Category Archives: Eden’s Guest Bloggers

Fiona Grayson ~ Guest blogger from The Community of WE (@TCofWE)

My first guest blogger of the year is Fiona Grayson, a writer who lives in Brisbane, Australia. It’s also Fiona’s first time as a guest blogger, so be sure to say “Hi!” to her.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed on her blog last year. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can find it here.

Fiona has an interesting story to tell about her journey into the blogging life, and I’m happy to have her share it with you.

I can never meet enough interesting women, and Fiona’s personal story is one I think you will enjoy.

Please welcome her to my blog.

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Who is Fiona Grayson?

I was pleasantly surprised when Eden graciously accepted my invitation to feature on my site as an inspiration to other women, sharing her amazing story, entitled “Banker turned Author Extraordinaire”, which you can read hereEden’s story is truly inspiring and authentic, I love her frankness and wit.

So, because I’m not really a writer (am working on that), I will share a bit about my life and why I blog …

I started blogging early 2016 about manifesting dreams. I went on to develop a site that focuses on everyday women (real women, real stories), who have successfully followed and achieved their goals and dreams.

baby fiona grayson

I’m the eldest of four with three younger brothers.  I grew up all over Brisbane, in Queensland, Australia. I’ve lived in almost every south-side suburb of Brisbane (Australia) through to living in the bush (not literally). We actually lived in houses, not trees. My parents were restless people, moving every couple of years, which meant I changed schools a lot.

My youngest memories are from when I turned three, I received a pink teddy bear from my uncle for my third birthday. I remember we lived in a dead end street that backed onto a forest. I used to spend hours exploring the forest. I remember dad had bought me some real live bunny rabbits for pets, which I suspect now, were for cooking rabbit stew. I woke up one day to find they were gone, apparently taken by a fox, or so dad said. Dad also told us that sultanas are really rabbit’s poo!!!

Dad was always making up stories like that. It never stopped me from eating sultanas though (laughing). I should have been born a boy, given I liked playing with mud, playing “cow-boys and itchy bums (indians)” with the neighbourhood boys, and apparently as a baby eating my own ‘you know what’ as well as rabbits poo. I was such a gross tomboy.

fiona girl

Whenever I made a close friend, the family would up and move to a completely different end of town. For a few months, we would write letters to each other. My friend would then become a “pen-pal”, as mum called it back then. With each move I often felt lost and lonely, however, as I grew older, I got more and more used to change and began to view it as an adventure. Change for me became exciting (sometimes unsettling), but it only ever took a couple of days to adjust and adapt.

For me, change always means opportunity – When one door closes, another door opens”, that kind of thing.

Fast forward to thirteen, working at various different jobs after school. My first full-time job was working in a Real Estate office as a “Receptionist/Office assistant”. From there I worked at Kmart in the toys/confectionary section and various office jobs after that, until I decided to get into sales with the intention of earning more. I was pretty ambitious and had always wanted to become an entrepreneur or at least earn more than my parents.

My childhood was a roller-coaster ride of domestic violence, involving emotional, sexual and physical abuse. As you can imagine, stress and depression ruled my life. I understood why people committed suicide, however, that was never something I could possibly imagine doing.

I ended up marrying twice, experiencing varying degrees of domestic violence (however, I do have an absolutely wonderful son, which is what kept me going). That just goes to show how childhood experiences impact adult-hood. I am such a slow learner, dohhh!!!

fiona and son

From those experiences, I have become the strong, independent woman I am today. I think that adversity builds empathy, strength and determination. I survived and thrived because I had a best friend who was my rock, and because I became more self-aware, constantly questioning what I was doing, thinking and saying to the point that I finally realised, that thoughts and words attract more of what you say and think into your life. A self-fulfilling prophecy you might say.

