New Immigrants

Watching my local news station the other night, I found myself interested in the story of a Syrian man who’d acquired his Canadian Citizenship. When interviewed he made a comment that piqued my interest and made me think. He is, by all accounts a refugee success story; settling in to a rural Nova Scotia town after fleeing Syria with his family, immersing himself into the community and determined to build a positive future, for himself, his family, and those who helped him.

Among the many humble comments he made in the interview, he also alluded to immigrants being perceived in past as something of a burden, draining an already tight financial economy and taking the jobs of locals, a perception he proved very wrong. His is the perfect example of the ideal immigration story. Over the past three years not only did he work to give back to his community but he also launched a successful chocolatier business that now proudly employs some 30 plus locals; a gift to this rural community where jobs are scarce.

My parents were immigrants, among the many after World War ll, who flooded North America. They arrived in Canada with two children, two suitcases and $57 US dollars. They didn’t speak the language and had no formal job training; the war took care of that, but they were hard working, honest, and determined to make a new life, a good life. Fast forward to today and I can proudly say that these two immigrants, like so many others who remain anonymous, built a successful life in their chosen country. They learned the language and after obtaining entry level jobs, both eventually reached senior positions in their fields, eventually retiring with a comfortable life.

This Syrian refugee, like my parents, like so many others, not only didn’t ‘take’ the jobs of locals, rather they created them for others. Immigration has enriched the very fiber of society, bringing us diversity, teaching us tolerance and acceptance, and uniting all mankind. And don’t even get me started on the food, the variety of restaurants, grocery stores, and traditional foods is a bounty enjoyed by all!

Immigrating isn’t easy, nor is it for the faint of heart. It takes tremendous courage to leave all that is familiar and start anew in a place where the language, customs, and traditions are foreign, and it’s especially difficult if the reception is less than welcoming.  (walk a mile in their shoes?)

Let’s embrace the diversity immigration brings because it makes us stronger, richer, and better as a people. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll even abolish racism, supremacy and hate.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Immigration

Dating

Dating has changed, dramatically, and I’m glad I’m not single and looking. Gone are the days when you’d meet someone by chance at a grocery store, or be introduced to that special someone by a mutual friend. Todays busy single has to resort to on line chat rooms and dating services to screen potential applicants because it seems our busy lives make it impossible to find the time to get dates by conventional methods. What’s prompted the upsurge in this non-traditional practice of meeting that special someone(s)?

My first guess would be time. My second would be a combination of laziness and insecurity. If we do not meet our perfect match via our existing social network; work, school, and families, we have few hours left in our waking day to continue our hunt, so it’s quick and easy to just surf the net seeking our prey. You don’t have to dress up for a date only to be disappointed. And you have the advantage of ‘screening’ your victims, sparing you the awkwardness of having to let them down gently should you arrive for your date and discover they’re 4 feet tall, balding, and are missing most of their teeth. Online viewing gives you the chance to scrutinize your potential loves, dumping the rejects with a simple ‘delete’ – no apologies, no accountability, just movin’ on…to someone ‘better’.

So how do we learn from this?

We don’t. We just develop a deeper insensitivity to our fellow man. Internet dating provides us with the safety of cover. We can criticize and dissect potential partners without hurting any feelings because our screening process assures us anonymity, i.e. we don’t see the faces of our rejects. We don’t see how our rejection has affected them. And if we don’t see, how can we be to blame for any hurt feelings?

On the other side of this double edged sword, we also don’t ‘see’ the potential good of these people because we’re too busy scanning the ‘visual’ qualifications of our numerous candidates for ‘love’. Let’s face it, we are human, and given a choice, we all want ‘the looker’, ‘the hunk’, and on first meeting we’d likely overlook some shortcomings as long as they looked good.

