Equality for men and women…and a pair of shoes

I was just pondering this morning how much I love being a woman!  No really, I do.  I love being able to dress up and feel fantastic about myself.  I love when my hair turns out just the way I want it to.  I love it when I actually get my eyeliner on evenly on both eyes (unlike the one morning that I got interrupted and then FORGOT to complete the process…yikes!).  I LOVE…no, I OBSESS about shoe shopping!  I love gabbing and texting and emailing all my lady friends.  Now when it comes to equality, I am sure that NO man would want to be a woman’s equal.

I do realize that there are some negatives in being a woman.  Childbirth.  Yikes!  Numero uno for pain factor, but the beauty of a baby and knowing that you carried that little, helpless, child is just a miracle.  (Really, if men had to do it, every family would have only one child…that’s my theory.)  The monthly bloat visitor…yes necessary for the eventual finality of creating that bouncing, bundle of joy.  (But really, why couldn’t it last 5 minutes and let us get on with our lives?)  In many cases, it is still the designated task of women for the upkeep of a few things, namely:  child, husband, household.  Really, just three things right?  And ladies, I do believe that whenever we assign said tasks to either children or spouses they purposely do not complete the tasks to our liking so that we end up hanging onto these chores and then lovingly complain about them over glasses of wine and takeout food.  Really, where else would we get all of our interesting tales from if not from everyday life?

Men say women gossip.  They believe that the re-telling of any tale told by another female is automatically gossip.  Well, here is the definition of gossip:  Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.  Honestly, most of my female companions confirm the details before sharing any narrative.  The truth is usually waaaaay better and more interesting than any lie you could make up.

I do recall reading somewhere that the circle of women and companionship began back in caveman days.  Men would go hunting and gathering food and the women would stay home, watching their offspring, cooking meals and basically being bored with life.  I am sure one cavewoman suddenly poofed and THAT led to the beginning of women and conversation.  One cavewoman “ugged” to another cavewoman…(a whispered “ug” of course).  Basically what she said in one quick “ug” was “can-you-believe-her-and-how-she-contaminated-our-living-space.”  Yes, I am sure it went down something like that.  Once the men got back, the women shared their tale of woe.  The men laughed and laughed.  The women became divided.  Suddenly the men were getting the cold shoulder from their women folk.  They didn’t know why.  Body poofs are hilariously funny!  The men cracked them off all the time and they kept telling their cavewomen that they should be laughing.  They really couldn’t understand what the problem was.  Then the men hunted more and stayed away from the caves more.  Some of the cavemen had to find new caves because now some of the women didn’t want to stay with the “Poofer” cavewoman or her friends.

You know those cave paintings that you see today?  The ones with all the buffalo and the hunters throwing arrows?  Well, that was the caveman’s cry for help.  Those drawings don’t mean “we hunted buffalo today”.  What they are really trying to tell us is:  “I would rather go out and hunt and get gored by a buffalo than listen to the complaints of women.”

Men and women definitely look at and understand things differently.  If you ask a man what he is thinking about and he says nothing, well, he really means he is thinking of nothing.  If you ask a woman, she will SAY, “Nothing,” but she has so much on her mind and it’s up to you to keep asking until you discover the magic word that will unlock the flood of thoughts that she has going on up there.  Men usually deal with situations as they come up.  Women, will have a situation, they will think of the outcome (many different endings mind you) in order to proactively come up with the best possible ending.  True?  Yes, it is.

Why do women do this?  Well, it goes right back to having to take care of three things:  Children, husband, home.  Take care of those three things, squeeze in jobs outside of the home, and you have the life of a woman in a nutshell.  One big, monstrous, huge nutshell, but a nutshell nonetheless.  So much to think about.  So much to keep organized.  So much to plan and preplan in order to keep this well-oiled machine of life running smoothly.

So men, we do realize that you work hard too.  We appreciate you very much.  We also appreciate when you do notice and thank us for the jobs that WE do.  We love you and we will take care of you.  (Even if you can take of yourselves, we don’t think you are qualified to do it properly or well enough).

Equality for women and men?  Not sure if it will ever happen.  Definition of equality is:  The state of being equal, esp. in status, rights, and opportunities.

Right now, I believe I have the right and the opportunity to buy a cute pair of shoes.  (Men, you really don’t understand the special status you would need to experience that kind of state of equality.

