Back to blogging

12 Sep

In contemplating my return to the blog world I considered starting a new blog entirely .. but in the spirit of learning life lessons I’ve decided to own up to my life, including my choices and decisions, my successes and failures. And at the same time drop off some baggage, and move forward . That being said, I will not – take back, delete or erase, all the  things that I formerly wrote about in regards to the amazing past life experiences which populated much of my thinking and writing over recent past years. It’s easy to hang onto all the negative stuff … somehow we humans are good at that … but even still, I will try and leave that in my bags at the door to my new phase in life 🙂

So – true to myself, my blog, and my followers, after a very long hiatus, I will put pen to paper (so to speak) and share my experiences as I see them …  and everything in-between. But first, after a long work week, I will relax and ponder life a little more … of course with a glass of wine,  ERRAZURIZ, my new favorite red.

… death, taxes – AND WINE – some things will never change – what a relief!


Coming full circle

11 Sep

Back to being me – and a test for my public identity

…to be continued 🙂

to go…

17 Dec

Sometimes getting a cup of java is just not worth the effort. But until it is acceptable to order a glass of wine through the drive through that is what we’re faced with. But what is it that makes getting your coffee at a drive through a hit or miss experience? Actually, a drive though is a risky way of getting anything the way you like. Once you’ve taken the goods and are on the road, what choice do we have but drink it, eat it, or chalk it up to more wasted money.

This morning after going through Tim’s and ordering my large coffee with 3 cream, I got on the road only to open it and find there was no cream at all! Taking time out of my morning to get a coffee to-go is no easy feat. So when I do, I want it to be worth it. This morning, like many, it was not. But I felt the need for a coffee for my hour + drive ahead of me. The next stop off they highway was 30 minutes away. I drove in silent debate…should I or shouldn’t I? I should I decided, and pulled off last-minute to head to a Starbucks. It wasn’t a drive through so my chances of walking away with what I asked for were in my favor. After waiting in line for 10 minutes, even though there were only two men (together) in front of me, it was my turn. I ordered my standard, ‘tall Americano with lots of room for cream’, and paid.  Then I stood for another 10 minutes behind the same two guys who were now waiting for their order. After they walked away, the girl at the coffee machine asked me if she could help me. Huh? A tall Americano? Oh ya, right, she said. As she was making the coffee she mumbled something, I’m not sure what, and handed me my coffee. I asked if she could spill some out (t was full to the top), as I had asked for room for cream. She did so and handed it back to me. It’s all about the cream for me. Anyway, I filled up the remainder of the cup with the buttery substance, put a lid on it, and walked out the door. I was now about 25 minutes behind schedule so I hurried off to get back on the highway.

Ahh, yes, I couldn’t  wait for the first sip! Ewww, so gross, even butter itself could not have helped how bitter it was! If I had been granted three wishes today, I had just wasted two of them on trying to get a decent coffee to-go!

At the end of day I did manage to get the appropriate intake of caffeine. But it only served as a fix and was certainly not the pleasurable experience I had hoped for. Oh well, I reach to refill my glass of wine  and think, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big a deal. And in fact, I’m glad I can’t get my wine through a drive through…I’m sure they would mess it up some how anyway. A saying rings true in my ears…if you want something done right, do it yourself!’ On that note, I will consider taking my to-go coffee as I get it…but I will most assuredly ‘get it done right’ when it comes to getting my wine, and do it myself.

Cheers 🙂

the spirit of giving…

16 Dec

 I overheard a conversation yesterday while I was at Winners looking for new gloves. I lost mine last week, which was odd, as I  don’t usually lose them until at least February. Anyway, while enjoying a glass of holiday cheer (any beverage consumed in December ;)), I recall the partial conversation I overheard went something like this: a women suggested to her shopping companion to buy a certain item for (what sounded like) a friend of theirs. The reply was, ‘I’m not buying her anything this year because she hasn’t bought me anything for two years in a row. I guess we are not celebrating Christmas anymore’? ‘Oh, ok,’ said the other woman.; and they moved on their ‘merry’ way shopping and chatting out of ear shot.

