Beauty, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Women

…I thought it was my Ab’s

“I thought it was my Ab’s!”. A phrase exclaimed, in a morphine induced haze, by yours truly while laying on an exam table in the E.R. of my local hospital. Long story short, I had been working out, trying to lose weight and tone up and was so excited that my tummy was feeling firm. I hadn’t been feeling well, been feeling discomfort that I was putting down to being 37 and working too much and working out too hard. I was having trouble with stomach pains when I ate certain foods, again, put it down to age. Little did I know that in the course of 13 months, (I know it was 13 months because during my physical the year before – no abnormalities were present) my body had decided to grow a fibroid on top of my uterus. A fibroid measuring 20cm x 11cm x 14cm – hence the pain – this little devil was pushing all my internal organs up and over to my right side. Long story short – a hysterectomy soon followed, no cancer present and yes, I still weep a little that it wasn’t my Ab’s….I had never had a firm stomach.

The point to today’s tale? To make yourself a priority. To keep yourself off the back burner. I had been feeling “unwell” for months, chalking it up to working too much, eating the wrong food, pushing 40, you name it. I should have called my Doctor. To be completely honest – I was hoping it was my Ab’s, but something in me thought it felt weird, but was too fearful to find out what it may be. In my case, I was damn lucky that it wasn’t cancer, that the fibroid hadn’t attached itself to my intestines, kidneys or any other internal organ.

Everyday at the shop I hear women make little comments about their health like “It’s probably nothing”, “I’ll call the doctor if it doesn’t get better in a few weeks”, “It’s probably normal”, or like yours truly, ” I think I’m getting Ab’s!”. For some reason, as women, we put ourselves last. We put work, our friends, our lovers, our kids ahead of ourselves. I see women buy a flat iron for their daughter before buying one for themselves, buying their mother the newest flavor of OPI Avojuice hand cream even though they love the scent, or buying Gehwol MedSalve for cracked skin foot cream for their friend who suffers from painful heel cracks as she is need of the same cream. We are so busy concerned with others that we forget about ourselves. Sure, we say our husband’s need us, that our kid’s need us and that’s why we put ourselves last. Well ladies, the jig is up – those are excuses and you know it. If we truly mean that they need us – we would be taking care of ourselves to the best of our abilities so we can be there for them.  Ladies, it’s time to take care of ourselves. Plain and simple.

Here’s the deal. If something seems strange, or something just feels off – call your doctor. If it’s nothing – great! If it is something – the sooner it is dealt with, the better. I know it’s a scary thought. No one likes waiting for test results. No woman enjoys a pap smear. Stool samples are messy and hospital gowns are not becoming, no matter their color. Dealing with a health issue as soon as it pops up also ensures less trauma to you, your family, your physical health and your emotional health – if I had gone to my Doctor as soon the question “what’s that?” popped into my head, I would have had a laparoscopic surgery to remove my uterus – instead I had to have it removed the old fashioned way with a 6 inch scar to prove it. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t care about the scar – my recovery would have been easier and less days spent in the hospital, and less worry for my hubby and my girl.

When our loved ones are under the weather or in pain, we get them and give them all the love, attention and help they need. You are worthy of the same love and attention and help. You are. …You are.

 

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, parenting, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Deal with it.

