Good-Bye Until Next Time


Well friends, this is good-bye.

I committed to a change this year, and I did it.

The closer it got to my moving date, the more it looked like it wasn’t going to happen. For any number of reasons, the closer we get to the threshold of change, the less clear it all becomes.

With a lot of trepidation, and a not-so-gentle nudge from the universe, we screw up the courage to cross that damn threshold, and..BAM!…

….life continues. Different, but with the same soul.

I live in a town I’m unfamiliar with, in a home that I’m still making my own, and getting used to walking by the empty bedroom of my only child. I have settled in enough to start looking into all of the self-care that I need to do for myself now.

Wish me luck on this leg of my journey.

For now this is good-bye for ANDSHESHINES. You can pop by and visit any time at my regular, and longstanding home blog; ANDSHELAUGHS.



Is the Nest Half Empty or Half Full?

giphy1We did it.

With much fuss, anxiety and excitement, we have launched into the next stage of this wild and wonderful journey called life.

The first big move was getting the kiddo to training camp. If anxiety is indeed just excitement disguised, then that was the most excitement provoking move ever.

His launch has been successful, and while he was taking the plunge into early adulthood and independence, I was adrift in a sea of boxes.

Among the adventures of the past week, the highlights , have been;

Arriving under cover of darkness at 11:00 p.m. to the wrong house, shining our car lights into the open back gate and living room of people whom we thought were unlawfully entering our new home. (Note to self; do not try shortcuts in the dark in a neighbourhood you are unfamiliar with).

The catch and release of our wildcat, whom we haven’t seen evidence of but for a full set set of claws and the rolling fabric on the side of the chesterfield.

The skunk who joined us on our inaugural evening on the patio…and we were gone, out the back gate. With Ma in her caftan and Pa in his shorts.

There are maybe half a dozen boxes left to unpack, and a gigantic pile of art that may or may not be hung on the walls, but it’s officially home here now.

As frightening as it all was, all of the cold feet, the jockeying for boundary establishment and who gets the en suite bathroom, I can’t say that I’ve been this happy in a very long time.

For an empty nest, this sure does feel like home. A safe haven for my son, my sweetie and his brood. Half empty or half full, it’s all about perspective.

My little writing area is set up with an east facing window. My son is home for the day after a grueling week at training camp, and flying halfway across the country.  My man is coming home to me tonight.

My body is tired from moving, my emotions are running high from watching my kiddo leave the nest, packing and unpacking our memories.

If I never see another piece of cardboard or bubble wrap in my life, I will be content. Unless the box is Tiffany blue, please just cut it down and put it out for recycling.


Empty Nest PMS – Seeking Food & Wine Pairing for Change of Life

giphyI woke up crying this morning. Not bawling, just simply having what I assume to be a regular panic-overload experienced by single mothers who are watching their one and only child leave the nest.

Seriously, how can being anxious not be normal? Even when you have the best kid in the world, like mine?

Witty comforting words such as, ‘Oooooh, he’ll be fine,’ and  ‘He’s only an hour away’, do not help. It’s like telling a newly bereaved person that their loved one is in a better place now.

The appropriate response to these callous words of comfort is, “Fuck off”.

Seriously, either give me a hug or be quiet.

Not to mention the stress of it all has brought on my once-every-three-year-time-of-the-month, which, between you and I, does make me a teensy bit more emotional. Is a sarcastic, “YAY” the right reaction?

My partner, a lovely man when he’s not  MIA during golf and football season (which leaves the month of March I believe), is taking us out for a celebration dinner tonight. Please, let me know what kind of wine pairs well with lobster and PMS?

I’m also packing up our house. The last time I did that, I was 10 years younger, and a lot more, well, young.

I have discovered that my once-upon-a-time energy is a little less enthusiastic, and just the idea of sorting and packing has me wondering if I shouldn’t just have a large bonfire tonight. If you see smoke, please feel free to join us. Bring milk chocolate and graham crackers, as I found an extra bag of marshmallows this morning while I was packing up the kitchen. Also, what kind of wine goes with s’mores?

If you need to reach me during the next two weeks, I will be nose deep in tissue, surrounded by boxes and nostalgia.

After that, I’m sure I’ll be back to my she-dragon self, organizing my new home and flourishing in all of my new-found empty-nestness. What kind of wine goes with a big exhale, and swelling pride in a job well-done as a parent? Never mind. I already know that that calls for champagne.


