Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Should Auld Aquaintance Be Forgot...

Ah, the end of the year.

I close 2014 with a somewhat melancholy air: Barry is spending this afternoon at the funeral of a dear friend's wife, who has died way too young at 63.  Yesterday, we were at the funeral home and the long lines waiting to see the family were a testament to what a wonderful lady Fran was.

If January 1st is a fresh page waiting for us to write our stories upon, December 31st is the look back, the day to take stock.

The lovely blog Into Mind recently shared a list of 50 questions to help you "reflect, appreciate and get excited for 2015".

I plan to do those questions this afternoon, since this is the perfect time, before the champagne cork is popped and the fun and games begin.

This is what is awaiting me tonight, likely to be noshed with chocolate and potato chips
whilst I watch Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, whom I adore..

On the other end, my lovely friend Jennifer shared her word for 2015, brave, in her blog today.

Isn't that a wonderful word?  It implies all kinds of good things and good intentions.  I chose BREAKTHROUGH, but to be honest, it was less about work and more about the internal work I have been doing on gratitude, kindness, joy and most all, patience and my desire to find specific and meaningful ways to give back.

I am excited to see how BRAVE manifests itself in Jennifer!

I know many do not like resolutions.  I personally do not care for ones that require "fixing" oneself.

New Year's Resolutions


Surely we are all tired of beating ourselves up because we are not a size 4 or live in a big house or have cash up the wazoo?

Gandhi said (allegedly!) that we should be the change we want to see in the world.

I feel I have taken steps in that direction.  I am blissfully carefree of others' good opinions now since I  dropped out of everything.

I have learned that you can only succeed by doing.  And doing.  And falling on your ass.  And doing...

That if you are lucky in this world you have a small group of friends who love you unconditionally and whom you love in return.  If you don't have that, than I suggest that step #1 in 2015 is take a risk and reach out to someone you like but don't know really well.  Friends cost nothing, not even a cup of coffee and many of my friends I can only talk to via email!

Only by being vulnerable have I succeeded in anything in my life, most of all in the loves of my life, people-wise, work-wise, otherwise.

I also believe that everyone has dreams, of varying size and magnitude, and that to not try for that dream is akin to stuffing yourself back down.  And while one of my dreams is to be a published writer, an equally strong dream is to give back, through whatever means I can.

We think so much of grand gestures, grand everythings, but as excited as I was to land a literary agent this year (and she was likely as thrilled in reverse!) I was equally excited to sit at my desk every day and write about the worlds in my heads, writing many words and scenes that will never be seen by anyone but me.

I was excited to have tea with my Mum's best friend for her 90th birthday.

I was thrilled to see my brother and his family and the majestic mountains, but as excited as I was by the mountain goats, I was equally excited by their Boston Terrier, Wilma.

Everyday when I meditate (for a very short period of time and with lots of random thoughts mixed in for great delight) I think "how can I be the best me and how can I help others?"  The latter is purely selfish, as I have discovered that by helping others, whether through volunteering, caring, or just giving them a hug, appears to benefit me more than them.

This year I gained 15 pounds.  Next year I will likely take it off.  (hello menopause, I see you in the corner).  I am not beating myself up.  In fact, I am telling myself daily how great I am.  I have decided to be my own best friend, and frankly, best friends don't tell you you look like crap (unless they're worried you're sick!)

This year I made new friends, and sadly lost some friends.

This year I was excited every day.

And if I can send you one wish on this last day of 2014 it is this: that you are in good health and that you are excited every day.  We deserve nothing less from our time here.



That's how I'll honour friends lost.  By showing up and by being excited.

Love to you all!!!!

xoxo wendy

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The jumble after Christmas

Well, I have eaten, drank and played endless games of Heads Up as I make my way through Christmas week.

As was to be expected, the day itself was grand: the goose was not overcooked, the desserts divine, the sides sublime.

Good Lord, it had a long neck....

Walking around the house on boxing day I was met with utter chaos.

The remains of the day....

It seems I embrace Christmas chaos.

the piles of chocolate pushing up against the Amaryllis!

our newest game?  Find the top of the sea captain's chest?

I know there are some, like my lovely friend Jen, who are happy to toss the tree on the day after.  I understand that sentiment, But I am not in that camp.  I will likely keep mine up till at least next Saturday and Sunday, and perhaps even till the Epiphany.

I like the homeliness of the Christmas mess - the odd piece of wrapping paper jammed under a cushion, the socks left in a jumble (those are mine in the corner above).

Very rarely do I feel so queen-like, lying about in my robe, eating chocolates until my stomach is distended, reading a smashing new book.

Gin, John Wayne, and an Indy toy, cheek to jowl
with a batman action figure and Mr. Bean.
Really, it's like a fantasy, isn't it? 

Of course, now it's the 28th.  The in-laws have been visited, we are picking up and cleaning a bit, as the beloved GetFresh arrives tomorrow for our next night of frivolity (God I hope she likes Heads Up!).

I've waited over a year for this and it did not disappoint!)