The last month has been a real eye opener, not only at the Salon, but everywhere I look, and with every conversation I have. Maybe the planets are aligned..or misaligned for that matter. Maybe it is due to getting the stupid cut out (hysterectomy). Maybe it is that I am on the cusp of my 42nd birthday…who knows. All I know is this, “If you don’t deal with your shit…your shit is gonna deal with you” (came across this a few months ago…and ain’t it the truth). From a woman who thought that becoming a blonde at home would be nice & easy and make her partner take notice, a woman thinking that a pixie cut was all she needed to make her boss see her worth for that promotion to V.P. of marketing and a woman thinking she had everything under control because she made a list everyday…I have seen it all. What did they all have in common? Masking the real issues…not dealing with their shit. No amount of box dye will fix the problems in the bedroom, or will take chocolate brown tresses to platinum blonde. A great hair cut may get you some attention, but a great head shot does not a great V.P. make. As for the list maker, sure, you may be organized, but as you check off “sew button on shirt”, your child may have hurt feelings that need mending. You checked off “pick up cupcakes” for the family celebration…but you weren’t present. “Pick up prescriptions” -checked off, listened to hubby’s response to how he was feeling – but didn’t really hear him. Ladies & Gents, I know of what I speak, for yours truly is the list maker. It took me almost 42 years, I finally realized, lists are great, for the grocery store, for daily chores. They are meant to keep your tasks organized – not your life. Big difference. HUGE.

Sorry to disappoint, I will not be sharing the personal tales of my own shit dealing with me – for not all the tales are mine to share and I respect the privacy of my beautiful girl and my lovely hubby. The purpose for today’s tale is to remind you, and myself to ease up, slow down, pay attention and be present. It is true Beauties – if you don’t deal with your shit…your shit is gonna deal with you – and your shit doesn’t care what time of day, where you are or who you are with…it’s gonna pop up and deal with you. So take it from me, it’s best to deal with it, what ever it may be. Shit ain’t always pretty – hence the fitting name – shit. It’s gotta be dealt with. It’s gotta be said. It’s gotta be hashed out, then it’s gotta be put down and left there. Not just for those you love, but for yourself.

– want to spice it up in the boudoir? Talk to your partner…sometimes renting a movie (nudge nudge, wink wink) is all you need to get new idea’s brought up…pun intended.

– if your partner thinks blondes are more fun, save yourself the cost of a color correction and buy a wig – trust me…they aren’t looking at your hair color… they’re not.

– want that new promotion? Get your credentials together. Put together a presentation about you and why they need you – not why you need them.

– when someone is speaking to you, listen to them. Really hear them. Put down your phone, look up from your laptop, mute the television and pay attention. If you aren’t listening, you can miss what is being said, and damage can be done, feelings can be hurt.

– when someone is ill or has a health issue – let them bring it up. They know what they are going through, they know how they are feeling. They do not need to be reminded of it, with every conversation.

– when your child wants to speak to you, stop and listen. It may be about the cute puppy they saw on YouTube or it may be about the funny thing their bff said. It may also be about how they are feeling about their reflection…pay attention.

 

As for lists, if you have to make a list, remember it is only a piece of paper with some things written on it. It will not explode in 10 minutes if all tasks are not crossed off by 2 p.m. …something I gotta remember.

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women, writing

It’s been awhile

First and foremost, I gotta thank you all for your patience and your support over the past weeks. It has been over 3 weeks since my newest tale, yet you all kept reading my tales from the archives and sharing my tales, and for this I must thank you. On to the tale at hand.

It’s a new year. (Yes, I realize it’s February). I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions. I tend to make up my mind and go forward, no matter the date. This year, as I was sitting in the emergency room with my hubby (no worries – not his heart – he broke his ankle on New Years Day),both of us were joking and giggling with each other. One – of the absurdity of his luck, and two – it was the first time in 2 years we were at the hospital in the early morning instead of the wee small hours of the morning and he was waiting to be fitted for an air cast, not hooked up to monitors and being poked and prodded. It was then and there I realized it’s been awhile since I gave over and was just grateful. I resolved to myself to go forward with love from now on. Decided that whatever got in my way, negative or positive, I would thank it, and give it love. When push comes to shove, we have no control of what will happen, we only have control of what we think and how we deal. I will admit, I have had a few moments of weakness, like the day I told the 5 foot snow drift to fuck off because the snow kept blowing back in my face. – hey – hubby broke his ankle the same month Mother Nature decided to show us what she was really made of. Back to the tale at hand.

