Blue Kitchens?


Morning y'all.

A light post today after yesterday's heavy.

What do you think of blue kitchens. I want to refresh the Stepford house. All carpet in bedrooms gone. Painted kitchen. New counters. New master bath. Want to do it as cheap and cheerful as these things run.

We have good oak cabinets. But they look dated. Love french blue.


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I love Woodlawn Blue and Wedgewood Blue and Wythe Blue. I've used them on walls but never cupboards.  The rest of the house is neutrals and woods and it's dark. Behold, the darkest kitchen in the world!! This is how I imagine Voldemort's kitchen looks too. 




As my designer-goddess pal pointed out, the blue could magnify the orange in the floors. But if we go with white, I fear it will look like a Hooters. The owl's wing is the same colour as the floors. Perhaps while I'm on the surgery train, I could get implants and open a Hooters Stepford from my house. 




Apparently, Hooters makes you happy. That's a good thing. See how I'm being positive now? 

But seriously, I love this look here from Cliff Kitchen. The floors look similar. My fear is they are more brown. Mine might pull super orange like bad highlights after a trip to Cancun. But if it looked like this, it would be magical. 





Thoughts?

Happy weekend. 

XO



The Super-Long Eye Update Post (Now with Pomeranian Photo!)

So, the eye saga continues. They think I'll get better on my own but it will be slow. There is a possibility I will need more surgery. I've been assured it will be less painful because they do not need to use the gawdawful pressure machine thing again. It's being sent to Guantánamo Bay, I assume.

Thank you so much for checking in and showing patience with this whole thing. People have been lovely. I appreciate the concern online and IRL. It means more than y'all could know. And my mom and husband have been saints, stepping up with driving and meals. They understand about the need for Caramel Mocha Power Puddings. And the kids have stepped it up. My son ate fish last night with a minimum of complaining. This is big stuff, my friends.

I'm trying to stay positive but it's really hard. And this comes on the heels of a whole lot of hard. I want to write about it, because for me, writing is how I process the hard times. I've also learned that other people who are going through similar things feel less alone when they read about your struggles. I think that telling the truth about our struggles is important and when I read that someone is going through something I'm going through, I feel better. It's not so much misery loves company, but "me too." Somehow it makes it easier to bear.

But not everyone feels this way. I've also been criticized in this space for being negative when I've dared to share my struggles. I've learned that while it's OK to write about hard things like PPD, and divorce, and infertility, and miscarriage, and struggling with faith, and children's rehab hospitals, and blending families. and 50 year old Mean Girls, and the difficult work of parenting, and anxiety, and being a survivor of assault, it's totally not OK to complain about them. And complaining is kind of what I want to do right now because this eye thing is total total BS. I do not need this in my life right now and I want to stomp my little feet and yell. It's not like I'm in pain because my lip implant surgery went bad. (I totally want lip implant surgery. Over the last decade, I went from Kim Basinger to the pursed-lipped parking meter attendant. I want my youthful lips back and the cosmetic surgery clinic that just opened sent around a brochure saying they can do that!) This was not a mere vanity project. I hoped it would help solve the eye blister/vertigo thing. This is Not Fair.

Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever stomp your feet and say "unfair"? I know a lot of writers feel like that, but do regular people?

It's also unfair that this is the stuff I fear I'll be criticized for saying. I know I bring this all upon myself since I have a bizarre need to put my every waking thought on the internet but it's all I really know how to do. And I've felt censored for a super long time. Because in the past, when I've been honest, I've been stung.

I find this so strange. Honestly, I write openly about a lot of ridiculous stuff. Ridiculous. I own a Chanel Classic Jumbo bag for the love of Pete. Have you seen the price of those things? It's obscene. And I have a WOC. Yes, I speak Chanel. That, in and of itself, is ridiculous. And don't get me started on the Louiss. That's Louis -- plural. And I carry my dog - a designer dog who cannot breathe through her nose because she's been so designed - in a Goyard bag. Sometimes, said dog wears $400 sunglasses because her face is the same size as mine and it makes me laugh. This is ridiculous, ridiculous, Imelda Marcos-like behaviour and yet I've never been criticized for it in writing. Never.

