How to survive holiday parties: 5 tips to fake it while you make it

How to survive holiday parties: 5 tips to fake it while you make it

Ah, the holidays are here!  Christmas music on the radio and the in the mall.  Festive lights everywhere.  Santa Claus and nativity displays on every corner.  But yet, my rear end keeps expanding and the stress levels are higher than Dave Chappelle’s crackhead alter ego: Tyrone Biggum.

tyrone

As a typical introvert, I sometimes don’t like hanging out in large groups of people when I’m stressed.  It’s the end of the year, deadlines are looming, personal commitments are piling up, everyone wants a piece of you, and the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t until January.

The weather outside is frightful and I am simply not spending enough time in front of that delightful fire.  The last thing I want to do is hit up a festive holiday party!

My preference would be to slip into some sweatpants, make some popcorn and finally get around to finishing Mad Men on Netflix, which I’ve been watching for a year or longer…it’s blasphemy, I know, when you can binge a season of anything in a weekend if you’re committed. But Mad Men is very difficult to commit to. Ya know, like Don Draper trying to commit to his wives. *whisper* He can’t!

Oh, SNAP!

don-draper

In case you’re not a watcher of the show, this image shows Draper (the biggest ‘ho on Madison Ave) in an elevator with his mistress who has decided to stop seeing him and work on her marriage. But he’s still really into her and now they are alone in the sex elevator trying to not molest each other.  AWKWARD!

The main reason I don’t really enjoy holiday parties is that super invasive conversations are started by people who should mind their own damn business but the filter conveniently stops working right around December.  Every. Time.

If you are single, when are you going to find a boyfriend/girlfriend?

If you’re dating, when are you two lovebirds going to settle down?

If you’re married, when are you going to have babies?

If you have tried having babies but aren’t successful, how about adoption or IVF?

If you don’t want babies at all, it’s ok! You’re still young and will change your mind.

If you have babies, are you done having them?

If you are done having children, are you getting a vasectomy/tubal ligation?

I’ve gained so much weight over Christmas, I’m going to start the diet in the new year for sure.  How about you?  *judges you as you reach for another gingerbread cookie*

If you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten intolerant, basically following any special lifestyle diet: good for you!  I could never do that!  I love high cholesterol and intestinal damage way too much.

*snicker* I inserted that last sarcastic sentence myself.

kimk

ARGH!!

I’m not angel, and I’m sure that I’ve brought up each of these topics in the past at some point or another just trying to make friendly conversation without realizing the problem.  It’s just so common in our culture that we forget how insensitive these questions actually are. I hope that if you hear me spouting this crap again, please tell me to STFU or walk away.  Permission granted!

So how does an introvert survive the holidays without murdering everyone at the soiree?

Here are five helpful tips to keep those anxious screams internal:

  1. Smile like God is watching you.  Because he or she is.  And killing people is bad.  Oh geez, I’m going to end up killing someone, aren’t I?
  2. Positive affirmations such as:
    • I like everyone at this party, especially when the vino is flowing!
    • The token biggot is not saying anything offensive today. Yey!
    • If I eat the food, I don’t have to make dinner myself and it’s free.  Score!
    • Everyone’s wearing the most hilarious ugly sweaters. Woohoo!
  3. Drink delicious spiked egg nog. Lots of it!  I’d rather be known as a drunk than a serial killer.  And if you’re feeling particularly ragey, add more rum!
  4. Hang out with people who are equally socially awkward so that you have something in common. Discuss, at length, all the Netflix shows you could be watching right now.
  5. Run to the washroom lots and imply that you are having stomach issues.  This way people won’t come looking for you when you disappear to hang with the pets in the basement until this thing is over.  Hanging with animals is way more fun than conversing with humans. Amirite??

And if you are the host of the soiree…well, save some ‘nog for later. You’re going to need it!

I’m sure there are a ton more tips out there to help you survive the holidays.  If you have any helpful suggestions, please leave a comment below!

Dumb, angry birds 

Dumb, angry birds 

In the crisp morning air at 6:30am Monday to Friday, I walk to my office building from home.  I live in downtown Calgary and my stroll to work is a glorious time to be outside in the fresh air.  Traffic is light at that time, both pedestrian and vehicular.  The sunrises are spectacular, though I don’t always get a lot of sun with the tall buildings around me.  I enjoy my morning commute immensely, even if that sometimes means getting a whiff of early morning weed off the apartment buildings in my neighbourhood of the Beltline, or saying hello to a friendly bottle collector pushing his cart full of belongings along the alley.

