Top Ten List of Shit You Don’t Want to Know When Turning Fifty

A friend asked the other day for any useful tips for turning fifty.  I struggled with ‘tips’ as I was unsure as to what infinite wisdom I could bestow.  I’ve been fifty for a few years now and I have some advice, warnings and ‘ohmygawdwatchoutforthisshit’, but not exactly the ‘tips’ I think she was looking for.  In any case, in honour of all of those young ladies turning fifty, here is my Top Ten List of Shit You Don’t Want to Know When Turning Fifty. 

 You. Are. Welcome.

And Happy Birthday!

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10.  You lose interest in everything except yoga pants, wine and food-  Okay, maybe that blanket statement goes too far.  You lose MOST of the interest you had in leaving the house.  I started wanting to spend more time drinking in my yoga pants than going out or doing something that required me to wear pants or an ‘outfit’.  I still enjoy going out, but I really have to want it.

9.  Impatience is the new virtue since you don’t have time for shit, don’t give a shit and basically you can’t put up with anyone’s shit. True.  My patience is waning for whiners and folks who like to complain simply to hear themselves talk.  NO. TIME.

8.  Crashing Fatigue is actually a ‘thing’ and when it hits, it’s difficult to snap out of it-  You feel exhausted every day all day and you just want to crawl into bed and stay there. It will pass, but you have to summon up some patience.  It usually lasts a few days and I get through it by telling Hubby I’m on strike of mother duties due to the polar vortex and incessant winter.  Even if it’s summer, I can say I’ll be tired for the next few days so just let me be the best version of Greta Garbo and I vant to be alone…. Trust that this is simply an ‘episode’ and it WILL pass.  It IS an actual part of the Big M, so take it day by day.

7.  Opposite of Crashing Fatigue, comes Insomnia AKA Your Brain On Menopausal Meth- Sleep is a distant thing and you stay awake with songs blaring in your brain, a to-do list of epic proportions, the mistakes you made on the Grade 6 Spelling Bee and how you’ve clearly failed as a parent because your child can’t boil and egg. You start to panic realizing you haven’t accomplished ANYTHING and your life has been one big waste of time. Up you get from your bed, start writing out a bucket list of stuff that you WILL NEVER DO because you don’t have boatloads of cash and your Fairy God Mother is on vacation.  Breathe.  This too shall pass…but still write the list because you’ll need something to make you laugh later that day when the Migraine Auras start.  Oh, I didn’t tell you about that, yet?

6.  Migraine Auras are fucktastic – No, you are not having a stroke. You don’t have a brain tumour.  You are having Auras.  Little bits of psychedelic lights dancing in your eyes like you’ve been staring at the sun too long.  They flash, they dance and are squiggly lines pulsing and moving.  It’s a part of having a Migraine.  I don’t actually get the blinding headache pain with migraines, just the auras, but some people get both.  After fifty, you can experience these auras a little bit more frequently.  Awesome.   They usually disappear within 30 minutes with my eyes closed and laying down.  That’s after having a few nights of no sleep thanks to #7.  See how this works?  Fun.  Times.  *having said that, make sure to get your blood work done regularly so you can keep your levels in check.  Your chances of stroke, heart disease and diabetes rise as you age. Know the signs of a stroke so you can differentiate between the two.  If you have any doubts, get thee to a doctor.   Stay healthy.

5.  Breakouts vs Wrinkles, the Epic Battle of your Skin – Around the time when my period used to occur, my body still thought I should endure the effects of one. My skin continues to break out like I’m seventeen, I get all that crampy-bloated-wonderfulness of a tween and I’m crankier more than usual.  AND, I’m over fifty so the fight against aging or simply looking older than I should, is an ongoing battle.  I’m not thinking I should look twenty, because I’m not.  I just don’t want to look ninety, either.  I went on this epic fact finding mission to discover the basic ingredients for fighting wrinkles.  I found a few things:  Serums – I like them and use them daily.  They go on first, then a moisturizer.  Vitamin C and E are your friends.  Vitamin C helps with brightening and tone, Vitamin E helps with repairing the wrinkles and I use that one at night.  Hyaluronic acid plumps up your skin.  Retinol fights wrinkles.  Glycolic Acid exfoliates.  Those are the basics.  I don’t buy anything expensive.  I use all-natural as much as possible.  You really don’t need to buy expensive creams to look good.  Use something that you like and stick with it.