Tonight, now refilling my second glass (the small one) of wine, this conversation comes to mind…as does my eldest sister.  I do not celebrate Christmas, nor have I for the past 15 years, but I do remember when I did, and what the real spirit of the season was supposed to mean. Giving. Yet for most people giving seems conditional on receiving. Giving is not just the giving of material gifts, but more the giving of time, of love, and of appreciation. If Christmas is about true giving, then why would giving a gift depend on receiving a gift? But, I guess as humans we often have our own interest at heart.

With final glass of wine, I ponder the idea of ‘real giving’ and think again of my sister. She moved away while I was still quite young, but every year she took time out of her life to travel back to Canada and spend Christmas with us. And even with the huge expense of travelling home, sometimes overseas (depending on where she lived), she brought a suit case full of gifts for everyone. For her, it was about giving , of her time and  her love. She stopped making the trip back home sometime after the death of my mother, her siblings growing up, and a couple of step-mothers…sometimes ‘home’ changes its face. But she never stopped calling or sending gifts and cards. After I changed religions and announced to the family that I would not be participating in Christmas in any form, she still spent time selecting gifts and cards, packaging, and mailing. Every year, my husband, myself, and our three children, were on the receiving end of her belief in ‘giving’. Even though we didn’t celebrate the occasion, my kids looked forward every year to the boxes that would arrive in mid December from Aunt Vickie. The gifts were well thought out, selected with each of us in mind, wrapped, labeled, and tree ready. She knew we did not celebrate the occasion, knew we would not put the gifts under a tree to be opened on  Christmas morning, we would not send a gift in return, we would not send a ‘thinking of you’ holiday card; nothing.  But she never missed a single year.

I still don’t celebrate Christmas, but every year I get a Christmas phone call and an ‘I love you sister’ Christmas card in the mail…because to my sister, it’s about what she gives, not what she gets. That is what the spirit of giving should be.

Even though I don’t celebrate it, Merry Christmas to her, the one who has shown me the real spirit of giving.

Cheers to my sister! 🙂

thunder storms…

14 Dec

Mondays are the hardest day of the week for me…maybe for every nine to fiver. Coming down off the weekend, plus today there was an ice storm so my drive to work took  2 1/2 hours (and the same to get back home!), but mostly because my husband works late on Monday night and I’m left with my wine and my thoughts. We love to bounce ideas and questions off each other and come up with ‘answers’ to things we find perplexing. Like right now, I’m trying to understand what it is about some people that makes them try to ‘steal your thunder’? It’s an odd personality trait and something I can’t see myself doing. That is to say, someone who tries to get in someone elses lime light, or take credit for something they didn’t do. This seems to happen often in the corporate world. With my husband as a sounding board I can sometimes come to terms with, or at least gain an insight on, the quirks of other people. For the record though, I am aware of my own short comings. But I find this ‘glory theft’ phenomenon not only odd, but extremely annoying. Of course, when it is my ‘thunder’ that someone is trying to steal it is somewhat understandable that I would get ticked. But it even drives me crazy when I walk into a department store and ask the clerk if they carry ‘such and such’, and they reply, ‘let me see what I have’. What do you mean, what ‘you’ have! Do you own the store? Why do I find this all so annoying! Each year at this time I plan our company year-end party. And every year the same person tries to get in on the action so as to get some kind of recognition for the event. The crazy part is, this is part of my job. I am not doing it for glory. I suppose by now one of my favorite clichés should be chanting in my head making me feel better (what do you expect from a pig but a grunt). But in fact with every passing year this person’s ‘glory theft habit’ just comes to annoy me even more.  –why do they do it?!!!

Now, sipping another glass of my australian Shiraz I wonder… is this actually my issue? That is to say the fact that it annoys me so much. So why does it annoy me? Is it from being the middle child and feeling like I had to do something extra to get the attention of my parents? Or perhaps from being in a long marriage where I was made to feel like nothing I did was worth any merit at all. For years I would mumble under my breath and feel sorry for myself that no one cared about all my efforts. Now, I feel if do something for which credit should be awarded, I better receive it. Not to say I’m looking for a pat on the back for everything I do. But why should someone else get the pat for a job I have done! I’ve learned that people who ask for things get them far more often than those who don’t.

