Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hey Aunt Flo! Don't go away mad...just go away!

You wake up, often in a sweat, you're sure it must be nearly morning and then you look at the clock beside your bed and think, Shit! Not again. For me, it's usually around 3:00 am. But sometimes, like tonight it was 12:30 am. Barely asleep for two and a half hours, I lie awake, wide awake. Welcome to peri-menopause. So far this remains my most annoying and inconvenient symptom indicating that change is on the horizon. The dreaded sleep disturbances without the benefit of the cessation of the monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Aunt Flo, that bitch, she keeps turning up and getting more annoying all the time. I remember the first time an old girlfriend referred to "Aunt Flo". I had never heard the term before, but it stuck with me. However, I'm not here to talk about her; I'm here to talk about the days, weeks, months and years that lead to her disappearance. Like tonight. Here it is, somewhere around 1:00 am now, and while the rest of the house snores and slumbers, I sit here, wondering if I will eventually feel tired enough to go back to bed and finish what started off as a potentially good night's sleep. Not one to resort to sleep medication, unless it comes in a heady red or a crisp fruity white, I have to rely on my own devices to head back to the land of nod. I take refuge in this blog, or catching up on email correspondence. When that doesn't do the trick, I read for awhile or as a last resort, head to the kitchen for the proverbial glass of warm milk. I am thinking I may have to head there shortly. First however, allow me to mention that I know I am not alone in my quest for the perfect night's sleep. Women my age complain to me all the time about the very same problem. Occasionally, when I am firing off emails at 3 or 4 in the morning, one will arrive for me from one of my peers, obviously having her own middle of the night wanderings. It's like a secret club. We all know we're out there in various semi-darkened rooms busying ourselves with quiet tasks so as to not disturb the rest of the family. Sometimes we have to change our bed clothes thanks to the "night sweats"; another charming feature of this stage in life. As an interior decorator, I often get some of my best, most creative ideas during these nocturnal awakenings. Some minor glitch that had been challenging a project during the day suddenly sorts itself out almost magically at three in the morning. Go figure. I think peri-menopausal women should be able to put in for overtime pay when you consider how many of us are actually "working" in the wee wee hours of the morning. But how do we prove it? Perhaps we need to start keeping a time log of the hours we spend when no one can see us. Still, who would believe us and who would really care anyway? So there, that helped a bit. I am feeling a little less alert now. It's chilly here too and I am starting to think about being warm again. Time for that glass of warm milk and my second attempt of the night to sleep. Wish me luck. Good night....again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer got nothing on me!

This is officially the longest I have gone without writing a blog.....I think. It seems that way anyway. One week. Seven days. Where did they go? I have been swamped at work, crazy busy at home (reno-hell) and just generally stretched in too many directions to find the time. Even now, this minute, I should really be doing about ten other things, but it occurred to me I might enjoy doing this more than some thankless chore, so here I am. I know things are bad when I am planning to go into the office on my day off on Friday as I see no other way to meet a couple of deadlines other than burning a little midnight oil so to speak. I have a client on the other side of the world in a different time zone, making things more complicated than usual. I have clients right here in the city waiting for elaborate design proposals by Sunday, and that, combined with the demands of family and self-preservation are posing quite the juggling act for me currently. So tonight, when I walked through the door later than usual, planning to get into my workout gear and hop on the treadmill, my inner voice said "no". It told me to get into my pajamas, grab a glass of wine and chill in front of the boob tube instead. So that is what I did. I have competed with my daughter at Wheel of Fortune, then Jeopardy and following that, I tuned into American Idol and ate a bowl of popcorn.....with butter. Sometimes, I find when I have been going full speed day after day after day, the day comes when I just have to be a slug. So it only made sense that I would ignore the dryer full of clothes that need folding, the bathrooms that need cleaning and sit here in front of my computer and hammer out a few words instead. But once I sat down, I felt so wiped out, I didn't really even have any clue about what to write, so in the spirit of Seinfeld, I have just written a blog about nothing. Did you notice? Hope not.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What's the statute of limitations on belated birthday celebrations?

