Tuesday, September 12, 2017

That time I cut my hair so I could look like my Bitmoji....

So, my hair has been bugging me lately. This is not new. I have very curly, very thick hair that does its own thing no matter how much money I spend getting it cut and styled. It's a wild mane, and I spent my formative years cursing my hair and longing for silky, flowing locks. Alas, my hair has remained wiry, frizzy and unmanageable.

The ends of my hair dry out the fastest and when I'm in need of a haircut it's pretty obvious how much needs to be cut by looking at how much length has gone from curly to frizzy. I've been needing a trim. And the other day, I realized I like how my Bitmoji's hair looked, so why not get that haircut?

For those who do not know what a Bitmoji is, it's an animated version of yourself - essentially a comic/cartoon version that you create. Once created, your Bitmoji can be used essentially like an emoji - to express a certain feeling or sentiment in a text or social media post. It's silly and completely useless but it's also kind of fun. When you create your Bitmoji, you have to be really honest with yourself. For instance, you have the option to add wrinkles and make yourself pudgy.

This is what my Bitmoji looks like. Notice I gave her some wrinkles! 

So, last night I went to bed with my hair wet from the shower. It was freshly-washed and there was no product in it (although I did condition liberally in the shower). Here is what it looked like when I woke up today: 

As you can see, it's very.......electrified. Normally when I go to bed with my hair wet, I just have to dunk my whole head in the shower the next morning and get it saturated. Then, I proceed to put massive amounts of styling products in my hair and hope for the best. But, today, I decided to try something different. I thought, perhaps, I could use the flat iron to smooth and curl my hair into something more manageable. So, I spent several minutes smoothing and twirling and smelling burning hair and this is the result: 

Besides being a little less frizzy, I'm not exactly sure how this improved things. Clearly, I needed another strategy. Styling product! Yes, that would fix it! 

Except....it didn't. This is after I slathered a liberal amount of shea butter leave-in conditioner in my hair. Definitely not improved. It was clear I needed to employ my tried-and-true method of dunking my head in the shower. But first, I fluffed it. 

Who needs volumizer? I got your volume right here, baby! 

The drowned rat look is becoming on me, no? This is me with my hair dripping after spending several minutes twisting and turning my head to saturate my hair with water. 

And this is me, using my trusty "Turbie Twist" towel that squeezes my hair up tightly, wringing all those drips out. Might as well do my makeup while I'm waiting........

This is what I start with. My trusty Olay moisturizer. It has SPF 15 and isn't terribly expensive. I've been using it for years and it works, so I'm not changing things. Mostly I just appreciate that it keeps my face from getting sunburned since I can't remember to sunscreen the rest of me. 

I also use this - neck and chest moisturizer. I don't know if it works, but I read a book once by Nora Ephron entitled "I Feel Bad About My Neck" and it made me self-conscious so I decided I better start moisturizing below my chin. Also, I heard a commercial for this lotion and decided to try it. It's probably nothing special but I recently noticed some wrinkling on my neck area so now I'm paranoid. 

After that I use this cream. Well, today I did. Because I just bought it. I had another one but I got this one for reasons I will tell you about below. P.S. I liked this one. #notasponsoredpost

I was using this cream. It was a "sample" at Sephora, but it cost like $23 so that's hardly a sample price. I figured if "BB" cream was good "CC" cream had to be better, right? Plus, look at that SPF! And honestly? I really liked this CC cream until I accidentally spilled a big blob into the sink. I tried to rinse it with hot water. I used soap. I used shampoo. Finally I had to just wipe it out with paper towels. This stuff is water-resistant to the point that I wonder if any of it really ever washed off my face when I was using it and maybe I just have layer upon layer of greasy, impenetrable cover-up on the surface of my skin. I prefer cosmetics that actually wash off with soap and water, hence the new purchase of BB cream. Taking a step back. Also? Calm down, Sephora. 

Next I use this expensive powder that was a gift for my birthday last year. It's nice, but my $8.99 Cover Girl loose powder works just as well. 

Then I "do" my eyebrows. As you can see from the first make-up-less photo, my eyebrows are pretty much non-existent. I USED to have lush, bushy eyebrows that needed to be tamed with a hedge trimmer. But suddenly I got older and they disappeared. Now I have to enhance them with eyebrow stuff. I'm not sure what the official term is. 

This is the eyebrow stuff. As you can see, there is a waxy, dark substance you are supposed to apply with the brush end of this applicator. What brush end, you ask? Oh yes, the brush end that fell apart when I tried to wash it once. All the bristles fell out so I just don't use this portion any more. Instead, I use the applicator to apply the medium brown stuff to my eyebrows to make them appear and then I used the other side to apply this "highlighter" stuff that really doesn't do anything at all. 

