Sunday, March 23, 2014

No Make Up Selfies

I'll bet you've got friends who have posted them on Facebook or Twitter. Maybe even you've posted one yourself. (though if that's the case, you may want to read someone else's blog today - you may not like what I have to say)

I read about the no make up selfies before they ever made it to my newsfeed. It started in the UK. Why, no one really knows but at some point someone turned it into a cancer awareness campaign. Don't get me started on that.  At least in this case it worked somewhat and I've read different reports that it's raised upward of $2 million in the UK. Good for them. (I'm not being facetious).

But this isn't a rant about doing stupid and cryptic things on Facebook in the name of cancer awareness. We've been down that road and that horse has 'bin done kilt.'

No, this is about something else.

It's about selfies. I don't get them. Maybe this officially puts me into the 'old lady' category but I just don't get it.

Actually, let me be a little more clear. I do get it when it comes to teenagers. Teenagers are insecure. They need a lot of social recognition, validation and acceptance and selfies are one way of getting it. Having said that, I've seen more than my fair share of teenage girl's selfies on my daughter's Facebook and Twitter feeds that are highly questionable and I wonder to myself, "Where the hell are your parents and why are you still allowed on the internet?" But alas, I can only parent my own children.

No, the selfies I'm taking about are the ones that are taken by middle aged adults, weekly, with captions about where they are or who they are with or what they are doing. 

Why? Why do you need to get that weird angled, up close picture of your face, or those extra awesome ones of you in the bathroom mirror holding your phone in front of you? (Just a tip for iPhone users, you can use the volume control on your Apple headphone to snap a picture so if you put a little thought into it you could position your phone in such a way that it captures you without it being in the picture...just sayin') Is a giant picture of your face relevant to what you posted, you know, like "Look at my great new hair cut!" Is it to prove you've actually been to the place you claim you've been at? Is it so that people can put your face to your name? Is it so everyone will comment on how beautiful you are?

If you're at Niagara Falls why not take a picture of the Falls and post that instead of a picture of your face with  a tiny glimpse of the Falls in the corner. Or, here's a thought, if it's because you want a picture of you and the Falls together - ask someone to take the picture for you so that you can actually see something more than just your face.

Because here's the thing. I like you. I think you're beautiful. But I don't need to see what your bathroom or bedroom looks like reflecting in a mirror. I don't need to see your face grinning at me while you hold the camera above your head to hide your double chin 17 times in one week. Once in a while, so you can put a new profile picture up, sure....but come one folks, ease up on the selfies. They just make you look like a vain douche bag. And everything thinks so, they're just too nice to say it. Either that or they've already defriended you.

I love this picture because the girl on the right totally looks like me!



As an afterward, there's a valuable lesson to go along with this post. I did an image search to come up with that little graphic up there. Sweet Jesus, whatever you do, don't search "selfie clip art" on Yahoo. I am just happy none of my kids were in the room or they would have had an education!!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

30 Things - #19

 I was going through some of my past blog posts and stumbled onto number 18 of this series. I completely forgot all about this so I thought perhaps I should finish up my 30 things. Because I just know you're dying to know all about me!

To see what this is all about click here

#19 -  If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

This is a tough question to answer because I've really been to so few places. I can't say I'd want to live somewhere I've never been because, well, how do I know I want to live there if I've never even visited?

That leaves me the places in Canada and the US I've visited. Here's the thing. I've seen so little of Canada. I've seen so much more of the US. But there are two major factors to consider that would bar me from ever living in the US. Health care and politics. I'm not going to turn this into a political post but suffice it to say I prefer living in a country where I can receive world class health care without worrying about insurance or out of pocket expense. I'm also more inclined to stay where gun laws are stricter and my gay family and friend can marry the person they love.

Don't get me wrong my dear American readers. I love visiting the US. I've been to 20 of your fine States and will happily vacation there again. Many people near and dear to me are American.

But being Canadian is not just a case of being born in Canada. It's a personality trait. Canadians are just different. I can't explain how really - it's just something that has to be experienced by putting a Canadian and, well, just about any other nationality together for any length of time. We're not better - just different.

And being that I'm Canadian born and raised that differentness is just an inherent part of me. I don't think I could change.

So - that said, is there any place in Canada, besides where I live right now that I'd want to live? I think I'd have to say British Columbia. And here's why.