The average guy who’s slightly balding might have a heart of gold, a good job, and the love of every Grandmother on the planet, but if you plant his Bio next to Biff Studmaster, (the hunk) his ‘hits’ will be minimal by comparison. Now I’m not saying Biff isn’t a great guy, but he doesn’t deserve any advantages on the dating sites because he likely gets them in every other aspect of his life. (Give baldy a chance already)

And what are you really learning about ‘people’ through online sites? There’s no tone, no expression,,,,no ‘personality’. It’s actually a very superficial way to meet another human being. The only advantage I see is the ability to connect with someone living in a place in which you are unlikely to be, but then maybe that’s destiny? (No wait, that’s a Penpal) If you’re meant to meet, I believe you will. Somehow fate will bring you together, where ever you are, and if it doesn’t, it wasn’t meant to be.

So how does this strategy help those looking for love? It doesn’t, but then I’m not sure anything will, and maybe not everyone is meant to be part of a couple. We do each walk a different path; not all of us are meant to marry, have 2.5 children, a cocker spaniel, and the white house with a picket fence.

I’ve seen too many people so determined to meet someone they’ll stop at nothing, i.e. they can’t ‘not be’ in a relationship. If they don’t have a ‘current’ on their arm, they don’t exist, and the sad truth about that is that they will never find love that way, because ‘love’ isn’t just the guy on your arm. It’s the person your heart connects with, the one who loves you, flaws and all, the one who’ll stand by you through anything. And if he happens to be 4 feet tall, balding, and missing some teeth, consider yourself lucky, cause by todays dating standards, you’ll have no competition to win his heart.

Here’s to traditional dating…..and long live ‘average’!

ONline dating

The perfect one

We all know that perfect guy, one, at least,,,,,maybe two, and if so,,,,,heaven help you. They’re beautiful. They have well matched features, thick wavy hair, perfect skin, a great body; they’re the whole package. They always seem to score the best jobs and they’re popularity is legendary. They have all the confidence in the world and they strut their stuff because they have it to strut.

In school they scored top of the class,,,,in everything, and their friendship was sought after because just being accepted into their circle of ‘coolness’ meant you too belonged on a pedestal. They could run the fastest, speak the most eloquently, and all who are graced to be in their audience are held spellbound with fascination. It seems they can do no wrong.(Mother Jesus, they probably even pick their nose with class)

In the workplace they were respected, just for showing up every day, and they don’t have ‘jobs’, they have ‘careers’. They received accolades for suggestions that were not necessarily original or even good, but their delivery was enough to sell the idea. When you present an idea it’s challenged as being radical and inefficient. When the perfect one offers his suggestion (which is often a variation of yours) he’s given credit for thinking outside the box. You can’t win so don’t try.

When they found their life partner (who was also perfect, or at the very least proffered the required idol worship) they set about building their lives together, and the world wept as the most eligible man was now ‘off the market’. What’s it like to be the wife of a perfect man? Is she riddled with insecurity for fear she might lose him because, dare I say it, she’s not quite Super woman enough, or is she just so grateful that she was the ‘chosen’ one?

They bought the perfect home and their furniture was all custom made; the wood hand picked by him. In fact, he probably planted the seed, that sprouted the tree, that he later felled (cause he’s also an expert lumberjack) that built the house, blah, blah, blah, (ok, did they ever buy anything on sale at Franks Furniture Warehouse? No, of course not) but you see where I’m going.

How is it that some people are just born to be perfect and how does it come so easily to them? Are they even aware of their ‘silver-spoon’ status?   Surely they must suffer moments of uncertainty, insecurity even, though they’d never show it. And there has to be a lot of pressure in being part of the entourage that travel in the circle of this ‘Super Man’ cause you have to constantly keep up. (personally, I’ve found it easier to just admire their perfection from afar)

I am not the perfect woman and I am not married to the perfect man, at least not in the superficial sense of ‘perfection’. We are average people of average size and appearance, and we are reasonably intelligent. We both sport a good sense of humour, we live a respectable life, and while we don’t have an entourage of constant admirers, we do have a healthy circle of family and friends,,,,who are also not perfect, but they’re good people, and they’re fun.

At the end of the day I think we are all driven to perfection in one form or another, but for some the road is smoother, and I don’t know why. It doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better at navigating through life, in fact, I’d venture to say they’re just somewhat oblivious to the bumps in the road that we careen over, and missing out on some of life’s struggles isn’t always better. Isn’t it those very struggles that build character?

