Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Echo, My Shadow, and Me

Who is she?

A slim Italian peasant, pinning her thick black braid off her neck before heading out into the summer heat to sell fruit from woven baskets, or to pick olives, or walk to a friend’s?

A gregarious, robust Greek woman, carving slices off a roast lamb and carrying them on overloaded platters into a taverna full of drinking customers?

A Spanish bride, mantilla veil trailing behind her, carrying a bunch of bougainvillea and thinking of the coming days as a wife in the sun?

Who is my long lost ancestor?

As far as I know, I am descended from English people. There may be a German or two thrown in, but for the most part, at least if our last names are any indication, my people originally came from the British isles (I just typed British aisles first by accident, and what an image that is! Blue Light special on aisle five, buy three British people, get the fourth one free! Ahem. Anyway.) My teeth (pre-braces) would support this theory, as does the little we know of our family history.

But one of my Olde Tyme great great great grandfathers had a little game of slap and tickle with a Mediterranean beauty at some point back in that history, because I had to get this olive skin from somebody, and it probably wasn’t from somebody who lived under clouds 363 days of the year. I suppose it could just as easily have been a grandmother gettin’ it on with a hot dude from Capri, and in fact that probably makes more sense, given the olive-skinned love child would have ended up back in England in order to beget the people who begot the people who eventually moved to America and begot me.

But anyways, in short, I’ve got some Mediterranean in me I firmly believe, which means that I was born with black eyes, black hair (both since faded to dark brown), and olive skin that almost never burns in the sun. And what it also means is that my black hair is not corralled to the top-of-head area, but has ventured out to places where it IS NOT WELCOME. On a female anyway.

So. Without my absolutely vital beauty products – my tweezers and razor, and yes the pair come as a SET so I get to include them both – I would look like a werewolf. My brows, like Rin’s, cover half my face and are desperate to be once again joined, linking elbows over the bridge of my nose. As for a little further south - well, I can grow better facial hair than most teenaged boys, if left to it. To spare you unpleasant mental images, I won’t expound on my hirsute natural state any further – suffice to say, it’s forest-like. If I could have all the minutes of my life back that I have spent on hair removal – it would be a lot of minutes, okay? I briefly toy with the idea of laser hair removal or electrolysis, but then I think of bushy-browed Brooke Shields and remember that beauty trends come and go. There may be a day when long black chin hairs are in, baby, and if that’s the case I don’t want to be lamenting the irreversible decision I made back in the early 2000s. At the moment, our society seems to prefer its women hairless, dainty, almost delicate. Perhaps that will change. But until it does – it will be – my razor, my tweezers, and me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Give Them Up? Never!

I really hate to admit this but I am fairly high maintenance when it comes to beauty products. I am chalking it up to my super special sensitive skin and not my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Due to my super special sensitive skin, I have a special body wash, a special body lotion, a special face wash, and a special facial lotion. Nothing screams, "Hi! I'm High Maintenance!" more intensely than my shower stuffed with products.

In thinking about which product I could never ever ever live without, I came to one conclusion. Honestly, that one conclusion was this: I do not want to even consider a world in which I can only have one beauty product. Alas, that is not what this entry requires of me so I will play by the rules - but not without telling you why I love all of my super special items so dearly.

I am obsessed with moisturizing. Obsessed. The minute I get out of the shower in the mornings, I slather my entire body with Curel Fragrance Free lotion. Slather. Otherwise, my skin starts to feel a little bit like snakeskin. Snakeskin is not attractive on a human and it is very uncomfortable to be itchy and dry. So far, this lotion is the one thing that manages to keep me moisturized for hours and it also seems to not make my skin itchy, rashy, and all over sensitive-y.

To continue the theme of moisturizing, I love my facial lotion. I use a combo of Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion and another lotion that is my super secret weapon. After washing my face in the shower or washing my face before I go to bed at night, I slather my face in lotion. I totally believe that my slathering on of facial lotion is the single thing that is keeping me from looking 300 years old. Seriously, my love of the sun is unprecedented. So, facial lotion, I love thee so!

My face wash and body wash are both Aveeno brand and I was introduced to them by an allergist. Basically, I was told that I was allergic to everything on planet Earth and that nothing would calm my eczema outside of these two products and, well, I listened. I use the Skin Relief Fragrance Free body wash and the Positively Radiant Facial Cleanser. The body wash keeps me from being all itchy and the face wash seems to keep my skin fairly clear. I love these two products so much that when I do find them in stores, I tend to buy two or three bottles of each at a time. Seriously, panic starts to set in if I am running low and cannot find any in the local Target.

I also love my make-up, my hair mousse (to amp up my lifeless hair!), razor. Oh! And my shower fluffy! And my tweezers! And perfume! And, and...

But even after all of this, the one beauty product that I could never live without? Bonne Bell Lip Smacker (strawberry flavor). Dudes, it is the greatest thing ever!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What's My Beauty Must-Have?

I often forgo makeup on the weekends … it’s pretty liberating, as long as I’m wearing sunglasses most of the time and never ever shop for clothes or look at myself in a clean window. Once every couple of weeks, I go to bed w/out washing my face on a Friday night (I know! HORRIBLE!). Sometimes I skip washing my hair (I have a friend who promises me that if I will just wash it every other day, it will stop being greasy on the day off and it’s what is really healthiest for my hair. I make faces at her and tell her she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She’s only an MFA in costume design with a specialty in wigs/hair/makeup. Puh-leez.) I moisturize at least once a day, but once it’s done, I usually forget about it until the next day. My razor and I are friendly, but we don’t have a daily appointment. I rarely paint my fingernails (I swear they start to get smothered when I do and it just doesn’t feel right).

So do I even have anything I have to have? A beauty product/routine I’ll whither away without? Oh yes. And I have no one but a maternal great-uncle to thank.

I have his eyebrows.