Packing Day #1: It’s Official, I’m in Panic Mode

I’m better than this!

Could I really be a horder on some level? Seriously, I’m finding pay stubs from every single pay cheque I’ve received since, well, since I moved into this place ten years ago. Three plus pages of pay stubs per week, stapled through a sealed envelope really speak to the amount of good faith between employer and employee thees days. Sheesh!

This is not the time to get started on to the economy of our times, I remind myself, even though that’s what’s running through my thoughts as I watch the clock tick against my deadline.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way! I am a highly organized woman. I take care of my own business, and I boast about how often I have moved and how cathartic it is to clear out and keep moving.

This morning, to be quite honest, I feel overwhelmed. Paper is the bane of my existence as is my minor tendancy to OCD with shit that doesn’t matter. My son has the flu, and my house is a mess from summer camping trips, a pile of mis-matched cardboard boxes in the living room, and piles that I’ve left thinking that I would get to them when I pack.

Well, today is the day. Today is the day to tackle and tame piles.

My one saving grace is that my fearless and always-there-for-me-neighbour and friend Darlene has promised me a few hours of her time today – yes, on the most lovely summer day of the year. God bless her.

The garbage needs to go out, golf clubs need to be corralled into the shed, , and a run to drop-off at the thrift shop is inevitable.

In the background I hear the one hour beep from the coffee maker.

It’s been less than an hour since I started making our mess into something movable. I breath deeply. I’m not doing so bad after all. In only an hour I’ve done enough to make a dent in things, and  enough is good enough for now.

Take Naps Not Crap-Outs

nappingThe other day I was standing at work, appearing to be calm, cool, collected, and capable of being the go-to-person running the show.

What I felt like inside was anything like that. I had a fleeting vision of crumbling into a heap on the floor where I stood, and just weeping.

You may have witnessed my reference to my Mumster’s theory on the Once-Every-Six-Week-Crap-Out, or you may not. I’m not talking about a Once-Every-Six-Week-Crap-Out. No, you see, that’s a different kind of letting go. What I’m talking about here is the great giving-up. The moment when someone who has carried too much stress for far too long just collapses under the weight of it all.

But I didn’t collapse. I carried on. I smiled when I was supposed to, and did everything I needed to do in order to not be the woman on the floor.

My last post was about grace, and I guess this one is too.

In the midst of all of this change, and moving, life goes on. The financial pressure of a single income home is crushing. The physical demands of working, packing and doing everything else that needs to get done is exhausting.  Being the person who organizes and does, is a heck of a lot of pressure when more than one element of life is unstable.

I’m at my limit. After two weeks I’m still in a rental car, with a huge bill coming thanks to someone who pulled a significant hit and run on the front end of my car.  Emotionally, physically and financially, I’m launching my wonderful kiddo into the world. On top of all of that, I’m moving as well.

I am proud to say that I am not the woman  in a heap of wool-suit on the floor.

After my partner told me that he would not be helping do the physical work of packing because the weather was going to be too nice, I made a decision;

I let go; I was not going to let anyone dull the excitement of moving. I was going to look forward to a massive declutter and making my new home a cozy space for myself, my son, my kitties and our friends. I was going to carry on as usual, and do what needed to be done with a positive attitude, and most importantly, I became more determined to stop explaining my needs and wants to people who don’t give a damn anyway.

Grace is not for sissies. Grace is for  tough, badass,  middle-aged women who aren’t afraid to live fully in the swift current of change.

Naps – naps are also for those ladies as well. Try taking a break instead of going full-out-heap-on-the-floor or finding yourself in the midst of an every-six-week-crap-out. Take care of yourselves out there.

Lessons In Grace

woman-with-kittensWhat was I thinking blogging about preparing for an empty nest, making a move, and trying to sustain my creative time?!

Apparently, I’m bat-shit crazy. But bat-shit crazy works for me, or so I believe.

We (aka ‘I’) are less than a month away from moving the kiddo to his new digs at training camp. Packing up and moving, then travelling for exhibition games, and then moving him again.

As if that weren’t going to be busy enough, I ( aka ‘we’) decided that our big-move in date would be less than a month after the kiddo moves out. So, as is required, I gave my notice and began house hunting.

And then someone did a beauty job in a hit and run on my car, causing over three thousand dollars worth of damage. I’m currently in a rental.

Oh, and my health is not so great according to my latest doctors reports. I have an ulcer (surprise, surprise) and I’m packing on weight.

