pyjamasandtea

April 19, 2011

I Feel Good About My Feet

Filed under: Books,Daily life,Uncategorized — pyjamasandtea @ 11:29 am
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I am attending a really special event tonight… the launch of “I Feel Great About My Hands” edited by my bff Shari Graydon.  Her book is a collection of essays about the unexpected joys of aging and features contributions from amazing women, many of whom I know and love. Shari’s criteria for her invited writers is that they had to be over 50.  While I am still a ways away from that milestone, it got me thinking about aging and aging bodies.  Shari’s title is a riff off of Nora Ephron’s series of columns, published in a book called “I Feel Bad About My Neck”.  Shari has GREAT hands (they are featured on the cover of the anthology!).  I had to think long and hard about what part of my own anatomy I could say I feel “great” about, and settled on something I feel good about:  my feet.

I don’t actually feel “great” about my feet.  They are, however, unoffensive, as feet go.  Small, no bunions or yellowed toenails, a little tuft on hair on the big toes that sometimes throws me off and a baby toenail that is almost too small to paint, but on the whole just fine.  I really don’t know that there is a part of my anatomy that I feel GREAT about.

Despite the fact that I see myself in the mirror every single day, I have no strong sense of what I look like to other people.  I am stereotypically horrified at most pictures of myself and often wonder if THAT is what people see:  this blotchy-faced, big-nosed, slightly overweight, limp-haired woman.  Is that “me”?  I am a dismal failure at make-up (or at least at feeling like I am making a positive difference in applying it!) and I usually put my hair in hot rollers, despite the fact that again, I have no sense that my hair actually looks better curled.  I get dressed up without really knowing what looks good on me.  It is all a bit mysterious, and exacerbated by the aging process.  I still think I look 15 and I’m surprised when I don’t get carded in the liquor store!  It isn’t that I thought I was more beautiful at 15– in fact, looking back, I was too heavily coiffed and made up in my teens, it is just that I haven’t internalized the effects the aging process has had on me.  (Well, other than the ravages of sleep deprivation that my children visit on my face on a regular basis.  I KNOW that makes me look older!  But then, my children seem determined to age me before my time.)

So I feel good about my feet and a bit bemused by most of the rest.  I hate my hair, my upper arms, my cellulite, my nose, my ever-widening derriere, my floppy belly.  Fortunately, pyjamas cover all manner of bodily sins.

April 8, 2011

Things I Can’t Do

Filed under: Daily life,Lists — pyjamasandtea @ 9:44 am
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There are lots and lots of extraordinary things I can’t do.  I can’t perform brain surgery (for example), or speak a dozen languages, or do math.  But these things are truly exceptional and I don’t particularly fault myself for those inabilities.  There are however, a whole bunch of very ordinary things that I can’t do, and I think it high time to embark on a little self-improvement or continuing education project to improve this sorry state.

For instance, you ask?

1.  Laundry.  I really don’t think I do laundry very well at all.  My usual routine is to throw towels and sheets in and put it on “hot” and do everything else on “cold” and then throw everything in the dryer.  I hang some things, like delicate sweaters or things I imagine might shrink in unattractive or revealing ways, but I have no real understanding of my washer/dryer combo.  The washing machine has a setting called “permapress”.  What is that?  Is that a type of fabric or a way of washing or does the machine really iron while its working?  It has settings called “quick” and another labeled “touch up”.  What is the difference?  What is a “touch up” wash?  And how about the “stain removal” setting?  I just pour on the ‘Shout’ in a futile attempt to get at the butter stains that ruin my clothes… but can my machine really seek and destroy a stain through a setting?

2.  French braid hair.  My ex’s new love recently put my daughter’s hair into french braids.  I LOVED it.  I tried to replicate it a few days later but was a complete failure.  My soon-to-be-five-year-old said in quite the dejected tone:  “I guess you are good at ponytails.  Or sort of anyway.”  An arrow to my heart. I think the fact that I never went to overnight summer camp permanently impacted my french-braiding skills.

3. Make-up.  I don’t usually wear make-up, but once in a while I like to gussy it up and so I pull out my ten year old eyeshadow and mascara.  I really have no idea though, whether I am improving my appearance when I bother.  Does make up actually work?  And if so, how do I know where the light goes, the dark goes, the concealer and blush and highlights.  I really have no sense of whether I’m making any difference at all, and I always feel a little self-conscious when I try.

4.  Royal icing on cookies.  I bake all the time, and I bake cookies all the time.  This deficiency really burns me, for I am the type of person who should EXCEL at royal icing.  If there is an “icing type” it should be me.  Yet every time I try royal icing I make a right royal mess of it.  It is never the right consistency and always hardens in the wrong places and remains soft in others.  I am angry at royal icing.  It is defiant.

5.  Organizing my digital photographs.  I take hundreds of photos, and I use a Mac as my main computer system.  Macs are MADE for photos– Mac exists (so they say) to enable me to manage my media and share it with others.  Yet my photo library is a morass of unorganized images.  I have scanned in old photos, and they are now mixed with the new.  A search for the year 2010 pulls out photos of when I was a baby.  I can’t seem to create albums and my system stubbornly refuses to allow me to “share” photos.  I had it all down on my PC and it just irks me that I have worsened my state of photo organization and not bettered it through Mac.

This is but a mere hint of the many ordinary things I cannot do.  I think I should start with french braids though, because I can’t let the ex’s new love occupy that space.  Anyone (with long hair) want to come sleep over and let me practice all night?

March 3, 2011

“You are Special” by Max Lucado

Filed under: Books,Reviews — pyjamasandtea @ 1:01 pm
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My eldest son is in grade four and recently attended an assembly at school to celebrate “kindness week”.  At the assembly, a teacher read aloud the book “You are Special” by Max Lucado.  It made enough of an impression on the eldest for him to not only pay attention (ha!) but recount the story when he got home.  (He did this on a long skate we shared.  I think skating, like driving, is a great time to talk to a child.  Too bad I am so out of shape that skating winds me after about 4 minutes.  Fortunately, the eldest is in better shape so he talked and I listened.  He probably enjoyed the fact I couldn’t interrupt him.  Interesting to ponder that… )

The book tells the tale of the Wemmicks, a world of wooden puppet-people created by Eli.  The Wemmicks walk about putting stickers on each other– gold stars or gray dots.  Punchinello is covered in gray dots, a fate that falls on those who are neither attractive nor talented in the eyes of other Wemmicks.  Over the course of the story, Punchinello learns how to believe he is special.

When I gasped out a request that the eldest tell me the moral of the story, he first summarized it this way:  “Some friends will give you pieces of paper, and others an Xbox, but both may like you just the same amount.”

NATCH.  There are no Xboxes in the Wemmick-world.  Of this I am sure.

So he reframed and proved he got the point– worth comes from within, and the gray dots and gold stars only matter to those affixing them.  We need to believe in ourselves and not define ourselves by our stickers.  Or something like that.  😉

This is a lesson his mother needs to learn.  So we have the book on order.  It comes highly recommended.

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