Saturday, November 24, 2007

Small Town Parade

You know you live in a small town when the following are in your Santa Clause Parade:
-Ride-a-mowers decorated with Christmas lights (Christmas lights on thanks to a portable generator)
-Transport trucks are used to pull all floats, big or small
-The main float is decorated with Wal-Mart household Christmas decorations
-A taxi cab, without decorations, is part of the parade
-People hand out pens and pencils instead of candy canes
-People take apple cider from strangers and drink it willingly.
-Santa is on a horse drawn sleigh big enough for one person, with four people crammed onto it so it’s impossible to see Santa
-Santa is followed by a steady stream of cars full of people who didn’t know the parade was that day.
And that, dear people, was my little monkey’s first parade. I honestly didn’t know it was going on today. Supposedly there was a little blurb about it in yesterday’s newspaper. I found out about it from the ladies at Curves this morning. I made a quick call to my parents asking them to get Monkey Man ready and was a little disappointed in it. I really shouldn’t have been. It was the best this sleepy , little, backwards town could do. I mean, this is a town that refused to let Zellers or Wal-Mart come in and okayed a Bargain Shop.
Monkey Man did like all the trucks. He’s been really into animals, cars and trucks lately. I think the car and truck thing is something that is mechanically built into him. I didn’t have “boy” toys for him. I bought uni-sex toys . Some toys were blue, but something a girl could play with too, according to society. I didn’t do it on purpose. It was just the way it worked out. Out of the blue one day Monkey was saying “vroom, vroom” and he hadn’t even said his first word yet.
I started noticing he was noticing trucks. He’s grunt at them, or squeal in delight. He loved seeing them. My mother found a walker by Little Tykes that is a Tonka Truck. Kids can either ride on it or learn to walk with it. It has a steering wheel, a shifter, blinkers, a side mirror, a horn that has four different sounds and a key, that when turned, either makes staling out noises or engine noises. Monkey loves it! The only down fall it is, Monkey man sometimes forgets he has to walk when he pushes it and he falls down. He stood up on his own one day, gave the truck a good push and face planted his self on the steering wheel. He spilt his lip, cut his tongue and sat in my lap for an hour whimpering as I kissed him all better. I was thankful he wasn’t injured more than he was and that he didn’t knock out any of his newly grown teeth.
I love the way Monkey can zone out to everything around him when he’s playing with his truck, but as soon as he passes by the three foot bunny his aunt gave him, he stops for a hug. It melts my heart every time.
It’s strange how children get attached to certain toys. I still have my first teddy bear, Koko, and my Cabbage Patch kid, Gabby. When my sister was a baby, she got attached to a stuffed cat that belonged to me. My mother was so touched when I let my sister have the stuffed cat our Oma gave me, she took me out to pick out a new stuffed animal. I got a dog. My sister really liked him too, but I wouldn’t let her have him. I never did name that dog, but I still have him. Rather, my son has him. Monkey used to sleep with a bunny that plays a lullaby. He’s had it since he was a week or two old. Steve and I used it to help him sleep. Soon, he wouldn’t sleep without it. He needed the bunny and a blankie before he drifted off. One day, that bunny was in the wash thanks to a little, upset tummy. I grabbed the dog, hoping it would do the trick for Monkey’s nap. It worked like a charm. And now he won’t give it back. Every time I put Monkey down to sleep I have to give him the dog and tuck him in with his blankie or he won’t sleep. The bunny is still in his crib too. He plays with it when he’s just waking up sometimes.
I don’t mind losing my dog to my son. I like to believe it smelt a little like me and that’s why he took to it. I have also moved Koko and Gabby to a higher, safer shelf. I’m not sure if I’m willing to give them out. Koko is so old, his stuffing is hard and crunchy. He’s has his head sewn back on numerous times. His fur has worn out in some spots too. He couldn’t handle another baby and survive. Gabby isn’t as old as Koko. I didn’t get her until I was three. I used to dress her every morning and put her into pjs every night. I remember one morning, I must have been about four years old, I put Gabby down and laid the doll clothes I had picked out across her lap. I told her to get dressed and she could come out to play. I went off to play myself. At lunchtime, I checked on her. I told her she had to get dressed if she wanted to play. I had my lunch and when to play some more. At dinnertime, I yelled at her for not being dressed yet and went to eat my dinner. At bedtime, I lectured her on the importance of getting dressed during the day. I also told her there was no need to get dressed anymore, she had to wear pjs to bed. I remember it so clearly. And I remember being so serious about it too.
Until next time….