So I sit shaking my head because I just don’t get it. I don’t have the answer. –why do they do it?!!! I’ll have to wait for my husband to get in and open it up for discussion. And even if he can’t shed some light on it, I know he will at least get me to thinking, who really cares anyway?

Cheers to surviving ‘thunder’ storms!

and ‘other’ heros…

12 Dec

to be continued…

So after a delicious dinner, more than enough wine, and lots of catching up, I end the evening as I had began, in tears and hugs. I hop in the car for the ride home and  I can’t stop thinking of my nephew…he  is a hero in the eyes of his country. He believes in something, and he would die for it. That part scares the hell out of me. But he has made a choice, and he will support the cause…even to death. My husband and I did the 40 minutes home mostly in silence.

I drifted in an out of sleep that night and could not stop thinking of my nephew…and my own son. My mind came to dwell on a night some years ago when I was living in a basement apartment, alone. I had made the break from my religion, my marriage, my life,… and my children had made the break from me. Leaving the religion I was in had made me an outcast. Not just in the ‘church,’ but to every soul I had known for the past 17 years, including my children. But tonight I lay awake thinking of my nephew, his stand to do what he believed, to support what he had been raised to believe ,and to be a hero in the eyes of those who also believed the same. The more I thought about this, the more I saw the similarities between this and my own sons situation a number of years ago. Looking back now, I see how heart wrenching it was for him, a boy of 14, to have to shun his own mother, to ignore my existence in order to support what he believed was right (to support  his father). In the face of all loss, he supported, wholeheartedly, at least on the outside, his strong belief. He went to war for what he believed was right. And in the face of his enemy, me at the time, he did not back down, give in, or surrender. My son was a hero too. Not the kind that will have yellow ribbons tied on trees, who will be honored on Remembrance Day, not even the kind most people would give honor to at all… but a hero for standing up for what he believes in.

So one night  many years ago, in that small basement apartment,my sister came to visit me. Knowing my son, in fact all my children, had disowned me, she asked, ‘how do you manage to get out of bed in the morning’? I didn’t have  a verbal answer back then. In fact I had no words at all. I think she knows the answer to that question these days…you just do it. You pray and you wait and you hope. And one day when (if) they come back, you are there waiting.  Maybe she and I are some kind of hero’s too?  

My nephew has just returned home from Afghanistan. ‘Thankfully’.  My son, almost 10 years later, now lives with me again. Maybe when you believe something with all you’re heart, you can’t allow yourself to think about what your belief may do to those you love… sometimes the very thing that unites also divides us.  

This is most certainly a good time to open another bottle of wine, which just by coincidence, is called ‘Nine Lives’.

Cheers to all hero’s!

yellow ribbons…

11 Dec

I’ve been waiting until a ‘safe’ time to post this blog. Tonight is it. First, my glass of wine.

This year, for the first time in about 12, I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at my sisters home. It was a special dinner planned in celebration of her sons two-week leave from Afghanistan. I do not support, agree, or condone war in any way… but my nephew would be there on leave and I couldn’t miss it.

My children’s religious upbringing, the one I saw fit to raise them in, does not, coincidentally, support, condone, or affiliate itself with war. Neither do they participate in the Thanksgiving ‘ritual. Which is all fine and good. However, my nephew was coming home from ‘war’ for two weeks and my sister and I both wanted him to know that we, and all his family, were there for him,

…so a dinner was planned.

When I arrived, I had not prepared myself for the yellow ribbons. Yes, the neighbours had tied yellow ribbons on the trees that lined the street to my sister’s home. I knew nothing more (‘protected’ by religion for years) than they meant ‘welcome home’. Overcome with emotion, I rang the bell, and welcomed my nephew with tears and hugs. At that moment, I didn’t care who believed what, or why, who was right, or wrong…he was home and that was all that mattered.

