The End of a Friendship and What I Learned

I want this to be my catharsis.  And so it shall be.

The End of a Friendship and What I Learned:

  1. If you make all the effort you are capable of making, you will have no regrets.
  2. By taking the high road, you may feel like you are giving up self-worth by not defending yourself but in the end, you are actually preserving your integrity.
  3. You can’t say anything to make someone happy if they are not willing to find happiness themselves and make the changes to do so.
  4. If someone brings more negative into your life than positive, it’s not worth the positive.
  5. If someone is always angry about something or someone, you are eventually going to be that someone.
  6. When you walk away from a friendship and your load feels lighter, you made the right decision.

I wrote this poem when I was in Grade 8 (yes, many years ago!) yet it still has the essence of what a friendship should be and what we should all strive for:

A Friend
Someone who has a shoulder
That you can lean on when you’re sad.
Someone who’s shared the memories
Of all the good times that you’ve had.

 Someone who’ll lend a hand
When you need it most of all.
Someone who’ll give you confidence
When you’re hopes are about to fall. 

Someone who will listen
When you have something to say.
Someone who will be there
Every minute of the day.

 Someone who will stand by you
Until the very end.
Someone, like this
Is what I call a friend.

I strive to be that friend.  Friendship is work and it’s required from both ends.  Some think that marriage or babies can cause friendships to end.  They don’t.  A friendship will last through life changes or across the miles.  I have friendships that are proof of that.

Friendships that lift you up and make you a better person are the ones to nurture and keep a close hold on.  Those are treasures.

Armando’s Grandfather

I was fortunate to have met him.

He was a smart, hardworking man who built a successful business and helped raise a family with drive and ambition.  He was funny and would always make me laugh once Armando translated to me what he had just said.  Yet, he also always made the effort to speak English with me for a bit; it was the sweetest gesture to make me feel welcome on our visits to Mexico City.  My husband admired him and I know that he will strive to be just like his grandfather.

Para La Familia:  Distance keeps us apart but our love and thoughts are sent across the miles to all the family for the loss of this wonderful man today.  May his memory live on in each of you as you walk through life and may we all meet up with him again one day.
Muchos besos y abrazos!  Te extrañamos y queremos, abuelo.
Tamara y Armando

Valentine’s Day Disaster

I had good intentions.  But it all went terribly wrong.

After Armando gave me my amazing birthday surprise on Monday, I wanted to do a thoughtful gesture in return and what better way to do that than to make him a 5-course Valentine’s Day Dinner the next day.  He was travelling with work and would be home on the 14th around 8pm so it was perfect.

I did my research, found some recipes and went shopping for all the ingredients.  Then, for five non-stop hours, I cooked, cleaned and prepared all the dishes so they would be ready in time for his arrival.

He was excited for the meal and with each course, I could see him getting more full but was forcing himself to eat everything as he knew how much effort went into the meal.  He seemed to enjoy his Valentine’s Day surprise that is, until 2am that night.

I was awoken to him stirring in bed.  Restless.  I asked if he was okay and he said no, that he thinks he ate too much and that he wasn’t feeling well.  It couldn’t possibly be that he ate too much as the portions were small and I ate the same amount, if not more.  He described his symptoms and it sounded like heartburn.  I googled what to do because we had no medicine for that and it said to sleep with your head raised.  As soon as he did that, he felt better.  But only for a moment.  Within a couple of minutes, he was running to the bathroom, sick!  Maybe he did eat too much?  Did I over stuff him?

That was the conclusion that we arrived at until I got sick a few hours later.  No, I didn’t over stuff him.  I poisoned him!  All the symptoms we got all day pointed to food poisoning.  I felt like I was dying and I felt so sad and guilty that my surprise gift had not quite turned out as planned and that it was my fault that my hubby was sick too.  Worst gift ever!  The only positive spin I can see out of this is that I am sure to be guaranteed to be taken out for Valentine’s Day dinner next year!