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gift Cards are Not Gifts

I found this article on the Sympatico website. I tend to agree with it. There are many good points in it.

"Gift cards are not gifts
Holidays have rapidly devolved into what amounts to an exchange of cash. A gift card says nothing about the personality of the recipient -- but it says lots about the giver.
By Liz Pulliam Weston
November 14, 2007
Gift cards are incredibly popular. They're also an oxymoron.
A gift, ideally, says, "I thought about you. I considered your likes and dislikes, your needs and wants, your dreams and desires, and found you this token of my esteem that I hope will delight you."
A gift card says, "There! Checked you off my list."
It's not just me that says so. Judith Martin, the doyenne of etiquette known to millions as Miss Manners, dismisses gift certificates -- and, by extension, gift cards -- as "a pathetic compromise convenient to people who do not trust their judgment about selecting the right present for those whose tastes they ought to know."
Think about it. Would a lover, in the flush of romance, lean close to the object of his affection and present... a gift card? Would proud grandparents present the latest addition to the family with... a gift card? Would your best and closest friend, the one you've known for years, who's stuck with you through the roller-coaster ride of life, walk into your hospital room and give you... a gift card?
(If the answer to any of those questions is yes, by the way, you need to start hanging with a better class of people.)
Yet gift cards continue their relentless spread:
Last year, 74.3% of respondents surveyed told a U.S. National Retail Federation survey they planned to buy at least one gift card, up from 69.9% the year before.
Half of respondents (50.1%) said they would like to receive a gift card, up from 41.3% two years earlier.
The younger you are, the more likely you are to be delighted by a gift card: 82% of Americans under 44 said they appreciated receiving gift cards, according to an American survey by Coinstar, purveyor of coin-counting machines and gift cards.
The death of shame Many young people are so enamoured with gift cards, with being "empowered to make their own choices," as one retailer laughably put it, that they don't even realize what they're missing.
Older people might, but hey, they're busy, cards are convenient, so what's the harm?
The harm is that the art of gift-giving is quickly devolving into an entirely commercial exchange. How much longer until we simply start thrusting wads of dollar bills at each other?
Some people, apparently, would be delighted with that prospect. While researching party themes for my daughter's upcoming celebration, I stumbled across a posting by a woman who proudly included the horrifying words "monetary gifts would be much appreciated" on her 3 year-old child's invitations. She went on to explain that "I wanted money as gifts for my daughter's savings and for us to buy bigger toys, like a big kitchen and a Barbie Jeep that she wanted, instead of guests giving her small toys."
It's official. Shame is dead.
Heaven forbid that givers use their own judgment and spend a little time picking out small items that might give the recipients pleasure. Just give us the cash and get out of the way.
A real gift brings you closer It's not that I've never given a gift card. I have, three times that I can remember. But I viewed these cards what they were: a cop-out, an admission that I had grown so out of touch with the recipients that I didn't know what would please them. In two cases, I used the experience as a prod to spend more time with the giftees and get to know them better. In the third instance, I finally decided that what had been a close friendship no longer was and ended the gift exchange -- to mutual relief.
It's also not that I don't understand the practical aspects of the gift card. I do. I just can't help mourning the passing of a lovely tradition, one that helped us focus on each other and had the potential to bring us closer.
How would I have felt, for example, about the new friend I rushed to the hospital one night had she thanked me with a gift card rather than a basket of chocolate-dipped strawberries, each more luscious than the last? Of course, no gift was expected or required, but her thoughtfulness created a bond.
Or would I have felt nearly as welcomed by my new mother-in-law if, on my first Christmas as a wife, she'd presented me with a gift card rather than the antique soup tureen that had been in her family for years? Her present told me I was part of the family.
And should I give up trying to please my husband who is -- Kenneth Cole as my witness -- one of the hardest human beings in the world to shop for? I think not. With each gift, and each return, I learn a little bit more about his tastes and style. It's a challenge to delight and surprise him, but occasionally I do -- and it's worth the effort.
The search for a gift is a gift itselfSure, the old way included plenty of opportunities for misfires -- for the tie shaped like a fish, the sweater that's six sizes too big, the dolls from the aunt who could never figure out that her teen-age niece no longer played with Barbies. But those experiences taught us the fine art of tact and diplomacy, of expressing gratitude to people who tried to make us happy, however bizarre the actual result.
It also drove home the point, as few things do nowadays, that special occasions are about people -- not about getting more stuff or increasing our net worth.
If you find yourself purchasing gift cards, maybe the solution is to buy less and think more. Do these folks really need to be on your gift list, or would you all be better off getting together for coffee or drinks and skipping the exchange? If you really need and want to purchase a gift, maybe you can start brainstorming ideas year-round, rather than panicking at the last minute and settling for a piece of plastic.
If you really must buy gift cards, then at least:
Make certain events off limits. Even etiquette expert Peter Post, who believes gift cards have become acceptable in many situations, makes a distinction between cards and "real gifts." There are certain situations, like weddings, where "you should give a real gift rather than a gift card," says Post, great-grandson of manners-icon Emily Post. Valentine's Day and anniversaries are other situations that call for the real deal.
Combine a card with a real gift. If you want, it can even be from the same retailer that's providing the gift card to facilitate returns. Even a small gesture is better than none at all.
Think twice before giving one to someone you love. If you ever shared a home with the recipient, you can -- and should -- do better by them.
Don't add to the recipient's burdens. If your recipient would have any trouble redeeming the card, don't give it. "It probably wouldn't be appropriate to give one to your grandmother in her 80s," particularly if she suffers from limited mobility, said Post, author of "Essential Manners for Couples." "It's not for (a recipient) who finds shopping more of a burden than a pleasure.""

