the quirky holiday calendar

Every Christmas for the past ten years, I have given EC a calendar as part of his Christmas present. On each calendar I had written the Cabbage Patch family’s important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries so that EC would always have a heads up for what was Weather Trivia 2coming next in the family celebrations. In the beginning, the calendars were scenic and rather tame; they featured landscapes and nature scenes (sort of gives you that butterflies and rainbows feeling, doesn’t it?) and only included family dates. Recently, I asked EC if he could remember what some of the previous calendars featured. He replied, “That was when you still had some sanity so it’s harder to remember the pretty ones”. When I still had some sanity? What the hell was that supposed to mean?

Mario CalendarAt some point, I turned into a calendar maniac. I went from writing in our important family dates to making social commentaries about certain holidays that were already marked on the calendar. I also switched up from the butterflies and rainbow calendars to calendars geared more the EC’s interests: Zelda, Star Wars, Angry Birds, and Super Mario for example. These calendars were just begging for more than birthdates to be written on them and I was just the woman to do it.

My mania began simple enough. I started by writing in some thoughts and/or suggestions about how EC could celebrate other holidays throughout the year. Sometimes I included trivia questions and other times I would include pop culture references. Here are a few examples:

  • Christopher Columbus Day – “Be like Christopher Columbus and discover something new today.”
  • Feast of the Epiphany – “Contemplate your life and have your own epiphany.”
  • Groundhog Day – “How many times was Bill Murray bitten by a groundhog while filming Groundhog Day?” (The answer is twice.)
  • April Fool’s Day – “I hate to tell you but you were adopted.”
  • Mother’s Day – “Phone your mother and tell her how she is the BEST mother in the whole wide world.”
  • On my 50th birthday – “Tell your mother how marvellous she looks for 50.”
  • Assumption – “Never assume anything. It’s safer that way.”
  • Taylor Swift’s birthday – “Shake it off, Taylor. You’re only 26. Lots of time to find your soul mate.”
  • Quite often I suggested he Google certain holidays such as Yom Kippur, Chinese New Year, Ramadan, and so on. Whether he did or not, I am not sure but I do know him well enough that if the comment or suggestion was witty, sarcastic or interesting enough, he would.

Here is a photo of my “creative genius” as EC calls it:

August

“Look at my mom’s creative genius on my calendar for the month of August. It’s a slow month for my family.” ~ EC

Over the years, EC has referred to a couple of my calendars as ‘loopy’. While the ‘loopiness’ is definitely a part of my personality, what he did not realize was that each year I was trying to top the previous year’s calendar. I was in competition with myself to make the new calendar the best one EVER. This called for some serious creativity, let me tell you. It wasn’t until I was preparing this year’s 2016 calendar that I realized that I could only be creative about the epiphany so many times. Somehow, I had to come up with something over the top if I was going to beat 2015’s.

I put my thinking hat on and thought that there must be other holidays celebrated throughout the year that do not make it on to the calendars that we purchase at say, Wal-Mart or Calendar Club. A quick Google search and, sure enough, there is an entire world out there of funny, eccentric, and quirky holidays. So……

Enter the Quirky Holiday Calendar. I decided that instead of writing my comments all over the calendar I would create quirky holiday bags that would include an explanation about the holiday as well a something creative to help celebrate the day. The bags would be mailed out to EC prior to the beginning of each month to be celebrated (holy smokes, the month goes by quickly).

Here are some pictures of the holiday bags’ preparation:

IMG_1621

IMG_1735 (1)

Preparing the quirky holiday bags is similar to a scavenger hunt. First, I look for items around the house that will coincide with the holiday. Then, I head out to Value Village. Dollarama and The Bulk Barn to finish off the rest of the items I need for my bags. For example, Value Village is a great source for children’s books, mugs and toys. Bulk Barn is great for treats such a gummy teeth for Tooth Fairy Day while Dollarama is great for items such a rubber duck for Rubber Ducky Day and rubber snakes for Serpent’s Day.