4.  You need a hobby – seriously, you have dedicated your time, energy and talents to work and raising a family. Now, take some time and develop something else.  Do something out of your comfort zone or find your creativity.  Paint, write, run, walk, volunteer, sand-down the outside steps…it doesn’t have to be wowtastic, just something you enjoy.  You need time for you to develop your own interests and hidden talents so you don’t go batty.  It’s healthy for you to be busy and enjoy something other than work/kid/husband/partner related.

3.  Brain fog – I’ve noticed that I can’t remember as much as I used to. My short term memory decides to take periodic vacations.  I can’t keep the kids’ schedules straight in my head and I incessantly ask what they are doing every day.   I’ve decided to practice using my brain more.  Crossword puzzles, games with reasoning, reading something other than newspapers or online content and writing are all keeping my brain active and engaged.  Something TV does not do.  Turn off the tv and do something else for your brain.

2.  Exercise- Oh, come on you knew that was coming. Weight training and aerobic exercise are important to keeping you feeling and looking younger.  Weight training builds muscle, and helps your joints.  Aerobic exercise keeps that heart pumping.  Do both.  You’ll feel better.  It may help with #7 and #8 as well.  Kinda.

1. The Fashion Industry Sucks at dressing us – We either end up looking like a wannabe-twenty-something, or like Dorothy’s Auntie Em. It’s disgusting, really.  I don’t do elastic waist band pants and I don’t like being called ma’am.  I also can’t wear a dress up to my bum and a v-neck down to my naval.  Trust me NOBODY WANTS TO SEE THAT.   Finding age-appropriate comfortable clothing is challenging, but I always manage to find something.  I drag daughters with me and find some stuff at Winners on a good day.  Sometimes, online is the best bet, but you are taking a chance on sizing and fit.  It’s a trial and error thing, but know that you are not alone.  That’s why yoga pants will always be in style.

BONUS:  Key to staying young is a positive attitude and finding your tribe.  Having friends and a good support system is vital at any age, especially when journeying through a transition.   Getting through the hard days will be sweeter with some good friends and some hearty laughter.

Enjoy the journey!  xo

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Falling for Spring

March breezes are upon us with the promise of Spring.  It’s so close, I almost believe in its careless whispers and its falsepromises of sunshine, trees with sprouts of green buds and the ground giving birth to colourful tulips.  Then I walk outside and I am almost blown to my knees from hurricane force windswhile wrapped in a one hundred pound down filled parka with mittens and boots cemented to my appendages.  Spring!  Let me make it through winter without frost bite, or hospitalizations from injuries sustained in slippages or needing to be thawed by an open flame for hours.  

It’s a little much and I’m tired.  I want to go outside and feel the sun. Instead, I’m still waiting for some semblance of warmth.  Some sign from the Weather Gods that I am not just waiting for nothing.  That they’re not up in the sky looking down at me laughing at me for even THINKING about Spring while they plan the next ice extravaganza.  “Hey, Thor.  Throw that hammer on THIS THREE FEET THICK SHEET OF ICE!  The humans will be SO SCREWED! HAHAHAHA!”

Ice is terrifying for me and my reasons should be very self-explanatory.  The whole fall-down-on-my-arse thing.  Or the dreaded Face-Plant of 2012, the Sequel.  The slip in Toronto a week ago.   It could happen even without the presence of slippery-when-wet or when-icy conditions.   Gravity is not my friend.  THE MINUTE I think spring could be wrapping me in warmth, I dare to be too brave and saunter outside without grippy boots and immediately fall on my ass.  It’s a given.  I need a bodyguard or five to walk me gently down the driveway to my car, then gently down the stairs from the parking lot to the door of my work.  I need them to repeat this exercise from October right up until July.  Or maybe I could get my hands on a hover board and hover my way to EVERYWHERE during the winter.  THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.

Who has a hover board they’re not currently using??  Is that even a thing?

I need to research this.  It could be my answer to NEVER FALLING AGAIN.  I could market it like the Acorn Stair Lift for old people.   HOVER YOUR WAY TO EVERYWHERE.   

DON’T WALK.  HOVER.

DON’T FALL EVER AGAIN. 

