I’m Dreading It…

Christmas that is so, if you’re big fan and don’t want to be bah humbugged look away now……..

Christmas that is so, if you’re big fan and don’t want to be bah humbugged look away now……..

The thing is, I’ve never really been a big fan to be honest. I don’t like Christmas Carols (except Oh Holy Night but that makes me cry), I’m not a big foodie so Christmas dinner is a bit lost on me, Christmas films are invariably nauseatingly saccharin and it seems to be 3 weeks of crazy for one day. Saying all that, I always made the effort because I know that other people love it; my husband was a huge fan and used to love cooking the dinner, paper hat atop his head and a glass of something in his hand.

Of course, he’s not here now. I don’t have to think about finding him the perfect present, something that will make his eyes light up and make him want to hug me tight and kiss me. I don’t have to think about buying a little something for my two cats because I lost them too. I don’t need to worry about buying presents for my parents because we decided to give the money to the hospice where he died instead.

He won’t wake me up at the crack of dawn Christmas morning, running around like a big kid and trying to find his apron so he can get on with food preparation. He won’t nag me about doing the washing up (he cooked after all), we won’t argue about what film to watch, he won’t fall asleep in front of the TV, having drunk too much at lunchtime. He won’t be asking for turkey sandwiches or another sweet or trying to convince me that it won’t hurt if he has a third mince pie. He won’t be giving me a present that I know damn well he bought at the last minute but, all the same, put so much thought into.

We won’t stay up late, hugging on the sofa, watching rubbish and scoffing chocolates. We won’t be going to bed together tired but happy and we won’t fall asleep in each others arms, each of us knowing that we are loved.

Instead I have the offer of going to Rome with my best friend as I did last year and the year before. I would spend Christmas and New Year with his friends and family who are all incredibly lovely and make so much effort……I’m dreading it. Everyone makes me feel welcome, they’re Italian so they try and feed me every five minutes and when I’m not being fed, someone is hugging me or telling me something I can’t understand…..I’m dreading it. I would probably laugh, drink too much, have far too many late nights and be drowned in a cacophony of endless chatter. During the day I’ll be with good friends, explore Rome, take motorbike rides though the beautiful countryside outside the city, take photos, drink the mind-blowingly strong coffee and eat cake….

And feel totally separate from all of it and more alone  and more trapped than I feel at any other time of the year. You can’t escape from the jollity at Christmas and, if you’ve lost your husband, wife or partner, you can fully participate in it either because the best part of Christmas is sharing it with someone you love……..

I’m sorry that this is such a dismal, feeling sorry for myself post but this is the worst year yet for me and it will be the fifth without my husband; I don’t understand why it doesn’t get any easier……

Lisa x

Loins Girded……

Do you find that, when you’re really not looking forward to something, you have a mental process which allows you to pull up your big girl (or boy) panties and just get out there and do it? It’s the mental equivalent of a kick up the arse. It could involve deep breathing or visualizing a positive rather than negative experience, a quick shot of vodka, who knows, it’s different for everyone.

Do you find that, when you’re really not looking forward to something, you have a mental process which allows you to pull up your big girl (or boy) panties and just get out there and do it? It’s the mental equivalent of a kick up the arse. It could involve deep breathing or visualizing a positive rather than negative experience, a quick shot of vodka, who knows, it’s different for everyone.

Well that was me yesterday morning before I set off for the chamber of psychological torture hairdressers. If you read my post from yesterday (a big thank you if you did by the way) you’ll know that this is not exactly a pleasurable experience for me. If you can imagine how it would feel to have Torquemada turning up on your porch and telling you he’d like a quick chat……it’s a bit like that.

Anyway, loins suitably girded, I set off. The salon is in a hotel in Monaco so the first job was finding it (never an easy task for me); luckily a very nice chap offered to show me the way :O) He left me at the lift and said

“It’s the first door on your left”

“Great thanks!”

“The other left Madam”

“……………!!!”