Best Birthday Surprise Ever!

I had the best birthday morning surprise yesterday…but before I tell you about it, I need to give you a play-by-play of the night before so you can totally appreciate the surprise like I did.

Sunday Feb.12

11:00 PM  Armando and I are on our computers, studying and researching, respectively.  Armando looks exhausted from his schedule of working full-time and doing his MBA.  He’s had no break in the last while and it shows.

Monday Feb.13

12:01 AM – I walk over and hover over him and his computer.  He seems confused.  I give him a look.  He thinks it’s that look of, “You’re suppose to be studying so why do I see Facebook up on your screen?”  But before he goes into his full explanation of just being temporarily distracted, I shake my head to let him know that he misread my look and I point to the clock on his computer.  He jumps up with a huge “Happy Birthday!”, a big hug, tons of kisses and his excuse that he was going to surprise me at midnight with a big birthday cheer but had gotten temporarily distracted.

12:05 AM – We are back on our computers.

12:30 AM – Armando’s fever that he’s been trying to fight over the last couple of days returns so he jumps in the shower to get refreshed so he can continue studying Corporate Finance.  He asks if I’m going to bed and I reply, “Soon”.

12:45 AM – Armando questions why I’m still up.  I explain that I’m just trying to find a legit apartment for our Paris trip.  He tells me to give it a break as I have been researching all night.  I agree and close my laptop, start walking to the bedroom and then have a change of heart as I turn back and open up my computer to check out one more option.  Armando continues to tell me that I should get some sleep as I ignore him, googling away.

1:15 AM – I finally head to bed while my sick Armando continues to study.

3:00 AM – I am briefly awoken as Armando finally joins me in bed after he’s reached his breaking point of looking at numbers and equations.

8:00 AM – I am startled awake to a very loud version of “Happy Birthday” playing in the living room. I am confused. Armando’s not in bed?  Where is he?  At that moment, he walks in with a birthday bag in hand.  As I look inside I see a birthday cake.  But not just any birthday cake.  It was a birthday cake that Armando baked for me after I went to sleep last night.  My tired, overworked, sick husband baked me a birthday cake in the middle of the night while I was sleeping!!  And, because we are trying to eat healthy, he pointed out all the healthy considerations he made when creating my cake.  He made a carrot cake.  He added fresh sliced apples.  He omitted the icing.  We won’t mention though, the less than healthy aspects of a cake mix that you get from a box :)

And as we cut into the pie-shaped cake (he had to use a pie pan because we didn’t have a cake pan) and ate it for breakfast, it was the most delicious, sweetest gift he could have ever given me!

Name Change Confusion

Do you remember as a little girl, laughing and dreaming with your friends about what your name would sound like if you married your friend Bobby?  Or what about marrying that cute boy in Math class?  As girls we would giggle and cringe at some names we hope we didn’t end up with and practise writing our signatures with ones we’d wish to acquire.  But, never did it come up, the idea of not taking our husband-to-be’s name.

Then times changed.  It became more common to keep your maiden name.  Or hyphenate your name with your spouses.  Or better yet, create a totally new name.  But as times changed around me, I remained rooted in tradition.  But traditions are different in other cultures and I soon found out how marrying a Mexican took me on a new name adventure.

For those that don’t know, in latin culture, people have two last names.  The first last name is their father’s patriarchal last name.  The second last name is their mother’s patriarchal last name.  So, for my husband, Armando Elias Guerra, ELIAS is from his father and GUERRA is from his mother. His legal name is Armando ELIAS GUERRA but he goes by Armando ELIAS because Latinos will usually just use their father’s name in society.

Now, put him in Canada where this tradition is not practised.  It’s a nightmare.  Credit cards and ID are printed with the last name Guerra, sometimes Elias and other times Elias Guerra.  Trying to explain that both last names are his last names can be challenging for others to understand who haven’t been exposed to this before.