Maybe we all, early in life, have the choice of following the perfect (easy) path, or taking the bumpy road. Me, I chose to build my character, sacrificing perfection, cause I didn’t want to impose that kind of pressure on my entourage. You’re welcome!

Perfect One

My New Year’s Commitment (this is NOT a resolution)

Last year I made a resolution to never make another resolution at New Years. It’s too much pressure and it just sets you up to fail because we invariably set goals that are too lofty and unrealistic.  Now, upon reviewing this past year, I realized that while not making any resolutions didn’t cause me any failures, it didn’t exactly put me on the path to success either.

On reflection, it seems I spent a lot of time searching for projects this past year; projects that made me happy (actually others benefited more from my efforts, so they were happier) but nothing that truly brought me satisfaction. I stayed true to my commitment to look after myself. I walk regularly. I returned to yoga, stretchy pants in tow. I maintained a healthy diet, albeit a robust one (portion control is my nemesis) Ok, I gained another 5 pounds….mid-life, menopause and gravity are ganging up on me and it’s totally bitchin’ but I’m trying.

All things considered, it’s been a good year and I have a very good life. My health, my family, my friends – life really is very good. So what’s my problem? I have this feeling that I’m supposed to ‘do’ something, something important. I just don’t know what, so I keep searching. I dabble in the arts to test my creativity. I took a series of art classes, acrylic, and I really stink, but it’s fun. Not so fun for the teacher who often refers to me as her ‘special project’, but I do enjoy the release of the Picasso in me (frankly my 4 year old granddaughter paints better than I do) and I know this is not the special thing I was meant to ‘do’. It’s just filler.

I’ve always wanted to play the guitar and as luck would have it, I have one. My son left an old guitar when he moved out. Could this be a sign? (Actually, I always wanted to be a ballerina but my sturdy European legs couldn’t master a graceful pirouette…the clashing of my thighs sent such a reverberation through my body it was all I could do to land on my feet without crashing to the floor in a quivering heap) I’d still like to learn the guitar but I’ve noticed a shorter attention span with aging and I’m not sure I could tolerate the endless scales. I want to play, now, a song, not just random scales, and I fear the frustration would turn me into one of those face-painted rock stars that smash their instruments on stage. (Can’t you just see the headlines…..”Grandmother goes berserk at church recital sending innocent bystanders fleeing for their lives”) Ok, maybe the guitar lessons can wait.

I wanted to be a better person in society; no judgement, no temper, just tolerance of others lifestyles and personalities, acceptance of others limitations – sounds easy yes? (shouldn’t we all aspire to this?) Well, I think I am a better person. Age has made me more accepting however I could be described as one who is somewhat strong minded (others say I’m opinionated but what do they know) and this was, and is, a challenge for me. There just seems to be an inordinate number of imbeciles in the world and I have a hard time not pointing it out. (Actually, last year I secretly vowed to bite my tongue every time I felt the urge to criticize another but eventually my tongue became so swollen I developed a speech impediment and had to abandon this resolution)

Let’s just say I didn’t exactly conquer the world in 2019 but that doesn’t mean I won’t in 2020. I’m still searching for that one project, that one thing I’m supposed to ‘do’, and I just know I’m close. In the meantime, I’ve decided to take the pressure of setting goals off myself, again. I will ‘do’ something meaningful and regardless of how it will affect the rest of the world, I am confident it will have a profound effect on me, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

Look out 2020, here I come, and I’m gonna ‘do’ something….just watch me!

Opera lady viking

Sometimes saying nothing is best….or is it?

I’m an emotional person. I don’t necessarily project this in conversation (unless I’m angry….then you’d better run) but for those who know me, really know me, (and there are truly few) I can be read. I sob through all the holiday commercials about a long lost relative coming home at the eleventh hour. I can’t bear the pleas for help against abused animals, and a heart wrenching country ‘love gone wrong’ song will bring me to tears. Aside from that, I’m actually pretty tough.,,,,so,,,,I’m  normal, right?