I dropped my contribution to the feast, two bottles of wine, on the kitchen table and went about the business of socializing. Following close behind were my eldest daughter and my son. My sister had gone to great lengths to make the party just right for her son, and to make my children welcome and comfortable, despite the division. My sister is very good at putting everyone’s happiness (except her own) at the top of the list.  Religious differences have kept our families apart for about 15 years, but since my exodus, I have tried to find ways to reunite us all. My sister stuck with our Anglican upbringing, I made drastic changes. But on this occasion my kids seemed happy to be there and the differences between the cousins beliefs were barely noticed. My sisters extensive efforts to please all were well rewarded.

To be continued…:)

don’t panic…

10 Dec

Flipping through the latest edition of O (my favorite magazine!), I reach for my open bottle of wine to refill my empty glass.  This is shapping up to be an evening of relaxation! As I return the bottle to the counter, pain shoots through my arm and up into my neck and head.  I instantly go into ‘medical mode’. I have in-depth medical  knowledge gained from being an avid reader of the medical book growing up (AKA: hypochondriac). My mind races through the many diseases or health tragedies that could cause such a pain.  In my mind, every potential health issue could lead to death. I get a quick grip on my thoughts, focus on what I want instead of what I don’t want, and take another sip of wine.  Ahh, so good. As I try to forget about my arm, I start to recall a time when I didn’t drink wine, or any alcohol for that matter. Not that there is anything wrong with not drinking. It’s just that I chose not to drink because I was too afraid of it. Afraid of the feeling. Afraid it may not be ‘good’ for me. Afraid of not being in control. Afraid of everything…This is a common underlying personality trait for anyone with anxiety and panic disorder.

It seems like a life time ago that I was a prisoner of my own thinking. However, such a mental malady is deep seeded and a pattern that I wonder if I will ever be totally free of. Compared to the girl who once suffered from agoraphobia, I am a hero in my own eyes. The strength I found to pull myself out of the depth of such a demon…after 14 years… is beyond the thinking of many a sufferer…including myself. Desperate people do desperate things.

But that was another time. Another life. If everything truly happens for a reason, then that suffering blessed me with depth of understanding, gave me compassion, and appreciation. It has given me the ability to laugh at myself. It has made me better, made me stronger…and made me not ‘afraid’ to have a glass a wine.

Cheers to life lessons!


the ‘short’ version…

7 Dec

This past weekend was active for my husband and I. ‘Tis’ the season’. Friday dinner with family, Saturday dinner hosted by my husbands employer, Sunday a Raptors game in the private box hosted by my employer. Busy, busy, busy. All in all pretty much a good time…with one small exception. I will pour myself a glass of wine before getting into this short story.

My husbands  year-end company dinners are always amazing and the owner of the company goes out of his way to spare nothing as a thank-you to his employees. This year was no exception. The venue, the food, a belly dancer for cocktail hour…over the top! After dinner, names were called for ‘gift giving’, coffee was served, more wine was poured, and the ‘entertainment’ was busily getting ready to take the night away.  The lone agent opened his act by patting his microphone on the top and saying, ‘hello everyone, this is my mic, that one is yours, don’t touch my mic’.  Following this statement he held up a liquor ticket and said ‘can someone get me a beer’, not just any beer though…he had particular brand and color!  So his ‘act’ is sort of expanded karaoke. He sings songs and plays his guitar to prerecorded music, has an open book with lyrics, and people get can come up and sing…on the ‘extra mic’. So even though that is the idea behind the ‘act,’ it seems that often this guy wants the karaoke stage all to himself. Those brave enough to get up were told not to touch the mic (the one he announced in the beginning was ‘their mic),’ some were asked not to sing, and at one point the extra mic was turned off so people could not be heard at all. So this guy rocked out in his own world, ignored requests and even opened one song by saying, ok, no one get up, I want to sing this one alone! What! Don’t get up! I guess there are a variety of ways to get a ‘commanding audience’.