I don’t know how it happened (well, I mean, I do … I studied the transfer of traits in middle-school biology like everybody else). My mom and my sister have beautifully shaped, arched, and thin eyebrows that don’t even need a brow brush. But I don’t have that option. If I don’t indulge in the luxury of having my eyebrows done, all the cleanliness and moisture and makeup and even adorable outfits won’t help. I have two caterpillars crawling across my brow bone, and they’re in no hurry to inch off to the nearest leafy garden. When I don’t make regular appointments with my esthetician M. (I just cheated on her with stylist J. on Friday … shh, don’t tell!), I start to feel furry and furrowed and generally grumpy. And start to look like Grumpy, too.

When I leave an appointment, I can go for days without eyeshadow and still look fresh and awake and polished. I feel happy and girly and smell like tea-tree oil. Yum.

So you can take away my concealer, my John Frieda Blonde styling gel and hair dryer, even my Care Deeply (wait! Just let me … get … a little … OK. There. Proceed.). But please, please don’t make me stop waxing. Trust me … it’s NOT. PRETTY.

Monday, July 28, 2008

i wonder what beauty product i couldn't live without?

there is only one beauty product that i absolutely cannot live without. i can go without moisturizer...i can go without shaving my legs...i can even go without make-up. but, i cannot and will not go without my face wash.

for whatever reason, after i gave birth to my oldest daughter, my skin literally freaked out. i never really had a problem with acne growing up. sure, i'd get a few pimples every now and again like any normal girl, but it wasn't a serious issue. i think the skin gods decided that since i had it fairly easy as an adolescent, they would make up for it during adulthood.

after i had little mama, my skin got bumpy. i didn't have zits, just a ton of bumps covering my forehead and cheeks. i wasn't thrilled with this new hormonal change (i wasn't thrilled with a lot of hormonal changes, but that's another blog for another day...), but i wasn't sure what to do. i thought about purchasing proactiv as i knew some sorority sisters in college who had success with it. i just didn't have the extra funds to purchase it. i tried a few over-the-counter cleansers and finally found one that worked for me.

i am forever in love with (and indebted to) neutrogena oil-free acne wash. seriously, this stuff is amazing! within a week of using it, i began to see a noticeable difference in my bumpy skin. the bumps on my cheeks completely disappeared and the bumps on my forehead became few and far between. i've been using this neutrogena wash for a couple of years now and cannot live without it. as crazy as it sounds, i can feel a difference in the bumpiness of my face if i even skip using it for one night.

i just realized that i'm starting to sound like a commercial, so i think i'll stop singing praises to neutrogena now. so, in closing, i will use my bubbly, commercial voice to say, "neutrogena oil-free acne face wash has renewed my confidence and given me a new lease on life!!!! so, if you suffer from bumpiness like i did, rush to your nearest drug store and try it for yourself. i'm confident in this product and know that you will not be disappointed!"

(cheezy grin)
(that's a wrap.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

**Programming Note!**

Accept my apologies, dear readers, for totally effing up the posting order this week. I have lame excuses w/which I won't bore you. Anyway, let's give a big hand to super jane, who on Monday ends her reign as Wonder-setter for the week. She brought us through the spring in high style. We welcome G Love as the primadonna on 4 August!

Oh the Places I'd Go ...

Sleep ‘til 9:18A if J. allows it (which he usually doesn’t … he starts asking for breakfast and meowing in my face just before 6A. Why don’t cats understand weekends/days off/anything you say?). Groan and roll around a bit, throwing my arm over my eyes, then rise at 9:24A. Or maybe 9:37A. Or maybe … well, by 10A at the very, very latest.

Put on a two-cup pot of coffee. Wait in agony.

Coffee! Probably out on the back porch, in PJs and a sweatshirt b/c it’s still about 68˚F. Granola bar.

If The Boy isn’t up, get his butt up. Make his favorite breakfast: granola bar and a cold Coke.

Stretch a bit, fill up two Nalgenes, and jump in the car to head out to one of many nearby 4-mile hikes. Stop the car halfway out the driveway and run back inside to grab the sunscreen for just-in-case.

After the hike and a long pseudo-argument, find vestiges of willpower against The Boy’s pleading and head home for a late and homemade (therefore inexpensive) lunch. Back out on the porch, of course, but this time w/the umbrella up.

Maybe a game of cards (Harry Potter Uno, anyone?), maybe dominoes, maybe—if luck is a lady—I’ll read a magazine while The Boy does a little work. Just hanging out, killing time before:

Showers all around (J. likes to jump in when we’re done and sometimes doesn’t even wait until the water’s off) and off to the super-bargain matinee! With a stop at Target first for contraband chocolate. If I’m feeling super-sneaky (which I probably am), I’ll have stashed a Coke and a Dr Pepper in my bag before we left home. Then we have a movie and popcorn for dinner.

Eventually get back home after perhaps a stop at Lowes or Home Depot to check one more time to make sure the shade of green I want for the bedroom is really the shade of green I want for the bedroom. We’re not buying the paint yet, just visiting it.

Return to the back porch for more games or reading. When the mosquitoes chase us inside, choose a DVD (“House” if we haven’t already finished Season Three; we also just bought The Aviator for $5 at Target, so there’s that option), settle in on the couch. Check the weather at 10:12P, then gather up the cat and head to bed.

Could someone remind me why I didn’t call in sick today?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just Call Me Wild Thang

This is an easy one.

I’d stay in bed until Frog woke up, which is usually around 8. I’d change his diaper, wash his neck and face with a baby washcloth, and carry him into the front room, where Darlin' would be reading the paper with his coffee. I’d sit in the “sacrificial” green chair, which is the only furniture we sit on with the exorcist baby spewing all over the place, and tuck him into my lap and chat with him. Darlin' would make me my cup of coffee and maybe some toast.

