Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mark Twain said that “You are about as happy as you make up your mind to be.” I think that’s true even though I often forget to apply it to my own life. I was reminded of it again today when I was on facebook. Heh. I know, I spend way too much time there, especially after Pentti bought me an iPod…
Anyway, I came across the picture above and it brought me to tears. Doesn’t the woman look happy? Doesn’t it make you want to smile just looking at her? Well, she has had a lot of hardship lately. Her husband died a little over a year ago and her health has been a major issue. In fact, she ended up having both of her legs amputated and now sits in a wheelchair. More recently, she fell and broke her arm and had to be in the hospital for weeks. I don’t know about you, but my face would probably not look like that if I were in her place. And yet, she looks content. And happy.
So, I am reminded once again that even if my life seems to be in chaos daily and the kids are screaming and crying and fighting, I am STILL as happy as I make my mind up to be.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Play time

This is a candid picture of Matias stalking Sophia. She lives a few doors down from us and they play really nicely together (most of the time). I’ve tried to tell Matias that it’s not nice to sit in front of someone’s kitchen window staring, but he doesn’t seem to get it. In his mind, he is just waiting for his friend. It’s actually really cute. Some days he comes home to report to me that he looked in the window at Sophia’s but there was nothing/no one to be seen. Other days he has actually rung their doorbell and asked whether Sophia can come out to play. Despite the fact that Sophia’s mom may sometimes get tired of the little stalker outside her window, it’s really nice to live in a community where your child can actually go outside and ask someone to play like we “used” to do in my youth. These days everyone seems to be so busy and over- scheduled that good old fashioned child initiated outdoor playtime is rare. Instead, moms schedule playdates carefully on calendars between swimming lessons, preschool, language school, soccer etc. I am really glad that Matias can walk (or bike) a few doors down and ask the neighbour’s kid to play.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

De gustibus non est disputandum

The title is Latin for the age old saying that there is no accounting for taste, or that personal preferences are not debatable. And yet…some people just have incredibly bad taste. I don’t claim to be a doyenne of style, but lately I have see things that scream such tackiness, that I am forced to comment…
I totally understand that particularly in today’s economy, people are trying to save money. I totally get that. But that is the number one misconception about style-that you need to have money in order to be stylish. For example, I recently had lunch with a friend at Seasons in the Park in Queen Elizabeth Park. As we sat there sipping coffee, we saw a bridal party having their pictures taken. Again, I understand that a lot of people don’t want to spend their downpayment for a house on their wedding. But the bride had a bouquet of (assorted) flowers still wrapped in cellophane, probably picked up from some random corner grocery store. And no, it wasn’t tied with raffia. I wouldn’t be surprised if the $6.99 price tag was still stuck on the cellophane. If, on the other hand, the bride had wanted to be stylishly thrifty, she could have had one rose, or calla lily, or even a cheap bouquet from the corner store, but in ONE colour, and UNWRAPPED, with maybe some ribbon? And while I’m on the flower thing…if you know you don’t have good taste (some people actually recognize this fact), always buy bouquets that are one colour. They ALWAYS look better and more expensive than the mismash bouquets that include every colour of the rainbow. Personally, I think that white bouquets with different shades of white and pale yellow always look the most expensive and classy. But that’s just me.
A while back I visited some people who had recently renovated their bathroom. They had chosen a colour theme of browns and yellows. Not my first choice of coulours, but whatever. Imagine my surprise when the guest towels featured in the bathroom were blue and white. I know that not everything has to match, but come on. Blue and white? Towels are not that expensive. Wouldn’t you want to keep the (questionable) colour theme of your bathroom going to complete the look? Pentti thinks I’m crazy because everything needs to match, but really, blue and white towels are just an eyesore. Not only that, there were also elements of red and green and yellow in that bathroom. Don’t get me wrong, there is such a thing as eclectic style and I love it. But you need to be extremely fashion savvy in order to pull it off. I am not nearly confident enough in my sense of style that I would imagine mixing modern with traditional, with French country with asian style.
Now, perhaps you think I am being overly critical and that everyone should be happy in their own home with their own style(s). True enough. But for most women I know, they want to make their homes nice and stylish, and quite frankly, want other people to admire them. So, it matters. And for the record, when in doubt, always go monochromatic. Pick one or two colours and stick with them. In everything. Down to the towels and the toothbrush holders.
White socks. They should just be banned, unless you are working out or work construction or something and need to wear sports socks. Otherwise, pitch them. Especially if they have holes, or have become a dingy shade of grey. No excuses. White socks that aren’t sports socks, should not even exist. Trouser socks in white? Don’t do it, not even if you are wearing white pants.
Staff lunches, appreciations, retirements etc. Assuming again, that one wants to save money and have a lunch in the staffroom, you can go the tacky route or the classy route. Tacky would entail mismatched vinyl tablecloths scrounged up from the back of some cupboards, perhaps with a Christmas theme. Lunch would entail everyone bringing a potato and some fixings, with everything served in their original plastic containers. Tacky would mean minimal effort and it would show. On the other hand, I went to a staff lunch at another school one afternoon. I forget what they were celebrating, but it was classy. The effort was also minimal and cheap and yet, the effect was completely different. They had decided on a French café theme. The tablecloths were still vinyl and probably from the dollar store. But they were red and white checked with matching red napkins. Diana Krall was playing softly on the cd player in the background. The lights had been turned off (you know-those glaring fluorescent ones) and there were candles. The sandwiches were in little baskets lined with red and white napkins. The cost of both parties was probably roughly the same, but what a difference a little thought makes.
By the way, if you are reading this blog, you needn’t worry. It means you are probably my friend and that means that you have style.