Thigh High!

 

I noticed a coworkers boots yesterday. They were a lovely pair that fit her perfectly. The boots were a beautiful shade of brown and had a lovely little detail on the ankle. I said to her enviously, “I love your boots!” to which she responded with the name of her favourite go-to store for boots.

I looked down at my suede boots that are two years old. They have been repaired a couple of times because I hated to part with them, but they have definitely seen better days. I had ordered them online because…..well…….wide calf boots are not always available in store. Yes….I have the dreaded wide calves. All my life I have had ‘athletic’ calves which has made boot shopping difficult. Now they can be called ‘fat’ calves as no athletics have been attempted in the making of these calves. Heaven forbid if I ever tried to purchase thigh high boots! The radius of the boot would need to be ginormous! The conversation with the clerk would go something like, “Do you have these in a 36″?” as I held up a pair of boots for her to see.

Actually, because I am vertically challenged and horizontally robust, thigh high boots are on my never, ever, ever, ever, EVER list of things to try to purchase or wear. In fact, even normal height boots (wide calf of course) can look strange on me. If I am lucky enough to find a pair that fit over my generous calves, then I need to consider how tall they are and if they hit me in that strange spot that makes me appear like the cat from the movie Shrek. Way too much math required to find a pair of nice boots!

That is what happens when I go into a store like Penningtons or Addition Elle and look at their boots. Guaranteed they will have wide calf sizes, but the height of the boots is totally out of proportion for me. It is as if they are saying, “Okey dokey….if you have this big of calves you must be 7 feet tall!”.

Are there not wide calf boots for fat…err…voluptuous but petite (short legged) women?

Sincerely, Judy

Ants…….with wings

(Originally posted in my column ‘From the Desk of the Green Eyed Girl’ in the Alaska Highway News)

I would like a gold star, applause, and perhaps flowers sent to my home for a recent accomplishment. Why? Well….when I was young, I was afraid of many things, but I was especially horrified when it was ‘flying ant day’ (that one day where God said to the ants – you have a crappy life so I am going to give you one day to experience the freedom of flight, perhaps mate once or twice and then your wings will fall off. But……..although we are taking away the superhero power miracle of flight, we will allow you to retain superhero strength and you will be able to lift objects ten to fifty times your size).

We recently experienced ‘flying ant day’ in the Peace region and our Grandson Dylan came over during the height (is that a pun?) of the flying ant activity. Dylan is very much like his Grandma, in that he is terrified of the flying ants. I wrestled with how I could reassure him that the creepy crawlies would not hurt him so he could enjoy his time outside. So…. I did the unthinkable….the unimaginable….the ‘that grandma lifted a car up all by herself with no help to save her grandchild’ scenario: I picked up a flying ant in my HAND and placed it in a jar with a lid so that Dylan could get a good look at it and know that it wasn’t scary.

Excuse me while I stop a minute…….even writing the words make me a wee bit verklempt as it brings me back to the feeling *gag* of that ant *gag* CRAWLING on my hand.

I then tried to get Dylan to hold the jar in his hand and get a good look at the ant who was now angry and no doubt thinking, “Sure……I get only a few hours with wings and some stupid human decides to use me as a prop to teach her grandchild a life lesson”. Dylan demonstrated unequivocal resolve – he would not actually touch the jar to get a closer look. If I set the jar down on the sundeck, he would lower himself into a crouching position and watch the ant, but there was no way he was getting any closer.

I don’t blame him. Honestly……if we had something called ‘flying spider’ day…..a day in which the spiders received wings, I would not leave the house. You think I am kidding but I am not. So, while I was uber impressed that I had picked up the bug, I KNEW that if it had been a spider, Dylan was on his own.

When I picked up that ant and its wings fluttered in my hand, I was terrified – sweaty with terror, but I saw Dylan’s face and I knew that I couldn’t show my fear or else he would end up just like me. He watched me closely, looking for some sign that I was afraid, but I was unflinching (paralyzed with fear but at least I didn’t show it).

Now that the ants are no longer flying, Dylan has become something of an ant assassin. He spies them with his fantastic 2 year old vision and runs up to squish them into the sidewalk and says [clapping], “No more bug”. The pendulum has swung from terror to delight and Dylan is dispatching the ant population one by one with no thought for his karmic account balance.

Sigh……I wish there was something between the two extremes. I wish there was something in between the tears resulting from the paralyzing fear of the ants and the bravado exhibited after their untimely death. It is really one of life’s lessons….isn’t it? Instead of learning tolerance and acceptance, we find comfort in destroying what we fear the most.

