Thursday, January 26, 2012

The House Reality Built

Everyone who likes cleaning your house – put your hand up. Wow – no hands? Can’t say I blame you. Do you know what kind of jobs people like doing? Ones that have clear-cut rewards. Cleaning my house is never like that. I live in one of those revolving door houses where you clean, turn your back for two seconds, turn around and it’s dirty again. So frustrating.

You know, I can’t even imagine why anyone would want a bigger house or a fancier one than the one already owned. Doesn’t that just mean that you have to clean more? Like if you had the pleasure of having a pool in your yard. Would taking care of it eventually become so much of a hassle that you wish you didn’t have one? That’s my fear for having a dog. You can’t just drain the dog and board it up when you’re tired of taking care of it. Well, maybe you could, but the Humane Society would be all over you.

Anyway, I have never had a dog or a pool, because the idea of maintaining something over time doesn’t interest me. It took my husband almost ten years to convince me to get a cell phone because I didn’t want to pay the monthly fee. I only agreed to it when the fee got lower than buying hamburgers for my kids. Even my roses – though they do need maintenance, need it less than half the year. My kind of bargain.

Back to the topic of me and my house. Sometimes I feel this crushing social weight to move into newer/flashier digs. Why? I think it’s because of the little tagline the realtor put on my house – Starter Home. It was only a starter home because I’d never bought one before, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t find the perfect home for me the first time out. My house is awesome. Sure, the laundry room is still in the basement (how archaic), and someone planted a city street light (that actually works) in the backyard for no earthly reason, and the neighbour’s wild rose bush is so tenacious it’s creeping up through slabs of the cement in the backyard. Seriously, thistles could learn a thing or two from that monster, but no matter – my house is awesome.

When are we going to give up wanting more in a culture that desperately NEEDS us to want more? Can’t we throw up our hands and say, “No more, Corporate America! From now on I’m going to live in the woods and eat shrooms!” Okay, I can’t actually do that, though I do know people who can.

I just want to say – my house is old – my feet aren’t cold - I don’t want a bird cause I’d have to feed it gold. As long as my fence holds my house will never be sold. Or something like that.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

If you Dig Jewels

Okay, admit it. I love jewelry! More specifically, I love jewels. I collect them and my collection is collecting collectables continually. Me? I mostly collect necklaces and pendants. Why? Because my neck is the only part of my body that isn’t overly busy. I know what you’re thinking – it’s plenty busy holding my head up! However, I assure you, my neck is actually holding my head down (not the other way around). It’s more like a string for a kite than the average neck. Thus, it deserves decoration … like those little bows. And it has preferences – let me explain them.

My neck does not like diamonds. I know that seems odd, but they’re tiny and overpriced. A zircon is chemically the same thing, if not a superior product with better brightness and clarity for a fraction of the price. Why are we still wearing diamonds?

My neck does not like bright blue stones. I do not wear sapphires, blue topaz, lapis lazuli, or turquoise. Leave that to some girl with blue eyes. Not only that, but if you put blue against my skin, it makes my neck (and the rest of me) look green. I can’t own things that I can’t wear, so even though I think all those stones are pretty, I can’t collect things that don’t flatter me. My neck’s collection will always have holes in it. Poor neck!

My neck does not wear a necklace every day. Wearing your jewelry wears it out. It’s good for the stones you’re wearing to have moisture in them and they usually get it from your skin. However, most precious metals that are used in jewelry are soft and overtime – that’s right – they wear thin. Jewelry that has been worn over a lifetime is not usually fit to be worn again, so if you want your daughter to wear your (fill in the blank), you’d better not wear it every day.

Also, some of my necklaces have quite a bit of weight to them. Since this is all for my neck, I don’t want to make it live its whole life with a heavy chain around it. It needs a certain amount of freedom. And some of my necklaces are rather pointy. I have seriously rolled over in the middle of the night and got a jab. Oops! Forgot to take off my kite string decoration.

And we shouldn’t stop at just necklaces for adorning our throats. There are scarves – pretty scarves. And turtlenecks! Don’t even get me started on how much I love sweaters. And wool sometimes has sparkles in it now, not to mention how soft and warm and … I’m hyperventilating.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

So What if I am a Narcissist?

