Tag Archives: Avon

Nothing Lasts Forever

image from weheartit.com
image from weheartit.com

Good things and bad things – they all come to an end eventually.  How profound was that, hey?  Don’t worry, there’s no deep and philosophical hidden message here.  More like a whining complaining mini rant about things over which I have no control.  Because I suck at endings and goodbyes.

Somebody told me I won’t be able to get my favourite erasable ink retractable pen anymore because they’re no longer being made.  WHAT??  That was shock number one.  I’m kidding, that wasn’t too horrible.  Shock number one is that Trifecta is ending and will not be issuing amazing challenges any more!  I know, I can’t believe it either.  I love Trifecta. This is like when great bloggers just wander off into the sunset and don’t keep up their amazing blogs and you wonder whatever happened to them and hope they didn’t die or something.  So all you bloggers out there who decided to just up and quit, please drop me a line that says hello, I’m not dead, if you’re not actually dead.

Our second year contact lens student who will be double licensed in June told me yesterday that she is going to apply for a management position that is coming available soon.  When these opportunities present themselves it’s best to make it known that you’re interested and available.  I know this, and mostly I applaud her ambition and wish her well.  But another selfish little part of me hopes she won’t get it and she’ll stay where she is working with me.  Because how is this not way better than anything else you could possibly imagine.  Anyway, that’s potential upset number two.

And now, the third shoe drops, (there are always three shoes)  I have just received an e-mail from my Avon lady telling me she is quitting Avon and doing something else instead and this week will be the last time she takes and delivers orders.  She breaks up our relationship with an e-mail!  I want to look her in the face and tell her how incredibly disappointed I am in her, because I was one of those customers who always ordered stuff, even when I didn’t need anything in particular because not ordering made me feel guilty.  Okay, I’ve just convinced myself that this ending isn’t such a bad thing after all and I don’t really need to get in her face.

Other endings that are not bad ones:

1.  Daylight Savings Time  (Who decided that taking an hour off the beginning of the day and tacking it on to the end of the day made the day longer?  Some jerk, obviously.)

2.  Trilogies.  After a long beginning and an equally long middle, I just want the story to get over itself and end already.

3.  Illnesses like flu and skin rashes and indigestion and hangovers. Yes, hangovers are an illness.  If you’ve ever had one, you know this.

4. Winter

5.  Bad relationships

6.  Good hair cuts, because that means the bad ones also go away.

7.  Candy Crush levels that cause serious fits of anxiety and temporary pattern baldness.

8.  Crazy work days and work weeks and all work of any kind.

9.  Headaches

10.  Monopoly at McDonald’s so we can go back to coffee cups with stickers you collect to get a free cup of coffee.  That way everybody wins.

So there are good endings.  And I know when something wonderful ends it simply means there will be a new beginning of some other wonderful thing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t wallow in misery for a bit and feel sorry for myself and pout and whine about it.  It’s my way of accepting whatever happens.  Nobody said it was pretty.

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Music Lessons

piano

365 Days of Writing Prompts from WordPress:  Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse.  How is your life different today because of him or her?

My mother bought a second-hand upright piano when we were kids and announced that all of us were going to take lessons and learn how to play it.  I don’t remember being given a choice about that, but we embarked on the process willingly enough.  Music lessons must have been something my parents discussed and dad agreed to simply to make mom happy, although even buying the piano would have been a major expense for them and certainly was not a necessity.  Like all good parents, they sacrificed to give their kids opportunities.  And like all kids everywhere, we did not always appreciate the things we had to do for our own good.

Mr. Rhodes was short and round and serious and I never saw him dressed in anything but a suit and tie.  He had black brush cut hair, big dark rimmed glasses and a stern and scowling look, but he was, underneath all that, a gentle man.  He played the organ at our church and his wife was our choir director.  She was also an Avon Lady, and he was a high school industrial arts teacher who taught music in his spare time. They lived in a little white stucco house near the high school and although I must have visited it a hundred times, all I remember is the tiny living room with a table chock full of Avon stuff and the piano lesson room around the corner where I would sit on a hard bench for an hour at a time in the interests of obtaining a well-rounded education.

From the first lesson he had a lot of patience with me.  I had none at all with myself.  Much like how I wanted to be able to read books after a couple of weeks in grade one,  I expected to be able to play the piano well and to do it quickly without a lot of effort.  I wanted short cuts to mediocrity.  He was more bent on slowly fostering and developing an appreciation and a love in me for all things musical.  Music delighted him.   Lesson after lesson he painstakingly taught me how to read the notes on the page, the proper fingering and hand positions, and a lot of boring stuff about dead composers and sharps and flats and major and minor keys and keeping time.  I thought all the practicing would kill me so I did as little of it as possible.

Despite my best efforts to merely survive the tedium, a lot of knowledge sunk in and eventually some talent oozed out.  He told me I was one of his best pupils, although now I think he was being rather generous with his praise.  I did get very good at sight-reading, sitting down with a brand new piece of music in front of me and playing it through without difficulty.  But I never felt like interpreting what was written into anything beautiful or sad or joyous with feeling and real emotion.  Watching a concert pianist play something classical and emote all over the keyboard with closed eyes and a rapturous face made me extremely uncomfortable.  I had no ambition whatsoever for that to ever be me.  When Mr. Rhodes would wave his pencil in the air and cry “Dolce!  Pianisimo!”  in the middle of a piece,  I would often just bang away all the harder to drown him out.

Less dedicated teachers might have thrown up their hands, but he looked for ways to encourage and motivate me.  He went out one day and bought me a big music book full of John Philip Sousa marches and told me to take it home and play my heart out.  Suddenly music was a beautiful thing.  Our piano took a real beating for a while after that.  Grandioso and fortissimo were definitely my thing.  I was never what anyone would describe as a loud or forceful person, but for whatever reason, playing the piano brought that out in me.