Because he only uses ELIAS as his last name on an everyday basis, and I am Canadian and generally would only have one last name, it was natural for me to decide to choose ELIAS as my last name when I went to change my driver’s license after getting married.  If only it were that simple.

The federal government acknowledges this cultural difference, heck, they even allow alias names to be on passports if they are established names in the community with proper documentation.  But for some reason, the BC government does not acknowledge this difference and advised me that I can only have my last name as ELIAS GUERRA or GUERRA on my driver’s license.  I can’t be GUERRA because Armando has never used just that name as a last name.  The federal government acknowledges how it’s the first last name that is generally used, in this case ELIAS, so you think the BC government would do the same.  But they don’t.  Other provinces apparently do, but not BC.

The only way the BC government would allow me to have the last name ELIAS is if I got a legal name change.  Which in turn, would give me a new birth certificate showing my last name as ELIAS.  Crazy, eh?!  I would have a birth certificate showing that I was born with the last name of ELIAS.  I just find that wrong.  I was born with the last name BACHEWICH so even if I am willing to give it up to take on a married name, I am not prepared to lose it completely.  *sigh*

So in the end, I am now Tamara Elias Guerra.  I look at it this way…it’s not the name I thought I’d get nor did my friends and I ever practise having two last names, but it’s kinda cool that I will get to experience the trials and tribulations of having two last names, neither that I was born with.  It’s going to be a new adventure!  Besides, the excitement I saw in my husband’s eyes when I showed him my driver’s license with my new married name was worth all the confusion that lies ahead with having two last names in a one name society.


The ocean breeze.  Crashing waves.  The butterflies of excitement.

Violin music floating through the air.

Engulfed in love, surrounded by family and friends.

Tradition is present.  Two cultures combined.

The squeezing of hands.  The stolen glances.  Words spoken from the heart.

Mr. and Mrs.  Sealed with a kiss.  Bonded with a hug.  Now together as one.

Congratulatory hugs.  Cheers.  Genuine happiness radiating beyond.

Celebrating with drinks and laughter.  Stories shared and cherished.

The first dance.  

Old and new friends.  Family and new family.  Dancing the night away together.

The last dance.  

A star-filled sky.  Beautiful end to an incredible day.

A moment of bliss, never to be forgotten.

Eyes closed, the memories return and my heart feels full.

The best day ever.

The Sweetest Liar

Armando is at it again…lying to me.

When I do a grocery store run, Armando often yells out to me as I’m walking out the door, “Buy me a treat!”.  And when I come back, I always have something for him.  So the other day when Armando was leaving to pick up some things we were needing for dinner, I thought I’d give it a try and yelled out, “Buy me a treat!”.

I was sitting in the living room when he got home and started unpacking the groceries.  I tried to be patient as he took each item out of the bag but my curiosity got the best of me and I finally asked, “What did you get me?”.  At that moment, he looked confused and started looking around and then stuck his hand in his jean pockets exclaiming, “My phone!  I must have left my phone there!”, as he flew out the door and ran back to the grocery store.

A few minutes later he returned, mumbling under his breath that it wasn’t there and then walked into our bedroom and announced, “Oh! Here it is.”  He then walked out of the room and handed me one of my favorite magazines, saying, “Oh, and here’s your treat.”  It doesn’t take much to excite me and I hugged him for my thoughtful gift.  But, the wheels never stop turning in my head and suddenly, things weren’t adding up.  Never have I known him to be so quick in deciphering exactly where his phone is.  And before concluding that he left it at the store, he would use our land line to call his cell to make sure it wasn’t in the house somewhere.  He never did that this time.  As the wheels started gaining momentum and every scenario zipped through my brain in a matter of seconds, I quickly realized what was going on and called him out on it.

