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Uncorked Part 2: If a little Her-Heming-Way Becomes Her, So Does An Entire Bottle of Chardonnay

IMG_7058Ah yes, Part Deux of deux.

The prerequisite for reading this post is Uncorked Part 1.

Pour a glass of your favourite tipple darling, and snuggle in. In fact, just bring the whole damned bottle with you.

Two Christmases ago (is that even a word?…anyway), my friend, the Determined D. gave me a very heartfelt gift. She was very familiar with my love of fine wine, and my love of not-so-fine men.

Determined D presented me with a beautifully, purple organza wrapped bottle of Chardonnay. When she gave it to me she said, with sweet, wistful, Disney-like-fairy-tale, earnestness,

” I want you to open this with the love of your life. I just know that this is the year you will meet him.”

I really, really, really wanted to believe her.  So, I took the bottle (still wrapped), and placed it with my stash of vino that I keep on hand should I have the good fortune to keep the company of a wino with expensive taste, such as my own.

…and I waited….

And waited. And then I met Mr. Wonderful-Love-Of-My-Life-Everything-Just-Clicked! Ok, so it took a few months longer, but still! The Determined D was right!

I poked my head into my secret wine stash. “There it is!” I thought to myself. I’m going to open this on the big day when everything is official. Given the discussions we’d had, I figured that would be September sometime. Maybe October. You know, perfect weather for a little autumn al fresco dining.

Keep in mind darlings, that I’ve been single for the better part of a decade and a half. Not a year and a half. I’m talking a DECADE.

Long story short, he turned out to be the adult-equivalent of my high-school sweetheart stomping on my heart with the whore whose dad was the town dentist. Oh boy did it hurt.

After a bit of a parade of useless men during the past few weeks, and a really bad week on other fronts, I decided that tonight was the night that I was going to uncork my hopes and dreams of meeting the love of my life.

So, what exactly does a lady do when she officially surrenders? When she knows that there is never going to be the love-of-her-life to share that special, thoughtfully and beautifully wrapped bottle with?

She takes herself out to one of her favourite places. Mine just happens to be a world-class art gallery, with a Member’s lounge boasting an award-winning chef. She orders a tall glass of something boozy, a mouth-watering meal and stays to hear the world premiere of a piano concerto written specifically for the current exhibit.

She then get’s somewhat loose, toasts a grand good-bye to the lying, cheating, multiple-personality, whack-job, dickwads that have broken her heart, and goes home alone (listening to classic 80’s rock so loud the car shakes) to a fabulous bottle of Chardonnay. That’s my guess anyway….

Tonight I went to my go-to feel-better place. I stared out the window into the darkness of the November night, into the beauty of a city fully alive. I meandered the gift shop and decided to forgo buying a guilded acorn that Nordic legend holds will ensure a long life.

You see, the way things have been going, I don’t know that I want a long life. I want a happy life, a simple life, a life filled with love. An acorn isn’t going to give me that.

Neither is the Chardonnay, but at least it’ll get me though the night.  See Part 1.

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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

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Finding Your Happy Place: One Particular Harbour

sunset_sailboatThis one goes out to the great Jimmy Buffett, the One Particular Harbour of my soul and Robert Mondavi.

In other words, I’m writing this with the teeny-tiniest of hangovers. You know the kind I’m talking about; the kind that leave you just spent enough to feel relaxed, refreshed and embracing a new perspective.

I know I don’t get there often enough
But God knows I surely try
It’s a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe

Life is a wild ride, and a wonderful one, if you can convince your mule-like perception that there is beauty even in the darkness. Ok, that’s a load of shit. Sometimes the darkness is just dark, and it sucks to feel stuck there.

After a passive aggressive berating about how annoying, selfish and vocal I can be, I thought it might be time for a little introspection, a look at what a horrible, selfish woman I am. I poured some hooch so my wee, little, female brain didn’t start to ache as much as my heart, which incidentally was implied to be nothing more than a cold, hard, lump of coal.

After some careful consideration I decided that caring had been construed as selfishness, and that I was suffering someone else’s pain. When you care about someone, empathizing isn’t  a sin nor is sharing your perspective about well-being. Being attached to what you can’t control though, ahhhh, now there you go darlings. That’s a killer, and I was definitely guilty of that.

And then, as el vino is want to do, a very clear meme-ish insight made a sudden appearance, tap-dancing onto the main stage of my consciousness;

Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

That’s as deep as it got. I decided to stop with the back-hoe of emotional torture, and went with the child’s sandpail and plastic shovel model. Besides being less painful, it’s a prettier picture. I poured another glass.

I heard the word, “Surrender”, being whispered in my ear. Surrender. That’s a tough one for a woman who has always had to go after what she wants with a gene-pool of quicksand always threatening to pull her back and bury her alive. In work and life, I tend to go boldly forward until I’m satisfied I’ve done my best.

Surrender is a dangerous precipice promising both apathetic failure and great joy all at the same time. Ah, the paradox of the human condition – thank you for coming to visit, you squirrelly bastard.

Today, as I sip my morning coffee, and take a thorough look at my thoughts and feelings, I understand that where I need to be is my One Particular Harbour, feeling safe, loved, and like being me is not only good enough, but appreciated.