Anyone who knows me even the least little bit knows I have never been a big fan of the birth date I got stuck with. That's right - I was a Christmas baby - well almost - December 27th - close enough. Over the years I have threatened to officially change my birth date to June 27th so I could have a lovely outdoor garden party, dressed in a summer frock and a slight tan, sipping a cocktail by the pool. But noooooo, I am stuck in the week between Christmas and New Years', the dreaded week where I am completely partied out from all the weeks of socializing leading up to Christmas and trying to save one last push of small talk for a possible New Year's fete before the start of resolution season. Because of the inconvenient date of my birthday, many of my friends have suggested belated dinners and lunches in the month of January when my schedule is freed up and I might actually enjoy a meal out once the holidays are past. And they are right. So, in recent years, this is how it has gone. Mid to late January tends to be the time I join my friends for my birthday. Today was no exception. I just got home from a lovely dinner out with a couple of my closest friends and I appreciated it far more than I would have in December. This afternoon at work, the staff gathered in the lunch room for a little surprise birthday cake (actually it was fruit skewers with yogurt dip in honour of my aversion to sugar) with two candles (guess they think I am much younger than I am!) and it was a lovely gesture that although late, was much appreciated. Then, when I got home and checked my email, there was an invite from my tennis ladies for yet another belated gathering with them. Three different birthday plans on the same day, almost an omen to officially change my birthday to today - January 13th. But I am also a little superstitious, so I am not comfortable with the thirteenth either, so now I'm not sure if I should just go with my original plan of June 27th or keep it closer to the date it actually is - December 27th. Such a serious matter. What to do? What to do? So, I thought, why not take a vote? What do you think? Help me pick a date. Help me enjoy the next 50 birthdays on a date other than December 27th. Send your vote for your choice for Deb's new birth date. Solve my dilemma. Let's bury the old date for once and for all. All suggestions will be considered. (But only if I like them.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Half of these cards are from dead people!

There's nothing like being forced to prepare for tradesmen coming into your house to get you to go through your drawers and cupboards with an eye for ruthlessness. My china cabinet has been stuffed to the max for years now with stuff I didn't even realize I owned as it turns out. I finally had to face the bulging drawers and shelves because it had to be emptied in order to move it away from the wall for the electricians that are arriving on Tuesday. I hate to admit it but I am a bit of a pack-rat. I found partially empty packets of napkins with clowns on them from a birthday party I threw for my daughter about 10 years ago, an assortment of paper plates in groups of 2, 3 or 4, in varying patterns that I would not even use if I had to they were so dated and ugly. There were dozens of half melted candles in an assortment of colours that I thought I might use again, but never did. The list goes on. I used to scour garage sales for treasures. Many of the things I thought of as treasures at one time, looked like complete junk to me now. I had the boxes all lined up. Keep. Toss. Good Will. Store. I had no idea one china cabinet, one armoire and one bookcase could hold so much. I got rid of vintage linens I had collected. If they were stained, they went. If something was ugly or useless, it went. It was cleansing. There was a drawer in my antique bookcase at the bottom of the stacked rows of shelves that was full of old greeting cards - easily 15 years worth. There were so many, I could no longer open and close the drawer without a struggle. I had to take a trip down memory lane to get through that one. I didn't re-read every card, but I sorted through them all and pulled out the hand-made ones from my daughter, a few photos sent by friends of their children and the odd card that had some sort of sentimental value. I got a bit choked up reading cards from both my grandmothers, a great aunt and a few other old folks that have since passed. I couldn't keep them all - now they have been re-cycled - ashes to ashes, so to speak, just like them. The circle of life. I now have an empty drawer - a miracle in my house. Makes me wonder what will fill it for the next 15 years. It took me two half days to complete this task. Starting Tuesday, my house will be upside down for a few weeks, maybe a couple of months, while the old wiring gets replaced, electrical outlets are added, the chandelier is moved to the right spot, the ceiling gets repaired, the trim and moldings are repaired and or replaced and a fresh coat of paint is applied at long last! By spring, I hope to have a bit of an updated living and dining room to come home to at the end of the day. Just in time for golf season when I will no longer care to be inside. Ah well, next fall when I head back in, it will have been worth the mess and chaos. I hope.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Limbo in LaGuardia

