Excited for the holidays? So are we. And now you have a little more to celebrate with Chatelaine’s upcoming promotion at Roots on December 1st. Not only do you get great discounts but you can enjoy some beverages, food and general merriment. We’re also hosting events in Calgary (December 8 – Roots Store – 399 17th Avenue SW), and Vancouver (December 9 – Roots Store – 1001 Robson Street at Burrard Street). So get cherry and get shopping.
– Kate Daley
I was reading a book last night in which the narrator said something like, “Each day is someone’s first and someone’s last, but all those in between become just another day.” To which I thought: “What complete B.S. — surely it’s all the ones in between that count?”
Then, since my birthday is this week, I lay there in bed thinking about first days and last days. My first day was 38 years ago… When will my last day be? And that’s when the thought popped into my mind: “Wow, we should really celebrate my birthday this year because I may not have very many birthdays left.”
Um, whoa there. I just got fantastic results on my latest CT scans. Where did this party-crashing thought come from? From whence did this completely uninvited and so out of step with my little tango with cancer, icky thought emerge? This really, totally depressing, totally miserable little thought.
I mean — sick or not, old or young — of course it’s natural for people to entertain thoughts of their own demise from time to time. I myself have made a lifelong game of selecting my own funeral music. (’She’s Gone’, by Hall & Oates, is the current frontrunner.) But this thought of having only a few birthdays left was just so… Melodramatic? Woeful? And yet so powerful.
At that moment my husband came in to the room, saw my face and immediately took me in his arms and asked me what was wrong. Through the tears that ensued, I managed to mumble the may-not-have-many-left thing into his shoulder. “Mais non!” He said, squeezing the bejeezus out of me (did I mention he’s French? and absolutely dashing, not that it’s relevant?) “What could make you think such a thing? You know that you will have as many birthdays as I know I will have — nobody can say how many they have left! Non! Those stupid spots are shrinking and that’s that!”
And, actually, a few sniffles later, that was that, because he has a way of comforting me and making me laugh with his stubborn refusal to let anything scare me so long as he can help it. He has a conviction that is deep and strong and it says “you are going to live” — and I hear it every time. He also has a whole sort of talk-to-the-hand thing that he does with the dark thoughts and it works like magic to quell my fears. At least it did this time. And probably will again next time, and the time after that.
So, I’ll be celebrating this birthday – of course I will, I love birthdays, mine or anyone else’s (when I remember them!) First days, last days… they matter too. But it’s all the ones in between that shape a life. And yes, maybe they’re numbered, but they’re numbered for everyone. All the more reason to enjoy them. Yesterday was just another in-between day, and look what happened: I read a book, got freaked out, and then wound up falling in love with my husband all over again. Or remembering why I fell in the first place.
So let’s hear it for in-between days, however many or few of them there may be, and for those we spend them with.
I love the opening of this article about children’s books and parenting that was published in The New Yorker a month ago:
Anxious parents — the midnight Googlers who repeatedly seek advice from experts — learn that there are many things they must never do to their willful young child: spank, scold, bestow frequent praise, criticize, plead, withhold affection, take away toys, “model” angry emotions, intimidate, bargain, nag. Increasingly, nearly all forms of discipline appear morally suspect. The educator Alfie Kohn, writing recently in the Times, condemns the timeout — the canonical punishment of recent decades — declaring that it is more honest to say you are “forcibly isolating” your child. Even an approach as seemingly benign as awarding gold stars, Kohn warns, is a manipulation that “teaches children that they are loved” only when they perform a “good job.”
I’m not a parent, but many of my colleagues — and many of our readers, of course — are, and I’ve heard enough parenting stories over my three years at the magazine to totally freak me out about one day raising my own offspring. Usually, though, the stories that freak me out aren’t about the children themselves; they’re the stories about what the New Yorker writer, Daniel Zalewski, touches on in his opener: the scads of conflicting advice, contradictory studies, quarrelling experts and the parents who pledge their allegiances and then chide everyone else for doing it “wrong.” (My colleague Rachel wrote an excellent story about “parenting by panic,” in our Holiday issue.)
I’ve never given much thought to the parenting that can take place through children’s books. It’s funny because, if you were to look through my bookcases, you might be surprised that I don’t have a kid or two hiding in my teeny rented apartment, on account of all of the Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Dennis Lee, dozens of fairy tales (my favourite souvenirs from traveling), and the book that I could recite from memory long before I could read, Madeline. (“In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls, in two straight lines…”)
But Zalewski points out that the heroes of today’s children’s books aren’t quite what you might expect. One fairly new character he describes as, “a surly schoolgirl whose beady eyes, encircled in red orbs, suggest a legacy of refused naps, Constance is a manipulator of demonic proportions.” This little girl gets away with everything, while her parents apparently stand by, helplessly. And Zalewski seems to think that this portrayal pretty closely resembles real life: “The parents in today’s stories suffer the same diminution in authority felt by the parents reading them aloud (an hour past bedtime). The typical adult in a contemporary picture book is harried and befuddled, scurrying to fulfill a child’s wishes and then hesitantly drawing the line. And the default temperament of the child is bratty, though often in a way so zesty and creative that the behavioral transgressions take on the quality of art.”
I fondly remember Madeline, who was written to life in 1939, as being willful and a little hell-raising, perhaps making her the great- great- great- great-grandmother of Constance. And it isn’t a leap to suggest that today’s parents are harried. But I wonder how the parents in the room feel about introducing their kids to Constance.
— Jacqueline Nunes
Last week, the United States Preventive Services Task Force released new mammogram recommendations for American women. While nothing has changed here in Canada – in fact, the new U.S. recommendations mirror the Canadian Cancer Society’s current guidelines (clinical breast exams at least every two years for women 40 and older; mammograms every two years for women 50 and older) – a lot of confusion still exists about breast cancer screening. Today I interviewed Dr. Lavina Lickley, an MD who has conducted extensive research on breast cancer prevention. To boot, she’s also a survivor of the disease. Dr. Lickley expertly answered every mammography question I could think of – believe me, I had plenty – and you can read our interview in the February 2010 issue of Chatelaine (it’ll be on newsstands before you know it). But, I wanted to tell you today about the single best piece of advice she has for women who aren’t at higher risk for breast cancer, when it comes to getting a mammogram:
“Never till 35, always at 50; in between 35 and 50, any reason is a good reason.”
Sound advice from a very smart woman.
Yves Saint Laurent does a great special edition palette. And this one is no different. Clip this golden lip duo to your purse to stare at its beauty on a regular basis. This one is a lip duo with an iridescent shimmery shade and a nice pop of pink to layer on your lips all in a luggage tag style palette. There’s also an eyeshadow version with lavender with silver shades.
It comes with a little brush and a mirror for applications on the go and is a perfect gift for jetsetters. Or those that just wish they were.
Find it in stores for a limited time.Yves Saint Laurent ‘Your Lovely Palette’ Eyeshadow Duo Limited edition, $82.
– Kate Daley