So one more glass of wine and a long story short,  the weekend has past and I am left wondering what in the heck this ‘karaoke’ guy is all about. His bad attitude was a bit of a joke to many in the crowd. Some even getting up to sing just to annoy him. Right from the get go he and I didn’t see eye to eye, not because at 5 ‘2″ with 5″ heels  I towered over him, but because (as I see it), he perhaps suffers from somthing called ‘Nap0leon complex’. This is actually a personality type that was recently introduced to me when I had the bad fortune of working for such a man. In light of my diagnosis for this persons behiorial problems I perhaps should feel pity. But as I said,  this is just the ‘short’ of the story.  I’d love to get into the details which lead to my telling him off by the end of the night, but I am going to practice the wise words of my sister and just let it go

But before I totally let it go, I sip my wine and look up his web-site. It was not interactive, no surprise there, so I could not leave a comment. However, I found some connection between and the wording he uses to describe himself  and the person I met on Friday night  (how great is the ‘copy and paste’ feature). He says…

‘He simply got real tired of rehearsing with new bands for months, playing a couple of dates only to have the band break up for whatever reason’. (hmmm, maybe your attitute was the reason?)


‘My ‘band’ whom I affectionately refer to as ‘The Cassettes’, always show up for gigs and rehearsals, never give me ‘tude, rarely make a mistake and best of all they are bad habit free’. (so if you dare get up to sing along, don’t give him any ‘tude’, don’t make a  mistake, and, don’t, don’t, don’t,  touch his mic! 🙂 He takes his karaoke more serious than most surgeons take an appendectomy!)

Ok, that’s it…I’ve said my piece and I’m letting it go!

Cheers to my sister for the good advice!

the boss…

4 Dec

Friday again, the work week has been extra long and I am feeling at my wit’s end. Having a woman boss, especially for a woman, can be challenging. Not to say that all women have issues; either with being the woman boss or working for a woman boss. However, at the cost of sounding like a ‘male chauvinist’, I think (from experience) men make better bosses.   According to an article a couple of years ago in the Sunday Times, there are three kinds of female bosses. I may agree with this. The boss I am speaking of is actually my bosses boss, and on a personal note I think she is a great person, and perhaps even somewhat of a friend. Under different circumstances we might even be good friends. But, after almost 6 years working under the same ‘title’ with numerous added responsibilities, I am more than getting impatient of not reaping the benefits of my labor. Why can she not just promote me!  I deserve it (no one would disagree), and I want it! Probably a familiar story for many of us. My immediate boss is a man, whom I have a great working relationship with,  and is very supportive of my receiving  a ‘promotion’. But he can do nothing of his own initiative. I’m not even sure why he is considered my manager at all.  I have approached my ‘bosses boss’ a number of times with my petition, only to get sent back to my office to do ‘one more thing’.  At this point it’s just become a stall tactic. AHH! It seriously has me at my wit’s end.

What is a woman to do? It seems getting ahead in a women’s world is no easier than in a mans. In fact maybe harder! I can often be quoted as  saying, ‘it’s a mans’ world’ (my husband tells me I’m a man hater…lucky he’s not one then, I tell him), but even still (hater or not), there is a certain level of comfort in that world. I know where I stand. Men say what they mean and mean what they say.  Sometimes navigating in this ‘womans’ world leaves me feeling quite out-of-place. I don’t get it. I think as women, we are part of a special ‘club,’ and should be helping one another along the path.

Finishing my last sip of wine I think about this dilemma. I decide to google for help. A practice I often resort to. I key in,  How can a woman get ahead? Google presented me with the following video, which was amusing, and perhaps even insightful…if  the boss in question were a man. Although this video has not answered my 20th century question…back in the day there were not many, if any, women bosses (hence the video). I pour myself another glass of wine and think, my wits are a little less frazzled and after all it is the weekend. I can deal with work issues at work.  Maybe it’s the wine, or maybe it’s the smile I have right now…because even though it may be a man’s world, this video suggests who really has the power 😉