Or maybe it was just about squishing ants……

The ‘Lowered Expectations’ Garden Tour will now begin……

 

Originally posted in the Alaska Highway News (August 3rd, 2017 in my column ‘From the Desk of the Green Eyed Girl’)

The airbrakes release on the tour bus with a ‘whoosh’: The door opens and large group of women, overflowing wine glasses clenched in hands, stumble down the steps, giggling and laughing.

Marie, the tour guide who is also clutching a full glass of white wine, leans against the side of the bus and waits for the group of ladies to quit laughing and talking long enough so that she can begin her description of the final garden of their tour.

Draining her glass, Marie clears her throat and begins (slurring slightly). “To our left is a triangular flower bed filled with long forgotten perennials and a generous abundance of peace country weeds. Oh……and the weird circle on the lawn is called Fairy Ring.”

Raucous laughter breaks out, with one woman yelling “Bravo! It’s beautiful”.

Marie is unfazed by the silliness – to be fair, this is the 5th or 6th glass of wine for many in the group and it’s been a long day. She speaks loudly to be heard amongst the chatter. “Let’s make our way into the back yard where our host promises an obstacle course of children’s toys and unfinished projects. Note the partially stained deck with the expensive paint-brush left out to be destroyed in the hot sun”.

The group gives a collective “ahhhhhhhhhhh” in response to the description, nodding in unison.

In case you were wondering, this is no ordinary summer garden tour – THIS garden tour is titled, “Lowered Expectations” and is an imaginary garden tour of 80% of homes.

Wouldn’t it be fun? Wouldn’t it be fun to go on a garden tour of overgrown vegetable plots and aphid eaten flowerbeds? The homeowner telling you, “Don’t worry about where you walk – I can’t tell where the weeds end and the vegetables begin”.

The Lowered Expectations tour would not be designed to inspire anyone – it would be designed to give a collective middle finger to the expectation that our summer be spent hunched over a raised vegetable bed, pulling weeds in preparation for an afternoon where strangers trample through your yard in silent judgment (unless of course that is your thing).

Don’t get me wrong……this is written very tongue in cheek. Of course I admire those who devote all of their time and energy to their lovely yards and I have been one of those touring and trampling through in silent judgment.

I am not judging them…..the silent judgment is directed at myself and why I can’t have the same type of tidy yard and then I remember, “Oh right Judy….you are lazy”.

Speaking with friends the other day via Facebook, we agreed that we should have a garden tour for the average woman and perhaps a few under achievers to make ourselves feel better. Oh…..and wine….the tour bus needed wine.

Can someone make this happen? I promise you the tickets would sell out.

Let’s get back to the tour……Marie gathers everyone and asks for silence. “Ladies! Can I have your attention please! We saved this until the very last home. If I could get you all to look up a bit….yes….up towards the roof…yup…do you see it?”

The group begins to clap and cheer as they all see what Marie is pointing to on the home. Faded Christmas lights dangle from the eavestrough – the perfect ending to an imperfect garden tour.

Ruuuuuuuuuuun!

“Ruuuuuuuuuun!!!” my father would scream from the chalked sidelines of the 100 yard dash (pre metric system days), the guttural, almost animalistic quality of his voice spurred my short little legs to turn over faster and faster until my chest hit the ribbon at the end. “Run THROUGH the ribbon he would say – never slow down until you have gone through that ribbon!”. He had already explained previously that races are lost in the final few feet of a race and you can never hold back….even for a second.

I was probably in grade 2 at the time, but already my type A over achieving personality was developing. I was also a people pleaser and the most important ‘people’ was my father so I was going to win each race or competition if it killed me!

Sports Day in a small town was a BIG deal back in the day. In our tiny community, parents took a break from farming so that they could attend Sports Day at The School. I say ‘The School’ because there was only one school and it housed every grade 1 through 12. I am not going to say that the torch of past rivalries were handed down to the children to carry like a anxiety ridden, emotional burden……but….let’s just say there might have been some sideline betting and perhaps some quiet parental pre-race whispers of “Did I tell you that I won this race when I went to school?”, followed with, “Just do your best”. Basically, my father was the 1972 version of a hype guy.

Sports Day was always an extremely hot, sunny day: Pre-global warming so no sunscreen tucked into a backpack (BACKPACK? What the heck was a backpack?). There were no cooling shelters, no hovering parents or teachers ensuring we were hydrated. There were hot dogs and full sugar pop and candy and SILKY, SOFT, BEAUTIFUL RIBBONS that were pinned to your chest that blew in the wind like little flags.

Dogs these days are more cared for than we were as children circa 1970’s.

