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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My mother says the queerest things

Over the years I have learned that my mother says the queerest things. Let me tell you about a few...

I was watching the evening news one night with my 85 year old mother. The two top stories were about recent murders.
The first story was about an estranged husband who had shot his wife. After the story aired, my mother responded with complete contempt saying, "That bastard! God only knows what that poor woman had to live with. The years of abuse she suffered."  In that brief three minute news story, she had imagined the victim's whole life and the hardship of living with this man.

The next story was about a women who had stabbed her common-law husband to death. My mother, continued to rock back and forth in her recliner, intently listening to the details, but she didn't comment.  The look on her face said she was thinking deeply about something. I waited for a few minutes before I said anything. I couldn't help but to speak up and ask, "You were so outraged at the first story about the man killing the women, but you didn't say anything about the women killing the man. Why?" She looked directly at me with a twinkle in her blue eyes and said, "I was just sitting here wondering what that bastard did to piss her off enough that she had to kill him. He must have been bugging her all day."
"If you ever get selected for jury duty please let me know so I can talk to them first"  I told her.

The world has changed in 85 years and my mother had a hard time keeping up with it. She always worked from home. She believed hard work reaped great benefits. She has never used a fax machine or email. She's convinced Facebook will be the down fall of this generation. "Talking about your private lives on a computer, my God what are the young ones thinking" she says. She thinks LOL is "lots of love" she left me a message that says "Helen, I can't find the cat. I am worried she is dead somewhere. LOL Mom"
She called me one day at work and asked me to take her to Zellers. She wanted to go shopping and of course, she had to return something (most times without the bill). I was convinced she bought items she didn't need for the sole purpose of returning them. I told her I just couldn't get up in the middle of a work day and pick her up to go shopping. I explained that I now reported to a higher power and not one that walked on water. Leaving in the middle of the day when you weren't on a stretcher wasn't acceptable. "Tell your boss you got a doctors appointment" she said. "I can't. I have to give 24 hours notice for a doctor appointments." "Then tell him you have to do something for your mother." "It don't work that way" I told her. Relentlessly she said, "I'll write a note saying you had to leave early to help me. Will that work?" Unable to hold back the laughs knowing her mind wondered back to my school days I answered, "No that won't work on him but write the note anyway. I just want to see the look on his face when I hand it in." It was a simpler time when she could just write a note to say "Dear Sister, Helen was sick yesterday.  Please forgive her. Mrs. Cleary" When I really stayed home so we could go shopping downtown and end the day by having cherry pie at Bowring's restaurant while we looked at the ships in the harbour guessing at where they came from and where they were going next.

In her younger days my mother looked like Elizabeth Taylor's younger sister. She was almost six feet tall, thin with long black hair that she kept in a bee hive on top of her head. When I came home from school on cold winters days with cold hands she would let me put them in her bee hive to warm them.  She wore black pencil skirts and crisp, starched white blouses, pearls and perfume. No one loves perfume like my mother. I always knew when mom was going out in the evening because you could smell the Channel #5 ten miles away.
My mother always has an interesting take on things. I asked her if she watched the new Octomom reality show when it first aired. "No" she scoffed "I had 10 kids. I am Octomom and I did it without lights and cameras! I could make a chicken feed 10 kids and turn the leftovers into a soup!" She could too. I remember mashed potato sandwiches and putting Carnation milk on bread sprinkled with sugar as a snack.

When Kathy Dunderdale was elected I asked her "Mom, what do you think of Dunderdale?" "It’s great." She says, "No one cleans house like a woman! Women see things differently. She’ll do more in 6 months than Danny did. She’s not afraid to eat either. That says a lot about her. She’s from Burin, and a  bay girl can put an arse on a cat." I edged her on with "You’re a Bay girl." quick as a wink she says "Yes, I like to eat too and if the cat needs an arse she knows who to come to." She was right about Dunderdale and the cats arse works fine.
She once called me to say "Helen, my friend is turning 90 this weekend. What should I get her I wonder?" Jokingly I replied "A coffin." She huffed back at me "Don't be so foolish, she already has one. She bought it 20 years ago." I pointed out "See that's the difference between my friends and yours. Mine don't own their coffins yet." "Yes" she informs me, "They are just hitting the diaper stage again."

I could never trust her in front of my friends, she seems to have selective amnesia when it's convenient. One afternoon we ran into my old boyfriend at the mall: "Mom, do you remember (I won't use his name to protect the guilty)?" Puts on her glasses "I wouldn't know you now. You used to be really good looking. What happened to you?"  I try to hurry her out the door. "You dodged a bullet there Helen." "He can still hear you Mom and you're the one who wouldn't let him go not me."
She has spent most of her life alone choosing to work herself to death than marrying again. I asked her one time "Mom, you should go to the Legion and meet men your age. It would be nice to have someone to do things with." She informed me "I am 83! Any man I meet now will be wearing diapers. I’d rather be strapped to a horse’s arse and shit to death!" Point taken.

I have learned that I get my sense of humour from her. She gets her's from years of choosing laughter over pain and finding the "funny" in everything around her. Her life was hard and horrific at times but her sense of humour kept her going. Today she is 85 and never misses an opportunity to laugh. Maybe that's the secret to a long life, laugh. Laugh at everything.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Why I tip the school bus driver

I am a good tipper when I get good service. I always remember to tip my manicurist so when I break a nail or need to move an appointment, she bends over backwards to accommodate me. I tip good at restaurants too because I have worked as a waitress and I know how hard that job is. I also don't want anyone spitting in my food the next time I go there. Tipping is a way of showing your appreciation when someone goes above and beyond their job.

The most important person I tip is the school bus driver.
It's more like a gift/ tip thing I started doing shortly after my kids started school. I always give the school bus driver a gift card from the liquor store for Christmas, Easter and at the end of the school year.

Now I know parents are thinking "I have enough people to buy for. I am not including the bus driver!"
But as a parent, I assure you the school bus driver is the most important person on your list. We are very lucky to have a great driver in our neighbourhood who controls the bus and we've never had an incident while he has been driving.

This past Friday, my husband looked out the front window and said, "Why is there a school bus in front of our house?" The kids had come home ten minutes earlier. The door bell rang and Paul, the driver, passed over my son's coat and said "He left that on the bus." My husband remarked, "That was nice of him to do that." "That's why I always tip the bus driver," I informed him.
When my kids started school, they went through hats and gloves like water. I could buy them by the truck load. Every day they would leave something on the bus: a book bag, a cell phone, their head. It was never ending.

