Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This One's For The Ladies

I have made an observation.

Did you know that they have very specific people that "stage" stores? Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores, Drug Stores, Mega Marts, etc. Stagers are employees specifically hired because they know a lot about marketing. Each store is carefully mapped out according to shopping strategies and is made to lure you from one aisle to the next. They also love to target impulse buyers. End caps are a specialty. They laugh their little fannies off when they walk in their stores and see the end caps have been picked over. It's a job well done.

But I am convinced within myself that the majority of stagers are of the male persuasion. One reason alone has brought me to this scientific conclusion. Feminine Hygiene Products. When shopping for feminine hygiene products there is little allure. It's a get in, get what you need and get out mentality.

If you were to ask a women to design her perfect aisle at that time of the month, the hygiene items would be in the center of the aisle, the concoctions to ease pain, discomfort and irritability would be to the left and to the right she would be greeted by an entire section filled with Twix Bars, Chocolate Covered Pretzels, and Dark Chocolate M&M's. That's right. Our necessary products would be flanked by meds on one side and candy on the other. And to make us feel even better, they could have fresh flowers, like daisies or lavender in lovely vases.

And the bonus... when you walked up to pay for your necessities at the counter, the clerk would see the items that had been carefully picked from the aisle made just for you, look at you sympathetically, tilt her head and say "Would you like a cappuccino on us? Here's your complimentary Starbuck's gift card Miss, you deserve it."

Just as a side note:
Did you know that back in biblical times they had what was called the red tent? Believe it. It was a tent designated to women on their cycle. They entered the tent because they were considered unclean and needed to be away from other people. This is BRILLIANT! They sat on piles of hay and drank wine all while being attended to by older women who were past this stage of life. Can you imagine? An entire week where you sat around without husband, children or duties. You could chat with your girls about anything and everything, take naps, have a cocktail. This is something we should seriously look at bringing back into fashion. Who's with me? :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I recently took a 3 day trip to Las Vegas. I had been there before with my husband, but this time I went with my bff. It's great to just get away with your best friend no matter where you go, but the electric energy of Vegas kept us going and we had a really great time together. Below are just some random thoughts from different points in my trip.

  • People on planes who take up their seat plus 2/3 of yours should be required to pay for 2 seats or my massage the following day to unlock my "S" shaped spine from sitting like a contortionist for an hour and a half.
  • Four hours strapped in a seat requires more than an all natural stress reliever. Sedate Me!!
  • Flying by myself makes me feel like singing Elton John's Rocket Man.
  • You don't need to be in an accident to get whiplash. Just watch the people around you sleeping on the plane.
  • Flight attendants asking me if I want cookies or pretzels with my water makes me feel like I'm back in pre-school. And that makes me smile.
  • Breathing Basil Oil* on a plane is frowned upon by some. "Sir, I promise you, this is not an illegal substance."
  • When staying in Vegas, a 24-hour bus pass is worth its weight in gold.
  • When shopping on vacation, be sure to ask the people who know you best if you are making a heinous mistake when purchasing a hat. By the way... I'm still loving mine :)
  • $900 for a scarf is unacceptable.
  • I must have an accent. People kept asking me if I was Canadian.
  • "Bring me something fun" is a great way to order a drink. By the time dinner was served, there were 8 more "something funs" peppered down the length of the table and I was deemed brilliant. Brilliant but sober, I didn't even make a dent in it.
  • There's always one of these in each group- the obnoxious person who drinks excessively and becomes monumentally obnoxious. Then there's the one who drinks too much and throws up down the front of her dress while waiting for the show to start but is too drunk to realize she should leave so the rest of us don't have to smell her nastiness. Sorry... was that last one too specific.
  • People in Vegas don't stare at my hair. There's more entertaining things to look at.
  • Sitting, drinking coffee, and watching life is a delectable way to spend a morning.
  • I saw an elderly woman with spunky hair, a great top and black leather pants sitting in the same open air cafe as me. When she stood up to throw away her trash, she had white velcro athletic shoes, oxygen tubes and a walker. This is a possible glimpse of me in 40 years- minus the oxygen :)
  • Sitting at a vanity to apply make-up makes me feel pampered.
  • A lighted, magnifying  facial mirror should not be made available to people over the age of 35. BAD!
  • P.F. Chang's Kung Pao Shrimp is still a good idea at 3:00am.
  • Making people in the service industry smile is an art form best left to those people who have charm, not those who are naturally offensive.
  • I love that human creation can bring me to tears by the sheer beauty.
  • BFF's don't require a lot to have the time of their lives.
  • I appreciate more fully the relationship that has grown over the years between my husband and I. Love, respect, understanding, honesty & transparency.
It was a wonderful trip with amazing sites and awesome times of interaction. I made new friends and reconnected with old ones. I missed my husband and my kids and was greeted with hugs, kisses and flowers. I'm still catching up on sleep and getting back in the swing of things a little more slowly than I anticipated. I guess that's what it's all about in Vegas... go till your legs fall off and you can't keep your eyes open. You can always sleep at home. I am presently signing off to take a delicious nap :)

