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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Sisterhood of W.I.N.E. - Women in need of excitement

"Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates, and guys are just people to have fun with. " Sex and the city.

Remember back in high school. You had so many girls who were friends. The friends I walked to school with, friends I had lunch with, friends I met after school, friends I went out with on the weekends. I always had lots of girlfriends. After high school, we stayed friends. Many a Friday and Saturday night we closed down Club Max and the Cornerstone, walked up Long's Hill in three-inch stilettos, in the wintertime, went to Ches's for a fin and feather with gravy and staggered home at 4 AM and did it all  again the next weekend. We laughed. We shared secrets. We had great times ... and then we grew up.

Today I could not walk up Long's Hill in sneakers or eat Ches's at 3 in the morning without ending up at the Emergency Department a St. Clares. Times have changed.

I met a new best friend. My husband. Almost 20 years later, we are still best friends. We raised three kids together. We built our careers together. We built our home together. We travel together. We shop together. We eat together. We sleep together. We do everything together. We're BFF's till the end. And that's the way it should be.

But between raising kids, keeping the marriage strong and focusing on my career, I lost track of my girlfriends. Not to say I still don't have them. I do, but not like it used to. I've met some great women over the years. Most of my friends are mothers of my children's friends. I don't see a lot of people that I went to high school with anymore and I don't have that same high school relationship with women I meet now.

Now that the kids are older, one is moved out, one is going to finish high school next year and one is going to junior high, I find myself with lots of free time, especially on the weekends. We no longer need babysitters and our kids have their own plans for Friday and Saturday nights. We usually find ourselves looking at each other saying "What you want to do?" "I don't know." "What do you want to do?"

My husband has no interest in going to Pier 1 to see what's new or rummaging through Winners for the latest sales. Those are the times I really miss having a female BFF like I used to. I think a lot of women go through this. We devote ourselves to our children, our careers, our marriages. Everything but ourselves. Then the children grow up, our careers are getting close to retirement and our husbands are more interested in golf than shopping. We find ourselves going through our Facebook friend list thinking "I wish I had stayed in contact with her."

I love watching "Sex and the City." It's my favorite show. I think the reason so many women love this show besides the great writing and the funny repertoire between the characters is the relationship between the women. We would all like to have a relationship like these four women. These women never judge each other. They never backstab. They are there for each other during every crisis. Even though the characters represent four very different women, they never sacrifice who they really are because someone else has a problem with it.

My sister gave we a sign for my kitchen as a gift. It's a provocatively dressed lady sitting in a bar holding a glass of wine and the writing above her head says "The sisterhood of W.I.N.E. - women in need of excitement" below that it says "Welcoming new members since the beginning of wine." It got me to thinking.

 I think a lot of women are looking for the sisterhood of W.I.N.E, women in need of excitement. Women who want to get back to having girlfriends that they can talk to and laugh with. We just need to learn to do for ourselves what we have been doing for others. When my daughter went to kindergarten. She was very shy and found it hard to make friends. Every day I would tell her "To get a friend. You have to be a friend." Now I find I'm saying it to myself.

I am setting up my own sisterhood of W.I.N.E., women who get together to celebrate their accomplishments and talk about their lives at a table where they won't be judged, where they won't be talked about, where they feel welcome.  Everyone is welcome. If you're interested in being in the sisterhood, let me know and I'll tell you when the next meeting is.

They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style.” Sex and the city.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the delivery room


My mother got her wish, and I got a daughter just like myself.

I wanted a daughter since I was five years old. My very own living dolly. I knew exactly what she was going to look like. I knew the color of her hair, her eyes and what she smelled like. And the day she was born and the nurse put her in my arms, I was right. Her face was familiar. She was everything I had dreamed of.

I went on a massive shopping spree. I bought dresses in every color, tights with the frilly bum and black patent leather shoes. I spent my days dressing and undressing her. Combing her hair into high pigtails, then French braids, then the most perfect ringlets you've ever seen.