But the minute I write about how it was really hard to be a single parent, I'm a whiner. Being a single parent is hard. People complain when they have to solo parent for a weekend! Imagine that all the time. Hard stuff. And blending families. Not easy. They don't call it melting, or merging, or folding. They call it blending. Ever looked at your Vitamix when it's working? Stuff is being spun around and pulverized. Smashed to smithereens. Blended: this is the word they choose. But if you write about it, you are Cinderella's Stepmother without Cate Blachett's excellent complexion.

I have learned to tread carefully around the whole wives of widowers thing. People do not like that topic. There is a truth universally acknowledged among wives of widowers that it is a difficult path when you stay in the same community, but there are still those who swear it's not true and that there must be something wrong with you, because they know a woman, who knows a woman in the same situation who is treated like gold and goes around wearing a tiara that says Second Wives Are The Best Wives and it was bought for her by the first wife's BFFs who are now her BFFs too and everyone sings Kumbaya in unison. It's easier to not go there. If you feel the need to attract negative attention, write instead about how you hate the world's cutest Pomeranian.

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Through my days of forced self-reflection (ie no TV or internet for 96 hours) I've decided that I need to find a way to write more openly about hard things and yet shelter myself from the inevitable criticism that comes when you say that things are hard.

So I've decided that instead of leaving the peanut gallery unpublished, I will put their words in pretty picture quotes. Like on Pinterest! I'm not sure where the copyright laws sit on the ownership of the words but I guess if you write an anonymous mean comment and want Pinterest credit, email me?

To kick things off, here is an oldie, but goodie. To provide context, at the time, I was undergoing EMDR to deal with ongoing nightmares and was on the waitlist for the government's PTSD program. I guess that's the "victim" thing? We generally prefer the term survivor now, but that's an honest oversight.  Someone was peeved that I complained about how hard it was to carry three pairs of skis when skiing as a single parent of young kids. They were also peeved that I wrote about how some people in town had been mean to me at a party because I was dating a widower. I know now that I was supposed to keep that one a secret. Live and learn. Anyhow, here is the comment, all prettied up.


I added the bluebird of happiness for effect. Cute, right? I wanted something that suited the theme of "I hate the weather."

Maybe this commenter - in my mind, I see a rather leathery women with bad hair and a smoker's cough - meant well? It's sort of good advice. Maybe people were happy for me. That might have been a "playful shove" at that party... And yes, one should never hate all inclusives. Everyone knows that.

Anyhow, that's how I'm going to deal with it so I can get back in the arena, as Brené Brown likes to say. Laughing at awful things has always been my coping mechanism. I come from a long line of Swedes and Brits and Scots with serious gallows humour. Medical people find me hilarious as do therapists and cops. Do you know how hard it is to make a cop laugh? Gallows humour.

My life mantra comes from the words of Carrie Fisher, who I think was one of the smartest people on the planet.



So I joke. About the one eye for the price of two surgery. How I wish I was happy to "see" the doctor too. I become a really bad cruise ship comedian. It's better than crying.

But there is some good news. I'm healing albeit slowly. And the pressure issue we feared is not causing the problem. In fact, there is now I better chance I won't get glaucoma than I'd previously thought. There is some sort of shizzleshow involving thick corneas and some business going on at the back of my eye that is strange but I choose to be all Scarlett O'Hara on that one.

Also on the plus side, I've re-established my love of talking books. It's nice to have someone read you a bedtime story. I adore Daphne Rose Kingma and going to Esalen in Big Sur when she is there is totally on my bucket list. She's magical and so gets it. I urge you to read The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart: An Emotional and Spiritual Handbook. Better yet, listen to it; to her. Amazing, amazing stuff.

When I got the all-clear to cry, I finished Glennon Doyle Melton's Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life. It's a mostly beautiful book. She reads it, which makes it even better. Some authors who read their own books ruin them, but I can't imagine anyone else doing the voiceover for this one. Some of it is amazing and I was playing parts of it for both my husband and my mom. But this passage, about the things she would do to punish God if she let her down again, was Not Cool At All:
"I’ll quit trying not to be a jerk. I’ll quit writing. I’ll quit talking to you and caring about other people and smiling so much. I’ll spend all my money on fancy make-up and couches and I’ll spend all my time watching Real Housewives of Orange County."
I will say this once and only once. There is nothing wrong with spending all of one's money on fancy makeup and couches and spending all of one's time watching Real Housewives. NOTHING. And that is the final word on that. Also, if you take public transit a lot, it's OK to not smile at strangers. It generally makes them nervous.

