The Adventure of the Special Cold-Pressed, Exotically Flavoured, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I don’t know how these things happen.  Well, maybe I do.  I am talking about what occurred this past weekend.  I can’t believe it happened again.   Hmmm, actually, I can.  I LOVE TO SHOP!  The worst part is now I have Wiseguy accompanying me on my superfluous treks to the world of eternal shopping damnation.  Is it good to be bad?  Well, let’s analyze this shall we?

This past weekend I had the most difficult decision to make.  It really was a challenge and I thought long and hard about it.  Should I stay home and vacuum, dust, mop, wash bedding, prep my meals for the week, or should I walk away, closing the door to my eternal list of chores, and head out to the far away mall to spend coinage that I should not be spending?  After a heart wrenching debate, I came to the conclusion that life is short and the winter clearance deals won’t be around for long.  Besides, I was in need of my special cold-pressed exotically flavoured extra virgin olive oil and the mall was mere minutes away so best to leave my spring cleaning for when spring arrives in a couple of weeks.  Sometimes it is best to put off until later what you planned on doing today.  Yes, I have a very unique brain function.  So…off to the mall it was!

Wiseguy, not working that day, actually decided to accompany me.  Shock!  Surprise!  (Actually I think this was in the hopes of averting a major shopping spree and bags of blessed goodies to be added to the overstuffed closets at our humble abode.  There we were at 9:30 a.m. pumped up and ready for our trek.  We got to the mall and found the parking lot quite empty.  Beautiful!  Nice close parking so that when we ambled back to the car on tired feet, knees, hips, we wouldn’t have far to venture.  BEEP BEEP!  Car locked and off we went!

As I have professed before, shopping is not just about acquisition.  It’s not just about the bargain hunt.  There are actually many benefits to a day of shopping.

HEALTH BENEFITS:  You spend that day wandering from store to store.  That’s walking.  Walking for three hours is a good work out.  The particular mall we went to was actually a series of connected stores, but to get into each store you had to go outside.  So, we got to be in the great outdoors AND breathe the nice cool winter air as well.  The biggest workout was trying on jeans. That’s a pretzel challenge in itself!  The mobility you need to climb in out of denim while keeping your balance works your core muscles.  Quite the workout.

ENCOURAGE HEALTHY EATING:  After climbing in and out of a variety of clothes you realize that if you just ate more fruit and vegetables and less chips and pizza you could probably pull on those jeans without having to lie down on the bed to make yourself lanky as a piece of cooked spaghetti.  While you’re at it…throw in some exercise!  Nice shapely muscles would look wonderful in those sleeveless tops you just purchased.

SELF-APPRECIATION/LOVE a.k.a. SELF-ESTEEM:  Then again why think about diet and exercise when you know you are a remarkably beautiful person!  You don’t need to lose weight.  You are perfect the way you are.  Nice little love handles and a pudgy little belly are awesome for hugging.  Nice and soft and cuddly.  So, forgo the clothes and shop enthusiastically for shoes.  Shoes are safe.  Whether your body is pleasantly plump or wispily thin, your body size doesn’t matter, but your footsies will feel so spoiled and you will look MAAAARVELOUS!

ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDIES:  Out of school?  Well, never stop learning as your shopping excursion will lead you to become a student of anthropology.  With enough treks to the malls of the world, you could technically become an expert people watcher and understander (yup, my new word for my very own dictionary) of the ways of humankind’s behaviour.  

DISCOVERER:   Consider yourself to be like Christopher Columbus or Leif Erikson on a journey to discover new worlds…shopping worlds, that is.  New retail outlets are popping up all the time.  Perhaps it will be a gizmo/gadget store.  Kitchen supplies, hunting regalia, artisan foods, new inventions, the [shopping] world is your oyster!  Imagine how popular you will be with friends and family when you tell them about the 70% off sales!  You will become the most knowledgeable and reliable go-to person for anything that people might be in need of.  You will become, not only a famous explorer, but a hero as well.

UP TO DATE WITH COMMUNITY EVENTS:  With all the driving you will be doing, you will be “in the know” of what’s going on in your neighbourhood and other cities too.  You will see the signs for road closures and upcoming construction.  You will see high-rise condos being built and new houses springing up where there was just sparse land a few weeks ago.  Houses for sale, garage sales, grand openings…you will see it all and share this vital information.  You will be the divine Knower AND Seer .

RESTAURANT REVIEWER:  After an arduous day of trekking around from store to store you will have worked up an appetite.  Why not have a nibble at a nearby restaurant or café where you have never been before?  Adventure and full belly all in one shot!

So, as you can see, there are many virtuous reasons for my locking up the house and venturing out into the Shopping-sphere.  It’s educational, full of health benefits, wisdom building, adventure seeking, jolly good fun!

We return now to MY…ahem…OUR excursion to THE outlet mall.  Wiseguy’s hopes of a few simple items were dashed quite quickly (and painfully).  The hop, skip, and a jump for deliciously special olive oil and a pair of gym-worthy running shoes became the WINTER CLEARANCE EXTRAVAGANZA OF 2018!

