Thursday, May 21, 2015

Just say Yes

Utilizing a budget means making small choices that add up to big numbers.  No impulse buys (even when it’s only a dollar or two), and no shopping where you don’t need to (don’t go down that cookie aisle or visit a shoe store).  A few simple no’s can make a big difference.  I know this.  I LIVE this.  I am often disciplined and measured with money and see how quickly things fall apart when the “yes’s” start.    

This yes or no mentality applies to more than budgets.  A few small no’s or yes’s add up to a life we may not realize we are choosing.  

I attended my second high school for one semester.  It was such a short time I didn’t really invest myself.   I eventually made a handful of friends, one of which was Justin.  I don’t remember his last name, but he was handsome enough to be a first-name-only type of human.

During art class Justin volunteered to be the model for figure drawing.  That meant I had to stare at him for an extended period of time.  Cue the sun suddenly shining through every window and bathing him in glory, while unseen angels sing harmonic oohs and aaahs.  My teenage ability to instantly love and be totally obsessed with in an instant were activated.   

I’m not sure how he ended up in my circle of acquaintances.  Maybe we worked on an art project together, or our friends overlapped, but without being close friends we seemed to chat a lot and see each other throughout the school day often.  

I’d look for him in the cafeteria.  My heart would sink if he was absent for a day.  I’d only go to a party if I knew his friends (and therefore he) would be there.   Without telling a soul about my crush, I was otherwise consumed with him.  

I walked 4km to school and back each day.  In the early summer - in my thick uniform pants and long sleeved dress shirt, that walk was hot and long.  One sweltering afternoon a car pulled over.  I always imagined someone offering me a ride - like an oasis in the desert - but it never happened.  Except today it had.   It was Justin.   He asked if I wanted a ride home.  ME.  

Let me be painfully honest about my teenage years.  No one liked me.  Ever.  Not romantically.  I’m the friend, the one of the boys, the “pretty face” and too bad about her body - girl.  I can count the number of times someone was flirtatious with me or asked me “out” on one hand.  When Justin pulled over it could have very well been to throw a rotten egg at me as much as it was asking if I wanted a ride.  You can imagine how overwhelmed I felt when someone I liked actually showed me a kindness, or more than a kindness.  I was flattered, twitterpated, and of course I answered…..


I recall laughing as I said “no” - like it was the dumbest question he could have propositioned me with.  He asked again, along the lines of “are you sure?” and whatever came out of my mouth the next time was enough for him to drive away.  

I beat myself up every step of the remaining miserable walk home.  

Idiot.  Idiot.  Idiot.  

Fast forward to the awkward self hating future…  It’s the end of another hot school day, and Justin asks if I want to grab an ice cream.  

Hallelujah chorus and sunshine and rainbows and sparkling unicorns!  I didn’t scare him off when I turned down the ride home and he actually likes me enough to try again!  Focus focus focus, don’t mess it up.  Pull yourself together and smile and maybe flick your hair a little and……. 


It flew out of my mouth as if I had no control. 

He was smiling, even though I was being awful.  He politely insisted, but I just kept spouting out “no” and “it’s ok”.    

I won’t even tell you about the third time.       

I need to be clear, I love my husband.  He is the absolute love of my life.  I’m not pining for Justin and what we might have had - I already have everything I’ve ever dreamed of.   And more.  

What bothers me about the Justin ‘saga’ isn’t Justin.  It’s me.  My knee-jerk reaction that’s always no.  That’s always you don’t deserve itYou couldn’t deserve it.

I’m not sure if it’s the years of being in a loving relationship, the incredible family I get to spend each day with, or maybe it’s just part of getting older - but I don’t loathe myself with the same intensity I did in my youth.  I hardly hate myself at all.  I even find myself forcing my reaction to be yes sometimes. 

I’m not talking about feeling entitled.  That’s a dangerous and seriously unfulfilling way to live.  I’m talking about saying yes.  About trying.  Exposing ourselves to failure.  Exposing ourselves to success.  Saying yes to Justin.  Not now obviously, happily married with six kids, but metaphorically - yes.