The other thing I constantly reminded myself of, was, that there is always someone else worse off than you, that there are women and children living in war torn countries, and if they can survive, so can I. It is very sobering.brisbane, australia

These days my life is pretty freaking amazing, and I am so grateful that I live in this wonderful country where, if you really want to achieve anything, you can if you want it bad enough.

It might not sound like it, but I don’t dwell in the past, I continually focus on the here, the now and how FABULOUS my life is now. Marrying twice, I learned a lot about relationships, particularly the relationship with myself. I have learned that you have to love and honour yourself, be confident (or, fake it until you make it) and accept who you are. That means embracing and accepting the good, the bad and the ugly bits of yourself. Once you do that, your relationships with everyone (friends, family, work associates, acquaintances) are more authentic and happier, or at least mine are.

fiona colourful dress 2

My friends describe me as a positivity junky, vivacious, energetic ever-ready bunny, creative, driven, successful and a bit of a dreamer who “chases butterflies”. Yep, that’s me.

I’ve had a couple of businesses (spanning a period of 9 years – in promotional merchandise and beauty therapy). I’ll give anything a go. I tried, unsuccessfully to launch a mythological range of sterling silver charms. Clearly I was the only person interested in mythology and charms at the time.

I currently work full-time in the property space in state government – which is extremely interesting and diverse. It suits my inquisitive personality particularly because I love learning. I’m a bit of a sponge and working in property helps me understand and source potential future investment opportunities.

fiona colourful dress 1

I’m currently building an investment portfolio of properties, with the view of creating a comfortable lifestyle for myself for when I retire. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you should never rely on a man to look after you financially. You can never know if a relationship is forever, so always take care of your own financial future. No-one else will. My man supports that theory he’s a realist), although, he believes we will be together forever… such a sweety. Should the passage of time reveal that we are still together in old age, it just means we will have more as a couple. He definitely has more than me, so I figure I have the better end of the stick. That’s a win-win I say.

I love surprises, cute fluffy dogs – particularly the little white fluffy cavoodles, poodles or anything with an ‘oodle’ in it. From the age of four or five I discovered and fell in love with music and dancing and did ballet and jazz. As a grown up, I dabbled in a number of dance styles – ballroom, Latin, jazz and modern jive. I did really well with modern jive, coming third nationally in two categories (WOO WOO!).

riding
I’m adventurous, a bit of a nut-bag, I love meeting new people, trying new foods, cooking, travel and am a bit of an adrenalin junkie – I love the hairiest scariest theme park rides especially the ones at the annual exhibition. I ride a Kawasaki 390 Duke motorbike, grew up with horses, learned to water-ski, have jumped out of a perfectly safe aeroplane with a hunk strapped to my back (sky-diving). I love entertaining – hosting dinner parties, mountain bike riding, yoga, meditation, power walking, writing and food. You name it, I’ve probably tried it – I love keeping busy, challenging myself mentally and physically. I’m a bit of a daredevil, however, now that I’m getting older – I have a lot more self-preservation now-a-days.

Chocolate is my kryptonite!

I have been with my wonderful partner (Bruce) since 3 December 2006. He is my rock, my lover, best friend and mentor (although sometimes he makes me mental. ) 🙂

fiona horsebackMy life is FANTASTIC these days, especially since I manifested my man into my life. I have discovered the key to manifesting and I am continually manifesting more AMAZING things in my life!

So based on my life experiences, I developed a site I call The Community of WE (WE stands for ‘Women Evolved”), to assist women to become manifesters of dreams – read how I manifested my man into my lifeinspiring women to become Go-Getters, empowering them to reach and achieve whatever their hearts desire.

fiona grayson on bike

Telling your story is self-empowering, makes you realise how far you’ve come in life and what you’ve achieved so far. This, I believe, is very powerful, as well as inspirational. Reading stories has the potential to brighten someone’s day, discover new skills and ideas and motivate you to “GO FOR IT”.

Find out the 5 Mantras that Changed my Life.

When women feel valued and empowered, women can achieve amazing things for themselves, their families and communities”

Yeah babes, now that’s what I’m talking about!