After the eyebrows, I do the eyes. This involves a neutral eye shadow, applied with a brush however I feel like it because I have no idea what all the brushes and techniques are about. And so I get this: 

Also, I'm not sure why my face is so long in this picture. But, as you can see, the eyelids have some color on them. Yay. I'm done.  Except for mascara. 

Today I used this, but I have about six different mascaras in my drawer. This is because ALL mascara smudges under my eyes, no matter what I do, and so I keep trying new ones in an attempt to find one that doesn't. This one smudges LESS so it's the preferred brand at the moment. By the way, it needs more than one coat and does not thicken the lashes, despite what the container says. 

Oh yeah! Back to my hair! This is what it looks like when I take off the Turbie Twist towel. Like wet noodles. There's still a lot of work to be done. 

Remember - I wanted the haircut of my Bitmoji.  But I am very impatient and I don't have time to wait for a salon appointment so I figured I could do it myself! 

I know - it SEEMS like a bad idea. I am not a hairdresser. I have no skills or experience. I am attempting to cut my hair to look like a cartoon. Is this wise? Is it even sane? Probably not, but I was going to attempt it, regardless. First, I combed my hair out. 

This is what my hair looks like after I comb it out. My comb is permanently bent at a slight angle because of all the tangles, and I usually have a small handful of hair to remove from the comb afterward from all the tangly, dry, damaged hair that gets yanked out from combing. 

Then, I combed my hair into basically the style of my Bitmoji. Clearly I was going to need to remove some length here. My hair was quite long - it shrinks up about 50% when it dries. So, cutting it wet can have disastrous consequences if you're not careful. Also? I am not careful. 

As I began my careful cutting hack job, I realized my hair was drying pretty fast. This part was getting frizzy already! 

These are all the products I currently have in my arsenal. On any given day I will have at least one but up to five of these products in my hair. None of it is enough. I could put mayonnaise in my hair and it would not look greasy. My hair sucks up these products and more, including straight coconut oil, and still has a halo of frizz. There will never be enough styling product for my hair. 

Since my hair is so thick, I started with it half-up so I could work on the underside first and work up from there, layer by layer. Can you see my gray roots? Yeah, I color them every two weeks and I still get this. I should probably just give up and embrace the gray, but I am NOT READY. 

Ok, almost finished. I think I did it. I know the back and sides have some uneven places, which I had my daughter correct later, but for now, it's looking pretty good. I cut quite a bit off. Want to see? 

This actually doesn't look like much, but it's all length. When I thin my hair, which is accomplished using a pair of weird scissors that makes random cuts along the hair, I've filled the entire sink before! 

Ok, now I'm dressed for the day and I can't believe it! I actually did it. I cut off my hair so I could look like my Bitmoji. Who DOES this? 

It feels so much.......less. The tangly feeling I get when I run my hands through my hair is gone. My bangs need to grow a bit longer, but for the most part, it's pretty close! 

Done! Yay! 

I made sure I could still pull it up into a pony tail, too, since that's how I wear my hair most days. But now I can actually wear it down and not worry about "triangle head" or the fact that my hair grows all day long (well, actually that still happens but there's less to tame now). I will enjoy looking like my Bitmoji for now. And once it grows out again, maybe I'll just change my Bitmoji to match ME! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The first day of no school............

Today was the first day since 1998 (19 years!!) that I have not risen early to take a child to school (or put them on the bus). Our yellow "first day of school" sign, made hastily one year and never intended to be used for as long as it was, stayed in the top of the closet where it has lived for the past several years. Each year, I would drag it out, add a piece of yellow paper to the bottom with the current year, and take the requisite pictures with each child.

But not today. Today I slept in until almost 8 a.m. Didn't get out of bed till 9. I didn't have to be anywhere (substitute teaching generally starts a week or two after school starts and teachers have time to catch all the germs from a classroom full of biohazards). Heck, I didn't even know where my kids WERE. I knew one daughter had to work at her nanny job, my son didn't work today, and my other daughter was apparently in bed until almost 2 p.m. but I thought she was at work. When she came downstairs I realized she had been in bed the whole time and she could have been DEAD and I didn't even check on her or worry about where she was. Because my "kids" are adults now. My youngest graduated last June and I will never dig out that "first day of school sign" again. I don't know what to do with it. Have a ceremonial burning? Hang on to it for my grandkids? Wipe my tears with it?