I still naturally answer no to things before I realize what the question is, but I’m working on it.  I still shoot myself in the foot when it looks like I might be successful.  I self sabotage and create obstacles, but I see it now.  I think I see it.  I try to see it.  I change it or admit that I’m not willing to change it.

I no relationships, my body, my husband, my house, my opportunities as a writer, any opportunity as a singer, I no new friendships and even old ones.  I see it living like a vine.  A weed that grows - overgrows - from one area to the next.  

I know lives aren’t budgets but they are a series of yes’s or no’s that add up.  They add up to something whether you see it or not.  Whether you like it or not.  

I love my life and think I’ve made a series of ‘yes’ choices that have gotten me here.  I’ll be honest in saying that most of those yes’s were other-centred and were therefore easy.  Easier.   I still say no to myself too often.  I guess I’m writing this out to say, wake up Share Bear, say yes!  Just try one ‘yes’ and see where it takes you… it will probably lead to the next yes, and another and another.  

Maybe you’re just like me, with a different nickname (Share Bear sucks), and you need to try your first yes.  Your hundredth yes.  A yes you stick with even when the worst thing happens… you start seeing signs of success.  Keep yes-ing.  I will too.      

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Night Table Transformation

 I love antiques.  Love.  When I suspect antiques nearby I will do just about anything to go have a look.  Buying is fun, but I really do enjoy looking and learning histories of pieces, etc.  For well over a year, I had been searching for the perfect antique to serve as my night stand.  Night stand, bed side table, bed stand - whatever name you use you know how important the perfect night stand is.  Well, I do anyway - after my exhaustive search!  Long story short, I decided to make a fantique (fake + antique) did I just make up a new word?!?  I recalled seeing another blogger turning a dresser into what looked like an antique filing cabinet and knew that was the way I wanted to go.  The search for a nightstand that was the right size and had a flat front was much more difficult than I expected, but at last - in Brantford's famous Pink Elephant Flea Market - I found my beautiful (ahem) piece of furniture to fantique.  The looking was the hard part, the transforming was fun, easy and incredibly rewarding.

You'll need:

A dresser or night stand
Stripper (if the furniture is varnished)
Sandpaper or a sander
Wood slats that will fit your piece (more on that below)
A happy disposition

This funny little night stand cost me a whopping $25.00!  Normally I wouldn't have paid that much but to be honest, my time was more valuable than the ten bucks more I had to spend.  Sometimes you have to say enough is enough and just spend $25.00.  The lovely decorative wood burnt roses (yes, they are burned into the piece) were also on the top of the table so I had five roses to obliterate.  The stain was very yellow and seemingly indestructible so I used an all natural stripper to get most of the varnish off.  My tip for using stripper is to reuse it.  I did one side, let the stripper sit, and when it was time to scrape it off I scraped it into a tin pan so I could use it on another surface.  Yes, it looked gross but I used considerably less than I would have if I used fresh stripper each time.  It didn't lose it's stripping power and I only used about $5.00 worth of a $20.00 bottle so it fit into my economic budget.

Time to sand.

The kids love when I work on stuff.  I'm not sure if it's because there is an increase in nachos for dinner or because they think I'm super cool but I will accept both.

Sanding the roses off was tedious.  The decorative burning was quite deep and it took a lot more muscle than I expected.  The rest of the night table was easy to sand, especially because I had stripped it.

We were cooking with gas and the table was ready to clean and stain!  I use a clean and dry paintbrush to clean sawdust and dirt off my projects before sanding or painting.  It gets into the cracks and does a great job.

After removing handles and hinges, I brought the drawer and door inside to glue my wood pieces in place.  
Before going to the hardware store I measure the amount of space I needed to cover with my wooden slats.  I didn't know what they would have to suit my purposes, but there was a section with all sorts of small pieces of wood as seen above.  It's with the trim, and the decorative accents for door frames, etc.  I found the thinnest cut (1/4 inch) and longest length (4ft) and bought what I needed.  The cost came to under $10.00.  If you don't have a saw at home, ask the staff to cut them to size for you but be sure you have your exact measurements.  If you are taking the pieces home to cut, I suggest laying them on the surface to make sure your measurement matches up with what look you want.  I needed mine to touch the edge of the surrounding door/drawer frame to cover up a slightly beveled edge.  After cutting the pieces to size, I brought it all inside and used wood glue and tile spacers to keep my faux drawers perfectly spaced.  Leave it overnight to ensure everything has dried properly.  

