I wanna start a fight!

angry lady

courtesy iclipart.com

I got a brand new attitude
And I’m gonna wear it tonight
I wanna get in trouble
I wanna start a fight

Ever have one of those days where you wake up feeling tired and grumpy and each and every little insignificant thing  morphs into a massive soul-destroying catastrophe.

And you wanna start a fight?

Things like…

listening to your husband’s snoring all night, every night

mansnoringwife

courtesy iclipart.com

having to stay inside and work on a long-awaited gorgeous summer day

womanundies

courtesy iclipart.com

going into your bathroom and finding no toilet paper, the toilet seat up, your husband’s nail clippings on each and every surface of your bathroom, except in the toilet or garbage and wet stinky towels on the floor

Embarrassed

courtesy iclipart.com

 

the way the dog moans and whines and looks at you even after you’ve fed him and he’s done his business outside

whinypup

iclipart.com

discovering you have no coffee beans or milk in the morning and your usual routine includes 2 triple shot lattes

coffeespill

courtesy iclipart.com

learning that your daughter has been so busy working her four puny 6-hour shifts a week that she hasn’t had time to sort out a couple minor administrative matters that will allow her to graduate from university with good marks

girl_girl_puffed_up

courtesy iclipart.com

So you send the 5 second email on her behalf and are then livid with yourself for cleaning up her mess. Again!

Hairpull

courtesy iclipart.com

that critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning book you’re reading sucks swampgas – a technical term my kids use

bad book

courtesy iclipart.com

And you have a unwanted, unwelcome birthday coming up just around the corner, which everyone in your family will probably forget anyways

older2

courtesy iclipart.com

Okay, so I had one of those days yesterday and rather than yell or kick the dog or hit my husband over the head, I decided to do something positive –  I decided to meditate. Yep, that’s right. I have officially gone over to that weird side – the one where the hippies (like my daughter) and the lazy dropouts (her friends) hang out

Hippie2

courtesy iclipart.com

as well as movie stars like Hugh Jackman and Clint Eastwood, celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Seinfeld and CEO’s like Arianna Huffington and Larry Ellison.

So this Terrible Awful Mother decided to do it – I mean there must be something to it if it`s good enough for all those folks. I should mention I have been attempting to meditate on a somewhat regular basis. But some days I don’t can’t find the time and some days I try but I can’t keep physically still, let alone focus my mind. Recently I’ve been working through Oprah & Deepak’s 21 day meditation experience called  Getting Unstuck: Creating a Limitless Life! Sounds good right? – I figure I could use getting unstuck and a limitless life sounds pretty darn amazing.

So yesterday I was determined to do it. I went into my office, closed the door and clicked on the guided meditation.

girl_music_meditation_girl

courtesy iclipart.com

I sat comfortably in my chair, listened intently to the discussion, got into the zone and repeated the mantra when…

bang

courtesy iclipart.com

 

my husband, the Original Obnoxious One, kicked in the door, yelled howdy and shocked me right out of hard-fought focus

Yoga

courtesy iclipart.com

And started to laugh uncontrollably and loudly. For a very long time.

LetsLaugh

courtesy iclipart.com

My response ?

Na na na na na na na, I wanna start a fight
Na na na na na na na, I wanna start a fight

1765_angry_wife_with_a_rolling_pin

courtesy iclipart.com

I hadn’t told the Original Obnoxious One about my meditation attempts because I knew this would be his reaction. And that he’d intentionally bother me during crucial zen moments. He just wouldn’t be able to help himself.

And he couldn’t. But as for me?

So what?
I’m still a rock star
I got my rock moves
And I don’t need you

ladyrocker

courtesy iclipart.com

Yep, meditation works wonders for me! How ’bout you?

Really!

Song lyrics courtesy So What by Pink

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When I’m Sixty-Four

I’ve been obsessing over numbers lately. Yes, it’s a C.P.A. thing (my other profession), it’s tax time, and it’s also spring.  You see during the past month or so:

  • my dad celebrated his 82nd birthday

russells

  • my son turned 23 far away in London-town during exams

Alec Read grade1

  • my daughter, the Hippie-Dippie Wildchild,  much to our horror became legal everywhere when she turned 21
Hippie2

courtesy iclipart.com

  • my husband, The Original Obnoxious One, reached the grand old age of 55IMG_0415
  • and my hubby and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary
aseniorcoupletoast

courtesy iclipart.com

So I am feeling rather tired from all that celebrating and a little…ancient.

 

Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

Also The Original Obnoxious One and I saw Sir Paul McCartney in concert when he passed through Vancouver in late April. There was a lot of press and social media about the fact that Sir Paul is 73 – for good reason.