I'm back to being able to get on the computer. Thank God! It strains my eyes (eye!) a little but the doc said it will do them no harm. It's good to get them working again. And I can drive. Did you know you can legally drive with one eye?  Explains a lot, I think. I just need to practice a bit so my brain gets used to things. I'm left eye (bad eye) dominant, so it will take a bit of getting used to it all.

I have so hated not driving. I hate not jumping in my car and going to the gym or to the store. I hate having to make arrangements to get my kids here and there. Not driving in the city is totally doable but not driving in Stepford is impossible. Plus, driving on a sunny day is one of my favourite ways to relax. Now if I feel like driving for an hour so I can get a piece of pie in the afternoon, I have to ask someone. Trust me, people judge.

I'm soooo glad I can read and write again, albeit imperfectly. An idle mind is not good for me. I become consumed with worry and doubt. I hate that. I wish my mind was filled with those glittery unicorns you find on Kawaii sites.

Anyhow, thanks for reading this super long post. I've had a lot to say. And thank you for the kind comments and emails and IMs. Writers get used to writing into the void and my stats counters lets me know I'm not alone but I love love love the feedback and getting to know y'all.

Peace and love.




They all ran after the farmer's wife...



So, I had the laser surgery. On the bright side, my right eye is aces. I could see for Canada were seeing things an Olympic event. Also, I'm into regular sunglasses and got to ditch the freebie ones the clinic provides. Life is always a bit better in Chanel and Maui Jim's. No? I'm trying out readers on my good eye so future optical shopping opportunities abound. Yippee.

But then there is my left eye. I have pre-glaucoma because of a stupid pigment malfuntion that keeps turning my baby blue eyes the colour of the middle of the Atlantic. People compliment their darkness, not realizing this is in fact the thing that may eventually lead me to a white stick and a service dog other than Serena.

I could have just worn glasses, only they seemed to be contributing to my vertigo. Oh, life has just been a merry whirl over the last few months here. Trust me, when all of this is over, I plan to celebrate big time. In couture.

So I had the surgery which, by the way, hurts like hell. The lasering part is fine. You feel nothing. It's way less painful than YAG face lasering. You just hear the snapping sound. That's it. But the thing they use to wedge your eye open was designed for a cyclops. A big one. I kid you not. I once had a Hysterosalpingography with a very twisted cervix when I was trying to get pregnant. They came at me with something that looked like jaggedy barbecue tongs. That was better. Just saying.

Anyhow, they got my eye set up and then the surgery was no biggy but the left eye is just not healing as it should in spite of 7,632 drops of prednisone and antibiotics every day. This is not the doctor's fault. He's a rock star and deals with glaucoma. I just have crappy health. I have a chart I have to use to figure out my eye meds since it's different for each eye. It looks something like this. Also, remember, I really can't see very well so filling out a chart is super helpful. The good times are rolling fast and furious.

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At night, I tape two giant plastic disks to my face with surgical tape, so I cannot scratch out my eyes with frustration. It's super glam. I plan to keep them in my bag in case I ever find myself in a Tippi situation.

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This is the first time since Thursday, I've been allowed any screen time. Still can't use my phone and am not watching TV. I cannot even be entertained by Tinsley! Also I can't read. 

I can't read my new books!!



I bought some stuff through Audible. God bless them! I can't cry or laugh wildly so Carry On Warrior had to be shelved for a while so I've been listening to chick lit. Also, Daphne Rose Kingma's 10 Things To Do When Your Life Falls Apart because it feels appropriate and I've read it a bunch and there are no surprises. Her voice is super soothing. 

Well, that's it for the update. Back to see the surgeon again. My regular eye doc has been amazing, coming in on her day off to make sure I'm as OK as possible. It will all be OK in the end. Just glacially slow and slightly worrisome. 

I've used up my daily allotment for seeing. Keep calm and carry on, y'all. 