Note to bottle collector: Dude, gravel alleys are totally wrecking your grocery cart tires.  I’m no expert or anything, but that’s why the one wheel is spinning, off balance, and giving you zero control.  You’re welcome.  You’ll probably never see this post.  Moving on…

As part of my journey to work, I have to take the 8th Street SW Underpass.  It is currently under construction.  Recently, the east side of it was completed, and now the west side is under repair.  The 8th Street Underpass is the most heavily used pedestrian corridor into downtown.  About $8.8 million was budgeted by the City of Calgary to enhance this particular stretch of walkway.

The urban lifestyle has its pros and cons.  Some of the good points include being able to walk to work, get groceries, have access tons of eateries, services, and not drive for the most part.  The cons include limited and expensive parking, smaller homes, higher property taxes, homeless people, drug addicts, drunks, and consequently a higher crime rate.

Typically, the 8th Street Underpass serves as a temporary shelter to transient folks looking for a place to panhandle or pass out.  That means having to avoid tripping over them where the underpass narrows.  Well, it narrows because someone is sleeping or sitting on the one side and people strolling South or North have a smaller area to pass.  The smells and sights are oft vomit inducing. In fact, a little dance is sometimes required to delicately hop over piles of garbage, urine puddles, and barf splatters!  The B.O. furthermore clogs the air and one must hold their breath whilst performing the 8th Street Underpass Tango.

To add to the mottled experience of using the pedestrian corridor, sometimes a flock of sparrows is attracted to the leftover, rotting food left by the nomads.  These aren’t just your run of the mill friendly, singing, delightful sparrows.  No, these are devil spawn that are probably near-sighted and tipsy from consuming the high sodium junk food content of the scattered food stuffs and leftover alcohol that the vagrants forgot to finish.  The little bastards flutter around the especially cramped sections of the underpass.  They don’t even try to wait until you’ve moved on before they turn into violent missiles of rabies or avian flu aiming directly for your legs or face.  Many a time I’ve almost been smacked in the head by these drunk birds!

As I pass by the section where these birds are known to dwell, I try to avoid eye contact to prevent any sort of provocation of a flighted attack.  IT NEVER SEEMS TO WORK!!!  What the hell do these assholes want anyway?  I don’t have bird seed and I’m not carrying beer.  So please fuck off!

Sometimes I mutter “Love and light, love and light” as I amble on and that doesn’t seem to have any effect either. Screaming all manner of profanities at the winged hooligans, I quicken my pace to get the hell out of there!

Had I known the 8th Street underpass was basically an aviary for dumb, angry birds I’d probably stop using it.  I can deal with the unsavouries and grossness.  But those shitty little birds are something else.

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED, PEOPLE!

 

The Aviary of Hell aka 8th Street Underpass

 

My house is full of vortexes

My house is full of vortexes

Actually it’s not really, but I swear to god spiritual people I meet are convinced that their place of work or home is chalked FULL of them.  Ugh!  I do have a friend who’s house is legit full of vortexes but that is a rarity! Go into any metaphysical shop and the kooky owner’s talking about the insane vortex in their basement/attic/front entrance.  Whatevs, dude…just sell me some fucking crystals so I can get out of here before you upsell me on that tarot deck.  Dammit!  Throw that in too.  The vortex at the till made me do it. ;-P

Vortexes or vortices are areas of our spectacular earth that are known to either suck energy in or blow energy out.  Usually found at the intersection of ley lines. There is always some sort of opposition force in play.  I’ve heard of mirrors attracting energy also.  Sometimes when I’m walking around the neighbourhood, I’m drawn to a spot that is full of nature that simply holds me.  I always ask myself if the fairies are playing tricks on me and pulling me into some sort of portal.  Who knows what it is, but such places do exist likely at the intersections of ley lines if you happen to stumble upon them.

If you live in an area known for its energy (Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and BC, Sedona, etc.) there are places where vortices have been felt by hundreds and possibly thousands of people.  If that energy is fake, why would so many people be mesmerized by the area?  Could it be that it’s beautiful?  Natural vistas that take your breath away aren’t all vortices.  And not everything is positive either, there is also a negative attraction.

Let me introduce you to the vortexes in my home because I’m spiritual and obviously I’m surrounded by them.  Prepare to be enthralled and amazed!

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I feel at one with the Universe when I poop.  TMI?

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Dear God, what died in there?

Everyone is getting stoned except me

Everyone is getting stoned except me
Mackey
Disclaimer

As a deeply spiritual person, I feel like I have no street cred unless I partake in some substance in some way.  Some mediums regularly get drunk AF because of the heavy crap we gotta deal with: consoling the living after someone passes on and counselling clients about all sorts of life issues.  While others stay away from substances altogether.