That said, I do tend to express (often unwittingly) my inner most feelings when I write. We all need an outlet and I guess I tend to bear my sole….in print (or so people tell me) and for me it’s therapeutic. Maybe that’s why so many psychologists suggest patients keep journals. It’s a private place to vent your innermost feelings; a place without judgement or retribution….or is it? Turns out, it is not an anonymous venue because someone, somewhere, will read your thoughts and you have no control over how it will be interpreted, and that’s where the problems arise.

I think there are situations when we should keep our emotions to ourselves; keep your face without expression and hold your tongue (ok, I’d struggle with  holding my tongue….I’d have to bite it….what if I bleed to death?) if only to protect others. The benefit of this self-control is you do not subject yourself to any form of judgement or ridicule, and you spare the feelings of another. The down side of holding emotion in is that you might explode (as I would).  I believe I am destined to always be an outspoken, emotional person, which I hope portrays me as honest and forthright…..ok, maybe a little too honest and forthright, but at least you never have to question where I stand, and I would never aim to cause anyone pain or embarrassment.

There are many who ‘wear their emotions on their sleeve’, softies whose emotions are displayed in vivid facial expression and tone of voice. There’s nothing wrong with this but it can be a double edged sword. On one hand it projects you as sensitive and genuine, which is good. On the other it opens you up to people who might take advantage of your gentle nature.  (I am not one of the softies….at least not overtly)

I think we are all guilty at some time or another of saying something we perhaps shouldn’t (at least not out loud) but we are human, and it’s hard to hide emotion, much as we try. We each have our own perceptions of a situation and it’s in these differing perceptions where misunderstandings occur. My ‘take’ on a situation may differ from another’s, drastically enough that it causes conflict,,,, but maybe that conflict is good? It sparks much needed conversation; conversation that provides clarity, if only for you.

Maybe another’s interpretation of your actions is just what you need to help you deal with your own unconscious thoughts because they are seeing you clearly and without emotion, and that forces you to face your true demons. Failing that, you can hold it in, say nothing, and risk imploding.

Holding it in

Something to celebrate!

Just short of 2 weeks ago my baby had a baby. A little girl; his first child, and my 3rd grand daughter, and it reminds me all over again of how new and exciting life can be. Now I know that babies are born every minute, everywhere, but none are as monumental as our own. Ours are smarter, prettier, funnier,  and practically perfect. (what are we breeding here,,,a society of Mary Poppins’ssss?) Anyway, you get my drift….I like my kid.

This little one is tiny and perfect. No wrinkles, no scars, and boasting a head so full of hair it would make most adult men envious. I held her as she slept and marveled at the expressions that crossed her face; a smile, a sudden frown. What could that naïve young mind be smiling or frowning at? She has experienced nothing, so has no comparisons. The smile surely must be about feeding….and the frown about….not being fed? What else is there to react to on what can only be a clean slate? (ok, maybe pooping)

I envy her having the opportunity to create a path, her path. She has a whole world at her disposal. She can be anything she wants to be, and, thanks to a progressive society that respects the rights of women, embraces all races, and supports the liberalization of social and moral attitudes toward sexual orientation, she can do it on her own terms. (ok, we’re not totally there yet but we’re miles ahead of where we were) Suffice it to say she will have choices. She will have friends of various ethnic backgrounds and genders, and she will embrace them all, because this is the world she will grow up in. How lucky is she?

This little girl won’t experience racism or hate or judgement, in her early years. It’s only when she starts school and is out in the world, exposed to others, that she may see what no one should see. She will witness anger, and pain, and sadness, and fear. For this very brief period her family will protect her from life’s harshness, but this will not be a permanent shield because she is like all of us, a child of the world, and once she moves beyond the role of observer she will become a person of influence. We all are. We just ‘choose’ our level of impact.

My little girl has a bright future. She has a family that adores her (even when she poops) and a safe and loving environment to grow up in. She will have opportunities for growth and education denied to many, in other parts of the world, and she will be taught the value of this privilege. And in return she will be learn to speak with love, listen with patience, and act with compassion, because this is the world she is meant to grace. Lucky world!

Something to celebrate.jpg

Rewarding a job well done

‘Tipping’ is the act of rewarding a job well done, monetarily, and I’m all for random acts of generosity when warranted, but lately I find  myself wondering if these acts are truly earned or simply expected.