It's weird having all adults where my children used to be. I saw pictures on social media of the neighborhood kids at the bus stop. Those days are gone for us. I remember when my kids made up a good chunk of that bus stop crowd. Year after year, we'd take pictures and the following year, post all the old ones to see how much they had changed. Everyone says "it goes so fast" but what they should be saying is "I'm SERIOUS. It goes so fast, don't blink!" Because it did go fast. Faster than I could have ever imagined.

I didn't have to go back-to-school shopping either! Once upon a time I could easily spend $500 on supplies for four kids. That was before clothes and shoes! This year, nothing. I clipped coupons for school supplies and put them under a magnet on the fridge for the taking. If they want to save money on college supplies, they know where to find them. They buy their own clothes and shoes now. They drive cars and pay bills and spend most of their disposable income on food. They come and go, and I often don't know where they are or what they're doing, but a quick check of Snapchat usually lets me know they're at work or having coffee with a friend, or on some adventure they certainly can't be old enough to navigate on their own. But they can. And they do.

Back-to-school is significant when you work in education, too. There are meetings and professional development and getting classrooms ready. Unless you are a substitute teacher. Then, there's just waiting for the phone calls asking you to fill in. Eventually, you get busy and your work schedule becomes pretty routine. But at first it's all over the place and so your days have no rhyme or reason. There's nothing to anchor you to that September-June schedule. It's weird.

Summer's off are a huge bonus and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a busy summer with a wedding, traveling, home improvements and lots of fun squeezed in. The house is in disarray from new hardwood floors and a big painting job, so I have plenty to do, but the chaos sometimes paralyzes me and I find myself delving into something mundane like cleaning out my closet when I really need to unpack boxes of china that need to be returned to their hutches. I know it will all come together eventually but I'm going out of town again in just over a week and so I need to balance the order and chaos and eventual return to the classroom so I can earn a living.

So, today was the first day of school. And it was just a regular day around here. This new life is different. And it's also good. I miss my little kids but I don't have to pack their lunches anymore and I am NOT sad about that. Plus, the chances I'm going to forget to pick them up from school have gone down infinitely. No more curriculum nights! No PTA guilt! No chaperoning! Life is good. Different, but good.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Home Improvement......

We have lived in our humble abode for 17 years this weekend. 17 years! I have achieved a personal goal, which was to remain in this house until all my kids graduated from high school. Once the youngest graduated this past June, we started to contemplate our choices - stay in this big house or sell and downsize? Since three-fourths of our kids still live here and the cost of living in the Seattle area is astronomical, making it impossible for them to move out any time soon, we decided to stay. So, we started the process of refinancing our mortgage and jumped feet-first into the rabbit hole of "updating" the home.

First on the list is getting the hardwood floors refinished. And while we were at it, we decided to also put wood floors through the living and dining rooms. Why not? So, we got several bids and finally settled on our contractor. He's a one-man show, and I'm really nervous about that, but he starts this week and there is already a huge load of wood in my now-bare dining room, so here we go!

My husband has done a lot of prep work already - pulling up and disposing of the 17-year-old carpet (gross), moving several large pieces of furniture, and pulling off the baseboards so we can give them a spit and shine before they go back on next to our gleaming new hardwoods.

I've tried to help but I kind of suck at moving large, heavy furniture and stripping up carpet has never been my forte. So, last night I decided I could help by removing all the nails from the baseboards once they had been removed from the walls. Pretty simple, right?

Except the nails they used were about the flimsiest things on the market. Every time I attempted to hammer them through so I could pull them out the other side, they would bend and twist. I resorted to cutting them off shorter so I wouldn't have so much to hammer, but that presented its own problems. For one thing, the wire cutters on my pliers suck and would only bend the nails, not snip them off. For another, it was HARD. It required strength, which I do not possess, and I not only cut a finger, I developed a blister on my hand.

Now, I'm not even sure my tetanus shot is updated, and blisters hurt! I decided I'm not a big fan of manual labor, but I AM a huge fan of paying someone to do that type of work. Even if it does add up to hundreds of dollars and less than stellar handiwork.

I noticed, when I removed all the pictures and paintings off the walls, that the living room walls need to be painted desperately. I attempted to rope in a painter (ok, I posted a request on social media) but no luck. However, the walls still need to be painted so now I need to find a painter to do the job AFTER the gleaming new hardwoods are installed instead of now, when the floors are bare and ugly and one would not even notice a paint spill.

