I can tell by your sarcastic undertones, rude comments and sheer lack of common decency that we should be best friends!
To see more Friend-ly photos, click here.
I had every intention of getting up early on Saturday morning and slipping from the house with my camera and keys to take photos for this week’s challenge. And then I sprained my ankle Friday night, playing video games…Ok, I was playing video games and didn’t realize my foot was half asleep, and when I hopped up to start supper, I tripped over my own foot. And not gracefully. I wasn’t careful. Who knew video games were so dangerous?
In the Summer, we were entertained at my parents’ home with Zuma, the tree frog. LIttle Guy became friends with it and often walked around the pool with it in his hand and on his shoulder.
I don’t have a macro lens so I had to get close to Zuma to take his photo and I had to do it carefully so he didn’t jump on me! To see more “Careful” photos, click here.
A few weeks ago, I worked in the kitchen at the church, helping a friend “host” her mother’s 80th birthday party.
The hall was filled with tables with crisp, white tablecloths and real tea cups. Each table had flowers and a pedestal plate filled with the most delicately decorated mini cupcakes (they tasted as good as they looked). A photo booth was set up at the back, with feather boas, hats, and an assortment of silly glasses, moustaches, and wigs. There was a side table set with fancy tea sets and coffee urns, and another table set with glass containers of different flavoured lemonades. The centre table was a buffet of fancy sandwiches and scrumptious squares. Truly, it was glamorous affair, and the room was packed with people.
My job (along with some other super gals) was to keep the food coming, the lemonade stocked, and the tea pots filled. Our heels were smoking! Funny speeches were shared after the buffet table had been decimated, and it was only then that it dawned on everybody – there were only a few clean plates left. Thus became the chaos upon chaos to discreetly start clearing tables, running to the kitchen and praying the dishwasher would work a little faster. It didn’t. I had so many facials in that agonizing 20 minutes to make me look 20 again. That was the only up side. My fingers were scorched and I was just about ready to commit murder if one more person came in to tell me we needed more plates!
But we pulled it off.
Hours later, high heels kicked off and with a blister the size of an ostrich egg, I hand washed all 75 cups and saucers, along with an assortment of plastic containers now emptied of their delicious contents. I had had nothing to eat. I had had no time to get my picture taken at the photo booth. But the camaraderie of working alongside these amazing women and the smile on the birthday girl’s face was worth it.
Then the afternoon took a downturn.
I helped clean the bathrooms; I saw things in the men’s room that still haunt my dreams. Still shaken, I piled my leopard heels, my box of cute cupcakes to photograph (and eat), 2 canisters of herbal tea, and a can of Italian lemon sparkling water on my back seat, and headed home. We were going out for dinner.
Some idiot cut me off and I had to slam on my brakes. The cupcakes …(wiping a tear)…
…didn’t make it.
Apparently, neither did the can.
I picked it up from the floor mat, and it was empty. Weeks later, that floor mat still has a gorgeous sheen. My theory is that one of my heels is a combat stiletto and it killed the can. I couldn’t find anything online to confirm my hypothesis. The closest I came was this link: How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener. Informative, but not what I was looking for…so I conducted some preliminary tests with a high-heeled shoe and an empty Coke, but they were unsuccessful.
I’ll keep trying though. It could be handy to have a pair of combat stilettos, especially when you’re washing dishes at a tea party!
Every month, Coach Daddy (one of my favourite storytellers) compiles a post called “6 Words” inspired by Hemingway’s belief that any story can be told in a six-word sentence. Since February was Friendship Month, Coach Daddy asked some “bloggers, friends, strangers, and a few strange blogger friends” a difficult question: “What’s one thing you never want to hear from a friend, in six words?” A number of things sprang to my mind…”What happened before we lost consciousness?” or “Depends make your butt look bigger”, or even “Woo! Look at the blubber go”… but I had to submit just one. Mine involved boobs!
Check out the final amazing list – click here – …and add your own! It isn’t as easy as you think – What’s one thing you never want to hear from a friend, in six words?
I will be wearing black today because it’s a time honoured tradition. Valentine’s Day has sucked in the past – disappointments, break-ups, cancelled dates, lonely nights, harsh words, bitter tears…you get the picture! I’m certainly not alone here. But I have another “good” reason to dislike Valentine’s Day – I miss my best friend!