Enough about me.

Thanks heaps Eden, for having me as your guest, I really appreciate it.

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You’re most welcome, Fiona! Thank you for sharing your story. Readers, feel free to connect with Fiona at her links below.

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Connect with Fiona

fiona g head shot

Website | Twitter @TCofWE | Facebook 

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Filed under Eden's Guest Bloggers

Writing and Yoga: The Two Things That Saved My Life by guest blogger @BrittSkrabanek

Today, I have the privilege of handing over my blog to author Britt Skrabanek. Britt and I have been friends since I interviewed her for my Eden’s Exchange Author series, and she included me in her Life Enthusiast Chronicles.

In sharing with one another, we discovered common passions.

Writing. Of course.

But also yoga.

Unlike Britt who is a yogi, I only returned to yoga recently. I attend hot yoga classes about four times a week and I’m loving it!

In reading Britt’s post, I now understand why I feel better than I have in a very long time. Britt explains it in her charming, no-nonsense style. Her words resonated loudly with me and I’m sure they will with you too.

Take it away, Britt!

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There are two things that saved my life. Writing and Yoga. They both require focus and patience, they help me understand myself and the world, and they allow me to be unapologetically free.

Nobody is ever going to come ask me for financial advice. And, that’s okay.

Besides the usual grammar question, it makes me feel very honored when people talk to me about Yoga and wellness.

Just this past week two coworkers shared their excitement with me about treating their bodies with kindness. One presented her green smoothie, her first attempt at breakfast in some time. The other told me he was wearing peppermint and eucalyptus oil to treat his allergies, so he could breathe better.

Also in the same week, Eden and I began discussing a guest post—one that was long overdue. Almost two years ago we did an author interview, but this time was going to be completely different.

And, here we are.

yoga on the beach

Yoga on the beach

Eden, a regular meditation practitioner herself, told me about her recent journey with Yoga. Her body was craving movement, and a newly found love for a regular practice helped her become more focused and inspired when she truly needed it.

When you’re a writer, your mind has to stay simultaneously relaxed and sharp. Otherwise, it’s a struggle like nothing else. It looks different for everybody, and sometimes it’s not as clear-cut as being diagnosed with writer’s block. You might still be writing—but devoid of passion, going through the motions and feeling like you’ve run into a wall.

I certainly don’t claim to be an expert Yogi. I may not be the most natural speaker in front of students, or the technical teacher who knows the name of every muscle and bone. What I do know is what feels good and why it does.

I haven’t taught Yoga in a couple of years, but my training served as a guidebook to a better life. And I have made countless positive changes since I began dedicating my life to wellness.

However when I moved to Portland a couple of years ago, I started losing my practice. Uprooting your life is never easy, and the effects of those changes take a while to digest. I explored some new forms of exercise—I started running, something I loathed all my life, and I even joined a gym, something else I couldn’t stand.

Over the past six months I pushed myself to return to Yoga. And, I mean it when I say pushed.

morning meditation

Morning meditation

I started getting up a few minutes earlier each day to meditate and stretch. I got into guided meditation at night to heal my busy mind after a long day at work. I started practicing several days a week, even when I felt like I didn’t have the time.

Well, I made time for it. The demanding job excuse…so what? The novel won’t write itself excuse…so what? I knew I was doing the right thing for me and my body.

Over the past decade Yoga has exploded in the West, and there are many who claim it is a bastardization of its original form. The image of a skinny woman in expensive active wear doing impossible poses is something we started to associate with Yoga.

But, it’s so much more than that. And no matter how you come to Yoga, or which style you take, the benefits will take precedence.

A lot of people are attracted to the fitness aspect of Yoga. Then, they notice that they’re making healthier food choices and they’re handling conflicts with a sense of ease.

cat yoga

Cat yoga

That’s because the mind and body are deeply connected, more than we’ll ever know. Yoga postures are meant to prepare the body for meditation. Because if the body is functioning well, the mind has the space it needs to soar.

