Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A woman's guide to spring cleaning...

Housecleaning…it happens when the warm breezes of spring beg us to open our windows and let in just a bit of freshness to air out the mustiness of winter. We begin the ritual of tossing out the old to make room for the new, or simply purge the unnecessary. I’m a firm believer in purging that which has grown tired or useless, worn or dated. Honestly, other than my most favorite shoes or those vintage and classic pieces that are truly timeless, there is little I hang onto in my life. If it hasn’t seen the outside of my closet in more than two years, then off it goes to the nearest Goodwill store.

I’m finding that as I get older, relationships are another thing that I need to purge on a somewhat regular basis. Friendships are often like fashion – trendy and fun at the time, but increasingly tiresome as you move through the seasons of life. Sometimes you realize that you have simply outgrown the relationship. Other times it is more a function of putting more energy into it than you are ever going to get out of it. My rule is no emotional vampires, something you really have to watch out for these days. As I have often said, who needs “the quicker picker upper” when you’re living in the world of the self-absorbed. These clueless individuals are the ones that spend 95% of their time trying to decide if you, as a friend, are worth any kind of effort and what exactly might they “be getting out of it” on the other side. They suck the air out of a room from the moment they walk through the door, leaving everyone else gasping for whatever oxygen is left. Sad that there are those that base their relationships on what they need, rather than what they can give. Those of us who have been around the block more than a few times realize that it is never about what you can get, but what you can give. The more you give, the more you receive in ways you never even imagined. I’m sad for those that never get to experience such friendships, and count myself as lucky that I have so many people in my life who are such giving souls. We sustain each other through the bad times, and they make the good times so much more worthwhile.

I had the opportunity to spend an hour or so with one such person this past weekend. I consider her much like a sister, and as is the case with my sister, I never get to see her enough. But every time we get together, it is like picking up right where we left off. We are polar opposites on the political scale (although I am closer to center than she thinks I am) but very similar in our outlook on life. I wish it could have been a longer visit. I wish she lived closer. But I’ll take what I can get when it comes to spending time with her, and I will always cherish whatever time we share. Thanks Annessa, for being such a kind, compassionate and wonderful woman. You make my life richer, just by being in it.

I’ve met several other women over the past six months, as well as rekindled relationships with several others that I have known for the better part of my 46 years. Each has proven to me that there are indeed still really great women left in the world. Several of them would describe themselves as “low-maintenance”, and in fact they are. We get together when we can, and rarely make unnecessary demands on each other. I’m happy to stroke their egos, but it isn’t required. They are secure enough in themselves to know that no amount of ego-stroking from others can make up for the fact that self-love and security come from within. They don’t spend endless amounts of time comparing themselves to other women, and they are not in the habit of putting down others on a nearly constant basis. When we are together, we laugh a lot, appreciate each other, along with our own individual beauty and talents, and we care for each other - more deeply each time we are in each other’s company. These are the friendships you never throw away, for they will sustain you through your life. These are the friendships that one should always treat as a beautiful garden, one that requires watering and weeding, care and love. Thank you to each of you and know that I consider you a true blessing. You give me hope that there are still those who truly care for others and are willing to make the commitment to family and friendships without ridiculous expectations. I look forward to many moments and shared experiences, both good and bad, that draw us closer together.

I guess what I am trying to say is don’t be apprehensive about “spring cleaning” your life, even metaphorically. While it is often scary to throw out that which is familiar, clearly there is no value in holding onto that which is not working for you in your life. Often times, there in the pile of crap at the bottom of your closet, you find something even more precious just waiting for you in that beautiful unopened box.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My life on the edge of the martini glass...

Lately, I have been contemplating my relationship with alcohol. I would like to think I have a healthy, albeit committed, relationship with my cocktails, but some days I’m not so sure about the healthy part. There is absolutely something that is so seductive to me about a dirty martini or a cosmopolitan at happy hour...maybe it is because of the civilized way it is presented in a beautiful glass with some lovely garnish, or perhaps it is the manner in which it washes over my brain, taking with it all the stresses of daily life. Whatever it is, I have decided that while I am not fascinated with QUANTITY, but QUALITY, I cannot see me ever giving up booze completely for an extended period of YEARS. Does that make me an alcoholic? Probably, at least on some level. I believe that while alcoholism is definitely a disease, there are varying degrees of it in the world. At times in my life, I’ve given it up for quite a while – usually for some diet I was on that forbid drinking while on it. My record? 3 months. I nearly drove Bill mad. I think he may have actually been glad when I picked up a glass of wine again. It made me more sane, and less bitchy.