My dear friend, D.J., and I became inseparable BFFs in Grade 5. In Grade 6, we had to band together to survive our 6th grade teacher (she was a scary, menopausal mess!) In Grade 7 we sang “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” at the tops of our lungs, and danced “as if no one was watching”. In Grade 8, she told me why she wasn’t a virgin; she also told me that just before we became friends, she had planned her suicide, right down to the note…and it was only a matter of days. In Grade 10, she went with me to buy a pregnancy test. We shared everything (except boyfriends) and I could trust her to be honest with me, without being brutal.
Even when I went to college, and she moved away, even though we didn’t speak for months at a time, it was if no time had passed; we could pick up right where we left off! I mailed her fictitious stories of life in our “hick town” (complete with a cast of stereotypical “small town” characters), and she would mail back advice on surviving big city life (e.g., how to pick out the hooker in a crowd). We just got each other in all our weird and wonderful ways!
My wedding took place 2 months after D.J. lost her parents (their truck collided with 2 passenger trains), and although I hadn’t receive a reply from her, I included her in my guest list. The day before the wedding, I got a call from my Mom at the Reception Hall to say D.J. had just phoned and she was coming! I imagine it was difficult for her to come, but she was best wedding present!
My “Funny Valentine” died in a single car accident on Valentine’s Day, 1997. Her car slipped on the ice and went over the overpass. Ironically, she was on her way to a bereavement group meeting. She had spent the day at her parents’ house with her siblings, sorting through her stuff. Her brother told me at the funeral that she had talked about me that day, how we had met at a mall the previous Christmas and I had made her laugh…and how good it had felt to laugh! A few weeks later, he passed on some pictures and things she had set aside to take home with her – pictures of us being the goofy girls that we were.
D.J. and I agreed in high school many (many) years ago, that we would “rebel” every Valentine’s Day by wearing black, and with the exception of one year in college when my Mom bribed me with a gorgeous red dress (which was the same year my date stood me up), I have always worn black. Without a doubt, if my dear friend was still alive, she would be wearing black too…and we would laugh and laugh…and it would feel so good!
To read more Funny Valentine Stories from participants of the Weekly Writing Challenge, click here!
We were kids in a candy shop. Little Guy and I spent an hour choosing just the right assortment for decorating cupcakes, and we ended up with 13 bowls of goodies…gumdrops, jelly beans, licorice whips, coloured chocolate chips, sprinkles, Skor bits, M&Ms, coloured marshmallows, gummy bears, and 4 different colours of sugar glass. I baked 4 dozen cupcakes (rainbow chip and chocolate fudge). We invited a couple of families with boys over and stuffed ourselves with pizza and “decorate your own cupcakes”. After everyone was gone, the floor was littered with wrapping paper, Lego and building blocks, candy and crumbs…but our hearts were full.
As great as the party was, I still felt a little like a failure as a parent. Little Guy had really wanted a Laser Quest birthday party, but only part of me wanted to get it for him. Part of me was concerned about the cost (and the noise)…and even some of the lessons. Which brings up the questions that have been nagging me all week: When did kids start expecting large birthday parties on a grandiose scale? When did parties become more about entertainment than about friendship or fellowship? Who is setting up who for disappointment or failure? The parent, if I don’t take out a second mortgage on my house to pay for my 8 year olds’ party? Or the child because we didn’t rent a $1,000 party bus?
We (the adults) talked about our birthday parties when we were kids…bringing friends home after school, playing tag outside long after the sun set, munching on hot dogs or pizza before being serenaded in the glow of birthday candles. Who could forget birthday cake with coins wrapped in plastic wrap (who got the quarter)? Some remembered scavenger hunts, while others recalled decorating cupcakes with lots of pink icing. There were a few sleepover parties (at my last sleepover party, the first person asleep had their bra frozen). My first boy-girl party was my sweet 16 in 1950’s costumes. We played lots of goofy games (none of which involved closets or bottles)…and danced a little to Paul Anka. They were all great memories!