Hear, hear! Think twice before giving a gift card to someone special; unless it's a Starbucks gift card. They're awesome.

Until next time.....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

When Mommy Has To Be A Daddy Too

With Steve so far away, I’m starting to feel like a single parent. Especially since communication with him is slim. I’ve made an effort to send him at least one picture every day, along with a brief description of how the day went. We were trying to get in that odd phone call at least once a week. Steve now has a computer and we got to chat through video. Monkey man was really excited to see his daddy, as was I.

We’re in week six of our, roughly, fifty-two weeks apart. I don’t miss him any less than the day after he left. If anything, I miss him more. Each time Monkey does something new I feel bad Steve can’t see it. Monkey just started crawling today. He’s been trying to do it for weeks and it finally clicked today. I feel like I don’t have anyone to share in these little joys with.

I’ve noticed I’ve missed the small things about raising a child with someone. I miss all the stupid little disagreements we had in the beginning. The first couple of months of parenthood were awful. I was so hormonal it wasn’t funny. There were harsh words said, there were tears; and I miss it because he was here.

I don’t like having to make all the decisions; I don’t like how tight my budget has gotten; I don’t like feeling all alone and crazy with the baby is up every hour crying because he’s teething again.
I know I’m not all alone. I did move back in with my parents. They help out whenever they can. Sometimes it feels like all they ever do is butt in and other times they seem to fall off the face of the planet just when I need help the most. My mother is always letting Monkey taste test too many new foods, including many I’m not too sure he should have. Can eight-month olds have garlic bread? What about olives? How about foods designed for twelve-month olds? It’s almost a daily fight with her over when he can stop with formula and start with cow milk. I want him on the formula until he’s over a year old. She wants me to stop it in the next month or two. And my father lets Monkey watch more TV than I like. As soon as my father has Monkey, he turns on TVO or Family Guy for Monkey to watch. I’ll turn off the TV, go to the bathroom and come back to the TV on again. It’s not like my father is watching the cartoons too. He doesn’t like cartoons. He puts it on for Monkey countless times during the day.

My parents are great people. They have helped me so much, even before Monkey Man was born. They love spoiling him rotten. I really can’t complain too much about them. I just feel like they’re trying to do the grandparent thing of spoiling him and handing him back, only they seem to forget they’re handing him back within their household. There’s many ups and downs about living with my parents again.

Even though I’m not all alone; I feel alone. I find myself envying the couples with babies I see in public. I envy a friend of mine who has a husband to help out. Is it selfish to want that shoulder to lean on? Hands to hold me up with I don’t think I can stand anymore? Someone to dry my tears and tell me it’s going to be alright, even if I already know it? The hardest part of it all is knowing I have all this in Steve. It’s just not accessible right now.

My biggest fear is becoming a single parent. A year apart is not easy on couples. Ask any military family who has someone serve overseas. I worry Steve will grow tired of the long distance and find someone new in Australia. Or he’ll decide he no longer wants me when he comes home. I know I shouldn’t think that way. Blame past relationships for my fear. Blame the thin line of communication between the two of us.