Then there's the morning race to make it to the bus on time. How many times did I show up late for work because the kids missed the bus and I had to drive them. Now I don't mind driving my kids to school.  It's that darn Kiss'n'Ride lane I hate. If you take a second longer than you have to those bitches will gang up on you. One morning, a lady (I use that adjective loosely) rolled down the window of her SUV and screamed at me, "Get the lead out of your arse! I gotta go to work." All I wanted was an extra kiss from my daughter and ended up getting bitch slapped by a fake blond.
I know being a school bus driver is a hard job. It takes a special person to be able to drive all those kids from neighbourhood to neighbourhood in the morning, while keeping them in their seats, keeping the peace and trying to stay on the road. I would not make a good school bus driver because I would be kicking kids off at every corner.

When "Paul" took over our route about five years ago, I noticed a remarkable improvement in the service. If my kids were not at the bus stop, he would stop as he drove by our house and blow the horn. Either my husband or I would poke our head out and say "They're sick" or "We're coming!" If the kids left something on the bus, he would make sure they got it back the next day.
My son, who has a huge interest in politics, sits up front so he can discuss political issues with Paul on the way to school.

Paul's good service makes my life easier. Like most people who have decided to make a career out of taking care of our children while we work,  bus drivers do not make a lot of money. So when you're lucky enough to have one that goes above and beyond, you show your appreciation.
A small token during the holidays and at the end of the year means my son's hundred dollar winter coat gets delivered to my door and my kids never miss the bus.

Thanks Paul. Please don't retire until my daughter finishes high school.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How often can a woman pee?

My son has size 10 feet and he hasn't stopped growing yet. I knew when he as an embryo that he was going to have big feet because he used them to tap dance on my bladder for nine months. 

Four years later, his sister followed in his footsteps and spent the last six months locked in her womb kicking my bladder for fun.

As a result I now have the ability to fill the Grand Canyon after drinking one bottle of water! While some women could read a magazine waiting for the flow to stop, I could read War & Peace.
Welcome to menopause! On top of night sweats and hot flashes, I now leak when I sneeze.

From research, I found out that light bladder leakage affects about 40 million women. That means you can expect a third of your friends to know what you’re going through.
I have often drove from St. John's to Gander and had to pull over on the side of the Trans Canada Highway to run off in the woods to pee! I have this terrible fear that I am going to be squat down 100 feet from the pavement relieving myself when I look up and find a dead body. Then I would have to call the police to report what I found. Their first question will be "What where you doing in this area?" "Oh officer, I was relieving myself." Not a chance, I would confess to the murder first.

A friend of mine is a police officer. She told me one cold winters night she responded to an accident on the highway in the middle of nowhere. Five of her male counterparts showed up to help. She was the only female. They spent hours on the road clearing the scene. Then the urge to pee hit with a vengeance. While her male counterparts could turn their backs to the road and write their names in the snow, she would have to find a discrete location to squat down before her bladder burst. Every time she tried to sneak away someone would ask "Where are you going?" While standing in the cold night taking a statement from a male driver the urge to pee took over. She could feel a small stream beginning to leak down her leg until she could no longer hold it in and the dam broke. To say she "filled her boots" was an understatement. She thought that  her police parka would hide the deed. That was until the hot pee hit the cold night and steam begin to rise from her pants!
Another friend told me that she was on a ski trip to Marble Mountain when her bladder took her to new heights. She had taken the lift to the top of OMJ, one of the highest slopes, when the urge to pee became unbearable. She looked around for a facility but couldn't find one. She said there was no way she could ski to the bottom of the mountain while trying to hold her pee so she decided to squat down behind a bush. She laid her ski poles down to the side and pulled her pants down around her knees. Hearing other skiers fly by her, she quickly relieved herself and tried to shimmy her ski pants back up. What she didn't account for was how slippery her skis were. While trying to pull her pants up she began to slide. She grabbed for the ski poles but couldn't reach them and the movement only propelled her more. Before she knew it she had skied out of the bush and onto the ski track. With her pants still around her knees and in her squat down peeing position she was now barreling down OMJ to the laughter and shock of her fellow skiers. The squat down position made her go faster. Without ski poles and unable to change leg positions because of her ski pants, she couldn't stop herself. So rather than end up at the bottom of the mountain with her pants around her knees, she decided to throw herself. When she did, one ski flipped over the other and she dislocated her knee. Now dying of embarrassment and in extreme pain she tried to pull the pants up but people quickly formed a circle around her trying to help. Within minutes the First Aid team were on the slope with a ski doo, got her off the mountain and transported to the hospital. On the plane back to St. John's, the passenger next to her pointed at her leg in a brace and asked, "Skiing accident?" "Yes" She replied. Then he added, "Did you hear about the girl skiing down OMJ with her pants around her knees?" "No!" she answered and put her headphones on keeping her peeing, I mean skiing accident to herself.

One night, while dining out with my husband,  the urge hit me like a tractor trailer and I dashed off to the ladies room. The waitress told me the bathrooms were located at the top of the stairs to the right. By the time I found it in the dimly lit hallway there was only one stall and lucky for me it was empty. Of course bathroom stalls are only big enough for the stick figures on the door. It's a lesson in gymnastics to hoist a dress and tear down the control top panty hose while trying not to spill a drop. Then someone else came in and within seconds I could hear them urinating. I thought, "They're not using the sink are they?" I finished and pulled up my control top pantyhose. Exiting the stall I locked eyes with a man peeing in a urinal on the wall. Horrified I said, "This is the ladies room!" and stomped out. I got back to my table and told my husband. He pointed out, "He was using the urinal? You were in the men's room!" Luckily we were finished eating and my husband had paid the bill so I could run out without seeing this poor man again.
So in addition to menopause, one in three of us can now expect a visit from Kirstie Alley, the Poise Fairy, every time we sneeze.

If it's such a common thing, why hasn't the world adapted to us? Why don't change rooms in ladies stores have a bathroom located in the same area? How come every time I go to a concert there is a huge line up to the ladies room but no line up to the men's room? We need more stalls! Why aren't stalls bigger? I can't fit my purse in most stalls!
I know we all have our "pee stories" and I would love to exploit them in my blog. So share, I know I am not the only one who has to stop and cross my legs to sneeze.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fear

The only thing to fear is fear itself. Winston Churchill.