Running long jump, standing long jump, 100-yard dash, ball throw and high jump were set up in the large field behind the school.

Field competition was big, but the track competition was the biggest. I had already won 1st place in every field competition and the ribbons were pinned to the front of my white t-shirt. There was no way that a blue ribbon would sully the beautiful sightline of the silky red ribbons – no second place ribbon for me and if I was somehow relegated to receiving a [gasp] white third place ribbon…well…..I cross that bridge when I came to it.

The racing happened at the end of the day – about an hour before the buses began lining up to take us all home. The uneven grassy surface had been measured and marked with lanes and as each heat was run, my chances for that coveted 1st place ribbon grew within reach.

I Usain Bolted the heats….barely breaking a sweat as I dispatched my fellow grade 2 students one by one. Until……it was the final race and I was standing shoulder to shoulder with Patty….my nemesis. Patty was tall and thin with long hair that hung straight down her back in its shiny glory. Patty was pretty like Susan Dey from the Patridge Family and we competed in everything. We both vied for the top spot at our small school. Need I remind you: we were both 7 years old.

Mr. Rampuri held the starter pistol high above his head and said the magic words, “Get Ready, Get Set……GO!!!” and go we went….running as fast as we could over the uneven, grassy field, never stopping….not for a moment until the familiar pressure of the tape against my chest indicated that I was the victor. Patty was only one step behind and took her loss in stride, seemingly bored with the entire proceedings, a demeanor that only popular, pretty girls can carry off.

This day I was the winner. This day I went home with 6 red ribbons, a sunburn and heat stroke. This day I ran to the bus and laid my hot face against the cool red vinyl of the bus seats and prayed that I didn’t throw up.

The importance of knowing how to win and lose graciously is not lost on me. Patty and I exchanged the winning laurels back and forth through elementary school until I moved away. As I grew older I realized that I didn’t have to win at something to enjoy it, but that I needed to always do my best and having competition inspired me to always do better.

Don’t let this new world we live in take away the gentle, but firm pressure of trying your hardest, doing your best and making improvements. We may only give out purple participant ribbons these days, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot still celebrate excellence and hard work.

(originally posted in the Alaska Highway News June 2017)

Judy

Eyebrows, Va-jay-jays and Instagram – Oh My!

I could have titled this, “Amber Rose and her Mighty Bush”, but that seemed like a tag line from a new superhero series aaaaaaand I already am feeling uncomfortable and conflicted with my commentary about said Bush. I assuage my uncomfortable feelings by telling myself that courageous women like Amber are using their public platform to demystify the conversation on and about pubic hair and by their refusal to beat around the bush about pubic hair – they are taking one for the team. Let’s be real though….Amber Rose is no Malala

Here goes……

Yesterday as I refreshed my Facebook feed I was greeted with a story about Amber Rose and her Instagram post where she shared a photo of her laying naked featuring her generous swath of pubic hair, aka the mighty bush. I am surmising that her pubic hair was what was being featured in the photo, but she could have been simply asking for her followers to help her with her annual check for suspicious moles. Whatever the reason for the picture it didn’t matter, the photo had already been removed by the Instagram Police (but of course it had been saved elsewhere and was included in the story I was reading). The conclusion: Apparently it was important that we all realize that 2017 was the year that we #bringbackthebush

Who knew that The Bush needed a campaign to help it to return? Was The Bush in peril like the White Rhino? Where do I donate money? Can I use Apple Pay?

FYI, The Bush has never left. Millions…..nay billions of women world-wide still sport full pubic hair growth, they just don’t talk about it. A large percentage of them don’t care, don’t have time to worry about it and have more pressing matters that occupy their minds #longhairdon’tcare. Plus…. women living north of the 49th parallel need to consider the winter months…brrrrrr.

Why is a ‘Mighty Bush’ newsworthy or instagram-photo-worthy? Please tell me that people are not going to start posting pictures of their generous or otherwise pubic hair growth on Instagram. This is not the same as Instagram eyebrows people…..please remember that. And no…..your pubic hair is NOT the ‘Eyebrow of your Vagina”. We (most women) honestly don’t care if you let ‘it’ grow until it blends into your thigh hair; don’t care if you wax it so you look like a plucked chicken or if you Edward Scissorhands it into a work of art. It is like fingernails — let them grow, trim them short, paint them, embellish them….whatever. We don’t care…..or do we?

Judy

Devil thy name is a carpet rake

What I am about to tell you can go no further. I mean it…..NO FURTHER. In fact, telling you about this is going to place my membership into this exclusive Facebook group in jeopardy. By disclosing this information I am probably breaking one of their Cardinal Rules and one of the ‘Admins’ will probably track me down and delete me from the page.

