2016 In Review

I stopped dying  my hair. My roots are grey. I look old. I feel young.

The fun Mini has been replaced by a mature SUV.  I feel responsible.

I attended an outdoor electronica festival and I saw Tommy Hilfiger clad couples in amongst the crowd. There isn’t an age when music stops  inspiring.

Visited Europe a few times this year, thankful for the experiences, grateful for Canada.

There is an abundance of love still  out there in our world waiting to be requited. It comes in shapes and sizes we might not have imagined.  When we honour it, we are rewarded.

Under our cloaks, we just want to be accepted.

2017 seems like a scary prospect, but it’s coming for us.

Post-Valentine’s Day 2016

“Puberty destroys Valentine’s Day.” Unknown man said to the barista. “I’d rather be single than be in a bad relationship. And I think most people if they thought about it would prefer that too.” He continued, “When we are mature and we find someone is nice but we realize that there isn’t a connection, we then can make the decision to be friends instead.”

Amen to that, unshaven, dishevelled man who clearly lives on his own. And I mean that in the most endearing manner. The same could be said for me, in my high top kicks, flannel shirt, and 5 year old faded jeans. I can’t remember if I washed my face this morning. A-T-T-R-A-C-T-I-V-E!

I was struggling to focus on reading my book, the conversation behind me diverted towards the philosophy of changing political beliefs, “Often time as people age they become more right-wing rather than changing their beliefs from right-wing to left-wing.”

I nod to myself, according to Pew Research, the older generation today in the US is certainly more conservative on the extreme.

But not to get political, that was the start to my Valentine’s Day 2016. I can pretend to dislike Valentine’s Day but the fact is I rather like it. It is the one day out of the year that complete strangers are compelled to talk to one another about their beliefs on love and relationships and … politics.

There is that undertone of love gone wrong, a memory of a past relationship not quite reconciled, a little baggage here and there and it’s ok to share in riddles.

We are connected through our experience of pain?

I’ve yet to overhear complete strangers on Valentine’s Day discuss relationship stories of great love and gain.

But perhaps I simply need a new coffee shop! 🙂

On Death

IMG_20150516_161105“ It’s not possible to have a neutral experience with death.” Caleb Wilde with Anna Sale on Death Sex & Money.

It was day 2 of the client onsite training, we were just getting into the second hour when the email came through. My family rarely use my work address to contact me. When I saw my oldest sister’s name as the sender, I knew he’d died.

I paused mid-sentence, recovered, finished my thought and called a 15 minute break.

I wasn’t anticipating my Grandad’s death to provoke the emotions I was experiencing.

Complete sadness.

Acknowledging his passing.

His quiet, gentleness. He cared about people. He cared that life was good to them.

I know he cared about me, one of his many grandchildren. He knew the highlights of our lives. He wanted the best for us all.

I reflect on his life.

His stresses, his joys, his decisions that collectively made up his journey.

I contemplate how I honor the culture, the beliefs, the family unity that he influenced. I reflect on his understanding for the need of Companionship and Love.

I acknowledge what I unreasonably disregarded and misjudged.

I consider if I can allow this experience to unconditionally impress my future.

published @ https://medium.com/@littlebeeshoe

The case of the Empty Paper Bag on Valentine’s Day

What I love most about Valentine’s Day are the memories.  Valentine Day memories from grade’s 1 to 6 where in our innocence we made Valentine’s Day cards, Valentine’s Day Garland, ate red frosted sugar cookies and cinnamon hearts.

I fondly think of the pink and red construction paper, diligently cutting out heart shapes, stringing together our creations, white paper doilies, glitter and glue.

This Valentine’s Day I spent with my family.  What better way to celebrate the day of Love.

My nieces were pretty excited to show me their paper bags full of Valentine’s when their dad dead panned, “I was that kid who usually had an empty Valentine’s Day paper bag.”

“Seriously!” my sister and I said in unison.  I could hardly imagine my brother-in-law going home empty handed each Valentine’s Day.  It made me sad to think some child might be going home without Valentine’s Day cards!

Both my nieces sat quietly, contemplating.

After a few moments of trying to think up all the possible reasons for her dad’s Valentine’s Day misfortunes as a child, one of my nieces posed the question.

“Dad” big pause, “did you used to fart then too?”