Think about it for a second. If something’s wrong with your body—you have the flu, you broke your toe, you experience chronic back pain—that’s all you can think about. Your mind is consumed by the unhappiness your body feels. When your body is happy, your mind can move on to other things.

I’m biased and I think everyone should and CAN do Yoga. If you’re a creative person? You absolutely should consider it for these reasons. My writing has transformed since I started a regular practice.

I’ve always been an active person, but Yoga is perfect for any body. Dance, especially when it got very serious for me, was not perfect for any body. There was an unattainable perfection staring back at me in the mirror. In Yoga it was just…come as you are.

Where else do we have that kind of permission in life? To just be.

On our Yoga mats we have a safe and beautiful space to explore. And it’s truly amazing what can happen when we take the time to listen to ourselves.

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Beautiful and true words, Britt. THANK YOU for sharing your wisdom. 

Readers, please offer Britt some <3. Comment and ask her questions about yoga, fitness, and wellness. Or anything creative for that matter! She is, after all, the author of three books and a terrific addition to your network.

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Connect To Britt

britt summer

Website/blog | Amazon Author PageTwitter @BrittSkrabanek

Facebook | LinkedIn | YouTube Goodreads

Britt Skrabanek is the spirited indie novelist of Nola Fran Evie, Everything’s Not Bigger, and Beneath the Satin Gloves. Her blog is a whimsical snapshot of life, musings, and the glory of the written word. She is blissfully married, has two delightfully incorrigible cats, and loves to experience the world—all of its quirky beauty inspires her endlessly. When she’s not writing, she’s a bike-riding Yogi who loves to dance.

 

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Filed under Eden's Guest Bloggers

Read a guest blog by @CaseSheridan for #NationalFeralCatDay

I’m always happy to support good causes, especially if it’s near and dear to the heart of one of my favorite people. Author, Casey Sheridan and I have been friends since I started writing, and she is an animal lover.

I have great respect for those who care for animals. If you want to learn more about National Feral Cat Day, please read Casey’s blog, which includes pictures of some of her cats. Casey is an incredibly generous and supportive author as you will find out from her post.

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national feral cat day

I asked Eden if I could guest post on her blog to help me get the word out about my month long celebration of National Feral Cat Day (I’m donating my book royalties for the month) – it’s officially on October 16th, and this year I thought it was high-time I put my money where my mouth is, or however that saying goes, since I love animals and have always wanted to do something for them.

One of the many things I’ve learned from having cats, or one specific cat anyway, has to do with a tablecloth. Hence, my post…

The Mysteriously Messy Tablecloth

A few years ago, I had an antique dining room table with eight chairs. It was big, heavy, and old. I loved it. It sat in someone’s barn for years before I got a hold of it and cleaned it up, and believe me, it needed it. I did what I could, but the cherry veneer top couldn’t be fixed. At least, not by me and my limited knowledge. It was a beautiful piece of furniture except for the top of the table.

Anyway, to hide the damage I put two tablecloths on it, a fancy lace one over a mauve-colored one. The effect reminded me of Thanksgiving dinner at my step-great grandmother’s house. It was quite elegant, especially with the vase of flowers I put in the center. My place was starting to feel like a home.

The next day when I came home from work, I found both tablecloths were hanging off one edge of the table, the vase of flowers teetering on the edge the only thing keeping the cloths from being completely on the floor.

How the hell did this happen?

I straightened everything out, went about the rest of my evening with no troubles, and eventually went to bed.

The next morning, both tablecloths were messed up. They were still on the table, but it looked as if someone had balled them up and left them sitting on the tabletop, the vase of flowers was broken on the floor, water and petals everywhere. WTH?

