5am

Last night, I went to bed early like the responsible adult I am (I work morning shifts, and have come to value a decent night’s sleep), and was awoken by a series of important (albeit annoying) text messages at the ungodly hour of 11pm.

I couldn’t get back to sleep; I tossed and turned, turned and tossed.

An earlier version of me would have used this poor nights sleep as an acceptable reason to skip the 5am workout I have meticulously planned for this morning. Instead, I allowed myself to ‘snooze’ for 15 minutes before picking myself up out of bed (dragging) and “reporting for duty.”

There are no shortcuts, no excuses. No one’s going to do it for me. In fact, no one cares whether I workout or sleep in.

It’s all on me.

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Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

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Holiday Cards

As I start getting my small household ready for the holiday season (or as the overly organized version of me refers to it: Listmas!), I thought I would do something a little different this year in the way of holiday cards. A friend of mine recently made me aware of an address where you can send any Canadian Forces member a little holiday cheer (address will be posted below), and I thought I might like to do something similar for those of you who read this blog, as a way to say thank you and show my endless appreciation for each and every one of you who take the time to read.  

So! For any of you wishing for a little extra holiday cheer this year, send your address (email or snail mail, whatever you’d like) and a name to peggles_82@hotmail.com I PROMISE, no matter where in the world you are I will send you some holiday love! And for added incentive, for each one of you who sends me an address, I will send 1 card to a Canadian Forces member currently on deployment.

I look forward to sending you all a little token of my love and appreciation this holiday season

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

Ps. 

Any Canadian Forces Member
Op Attention: Kabul
PO Box 5140 Stn Forces
Belleville ON
K8N 5W6

Remembrance

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— LC John McCrae, 1915

Thanksgiving is the time of year we begin our annual pilgrimage of gratitude. As Canadians, with our Thanksgiving in October, we spend a lot of time each year giving thanks, but it is this day, the 11th day of the 11th month, that really resonates with most of us.

At 11:11 on 11/11 we all stop what we are doing. Work comes to a halt; music silenced; conversations paused, and we reflect, in silence. Paying tribute to all the men and women, past and present, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country – for our freedom. In our own quiet ways we offer them prayers of thanks, and pleas for peace.And, we reflect on the things we have, the things that would not be possible had it not been for our heroes. 

I am thankful, and I am grateful. 
LEST WE FORGET

Mandixoxox

An Adventure in Public Speaking (And a Poem)

In March of this year, one of my good friends (and follower of yours truly) got engaged to her other half. Immediately, she started making plans for an October wedding, including extending an invitation for me to write and READ something written especially for the occasion. 

Obviously I said yes (more like “YES! yes! yesss!!!”).

What didn’t occur to me at that moment 5 months ago was that I would have to read in front of a room filled with strangers. This would be stressful enough for someone as shy as myself. Now, add to that the reading would not be something pre-written from a book, it would be a creation of my own making. 

Creative writing often proves difficult for me. I find my mind too busy to focus on one thing at a time, I start too many projects, and generally finish very few (none ever to my liking), and forget about most. This, I am told, is typical of an artist. 

Public speaking has always been my nemesis. In my university days, I took a class aimed at teaching how to deliver a speech – or so I thought. I ended up learning to avoid that class.
In the various positions I have held in my line of work, giving presentations and meetings were an often dreaded requirement. Even as the authority in the room, I had sweaty palms, dry mouth, red face, and a st-st-stutter. Every. Single. Time. 

Writing the piece turned out to be easier than I had anticipated; the words literally came to me in a dream. And, it wasn’t until “wedding week” that I really started to stress out about reading my own work in public. Online forums, such as this one, are great creative outlets because of their anonymity. 

I’ll skip over the train wreck that was the reading of my poem. Focusing instead on what an incredible experience it was to share the day with such a dear friend. I have never seen a bride so exhilarated to walk down the aisle, and I have never felt more honoured to be asked to participate.

 

So! To the new Mr. and Mrs; THANK YOU  for allowing me to take part in your special day (train wreck and all). 

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May the saddest day of your future
Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship
And your hearts joined forever in love.