Sgt-Pepper2

courtesy thebeatles.com

He was incredibly energetic and funny and warm and of course, a Musical Super-Power. I’ve never seen him in concert before so this was quite the thrilling experience for me. A great big tick off the old bucket list.

But back to the ageing thing.

When I get older, losing my hair
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine,
birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

About 18 years ago I had laser eye surgery; I was extremely near-sighted so afterwards this meant I could see clocks and computer screens and drive without peering through 3 inch thick lenses . It totally changed my life for quite awhile.

But then I turned 50 – ouch.  I actually needed reading glasses – purchased from the local drug store – to read the newspaper at night. And then during the day. And then to read anything at all. But I’m not the only one.

IMG-20131109-00233.jpg

The Original Obnoxious One and Franklinstein

And I even have bifocal sunglasses for reading outside!

Sigh.

IMG_1557

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone those are reading sunglasses.

Recently while walking Franklinstein in the woods not far from where we live, I ran into an old colleague, a girl from back in my C.P.A. articling days. We walked and hiked together, chatted up a storm.When I whined about turning older and becoming near-sighted, her response was:

Look Rita. Yes, I need reading glasses too but here’s the thing. In the morning when I get up and look in the mirror (sans glasses) I think I look amazing – no wrinkles, no grey hair on my head and no hair on my legs.All is good!

Of course the reality is just a wee bit different.

My friend does have a few wrinkles – after-all she has 2 boys roughly the same age as my kids and has been married for almost 30 years. She does have quite a number of grey hairs on her head as her hair is naturally quite dark and she doesn’t dye it. And she does use reading glasses for absolutely everything.

So then I felt a bit better – someone else was suffering just like me!

You’ll be older too.
Ah, and if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

Except I don’t have the issue of grey hair, because I have very expensive blonde highlights in my mousey brown baby-fine hair. Hairy legs – shockingly yes whenever I put on my glasses and look at them. Otherwise who knows?!

And the drug store near me carries all kinds of cool and colourful reading glasses for folks like me – I should know because at any given time I have at least 4 at the house. One pair for upstairs, one pair for downstairs, one sturdy  pair for reading in bed and one floater pair.

peepersEaster_2016_blog_1024x1024

courtesy peepers.com

And by the way,  The Original Obnoxious One also has several pairs of readers lying around the house, and at the office and in his gym bag, and in his briefcase.

Most of the time I don’t really think about the whole aging thing. I’m active –  I walk Franklinstein whatever the weather and we dance together regularly,IMG_1431 (Edited)

I do Pilates, I  eat healthy for the most part and I smile. A Lot. Except when I don’t. Like when I’m reading or concentrating or writing. That’s when The  Original Obnoxious One lets loose with his own unique brand of obnoxiousness.

Each and every evening.

Rita, what’s wrong? Smile! You look sad..or miserable..or angry. Be happy!

Here’s the thing. Nine times out of ten I am happy. I’m not miserable or sad or even angry – unless someone in my family did something incredibly stupid.

Again. You know who you are!

But l do have wrinkles (a couple)  and gravity does weird things to my face.

Okay, I confess, I have RBF – Resting Bitch Face.

IMG_2141 (2)

RBF

Get over it!

Really!

 

Lyrics of When I’m Sixty Four courtesy thebeatles.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh the Places You’ve Been

ohtheplacesframed_shadow

courtesy Oh, The Places YOu’ll Go by Dr Suess

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing

When my dear darling husband, The Original Obnoxious One, suggested we travel to Japan, I agreed  with one caveat – we had to spend several days afterwards at a totally chill beach resort. And since we were already halfway around the world in Asia, the place I chose was this:

DSCN0894

We had stayed at a Six Senses Resort a couple years before in Vietnam and it was magical. What’s not to love – architecture in harmony with natural surroundings, private villas complete with private plunge pools and butlers, incredible fresh local food, sustainable water and waste practices, and prices not as steep as you’d think, especially in the off-season.  The Six Senses Samui in Thailand did not dosappoint not one little bit, not when the main pool looked like this:

DSCN0819

And the view from our bed looked like thisDSCN0860

Even though the weather was hot and it was humid, which we usually find unbearable, somehow, we managed to survive. We had lattes in the morning  – not Green Eggs and Ham – and Sex on the Beach – the drink – in the afternoon.We dined on the hill, DSCN0925

we dined on the rocks,DSCN0872

we dined wherever and whenever we could.

And it was heavenly.