I need to be near a city. Not necessarily in one - I prefer the suburbs - but close enough that I can get to one. And preferably a multicultural hub. I grew up in Toronto. It doesn't get more multicultural than that and I want my kids to experience that diversity. (Not that I can say where I live now is a model of diversity but we're close enough to Toronto that they can experience it)  So that rules out most of the land mass in Canada. We only have a few major cities for me to live near.

Next to consider is scenery. Toronto is boring to look at. Southern Ontario, besides Niagara Falls, really doesn't offer much by way of scenic beauty. So I could move to the east coast - Newfoundland, for instance. You won't find nicer people in all of Canada than you will in Newfoundland, and I'm not just saying that because Sean is a Newfoundlander. It's true. Plus it has got to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. No kidding. You should go there sometime (Shameless plug...go stay at the Fogo Island Inn  my brother in law is a chef there.)

Or I could move to BC. Mountains and ocean all in one place. I was in awe of the beauty there.

So how do you choose between Newfoundland and BC? It all comes down to the weather.

They both get rain. A lot of it so I can't use that to decide but there is one huge difference. The 4 letter word of Canada. SNOW.

I like snow. I like to take my kids sledding. But I don't like to shovel it or drive in it or have to endure it for months on end. It snows in Newfoundland. A lot. It does not snow in southern BC very often and even when it does, it doesn't last long.

So, there is the most long winded answer ever to a 30 things question.
I would live somewhere in or around Vancouver or Victoria,  BC.

Or maybe my own private island somewhere near Aruba.

Friday, March 14, 2014

I'm Not Eating That!

I love tax season. Say what you will but I love it because I always get a refund and between Sean and I it's usually enough to go for a nice dinner out and then use the rest for bills or a major purchase we've been holding off on. (Last year was my super comfy mattress)

This year we decided to take the family out to dinner at the Mandarin (a Chinese buffet restaurant) For the uninitiated it's not just Chinese food (which is great because I'm not a fan of Chinese food) it's got everything. I mean everything.

Earlier in the week Emily went to the Mandarin with her two bff's for dinner and when she came home she told me after they'd finished eating one of her friends suggested a game. Each of them would go to the buffet and make a plate for one of the others with three of the grossest things they could find. The challenge was to see if you could eat what was given to you.

Now you must know, I'm that kind of person who welcomes the chance to make my husband and children gag. No kidding, it's funny as hell.  So we decided it would be fun to play that game too. The rules were simple. You had to eat one full bite of each item on the plate. If you didn't, you didn't get dessert.  To make it fair we drew names out of a hat.

It's easy to do this on the kids - they are so picky that just about everything in the buffet that isn't pizza or noodles makes the gag. Emily got a deviled egg, raw broccoli in some kind of white sauce and a piece of cuttlefish. She managed to get it all down. Mary had cuttlefish, an oyster and a mushroom. Amazingly she did it too. (Mary is not at all adventurous with food) We didn't make Connor play. My mom got seaweed salad, an oyster and something else I can't remember.

Then it was me and Sean. I had his name and he had mine. The problem is Sean will try anything once and likes just about everything he eats.

Lucky for me he had some curry chicken and didn't like the particular curry they used so naturally I got him some of that. But I had a hard time finding something else. He loves seafood so cuttlefish and oysters were not going to do it. So I go seaweed salad for him - solely because the seaweed was shredded along with shredded carrots so it kind of looked slimy and wormlike. You know on shows like Survivor when they have to eat things like meal worms or grubs - yeah, he can't even look at the tv without gagging. I also got him cottage cheese. He loves cheese but again, it's the texture I was hoping would work in my favor.

Success - he hated everything I got him! He choked it down but he hated it all.

But then it was my turn. Here's the thing. I'll also try anything once. But there are things in the buffet that I absolutely know I can not eat and I was sure he was going to go right for them. Oysters being the big one. I've had one - once. Forget the slimy texture - I can't get past how it looks. It looks like a vagina - clitoris and all. Vagina's are not attractive - not in the tiniest bit.

But my husband loves me. Either that or he didn't think of bringing me one because instead he chose the biggest - nastiest olive (I HATE olives - even the smell is nauseating) and a cuttlefish (which is like a tiny little squid.) Lucky for me I don't mind squid. It's like chewing a tire but it's doesn't have a taste. The olive on the other hand. I thought I was going to lose my supper. And because I married the greatest man alive, my third thing was a macaroon. Not because I hate them but because he loves me.

