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Christmas Dreaming; Joy Rapture & Ecstasy

christmas datingEvery single woman (and women who are in relationships that lack relating) dream of Christmas Romance, passion and at the very least, a decent meal and some intelligent conversation.

Emotions run high at Christmas time, and the word Joy can be found on everything from teacups to the ass of red panties that jingle-all-the-way.

So let’s start with the romantic scenarios that inspire joy…

Joy; the emotion evoked by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

Last year I had a blast-from-the-past-he’s-the-one propose a very romantic date.

“Whatever you want. You name it. I want to do something special with you this Christmas”

I was joyous. “Really,” I though to myself. “After all of these years, it’s this guy.” This guy that I’ve known for so very long and idealized since the night he took me for a romantic dinner and kissed me outside a winter, storefront window more than ten years ago. I remember the boots I was wearing that night, and I still have the skirt.

Rapture ; the experience of being swept away by overwhelming emotion or passion.

Ah yes. It was a passionate date. We shared a delicious meal at one of my favourite restaurants. We had just enough of my favourite bottle of wine to make me even more giddy, and went for a long, romantic walk which meandered outside the Grange at the AGO and included a long, slow, kiss.

Ecsatsy; a state of being beyond reason and self control.

Well, a lady can’t expect everything now can she? Mr. Wonderful-After-All-These-Years turned out to be exactly who he had proven himself to be years before.

We never reached the ecstasy stage as date number two never happened.  Oh, don’t worry, he asked for a second date. I just didn’t give it to him. I was hurt. I cried, and I raged, and I called my bestie to rant about what a colossal, self-absorbed dick he was, and then I moved on.

What I did not do is turn to a brand of romantic atheism and man-hating.

I let myself want that decent meal and intelligent conversation. Oh, and the wine, the really delicious wine.

I let myself be satisfied with the company of friends old and new. Most importantly, I allowed my heart to stay open to all of the possibilities of joy, rapture and ecstasy.

Wishing you all three romantic stages this Christmas time, even if the joy and rapture come in the form of wonderful get-togethers with friends and the ecstasy comes from too much eggnog and a  bad one-night-stand decision…xo

 

 

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Dear Starbucks,

starbucks2015This letter has been coming for a long time. An event this weekend encouraged me to reach out to you, my beloved.

First of all, let me say that I adore you.

I love everything about you. I love your dark wooden décor, and your comfy leather chairs. I love your hipster music, and the red cups and aprons you’ve brought to us for  the winter holiday season.

I love that you are a relaxed place for dates, getting together with the girls, and allow writers like myself to occupy a table for an hour or two with just enough stimulation to feel like we’re not crazy, isolated artists.

As a self-proclaimed city girl, I am convinced that I could not survive winter without your eggnog lattes and cranberry bliss bars. Simply put, you are one of the simple pleasures in my life. I love you.

I love you so much that I must share with you a little suggestion regarding your tea. You see, as much as I live for your coffee, I also adore your tea. Youthberry is my favourite followed closely by Peach Tranquility. Your tea is often my most reliable counselor during times of self-doubt and rejection. It is however rather hazardous to drink. if I’m not enjoying the ambiance in-house, I’m likely enjoying your beverages and nummies on-the-go.

Which brings me to the tea. Yesterday, the cute, little, paper tab attached to the string on the bag was tucked directly under the little sippy hole. I’d gone through one of your drive-thrus prior to getting on a very busy highway for a roadtrip. Did you know that the cottons string wicks the moisture from the tea, soaks the little paper tab, causing it to drip down the side of the cup? Perhaps you didn’t. Well, it does, and it gets kinda messy.

Whilst trying very hard not to get wet from the drippy tab yesterday, the lid of the venti cup popped off as the paper cup folded, and splashed boiling hot tea all over my hand, my lap, and inadvertently, the steering wheel.  Fortunately I had a co-pilot with quick hands and a lovely sense of humour.

We managed with giggles no-less, (while still in 120 km+, four lane traffic) to wipe the steering wheel and wedge all of the serviettes I had prudently stashed in the glove box under my soaking wet derriere. I managed to drive to the nearest service centre, all the while holding my plump rump up off the seat, kind of like holding a 120 km an hour squat  for ten minutes.

My pinky finger was burned, as was my pride, but it could have been worse had I not been an old experienced driver. A precautionary word to drivers – you may wish to order two beverages instead of a venti.

My darling, precious, true-love coffee-house Starbucks, my suggestion to you is two-fold; please fix the tea bag wicking problem, and think of a way to make your venti cup design less tippy, less likely to collapse, and still hold all of the nummy-nom-nom goodness that your beverages are known for.

Please know that I relate my tale of warm-woe to you so that you can simply become more awesome.

