This weekend I had my make-up done professionally. Our local neighbourhood Pharmaprix was hosting a VIP makeover event. So, I bought a ticket and booked an appointment.
It was the cutest thing ever. The girls were dressed, coiffed and made up to look like something right out of a 1950's movie. The oldies were playing in the background; Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, and all tunes with a rockabilly sound to them. There refreshments table was bursting with pink lemonade with striped straws, confetti topped cupcakes, popcorn served in those cute little red and white bags, and cotton candy. It was a feast for the eyes as well as the appetite. Vinyl records were hanging from the ceiling with pictures of pin up girls (fully clothed - get your minds out of the gutter! ) in the middle. Well done.
My turn came up and when asked what I wanted, I answered " a day look, mainly a good foundation to give my skin an even tone. ". Did I mention I don't wear a lot of make-up? She started working her magic and mid way gave me a mirror to see what she had done so far. I was impressed, my skin looked flawless. She continued. To make a long story short, by the time she was finished, my eyelids felt like they each weighed about five pounds. Did I mention I don't wear a lot of make-up?
Then there's my lips. I was a dead ringer for someone who had just competed and won (or lost -it's all a matter of perspective) a spaghetti eating contest and washed it all down with a bottle of orange crush. I am still trying to figure out how bright coral lipstick translates to a natural day look. In my opinion, all that goop made me look too serious and way older. Oh well, she did try and she was good, but that is so not my style.
My version of a beauty is simple; clean skin, a little mascara, blush, gloss, and a perfume that smells like a fresh, cool ocean breeze. Done.
No. No. No. No! If you have ever had a conversation with a two year old, odds are you've been introduced to the power of no. Once baby has grasped on to the concept that he has options, that word is milked more than old MacDonald's cows. E-i e-i -(n)o!
As a parent, hearing "no" to every request from your beloved little rug rat can be annoying. However, I can't help but feel a little bit envious at how easily they can say it. Children are so perfectly and brutally honest. If asked why "no", more often than not, the follow up to that is "because". Nothing personal, mom and dad. Just the facts. I'm down with that.
Somewhere along the line, we've bought into the trap that we have to be "nice" and say "yes" to everything and everyone. Hearing "no" can sometimes push the other person into a state of anxious confusion and feeling offended.
Consider this, though. After having said "yes" to everyone and everything, how much energy do you have left for yourself? Not much. I've learned that one the hard way. So, I've been actively practising the power of "no". It did not feel very comfortable at first because I'm a people pleaser at heart. I've lived many years trying to fix things for others and always offering a sympathetic ear. It all seems very nice, but the problem with that is lines get blurred. Where does the other person end and you begin?
You can't be of any use to anyone else if you become over-burdened and feel put upon. I watched a little clip on Youtube recently where a pastor summed it all up perfectly. He said "you are not the savior, Jesus is". Wow. The light bulb just went on.
So, this is me being (gasp!) selfish. Like a toddler learning how to walk, I'm still a little wobbly with the concept. I'll probably get frustrated and scrape my knees a couple of times before I get it right.
Thank you to my mom, son and close friends who have listened to me patiently as I whine and complained my way to this point. I think I'm finally getting it!
I just got back from the gym. I kicked butt. It felt great to be moving and breaking a sweat. As usual, I have packed on a bit of weight over the Winter and the numbers on the scale are making me feel very uncomfortable.
So what's a girl to do? Work out, of course. If I put on the weight, I can take it off. I refuse to become one of those people who just whine about not liking their body and doing nothing about it.
Being a little heavier, I am careful about what I wear when working out. My backside is purposely fully covered by a long t-shirt, and yoga pants are hiked up way over my waist a-la-Erkle. I have this thing about my tummy. I don't want it to show. At all. I used to give my former personal trainer hell if he tried to touch my stomach while doing crunches. I digress......
Unfortunately, not everybody practises modesty when working out. Enter mid-life crisis dude. I was just finishing off my workout when Mr. Cirque du Soleil put on quite the show. I'm not sure for whose benefit it was, but it was jarring.
You know those machine folks use for their abs? They stand up and hold on to two handles and lift their knees towards their chest? Well, he had his own plans for that thing. Picture a guy in his mid 50's, long gray stringy hair pulled back into a loose pony tail, and a huge gut....doing a handstand and some sort of weird upside down push up.
Needless to say, the ponytail came undone, and his t-shirt rolled down to completely expose his belly and back. All hairy, white and flabby. I think he's about seven months into his pregnancy, but I could be wrong. I'm just grateful his shorts didn't fall off (or up or whatever. I'm not used to people being upside down at the gym). It lasted all of about five seconds, but I'll never get those five seconds back. It was awful and I'm pretty sure I saw lint in his belly button.
All I kept thinking was ...."Why? Can't you just use the treadmill like everybody else? Let me introduce you to the stationary bike. The rowing machine perhaps?".
It takes all kinds I guess.