Wow.  The possibilities are endless!  

Wait…is there balance involved in these hover boards?  ‘Causethat may be the Dragon’s Den rejection of the year if I have to actually use balance to operate it.  

I need to research this and get back.  My solution may have fallen into the abyss of Bad Ideas not to be resurrected anytime soon.  

I could be back to just plain old walking and hoping I don’t fall.  That’s okay, since that’s what I’ve been doing forever, but it would be nice to have an alternate solution that looks way cooler than a scooter or moped thingy. Or ending up looking like I volunteered to spar with Rocky sans protective gear.  

And cooler than being called Jay Leno.  

Friends…. emmiright?!    

My future…

If I Could Read, I Wouldn’t Need Help. Also Wine

The winds are blowing heavy today; my brain seems to be melting in the heat and I’m having difficulty concentrating on anything longer than three words.  At least, that’s what I’m saying.  “It’s all of this heat.  I’m not used to it” when really, it’s all of this old age and peri-menopause crap that’s beginning to break down my will to exist with patience and some semblance of logic.  Intelligence has taken a back seat to convenience and I’m having a hard time concentrating.  It’s like I’m four years old all over again and if someone could constantly feed me and keep me entertained, I’m happy.  Piss me off and take away my favourite toy and watch out!

You better have a stick of chocolate in that other hand or I may punch you in the throat.

Coach put out a notice of how the new payment system is going down. I SWEAR TO GAWD I READ IT.  I really did.  I think.  Today, I spoke like I knew what I was talking about, because my erroneous brain decided I DID KNOW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT.  I knew shit.  I got it all wrong.  IF I HAD READ THE ENTIRE PASSAGE I PROBABLY WOULD BE ABLE TO DECIPHER THINGS BETTER.  She may need to post stuff in all caps.  Or be more sarcastic.  Or have a caption that read WINE, and then proceed to print things in clear concise point form without all of the flowery language of using proper grammar

and words like “the” and “and”.  Ugh

Today’s post of PLEASE READ was okay, but she really should have specified it to be PLEASE READ then below that heading, have “AND WINE”.  That would get peoples’ attention.  At least the fifty-somethings like me would have shit to look forward to and not aimlessly read without concentrating on the actual context of the message.  We would be reading to get to the good part about the wine…IS THERE WINE?  Oh, look I have to actually pay her…IN WINE?  THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.  EVERYBODY PAY IN WINE!!!  WHO WAS THE BRILLIANT PERSON WHO CAME UP WITH THAT?!

Nevermind.  That’s how I would decipher the entire message.  YOU HAVE TO PAY COACH AT THE END OF JULY IN WINE.  I READ IT.  ALL OF IT AND THAT’S WHAT IT SAID. NOW, DON’T BOTHER ME I NEED TO EAT MY CHOCOLATE.  DANCE, HEATHEN!   DANCE!

I also have issues with deciding if I should wear pants, so really, I should be excused from answering questions and deciphering texts.

Ps.  Dear Boss, if you want to pay me in wine, I’d be okay with that.  Thanks!  KJ

Riding Semis With Strangers

The wind is blowing, the sun is kinda shining and I’m not wearing a parka.  What a great Friday! The following tale is not for the faint of heart and one not wishing to lay witness to the winds of change.  An emotional upheaval of a woman fraught with anguish, ire and scant hormones that have left her (me) with little else but to rant and rave to the Gods of the Universe to bestow patience and lots of wine.  Here you go….

The inevitable is careening at me like a Denzel Washington train of disaster and I can’t move out of the way fast enough.  I’ve ranted and raved, threw my fist in the air to protest the injustices of errant hormones and still I’ve been relegated to bowing my head in disbelief and wanton despair.  Approaching 52 has never been so tumultuous.  I imagine.  I’ve never approached 52 before and never will again, for that matter.  Good thing.  I’ve had to reel in my tongue lest the innocent bystanders fall victim to my raging Norma Rae pontifications.  A little dramatic, I realize but that’s how it is these days. I’ve had to remind myself that someone being a little late is not an ‘idiot’ or a ‘fucking moron’ or anything other than just being late.  I’ve had to remind my body that I’M NOT THAT OLD, M*&^*F**&^CKER AND I CAN DO IT IF I WANT TO.  OR, maybe I should take a few days off and think about it.