XO



Eastered

Happy Tuesday! 

Hope your long weekend was terrific. 



Ours was good. We had a lot of food and we are all still speaking. Hashtag: blessed. 

Friday, we had AYCE sushi. We like to get our money's worth. 

On Saturday, we ate our weight in buffet with 98 year old Grandma Rose in St. Jacobs. She is looking forward to going on a speedboat again this summer near Manitoulin Island.  Hashtag: goals



There was Eastery goodness at the house.







On Sunday, we brunched at the Ancaster Mill. I love that place. Have not been there in years! 







Sunday night, we hosted dinner. 






The fancy togs were trotted out.

DaniBP has fuelled my Brora addiction. 

I may not be Kate Middleton, but I can bloody well wear her shoes. 

The Easter bunny made an appearance in our yard.



There may or may not have been some nibbling on purloined chocolate eggs in between meals...

Someone made a new friend. 



We saw Baby Boss? Boss Baby? Surprisingly, it's not the launch of a new cologne. We saw it since we could not decide between Fate of the Furious and Beauty and the Beast. We learned that cookies are for closers. I was sad there were no brass balls references, however. I love any GGR reference points. 

I may have to see the new Fast and Furious on my own. I love those movies. I wish they'd have a Real Wives of Racing on Bravo. That would fulfill my every desire. 

Speaking of cologne launches. Tubbers N°2 is wildly anticipated by Miss Thing. 

This is the week I likely get my eyes fixed. Hurrah! My nervousness is surpassed by my excitement. I'm hoping this fixes what ails me and I can get back to my regular life of working out, yoga, driving, etc. 

Hope your week is great and you are seeing straight. It's all we can hope for most days.

XO

Happy Long Weekend! (almost...)

Happy Thursday? How are y'all doing? Ready for the long weekend?

I've got to get my eating pants on as we have a bunch of big Easter meals planned. The Mr.'s adult boys are coming home, which means they will all go watch someone being blown up at the multiplex or watch 752 back-to-back hockey playoff games while Miss Thing and I hide in the parlour with pink champagne and Lifetime.




Speaking of Lifetime, did anyone watch VC Andrews's If There Be Thorns. Absolutely terrible stuff but I loved Heather Graham's Duchess of Windsor meets Grey Gardens style. So fabulous.




Last night, I was at a DIY natural skincare workshop at NuWorld Botanicals.



I've always been a fan of organic food but then used chemical skincare. As I age, I gravitating to more natural skin products. I'm not sure anything will get me away from my Cle de Peau concealer, however. That stuff is a little stick of miracles.

I'm really hoping this is the last week I have to wear glasses. I really can't wear my contacts these days, so I think I'm going to bite the bullet on laser surgery. I'll still need reading glasses but I will be able exercise, ski and swim without eyewear. This has been my view much of this week.


I really think the laser clinic needs some zhushing. Perhaps a leopard pillow or two...

Just to give you a DVR heads up, next week on Sweet Home Oklahoma, they are celebrating Tubber's birthday! As you all know, Serena has a huge crush on Tubbers and is getting ready for the show.


I hope you all have a happy Easter and Passover. Eat lots of chocolate, wear pastels, and use the rabbit tableware.

XO

Changing the Way We Think About Depression and Anxiety

Happy Tuesday! Hope everyone's chins are still up and you are keeping calm and carrying on.

I'm not a Marie Forleo B-School person - two years at Rotman's B-School was more than enough for me, thankyouverymuch. But I like her free newsletter. I love her interview today with Dr. Kelly Brogan about natural solutions for depression and anxiety. I really like her point of view. I think that diet, exercise, sleep, and the nature of one's relationships are all huge drivers of how one feels. This really spoke to me. I might even give her diet a try...

If this topic speaks to you, give it a watch.

XO

Confession...

I love reading the Daily Mail.

I know, I know. It makes me a terrible person. But it has such excellent, trashy gossip. Because, in fact, I do want to know what Coleen Rooney looks like without makeup.

I was happy to see Susannah Constantine, formerly of What Not to Wear, back in the "news". I used to love that show. There is something about the idea of a makeover that has always appealed to me: I guess it's the New Narrative thing in the most obvious of ways.

