How I Met My Husband…

John and I

 

Did I ever tell you about how John and I met?  It happened late one Saturday night, in January 2003 at a bar in Hong Kong. We met. We laughed. And, yes, we made-out like crazy teenagers. When the sun came up, our rendezvous ended, and we went our separate ways with a plan to meet the following weekend. Same place. Same time.  And so we did. And the story of “us” officially began.

Now, did I ever tell you about the events leading up to our meeting?  The ones that make me question whether or not destiny, herself, may have played a small hand in our union?

Well, I wrote a short story about it and it can be found in this fab new book!  Once Upon an Expat shares an ecclectic collection of funny and heart-tugging stories told by women writers from around the globe.  And I am so excited to have my story, A Man From Another Land, within its pages.

 

It’s available on Amazon and all author royalties will be donated to Books Abroad, helping promote literacy and education in developing countries.

 

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Exude it and it Will Come

Camel

If ever you feel insecure, or unsure, intimidated or out of your depth- just exude confidence and it will eventually come.

Exude confidence. This was my teenage mantra. I combined the two words back in the early ‘90s, while making my way through the tumultuous high school years. It makes me laugh now, because I remember feeling like the word: exude was all encompassing, and ever so powerful. Broken hearts, mean girl drama, disappointments and, of course, hormones. Each of these were made easier, with my mantra backin’ me up. Continue reading

Girl Drama & A Helicopter Mama

helicopter meme

tuka tuka tuka tuka tuka tuka tukA tuKA tUKA TUKA TUKA TUKA TUKA TUKA TUKA! 

Do you hear that? That’s me, helicoptering in. I’m flying low here, binoculars at the ready. I just can’t seem to help myself! I’m not always a helicopter parent, by the way. It’s just that lately I’ve been feeling compelled to keep a watchful eye over my middle daughter, Zed.

It seems things are getting a tad rocky on the friendship front. She and her girlfriends just aren’t as close and loyal to one another, as they once were. It’s bound to happen, I guess.

They’re testing out the friendships’ boundaries, through trial and error. I’m pretty sure unappealing feelings like jealousy and insecurity have been creeping in. Hormones may even be playing a part, here. Words (and silence) are being used as weapons and also as shields. They aren’t being as nice to each other as they once were and they’ve been falling out for weeks.

But this is how kids grow and learn. This is how kids develop their strength of character, right? I know… but being human can be complex at times. And I feel for my little Zed as she faces all this complication, alongside her friends.

I know how it is. I get it! I’ve been a little girl, and a bossy one to boot. I understand that all of this is a process that they need to navigate through. But it’s hard not to hover above, in my mom-copter!

This morning, at school drop-off, a few pals, who up until recently would have waited for Zed, didn’t wait. Instead they pretended not to see us and they just walked by, heads tilted in the opposite direction.

“That’s not very nice.” I’d said, loudly enough for the girls to hear. “You can walk with your sisters, Zed,” I added. So, that’s what she did.

I probably should have kept my mouth shut, but I didn’t.

It’s just that Zed is a thoughtful, kindhearted kid by nature. This is not to say that she hasn’t taken part in some of the current drama. I’m sure she has. But, most often, she treats people well and she likes to keep the peace (she is the middle child, after all). She’s a sweet girl and it’s hard to see her go through this. Though I know she’ll be okay.

So, I think it’d be best if, from now on, I fly my copter a wee bit higher. Zed and her friends will navigate through these growing pains in their own time, they don’t need me hovering around. But first, before I fly off into the distance to find the perfect look-out, I need to make a few calls to the other moms.

Did you know that Shannon Day and 36 other fab writers have created a book? Well, it’s actually a martini guide too. If you like funny, ridiculous, and heartstring-tugging stories of motherhood (+ easy-to-make martini & mocktini recipes) then you’ll love Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?!  Available now on Amazon.

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The Day I Cycled from Niagara to China: A Wine Tour Tale

From Pigs to Pinot

We’ve decided to do a wine tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake and I’m about to get on a bike for the first time in years.

Memories of being on a bicycle in China come to mind.

Our friends have their hearts set on cycling from winery to winery so with a hint of reluctance, we’ve agreed to it.

Like a child first learning to ride, I wobble and sway and then with an unstoppable smile and a genuine concern for my own safety… I’m off!

Off like the wind, not off in a ditch.

The sun is shining and I’m feeling wild and free because I don’t have to worry about the kids. They’re happy at home, doing crafts and having fun with my parents. And also because, riding a bike feels foreign, refreshing and so does the peacefulness of the nature around us.

Our laughter fills the air.

To the wineries we’ll go… Continue reading

An Open Letter to the Sweatpants that Almost Ruined my Marriage (Eva is right!)

Young woman at home sitting on modern chair in front of window r

You weren’t my usual type, yet I felt drawn to you at first sight. Your allure was undeniable, and before I knew it, my hands were all over you. Inspecting, caressing, and imagining you on me.  At the thought of all the things we’d do together, I made a decision then and there.  You were coming home with me.

$16.99 later, plus the $100.00 worth of additional and inevitable Target purchases, we exited the store and were homeward bound.

