Sex and the Single Parent, And ME!

When I was in my second year of college, studying theatre, I had a rock-star-level crush on this girl named Melissa Story who was in first year. Or maybe I was in third year, and she was in second year. It was theatre school, I partied a lot and some details are fuzzy. At any rate, I clearly remember her leggy gorgeousness, and the mane of wispy, wild, naturally blonde curls, and her huge and wise grey-blue eyes. Her sense of style was impeccable. She was like a fashion model, straight out of an issue of Harper’s Bazaar, circa 1970 something. The thing with this girl was that she was not only gorgeous, but incredibly talented too. So talented, in fact, that I had no idea why she was paying for school in the first place. Why wasn’t she in L.A. or New York, looking for work? She had that natural ability that just can’t be taught. She slipped in and out of characters so seamlessly; you forgot you were watching someone act. What’s more, she was funny as shit. Like incredibly quick-witted and shamelessly goofy funny. The best kind of funny, and the hardest kind too, particularly for women who are taught to behave like beautiful, leggy, natural blondes ‘ought to’ right from birth. I was so crushing on this girl, I think she thought I had some special needs because I could barely utter a word to her. Sigh.

So when your hottie hot former girl-crush ends up with her own awesome and successful podcast (because she continues to kick ass and take names as a fierce single mom comedy boss) and she asks you to be a guest, there is only one right answer. As a bonus, her host is another kick-ass, hilarious single mom, who if I may say so, is also easy on the eyes. If you like that sort of thing. Their show/comedy site is called Sex and the Single Parent, and I was delighted to be invited to talk about poly parenting and my life philosophies.

Never mind that my ex-crush had the flu and couldn’t make the recording. Never mind that an equally huge crush from high school, Mr. Phil Luzi ends up being the guest host (wtf Universe??). Never mind that the co-host of Melissa’s show is Precious Chong, the daughter of Tommy Chong, a detail I found out after the recording, thus saving me from acting like a blathering idiot. I was honored and proud to be a guest on Sex and the Single Parent, and I had an incredible time with my gracious hosts. They asked truly respectful and genuine questions. I’m sorry I couldn’t see you in real life Melissa. If you want to sit across the table from me and listen to more juicy details about my wonderful family, you’re going to have to come out for drinks with me and my partners. Just kidding. Not really. We won’t try to sleep with you. Much.

Please enjoy this wonderful interview, and keep listening to this super fun podcast for other great guests, and plenty of opportunities to snort commuter coffee out of your nostrils.

To Listen Click Here.

Magical Pest Control

Image Credit - 'Demons In My Head' by MissFried on Deviant Art

I was winding my way slowly through the still unfamiliar York campus the other day, extra alert for student pedestrians and enthusiastic protestors, when I found myself behind a white utility truck with a very unusual sign. Across the back it read: Magical Pest Control.

My first thought was “Ew, rats.” Then I paused to consider what made the service magical. Was the company run by wizards who would banish vermin into oblivion with the wave of a wand? Were they armed with potions wrought by a league of ancient hags? Better yet, what if the pests themselves were magical? The theatre department overrun by unicorns, again. Perhaps the Shulich business school was besieged by gryphons. All this time, we are convinced this company has made some silly branding choices when all the while they are exterminating a legion of demons doing the evil bidding of the devil himself right under our noses.

My spring transformation will be a failed exercise without my own brand of Magical Pest Control. I’ve got some real noisy demons in this head o’mine that can really wreak havoc. They bubble up all hungry and ugly and I get so dazzled by them, that I forget they aren’t really part of me at all. If I get diverted from my writing they say “Don’t bother getting back to that novel. It’s silly, nobody will want to read it, and you’re wasting your time.” When I have a bad moment with one of the children they say “You don’t deserve to be their mother. They would be happier without you.” When I disconnect from one of my partners they say “You are too messed up to be in a loving relationship, you should just be alone and that way you won’t hurt anyone.” See? Real asshole demons, right?

Maybe you have a few of those magical pests knocking around in there too? An infestation can be a real disaster, but we’ve all had to deal with unwanted guests of the nasty variety. The following extermination exercises have helped me immensely.

The Sensory Check In

Pause. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply. What do you hear around you? What can you smell? How does your body feel? As you focus on these elements, just recognize them, and breathe through each moment of awareness. Now open your eyes and look around, taking note of the things you see around you. Continue breathing. Feel what it’s like to be present in the moment.

Take a Look at the Beasts

What happens when you turn a blind eye to a pest situation? They run rampant, and multiply, until you are overrun. The same is true for those Magical Pests, those demons in your head. Don’t ignore them. Don’t try to distract yourself from them. Take a look at them. Sit with them in a quiet space and allow yourself to really feel them. Turn to your breathing again and just let the feelings come. Cry if you need to. Feel whatever you feel. Just face those pesky bastards and keep breathing. I’m usually surprised at how quickly this makes them go away.