When presented with a bill for service we are now given the ‘choice’ of tipping a fixed percentage (15%, 20%) or a dollar amount, and rarely is there an option for no tip. Now it’s not very often I would opt for no tip. I have no problem acknowledging exceptional service, and I can on occasion be very generous when met with quality work but is it really my responsibility to acknowledge it? Who’s benefiting the most here? And I especially take issue with restaurants that build in the tip to their bill so we have no choice. Who are they to decide if I will be happy with the service?

A waiter or waitress in a restaurant is hired to provide good customer service and as a patron I should expect no less – I am paying for it. As I understand it most wait staff are poorly paid, i.e. minimum wage; the expectation for better income is via tips, taking the onus, and the expense, off the owner. How fair is that? As the owner of a business isn’t it their responsibility to ensure their employees provide good customer service? And in doing so does that not improve the business and thereby the owners profit from it? That being the case, why aren’t the owners ‘rewarding’ their staff? They’re the ones reaping the benefit. If an owner has an employee who goes above and beyond, the owner should be rewarding them, not his patrons.

For that matter I struggle with the whole ‘pooled’ tips system many restaurants mandate. All tips are effectively pooled then divided evenly between ALL staff, including those who do not have direct contact with customers. Again, aren’t these employees the responsibility of the owner? Hire the right people, pay them a fair wage, and reward premium performance when warranted. Don’t dump that financial obligation on your patrons. We don’t have a say in who you hire so why make us pay them?  Isn’t it enough that we keep coming back to your establishment because YOU (the owner) are profiting every time we do. And where’s the incentive for an employee to go that extra mile in this scenario? The employee who does half the work, without a smile will still get their ‘cut’ of the pooled tips, so why work harder? Let the others do it.

I also struggle with the blatant expectation of a tip in a self-serve environment. Coffee houses put their tip jars front and centre where no one can miss it, but what is it for? The employee presses a button and passes the coffee to the customer. We put in our own cream, sugar, and apply the lid, so what did they do that warrants payment over and above their salary. Where specialty coffees are prepared, the employees need to put in a little more effort, but HEEEELLOOOOO,,,,that’s their job. And if they’re really good at it, shouldn’t the owner be rewarding them? (it’s not like we don’t already pay a fortune for the coffee)

I’m all for improving the base wage for those who serve the public (because the public isn’t always easy to serve) but I believe the responsibility of paying a fare wage lies with the owner and it’s a copout to dump that expense on your patrons. As for tipping, I still support it where earned, but ALL proceeds should go to the employee who earned them. I’m sure your kitchen staff and cleaning staff do a fine job but you as the owner have the responsibility to pay them, and that includes any bonuses related to premium performance. In turn you’ll have happier staff who have a vested interest in helping your business succeed.

Tipping

Where’s my entourage?

We women have to stick together. It’s the code of the sisterhood. (thou shalt not neglect thine sister, remember?) We do not leave our friends at a bar. We do not leave their drinks unattended. And we do not give them an honest opinion about their body. (probably because they’ll reciprocate with an honest opinion about ours) They are never wrong…it’s the other guys fault, always, and they are NOT just like their mother.

We ALWAYS tell them when there’s food in their teeth, why the guy ditched them, and when it’s time to call their mother. We also NEVER remind them of stupid things they’ve done.

Unlike men, women have a code of conduct that ensures no embarrassing moments. It’s the unwritten rule that protects us from society’s criticisms (ok, our criticisms….women really are the worst for dissecting each other)

Last year when my son got married I experienced such a ‘moment’. Just after the ceremony I dashed to the washroom to empty out the 2 glasses of wine I’d slugged back before the speeches started. I hiked up my dress, did what was needed, then stepped to the sink to wash my hands. I felt something wet slap the back of my legs and looked back to see that the chiffon cape attached to the back of my dress was soaked. Apparently when I hiked up my skirt I missed grabbing that piece and it was dunked into the toilet (OMG, I peed on my cape!) Well isn’t that lovely? Mother of the groom.