Humans are the only living creature that will sense fear but won't run from it.
God gave every living creature an internal mechanism that senses fear and responds to save its life. If you make a sudden move towards a dog or cat, they will run away.

I watched a  personal safety expert on a TV show once said women are the worst when it comes to their personal safety. He explained, through his research, if a women was waiting for an elevator and the doors opened to expose a seedy looking biker type guy with one hand behind his back like he was hiding something (life a knife) eight of ten women would get on the elevator with him because they didn't want to seem impolite or ignorant. The other two said they would have pretended they forgot something and walked away. None would say "No thanks I'll wait for the next elevator." Even though every fiber in their body, that God given mechanism to sense fear, tells them not to get into the elevator, most would. They will put a stranger's feelings ahead of their own security.
Think about it; they would willingly walk into a steel box with a stranger that creeped them out, where no one could hear the scream, rather than make the guy feel bad about himself.

The expert  said the same experiment with men had different results. Five out of ten wouldn't get into the elevator. Two said they would wait for the next elevator. Three got in because they said they were bigger than the guy who was in the elevator but would be ready to defend themselves if anything happened.
Interesting stuff.

I am a big believer in going with your gut instinct or my "Spidy Senses." They have never failed me. I always thought I would be able to handle a situation where I felt fearful but, it turns out, I would not.
Recently I woke from a nightmare. I dreamt that I was lying in my bed half asleep (as I was) and I could hear my son about to leave the house to catch the morning school bus.  I heard another male voice talking to him but I couldn't make out who it was. Then I heard my daughter's voice. She had caught the school bus a half hour earlier. I called out "Who are you talking to?" My son yelled back, "Guess who's home from school sick?" Then I thought, how did she get home. I could hear heavy footsteps coming up the stairs towards my bedroom and a man walked into my room. He said, "She was sick and I brought her home." I was confused and said "She's not allowed to leave the school with anyone but me." Before I could finish the sentence the man lay on the bed next to me and put his hand over my face.  I was screaming "Stop, Stop!" but the words wouldn't come out. At that moment I woke up, shaking not knowing if it was real or not. I ran down stairs, no one was around. I ran back up stairs and looked at the clock. It was 9:30 AM. Everyone was gone to school. It was just a weird dream. I went back down stairs and put coffee on and let the dog out in the back yard.

It was such a nice morning that I left the dog out and locked the back door while I jumped in the shower. I was shampooing my hair when I heard footsteps coming upstairs. I knew both doors were locked so I said to myself, "It's just your mind playing tricks on you. Don't go there." I continued to rinse the shampoo out and thought I heard someone walking from room to room. I thought if anyone was in the house the dog would be barking by now. Then it hit me. I locked the dog outside. I told myself "Get a hold of yourself. You had a bad dream and now you're paranoid.  Every women thinks there's an axe murderer outside the shower curtain. Stop being so dramatic."
I continued showering when I thought I heard the toilet flush in the ensuite off my bedroom. I thought to myself, I should jump out and lock the bathroom door or open the window so if anyone was out there at least the neighbour would hear me scream. My gut and my Spidy Senses were screaming at me to sense the fear and protect myself, but the woman in me was saying "No, I don't want to give in to the fear. "

At that moment the bathroom door opened and my husband poked his head in to say he was home because he forgot something. I let out the blood curdling scream and called him everything but a good Catholic. I shook for the rest of the day.
What really pissed me off about the whole thing was that I know better. I know I should have left the dog in the house while I put myself in the most vulnerable position, in the shower away from the phone. When I heard the first sound of someone in the house I should have jumped out, locked the door, put on a bathrobe and called out the window to my neighbour who I knew was in her yard gardening. I should have looked for something in a drawer that I could have defended myself with. But I didn't. I was afraid to look like I was crazy. That mistake could have caused me my life.

Then I thought of my daughter. What would she do if a stranger rang the door and forced himself in. What would she do if she was home alone and heard someone down stairs. I remember watching an interview with the father of a missing child. He said, "I taught my son to play baseball. I taught him to respect his elders but I never taught him how to scream. Screaming would have saved his life. The stranger asked him to go for a walk and he was too polite to say no." On the video you can see the stranger smiling at the boy and extending his hand. The boy is a little hesitant at first but reaches up and takes his hand. Then they walk away. Never to be seen again. The way he hesitated proves his gut told him no but he didn't listen to it.
I taught my kids to scream. When they were toddlers I always told them if someone makes you feel uncomfortable or tries to take you, scream "Fire." No one looks at a child crying, screaming "No" they would think it was a temper tantrum. Everybody comes running when you scream "Fire."

I thought I was the one woman who would look into the elevator and say "I'll wait for the next one thanks" but apparently I am the women who would walk right in. We're given all kinds of warning signs before danger happens. Maybe my nightmare was my minds way of saying "Be on alert!" Next time I will.
Today I will sit down with my children and go through the "Stranger danger" rules again. Today I will teach my children that it is ok to be impolite if your gut tells you something is not right. Today I will make sure they remember how to scream.

Today I will give these same lessons to myself. God created "Women's Intuition" for a reason, it's that mechanism that protects us. Listen to it.
Don't be that woman who gets in the elevator. Be the woman who says, "No thanks. I'll wait for the next one."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My sister's rabbit hole

My sisters neighbour was one of those guys who was very quiet spoken at work but came home and wreaked havoc on the neighbourhood. It was like he saved up his daily frustration and at five o'clock let it loose on his family and the neighbours.

She would often tell me about his ranting and raving at his two step children. She had tried on several occasions to talk nicely to him but all he ever gave her was sour looks that said "Go away." The man was just mean. There was no befriending him and no such thing as love thy neighbour.

My sister has three dogs and treats them better than most people treat their children. She has two teacup poodles and an older black Labrador retriever. One night I was driving down Elizabeth Avenue and I saw a lady who looked vaguely familiar with two poodles on leashes. The dogs were wearing fashionable coats and booties that matched, which also matched what she was wearing. Then I realized why she looked familiar and I said to myself "Oh my God, my sister is a crazy dog lady." I pretended I didn't see her and kept driving.

Her oldest dog Maggie, the black Labrador retriever, is big and lazy and sits around the house. She's absolutely harmless. She used to let Maggie go out on her back veranda to lie in the sun. She never chained her on because there was never a fear she would harm anyone. There was no fence between the two properties and the crazy neighbour's two kids would often play with Maggie.