Pamper Yourself

When the exterminator comes to visit, you usually get to check into a motel for a night or two. When your little demons start raging, treat yourself to something special, like an unexpected night away. It doesn’t have to be a hotel visit, of course. Even a quiet moment of leisure reading with a cup of tea will do the trick. When I neglect myself, or rush through my days, or get too bogged down with stress, it’s like little cracks start to appear in my psyche, allowing the nasty pests to creep in. I’ve started taking the arrival of the demons as a sign to slow down, take time out for me, or do something purely for joy or pleasure.

With the right ammo, and a healthy dose of determination, any pest can be vanquished without burning down the house. I’ll probably need to get rid of a few things, there’s always a casualty in these situations, but it’s usually a saggy couch, or a forgotten box in the basement somewhere that I don’t really need anyway.

Magical Pest Control – another hilarious message delivered by the Universe, exactly when I needed it. Thanks for that. xo

How Will You Be Reborn?

Those Muslims are really on to something. They celebrate their New Year with Navroz, which falls right around the Spring Equinox, a time of year that I find rejuvenating and inspiring. Forget the dead of winter, when any resolution you may make will be cast aside in favor of lethargy and residual holiday treat consumption. Even the Pagans got it wrong; in October, when everything is dying, they celebrate their New Year with Samhain. I suppose the idea of your own mortality can be motivating, but c’mon! Is there anything that says let’s clean out the cobwebs in our souls and start again, all shiny and new, like the return of sunshine and warmer weather? Not in my books, and not after the psychic shit show that was my winter.

So, here I am, feeling much shinier, and thick in the throes of purging and organizing, both inside and out. I’ve done some intense personal work with my trusty therapist, and now I’m working on a slew of personal projects that nearly all work-related. I’m ‘Choosing Myself’ as per the wise and wacky Mr. James Altucher, but more on him later.

One of my commitments this month is to post every single day. That’s right, every day. I’d really like to see your comments here on the blog too friends, so if you’re reading please leave a little something. Let’s turn this into a community of inspiring, like-minded passion-chasers, yes? Thank you in advance mom, for always adding comments.

I will borrow my New Year from my Muslim family, and start fresh this April. I’d like to be a more focused, more driven, more present me. I’d like to keep the momentum going with my personal growth and smote those inner demons once and for all. I want time for writing every single day. I want to finally publish the sex and relationship guide I wrote for average dudes in committed relationships. I want to inspire you, and help you, and share my love and ideas with you. I want to enjoy the miracle of Spring with my beautiful family.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Leave me a little note in the comments section and let me know how you will be reborn this Spring!

P.S. I’m pregnant again

 

 

P.S.S. April Fools!

Need Hope? Take a Walk

Something amazing happened yesterday. I didn’t feel that cloud that has been hanging over me for the last year. It was there, a little, in the morning but by the afternoon it was gone. I’ve got a few ideas about why this happened, and I’ll get into that later this week, but for now I want to focus on the healing nature of the thaw we’re experiencing.

Yesterday was heavy sweater and hat weather, and after a long commute home (working on Sunday, yikes!) I bundled up the kidlets who were all too happy for another opportunity to abandon chores and enjoy their rip sticks. We parents took the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely stroll down our secluded road, breathing in the fresh country air and I was amazed at how this brief, simple departure from our typical Sunday routine filled me with wonder and hope.

golden_mouse_nest

A mouse house, like the ones we found in the melting snow

 

Here’s a little list of some of the early spring wonder I witnessed through the eyes of my children, particularly our toddler who is two and a half and in love with everything:

Puddles for jumping and splashing in

Mud for squishing under rubber-booted feet

Slushy, crunchy snow

Bubbly streams

Red-winged black birds who have returned

Mouse houses! We discovered these perfect little spheres of dried grass revealed by the melted snow and deduced that they must be little houses woven together by the mice. They were little wonders of architecture

Lambs at the farm next door. We couldn’t see them because the dirt road is currently a small river, but we could hear them bleating away in the barn

The squishy wonder of our melted snow saturated lawn

The endless joy of throwing stones into puddles

Silly walking competitions

The moist, healing smell of fresh spring air

The healthy dinner time appetite and deep, blissful sleep after time outside

If you’ve had the winter blues, treat yourself to a walk outside, in whatever green space you can find. Try to take it all in through the eyes of a child, and keep open to any discoveries that await you. Even in the most sprawling urban centers, change is happening and we can look forward to the return of warmth. What are the signs of spring in your neck of the world?