Best laid plans…

For those who have been reading my blogs the last few weeks, you would have realized that my life has been abundantly full of get-togethers and hang outs and family outings.  Absolutely amazing having so many wonderful people in my life.  It has been dinners and shopping and parties…oh my!  This weekend is something of an anomaly for me.  My huge plan for this weekend does not involve any of the fantastic people I have had the pleasure of visiting with.  There are no shopping plans.  There are no meal plans.  To be honest…there are NO plans!

This morning, as I was enjoying a wonderful breakfast omelette (prepared by Breakfast Man…a.k.a…Wiseguy) I checked out my iPhone’s calendar to see where I was going this weekend and whom I was going to have the pleasure of seeing.  I realized that there were no alerts or dots or anything showing that I had plans.  I had nothing booked.  FIL is away.  Wiseguy is working.  So, according to my calculations I shall be listening to the sound of silence (or some awesome tunes on the radio) as I putter around my (lately) rarely seen home.   I will be King of the Castle…ahem…Queen of the Castle.  My domain!  Me, myself and I (and my puppy loves and barky barks).  So exciting!

So, the first thing I did…well I made plans!  Yeah, that’s a typical error of my ways.  Why wouldn’t I just relax and read a book or something?  No idea!  My mother aways said I have ants in my pants…just can’t sit still.

Yup, I went and wrote a silly list that includes the dull boring stuff of cleaning and dusting.  I got to the exciting part of my list where I start some artsy craftsy stuff.  Oh yeah…made that list so long that, not only could I NOT finish this all in one weekend, but my overexurberance of having all these “fun” things to do will actually exhaust me more.

This was my year of no plans.  It was more of a karma thing.  Anytime I made plans one week or more in advance, something happened.  This was so I could learn to go with the flow I guess.  It was working too.  Having last-minute plans has made my life so much more exciting and eventful.  I have been seeing people I haven’t seen in so long  just because something happened on a whim.  I do still TRY to make plans to see what will happen.  (Little Lucy(fer) puppy ended up having surgery to quash my plans so…back no making plans.)

Maybe I will just rip up my happy to do list.  I will sleep in tomorrow.  I will go for a long walk with puppy loves.  I’ll sit in the backyard and just enjoy listening to the birds.  Maybe I’ll do a crossword puzzle or something.  I will do something different with my weekend of freedom.  I will be lazy…nope, not lazy…I will enjoy NOT doing anything and not visiting with anyone AND I won’t do any type of household work.  There…kind of sounds like an anti-plan of a plan but I am going to challenge myself.

I realize everyone has a “honey do” list or a chore list, but while summer is here, take time for yourself.  Take time to relax and breathe and actually take in the beauty of your surroundings.  That is my plan.  Make it yours.

NOTE:  Karma just came and gave me a kick.  Best laid non-plan…oops foiled again.  On a happy note…Can’t wait to see The Princess and Little Kennie tomorrow who are coming to hang out with grandma and grandpa.  Woo hoo!  Let the togetherness and fun begin! 

NOTE TO SELF:  According to kismet and karma a “non-plan” is still a “plan”.

Oooooh my aching stomach…

It’s true.  My stomach muscles are a little sore today.  Yesterday evening I did something that I haven’t done in so long and my stomach muscles were just not accustomed to it.  They got quite the workout last night.  No, not sit-ups.  No crunches or pilates.  And I didn’t overeat either.  What ails me today is those good rip roaring belly laughs.  You know the ones where you beg people to stop telling their story because it’s just tooo funny!

Last night I played catch up.  One of my favourite sayings in life is that there are people that come into your lives for a reason or a season.  The “reason” people are the ones that you lose touch with quite quickly, but they are in your life to fill a void, or are there to fascilitate changes in your future life in some way.  The “season” people are the ones that hang around much longer.  Could even be a lifetime.  They are your constants.  These are the people, that even if you haven’t seen them for a long, long time, it’s like you had seen them yesterday and you can just continue from where you left off the previous time you saw them.

Well, I was lucky enough to hang out with two fantastic people who are “seasons” to me.  We shared stories, we laughed, we ate, we joked.  The night just went by too quickly.  Six hours together and we were high…on life!   There had been so many good laughs and funny stories.  Although we are all lacking from sleep today, it was well worth it.  We talked until after midnight and it wasn’t until the reality of the time hit us, that we realized we shall have to continue with story telling another day.

Stories began with…remember when…From there we strolled down memory lane talking and laughing about silly things that were done in our childhood days.  We  jumped from remember when, to remember this person, to “oh last year we” and the adventures that each of us were on.  Then on to our kids and the funny things that they do and say.  All this between sips of strawberry dacquiris and delicious, authentic Thai food. 