Dad didn’t hear the question and asked her to repeat it again.

“Did you used to fart?” she emphasized.

Louis’ Lessons of Love

1. A man always accompanies his woman everywhere, even shopping because he is her man and he is her protector. When he goes shopping with her he tells her “my love, how about this, maybe this one or try this.”

On men who don’t accompany their women “…bullshit! He doesn’t love her.”

2. Men should always be touching their girl. Massaging, kissing and touching their arms, and hands.

Louis’ easily spots Canadian travellers. They sit side by side, far apart. To help Canadians find love, Louis confronts unsuspecting vacationers with the following:

“Are you brother and sister.”

“No, we are husband and wife/boyfriend and girlfriend.”

He shakes his head in disappointment, “then why are you sitting like this?”

He grabs the man and woman’s hand, puts them together and declares, “You must hold hands! You must kiss and show passion”

Louis, is a compact man and he is looking for a Canadian Love and has asked us to keep an eye out for him. If anyone is interested in a real man who loves women 1,000% (because he has stressed he is NOT gay), let me know I have just the man!

Co-authored by the adventurous-shev-ski

Quote on friendship

Quote on friendship

This is reblogged (as with most of my quotes!!) from ladyromp.

The Fear of Experience: a conversation between a Gentleman and his apprentice

“I learned that you don’t need to be perfect at it,

you just need to have self-confidence and a little or a lot of patience

and you can do anything…”

LCI Facade Project participant

The heat and humidity is almost unbearable but it hasn’t stopped me from my daily journey to my favourite coffee house. Today I happened upon a free life therapy discussion.

There are a few times when sitting in the company of complete strangers can be exhilarating, they are:

1. Humour. I have heard enough conversations where I wish the 1/4 British in me knew how to turn my face to stone; for whatever reason the more I try to keep my face straight the more that smile, heck, my LAUGH escapes me. Why not let a stranger make us laugh!

2. Insight. Folks, it’s not just Oprah, our friends, family and the local therapist who is insightful. For the cost of a coffee there is free therapy to be had my friends, free therapy.

So today I was in the company of two fellows. I didn’t want to cramp their style and sat a safe distance away on the back patio.

I got myself arranged – this takes some effort. You see to really enjoy a hot coffee on a hot humid day while reading the last copy of “The Metro”; one must get adjusted properly in one’s chair. For me this means cross-legged and it is a trick on a metal chair, but does work.

Minding my own business reading about leaks in the PM’s security detail I couldn’t help myself; one of the men was out of his chair demonstrating his theory to his hunched over young companion.

“More confidence, you’ll attract more if you have more confidence. Look at me. See I take a step backward out of who I am. See,” and the older gentleman demonstrates by taking a step backward leaving behind his invisible self.

“Now I can look at myself,” pointing to the place on the patio where he was standing a second ago.

“And I look and I ask why can’t I be confident? I am confident. I do not have experience but I can still be confident in ME.”

He wants to stress this point of inexperience, drive the message home and continues mockingly, in first person self-doubt, “But I don’t have anything, I don’t know anything. That’s ok, there is nothing wrong with not knowing and there is NOTHING wrong with feeling confident even if you don’t know everything. Why is there a reason for shame?”

Shame. I can’t decide if it’s the enunciation of the word, or the hunched over shamed posture of his attentive student, but this is an equally important emotion in the discussion.

“Just step out of the moment. Look at yourself and be confident.”

The young gentleman shrugs and grunts.

I am doing my hardest not to be that creep eavesdropping but I can’t help myself. I want to go and sit in the lounge chair beside them so I can see the young apprentices face. I can’t tell if he is enjoying the animated conversation or bored and wanting to escape. I am intrigued, I want to know who this young fellow is, I want to know what the older gentleman has emphatically experienced.

“Great actors are confident. Why are you embarrassed? There is no reason to be embarrassed. Experience is part of who you will be in the future, the experience, the greatness. For now experiment, be confident, be in the now.

There is so much emotion there is this illusion the older gentleman is shouting but there is no shouting.

Forceful? Perhaps. Convincing? Absolutely.

I am desperate to know if the young man is listening or simply grunting at the animation, passion and truth. Is he ignoring what is being given to him by a man who evidently experienced something. I doubt you can talk this way unless you really believe, have walked the path and have seen the creatures in the forest.