The weather in my neck of the woods has been cold, snowy and not very sunny. So, I understand why some people are grumpy, but at the end of the day, we can’t control Mother Nature, we can only control our nature. I have heard, over and over about how unfair it is that dinner plans had to be changed because of bad weather. I have heard about how unfair it was to come back from a sunny vacation to a snowy mess. I have heard how unfair it is that now your hair is dry and frizzy because of the weather. All of these things are worth a pout or two, and then it’s time to move on.Think about it, these are all things you have control over. You do. Dinner plans may have been changed, remember –  dinner will still be eaten. You miss the sun & surf of your vacation, remember – you got to go on vacation.Your hair is dry and frizzy, remember – with the proper products, your dryness and frizz will be a thing of the past. Over the past weeks dear friends have endured things they have no control over. They have lost both parents, have lost their friends to illness and addiction, have lost their beloved pets, have broken their wrists (and ankles) – these are things that are deserving of more than a pout or two…your frizz…not so much.

I do believe it’s time to be thankful. It’s time to give it some love, what ever it may be. Frustrated at the wind chill factors? Be thankful you have a home – many are hoping they get to the shelter on time for a bed. Pissed off that your hat made your hair frizzy? Be thankful for the frizz, then go through your closets and donate the coats and hats you no longer wear to your local women’s shelter. Ticked at the traffic jam? Be thankful you are not in the accident that caused the traffic jam and send some love to those who were. Frustrated that you are always shoveling? Be thankful that it was a broken ankle and his heart is on the mend.

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Change of Plan

I work in a Salon. I know when you think of a Salon, you picture laughter, coffee being sipped, gossip about the latest escapades of the neighbors and the smell of perm solution. Most days that is exactly what it looks and sounds like. Unfortunately life isn’t always so kind or easy. Some days, we are helping someone rebuild their lives. Some days we are helping someone have their hair “just so” to attend the funeral of a loved one. Some days we are helping a woman make the decision of shaving her head before all her hair falls out because of the chemo. Some days we are pampering our clients and taking an few extra minutes because we know it is the first time they have had for themselves in weeks because they are the caregiver of a loved one. Some days, we share our dreams of what we thought our life was going to look like. Some days, we are helping one another find our new normal.

When I was young, I had a vision of what my life would be. I was going to be a lawyer, living in SOHO in an awesome apartment with a fridge that was stocked with champagne and left over Chinese food from the fabulous place around the corner. I was never going to be married and no kids. Fast forward to 1992, he walked by and plans changed. Over a coffee that lasted 6 hours I had a new vision of what my life would be. I had no idea the career path I would take ( realized I wanted to be a lawyer on T.V. more than a lawyer…Hill Street Blues…enough said). What I did know was he was going to be in my life for a very long time, and for the first time in my life, I could see myself walking down the aisle, plans changed. Fast forward to 1996 and much to my surprise I find myself thinking it is time for us to try to have a baby. Poor hubby didn’t get much time to get used to the idea – got pregnant literally two weeks after going off the pill. You know it’s quick when your Doctor says “Did you just do it last night Sara?”, plans changed. Once our lovely, beautiful girl was born , as all parents do, we dream. We dream of our child’s future, and on those sleepless nights we dream of our lives alone with our beloved once the child has grown. Oh come on! All parents think of this…you know you do…the jig is up. Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2011. My hubby had a heart attack. Plans changed. While he was being admitted to the CCU, I sat alone in a blue waiting room, staring out the window at the night sky and said goodbye to best laid plans. As I sat there, I wasn’t thinking of the trips we didn’t take, I didn’t think of things we hadn’t done. I sat there thinking of how it felt to have my husband’s hand in mine. I thought of the sound of my husband’s and daughter’s laughter in unison. The dreams of travel and summer homes weren’t so important anymore, plans changed.