I hope today you have the chance to meet up with someone you haven’t talked to in a long time and play catch up.  Find out what’s been going on in their lives.  You will find that sharing and caring is a wonderful part of story exchange.  If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be leaving, clutching your middle and saying:  Ooooooh my aching stomach.

To tell you the truth…

As usual I had quite a busy weekend.  Lots of hanging out time with family and friends.  It was…mostly…quite enjoyable.  However, a surprise party turned into an emotional collapse and then I had heard of another event that caused someone close to me grief.  What is it about little white lies?  When is it ok to NOT tell the truth?

Every parent teaches their child that lying is abhorrent.  You must never, ever, ever lie.  Then you go shopping with mom and you see a man with a cane and no leg.  “Mom look!  That man only has one leg!”  The child, innocently pointing and exclaiming this at the top of their lungs.  Everyone looks.  The parent is mortified.  The man with one leg…well, he has probably heard this from other children and is mostly unaffected.  Well, in the old days, that would lead to a good beating from parent to child.  Ouch!  Why?  The child told the truth right?  Now, try to explain to this child why telling the truth in this particular instance is bad.  Hmmm, kind of hard. Parents usually fall back on how badly that person is going to feel if you point out that there is something different about them.

Ok, now the child gets older and starts to learn more and more about the good lies and the bad lies.  Bad lies hurt people and good lies don’t right?  Well, not necessarily.  Sometimes telling the truth might actually help a person see some of their shortcomings.  Have you ever watched those reality shows on tv where a person sings their heart out because they have been told by everyone they love that their voice and singing is “beautiful”?  Lying didn’t really help that person did it.  Not only are they shocked and embarrased, but hearing the truth hurts more than the untruths they heard all their lives.

Surprise parties…hmmm, another tricky one.  Well, it’s a surprise so you aren’t allowed to the tell the person that there is a surprise party being planned for them.  Now, what if the person really despises surprises?  Yes, there are some people who really dislike them.  Those invited and those throwing the party are doing it to give the person a happy … well …surprise!  My most memorable backfiring of a surprise was my parent’s 25th anniversary party.  Just us kids were present.  SURPRISE!  And what did my parents do?  They turned around and went home.  Yup…cross my heart..they really did.  Why?  Because they don’t like surprises. It’s an ambush to them.  (Their 50th anniversary is coming up this year and believe me…I am making sure there ain’t no “ambush” this year). 

Then there are the non-lies.  You know, where you know something, but you aren’t allowed to tell because it’s up to another person to actually be the first to announce it.  A good example is a happy couple finds out they are going to have a child.  Well, you find out but you can’t tell anyone because that is their news to tell.  So, why would someone get mad at you for knowing first and not telling?  It’s not your place to say right? 

So, to tell the truth…or not.  That is quite the question and the answers vary.  I have found that given certain situations, lying is acceptable, while in others, it is not.  How do you know whether to tell the truth or not?  Again, a tough question.  How well do you know the person?  Does this person trust you?  Will the recipient’s life be drastically changed in a negative way if you tell them the truth?  Will your conscience be clear after telling the truth.  (Broccoli in your teeth…totally would tell the truth!)

In the end, I have found that my guidance to truth or lie is this:  If the nugget of information I am going to share with this person will only create a hugely negative effect on their lives then I withhold the truth.  If I think that their lives will benefit from my “truth” then I share what information I have.  Telling truths in kindness is what I believe to be best.

To tell the truth, telling the truth is usually the best way to go.  And that’s the truth.

Fear of Trying…

Nope, that’s not a typo.  There are so many people in the world that have a fear of “flying” but over the years I have discovered that I am one of those people who has a fear of “trying”.

It started way back in childhood.  The need to have straight A’s in school to impress my mother.  I studied and worked hard to impress my teachers.  Oh, I was a doozie.  I remember actually making research projects of my own to give to my teachers.  Yup…need for attention was way high!  As I got older, it didn’t change much.  My identity was based on what other people thought of me.  If they liked me, then I liked me.  A hard way to get around in life.  The thought of being mocked or laughed at took over my life and not in a good way.