Weed is a good option to just relax and allow the messages to flow.  I don’t have a lot of experience with this as I was a super good kid growing up.  My parents think I was the devil’s spawn because I talked back and came home long after my curfew, but no one is asking them.  As a goody goody growing up in the deep south of Calgary, I never did anything bad. I never drank alcohol till I was 18 (legal age in Alberta), and I definitely didn’t smoke cigarettes, or do party drugs. I didn’t even go to parties. My parents had it easy as far as I’m concerned!

I’m now making up for missed opportunities.

A girlfriend of mine came over some time ago with her baggie of green promises. I couldn’t wait to get fucked up.  As I eagerly awaited her arrival, I heard her voice as she was chatting up my neighbours.  She was laughing and confessing what a racist she was.  Oh god, do I need to intervene?  When I opened the door, I was met with bloodshot eyes and a slack jaw mouth signalling the bitch was already high as a kite!  I got genuinely pissed she started without me. Anyway, I couldn’t be mad at her for very long because she had the goods and is cute as a button.  I was super excited to try her stuff.  It smelled herbal, aromatic, and non-skunky. We pulverized the buds and rolled them up into cigarette papers.  Soon after, we went for a walk down the block cuz I ain’t doing that shit in my house.

First try: nothing. I was unaffected.  Hmmm, maybe it just takes a while. Went back home to roll another.

2nd attempt: more nothing…friend is a bit surprised it’s not working for me

3rd and 4th go around: I’m still not feeling tingly, buzzed, stoned or anything

My husband comes home after running some errands and my friend is making fun of me for being stone cold sober. What is the meaning of this?  I’ve smoked 2 buds practically. That would last her a week if she was smoking every day. I’ve smoked pot using a bong before and it took me a while then too.  But this is ridiculous. My friend is promising to get me high even if she ends up being late for her date in an hour or so.

Husband (non-chalantly): Oh, it was like this last time too.

Friend: WHAT?!  Last time?

5th attempt: We desperately phone the dealer and ask for advice. This is super embarrassing and awkward. There were a lot of expletives exchanged over the phone about what a couple of dumbasses we were but what we got from this shit-talking was: 50/50 oxygen and cannabis. I wasn’t inhaling and mixing.  I was holding it in, but no extra inhale.

OOOOHHHHHHH!  Rookie mistake.

6th one’s a charm!  I successfully ended up a baked brownie.  My girlfriend is relieved!  She proceeds to eat all my chips and leave crumbs everywhere. She also borrows some clothes for a date and leaves her hobo chiq fashions at my place.

The high itself was great.  I mellowed out and relaxed.  There was no looking for messages this time around, I just wanted to float in bliss.  Next time though, I’ll be giving readings to my friends with a sense of humour.  I’m sure there is going to be some epic stuff revealed.  Who wants to join that party?  Haha!

(BTW, I’m brown so it’s not racist when I say “baked brownie”.  If you’re not brown and you use this term, you are a racist. Political correctness all the way!  Except for me. I have double standards like that.)

Disclaimer: while I am joking about this one experience with the ganja, I do not use illegal substances 99% of the time.  I don’t even have any tattoos.  I go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 5:30am to go to work.  I barely take any sick days.  I donate money to charity and pay my credit cards and taxes on time.  And I’m not about to lose my job over a failed drug test either. I’m still a proud goody goody…

 

 

 

How not to be a douchebag: a simple guide

 

Welcome to humanity, ladies and gentlemen!  Can we try not to be complete assholes to each other while we are on this planet for a short amount of time?

I’m no saint, and I have uttered a lot of awful things in the midst of road rage, and dished out the one-finger salute to those deserving pricks weaving in and out of traffic.  We have all been there and done that.  I’m not here to judge you, but I’m here to tell you there are better ways of handling confrontations that are seriously not worth having.  Before you burst into anger at someone, ask yourself if you really want to take on the karmic debt of holding in this anger to eat you up alive?  But also, do you want to pass on your anger to someone else who may already be having a bad day and you have contributed nothing to ease their burden?  Remember, whatever emotion and mental state you are holding onto will manifest itself back on to you because you will attract whatever energy you are sending off into the Universe.  It’s the Law of Attraction. Being a non-jerk begins and ends with you.  Take the responsibility and read below for some simple tips.

5 ways to back away from tough confrontations:

  1. Assume people are having a bad day. Be nice no matter how shitty they make you feel. You don’t know their situation. Let it go.
  2. Accept that getting angry will not help anyone. You may release your stress for a brief moment, but it’ll come back later anyway. Release it.
  3. Understand that people don’t have the same experience as you. What may come to you naturally is not second-nature for someone else. Have patience.
  4. Take the time to communicate emotions with kindness and gentleness. People don’t know where you are coming from. No, it’s not obvious. Especially if you’re dealing with a dude.  Sorry dudes, this is just a fact…nothing personal.
  5. Change the subject and invite your friend to drinks.

