Thursday, November 19, 2009

Buy one get one free!

It's the season to be jolly. The discount deals on items from pens to panties are amazing. If you like shopping that is. And the places to shop are infinite. From the glossy malls, to the sometimes not so pretty alley shops that specialize in a vast array of everything, are a spend-thrift's paradise. So, why do I feel like I'm in hell every time I have to shop, even for home essentials?

By now you should have guessed that I'm not a 'let's go shopping' kinda gal. I would have blamed my parents here too, but both of them actually enjoy walking around aimlessly and buying the oddest of things. This has to be an acquired trait, probably stemming from all the aimless walking around I've done with my parents...Oh!! I can blame them!! My husband too is the shopper of the family. When he gets the time to shop it can escalate into hours of torturous, completely uncalled for meandering, which many a times results in bad tempers, aching legs and insatiable hunger (from the exercise), besides the non-purchase of merchandise. Needless to say I'm very reluctant to go out with him on a shopping spree, even if he's paying.

I am a man's best friend and a girls' worst nightmare. I go in with set ideas of what I want, always knowing which store has the items I need. I spend less than 5 minutes to get exactly those things on my itemized list. I spend less time shopping than I do on this computer.So, when I can't find the things I'm shopping for, it truly unnerves me.  The last few weeks have been particularly stressful. I've had a few items on my list that I just haven't been able to cross off, leading up to the surprise I've planned (read The Surprise). How am I going to be able to fullfil my end of the surprise when every store that I go to doesn't carry the necessary equipment? All this wasted time and stress is giving me an ulcer. I'm at my wit's end and my last pair of good shoes. I would have just given up by now, since there is only 1 day left, but I realized that while I dilly-dallied around finding the perfect things, I've managed to acquire some fabulous paintings for the house and other sundry things, that I actually have use for and weren't on my list.

I'd like to say that this is a win-win situation, buying a fabulous find instead of my regimented merchandise. But I find I prefer the 'Buy one get one free deals better", even if I have to pay for them, as long as I get what I went shopping for.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Surprise

Can you keep a secret? What I'm about to tell you must be guarded with the utmost of secrecy, until the time arrives to reveal it. Our relationship has now come to the point of no return, and I am about to entrust you with a plan that I have plotted. If revealed before its allotted time, the plot could have devistating effects on the parties concerned, namely me.

My co-conspirator (husband) has been tight lipped about the secret. But I find myself unable to maintain the same composure. Damn! I know I shouldn't be doing this, but I just can't seem to help myself. I'm honestly a very good secret keeper. Ask anyone who's shared their secrets with me. I just can't seem to contain myself when it's something conjured from the depths of my diabolical mind, especially when it's this good. No, wait. Back track. It's not the secret per se, I think it also has to do a lot with who I'm keeping the secret from. In this case, it's my three children. So you can imagine how hard this is for me. To date I haven't kept anything secret from them...never had to.

When I was a child, no bigger than my oldest, I had a way of knowing what my mom was thinking or going to do. My mom, on the other hand, learned a little late that she couldn't keep secrets from me (spilled the beans on her). Since then my mom and I made a pact never to hide secrets from each other, which, I've had no problems keeping my end of. What bothers me now though, is I have a sinking feeling that my oldest has the same ability to guess my secret. I've been avoiding all her questions concerning the surprise. I'm such a ditz, that I even told her that there was going to be a surprise, then had to physically clamp my mouth shut. How am I going to get through this without ruining it?

So, this is me getting the secret off my chest. I've planned a surprise for my children, to which they have an on going countdown. As per their last count there are 7 days left to the surprise. My youngest asked me if it was big or small and I replied Really Big! That seemed to please them a lot. Was it as big as their room. It was bigger than the building in which we live (that's big!!). So,exactly how big was this surprise? As big as your heart, was my reply. That really confused my middle child. What are you talking about? My heart is so small. True, but it's as big as the love you can hold in it. All I got for that was a collective roll of the eyes.
My oldest then proseeded to bluntly tell me: Ma, just tell us what the surprise is and spare your torture.
You want to know the secret too?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wax on, Wax off!

Today, after a long time, I've actually done something stupid. Yes, I'll be the first one to admit it, and to top it all, I'm in physical pain because of it. I'm convinced, after my escapade today, that men have it easy. They don't have to endure the kind of physical pain women have to endure in our daily lives. We bear their children, and as if that wasn't enough, we torture ourselves to look beautiful for their sakes. What is wrong with us?
I am, as many of you may know, very low maintenance. I'm really not into the long, expensive trips to the salon for anything, other than my biannual haircut. My self grooming and beautification routine lasts 15 minutes every month, which still feels long every time I get down to doing it. I had found many years ago(20) that it was a waste of time and money, not to mention excruciatingly painful to undergo the tormenting rituals of being pretty. Why would I want to improve on perfection right? I had vowed never to subject myself to the sadistic sequence of beauty care, which left many of my friends temporarily scared (physically), and me for life (mentally).

Haircuts need professionals to be performed. I would never trust myself with my own hair, although my kids have no alternatives. But the rest of my body is easily dealt with at home, pain free, in fraction of the time & money, and by me. So, why do so many women subject themselves to the callous hands of the 'beauty salon person' (or whatever the appropriate term may be)? Is it to feel pampered? I personally don't think having your eyebrows or other body hair being ripped out by someone I've never met, don't trust, and whose hygiene may be questionable, as being pampered. It should be punishable by law. But alas, I may be one of the very few women who thinks so.