So we all choked down our nasty plates and headed for the dessert buffet.

The funniest thing about the whole event was that my children ate all that nasty stuff so that they could get dessert - but they both gave up chocolate for Lent which really limited what they could take from the dessert buffet and being the picky eaters they are, they were pretty well left with ice cream. So it wasn't even worth it for them! Bahahahaha.

Yeah, I'm that mother - the one who laughs at her children's misfortunes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How Are You Doing?

I saw my oncologist today for my bi-annual visit. It was a very different sort of visit.

My oncologist is an older man - retirement age and as I've mentioned before he's not everyone's cup of tea. He's frank, doesn't mix his words and tells it like it is. While I had cancer he wasn't the kind to pat me on the back and say "There, there, everything will be alright" but he did say on my very first visit "I'll get you through this." And he did.

Today though, as I filled him in with all the details of the past 6 months since I saw him last, the two surgeries and all that went along with that he decided there was no point in doing a physical exam. One breast is basically non existent and the other is still healing from the reduction. So instead, he just decided we should  talk.

And he asked me the big question. "How are you doing?"  And he asked it with his grandfatherly face. Really caring. And I said most days I was fine but as I said it I could feel myself welling up and as much as I didn't want to I started to cry.

The thing is, I am fine. He asked me about Sean, if he was supportive. He is beyond supportive. He asked me how the kids were. They've been troopers. He commented that he knew I was not the kind to make this whole event a scary thing and the kids learn how to handle all this from how we handle it all. He said he knows I've handled it all so well.

And yet, there I sit in his office blubbering like a fool.

I don't cry very often about this. I felt like an idiot and I kept apologizing and he kept saying, "Don't be sorry, you're human!"

It's just that for three long years I've been dealing with this, with my chin up and my spirits high and for the most part I've been okay but every now and then, especially now, I think about how long and hard this whole thing has been. And it's not over. That's the clincher. It's not over.

My doctor told me as much, it's not over yet - because I still have one more surgery - but he also assured me that he's been doing this a long time (no doubt!) and that as time goes on it will not feel this way anymore. I'll feel more normal again. But in the meantime, if there was anything he could do to let him know.

And that is why, despite his matter of fact-ness when it comes to dealing with the disease I wouldn't trade this doctor for anything and I'm going to be so sad when he retires.

On the way home I thought a lot about my visit. The truth of the matter is, cancer sucks ass. It really does. But to say it doesn't define you or change you is denying the gift it can give you.

Cancer gave me a freedom I never had before and probably never would have had without it. I feel free to live my life. It sounds cliché but when I think to all of the things I have done in the past 3 years that I wouldn't have done had I never been diagnosed. It also gave me the freedom to care less about what others think or say about me. It strengthened my relationships with my family and friends while weeding out the relationships that had no where to go.

Just like everyone's cancer is different, everyone's experience with it is different. I'm sure there are some that would curse me for saying cancer gave me the gift of life. But that's my journey.

It felt good to let that out today. In general people assume that once treatment is done and your hair grows back that your all better. The fact is, the inner healing takes a hell of a lot longer than the physical healing. My doctor knows that. It's why he sat back in his chair and asked me, 3 years later, "How are you doing?"

Most days I'm doing just fine.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

This Time I'm Doing It Right.

Back when I had cancer I spent a lot of time whining and complaining about not being able to work. I missed being at work and was bored. I started doing a lot of crafty type stuff but the truth was I was bored.

Then I went back to work and regretted every minute of it for the last 3 months of that school year.

When I knew I'd be off work for 8 weeks with the surgery I had in January I swore to myself that I would not complain about being bored. That time off would be my reward for having made it through and this would be my time to just be.

I whined. I even worked a bit.

Then I got that fabulous advice from my principal and I'm here to tell you, I've taken that advice and run with it.

I'll admit I do check my work email daily BUT.....I am not working. I am not planning. I am not doing the newsletter. I am not even thinking about work.

This is a stretch for me. I'm a workaholic. But this time I'm doing it right.

I am off work until April 22nd and I intend to be off work until April 22nd. I'm going to relax. I'm going to heal. I'm going to write. I'm going to craft. I'm going to plan for my summer vacation (we're trying to get a Pumpkin Patch get together arranged for this summer and I couldn't be more excited!)

I'm taking care of me.

And I'm loving every minute of it!!