I was forced to counsel Hubby on the upcoming personality disorder that will be defined as his former wife, due to the unfortunate incident of him answering my plea of being rescued from a place of employment with a curt ‘no’.  WHAT DO YOU MEAN NO?!  It started and thereto began the Great Conflict of Summer 2018 when Hubby had the audacity to suggest I keep my car and let D2 walk.  THE ABSOLUTE NERVE TO THINK I COULD KEEP MY OWN CAR.   With the windows open widely so the ‘hood could partake in the banter and loud yelling of I CAN NEVER BE ANGRY BECAUSE YOU JUST GET ANGRY THEN EVERYONE IS ANGRY. NO, YOU’RE OUT OF ORDER AND THIS WHOLE PLACE IS OUT OF ORDER AND WHY AM I QUOTING AN OLD 70’S MOVIE AND  JUST LET ME BE ME FOR ONCE!!!   GAWWWWDDDD.    Yes, a teenager-proud moment was never heard so well and as renowned as the plea for my emotional independence.  I Lost. My.  Shit.   What. The. Actual. Fuck was wrong with me?

I ranted on D2 about how she was driving too fast and if she doesn’t slow the fuck down, I’m getting out of the car and walking because I can’t take this shit.  I later drove the car to her employment place only to begin my long walk home.  Stalking along the street, I was determined that if a truck driver manning a semi with a lady tattoo and a penchant for beer stopped and offered me a ride home, I may agree. A true moment of being a statistic on a milk carton, only display that pic of me on a wine bottle so my friends could actually know I was missing.  WHO DRINKS MILK AFTER THE AGE OF 40?   A few minutes later, she stops aside the road pick me up along the way to say I was being ridiculous.  RIDICULOUS.  ME??

No, I was being emotionally independent of all the fuck that’s happening in the world and LETS GET COFFEE AND COOKIES, DAMMIT.

Because coffee and cookies are like the meth of menopause.  I use the ‘M’ word with bated breath and downcast eyes, lest I look directly at it and it blinds me.  I’m not entirely within its grasp, but rather on the outskirts, stealing fearful glances at its promise of further rages with opened windows and moments of hitchhiking with semis.  She carefully throws cookies at me like feeding a rabid dog and fearful of her hand being bitten.

I now know why divorce rates rise at this stage of life.  I HAVE LOST MY FUCKING MIND.

I have come to the ultimate conclusion that this is my life for now and I have to filter my reactions to people’s utter lack of understanding and their predominant ability to be stupid.  I have to ask Hubby if what I just replied to someone could be construed as ‘snippy’ or ‘sarcastic’??  Me???   Or if I’m in ‘that mood’ now and should just try to shut up and stop talking? Look the other way?  Turn the other cheek?   I have to ask a neutral party if I’m being nasty or logical.  It sounds perfectly okay to me…but, apparently, it isn’t.  I’m not.  So, distract me by turning my attention to the shiny things and appease me with glasses of wine or chocolate.  Pretty soon I’ll be locking myself in a bathroom so I can’t wield hurtful words or ‘snippy’ retorts (that I’ve come to know and love) at random people with seemingly good intentions and no idea that the nasty ‘M’ is wreaking havoc.

Pass the cookies and the coffee.  The vat of wine over there is keeping me from wielding an axe and jumping aboard a semi with strangers… If I go missing, put a nice picture of me on that bottle of red Merlot.  It’s the least you could do….

Turn On The Light

It seems as though the world is turning on its head.  It’s imploding with people condemning each other to friendship hell if they vote the wrong way, and other people tormented by inner demons to the point of taking their own lives; a ‘c’ word broke up a country and caused a wide divide, and the rest of us are left clinging for dear life hoping the assholes of the universe will suddenly realize by some divine intervention that the real logical courses of action exist and will redeem themselves with unbelievable compassion.  And humanity.  We hope.

We are missing something.  We are missing the spark of human conscience that guides every person on the planet to do and be in the light.  The positive voices that were once abound with energy and forethought are being

drowned out by deaths and guns and hate.

We are missing thoughtfulness and

mindfulness.

