Sunday, May 31, 2009

Washing That Gray Right Outta My Hair

Friends, my hair is gray.  There is no denying it.  Every three weeks I am reminded just how gray it is.  I can pretend for a couple of weeks, but on that third week, I'm always a little surprised.  It's like I forget how much gray hair I really have, and I have a LOT for a 40 year old.

In high school, my friends would pluck out my grays as I walked down the hallway to class.  At my first teaching job, my wonderful 8th grade students would say, "Miss Smith, you have gray hair." They would comment from time to time that I seemed to be getting more.  Thanks.

I knew it was time to do something about all of this gray when my 90 year old grandma said, "Holy Toledo, look at all of the gray hair that you have!"  Yes, I looked across the table to my own mother for support, and I noticed that she hardly had ANY grays on her head.  If grandma was noticing it, it was time to get myself to the nearest box of Clairol.

Coloring my bushy, thick hair myself was a disaster.  I ruined towels, shower curtains, bathroom rugs and all kinds of clothes.  I was never meant to be a stylist.  I turned to professional help at the ripe old age of 30.

It started with a color appointment every 8 weeks.  Then it was 6.  Then 5, 4, and now I am down to coloring my hair every three weeks.  My friends, who could not believe that I was actually getting a proper professional job if it only lasted that long, referred my to their master stylist.

I love my friends, I really do.  I was especially thankful on Saturday as I sat in the chair across from the salon receptionist to pay my bill.  My hair was silky, fabulous and no longer gray.  It took four hours with the master stylist, but I was looking like a million bucks.

Glancing around the posh reception area, I realized that I had never sat down to pay my bill at any salon.  That is when the friendly receptionist told me that I owed $360.00.  Good thing I was sitting.

I nervously fingered my visa, and tried to calculate what kind of tip one had to respectfully leave on a four hour, $360 dollar visit to the salon.  I felt my face getting red as I handed my visa over.  Would my card be denied?  Would I have to sweep or shampoo to pay off my debt?

I made it safely out of the salon and back home.  I am still in shock.  I'm considering embracing my gray...or at least trying to color my hair in the shower at the gym.  I'll be spending extra time there now that we will be eating Kraft macaroni and cheese for dinner all this month and next.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Smells Stinky Around Here: Stinky Blogger Award

I could tell you, but you wouldn't believe me.  I could list all of the stuff I've been up to lately, including dreams of drowning, but it would just be an excuse.

To all my blogging friends who have been kind enough to bestow such wonderful blogging awards upon me, I have to admit, I just plain stink at keeping up lately.  I am on the giant, three kid hamster wheel of life and it's kicking my butt.

I value your comments, awards and input so much, it just wouldn't be a community without you. I blogged in a Wordpress void over at Mombshells for a whole year until I moved to blogger and got involved with the MBC.  It has really changed my blogging world.

I just want to say I'm going to try to catch up, acknowledge your wonderful awards and write some witty intelligent posts.  However, it just won't be today, and tomorrow's not looking so good either.

When I thought about how badly I felt about letting you all down, I immediately remembered this picture of my daughter.

She and her friend came running into the kitchen to show me just how great they looked with underwear on their heads.  As I snapped a photo and giggled, Birk's friend said, "It smells stinky in here."  

That's how I feel now.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Walmart: My Americana

EcoMoms everywhere who have ever been Walmart junkies can sigh a little sigh of relief. I read a snippet about Walmart's reusable bags, and I was happy to see my old favorite Canadian-make-me-feel-like-I'm-back-in-the- States-store was attempting to go green.

Truly, when I moved to Ottawa, Ontario in 1993, I had to ask myself what kind of freaky place I had agreed to move to. All stores, except the Quickie Mart, were closed on Sundays. If that wasn't shocking enough, to know what the heck I was buying, I had to spin things around at the grocery store to turn the French labels into English. Milk came in bags. Meat came in kilos.

When Walmart opened in Ottawa, I took one look at the store hours--open past 6 on weekdays and open on Sunday, I felt a tinge of relief (I was actually in a panic about stores being closed on Sundays and holidays, though I learned to love it). Ahhhh, how American, a store chock full of everything you didn't need and needed at the same time.

My shopping at Walmart became such a comfort habit, that I had to de-Walmartize myself when I moved to Swank County in 1999. It wasn't too hard, there are many stores here where you can shop for useless junk. Although, I never shop at Walmart now (we don't have one), it made the cold, Canadian winters a little more friendly and eased my capitalist consumer loneliness.

Go for the green Walmart!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Do These Friends Make My Butt Look Big?

