Back in the 1980’s, when I used to work in retail, there was a customer who used to come in to the pharmacy regularly who was well known among team members. She was a little eccentric and she had what you might call a unique sense of fashion, but she was still very sweet and we were always happy to help her.
But we really got to know what she was made of when her world came crashing down at the news that her favourite shade of lipstick was discontinued.
As I understand it, she had her colours done back in the day and was told that this particular shade of orangey-red lipstick was the perfect shade for her. She obviously took this very much to heart as it seemed that every subsequent visit was punctuated by a question about her non-negotiable shade of lipstick.
I don’t think we ever knew her name, but through her relentless search, she became known to us as the “Orange Lipstick Lady.”
At first, she bought up all the remaining lipsticks in that shade. Then in the months that followed, she asked our head cosmetician to order some for her until the distributor couldn’t supply us with any more.
When she had tapped out our supply chain, she still came in at regular intervals to check EVERY lipstick on our shelves to make sure that there wasn’t one that was missed.
I’ll never forget that lady. And I often think I have turned into her when a company discontinues my favourite product… which seems to be happening regularly lately. Continue reading
1. It gets me out to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
2. It’s a versatile activity: when running with friends it can be a very social activity, but when running alone, it can offer great moments of introspection.
3. There are several great programs and clinics offering information and instruction on how to run injury-free. Checking one out can be the difference between hating the sport and loving the sport.
4. Running helps me to clear my head.
5. Running can be a good activity for stress management.
6. Running puts a smile on my face.
7. Running is a great conversation starter with other runners.
8. The subtle changes I see and feel in my body, when a belt can tighten a notch or when something from the back of the closet suddenly fits again.
9. Overall, I feel more confident when I have been running.
10. Running only seems to require discipline in the beginning. Over time, the sense of progress, achievement and well-being seems to help discipline take care of itself.
11. When I am running regularly, the sense of progress and achievement seems to motivate me to make better, healthier choices overall.
12. The feeling of “ugh, I need to work out” disappears as soon as I am done, which means less guilt for the rest of the day.
13. There is a wonderful sense of community among runners.
14. I sometimes get my best writing ideas while running.
15. I sometimes solve problems while running. Continue reading
In last December’s post, “How Nature Photography Might Get Me to Appreciate Winter”, I wondered if my rediscovery of photography might be able to nudge me out of my usual winter cocoon and spend more time outside.
For those who have never been to Ottawa, let me offer a little bit of context. Yes, we do have an abundance of beautiful winter days that are like a shot out of a Disney movie. However, the Norman Rockwell painting of a perfect suburban Ottawa winter starts fading around the 18th consecutive day of snow, threat of freezing rain, or temperatures so low, even the cat won’t sit by the window and conduct her usual backyard surveillance despite her abundant fur coat. Winters here can be very harsh for long stretches.
When the weather outside is frightful and the sidewalks are covered with snow and ice, it’s not most conducive to a cheerful walk outside at lunch time. When you also factor in a long and slow commute home wondering where the heck the city’s snowplows went and repeatedly mumbling to myself “Why the heck do I pay taxes?” it should come as no surprise if I have to dig deeply to want to spend more time outdoors and risk falling and breaking a hip… the joys of becoming a grumpy old man! (and yes, I know some close friends are now thinking, “what do you mean ‘becoming’?”)
But this winter, I did spend more time outside, thanks to the camera!
While I wouldn’t say it made me a winter lover in one season, nature photography certainly made it more enjoyable by helping me lose track of time while doing something I truly enjoy. I would even go so far as to say this winter didn’t seem to drag on as much as it did in previous years. Continue reading
Not too long ago, a friend asked me what I was up to over the weekend and one of the first things out of my mouth was “spring cleaning”. His laughter spoke volumes because at the time, we weren’t anywhere near spring.
The issue, as he pointed out, is that spring cleaning seems to get slipped into conversation 52 weeks of my year. He is right. If I were to promote spring cleaning, my slogan would be “spring cleaning: it’s not just for spring anymore”.
Who has time for spring cleaning in the spring?
After 4-5 months of grey skies, snow, ice and cold temperatures, we Canadians come out of our wintry shells and spend time outdoors to do something …anything!… to get away from the confines of the 4 walls we call home. As much as we may enjoy hibernating and cocooning on the couch with Netflix, ketchup chips, poutine, crispy bacon or anything involving maple syrup, when we don’t HAVE to cocoon anymore, we are outta there!
After being caged up for a season and a half, we become possessed by a heightened appetite for freedom.
When the days are getting longer, temperatures are soaring and our long underwear has been put away for the season, why would we stay home and clean? With the calendar filling with invitations to barbecues and outdoor festivals popping up every weekend, spring cleaning in spring seems so wrong on so many levels.
The season of choice for spring cleaning defies logic to a Canadian. Continue reading
While watching the 13th season finale of Project Runway, I could not help but reflect on how the television program just keeps getting better, season after season. The talented designers have been stellar from the beginning and I am blown away by the creativity and the designs that have been produced.
Why does it strikes a chord with me? I have always been fascinated by reality competition shows involving the creative process. It did not matter if it was fashion, hair styling, home decor, home renovation competitions, I watched them all. Several have come and gone, but Project Runway has held its own and is still on the air 13 seasons later.
I have always been fascinated to hear where artists get their inspiration, what makes them tick, what they prefer to create, how their process works, what habits or rituals they have and do they have parents or siblings who are also artistically inclined?
I am curious about the latter because my great aunt was a private dressmaker who made fancy dresses and bridal gowns for her clients. It was her passion and she produced exquisite works of art for well over 40 years.
Also, my mom tells a story of when I was 2 years old, she was creating her Christmas dress and when she stepped away momentarily as busy moms sometimes do, I got into the scissors and Continue reading