Cat 1

Mommy Cat

I cleaned up the mess, straightened the cloths and took myself off to work, and, again, on my return home, the tablecloths were hanging off the edge. I looked under the table and found my little black cat, My Sweet Baby (Sweet Baby), curled up asleep in the section of cloth that hit the floor.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Duh, Casey! There’s your culprit. How obvious does it have to be? Not much of a mystery, is it?”

Um, no. You see, there were two other suspects in the house at that time – Pork Chop and Kitty Witty. Both of them had reputations for destruction, especially Kitty Witty. Besides, there was a reason Sweet Baby was named MY SWEET BABY – she was sweet and quiet and never did a bad thing. Ever. I raised her from a kitten, so I knew her well.

This tablecloth fiasco went on for a few more days. Everyday those tablecloths were bunched up, messed up, on the floor, you name it. I never caught Pork Chop or Kitty Witty in the act!

Pixie

Pixie

One would think I’d just leave the damn tablecloths off, but no! It was the principle of the thing! I was determined to catch one of them in the act of messing up my stuff.

My day off rolled around and I spent the morning cleaning and, of course, straightening the damn tablecloths (bloody ell). After that, I put a chair out of sight, so I could begin my stakeout.

I sat, watched, and waited. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait for too long.

My Sweet Baby ran into the room, took a flying leap onto the table and proceeded to slide across it taking half the tablecloth with her. With her ears back and a crazy look in her eye, she flicked her tail twice and soared off the table and bolted down the hallway.

Tiger, Dolly & Daisy

Tiger, Dolly & Daisy

There was a bit of a ruckus in the back before Sweet Baby charged back into the room, ran around the table before she stopped. She stood on her hind legs and reached up with her front paws, digging her claws into the fabric to pull the table cloth the rest of the way down to the floor where she then proceeded to tackle it, and beat it up by kicking it with her hind legs.

I walked into the room and she gave me a wild-eyed look before dashing off to wreak havoc elsewhere.

Pork Chop and Kitty Witty, in the meantime, were curled up sleeping on the sofa during all the commotion.

You think you know someone and this happens.

So much for never doing a bad thing. Ever. =^. .^=

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Thank you for stopping by to read my post! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The Mysteriously Messy Tablecloth is part of my #NationalFeralCatDay celebration. I’d like to encourage you to learn about feral cats, outdoor cats, how to care for them, and all the many ways you can help by visiting Alley Cat Allies website http://www.alleycat.org

If you’d like to take part in the festivities of Nation Feral Cat Day in your community (U.S. and International) this October 16th, visit http://www.nationalferalcatday.org

Also, when you purchase any of my books during the month of October (1st through the 31st, 2015), I will donate all my royalties to Alley Cat Allies. Let’s help kitties live happy, healthy lives. You can find my books at http://bit.ly/AmznProfile

Thanks again, Eden, for the use of your blog. Sorry about all the cat hair.

xoxo,
Casey

Connect to Casey

casey sheridan picture

Like most authors, Casey Sheridan began writing when she was very young. It was later in life when she read her first piece of erotica and it was on a dare that she wrote her first erotic story.

Casey enjoys writing erotic, fun, and romantic fiction.

An introvert and lover of chocolate, Casey is happiest when writing. She enjoys reading, watching movies, and listening to music. She loves animals and volunteers to care for local feral/outdoor kitty pals.

To be kept up-to-date on Casey’s latest author news and releases, you can add your name to her mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bacS9D

Find her on the Web at:
Website: http://www.Casey-Sheridan.com
Blog: http://CaseSheridan.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CaseySheridanAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/CaseSheridan
Amazon: http://bit.ly/AmznProfile
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/SmwrdsProfile

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Filed under Eden's Guest Bloggers

Pride, Prejudice and Diana Ross ~ Read a guest blog by @dailygrime

I’m delighted to welcome English writer, Michael Grimes to my blog. I first started reading Mike’s writing about six months ago and found him to be humorous and witty.

His observations on politics, sex, music, world issues, and a host of other subjects are delivered with flair and intelligence. At times, his words are biting, but there is always that underlying truth. His honest writing is something I greatly admire.