This is what my husband thought of my project so far.  Thumbs down.  
Actually, he's a king among men and was just being funny.  Ish.  

Stripping and sanding took an afternoon, and after I was done glueing the wood pieces to the front I had to let things dry, so I started the staining the following day.  I bought a small dark stain in walnut and after applying it, applied an ebony stain I already had in my shed.  This gave the night table a layered and aged look I couldn't have achieved with just one colour.  The brand new wood I used to create the fake drawers stained a different colour than the rest of the piece and I had to spend some extra time adding stain to it to get the colours to match up just right.  

I could not find hardware.  It was almost as tricky as finding the night stand itself!  Unless you have a cute little shop that you KNOW sells the hardware you want, just save yourself the trouble and go online.  I found handles like this on a website that rhymes with Betsy but everyone selling them was just buying them in bulk from and selling them in small lots for ten times the amount.  Six of these exact handles for $10.00, $12.00 + shipping, etc.  
I ended up taking the leap and buying from Alibaba although I never have and I was pleasantly surprised.  The 40 handles came in good time and only cost $20.00 for everything.  I prefer supporting small business and handmade items, I'm actually quite rigid about buying fair trade and fair made items - but this had me angry and confused and it seemed all my buying options came from the same source.  
I measured carefully and started attaching the handles.  

I was in love.
I had an awful night stand for too long and this was like an oasis in the desert.  

Night Stand $25.00  
Wood pieces $10.00
Stripper $5.00
Stain $10.00
Handles $20.00 (I used less than $10.00 worth)

TOTAL: $60.00

You could easily make this more or less expensive depending on what you find your beginning piece of furniture for, what you have on hand and if you need to use stripper, stain, etc.  While it's money smart to adjust for what you can afford, never cheap out on what you really want.  I could have kept the cost down by not buying extra stain and compromising on the handles I wanted - but then the project would have been for nothing.  I love this night table and would have spent a heap more if I had found it as it is now.  My only dilemma now is whether or not to put little pieces of paper in the label area of the handle, and if I do what should it say.  What should it say?!?  It will remain empty until inspiration strikes, which may mean it's empty forever.  You know what's not empty?  
My awesome, perfectly functioning, best night table EVER!  It's full of incense and books and hand lotion and a massage bar from LUSH (winkity wink). 
 I love it and it's one of my favourite projects so far.

My "helper" measuring while I put everything in place.  The lamp has been replaced with a more suitable and smaller lamp - both from yard sales, $1.00 each!

Seriously though, isn't this just a fantastic Night Table?  
Why, yes it is if I do say so myself.  

Happy Do it Yourself-ing!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year Revolution

      I’ve recently finished re-reading Ken Follett's Fall of Giants.  I read it years ago, but now the third and final instalment is out and I wanted to read the trilogy it in its entirety.  While I fell in love with the name of a character, Walter, (my son was later given that name) it’s remarkable how much of the more-than-one-thousand-page book I didn’t remember.  While reading, a line struck me, and I folded the page down so I could re-read the words again and again.

“She’s nothing if not exceptional.  You don’t meet two like her in a lifetime.”

I would study those words before starting a reading session, tucked nicely into my bed or in the corner of my living room with the kids playing loudly around me.  I loved reading the words.  I hoped that one day, someone might describe me as such.  That people would describe my children as someone you don’t meet two of in a lifetime.  The words made me think of who I am, not the housewife mother of six with dreadlocks and an affinity for baking.  Who I am.  What sets me apart from every other woman.  

While the answer to that changes from one day to the next, I wanted to share the thought.  December 31st is fast approaching, and most of us will at least consider a New Year resolution whether or not we choose one There will be an overwhelming consensus to “get healthy”.  Gym memberships will increase, diet pills and shake sales will skyrocket, and everyone will be buying new clothes to work out in.  There will be a lot of quitting.  Smoking, drinking, other addictions or habits.  Resolutions to journal regularly, call friends you’ve lost contact with, spend more time on your passion.  I don’t feel compelled to offer poll results of how long those resolutions actually last, as we have all made them and rarely see them through to February.  

