25 April 2013

Yes, I Have Mirrors in My House. What of It?

An old errant habit resurfaced this morning, viz. not checking my look before I leave the house.  After I had dropped the kids off at school, I decided to stop by the grocery store to pick up some noshes to keep book club satisfied tomorrow night, and then on to that Shangri-la we all know as Walmart to get Janie a white t-shirt, which she informed me (last night) she had to have by today. 

Mind you, I am not the type to get all duded-up to drop the kids off at school, so I was less than public-ready when I started my rounds.  This fact only occurred to me as I was walking into Walmart and caught my reflection in the sliding glass door.  My sweater was rumpled and the jeans I was wearing were so baggy that the crotch was hanging out just above my knees, giving my legs a nice, stout, Oompa-loompa look.  The look was finished of by a pair of beat-up Ugg slippers (not even actual shoes/boots), lending a quality of super-sized, gout-ridden feet.  So pretty.

I bee-lined through the store, grabbed what I needed, paid, and booked it the hell out of there.  Back in my car I winced as I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear-view mirror.  No make-up, hair finger-raked at best.  I was (OK, I'll admit it: I still am) rocking an awesome haggard and haggish (i.e. looking like a witch, not to be confused with the Scottish offal delicacy) vibe. 

And to think that as a child I was embarrassed when my mother would wear her around-the-house CVO's in public.  I've got it all over her.

I'll never learn.  It will happen again.  And I bet this makes lots of people feel better about their own look they're rocking today.

24 April 2013

Teeth Brushing Musings

As I was brushing my teeth this morning, I was thinking about lots of things that, for me, have brightened the last couple of weeks.  Even in the darkest moments, it's nice to be able to smile, even if it is for a brief moment.  It helps you realize that there's always a bit of good out there.

Here are a few things that I'm grateful for (to my family and friends--forgive me--you guys are a given):
  • Anything written by P. G. Wodehouse. In addition to every story being light and frivolous, reading his work makes you want to say things like, "Right-ho!" and "Jolly good!"
  • Pansies, forsythia, and anything blooming after such a bleak and snowy winter.

  • How our small community has embraced helping out one of its own, Taylor Sack.  Taylor is a high school student here in our small Massachusetts town and suffered an injury to his spinal cord in a skiing accident back in February.  People here have done everything from organizing fundraisers to helping Taylor's family remodel their house so it will be a better living space for him once he arrives home.  One of Taylor's fellow classmates made a video for him to see how the work is coming along:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1knd-q0Gjw  The outpouring of love is just amazing.  Makes you believe in humanity. [cue me sobbing uncontrollably]  Here's a little more of Taylor's story:  http://www.taylorsack.org/ . 
  • The announcement of a new venture for a great musician, Tim Shiel.  He has begun recording with another talented artist, Ben Abraham, and together they are named Telling.  Here is their first creation made available for our ears:  https://soundcloud.com/#tellingmusic/stella  Love it.  I can't tire of it, and I'm looking forward to hearing lots more. 
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly as the flavor trend of the moment.  Salted caramel is so yesterday.  And what a great excuse to indulge in my all-time favorite combo, while staying in vogue.
Maybe one of these things will bring smiles to others, too.   Maybe not.  I just hope everyone can find something, anything to bring on a little joy.  Good luck to all finding your own bit of sunshine.

16 April 2013

How Sloshed Paint Became My Madeleines (à la Proust)

After getting a dose of today's morning news, I, like so many other people in the Boston area as well as nationwide needed an escape.  I did not want to minimize the horrifying course of events that happened at yesterday's Boston Marathon, but was in dire need of a mental escape if only for a few hours. 

What to do?  Exercise?  Yard work?  Bake?  Binge stress eat?  While the thought of a chimichanga washed down with a pint of Ben & Jerry's at 9:00 AM sounded quite appealing, I turned to the mindless and yet cathartic task of repainting all of the white trim in the main downstairs section of our house. 

Supplies gathered, I began to prep the paint.  As I was stirring it, some sloshed over the side of the can.  Automatically, I grabbed my paintbrush and brushed the excess paint up the side and over the rim back into the can.  And voilà, a Proustian moment emerged.  I was transported back in time to my early teens, on a bleak Saturday in late winter/early spring.  I was helping my dad paint a room.  I was often dragged into such projects when he was forced to take on menial chores during the winter months that did not permit him to be out in his gardens, puttering endlessly.  My present-day self clearly remembered him showing me how to hold the brush and drag any excess paint back up into the can, just as I had done not a few seconds ago. 

Back in my kitchen as I worked on the trim, my brush strokes brought back different memories of other techniques he had taught me, though now I take them for granted as if they were an innate part of me.  Things like giving the brush a wiggle when the bristles aren't moving where you want them to.  Or how to remove a lone bristle from a wet painted surface with the tip of your brush.  Or how to fan your fingers across the ferrule to get better control.  How to paint with confidence.

And he was suddenly here with me, giving me comfort on a day when we all could use some.

Cleaning up, I mused at how, when teaching me his painting tricks, he probably never thought they'd resurface in my adult mind some thirty-odd years later.  I'm sure to him, they were just ways to make the job easier.  But for me they resulted in a fond and nostalgic memory. 

He's been gone from this life now for twenty-two years, and yet because of a rainy afternoon of painting so long ago, he was here today.  The small, insignificant things we do can touch lives just as much as the eventful, grandiose ones.  Let's hope we all give a warm memory to someone when we don't even realize we're doing it.  You never know.  You may have already done it many times.