Here are some examples of my creativity at work:

 IMG_1854 (1)Save a Spider Day

IMG_1882Road Kill for Buzzard’s Day

Sometimes all you need is a small baggie and a little imagination:

IMG_1647National Create a Vacuum Day

Other times a photo will suffice:

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Spunky Old Broad’s Day

Here are some of EC’s texts and comments about The Quirky Holiday Calendar:

Drinking Straw Day

Cheese Day

Hug Day

Snake Day

Handcuff Day

The wonderful thing about the Quirky Holiday Calendar is not only the feeling that comes from being creative about the whole thing but it is the feeling that comes from doing something special for someone you love. When I was operating my business, I did not have time for the anything that involved a serious time commitment. It may appear that the monthly holiday bags are a lot of work but keep in mind that, while I could have stopped at including only one quirky holiday per bag, I did not; I went overboard (surprise, surprise). There are so many great holidays to choose from that I can never narrow it down to one. Plus it is just so much darn fun!

Whether you choose to send your loved one(s) a calendar that includes important birthdays and anniversaries or you choose to go all out with a quirky holiday calendar, the benefits are many. Not only does the creator of the calendar feel wonderful for doing something special for their loved one but the recipient feels that love each and every day when they check their calendar. Also, as I pointed out to EC, this world can be stressful and full of challenges but, if we stop for a minute and think about it, there is ALWAYS something to be celebrated and thankful for.

And it’s pretty darn good getting something in the mail other than bills 😉

Calendar maniac: 1

2017 calendar: 0 (for now)

the eyebrow pact

In the arrogance of my youth I made what I call ‘The Eyebrow Pact’ with my best friend Reba. By arrogance and youth, I mean in my twenties when I thought I knew everything and when all my body parts were where they were supposed to be, nothing was sagging,friends dont let friends draw on eyebrows dragging, drooping or sprouting indiscriminate hairs. It was also when I thought that I had forever before anything would begin to sag, drag, droop or sprout. The pact went something like this: if ever I thought about shaving my eyebrows off so that I could draw them back on with an eyebrow pencil, I was to tell Reba so that she would talk me out of it and vice versa. It was something we pinky-swore over which meant it was serious. I mean really serious. You don’t pinky-swear over some itty bitty little thing.

What were the reasons behind making ‘The Eyebrow Pact’ you wonder? Well, I descend from a long line of females who, at some point in their lives, decided to shave their eyebrows off and then draw them back on with an eyebrow pencil. When I was younger, I could not for the life of me figure out why they would do that. It was one thing to shave leg and arm pit hairs because any mistakes made there could be easily covered up with clothing. But eyebrows? What happens when you shave one off and then discover that it was a mistake? You are then committed to shaving the other oneeyebrows off in order to even things out. There is no way out of this and no way of covering up any mistakes with clothing.

And drawing them back on? I could not even begin to understand that. Where do you start? How do you make sure that the brows are even? How do you ensure that the pencil lines stay on all day? It just did not make sense to me.

In addition to thinking that I knew everything back then, I also thought that it would take forever before I was the age at which my relatives began shaving their eyebrows. Remember when we thought anyone over 40 was old? Well, here I am now at the tender age of 52 and things are sagging, dragging, drooping and sprouting indiscriminate hairs. With this age comes the realization that I knew absolutely nothing back then (the jury is still out on whether I know anything now); I was never invincible and, well, if I had known then what I know now, then I more than likely would never have made such a flippant pact with Reba. Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20.

77ab193ac1990752f4668dbf873adcf0I remember Reba and me engaging in animated discussions about women who shaved their eyebrows. Why do they do it? Is there a template they follow to draw them back on? Do they stick with one eyebrow pencil colour or do they change colours to reflect their moods? What if they’re happy but have drawn their eyebrows on in an angry arch? Do they wipe them off and try again or do they just leave them that way? What if they drew them on in an angry arch because they were angry at the time but now are happy? Do they run to the washroom and wipe them off and then draw them on in a happy curve? What is it that they don’t like about their eyebrows that drives them to shave them off in the first place? What purpose do eyebrows even serve? And so on.

Since then, I have shared my “Eyebrow Pact” with other friends along the way. Some wanted to join the pact, others just laughed at me thinking that it would never happen to them (Ha! I bet they are rethinking the pact now). Some, like my friend, Missy Doodles, also descended from a long line of eyebrow shavers and were terrified of following in their footsteps. Others, like Waltzing Matilda, just wanted to belong to a pact; it didn’t really matter what it was, she just wanted to belong. “Will there be monthly meetings?” she once asked. Another friend wanted to know what kind of safeguards would be set in place to stop someone from shaving off their eyebrows. “Do we have a sponsor we can call?” By the time we were all approaching our fifties, the pact was getting very serious.