In lieu of a resolution, why not ask yourself how you might be described when not present.  How family, friends, strangers in the grocery store might describe you.  Be real about it.  It won’t all be nice.  Don’t brush it off and say the opinions of others don’t matter and you do what makes you happy.  That’s garbage.  Try to take a real assessment of what other see in you, see about you.   

Don’t join the hoards of thinner, stronger, healthier, deeper, happier, etc.  Those things, outside of our culture shoving them down our throat, aren’t necessarily bad.  But why be part of a mass of millions?  Let me share a secret.  Let me SCREAM IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS…. when you are living a true life, one not manufactured by media and our consumerism culture - things like losing 10 lbs, buying the newest tv, even “improving ourselves” by introspectively licking our life wounds DON’T MATTER.  They just disappear.  When you live authentically, the things we are told to strive for become so small we wonder how they had any place in our lives at all.  

Why not be someone you don’t meet two like in a lifetime.  Be radically generous.  Compliment every person you interact with.  Force yourself to surrender a prejudice and solidify it by acting kindly toward those you hated.  Pursue others happiness instead of your own - help them facilitate it.  Do something that doesn’t need to be given up because you forgot for a day or had a slip up.  Something that creates real change, in you, and others.  

Think how many years of your life have been a cycle of buying new things, trying a new diet, buying more things, giving up on a diet.  The entirety of your existence can not be what job you worked to facilitate the things you bought and the food you wished you hadn’t eaten (or wished you had).  

  I’m not writing from my high horse.  I know some of the things people say about me when I’m not in the room.  I’d like to think there’s nothing I can do about those words, but the truth is - I can.  Some people will always have something awful to say about other people, and that might be what is said about them - but why not try to make a positive impact in each relationship you have, big or small. 

Why not be a once in a lifetime type of person. 

Reject the New Year Resolution and start a New Year Revolution.  Do it.  

Go ahead and watch this song, get that fire burning.  Then close your browser and stop living online, haha.  
"What if my only responsibility was to change the world?"

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hokey Smokey Potato Salad

I didn't think I liked potato salad.  I've had a few good variations before, but mostly is just seemed like a reason to eat mass quantities of potatoes and mayonnaise and foolishly call it salad.

Oh, I just had a small salad for lunch.  

I attended a pig roast in the summer, and because I'm a vegetarian I ate a lot of the salads available.  My husband is vegan a good 90% of the time, so it was nice to treat myself to a few things I wouldn't normally eat.  And treat myself I did.  Actually, I didn't go too crazy - it just felt crazy because I loved this potato salad so much I dug through the fridge at 1am hoping to find leftovers.

Well, my husband had a work potluck thingy and he wanted me to make something cold so he didn't have to lug a crockpot to work and ensure it had enough time to heat up, etc.  I thought - huzzah! - I am going to jack my friend's potato salad recipe and vegan it up.

Whether or not you're vegan, you probably shouldn't be eating mayonnaise.  Ok, if you must have mayo at least only a tablespoon at a time on the most bodacious BLT ever.  Not by the cupful in a "salad".
Enter:  Hokey Smokey Potato Salad

This recipe is big enough to bring to a potluck with 8-10 adults who want seconds.  It's easily halved or doubled and can have lots of variations made. 

3-4lb potatoes (I used red because that's what I had, but use whatever you want I guess)
2-3 ripe avocado
Juice from freshly squeezed lemon, or 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 bunch green onion, chopped small-ish
2-3 shallots, or one large red onion, also chopped small
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley
1-2tbsp liquid smoke (or more, to taste)

Variation ideas: 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, a few cloves of roasted garlic, 1/4 cup chives

Cut your potatoes into even sized cubes and bring to a boil.  Once boiled, lower to a simmer until they are soft enough to stick a fork through but NOT so soft you don't have to push your fork a little.  You will have weird mashed potatoes if you over cook.  Once your taters are done, rinse them in cold water until they are cool so they stop cooking or you still might end up with mashed potatoes on your hands.