The other complication is that this project requires us to vacate the house for a WEEK! We did not plan well, so now we are all seeking refuge in other places, further complicated by the fact that we have pets. And, just to make things more interesting, we got a brand-new kitten two days ago. Because, we thrive on chaos.

And now that the hardwoods will be beautiful, it's clear we will need new carpet. In the entire house. So, that will be the next project (after the painting) and I also noticed we really need new window coverings. And so it goes.

This never-ending spiral of home-ownership and its subsequent updates should keep us busy for the next 30 years or so because that's how long we chose for our refinance. Which means we will never really "own" this house. We're just paying very, very high rent.

And these kids will move out eventually. Then, we will have a house full of echoes and two people and a dog knocking around the vastness. But until then, these walls can barely contain the noise, chaos and general clutter. And they still need to be painted.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Interview with the spouse........

Jeff and I went camping this weekend and on the long drive home, I decided to interview him. I thought of questions off the top of my head and, well.....

Me: What's your favorite color?
Jeff: Blue.
Me: That's so boring - do you realize like 90% of the population picks blue as their favorite color?
Jeff: Green. That's my second favorite color.

Me: What's your favorite amusement park ride?
Jeff: Pirates of the Caribbean.
Me: Is it Cari-BEE-an or Ca-RIB-e-an?
Jeff: Pirates of the Ca-RIB-e-an.

Me: What's your favorite food?
Jeff: Pizza because it has all the things - you can put fruit, veggies, meat, cheese, pretty much anything on it.
Me: Pizza's my favorite too!

Me: What's your favorite drink?
Jeff: Berry tea.
Me: WHAT? I am buying you a male romper. And a cat.

Me: If you didn't do the job you do now, what would you do?
Jeff: I'd be a fisherman.
Me: But you never catch anything!
Jeff: So? It's better than working!

Me: What do you think is the single biggest threat facing our country today?
Jeff: Ig-nence (ignorance)
Me: How can we solve that?
Jeff: Ed-u-ma-cation!

Me: Do you think college is overrated?
Jeff: No, you gotta have a college education to get a good job.
Me: Even if you're saddled with student loans?
Jeff: You can pay those off if you get a good job. So-ci-e-tay says you can get a better job if you're educated.

Me: Who do you think is the ugliest celebrity?
Jeff: The only one that comes to mind is Danny DeVito. He's ugly, right? Wait, what about his wife? They're married, right? Urea Freeman or something?
(pause here while I pee my pants laughing - Urea Freeman?)

Me: If you could drive any car, what would it be?
Jeff: I don't give a shit as long as it runs!

Me: If money were no object, where would you take your next vacation?
Jeff: Hawaii, 'cause it's where I wanna go and I ain't been there! (Ed-u-ma-cation)

Me: If you could never do one household chore for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Jeff: Picking up dog shit.

Me: If you'd had a boy, what would you have named him?
Jeff: Hunter? Or Forrest, I like Forrest?

Me: Why do you dress up like a mountain man?
Jeff: 'Cause I like history, hunting and camping.
Me: But you can do those things without dressing up.
Jeff: Yeah, but you're LIVING it!
Me: What do you have against modern conveniences?
Jeff: Nothing.

Me: If you could have dinner with 3 people, living or dead, who would they be and why?
Jeff: Well, one would have to be you. How about Merriweather Lewis and William Clark? So we would find out exactly which guns they used and how they dressed.
Me: What would we eat?
Jeff: Buffalo or elk.

Me: What is the most annoying habit of other people?
Jeff: Other people don't annoy me. Tailgating!

Me: If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?
Jeff: I'd be an elk because then I'd be perfectly safe from me. Or a dog. They live the life, man.

Me: Why do you drink ginormous fountain drinks on road trips?
Jeff: It give me something to do. Keeps me alert. If I get past the liquid I can suck on the ice.
Me: Don't I keep you alert?
Jeff: Yeah. But not when you're sleeping.

Me: What's my most endearing trait?
Jeff: You've got lots.
Me: Pick one.
Jeff: Thoughtful.
Me: Elaborate.
Jeff: You're caring. You're always thinking about other people.

Me: What's my most annoying trait?
Jeff: You're on your cell phone too much.

Me: What can you say about a guy who's been married three times?
Jeff: He knows what he doesn't want after the first two.

Me: Explain your job to a 5 yr old?
Jeff: I tell people what to do.

Me: What is the worst age of childhood?
Jeff: Teenagers. Because they're not human. They're unreasonable and selfish.
Me: Any redeeming qualities?
Jeff: They're young.

Me: What advice would you give your 18 yr old self?
Jeff: Go to college. Stay in college. Graduate from college soon.