So I entered the salon slightly flushed and silently cursing my ability to differentiate my left from my right when I’m stressed. Thankfully, despite being 10 minutes early,  I did not have to wait so there was no temptation to bury my nose in glossy hair magazines which would give me unrealistic expectations as to what could actually be achieved during my visit.

I popped my arms into a straight jacket gown and was then deposited, with a bottle of chilled Evian (nice touch) in front of a…..WTF!!!!! Not your usual head and shoulders sized mirror, oh no, this was a full floor to ceiling, show every flaw in every part of your body and make you seriously question why you chose to wear those pink shorts mirror. Mwiffle!

Next shock was the arrival of a man.

“Hi! I’m going to be looking after you today”

What? A bloke was going to be doing my hair????”

“Um right, ok, great thanks. I should tell you, I’m English and my French really isn’t very good” (I said in French – don’t be impressed, it’s a well practiced line)

“Don’t worry Madam I speak almost no English”

I think he thought that this would make me feel better. It didn’t.

Some words in French that I did not understand

“I’m sorry I don’t understand” (very useful phrase learned very early on!)

After several minutes of rephrasing and Gallic gesticulations I worked out that he was asking me how my hair had been blonded at my last hairdressers

“No idea really, she just sort of painted some stuff on my hair and voila!”

peas up noseHe gave me the sort of look usually reserved for young children trying to shove peas up their nose and launched into an explanation of the countless options that were available to me.

“Look, I really think it would be best if I just left it to you, you’re the expert after all. However I think I should tell you that I hate my hair and I always hope that hairdressers will perform miracles with it”

At this point I expected him to pale slightly and mutter something about doing his best as had always happened in the past but he didn’t..

“And what would the miracle look like?”

Oh shit! How do I answer that?

“Um, I’m not really sure to be honest…”

I went back to being the pea stuffing toddler.

Anyway, except for a brief discussion about the football (brief because I have no interest in and know nothing about football) and the weather (well, I am English), I let him get on with things.

My hair was painted (30 minutes in front of the mirror trying to avoid eye contact with my reflection), rinsed, painted again (further 45 minutes trying to understand articles in Marie Claire – French version), rinsed, conditioned and rinsed again.

Finally I was ready for THE CUT.

Edward ScissorhandsThere was no discussion. I think he’d realised that it was futile by this point so he set about doing terribly creative things with several different pairs of scissors. However, he did tell me that he’d spent 15 years working in a salon in Paris, the style capital of the World. I was somewhat comforted by this revelation but still found myself gripping the arms of the chair very hard; I think you could probably see the nail  marks if you looked hard enough.

He finished cutting, ignored the rising panic in my eyes and armed himself with a small tub of some blue goo and a hairdryer. 10 minutes later and he was done.

“You can open your eyes now Madame”

“Mmm?”

“Open your eyes”

I did. One at a time. Slowly.

“Wow! It looks great” Big smile of relief….and that was just from him!

So, there you have it, all that worrying and loin girding and for what? Honestly why do I make such a fuss about these stupid little things?

“So with the hair serum (what, it smelt nice!) that will be an astronomical amount of Euros”

hair meResigning myself to living on baguettes and cheese for the next couple of weeks I handed over my card and made another appointment for 6 weeks time. I sincerely hope that I will remember this experience and have no need to gird my loins in the future……….I probably won’t.

Oh yes, I knew there was something else. I saw my best friend later in the day; I opened the door to him grinning proudly, his comment:

“I thought you said you were going to the hairdressers today” Men!

Please do let me know about the last time you needed to do a spot of loin girding, I’d love to hear from you.

Lisa x

 

 

Impending Sense of Dread……

Is there anything that have to do, on a regular basis, that you really hate doing? You know what I mean, it’s necessary, but if you could put it off you would and you find yourself always getting a teeny bit stressed the day before. Maybe it’s going to the dentist or monthly meetings at work, medical check ups, that kind of thing; the kind of appointment that you’re never going to forget because we don’t ever forget the things that we’re dreading……..Yes? You get where I’m coming from? Good, I’m so glad I’m not alone in this. 

