Sunday, November 28, 2010

Time in a bottle

I used to be a pretty low-maintenance person. I wore makeup and shaved the parts that needed it and all that, but my morning and evening routines were simple and centered on face-washing and teeth-brushing.

Now, with 40 right around the corner, things are getting more complex.

- Before I walk out the door in the morning, I take my B complex vitamin for stress, my calcium +D for staving off osteoporosis, and my beta blocker for palpitations. I coat my face and neck with Age Shield SPF 55 sunscreen--it's too late to do anything about the sun spot that's already popped up on my right cheek, but I'm not getting any more if I can help it--and I smooth down my poor dry, flyaway hair with shine spray.

- Then before I go to bed at night, I wash with enzyme cleanser, coat my face and neck again with "Revitalift" night cream, use the Water Pik to hold the constantly lurking gum disease at bay, and attack my disgusting crusty heels with a grater. Once a week, I also exfoliate my face with sugar scrub, because no amount of cream seems to completely stop my skin from slowly drying up and flaking away.

- Not to mention that every three weeks, I buy yet another box of hair dye and cover up the grey that has taken over about 50 percent of my head.

And this is all just the basic maintenance work it takes to keep me from falling down dead, breaking my bones, losing all my teeth, or turning into someone who looks like she lures little children to her house of sweets and bakes them in her oven. It doesn't include anything extra I might want to do like painting my nails or putting on lipstick or doing something different with my hair. At this rate, in 25 years I'll only be able to leave the house for an hour a day, because I'll need the rest of the time to tend to my deteriorating body.

I love the Internet

Clearly the work of people with too much time on their hands, but still damn funny:

Michael Bublé Being Stalked by a Velociraptor

The best ones are where the velociraptor isn't immediately obvious, or where you can only see its shadow or its reflection or a tiny part of it.

But this one is my absolute favorite. (I've stood on that exact street corner, BTW. I wasn't stalking Michael Bublé, though; I was taking a photo of P under the Late Night marquee.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A pause for reflection

Me: And what are you thankful for?
G: Ninjas.

Happy Thanksgiving. :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Live and learn and lose

In a tangent to the ongoing family drama, last week I discovered that a lot of our belongings, which were put into storage when we moved just after P died, were auctioned off and sold earlier this year. I had meant to retrieve them when we moved into this house and finally had room to keep them, but when I asked the relative who'd arranged the storage for us about getting them back, I got a vague answer. I had a sinking feeling then that something like this had happened, and now I know I was right.

Among the things we lost were P's comic-book collection, which was extensive and probably worth upward of $10,000, and quite a lot of sentimental stuff, including G's baby clothes and toys--I gave most of them away as she outgrew them, but I'd kept a box or two of favorites--as well as all our Christmas decorations from when P was alive. The first Christmas after he died, I bought a tabletop-size artificial tree and a few miniature ornaments to go on it, and that's what we've been using ever since, waiting on the day when we'd finally have our "real" ones again. I suppose now I can stop waiting and just go buy actual replacements for this Christmas, although I can't really replace ornaments like the one we bought the first year we were married, or the year G was born.

What bothers me most of all about this is that it's my own fault. I'm not a trusting person usually, and I should have known better than to let someone else be responsible for anything I cared about. I did know better, but at the time, I was tired and distracted and this relative was offering to take care of things, so I let him, and I got burned. I'm not even angry at him, just at myself, the same way I'm angry at myself for moving into this house that we now may have to leave, all because of another person's irresponsibility. P would be shocked that I'm in this position--he said to me once, "You don't trust anyone at all, do you?" and I said "No one but you." I should have stuck by that credo. I should have rescued our possessions as soon as possible instead of waiting. I should have done a lot of things, but I didn't. I won't make that mistake again.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Advertising of the day

Spotted on a display at the supermarket:

"Gift Cards Make Great Gifts!"

You don't say! I was planning to buy 1,000 of them and use them to tile my bathroom, but maybe I'll try giving them as gifts instead. Thanks for the tip!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The anti-Pandora

I never quite finished unpacking when we moved to this house. I got about 90 percent of it done, and then I ran out of steam, or lost interest, or had other things to do, and the last few cardboard boxes got shoved into closets or banished to the garage.

One of those boxes ended up on top of the clothes dryer, where it sat for nearly two years, not only preventing me from putting anything else on that surface, but also partially blocking the controls. Assuming I do four loads of laundry a week on average, that's almost 350 times I had to lean over the dryer and reach around that box to set the dial, and every time, I thought to myself, I've really got to unpack this thing someday and get it out of the way.

Well, last weekend, someday finally arrived. I was straightening up the garage and decided that I might as well tackle the box as long as I was out there, so I heaved it down from the dryer and discovered that it contained:

1. A nearly empty detergent bottle from before we moved
2. A box of dryer sheets
3. Two half-crushed clay art projects G made at camp three summers ago
4. A bath mat that one of the cats had shredded
5. An cardboard sleeve that used to hold light bulbs

That's right. There was absolutely nothing in that box I really needed, and certainly nothing worth the hassle of reaching around it 350 times in 21 months. I saved the dryer sheets and chucked the rest unceremoniously into the trash, box and all, and suddenly the top of the dryer was a wide-open vista that led to the controls as if to the gates of Heaven. Every time I've done laundry since then, I've alternated between feeling gleeful at how easy it is, and wanting to slam my own head in the washer lid for being dumb and/or lazy enough not to figure out sooner that the box was full of junk. There's got to be some sort of metaphor for life there, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tag, you're it

My friend Zandra asked me some questions in a game of blog tag:

1. What is one TV show you make a point of watching every week?
If you had asked a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't have been able to answer, because at that time I hadn't watched TV at all for almost two years. But since then I've started watching The Walking Dead on AMC, so that's my one and only show. Ask me after it ends next month and I'll probably be back to not watching TV again. :)

2. Did you wear braces?
No, I won the genetic lottery--naturally straight teeth and no wisdom teeth.

3. How many cars have you owned?
Five--a white 1984 Chevy Citation hatchback, a green 1979 Mercedes something-or-other, a grey 1999 Toyota Camry, a grey 2003 Toyota Camry (yeah, I got boring there for a few years) and my current car.

4. I’m coming to your house for dinner, what will you serve me?
Spinach lasagna, salad and garlic bread.

5. Other than anything having to do with family, name something for which you are thankful.
I'm thankful that I live in a First World country with all the benefits that entails--clean water, plentiful food, sanitation, roads, schools and so forth. Even really poor people in the U.S. have a standard of living that is light-years ahead of, say, Bangladesh or Zimbabwe or Burkina Faso, plus it's unlikely that they'll die of some easily preventable or treatable disease, or that someone will drag them out of their homes at night and shoot them or club them or set a car tire alight and hang it around their necks. I try to remind myself of that whenever I start feeling like my life isn't so great.


I don't think I'll tag anyone specifically, but if you're reading and would like to answer a few questions, here they are:

1. What book will you always remember reading?
2. If you could change one mistake you've made, what would it be?
3. If you only needed two hours of sleep per night, what would you do with the extra time?
4. What place do you most want to visit?
5. What was your favorite meal as a child, and what's your favorite now?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Fair enough

Me: Time for bed.
G: But --!
Me: It's ten o'clock. Little girls have to sleep.
G: No they don't.
Me: Yes they do.
G: Not if they're cyborgs.
Me: Okay. If you can prove to me that you're a cyborg, then you don't have to go to bed.

She's still working on that one.