It might be too much Mad Men, or it might be too much time on maternity leave, but I – formerly a wine, beer, and scotch drinker – have been getting into cocktails lately. They seem to add a layer of fun and sophistication to a book club meeting or even a fundraiser one.
So when the LCBO generously offered More.ca blog readers a prize pack, I was happy because it’s a great excuse to ask you all what your favourite cocktail is. If you can add the recipe to your comment, or tell us why it’s your favourite so much the better — because I will be trying a number of them — BUT to win, all you need is to put the name of your favourite – before Friday, February 3, at noon Eastern Standard time. (Click the picture for a bigger view of the prize pack!)
The LCBO has graciously provided us with the prize (value $200!), but is not involved in the contest other than that! Here’s a description of what you’ll win:
12 Cocktail Picks with Gem Ends
1 Crystal Pick Holder
1 Dark Chocolate fleur de sel caramels
1 Sea Salt Nut Mix
1 Fruit and Nut Mix
1 Honey Sesame
1 Dark chocolate toffee almonds
1 Black Lace Placemat
1 Classic Honeycomb shaker
1 Axis martini bar tool set w/ ice bucket
1 Acrylic Tray Large
4 Nero Mirror Martini glass
As usual I’ll select a winner randomly from the comments. One entry per person please, and sadly we cannot offer this to our Quebec or non-Canadian readers. (Quebec, I am so sorry…it’s your provincial rules.) By entering you agree to the rules and to accept the prize as awarded and we reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal value.
Enjoy the cocktail hour!
This contest is now closed – check back for the winner!
There’s online buzz about the New York Times’s piece that ran this weekend this weekend about “friend divorce” – how women grow apart, and how to end a friendship.
We’ve covered this topic ourselves: What to do when a girlfriend dumps you. Women’s relationships can be very intense and it seems like no one really hands you a friendship manual for managing grown-up girlfriends.
I have to tell you, it happened to me for the first time this year, at least the first time in about a decade – a friend decided our friendship was over, based on being different places in our lives – and I was surprised at how much grief was involved, even though in the end I had to agree with her. In most cases if a friendship’s ended or come to a close in my life, it’s just been a gradual drift. But this one was not. And it hurt.
Have you ever had a friendship end painfully, at least since university? How do you handle these things?
The More.ca post of the month award goes to Alice Bradley at Finslippy for her look at the impact gray hair’s had on how men treat her: On being an object, and then not being an object.
A close second is DoctorMama’s post on research into muscle mass and masters-level athletes. The three pictures tell the whole story. I think I am going to set some kind of crazy fitness goal for the year I turn 45.
A trip from your desktop: Love these pictures of Arizona’s Vermilion Cliffs
In Utah, the Corner Canyon high school rejected the cougar as a mascot so as not to offend. Aw, that’s sweet, but…
Three little words, but they are so hard to say. In the madness of January, getting back to work, and medical appointments, I recorded a birthday party – for a wee lad – on the wrong weekend, and completely missed it this week. My friend Deb, said lad’s mum, left me the sweetest message on Facebook along the lines of “everything okay? We missed you!”
And the words that came to mind were not quite so sweet.
Learning to admit when you’ve made a mistake has been a really hard lesson for me. As a kid growing up, I got through school being the one with the right answer. Getting facts straight was a lot easier than learned what to do when you I stumbled. And in university I sometimes used my creative side to muster elaborate excuses for missed deadlines.
But there’s another way. Be up-front. I learned this little life lesson first professionally, when I was an executive assistant for a non-profit: It is much, much easier for colleagues and bosses to fix the problem if you just admit it and get on with resolving it. But in my personal life I still get that throat-constricted feeling that probably comes from my inner six-year-old: How do I get out of this one?
And I’ve tried to pass that lesson onto my son, being clear and low-drama when I’ve made mistake: Ooops. Let’s fix it.
And yet in a world of social media where it seems like everyone’s sharing pictures of their beautifully and creatively decorated homes, smiling families, and gourmet, well-plated meals…I think sometimes we forget that life is messy. All our friends’ Facebook feeds look like they are living the high life of vacations, parties and witty conversation. Which is why my status this morning reads: Missed a birthday because…I screwed up. Sincerest apologies to [my friends]! On the plus side, I am doing my part to keep social media real.
Take a minute, if you can spare one, to tell me some time you messed up and what you did to admit it…or deny it!