Once upon a time, before he and me were a we, Steve and I used to send multiple emails to each other on a daily basis. Those emails continued even after we began dating. We still emailed each other and chatted on MSN when we were at work after we moved in together. I felt so lost when Steve first left for Australia. It was the first time we went days without communicating somehow. I cried when I got the first email from Steve down under, just because I was so happy to hear from him.

I’m lucky if I get a quick one or two liner email, usually commenting on the picture I sent, every three or four days. I thought it was because he was emailing from work, so he was trying to keep it short so he could work more. He’s had his computer for a week now and has only sent me one email. We talked in a video chat once by chance (he was home sick and I just happened to be online surfing) and once planned. The less I hear from him, the more I instinctively assume he cares less and less and the more I feel like I’m in this parenting thing alone. Maybe I’m just crazy. Maybe I’m subconsciously waiting for that big gesture to show he cares. Maybe I’m scared of losing someone I love so much. Maybe I’m reading too much into this.

Until next time…

Monday, November 12, 2007

Muffin-tops Are Nicer on Muffins

I recently heard that the body cannot lose inches and pounds at the same time. You either lose inches or you lose pounds depending on how your body is changing. I heard this twice from two different people who do not know each other. And I think I believe it. I lost two inches last week and this week I’m two pounds lighter. I’m not feeling more energetic; I feel more sore. I guess the energetic feeling with come in once the muscles I forgot I had toughen up.

My “fat” pants are getting more and more baggy on me. It’s at the point I just have to take one step and they nearly fall down. It’s annoying as hell to continuously have to pull up my pants, or hold them in place when I sit down or run up or down sets of stairs; but it’s wonderful at the same time. I’m fitting into more and more of my old pants…finally! My mother commented on how horrible my pants look on me a few times. I saw my rear end in a display window yesterday and saw she was right! My pants were quickly shifting down my hips, leaving me with a very unflattering baggy bottom. There was a pool of blue denim hanging below my butt; making me look like I don’t know how to dress myself. It looked really horrible. It didn’t help that as my pants were trying to make their way to the floor, my shirt was slowly creeping upwards over my hips, threatening to show off my ugly stretch marks.

Don’t get me started on those horrid stretch marks. Like you really want to read about them anyways. I’ll just say they are fading and I wish they would fade faster.

A pit fall to my “fat” pants is the fake muffin-top. I have a nice round muffin-top when trying to wear most of my pre-baby pants. It would be nicer if it didn’t exist, but that’s why I joined Curves, right. When my “fat” pants make it past my hips I get, what I like to call, the fake muffin-top. My hips stick out over top of the waist of the pants and it’s just horrible. I refuse to buy new pants when I have a stack of perfectly good ones patiently waiting for me to fit nicely in them again.

I was told I’m supposed to have goals when trying to lose weight. I didn’t have one, so I decided to make one up. My goal is to feel great about myself when I go visit Steve. And I hope to fit into my tightest pair of jeans without a muffin-top by January. I have two months to do it. That’s 29 more workouts and 7 weeks to go. Wish me luck.

Until next time…

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Past From the Past

I came across this blog I wrote last April. It made me laugh.