I never signed up for any school sports.  I might look stupid if I missed catching a ball.  My team mates would be mad if I didn’t run fast enough in relay races.  Playday…that should’ve been a fun day.  It would mix children from all different grades and create teams.  There would be all kinds of games like dress up or shoe toss and you would compete against other teams.  Fun right?  My fear of trying led to such nervousness that I would screw up so many simple games.  The year our team won 3rd place I was so excited!  I ran home to show my mom and got, “How come you didn’t get first place?”  Devastating.

Today’s thought isn’t about pity.  It isn’t about relieving sad parts of childhood.  It’s more about looking back to see how much I have grown as a person and how I finally managed to quash my fear of trying.

My first defense mechanism was humour.  If I tripped going up some stairs or something I would laugh at myself first.  Beat everyone to the punch.  That helped a lot.  It’s no fun making fun of someone if they are already making fun of themselves right?

Next, self-confidence.  That was a hard one.  When I realized it was most important that I impress myself instead of others it really helped me out a lot.  Funny thing is that this self-awareness was not something I had realized on my own.  It was when I started dating Wiseguy that I began a very interesting journey to self-awareness and confidence.  It was strange having someone say to me, “do what you think is right” when it came to family situations.  I didn’t know what was right.  Right to me meant making everyone else happy and not caring about how felt.  So, with lots of talking and analyzing he helped me figure out how that really worked.

Even trying new things.  I wanted to take a writing course.  He said go ahead.  I was averaging 94%.  When it came time to submit a story for my final exam guess what happened?  Yup, fear of trying popped up again.  What if they didn’t like my story?  What if I failed the exam?  What if … what if…and that was it.  Never got my certificate.  Wiseguy didn’t harass me or bug me about it.  I guess he realized it was going to be quite a journey for me.

Wiseguy would take me to new places, new restaurants.  We would drive someplace where he had never been before.  It was all about leaving the comfort zone.  That fear of failure or looking stupid in front of others would almost cripple me sometimes. Example:  I would never order food in a restaurant that I would not eat easily with a fork and knife or spoon.  Spaghetti?  Never…what if the noodle suddenly slapped me in the face?  Chicken wings…so messy.  Soup…I might slurp it.  Wiseguy hung in there and year after year I would get better. He would tease me about ordering the same thing so he would dare me to try something new.  My Fear of Trying became the Year of Trying.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times that my stomach gets so queasy from fear and it takes me a bit of self talk to get me to realize that life is about trying new things.  Failure isn’t necessarily a bad things.  You learn so much from errors if you take the time to step back.

I have been asked to emcee a very important upcoming event.  When first asked I got that wonderful, sickening, stomach tightening feeling.  My brain began racing with the usual What ifs.  Then the miracle happened as it nowadays normally does.  The excitement of trying something new, like Wiseguy had taught me, was worth diving head first into the pool of life.  I am sooooo excited and looking back, I can’t imagine why I would’ve turned down such a wonderful honour from someone whom I love so much.

My wish to everyone today, grab that one little fear of trying that you have.  Shake hands with it, wish it well on its new journey OUT of your life.  Make this your Year of Trying.    ♥

Living the Life

Well, I am so sorry for disappointing my regular blog followers.  Life has been quite invigorating for me lately.  Finding time to sit down and put my thoughts into words and into a newly entertaining blog, became quite a challenge.  I had to take my pick of what I should do.  Should I spend lots of time with The Princess and Little Kennie or write my blog?  Should I visit my niece in her new house and break bread with her or strap myself to my laptop?  Should I hang out with my visiting family from out-of-town, or should I hide away and start madly typing away?  Don’t get me wrong.  I love blogging, but sometimes real life escapes us because we are busy connecting with “web” people instead of spending time with those people who are around us.

So, last week, I referred to every day as a write-off, but in reality, it was only a vacation away from my trusty laptop.  It sat there, resting and charging everyday, while I was playing tag with Little Kennie and hanging out with The Princess.  Its little charge light was blinking away while I was in absentia visiting Monkey Breath at her new home.  (hmmm, maybe one day I shall rename her, but some nicknames just have to follow you through life.  Bwahaha!)  Upon return from my day trip, I joined my visiting family from Ottawa.  We sat outside, beads of sweat dripping from our faces, as we joked and laughed into the night.  My laptop?  It was not to be seen in my hands.

Don’t get my wrong, I typed little notes into my iPhone of incredible ideas for future tales.  Although socializing is great fun, my A.D.D. brain just seems to run its own course when there is a pause in conversation or when someone brings up a situation that just gets my mind off and running to that “writer’s idea” brain of mine.  I love to write.  I love to share tales.  At night, when I went exhausted to bed, my mind would still motor on with ideas, but my energy level would not let me stay up to type up these ingenious thoughts.