I’m not saying it’s wrong to have a lavish party – for girls to have a mani/pedi or for boys to climb a rock wall. And if I sound judgmental, I don’t mean to… I want Little Guy to feel celebrated and I want him to have fun with his friends. But I also want to teach him that while money can buy popularity, it can’t buy lasting friendship. Life can be a grand adventure, even when you aren’t abundantly blessed financially. You may not always get what you want but you can still make happy memories. But most of all, I want him to know that he is loved…not for the entertainment he provided, but simply because of who he is – a loving, funny Little Guy.
Yesterday afternoon, I wiped the chocolate icing off the wall and swept up the candy sugar, while Hubby washed up the pile of dishes. I asked Little Guy what was his favourite part of the party…he thought for only a second before announcing “playing with my friends”. Not the candy or the pizza…nor the loot bags or the presents – the best part turned out to be something that money can’t buy after all…
The Prompt: Sad but True – Tell us about the harshest, most difficult to hear — but accurate — criticism you’ve ever gotten.
Here is my story-
From Jr. Kindergarten way past high school, one of my best friends was another Jennifer. As we got older, we had a typical “on and off” girlfriend relationship. We’d be friends in the morning, mortal enemies by noon, and best friends again by the end of the day. We both excelled at school, almost competing with each other to see who got the highest mark on a test, or who the teacher picked first to answer a question. (On a side note, she’s the reason I hate the name Jennie – we were in the same class in Grade 7 and the teacher got tired of calling on “Jennifer” and we’d ask “which one?” It didn’t help that we usually sat together too! So she devised the plan that she’d be Jennifer and I’d be Jennie. That was fine until I met a Jennie I really didn’t like and it spoiled the name for me forever)!
There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition in a friendship. But sometimes it wasn’t so healthy… Jennifer sometimes had the gift of “one-upmanship”. That is to say that if I received an award or a compliment, she would have to come back with her own (better?) achievement. For the most part, I just let it go. But this one time in Grade 7, for some reason, I didn’t let it go and I “one-upped” her. Even as I was talking, I knew it was wrong, but the words just kept tumbling out. Jennifer had been taking guitar lessons and she received an award from her teacher the night before. Instead of congratulating my friend and being happy for her, I blurted out some stupid achievement of my own. That’s when she told me I was being a bad friend, that I should have been happy for her instead of thinking of myself – and she was absolutely right! She was excited to share her news with me and instead of being excited too, I robbed her of some of her joy. I had disappointed her. Instead of encouraging her, I discouraged her. I hadn’t been a very good friend.
Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change wrote: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” I’d like to say I’ve never again been guilty of “one-upping” another person, but I know it’s happened, and I’m not proud of it. Jennifer’s accurate assessment has encouraged me to listen to more than the words – to also listen to the heart behind the words, , and when I reply, I encourage more because I want to be a better friend.
10 years ago today, 50 million people were without electricity in the largest blackout in North American history. I was working at my desk on the 35th floor of downtown office building…
On Thursday, August 14, 2003, just before 4:11 p.m., I was getting ready to leave work. The first train home would leave at 4:30. Since I didn’t work on Fridays, and I had the following week off, I decided to transcribe one more little voicemail before I caught the train…that was a mistake. I waited around the office, like so many others, waiting to see if the hydro would be restored. The air in the building warmed up quickly, the toilets were clogged, and we were all in the dark about what was happening (pun intended). Eventually we received an announcement from the building manager simply stating that we were to exit the building. The lawyers I worked for didn’t bother to see if there were any “damsels in distress” and had already cleared out. So Dar and I, the new girl sitting behind me who was also new to the city, grabbed a bottle of water from the conference room, and made the long trek down 35 flights of stairs.
By the time we reached the bottom of the stiflingly hot and cramped staircase, our legs felt like jell-o (and not the yummy chocolate kind). After a short rest, we walked several city blocks to the main train station. Inside was bedlam. No trains were running, no phones were working, and hundreds of people were stranded. I left Hubby a voicemail message that he wouldn’t get until the next day.
Dar and I headed further south on foot to see if we could catch a bus at the beginning of the route, but the waiting crowds were massive. Every bus that passed was filled to maxi! People were shouting and angry; there was a hint of panic in the air, so we decided to start walking north. “Home” was a 40 minute train ride – we would be walking a long time.