I try not to stare over at the two of them, the older gentleman has sat down. The young man notices me. I wonder if he saw my mouth wide open, jaw dropped and a look of wonderment on my face? He checks his phone and I look away. The street car passed on the other side of the building and I lose part of the one-sided conversation.

“Focus the energy on what you want and slowly you’ll move towards what you want depending how much you want it. Everybody does it; they all put their energy out there for what they want. When they get it they ask for more. Don’t shy away from the experience saying I don’t know this and I don’t know that.”

“Sacrifice, find your inner-sense. We think we are crazy. Why don’t we want to go there, go for the experience? We are afraid. What are we afraid of?”

I am cursing the TTC. Why do street cars travel in packs? Can’t they travel in intervals? They are disrupting my concentration.

“We are afraid of contradicting ourselves. That is what we are afraid of, afraid of proving ourselves, our beliefs wrong. We ask ourselves, am I going crazy? I say it’s just change. It is change. We are told that everything must stay the same that nothing changes. But it does change and we are afraid if we feel or say one thing, once we have an experience what we originally felt or said is now contradicted. We’ve proved something for ourselves and now our beliefs have been challenged. That’s just the way of the world.”

The young man softly says a few words that I can’t make out. He has an accent and I wish so much that I could hear what he said. I am not sure at this point if I want to hear the meaning of his words or just try to figure out where he’s from. It’s a British English accent but it’s not from Britain.

“No, no, you don’t understand. We justify our beliefs and that’s not right or wrong. We just need to be willing to experience life and let it contradict us if that’s what it does – so be it. If we don’t then we live in fear and we do not grow, we do not learn or experience.”

“Just like we are taught to behave like a man. You know like a man who wants a woman.”

Ok, now I desperately want to be sitting in that lounge chair beside them! And why wont the street car parade move along?!

“Like in a relationship, she has to look like a woman, act like a woman in order to attract a man. But why can’t she to be an individual. She should be able to be whoever it is she wants to be. She should be able to be calm about her individuality. But we set rules on what she should be like, who she should be and how she should act.”

I so want to go give this man a hug and ask him to marry me! Imagine! Me MARRIED! I know, I am still laughing too! But seriously, if this short older gentleman with a balding head and a passion for experience and a willingness to allow people to be who they are, I may be converted! Hey, the man did say that experience will sometimes make us contradict ourselves.

“Try to find yourself. Heal. It is important to heal and to heal we need to touch. Our body gets these tingly sensations when we do sports, wrestling, walking, swimming; any type of physical activity. We can touch with these sensations, with our body and that helps us heal.”

Another parade of streetcars passes on the road. I lose more of the conversation.

“If you don’t like something, focus on what you like. It’s the law of attraction. I hate it, I hate it. I want to feel good. That’s what we say. Well then start feeling good. Start feeling this. Start doing activities that allows your body to touch and feel. You’ll never get there until you start feeling it. You are too busy hating what you don’t like and it is building up. If there is something you don’t like, that you hate, stop thinking about it and start thinking about what you love, what you like”

There was more advice.

“Letting that hatred build up gets us to this state. Unhealthy addiction. As an example, people start drinking it helps them, it relaxes them. It becomes the thing they focus on wanting and when they are going for more than one drink and they can’t handle it, they want more and more. And then they become addicted, they can’t live without it. That drinking becomes a belief system. Drinking becomes something they do that helps them to deal with life.”

Maybe the gentleman is from AA?

“How does drinking help with life? Well the person thinks I don’t care how it’s helping, it’s helping me deal with life. That becomes the sticking point, you eventually don’t know why the drinking is suppose to be helping deal with life and you don’t know what to do about it. It’s not that you don’t know how to move on, you are just no longer in touch with how to deal with it. I lack something else. There is always a lack and drinking is a compensation and you become addicted and you don’t even remember why. Eventually you don’t know how to change and you go to the local bar, I don’t like it because there is nothing here. But this is where everyone is. The space in-between, it is empty, but it is jail.”

“The fears are beating you. Release the barrier. Live the experience. Give up the fear that is handcuffing you and is keeping you down. Put your energy in the good things, in positive things. Concentrate on what you love, what you like and it will come to you and you will not drown in a cursed habit of your choosing.”