The next day I did feel guilty about not writing.  My body, however, was grateful that I got my eight hours sleep.  I would like to be able to get only 6 hours sleep and function like my normal self.  Sadly, this is not to be.  I have learned that I need to trust what my body is telling me.  If I miss that one hour that brings me to the magic 8 hour number, then quite a rebellion goes on.  The Yawn Monster just won’t leave me alone.  Just as the Red Eye Itch Developer goes to work basically blinding me with burning eyeballs. (Yes, I am a Drama Queen in case you hadn’t noticed already).

So, here I sit, all rejuvenated and happily clicking my keyboard keys with my thoughts of the day.  I am really enjoying spending all this time with family and friends.  I have even booked a dinner date with my cousins for a hang out night.  Very exciting!  I shall be traveling to a celebration this weekend.  I have a dinner date at a chinese restaurant tonight with my aunt and The Princess and Little Kennie.  I have an out-of-town lunch and shopping date with The Artist and her visiting sister.  How exciting can my life get?

So many people to joke with.  So many people to share stories with.  So many people who make me realize how great my life is and how much I am grateful to have them all in my life.  I am honoured that they are willing to spend their precious time with me as well.  I love them all.  I appreciate them all.  I wouldn’t change my busy lifestyle right now for anything in the world.  I also really value those who read my crazy thoughts and check daily to see what insane new thing I shall be writing about.  Thank you so much. 

If, however, you find that there might be nothing new posted…have no fear.  I shall return to type another day!  

I think I shall find a way to create a visual message on my blog…sort of like an answering machine.  It would say something like:  You have reached Maryann’s Life.  I am not here right now.  Please feel free to peruse past posts.  I shall return to entertain you another day.  www.Maryannslife.com  is out living Maryann’s life.  I hope you are going out and enjoying your life too.  ♥

Awww, that kid’s stuff…

Last night I got to thinking about how different each generation’s childhood was.  I was watching commercials that showed educational toys for toddlers.  There were some for video games.  There were some for swimming pools.  Kids these days have so many purchasable options that we adults can get for them.  What did we have when we were kids?  What did my parents have when they were kids?  What types of games were played?

My parents remember how hard they had to work around the farm and the household because there were so many kids (9 and 8 kids per family respectively).  They had to bring water from the well (no plumbing).  As they got older, they would take items to the market (eggs, butter, cheese) to sell so that they could buy other items like thread and yarn or salt and other seasonings.  This was because the parents and grandparents would either be watching the newest babies or were working in the garden.  At that time (about 50 years ago) the older kids were also the ones that took care of the sheep and the goats or cows.  They would take them out to a lovely pasture to graze.  School…well, you didn’t stay in school long…maybe grade 3 or up to grade 5  because there was much work to do at home.  Didn’t sound like much of a childhood to me, but my mother swears there were good times too.

I recall my mother laughing and telling me about the games they played.  There was no tv to watch.  They would read books.  They would play jacks.  They would sing songs and dance.  They played tag.  Then there was the typical tree climbing and rock climbing adventures (you just had to watch for snakes).  There was juggling (rocks…and hope it didn’t land on your head).  Oh, they learned how to whistle grass.  Now some of those I do recall doing in my childhood as well, but my generation, well we had different games.  (Mostly because we didn’t live in a village and had no livestock.)

Now, this is oftentimes the best way to find out how old someone is.  Here is a list of games that we used to play as kids (my age and those 10 years older) played:

Now, if you can recall any of these games (feel free to follow the link to see what kind of fun I’m talking about) then you are about my age or maybe 5 years younger.  If not, then you are of a much younger generation where video games were starting to become more popular.  Good ol’ Atari and Intellivision.  Barbie was getting super hip and getting a lot more cars and campers and airplanes.  Boy’s toys were getting more cool too.  The absolutely amazing Big Wheel.  How about Stretch Armstrong?

Anyway, I digress.  I love going down memory lane.  The older I get the happier my childhood memories are.  You really only remember the good ol’ days.  I’m sure the games that I used to love to play shall be making a comeback.  Why?  Because it’s not “old stuff”, it’s called “retro” and retro is always cool. 

So, when Little Kennie gets a little order, I will show her what a cool and hip grandma I am because I am “old” enough to know all these cool “retro” games that no one else knows. 

Anyone up for a game of Red Rover.  Now that’s what I call kid’s stuff!