The kids had a pet white rabbit that they kept in a cage and they would let it run around the garden. Maggie would often sniff it, but had no interest nor the energy to do much more than that.

One evening, she saw her crazy neighbour coming up on the veranda holding Maggie by the collar and screaming for her to come out. Frightened, she opened the door and asked him what was wrong. He said "I just found your dog on my property and if I find him there again I will shoot him." My sister tried to explain that Maggie was completely harmless and was only being friendly. He didn't want to hear it. He had already worked himself up into a frenzy and she knew it was only going to get worse. He told her to put Maggie on a chain or he would bring her to the SPCA himself.

My sister bought a chain and attached it to the veranda. In the daytime, she would let Maggie wander around as she usually did, and before her neighbour got home she would put her on the chain.

One sunny afternoon. She looked out her kitchen window and saw Maggie with something in her mouth. It looked like a teddy bear. So she dropped what she was doing and went out to see what it was. She picked up what looked like a toy rabbit covered in dirt, but it was softer than a toy and quite limp. Then she realized, to her horror that the rabbit was real... It was dead... It was the neighbours!

She looked over at his veranda, and there sat the cage. She couldn't believe what Maggie had done and she thought "Oh my God, he's going to kill her!" She didn't know what to do. She went into complete panic mode. The thought of putting Maggie down was something she could never deal with. She knew the neighbour wouldn't stop until he got his way. She had to come up with a plan to save Maggie's life.

She took the dead rabbit into the kitchen and looked it over. There was no blood or bite marks on it, just dirt. So she put it in kitchen sink and washed it with shampoo. The dried it with a blow dryer. She snuck across the neighbour's yard like a ninja and placed the rabbit in the cage and closed the door. Her thinking was, when the neighbours got home, they would think the rabbit died of natural causes. Then she ran back to her own house and kept Maggie inside for the rest of the day.

Five o'clock came. The neighbour's minivan pulled in their driveway. She watched through the blinds as the family came up the driveway and went into the house. She could her muffled yelling from next door but couldn't make out what they were saying. Her and Maggie stayed inside for the rest of the night.

The next morning was a sunny day. After the neighbour's mini-van pulled away she let Maggie out the back door to make his normal morning rounds. While she did washed the morning dishes she watched Maggie through the kitchen window. He had something in his mouth and he was shaking it. She ran into the garden and played tug-a-war until Maggie let go her grip. To her shock, it was the dead rabbit again covered in mud. She looked at the neighbours veranda. The cage was still there. They must have come home and forgot about the rabbit being there. She ran into her house and started the process all over again. Washing the fur, drying it and sneaking back across the lawn to put the rabbit back in the cage. Then hiding inside the house for the rest of the day.

That evening she watched the family arrive home. Within minutes she heard yelling from the garden. The neighbour had the rabbit in his hands and he was cursing and swearing at the top of his lungs. The wife was crying and the children looked dazed. The guilt was too much for her to bare . She felt so sorry for the children who had lost their pet. She decided to confess. Maybe they would take mercy on Maggie.

She walked across the yard and before she could say anything, his wife asked, "Did you see anyone in our yard today?" Before my sister could answer the crazy neighbour shook the dead rabbit at her and said "I will find out who did this and call the police."
My sister froze with fear, she couldn't get any words out. Through her tears, the wife tried to explain what happened. The rabbit had died two nights before when her husband was handling it. He had dug a hole in the backyard and buried the rabbit then left the cage on the back veranda. The children were quite upset and blamed him for killing their pet. He swore it was an accident. My sister thought to herself "Maggie most have dug it up and brought it home.

The wife went on to explain that when they came home yesterday the rabbit was back in the cage, all clean and laid out. They didn't know what to think. Then today, to have the same thing happen again! She was convinced the house was haunted. "The wife screamed at him, "It's coming back to haunt you! Are you sure you didn't kill that rabbit?" "No!" he screamed back "Someone did this to me!" as he stared at my sister accusingly. "No one knew the rabbit died only us!" She screamed back. The wife pushed the teary eyed children past him into the house. He stood there with a confused look on his face and a dead rabbit in his hand. He looked at my sister and said, "Are you sure you didn't see anyone around this yard today?"

My sister looked him straight in the eye and said, "No. I was here all day. I didn't see a thing." She turned and marched back to her own house and closed the door. She peaked out through the kitchen blinds to see him shoveling the dirt back over the rabbit's hole. Looking down at Maggie she thought, "Maybe that rabbit should come back and haunt him again tomorrow!"
Within a week, a "For Sale" sign was on the house. The neighbour said the ghost of the rabbit freaked him out too much.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Does anybody know how to be a good mother?

I recently admitted to my children that I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to being a mother. I admitted that I had been winging it for years. They said they already knew.

There are hundreds, even thousands, of books on how to be a good mother. I haven't read any of them. I've been too busy on the front lines of the battlefield raising children to take the time out to read a book on how to do it.
I remember back to when my first child was born. After 12 hours of excruciating back labour and a nurse telling me to "Walk off the pain" I finally delivered a 7 pound baby boy. The nurse cleaned him off and placed my beautiful blue-eyed, naked baby boy in my arms. I looked up at her, with wide eyed innocence and asked, "Why is he naked?" To which she responded with a laugh, "They don't come out with clothes on!" That should've been a clue to call child protective services.

That night, after my husband, mother, sisters, and friends finally left I was lying in my hospital bed, staring at this newborn baby wrapped up like a mummy in his glass basinet. It was then I noticed he was also staring  at me. We were both sizing each other up wondering what to do next. I began to have a mini panic attack thinking "Who in their right mind would give me a baby? Don't they know I kill plants. I can't even remember to feed my cat everyday!" The next 20 years flashed before my eyes. Before I knew it I was envisioning him getting married and moving out and he hadn't even come home yet. The craziest thoughts were bombarding my mind. Who would I trust with him? Who would I not trust with him? What if somebody tried to hurt him? What if he gets sick? All of a sudden keeping him safe became the most important thing in my life. It still is.
Those first few months were quite a learning curve. I tried to be the Beaver Cleaver mother and Martha Stewart all rolled into one. It didn't work out well. It turns out he was colicky and I had postpartum depression. He cried. I cried. I cried so much my husband banded the country music channel from out house because country music would make me even more depressed. Then one day my sister came to visit. My son was in the high chair crying as usual and I was trying to wash the kitchen floor, crying as usual. It seemed I couldn't do anything right. My normally spotless house was up to my ears, the breast-feeding wasn't working out and I swear people in prison got more showers than me. I was afraid to admit to anybody that I was a failure. That day my sister walked in and caught me crying in the mop bucket she asked "Did you take six months off to clean the house or to raise the baby?" She explained that nobody knows how to do this right, you make mistakes as you go and then you learn from it. Having a clean house should no longer be a priority. She told me if someone complains about how messy her house is she says "The vacuum is in the closet. Feel free to use it."