This is not to say that I have anything against those who shave their eyebrows. As I get no hate here.jpgolder and wiser (hopefully, anyway), I am more of the thinking that ‘to each their own’ is how it should be for all of us. You want to shave your eyebrows off? Have at it. Just don’t expect me to follow suit. From what I can tell, the reasons are varied why some people shave their eyebrows. For some, it serves as a form of expression. For others, they get tired of plucking, tweezing, waxing, threading or whatever method they used to maintain their eyebrows and just say ‘to heck with it, I’m shaving these hateful jeezers off!” Some have over plucked and, ‘poof’, the eyebrows were gone before they knew what had happened. One person I knew preferred to have her eyebrows tattooed on for posterity while another person was just plain unhappy with what God gave her so she decide to start over for herself. And then there’s me.

I now fully and completely understand why some of the females in my family have shaved and continue to shave off their eyebrows. They were driven mad by the hormonal changes menopause threw at them and, in particular, the effects those changes had on their eyebrows.

Here are the changes that I have noticed to my hateful jeezers since menopause began laughing in my face:

  1. The eyebrow hairs are wiry and uncontrollable. How eyebrows suddenly have a mind of their own, I do not know. They are like strong-willed children who do what they want regardless of how many ‘time outs’ they have had.
  2. The hairs like to stand up on end. Nothing I do will make them lay back down with possibly the exception of glue, lots and lots of glue. Not that I would do it but one never knows what they would do in a moment of desperation. (Note to self: make sure never to have Krazy Glue at my disposal. That would be BAD.) Also, plucking the ‘stand at attention’ hair is not an option for I cannot afford to lose another hair. My eyebrows are both losing and growing hairs where they should not be doing so.
  3. The hairs are growing above, below, to the side of, and in between the natural eyebrows themselves. In short, they have gone rogue. How can eyebrow hairs be growing over by my temples or well above the brow itself? Are they unhappy with their present location and want to relocate?
  4. burt-unibrowWithout plucking the wayward hairs, I could easily grow a uni-brow. I kid you not. This is a true story.
  5. By the time I finish plucking, tweezing, fine tuning the second eyebrow, the first one has gotten out of control again. This is not an exaggeration. Come spend a week with me and I’ll show you.
  6. I can only see said wiry, stand up-ish, out of control, wayward, rogue hateful jeezers when using a magnifying mirror. Not only are my eyebrows betraying me, my eyes are too. No longer can I see anything up close without reading glasses or a magnifying mirror.

Here are the options I see before me:

  1. Avoid looking in the mirror. Extreme but perhaps necessary. I also wouldn’t notice the peach fuzz growing along my jaw line nor would I notice the princess glitter look of blonde hairs growing above my lip. I will not explore this menopausal facial hair realm right now as it will provide much fodder for another post.
  2. Avoid letting anyone within an eyebrow radius of my face. I may lose friends this way but it is a risk I would be willing to take. I could carry a ruler guide with me pointing out the correct distance a person must maintain from my eyebrows OR I could have my own eyebrow security team who would ensure that no one cross over the eyebrow radius. (Personal message me if you would like to apply for a position on my eyebrow security team. Keep in mind that the pay is poor [none] but you would be guaranteed to go on one hell of an adventure with me.)
  3. Enlist the help of someone younger and with better eyesight to do a weekly check and pluck. I had first thought I would get Sauerkraut to help me but I had forgotten that he is five years older than me and his eyes betrayed him way before mine did. He is of no help here. (Again, personal message me if you would like to apply as my eyebrow assistant keeping in mind the aforementioned statement about there being no pay but an incredible opportunity to have some fun.)
  4. Google hair removal options such as waxing, threading, laser, gel wand eyebrow shaper, natural homemade concoctions and whatever else is out there for removing rogue hairs. Who am I kidding? This is not going to happen; it’s just too much eyebrow-hacks-spoon-tips-trickreading about things that do not really interest me. I need someone to explain the options to me and outline the pros and cons of each option. (Hmmmmm, perhaps personal eyebrow assistant could research this for me??)
  5. Shave the jeezers off. While I believe the shaving part would be easy, it’s the drawing of the eyebrows back on that would be the challenge. Without a template to follow, I would be at a loss how to draw them back on. Add to that the odd MS hand tremor I take and, well, you get the picture. They wouldn’t be very pretty. Plus, I am fairly certain that I would forget that I had drawn them on and, at some point during the day, I would likely smudge the brow with my fingers leaving disjointed eyebrows, much like the lines on a highway signifying safe passing of another vehicle.