 

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

 

 

 

The Problem With Dating: 3 Reason’s Being Single Sucks

As a serial singleton, living life solo has its perks:
No one to check in with, no one else to think about when at the grocery store, and no fighting over the remote!
Single life also has its drawbacks, I present to you a (short) list of recurring reasons being single sucks:

1. Sleeping Alone
Nothing beats the extra heat of a warm body laying beside you. It’s no secret, men seem to generate more heat than women and on a cold, damp, rainy/snowy night there’s nothing more delightful than someone to snuggle next to to warm up those icy toes.

2. Ordering Take-Out
Sure, that $40 order of Chinese food or the Extra-Large pizza seemed like a good idea at the time. Now you’re stuck eating soggy noodles or rock hard pizza all week. All because, in a moment of weakness (aka “treat day”), our eyes were bigger than our bellies. Boyfriend’s won’t prevent you from ordering greasy take-out en masse (in fact, they probably encourage it), but they will eat more than their fair share. They’ll also save you from the look of embarrassment when the delivery guy arrives to an empty apartment “Uh… thanks… my friends are going to be so psyched I… uh… surprised them with pizza…”

3. Movie Night
Popcorn is popped, you’re comfy on the couch wrapped in your favourite blanket, you’ve picked the BEST tear-inducing romantic comedy. What’s missing? Someone to hold your hand as you sob through The Lake House for the thousandth time. The same can be said for a movie night out. Who else would share their GIANT bag of popcorn with you even after you twice said you were “too full”

What do you dislike about being single?

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

Heaven’s Gonna Wait

As I set out for my morning run (a little later than I had planned), I threw on my headphones, hit shuffle and bolted for the door.
At this time of year, 5am looks like the dead of night, there aren’t too many stars to look at, since I live well inside the city limits.
And by 530, the sky is peeking with the pinks and blues of a late-summer sunrise.
Not THIS morning!
Hedley’s Heaven’s Gonna Wait is blissfully playing in my ears, I was literally stopped in my tracks AWESTRUCK.
As if waiting just for me, knowing I was running a little bit late:
The midnight black sky was twinkling with the brightest stars!
The little dipper winked at me, and the North Star guided my way.

Another sign of love from the Universe, and an amazing way to start the day!!

 

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

Something to Think About…

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become…habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny!
What we think, we become.

— Margaret Thatcher

 

 

 

The Problem With Dating: The First Date

You spend minutes, sometimes hours, preparing yourself: perfect hair, flawless makeup, a cute outfit.
Sometimes, you meet him there. Other times, if you’re lucky (and feel comfortable enough), he picks you up.
You’re nervous, awkward, and you want to make a knockout first impression.

I’m talking, of course, about the first date. That almost always awkward get-to-know-you event that occurs somewhere before dating, and after merely talking.
And I do mean awkward.
In this age of internet everything, a first ‘date’ is usually something simple like a walk on the waterfront, coffee at [insert coffee shop of choice here], or a drink (one!) at a local pub. Someplace to have a chat and get to know each other.
So rarely, these days, does the word ‘date’ imply anything in the traditional sense: dinner and/or a movie, for example.

Some say chivalry is dead, others say it’s on a time-out.
Either way, dating can be an absolute nightmare.

When the first meeting isn’t so successful, it’s easy enough to predict where things are headed: Nowheresville!
Perhaps he was too forward: “So, after this should we go to your place or mine?” ; Maybe he exaggerated his height in his online profile: He told you he was 5’11” but, when you arrived at the pub in your lucky heels, your 5’2″ (5’5″ in those heels) frame towered over him; Or maybe he turned out to be a nearly middle-aged pot head happy to work a dead end job for the rest of his days.
(All examples from my own personal dating archives)

No matter what goes wrong, it’s fairly easy to escape a bad first date. 
Us women usually have a system – I know I do. It generally goes a little something like this: 
If you don’t hear from me by X time, call me with an emergency. Make it sound real.
And so, the bad date ends. 