Happy mother's day! You know I'm not one to go out and buy greeting cards from a store. I thought I'd do something a little different this year. I decided to dedicate this post to you.
I don't say it nearly enough, but thank you for being such a kind, gentle, loving mother. You always look at the bright side of things and never complain.
You are generous in all things. I always feel welcomed in your home. Andrew and I love spending time on your little porch or poking around in your garden. We always look forward to your zucchini relish each year!
Thank you for keeping yourself young at heart and for taking care of your health. You are always so stylish and well put together. No lazing around in sloppy sweatpants for you!
You may not realize this, but I chuckle inside whenever I see you looking for your lipstick. At 80 years of age, the proud French woman in you is still alive and well. That being said, I hope you enjoy your gift. I'm so grateful to dad for having captured that moment between us so very long ago.
We love you mom. Happy mother's day.
Chris and Andrew
Happy as a bird with a french fry. That's how I felt today. Nothing spectacular happened; I was just acutely aware of an inner peace and sense of calm contentment.
My mind scanned through all things that I'm happy about. My family is doing well, I have great friends, a job I enjoy, a nice apartment, sweet little pets, and zero drama in my life.
That wasn't always the case though. I've had my share of crazy days. Some brought on by circumstances that could have been dealt with better, some self induced, some because I was not strong enough to walk away from situations that were not in my best interest.
The past two years have been a time of reflection and introspection. The noise of life as a single parent and juggling several balls in the air at one time have quieted down, and I am able to truly step into myself.
Here's what that looks like: zero tolerance for drama of any kind. I just won't allow it in my life any more and I draw lines in the sand very quickly. I abhor it so much that I actually have a physical reaction to it; I toss my cookies. It leaves me feeling like there is a hand around my throat, squeezing.
Nowadays I gravitate towards simple pleasures, people with a positive outlook, calm environments, quietness and uncomplicated situations. That to me, is worth more than gold.
So if you see me with a goofy smile on my face and ask me why I'm so happy, don't be surprised if my answer is a simple "because".
I am pissed off and disgusted and feel like screaming at the top of my lungs. Since I can't start kicking things over and throwing things, I write. It helps.
Today I woke up so happy; work was beginning on my walk-in closet/spare room. Not wanting to burden family or friends, I hired a handyman to assemble Ikea furniture.
From this day forward, I swear to always pay attention to those little flags that go up. When I initially met him, I had a weird feeling. On the way out, he asked if I lived alone. Naively, I answered. I also thought I caught him looking at me up and down but thought....nah...I must be imagining things.
So, the work commenced at 10:00 am today, and six hours later, still was not finished. At around 3:00 pm I started getting a sick feeling that all was not going well. This should not be taking this long. Finally when the work was finished, I paid for the work done and was looking forward to having my apartment to myself.
Mr. handyman decided to linger. I thanked him for his work and was ushering him into the stairs. Once more he asked if I lived alone. This time I was prepared, I changed the subject and pretended I did not hear him. Then he took it upon himself to ask more intrusive questions and said the following; "a nice lady like you, you need a man. You're a nice looking lady, you should have a man. No man? Is there a man? You need a man". Oh really? Why don't you come out and tell me EXACTLY what I "need" a man for? And this time, I did not imagine the staring up and down. As if that was not creepy enough, he decided to inform me that he notices me walking up and down our street.
I'm struggling with finding a PG13 way of expressing how degrading, disgusting and infuriating this exchange was. Honestly, I wanted to punch this ignoramus in the mouth to get him to stop talking.
It's unbelievable to me that this type of shit still happens. Let's call a spade a spade. This is harassment. I should be able to hire someone, pay them, and have them behave professionally. I'm usually very quick to respond, but with every stupid word that came out of his mouth, I felt smaller and smaller.
The same thing happened to a friend of mine a few years ago. What's wrong with these men? When we hire a handyman, it's not a ruse. We need work done, that's it. Idiots like this give men a bad name.
I had never noticed this before, but there are people who seldom return the favor when asked "how's things?".
I'm fairly certain that it's not done intentionally, but it does come off as a little selfish. Shit happens, I get that. Several years ago my life was one big roller coaster ride of drama. Some of it was dealt to me and some of it was self induced. Either way, it was all consuming.
One day an acquaintance turned on me. She called me out and told me that I was self absorbed, it was all about me me me and my problems. I never asked how she was doing or what was going on in her life.
It stung. She was right. Since that day, I am careful to ask people how they are. I do my best to remember something they had mentioned in a previous conversation and follow up with them on that the next time we speak.
When someone asks you how you are, it's just bad form to spew out all things negative. It's tiring. If you must run down a list of everything that is going wrong in your life, finish up on a pleasant note and take the focus off of yourself. Take an interest in what the person in front of you has to say. It could make a difference between keeping a friend or being kept at arm's length.