While your p-tats (yup, I'm starting a new trend and calling them p-tats) are cooking, place your lemon juice or apple cider vinegar into a large mixing bowl.  You're just using enough to stop the avocados from turning brown - you don't want to taste it when you're done.  Peel and pit your avocados and squish them to bits with the juice.  I used a little hand blender, but it was 9pm and I had just finished making a big dinner and packing lunches and doing the dishes and.... I just wanted to use a blender.

Once your avocados are nice and smooth (there will always be a few chunks left), add your finely chopped green onions, herbs and red onion.  I always use a nice pair of clean scissors to cut green onion if you're looking for a cool way to prep them.

Add your potatoes and mix gently but thoroughly.  Once mixed, start adding liquid smoke until it tastes just how you'd like.  I put 2tbsp in my batch, and I thought it was just right - but it will depend on how much lemon/apple cider vinegar you use and how many potatoes you boiled, etc.

I took a picture of my salad a full 24 hours after making it, so the colour wasn't as vibrant green and beautiful as it was immediately after making it but it certainly isn't the gross brown colour avocados turn after being cut open.   I love this salad!  And, yes, potatoes aren't the best food to be eating lots of - but they're not the worst from time to time.  I hope you make and LOVE this salad as much as I do, and if you do - don't forget to send me a pic or an update on how they turned out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Headboard from and Old Door

I love old things.  The truth is I have too many old things in my home.  Not too many if you are opening an antique shop, but perhaps a few too many for an ordinary house.  It doesn't help that people put beautiful old things in the garbage (frequently) and that I am an unashamed garbage picker.

Garbage picking is easy.  You see something you like, pull up next to the heap and beg your husband to please throw it in the vehicle.  Easy-peasy, no pride lost.  

I have a small collection of solid wood doors that I've found in the trash.  Four to be exact.  I've used one as part of a vignette in my back yard, two of them are still waiting for their repurpose, and one I've recently made into my headboard.

I LOVE my new headboard!  Love LOVE Love!  Before this headboard, I had a sleigh bed and it took up the majority of my room.  I probably would have let the sleigh bed stick around for a few more years and wondered what to do with my growing door collection - but lucky for me, we broke our bed (not in an exciting way) and I was suddenly in the market for a new one.

I found a door (in my collection) that was symmetrical and without glass - and got to work.

The door was a bit mouldy, so I scrubbed it with an all natural deck cleaner that removed the mould.  It also needed to be trimmed on either side so it wouldn't hang out from behind my mattress (too much - we hope to move up to a king sized bed at some point so needed to leave a few inches).  After it was clean and cut, the whole door needed a thorough sanding.

The door also needed some pizazz, so I bought solid wood crown moulding and topped the headboard with it.  Two 45degree cuts and it was capped off nicely.  Don't be intimidated by cutting - seriously, I'm terrible with angles and it only took me a few minutes.  Just double check before you cut.  You know: measure twice, cut once.  I used wood glue along the length of the moulding and some finishing nails to hold it in place until the glue dried and to add some stability.

After sanding and attaching the crown moulding, I tried an antiquing method called waxing (or something, I don't know).  I just rubbed a tea light candle in all the areas I wanted the wood to show through so when I was finished painting I could sand the area and have it come right off.  The verdict:  it worked wonderfully and I will definitely use waxing again if I need to keep something old looking.

I bought floor and porch paint in a light grey and applied three coats to get the dark door totally covered.  Listen to me now, if you are painting a piece of furniture and you want it to never ever ever scratch - use floor and porch paint.  I've used it several times and it never fails.

I wanted the door antique looking, but I hate when things look like they've been painted, sanded and called antique.  My husband hates it more than I do.  Forbids it actually.  Probably because of my crap efforts in the past.  I would not make that same mistake again.  I covered the grey paint with an antiquing glaze in all the areas I wanted to be darker.  I then began to sand away the areas I had previously put my tea light candle wax on, corners and edges.  It wasn't quite right, so I lightly applied more floor and porch paint and rubbed it in/off with a rag.  After a few rounds of antique glaze and paint I finally landed at the perfect look.  It was worth the extra time and effort.  I would hate to look at my headboard every day and regret not spending more time on it.