 

How I’ve Coped With Winter

Can you smell spring in the air the way I can? I’m not going to kid myself, I know we live in the great white north, and it’s unlikely that we’ll get rid of all the snow any time before May, but I’m clinging to the hope of warmer temperatures and the slow but inevitable return of green. Here’s how I’ve coped with winter.

Christmas was a manic episode. I even went out and got a job to fill my compulsive need to overspend and make Christmas a huge debacle for our family. We weren’t hosting this year, traveling somewhere warm wasn’t in the cards, and I needed to fill a big ‘ole hole of sadness. I filled it with so much junk the kids didn’t need, most of which sits largely untouched in their bedrooms. After gazing around numbly at the faces of the people I loved on Christmas day while we put forth our best effort to make merry, I realized that no about of tinsel or gaily wrapped junk could replace what our family has lost. One of the truest, most soul-satisfying moments of the season was volunteering as a family to sort food donations. Another was seeing the fort my daughter and her girlfriend built out of fallen branches in our forest. Big lessons learned.

This bitter cold months have been some of the darkest. I’m dealing with a depression the likes of which I’ve never known. The effects of this have pervaded every corner of my life, as depression will. I can’t watch the news right now, I can’t be around big crowds or lots of noise. I can’t be in busy places. My choice of treatment has been vitamins, an attempt to get a bit more exercise, and therapy instead of pharmaceuticals for now. I’ve been spotty with items one and two and dedicated to number three. I think if I can get all of those working in concert, I’ll be just fine. I know I’ll be fine. I’m feeling better each day, and can feel the gradual shift happening.

I miss my friends terribly, but I have isolated myself because it’s hard to see people and bring something positive to them when I am just not up for feeling light. It leaves me with little to talk about most of the time, and I feel like I have to step into a role just to function outside of the house.

This depression has made it hard to write here. I feel overly indulgent. Narcissistic. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to read my ramblings. I don’t know what to share. If you’re a reader, it would mean a great deal to hear from you with some suggestions about meaningful topics. I miss this place, this practice. I want to get active here because in the midst of this bleak winter some really great things have been happening and I want to share these things with you.

In November, I took on the National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) challenge. I failed at getting 40,000 words hammered out, but I carried on the writing momentum and I’m hard at work at a first draft of my first novel. Any of you writerly types will know how slow this process can be. Doubly so if you have children and other jobs. The novel is loosely based on my experiences in burlesque, and I’m having so much fun with it. The story centers around a cirque cabaret troupe which is actually a front for an elite team of female mercenaries. I met some very awesome women working in burlesque.

I need to carve out more time to write, and I continue to fantasize about stealing a weekend away here or there to bang out an entire draft in total seclusion. If you need an apartment sitter, I’m your girl. The plan is to get a polished draft, and then shop it around to agents before I decided to self-publish instead. Either way, I’m getting it out there. It would be ideal to have an agent to worry about all of the details on my behalf, but I’ve worn a lot of hats before, I can do it again.

Somehow I’ve made time again for reading, which is something that I missed more than I realized. Escaping into all of these stories has been a balm for the difficult material swirling around my head. Book recommendations are always welcome, and I’m trying to focus on Thrillers, Spy Novels, and Female Fiction these days because it feeds nicely into the work I’m creating.

As I’m typing, a tiny army of toddlers in tiny pink snow suits is ambling into the building. I’m at York University campus today, I guess this must be their daycare out for a walk. What joy I get from watching my own little toddler growing and taking on the world. He fills me with so much love, it can melt through even the bleakest moments. My girls are also growing so quickly, so gracefully most of the time. It’s been harder for them to understand what I’ve been going through, and I’m never sure how much to share with a child. I’ve been working on a letter for them, so they can have a little more perspective about what’s happening with me. I would hate for them to assume any responsibility for my state.

I stepped away from my brief job in the retail sector. Instead, I am commuting a couple of days a week into the city with Sarah, to make her drive more bearable. With another human in the car, she can take the HOV lane and shave significant time off her commute. I’m also working to help her grow her photography business, and I’m working at growing our other family business at tallearth.com with my decent grasp of social media. Most days feel like they are wrapped in a fog, but that fog seems to be thinning.

I’m dreaming of my family in our own modest home somewhere in the country. We are yearning for that independence again, and working hard at lining up our ducks so they march in that direction. I’m longing to get this book out of my head, and into the hands of readers. I’m fantasizing about our other businesses growing so we can live with more joy and freedom. I’m trying to carve out joy wherever I can in the ‘right here and now’.

Tell me how you’re coping with the winter? You’re all so wonderfully clever, I’m sure you can inspire us with a few new tricks to help with the next couple of months of slush and snow. Send me news of your lives. Tell me what the winter has taught you.