Most mysterious calling harbour
So far but yet so near
I can see the day when my hair’s full gray
And I finally disappear

Wishing you the courage to surrender, and safety of your one, particular  harbor to drop anchor and enjoy the view of this one, short, precious life.

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The Art of Living; I Had Wine and Sunflower Seeds for Dinner

burn with desireLife has been such a shit-show lately, that I made the executive decision (after a long day at work and a bad haircut), to have a liquid dinner. I know, I know, ‘Liquid Lunch’ sounds better, but the truth is, it was a liquid dinner. Oh, and I had a handful of sunflower seeds.

Liquid as in white Bordeaux. As in, I-pretend-to-be-strong-but-I-need-a-hug-but-there-are-no-appropriate-hugs-to-be-found, kinda liquid dinner.

It’s a sin to drink vintage wine alone. Alas, a woman has to do what a woman has to do. Besides, if I weren’t alone, I’d be with some young, ballsy stud muffin, and that my darlings would be a bad, bad thing. Bad as in, despite the temptation, my true love is worth more than that. As in, I think I’ve finally grown-the-hell-up.

Le freaking sigh…

You see, a big part of who I am is the savoir faire that I’ve acquired during a lifetime of hard-learned lessons that most folks never see in a lifetime. Combined with a calling to serve, I have an intimate knowledge of the ticking clock, counting down to an unknown end.  I do believe that despite my over-the-top caring and anxiety, I have at least gleaned the porch-light of nirvana and the art of living.

Each day I stare mortality in the face, and it’s a tremendous opportunity to remind my sassy-assed self  what truly matters.

You’ve all heard Thich Nhat Hahn’s wonderful saying;

No Mud, No Lotus

Well, if you’re like me, you’ve had about enough of this mud business. You’ve had enough of being knee deep, slogging through the stinky stuff. You’ve had enough, enough, enough…Enough anxiety-riddled panic attacks, insecurities, and weeping.

Lessons in  life  come like lightning bolts from the ground; people you never expected to learn anything from other than how to control your temper and keep your patience,  become fast teachers like beggars at a feast.

This week, I had what I like to refer to as a ‘Jazz Hands’ moment.  After an hour on the couch, I decided that I’d had enough. I’d had enough beating the hell up on myself, holding my tongue, holding my breath, and holding the damn bag of responsibility for every one else like I was some iron, emotionless maiden.

E-freaking-nough!

My sense of humour, and my ability to be silly, light-hearted, and unapologetically sensual are my gifts. I am not patient, graceful, or saintly. I’m merely capable of being myself. I am just who I am; simple, straightforward, and as lovable as hell.

That’s also why I know that during days like today, it’s ok to be silly, to drink a bit too much, to flirt with my honey, to joke around, appreciate the cut of a fine garment, an interesting mind, or even admire the courage it takes some young gentleman to ask an older, sexy, wise, broad like myself out on a date…for the second time.

This life of mine has always been about living fully and completely. It’s been about giving all of my heart and soul to everything I do, even though I know people will be careless with them. It’s always been about giving my best, so that at the end of the day I have no regrets. I leave it all out there, hoping that the people I care about know that I’ve given all of me.

If you’ve  forgotten how wonderful it is to rejoice, to be silly, and to really let yourself go and enjoy life, you need to step back and give your head a shake. Life is short and precious.

If circumstance and relationships have caused you to make yourself small; careful of your words and wants and actions, if you’ve left your tender heart alone to cry for the suffering of those who are dear to you, you need to remind yourself it’s ok to move on.

You need to step out of the shadow of the past so you can create something you love.  Like the rest of the world you need to know that your gifts are alive, appreciated, and loved. But first, you need to love them, to hold them up as an offering to the powers that be, and honour the simple gifts that you bring to your lover, your friends and to your work.

Silliness is the art of living in the moment, despite being immersed in the awareness of our own shortcomings, mortality, and limitations.

Silliness, humour and the ability to see a lighter side combined with a heart that aches for those who are suffering, is my gift to the world. Whatever your gifts are, my wish for you is that you recognize them, and that you have people in your life who honour them in such a way that you feel loved.

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When Nothing Matters, It Matters Most

Toast 1Despite having a career which could easily see me lost day and night in the good and meaningful work I am blessed to be able to do, the energy I have to do that work comes from making time for rejuvenation, shenanigans, and spending time being nurtured by the people who love me.

Stirring honey into my tea today, I overheard a woman exclaim that she was feeling overwhelmed, and complaining that going away for a holiday just made it harder to come back and get up every day to get back to work.

I slipped my wooden stir-stick into the trash and stole a quick peak at her from under my luscious locks. She was a bit younger than me, and clearly, unbalanced.

That’s not a cynical observation.

She looked to be carrying the weight of the world even though she was sipping a gourmet beverage in an upscale coffee shop with a friend willing to listen. “Why is life so difficult“, her high shoulders seemed to be whimpering. I know shoulder language, because more often than not, my own shoulders are tensed right up to my ear lobes, and the margins in my life are tighter than cycling shorts on a man smack dab in the middle of a mid-life crisis.