Oh, I forgot to mention the mental marathon of all the math that is done while shopping. For example, check our these mathematical tabulations:

  • 3.5 hours of meandering from store to store.
  • 4.81 miles (7.741 km) of distance covered
  • 1001 calories burned walking and 800 calories burned trying on jeans
  • 6 billion calories after eating pizza / wings / bread at the local authentic Italian restaurant
  • Infinity smiles after a super successful day of purchasing really neat-o stuff
  • Overload – what your brain does when trying to calculate how much you ACTUALLY spent after all of your 70% off savings.  Yikes!

FINAL COUNT:  4 blouses, 3 dresses, 1 pair skinny jeans, 2 sweaters, 2 slinky spaghetti strap tops, 1 pair running shoes for gym, 1 pair high heeled peep toe shoes, 3 different flavoured herbal teas, gym clothing gear and for Wiseguy 6 Shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair Wiseguy-size (14) comfy running shoes.  One fantastically yummy lunch at Café Amoré with my handsome man.

GRAND TOTAL:  Happy wife = happy life

EPILOGUE:   Almost, but not forgotten, I did get my special cold-pressed exotically flavoured extra virgin olive oil  

Sweaters…and World Peace

Welcome to the new year!  So far it has been wonderfully joyful.  Snow or no snow (the shovelling saga continues), my sister and I had booked last Saturday for a trek to the mall and a day of shopping.  For those of you who do not enjoy this kind of expedition let me explain why women love going to a mall and can spend hours (oh yes, literally hours), wandering from store to store and carrying a smorgasbord of bags with treasures home.

First, I do sympathize with those of you who find clothes shopping a mundane task.  This chore is even more cumbersome during the winter months when you need to slough off boots (perhaps even long underwear) while you try on pants or dresses.  Even when taking shirts on and off over your head, there is that wondrous crackle of electricity from static in the air.  Ah…the trials and tribulations of winter shopping.  Besides having to deal with those health hazards, there is also the desire to own new things while keeping your bank account from weeping with loss.  And finally, with all the winter sales in full force there is the challenge of finding clothes in your size and/or finding the desired colour.  Stores themselves become a grandiose mess and it’s almost impossible to find what you like.  If you do, there are the lineups for the fitting rooms and then the subsequent queues at the checkout.  All this wasted time!  For what?  Ah…this is where those of you who dislike to shop misunderstand the seek and hunt of this magnanimous adventure.

Shopping is comparable to a hunting expedition.  You hunt for a convenient parking spot.  You hunt for the great end of season deals.  You hunt for that unique item that others will envy you for.  Sure you might have to peek through racks of unkempt clothing, but it’s like being a hungry cat in the jungle, peering through foliage in order to seek out your prey.  Once you pounce on that coveted piece, your insatiable appetite will wane exponentially.  Even better, you will hear cherubs singing songs of praise as you not only discover that one-of-a-kind item, but happily realize it’s your size.  Now add to that eureka moment the final trifecta:  that article of clothing is now 70% off the regular retail price!  Oh yes, shopping CAN make you this deliriously happy!

Back to Saturday.  Whilst perusing in one boutique (a place I dare not venture into unless it is the January-end-of-winter sale or the September-end-of-summer sale), I nonchalantly bumped into a rack that hollered (figuratively speaking) “up to 70% off“.  Wha-what?  I had just spent 15 minutes scouring through an impossibly tight rack of slacks with not a pair of pants to my liking or my fitting.  Here it was, this rack of glory, like a beacon in the night, and it held upon it’s metal arms shirts and sweaters of MY unique colour preference; orange.  Then I spied it.  A fluffy orange sweater.  Not only was there only ONE left, but it was my size!  Not only did it FIT perfectly upon my being, but it would meld nicely with its relatives in my closet.  Not only did I have all that going for me, but it  was 70% off!  HUZZAH!  I bagged one!  At least I almost had.

The lineup at the checkout was quite long and appeared steadfastly immovable.  My sister, intrigued with my unique shopping whims, waited patiently with me.  We didn’t move for a couple of minutes.  I remarked that if we did not move at least halfway closer toward the front within 15 minutes then my purchase was not meant to be.  Golden Rules of Shopping; rule #5.  We stood.  We waited.  Time ran out.  I put my “winning” sweater on a nearby rack and we walked away.  It was not meant to be.  My sister was shocked.  She had been willing to wait, but I explained to her my policy and would not be swayed.  Onward and upward.  To the second floor!

As we finished our sale-shopping spree, our stomachs began speaking (grumbling really) and we turned around and headed back from whence we came.  We passed the boutique…almost.  I nonchalantly glanced inside.  The queue was much shorter now.  A cashier had been added into the foray.  I wondered aloud if my prized sweater was where I had abandoned it.  GASP!  It was!  A sign from the shopping gods!  I snatched MY fuzzy, bright, orange sweater and we proceeded to the back of the line.  After several minutes I proceeded triumphantly to the cashier and purchased MY new sweater.  I paid…wait for it…$7.00 (+ taxes) for a sweater!  BOOYAH!