I could hear the speeches starting up so desperate I yanked the cape to the front, washed it in the sink, then held it up in front of the hand dryer for what seemed like an eternity. Finally it was dry and appeared to be stain free so I flew back out to enjoy the wedding. (getting that dress to a dry cleaner was my first priority after that weekend) I was mortified at my clumsiness but thanks to the 2 glasses of wine from earlier, not as discreet as I probably should’ve been. Upon exiting the washroom I bumped into the mother of the bride (who’d managed to keep her dress pee-free…show off) and she roared! She also told her sisters who were standing nearby and we all had a good laugh.

A year passed and I happened to bump into these women at another function and one of them reminded me of my little ‘accident’. (I had completely forgotten about it but thanked her for the memory) We laughed all over again, just in fun because that’s what our entourage does. Protects us, laughs with us (never at) and, going forward, holds up our dress when we have to pee.

the sisterhood

Food, glorious fooooood!

Food, I love it. All of it. (ok, not liver…..there’s something seriously disturbing about liver,,,and eggplant, ghastly stuff!) But those aside, I love food, cooking it, eating it, offering it. Food really is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

There’s nothing quite like a juicy steak served with potato smothered in sour cream, and green beans, or poached salmon with rice and asparagus, or how about a fresh salad, crunchy and flavourful….and never have we had access to a better array of food; fresh, frozen, organic, homemade, fat free, sugar free (ok, scratch those last two if you want any flavor) but you get my drift. Enjoying the earth’s bounty is a gift…..and I plan to enjoy every mouthful before I die.

Now I am very health conscious. I honestly eat 5-10 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day but that doesn’t come cheap. Eating healthy costs more than living on fast food and prepared meals, and it takes discipline. That said, I’m only human and not beyond falling into temptation. I like my potato chips every so often – we all crave junk food some times. And I’m fairly certain that chocolate covered cherries are a necessary part of my healthy eating regimen. (If they weren’t how are they constantly appearing in my mouth?)

Some foods are easier to prepare than others, especially those you like. Personally, I’m a noodle lover. Boil me up some egg noodles topped with sour cream and I’ll follow you anywhere (and homemade noodles are by far the best!) And while I love fresh salads, I have to set some boundaries about what does and doesn’t qualify as ‘salad greens’. Kale and cabbage are NOT among those that qualify. Both are tasty and make wonderful additives to salads (in small doses) but any salad that contains only kale or only cabbage is guaranteed to be a workout. I once ordered a kale Cesar salad at a restaurant and couldn’t get through it (And I never leave a plate empty) Every mouthful took so long to chew my jaw eventually started to ache so I had to abandon it….I just got tired of chewing (That’s one good way to diet I guess) It also doesn’t have a lot of flavor, whereas a variety of lettuces seem to pack their own unique taste (or maybe they just absorb the dressing better)

I love a hearty lumberjack’s breakfast complete with bacon, eggs and toast, and I never underestimate the value of a nice thick slice of salami…any time….it’s just good for the soul.

Now I’m not knocking fast food or dissing the restaurant industry, both have their place is society’s eating routines. Sometimes that slice of pizza hits the spot when you’re on the run, and never discount the role of the almighty french fry, humanity is hooked on them, and the more crap you pile onto them (cheese, gravy, mayo….) the better. I think we need to limit these foods because they offer no nutritional value and, thanks to a host of preservatives and artificial flavours, they also pack on the pounds. But limiting them isn’t easy. If you’re single it’s not motivating to cook for one. If you’re tired from working all day, you just want fast and easy. And if you just don’t like to cook, you probably aren’t very good at it, so why bother? (Fortunately for me, I love to cook…ok, probably because I love to eat)

I guess I believe that anything is good, in moderation and this is where we fall apart in society. We tend to binge, then we seek out extreme diets that eliminate sugars, flours, starches,,,,anything that adds pounds, when really if we just ate everything we wanted in moderation, we’d probably be ok. The occasional indulgence of our junky treats, or the overindulgence that comes with holidays and gatherings, would balance out when we return to our moderate eating…… assuming we DO return to it. Seems like there’s more and more fast food restaurants opening up and more prepared foods accompanying our kids to school, and this is where we need the change, or rather the discipline.