Then she gave me the best advice ever  "Everyone you meet will tell you how to raise a child. Especially people who don't have any. Before you take anyone's advice look at their kids and ask yourself, do I want my kids to be like their kids? Then decide if you want to take their advice or not." My mother always says never judge a person's success by the type of car they drive or the house they live in, judge their success by how their kids turn out.
Now that may not be fair either, because the mother gets the blame for everything. When my son was diagnosed with a nut allergy it was because I ate peanut butter when I was pregnant. If your kid has "issues" it's because we mother them too much. No one ever accuses men of "fathering" kids too much! It comes back to the old saying "The hand that rules the cradle, is the hand that rules the world."

As women, it's in our nature to try and run everything. We all start out trying to be "Stepford Wives" those submissive and docile housewives who turn out to be robots created by their husbands even though we're trying to climb the career ladder at the same time. Then we find out we are not robots. We can't do it all and we hit the mother wall and crash.

For the first few years of my children's lives I only had portraits of them together. We never had family pictures taken and the reason was because I was too stressed to sit for a picture. By the time I had all the kids washed, dressed and their hair combed there was no time for me to do my own hair and makeup. Then I basically had to wrap them cellophane to keep them clean until we got to the photo studio, keep my daughter from pulling out her pig-tails, break up the fight between them, prop them up in clothes that they did not like and then try to make them smile. I was so stressed I wasn't fit to be in a picture. Family portraits make me crazy. Even to this day when I mention it's family picture time my kids run in all directions.

When you add the second baby to the mix things get twice as hard. When my first child was born I would spend my evenings sterilizing everything he touched. Every toy he played with and every pacifier he put his mouth would all be washed in blazing hot water. By the time my daughter came along four years later I wasn't so crazy. I would do my best to wipe down her toys when necessary and if her pacifier fell on the floor I would wipe it in my jeans before I put it back in her mouth. Apparently, so I am told, this is why my son catches every flu and my daughter is never sick. Once again it's the mother's fault.

My mother had 10 children. I never appreciated what she went through until I had my own. I can't imagine feeding, clothing and trying to discipline 10 children. I asked my mother one time why I didn't have any baby pictures. To which she answered "I was too busy cooking, cleaning and working to take pictures. Later she gave me a baby picture of one of my sisters. I told her "That's not me" and she informed me "No one is going to know the difference just put it in a frame and say it's you." I told her "I'm not doing that" she answered "Why? That's what I did for your sisters. They all think that picture is of them." I don't even know if that picture is of any of us! It could be a neighbour's kid for all I know.

Whenever I asked my mother about raising children she would say "If you never have them to make you laugh, then you'll never have them to make you cry, but you laugh a lot more than you cry."

I decided that as a Mother there were 3 things I would do every day for my kids: 1. Tell them I love them and kiss and hug them no matter who's around or where we are. 2. Make them laugh out loud even if I had to hold them down and tickle them. 3. Make them feel good about themselves in some way. That's really all anyone can do besides providing the basic necessities of life.

Maya Angelou, the famous American poet, once said when it comes to being a mother, you do the best you can and when you know better, you do better. That's been my motto for 16 years. There's no book, there's no instruction manual, there's no one who can tell you how to do it. You just do the best you can and hope they don't grow up to write a book about you called "Mommy Dearest."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Women hold up half the sky

I was watching Oprah Winfrey  one afternoon,  her guests were Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of a  book called, "Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for women worldwide." Their story was so compelling I went out and bought the book and read it over the following two days.
As women, we have no idea how lucky we are to be born free in Canada and this book opened my eyes to a number of atrocities committed against women around the world. The title comes from a Chinese proverb that states "Women Hold up Half the Sky. " After reading this book and informing myself on global  issues that women and children face every day, I have decided that when you commit violence towards one women you commit violence against us all. We have a duty to stand up for one another and say "Enough is enough."
I was shocked to read that more than 100 million women are missing worldwide!
How many women are missing in this country? Every year, at least another 2 million girls worldwide disappear because of gender discrimination. Thirty-nine thousand baby girls die annually in China because parents don't give them the same medical care and attention that boys receive. The results is that as many girls die unnecessarily every week in China as protesters died in the one incident at Tiananmen.
In India, "bride burning" to punish the woman for an inadequate dowry or to eliminate her so a man can remarry takes place approximately once every two hours. It is estimated that approximately 5000 women and girls have been doused in kerosene and set alight by family members or in-laws or perhaps worse seared with acid for perceived disobedience just in the last nine years. All of this violence towards women  rarely  makes the news.
The book tells us modernization and technology can aggravate the discrimination. Since the 1990s the spread of ultrasound machines has allowed pregnant women to find out the sex of their fetuses and then get abortions if they are female. In China one peasant raved about the new ultrasound machines saying "We don't have to have daughters anymore!"
Did you know it appears that more girls have been killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the battles of the 20th century. More girls are killed in this routine "gendercide" in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century.
There is an exploding movement of "social entrepreneurs" who offer new approaches to supporting women in the developing world. Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or to teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry. After reading this book, I decided that I wanted to be a social entrepreneur.
Through their research, Kristof and WuDunn, say, the most effective contraception for girls is education. There is an African proverb that states "You educate a boy and you're educating an individual but if you educate a girl you're educating an entire village." Educating women is the key to overcoming poverty and for overcoming war. But education does not come easy for women. One third of reported rapes of South African girls under the age of 15 are committed by teachers.
There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. In the book I read about an organization called "Women for Women International." It is a sponsorship organization that enables a person to support a particular woman in a needy country abroad. Basically you adopt a sister. You make a monthly donation of $27.00 of which $12.00 goes to a training program for the woman and other support efforts and $15 is given directly to the woman you pick. The managers coach the women to save, partly to build a habit of micro-savings, and partly to have a cushion when they graduate from the program in a year's time. The women who are lucky enough to have sponsors go to morning classes that are devoted to vocational training to teach the women skills that will bring them an income for the rest of their lives. They also attend classes on health, literacy and human rights, and one aim is to make women more assertive and less accepting of injustices.
The book makes a very valid point. There could be a powerful international women's rights movement if only philanthropists would donate as much to real women as to paintings and sculptures of women.
After reading this book, I knew I had to do something so I contacted "Women for Women International" and asked if I could sponsor a sister, which I did. I am now on my third sister, her name is Zaraya Kashollom Jaba and she lives in Nigeria. She is widowed and is caring for three children.
I honestly believe that it will be a woman who solves the many problems of Third World countries. Maybe it's one of the women that I'm helping to educate. Maybe it will be your sister. There are so many women who need your help right now. During this Mother's Day do yourself a favor and pick up the book called "Half the Sky" and read it. Educate yourself about the issues that women around the world have to face every day. Then go to the website http://www.womenforwomen.org/index.php and adopt a sister.
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" --Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My son, the politician.