And finally, on a lighter note:

Guess who helped paint today?


My heart cries for all of those who were affected by yesterday's atrocities. 

You will always be a beautiful city, Boston. No single act will change that. 

10 April 2013

Confessions of a Hair Spaz

I am a hair abuser.  I have subjected myself to more home color treatments and hair "trims" than I'd care to admit.  You'd think I'd learn.  But I committed another no-no just this week.

Turn the clocks back in time:

It all started when I was eight with a full-on epidemic of hair loathing.  My towheaded curls had darkened into a mass of thick, unruly, mouse-brown frizz in the course of a winter.  No amount of sun during the next summer could ever lighten that sad color.  I was fated to have hair of mediocrity for what seemed like the rest of my existence.

Cut to the summer I turned seventeen.  My sister, Sharon, convinced me that it would look awesome if I frosted my hair (this was the early 80's, mind you).  If I remember correctly, she had never tried this on anybody else, not even herself.  I was her maiden voyage into the world of DIY hair alteration.  She was a nurse, after all, so who better to trust?  The result was not quite what either of us expected, as she went kind of heavy on the strands at my temples and I looked like a frosted version of the Bride of Frankenstein:  The Teen Years.  I think the span of time after that debacle has been psychologically buried in a post-traumatic amnesia kind of way, since I can't remember how we dealt with the results.  I think I may have just resorted to looking stripey for a long time. 

Oddly, even with the results of my first hair-altering experience, I kept experimenting.  And through my late teens to early twenties, lots of different colors sprouted from my scalp, none ever close to my natural color.  And all done in the confines of my own bathroom-salon. 

I went through a good, long span of time after that when I would only have my hair colored/highlighted professionally.  That was good.  My follicles needed time to regroup after being abused by ammonia every six weeks.  But then with pregnancy and babies came very little time spent doing anything for myself, and also the definite banning of all hair coloring.  My mouse-brown came back with vengeance.  Oh, the glory of blah-ness.  Eventually I welcomed L'Oreal back into my routine because there was no time to get to the hair salon.  The worst was when our son was only a year old and I decided to give my look a boost.  I was going to go platinum.  As I was rinsing my hair in the shower after keeping the bleach on for what seemed like five hours, images of gorgeous blond locks played in my head.  Jay walked in, caught a glimpse of me and started laughing uncontrollably. 

"WHAT?!!" I bellowed. 
"You look like a clown!" he spat out, in between choked-back tears of laughter.

It was true, my hair had turned bright orange.  That was a baseball cap day until I could get to the drugstore for some emergency supplies.  Ironically, that wouldn't be until later, because we were meeting my hair-frosting sister and her husband for brunch in only a couple of hours.

I could go on with tales of mortifying hair blunders, but I will stop for surely the reader has gotten the idea that I would have learned by now that such enterprises should be left to the professionals.  Deep down, I know this.  But there are moments when the anti-social me really needs a root touch-up and has no desire to spend two hours making chit-chat with a person with whom I am only fairly acquainted.  That was me earlier this week.  And so this was guiltily purchased:

When will I learn?

"It's only for a quick touch-up," I reasoned to myself.

As I was applying the stuff to my scalp, I caught myself wondering when the day was going to be when I go to rinse this goop out and all of my hair falls off with it.  Coincidentally, as I was rinsing my hair, a rather large hunk of blond was left in my hand after running it through.  Uh oh.  I am now waiting to see if more keeps coming out.  Hopefully not.  But if you happen to see me looking rather stylish in the latest millinery, you'll know why.  And maybe I will have learned my lesson.  Finally.

07 April 2013

Who's Been Writing On My Calendar?

In our house, we all know that the calendar on our fridge is my domain.  My life source.  I am the chief writer and recorder of all upcoming events and obligations, and the only one who really uses it to check what's on the weekly docket.  I've even got fine-point Sharpies in every color imaginable to make such dull work tolerable (I just reread this sentence and realize now how sad my life sounds...and, at times, is).  That is, if they aren't dried up, or stolen from their "secret" hiding place.

I'm always befuddled by the fact that nobody else has the capacity to go straight to the calendar when enquiring about a date or time of a game/meet/appointment until I direct them to said organizational instrument.  Probably my fault for being up-to-date with the answers to every one's questions rather than answering with a vapid, "Dunno.  Go check the calendar."  Consequently, there is the drawback of me being the first-blamed if any game/meet/appointment is missed, if it happens to not be written down.

Sometimes Jay or one of the kids will write something down if it is of great importance to them, usually without letting me know about the event (unless it's a birthday or other deal, where I'm expected to deliver in a big way).  Today I noticed such a thing, though I don't think anything is expected of me...hopefully.  It was this, written in Green Sharpie:

First:  I didn't have my bulgy-eyed-look-inducing readers on, so I couldn't quite make out what these apparent hieroglyphs meant.  I could decipher that Janie's name was involved, but what evidently was a time looked to me like a chef's hat or sideways muffin.  Seriously.  My eyes are that bad.  What I did know was that this was Jay's writing.  What I didn't know was why he was writing down that Janie was doing some sort of cooking thing on Thursday.  And since when did he start getting creative and using rebuses to get his message out there?  I finally realized what it meant after rooting around the kitchen for ten minutes, looking for my readers. 

As I write, I don't really know what my point of this post is today, other than sometimes the littlest things can throw you off and ultimately give you a good chortle (love that word, chortle).  And I'm still not sure what Janie is supposed to be doing on Thursday at 6:30.  Here's hoping you have a good week, and get to where you need to be without too many mysteries.