Anyhow, apparently, she has let herself get frumpy and is as hard on herself as she was on her subjects on the show. (She is not quite as critical as the acid-tongued Carol Vorderman who once said Susannah walked like "a carthorse in a badly-fitting bin liner.")

It's comforting to know that even the most fashion forward of us fall down. Sunday, I had some occasion shopping to do and I wore my pink lace Valentino skirt with a J Crew cashmere T shirt sweater. It was only at the end of my visit, in fitting room in downtown Toronto, when I discovered a bloody great moth hole in the back of my sweater! This is a leftover from living in century homes for years and it just shows how little I am wearing my dressy wear.

My feet were hurting from wearing real shoes shopping. I ended up buying a pair of Oscar de la Renta heels that look amazing but promise to be crippling if I don't work up to them over the next few months. I cannot believe I used to run around the city in these things every day.



Susannah, I totally understand your plight...


Diamonds: Order from Chaos

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Gems are a powerful reminder of how beauty can come out of tremendous chaos. Take diamonds, for example... (Yes, please!) Diamonds are formed when the carbon from organic and inorganic material is subjected to heat (900-1300 degrees celsius) and pressure (like, the weight of a continental plate.) They also tend to be found where a meteorite strike took place. They are brought to the surface through volcanic activity.

So in other words, one of the most beautiful things on earth comes from loss, pressure, and heat.

Sounds a little bit like life.

Have you seen the inside of a diamond? It's quite magical. The carbon atoms are arranged in a symmetrical series of tetrahedrons.

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Out of all of that chaos comes perfect internal order. I find that incredibly hopeful. I believe that this life is part of a broader spiritual journey and our trials and setbacks provide the heat and pressure to morph us into something amazing.

After a diamond it sourced from the earth, it is cut into a shape with many facets, and then polished, polished, polished. I think that's the process we go through in midlife. In our early years we figure out our base material -- who, at our core, we are. Along the way, we experience heat and pressure and lose some of our edges. In midlife, we polish, to bring out our many facets.

For me, diamonds are a powerful reminder of the path we are on. When things seem particularly rough, they remind me that beauty from ashes is not just a promise, but a fact.

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend.

XO

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This...



This passage from The Book of Life is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read on anxiety. I urge you to read the entire piece: it's really quite short and wildly encouraging.

It ends with these two sentences, which explain so elegantly why just about everyone I know, who is a writer, writes.

We must suffer alone. But we can at least hold out our arms to our similarly tortured, fractured, and above all else, anxious neighbours, as if to say, in the kindest way possible: ‘I know…

I hope you are finding joy in your week, but if the days are a struggle, hang on tight and wait for the rising. Better days are ahead.

I know. 

XO

Ears, eyes, and wizard hats

How have y'all been doing? Hanging in there? I always find the run up to spring such a long season. I cannot wait until Easter to put on my pretty spring dress and eat chocolate out in the open.

Elie Tahari Kaisa Dress in Neon Orchid

I need more Easter decorations. My few pieces are sweet but there are not enough of them. I need more of the bunnies and chicks!


After I saw these chicks at My Kentucky Living, I had to have them.
I found them in Sparta, Ontario! 

We've booked a fun little trip later in the year so I have something to plan and look forward to. This one will require a bit of a new wardrobe. I've never agreed with Thoreau that one must "beware of all enterprises that require new clothes." I love enterprises that require new clothes. Also, I like plumbing and access to good restaurants, so I suspect Thoreau and I would disagree on a number of fronts.

Miss Thing is on the mend. Her ear is starting to get better after her latest round of drugs. My eye is much better too. It's a miracle! I spent a beautiful Sunday in bed watching Britney Ever After, since the sun made my eyes sting. I thought Serena and I were going to have to head for Lourdes and she's getting too fat to fly. But both the vet and the eye doc say we are going to be just fine.


This is where we have been spending our time. We like to bring
Saint Louis along for company and to help us find good parking.



Keep on trucking, my friends.

XO



Christmas Traditions: The Nutcracker Ballet

Every year, I take my daughter to see the Nutcracker. (I took my youngest son once, but he loudly complained that there was too much dancing...