*Basil Oil- Basil essential oil is a natural antibacterial. Take a folded tissue and tap out some of the oil on the tissue. Put it in a snack size zip top plastic storage bag. When you are on the plane, pull it out and inhale deeply through your nose, hold the breath as long as you can and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this as often as you like. The essence of the oil will cleanse your nasal passages and the air in your lungs. This is also a good idea to do each time you return to your hotel room from being in large crowds. This practice has kept me from getting sick on any trip that has required plane travel where you are forced to breathe recycled air.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Punch Bug

Have you ever played the game Punch Bug? It can also be called Slug Bug. The basic premise is that while you are riding in the car, you look for Volkswagen Bug cars. When you see one, you punch the person next to you and yell out PUNCH BUG and the color of the car. This is great fun and keeps the kids interacting with you on long trips. As a child, I believe it was the goal of my brother and I to see who could hit each other harder without crying. It kind of defeated the fun of the game as we came out bruised and beaten, but it was still a novelty from time to time.

The game has morphed a little in our home to encompass all Volkswagen cars so there is a better chance of seeing more and we have dropped the Punch Bug and just say "blue one" or "yellow one". Through playing this game we have realized that our son needs glasses :( But I digress...

Recently we had driven from our home in Ohio to pick up our children at the Pittsburgh International Airport. They were lucky enough to spend spring break with their grandparents in Florida for a week. Don't get me wrong... we were lucky too :) The time away did all of us good. What a wonderful reunion when we saw them coming off the plane. After hugs, kisses and baggage claim, we headed off to a favorite diner about 20 minutes from the airport for raspberry french toast and then back to Ohio.

As we waited at a stoplight, the two of them were in the backseat chatting happily about their adventures in Florida, when my daughter starts wailing on our son "blue one, red one, tan one" Wham! Wham! Wham! What in the world! My husband and I are feverishly looking for all these Volkswagen's... "green one, black one, yellow one" Wham! Wham! Wham! My son is just stunned, sitting there with his jaw dropped open. None of us know what hit us until she points across the street and I figure it out. It was a Volkswagen dealership. We laughed so hard my husband almost had to pull the car over. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Restored Beauty

So I was re-reading tonight some bits of the bible that I had touched on a few days ago. For those of you who read the bible, you will understand the idea that you can read a passage and have it mean something to you that time and then read that same passage another time and it can speak to you in a completely different way. 

And that is where I am finding myself. 

This certain section of Isaiah meant nothing out of the ordinary to me 36 hours ago, but today, after the internal struggles I've been through, this passage is larger than life.
"O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will build you with stones of turquoise,
your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones."
-Isaiah 54:11-12
What could this possibly do for me?  How could this archaic ramble be relevant in my day to day?

I have had some storms. Some big storms. Where I didn't feel comforted in the slightest. I felt completely alone. I felt I had no one to turn to. And when I did reach out for help, I was dismissed, pushed aside, not valued. I was afflicted. I was distressed with mental pain and greatly troubled. Damage was done. Deep.

But this... this tells me that He will rebuild ALL that was destroyed and make it beautiful. He will rebuild my self-esteem and make me feel majestic. He will fix the cracks in my heart and my love will be exquisite. Those harsh words I speak to myself because they were spoken to me, He will replace them with words that are loving and divine. The body that I have been given and wreaked havoc on, not respected, not loved, pushed aside... somehow, He will make it beautiful and precious.

And maybe God has already done some of these things in me. I believe He has started the work of rebuilding some of what was destroyed. I can see where he is bringing beauty from the ashes. But I think the bigger step for me is to stop looking at myself through the scars and start looking at myself through His eyes. Because He loves me. He sees me through the eyes of Jesus who IS love. I want to see what God sees. And maybe if I see what God sees, then maybe... just maybe, I will value the creation he calls Reena.

Maybe I will care about what I put in my body the same way I care about what my kids eat. Maybe I will care that I am active enough so that my body is working in a healthy way, the same way I care for my kids activity levels. Maybe I will speak encouraging words to my heart.

I want to see what God sees. Yeah, that's what I want. Because when He looks at me, he shakes his head, smiles and says "Man, I love that extraordinary woman." That's what I want to see.