In one of my favourite Christmas gifts, Novel Interiors, author Lisa Borgnes Giramonti says:

Don't tidy up too quickly.  "The table, strewn with napkins and wine-glasses, had a derelict air as they left it." So writes Virginia Woolf in The Years about the scene after a particularly fabulous evening.  I whole-heartedly agree.  When your guests have finished eating, let the dishes linger.  Oftentimes, when you clear the table, you sweep the mood away right along with it.

And thus it is with the jumble of Christmas.  January will come soon enough, with its pale newness, its promise of tidiness, its resolve towards all things organized and possible.

In the dying days of 2014, I live in shambles, my own version of Miss Havisham, seeing the old year out in the flotsam and jetsam of the year past!

Where's my iPad?  I need to play Head's Up!  Pip!!!!!!

Have a wonderful Sunday!  xoxo wendy

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Well it always comes, doesn't it, sneaking up so quickly after months of waiting.

Like a long-lost friend; different each time, but essentially the same at the core, Christmas arrives with its traditions, expectations, frustrations, sadness.

The next twenty-four hours will be a whirl of activity and "too-muches":

  • too much work
  • too much food
  • too much under the tree
  • too much family
  • too much commercialism
  • too much everything!

And yet, I am glad of those too-muches.  I hug them closely.  I remember other years, where other women did the work and I was the one under the tree playing with the toys.  There will be Christmases ahead where others will do the cooking.  There will be Christmases where I will be simply a story told around the table.

That's okay.

Because you know what?  I believe.

I still hear the bell.  Santa Clause, and his spirit, will always exist in me.

I believe in

  • love
  • friendship
  • letting go
  • holding tight
  • fairy dust
  • the way the world can conspire to get us what we need if we just open our hearts fully
  • sadness, because haven't we all had a Christmas that didn't "cut the mustard"?  A Christmas where we were heartbroken, financially broken, sad?  If you haven't then count yourselves among the lucky, though to be honest, I wouldn't trade the bad times - they are our teachers and we need them to fully appreciate the good times
  • caring
  • sharing
  • waking up early on Christmas Day and laying in bed and thinking "it came!"
  • peace and fellowship, the energy of which may not last the other 364 days of the years, but whose energy cannot help but permeate
  • reaching out when someone needs help
  • respecting when someone doesn't want your help
  • toys
  • choral music
  • The Chieftains
  • Bing Crosby
  • Nat King Cole
  • The Pogues
  • faith
  • belief - because when we believe in something bigger than ourselves, something grander, we don't feel quite so alone

Most of all on this day, I think of children the world over, children who need our love and our money and our goodwill.  Children who deserve the same opportunities to be loved, to play, to succeed.  

God willing, there will be other Christmases.  But this Christmas, in all of its glories and its warts, is a gift.  And I believe in saying thank you for a gift.


I hope that whatever your faith, however you celebrate this season of the winter solstice, you take some time to be with your family and friends and reflect on your multitude of blessings.  I know I will.

Merry Christmas to you all and much love!  Your stopping by to say hello always makes me so happy and makes me feel so humble and thankful.  Truly, you are the Magi for me!

xoxo Wendy

Sunday, December 21, 2014

No Man is a Failure who has friends

We hosted our annual Christmas dinner for our pals last nights.

There are 12 of us and it is a lot of work and so much fun!

I set the table in the morning - love the plaid - is almost the MacLeod Hunter tartan!

Besides large bouquets, I did, a few sprigs of cedar in a small
vase is so lovely this time of year!

Teddy was in the middle, overseeing all

The Theme was "It's a Wonderful Life",
so I made every person a small bell ornament that I
also used as a napkin ring

One of the bouquets I made

And the other

The liquor cart, awaiting action!

Ah, and then: Dim the Lights.....

Don't you love the fairy lights under Teddy?

Everyone had their own crackers and more fairy lights...

Hostess with the Mostest.
All old except for the Calvin Klein $15 pink sequin skirt!
Barry, with bowtie....

There were props...

Movie Star Looks

A dance party is about ready to break out....

And it did!  There was much frivolity and sequins and satin and velvet and a dash of royal purple.  And then the shoes came off and the music came on and it was every person for themselves.

In the theme of no man (or woman) is a failure who has friends, I took the opportunity to write a love letter to every single one of my friends.  I share this, because the joy I experienced putting pen to paper is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received - writing to each of them, telling them why I love them, was a chance to express my love in a real and tangible way.

I will post at least once more before Christmas, but knew you would get a kick out of this!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

xoxo wendy

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm All About the Folding, 'bout the folding, no wrinkles...

After two heartfelt posts surely you knew I would have to come up for air?

I blame this post on Dani.

Yes, that Dani - she of the classic tweedy style and stoves that I might crawl into and live in like a hobbit under a hillock...

So she told me about that damn tidying book.

I haven't really had time to "do" the book yet, what with work and Christmas and all, but I did my office (8 garbage bags later!) and then moved on to the current season's wardrobe, because well, I couldn't resist and frankly, I don't have a huge wardrobe anyway.

And I'm not going to lie.  I was intrigued about the folding.  And then Patricia (or was it Marie?) mentioned the videos of the konmari folding method online.