I’ve actually known more than several people who have given up the bottle, or beer, or whatever their vice of choice was, and I am always in awe of their strength and fortitude. I’ve gone to AA meetings with them, comforted them, listened to them, all the while wondering if I was really “one of them.” Where is the invisible line with such a thing? I am pretty sure wherever it is I’ve crossed it more than once, especially in my wilder, free-spirited days. Alcohol has always been my “drug of choice.” I’ve been around various forms of other drugs over the years – I did live through the 80’s during my 20’s, so it was fairly hard to avoid if you embarked upon any kind of social scene. But those types of drugs never had the allure for me that alcohol provided, in fact, I was completely disinterested in them. I never thought it was “sexy” to be snorting various things up your nose. To me, it was kind of gross and unseemly, and smoking was equally nasty. But a few people around me swore by these vices, indeed some threw their lives away for them. I still miss them, and wonder what where they would be if they had turned their addiction around. It's hard to say really. Life with alcohol is a more prolonged ending, and I believe, more insidious if you lose control. Have I ever lost control with alcohol? Yep, I sure have. In the end, I had the presence of mind to pull myself back from the edge of the martini glass, before I drowned in it.

I’ve tried to be honest with my own daughter about alcohol, and being responsible with it when that time comes. I let her have a sip of champagne on holidays or special occasions from time to time, but mostly because I do not want it to be that “forbidden” thing for her. My experience is, the more something is forbidden, the more it will carry stigmas with it later in life. She knows that there is a time, a place and an age for responsible drinking, and she is keenly aware of the effects of irresponsible drinking, and how it can ruin your life, as well as the lives of others. I am thankful she is level-headed about these things, and I hope it continues. We shall any parent knows, our kids are not perfect and there are no guarantees. All we can do is set a good example for them and pray...a lot...

So for now, I will continue my love affair with my nightly glass of wine, or my Friday evening cosmopolitans. I cannot guarantee I will always be a drinker, but I can promise you that I will try very hard not to be a drunk.


OH! You can follow me on twitter @LolaPaloozaTuck

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Three cheers for Facebook!!!!

Someone recently told me that I post too often on Facebook because I’m completely insecure and need "constant affirmation" from everyone around me. Ok, I’ve given some thought to this, since I am on a path to self-improvement and enlightenment, and like to give consideration to things pointed out to me by others, at least a little anyway. Insecurity is, by definition, a negative attribute, but really, what exactly does it mean? Let’s check it out according to Webster’s dictionary, shall we?

Insecure adjective \in-si-‘kyur\

1: not confident or sure: UNCERTAIN
2: not adequately guarded or sustained: UNSAFE
3: not firmly fastened or fix: SHAKY
4 a: not highly stable or well-adjusted
b: deficient in assurance: beset by fear and anxiety

-- in-se-cure-ly adverb
-- in-se-cure-ness noun
-- in-se-cu-ri-ty noun

Hmmmmmmm...I’m thinking that insecurity isn’t really a problem for me. I’m pretty much comfortable in most any surroundings with anyone, I’m confident, and my marriage is far from insecure. Wow, ok then, I think I can pretty much disregard this individual’s remarks (I sorta knew that) and tell her to keep her opinions to herself. Oh wait, I already did that, never mind.

So this facebook thing, let’s chat about it for a moment. My facebook friends list is long, not because I’m loved by any and all, but mostly because I have four distinct groups of individuals that I communicate with on a more than regular basis…other “bird buddies” (being that I am a “bird” person), my old high school buddies, my “funny” buddies – people I have met through my foray into comedic writing - and my “other” buddies. The last group is mostly local to me, and actually the smallest group of people I chat with on facebook, although a few of us are at it all the time, sometimes carrying on conversations for hours. In some ways, facebook is like a “party line” on the internet, which I love. I do like to keep my facebook circle of local people smaller, as facebook has that “nasty reputation” of spreading rumor and innuendo like wildfire. Funny, I don’t really have that issue with the other groups of facebook buddies, but it’s cool.