A good friend of mine has been struggling through a divorce this year and I’m pointing her at editor-in-chief Linda Lewis’s editorial in the February/March 2012 issue, where she discusses her divorce for the first time, and then benefits of taking the high road when co-parenting. Drop by and tell her what you think!
I really love that the ‘net has become a place for divorced women to connect with each other and share their experiences as they go along. When a big life change hits like that, it really helps to hear from people who have been there. Here are five of the best divorce blogs I’ve found as I’ve been looking around this year. Please add links in the comments to any divorce bloggers you love!
The Bitter Divorcée
Annie’s blog’s tagline is “on bitterness, contradiction, culture, and kids” and that really pretty much is it. Love her directness and willingness to get down to the real hurdles of coping with teens and co-parenting issues.
While I could complain that our pseudonymous narrator takes a few blog hiatuses now and then, the archives alone are worth a read. For a sample, try The Myth of the Clean Break.
Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce
Molly Monet’s blog can restore hope for civility to a situation that is almost inevitably confrontational. She also candidly shares continued challenges – like how to share past mistakes with a new partner.
Divorced at 50
Not only does “Movin’ On” write with clarity and honesty, she tackles really interesting subjects in “grey divorce” – aging, working, and dating after 50. I love that she links to articles and research around the web.
…and of course Deborah Moskovitch, who has been a More.ca contributor for some time, blogs at The Smart Divorce.
If you’re already sliding on your 2012 health goals, there’s a crazy app (for iPhone and iPod) that might just raise the stakes.
GymPact is an app that you hook up to your credit card. You set your goals, set a penalty amount (minimum $5 per day lost) and then use your device’s GPS capability to check in from your gym (you can’t use your home gym or condo gym). If you don’t check in, your credit card is charged. If you do check in, you get a portion of all the penalties paid by everyone else.
I haven’t tried it myself – and in fact, am scared to, which I suppose is the point. It is a strange wrinkle in my personality that I’ll walk further down the street to save a dollar on grapes, but I often find my to-do list more compelling than going for a walk in the first place! When I know that exercise is key to the life I want to have – both to be able to chase my kids down the street when they’re teens and I’m in my late 50s, and to travel and bike and all that great stuff. Still…$5!
Would you ever put real money down on your personal goals like this one?
Associate art director Shelley Frayer is celebrating a milestone birthday today. Happy birthday Shelley!
The celebrating led to a staff discussion of birthdays, especially surprise ones. Which birthdays stick out in your mind?
Mine is going to have to be, despite the cliché, my sweet sixteen — a massive surprise party at a friend’s. I like the more sedate ones since, but that one stands out in memory. Maybe you always do remember your first!
My younger son Liam’s first birthday is today – and his father and I are giving a present only because otherwise my 6-year-old, Noah, will think that we don’t love Liam enough. And yes, that sounds a little suspect, written out like that. Hmm.
Because, my friends, we are drowning in stuff.
I would like to blame the children entirely, but this includes my husband’s and my issues: Classic iPods with engraved chrome backs; sports and fitness equipment; kitchen gadgets…you get the idea. Before I came back to More.ca, we switched a couple of rooms around and I realized I have not one, but two bankers’ boxes full of…Christmas cards we have received. For our entire 17-year-marriage. (Time to toss, or soon-to-be-cherished relics of a pre-digital age?)
When my midlife crisis hits and I want to run off to Thailand, it’s going to be these boxes that stop me.
That’s why I love this article over at the Smithsonian website: The Hoarding Instinct. Maybe if I wait long enough, my kids will be the ones to convince me to clear things out?
If happiness is an empty shelf, how do you keep one free?
It’s Friday the 13th, so here are a couple of thoughts from beyond the grave:
A lost article from the late Christopher Hitchens on the Iron Lady’s sex appeal, via the Huffington Post. Will you be seeing The Iron Lady? If so, come back and tell me what you thought…my movie-watching hours these days are limited so I am choosy.
Since we’re looking at women via men, here’s the late Andy Rooney on women over 40 as well. I have to say I’m not psychic, but I do have an idea what people may have done. Do you think this piece is funny, or patronizing? A quick poll among peers suggests the office is split.
Before anything gets you fuming, check out these photographs: The Year in Volcanic Activity from the Atlantic.
And to round out the 13th: Wow, loved this Haunted Victorian house – made out of Lego. Lego’s come a long way since I was a kid – and I’ll admit I kind of have my eye on the Architecture series, especially the Guggenheim museum. Apparently building Lego kits increases your concentration and problem-solving skills. And if the result is this pretty, hey.