Aaahhh yes, the airport blog. The blog we write whilst sitting bored waiting for our delayed flight. Today I sit here at LaGuardia in NYC waiting and waiting and waiting. I would read a book if I weren't so tired, so this seems like a much less taxing exercise to deal with my boredom.
The reason I am so tired is because of that third glass of Merlot I should not have had last night, but it was the last night of the Design Intensive Week and the girls seemed ready to let their hair down a bit, so I joined in on the fun and now I am paying the price. I don't get hangovers like I did in my misspent youth, but I do get a bit fatigued the following day now that I am a bit older and obviously not much wiser. When will I ever learn?
The thing is, the fun you are having at the time seems to outweigh the price you pay the next day, and so I occasionally find myself in denial at the time, when everything seems funnier and everyone is more animated and the lovely red liquid seems to be sliding down so easily.
We worked on this personality assessment this week that categorizes people into one of four types - Analytical, Dominant, Expressive or Solid. After completing the testing, it turned out I was an Expressive/Analytical - a rare combo apparently, as usually Analytical types are not all that Expressive. I was no where near the Dominant type and had very few Solid characteristics.
However, I think if everyone were to re-test after a few cocktails, they may find they are far more Expressive than they thought they were. Their answers would likely be different and their behaviour was quite obviously more animated than it had been before Happy Hour. I have tested this theory myself and found that I often feel much more creative in my writing when I have had a wee drink.
As we know, some of the great writer's of all time were complete drunks. I doubt Hemingway would have produced much of anything worthy of reading had he not had a serious drinking problem and I'm sure he was not alone. What is it about alcohol that allows our brains to free flow? I am not up on the scientific aspects and I don't really care about how it actually works from a physiological perspective, I only know it does make a difference.
So on my way back to my room last night I had this idea for a blog that seemed really cool and creative, but by the time I finished packing for the morning and getting ready for bed, I had totally forgotten what it was. Another casualty of the drink. So as you can see, the effects do not always produce the intended results.
Anyway, while I am sitting here at the airport, if the idea I had comes back to me, I will blog about it, but I have my doubts.
Maybe I will read my book after all.

Monday, January 4, 2010

It's Hard work, but someone has to do it!

There's nothing like a cross-section of women away from their respective partners, children and homes to share a glass of wine, a meal and lively conversation. This is my experience this week, every night with a group of thirty women (well, twenty-eight women and two gay men) as I am immersed in my companies Design Intensive program at their corporate headquarters here in Connecticut.
For most of us the luxury of time away from our responsibilities at home far outweigh the intense course load. Most of us have lovely king-sized beds, masses of pillows and fresh crisp bedding to retire to nightly, no meals to prepare, no laundry to fold, no homework to help with and the camaraderie of like-minded women to share drinks, meals and stories.
On top of all that, we spend the days being inspired by all things beautiful and creative. This could actually be defined as a "working holiday". My most difficult task is fitting in an hour a day in the hotel gym, which I am managing. OK, so I miss happy hour, but my liver will thank me for that.
The great part is, and this is a secret, is that our spouses and kids think we are "enduring" the week without them, working and missing them and wishing we were home, when the truth is, the majority of us are getting a much needed break from the reality of our daily lives that require an outrageous amount of break-neck multi-tasking and planning to run even close to smooth. It's almost like when Martha Stewart went to prison. It was like a holiday from her crazy life, where she was able to find time to work-out daily, spend relaxing times creating craft projects with her fellow inmates and getting a solid 8 hours of sleep per night. She came out of prison looking and feeling refreshed and fit.
I am not recommending white collar crime to get out of the drudgery of housework and parenting for a few months, but let's face it, there isn't a woman out there who doesn't need a break now and again. I have proof - 28 of them right here, representing several American states...
and one Canadian.
That would be me.