You read that right. Men in cycling shorts should never happen. Ever.

Anyway…

Balance; the-shoulds-of-a capitalistic-society verses the shoulds of, Deep-down-I-am-a-free-thinking-spiritual-lush. Recently I’ve been up to a little ‘make herself happy’  balance plan.

laughingwomenFood, wine and friendship, the great triumvirate of happiness. Combine those three, and I’m a happy woman.

Before I allowed my joy to be stolen by a grand conspiracy of single-parenthood, economic necessity, and surrender, I was the queen of food, wine and friendship, the duchess of do-it-all-and-then-some, the grand-dame-of-damn-that-woman-can-dance. Oh yah, I lived in and for the moment.

That was long ago and far away, but not an impossible attitude to resurrect.

Trying to be a responsible-adult-woman, the final strike was entering into a relationship with a man who ruined all three for me; food, wine AND friendship.  I carried on in the relationship because that’s what I thought I was supposed to be doing when in fact, I was supposed to be doing whatever the hell I felt like.

Life as I knew it and dreamed it was over when that relationships ended. It was both heartbreaking (there would be no big, happy family or new babies) and emancipating. Turns out, I’m not sure I was ever convinced, other than the apparent security, that a traditional relationship was best for me after so many years of doing everything on my own.

More than a man who needed to lead, it turns out I need a man who values laughter, discovering new food, wine and ways of making sure moments matter even if it’s just sitting in companionable silence. I thought I had  someone like that making a place in my life this summer, but I was mistaken. Must have been the wine.

On my way home from the office I stopped on a whim and picked up a couple of bottles of wine to hold me over until the vintage release this weekend. I found a much coveted Italian varietal, and another which conjures a warm, no.  Wait. Not warm. It conjures memories of an electrically charged, white-hot  and carefree love-affair, aptly birthed in Sonoma, California and named Folies a Deux.

I will take my charming new find to be uncorked at a French restaurant tomorrow evening to share over a meal and wonderful conversation.

Being excited to try new wine, try new recipes, make time for friends, writing, and maybe a little tryst in a land far-far-away means I’ve got the groove back I thought I had lost.

"We all begin as stringers..."  ~ANDSHELAUGHS~
“We all begin as strangers…”
~ANDSHELAUGHS~

What on earth was I thinking? When you’ve got it, you can never lose it.

Get out there and be fabulous darlings. There is exquisite wine held hostage in bottles just waiting to be emancipated. There is savoury food waiting to dance on your palate, and friendships that need rekindling.

I also have a suspicion that there are delectable men who are worthy of wooing us, just waiting for our school-girl hearts to bow to the sage wisdom of serendipity.

 

 

 

 

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Trailblazing & Looking Back

blaze your own trail
Copyright I assume belongs to Beringer Vineyards, because it sure as heck isn’t mine!

“Blaze your own trail”. That’s what my inspirational evening post from Beringer Vineyards offered up by way of inspiration tonight.

Two glass of pinot grigio framing a distant, ethereal view of the Eiffel Tower. Beautiful, dreamy, and decadently inspiring.

Odd that I just spent a lovely visit with two of my friends who served me this very same wine following a rather long, cold day at work, isn’t it?

Odd that my cuddly male companion mentioned the same vineyard Friday evening? Coincidence?

Perhaps, but I don’t really believe in coincidence.

I believe in meaning, and paying attention to signs.

Years ago, a series of bad decisions lead me to Beringer Vineyards. They were bad decisions, but they were also what I needed to launch myself from a history of loss and bad relationships.  I didn’t see it that way when it was happening, but in retrospect, my decisions catapulted me into a life with purpose, meaning, and genuine friendships.

But hindsight is perfect isn’t it darlings? They say living in the future makes you a dreamer. I’m not so sure about that though.

Tonight, I blazed a bit more of my own trail. One that no other person on this earth will ever walk in the same way, the same time, or in the same company as I am.

Without at least a few bad decisions, my trail would not have been blazed. It likely would have just been the same rutted, ankle-twisting path that most people follow.

I indulge myself in seeing signs that indicate I am on the right path for me, even if others would call it mere coincidence.

Now, I must pay attention to the other signs too. You know, the ones that are a warning.

I consider something ‘a sign’ when it comes to me three times within a short time frame (say a few days).  So, my warning ‘signs’ this week, that have come in three’s via social media or email are;

hobby

 

 

aluminum foil

 

Tonight, as I was preparing for a bit of ‘Blazing’ in my industry, I had an opportunity to take a quiet moment and catch up with a friend. She told me that she’s excited to be moving in with her boyfriend of almost a year.

Now, to a middle-aged-single-parent-career-woman, that is trailblazing.

Perhaps I need to consider the signs again. Are the men in my life Knights or Aluminum Foil Assholes?

Do I really need to be focused on a hobby or work, or should I exhale and take a chance on love?

Time will tell. Of that, I am ever so sure.

Sometimes we must look back in order to move forward. But it is merely a glance over our shoulder if we know we’re headed in the right direction.

Please, send me a sign…..and another glass of that delicious pinot grigio….