That was until today. For someone who barely tweezes her eyebrows, has never waxed (completely) in her life, I talked myself into doing just that. What an idiot!! The fact that I was scantly clad in a stained gown, in a freezing room didn't affect me. It was when I realized that waxing requires wax, heated to a temperature enough to embalm you, that I let my fear take hold. I have delivered three children without the help of pain medications, but today I needed a full body anesthetic. As if the hot wax hadn't completely scared me out my wits, I let the girls performing the procedure apply the piping goo, cover it with some sort of strip and OH MY GOD!!

No. I've decided never to fall prey to my own curiosity again, as least not in someone else's hands. I prefer living on the razor's edge and being cut, than being plucked like a chicken, for the sake of beauty.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Work it Baby!!

Fitness to me is like glue, if you work it between your fingers long enough it becomes a small malleable elastic ball, that you can squeeze into any hole. Maybe not the most apt metaphor, but I am relatively new to the world of gyms, treadmills and weight machines. I have to admit, up until a year ago, you couldn't make me move out of a comfortable position if my life depended on it. So what changed? It was a challenge of sorts...and I'm a sucker for a dare. A good friend of mine had the audacity to tell me that I would end up like my mother, when she was my age. Now that's an insult anyway you look at it. Sorry ma, but you know what I mean. Since then I'm made it a point to work out, whether it's a swim during the summers or running on the dreaded treadmill, I try to get in at least 3 one hour sessions a week. Not bad for one of the laziest persons you'll ever know (this can be certified by my parents and my husband).

I'm lucky to have a fully equipped gym in the apartment complex I live in. I've taken it upon myself to work out during the week, to make up for the weekends of binge drinking and crashed diet. Yeah I'm usually in pain for most of the week. That's why the binge drinking, numbs everything! So, for the last 6 months I've diligently followed my exercise routine and seen some great results, except for one. The people around me don't seem to change. I'm always surrounded by the usual suspects.

The old obese lady, probably in her late 60s, who's just realised that exercise may help her. She's the one who always occupies the stationery bike, and is on it for the longest time at the slowest speed. To avoid her, I'd started going to the gym half hour early. The problem is that she started coming earlier we are at an impasse with the bike situation.
The Grunter. He's my personal favorite. This guy is a well built, muscular chap, who sole aim in the gym world is to attain climax with his weights. Every time he enters there's a collective groan from the women, which can't be a good sign. He starts off with a 2 minute warm up, that's relatively quiet. He then proceeds to grab the heaviest weights, his beautifully sculpted arms can carry, without toppling over. What ensues is an immediate cacophony of continuous, testosterone filled grunts, which quite frankly leave me breathless. His 25 minute work out has me, by the end of it, red in the face with embarrassment, yet a high, which doesn't belong in the gym. Now you know why he's my favorite.
The social butterfly (male and female). I have the misfortune of having a pair of completely unrelated gym buddies, who have taken it upon themselves to socialize with nearly everyone as they work out. There is no bigger put off than having to answer stupid and sometimes disarmingly personal questions while in the middle of a 30 minute run at high speed. These two seem to also be the stretchers of the group, as their entire routine consists of stretching their leg and mouth muscles.
The singer is the most irritating of the lot. Every gym has, to my limited knowledge, music of some sort blaring, while mere mortals like me endure the hour long slog in hopes of health and vitality. The singer, insists that the loud music isn't loud enough, and turns up the volume to supply it to other gyms in the area (closest one 4 miles away). To further humiliate himself, he proceeds to sing each of the songs in the most spine-chillingly shrill voice that could drive away the dead. I need to have a word with him!

There are plenty of disturbing elements at work in the gym, and lately I've noticed that their number is growing. I'd like to have them thrown out, but have come to realize that it's not what your doing during the workout that matters, most of the time, but the fact that these people are making a sincere effort to improve their health. So, no matter how much I want to punch the creepy guy staring at me through the mirrors from the opposite end of the room, I know I'm there to be as fit as I possibly can, not just for myself, but mostly for those who depend on me; my kids, family and community.

Friday, November 6, 2009

In Memorandum

Words are not enough to describe the loss I feel since you've been gone. I'd never once paid you the kind of attention you deserved, and for that I'm truly sorry. You were the very essence of my being. You kept me playful and silly, funny yet honest with myself, and above all beautiful. I'd always taken you for granted, knowing full well you'd leave me one day, but stubbornly pushing that fact out of my full mind. You incited thoughts and feelings that only you could conjure up. I was never for want of a friend as long as I had you to confide my craziest secrets to.

My strength endures today because of your irrepressible encouragement that I could do whatever I wanted, until it was no longer right. You made me fearless when faced with challenges, many of which I would never replicate again without you. I was the tomboy in my girlie world, yet feminine enough to warrant my father's sternest protection, only because of you. You pushed me to be vain, showing me the world as other saw it, but never letting me lose sight of who I really was or would become. Impermeable to others' opinions, you influenced me to be the same. Selflessness, charity, love, positivity, care-free attitude were some of the seeds mom sowed but you cultured and cultivated, giving your own twist to my sobriety.

I've mourned my losses before, but today for the first time I realize what it means to have loved and lost, without knowing. You were the greatest friend a girl could have had. I will miss you dearly but will go on to build on what you started, a better me. Goodbye youth.