“I was told I had to post the events I endured on Friday here. You see, I had the worst string of luck. Some people have already heard my tale. They have giggled, laughed, shook their heads, teared up and nearly peed their pants at my expense. I fail to see that much humour in my day, but if I made one person smile, it was all worth it. Also, please note, this story is all true. You just can't make this shit up. Or if you can, you have too much time on your hands. Go take up a useful hobby.
My day started out fine. I woke up after throwing the alarm clock across the room and got dressed and undressed four times before finally choosing an outfit. I also checked my email. I am an email addict. I check it a minimum of a million times a day. Yes, a million times. Alright, maybe not a million. Just 993,000 times. But who's counting? I knew which shoes I wanted to wear (4 inch, strappy, brown mary janes with the cutest little bows on them, for you nosey people out there), but couldn't remember where I had left them last. I have a bad habit of putting my stuff in unusual places so I'll remember where I put it. But the places are so weird I never remember where I put anything. Who else, but me, would put their T4 slip under a pile of hand towels in the cupboard under the bathroom sink because it's not supposed to be there? In my warped mind, it makes perfect sense. Guaranteed I will forget it is there as soon as I need it. I do strange things like this all the time. Like how I keep my alarm clock ten minutes fast in attempt to fool myself in the morning. I think I must be at my smartest in the morning, 'cause I never fall for it then. It's the rest of the day I can never get it right. Now back to my shoes. I had to turn my room upside down in order to find them. I also found one of Hercules' stashes. Two dried up Puperoni sticks, three "cookies" (dog biscuits) and four raw-hide bones. He's saving up for a rainy day, I suppose. I found four missing socks, a library book I failed to return and last year's tax return.
I rarely ever look at my speedometer while driving along the highway; unless I get stuck behind someone slow. Then I hardly ever take my eyes off the speedometer. One must know how slow they are going in order to yell at the vehicle in front of them. 90? 90? Dude, you're doing the posted speed limit! Don't you realize you're supposed to do 120 in a 90 zone? C'mon, get with the times! On Friday, everyone must have had my mentality on the road because I got to the city with tons of time to spare. As I passed a Timmy's, I thought briefly of a friend. He was big hearted and gracious enough to buy coffee for everyone in his office. Feeling all warm and mushy from his good deed, I drove myself to the closet Starbucks to get myself a latte. Forget the yahoos I work with. They can get their own darn coffee.
As I'm waiting for my latte, I play with my keys, fiddle with my purse, remember why I don't wear those shoes more often (they're a size too big and my toes were already cramped and smooched; but they shoes are just so cute, And the were on sale at 60% off, You just can't go wrong and hope the blue from your bruised toes doesn't start creeping up your foot and showing in the skin showing area of the shoe) and I guess I moved in a way my shirt didn't like. It popped open! I'm not sure what I did to piss off my shirt to deserve this, but I am sure of the group of five or six men who got a good look at my near naked breast, exposed for the entire group's glory. I was so embarrassed I was beyond red; I was purple. I swear the smirking person making my latte took his sweet time in order to make me wait forever after my public peep show. Yes, I still waited for that latte. It's a five dollar coffee, man! On a brighter note, I did get a thumbs up from on of the men. I'm not sure if it was because he approved of size of my breast, because my bra was pretty or because he thinks I actually have balls to pull that stunt on purpose. I may have been embarrassed, but those men, and all the other people who saw, had something to talk about for the rest of the day. So, if you're from the K-W area and over heard a story involving Starbucks, flashing and a pink and red heart printed bra, you now know it was about me.
At work, later in the morning, there was this hyper-active kid running all over the place. He wasn't listening to his mother, not watching where he was going, getting dirty footprints all over my lovely sofa set displays, disrupting and ripping my signs and price cards and if he were to break anything I was going to charge his mother for it. As the little Tasmanian Devil twirled around the store, I let someone else aid his mother as I got started on new price cards to replace the damaged ones. Before I knew it, the kid runs right smack dab into me. No problem there. People have been known to run each other down every once and a while. First thing to do was to make sure the kid was alright. Hmm…Bloody nose on a shocked kid's face. Looked down at my shirt and…Oh, for the love of…Bloody shirt. My first thought was at this point was: shit. My second thought was: (censored). I think I had half of the kid's blood on my shirt, or he really smeared it up good in the spilt second before I reacted. I tired to clean it up, but only ended up with a wet, bloody shirt. I couldn't go home to change seeing how I live an hour away, and my boss wouldn't let me go buy a new shirt. I think he got a kick out of seeing me covered in blood. He laughed every time he looked in my direction for the rest of the day.
For lunch that day, I decided to try the new chicken ceasar toasted sandwich from Mickey D's. If you want my opinion, and I know you do; don't waste your money. Go to Subway and get a sandwich from there instead. Don't forget to load the sucker up with pickles. Subway has the best pickles. Unless you don't like pickles. Then steer clear of them. But who doesn't like pickles? Sweet pickles, I can understand not liking. Pickles are not meant to be sweet. That's what candy is for. I'm off topic again. Back to my yucky sandwich. As I picked my way through the heavily sauced, hardly any chicken and I-think-the-cardboard-thing-is- supposed-to-be-bacon sandwich, my tongue ring came loose without my noticing. I ended up swallowing the little ball along side with a bite of the so-called sandwich. Normally, one would notice this before swallowing the ball, but given the mishaps I had already lived through, it makes sense I didn't notice. Metal is an essential part of your daily nutrition, right?
Recap time. I lost my shoes, found my shoes, wanted a latte, flashed a small group of men, got a bloody shirt and ate metal. What a great day. It's gotta get better, right?
I went to the mall to get a new tongue right. On my way back to my car, the heel of my shoe breaks! This sudden breakage threw me completely off balance causing me to fall down on my butt. It could have been worse. I could have fallen on my face. Now, just to add insult to injury, I landed in a small puddle. Damn those rain showers. So there I was; sitting in a puddle with a broken heel and a blood stained shirt (blood hidden by a jacket) with people watching me. None of these people helping me. As I try to get up, my shirt decides it still hates me and tries to pop open again. Not wanting an encore of that morning, I did my best to hold the shirt closed without looking like I was groping myself. I also made a mental note to throw that shirt out as soon as I got home.
And then, to top the day off, I went out on a date. Oh, no! Not a date! Scream; run for the hills; take cover! Oh, it's not all that bad. Read on. I met the guy at the restaurant. We got seated and ordered a couple of drinks. We started the ritual so-this-is-my-life-story part of the date (did I mention this was a first date?). As soon as the drinks came to the table, my date excused his self in a hurry, jetting off to the washroom. I enjoyed my drink, some slushy, bright blue thing and send the waiter away once. The second time the waiter came around, I was almost done my drink and worried about my date, whom had yet to return from the washroom. I double checked with the waiter that there were no windows in the washroom and I would have seen my date going by if he had indeed planned on fleeing the restaurant. I sent the waiter to go check on him. The poor guy had been barfing his guts out. When he finally emerged from the washroom he was both embarrassed and pale. My heart went out to the guy. He didn't want to mess up his chances with me by cancelling the date. I've gotten some mixed reactions out of this end of my tale. Let me straighten them out now. Yes, I'm pretty sure he was telling me the truth about being sick. No, I don't think it was because of my perfume. Yes, I'm sure of it. Love At First Glow is a lovely scent, so shut up. And lastly, I hope he wasn't snorting lines of coke the night before, or while in the washroom at the restaurant. Strangely enough, two people thought up the last one; either of them knowing each other. What type of people do they date? I'd like to know; and hear some of their stories. Back to the date,,It ended there. He needed to go home where he could puke in the privacy of his own washroom. I'd be glad to give him another shot, as long as he isn't barfing during the date again. And no, there was no goodnight kiss. Eww…Puke breath.
And that, my dear people, was my Friday.
Saturday was a lot better. California Love by Tupac came on the radio in the afternoon. I haven't heard that song in, well, only a few weeks actually. But that's not the point. It's a friggin' awesome song! It didn't matter that I was at work. I ran over to the stereo and cranked her. The windows were shaking. We have such a kick ass stereo in our store. For seven grand retail value, it should be. Don't have seven grand? You can rent the whole package for the low, low price of $75.99 a week (plus applicable taxes and other charges).
I managed, somehow, to get through April Fools day without a prank getting pulled on me. Or pulling one on someone myself. I only had one mishap too. I got my foot caught under a door and ripped off a little more than half of a toenail. It's messy, bloody and slightly sore, but it's better than Friday.”