At 9, I would feed the baby. After that, I would put on my workout clothes and either go for a run, sans kid, or else strap him into the stroller and take him and the dog for a walk. That would put me in the shower at a little after 10, at which point Darlin' would take a break from working and play with Frog while I got ready for the day. Once I was ready, Frog and I would go someplace – maybe the grocery to pick up ingredients for some dinners. Or a park to sit on a blanket and watch the people. To the pool, where I would let him splash in the shallow end – he loves water. Maybe to the library, so I could check out some books while he slept in the baby carrier. If I have a birthday present to buy for somebody, we might go to the mall.

I’d have to feed him at noon, but I could do that in public. We’d be home by one at the latest, so I could make lunch for Darlin' and me while the baby napped. Maybe hoagies, or some sautéed squash, or a big chef salad. We might have a glass of wine with our lunch, or maybe just a pitcher of iced tea. If it wasn’t too hot, I might serve it outside on our plastic patio furniture. Then I’d tidy up from lunch and do a little housecleaning while the baby napped – sweep the pet hair tumbleweeds off the floor, or give my houseplants some TLC. Do the requisite load of laundry for the day, maybe vacuum real quick, and then the baby’s up again.

At three, we’d sit down to nurse, and then I would read to Frog. Right now we’re reading The Chronicles of Narnia – almost done with book one. I’d help him practice sitting up, and probably take a lot of pictures of him, and maybe we’d knock on the door of the office and check on Darlin' again. Then I’d strap him in the car, and drive him and Schmupp to our little downtown, which is five minutes away by car (but we can’t walk there, drat), and then walk around the beautiful historic homes with the baby in the carrier and the dog tugging on the leash. We might swing on the swings at the park, and let the dog dig in the sand. At this point, it’s getting on to about dinner time, so we’d head home and I would make it, whatever it is, and have it baking or cooking or simmering through the 6:00 nurse. Then we’d eat, and then I’d do the dishes, and give the baby his bath, dress him in his p.j.s, and read him another story. Darlin' would finish working at about 8, at which point he’d pour us a nightcap and we would sit in the front room and read and talk, or maybe go in the t.v. room and watch a Netflix. I’d nurse the baby at 9, and then put him in his crib to sleep, and then hang out with my husband for an hour or so before going to bed myself.

Thrilling life, right?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Summer: Sleep in, go for a run, take a shower. Eat something, go to the pool and read for several hours, return to shower. Make a fantastic dinner on the grill, watch some bad reality television, hit the sack to the sound of the cicadas.

Fall: Sleep in, go for a run, take a shower. Eat something, try to get outside and enjoy the crisp air and beautiful colors, and maybe do a little shopping. Make a fantastic dinner in the wok, read a book, hit the sack to the sound of leaves being tossed about by a light breeze.

Winter: Sleep in, go for a run, take a shower. Eat something, put something in the crock pot for dinner, settle in on the couch under a blanket with a good book. Take a nap, have a lovely dinner, watch some television, and burrow into the sack to the sound of wind whipping through the trees.

Spring: Sleep in, go for a run, take a shower. Eat something, try to get outside and enjoy the blooming flowers and trees, and read under a tree. Order in dinner, have some chocolate, and hit the sack to the sound of birds chirping.

Monday, July 21, 2008

i wonder what i'd do all day if i didn't work.

it's monday. who likes mondays? to help me get through this hum-drum day at work, i thought we could chat a bit about what i'd be doing if i wasn't at work. i'm not talking about a dream day where i'd spend time at the spa getting a fabulous massage from sven (although that sounds perfectly delightful). i'm talking reality here. what would i realistically be doing right this very second if i weren't stuck at work.

currently, the time is 11:23 am, so i'd most likely be playing with the girls outside. it's a beautiful day here in the circle city, so the girls and i would be swinging on the swings in the backyard or playing softball. lately, softball has been their passion. we play catch and hit the ball off of the tee and have a grand time. okay, so, scratch the swings...we'd definitely be playing ball right now.

at 12 noon or so, we come inside for lunch. i'd make hot dogs (a crowd favorite) for them with chocolate milk to drink for aj and pink lemonade for little mama. i'd drink water. we'd dine on hot dogs and grapes and graham crackers and go-gurts (cotton candy flavored) and i would spend most of the meal reminding aj to sit down on her bottom in her chair and to eat her lunch. mealtime is a bit hectic in our house and is rarely enjoyable. little mama is finally at the age where she can sit still and eat an entire meal. aj, on the other hand, never. sits. still. even at mealtime.

okay, once we finish eating, it's time to go to the pool. we'd swim for an hour or so and then head home for showers. i would scrub the hair of each baby and snuggle them in their towels as they dry off. i love the smell of 'just out of the tub' babes! nothing smells better! after changing into sun dresses, each girl would lay down for naps (me included - but i'm not in a sun dress...more like shorts and a t-shirt. is this too detailed?)

personally, nap time is my absolute favorite time of the day. we usually sleep for an hour to a hour and a half and it's just enough time to refresh me for the rest of the evening.

by now it's nearing dinnertime and on a normal work day, i'm usually home at this point. so, realistically, if i wasn't here, i'd be with the girls. i wouldn't be crunching numbers and connected to my calculator. i wouldn't be worrying about the latest audit and whether i've messed up a file for the state. instead, i'd be worrying about making sure the girls were wearing sunscreen and that i washed their hair well enough to avoid turning a greenish tint.

both work and home are important, i know. i keep my head in the game no matter which location i happen to be on a particular day, though there is no doubt that my heart always lies at home.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Help, My Inner Rebel is in a Coma

At different times in my life, I have been:

o A hippy who bought all of my flowy natural-colored clothes at thrift stores and cut my own hair, and carried everything in a woven hemp bag that I bought from a street vendor in San Francisco.
o A surfer chick wannabe who wore Roxy, carried a Hurley corduroy school bag, and spent summers in a tropical print sarong and bikini top – even when I wasn’t at the beach.
o A naturalist who wore Chacos with my shorts and t-shirts, had a whistle on a chain around my neck, and a purple Nalgene covered with stickers perpetually hanging off my right index finger. In winter I added a fleece pullover as a concession to the dip in temperature, but otherwise the uniform did not change.
o A working woman who wore dress pants, heels, and crisply ironed (or, well, thrown-back-into-the-dryer-for-a-few-seconds ironed) button down shirts, who carried a black faux leather planner and wore mascara daily.
o A new mom who wore whatever was clean whether it matched or not.