We wandered along the resort’s private beach,
DSCN0851.JPG

we swam and we kayaked in the clear turquoise waters,DSCN0863

and we talked to the wonderful locals who worked there – our butler, our servers, our housekeepers. Those hardworking folk were always smiling and happy and laughed at my hubby’s silly jokes and catered to our every whim as we started the long and challenging process of unwinding. My iPhone even died so our daughter couldn’t reach us to complain and shriek about the cold weather or her lack of friends at school or her courses or any other earth-shattering issues.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air. 

But it wasn’t all fun and games you know.

Nope, not for us.

I put The Original Obnoxious One to work and enrolled him in a Thai cooking class at the resort. All that chopping, all that tasting, all that sauteing – quite a demanding proposition, especially combined with the gorgeous outdoor setting.DSCN0885

Surprisingly enough he got more right than wrong, so the slave-driving chef gave her love, thumbs-up, grudging acknowledgement.DSCN0883

In the end The Original Obnoxious One somehow created such amazing culinary delights and was so proud of himself  that he became almost insufferable, and rather…obnoxious! DSCN0887

To this day I have not heard the end of what a great “cooker” he is.

Next I decided The Original Obnoxious One required a serious tune-up, an arduous physical transformation, so I forced my reluctant hubby to undergo the dreaded Thai Signature Treatment, which just happened to be for two people. At the place of our doom

640x450_spa_treatment_villa2

courtesy Six Senses Samui

we were presented with white cotton pajama-like tops and bottoms for our own protection. No oils. No aromatherapy. Just damn hard work.  For an entire hour each of us submitted to the battle-hardened warriors who thrashed and pummeled us. Those tough veterans poked our muscles, stretched our limbs and contorted our bodies into poses never seen or even imagined before . And yes, it was extremely scary – at least for The Original Obnoxious One who moaned and whimpered and screamed yelled screeched over the course of the daunting procedure. When the horror ended my hubby thanked the sweet little Thai ladies professional masseuses and proclaimed the treatment the best massage of his life.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Now it was time for him to torture me – a happy marriage is all about equal pain and suffering compromise after all. So he dragged me on several treks around the island, along unfortunate garbage-strewn beaches (yes, really)DSCN0895

roads choked with mopeds and trucks and fascinating colourful temples.

And after those terrifying forced marches we enjoyed our home away from home that much more – well at least my dear darling husband certainly did.10580943_10152713416644400_2647866384709508617_o

And sure enough,  The Original Obnoxious One finally found his long-lost mojo .DSCN0890

Until the next time we return. We met some Brits who spend a couple months suffering at this same spot year after year. Ahh…to be so lucky! In the meantime we’re planning a trip to Portugal in the fall, and I’ve found the perfect Six Senses there. Really!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.

 

 

 

 

My Annus Horribilis

The Queen had hers way back in 1992 when Charles and Diana separated, a fire burned Windsor Castle castle almost  down to the ground, and the tabloids enjoyed themselves far too much reporting on royal antics.

I had just had my own annus horribilis this past year and a bit  – a truly terrible, really bad, horrible year. Yes, menopause was and is still a monstrous thing, and yes I broke a couple of fingernails, I earned several of large black and blue bruises and I even found a few grey hairs.

But you have to understand – I went from this:

hpinupgirlswimsuitpose

courtesy iclipart.com

to this practically overnight:

old lady

courtesy iclipart.com

  • My mother who lives half-way across the country was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer  – tumors in her breast, lymph nodes and cancer in her hip and leg bones. A few months later she was also diagnosed with a brain tumor.
  • After suffering through multiple open houses and far too many  showings, we finally sold our beloved house of 12 years. Moving day proved to be a nightmare featuring stoned and scary-looking movers who damaged furniture, broke treasured mementos and left the old house with lights on, doors wide open, fridge full of food and valuables on the kitchen table. (And we even used one of the so-called top local moving companies – really! ) Because we were gluttons for punishment we lined up painters and carpenters and electricians and tile layers immediately and kept them busy for almost a year.
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courtesy iclipart.com

  • And while a fire didn’t almost destroy our place, we did experience more than our fair share of leaks and floods from the three toilets, the refrigerator, several windows, the roof, my son’s bedroom wall and of course the pool.
Plumber4

courtesy iclipart.com

  • We sold and vacated our water-access-only cabin  which we had owned for almost 20 years and was a source of many wonderful family memories. It truly was a bittersweet moment.

