Archive for the 'Suffering for Beauty' Category
January 17, 2008
Resolutions, Deep and Shallow
I’m mystified as to why it’s suddenly unfashionable to make New Year’s Resolutions under the theory that they’re impossible to keep. I’m a huge fan of resolutions, but there’s an art to making them.
I discovered this the year I resolved to make more salads. I can take them or leave them, but my husband salivates over a well-made salad, and theoretically, they would have been a healthy addition to our dinners.
The dilemma was that my husband was raised by a salad-maker extraordinaire, and the other Mrs. Glamore doesn’t merely plop some greens and a chopped carrot on a plate and top it with Italian dressing. One of her signature salads involves candying walnuts (cooking the walnuts in butter and sugar until the walnuts have a sweet, crunchy coating), locating Craisins (are they a fruit? a snack?), crumbling funky cheese, such as feta or Stilton, slicing a red onion into tiny dice, or a scallion into fragile rings, and mounding all of the above on top of some beautiful mixed greens.
Next she creates a homemade vinaigrette, with balsamic vinegar, garlic, onion juice (you haven’t lived until you’ve squeezed an onion) and so forth. Each salad requires its own plate, which takes up twice the dishwasher space, and once you’ve gotten all the salad ingredients prepped and ready to go, it’s time to make the real dinner.
That same year, my sister’s resolution was to drink more champagne. I’d call Aunt Su around 6, bitching about the onion juice, she’d muse dreamily about the champagne she was drinking for no reason at all, and I’d slam down the phone in disgust.
Although it was a resolution I made with loving intentions, I didn’t keep it. Now I make simple resolutions I can’t screw up.
The most important resolution I make each year is to hug all three of my sons every day. Those of you without children may think this is an easy assignment, but in fact it’s quite challenging, and grows more demanding each year.
When children are toddlers, they are easy to locate and hug. That changes.
Drew, always so quiet, can easily be overlooked in all the excitement, and before you know it the day is over and he’s nowhere to be found. After a brief hunt around the house I’ll find him in his bed, asleep, and I’ll hug him then, but I feel a twinge of guilt when that happens, as a hug is supposed to be a bilateral event. In fact, Drew was the reason I made this resolution in the first place.
I’ve had to interpret “hug” loosely. Porter’s recently been going through a phase where he doesn’t like to be touched, and most hugging requires a minimal amount of touching, unless you resort to the imaginary force-field hug, which will have to do for now.
And last week I was doling out hugs when I located Finn in the basement, drumming. He was way into some Led Zeppelin, so I resorted to sort of scritching him behind the ears like a puppy. He leaned his head against me, indicating he liked it, and never missed a beat, literally.
I’ve also resolved to wake up earlier. This has been easily accomplished by setting my alarm earlier. I purposely planned to “wake up,” not “get up.” Porter and I snuggle in the morning, so while I haven’t been getting more laundry done as a result of this change, we’ve both been listening to more NPR and we’re fully versed on current events.
There’s no law I know of against making purely superficial resolutions. The older I get, the more I see a need to make minor changes that aren’t earth shattering to others, but make me feel better about myself.
This explanation carries with it the risk of TMI*, but I shall plunge ahead. Since last summer I’d been having uncomfortable symptoms which were extremely vague, suggesting a number of conditions, including ovarian cancer, which killed my mom. I’m conscientious about screening; I feel like every week someone’s probing my lady parts and examining my blood. I hied it to the doctor, and was delighted to find that I was not dying, but mortified to learn that I was afflicted with a common condition that rhymes with “Irritable Vowel Syndrome” whch wld b mch mr plsnt.
(Holy Hell! What is it about turning forty that causes everything to begin to break down? Faithful readers will recall that I’d already been advised of my need for bifocals this year, and rejected that suggestion outright.)
In the hopes that the following steps will help me keep my spirits up while the rest of my body continues to break down, I resolved:
to wear more eyeliner
it’s difficult to photograph your own eye
to keep my nails manicured with a bright color
the color for debutantes and Republicans!