The streetlights were out and the roads and intersections jammed with cars and buses. People crossed the street wherever they wanted, and some Good Samaritans tried to restore some semblance of order by directing traffic. All the stores along the way were closed so we had no hope of food, water, or shelter. I was thankful I wasn’t stuck in a subway train stopped mid-tunnel. Gas stations pumps weren’t working, so white-knuckled drivers were anxious to get home before they ran out of gas.
I lost count of the number of blocks we walked in the hot, humid evening. The temperature was in the upper 20s, and the humidity made it feel more like the mid-30s. I was wearing a sundress and sandals and carried my purse, a sweater, and one bottle of water.
As we neared another busy intersection, it dawned on me that Hubby’s friend, D. lived nearby. We found a phone booth and looked up the address and phone number, but the phones still weren’t working. We headed down a side street and found his building, but the guy at the desk couldn’t tell me his apartment number. He could only look it up on a computer…In a last effort, I tried calling him from a payphone in the lobby. He was home and answered, because D. had plugged in an old rotary phone. Unfortunately, D. lived on the 8th floor…it was a long climb up those stairs and I was exhausted by the time we reached his apartment. D. didn’t have much food, being accustomed to picking up supper on his way home from work, but we were safely off the street. We sat and chatted as the sun set in the western sky, and I finally got in touch with Hubby to let him know where I was. He wasn’t worried, which seemed strange to me considering I was a small town girl literally wandering the downtown streets as the sun set…But then I wasn’t the only one!
By 8:00 p.m., Dar decided she wanted to see if she could catch a bus home, so we all packed up and headed down 8 flights of stairs and walked back over to the main street. The sidewalks were clogged with people who were stuck downtown, or who were simply trying to escape the heat in their dark apartments. The crowds were still thick around the bus stops, and every bus that passed was jammed. I was too tired to feel hungry or thirsty, and I starting to get woozy and overwhelmed in the crush of people. Cars were stopping near the corners asking if anyone needed a ride to [insert street name or area here], and before I could stop her, Dar. had darted forward and into a stranger’s car. D. wrote down the license plate number and we walked in the dark back to his apartment. I almost grabbed his hand once when a man ducked out from an alley and asked for money. I had left my purse at the apartment so I didn’t have any. I didn’t have any identification either. It was a long, painful climb up those 8 flights of stairs…again…
Meanwhile, Hubby had made it home from work in the car. My mother was visiting and I was to head to her place with her in the morning. Hubby and my Mom enjoyed a “romantic” candlelit BBQ steak dinner for supper, then visited with neighbours before heading to bed early. Hubby was supposed to pick Big Guy up at a friend’s house…Big Guy got to have a sleepover instead!
Back at D’s place, talked in the dark until we got tired. He loaned me a t-shirt and I tried to get some sleep on his pullout couch. The power flipped on long enough to fill the bathtub and flush the toilet. The university building across the road had a generator so light spilled in from its empty classrooms and kept me awake most of the night, as did the voices yelling on the street and the sirens that sang all night. It was a very long, sticky night. I was up and dressed in my rancid clothes before the sun rose. Hubby made the trip downtown early in the morning to get me, even though the power was still out (8 flights down again), and then we picked up Big Guy. I was so happy to get back to my own house and have a shower (minus the shower head because it fell off when I turned the water on…) Of course, that required climbing one flight of stairs and my legs weren’t too happy about that…
I’m very thankful that I didn’t sleep in a stairwell or get trapped in a train. And while it wasn’t a world-changing event that brought on discussions like “where were you when you heard John F. Kennedy had been shot?”, there were quite a few years when we shared our stories of where we were when the lights went off.
Smooth as a babies’ bottom…I’m talking about my feet! This past Saturday, Star Wars day (May the 4th be with you), I lost my pedicure virginity! It was so deliciously good!
It was a birthday present from a special friend – a manicure and pedicure for 3 of us…so instead of scrubbing my toilet, I sat in a plush leather “lazy boy” chair soaking my feet and watching soundless Ukrainian television (no subtitles either). The plush leather chair also had a built-in massager and a remote…I did figure out how to turn it on, but it was pummelling me so badly, my life flashed before my eyes. It was short and really boring… Thankfully someone noticed I was being brutally beaten and turned it off for me!
Every wall was lined with shelves and shelves of nail polish – every colour and every shade imaginable. And I had to choose just one…blue, pink, black, yellow, green…My one friend suggested neon orange or yellow, but orange looks too much like Big Guy’s work shirts, and yellow reminds me of toe nail fungus (or rather how I imagine toenail fungus would appear)…so I went with a daring hot pink instead.