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  • Due to my incredible lack of coordination I fell and cracked my ribs on the rocks by the ocean while shoveling dog dung into the ocean the day after Christmas; the ER was not the optimum spot to spend on Boxing Day.
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courtesy iclipart.com

  • My husband of 30 years, a corporate lawyer who generally works 60-80 hour weeks, became extremely ill and inexplicably weaker and weaker, spending at least 20 hours a day in bed.  He was no longer the Original Obnoxious One. After seeing 14 doctors and making 5 ER visits to 2 different hospitals he was finally diagnosed with heart disease and placed on 2 kinds of medication; then he suffered a mini-stroke and stayed in hospital for almost a week.
Medication

courtesy iclipart.com

  • My son’s best friend from high school died very suddenly and unexpectedly this summer – my son, the Obnoxious One and he had been estranged the past couple years which somehow made the whole situation worse. The boy was a lovely sensitive and creative soul who lost his way.
  • In addition to dying her beautiful hair black with blue ends, and adding a couple more tattoos and piercings, my daughter developed several medical issues which  culminated in three lengthy hospital stays.
  • My 4 year old yellow lab nearly died as a result of ingesting a large amount of rat poison.
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courtesy iclipart.com

And when my husband and I took a much needed vacation for some rest and relaxation this past fall guess where we went – Jordan and Israel right when the 2015 stabbings and Wave of Terror began. Of course! Keep in mind that we live in boring little Canada where no one carries guns and people are way too polite most of the time. In fact, the most exciting thing that has happened to us in decades is the fact that the New York Times called us “hip” in  January 2016.

mounted

courtesy iclipart.com

But…deep deep breath… I’m back. And I’ve cried enough tears and hosted enough personal pity-parties to last me for a very long time. So no more, besides, I’ve got stories to share.

womanundies

courtesy iclipart.com

Stay tuned.

Really!

 

Dear Sexy Moms of West Van

Do I have your attention now?!

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

 

This morning I ran into my favourite local coffee shop and grabbed a grande cafe latte, my little reward after a gruelling fitness class.

Yoga

courtesy iclipart.com

A group of you, whom I’ve known for years and years, were sitting and chatting at a table near the counter. One of you glanced up, smiled and said hi. Your friends ignored me, but hey, one out of three is actually pretty good.

You see, yesterday I met two long-time friends, also moms of classmates of my kids, for coffee. Yes, we drink a lot of coffee and lattes in West Van,  at least I certainly do!

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

 You were sitting at small tables on either side of us, and our children – yours and mine –  also went to school together. But this time not one of you looked at me. Not one of you said hello. And I was hard to miss ’cause I was wearing a bright yellow top and even brighter yellow running shoes.

Now we all live in the same small community of West Vancouver, which has a population of roughly 42,000. Yeah, it;s a pretty tiny town. West-VancouverFor ten years our kids went to the same small private school, where there were at most 80 kids per grade. Over the years, you and I sat across from each other during tons of parent/teacher meetings and numerous class mom meetings, attended seasonal school plays and concerts together, and ran into each other at the local shopping mall, grocery store, and 7-eleven.  Our kids played soccer and tennis  and softball together, and learned to swim at the same pool. Our families still frequent the same sports facilities in West Van and ski at the same mountains.

So why can’t you just say hello?

Is something wrong with your eyesight?
Do you lack peripheral vision?
Is there a recent medical abnormality that prevents you from smiling?
Has your long-term memory been dramatically affected lately?

Look, you don’t need to worry about me – I don’t want to be your BFF. I don’t want to be invited to your parties. I don’t want to go on vacation with you to Whistler or Maui. I especially don’t want to steal your husband. Absolutely not! And  I don’t even want my children to date your children.

But I would kinda like to feel like I exist, like I am visible.

So would it kill you to meet my eye occasionally, and smile or say hi, especially when I’ve said hi to you so, so so many times in the past before?

Really?!

Summer’s here and the time is right…

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

  • for dancing in the street on the deckIMG_2109
  • for hanging out with my sisterIMG_0937
  • for leaping in the oceanScan
  • for drinking rose wineIMG_0733
  • for hiking in the mountainsIMG_1900
  • for watching The Breakfast Club in Stanley Park1002324_10153047321135290_1162443128_n
  • for mini-vacations to Whistler,
    Whistler on Canada Day

    Whistler on Canada Day

    as well as Seattle, Toronto and Kingston

  • and for just about anything other than cleaning, laundry, editing/rewriting and yes, sad to say, but even blogging.

Summer has arrived in the Pacific Northwest and I am lovin’ it, especially after the quick trip to Ontario last week with my daughter where I felt – and probably looked – like the Wicked Witch of the West in full meltdown mode. After all, it was only 45 degrees celsius, or 113 degrees fahrenheit. meltingwww

But don’t worry, things have been anything but boring in my neck of the woods. Here are a couple of tidbits to give you some idea of what’s been going on.