I could hardly wait to get out of my restrictive yoga pants and into you.

The sky was the color of you, grey. Not quite fifty shades of grey, but grey nonetheless.

It was the perfect kind of day for the two of us to share some quality couch time together.  I didn’t know it just then, but you were about to become my favorite mistake.

The moment I slid my legs into you, I knew you were a good fit. You felt like home to me—saggy and baggy in all the right places. I’d never felt so comfortable, so accepted. That moment marked the beginning of a love affair so foreign and all-encompassing that I became blinded for days, as to what was going on (or not going on) around me.

We’d become inseparable.

The moment I woke up, I reached for you… Ok, ok- who am I kidding?  We slept together every night.  I just couldn’t bear to part from you (I did shower, though!). It’s just that you felt so good.

I wasn’t ready to admit it, but the truth was: with you in my life, all other things had fallen to the wayside. My husband was away and, to be frank, I wasn’t even missing him.

It wasn’t until day three, that I started to tap into the adverse effects of our time together. We’d “become one” so quickly that I’d, sort of, lost my bearings. You were hindering my productivity and my connection with my husband.  He had called several times but… I was with you, on the couch and … I couldn’t move!  This needed to change but I felt completely helpless to your lure.

I would verbalize my intentions daily, hoping that would give you hints as to what I needed from you. “I am going to be cleaning this afternoon,” I’d announce each morning, feeling hopeful.  But when the evenings rolled around, I’d be no further ahead.  Still optimistic that you were good for more than just one thing, I’d end the day with plans for a better tomorrow. “What a busy morning I’ll be having,” I’d say, willing it to be true.

I’d wanted so much for you to have my back, for you to support me in the things that I needed to do. But you couldn’t do that, could you? You cared more about your own agenda, which was just being with me, on the couch.

Cracks in our union were starting to show.

And, I admit it- the affair was beginning to feel trashy. Dirty, even.

My daughter’s birthday party was the next day, and having indulged myself over the past days with you, I now had tons to get done around the house. So, I ignored your silent pleas and I went out to cut the grass.  I also decided to drain some rainwater off the pool cover, with a pump that would send the water across the front lawn and out onto the street. The decision to combine these two activities would be one that I’d soon regret. In the short term, anyway.

I was only a few laps into my lawn mowing venture, when a cruel twist of fate landed me on my ass. My foot had slipped in the waterlogged grass and somehow, I ended up with wet slicks of dirt on my left knee and on my right ass cheek. I was up in a flash, though, and with an energy level that you’d most certainly disapprove of, my lazy lover.

So, I finished cutting the grass looking like a lopsided Sasquatch.  I then went immediately back inside to do laundry. It was the first load I’d done all week.

And there it was. A forced separation. I felt naked without you as I squeezed into my yoga pants. Yuck. They felt awful. I was eager to get back into you, where I belonged, yet a little part of me knew that a break would do us both some good.

The dinner hour arrived, and then it was bath and bedtime. After that I vacuumed and dusted, hung up streamers, blew up balloons and filled goody bags. I was in motion again, and it felt pretty great. Many hours went by and, I’m sorry to say, you didn’t even cross my mind.

I’d forgotten about you. And, man, did I ever get a lot done!

We spent the rest of the night, and all of the next day, apart. It was a fun party and, if I’m honest, it wouldn’t have felt right having you there. You’re not really classy enough.

Sorry, but it’s the truth.

We were reacquainted later that night, and though it was good to be together again, something felt different. Had the washing machine rinsed away your appeal? It seems our time apart hadn’t made my heart grow fonder.  I didn’t know how or why, but the fact was, the spark just wasn’t there for me anymore.

The honeymoon period was officially over.  Our short-lived love affair had been a case of too much too soon, I’d say.  It’d been good while it lasted but you need to hear this, my dear sweatpants, you’re too needy! You’re also selfish and indulgent and the fact is: I’ve got shit to do! I’ve got a husband, you know. And a family who needs me. I’ve also got work to do and I just don’t have time for you, right now.

I’m sorry it had to come to this. I really am! But, Eva Mendes is right! Sweatpants cause divorce. With you around, there is no question in my mind, that my husband and I were heading for the big D!

So take heed and beware, ladies, sweatpants are more (much more) than just comfy…

Can a Mean Girl change her ways? That is the question…

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Remember them from high school?

Every school had ‘em (and they still do.)

Maybe you were one.

Or perhaps you were bullied by them.

I’m sure the decision to partake in the former was often an attempt to avoid facing the latter. A tough choice; an outcome of desperation, perhaps, or fear…

Fear that they’d be shunned by their group- left, without friends, to fend for themselves when, in fact, it could have been their chance to create some genuine friendships with other people.

Well, maybe…

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In the Meantime

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Ebbs and flows. This is the perspective that I try to apply to my own life and especially to the relationships that are important to me. What I mean by this is being open to the flow that happens naturally, trying not to panic when the tide is out. It means accepting its natural rhythm- one that isn’t always comfortable, one that doesn’t always fulfil or feed, one that sometimes takes more than it gives.

Continue reading