Ah. I remember that day well. I came across that shirt the kid bled all over not too long ago. I got the blood stains out of it. I forgot I hate that shirt. Mental note…Throw that stupid shirt out. I still have those shoes. I had the heel fixed and now I wobble in them when I walk. They’re adorable shoes and I don’t want to throw them out. I haven’t worn them in over a year, but I still might some day. I’ve only worn heels once since the baby was born. It was for a very special date night with Steve. I still don’t fit into half of my clothes. I wear mostly comfy clothes. Sweats, jeans, t-shirts. So I wear running shoes when I go out. When I’m all slimmed down and wearing nicer clothing, I’ll break out those heels again. And will suffer some ankle injuries as I teach myself how to walk in five inch heels again.

Until next time…

Friday, November 9, 2007

Leave a Message After The Tone....

I’ve done my fair share of telemarketing due to pro-active marketing strategies in a workplace. I’ve left messages and hung up at the start of an answering machine if I didn’t want to leave a message. I’ve been trapped on the line by chatty people, yelled at and hung up on. It isn’t an enjoyable job, but it’s a fairly easy one. Just because I have done the job, doesn’t mean I like telemarketers more than the next person. I don’t like them at all. They never fail to call just as the baby goes down for his nap, morning or afternoon. They never call when he’s awake. It’s like we’re bugged or something. Somewhere out there a person is yelling “call this house, she finally got the baby to sleep. Let’s wake him up!”