Even at the age of 12, I was never a slim and tiny kind of girl. Once, I read that a pioneer man going west wanted to marry a woman that could “pull the plow if the mule died.” I am definitely one of those kind of girls. Heck, I could probably fix the plow and invent a better model.

Visions of mules aside, I was on a mission to find the woman’s holy grail: the perfect pair of jeans. I only needed one pair that looked halfway decent to replace the three or four pairs that I am retiring to the never gonna happen pile. That new exercise plan? That new diet? Never gonna happen.

In a cute, little boutique, where the saleswomen treat you like a long, lost girlfriend, I admitted that I needed professional retail help. It was kind of like an episode of Friends, but these gals rallying around me in my moment of low self-esteem weren’t really my friends, were they? They seemed more like slim, fun loving vultures.

Together, we inspected my butt and muffin top from every angle in at least 20 pairs of jeans. I’m pretty sure that this is the most staring my butt has ever experienced. The best, most comfy jeans were on sale, but, made me look 10 pounds heavier—according to the serious looks and the sad, downcast eyes of the sales-friends. They even pulled a mom guilt quote, "They don't look the best, but if you really don't mind the bagging and sagging in the butt..."

This is when one my newest friends said “You need Yummie Tummies!” She disappeared at high speed, bounding into the back room. She came back breathless and excited as she handed me a spandex tank top. She must of misunderstood my mission. What I really needed was to buy a pair of pants that don’t come with a girdle as an accessory.

My friend assured me that every woman in low rise jeans gets a muffin top and that is why Yummie Tummies are the lastest, greatest invention. So great, that she only had one left and it was size small. I am no size small, if I have to remind you, especially not on top.

Closing the curtain on my new friends, I emerged with visa in hand to buy a pair of jeans that made my “figure look terrific.” I managed to spend a catrillion dollars—yes, I squeezed into the size small girdle and bought it—only to find at home that these new jeans were the same brand and size I had on my discard pile! I had made the same jean mistake twice!

At that moment, I wondered if I should have gone jean shopping with some of my REAL friends. I did forget to say, though, that it was REAL friends that sent my on my quest in the first place. If they would just stop exercising and start eating sugar and bread again, I’d be able to relax a little more and enjoy my muffin top.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Eating Standing Up

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Tonight I'm eating Phad Thai and downing my Pinot at a record pace. This is when I realize that I'm eating my dinner standing up in my kitchen. The kids are at the table eating their meal, and I'm taking a bite, then loading the dishwasher. Then I take a drink, and wash out the sink.

*Bite: organize the recycling.

*Sip: take a hairbrush off the counter and put it in the bathroom.

*Bite: tell John and Birk to stop kicking each other under the table.

*Sip: feed the dog.

*Bite: I.M. my life partner and ask when he might be coming home.

*Sip: serve Ruth more pot stickers.

*Bite: answer the phone.

*Sip: explain to telemarketer that I'm not home.

How many other women are out there eating standing up like horses? $40 take out and a glass of $20/per bottle Pinot deserves better conditions than standing up and eating like a horse. Am I wrong? Next I'll be sleeping standing up. Although it would save laundry costs and I'd never have to make my bed.


Monday, May 11, 2009

The Dishwasher Loading Award

Like so many of my cool blogging friends out there, I've decided to create my very own award...


and I'm awarding it to...
drumroll please...

Honey, only you can load the dishwasher in such a way.  In my entire life I'm eclectic and chaotic, but in the dishwasher department, my world is neat, tidy and lined up just so.

You have proven time and time again, you can load the dishwasher willy nilly and it still comes out sparkling clean.  I love how you can stuff every last thing into a load.  

The very same amount of items would take me at least one and a half times around the cycle, but you, are able to jam it all in there.  It's very Eco-minded of you.

Now that I've awarded  this award to you, here are the rules:
  1. You must load the dishwasher every night.
  2. Cooking dinner would earn you extra points.
  3. Tag all of your children and give them the next round of dishwasher unloading duty.
  4. Write 5 things that you love about being married to me on romantic stationery and seal it with a kiss.  Mail it to me snail mail.

Are You Allowed To Blog Brag? Mother's Day Monday

Are you allowed to brag on your blog?  I know this is a funny thought.  I can easily write about the funny or the crappy, but when it comes to the fabulous, I have a hard time finding the words. If I do stumble along and find the words, it just sounds too boastful.

I am a "the other shoe's going to drop sometime" kind of girl.  In the old days, when you could actually live the fantasy of getting bumped to business class for a flight from Toronto to Tokyo, I just enjoyed every second to the fullest.  I knew this could be it for me in my upgraded adventures.