Lesson #1 here folks – make sure you have damn good insurance.

Lesson #2 – fat happens. Just stay positive and work on it every day.

This morning, while waiting on an offer to be approved on a second house, and a call from a mover coming to give me an estimate, I received the call from my mechanic.

I did not panic. Ok, my stomach turned, but that was about it. I got up, bathed, put on some make-up over my stress-acne, poured my coffee and got on with life…(Yah, you heard that right, on top of everything else, I’ve broken out in zits from the stress. There’s nothing like a pudgy forty-something-year-old-broad dressed in a muu-muu sporting acne to scare you into doing what she tells you to do.)…I also took a moment to snuggle my kitty cat, and look at the little garden outside of my writing window.

Grace. Somehow, with all of the ups and downs,  despair over how I will make things work, and feeling alone in the world, I’ve managed to cultivate it a bit more. And for that I am grateful.

God bless my man, his life has been a cakewalk. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good man; a hard worker, faithful, and ranks in the top percentile of the world’s best cuddlers, but his easy life has not given him the skills to cope well with change or when real-life doesn’t read like a Disney fairytale. Coping with his anxiety and stress has also  helped me flex my ‘grace’ muscle. Sometimes I’m better at it than others, but I’m getting there.

Lesson #3 – not everyone is at the same stage of cultivating grace.

The update is that everything is up in the air. I have no where to move as of right now, but I have a deadline to clear out of here. I have no car, and haven’t seen the end of the total tally of what it’s going to take to get it on the road. I’m saying good-bye to my kiddo, the person who has kept me from despair, alive and vibrant for the past 18 years, and I’m moving in with a man for the first time in over 17 years.

Wish me luck. We’ll see how this grace thing works out…if it doesn’t, I’ll be reverting back to the ‘F’ word and  bourbon, as a plan ‘B’.

As I type this, the mover is at my dining room table writing up an estimate with my cat inspecting his paperwork…I don’t think old Portuguese men are into cats who make themselves at home on the table… My son is on speaker phone with another teenager, organizing the packing for a camping trip, and my man is panicking about the signatures required on more documents  and planning social events for the day that my kiddo is supposed to move out. Life is glorious if you let yourself enjoy it. The chaos of life makes me happy ( after all, the alternative at work is that I’m surrounded by death and loss all day).

Life is full, it’s busy, it’s like a river, always changing and revealing surprises.

I need quiet for reflection and rejuvenation. I need life to help me remember that it’s all worthwhile. Our ability to know when we need quiet, and when we need to throw ourselves into the fray is not always great. We can only try to be satisfied with our best intentions.

When all else fails; Breathe in, breathe out, move on, take the weather with you, let it be, let it go, just breathe…whatever kitschy sayings get you through, lean on those.  If that fails, cuddle some kittens, break out the bourbon and curse like a sailor.

A Beautiful Mess

drying-beach-towels-webMy son is hardly ever home now, trying to make the most of his last summer with his high school friends.

I didn’t have that kind of childhood, so there is joy in watching him live a full and joyful life. I miss him, but I’m happy for him.

And then there’s me. Trying to run a home in the middle of all that is the great upset of the non-routine of summer. There is camping gear in the hallway, towels hung to dry from swimming and football practices, and goodness knows what else. My living room is half piled with cardboard boxes which I intend to start packing this week.

And yet, I still do not have a place to live.

My partner,  is caught in that sticky web of anxiety which insights a short-temper, and blindness to the fun that can be had.

I, on the other hand am optimistic.

I’ve already chosen a name for our new fish who will make a home on the kitchen counter; Bob Dylan.

Like we have all learned over and over in the past,  life has to get messy sometimes in order to re-establish order. And right now, goodness knows life is messy. But it’s ok. This will be something like my 22nd move, and it will come. It will come with decluttering, reminiscing over the things that I have an emotional attachment to, and over the things I realize I’m not attached to any more at all.

It is a crazy, full to bursting emotional, joyful, nostalgic ride called life, and I will live it fully, completely, and with the child-like wide-eyed wonder of what comes next. Yes, logistics are a nightmare. Yes, it’s stressful, but fear can go to hell. I’m on my way, and I’m going to gobble up the goodness.

Two days ago a calm came over me after letting stress do it’s thing. I’m riding this calm like a horse on a long, riverside trail. This is life. This fullness, this brimming to the top with hope and  anticipation despite the disorder;  This my darlings, is the beautiful mess we know as life.