Your most devoted fan,

Andshelaughs

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Being Single; Protecting Your Go-Juice

relaxonbeachIt seems that single people are the great catch-basin of sympathy for those friends negotiating marriages or the equivalent.

Our relationship troubles get us a pat on the head, and the standard, simple advice of, ‘If you don’t like it leave’.

A lot of coupled folks live their courage vicariously through us singletons.  Common platitudes include; You don’t need anyone, you’re independent, it’s time for you to focus on  your career (interchange that with a hobby, parenting, or some other such bullcrap), you don’t need a man/woman.

It’s easy for these folks to casually waive their ringed-fingers in the air and brush away our trite singleton emotional pain when, at the end of a hard day, they have someone to come home to, someone to snuggle up with, and someone to help negotiate the financial waters.

Yah, we get it. Relationships are not easy, and they take work. Why do you think it’s taken us so damn long to find someone we can live with? We understand why your spouse irritates the hell out of you. We really do. That’s why we didn’t marry them. We also understand why you irritate the hell out of them too.

There is an understood law of friendship that unless it is a true emergency, you don’t call after or before certain, civilized hours. Oh wait, that’s for coupled folks only. Single people stay up partying all night and writing their manuscripts. I wish. This long-weekend alone, I have been woken up every single morning with a text or call from a married pal in crisis, been needed (in person) for emergency advice out-of-town, and in my own living room.

Last night, I had a chance to put my feet up and enjoy a simple, quiet evening watching the ball game. By that time, My Go-Juice(you know, the fun energy that keeps you going) had run out, and I was in need of recharge time. I’ve been in need of recharge time for six months, but have neglected it too long.

I’m already counting down to my next holiday, and have narrowed down my escape destination to two options.

During the past few weeks I’ve come to realize just how burnt out,  in need of nurturing and good company I am.

If you are single, and find yourself constantly being asked for energy and time, it may be time to re-evaluate. Are you the one always organizing dinners, lunches or trips? Do your pals give you the brush off when you talk about your relationship struggles, but expect a kind ear when they bitch about their partners lip-smacking appreciation of anyone other than them, their messy habits, inability to communicate, lazy or alternately hyper libido?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then it’s time to recharge and re-fill your Go-Juice.

It’s ok to say no when you have nothing left to offer. God forbid us singletons get so cozy in ourselves that we’re happy handing out the candy-equivalent of peanuts for apathetic advice; If you don’t like it, leave.

It’s not that simple now, is it folks?

No, relationships are complex, fluid, wonderful things. Especially our friendships.

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If Change is as Good as a Rest, I Should be In a Coma

moving forwardSeriously God, universe, or whatever is out there playing with my life. Stop it.

Subtlety has never been my strongest character trait. Nor is gracefulness, although, I believe I have been more studious this year about cultivating grace in my life.

Rigidity, focus and drive are all qualities that I have in abundance.

Maybe that’s what the latest lessons in life have been sent to teach me; relax, let it all just happen, and for the love of all that’s holy, breathe.

Loss has been a theme this year. Yippee, just what every middle-aged woman wants. Loss and more loss.

As a late-night, bourbon-soaked email from a friend reads, “You are nothing if not resilient. It’s a great quality.” It’s hard as hell to cultivate though, and I wonder what price I’ve paid for it, or if I’ve really paid any price at all.

Loss of family, a lover, and now potentially home.

More than anyone else I’ve ever known, I’ve reinvented myself time after time. Earlier this year I decided that should I throw my lot in with the love of my life it would not involve a change of workplace or home. Turns out that was the least of my worries with said gentleman.

Stability doesn’t get the street-cred it deserves. In your 40’s, it’s pretty sexy. Scary too as you realize that it’s taken the place of spontaneity and the potential titillation of surprise.

I’m much more cautious about change than I used to be. In the past, I’ve jumped headlong into change without fear or investigation. I just jumped, giddy for a new experience and the vast potential for what kind of story it would turn into.

So, as I begin to assess the possibility of a move,  I wonder if change would be as good as a rest, or if it would push me over the ever-loving edge of sanity. I wonder if I wonder too much?

so differentJust over a month ago, at the end of a relationship, I read this quote and rolled my eyes thinking, “Nope. Everything is, pathetically, exactly the same.

And then I was offered a new job. Old flames turned old friends reappeared in time to soothe my aching heart, and now the potential change of venue for the place I call home.

Hmmm….

Life does really change like this; unpredictably and always, always, always, faster than we’re comfortable with.

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When You’ve Had Enough: Dealing with Wretchedness

thingsthatshine***ADULT LANGUAGE WARNING***

Let all of those things bubble to the surface and let them heal you.

~The Mumster~

She was talking about things that pissed me off. You know, the things that camouflage themselves when viewed through rose-coloured glasses.

These are the things you want so badly that you project your lovliness onto them, despite them being absolute rubbage. Stinky, ugly, screwed up beyond all recognition; trash.

