Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Dress

Shopping for clothes is definitely at the top of my "need-to-do-but-don't-want-to-do" list. Twenty years ago, clothes shopping was a fun project. There were enough choices in both colour and style that most women were comfortable with what was available. Today, the styles seem destined for a slender, younger figure rather than a fuller, more mature body. Would your 50+ body wear the style meant for a 30+ person?  Of course not. Mind you, some of the colour, fabric and style choices are tempting enough to try on, but Mother Nature strongly vetoes this. The clothing markets have yet to catch up to the fact that Baby Boomers have now graduated to "Gray Power." We want to look good, not cute.

I had a 40th anniversary dinner to attend in three weeks. Knowing what I would be facing in the dreaded dress search, I had procrastinated until three days before the event. Now the pressure was on to find a suitable dress.

These are the truths I uncovered in my search:
1) Desperation does not necessarily mean success in finding the perfect dress.

2) Changing a hair style to appear younger does not mean you can wear a dress style meant for a younger body.

3) Joining a "Boot Camp" for three days does not guarantee any weight loss in those three days. If anything, there will be a mysterious weight gain and a desperate need for chocolate.

4) Rather than succumb to a virulent virus the night before the event, check your closet again. Remember, most of the attendees are in our age group (we hope). Most of us have elasticized waistbands in our dress slacks and skirts. AND, we all have a glitzy top or two. Success--a fabulous, co-ordinated outfit!

Who needs a dress?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


It's funny what we remember about our childhood. It's not the momentous occasions the adults made such a fuss over. Usually, it's some small moment the adults dismissed as normal or routine but to a little person, it's an important event in his/her life. Tricycles, bicycles and Saturday matinees were big events in mine.

When I was two, I remembered gleefully riding my little tricycle and following my big brother, who was riding a bigger one, around this potbelly stove that was set in the centre of this large room. My parents were amazed that I remembered this.

When I was seven, I watched my childhood friend riding his shiny new bicycle and marveled at how easy it looked. Daring me to try, I impulsively hopped onto his two-wheeler with no idea how to ride it. Unfortunately, the bike was pointing down the steep driveway and took off with me desperately hanging on and screaming in fear. Luckily, Dad was close by and grabbed the bike as I wobbled past. Art never offered his bike again.

Saturday matinees with my big brother were special events. We grew up loving cowboy movies, Tarzan movies and adventure movies with lots of sword-fighting. I loved musicals, often tap-dancing out of the theatre. My brother suffered through these movies with mouthy comments and would walk a distance away from me when I started dancing down the street. He loved animal movies but I disliked watching any dog or horse movies because I knew I would cry buckets of tears. Some never had a happy ending.

Dad would give each of us 25-cents--15-cents for the movie and 10-cents for the ice cream bar,  candy bar or soft drink. Sometimes, my brother and I would walk down to the "Nuthouse" which was two doors down from the theatre, pool our money together and buy a bag of cheese popcorn, caramel popcorn, hot butter popcorn or a bag of salted nuts. We would come home, stuffed to the gills. Once in a while, I would have someone's bubble gum stuck in my hair. It's a wonder I wasn't traumatized with my weird haircuts when I was growing up!

Memories are fun. The bad ones tend to get forgotten while the good ones remain. It's great fun when someone would say, "Remember when. . .?" and we would all chime in with our version of what really happened. Childhood memories and each of our life experiences contributes to the family tapestry, an entertaining verbal history passed along to our children. It's hilarious to discover that stern Great-Uncle Stan and grumpy Aunt Martha were once "hell-on-wheels" in their younger days. Or that my serious paternal uncle who had a distinguished 40-year career as a law-maker was once a pot-smoking, college drop-out!

Thank goodness for our treasure chest of family memories!                           

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


This morning I was thinking about friends and friendships. All of us have made friends over the years. Some we lose contact with because marriages, change of jobs or major moves have happened in their lives. Others, we try to stay in touch with occasional lunches or get-togethers or celebrations such as weddings and anniversaries. But, like everything in our lives, changes occur and a few more friends get lost in Life's constant shuffle.

There are several levels of friendship which we all encounter in our day-to-day routine. There are casual friends like the friendly cashiers at the various shops you frequent because they recognize you and always exchange pleasant chit-chat; the wait-persons at your favourite eatery, who knows your likes and dislikes by persuading the Chef to do a substitution; the people in your gym class who suffers through the agonies of the work-outs with you; all the people who pass through your life until the next time you see them.

There are friends we do things with--going for meals, going for walks, going to classes with; enjoying concerts and even, going on occasional mini-vacations. They are more than casual friends but not the first ones you go to if you need help.

Then, there are the few friends who are truly friends in every sense of the word friendship. Even if you have only one true friend or if you're especially blessed to have more than one, that person is worth his or her weight in gold.

Often, we don't realize we have a True Friend (TF) until years later, that person is still in our lives. Through good times and bad times, this friend has been there for us, no matter what. This TF is there if we need help or a shoulder to lean on; he/she is a great listener and knows just when to say nothing or what to say when you're finally able to listen. Most of all, a TF is honest enough to tell you what your head doesn't want to hear but your heart knows is true.  A TF has the power--where family doesn't--to make you listen to the truth.

The amazing thing about TFs is that even if you've seen each other just a few days ago or a few weeks or months later, it's as if time hadn't passed at all. Conversations and matters of importance are picked up as if it was only yesterday that true friends got together. True friends recognize instinctively nuances in words left unspoken, the body language or subtle signs of happiness or trouble.

Such special friendships have to be nourished and maintained. To keep a True Friend, you have to be one too.  And, I hope I am.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Life can change in a blink of an eye. Sounds trite doesn't it? Some changes are planned but there are any number of times, something happens causing that unexpected bump on Life's road that either makes us stronger or leaves us defeated. How we manage to navigate through those bumps shows what kind of "guts" makes up our characters.

Some changes can be as simple as moving from one home to another. I lived at the same address for 25-years until I met my husband and moved to his house. Since then I have moved four more times in the sixteen years we have been married. I think I have adjusted to moving.

Death and illnesses can be major bumps in our road. The loss of my father due to failing health was traumatic, even though it was expected. The loss of my only brother who embraced life and was much too young, was both traumatic and devastating. Yet despite all this, Life moves on and the pain eventually heals. The loving memories of earlier times will always be there.

Marriages and births herald good changes. After all, Life is a balance of bumps and burps, smiles and tears, good and bad. Just as seasons come and go, Life's bumps can be tiny, causing barely a ripple or medium-size, causing a tremour. But, once in a while, there comes a bump the size of a mountain and Life seems to come to a grinding halt. All the changes in your life and how you dealt with them; all that experience comes to the forefront and you know--even as you push your way through this emotional jungle--that, this too will eventually come to an end.

Changes prove you are living life and not just passing through. Life should always be embraced between the bumps, enjoyed to the fullest and celebrated. Despite the bumps along the road, Life definitely goes on. In the words of Robert C. Gallagher: "Change is inevitable--except from a vending machine."