But what about when it’s a good (or great, or wonderful) evening?
Those of us with a “system” in place, sneak off to the bathroom to call off the dogs (I’m having a wonderful time, he’s sweet/nice/cute/etc, I’ll check in later), keep our phones stashed WAY out of reach, and enjoy the evening. 

This is where The Problem comes into play.
You’ve have a wonderful time, he’s held your hand/kissed you goodnight/etc (*wink wink*), you feel as though you’ve made a connection with this person. You like him. Or at least you like him enough to want to see him again.

But you’ve got NO idea if he’s on the same page!

It’s 2012, we do absolutely everything electronically now, with little to no time wasted, and there is STILL a waiting period to find out if there will be a second date.
Every text message, email, voicemail, all of it subject to what-does-this-mean scrutiny:
He could have meant this, but what if he meant that
What do I say? What do I do?

Sound familiar??

Generally, the period between date number 1 and the request for date number 2 is more nerve wrenching than those pre-date jitters. We play it cool on the outside, but inside (and to our girlfriends), we are a mess!
Why is it so hard for men to date without playing The Game?
Who decided that a 3-day waiting period was standard protocol? We’re not buying a gun! 

Most girls (and I say ‘most’ because there are notable exceptions) are not looking for a life-long commitment, at least not off the first date. 
We want him to know we  had a lovely time and would like to see him again. And, more importantly, we want to know we made a good enough first impression that he will want to see us again too. 

Simple right?

So why do we make things so complicated?

As a now 30-something single woman, who’s spent HOURS agonizing over every moment of the first date (every look, every touch, every gesture), and dissecting every syllable after, here is my advice to all the men out there: 

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
If you like us and want to see us again, tell us. If it’s not jiving with you, that’s cool too.
As long as you’re honest and upfront about what it is you want, expect and are looking for in a potential relationship, no good woman will fault you for it.

And to all you women out there (myself included) who spend sooooo much time wondering what to do/say:
RELAX!
So what if he doesn’t like you enough to see you again.
Life goes on. And rest assured, there is someone out there who is dying to spend some time with you

Besides, you are far too beautiful and fabulous to spend your life worrying, right?

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

Tough Love

Take a step back. 
Fucking look at yourself.
You are human.
You are beautiful.
You are so beautiful.
And you can be anything.
You can be everything.

Do not hate everyone because someone broke your heart, or because your parents split up, your best friend betrayed you, your father hit you, the kid down the street called you fat/ugly/stupid/worthless.
Do not concern yourself with things you cannot control.

Cry when you need to but, let go when it’s time.
Don’t hang on to painful memories just because you’re too afraid to forget.
Let go of things that are in the past.
Forget things that aren’t worth remembering.

Stop taking things for granted.
Stop taking life for granted.
Live for something.
Live for yourself!

Fall in love.
Fall out of love.
Fall in love.
Fall out of love.
Do this over and over until you know what it really is to love someone.

Question things.
Tell people how you really feel.
Sleep under the stars.

Create.
Imagine.
Inspire.

Share something wonderful.
Meet new people.
Make someone’s day.
Follow your dreams.

Live your life to its full potential.
Just live, dammit!
Let go of all the horrible things in your life and fucking live!!

And one day, when you’re old, look back with no regrets.

 

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

July 8, 2012

I received a message yesterday from someone I was once close with.  The message started out: “I’m assuming your life has gone nowhere…

This made me sad. Not for myself, but for her.

She and I had had a falling out. It’s been so long now, that I can’t remember when or why. But, if I know women, then it’s sure to have been something insignificant that called an end to our friendship.

Relationships end, that’s a fact of life. In the years since the end of our friendship, I’ve made peace with it. I prayed for a happy life for her, and moved on. I’ve gotten closer to those people around me who have been there through good times and bad. I’ve lived a lot of days, shed a lot of tears, been through a lot of things, and come out stronger on the other side. I’ve made huge life-altering decisions surrounding my career, life and education, and I began to really write.

I’ve learned that when people send you messages or start conversations with hurtful words, they’re looking for a reaction from you. Their poor behaviour is a symptom of problems they have in their own lives. A younger version of me would have fought fire with fire and replied with something equally as mean.

Instead, I have decided to let silence speak for me. 

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox