Stuff my dog taught me

and stuff I'm figuring out on my own

swimsuit-huntingWhat do mammograms, pap smears, household renovations, and phone calls from the Canada Revenue Agency have in common? They are all less dreadful than bathing suit shopping.

 

Being a post-menopausal 52-year-old with a few extra pounds around the middle does not help, but my younger, hotter, skinnier self was equally appalled by the experience.  No woman (or at least no woman I have ever met) feels their most sexy and attractive while wearing a bathing suit.

 

Truthfully, I feel sexier naked. Always have. Naked, there are curves and contours. But in a bathing suit, the same two breasts that looked okay when I got out of the shower seem unable to live up to the expectations of those padded cups. Everything to the armpit side of my nipples looks like fat. But if I take the padded cups out, the girls start pointing South. WAAAYYYY South… like National Geographic photo South.

 

And don’t even get me started on my ass. My poor ass. FYI… I like my ass. It is round but not too round. Looks pretty good in a pair of jeans. But in a bathing suit, all I see are stretch marks. I can’t even blame the children, since I have had those lines since puberty. And my upper thighs touch. Let’s be honest here. They don’t just touch. They squish together like sweaty lovers in a passionate embrace.

 

The whole effect is disconcerting. And it is not significantly improved by only trying on suits that “match my body type” (What the F#@!! does that even mean?!?). Or have vertical lines. (This makes me look like a human barcode). Or include “ruching”. (Female readers know what this is, but for the benefit of males… It is is a bunch of extra bathing suit fabric piled around the middle of the suit to create the illusion of shape. In truth, it just looks like you have worn your suit in a chlorinated pool one-too-many-times and it is already falling apart).

 

In the end, I go for black. Perfect for a beach funeral.

 

Tankinis are nice because you can pee without having to wriggle out, which is rather like trying to take a sausage out of the casing. But Tankinis emphasize the muffin top so this year I went with one-pieces and have decided that whenever I need to relieve myself, I will back slowly into the ocean (so no one can see my stretch marks) and denigrate the fishies. Am sure the female fish will understand my predicament and forgive my trespasses.

 

On Sunday afternoon, I went into a dressing room with nine options and emerged with two “winners” – both black. Three suits never came off the hangers. Option #6 (a polka dot tankini with ruching) destroyed my self-esteem to the point where continuing to look at my pasty winter flesh under fluorescent lights would undoubtedly have resulted in a mental health emergency. I did not want to expose the staff of the Winners/HomeSense store to the trauma of finding my panty-clad body curled into the fetal position inside dressing room #11, chanting “mommy needs malbec” over and over.

 

I made it home alive. Mission accomplished. And after a glass of wine and a cookie, I began to feel more like myself. Okay… 2 glasses of wine (BIG glasses. Goldfish-bowl-sized glasses). And a plate of cookies. BIG cookies. And maybe one more glass of wine. Don’t judge me!

 

This morning, as I was sipping my coffee and waiting for the Advil to kick in (malbec-sugar-headaches are the worst), I pondered why the whole bathing suit THING is such a trauma. And I concluded (as I usually do) that it IS NOT me. I do not need to have “work” done on any of my nibbly bits. I do not need to read the latest book on female empowerment. I do not need to just “get over it”.

 

I need to be able to dress like a man at the beach.

 

I want swim “trunks” – and no – not those ridiculous, “board shorts” they sell to go with female bathing suits. Those are just the fast-track to a yeast infection. I want swim trunks like my husband wears. They close around his middle with ultra-forgiving velcro and fall to the crook of his knees. They come with pockets! And you pair them up with ordinary t-shirts. There are no “cover ups” for men. Think about this!

 

I am blaming this morning’s headache on a culture that not only expects women to wear underwear in front of a swarm of strangers, but also assumes that feeling uncomfortable about this is a ‘personal’ matter, to be resolved through diet, exercise, and self-reflection.

 

My two one-piece, black bathing suits are still in the shopping bag. They are scrunched up in the back of my closet, where they will remain until March break holidays, when they will become the only unpleasant aspect of a glorious Caribbean vacation. Between now and then, I will try to lose 10 pounds. I may, or may not, be successful. Either way, I know that I will NOT enjoy putting on those bathing suits. I will “get over it” and enjoy the sun and fun, but the older I get, the more I resent actually having to “get over it”.

 

I want gender equality in the swimsuit world – and all the comfort that would come with it. And I want all my clothing to include pockets!

facebookI love my Facebook persona.

On Facebook, my family is always happy, my pets are quietly loveable, and there is an endless rotation of well-decorated cookies on my kitchen counter. Much of my time is spent skating outdoors and walking in the park with my dog while gentle, movie-set snowflakes, fall gently from a cloudless sky. My evenings are dedicated to drinking wine in front of the fireplace, reading books, and working on 1000-piece puzzles with my super-smiley children.

On Facebook, I eat local-sourced bagels, made-from-scratch meals, and beautifully presented restaurant food. And I share quick recipe videos with Facebook friends, so that we can all learn how to create gourmet-level pasta dishes in less than 10 minutes. But here is the thing…

I have NEVER tried to make gourmet-level pasta in less than 10 minutes. I just watch the videos. And while I am sharing truths…

  • More likely than not, my family was bickering only minutes before that happy-family photo was taken. And they were definitely bickering minutes after it was taken because they all hate it when I make them squeeze together for happy-family photos.
  • My dog is certifiably nuts. He is on anxiety meds just to keep him on the razor’s edge of sanity and is probably stoned out of his mind in many of my cuddly-dog-on-bed photos.
  • A peek into my kitchen cupboards will reveal several cans of tomato soup, a stack of Kraft dinner boxes, and multiple jars of no-name pasta sauce. There are processed cheese slices in my refrigerator and two Delissio pizzas in my freezer. If you check the dates on my fabulous food photos, you will find that they are almost always taken on Sundays – Family Dinner day. Note: Common etiquette dictates that you do not invite extended family over and serve fish sticks with a side of McCain showstring fries.
  • The majority of my outdoor-fun photos do not actually show me performing feats of outdoor fun. Just sayin’. I am usually taking the photo while my family members leap, jump, glide, float, and otherwise propel themselves through space. If I am actually in the photo, chances are that I am drinking hot cocoa on a bench beside the skating rink or sipping a hot toddy in the lounge area at the bottom of the ski hill. There are also many photos of my pedicured toes in the foreground with a pool or an ocean in the background. I am not actually IN the water.
  • I do enjoy a good fire and a glass of wine – frequently! But on most days the glass doors on the fireplace are so sooty that you can’t even see the logs burning because hubby and I are having a passive-aggressive power struggle over whose turn it is to clean the glass. Cleaning the glass is a sucky job.
  • It is highly unlikely that I am reading a book in front of the fireplace – sooty or not. If it is after 8pm, I am more likely binge watching some series I dug up in the comedy section of Netflix.

Facebook-Me is awesome. So is Business-Meeting-Me, who dresses really well and never swears. And Supportive-Mom-Me who can talk about things like sex and drinking with Zen-like calmness.   I love all of my personas. But the truth is that they are only small parts of the mixed bag of nuts that is Real-Me. And that’s okay. I love Real-Me too… even if I don’t let her make Facebook Posts.  Or attend conferences. Or have deep, meaningful conversations with tweens, teens, or young adults.

2017-1

  1. Stop letting the voice in your head ramble on about all the things you need to stop doing, all the things you need to do better, and all the things other people already do better than you. That voice is a nasty B****. There are enough haters out there in the world without letting one take up shop in your gray matter. Serve her with eviction papers!
  2. Call someone you think is nice and ask them out for coffee. Or to a movie. Or over for a glass of wine. It is hard to make new friends when you are a grown up. But it is important, so DO IT!
  3. Identify three things you like about your body. I have good hair. Nice calves. Dimples. Take a minute every day to compliment yourself about these three things. Maybe take note of a few more fab things. I have recently noticed that my feet are rather sweet. Nice toes. Just sayin’.
  4. Treat yourself to a pair of Roots Sweatpants. I know they are expensive. But when you put on a really fuzzy pair of sweatpants, with a forgiving waistband, it is like giving yourself permission to just STOP. And read a book. Or binge watch something on Netflix. And take deep breaths.
  5. Get a new haircut. From a GOOD hairdresser.
  6. Remove everything from your closet that (a) does not fit, (b) has faded in colour, or (c) does not make you feel good about yourself. I know you spent hard earned money on those jeans. But you got bigger. Not a crime. So take them out of your closet and stop feeling bad every time you look at them. Buy a pair that fits. And that business skirt from 2010 was a great deal – in 2010. It has worked hard. Totally worth what you paid for it. But it is time to let it go. Just let it go!!
  7. Find something active that you don’t hate doing. I found a warm swimming pool last year and discovered that swimming is awesome when your nibbly bits are not turning blue. Now I swim every day on my lunch hour. If you hate yoga, stop doing yoga. If every moment on the stair climber is a misery, stop climbing. Life is short.   Too short for self-inflicted misery. Try dancing in your living room for 20 minutes a day. Or walking around your neighbourhood at dusk, when you can peek into the neighbour’s windows. Or play Wii Sport. Get creative!
  8. If you have kids, find one day of the week and clear away all of the activities. No piano lessons. No sports. No homework. Say F*** It to everything and play a board game with them. Or make dinner together. Or watch a movie. If they are destined to be the next Mozart or Beckham, it will still happen. And no one ever died from not getting their social studies worksheet completed. Just sayin’.
  9. Start planning a trip somewhere. Anywhere. Really think about where you would like to go. What would you like to do when you get there? When would you go? How much would it cost? Where would you stay? Do some googling. Dream a little. Maybe even start a timeline. Make a plan. Getting there can be half the fun!
  10. Be an optimist. Negative thoughts come easy. Positivity takes effort but it is worth it. Every day the planet spins around the sun. Plants grow. Children laugh. When you are dead and gone, no one will remember your VISA card balance. Or what you put on line 101 (Employment Income) of your tax form. Or the embarrassing thing you said one night after a third glass of wine. So let it go. And believe that a good night’s sleep will work magic (because it does) and things will work out in the end (because they usually do).

Two glasses of Red Wine, Gingerbread Man and Christmas Ornaments

  1. A 1000-piece puzzle of the world is not the best gift choice for a family filled with Type-A personalities who are geographically challenged. And Google Maps cannot help you find that blue piece with just a hint of brown that will complete Australia!
  2. General concern over midlife weight gain will not stop anyone from continuing to eat brown sugar fudge. Or peanut butter bonbons. Or giant candy canes filled with chocolate.
  3. Personal hygiene flies out the window when you are wearing Roots Sweatpants and Reading Socks.
  4. A case of wine does not last as long as you think it might. But if you are willing to venture outside in food-stained Roots sweatpants with the smell of fudge on your breath, the good folks at the liquor store will sell you more wine. Note: The liquor store will be populated solely by thin, Lululemon-clad neighbours who have stopped in on their way home from a 10k run.
  5. Potato stuffing is the ChiaPet of the food world. Left in a casserole dish at the back of the fridge, it will re-generate itself forever. It will outlive the turkey and the gravy and the cranberry sauce. Eventually, you will find yourself smearing it on your breakfast bagel and trying to convince the children that stuffing would be a great ‘sneak in’ food at the movies.
  6. Once the cat has re-decorated the Christmas tree, there is no point in trying to repair the damage every two hours. Just stop looking at the naked bottom-third, accept that the $20 snowball ornaments are dead, and eat some more fudge.
  7. Tomorrow is the day when it will be considered inappropriate to pour Bailey’s into the morning coffee. Not today. Tomorrow.

christmas-holiday-calendar-ssI married into an Italian family. In Italian families, anything that happens twice becomes a “tradition” and must be repeated on the same day, in the same way, until the end of time.

There are endless pluses to this philosophy. For example, it is easy to figure out what I am doing on Sundays (large, loud family dinner), what I am cooking for birthday celebrations (meatballs), what weeks to book for summer vacation (last week of July and first week of August), and where I will be on my summer vacation (in-laws cottage by the ocean – surrounded by relatives). Christmas and Thanksgiving will always be turkey; Easter will always be ham; and Mother’s Day will always be lobster.

The inherent problem with this philosophy is that it makes reversals, retractions, and removals almost impossible. Just ask my cousin who inherited the labour-intense, super-smelly ‘rice roll tradition’ and must now produce enough of them to feed the entire extended family – twice a year!

There is also an inherent sexism. As a person with ovaries, my traditions involve cooking, baking, planning and implementing celebrations, and the purchasing/wrapping/delivery of all gifts. As a person with a penis, my husband’s traditions involve eating, drinking, and participating in multiple annual golf tournaments. This may explain why I sometimes try to beg off a tradition or two, while he adamantly insists that each and every ritual is a precious thread in the fabric of his family.

This may also explain why I have decided to create some new traditions this Christmas…

Tradition #1: I am officially bestowing the honour of creating the Christmas casseroles to my husband. From here to eternity, let it be said, that only those with penises will have this honour. Hubby is worried that he may not do it right, but I am confident that a university educated man who runs his own company will be able to peel the potatoes, and cut up the turnips, and slice the apples. I believe that he can read the recipe card and follow the step-by-step instructions. I have faith!

 Tradition #2: December 27th shall officially be declared a day of rest for all of the kitchen appliances. On this date, all foods shall come from drive thru windows, donut shops, and the concession stand at the movie theatre. On this date, popcorn shall be declared a dinner option and peanut butter balls shall be considered a vegetarian meal choice.  Those with penises will be responsible for making morning coffee. Should this responsibility be unfulfilled, those with ovaries will be allowed to substitute wine. No judging!

Tradition #3: New Year’s Dinner will be delivered. I am leaving it up to hubby to decide whether this delivery will be Chinese, Thai, Italian, or Sushi. He should choose carefully since tradition will thereby dictate that the same choice be made on all subsequent New Year’s Days… Just sayin’.

Tradition #4: Those will ovaries will not be the designated drivers for any event held from December 25-January 1. Ever. Again. So sayeth the people with ovaries.

Making traditions is super fun! In fact, my only New Year’s resolution this year is that I am going to make new traditions for each holiday in 2017. Note to people with ovaries… there will be an annual Mother-Daughter golf tournament… it will be held somewhere with a spa.

xmas-gifts

xmas-giftsI go Christmas shopping with a list. It is a good list. It is a clearly written list. It identifies the people I need to buy presents for and beside each name are a couple of gift ideas… things I think they would like to find under their Christmas tree or in their Christmas stockings.

Eventually I will manage to purchase the items on that list, or at least reasonable facsimiles. But despite all my planning and self-instruction, I will also spend an embarrassing amount of money on things that will inevitably wind up in a yard sale box, the un-used bottom drawer of a dresser (the one that doesn’t open and shut properly), or the kitchen cupboard where all of the strange, purpose-less gadgets live.

The list of items I cannot stop myself from buying EVERY Christmas is long and includes:

  1. Christmas pajamas for my entire family. Usually red. Almost certainly plaid. (No one but me will wear them past December 31, but I will continue well into summer and eventually find myself sitting on the beach wearing a scarlet-hued cover-up that says “Ho Ho Ho” on the front and “I’ve been naughty” on the back)
  2. An insane number of peppermint flavoured and peppermint scented items including teas, chocolates, chapsticks, candles, skin creams, car deodorizers, and socks (yep… peppermint-scented-aroma-therapy socks are a real thing!)
  3. REALLY EXPENSIVE jars of gourmet condiments and sauces and pickled things that will be opened once then buried on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator behind the turkey. In mid-March I will follow the scent of mould and discover a line up of glass containers filled with fuzzy blues and smoky grays. Not wanting to spread whatever virus is undoubtedly fermenting within, I will guiltily shove them into a garbage bag and spend the rest of the day feeling bad about not recycling the containers.
  4. A locally produced wine or, worse yet, an “ice” wine that tastes like Jack and Jill cough syrup and costs as much as a bottle of Grand Marnier.   The local wine will eventually be poured into spaghetti sauce. The “ice” wine will be re-gifted to my mother-in-law on some occasion. She will, in turn, re-gift it to a friend she doesn’t like that much. And the ice wine will live on forever, eventually crossing international borders, until it is finally consumed by someone in Britain – because they will drink anything.
  5. A 500-piece puzzle that will be half-assembled over the holidays. I will leave it on a folding table for most of January, dusting it occasionally until the cat finally puts an end to the torment by eating a corner piece. (Note: $500 vet bill if piece does not re-emerge in the litter box within 24 hours)
  6. Over-priced mittens for each of my children. They will go missing by the 28th… maybe the 29th. They will be replaced by Walmart mittens that will remarkably make it through the remainder of winter. I do not know why, but I do know that over-priced mittens are lost 200X faster than regular mittens. It’s a fact. Google it!
  7. A board game that I am certain my entire family will love. We will open the packaging on Boxing Day, argue about the rules for half an hour or so then give up and watch a movie.
  8. “Reading” socks. These are giant socks that do not fit into your boots, continually slide off your feet and set off static electrocution every time you touch another human being.
  9. Slinkies, Rubic’s Cubes, and some wooden version of tic-tac-toe. Entertaining for all of five minutes.
  10. Calendars with pictures of puppies, or kittens, or women saying quippy things about feminism or wine-drinking or both. They will be stuck up on our walls in January but no one will turn the pages so whatever puppy or kitten or feminist/drunk woman made it to the first month’s spread will enjoy 12-months of exposure while poor Feb-Dec puppies and kittens and feminist/drunk women will never be seen again.

There are lots more things… like Santa-shaped lollipops that no one eats… and bowls of nuts that are utterly un-crackable and end up in the compost bin at some point mid-February… and lottery scratch-tickets that might end up winning $2-$5 but never get cashed in.

(I am really starting to appreciate why my grandmother bought everyone socks)

santa-hat

santa-hat

I seldom re-post my past ramblings, but this morning, I stumbled upon this gem from November 2014 and was amused to discover that the thoughts going through my head this morning were an exact match with those from two years ago.  Circle of life, my friends…  

The Halloween pumpkins have been composted and the Remembrance Day poppies are off the lapels, so it is obviously time to commence Christmas! My husband believes that he is able to hold off the madness for a little longer by banning the singing of carols until at least December 1st. I humour him, but even as I hum top-40 radio ditties, my mind creates lists and I begin stockpiling candy canes. This is important because if you don’t get your peppermint canes when they first hit the shelves, you will find yourself stuck with tier-2 flavours like cherry or the dreaded eggnog. (Question: Who came up with the idea of a children’s treat that tastes like a rum-infused drink and is the colour of dog pee in the snow?)

As a working woman with a horde of offspring, I approach Christmas with a military precision.  But as anyone with army experience will tell you, no matter how much time is invested in strategic planning, things get messy and chaotic once you have boots on the ground and are in the throngs of battle. Already I am facing a ‘back order’ situation on one front and have had to re-adjust my initial budget to cover last-minute tickets to a Christmas play (Yes… November 27th is considered ‘last minute’ in the world of Christmas productions… guess the local thespians have not gotten my husband’s memo about the pre-mature launching of festive cheer!)

I have also had to adjust scheduling to avoid a potential time-management crisis. This year, my youngest has decided that she would like to ‘make’ gifts for her friends, which will erase at least one mall-shopping day from the two I had originally designated (a dramatic 50% loss). The result has been a need to remove certain comforts from the remaining day, including food court dining (30 minutes), Starbucks coffees (15 minutes x 2) and bathroom stops (15 minutes x 3). I will also need to refrain from engaging in any conversations with friends or family I may encounter, limiting myself to hand-waving and shouting ‘Merry Christmas’, while steadfastly remaining on task.

Homemade gifts will also add to the bottom line of the Christmas budget since these delightfully non-commercial items will require $50+ in materials, packaging, etc., plus the cost of having the carpet professionally cleaned (since the dog will inevitably eat half of the crafting materials and choke them up in the living room), plus the cost of having the kitchen table re-sanded (because there will be at least one glue gun ‘incident’ and a series of knife gouges made by the mysterious house guest known only as “wasn’t me”).

There have already been a few casualties: three rolls of wrapping paper I bought on sale last January were crushed under a box of Halloween decorations, the dog chewed up a Santa hat, and I ticked the wrong box on an online order, so my niece and nephew will be getting gifts wrapped in baby shower paper.  Despite these minor incidents, I am declaring myself the victor of week one. I have a few gifts hidden away in the attic, my office chair is piled high with candy canes (peppermint!) and I was able to get my hands on the “good” advent calendars (The Laura Secord Shop ones with the chocolates that DO NOT taste slightly soapy). My children and I have not-the absolute-worst seats to a live theatre production of “A Christmas Story” and I have found a website that offers “child-friendly” instructions for creating scented bath salts. (I wonder if this will also be “dog-friendly” or if I can expect Buster to be pooping peppermint for most of the holiday season). 

I am feeling pretty good at this point… staying strong, staying focused, and staying on budget. Of course, much of my budgeting success can be credited to my willingness to adjust the bottom line as required. For example, at the beginning of week one, I had a “breakeven” goal in mind, while I am now aiming more for “get it paid off before next Christmas”. Ho! Ho! Ho!

like-icon

like-icon“I am right. I am right. I am right…” sings my inner voice. This is the background music of my life. Sometimes I barely hear it, but it is always there. And when someone upsets my sensibilities by doing something I think is unsafe, or unproductive, or rude, or disappointing, the volume rises and the chorus fills my head until there is hardly room for other thoughts. In that moment…

I need to do more than share my RIGHT opinion. I need to thoroughly trample the obviously WRONG opinion and leave nothing but crumbs where it used to be!  

The problem is that this incessant, mantra-humming inner voice seems to live in the squishy gray matter of the Wrong-Opinion People too. Arghh! So what are we, the Right-Opinion People to do?

Long ago and far away, in the pre-historic times before social media, arguments might be held at family gatherings, in dimly lit bars, and in brightly lit coffee shops.   Opinions would be articulated in the Letters to the Editor section of the local paper. The passionate might don a slogan-ed t-shirt and the truly obsessed might erect a homemade placard on their lawn. Eventually, throats would tire, pens would run out of ink, t-shirts would fade, and Mother Nature would blow over the placards. Then, when the volume of the “I Am Right” refrain had petered out a bit, the more reasoned among us might begin to hear each other. However, in 2016…

We can SHARE our Right-Opinions with the push of a button.

And since we are most frequently sharing with the like-minded souls of our Facebook/Instagram/Twitter minions, it is highly likely that our rightness will be confirmed with “likes” and “shares” and positive “comments”.   Together, we will feed our Right-Opinion egos with video-clip confirmation that important people – like super-models and 20-something pop-stars and late-night talk show hosts – agree with us. And we will vilify the Wrong-Opinion People with language we would probably never use if we were talking to them at a family gathering, or in a dimly lit bar, or in a brightly lit coffee shop.