Over the pas sixteen years, my son has wanted to be everything from a garbage man to a fighter pilot. This week, he floored us when he announced he wanted to be ... a politician! We were devastated. As much as I hated the idea of him flying fighter planes through enemy territory, I would rather that over being a politician!

I tried to explain that politics is a second choice career. You have to get your education, build a career, retire, then become a politician. Go out in to the real world and get some life experience, be successful at something, then you can put your name on the ballot.
I should've seen this coming. I remember when he was about two years old. He would take all the cushions off the couch and pile them up on top of one another, then climb to the top of the pile and give passionate speeches. He would break in to a sweat, theatrically using hand gestures to make his points. I thought he was going to be a great lawyer and was practicing his closing arguments as he brought criminals to justice. A politician needs charisma to deliver speeches that inspire people and his charismatic charm was evident since he was a toddler.
He has ideals of how he is going to change the world in ways that no one before him ever could. I told him he has to be reasonable. You can't change the world overnight. You have to be realistic. You have to listen to people and understand their problems. I thought back to when he was in grade 4. He was small for his age and never a big eater. Every day at school he ordered the same thing for lunch: A hamburger and chocolate milk. Halfway through the year, he asked if he could order two hamburgers and two chocolate milk, I asked why, he said he was hungry. My mother's intuition kicked in and I began to wonder if he was being bullied or if somebody was taking his lunch money. So I sat him down one night and said I knew something was up. I demanded to know who was stealing his money or his lunch. After a short period of denial he confessed. He wasn't being bullied. He said the boy who sat next to him often came with no lunch or money because his mother would forget. My son took it upon himself to quietly solve the problem by ordering two lunches every day and sharing it with his schoolmate. I asked him if the teacher knew about it. He said he didn't want the teacher to know. I explained that adults needed to get involved in a situation like this for reasons that he could not understand. He told me that's why he didn't tell me because he knew I would make a big deal out of it. I tryed to explain again that we have a duty to alert authorities at school to look out for the welfare of this child. He said, "Mom, he was hungry and I fed him. The problem is solved, now leave it alone. No one needs to know." Looking back I realize how reasonable and realistic he was. He knew how to listen and understand people's problems and he did change this boys world overnight without fanfare or accolades.
A politician has to have integrity. He has to be able to stand up for what he believes in, even though it may not be popular with those around him. I knew as I said that it was a mute point because I knew my son had integrity. When he was in grade 5 he got detention one day. I was surprised because he is a good student who never spoke back. He was very respectful. I asked him what happened and he told me there was a hearing-impaired student in his class. She was trying to change the batteries in her hearing aid while the teacher was talking and it was interrupting the class. The teacher told her to stop making noise and to go outside the classroom to fix her batteries. Flustered and embarrassed the student began to cry and the faster she tried to fix the problem the more flustered she became. My son got up, walked across the classroom took the hearing aid and began to help her put the batteries in. The teacher yelled at him to sit back down and mind his own business. He said "She needs help." The teacher told him again to sit down. He refused until the hairing aid was fixed. The teacher gave him detention for not listening to her. When he told me the story, I didn't believe him. I phoned the teacher and asked her, she gave me the exact same story. I told her, don't ever give my son detention again. He had no problem standing up for something he believed in, even if it meant getting detention.
I told him politicians need fiscal experience and be honest. But I knew he had no trouble there either. In kindergarten, my husband and I got called in by his teacher. She told us he had been taking money from his classmates. We were both shocked. She called him into the classroom and we asked him to explain what was going on. He had been asking for months to go to Disney World. We told him that it was expensive and we couldn't afford it that year because we just had a baby, his sister. So he decided to raise the money on his own. He created coupons on loose leaf paper and wrote "10 cents" on each one. He cut them out and talked this classmates into buying the coupons. He was making a tidy profit by the time the teacher found out. She demanded he give the money back, but he refused, telling her this is "His new business" his "Coupon factory." So she took the money and the coupons and called us in. She asked him "Do you know what you did wrong?" He said "I didn't do anything wrong. I created my own business." She was frustrated and she looked toward us or support. She said, "He's defiant, he refuses to admit what he did was wrong." We left the classroom and went out and sat in our car, not knowing what to say to each other. My husband looked at me and said "What do we do?" I said "Bring him to Memorial University, he's obviously ready for business school!
We should have known then that we were raising a politician. Now that I think back over his life. I'm not surprised that he wants to go into politics. He's a born statesman with an innate sense of integrity, honesty and charisma.
He plans on running in the next election. He tells me, "Don't worry, Mom, I'm well-informed when it comes to politics." I told him, "Then you'll definitely be elected because voters don't understand it at all!"

Monday, May 7, 2012

Are men the new women?

When my daughter was turning eight years old, I booked a mother-daughter pedicure at a local salon for a treat. She had been excited all week waiting for her pedicure and when the day came, she could barely contain herself. We went to the treatment room in the beauty salon and were both a little shocked to see the only other client in the room was a man in his 50s. He was obviously uncomfortable to see us as well.

I have nothing against a man getting a pedicure, as a matter fact, I think it's a great idea. It should be mandatory for all men to get pedicures, especially at the beginning of summer before they wear sandals so it doesn't look like someone went at their feet with a chainsaw or even worse, like they have two inch long claws. But I have to admit I'm not fussy about men invading the only place women have left to get away from them.