I am happy to kick off April with his post. It’s one that fits well with my own sensibilities about tolerance and acceptance, especially where sexuality is concerned.

Please welcome Michael Grimes.

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Pride And Prejudice – How Diana Ross Helped Me Become Comfortable With Everyone’s Sexuality

~ by Michael Grimes

diana ross

The World’s Best Babysitter As Seen In His Bathroom Mirror In 1977

It is a truth universally acknowledged that all gay men, regardless of race colour or creed, wish they were Diana Ross. Actually, I have no idea how universal that truth is nowadays, but back in 1977, it was pretty much gospel. And it was in 1977 that I was first introduced to homosexuality by my deeply gay babysitter, Gary.

I can hear a little bit of clenching and tensing going on out there, but don’t worry. This isn’t the earnest beginning of my misery memoir. If the cry-ography is your chosen reading genre, I shouldn’t bother reading any further. This bit is an unalloyed tale of unspoilt childhood innocence I’m afraid.

Gary was the second brother of three brothers. Their dad was a close childhood friend of my dad. Their mum was my mum’s best mate. The oldest brother was a career criminal, as was the youngest. Gary was the gay one in the middle, which made parts of my young life a little like a Martin Scorsese movie. Later in life, Gary became a Catholic priest, which made it really like a Martin Scorsese movie. But back in 1977, he was just my babysitter.

I absolutely adored Gary. Gary babysitting me on a Friday night was the highlight of my week. We sat and made fun of television programs. We indulged in experimental cookery. (Our greatest triumph was something that Gary christened “Pecule”, because of how peculiar it looked. Neither of us plucked up the courage to actually taste it.) But above all, we played games.

Admittedly, most of these games involved Gary being Diana Ross and me being The Supremes. Gary always brought along his record collection. He had a lot of Motown. In fact, I don’t think Gary owned a single record that wasn’t Motown. Many gay men have an affinity for tragic female figures. I was almost certainly the only little boy in my school who knew all the words to the classic 1972 movie soundtrack album Lady Sings The Blues.

After all the fun and games, Gary would plonk us both on the sofa and I’d be allowed to watch whatever horror film was on until Mum and Dad came back from the pub. Bear in mind this was the 70s. Kids weren’t handled like the hothouse flowers they are regarded as today. It was perfectly acceptable for an eight year old to stay up watching an old Dracula movie as long as there was no school the following day.

I knew there was something different about Gary, but I had no idea what it was. What I did know was that whatever that difference was, it made him more fun than anyone else I had ever met.

As I grew up, I began to realise what was different about Gary, or at least what ballpark that difference was in. Human sexuality is a very, very complicated thing after all. Facebook has recently introduced 50 different gender options for its members, rather than the traditional binary “male or female”. There are those who feel this is modernistic noodling of the worst kind, but it isn’t really anything new. There are many older and wiser cultures which have recognised multiple shades of gender for millennia.

All of this deeply upsets the deeply religious Christians of course. (Not all Christians by any means though. Some of them ring it off the hook and actually follow the teachings of Jesus.) “God hates homosexuality” they say. By which they mean that they hate homosexuality. By which they mean they don’t understand homosexuality and are fucking terrified of it.

There are many things I don’t understand. I don’t understand why gay men go “cottaging” or why heterosexual couples go “dogging”. Then again I don’t understand why people spend their chilly British weekends going camping. Just because I personally don’t get a thing doesn’t make it automatically wrong or invalid. My understanding of French is ropey at best, but I wouldn’t advocate the eradication of the works of Voltaire or Balzac just because I can’t read them in their original intended form.