Mainly, I love facebook because it allows me to express myself openly, as much or as little as I like. I enjoy the “tit for tat” back and forth conversations with friends, which usually leave me snorting water through my nose from laughing so hard. Happily, I’ve discovered that I’m not the only weirdo with a ridiculously acerbic sense of humor, and copious amounts of sarcasm to boot. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself “GAWD, I wish I had known these people from high school were this hilarious when we were actually in high school.” The whole experience would have been way more fun, lemme tell ya.

I post because I have something to say...sometimes prophetic, sometimes silly, sometimes meaningless, and on the rare occasion, something important. Those who want to read it do just that. Sometimes they respond, sometimes they don’t. I rarely have people leave nasty comments on my page, but if they do, it’s all good. At least I inspired some sort of reaction. It would be far worse to inspire no reaction at all. Besides, everyone is entitled to their own thoughts. Mostly it would require me to care, and often I just don’t. But if they feel better, then good for them.

Facebook has allowed me to rekindle old friendships, discover new ones, and keep in touch with my family and loved ones in a really meaningful way. I’ve learned of several friends’ passing within hours of their departure from this world, and we’ve all cried and reminisced together, right there on Facebook. There have been births, and weddings (even my own), photos of pets, children and grandchildren. How truly extraordinary it is to be able to feel so close to those who are hundreds, sometimes even thousands of miles away.

So to you, Mark Zuckerberg, while there is much that “tweaks” me about your little social experiment, on the whole I am grateful. You’ve added a dimension to my life that makes me feel very blessed.

See you on the dark...I mean Facebook...side.

Monday, June 6, 2011

If I were a man...I'd be gay...

for a variety of reasons but mostly because I would never put up with one tenth of the crap that women dish out on any given day. As a woman, I’m not proud of this fact, but I have tried hard to at least look at things from “the male perspective” from time to time. My conclusion? If I were a man, I would so be gay that I’d be dressed like Liberaci and belting out show tunes. Women are complicated, conniving, deceitful, manipulative, and downright bitchy – mostly they save this behaviour for other women, a fact that to this day mystifies me, and probably the reason why I only keep a handful of women close to me. Too many times I have stepped out of a dressing room to hear a “friend” say, “OMG, that is fabulous! And you know what would look really great with those gauchos??? Some knee socks and a pair of crocs!” Yeah, I wish I was kidding but I’m not. I’ve had friends that have a lifetime supply of ginsu knives just waiting to plunge into any woman they perceive to be a threat on any level. No mercy, go straight for the jugular. The crap women pull on each other defies explanation.

I do have a handful of friends who have withstood the test of time, and really been there for me no matter what the circumstances. We cheer each other’s accomplishments, and prop each other up when life kicks us in the teeth. We laugh together, cry together, and drink together…A LOT. We savour those moments when we can all look at each other and say with a huge amount of satisfaction “You’re a really great broad.” I love those girls. Female friendships should be celebrated, like a sisterhood. Wouldn’t it be nice if all women could treat each other with respect, and caring? But somehow, one woman always comes along who is so toxic that she poisons the water everywhere she goes. Women like that just piss me off. I can take a lot, but once they push me over the edge, that is when my “inner bitchy” comes out, complete with claws and the tongue of a viper. My tolerance for women who tear other women down so they can build themselves up is non-existent. These are the ones who should not have their “girl card” revoked, it should be shredded in teeny tiny pieces and forced down their throats.

I thank God for my female friends who shower me with love and support, including but certainly not limited to, my sister and my mom. There are others, and if they are reading this and smiling, they will realize that I am talking about them. I love you, admire you, and wish you nothing but beautiful days filled with everything wonderful that you deserve. Thank you for being there, for being my confidants, my champions, my family and my conscience. You remind me that among all the women who chronically suffer from jealousy and insecurity, there are some who are so secure in their own minds and hearts that they will not be dragged down to the level of those who are not as fortunate. In the end, you will always rise to the top.