The once thoughtful intelligent discourse that filled the air is being pushed aside by social media insta-posts denigrating anyone who disagrees, anyone who takes a side and anyone who says the sun will come out tomorrow.   Guess what?  The sun will come out, people will disagree, there will be sides and the positive voices will sing.

Humanity has taken a big punch in the gut.  Compassion has taken a backseat to shaming.  Truth is a lost art.  The gun debate rears up and then fades away as fast as it arose.  People’s attention spans are at the ultimate minimum since we repeatedly seem to forget our own history. Allies are not allies anymore.  We would rather be at each other’s throats than by each other’s sides.

It’s painful and exhausting trying to wade through the muck of negativity and shameless heartlessness that seems to be waiting around every corner.  My generation, those of us in the throes of our fifties, are looking around baffled and bewildered by utter lack of empathetic voices.  What happened?

We forgot.  With all of the technological advances at our fingertips, with self-driving cars and instant cooking pots and ultimate quick efficient non-thinking gadgets, life got easier.  We got lazier.  We forgot to take care of the little things that we once thought were insignificant, but really are the most important.  We forgot people’s feelings; we forgot that people wage war with themselves that we know nothing about; we forgot to take care of our relationships, our friends, our family; we forgot what if feels like to struggle, to extend a hand to someone, to be neighbourly; we forgot what it’s like to be scared, lost, and alone; we forgot that someone else’s thoughts and life are as just as important as our own.  We forgot that whatever personal battles we are enduring, there is always someone else battling their own shit just as hard.  We became a self-involved, altruistic society with a big ego and multiple platforms on which to perform and display that ego.

We’ve forgotten how to think.  We’ve forgotten how to care.

The screeching tires that you hear in the background is the future of humanity revving up and getting ready to careen carelessly onwards.  It will run over anyone who stands warily in the road, waving her arms pleading for a hand with a flat.   If everyone stands in the road together, maybe we can get it to slow down a bit.  And help out.  And care about the girl with the flat tire on the side of the road.  Maybe.

If you are battling something that’s too big

for you to handle, there is always a choice.

The suicide hotlines are listed here.  http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/canada-suicide-hotlines.html

Take care of each other.

I Need A More Stable Roller Coaster Partner

My middle-aged-ness has arrived and I’m reeling between bouts of euphoric elatedness and anxiety-ridden craptastic desperation. It’s like riding the Universe’ version of the roller coaster from Hell with the Joker as my side-kick. He’s laughing at me being totally HAPPY AS SHIT one minute, then PETRIFIED OF LOSING MY LUNCH MONEY TO THE BULLY AROUND THE CORNER, the next. This is what paranoid mania must feel like. I’m thinking Menopause on Crack is a better term. WELCOME TO THE FIFTIES, LADY.

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Ugh.

For instance, I have acne and wrinkles at the same time. The Universe is fucking with my face. I don’t like it.

I’m prone to fleeting outbursts of anxiousness at the slightest provocation. D2: Oh the engine light just came on. Me: WHAT?! OH MY GAWD STOP THE CAR! HOW CAN YOU BE CALM AT A TIME LIKE THIS! DO YOU SMELL SMOKE?! I THINK I SMELL SMOKE. PULL OVER! D2: This is why I drive…

I’m posting childhood pictures of my kids and they don’t like it…which leads to more pictures which leads to more protests…If I could figure out how to transform those VH baby tapes to video, it would be online FACEBOOK GOLD. “Yes, D1 you had red hair…and you still do. AWWWW, look! You’re playing in the toilet.”

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I’ve been incessantly exercising which has given me the unfortunate ability to be REALLY FUCKING HAPPY ALL OF THE DAMNED TIME. Seriously. Except for the times when people are being utterly stupid, I can be a bit overly…perky. It’s annoying even for me. REALLY?! WE’RE HAVING CAKE TODAY?! OH MY GAWD MY LIFE IS MADE!! WHAT?! WE’RE GOING TO HALIFAX FOR 3 DAYS??!! I’VE NEVER BEEN TO HALIFAX FOR A GOOD REASON, LIKE OTHER THAN THE STRESSFUL RN EXAM TAKING THAT WAS TOTALLY ALMOST DISTASTROUS AND DEVASTATINGLY PAINFUL! THIS IS SO AWESOME!!!! Right. I need to take it down a notch.