“You forgot to buy me a treat and you faked the whole phone thing so you could run back to the store to get me something, didn’t you?!”  He started to do the whole Who-Me?-look and then threw in an “I don’t know what you’re talking about” comment. As I glanced down at his hand, I saw a receipt.  As I tried to grab it out of his hand, he pulled it away. I finally gained control of the receipt after a mini-wrestling match and as I opened the crumpled up piece of paper, my suspicion was correct.  Only the magazine was on the receipt.  He explained that they rang it through separately from the rest of the items and as we glanced down at the kitchen counter and saw the other receipt, my reflexes were quicker than his as I grabbed the other receipt.  The time difference on the receipts was about 15 minutes.  Exactly the same amount of time it takes for your man to come home, unpack a bag of groceries, realize that he forgot to buy you a treat, make an excuse to run back to the store to buy you something and then head back home and present it to you without you realizing what had just happened.

So yes, he’s lying to me again…but those good lies that make me laugh and love him that much more Smile

The Little Box of Tampons

What gift screams, “I LOVE YOU!”?

Is it diamonds?  Plane tickets to an exotic island?  A spa gift card? Nah….a guy truly loves you when he buys you tampons.  Yes, the dreaded T-word.  Most guys’ eyes pop out of their heads as they look at you in horror realizing that you had the audacity to ask them to pick up the dreaded little box.  Sometimes if it’s added to a long shopping list and the box can be hidden in the cart by a large bag of dog food, then maybe they’ll quickly grab it and add it to the cart while nobody is watching.  But in reality, many will just flat-out refuse to buy them.  Why? Do they think they are less of a man? Like how? That people are going to think that they are buying it for themselves?  Seriously. Or are they embarrassed?  They have no problem buying a Costco-sized bundle of toilet paper rolls, but a tiny box of tampons is out of the question?  Seriously guys!  You will score points not only with your gal but with all the women who see you walking down that drugstore aisle.  You will be seen as the sweetest guy, running this errand for your girl.  Nothing says “I love you” like a box of tampons.

One night around 11pm, I was getting ready for bed and realized that I was out of tampons.  It was a rainy BC night and Armando offered to drive to a nearby drugstore that was open until midnight.  No look of disgust, or whining or excuses to get out of the situation.  He actually offered so I wouldn’t have to get out of my pajamas.  How can I not love this guy? Upon returning home with the little bag in hand, he proceeded to tell me that two large, tattooed, muscle clad guys stood behind him in the line-up.  I guess when he offered to go to the drugstore, he thought nobody would be there at that time of night. It appeared that the experience was not a comfortable one and with that, he found a solution to avoid being in that situation again, a couple of months later.

After a business trip to New York, I greeted him at the door as he walked in.  After hugging and kissing our “hellos”, he turned and glanced at his carry-on luggage and then said that he had a surprise for me.  Well, my face must have lit up like the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree. Ooooo, what did he buy me?  He was in New York so the possibilities are endless….  He realized what he had said and then suddenly pulled the Christmas tree plug on me saying, “Oh, no, no, no….so sorry.  I didn’t mean that kind of surprise.  No, no, I shouldn’t have used that word.  No, sorry, I didn’t buy you anything.”  And with that, he went to his bag and pulled out a handful of tampons.

He explained to me that while waiting in the airline’s executive lounge for his flight home, he went to the unisex washroom and noticed that the tampon machine was broken with tampons flowing out.  He thought he’d take some so I wouldn’t run out like last time.

Well, it’s not jewellery from Tiffany’s or a dress from Saks Fifth Avenue, but it’s probably one of the most considerate gifts ever.  Or, maybe it was a selfish gesture so he can avoid running into those two muscle men again.  Either way, how can I not love this guy?  And he must love me too because he got me tampons. :)

Dude, Where’s My Car?

I used to think that I am with either the most forgetful man or the most lazy man on this planet.  I was just trying to figure out which and in the end, it was neither.

The first time I heard him yell out in a panic, “I can’t find my keys!”  I jumped up, my heart racing, as I frantically searched the room with him.  Lost keys…disaster!  I always worry about losing my keys but I never had (knock on wood), probably because I always take great care in always knowing where I put them.  What rotten luck, I thought.  He’s going to be late for his meeting if we don’t find them soon.  Fortunately, keys were found and I was the hero that day.