I’m Not Really A Waitress
less Tiny Kingdom; more me
Bonus points for readers who spy a depressing product in the background
to wear my nice clothes more often
to commit to my haircolor
(Loreal Coleur Experte 6.3 Light Golden Brown)
My theory for the first three resolutions was that drawing attention to healthy parts would divert attention from my less attractive features. Also, life is short, you only live once, etc etc, so what am I saving the dry clean only shirt for? If not now, when?
As to the hair color, at some point a woman should pick one and stick with it. I’ve experimented with everything from platinum to bright red to brunette and all shades in between for thirteen years, which is more time than many drug companies spend developing new drugs. Choosing one shade will simplify my life and I can throw out the other hues I’d still been considering– my work on the outside of my head is done.
What resolutions have you made, or not, and why?
*For women, is there such a thing as Too Much Information? I think not. Why don’t we tell pregnant moms that the first three weeks after the baby comes home will suck donkey balls, and that some moms not only don’t love their infants at first, but are often tempted to throw them out the window because they’re so much damn trouble, and you realize you’re stuck with them for eighteen years, (God willing)?
Why don’t we tell each other that when you’re around forty the shit hits the fan– the affairs start, friends get sick and die, people divorce, and others discover how dysfunctional their families of origin really are?
This might be a whole post in itself, yes?
Anyone want to reveal their dirty laundry? Really– you go first…
December 28, 2007
Some people say that forty is the new thirty. Bullshit. I didn’t have chin whiskers (excuse me — stray eyebrow hairs) when I was thirty.
I have a fair complexion and can keep it under control. I’m extremely worried about my thirty-something Greek friends, though.
Edited to add:
Whoa– this post is causing much consternation. Hasten to the drugstore and purchase some Tweezerman tweezers, a magnifying mirror, and reading glasses — these will be your tools of discovery AND annihilation. Report back on your findings and the results of your attack.
September 24, 2007
What Not To Wear: Perfume Edition
I’ve already illustrated what not to wear in bed (and conversely, what you should wear). Today we’ll move on to “What Not To Wear: Perfume Edition.”
During Finn’s drum lesson Friday, I hustled over to the Galleria to Sephora to try out Gwen Stefani’s new perfume, Lamb. Usually I buy perfume based on scent alone. The fact that Elizabeth Taylor, J. Lo, and Britney hawked perfume didn’t persuade me to run out and try them.
It’s different, however, when a celebrity I truly adore, like Sarah Jessica Parker or Gwen Stefani comes out with a scent. I desperately tried to like SJP’s Lovely, but it smelled like worn soccer cleats on me.
So I was thrilled to hear that Gwen had a new perfume, because I feel as if we have a cosmic connection. We both have hot husbands and small titties and frequently dye our hair and… well, I can’t sing, and I don’t have a band, but when Kingston gets older I can give Gwen tons of useful information about how to teach him to fold his towel after his bath and pick his nose in private and put the lid down on the potty and other life skills.
Anyway, whether you’re a Gwen fan or not, a girl couldn’t help but try the perfume after seeing this ad:
Who wouldn’t want to smell like that?
I was heady with anticipation when I got to Sephora, but when I spritzed the scent on my wrist I wasn’t sure it was jiving with my complex chemical makeup. Of course, you must give anything a chance, so after Finn and I got home from drums I asked Bill to smell it.
He paused from making gin and tonics and gave my wrist a sniff.
“I feel like I’ve smelled that before,” he said thoughtfully.
I doubted he’d already smelled the latest scent from Gwen Stefani. He’s hardly on the cutting edge of pop culture. Remember how long it took him to figure out that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were dating? But he was holding my wrist and smelling it and looking off into the distance with a furrowed brow. It was confusing.
“I’ve got it,” he said triumphantly, dropping my arm and reaching for the lime. “It smells like a girl I dated in the past.”
Damn. I love you, Gwen, but I won’t be wearing Lamb.