My brother got to quit the piano lessons when he’d had enough of them, and one of my sisters decided she wanted singing lessons instead.  I often said I wanted to stop, but I could see how much it meant to mom for me to keep going.  And Mr. Rhodes pronounced me almost good enough to take my grade eight practical and theory exams if I chose to work a little harder.  So I kept going for music lessons longer than I ever expected I would, with no real plan for ever putting them to any use.

You may find it strange to learn that I went on to play the organ at church after taking lessons on that instrument as well, and adding deep bass foot pedaling to my repertoire.   I learned to do soft and quiet background pieces, slow and funereal dirges, the kind of soothing music that can put some church goers to sleep.  But I lived for the glory hallelujah Onward-Christian-Soldier marching hymns putting fire in everyone’s soul, never mind leaving a lot of the older parishioners a little breathless and blue in the face.

My music teacher had a heart attack and died in his backyard on a summer afternoon when I was halfway through high school.  I don’t know if there were any warning signs but that wouldn’t have changed the fact that it was sad and shocking news.  I never got to tell him how bad I felt for not passing the music exams, although I brushed it off as totally unimportant at the time.  I did tell everyone I didn’t want to take them but they urged me on so I went through the motions in my usual lackadaisical fashion.   Even though I knew how disappointed he would be if I didn’t do well, I didn’t work hard enough and I’m sorry for that.  I passed the sight reading part with flying colors though. That was the only thing that impressed my examiners.

How is my life different because of him?  Well I didn’t really have much of a life going on before he and his piano were in it, so I can only imagine how different it would be without all my miscellaneous musical knowledge.  It drives me nuts to hear wrong notes and anything played or sung off-key.  I can still look at a piece of music and read it and hear it in my head.  Maybe I could still play it, but these old hands are certainly out of practice.  We couldn’t be hauling a piano all over the place when my kids were growing up, so they never got to be “Rhodes scholars” like me.

I’ve heard people say they wish they’d kept up with their music lessons, but I don’t mind that they stopped for me when they did.  It was never one of my passions.  I’m simply happy to have known someone who loved it all so very much.

365 writing prompts

Friday the 14th

There is no rest for Our Lady of the Lists
There is no rest for Our Lady of the Lists

In honour of day fourteen in my December 2012 Book of Days, here is my list of 14 random things I want to say.  I’m sorry I can’t be more specific about this particular lists contents until I’m finished writing it.  Before I went out shopping this morning I had to shuffle through that conglomeration of attempts at getting organized that you see above.  The pile of lists is considerably smaller now.  But there’s never any real end to them.  So what the hell, here’s another one.

1.  My favourite wine is on sale at Superstore this weekend so I picked up four bottles of it, and just for good measure, two more of another kind that was recommended to me by a very reliable source, also on sale.  If that isn’t enough Christmas wine to last us through the holiday, we are entirely too fond of it.

2.   W. has agreed to host one of his famous fish fries for our family over the holidays.  Delicious all you can eat fish in batter with a side of not exactly fries, but more like real English chips.  I love a man who can cook.

3.  For the first time in umpteen dozen years, I have my very own Avon lady. She is sweet and she delivers to my door.

4.  The  Bath and Body Works White Barn Sandalwood Vanilla scented candle is lovely.  I have four of them.  Because, (I don’t know), I seem to be doing things in multiples of four.  They’re a little on the pricey side, but they last a long time and the fragrance from one candle goes everywhere in the house.

5.  Apparently I have 202 followers here.  Huh.  I wonder how many of them are real people who did this on purpose?  Ultimately I don’t care.  Just seeing that number makes me smile.

It's a number that starts with 13!  Woot!
It’s a number that starts with 13! Woot!

6.  This Likes badge popped up in my notifications a few days ago and it also made me smile .  Do these things come in multiples of 1337?  If so, hopefully it doesn’t take my blog another six years to make it to 2674.  I love cryptic milestones.

7.  I’m done with stocking stuffers and I’m done with gifts, except for a couple of things that are ordered and have to be delivered and should be here next week.  Expected time of arrival is now the 17th.  I can keep it together for three more days, I’m almost certain.

8.  People who love to wrap gifts are cordially invited to my house for a gift wrapping party.  It’s one of my least favourite things to do on the list of things I whine about having to do.  I was going to start it early this afternoon, but I’m putting it off and complaining about it instead.

9.  Since I’ve misplaced my recipe for a layered dip that I make every other blue moon I looked one up on allrecipes.com and found this Layered Seafood Dip which is very similar except for the addition of crab meat.  I don’t remember using that before.  But I’m going to now, and I’m sure it will be good.

10.  Against the recommendation of a very UNreliable source, I  have purchased Christmas blend Starbucks coffee.  This person told me it wasn’t very good this year.  If I started a list of all the things this lady has told me that turned out to be deluded nonsense, I’d be here all day.  So I won’t start.  And I’m sure the coffee will be fine.

11.  I think I’m down to only two lists now, not counting this one!  But, you know, the day isn’t over.

12.  W is going to come with me to do the final grocery shop (which never ends up being final, no matter how many damn lists you stuff in your handbag).  We’re aiming for Monday to pick up most of the perishables and produce and fresh things that, if they didn’t go bad, we’d stock up on in October just to avoid the crowds.

13.  If he’d come with me today I could have had him carry six clinking bottles of wine in two plastic bags across a slushy slippery parking lot fearing for his life.  Liquor store parking lots are not for the faint of heart.

14.  Fourteen was a rather ambitious number of items to aspire to for a list, even for me, but there it is.  The book of days is nearly halfway done!