Then she turned two and learned the word "No." "No comb hair Mommy!!!!" No, no, no!!! Everything was "No" with 10 exclamation points after it. By the time she was three she could hit notes Celine Deon could only dream of and every time I put a dress on her, she would pull it up over her head like cone.

She had a mind of her own and strong opinions on everything. My mother would say to me "You are making too much out of her! You're spoiling her." But I didn't know how to make any less of her. How do you not spoil your only little girl?

And if you think I'm bad, you should meet her father! This once fierce drill Sgt. who could make grown men shake in their boots with a single look is powerless against her pout. His yell would make both boys run to their rooms in fear , but barely makes her blink. A simple hug from her and money becomes no option for him.

Next month, she turns 12. She has become more beautiful that I could possibly imagine. She has the most amazing capacity to love. No one could love the life out of a teddy bear like her. Her sights are now set on the newest boy band, and her dreams of growing up to marry one of them brings me back to the days when I plastered posters of the Bay City Rollers on my bedroom wall and swore I would marry Lesley. Every night she rearranges her first best friend, second best friend and third best friend depending on the day's activities.

She's been known to throw a few Avalon Mall tantrums. I've heard the phrase "Please mom, why can't I have it?" or "I'm the only one who doesn't have one!" more than once. Where have I heard those words before? Every time she makes her dying plea for the latest, greatest object of her affection I think back to my own Mother and what I put her through.

In my day, I have been known to throw a few Woolworth tantrums myself. My parents separated when I was five years old. My mother was a single parent with 10 children and ran a boarding house. She literally worked her fingers to the bone. Looking back now, I don't know how she ever did it. Someone asked my oldest brother does he remember what he got for Christmas  when he was a child and he responded "Another brother or sister!"

I remember stomping off at the Arcade on Water Street with my arms folded in pure defiance and my bottom lip stuck out because I wanted something and she said no. I often say to my daughter "There's not a tantrum you can throw that I haven't already mastered."

My mother would always give in just as I do.

So in the end my mother's wish came true, I got a daughter just like myself. I guess we do all become our Mothers eventually and we have daughters like ourselves.

It's funny, I spent the first half of my life desperately trying not to become my mother, and now I am spending the second half of my life desperately hoping to become half the woman that she is.

Here's hoping my daughter has a daughter just like me someday too.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Why you should marry your best friend


I woke up this morning with socks on my feet. They weren't there last night when I went to sleep. So I was a little surprised when I woke up this morning to find someone had put them there.
I just had surgery a few weeks ago on my back and I can't bend, drive or lift anything over five pounds. I can't reach my feet. After I got out of bed I noticed that my hair dryer and straightening iron had been laid out on a bench next to my make up dresser. When I got to the kitchen the coffeepot had already been set up and all I had to do was press the on button.

Then it struck me. Before my husband left for work, he set up the coffee for me. He had laid out my straightening iron and curling iron on a bench that he had brought in the room knowing I couldn't pick them up off the floor. He had slipped socks on my feet knowing I couldn't do it myself.
This says a lot about a man. He knew the limitations that I would be faced with on the morning of my first day alone after leaving the hospital. He had to go back to work and the kids had to go to school. He knew I wouldn't be able to get my own socks on. He knew that I would want to put on my makeup and do my hair. He knew I loved my morning coffee and he had that ready for me. He knew exactly what I wanted.

The one thing that saves a marriage is dignity. When you take away a person's dignity it can never be restored. When you give a person their dignity, you create a foundation that keeps marriages alive.
There's a lot of good reasons for getting married and there's a lot of bad reasons for getting married. I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and 18 years later we remain best friends. I can't think of one time when we've actually had a screaming, yelling fight. We just don't do that, we respect each other too much. We love each other too much.
Over the past eighteen years I have discovered that love is not about roses or chocolates on Valentine's Day. Love is about giving a person their dignity. It's about knowing someone has your back. It's when you have back surgery and you can't go to the bathroom by yourself and you need help.  It's when your partner doesn't roll their eyes and allows you to keep your dignity during those times.  It's when you wake up in excruciating pain from  back surgery to find out your husband has set up the coffee for you, laid out your hair drying and straightening iron. It's when you wake up with socks on your feet.

