Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Banana That Wouldn't Back Down.

I knew when he was only little that my son was going to be a bit on the stubborn side. Kind of like me, actually. Determined, wanting to be right, and irrefutably unwilling to back down in an argument. And I guess that's why the conversation about who was going to dispose of his half-eaten banana went on for a full thirty minutes.

He perched on the edge of an armchair, his face tired and pouty, worn out from being outside all morning in unseasonably warm April weather and a kids' birthday party in the afternoon, the remains of his banana in his outstretched hand.

"Who is going to throw away my banana?"

The question was so pensive it could have come from a senior-ranking army general, deciding whether or not to attack the other side.

J and I, being the type of parents to encourage our kids to help out around the house, and not under any circumstances to be pushed around by our offspring, immediately produced the same response.

"You are going to throw away your banana."

My son threw back his head in displeasure, letting out a sigh.

It's a tough life when you're an almost-five-year-old your only real worry in life is about which Hot Wheels cars to pluck from the toy bin today, or which nose to stick on Mr. Potato Head. 

"I'm not throwing it away."

"Then there are only three options:" Said J. "You can throw it away, eat it, or hold it. All night."

About ten minutes later, J and I were reading when suddenly we heard a great sigh.

Still with the banana.

"WHO is going to throw away my BANANA?"

"Er. Didn't we just answer that question? No one is going to throw away your banana, except you. The end." I said.

My son has a particular way of glaring at me that only a child of his age can, with a perfect combination of cute and cross. Lips pursed, brow furrowed.

"Take your banana to the bin. You know where it is - under the kitchen sink. That's all you have to do."

I carried on reading, unwilling to carry on the discussion about the flipping banana.

More minutes passed and there was another sigh.

"Good God. Seriously. Are you still holding that banana?" I asked my son.

"I still don't know who is going to...."

"That's it! Go and put it in the bin right now."

But he didn't. He lingered, hovering near me on the sofa, lying, then sitting, then lying again, his banana-hand still outstretched, obstinate and unrelenting.

And I realized, this boy is not only as stubborn as me, he's even more stubborn than me. Oh boy.

Some minutes later, as the banana became increasingly disgusting and now had dog hair stuck to it, he quietly took it to the bin and without a word tossed it in there. 

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Monday, April 9, 2012

I Won't Be Rich Or Famous But I Will Be Happy (And Tired).

In this other life, I had this career - one I'd have done anything for, burnt my candles at both ends for, bent over backward and done a somersault for. Newly graduated I was eager to get ahead. I wanted the whole career thing - the package I'd dreamed up in my head that was going to lead me to status and wealth and happiness. Several years in my enthusiasm was still going strong. I moved around from company to company, using each position as a stepping stone to something better. With each move I was more confident, more capable, more experienced.

I'd sit in the back of a taxi (black cabs - one of my favourite things about working in London), spinning through meeting plans with colleagues in hushed, excited voices, before arriving to present and win over some client.

It was all very interesting - all the dashing around to meetings, dashing back to my desk, dashing to the gym to work out, dashing back to grab lunch, dashing to catch the train. And the dashing rarely ceased. Because when it did cease, I could feel it inside me, outside me and all around me - the unhappiness. I ignored it for a long time. I had this great job, this money, this stuff, and I was unhappy. But how could I be unhappy? Wasn't this everything I'd wanted?

Somewhere around this time I convinced myself it probably wasn't possible to actually enjoy working. Working was something you did because you had to, you were supposed to. If it made you sick, if it exhausted you, well so be it. You need to make money, you work. You need a house, you work. You need chairs and candlesticks and weekend vacations, you work. You don't like it, well damn it smile and say you do!

I never, not in a thousand years, would have predicted the career change I'd make in years to come. I'd never have believed, if you'd told me then, I'd later work as a massage therapist.

(Back Then me: a WHAT?!?)

When I go to work today I don't feel sickness in my stomach before I leave the house. I don't dread the day ahead and all the terrible, heart-racing disasters and stresses it might bring. I go to work and I simply do my job. Sometimes I'm prepared, sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I use my intuition, sometimes I rummage through my text books for medical reminders or answers to problems I might need to fix. Sometimes, as I'm into my third or fourth hour, I grow weary, my hands aching and my body silently groaning and begging to sit the hell down, and I remind myself that I'm grateful to have this job that I love, and I carry on.

I've wondered lots of times what attracted me to massage therapy, having come from a completely different field. What happened to all those things I'd be striving for? Those things I'd told myself I absolutely needed to achieve? Apparently those things we want in our twenties don't hold the weight we think they will in our thirties. All the old aspirations went up in a puff like a cigarette smoke doughnut, up into the clouds, never to be seen again. Basically.

On the first day of my first massage therapy class, I remember quite clearly (it was one of those moments that sticks with you) my instructor saying that she'd had several careers, but massage therapy was by far the best career she'd had. Maybe it was that I found her to be inspiring, or perhaps that I was in a good mood that day, but what she said hooked me. I knew her words were going to hold meaning for me too.

I'm oddly grateful of the old, stressful job, that made me think all jobs were simply drudgery, because it taught me to appreciate what it means to have a job I enjoy. I understand the difference. A simple thing, really, but a good and important thing.

Now, if only massage therapists could be millionaires....
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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter On Hold.

Happy Easter! Hope yours was good. This morning our Easter plans went off course when everyone in our house woke up with a horrid stomach bug. We were supposed to do an early Skype with my parents in England, then head over to my in-laws' for an Easter egg hunt. Instead we spent the entire day in bed.

Thankfully we had already enjoyed a little Easter last week, decorating the house with flowers, doing crafts with the kids and baking treats. But for the first time in probably forever we didn't eat our eggs today. We'll have to wait until our tummies have stopped misbehaving to tuck in our chocolate goodies. And oh boy am I going to make up for it.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Flattering Spring Outfit For A Curvy Lady.

Over the years I've come to understand my body shape and what kinds of clothes suit me. I know that bright colours make my skin tone look warmer, that accessories can make or break my outfit, that buying good quality items is a far smarter investment than buying cheap ones (though I still do now and then) and that a really good pair of dark denim jeans is an essential wardrobe item.

I also know that the looks I used to wear - the skinny jeans with waist-high shirts and high-heeled boots, and the short, spaghetti-strap dresses - they don't look good on me anymore.

I'm no fashion expert - I just know what works for me. I catch glimpses of style trends in magazines and on blogs but I don't rush out to the stores and buy into them - at least not in the way I did when I was a single working woman. Now I basically just go with what's flattering and functional for me.

So here's an outfit that works for my body shape. I wear a size 10/12. Below, I'm wearing dark denim jeans from Gap (I love their jeans - they always fit me perfectly), with flat black ballet pumps, a pink shirt, blazer and chunky turquoise necklace. 

What makes this outfit work? It's a combination of things: First, the dark, slim jeans are flattering to my legs/thighs/bum; second, wearing ballet pumps that peek out from beneath the jeans really helps to elongate my legs; third, my pink shirt is long - coming down to my hips, which I think gives the appearance of a slimmer waistline; lastly, the blazer - the most genius and necessary wardrobe item ever invented (in my humble opinion), which pinches my waist in, draws attention away from my stomach, and pulls the outfit together. The necklace is simply there because I love colour and I think the turquoise really adds warmth to the bright pink top.

Blazer, Zara. 
Turquoise necklace, a gift.
Pink shirt, Joe Fresh. 
Jeans, Gap. 
Black pumps, Gap.

How about you? What outfits work for your body? 

The opinions expressed in this post are my own. No compensation was received for any brand or product mentioned.

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