I smiled and said hello, realizing that he was uncomfortable, I decided to go about my business and get my pedicure. My daughter on the other hand, was fascinated by this man in a woman's chair. She literally stood there staring at him with her mouth wide open. The more she stared, the more he squirmed. I quickly lifted her into the pedicure chair hoping that would distract her. I had hoped this would make her forget about the man sitting across from her. But as soon as she settled down, she began to stare again. I tried everything I could to distract her. I offered her magazines. I offered her my phone to play with. I tried talking to her.  It would only distracted her for a few seconds and then her eyes would go back to this poor man and she would stare with her mouth open like a busy-body at an accident scene.

This eight-year-old little girl had this 50ish-year-old man squirming like he was in an interrogation chair. He couldn't have been more uncomfortable if she had walked into a change room at La Senza and caught him trying on a lace garter and bra. Luckily he was nearing the end of his pedicure and the lady was doing the final file on his toenails. I looked at my daughter and knew the wheels were turning in her little brain. Just like the slow-motion section of a movie I could see her lips about to form a word but before I could intercept, she asked the man "What colour nail polish are you getting? I'm getting Princess Pink!" The man smiled at her and said "I am not getting a colour." Then, to make sure this man never returned to the inner sanctum of female-hood she delivered the death blow, "My dad would never get a pedicure, he says it's too girly for him." The poor man smiled and got out of there faster than if he had been caught with a hooker by his wife.

I've never seen another man in the pedicure room again. I'm sure he told all his friends and they tell their friends and none of them will ever take the chance of coming up against my eight-year-old daughter in a beauty salon.

Just a little while ago I was at the beauty salon getting my hair dyed back to its natural red (don't laugh). In the next chair was a man in his late 40s or early 50s. He was also wearing the hair- dye cape. Personally I think men look extremely sexy when they start to turn gray. I assumed this guy was getting rid of his. To my shock, the hairdresser pulled out the cart with all the rollers on it and proceeded to put them in his hair. He was getting a perm! It took everything I had to not scream at him "No one gets perms anymore!!!" Followed by "Do I need to tell you why you're not wearing a wedding band?"

He was sitting in the chair next to me, I couldn't help but overhear the conversation between him and his hairdresser. He shared that he was newly divorced and decided to update his look. Now why she allowed this poor man to get a perm in 2012 was beyond me. She must have been related to his ex-wife. When the time came to take out the rollers and wash out the perm the poor man looked like he had a Brillo pad on his head. He got out of the chair and noticed me staring at him. With a smile and a wink he joked "To bad you're wearing that wedding ring because I would've asked for your number." I just smiled and said "Oh, too bad for me." Thinking in my head, "I am holding out for the hottie with the  comb-over two chairs down."

It got me to thinking... why are obviously straight men wandering into female territory? Then a friend told me these men are "Metrosexual."  A metrosexual man has taste and knows about fashion, art and culture. He appreciates the finer things in life and enjoys making himself look good through styling his hair or wearing fashionable clothes. For example men who can't walk past Winners without buying a designer label for less. Or men who own 20 pairs of shoes, half a dozen pairs of sunglasses, and carries a man-purse. Or if he sees a stylist instead of a barber because barbers don't do highlights, then  he is a metrosexual man.

I think it's great that men have evolved and are taking care of themselves. It's wonderful that they are learning how to dress. How many times have you seen men walking around in the summertime wearing black dress socks with sandals? Or even worse when the sandals have velcro closures. Velcro on an adult screams "I've worked myself up to a day pass but can't be trusted with shoelaces yet!" How about the guy who still wears the black velvet blazer he wore to his prom 30 years earlier. Or the guy who's tie ends in the middle of his chest? It's about time men took an interest in their hair. Ask any man if you can see his kindergarten picture and even though he may be in his 40s, I bet he still has the same hair cut!

I think it's great that men are trying new things. One time I tried to introduce my husband to the spa world. I booked a full day of pampering for the two of us. He loved the couples massage. The trouble came when we went for body wraps. We were put in separate rooms that were about 10 feet away from each other. First, they scrubbed us down with sea salt to exfoliates the body. Then they rinsed it off with warm soapy water and massaged oil all over our bodies. Then we were wrapped  in warming blanket like mummies. The attendants told each of us we had to lay there and relax for about 40 minutes for the process to work properly and they would be back to wake us when the time was up. It only took about 5 minutes before I heard my husband snoring. As the minutes went by the snoring got louder until the amplified sound of it filled the entire floor. I called out several times for the attendant to come back but they had obviously gone for their break. I wanted to tell one of them to roll him on his side to stop the snoring but no one could hear me. I tried to free my hands but the wrap was too tight. I considered rolling off the table and jumping down to his room to wake him but I was constrained like a mental patient.  For 45 minutes I lay thinking of all the ways I would kill him when I was freed. The attendants finally returned. My husband said he had the best sleep of his life. I on the other hand was stressed to the max and my blood pressure was about 20 points higher than what it should've been. I vowed never to take him to a spa again.

When I think of a man, I think of John Wayne or Tom Selleck. I like a man with a hairy chest and a moustache. I hate skinny men. I want a man with some meat on his bones, something to cuddle into. Now I'm not saying I like a man with a "dicky-do (his stomach sticks out more than his dicky do), or a muscleman. Just a nice soft place to land.

 I like a man's man. With hands that are rough and not soft like a woman's. I don't want a man who smells nicer than me, has more hair products than me, or looks better than me. When we go out on the town, I want people to see me first, not him! I want to be the star attraction. I'm the one who had to dilate 10 cm, twice!! And  squeeze a head the size of a grapefruit out of a hole the size of a grape! I deserve the spotlight after a day of waxing, shaving, make-up and an hour on my hair. Which is done while I make sure the kids eat their supper, pick up the baby sitter and find his keys, tie-clip and under-ware.

I don't want to turn gray but I think it's sexy when a man does. I know it's a double standard; when a man goes gray he gets distinguished, when a woman goes gray she gets replaced. But I think men look better as they age. I think women like the neanderthal man rather than the metrosexual man. Now it would be great if neanderthal man had a pedicure every now and then and didn't leave skid marks on his boxers. But maybe it's a slippery slope. Maybe once they get a taste of pampering they can't stop.

I like to think that I am a modern woman and as a woman I know we have fought for decades to have equality in a man's world. Now I have to wonder, can we return the favour and allow men to have equality in a woman's world? Will a man ever be able to have a pedicure without having to dodge looks from the eight-year olds in the room? Or get a perm without a woman giggling behind his back? Will a man ever feel truly equal in a woman's world?