A year ago in My Tiny Kingdom: In Which I Discover That Porter Has Been Hired By The Government
February 23, 2007
In Which I Multi-Task, Announce Exciting News, And Open The Floor For Questions
The closer I get to forty, the greater my ability to multi-task. Yesterday between four and ten I colored my hair myself and added highlights, made oatmeal bread, kept up with the Anna Nicole debacle, paid bills, gave each boy individual attention, prepared dinner, washed and dried three loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen and caught the results of American Idol.
It wasn’t always pretty, but sometimes you must sacrifice beauty for efficiency.
An experienced colorist/baker feeds the children and applies the first layer of color while the loaves rise, then rinses and paints on highlights while they bake. A skilled photographer would have made this a more focused picture, but surely you can see the toothpaste-like streaks of white bleach in my hair as well as the unbleached flour dusting the aromatic loaves.
Many of you may be surprised to know that I didn’t intend to be a blogger. In fact, when I wrote my first entry a little over two years ago, my goal was simply to force myself to work on my writing. My hip LA friend assured me that a blog would provide an outlet for my writing and could lead to bigger and better things.
He was correct. I’d only been writing for five months when iVillage contacted me and asked me to be one of their original five bloggers. Publishing columns twice a month for a wide audience was fantastic practice and immensely satisfying.
I now have another exciting event coming up. I’ll be one of the speakers at Writing Today, a well-known writers’ conference at Birmingham-Southern College. Gay Talese is the Grand Master and all sorts of interesting journalists, poets, novelists, agents, and so forth will be speaking. You can click on the link to see all the information about the speakers, registration, and the impressive list of past Grand Masters.
I’m clearly the low woman on the totem pole, but hell, at least I’m in the tepee. I’ll be talking about blogging and using a blog to work on and market your writing.
If any of you plan on attending and have particular topics you’d like me to address, please put them in the comments or email me at anneglamoreATgmailDOTcom. Similarly, any readers who have wondered about the history of the blog or have questions you think attendees would like the answers to, chime in.
I’d love to hear from you. Let the questions begin!
February 5, 2007
Here Comes Forty
I inherited my mom’s shapely legs. Every year I won the award for “Best Looking Legs” at the high school dance team’s gala. On its face that’s a superficial award. However, for a teenager who had spent the previous years wearing a variety of back braces and still required spine surgery for scoliosis, it was thrilling to recognize that there was something attractive about my scarred body.
When I was pregnant, I acquired another of my mom’s traits, but this one wasn’t so alluring. Purplish spider veins popped out on my legs, with a big clump located over my left knee. This area was tender to touch and I looked like Bill had been beating me in odd places.
“No worries,” said my ever-cheerful mother. “I have a doctor who can zap those suckers with a little saline and they’ll be gone!”
I resisted at first. Wasn’t I supposed to love my body as it is: big feet, tiny bosoms, fireplug nipples, scar from neck to crack, and battered looking legs? Shouldn’t I wear those veins proudly as pregnancy souvenirs?
“Are you high?” my mom asked. “I’m making you an appointment with Dr. P immediately.”
And she did, and I went, and after a couple of visits and the humiliation of wearing constrictive orthopedic pantyhose for a week or so, my spectacular legs had returned.
Over the last eight years, I’ve dealt with some serious shit– the hepatitis C treatment, the second spine surgery to correct problems caused by the first, my mother’s unexpected death. These events may be irrelevant. Maybe it’s just the passage of time that added veins and splotches on my face that drove me insane. There was one red blotch on the side of my nose that I covered with concealer every morning for years. I named it “Perpetu-Zit” although it wasn’t a zit at all.
Whatever the reason, the blemishes were bothering me enough that I booked an appointment with Dr. P and told him to take care of things. I may be less than a month from being forty, but I’d prefer to look thirty-five.
Dr. P lasered here and there and sure enough, the splotches, including Perpetu-Zit, disappeared. It’s cheered me up, plus I figure I’m saving a fortune on concealer.
You may consider me vain. Or not.
What would you do or refuse to do to your body? I’m particularly interested in knowing about your experiences with Lasik. As someone who’s worn glasses or contacts since the Bicentennial, I’m about ready for some peepers that work.