I guess at the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference and what each one of us is willing to do for our eating habits. Good food costs, a lot. And good cooking takes practice and time and desire, and that’s a big commitment, cause if you don’t like it or don’t do it well, you’ll have wasted the effort and the money. I maintain that a healthy balance of both worlds will keep both the conscience and the body happy so I’m ok with occasionally washing my healthy salad down with a glass of red wine and a side order of fries. I like the good stuff, and I allow the bad stuff some times, and for the moment, the food Gods appear to be happy with me…so who am I to mess with a good thing?

Food eating.png

The ‘Man cold’….it could be terminal, but for who?

Why is it when men get sick it’s a monumental event? They never seem to get the common cold, no no, it’s always borderline pneumonia. They lay themselves across the bed like they’re preparing for burial, yet they’ve no detectable fever and they have a surprisingly robust appetite for one so gravely ill….seems they just can’t get up to eat it. It has to be served, in their sick bed, next to the remote control.

My darling husband had such a bout recently, the poor baby. He woke up Saturday morning with a scratchy throat….and the voice (suitably enhanced) to go with it. There were no other symptoms, he just felt poorly for three days (the same three days that preempted him from golfing due to inclement weather…how’s that for lucky timing?) We had some prearranged family functions that he had to attend over the course of his illness and he managed them stoically, steadily making his way through the lovely meals and snacks, and partaking happily of the offered libations (for medicinal purposes, of course) Unfortunately he was much too weak to finish mowing the back yard, or take out the garbage, or fold the laundry.

And when the cable on our bedroom tv went on the fritz he barely made it to the lazy-boy chair in the family room in time for the hockey game. (thank goodness he was able to muster up the strength)  Of course once there, he collapsed into the chair unable to make his own drink. I even had to get his peanuts for him, poor baby. (Oh I do hope he survives this!!!!)

Ok Buster, here’s a reality check.

When the wife and mother gets the flu she has two options; 1) get over it, pronto, or 2) deal with it….and don’t let it interfere with any household routine, i.e. you still cook the meals, do the laundry, get the kids to school or hockey or ballet or whatever, you put out the garbage, buy the groceries, pack the lunches, clean the house and, like most women today, go to work full time. Taking time off for illness is not an option. (could that be why women live longer? We stay more active, we engage more on a daily basis…mmmm, food for thought)

Yesterday we had an appointment to get the snow tires put on our car, and he was deathly ill, could barely lift his head from the pillow. So I rearranged some appointments I had and took the car in, but only after bringing him his breakfast and cold medicine in bed. A few hours later I returned to find he was gone. The weather after three days had finally cleared so he went to the driving range to practice for his upcoming golf trip with the boys, the one scheduled for tomorrow in fact. I was afraid he’d have to cancel but wow! I’m happy so to report that my darling made a miraculous recovery and just in time. How lucky is that???

Why just a couple of hours ago he scarfed down two slices of pizza, a small of salad, (at my insistence) two rye and gingers, a bowl of peanuts, and a pack of M & M’s, then practically leapt out the front door to meet his ride….it’s card night with the boys.

What is it that motivates men to play up their illnesses? Is it that they need occasional validation that we’ll continue to look after them or just a deep seated desire to take a break and play helpless? And all men do it. The ‘man cold’ is legendary and I’ve yet to meet a woman who hasn’t fallen victim to nursing the ‘man cold’.

Now, there’s a case to be heard for males having a weaker respiratory system; they ‘feel’ the symptoms of a flu more deeply, and it apparently lasts longer for males. (who made these findings…a male?) Personally, I think it’s all in the head. We ALL get viruses, and flu’s, and colds, and how we deal with that is individual. I suspect the mother instinct in women kicks in so we just take on the role of caregiver, and men love that attention. (how stupid are we?) On the other hand they do succumb to the simplest of ailments; it’s like they have no fight in them, especially as they age. Women, on the other hand, tough it out because life goes on and indulging illness is not an option, ever. As a result, we become stronger, more resilient, hence our longevity.

Thank God women live longer. It’s the only break we get!

Man Cold