Words of wisdom a couple of weeks ago from my husband, the Original Obnoxious One:

Don’t worry about anything. My people will sort out everything for the firm BBQ we’re hosting at our house tomorrow night.

But what about timing and numbers and set-up and…?

My people are on-top of it all. Someone is bringing food, someone is bringing drinks, someone is bring plates and glasses and someone is serving. My people will talk to your people.

What people?! There’s just me – and Franklinstein! Your daughter’s camping on the top of Garibaldi Mountain and lord knows where your son is.

Fine then, I’ll tell my people to talk to you, because all we know Franklinstein is scared of strangers.

And strangers are scared of him...or at least scared he'll get them dirty.

And strangers are scared of him…or at least scared he’ll get them dirty.

And just last week at eleven o’clock the night before university orientation for the Weird One, my daughter, while sharing a King Size bed at the Delta Hotel in Kingston Ontario:

 Mom, turn off the reading light, it’s too bright!

Fine darling, I’ll just watch Damages on my iPad, with my earbuds in.

 Mom, turn down the volume on your iPad – I can still hear it!

Yes dear.

Mom, turn down the brightness on your iPad – I can still see it!

Of course dear.

Mom, stop wiggling around, you’re keeping me awake! Just go to sleep!

Really, dear?

courtesy Amazon.com

courtesy Amazon.com

And then, 20 minutes later  – so it seemed

Mom, it’s 6:30am and I’m really hungry. I’m ordering room service NOW! 

But we don’t have to leave the hotel until 8:45am. Why are you waking me up? 

Mom, I’ve been awake for 2 whole hours and I can’t stand it anymore – I need French Toast NOW!

Okay, okay so order me the healthy breakfast. 

 

And of course I can’t forget about the Obnoxious One:

Mom, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want in a girlfriend next year, and I’ve decided that I need someone who’s NOT too nice. But I really need someone who’s temperamental…kinda like you.

Like me? Aren’t I nice?

Yeah, but you have an edge. I just take advantage of girls who are too nice, so I need somebody who’s mean to me, who keeps me in line, kinda like you!

cartoon courtesy iclipart.com

cartoon courtesy iclipart.com

Really!

Get me out of here!

This has been the non-stop chant of my daughter, the Demon Child for the past several months. It seems that she has had enough of West Vancouver – really?! Okay, so my son, the Obnoxious One, was pretty much the same during the latter part of Grade 12. But after spending his first year at university – which he loved, almost too much –  in Ontario during a mild, wimpy winter, he appreciated the charms of West Vancouver much more upon his return last summer. And way back in the dinosaur ages, I seem to recall being desperate to get out of the small blue-collar town I grew up in. So yeah, a normal rebellious teenage thing.

However, the Demon Child takes the whining, complaining, and yes, temper tantrums to a whole new level,  as in:

  • Why on earth did you choose to live in West Van with this terrible rainy weather? – because we prefer rain to ice and snow
  • Why would you ever decide to raise children in West Van with all this mindless consumerism and endless consumption? – consumerism if a fact of modern first world life, and how much you chose to do is up to you and me since I control the money
  • How could you ever send me to private school in West Van with all the fake, money-oriented kids with their vacuous, inauthentic moms? – because you have ADHD and needed the extra resources provided in that setting, besides you meet interesting people wherever you go
  • How could you send to me to boarding school with all those wealthy douche-bags? – you were the one who wanted to go there in the first place darling
  • How could you ever marry a man that represents oil companies? – there are tons of worse things he could do but that’s the subject of a whole other blog post

Perhaps one day she will appreciate the benefits of life here in the Pacific Northwest, but I’m not holding my breath. And in the meantime, I will admit that my watching the Real Housewives of Vancouver with its bevy of long haired, glamorous, over-the-top women only adds fuel to the fire – three live on the North Shore after all

more housewives

courtesy Real Housewives of Vancouver Facebook

 but you know, where else can you live here:West Vancouver-20130604-00027

and after driving for ten minutes, go here:Capilano 5-20120912-00540

or here:IMG-20120725-00401

or here:Richmond-20130605-00036even if half three-quarters most of the year it looks like this:

courtesy rjay at Around the Region

courtesy rjay at AroundtheRegion.com

Still, I figure, warts and all, there’s no place like home.

But maybe I should say, Botox, plastic and all, there’s no place like home.

West Vancouver-20130606-00046

Really!