Being a Christian does not call us to check our brains at the door. That statement was music to my ears. I've been struggling a little bit lately in my walk with Christ. Actually, not so much with Jesus, but with some of the details in scripture.
Personally, I think the believer should be in a constant state of asking "why" or "how". I cannot stomach the cookie cutter version of Christianity where every day is filled with sunshine and butterflies. That's not real, at least not in this world.
Nor do I believe that we should be the walking wounded to the rest of the world. There are times when we just have to take it on the chin, keep moving on and trust that the Lord is with us through thick and thin.
Relationships have phases. It typically begins with curiosity, then attraction, then head over heels besotted gushy displays of love, to a cooling down, to hopefully a strong foundation for a partnership for the remainder of one's days.
The same hold true, in my humble opinion, for a person's walk in faith. It might start with "I love everything about this and everyone in it" to "if you hug me ONE more time...!" There are people you will like more than others, some you will merely tolerate and some who you will just have absolutely nothing in common with. I don't think that's a bad thing.
I realize I'm all over the place with this post. I guess what I'm trying to say is to respect that not everyone operates or thinks the same way. Just because we call ourselves a family of families does not mean we are all carbon copies of one another. The bottom line is that we share our belief in our Savior and the rest should not preoccupy us.
Twenty-four years ago today, I received the best gift of my life. That was the day I became a mother. I can't believe how fast time has flown. It really does feel like just yesterday that I brought my bouncing baby boy home from the hospital.
I couldn't help but reflect on how I spent the early hours of today versus all those years ago. Both were spent in a clinical setting. Today though, was all about me. I'm at the point in my life where I am taking my health and all manner of things "preventive" much more seriously.
On January 11th, 1992, I was surrounded by doctors, nurses, family and friends. All were with me to wish me well and to welcome my son into the world. January 11th, 2016 I was surrounded by doctors, technicians, blue gowns, cold steel, painful needles and little plastic cups. A lot of people milling about, but I was alone. My mind kept wandering to thoughts of my son. Was he having a good day? Were people wishing him well? What were they learning in class today? Was he happy? I was replaying all the birthday parties he had as a little tyke and his excitement on the mornings of his birthday.
Up until that moment when I found out I was pregnant, there was an emptiness that I carried around with me at all times. My marriage was not working and I felt so very alone in the world. When I was told I was with child, that void disappeared. I fell in love with him before ever seeing his face or hearing his voice.
Every rose has it's thorns though. Along with pregnancy came complications that scared the hell out of me. My doctor at the time assured me that I had a less than 1% chance of having ovarian cancer. That was not good enough for me. I never wanted to hear my name and that dreaded word in the same sentence. All the joy and excitement I carried in my heart turned to fear, worry and heartbreak. All I kept thinking was that I would not be around to watch him grow up. I couldn't bear the thought of it.
With God's grace, everything turned out to be ok. I was thinking on my way home tonight that my outlook on how I spent this day was all wrong. I should not have been moping that I was spending it in a clinic. I should instead be happy that I am still here to be sitting in that clinic and that yes, I did get to watch my son grow up to become a man. I have every intention of dancing at his wedding one day and to hold another little baby in my arms when the time comes. This time it will be my grandchild.
Today was a perfect day after all.
As this is the first post of the new year, it's only fitting that I write about change. This will have nothing to do with resolutions that will have been long forgotten two weeks into January. I promise.
Life will always have it's ups and downs, and with that comes change. It's inevitable and unavoidable. Somewhere along the line we have bought into the lie that change is scary, bad, unpleasant and final.
Wouldn't it be great if we could all see it for what it really is - opportunity. It's an invitation to grow, experience just enough discomfort to prove to ourselves that we are so much more resilient than we give ourselves credit for. It builds character, makes us realize that nothing is permanent; be it pleasant or unpleasant.
When thinking back on a trying event in life, we can always conjure up the pain and fear we experienced. It's deeply imbedded in our memory. We often say things such as "oh, I NEVER want to go through that again". How is it that we can always relive that in our minds easily , but cannot recollect that moment when we are settled in a new comfort zone and realize that we've lived though something that we thought would surely break us? Until the saying "this too shall pass" is accepted and embraced, we often continue to carry our fears and hurts on our sleeves.
The only thing that remains constant and never changes is God. To assume the same of ourselves and our lives is unrealistic.
I write this as I think of an acquaintance who may be about to start a chapter in her life that she had not anticipated. My wishes for her are that she does not fall into the self defeating trap of feeling sorry for herself or allow fear to cripple her.
Given the opportunity, I would love to be able to tell her that her outlook on this will make the difference between giving up and allowing fear to wrap its fingers around her heart or blossoming and realizing she is not a victim of circumstance and that it is all part of God's plan for her life. Maybe she has been asleep at the wheel for too long and now is the time for her to awaken and have a say in what will make her happy.
Hi! I'm Chris, an empty nester living in Montreal and making the most of this stage in my life. I love cooking for friends and family, DIY projects, decorating and writing.