That's when you know marrying your best friend was a good idea.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In these shoes!


I know exactly when my shoe obsession began. I was in grade 2. It was the 70s. Back then everybody wore "gators" or "galoshes" in the winter time. They only came in black. I'm sure you remember them. You put your shoe on first and then you put your shoe down in your gators and you buckled them with a little silver buckle that was on the side.

One day, a classmate showed up in red gators. They were like the Holy Grail of gators. I became obsessed with them. I wanted red gators more than anything in the world, but she said her mother bought them on the mainland and they weren't available in Newfoundland. Every morning I would stare at those red gators in the coat room. It started my obsession with red shoes. Now I can't pass a shoe store If there are red shoes in the window. I must have them.

I love shoes. Who doesn't? The higher the better. The more ridiculous the better. They're like artwork to me. Nothing makes you feel more powerful than a 3 inch black stiletto on a Monday morning. That means business!

I started having back problems in 2002 after having an accident and it got progressively worse over the years. But it never stopped me from wearing my high heels. Even though my chiropractor would constantly tell me "The heels are not helping." I would tell him "I have a Barbie foot. I need high heels. If I wear a flat my back would go out." He never believed me. As I hobbled in his office I would say "Just because you're in pain doesn't mean you have to be ugly." I will always wear my high heels.

On March 19, 2012, I had back surgery. I had two titanium rods attached to my lower spine to fix the damage and stop the pain. The day before I went into surgery. I went to a shoe store like a drunk getting his last drink before an AA meeting. I bought a pair of 3 inch purple velvet shoes. Even though I knew it would be a long time before I could wear them. They were incentive for me to get out of the bed and start walking again. My goal is to put them on September 1, almost 6 months after my surgery and wear them to work.

Bette Midler has a song called." In these shoes." It's my theme song for the next six months as I learn to live with this titanium spine. I'm sure a lot of people would look at my situation and think that's a pretty silly thing to concentrate on as you recover. I don't care. It's my thing.

I think shoes are to women what penis' are to men. It's only 3 inches but it makes us powerful beyond belief!

Helen

Welcome to my blog

I think being a writer is the greatest thing you can be. Being able to put words into a paragraph that can make a person laugh out loud, think differently about a subject, care about something they didn't care about the day before, or shed a tear, is the most powerful gift a person can have.

I've always been a writer. Even as a child I wrote stories, poems and songs. I even kept a diary, religiously. I wrote everything in that diary. (They were all eventually burnt.) My mother told me only a woman would be silly enough to write all her thoughts and the personal details of her life down in a book where someone else can find it and use it against her. She said men would never do that. She didn't like diaries but that didn't stop her from reading mine and using it against me.

Over the years, I've had people tell me that I should write novels. I always thought I would someday, if I ever get around to it. That's the beauty of social media. Through Facebook and Twitter I can send out small clips of my daily thoughts to friends and followers and get instant feedback. After about a year I have to admit it's becoming a little boring. A friend recommended I start a blog. But I thought what would I possibly blog about every day. Plus I would have the pressure of coming up with a new idea every day.

After some thought, I decided a blog could be exactly what I'm looking for. It gives me a little more space than Facebook and Twitter. I can still get the instant feedback and may even be the start of my first novel.

So this is the blog. It's called." I'm funny like that" and I think that describes my personality on many levels. So I'm not trying to change the world. I'm just trying to make you laugh out loud. I'm not a celebrity. I'm just a normal person but I still have an interesting life and you do to. Hopefully you'll see some similarities in our lives and you'll laugh out loud and maybe you'll find out that you're funny like that to.

Helen