Fast forward to present day. Hubby’s heart is strong, so strong that he ran on treadmill for his stress test for over 10 minutes. (which made me realize it was time to get my lazy ass off the couch ‘cuz I didn’t have a heart attack and couldn’t run for 2 minutes -let alone 10). To support my beloved we changed our diet, we cut out the junk. We bought an exercise bike, we go for walks, we went for a hike to see the waterfalls that I didn’t know were a 45 minute drive from my home. Some days our plans change because my hubby isn’t feeling so great – be it from the medication or life stresses. (The heart and stroke foundation have a wonderful video series explaining the emotional/mental toll that heart attack/stroke can take on the patient – http://www.heartandstroke.ca ). Many friends and loved ones understand this, some, sadly do not, and that is okay, that is their journey, this is mine. Plans changed.

Plans change. Some times the road you are travelling is a dead end and you have to turn around, plans change. You thought you would look like Jessica Rabbit with red hair but you ended up looking like Ronald McDonald – back to the salon you go, plans change. You said you would never marry or have kids, plans change. You thought your life was going to be different, plans change. What I have learned – the plans change, for the better.

Beauty, communication, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Whatever floats your boat

Something has been playing on my mind as of late, and being me I gotta talk about it, I gotta. Working at a Salon, I hear lots of tales, of happiness, of despair, of births and deaths and everything in between. The tales that I find the most upsetting are those of shame. Grown women being ashamed of their bodies, their body image or lack there of and of their sex life. Unless you were in a convent or in a coma, I am sure you have heard of or read 50 shades of grey.  I know that most of our clientele has read it or heard about it. I read the trilogy.Twice. Yeah…I said it. Some of the women spoke openly about it and we shared some cackles and blushes. Some of the women whispered about it, afraid that if they spoke openly and loudly about their book club choice that they would be judged. Some women hid the fact they were reading it because they didn’t want their husbands or best friends judging them, they didn’t want people thinking they were a slut. One woman I know was ashamed that she liked what she read and this is why I am writing this today.

When we are young, we are always being told to be a “good girl” and “nice girls” don’t behave like that – be it wearing too much lipstick, a low cut blouse, teasing our hair, kicking boys in the shin or kissing them in the back seat. What I have come to realize is this. Grown  women forget that they are grown women now, not little girls under the ever watchful judgmental eye of society. If what you wear or how you choose to live your life makes you happy and is YOUR CHOICE, there is no shame to be had.

Forgive me ladies for what I am about to say. We prejudge our husbands/partners and don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Yeah…I said it. You know it’s true. We are all guilty of it. So many women I know that read 50 shades said “there is no way I am telling my husband I liked that book! He’ll think I am  a freak!” to which I always answered “He probably will and he will be over the moon!”. Some ladies laughed, others just stared and I could see their wheels of judgement begin to turn, to which I began to sing to myself…Big wheel keep on turnin’, Proud Mary keep on burnin’.

Too many women let the opinions (or what they think are the opinions) of the general public decide their fate. Some things you must realize. There will always be someone who will point a finger in judgement. You know the people I am talking about, the ones who would have judged Christ himself “How could the son of GOD make water into wine?!?!”. Get used to it and try your best not to let it get to you. If you want to wear thigh high boots and mini skirts because it makes you feel beautiful, do it. If having platinum blonde hair extensions makes you feel sexy and attractive, wear them. If you like how your eyes look while wearing false eyelashes, apply them and bat away. If you like to read erotica and it helps you and your better half have a more intimate relationship in and out of the bedroom, read away. If judging others floats your boat, row away. Far, far away.