I left the patio first. I can’t stop wondering at the older gentleman’s life or what could possibly be going on with our fine young man with the distinguished accent. I will likely never know. I never did see their faces and will forget what their voices sounded like. I might be able to spot the passion again, but who is to say for certain.

Life is like a box of…letters

When I left for college my family was really good at sending me letters in the mail. Yes I was old enough, or young enough, or whatever enough that email was a normal method of communication, however there is just something about getting physical mail.

I found my box of saved up mail in my junk drawer.

As a side note, junk drawers, no matter how organized one might be, are super important. It’s in these drawers that treasures are found 🙂 Like old comics cut out of the newspaper or that thing we made when we were in grade 3 that was “Oh soooo cute.”

In my box there were a few typed letters from a friend of the family who was living with my parents. He was…I dunno, 90? It is safe to say he wasn’t young and he had lots of advice for me while I was away in my first year at college. I laughed out loud when I read this Christmas Card from him:

MAY YOUR LIFE BE LONG AND PLESENT
MAY YOU HAVE TEN KIDS AND LOADS OF FRENDS

MERRY XMS, TO YOU.

Ummm, 10 kids – honestly!? I am WAYYYYY BEHIND 🙂

Anyhow in my box of letters there are some really funny notes and a few diaries I started but never finished (I likely got tired of the cover and found a new book to write in).

Perhaps this post is against my better judgement, but I cannot resist.

In my diaries from when I was 20, I didn’t realize this, but I was looking to find “Love”. And this makes me laugh. I will be the first to admit that this term was lost on me in my 20’s. It was a nice catch-all word that was the answer to everything. A little Love.

The problem, as a 20-something snot faced know-it-all, love was staring me in the face all along and I ignored it. I walked around it, I hid from it and yet would write in my diary at night, “I am looking for Love!”

You see the humour in this?! I do 🙂 and frankly it makes me laugh.

For whatever reason I decided that finding love was finding a magical man that I could put on MY mantle (forget about being his prize, I didn’t want to be a prize I wanted to win a prize!)

I can hardly stop myself from laughing and I can understand if this is making no sense but I will do my best to give some clairty (although that just may not be possible.)

When I talk about me walking around love and avoiding it, Love was my family and my close friends. The ones who cared about me and were there to laugh with me, poke fun at me and get away with it.

In my box of letters I see the love they had for me (how did they put up with me!).

So ladies who are in your 20’s who know it all, there are no magical men riding around on dark stallion’s or whatever colour of horse you prefer. There is family and best friends who have your back, who’d take a bullet for you, who’d do anything to keep you safe – that is Love.

I don’t believe love can be found just sitting there in the shade waiting to be happened upon.

I do believe it can be nutured and it can grow into something amazing and that it is worth the effort of friendship.

I am not sure when in my 20’s I stopped with my ridiculous “looking” and just started living – focusing on nurturing my attachments with family and friends and collecting new friends along the way, but it happened and perhaps that is just part of growing up.

It’s like the saying “Do a job you love and the money will come.” I say “Build strong friendships and love will come.”

To not finding Love. 😀 but rather great friendships!

A poem my sister sent me and yes I found it in the box of letters.

Friendship
To laugh and joke a bit, and grasp a friendly hand;
To love a bit and scold a bit, and hope they’ll understand.
To tell one’s secrets hopes and fears, and share a friendly smile;
To have a friend and be a friend is what makes life worthwhile!

Happy Mother’s Day

I like that we have days throughout the year that are set aside to remind us to take time to be thankful. I admit I did get a little annoyed following up to today with my email inbox being filled up with Retailer emails about how and where I should spend my money in celebration of Mother’s Day. But I accept it’s part of the culture we live in and suppose much simpler to embrace the annoyance and move on.

To my Mom, who gave me wings to fly. To the woman I deeply respect and appreciate: her Love, her Conviction, her Strength, her Unwavering Faith and her Commitment.

A Memory That Lives

A Memory That Lives

The part of life that perhaps cannot be adequately explained and likely will never be fully understood, are the people that come in and out of lives and touch us in such a significant way that forces us to examine ourselves and become better people.

They teach us how to trust, to love, to forgive and be the best person that we can be.

Today I miss Amanda.