Lastly, to hang the door I found keyhole hooks that are for hanging flat objects (like my door) flush against a wall.  Just ask your grumpy hardware associate at whatever building store you're forced to go to even though you hate it.  There are certain sizes that will hold different weights, so be sure you get the right size for your door.  I used 3 just to be certain.  Take your time measuring your wall and your door so you don't have to mess around hanging a heavy door on the wall.  Miraculously, I managed to get mine up on the first try - and for someone who is terrible at calculations, measuring, etc. - it's a testament to taking your time.

That's it.  In total it took me over a week, but that's because it was raining for four days - so it really would have only taken me three days if the weather had cooperated.  Three days and $40.00 for a headboard I am totally in love with.

Now go break your bed and make a new one from a door you picked out of the garbage!

If you make a headboard from an old door PLEASE oh PLEASE share your pics with me.  I'd love to see what you do differently, and how it turns out!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Super Delicious Vegan Sprouted Grain Waffles

I love waffles.  So much.  I've yet to meet someone who doesn't love a delicious waffle.  I'm not talking about the ones from a box.  Yes, I've tasted them.  My parents used to buy them when I was a teenager and I'd toast them and put a scoop of peach ice cream on top.  Those aren't waffles.  Those are waffle-like-products.  I  mean WAFFLES!

My brother used to live in a different province from the rest of the family, and during one of his visits home I walked into my parents house while he was making up a fresh batch of waffles.  They were green.  He had made them with spelt and spirulina and I thought, eww why bother?  Well, I'm not sure he eats green waffles anymore but I think I've come up to his level of dedication when it comes to eating healthy.  I drink my spirulina like any good hippie - I don't hide it in waffles.

All this to say - after a bad night's sleep, a long morning, and a challenging yoga session - I felt waffles would put some sunshine into my day.  The dilemma - a deep, lust like desire for waffles on a non-treat day.  It just couldn't wait.

I've health-ified a recipe adapted from the Food Network but you are welcome to junk it back up or make any adjustments you need/like/want.  I will warn you (ye be warned) that applesauce waffles need a bit of extra time in the waffle iron so make sure it stops steaming before you open it.   It's not 100% healthy, but it's as close as a waffle is going to get while still tasting delicious.

These waffles are nice and crispy on the outside, soft and muffin like on the inside and delicious the whole way through!

Vegan, (mostly) Sprouted Grain DELICIOUS Waffles
Yields 10 waffles approx.

Before you start, plug in your waffle iron so it's insanely hot when you're done making your batter.  I plug mine in, have a coffee and then get the ingredients together.  There's nothing worse than a luke warm waffle iron.  

2 1/2 cups flour (I used 1c sprouted spelt, 1c sprouted kamut and 1/2 cup all purpose whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (you can use any milk)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup coconut sugar (you can use brown sugar or sugar alternatives)
3 tbsp oil (I used walnut but you could use melted coconut oil, or vegetable oil)
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk your wet ingredients together, and continue whisking in your dry ingredients.  Make sure most of your lumps are gone but don't go mental - it doesn't need to be perfect.  

I know non stick sprays aren't great.  I actually never really use the two that I have in my cupboard unless I'm making something in the waffle iron - and when you're using a waffle iron you really need a spray.  I have an extra virgin olive oil spray and a coconut oil spray (both found at the marvellous Costco) and I used the coconut oil spray so the waffles wouldn't taste olive oil-y.  

Spray your iron, use a measuring cup to scoop and pour your batter (perfectly sized waffles that way!)  My waffle iron takes 1/2 cup batter per side, but yours could very well be a different size so use some discretion here.  As I mentioned earlier in my extended waffle rant, because these are made with applesauce you will need to wait until the steam is done rising before opening your iron.  If you've used brown sugar - your waffles may stick a little to your iron.  Carefully use a spatula or some tongs to peel them off - don't rush, you don't want to rip your beautiful waffles!