Beauty, Business, communication, health and wellness, Uncategorized, writing

An attack of thanks

I live in Canada and this coming weekend is our Thanksgiving holiday. This has been an interesting week for me. You see, in 2011, on the Thanksgiving weekend, my husband had a heart attack. I was at work on the Saturday when he called to say he had come home from work early, he wasn’t feeling well. He told me how he was feeling and I told him to get to the hospital and  would meet him there. Thankfully my mother lives down the street so she drove him and kept a loving watch over our daughter. After I called my boss who told me “close the shop…don’t worry about it.” a woman walked in the shop saying she was looking for a blow dryer. I told her I was closing up because my husband was on the way to the hospital, “It looks like a heart attack” I said, to which she responded “So you’re not gonna sell me a blow dryer?” I shit you not. That is what she said. I told her to get the hell out. It just came out. All I could think of was my husband, my daughter, my life, the feeling of my husband hugging me, the way his hand looked and felt in mine and I needed to get to him. As she left the store she shook her hands at her husband saying “she won’t sell me a hair dryer!”. Wow.

Long story short, no damage was done to the heart muscle, hubby had an angioplasty done. Seems his D2 artery was malformed from birth, hence the heart attack. Eight days later my Dad had a heart attack. He had an extra artery that was blocked. Again, no damage to the heart muscle. Those two, always competing for my attention.

So, as I said earlier, it’s been a strange week for me. As strange as this sounds, I am thankful for all of it, the heart attacks, the rude customer, all of it. Because of my experience with the doctor’s and the hospitals, I was able to help my mother, I could honestly say “I understand.”. I was reminded of all the reasons I love my husband. I remembered all the special memories of my father, things I hadn’t thought of in decades. I was able to show my daughter strength and how to look fear in the eye and kick it’s ass. I am thankful for such an understanding boss and the support of the best Salon team in existence. I am thankful for the “blow dryer rant” for now I am able to deal with crazy, rude customers…it just rolls of my back.

What I am getting at is this. Don’t wait until the Thanksgiving holiday to be thankful for what you have. No, I am not having an Oprah “AHA” moment and no, I haven’t found my savior…it is the right thing to do, plain and simple. Live your life, love your family and yourself, do what is best for you and your loved ones,hug your children, visit your parents, laugh every day. Oh…and it won’t kill you to wait for a blow dryer…trust me.

 

Beauty, communication, health and wellness, Uncategorized

A Bluming notion…

I woke this morning, smiled and cheered “hello” to my teenage daughter, grabbed my cup of  joe and my new smartphone and sat down to hear one of my new favorite sounds, a whistle. (my choice of notification notice). I open up my new found twitter account to see some tweets about Judy Blume and all of a sudden I am flooded with childhood memories. Sitting on my butterfly quilt reading “Otherwise known as Sheila the Great” realizing that I too was normal. Reading “Starring Sally J. Freedman as herself” and imaging I was Sally and wondering what it must be like to be her. Sitting in the living room of the house we were about to move from reading “Are you there God? It’s me Margaret” realizing I wasn’t alone and turning 13 was gonna be okay. Being 16 and working on my tan in the backyard reading “Forever” and all the while I was reading it couldn’t believe it was my mother who gave it to me.

As all these memories flooded my mind I came to realize I need to thank Judy Blume. Her books were my friends, they were there no matter what, I could go back to them whenever I needed them, without judgement. You see, she helped me feel normal as I was growing up. I came to realize that I was like some of her character’s and people thought her character’s were pretty and funny and intelligent so that means I must be also. Among others who will be mentioned when the need arises, Judy Blume  helped this woman feel pretty and normal as she was growing up. (I know…quite the “lightbulb” moment while on my first cup of coffee at 6 a.m.).

I am telling this tale today in hopes that it will rekindle the love of yourself (and of reading) and everything that is beautiful about yourself. We all have the younger version of ourselves tucked away and stored in a closet or drawer (I don’t  know how you decorate your house of memories…mine is an old Victorian cottage) and it is time to bring them out into the sun. It is time to remember who we were in our youth – that is who we really are – you know – before the world got at us and tried to tell us who we were and what we should be.

Today, have fun. Laugh. Be who you want to be. I’ll be busy re introducing myself to me and getting my daughter my stash of Judy Blume books.