Leviticus tat

The sad fact is that many deeply Christian folk are also deeply hypocritical. When it comes to homosexuality, they love to quote Leviticus. They don’t adhere to many of the other pronouncements in Leviticus of course. They do not eschew “eating blood” or “eating fat” (Lev. 3:17). That would be black pudding and most of the American diet prohibited. They have a bit of a lapse of conscience when it comes to “finding lost property and lying about it” (Lev. 6:3), presumably because “finders keepers” trumps the Bible on that particular point. And “thou shalt not touch the carcass of an animal which does not both chew the cud and have a divided hoof” does kind of make it impossible to play American football, the ball itself being made of pigskin.

Some Christians seem to think that even talking about homosexuality is a danger to their children. There are many things which actually are a danger to their children of course (cars, guns, lack of affordable healthcare) but, strangely, they seldom raise much of a fuss about these issues.

The only danger to their children as regards talking about sexuality is that these children might learn to embrace what they are and there is a chance that what they are is gay. In which case these parents would have to disown their children because their own upbringing has covered them with so many layers of bigotry that they can’t move themselves to do what any thinking, feeling human being should do. Give their child a big hug and tell them how proud their very existence has made them since the moment they were born.

The fact is that, whatever the Bible says, we are all unique individuals, and really there are as many different genders and sexualities as there are human beings on the planet. The thing that made my babysitter such fun was not that he was gay, but that he was Gary and he was true to himself

Whenever a girl dresses as a boy or vice versa, or someone erases all clues via androgeny, they are not doing it to be outrageous or annoying. They are doing it to feel like who they are inside. For some people, walking around looking as society expects them to look makes them feel uncomfortable. In fact, it makes them feel as uncomfortable as I would feel walking down my High Street dressed in a frock. It’s a big wide world and there is room in it for every expression of sexuality. The sooner that becomes a truth universally accepted, the better.

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Connect to Michael 

michael grimes

Website | Twitter: @dailygrime

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Please show Michael some love. Read, comment, and share. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, connect with me and let’s talk. ~ eden

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Filed under Eden's Guest Bloggers

Canadian Rhapsody ~ Read a guest blog by @nchardenet

Please welcome American turned Canadian, author Nicole Chardenet. I asked her to write about her experience of becoming a Canadian citizen, then I braced myself. You see, Nicole was interviewed in my author series last year, and her answers had me in stitches, as does her post here.

She pokes fun at everyone, and I mean, EVERYONE—Republicans, Canadians, the Irish, and more … so please … pour yourself a vodka or a beer and enjoy the musings of this very funny lady.

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CANADIAN RHAPSODY

~by Nicole Chardenet

Nicole Chardenet Pravda

Nicole at Pravda Vodka House, Toronto

When Canadians ask me why I moved from the US to Canada nine years ago, I tell them, “Better beer.”

If they’re Republicans I tell them, “Better healthcare and all the damn socialism.”

And then I tell them what we do all day is smoke pot and have gay sex.  I love messing with Republicans! They’re so naïve.

“Why would you move to Canada from the US?” asked one early Canadian friend. “I’d move there in a heartbeat if I could, that’s where all the money is!”

Well, yeah, back in 2005 that might have been true…but nine years later I’m making a lot more money than I was in Connecticut and I’ve moved up the food chain professionally. And, the US has gone to @#$% since I left.

Truth is, I can no longer remember anymore why I moved. All I can tell you is it seemed like a good idea at the time.

zombie best

Zombie American Tea Partier, Toronto Zombie Walk

While I watched the US banking system crash and burn like Charlie Sheen on a three-day coke bender, as I lived and worked in the country with the most stable banking system in the world (who knew?) it seemed one of the all-time greatest decisions ever made in the history of the world.

Now, when people ask me if I’ll ever go back I think, “Only if the US government outlaws the Republican Party and makes it legal for decent, intelligent Americans to feed them to rabid orcas.”

The whole thing really started when I read on a news site about a dozen years ago that Ireland wanted to become the Silicon Valley of Europe. They encouraged immigration by techies and investors, and since I was in a very bad place in my life personally, I decided to apply. Unfortunately, Ireland had extremely high standards for immigrants and also favoured EU members, so I never even filled out the application. My skills were too generalized for their high-and-mighty selves. I was so mad I didn’t speak to Ireland for years, until their whole economy went belly-up.