Me: What is feminism?
Jeff: The -ism of being feminine. What you think of that?

Me: How do you feel about your current state of fitness?
Jeff: It could be better.

Me: Name 3 things on your bucket list.
Jeff: Get my elk. Get my turkey. Retire so I have more time to think of more bucket list items.

Me: Describe our marriage using a food theme.
Jeff: Our marriage is like a banquet because you get a little bit of everything and comfort food.

Me: Do you like cats? Why?
Jeff: Yeah, I like cats. Because they can be cuddly.
Me: Our cats aren't cuddly.
Jeff: But they CAN be.
Me: So you like to cuddle?
Jeff: I mean, it's nice to sit on the couch and watch a football game or movie with a cat sitting on your lap.
Me: Why can't you just cuddle with your wife?
Jeff: I can!

Me: How do you feel about traffic?
Jeff: It sucks donkey balls.

Me: Are you bored of this interview?
Jeff: No.

Me: What's the best part about coming home from camping?
Jeff: Sleeping in my own bed.
Me: Not the shower?
Jeff: Eh. I really enjoy camping.

Me: Why do you think there's bumper to bumper traffic at 2:33 on a Monday?
Jeff: Because there are too many people on the road who should be working!
Me: But, you're not at work!
Jeff: I'm on vacation!

Me: What is your dream life?
Jeff: I don't know. You think about your dream life and then you get there and what if it's not your dream life anymore? I guess living in a semi-rural area in a nice house making a living selling my crafts I enjoy doing. Although I don't feel confident I could sustain myself with that.

Me: What is your dream for me?
Jeff: To be an author. I wish you were a wildly successful Steven King-type author so we could move to our B&B and have a garden and make crafts.

Me: Why do you think you lose your sense of adventure when you get older?
Jeff: Because you've been there, done that.

Me: Why do you eat yourself (as he bites the skin on his fingers)?
Jeff: Antsy-ness. Maybe I don't take enough meds.

Me: What are your thoughts on mental illness?
Jeff: A lot of people have it. I often wonder what it's like for people who don't have it. What is must be like to be them. At least I'm better at recognizing it. Instead of someone is just an asshole, I think maybe they have anxiety. Untreated anxiety.

Me: What do you struggle more with, anxiety or depression?
Jeff: Depression is the hardest to deal with.

Then, he asked me some questions..........

Jeff: What is your favorite food?
Me: Pizza because it can be anything.

Jeff: If there was one place you could live in the US where would it be?
Me: I like it here. Washington state.
Jeff: Where in Washington?
Me: Closer to the beach.

Jeff: What is your ideal existence?
Me: Living in a nice house, on some land, with a detached writing studio.

Jeff: What do you want to do when you retire?
Me: Am I going to retire? I guess writing, taking trips, and being involved in my community or a non-profit.

Jeff: What irritates you the most about where we live?
Me: Traffic.

Jeff: What irritates you the most about the people where we live?
Me: Self-centered-ness and entitlement.

Jeff: What is your ideal vacation?
Me: A nice hotel, a beach, lots of shopping, but also exploring and plenty of time to just relax.

Jeff: What's your perfect vehicle?
Me: Big enough to tow shit, but gets good gas mileage. Or a 1957 pink T-bird.

Jeff: What's your favorite drink?
Me: Iced mocha.

Jeff: Favorite pastime?
Me: Idle time? Social media. Spending time? Road trips.

Jeff: Where would you like to kayak?
Me: Everywhere.

Jeff: What is your greatest weakness?
Me: Believing in myself.

Jeff: What is your greatest strength?
Me: Weathering tough times while maintaining my sense of humor.

Jeff: If you were a car, what would you be?
Me: A red Mustang!

Jeff: If you were an animal, what would you be?
Me: A chimpanzee because I'd be adorable and everyone would love me but if anyone fucked with me I could eat their face off.

Jeff: If you could be a reenactor, what time period would you reenact?
Me: The 1950's but with less racism and homophobia.

Jeff: Did you care about homophobia before you had gay kids?
Me: YES!

Jeff: Would you rather be hot or cold?
Me: Well, I'm already hot......so.....if you're cold you can put more clothes on.

Jeff: What advice would you give your 18 yr old self?
Me: That was my question.
Jeff: No, I just thunk that up!
Me: I literally just asked you the same question!
Jeff: Just answer the damn question.
Me: Don't marry the first guy who asks you just because you want to be married and don't care so much what other people think.

Jeff: If you could live somebody else's life who would it be?
Me: I like my life. But Jennifer Aniston because she still looks super hot and has lots of money.