In public, we will speak of weather, sports, and Netflix plotlines. Our t-shirts will promote nothing more than a name-brand and our lawns will be unpolluted by signage. We will not need to stress ourselves out by engaging those pesky Wrong-Minded folks in actual dialogue. Thank Goodness. Because THOSE people are so certain that they are right! It is infuriating!!!

Behind closed doors we can SHARE our Right-Opinions with wild, reckless abandon, and UNFRIEND, UNFOLLOW, and HIDE the Wrong-Opinion People, but to what end? 

There is US and there is THEM and ne’er the two shall meet. WE will scream amongst ourselves and THEY will do the same. Our battleground will be the comment-sections of YouTube and Facebook, and the hashtag madness of Twitter, where the most extreme among both US and THEM will smash into each other with Gladiator-like fury (from the protected enshrines of their homes).

Those most capable of cranking the inner-voices of the like-minded to full fever-pitch will prevail. And the reasoned will wait… and wait… and wait. And hope that when the volume finally goes down we will not find ourselves permanently deafened by the sounds of our own voices, and will still able to hear each other.

annoyed-face

annoyed-faceI realize that many people are still firmly committed to reading nothing but heartfelt articles by celebrities about what they plan to tell their children in the aftermath of the American election. The whole experience was like watching a car crash in slow motion and it is hard to think (or talk) about anything else, but…

We all need to think (and talk) about something else.

Life continues. And letting The Donald eat up all the space inside our heads is allowing him the greatest victory of all. So we must push him out. Sniff some flowers, kiss the top of a baby’s head, and buy a bottle of the “good” wine (a.k.a. more than $20). Laugh. And slowly dial back the overwhelming fury you may be feeling by taking measured steps back to a time when you were just slightly annoyed by tiny, foolish things. Allow me to help you on the road to recovery by sharing…

10 Things to be Slightly Annoyed About:

  1. People who sit in Starbucks with their laptops… for hours. I just want a chair where I can sip my over-priced frappa-crappa-mocha concoction. So why must I lean against the wall, like a girl no one wants to dance with, while half a dozen millennial stare intensely at their Mac screens and type out C-grade term papers?
  2. The Apple Genius Bar. Seriously? Is there anything more obnoxious than that title? And a little FYI… when your products mess up so frequently that you must line the back of every store with a help counter, a little more humility might be in order. 
  3. Uggs.  Kudos to the marketing folks at that company for managing to sell a bedroom slipper for $200+ a pair, under the premise that it would be the perfect footwear for trumping down slushy streets in the dead of winter!
  4. “One size” clothing. Note to the Brandy Melville Corporation: Your t-shirts fit my cat. Many women are larger than my cat.
  5. Lip balm. I buy lip balms almost every time I go to a drug store.   I put them in my purse, my coat pockets, and the cup holder in my car. But when my lips are dry, they are gone! Who is taking my lip balms and why?
  6. Movie characters that wake up and kiss each other. Am I the only one grossed out by this? Because I don’t care how hot you are… morning breath is disgusting.
  7. Passwords.  I cannot log into Netflix, Crave TV, iTunes, or any of my favorite online shoe store accounts without first clicking “forgot my password”. I have added 1s and 2s and 3s and capital letters and the “#” symbol to the familiar names of streets, pets, and Simpsons characters in so many combinations that even my Mac keychain is getting stressed out.
  8. Cereal packaging. If luncheon meats, ground coffee, and frozen bags of fruit can be put in re-sealable bags, why not the Rice Krispies and the Cheerios!?!
  9. 30-minute parking. I attended a recent business event where the entire circumference of the conference centre was lined with 30-minute meters. Seriously!
  10. Bicyclists that pedal down the centre of the lane. I get it. Bicycling is healthy and environmentally friendly and the world would be a better place if we all drove bicycles. But I want to travel at the speed limit, and when the light turns red I don’t want to be stuck staring at a stranger’s spandex-covered ass, and when the light turns green I don’t want to wait an extra 30 seconds while they try to shove their feet into the little stirrup things on their “Tour de France” style bicycle.