Through the wonder inventions of caller ID and answering machines, I never pick up on a number I don’t know. It spares me from having to listening to someone mispronounce my last name. We don’t have voice mail through our telephone provider. We have an answering machine. After five rings you hear my voice asking the caller to leave a message after the tone. It’s often confused with my sister’s voice. We sound alike according to everyone. Even my ex-finance couldn’t tell my sister and I apart on the phone. Our answering machine also plays the message as the caller is talking. So when I don’t recognize a calling card number and hear “hello from Melbourne” booming from the kitchen, I run to pick up the phone because I know it’s Steve.

Now most telemarketers hang up as soon as they hear the answering machine pick up, but there are a few who can’t seem to tell they got a machine rather than a person. They confuse the hell out of me and make me wonder just how little of a brain you really do need for the job. I’ve recorded a simple “please leave a message after the tone.” Nothing more, nothing less. And we get people saying “hello?…hello?” after the message has played. Or they ask for whomever they’re calling for, followed by a pause and a confused hello. The best one is some lady who calls almost every day. She first asks for Mary (my mother’s junk mail name, so we know it’s nothing important), pauses, asks to speak to the lady of the house, pauses, thanks us for our time and hangs up. It’s got to be a machine, right? Nobody’s that stupid, right? I really hope it’s a machine!

Remember, if you call my house and get the machine, just start talking. Someone will pick up if we’re home.

Until next time…

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Painted Face

I am a girly-girl. I always have been and always will be. I like pink, flowers, babies (in animal or human forms), dressy outfits, heels and makeup.

My makeup obsession started at a young age. I loved it when my mother would put a touch of lipstick on me when I was three and four. I remember having play makeup when I was a little bit older. I had Tinkerbell makeup. It was horrible stuff, but I thought it was great at the time. I had pressed powder in a compact, two shades of lipstick, pink and red, blush, three shades of peel off nailpolish and perfume. Everything had a strong flower scent to it. I wore this cakey, thick makeup whenever my mother let me. I would douse myself in the perfume. My father used to say I stank when I wore the perfume. I would always tell him he was wrong. I smelt good because I was wearing Tinkerbell perfume. I just knew Tinkerbell would never sell stinky perfume. I earned the nickname Stinkerbell from that. I apply smaller amounts of nicer perfume now, but the nickname still pops up every now and then.

Once I hit sixteen, makeup was at a whole new level. I discovered foundation, lip liner and eyeliner. All of which I wore too dark and too much for too long. I had fun with my makeup back then and even though the pictures make me cringe most of the time, I felt good about myself. I toned down the makeup once I hit college.

My essentials have been lip gloss, eyeliner and mascara since I was sixteen. I’ve always felt bare without them. I don’t do the full face of makeup everyday anymore. I haven’t since high school. I don’t bother with cover-up because I can never get it right. I always end up breaking any compact of press powder I buy, so I stopped using it. I never wear foundation in the summer, unless I’m getting all dressed up. It’s just too hot to bother. I only use blush when I’m looking paler than average. I like eye shadow. It’s fun to play around with. I love eyeliner and mascara because I think they help make my small eyes and short lashes look bigger and longer. Lip gloss and lipstick are just as fun as eye shadow.

I used to be really bad when it came to makeup. I remember wearing makeup to bed when I had my first adult relationship. I didn’t want him to see me without makeup. Looking back on it, I think it would have been better for him to see me without makeup rather than waking up next to a face with smear marks all over it. I was young. What did I know?

I used to wear makeup when I was sick too. Even if I was staying home in bed. I would put it on just to make myself feel a little better.

I can honestly say there hasn’t been a day I have been without at least lip gloss since my son was born. It took almost 10 years for me to have a makeup free day. Now I have them all the time. I only bother with makeup when I’m going out somewhere or I’m bored and have the time to put it on. The only time I leave the house not wearing makeup is when I’m going to the gym (who would wear makeup to the gym?) or of I’m just going to a little stroll with the baby.
Some days I miss wearing makeup and pause long enough to whip on some mascara. Other days I’m glad I’ve learned not to care so much. Those are also the days I don’t get anything more than my face washed and my teeth brushed. I’m glad I’ve learned to accept myself more without makeup. I lay a large part of this self esteem growth on my beloved. He can look me straight in the eyes and say he loved me and calls me beautiful whether I’m wearing makeup or not. And even though I haven’t had good self esteem most of my life, I feel beautiful when I’m around Steve. Funny what love, or a kick-ass lip gloss, can do.