So, at different times in my life, I have wanted:

o A tattoo of a sun or daisy – stylized, with some sort of reference to Peace – maybe the word Pax?
o A tattoo of one of those Hawaiian looking flowers, or maybe a dolphin or turtle.
o A tattoo of a lizard, or salamander, or frog, or maybe a tree.
o A tattoo of the rune for G, the first letter of my name.
o A tattoo of my son’s name and birthdate, or maybe just his first initial. Or his and mine and my husband’s intials intertwined in some kind of design, with room for any additional kids to be inked in later on.

And I have wanted these tattoos:

o On my right shoulder blade
o On my ankle, next to wear the surfboard strap would go (ha! Like I ever even learned to surf!)
o On my wrist, peeking out of my fleece pullover sleeve
o On my hip – easy to hide
o On any part of me that hadn’t stretched to oblivion during the pregnancy – perhaps my earlobe? My forehead?

This is why I do not have a tattoo. If in the past 5 years I have waffled this much in my personal style – how on earth could I pick something permanent to draw on my skin that I could never change (without lots of pain and money spent – youch, Wicked!)

Another reason is that my parents have a (in my opinion) slightly ridiculous attitude towards tattoos. To put it mildly, they are very anti-tat and might literally not speak to me for months if I got one. I’m 29 years old, yes, and totally financially independent for years now, and I get to choose what I do – but I know in the back of my mind that if I choose to get a tattoo and it’s one my parents see, that I will be creating a really annoying problem that I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life. This is not to say that I still won’t get one. It’s to say that in doing the cost-benefit-analysis of getting one, I have to weigh my parents’ temporarily disowning me as one of the costs. Except for this slightly overbearing way of parenting grown children, I do like my parents and very much like spending time with them. So, it's a dilemma.

Did I just say cost-benefit-analysis with regards to getting a tattoo? Oh man. The little rebel in the corner of my soul just collapsed. I’d better hurry out and get inked pronto in order to revive him, or I may as well just start drawing Social Security benefits right now, because I’m officially nine hundred years old.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Complete Collection

Some people get tattoos because they are trendy or cool. Some people get them due to peer pressure or because they may want a souvenir from their Spring Break trip of 1993. Other people see tattoos as art and as a way to express themselves. I fall into the latter category. I never dreamed of getting a tattoo and I never gave a second thought to any designs that I liked in case I ever got a tattoo. My journey toward deciding to get a tattoo was merely based on some friends saying they were going that weekend and maybe I would like to come? I figured I would just ride along and hold their hands for moral support. However, as the week passed, I found myself thinking that getting a tattoo would be kind of cool. I wanted it to mean something and I would only consider doing it if the tattoo place was clean and if the people working there were not creeps.

So, in the second semester of my sophomore year of college, I found myself on a tattoo table getting the symbol for love permanently etched on my right hip. It hurt more than I expected but only for a moment. After that initial moment of ouch(!), it felt more like a scraping sensation. The guy who did my tattoo was smart enough to have waited until after the tattoo was done to make a comment about having gotten my pants down, but he clearly was not smart enough to have waited until after I gave him his tip. Idiot. I still love this tattoo since it was a fun experience with a group of friends and in that it truly means something to me. My name means "worthy of love" and I feel a little bit like the symbol is me.

Everyone always says that after you get one tattoo, you want more. They are right. I got the itch for a second tattoo about a year later. I took myself back to the same tattoo shop and had an artist draw up an original design based on an idea I had. I wanted a ring of violets on my back. I was born in February and violets are that month's flower. They also happen to be my sorority flower and so it reminds me of the wonderful friends that I made while in college. That group of women taught me that women can be true friends and that the end of a college career does not mean the end of a friendship. I rarely see this tattoo since it sits at the small of my back, but I truly do love this design for all that it means.

My third tattoo is one that means the most to me. It stands for all that is important to me and is an outward expression of everything I want people to know about me. I have a set of three small stars on my left foot. They are each a different color and they each stand for something very important to me. It means so much to me, in fact, that no one knows what the stars represent. I can only say that the each star represents something different and that the stars together represent many things. The stars being on my foot has also come to represent many things as well. This is the tattoo that I get the most compliments on since it is the most visible. I got this tattoo while traveling in California for work. This tattoo hurt the most to get but I have to say that it is my hands down favorite.

I did have a fourth tattoo and I can only say that it was a big(!) mistake. The minute that artist finished it, I hated it. Hated. I waited the requisite amount of time for it to heal and immediately started calling laser centers for pricing to have it removed. It was a L-O-N-G process, I got an infection at one point, and it hurts like a mother to have done. It hurts far more to have a tattoo removed than it does to get one. It also costs more. A lot more. So, my history of collecting tattoos is not perfect. I still have a scar from having this tattoo removed that reminds me of how awful that entire experience was. I will never forget that. I think that is the biggest reason that I do not have another tattoo.

I do have an idea for another design and Superman and I have discussed morphing the idea into semi-matching tattoos that would mean something to both of us. However, it just has not happened. Maybe we are getting too old? Maybe we are getting too stingy with our money? Maybe we just do not need an inked symbol to remind us of what we have? So, I will never say that I will never get another tattoo...but for now? I am thrilled with my complete collection.