The truth is that if you want to offer your unsolicited criticism at someone, it may be considered offensive and you may get a defensive reaction.  Don’t be surprised or offended by it.  Find a better way. Empathy.

Now go out and have a super awesome day, non-douchy reader!

 

The Romance of Rain

The Romance of Rain

Everytime it’s raining cats and dogs, I’m constantly reminded of this iconic scene from The Notebook where Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling are passionately making out.  And it makes me melt! *sigh*

I’m sure that was a very difficult scene to film.  Anyone who has tried to have sex standing up knows adding a ton of water to the mix is probably not going to help with grip for either partner.  Also, anyone who has attempted the deed in the shower knows you are going to be constantly blinded by the spray of water bouncing off your companion’s head/body.  Great in theory, super shitty in practice!  Amirite??

Super unrealistic expectations, Hollywood.  And yet when it rains, all I think about is that tense, romantic scene from the Notebook and it stirs something inside me.  Looking out the window of my 20th floor office, betwixt the concrete towers surrounding me, I see the fat droplets of moisture plummeting to the earth and drenching it with much needed water.  Oh look, it’s now switched to snow!  The joys of living in Calgary where this sort of thing (mixing precipitation) happens all the time.

I don’t live in a climate where it rains a lot. So when it does, it’s something very special.  Currently, a lot of my province is burning (the Fort McMurray fire is raging outside of town and they are desperate for respite).

Rain is beautiful and it is much needed right now.  So before you start complaining about getting your socks wet, just remember the romance of rain.  Or Ryan Gosling.  Or Rachel McAdams. Soaking wet. *swoon*

 

An empath in a concrete box

An empath in a concrete box

Being a spiritual person in a corporate world can be taxing emotionally and mentally.  Spiritually, I know the concrete jungle serves no purpose other than giving me the money I need to pay my bills and having the job that looks great on paper.  Navigating through the minefields of office politics is a daily struggle.  I have a job that my parents can be proud of telling their friends about rather than just, oh, our daughter is a medium.  They do that as well, but the medium bit takes less of the spotlight when my resume is relayed onward.

What does one do when they observe and feel everything around them?  I see the energy no one else thinks to look for.  My world is full of beautiful colours and vivid hues encircling the heads of the people I’m fortunate to work with in this chapter of my life.  Their auras ebb and flow like liquid veils, enchanting tendrils of qi dancing and reaching outward like flames.  What glorious images delight my eye, especially that third one!

The trick is gratitude.  Never taking for granted that which has been bestowed by the infinite divine.  The beauty of life is taking the time to observe the fleeting moments of clarity.  When I take the time to ponder the light-hearted quips by coworkers or the sense of accomplishment of me finishing a stressful task, I realize my contribution may not be so meaningless after all.

Anyone in the corporate world talks about the soul-sucking nature of it.  They talk about terrible bosses and vindictive peers ambitiously toppling each other ascending the corporate ladder.  I’ve gone in and out of many companies in oil and gas in the last decade and finally found a place where I have made a lot of friends.  This is the exception, not the norm.  My bosses are awesome and inspiring.  My coworkers joke and laugh all day.  The work is stimulating and challenging.  So what if someone snipes at me one day because they might be having a bad day?  It’s ok to feel the pain of the careless missile that strikes my ego, but it’s also ok to not take things so personally.  That’s really hard for me to do–not take things personally.

As I try to live my life to the fullest, there will always be those inevitable criticisms of being naive.  Without pain, one doesn’t know love.  Without loss, one doesn’t know to appreciate what they have.  Without risk, one may not experience reward.  Playing safe works for kids.  But for those who of us who savour the nectar of life, the thrill comes from living.

So what does an empath do when they work in a concrete box?  They build a window and a door.

To the chagrin of my spiritual peers, this post had nothing to do with shielding or grounding, or wearing crystals to ward off negative energies, etc.  I’m a realist and I don’t need the extra crap my metaphysical brethren peddle–though I’d be lying if I say I didn’t buy that shit en masse like a horizontally-challenged kid in a candy store. I’ll confess, my drawers and dresser are piled with gemstones and crystals.  I walk into a crystal shop and I’m an addict looking for a hit.  Amethyst pendant?  Rose quartz ring?  Rainbow tourmaline sphere?  Obsidian and onyx bracelets to help protect me from evil?  Take my money already, dammit!  I live 2 blocks away from Earth Gems in Calgary and I have to walk across the street to avoid it so I don’t go in.  Don’t talk to me about crystals.  I have a problem, ok?

crystals

Anywho, where was I?  Moral of the story: empaths need to sort out their life and calm their shit.

I bet you weren’t expecting that… 😉