 It may seem selfish, but I don't want men to be equal in our world. I own 80% of our closet and I'm not giving it up! I'm also not giving up one inch of the bathroom counter and I'm definitely not bringing my husband to my next pedicure appointment . That is my time to relax and be pampered without someone asking me "What's for supper?" or "How much is this costing us?"

Are men the new women? Not as long as the majority of their gender wears velcro sandals with black dress socks!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Is beauty in the eye of the scalpel holder?

I admit, when I turned 45 I went to see a cosmetic surgeon. Every night I was looking in the mirror wishing I could pull the skin under my eyes back a little bit and staple it in place. I wanted to get a second opinion from a professional, so I booked an appointment. I didn't tell my husband because I knew he wouldn't agree. I didn't think I needed a lot of work done. I wasn't looking for a complete facelift. Just a nip and tuck here and there.

The doctor came in the room and put the magnifying glass over my face. He examined all my fine lines and wrinkles. He suggested I should have an eye lift, just as a preventative measure, maybe pull my cheeks back just a little bit, it wouldn't hurt to have a little neck lift done and we could finish it off by plumping up my lips with injections. It was quite a blow to my ego. I thought my face was fine. I left the office a disappointed because I was counting on this doctor to tell me I looked great for my age and didn't need any work at all. On the way home I almost rear-ended a car while I was examining the bags under my eyes in the rearview mirror. I decided to leave my face alone.

The funny thing is, I asked the doctor how many women my age came in for a consultation and he said we were his main target audience. I then asked how many women bring their husbands to these appointments and he said it's very rare for husbands to come to the appointment. A asked why, he said, because I've never met a husband who agreed their wife needed cosmetic surgery. He said "Husbands are bad for business."

So why do we do it? I don't disagree with plastic surgery. If I had the money I'd be across between Joan Rivers and Dolly Parton. If money was no object, I'd have everything nipped, tucked, sucked and stapled back in place. I think plastic surgery is a good thing. I had a friend who had what is referred to as a "Witches nose." She had the nickname "Witchy Poo" since kindergarten. Her nose became the main focus of her life. She had spent her life trying to hide it, cover it and God forbid if you took a picture of it. When she was in her 30s, she had a nose job. It completely changed her life. She was way more outgoing, she was open to relationships and within six months of her surgery she met her husband. Her life completely changed. The real problem was her self-esteem. It was as plain as the nose on her face. The nose job gave her back her self-confidence. I think it was the best money she ever spent.

Every 15 minutes, there is a celebrity on TV telling me how to lose weight. But what's wrong with being a little overweight? Do we all have to be twigs? I know there's the obvious health reasons but you can be healthy and a little overweight. Whatever happened to being pleasantly plump? And is food the real reason we carry all that extra baggage around our waist? I ran into a friend from high school who used to be a teenage beauty queen. I hardly recognized her, her eyes looked vaguely familiar, but she was nowhere near the girl she used to be. We got to talking. She told me she had suffered three miscarriages in three years. Her mother died and it was a devastating loss to her. Then after years of trying for a child, her husband left her. I felt bad for judging her. My first thought was "She really let herself go" but after a 10 minute conversation, I realized the extra weight wasn't fat, it was protective coating to keep her from feeling pain. She didn't need Jennifer Hudson telling her how easy it is to lose the pounds. She needed her heart mended. How quick we are to judge each other.

As women, we will try the craziest things to achieve a standard of beauty that we know is unreachable. I once wore three pairs of Spanx under a dress. I sat through a full three course meal, a dance and five hours of socializing. When I got home and took the Spanx off, it was like cutting open a bag of insulation. I'm surprised my internal organs didn't fail.

Pain! Women will put up with any kind of pain for beauty. Recently before a trip down south my waxing expert suggested I get a Brazilian. I never had one before but she assured me "Everyone was doing it." She told me that most women take some kind of painkiller before having a Brazilian and some even bring a shot of alcohol with them to take before the process. Now, I've had waxing done on my eyebrows and legs before. It's painful but I've also been through 12 hours of back labour. Nothing scares me. I laid on the table and she began to go to work. The bikini line wasn't that bad. Once the endorphins kicked in, I stopped feeling the pain. Until she got to the sensitive area. I cannot explain how it feels to have the hair ripped from the most sensitive part of your body. When I thought she was finally finished she said, "Roll over on your side." I did as I was instructed. Before I had a chance to ask her what she was doing. She said, "This is where you and I become close friends." I felt the warm wax being spread from stem to stern. I looked like a deer in the headlights. Before I had a chance to say "Stop" it was "wax on" "wax off."  That's all I can say about that.

Who doesn't love beauty tips? I will try anything once. A friend of mine who is a successful model swears that Preparation H is the best eye cream on the market. She explains that the cream shrinks and tightens hemorrhoids. Therefore, she puts it around her eye before she goes to bed. She calls it her "Head & Tail" cream. I tried it and it works! Another friend told me that she uses sugar to clean her face with every second night. It exfoliate your skin. Her face looks great. She also said she takes a sugar shower once a week. She takes a cupful of sugar in the shower with her and exfoliates her whole body. I tried it and your skin feels amazing  afterwards. My mother says the best thing for your skin is draining boiled potatoes. When she drains potatoes she put her face over the steam. This also works. Another friend of mine told me her secret to great skin is baby oil. When she gets out of the shower she rubs baby oil all over her body while it's still wet. Then pats herself dry with a towel. The oil locks the moisture into the skin. It must work because she looks great.

Beauty is a billion dollar business. I am afraid to add up how much I have contributed to that total. After everything I put myself through it's funny that my husband thinks I look best with no makeup on at all. So if plastic surgeons think husbands are bad for business, and men like us without makeup. Who are we doing this for?
The truth is, women don't dress up for men. We dress up for other women. We spend an outrageous amount on a purse, but I have yet to hear a man say "Look at the purse on her!" Men like things simple which is why magazines called "Cars" and "Boobs" exists. Women like things complicated, which is why Harlequin Romance novels exist. We need the perfect dress, the perfect shoe, the perfect purse, we plan the whole night days ahead of time. We stay awake at night planning the details in our heads. We drive ourselves crazy trying to achieve a level of perfection that doesn't exist. Men hit the pillow and fall asleep within 30 seconds dreaming of cars and boobs. Which is why they live longer.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then today, let's be our own holders! Let's pretend every street and  hallway is our catwalk, then work it girl because you are beautiful!