My shopping expeditions are contagious!  Even my sister, one who does not usually enjoy such treks, had a wonderful time!  The hunt leading to the actual purchasing of items can make us so happy and make us feel good.  It’s what good shopping trips are all about.  It is a trip!  Some people use drugs and alcohol!  I have retail therapy!

Men can brag about bagging a deer.   I can counter that with bagging a sweater (wrapped neatly in tissue paper and placed in a chic paper bag.  A lovely,  bright, orange, fuzzy sweater.  A sweater that is functionally warm and yet coquettishly comfortable, not to mention its exuberantly cheerful colour.  Those around me will naturally brighten and lead happier lives.  Children will flock to me due to my fuzzy teddy-bearness.  Yes, my latest $7.00 purchase might even lead to world peace!

….and the angels could be heard, not far off in the distance, singing their praises…

Us

Us seems to be a very short title, but I believe that sometimes less words are more integral in describing a thought than a run on sentence  full of adjectives, adverbs, nouns, verbs…and nothingness. This two letter word is so full of meaning and definition. It is a concept and way of life that I am finally beginning to fully understand.

We begin our lives as wonderful, dependent, little bundles of cuteness. Some babies are born into loving families. Others are born into dysfunctional families. In the end, there is a beginning. We emerge and grow and learn. Some lessons are taught to us and others we discover on our own. Life lessons. The world is our educator. In most cases we are taught to find our perfect soul mate so that we can live happily ever after.

Poor girls, we try so hard to find Prince Charming everywhere we look.  We can overlook the flaws in order to have someone to hold us and take care of us. Right? Heck no. Nowadays we want the handsome Prince, but he had better know how to wash dishes and do laundry and make  dinner. We are very busy women folk. Not to mention adding child  bearing and raising that child. Who’s going to do all that?

Fast forward in life…career woman,  make dinner, make lunches, attend meetings, get stuck in traffic, driving children to and from school and after school?  Dance or karate or baseball or soccer.  Grocery shopping, clothes shopping.  Hang out with significant other. Who? Oh yeah,  I remember you.

I remember when we used to jump into the two door sedan and just go driving. (Can’t do that now because gas prices are so crazy and we  have a mini van not a cool sporty vehicle). Remember when we would go out for dinner and just talk about nothing. (Dinner out now means going out when we get a coupon in the mail and then talking about bill payments or house renovations). Remember when it was just the two of us? Us.

I remember the early dating days. Money? We were lucky if we had 40.00 between the two of us. We would talk for hours. We would write little notes and letters to each other. There was no texting or e-mails.  It was pen to paper and it was beautiful and thoughtful.  Little things were monumental. A cup of coffee, ready-made, and nice and hot when I woke up. Sitting around on the balcony of our rented apartment and just enjoying the view.  Beautiful.  Calm. Quiet. Some music playing softly in the background.  Bliss.  Us.

Us then became extended us. Children and elder family. Family obligations. Us went from having no furniture to an apartment overflowing with stuff. Suddenly Us took a back seat. Everyone and everything else was more important. Keeping children happy was number one. There were bills to pay and items to purchase. There were future houses and mortgages. New / used cars to be purchased as old ones fell apart.  Schooling and weddings and grandchildren. Work became the most  important thing because money is needed to pay for everything. We were ships in the night….literally…since we ended up working different times of the day. What happened to Us? We talked about date night and once a year, for our anniversary, we could count on that, but otherwise, Us became a non-existent thing…until tonight.

Tonight was special. Tonight you created magic. You decided to cook up a beautiful meal. I came home and did not have to prep anything.  We sat around and talked. Not about bills. Not about renovations.  Not about anything that adults would deem important. We talked about the sky and the perfect weather. We talked about your shopping spree at the grocery store and how meticulous you were in picking what you thought I would enjoy most for dinner. I was your primary concern and nothing else mattered. I want you to know how much I appreciated that and love you for it. My meal was excellent. The flavours were invigorating and the company was my favourite part. We sat outside. Just Us. The two of Us.  I realized more than ever tonight that in the end, we are in the “Us” part of our lives. The children are grown and living their own lives.  Taking care of elders is no longer part of our responsibility. All we are left with is Us.  You and me, as was before, but newly modified.  Husband and wife, grandparents, friends and lovers.  Another new exciting stage of our lives.

I love you, my other half of “Us”. Thank you for making tonight a special time and a special memory for me. I enjoy being able to date you again. The serenity and peacefulness. The non-drudgery of everyday life.  The laughter (including piggy snorts…my specialty).  You refocused my perspective and helped me don my rose-coloured glasses that I had misplaced.  Living in the pink is a pretty nice place to be.