…no, wait, they’re just assholes.

So, tonight, as I kicked back with an icy, sparkling, wine spritzer, I  found myself snuggly harboured in the Port of Not Giving a Shit. And I liked it there.

Why don’t you come by and say hello?

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Farewell My Friend

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." ~Robert A. Heinlein~
“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
~Robert A. Heinlein~

A few months ago we adopted a kitten.

True to his namesake, Willie Nelson is a mellow, laid-back version of any other cat who made their way into my life.

At nine and a half years old, we figured Leonard Cohen (our older cat), would be a wonderful mentor, and train the wee one in the ways of catdom.

Since all of my cats have lived well past fifteen, Willie Nelson would also grow to  be the caretaker to faithful old Leonard as Leonard was to Whiskey.

But that wasn’t to be the case. Poor old Leonard was taken from us this weekend very suddenly.  He had yet to teach Willie Nelson the art of napping quietly on my bed, stretching out on my belly while I read, or curling up on the footstool while I meditatively stitch my needlework.

There’s something about an old cat. Well, something about my Leonard anyway. We were attached at the ankle as soon as I woke up,and as soon as I walked through the door from work.

Leonard was everywhere I was. He saw me through broken hearts, surgeries, and long bouts of gut-hollowing sadness.

Leonard had a man radar that I could only hope to have; he knew the good ones from the bad ones with just a few short passes around their legs. He knew when I was sick or sad or just plain tired out, and he loved me unfailingly despite my shortcomings.

Friday night, just after he left us, I curled up in my soft flannel sheets and cried.

I missed the bulk of my big, fifteen pound mass of kitty fur and purring. For nine and half years Leonard stretched out on my tummy while I read just before falling asleep. I only had to say, “Ok, Leonard” and he knew it was time for lights out and to crawl onto the passenger side of the bed.

I feel an echoing  ache whenever I think of my old pal, and I miss him terribly.

Willie Nelson seems no worse for wear, batting around toys and chasing his tail until he collapses in a heap of legs, tail and ears, and falling into a deep sleep like only a kitten can. One day Willie Nelson will grow out of his bouncy kitten curiosity and take to the ways of an old lap-cat.

I remember Leonard’s kitten antics; setting his tail on fire (not once, but twice), falling into the toilet, falling into the bath (while I was in it), and doing flying stunts from the top of bookshelves.

We’ll always miss old Leonard. He was a once in a lifetime feline friend.