I hope my list of trivial annoyances made you grin, or grimace, or both. And I welcome you to ‘Share’ so that others may benefit from a social media post that isn’t accompanied by an image of Donald’s bright orange face!

oops

oopsI suffer from Foot-in-Mouth disease. There is no cure. Symptoms worsen when I am tired, or over-worked, or have had 2+ glasses of wine. And the condition is exasperated by my genetic inability to make small talk.

I live in a neighbourhood where everyone has mastered the art of chatting about nothing (except me). At social gatherings, people benignly talk about tennis, skiing, or power walking for hours on end, and ex-spouses smile politely while sharing living room space with their new lovers.   Sometimes I can make it work for short periods of time, especially if my husband stays nearby to steer my conversations back into the shallows when they start to drift into murky seas. He is the Picasso of small talk.

But even after 30 years together, none of his upper-middle-class social skills have rubbed off on me. That’s how I know my condition is incurable. For instance, when someone compliments my wardrobe, I always reply by telling them where I bought it and how much I paid for it. And if I am talking to a person who has obviously just had work done, I cannot take my eyes off their suddenly Angelina-Jolie-like lips or the flat space on their forehead that used to have wrinkles on it. Where as hubby can talk sports with a person whose previously bald head is suddenly covered in short, wiry hairs and not seem to notice. He is THAT good.

I suffered a bout of Foot-in-Mouth this weekend when seated at a table with a lovely woman who mentioned her “organic” tatoos. Seriously?!? If that peace symbol on your ankle has stayed blue and pink through 1000 showers, there is obviously something non-bio-degradable in the mix. Just sayin’. With hubby shooting me his please-shut-up look and the rest of the group taking a prolonged interest in examining their wine glasses, I knew I had stepped in it, but it still took me a few minutes to let go, and no one ordered another round of drinks. Sigh.

I feel badly after it happens. Usually. And I spend a lot of time afterwards beating myself up for being THAT woman. But I AM THAT WOMAN… and everybody knows it. So maybe I am approaching this the wrong way. Perhaps my Foot-in-Mouth should be given the consideration generally afforded to those with peanut allergies or scent-sensitivities; and maybe at least some degree of responsibility should be shouldered by those who create the hazardous situations that exasperate my symptoms!

I have checked online and it does not appear that there is a medical alert bracelet for Foot-in-Mouth, but I submitted an email suggestion so… fingers crossed! In the meantime, I am compiling a list of triggers so that folks can be more pro-active in protecting both my well-being and their own. For instance:

  • If you are a middle-aged man, please avoid me if you are travelling through the city streets on a bicycle while dressed for the Tour-de-France. This is a high-risk situation in which there is a 99.99% chance that I will mock you.
  • When making sports-related small talk, please avoid conversations in which you pass judgement on female athletes based on their clothing choices. This is guaranteed to induce a feminist rant.
  • Please remove the “Slow Down Because We Love Our Children” sign from your front lawn before I come over. I will feel obliged to point out that (a) everyone loves their children, and (b) half the streets in our neighbourhood have speed bumps when less-affluent parts of the city can’t even get their centre lines painted. See?!? Just thinking about those signs sets me off!
  • If you are currently on a juice cleanse or have recently completed one, please don’t ask me over until your enthusiasm for the experience has waned and you can avoid espousing the health benefits of 7-days of starvation.
  • And if you feel like republicans in the U.S. may “have a point” on some issues, I must politely request that you simply forget my name and phone number.

Hopefully, the Medic-Alert folks will soon come up with a symbol for Foot-in-Mouth and I will be able to just point at my bracelet when a woman who has injected botox into her crow’s feet begins a conversation about the importance of eating only organic fruit.   Or when a man whose wife stays at home with the children offers me advice about time management. Sigh.

In the meantime, I must ask for compassion from those around me and assure them that even though I fail sometimes, I am always trying to be polite. Except with the republican supporters… and the men in bicycle shorts… and…

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