***I am not even going to go into my parents' reaction to my having gotten tattoos. I grew up in conservative-town America and they really do not love them. Secretly though, I think my dad thinks that it is cool.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Think It's Too Late ...

I missed the tattoo train. I had a ticket, but it just never got punched (or punctured and filled with ink, as it were). Now that I’m in my wise old thirties, I think that it’s safe to assume I’d be older than my artist. And that’s a bad sign.

I went through a very short I-need-a-tattoo phase, while I was in Great Britain my sophomore year of college. What better souvenir to myself than getting inked in London or Edinburg? It would be permanent, meaningful, and I wouldn’t have to claim it on my customs form. So I braved a few parlors after doing extensive research (which means: looking them up in the phone book to see which ones were closest to my next sightseeing stop), with a friend in tow, and never really made it past any of the front doors. I don’t remember seeing anything traumatizing, but let’s just say that my friend pointed out that Tattoo Charlie’s in Louisville was way cleaner. Every time we went inside one, I just went straight to the board to look for “my” image. Which I never found very easily, and as the seconds ticked by, I became more and more self-conscious. Nobody in the parlors bothered to look at me twice, and I just ended up “not feeling it” and slinking out and away, back to the museums and pubs and theatres—where I belonged and did not feel self-concious.

When I got back from GB (I bought myself a locket instead), I told myself and others that I’d get one if I ever went back.


I did go back, two years later. And that time I didn’t even try going into any tattoo parlors. Pretty sad, huh?

I still say if I go again, I’ll maybe get one. This is partially b/c it really is a rockin’ souvenir, partially b/c it’s an interesting thing to throw into a conversation, and partially b/c I don’t really know if I’ll ever be in GB again. So I’m mostly safe.

I don’t think I’m cool enough for a tattoo, if I’m being honest. My friends who do have tattoos are all much cooler than I. A ring of violets on the small of the back, an icthus just inside the right hip, a sprinkling of stars at the nape of the neck, “Love is patient” in French around the left wrist. I could never pull any of those off. I’m sure some of my friends have tattoos that I don’t even know exist … and I’m glad I don’t. I’m already way less cool than they are, and I don’t need any more self-consciousness.

I wonder sometimes, though, if I were suddenly possessed with the need to get a tattoo, what? And where? At this point in my life, the realization that I’d need to place it carefully so it didn’t lose its shape is actually an obsession. I keep having flashbacks to that “SNL” faux-mercial about how “it won’t be cool forever.” Where on my body will the skin always be as it is right now? The backs of my ears, my tongue, right below my collarbone, and the palms of my hands. OK. That was actually pretty easy! Now. Tattoo image … let’s see … hmm. What in my life will never change? My love of chocolate, the fact that if necessary I will cheat at board games to win, and my husband. That give me lots of options! I’ll see if my artist sister Kat can come up with a design around those parameters. It should be awesome. I’ll send PIX messages when it’s done.

What tattoos do you have? And where are they? I obviously need inspiration.

Monday, July 14, 2008

i wonder if i'll ever get a(nother) tattoo...

i've always wanted a tattoo. i've always thought it would be awesome to have some sort of symbol inked into my back or foot. something that described me. something that displayed my personality and loves in life. what has stopped me from pursuing this dream of mine? that would be none other than my fantastically straight-laced husband, super jas.

we started dating when i was a mere 18 years old, so super jas grabbed a hold of me not shortly after i escaped my parents' grasp. i knew that my life would be in danger if i ever got a tatoo while i lived under my parents' roof. they were adamant about no tattoos, crazy hair colors or anything else that was considered rebellious. in fact, my most rebellious move in high school was getting my ear pierced up on the top of my ear. i did it sans parental permission and was fully expecting a good talking to when i displayed it. but rather than reprimand me, the first thing my dad did was raise my shirt to see if my belly button was pierced. (i later pierced my belly button in college on spring break in myrtle beach and casually mentioned it to them when i returned home.) obviously, i had zero support for my tattoo dream while growing up.

i thought perhaps my luck would change in college. maybe i'd meet a guy with a tattoo and he could take me to the tattoo parlor he frequented. i'd have his tattoo artist create something marvelous for me and i'd be branded for life. but instead of meeting my tattoo clad dream, i met super jas, who is the absolute farthest thing from being tattoo clad - or rebellious. i mentioned to him a few times that i'd love to get a tattoo and each suggestion was met with a disapproving look and a head shake. 'no way,' he said. i feel sometimes like super jas is an extension of my father. for crying out loud, he's my husband! isn't he supposed to want for me what i know is best for myself? where is the support? i still mention my desire for a tattoo every now and again and super jas still disagrees.


i scoured a few tattoo websites just to see what was out there and to see if anything caught my eye. indeed, i found an awesome ambigram that spelled 'walk by faith.' they also had a few others that i liked, but the 'walk by faith' tattoo stuck out. if i ever get a tattoo, i want it to mean something. to represent something. to be a part of me and who i am. i think the phrase 'walk by faith' is a pretty accurate summary of how i've lived this life of mine.

i could go ahead and get my 'walk by faith' tattoo without telling super jas, but he would be beyond LIVID with me. a tattoo just isn't worth the marital unrest. but maybe when we're 90 and he's old and senile, i'll have a rockin', rebellious girlfriend (ahem...tara) in the old folks home with me who'll encourage me to finally fulfill my dream. and together, we'll head to the tattoo parlor where she'll hold my hand while i endure the pain. after it's complete, we'll catch the shuttle back to the old folks home where i'll reveal my new adornment to super jas. he'll smile, give me a kiss, nod and think 'ah, what the heck. life is too short not to have a little more fun.'

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Martyr

I don't have much time to write this post. It's 4:30, and I'll be leaving work today on time, at 5, so I've only got half an hour to dash this off and then finish up a few things.

I didn't take a lunch today, see, because I had a long training session that went through lunch. So I'm giving myself twenty minutes here at the end of the day to create this entry. It ain't an hour, but there's plenty of days that I go to the gym on my lunch and end up taking an hour and a half, so this short late lunch break balances those days.