I don't draw them on clubSo what’s a girl to do? Well, honour The Eyebrow Pact, of course. Even though the pact was made flippantly some thirty years ago, I would never have made it then had I not held my eyebrows in the high esteem they deserve. Eyebrows have a serious function which is thought to prevent sweat, water and other debris from falling down into the eyes. If I were to shave them off, goodness knows what kind of stuff would be falling in my eyes. What if a bird was flying overhead and dropped a doodoo bomb onto my forehead and I only had a pencil line to stop it? There would be no stopping it, that’s what; the bomb doodoo would slide right down into my eyes which, as you can imagine, would be downright disgusting. The thought of that alone happening is deterrent enough for me.

I also believe that eyebrows are important for the sole purpose of communication and All at the same timefacial expression. A thin pencil line would not express the ‘evil eye’ that I like to utilize when I am trying to make a point. Imagine trying to express shock or surprise, anger or frustration, happiness or seduction, fear or confusion, boredom or intense focus, shame or disgust, contempt or embarrassment without natural eyebrows? It just would not be the same. And forget about trying to draw on those expressions with an eyebrow pencil; I am just not that talented.

For now, I think I’ll just be happy being me, rogue hairs and all. If you need me, though, I’ll be sitting in front of my magnified mirror every two weeks, plucking and tweezing those rogue hairs as well as educating my personal assistant in all aspects of “The Eyebrow Pact”.

Anyone else want in?

New stainless steel slant tweezers: 1

Urge to shave eyebrows: 0 (not yet anyway)

Never underestimate

 

men-OH!-pause

rip your head offI want to rip Sauerkraut’s head off and not for any particular reason either. I just do. This, of course, is completely irrational and horribly wrong. Sauerkraut is one of the good guys. He is kind, patient, loving, supportive, easy going, caring. His heart is big and generous. He does not have a spiteful bone in his body and, if I were to say that I wanted to go to the moon and back, he would figure out a way to get me there. He loves me even when I do not love myself. The last thing he deserves is to be living with this crazed wildebeest of a woman formerly known as his wife. You know, just like the artist formerly known as Prince only not as talented.

Welcome to menopause, my friends, and it is making our lives a living hell.

I do not know who I am anymore. Normally an even-keeled kind of gal, I can nowmenopause cartoon suddenly transform into the Incredible Hulk on a dime. All it can take is a look, a misinterpreted innocent statement, such as, ‘my you look beautiful today’, a lost set of keys, a request (would you like mustard or ketchup on your hamburger?) or feeling overwhelmed, and I can say things that I would never have said before. “What do you mean I look beautiful? What’s that supposed to mean? Why are you asking me if I want mustard or ketchup on my hamburger? You know I like both.” Yet, I know that had Sauerkraut not told me that I looked beautiful, I more than likely would have accused him of not caring about how I looked. Had he not asked what I wanted on my hamburger, I would have been Hulked out because of that too. “You didn’t ask me before putting both on my burger. I just don’t matter (sniff).” When he does say or do something nice for me like telling me he will bring in all the groceries AND put them away so I won’t “flash” as we call it, I dissolve into a crying, babbling eejit. Poor Sauerkraut, he doesn’t stand a chance. He is now damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

Menopause DefenseThis is certainly new for me though not by choice. I am usually the ever so easy to please one, the peacemaker, the witty comeback kid, the voice of reason, the go to gal, the one who understands why having and using a word filter is important and extremely necessary in certain situations. Now I don’t trust myself. I am afraid of what is going to come flying out of my mouth. I am afraid that I am going to offend someone. What if I said something inappropriate to someone sweet and innocent, like a nun, for instance, and next thing you know, I am in the frickin’ word jail for hurting a nun’s feelings? Just my frickin luck.