When it's all too good I get scared.  I think it's akin to a fear of heights.  The more you have the more you have to lose, but I don't want to live like a fraidy cat loser.  I want to have some fun and keep having it until someone kicks me out at closing time.

Thus, in this vein, I want to let you know that my wonderful family kicked me out of the house Saturday and Sunday morning and sent me with another mom to Sonoma.  We sipped, we shopped, we spa'd, we dined, we read the newspaper, we slept in and we had a grand old girl's time.

On Sunday I returned, refreshed and thoroughly missing my family.  My kids ran to me, arms outstretched with big, airport kinds of hugs and kisses.  Awwww, gee I love these guys and I'm going to enjoy every single moment I have with them to the fullest!

Happy Mother's Day, hope you all enjoyed it to the fullest, too!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oh, Scrap! I Thought This Was Published!

Rae Ann was kind enough to give me the Honest Scrap Award. This award is for bloggers who write from their heart or put their hearts on display. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Rae Ann! She writes a nifty blog called Critical Mass. Check it out, you are sure to enjoy her wit and wisdom. It's always a fun place to visit to cheer up your day.

I'm supposed to do two things with this award: 1. Tell 5 honest things about me. 2. Pass this on to 5 deserving blogs--I'd like to share the love and award this award to some new, fun blogs.

5 Honest Things
1. I don't like to get cut flowers as a gift. First, I'm allergic (especially lilies) and second, I'm no good at keeping them alive or arranging them.
2. Carmel is my ultimate sweet thing. If it's on an apple at Halloween time, it's even better!
3. I'm a junky shopaholic. I love to troll antique shops and discount stores. There is no hunt at the corner boutique that can satisfy the thrill of the kill at Marshalls or TJ Maxx.
4. I was a preschool teacher and a middle school teacher--the parents were always harder to handle and cater to than the kids.
5. My mom is a vegetarian and my dad was a dairy farmer. Their daughter is a hybrid crazy, picky beef-eating vegetarian. Say what?

5 Cool Blogs That I've Been Recently Introduced To:
1.  Shimmer Me Blue
2.  a picture or memory a day
3.  Three different directions
4.  Wife and Mom of 3
5.  parenting BY dummies

Play along if you'd like, no pressure.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And You Think Your Teen Is Bad?

Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority;

they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise;

they no longer rise when elders enter the room;

they contradict their parents, chatter before company;

gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

--Socrates, Fifth Century B.C.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What Your Kid Might Be Saying At School...

I picked up Birk after school and took her corrected work out of her cubby. I quickly scanned her first grade papers.

There was a cute exercise that was folded like a greeting card that said, "I like the taste of..." Then your child put in what they liked. Birk of course put her favorite, ice cream. I smiled to myself.


However, my smile turned to horror when I turned the page:


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Boulangerie Cookie Dough and Other Meme-ingful Stuff

Jo from Under the Influence tagged me with my very first meme. I'll let you know, I am the last person to do these kind of things when it comes to email, but for some reason, I am totally up for it in blogland. Maybe it's the fact that I don't even know what day it is?

Rules of the meme. Respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question. Add one question. Tag 8 people.

Here I go...

1. What are your current obsessions? Boulangerie Cookie Dough from the refrigerated section at the grocery store. I bought these to bake for my kids, but I'm just going to eat every one raw. Maybe even I'll eat every one today. They are that addictive!
2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often? Workout clothes, it makes me look like at least I'm trying.
3. Last dream you had? I don't get enough REM sleep to dream lately.
4. Last thing you bought? Sandals
5. What are you listening to? The peaceful, quiet of all three kids being at school.
6. What do you want to be when you grow up? I might like to go back to work as a preschool teacher--it keeps you young and I'd cry if I don't get to read Good Night Moon ever again.
7. Favourite holiday spots? Home :)
8. Reading right now? Canadian Living Magazine
9. Four words to describe yourself. Tired, caring, happy, spontaneous. 
10. Guilty pleasure? Shopping
11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak? My husband.  He has a great sense of humor.
12. Favourite spring thing to do? Get out the summer furniture, plant some flowers and hang out and enjoy the sun.
13. Planning to travel to next? Sonoma
14. Best thing you ate or drank lately? Those cookies from question #1!
15. Dream vacation? Taking my kids to Europe to learn about history.
16. Favourite ever film? Out Of Africa (love the book, too!)
17. Care to share some wisdom? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!
18. Song you can't get out of your head? The Little Sister Blues
19. Thing you are looking forward to? Summer break

As for the tags, here are five new bloggers I've met lately.  Play along if you'd like, if you don't, well, that's o-k, too:
1.  Mozer from Spell Out Loud
2.  Simone from Great Fun 4 Kids
4.  Katy from Parenting By Google