I keep track of this stuff in my own head, and make sure that I am not cheating my company . . . at least not too often. :) I make sure my duties are completed when they're supposed to be, I make sure that I average a 40 hour week, I make sure that I get home on time unless something vital keeps me here. I'm lucky to have a boss who trusts me to make these decisions for myself.

So why does my coworker - let's call her Suzanne - why does Suzanne think that it's important for her to track my schedule and comment upon it?

I've no doubt Suzanne feels cheated, when she sees me working my normal schedule. She herself works through every lunch. She also comes in most weekends. She's been known to be here until 1:00 am some evenings. She's very busy and important, you see. Much busier than me. I'm not totally sure why that is, because I once had her job and I was able to do it in my 40 hours a week, but Suzanne prefers to work at a different pace, I suppose.

Speaking of pace - Suzanne loves to run up and down the hall, waving a piece of paper and looking important. Suzanne loves to stop in each office on her way and explain how crazy busy she is, and how she hasn't had time to even use the restroom all day. And Suzanne loves to frown at all of the rest of us on the floor who aren't as dedicated to this company as she is. She will often come to me with a list of accusations against her coworkers - it would seem Suzanne spends most of her work day tallying up the times that people arrive and leave, and how many smoke breaks they take, and whether they make a personal phone call, and various important issues like that. Suzanne also likes to frequently come into my office and complain that she doesn't make enough money for all of the hours she works, how she deserves a bonus, how she deserves to be paid her vacation time because she doesn't get to use her vacation because our company would crumble into dust if she took a week off.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I let all of my direct reports go home early. My boss went home early, and encouraged us to do the same. So I packed up my office and headed out at 2pm. I was the last person to leave . . . except for Suzanne. Suzanne watched me go with a huge storm cloud over her head and said "Must be nice for some." Why yes, Suzanne, it sure is. I like leaving at 2pm the day before a holiday. The 68 other people at our company all also like it. You do not, and that's cool. You can hang out til 10pm if you'd like, performing work that you actually could do when you got back next Monday. It's up to you.

Suzanne was having such a hissy, that (against my recommendation, I must say) another staff person was added to help remove some of her workload. Suzanne taught this staff person how to use the copier. And nothing else. And this staff person sits at her desk and picks her nails, and often comes to me for work to do because she's bored, while Suzanne continues to rail on and on about how she is forced to do everything at this company and never gets any personal time and she should be promoted and given a raise because look at how many hours she works while the rest of us go home on time, GASP.

Suzanne. Drives. Me. Batshit.

I am thinking of having a bonfire built in her office so she can go ahead and throw herself on it, and then maybe we can all get on with the business of doing our work in peace.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Wonder if This Happens to Other People?

I frequently dine at my desk during lunchtime … sometimes alone, sometimes w/The Boy. I have an office that only three people (besides me) can unlock. It doesn’t bother me that someone else has a key to my office—we keep departmental files in my big filing cabinet so I can usually deal with knowing that while I’m on vacay or home sick, others might wander in for something.

But when I’m at work, and trying to enjoy my lunch hour, it’s a different story. I understand that if you didn’t know I was in there, you might think you could pop in really quickly to drop something off for me. I have one of those little “Will Return” clock signs that I am quite vigilant about keeping accurate. So I don’t blame the person who outranks me who unlocks my door to drop off a signed scholarship form I left for him. If he came in after I’d already pretended to leave for lunch, how could he know I was in there? No harm, no foul.


There’s another coworker, one with whom I work very closely and really really like. But.

This person knows when I close my door for lunch and whether or not I’m staying in or going out. And this person lets herself into my office anyway.

This kills me for many reasons.

1. I’m understanding if she is working on a deadline or something another department needs immediately. It happens to all of us. But I find it odd that she has to borrow the three-hole-punch at 12:14P every Tuesday.
2. I have a key to her office, and would never dream of opening it up when she had closed her door but was there. I’d knock. And then wait. Or figure out a way to, oh, I don’t know, deal until the lunch hour is over.
3. She doesn’t take lunch! But I do! I am as vigilant about working my 40-hour week as I am about my clock sign. I don’t believe in constantly working for free, out of the kindness of your heart. This isn’t corporate America, so you’re not impressing anybody here when you do that. So if I work through lunch or only take 30 minutes, I keep track and give that time back to myself later. Ain’t no such thing as overtime ‘round here, so you have to take care of yourself. And yes, we’re busy, and I’m all for pitching in and five or ten minutes here and there aren’t a big deal. But, dude! Doesn’t she ever get hungry? I feel like it’s some silent judgment when I close my door for an hour and she has to let herself in for some reason, working so hard while I sit around and eat and watch “Grey’s” online.
4. Sometimes, and this doesn’t happen very often but when it does, I often consider quitting, a student will knock on my door (b/c this is the digital age and a sign with a clock-with-hands on it baffles the children). When I don’t answer, this coworker will attempt to help the student. And once in a while, she can’t help, and instead of teaching the student how to tell time, she’ll unlock and open my door and bring the student into my office behind her to ask me whatever question simply cannot wait until 1P (sometimes 12:56P).

5. If she has to give something to me or file it in my office, my mailbox is just as close to her office as my office is. And it doesn’t require a key. And is fairly safe and confidential and protected and everything.

I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to bring myself to just be a grown-up and tell her this bothers me and ask her not to do it anymore unless there’s a true emergency. It’s been going on for practically three years now, so maybe I feel like it’s too late to bring it up.

If this is the thing that bothers me the most about a coworker, I have a pretty great life. I should just continue to growl on the inside and count my blessings, right?

Well, then there was the time I had the day off but came in for something and found that she had propped open my door for the day because it was more convenient for her.