These are the people and things that make you cry, doubt yourself, clutter your mind with slow-motion-replays of every single freaking clue you should have picked up on, until you finally decide that you’ve had enough.

E-freakingnough…

Darlings, I’m too old to replay my past. At this stage, I want to move forward, build healthy relationships, both professionally and personally, and I most certainly do not want to tolerate someone else’s bullshit. I want to laugh, love and laugh some more.

I have lived intentionally for a long time, choosing (yes, CHOOSING) to be a kind, open-hearted and loving person in spite of selfish and mean-spirited people trying to take advantage of that.

What it  boils down to is this; if you are an asshole of the dirtiest kind, only you have to suffer that. We don’t. I choose to eliminate (no pun intended) those folks from my life, with as little energy expended as possible. You should too. Ignore those assholes so hard that they start to believe they don’t exist.

Sadness and heartbreak are inevitable, but so are the wonderful new experiences which await us if we continue to choose to be kind, loving and embrace life.

Without having had to question certain relationships this year, I would not be looking forward to a more stable income. I would not have reconnected with a hunky old school chum.

I would not have reached out to my friends as much as I have for support (therefore we’ve formed stronger bonds). I would not have been so inspired to tackle a writing project, and other hobbies that make me come alive.

prettywreckI also would not have been laid out in tears, heartbroken and sad. Sounds awful! But no. It gave my body and mind a chance to process things, and rest. Rest is highly under-rated these days. Napping is the new black.

In other words, if framed properly, dealing with bad relationships can work, but only if you adopt the right attitude, get off your lazy buns and do something to make YOU more vibrant.

Life is for living, and if nothing else, dealing with bullshit and assholes should be a firm reminder that life is precious, time passes too quickly, and people who are lovely, well, they’re worth more than their weight in fine chocolate.

Be fabulous darlings.redhearts

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Beach Buddha With a Side of Fry Sauce

Tneversaidthathis weekend I made my annual pilgrimage to the lake to enjoy a fresh fish dinner, drink Mackie’s famous Orangade, and dunk my fries in their special fry sauce.  Instead,  I got caught up in a whirlwind of worries.

In the moment, with the sun shining in a clear blue sky,the lake calmly offering refreshment, and soaring seagulls, my meditation training came back to me in a snap. This moment is it. It’s all we’ve got.

To be present right here, right now, holding all of our fears and worries, all the while appreciating how fortunate we are to have what we do, now that my sweet peaches, is the art of living.

Holding hope and loss at the same time seems paradoxical, but it’s the essence of the human mystery. I don’t preach this from living a blessed life. Loss is not a stranger in my life. Loss is a ruthless teacher and a sneaky sonnuvabitch.

Anxiety is the residue that gets left over when loss finally packs its oversized bag and leaves.

So often we associate  loss with death, and forget about all of the other losses; home, love, jobs, and hope.

Hope. Yah, that’s a tough one. Loss often packs a good one-two punch, with a kick to the groin – it always blesses us more than once in a very short period of time, leaving us feeling vulnerable, fearful, numb and hopeless.

With each loss we lose hope in the story of our lives; what we hope to do with our loved ones, how we hope to grow old and with whom or that old wounds may somehow heal with reconciliation.

As a young adult I suffered major losses. Journeying with someone I love as they experience new losses in the shadow of my own,  I began to wonder whether it was easier as a young woman than it is now.

But it’s not about easier or more difficult. It’s about different. Different as in; as we age we process loss much differently in the lengthening shadow of our own mortality. With each loss, our perception is that time offers us less opportunity to recover. Perception is the key word here. Loss can cause despair, and on the other hand it can be used as an opportunity to start fresh, put new building blocks in place (think Lego – it was my favourite toy when I was a kid), and write a new story.

Within the period of a few months, loss has snuggled up in our home, poured itself a drink, put its stinky feet up on the coffee table, and helped itself to an unfair portion of our sanity. It’s like the dreaded overseas relative come to stay for an unknown period of time. To celebrate the arrival of our special guest, my anxiety dressed itself up, rolled out the red carpet and said,  “Welcome, what can I get you? My sleep? A cozy blanket of  pathetic weeping perhaps, or how about some home-cooked fear”?

Despite my anxiety, I am aware of my blessings; my child, my love, my friendships, my life as I know it.

As the Buddha at the beach reminded me, it’s not impossible to hold hope and fear. It’s best just to let them both gently go and appreciate the moments as they are.

Wishing you the presence to practice letting go, being present, and keeping love and hope alive in your heart.

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All The Heaven We’ve Got…

It’s that time. Time to shed the mid-work-week skin, and slide into our own little piece of heaven. Fill your cup darlings. Sit back, relax, close your eyes…”This is all the heaven we’ve got, right here where we are. In our Shangri-La.”