Mom, Dad & me

Nicole w/ her mom and dad at Centre Island, Toronto

Meanwhile, a longtime email friend near Toronto kept urging me to move here, enticing me with an offer to share his house if we split the bills. That sounded like an awesome deal, except for the part where I’d have to move to – Canada? Really? The True North strong and sleep-inducing? Whose flag was – what, I don’t know, a pot leaf or something? Whose history was – well, did they even have one? I mean, who knew anything about Canada? I’d visited relatives in Montreal when I was a kid but my buddy lived near Toronto. I’d been there once before, on a day trip with my family when I was in university. I remembered Toronto as clean, with a beer factory and decent-looking subsidized housing.

anniversary pic 3

Nicole’s 1st year anniversary in Canada

I scheduled a reconnaissance trip, then had to reschedule because of the SARS crisis. When I became reasonably certain Toronto wouldn’t kill me, I discovered I liked it. Around this time, things started to get ugly in US politics with the American invasion of Iraq and then later the Iraqi prison scandals, and I began to feel uncomfortably like I’d better get the hell out of Dodge before the Republicans passed a law herding all liberals, homos, and evolution supporters into Jesus camps where we’d be subjected to Mao-style “re-education” efforts, except with more crosses and bigger guns and hair.

Nicole - Day 1

At Fan Expo pushing her 1st book, Young Republican, Yuppie Princess, 2011

Long story short, I filled out an application longer than a Rob Ford police report as Canada wanted to know absolutely everything about me including every single address at which I’d lived, ever, some information about my ex even though I’d made it clear he would NOT be joining me, and, of course, the requisite four rolled-up Tim Horton’s cups to prove that I did intend to become a Real True Loyal Canadian. (Fortunately we had Tim’s in Connecticut).

After that I had to visit the police station to get fingerprinted so I could schlep my grubby mitts off to the FBI so they could run a check on me to make sure I wasn’t a terrorist, fugitive, international jewel thief or close personal friend of Robert Mugabe. Later, I had to visit a special Canadian-approved doctor to make sure I wasn’t trying to sneak any expensive diseases into the country. Then I crossed my fingers and fervently hoped that Canada had way lower standards than Ireland.
It did, and my temporary visa arrived a little under a year and a half later. I stuffed everything in a U-Haul and crossed the border, which wasn’t nearly as nerve-wracking as I’d thought it would be, as they praised me on the penmanship of the most anal-retentive list of personal goods they’d ever seen, and I think I scored some extra points for having a French name. They didn’t even ask about the sword I brought nor did they want to see proof that my cat’s rabies shots were up-to-date. (Which just goes to show you the Glenn Beck-head and Faux Newsie critics of Canada’s spongey border are right – any old terrorist can cross with a tetanus-laden rusty weapon and a foaming, frothing housepet anytime they want! Fear us, O Canada!)

Nicole - zombie drummer

We’re proud to have you as one of our own, Nicole!

Once I was officially over and stamped I heaved a sigh of relief. The Republicans couldn’t get me anymore and I was turning my life around.

It hasn’t been a complete bed of poppies, of course, but I can honestly say the last nine years of my life have been the most stress-free since I was pre-school.

Thank you Canada, for being so good to me. And for Nanaimo bars. Canada’s greatest gift to Western civilization!

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Connect to Nicole 

Tongue of Dog’s Breakfast Blog | Nicole’s Novels

Website | Twitter: @nchardenet | Facebook | Google+

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If you would like to be a guest blogger, please comment below and let me know. The goal is to highlight YOUR writing. Connect to me via any of my networks. Twitter and email are best.

While you’re at it, show Nicole some love in the comments, will ya? Isn’t she adorable? 

Many thanks, 

~ eden

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