Jeff: If you could re-live a phase of your life what would it be?
Me: I'm mostly glad they're over, but if I had to pick it would be when we first started dating.

Jeff: What's your favorite way to eat shrimp?
Me: Well, there's shrimp cocktail, grilled shrimp, shrimp scampi, shrimp alfredo, shrimp salad, and that's about all I can think of.

Jeff: What foreign country do you want to visit the most?
Me: I've always wanted to go to Italy.

Jeff: What's your favorite sport to watch?
Me: They're all so boring! I only used to like what my kids played but now they don't play sports. I guess baseball?

Jeff: What's your second favorite flower?
Me: Lilac!

Wrapping it up.......

Me: Have you enjoyed this interview?
Jeff: Sure. The interview session has been enjoyable.

Me: What do you want to do when we get home?
Jeff: Fix my truck. Or nothing.

Me: Are you sad our camping trip is over?
Jeff: Yes. I could live like that a lot more days.
Me: Is that proper English?
Jeff: Yep!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Estate sales and prosthetic legs

Today, while running errands after work, I was distracted by yellow signs proclaiming "SALE!" So, naturally, I veered off-course to check it out because it's a Thursday and garage sales never happen on Thursday around here so who was I to turn down this amazing opportunity to browse through someone else's junk?

I followed the signs and eventually one said "Estate sale" and I died a little inside because an estate sale is NOT the same as a garage sale and here's why: an estate sale is either super cool, full of treasures and antiques and amazing finds, or it's a super-sad walk through someone else's memories and dreams and the remnants of a life lived tossed on a bed and priced at $2/apiece. Today's sale was the latter.

I love a good garage sale as much as the next person, and finding something vintage or useful at a steal of a deal brings me great joy. But estate sales make me sad. For one thing, it's weird to walk through someone's home when you are not an invited guest. At a garage sale, you can set your things in the driveway and maybe one part of your garage, and hang tarps or cover things to say "Stay away! Not here! Not for sale!" At an estate sale, you wander through someone's home - every last inch of it. The home often looks like someone left in a hurry - or suddenly died, which is often the case. No one bothers to make it look nice - instead, you shop IN someone's closet and items are often piled on beds and kitchen counters. Half-used toiletries fill the bathroom shelves and yes, they are for sale. It feels so invasive.

This particular sale was in a home that was probably once pretty cool. It had a sauna! And a bar! With swiveling bar stools! I'm guessing in the 80's, this place was the ultimate party house. But today, those gold-colored bar stools just seemed dated and the sauna was filled with piles of clothes and boxes. Plus, everything that was for sale was just old and useless. The clothing wasn't vintage - just outdated. And the prices are always higher at estate sales - since they're run by companies, there is overhead to pay, but I can't imagine who would be interested in buying a polyester lilac suit dress for $25 or an out-of-style hat for $12. They weren't cool enough to be ironic. In one room, there was an impressive collection of ladies' shoes - someone enjoyed a good shopping trip in days gone by!

I wandered from room to room, hoping to stumble upon a treasure - perhaps a piece of milk glass, which I like to collect, or a cool vintage hat for the drama department at the high school, but it was really all just "stuff", not treasures. Well, someone's treasures, once upon a time, but certainly nothing that caught my eye. Plus, it just feels so odd to browse through someone else's dresser drawers - is there no privacy anymore?

I decided to take a tip from my husband and head to the garage. When we go to garage sales, he heads straight for the tools, and almost always comes away with another wrench or doohickey that he simply must have, and which I am certain he does NOT need. Today's garage seemed uninspired, much like the house - a few tools, some holiday junk. There was a full-size shoe-shine stand that was pretty impressive. But I can't even imagine how the most creative home decorator would upcycle a shoe-shine stand. Certainly nothing popped into my mind. I figured the garage was a bust as well, and I slowly turned to wander out.

And that's when I saw it.

A prosthetic leg!

I am not even kidding.

It was an older model, I believe, but since I am no expert in prosthetics, I can't say for sure. All I know is it had a rudimentary bowl in which to place the stump, a metal bar for a lower leg, and a wooden, sock-covered "foot". I instinctively went to check the price and then a little voice inside my head said "What the hell are you going to do with a prosthetic leg? You can't even wear it, because unless you HAVE an actual stump, the thing won't go on your leg. So, what would you do with it? Display it? That would be kind of politically incorrect, right? But would it? Is it art? Who else could say they have a prosthetic leg when they're not an amputee? Wouldn't it come in handy in the case of a sudden, unexpected, amputation? If an actual amputee comes to visit, and sees it, would they be offended? Why are you touching it? Ew, who knows where that thing has been?" (The little voice inside my head doesn't know when to shut up. Kind of like the voice that comes out of my head).