Until next time…

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I was watching Rachael Ray the other day, as I often do, and noticed my little monkey man looking up at the TV once and a while from his toys. He full out ignored his toys once she was cooking at the end of the show. I enjoy watching Rachael Ray most days. I’d say I turn it on maybe three or four times a week. It’s on at a perfect time. Monkey man is always fed and happily playing by the time the show comes on; and I get to sit down and have a little breakfast myself.

I monitor how much TV monkey man gets to watch. I know children are naturally drawn to screen because of the bright colours and movement, but I don’t want my little guy to get sucked in. He’s so naturally curious and full of energy, I’d like him to discover the world rather than sit in front of the idiot box 24/7.

I felt a little guilty that I watch Rachael Ray and sometimes Cityline most mornings while playing with monkey man. Even though he doesn’t pay too much attention, he’s stuck watching two hours of adult shows; unless he goes down for a nap. Normally he’s sleeping by the time Cityline comes on. Still, I felt guilty. We only watch a Baby Einstein video once or twice a week. So I thought I would let him watch something geared more towards his age group a few days ago. The only kid show I could find that wasn’t on the cartoon network (those cartoons just seemed too old for monkey man) was George Shrinks. Monkey man watched for a little, then found a leaf the dog dragged in from outside that was more interesting. I was appalled by the cartoon.

George Shrinks is a spoiled, little rich kid! At one point of the show we were watching, George couldn’t decide what luxury pastime to do. He rattled off all the possibilities he had in front of him and his mother answered back. “yes, life is hard” in a nonchalant way. What does this teach kids? This isn’t the only children’s television show I don’t like. Peep, on TLC, is one that tops my list. The cartoon isn’t too bad, but at the end of each episode, they show kids playing and doing stuff. They encourage kids to play in their parents’ closets and make messy crafts without reminding the kids watching to ask their parents for permission first. Caillou teaches kids it’s okay to take temper tantrums to get what you want.

I don’t remember cartoons being like this when I was little. What happened to good old shows like Sesame Street, The Polka Dot Door, Today’s Special, The Elephant Show, Eureka, Harriet’s Magic Hats, Hattytown or Readlong (I loved those talking shoes!)? Or where they just as bad and I never realized it?

Until next time...

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I used to love Halloween! I was Rainbow Brite for my first Halloween. I was also Rainbow Brite for my second. My mother spent hours sewing that costume for me. I even had my very own Twink. I was a bride one year and cried. It was raining and my mother made me wear a garbage bag over my beautiful gown. I was a cat many years over and a witch too. I just like the excuse to wear the dark makeup I can’t pull off in my day to day life.

I think my favourite Halloween memories come from when my family was living in Ottawa. Halloween parties, trick or treating, my little sister’s first Halloween trick or treating. My sister wanted to be Princess Jasmine in the worst way. My mother dressed her up as a pink bunny. My sister told everyone who would listen that she was dressed up as Princess Jasmine Bunny. She was 2 or 3 years old. It was pretty cute.

Monkey man was all decked out in orange and black for the beginning of the day. Then he was a skunk for the rest. My mother was so excited she dragged poor Stinky all over town to show him off. Many strangers tried to give him candy and were shocked when I said no thank you. No one could believe he’s only seven months old. They all thought he was older, especially since he was walking most of the time.

In our sleepy, little town, there aren’t many kids who go out trick or treating. Most parents drive the kids over one town because it’s a bigger. We’re on the edge of town and our street is not well lit. We only got five kids this year. My mother likes to prepare for the unexpected. One year, just out of the blue, she had 50 kids come by. I think her record before that was 15. No one knows were all the kids the one big year came from.

Three years ago, my family got into the Halloween spirit. Everyone dressed up. My sister and I were witches, my father was the crypt keeper and my mother, well, I’m not too sure what she was but she looked scary. Hercules, who was only 4 months old, was a bee so my mother dressed up her dog as a bee too. We called them our killer bees. Poor Herc spent most of the night scared. My father was scaring the little kids. One kid walked right up to him, so close they were almost touching and said “you’re scar-we.” Another little girl decided she was scared after she got her candy and nearly ran unto the creek that’s next to our house. It was a good year.

Monkey man was grumpy most of yesterday. He didn’t sleep well the night before and only took one nap during the day. We only got a couple of pictures of him smiling. On the plus side, he’s slept most of today.

Until next time…