Seriously.

For real.

They are a tough bunch.

I became a member of this particular Facebook page a few years ago after my adult daughter mentioned that she had recently begun ‘Stripping’. Being the progressive parent that I am, I concealed the look of horror on my face and said, “Pardon me? Did you say stripping?”.

“Yes mom…..stripping…..as in stripping laundry” she responded.

“Stripping laundry? Like removing sheets from the bed?” I ask…..confused.

“No…stripping laundry in the bathtub to remove the buildup of minerals and soap from my clothing”.

She went on to explain how she has begun stripping quite regularly and when she wasn’t stripping she was deep cleaning. “The ingredients for stripping laundry are quite different from deep cleaning laundry. For stripping I use washing soda, borax, and…. ( I am not going to tell you the ingredients because then FOR SURE I will be expelled from the group) and for deep cleaning I use a combination of detergent, and…..(again….not going to say). Mom seriously you SHOULD SEE THE DIRTY WATER!!!!! ”.

This is the same girl that drinks wheatgrass in the morning and devours kale chips for lunch. This is the same girl who once told me that she couldn’t remember the last time she washed her hair. THIS girl is mixing together a witch’s brew of chemicals to remove any “impurities” from her sheets and towels.

She then got all animated as she explained how the Shark Navigator vacuum was way better than the Dyson and how she created the ultimate all purpose cleaner by combining two household staples (not gonna say) in a spray bottle.

I looked around to see if I was being Punk’d. Then I teared up because she knew what a vacuum was *sniff*.

What is this Facebook page you ask? The page is called Laundry Love and Cleaning Science and has over 150,000 members from all over the world. These folks take cleaning very, very seriously.

I asked to join and was quickly approved. Let me tell you…….an entirely new world opened for me.

There is an endless stream of posts and they cover a wide range of questions. Here is one from today, “I forgot to take out the trash before leaving town. It’s over 100 degrees outside so I don’t want to open the windows. Any ideas? I don’t have any Febreze or citrus. Should I just throw handfuls of baking soda in the air??”

Cleaning porn is posted on their Facebook page all the time. Cleaning porn is described as a before and after that is so different that you wonder if it is the same home. Cleaning porn is when someone posts short video clips of power washers slowly removing sundeck or concrete stains. Cleaning porn is when someone posts a picture of a carpet with perfect vacuum ‘lines’. Cleaning porn is when they create a super-duper grout-cleaning machine out of a cordless drill and a scrubbing pad.

I admit that I was intrigued at the lengths that these members go to get things, ‘hospital’ clean.

I wondered how long it would take for my home to get into the state of some of these before pictures. If I quit doing dishes, my kitchen would be wreck by mid week. If I quit doing laundry, it would pile up to a seemingly insurmountable mountain in two weeks. I get it….it could happen to many of us. I actually have a couple of rooms that could qualify as pre-hoarding but that is a completely different Facebook group.

Which brings me to why many of the individuals feel comfortable sharing their messy and/or dirty homes. A few of them (admittedly) suffer from depression or are overwhelmed with their responsibilities of working and parenting. Only a small portion of them are OCD, whereas the others are posting pictures to keep themselves accountable. In fact, you cannot use the term ‘OCD’ on the Facebook page or your comment will be deleted. The group is there to support one another not disparage.

So….while the page does have its weird updates, I have grown to appreciate the role that it plays in many of their lives and I continue to stalk the page from the sidelines. Have I ever tried any of the strange things that they suggest? Sure, but I also take it with a grain of water softener salt. In my 20’s and 30’s I would have been all over their ideas and trying to hold myself to an unbelievable standard. This Judy doesn’t care if there is a little mess here and but I do get it…..I do understand how having the opportunity to be in control of one part of ones life can help keep the rest of the life from spinning out of control. If that opportunity comes in the way of perfect vacuum lines on the carpeting then who am I to judge.

Cheers!

Judy

Why Doesn’t Anyone ‘Like’ me?

A friend menfacebook-liketioned to me recently, “I can’t believe people haven’t liked your recent Facebook post about XYZ?”. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Meh….sometimes people just don’t feel like pressing the button. I don’t take it personally”.

We continued our conversation about how some social media posts get very little traction whereas others are liked and shared hundreds, if not thousands, of times.

What keeps someone from ‘liking’ your post? Why is a post of someone holding a sign that says, “I told Robbie that he could go to Disneyland if this post received 1000 likes” so popular? I mean….they are literally asking for you to like them.

Reminds me of the movie Notting Hill where Anna Scott (played by Julia Roberts) stands in front of William (played by Hugh Grant) and says, “I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”.