I’ve also been meal planning and experimenting with some new and ‘interesting’ recipes. Every time I come home and my kidadults see a sheet of printed paper in my hands and a smile on my face, they grow increasingly concerned. “Uh, oh. She’s been researching recipes again….MOM I’M WORKING I WON’T BE HOME FOR SUPPER. FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR, BUT THANKS!” Yeah, I’m on to you, kid. MY RECIPES ROCK. Too bad you have bad tastebuds…that chicken soup was GREAT. Ok, maybe a little lacking in taste, but it was GOOD. Ok, maybe a bit brothy and the dumplings were just lumps of soggy flour, but it was at least EDIBLE. Ok, maybe THAT ONE, kinda sucked. BUT THIS NEXT ONE IS GONNA BE GREAT. Maybe. EAT IT ANYWAYS. YOUR MOTHER HAS LITTLE ELSE TO LIVE FOR BUT TO FEED YOU.

The guilt thing usually works.

Other than that, I’m fine. Really. PERFECTLY FINE, THANKS NOW PASS THE WINE BOTTLE AND NO ONE GETS HURT.

Happy Friday…

Just Breathe

I was in my bootcamp class today, mid-mountain climbers, and realized I was holding my breath.  “Oh, Gawd BREATHE”.

It’s not the first time during exercising I’ve had to remind myself to breathe.  I often find myself holding my breath doing whatever it is, then realize that turning blue in class is probably not a good idea.  Also, being passed out on the floor would likely be frowned upon…not to mention a tad embarrassing.  “HEY COACH, WHY IS SHE LYING DOWN?!  IS THIS A NEW BURPEE MOVE WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT?!”  Then, everyone would be pissed and trying to do the new move that’s really not new, I’m just PASSED OUT THANKS, BUT DON’T WORRY ABOUT ME.  Now, I’ve taken to telling myself to breathe before class starts and whenever I find myself getting too caught up in an exercise.  It’s also a good idea to remind oneself to BREATHE during the day, even when not doing Burpees x 100, or face down doing plank jacks.

It’s not something that one should forget easily, I mean, breathing is as natural as, well, breathing but today I did catch myself NOT breathing.  It got me wondering how many other times I neglect to breathe during simple things and should be more self-aware.  Like, do I forget to breathe when I’m driving?  When I’m sleeping?  When I’m working?  HOW DOES SOMEBODY FORGET TO BREATHE?!  It’s ridiculous, really.  It’s like saying “Oh, I forgot to eat today.”  THAT NEVER HAPPENS TO ME.  Or, I FORGOT TO BUY WINE.  If that happens, I’m sure to be headed for the home.  So how does something so basic, so part of BEING HUMAN, be forgotten?

I guess it’s in line with so many other basic nuances of being a person that gets shoved aside during a busy day or week or life.  We forget to appreciate a warm day, a smile from someone we haven’t seen in a while, or a hot cup of coffee.  We forget what being little is like or that being a teen is dramatic and exhausting, and being a young adult can be scary.  We forget that not so long ago, the internet was new and exciting technology and playing hide and seek outside was the ONLY thing we did that was fun.  We forget that the simple act of walking is a gift many of us cannot enjoy and that living and breathing every day, is our greatest joy. We forget the basic simplicity of being human; the basic everyday pleasure of being alive and breathing.

Trying to be mindful and self-aware takes practice; one that I am in need of, obviously.  I read that a simple deep breath can calm your system down and give you the much needed oxygen to your brain to enhance those thinking cells and good vibrations.  It releases bad toxins and gets some much needed space to feel rejuvenated and refreshed.  A simple deep breath can do all of that.  Huh.

So can a bottle of wine, but usually drinking at one’s place of employment is not looked upon favourably.  AND, side plank with a sip-dip, anyone?  Yeah.  New exercise.  BYOB…

I have to try to remember to just breathe through all of that negativity people throw around like, “You’re doing that wrong” or “You should really rethink that shirt” or “Giving people the finger through their office door is not the professional behaviour we expect of you.”

IT WAS ONLY ONE TIME AND I FORGOT I HADN’T HAD A BREATH IN A WHILE.

GAAAWWWWDDDDD.

I’m going to go take a few deep breaths, now and appreciate that I CAN.

And open that wine…

Sip and breathe, and sip and breathe….

Me. After wine.