That didn’t last, let me tell you. But I didn’t yell—I used “It would make me more comfortable if you … ” politespeak—so that’s something.

Monday, July 7, 2008

i wonder what the most annoying traits in a coworker are?

i have a coworker who is driving me absolutely crazy. she just started here about a month ago and i'm so irritated with her all the time. as a bit of therapy for myself, i thought i would list a few of those incredibly annoying things that she does (and throw in a few random others for funsies.)

1) she laughs when she talks. she doesn't just talk like a normal person. she chuckles while she's talking to anyone about anything. she converses in a sing-songy voice that my preschool teacher used back in the day.

2) she feels altogether way too comfortable here. she just started, folks, and she acts like she owns the place. it took me nearly a year to feel comfortable enough in this business to speak during a meeting. she was throwing out suggestions and comments about things that she has no clue about during her first ever staff meeting.

3) she's a butt kisser. a total and complete butt kisser. i'm all about making friends with the boss and being buddy-buddy with her, but this chick takes it to the next level.

4) she's so loud when she giggle-talks. i'm not sure if she's loud by nature or if she's trying to make us aware of the fact that she's talking with so-and-so about whatever program it is she's learning about. TONE IT DOWN, SISTER.

5) there's another girl in our office that always says the following phrases: 'my gut tells me that _________' and 'typically, we___________'

6) we have a guy here who talks about his wife all. the. time. he tells me how people tell him how cute she is and how sweet she is and how everyone loves her. i know her from college and she is a sweet, adorable girl, but i don't need to hear it on a daily basis, you know? oh, and his newborn daughter? she's a genius and the most adorable baby you've ever seen. really. just ask him.

7) i used to work with a guy who never picked up the phone to talk. he always talked on his speaker phone.

8) i once worked with a girl who would let her emotions fly in staff meetings. she didn't try to filter. she didn't try to soften her opinions. she just let her mouth run. and if she didn't agree with something, she would fold her arms, huff loudly, and roll her eyes. i'm not even kidding. immature much?

okay, i'm done now. i'm not sure if i feel better or just more annoyed by sitting and pondering on these things. i think i need another vacation. last week just wasn't enough.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tale as Old As Time


Darlin's and my beginnings are an interesting tale. The one sentence summary is: we were both somewhat rootless when we met, but our long distance communications did eventually segue into marriage-with-child.

Well, that's not very interesting, is it? I'd better plunge into the gory details. You may want some graph paper and a protractor to keep up with this. Go ahead, get 'em, I'll wait.


I (and all the other WW of course) went to a Small College in the Midwest, in the 90s. Darlin's parents attended the same college, in the 70s. The 3 of us majored in theatre and studied under the same man, and their alumni activities with this man and his theatre threw us together a few times, even though the college was in the Midwest and they lived in South Carolina. They came and stayed and taught a full semester my senior year of college, which I completely missed because I had left school early to travel in Australia. Ships in the night, as it were.

Fast forward to 3 years later. I'd been dumped by my pseudo-fiance and lost my job all at once, and was feeling both homeless and directionless. I was offered a short term job as Assistant Stage Manager for a play being performed at our Small College in the Midwest, which I took, because what else was I going to do? As it turned out, my future in-laws were also visiting and involved in this show. We all worked together, and had a great time, and very early on it came up that their son was my same age. A joke was carelessly tossed out that they were going to fix me up with this son of theirs, which quickly turned into "when's the wedding" and "make sure to have lots of babies." Har dee har har, we all had a laugh, and when the show was over they went back home to Carolina and I stuck around the Midwest.

Still with me?

I decided to visit the future in-laws in South Carolina, with MSO Rin and another friend. We drove down. I met Darlin, who just happened to also be there that weekend. I was interested enough in him to exchange emails and phone numbers at the end of the weekend, and then I returned to the Midwest. The next day he got in his car and moved to Denver, CO.

We wrote, we set up a sort of weekly phone date, and soon our phone calls got more frequent. I was dating a few young gentlemen at this time, one of them semi-seriously, and I wasn't too sure what was happening with Darlin because, hellLLOO, he was in Denver and I was in the Midwest. But I kept emailing. Kept calling. Really looked forward to dialing up my internet and hearing the words "Mail Truck." Stomped my foot in frustration on days when I missed his call. Began planting the seeds with my other gentlemen callers that they were not to expect anything serious out of me (I'm making it sound like I was The Shizz at this time, and, well hey, I was verra skinny back then is, I guess, the explanation.)

Clearly, we had to do something. If you will refer to your graph paper (perhaps I should have suggested a map of the United States, instead?) you will note that he is in Denver, I am in Indiana, and those two places are very far apart. What is a fledgling relationship to do? He wasn't planning on staying in Denver. I wasn't planning on staying in the Midwest. But neither could we plan to move to the same place to be together just to see how things worked. Pressure, much? It was a quandary.

I decided to just pick a place to live. I had to find a home for myself (which, all due respect my lovely jane and Wicked, was not going to be the Midwest. Snow and me are not friends.) At this time I was feeling very disgusted with myself for having followed my last two boyfriends to places and then having the relationships fall apart, so I was determined to just move where I was gonna move and Darlin could darn well follow me if he was so interested. Very long story slightly shorter, I picked Someplace, North Carolina.

Darlin, planning on getting his PhD, had applied to 3 graduate programs. One in Atlanta, Georgia . . . and two near Someplace, North Carolina. COMPLETELY INDEPENDENTLY OF ME.

I started to have an inkling at this point, that perhaps we were fated to be?

I arranged a visit to see Darlin in Denver. Phone calls and emails do not a relationship make, and we needed to figure out if something was really happening or fakey happening. I can remember stepping off the plane, nervous as hell because dude, this could either be a really fun trip or the longest freaking week of my life. And he was standing there, wearing a very long coat and smiling a little mysteriously. And I knew with a flood of relief that the week was going to be great, and that many more great weeks would follow.