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It begs the question. If you constantly post updates and no one either comments, likes or shares it – did anyone actually read it…..or does anyone really care? And……if they don’t….should we quit posting updates? Also who is ‘they’?

The psychological mind warping that has happened since the introduction of social media is….well….significant. We Instagram a picture of our dog looking adorable and then we get a little jolt of (Simon Sinek says it’s Dopamine) chemical in our brain when someone ‘hearts’ it or comments with an emoji.

If I created a graphic that said, “I get a rush of a neuro-chemical akin to a mini-orgasm to my brain every time you ‘like’ this post”, would that make a difference? If Robbie asks to go to magical Disneyland, why can’t I request a rush of magical dopamine?

If Simon Sinek is correct and our brains are becoming re-wired due to our use of technology, does that mean that at some point we will no longer get the same rush of dopamine when we exercise or laugh out loud?

If I knew that I could get a “runner’s high” and not have to run…..wellllllll I might just quit running. (hahaha – I would have to start first).

But….as usual I digress. We were discussing why some posts receive many ‘likes’ and others receive none.

I have no clue. Well…I do have a clue, but it is the obvious:

  • No one saw it
  • No one understood it
  • You were vague posting and few people like a vague post
  • You were sharing some bullshit yellow rose of happiness crap
  • It was the 10th inspirational quote you posted that day
  • You were being insincere
  • You are an antagonistic, narcissistic jerk or jerkette
  • You say mean things
  • ………who knows why

If there was an eye-roll detector that allowed us to see how many folks rolled their eyes at our most recent social media update that would probably give us some insight on why it wasn’t liked or shared. Pfft! I am certain that my posts receive plenty of eye rolls!

Do I care? (I would be lying if I said that sometimes it didn’t bother me a weeeeee bit)

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Anime GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

At the end of the day, the ‘likes’ you receive on Facebook does not determine your value nor should you allow it to control how you gauge your worth as a person.

Your ‘followers’ or ‘friends’ do not define you.

Now….let’s all log off and go for a brisk walk – a jolt of dopamine awaits!

Judy

If I were to be honest…..

sometimes-the-black-fog-sneaks-up-on-you-and-before-you-know-it-you-are-surrounded

If I were to be honest and walk the talk, I would admit that this January has been pretty hard for me. My brain is not in the right place and I am having difficulty controlling my emotional wellbeing. You know….hypersensitive, angry, generally bitchy and wanting to spend some alone time.  Nothing to worry about really because I am aware and conscious of how I feel, but just wanted to let you know that if you feel the same way – it’s okay and we will get through it and the days will get longer and spring is around the corner and the sun will come up tomorrow.

When we admit that we are feeling kind of shitty and a wee bit blue we are not asking for hugs or pats on our hands or pity or judgement, we are just letting you know that we are struggling to find our footing. We will find our footing, I know we will, but in the meantime if you see us taking a few moments to ourselves, maybe even look like we have shed a tear, or seem a little different than normal, it is okay. Still ask us “how are doing?” because we might just need to tell you.

Judy

 

Cara Speaks….

I met Cara at our first TEDx Grande Prairie practice session. She sat in the first table directly in front of our makeshift practice stage and I could not help but notice how invested she was in each of our presentations. During my practice, she assumed the role of silent cheerleader, her smile encouraging, her nodding of understanding……I locked my eyes on her and clung as if it were a life preserver and she was keeping me safe.

We, the TEDx Grande Prairie 2016 speaking team, had just met for the first time and we were hearing our presentations for the first time. It was “solidarity in terror”, all of us feeling the pressure of our looming TEDx talks.

I knew that Cara was special. I felt her empathy for others – she wore it like an invisible cloak of feathers that fell softly as she moved. I felt safe around Cara.

You know when you meet someone and you feel like you have been wrapped in a hug of happiness? That is how I felt after spending time with Cara – especially after the evening where we all stood on that stage and shared our personal stories to the TEDx audience.

Here is Cara’s TEDx Talk – Familiar Strangers. It will fill you with hope.

 

Are you interested in hearing more from Cara? Well…..you can! She has a podcast where you can further experience the light that is Cara…..

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/cara-jones-speaks/id1131004280

Follow Cara on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carajonesspeakstv/?pnref=lhc

TEDx Talk – The Broken Window

Recently I was fortunate enough to cross an item off my bucket list. I was invited to do a TEDx Talk!

It was terrifying…..I am not gonna lie, but so empowering at the same time!

I would love it if you would watch it and share it – the message is so very important.

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TEDx Grande Prairie – 2016