I tell people I’m a narcissist so they’ll stop complimenting me. I don’t need compliments because I already think the world of myself. They immediately rebuff me by saying that I’m not narcissistic – I’m confident. Well, I’m here to tell you two things, so listen up! Number one: I really am narcissistic. Number two: I love being complimented on my writing.

I don’t think I’m confident. Confidence implies that you have a belief in a certain positive outcome. You’re walking into a situation bullheaded, because a tiny spark (or longstanding experience) has taught you that you will achieve your desired ending. I have no such confidence. I can walk into a situation knowing that I’m going to fail utterly – proceed to fail utterly – wake up the next morning, wander into the bathroom, look at myself in the mirror and think, “Ah! Thank goodness! I’m still gorgeous.”

When I was a kid, I wasn’t good at anything. You’ve never seen such a pitiful scrap of scrubby kid. I got sad grades, was disliked by everyone for my rotten personality, sucked at sports, played my solos off-key, and cursed at myself while exiting the stage after biting the big one in front of an auditorium full of people on more than one occasion. It’s a late bloomer thing. I knew that one day I’d stop sucking and find my groove.

It’s a matter of forgiving yourself quickly when you embarrass yourself.

One time, when I went to college, I volunteered to do tours of the buildings for perspective students. I was supposed to dress in business attire and wore my favourite pair of black high heels. As soon as I took one step onto the tiling in the atrium in my beautiful black high heel, I knew I was screwed. I sounded like a one man snare drum, with each step echoing into the rafters. That tiling covers the whole college. I hid in the carpeted library and waited for the tours to start. I wracked my brains. I had no choice. I had to do the tours wearing those heels. I remember watching all the other tour guides and the college administration gather in the atrium. I stood on the library carpet and psyched myself up. The only way I was going to get away with it was if I acted like I didn’t hear the clatter my every step made. I put my foot on the tile and catwalked my way over to join the other guides. The college administrator actually stopped her briefing to stare at me – along with everyone else. She was stunned (did I forget to mention that I looked gorgeous? Didn’t I tell you? First thing in the morning – gorgeous), and stopped everything to say how fabulous I looked. I did the tours and I was even louder than I feared, but I got a shoulder rub from a hot rugby player during the break. How’s that?

Remember Oscar Wilde – “To love one’s self is the beginning of a life-long romance.”

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Sewing Box

Sometimes I think it would have been better if I had been born in a third world country. Why? Because then, I could make things and sell them. Living here in Canada, everything is shipped from China and it’s inexpensive and effective so why stop buying it? It’s cheaper to buy an already made sweater than to buy the wool. It’s cheaper to buy manufactured clothes then to buy the fabric. Whatever you feel like making (except dinner), it’s cheaper to have it shipped in. I love making things with my hands, but nine times out of ten, I can’t justify the expense. That’s why I had a great time this Christmas making my own felt ornaments for the Christmas tree.

The picture shows some of the ones I made. I grouped some of them together on the carpet and took a picture before I put them away. At the top, I made cupcakes (some with pink frosting and some with white), swirly candy (some with pink stripes and some with red), penguins (my genius idea to get rid of the black felt I bought), strawberries, mittens (green and red), sugar plums, gingerbread men, stars, and teddy bears that had the names of each member of my family stitched in the back.

Finally, I found something that was cheaper to make than to buy. I saw felt ornaments that cost $3 - $4 in the store. I made over 20 of these, which made the cost of each one somewhere around thirty cents. I hand stitched them while watching the X-Files and each one of these has a front and a back that both look perfect.

Actually, I have a confession to make. I hate sewing machines. You know what happens when I use a sewing machine whenever I’m doing anything more complex than piecing a quilt? I get about 20 cm into whatever I’m doing, and BAM! I need to get out a seam ripper and pull the whole thing out. It’s good that I have a cute pink seam ripper or I’d want to off myself because I seriously have to rip whatever stupid seam I’ve made at least three times before I decide that the frustration I’m experiencing is not worth whatever I’m trying to make.

Last Christmas I made fuzzy snowballs out of fun fur, put bows on them, and put them on the tree as ornaments. I used them again this year. They turned out super cute. I also made a pillow shaped as a bunny. I sewed it and the snowballs by hand. It’s so much nicer. I can wait in the doctor’s office, pull out my sewing project and just go at it like I’m crocheting. Transportable crafts are the best.

You know, I’d settle for having another craft to do that actually had a reasonable purpose, but who needs more stuff?`