Monday, November 23, 2009
She asked where I was going. I told her I had no plans, which caused her to give me the squinty-eye/doubtful look.
“Then, WHY, are you putting on makeup?”
“Because,” I explained “putting on makeup, as well as deodorant, is my gift to civilization.”
She seemed to take this as one more sign that her 50-ish mother is on the expressway to crazy-old-ladyhood. Okay, I don’t deny that course, but I don’t think that the use of makeup is one of the milestones. Is it?
I’ve never been a heavy user but I find that the older I get, the more I prefer a bit of mascara magic (applied with a wand, duh) on my lashes… just so everyone can tell that I have lashes. And yes, I do this even if I intend to spend the whole day working in my yard because I don’t want to become known in the ‘hood as that dotty old lady with no eyes!
Plus I was a product of the ‘Keep America Beautiful’ generation.
I have friends who wouldn’t consider getting out of the car to pump gas without their full face on – everything from foundation to lip liner to eyelid primer. And I have others who consider chap stick to be adequate.
I’m somewhere in between. Where are you? And, because I’m nosy, are you using more or less these days than you used to?
Just trying to get a feel for the competition, you know.
In case I want to enter the Ms. Sunset Manor pageant someday.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Hey Smokers! Do you all know what today is?
Uh-huh. Time once again for the Great American Smokeout. Yeah, I know you don’t want to hear about it because it only reminds you how much you really don’t want to be a smoker. And how annoying it is to have your nasty little habit held up to the light by all those self-righteous nonsmokers. And especially how, darnitall, you will not be told when to quit. If you DO choose to quit, it will be on your own schedule. If ever. Am I right?
Wait, wait! Don’t hit that back button!!! Really, I am NOT here to preach.
Seriously. I was one of you. For a long time. And I tried to quit manymanymany times so I know how nearly impossible it is. But, since I have only slightly more self control than a golden retriever puppy, I’m thinking if I can do it, so too can you! You just need the proper motivation, am I right?
Okay, you probably need more than that but since I’m often asked how I quit – did I mention that it’s been nearly 10 years? – and I have no idea how I did it, I’m going to make up some stuff.
Just kidding. Partly. While I don’t specifically remember, if I ever did know, HOW I quit, I do remember some of the WHY I quit.
First of all there's the money. Sorry, but my profession requires me to put that at the head of the list. And, this is the coolest part anyway, because if you quit smoking right now you will be one of the few people in this struggling economy to actually INCREASE your income. If you inhale anywhere near a pack a day, that amounts to nearly two thousand dollars a year of after-tax money. I know, you could buy some pretty sweet stuff with that.
Plus, there are the smoking fees that you hide from yourself: the higher car, health and life insurance premiums, the cost of everything you damage by playing with fire, all that gum and tic tacs you have to buy to hide your smoker breath, and what about all those extra trips you have to make to the Kwickymart?
Then there’s your health to consider. That should actually be first but I think you know it’s bad for you. I will say that one thing that inspired me was focusing on the benefits of quitting. I found a list that tells you what happens 20 minutes after you quit and 12 hours and 2 weeks and on and on. It's nice to know what you're gaining for all your misery.
And time. OMG, have you ever stopped to think about how much time it takes to smoke? I mean, it’s not just the few minutes of actual smoking. There’s the time spent looking for your pack, and finding a light and then getting yourself to a place where you are actually allowed to smoke. Here in You-tah, that’s basically a 2 acre plot of land out by the Nevada border. I think it’s also part of a missile range so be careful with those matches. Butanyway, you then have to get yourself back and try to remember where you were and what you were doing before you were hit with the insatiable urge indulge your addiction.
You know how else quitting has saved me time? When I quit, I had to give up talking on the phone because it was just too hard if I couldn’t smoke and I’ve never really gone back to it. I’m sure my mother thinks I have the weakest bladder in the world because I would usually end phone conversations after about two minutes with a ‘gotta go pee bye’. Not very original, I know, but polite people don't challenge you on it.
By far the biggest reward for becoming a nonsmoker is freedom. You can't believe how liberating it is to no longer have to think about the how and where and when of your next nicotine fix. I did miss it for a long time. I still dream that I start smoking again and I can't tell you how disappointed I get in my dream-self.