So, against all the weird impulses I was having to actually buy and own a prosthetic leg (maybe a vintage one?), I walked away from what might have been the greatest estate sale find of all time. Because I got sad again thinking of the poor person who lived in that house with their missing limb. Maybe they were once virile and healthy and a horrible accident befell them. Maybe they lost their lower limb to diabetes (and also had to stop using that awesome sauna because aren't saunas bad for diabetics?) Maybe the lady of the house shouldn't have had so many shoes with which to mock the poor, prosthetic-wearing person who might have been lucky to own a couple pairs of shoes that fit over the fake foot.

The point is, I don't know the story. I don't know the people, or the house, or the memories it held, or anything else, but I do know this: when you die, or are moved into an assisted living home, or otherwise leave your place of residence, there is a good chance that someone, on a random Thursday, will come and wander through your personal belongings, find your prosthetic leg, and make up crazy stories in their head about you. Better to just get rid of everything as you age. Leave nothing to your children. Sell it all and buy an RV. Take a road trip. Embrace the crazy and hold nothing back. But do it while you still can, before something unfortunate happens to take away the control you have over your own destiny. And if, while on that cross-country trip, your demise is imminent, drive to the Grand Canyon, and toss your prosthetic leg over the rim. Let some poor fool find it and make up fantastical stories about how it got there. Much more interesting than leaving it on the garage shelf for the estate sale.

The moral of this story is two-fold. One, don't hang on to things from the past. Sure, there are antiques and special mementos, but trust me when I say none of your relatives are going to want the crushed velvet skirt you wore to the Christmas party in 1989. Just let it go. Purge regularly. And two, if you come across a prosthetic leg at an estate sale, just buy the damn thing. You might regret it if you don't. I wonder if the sale is still going tomorrow?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lip scrubbin'

The other day I tried a lip scrub. For those of you who don't know what this is - it's basically another product designed to let women know that they need help with ALL parts of their bodies, even their kisser. This product is a mixture of goo (coconut oil, Vaseline, and the like) and some type of grainy substance designed to "slough off" the top layer of your lips to reveal the plump, luscious layers below.

Now, I don't know about you but my lips feel just fine, thank you. I mean, sure, I've experienced the occasional rough, chapped lip a time or two but a swipe of Carmex or cherry Chapstick or Bonne Bell Bubble Gum Lip Smackers slicked the rough layers right back to......well, normal lip skin. At least until I licked off the flavor off and reapplied. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

But not long ago I caved to the relentless pleasure of receiving mail and purchased a Target Beauty Box. It's like a Birchbox but with products real people use and only $5. I was pretty excited about all those sample sizes because I had a few trips planned and those travel-ready sizes come in so handy. Except on the first trip I took after I received my Beauty Box, I forgot to pack any of my new treasures. Anyway......one of the products included was a lip scrub.

The lip scrub sat on my counter for a few days and I gave it no thought. Until my daughter came downstairs one night and mixed up her own lip scrub with sugar and coconut oil. She said it worked better than any other lip scrub (who knew she'd tried more than one?) and "you can lick it off after!"

So, I figured I'd give my lip scrub a try. I mean, my aging face needs all the help it can get so why not have kiss-worthy lips? I took a small amount and applied it to my lips. Except it was chunky so it fell off. I tried again, this time smashing the concoction into my pout and proceeding to smear it around awkwardly. I wasn't sure how long this gritty massage was supposed to last but I worked it in nice and good and then wondered exactly how I was supposed to remove it? I certainly wasn't going to lick this chemical salve off - was it even edible?

I grabbed a piece of toilet paper to wipe it off which only left bits of tissue on my now-sticky lips, caught in the tiny grains of whatever they used for the "scrub" part (ground up nuts? rock salt? pulverized gravel?) Now, I had sticky, gritty, fuzzy lips.

I tried water - sloshing it up against my lips and rubbing to remove the grit. Most of it was successfully removed but a glistening, greasy sheen remained and my lips felt like I had just kissed duct tape. In desperation I grabbed a towel and vigorously rubbed my lips to remove all traces of the oil slick.

And when it was all over, my lips were red, rough and throbbed slightly. Sure, my pout was puffed but only because I had assaulted it. I resigned then and there not to try a lip scrub ever again. Besides, with my rapid-fire and non-stop talking, I'm certain my lips generate enough friction to slough off any dead skin while simultaneously delivering insults and sarcasm.