And don’t get me going on the hot flashes. They alone can make me ‘rage, rage against the dying of the night’. They come on when I least expect it. Sorting laundry can cause them. Setting the table, being silly, laughing, coming up a flight of stairs can cause them. The frozen section of the grocery store is now my new favourite place to hang out.
Freezer“Hey, girlfriend, how about meeting me for a tub of ice cream in aisle 10 and then we can get caught up on the latest gossip? Oh, by the way, be sure to wear your fleece-lined knickers so you won’t freeze.” Somehow it does not seem like an appealing way for a friend to spend time with me. I am getting that I don’t want to go out for fear I will “flash” just by walking into the store. Wearing a sundress does not seem appropriate in the middle of winter yet it would be the only way I would be able to keep cool. I can’t even hide the hot flashes when I am having them; I am so fair skinned that as soon as I feel one coming on, I know that my face is flushed and glistening with perspiration. Not that long ago, I was asked by a store associate if I was feeling okay. It took everything I had not to punch her in the face. I know that she was acting out of concern; after all, I looked like I had a fever of 110 degrees with my brightly red flushed face. I politely thanked her for her concern and told her that I was fine. However, inside my head I was yelling: “No, I am not okay. My effing hormones are making my life a living hell. It’s effing menopause, lady. Just you wait, your day is coming!” I can so see me being escorted out of the store by security.

noooo-god-no-god-please-no-no-noooooooooooooooooooooooo-meme-11363Then there is the depression, the blue days, the “I hate my life” days. I feel crazed, vulnerable. I suddenly lack confidence and feel trapped in a body I no longer recognize. I had to walk out of the craft store, Michaels, the other day because I was overwhelmed when I could not find the scrapbook paper I was looking for. Tears were welling up inside and I could feel the damn close to bursting. Who the heck has a meltdown in Michaels? Me, that’s who, the crazed Martha Stewart crafter. When I got out to the car all I wanted to do was scream at the top of my lungs, “Eve, this is YOUR frickin’ fault!! Why the eff did you have to eat that forbidden fruit? You Bitch!”  I am so going straight to hell.

All joking aside, the hot flashes, the depression and the mood swings are both unbearable and debilitating. In Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, I am an Eeyore when who I really want to be is a Tigger. The hot flashes control me and control how long I can perform a task, stay out, and talk comfortably with someone. The same goes for the depression and the mood swings. It is easier to stay at home than it is to commit to an outing with friends. I do not want to be Miss Party Pooper, Mrs. Debbie Downer, or Ms. Negative Nancy. Really, it is my way of protecting the rest of the human race from, well, me.  Or so I tell myself.

menopause meets insomniaMenopause is a vicious cycle. What I need more than anything is a good night’s sleep, yet with the recurring insomnia and the night sweats, it is impossible to attain. Then, if I do not get sleep, the depression rears its ugly head after a couple of days. Then, I am unable to get off the sofa which in turns leads to self-defeating internal thought processes. I have to work so hard at not berating myself for being lazy, unfocused and unmotivated. I have to remind myself that it is okay not to be perfect right now. I have to remind myself that this is something that is out of my control even though I so desperately want to control it. Oh, how I want my life back! I want me back. I want this all to go away.

Funniest_Memes_i-may-look-calm-but-inside-my-mind_10475But apparently it is not going to go away. Recently, a woman said to me, “I hate to tell you this but I am 70 and I still get hot flashes.” I wanted to clock her right then and there. But, I didn’t. Instead I just smiled and nodded like I cared. If she only knew the inside thoughts that I was having while she was speaking, she would never had said what she did. I swear if my inside thoughts ever explode, the world as we know it will be over. It will be flooded by an alphabet soup of swear words, inappropriate comments, sarcasm, visual images of head banging and face punching, eye rolling, and a whole slew of “blah, blah, blah, blah, blahs”.

Some of you reading this will think that I am exaggerating. Some of you will know that I am not (just ask Sauerkraut). Some of you may be scared as hell for what may be coming your way. The purpose of this post is neither to scare nor exaggerate. The purpose is merely to put it out there so that others will know that they are not alone. Hey, who am I Always laughkidding? The purpose is also for me to rant and rave about the whole miserable thing while, at the same time, laying the groundwork for future posts about the new things I tried to help me through this time in my life, why I did some of things I did, the results, the new antics I managed to get myself in to, etc., etc., because, if life has taught me anything, it is that it is waaaaaaay better to laugh about my situation than it is to cry about it.

Thankfully, life has also taught me that I am indeed a survivor (thank the Lord Baby Jesus for that!) and, because of that, I do know that I will get through this one way or another. While I do not know how long this menopause thing is going to last, I do know that eventually I will come out the other side in (hopefully) one piece, whenever, wherever that may be. Until then, may God help us all.

Laughter: 1

Heads Ripped Off: 0