Quitting is also a free pass to be absolutely ornery for a while. Don't even try to hold back because you will be all the more likely to go running back to your crutch, Mr. Ciggy.
So that's my sermon for today. Okay, turns out I AM here to preach. But becoming a nonsmoker is a change that is SO worth it in SO many ways that I don't feel bad for tricking you. I promise you will never regret it.
Okay, gotta run so you'll have to run spellcheck and grammer nazi your ownself.
Friday, November 13, 2009
We do live in the desert so it is a marvelous thing to see that someone had the good judgment to replace much of the skinny little grass strippage with something more drought tolerant. Like rocks, because we have TONS of rocks in You-tah and they aren't all being used to fill our legislators' skulls.
While rocks are low maintenance, they're not particularly interesting. Unless some enterprising soul - I'm guessing an art student, a potter in particular - has left his mark.
If you've ever spent much time waiting at a bus stop.... the SAME bus stop every day, you know that pretty soon you run out of things to look at and you find yourself staring down at drought-proof parking strips while mentally making your evening must-do list.
Until one day you notice a rock that looks like it has a face! Very subtle features, but unmistakably human. Huh, you think, cool rock! But your bus comes before you can get a closer look.
Next day, or maybe a week later - it's hard to affix a time line to bus stop coma - you have the same experience. That seeing-the-face thing. Only this time you have arrived uncharacteristically early, so you have time to check it out and notice, wow, there is another one!
And another and another....
Amid the hundreds of the basic roundish rocks, averaging maybe 6-8 inches across, someone had cleverly tucked handmade faux rocks with facial features into the mix. They appeared ceramic in origin, made of multiple shades of clay with various size and expression. Nothing about them was obvious.
I just don't think I can express how excited I got. True, I tend to find delight in odd places but this was a complete Nobel Prize for Cool, odd thing for me.
And what made it even cooler was the fact that no one else at that bus stop ever seemed to see what I saw. At first I was tempted to share this coolest, cool thing with my oblivious stopmates. But I didn't because first, there's the unwritten no-chatting rule at bus stops, which is very similar to the elevator etiquette that says: Everybody face forward and ignore each other! Secondly, it felt like the kind of thing that would lose magic if it had to be pointed out. Or possibly I was just feeling greedy, point is that I kept mum. Which is unusual for me.
Meanwhile, I'm sure those around me were all making mental Post-its that said 'Do NOT sit next to the crazy Bus Stop Mona Lisa Lady who smiles at rocks!!'
I'm not saying that I was the only one who ever saw those faces. That bus stop is visited by hundreds of people every day while I only know what goes on between about 5:04 and 5:09 Monday through Friday when the worker bees gather to head home from work - thinking about what's for dinner or how they're going to fake their way through another 8th grade Algebra homework assignment.
I badly wanted to get some pictures of this rock project because someone had gone to a LOT of work and wouldn't that make a great desktop background? Sadly I never remembered my camera and didn't think to use my phone camera.
And then one Monday the opportunity was lost forever. I got to the bus stop and found... pieces. Bunches of scattered pottery shards because some a$$hole had taken and smashed as many faces, I assume, as they could find.
Over the next week or so the rest either disappeared or joined the Humpty Dumpty club.
Months later, I am still kind of angry about it and I don't know what prompted me, but the other day I related the whole sad story to my husband. Now I didn't expect he would understand my excitement over fake rocks, but when I wondered what kind of a sleaze bag would do something like that, I did not expect the response that I got.
I said "I just don't get it. I mean, I can sort of understand people stealing them; I would guess that they like them so much, they want one for themselves, but I just can't make sense of someone who would just destroy them. What were they thinking?"
To which Homer shrugged and replied "I can't believe you would expect that they were thinking anything. I'm sure it was boys. Boys smash things."
Yeah, that's what he said. And don't yell at me because this is coming from a guy who once threw rocks to smash out half the windows of his neighbors' large passenger van. His friend did the other half. He was probably only 5 or 6 but he says he still remembers how much fun it was to see who could make the biggest spider in the glass.
Yeah. And suddenly I don't feel so bad that his Y chromosome won't be moving on to the next generation.