Top with fresh fruit and real maple syrup for the BEST breakfast or brunch.  If these waffles don't add a bit of sunshine to your day, you are a sad sad soul.

Happy Waffling!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Husbands Have Feelings?

I saw it in his eyes.  A bit of shock.  A lot of hurt.  A pinch of “what the hell?”

I hurt my husband’s feelings.

It was a few years ago when my husband and I were choosing a movie to watch, and I described the female lead.  I said she was something like gorgeous, to which he replied “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  I kept blathering on, about her beautiful body, her face, etcetera etcetera to which he looked at me and said again, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.  The person you’re describing is you.  You’re the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.”

Yes it's cheesy, but he meant it.  As that kindness sunk in, and I realized he wasn't joking -  I recalled that I described men in movies based on their appearances and that my descriptions probably made him feel like less than he is.  Describing men by their muscles, their striking faces, everything but their acting and what other movies they may have been in.   His reply to my description of a female lead changed everything for me.

The light turned on.

Husbands have feelings too.

I am so lucky to have a man that truly cherishes me.  Doesn’t crane his neck out the window when a woman on the sidewalk is dressed scantily.  Turns his face from a movie if a breast should appear.  Whether or not he turns away when I’m not in the room isn’t the point here, the point is he goes out of his way to make me feel like no one else matters.  No one else can hold a candle to me - and boy oh boy does it feel magnificent. 

Ensuring your significant other knows that you are their one and only is something that every relationship needs.

And I messed up.  

Big time.

I was thrift shopping with the kids on a rainy day in our favourite little town, Bancroft Ontario, when a police officer came in and started to chat with the kids and I. He was tall, thick, with a full moustache, and was so kind to the kids and I.  And he wore a uniform.  

When the family was tucked back in to the car, I made a comment or two - and there was that look.  That “seriously?” look.  My comments weren't lewd or perverted - it was just excessive praise for another man.  Just enough to hurt the man I love.   

My husband is a beautiful man.  Seriously.  I married up.  He’s no more insecure than any other guy, and feels pretty good about himself most days.  That is, until his wife gushes on about someone else and chops him down.  

Don’t tell me your self worth shouldn’t come from others, blah blah blah.  I know that.  It’s true.  Very true.... BUT, long term relationships have the ability, the power, to either wear someone down and widdle them into a fraction of who they could be; or it can build them up and empower them to be more than they ever thought possible.  
Why not choose to build your partner up?  Let them know that they are your everything, so on the days when they feel like dirt - they know you’re in their corner, loving the heck out of them.  

I haven’t made a mistake like that in a long time, and as I try to build his esteem back up I am reminded that we live in a world where it is commonplace to drool over attractive people
with our significant other right there.  The practice is equally participated in by men and women - we both do it.  Women gush over Johnny Depp or Ryan Gosling or that Channing fellow who always has his shirt off.  Men are almost taught to act this way, whistling and cat calling, group lunches at the strip club, commercials loaded with bikini clad women selling beer.  Just because it seems as though “everyone is doing it” doesn’t mean everyone needs to join in.  

If you love your partner, and cherish your relationship - it’s important to understand they need to be the top of your list.  No matter what they look like.  My body has never (and I mean never) leant itself to wearing a bikini, but my husband has convinced me I am his dream girl - bikini or not - and he follows it up with so many actions and inaction that I believe him. 

This inaction, this conscious refusal to participate in the collective “drooling” is so important in our relationship. It’s so important, that I’m sharing this story of my being a total jerk so that  if you are participating in this social norm, you can recognize it and choose if you really want to or not.

I have the absolute best partner for me.  I don’t think there is another single human being on this entire planet who could co-exist so happily with someone as difficult as me.  For the most part I do my darndest to make sure he knows he is the bees knees.  Now that I've messed up a bit, I thought I would take the opportunity to share one of our marriage tips - and although it sounds ridiculous, just remember...

Husbands have feelings. 

(Please insert all alternative options where necessary - boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, life mates, conscious uncouplers, etc)

Want to read more about my awesome hubby?  You might like 
It was even an article in Brantford's gem of a newspaper, The Advocate! 

If you're a Brantfordite and want to read more from local writers, visit Brant Advocate

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