So I watched them. And re-watched them, since, if truth be told, I do not naturally lend myself to that kind of thing (for example, I still don't really know how to tie my shoes like everyone else.  I just tie them.  I guess I could learn, but I've managed this many years so why bother?).

And then friends, I became a folding machine.

I folded here
I folded there
I folded all
my underwear
I folded high
I folded low
and if i could
I'd fold the snow!

damn, the green sweater up front is slight askew!
I'm going to have to run up and take care of that...

Barry's tshirts!  He is using the konmari method now!
I see folding myself into bed every night, arms tucked in just so, legs folded up twice, until I am a neat little rectangle tucked into my neat little rectangle bed.

There's a picture book in that.  Or a psychiatrist.  You decide....

xoxo Wendy

oh and as per the post title:

Just imagining me in this, only folding....

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Joy of deeds well done, beginning with me...

Earlier this week I wrote about being zen as I go about my Christmas business.

Lest you think I am some kind of super-hero or fembot, I must disabuse you of this fantasy - it ain't easy.  There is a little voice that sits in the back of my head that says snippy, snotty things at times.

Mostly, it says snippy snotty things to me.

But I am a work in progress and it is progress I seek.

True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

And speaking of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, my good friend GetFresh shared the advance trailer for The Little Prince movie set to be released in 2015.  I thought it so lovely, I wanted to share it here:

I can't remember when I first read The Little Prince, probably in middle or high school.  But it touched me deeply, this story of knowing what to prioritize and what to let go.

The little prince - still my favorite book

Here in the season of light, we need to remember this secret.  It really is so simple, and we know it when we see it: the baby's laugh, a loyal dog, a hand extended,

a cafe manager in Sydney

a peaceful and powerful protest for true rights for all

Preparation: Demonstrators lay on the ground in a mock death protest of the shooting of Brown. The area around St. Louis, Missouri, is preparing for the grand jury decision in the shooting death of Brown

The grief of a nation.

Pakistan school attack

A planet in peril

But in my small brain, it is love and joy that begins the journey to heal all things, helps us dream big solutions, helps us work with one another for the betterment of all.

I was reading a self-help book the other night by Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson (yes, the Paul Williams of Rainbow Connection and Evergreen fame).

I had seen them interviewed by Oprah and I was curious to read the whole book.  There were many things that resonated with me (not so much the drug addiction, I am pretty lucky there) but one of the affirmations struck me deeply:

Something Needs to Change and It's Probably Me.

So I think 2015 is my year to make sure my own garden is well and truly in order before I look over the fence at anyone else's.  And whatever I get for Christmas is just fine, thank you very much.  And those extra pounds I'm carrying?  Sure they should be smaller for my health's sake, but it just gives more of me to love.  

If I want joy, I gotta be joy.  If I want to make the world a better place, I better start with me.  I want to see fully with my heart and forget the rest.

I want to see the world as a wonder-full place, a place that can be taken care of, bettered, one person at at time.  And so I will start with me.  And the week before Christmas seems even more apropos to begin that exercise than the beginning of a new year.

As Mr. Saint-Exupery said:

Then you shall judge yourself, 
that is the most difficult thing of all. 
It is much more difficult to judge 
oneself than to judge others. 
If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, 
then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.

So while I wait for the movie, I think I will reread the book, because I think that fellow was on to something...

Have a wonderful, joyous day!

xoxo wendy

Monday, December 15, 2014

I am "at one" with the checkout line at Walmart...

This is the time of year that regardless of how much you are buying for the various holidays, you are going to end up in a line-up of some sort (so long as it isn't a police line-up all should be well!)

We spend less money at Christmas now, but I would be lying if I told you that I hate a commercial Christmas.

I like the decorations - be they Christmas or Hanukkah-related - and I like the bustle.

I like to see Santa and I always give him a hearty wave.  You believe, don't you?

Most of all, I try to enjoy the bustle.  It is going to happen anyway, and to rail against it all only causes distress, not peace.

Today, I ended up in a long line at Walmart.  I was not Christmas shopping, but needed something for the house that could not be postponed.

So I struck up a conversation with the lady in front of me.  I chatted with my daughter.  We wondered about how Kim and Kanye were doing (since we were standing right in front of the magazine aisle!).  I really looked at people.  I smiled.  I saw many moments of loveliness that I might not have otherwise noticed if I hadn't had it in my head to enjoy the moment.

It's ten days till Christmas.  I'm having a big "do" on Saturday night.  I am rewriting a novel.  And most of all, I am grateful for the opportunity to do all of these things.

Last week, an acquaintance of mine passed away.  We weren't friends, but we were friendly.  We have friends in common.  And he was a good man.  I am reminded that there are people in pain at all times of the year, not just over the holidays.  I am reminded that there will be food on my table and family there.  I am reminded that standing in a long line at Walmart, even that, can be a pleasure if you think of it as such.

And since I felt so darn good afterwards, I thought maybe one or two of you might also like to be reminded, as well.

Be a light!

What a blessing it is to be busy and stuck in traffic and tired.  It sure is to me.  And if you have even one person who loves you in this world, you are not alone.  And if you are reading this, you have me!

Much Love! xoxo wendy

(and yes, I hope things are all right for Kim and Kanye...)