I wore heels all week, something I haven’t done since I “retired” when Little Guy came along, so my feet were sore. I could feel it soaking away in that lovely warm (aqua) blue water. I was such a pedicure virgin (and I’m sure everyone in the room noticed), that the poor girl working on my feet had to patiently tell me what to do and when to do it. My feet were creamed, clipped, exfoliated, shaved, scrubbed, and massaged…and all I had to do was sit still and listen to the Big Band music play. I didn’t even have to put my flip-flops on…she did it for me.
I also suffered through a manicure and I now have lovely hot pink fingernails. I don’t think I’ve painted my nails since Little Guy came along. What was the point?
I would have posted pictures but I’m vain…I think my hands are kind of ugly and I have weird toes. My toes and fingers are long and skinny, and my second toe is slightly longer than my big toe. Some people believe that means I’m slated to be the boss of the family, or I’m descended from royalty. Others say that it denotes Celtic origins or is simply related to genetics…that sounds more like it (although there are days when Hubby probably thinks I’m acting like a princess).
Once I got home again, I decided to be a bit of a princess…I didn’t wash any dishes, cook our supper, or scrub the toilet! I couldn’t risk breaking a nail!
Happy Revenge of the Six Day!
There were signs…little ones that sometimes made the voice in my head ask “why does he…? Oh, who cares!”
2 weeks ago: Hubby and I joked about the fact that I am suddenly blessed with a number of girlfriends (how did that happen?)…and he asked me who they were. He also asked me where I’d like to eat out for my birthday dinner if we decided to do that.
Last week: Hubby asked me, at the risk of getting himself in trouble, to not make any plans for Sunday afternoon. I knew I’d be out late Saturday night after the evening worship service, so I was okay with a quiet Sunday. I am also learning not to have big expectations, and therefore avoid big disappointments. Big Guy was down as well, and I enjoy spending time with my whole family.
Sunday afternoon: Hubby asked me what I was going to do for supper and he offered to cook since he wouldn’t be home to do it today. He also suggested I fix my hair and make-up before supper, and get dressed up for a picture for my blog. I was excited that he remembered that I had talked about posting a picture of me (face and all) for my birthday!
Around 4:30, I fixed my hair and my make-up, and tried on several outfits (including the sexy red dress my girlfriend bought for me when I missed Girls’ Night Out. I showed it to Hubby and he asked me if I’d wear that out in public…hmm…I’m not going out anywhere, am I?)– while Hubby cooked supper. I heard Hubby chatting with someone on the phone, and I meant to ask who it was…hmm…but I forgot (old age creeping in?). Hubby took some pictures of me by the apple tree, and laughed at me trying to walk in the mud in my high heels. When I came in, and said I was getting changed, he suggested I stay dressed up. Big Guy piped up – “Yeah, Mom. You look pretty”…hmm…maybe Hubby is going to whisk me out for dinner and leave the boys home. I took my boots off before I killed myself, and started taking the clothes off the line. I was just about to come in when Hubby asked me to go to the door for another picture…hmm…too tired to argue – you take the laundry basket then! Feeling a little irritated, I threw on my jacket as someone knocked on the door. It was my friend, B. and Hubby is standing there with a stupid grin on his face recording the conversation at the door. B: “Did you get your picture?” Me: (confused and a little suspicious) Yes. B: “Are you ready to go?” Me: (confused and suspicious) Are we going some where?”
B. drove – but she wouldn’t tell me where…she just laughed! Once we got to the restaurant, she walked right in past the line up of patrons, and started looking in every room…hmm…are there others? Yes – a group of 8 other ladies waiting for us, and a helium balloon signalling to everyone in the restaurant that this was a surprise birthday party! We dined on Chinese (why did I waste time on rice when there was such a huge dessert buffet?) and everyone sang Happy Birthday while I was forced to wear a floral lei and a grass hat (it was fetching). Lucky me – I have the commemorative photo fridge magnet…and it may magically appear on Facebook when I least expect it!
Thank you Hubby and my amazing group of friends (yes I said it – friends), for such an surprising beginning to the BIG 4-0!!
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