But after the second, the third, the fortieth, the hundredth time I was the hero, it got a bit old.  Seriously, we have a magnetic bar at our entrance that you just lift your keys up and they stick there.  How much easier can it get?  Yet, his keys are never there.

And if not his keys, then his phone charger, his shoes, his phone, his wallet, the milk, you name it.

I saw a random book in a random store titled, “Pat, The Husband”.  It was a satirical look at a husband and there was one page that had a picture of Pat, the husband, staring into the fridge yelling out, “Where’s the milk?”, and the wife yelling back, “Behind the orange juice.”.  That’s me and Armando!  Be it forgetful of where he left his keys or too lazy to move the orange juice to see the milk, it appears to not be a forgetful thing or a lazy thing but a man thing.  And I guess the woman thing is to swoop in with her spandex bodysuit and flowing cape to save the day, or in my case, a pair of jeans that I insist that I can still fit into and my flowing 3/4 length sweater.

Now I’m not sure I like this discovery.  When I thought it was Armando, I was hopeful that I could teach him to be more organized or that he would learn patience when looking for something before yelling for assistance.  But, I guess I have to accept the fact that this is something engraved in his Y chromosome and that I will have to play the hero every time I hear, “Babe, where’s the…?”.  Or, do I have to default into that role?

I got a call from him the other day.  He was at the mall.  “Babe, I can’t find my car.  I was on the phone and didn’t pay attention to what entrance I parked at and now I can’t find it!”

I immediately started thinking of how I could help but then stopped.  “Dude, good luck with that.  Let me know once you find it,” I laughed.  And with that, I threw away my hero status, at least for one day.  And it was great Smile

Can anyone relate to this?  Post on my blog to let me know I’m not alone!

Planes, Ferries and Automobiles

A whirlwind of friends these past two weeks…I’m in a blissful state.  Armando and I are still in the process of “making friends” in our new city so fortunately for us, the last two weeks took us by sea, sky and road to see the cherished friends that we were missing from afar.

First Stop:  Seattle – Armando had to work in Seattle for a week so I drove down with him for the trip.  He used to live in Seattle and was looking forward to meeting up with old friends between his busy work schedule.  We enjoyed dining out with his amigos throughout the week and I experienced the amazing “Happy Hour” menus around the city.  And, I’m not talking just drinks here…the food menus and prices are out of this world!  A must to experience.  We also went with his friends to a college football game.  Wow!  The marching bands, the cheerleaders, the fans.  Just like in the movies!  It was a fun-filled week and a great time spent with Armando’s friends.

Second Stop:  Calgary – Armando was traveling with work again and found a great seat sale that I took advantage of and joined him.  It’s been over a year since we moved from Calgary to the West Coast so I had some long overdue visits to fit in.  I gave my friend, Kim, two days notice of my arrival.  I’ve known her since grade two…now that’s friendship!!  Love her to death.  And, the amazing friend that she is, she Facebook stalked me during that two-day period leading up to our arrival and managed to contact my other Calgary friends, surprising me with a last-minute wedding shower!  Was so great to see many of my friends there, and on such last-minute notice too!  I sure felt loved that day.  The rest of the time in Calgary was filled with lunch and dinner dates, catching up with all my dearly missed friends.  Another great week!

Can I just spend my weeks visiting friends everywhere?

Third Stop:  Salt Spring Island – We love taking the BC ferries and this was going to be our first visit to Salt Spring Island.  A friend that I have known for years moved there a year ago with her family.  Her husband grew up on SSI so he was the perfect tour guide.  Tons of laughs were had over the weekend and it ended with what Armando called, “The most amazing view of the BC Coast that I have seen so far!”  A view from Mount Maxwell.

Distance may separate us but true friendships keep us close.

Thanks friends.  What a great two weeks!