Having just been surprise-dumped by a serious boyfriend, I held Darlin at arm's length for a while. And then, a few weeks after my visit, we had a phone call during which he described an instance at a party where a girl was all over him like white on rice, and said that he was glad I'd visited because if I hadn't, he might have ended up with that other girl, but since I had, he knew I was worth waiting for and blah blah blah, I totally missed that last part because OTHER GIRL??? WHAT UP, BITCH, YOU WANNA GO?? I THINK NOT, EM-EFFER, KEEP THOSE HO-ASS HANDS OFF MY MAN, OR WE GOT PROBLEMS, DO YOU HEAR ME??

The next day I called my mom and told her with a sigh - I think I know who my husband is.

That Moment

I met my husband because I had needed validation for my whining. Truly. It is safe to say that I was bitter about boys by the time I met my husband. I had spent years going from lengthy monogamous relationship to lengthy monogamous relationship and none of those men were for me. I dated every liar, manipulator, and loser west of the Atlantic and clearly was not having good luck in the romance department. I found myself single for the first time during my mid-twenties. I hated every single second of it, mostly because it was during this time that nearly all of my friends got married.

I became the token single friend at events and had to eat my catered dinner with a smile plastered on my face wondering when my Prince Charming would be coming along. I was thrilled for my friends but doubted that anyone ever really "just knew" that someone was right for them. Surely it could not be that easy. I used my mastery of sarcasm to answer questions like, "So, will you be next?" and "When will you be walking down the aisle, dear?". The bouquet toss was the bane of my existence. It was a lonely time in my life.

I finally signed up for eHarmony because I wanted to be able to say that I was doing something, anything, to help my love life. I was matched with a ton of men (who I am sure are all very nice and normal, NOT) and I even went on a few dates with boys I met on the site. They were, ah, interesting people, to say the least. I had nearly given up on "the harm" when I found myself matched to someone different.

When I first saw the picture of my husband, I was instantly drawn to him. I thought to myself, "Oh he looks like a nice guy. I could be friends with him!". And then I read his profile. His answers were nearly identical to mine -- from what we liked to do on Friday nights to the last book we had read. I knew we would have a lot in common and a lot to talk about. We rushed through the various stages of communication on the site and then he wanted to talk to me on the phone. I made a game time decision and told him that I thought we should meet in person instead. He agreed and we settled on a place and time.

I probably told 673 people where I was going to be that night in case of a "situation" (code for I have been abducted and I was last seen at...). As I drove up to the pub, I was talking to my best friend on the phone. I have no recollection of what I said, but I have no doubt that it was something bitter about how this guy would probably turn out to be like all the rest. I walked up to the front of the pub and saw this man standing at the entrance. He was leaning casually against a column and had his arms crossed. I believe it was at this moment that I said to my BFF, "Oh, he's cute! Gotta go." I may have even hung up on her, I do not remember.

This man took off his sunglasses, gave me an easy smile and leaned in for a hug. The hug was comfortable and easy. I knew the moment that I saw his smile that he was going to be someone special. This man held the door for me (he does this all the time, but he says this time was mostly so he could check out my butt) and let me choose what booth we sat in. We sat through drinks and then dinner and talked for hours. We closed the place down. We found that we had so many things in common, so many things we wanted to do together, so many things we both loved. At one point, he reached across the table to touch my arm and that was the moment.

It was like electricity shot through my arm and I can honestly say that I had a moment of shock. What?? This is happening? This really happens??? This guy? This guy was my husband? Oh, but yes. And just like that, I knew. His tender touch was what told me that he would promise to walk beside me always and that he would always be kind, tender and compassionate. And he does. And he is.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

They Asked Me How I Knew My True Love Was True

The Boy and I met at work. I don’t remember what our first conversation was about, but I remember the first thing he ever said to me was that I should probably have a dust mask on b/c of the work I was doing with spray adhesive. Whatta guy … safety first!

Flirting flirting, group drinking after prepping for a big Rat-Pack-style fundraiser for the theatre, more flirting, he has a girlfriend?!?, I’m dating someone (who turns out to have lied about his age in an unforgivable number of years if you weren’t really into him, which I wasn’t), more flirting, blah blah blah, first date!

We were at the Jillians at Opry Mills, having a drink in the
bowling alley alcove. It was one of those cute almost-not dates where he wasn’t quite brave enough to ask me out solo, so we had a couple of friends along and they mysteriously disappeared about five minutes after we got to the arcade game area.

So. There we are, in the Hi-Life Lounge, not drinking our drinks b/c we’re talking and laughing so much we don’t have time for anything else. We talked about theatre, of course, and Memphis and Mule Town and college … and discovered we’d both studied in England around the same time. And had flown home on the same flight one week apart. And somehow, it got pretty deep pretty fast, and I found out that, just like me, he didn’t think he wanted kids and didn’t believe in divorce.*

And then we both got quiet and he took a drink of his Long Island and looked around at the hipster bowlers, trying to decide if he wanted to ask me if I wanted to play a game (luckily, he didn’t ask. I’d have said yes, and then would have discovered that he is the worst. Bowler. Ever. EVER.). And while he looked around, I looked at him, and I was just flooded with peace and excitement and just a tiny bit of abject terror because I realized …

I’m looking at my husband.

I am going to marry this man.

I’m falling in love.

I will never have to date again.

Just like that. After one kiss, after one week of knowing him, after one-half of one date.

So how did I know? I don’t know. I just did. It was like looking out the window and thinking, “It’s going to be such a beautiful day today” or getting up and knowing exactly what cute outfit you’re going to wear or setting about baking cupcakes you know are going to taste just perfect. It simply was … how my life would be.

How it still is.

*These are internal positions on both our parts. We do not judge others for their reproductive or marital decisions. Just b/c I don’t plan to do something doesn’t mean I would presume to tell someone else she can’t either.