Is there anything that have to do, on a regular basis, that you really hate doing? You know what I mean, it’s necessary, but if you could put it off you would and you find yourself always getting a teeny bit stressed the day before. Maybe it’s going to the dentist or monthly meetings at work, medical check ups, that kind of thing; the kind of appointment that you’re never going to forget because we don’t ever forget the things that we’re dreading……..Yes? You get where I’m coming from? Good, I’m so glad I’m not alone in this.

For me it’s going to the hairdresser. You heard right; the world of head massages, glossy magazines and heavenly smelling shampoos. Hate it! Why? Well, the reasons are many fold:

Firstly, my hair has a fear of hairdressers. For a week before I make an appointment it will lie around listlessly feeling sorry for itself; there’s a lot of infighting with small groups of hair doing their own thing and refusing to play well with others, that sort of thing. Then what happens? Lo and behold, the morning of the appointment, they all decide to work together and organise themselves into perfectly styled shininess. Damn them all the way to Hades!

By then it’s too late to cancel so, with a feeling of deep trepidation I head off to the torture chamber  salon. Now, as I have a pathological fear of being late, I will always have about 15 minutes to wait before I am called to the rack chair. I am usually offered a cup of coffee (which I refuse as I don’t want to have to ask someone who has a sharp implement held close to my ears where the toilets are) and a selection of magazines…..

hairThey are either glossy magazines full of young model types looking beautifully vacant and slightly depressed or they are chocked full of equally stunning women with amazing hairstyles. I should have learned over the years to politely decline the magazines, along with the coffee, but I haven’t so I look at the lovely pictures.

At my designated appointment time I am escorted over to a workstation by a woman with perfect hair who sits me down in front of a mirror, over which has been placed, the kind of strip lighting that would make Elle McPherson reach for her bronzer and touche eclat!

At this point she will ask the dreaded question:

“So what are we going to do today?”

How the hell would I know? Why are you asking me that question? I don’t take my car in for a service and expect to tell the mechanic what he should be doing with it; I trust that he knows one end of a dipstick from the other and let him get on with it!

In response I generally pass over the magazine that I’ve been clutching in my sweaty little paw and point to a picture with a hopeful smile

“Something like that?”

“Hmm yes it’s lovely but the model has really thick hair and, in my experience, a cut doesn’t usually add length”

“Ha ha right no of course, well whatever you think……..”

haircutNo amount of interrogation, gentle probing, by the slightly apprehensive looking stylist can illicit a more helpful response so she gets on with the job in hand and I sit there with my eyes closed silently praying.

After she has finished her ministrations

“There all done, what do you think?”

Bugger!

What a question to ask!! Now I’ve got to lie and live with a hairstyle I hate for the next few weeks until I have to go through the whole torturous experience again or I have to be honest and watch her face fall…

“Look, it’s not you, it’s my hair, honestly it’s hopeless” I gabble; I’m flushed and trying to stop my bottom lip  from trembling

Resignedly I hand over my cash with a weak smile and walk out, convincing myself that it will look better once it’s grown in a bit and the colour has toned down a few shades……

hermioneWhy oh why did they give me those bloody magazines? Why did I read them? I wouldn’t have had ridiculous expectations of a life-changing new style if I’d been reading Harry Potter (unless it was the bit where Hermione has discovered Sleakeazy’s hair potion). Oh well, I’ve got no-one to blame but myself……and all those gorgeous bloody young women with their stupid, shiny, perfect hair!

So, where am I off to today? Yep, you’ve guessed it – the hairdresser……..a new hairdresser (my old one who I’d got used to and could talk me off most hair related ledges has, rather inconsiderately, decided to be 8 months pregnant and stop working)……in Monaco…..where I will have to translate my neuroses into French. Meep!

I’ll report back later…………or I’ll be sorting through my collection of paper bags and trying them on for size….

If you’re off to do that thing you hate today please feel free to share your misery in the comments ;O)

Lisa

x