Lip scrub, indeed. Who needs it?

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 - A picture recap

2016 - it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In some ways, it was an unbelievable year of horror, celebrity deaths, and the election of an orange buffoon for President. Like most, I was happy to kick 2016 to the curb. But, plenty of good things happened this year so let's take a look back! 

In January I tried out straight hair with a keratin straightener. It was fun for a while, but I'm a curly girl at heart. 

Harrison turned 17! Here he is on his birthday, with his free Starbucks drink, at a work party for his upcoming play, Much Ado About Nothing. 

Here is his birthday table! 

Here he is as Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing. Nice 'stache. 

We went to Deming, WA to photograph eagles with my new 600mm lens. 

In February, Arlie turned 18! We celebrated at an Italian restaurant. She's an adult now! 

We had to say goodbye to our sweet Georgette, and it broke our hearts. Definitely one of the worst days of 2016.  She was the best dog ever! RIP sweet Georgie, May 25, 2002 - February 2, 2016

Jeff did a "living history" talk about mountain men at the local elementary school. The kids LOVED it!

Harrison was chosen as a participant in "Mr. Bothell" at school. His first pageant! LOL!

I took a food tour of Pike Place Market with my good friends Amy and Carla for Carla's 50th birthday! Here we are, scoring some premium weed. Lol, kidding. It's stevia. No, really.

In March, I went to Boise and went to Paint 'n Sip with Justine, Sydney, Marcia and Mimi. We did a painting of a wine bottle and some pumpkins. Except me. I painted a vineyard because I do what I want. 

I celebrated St. Patrick's day with my best friends Tonya and Janet! I swiped these glasses from my school. I really think they made my outfit. 

In April, we kicked off kayak season and I wore my awesome new shirt! Kayaking is my happy place. My zen. My me time. I love kayaking. 

Tulip season started off early but it was as beautiful as ever! Here are the tulips in Skagit Valley. I went up with a friend one sunny afternoon because no one else really wanted to go. I'm glad I went - it was gorgeous as always.

We took a trip to the zoo with a bunch of little ones. The zoo is always more fun with little kids. 

Harrison played Max Detweiler and Arlie played Louisa in "The Sound of Music." They were both so good and the play was one of the best I've seen at their school. So proud of these two!

In May, I fulfilled a bucket list item and went to a writing retreat with these two lovely ladies (and accomplished authors), Amanda Turner and Elaine Ambrose. I had a great time, outlined my book, and spent tons of time quietly writing, enjoying the scenery, and eating delicious food. 

And I was published in a book! My essay about pooping at Target made it into Feisty After 45, an anthology of midlife bloggers' funniest work. I finally got published in an anthology and it's an essay about pooping. That's such a metaphor for my life. 

Harrison and his band, Bushwhack, had a gig at Sound Check bar and grill. It has since closed, but was a fun venue because it's where the "big kids" play. 

Arlie went to prom with her boyfriend, Mason. Look how beautiful she is! I was at my writing retreat at the time and it killed me to miss it. Hayley took pictures, though, and they turned out great. 

We went kayaking and I came face-to-face with a bald eagle! Two of them, actually, but one flew off before I got my wits about me to take a picture! 

Hayley and Megan got engaged and we had an engagement party at our house. Yay, a wedding in 2017! We are so excited. Later, we reserved the venue, a historic chapel not far from here. We love these two ladies and can't wait for them to start their married life together.

We went to Teatro Zinzanni for Rylie's 18th birthday. So much fun celebrating with the one and only Christine Deaver (who came over to our house for dinner in the summer!). We LOVE Teatro and were so lucky to be able to get the whole family there. 

We kicked off June by doing some home improvement, inspired by a leak in the upstairs bathroom. Good times. Lots of painting (thanks, Jeff!)

Arlie received her senior speech at the Thespian Banquet, and Harrison gave a speech for his senior. Here they are with Ms. Glass, their drama teacher/director. 

Arlie and Rylie graduated! Yay, class of 2016! Arlie was salutatorian. We are so proud of these two ladies, overcoming many obstacles on their way to a successful end to their high school years. They worked so hard!

We went to the Pride parade in Seattle. So much fun and craziness! (However, this day was also a low point of the year when my camera and handmade leather backpack were stolen from our car later in the day - not in Seattle, but more local, in Lynnwood, outside of Fred Meyer while we enjoyed ice cream at Baskin Robbins for 20 minutes. Sigh. I'm still sad).

We also went to a Mariner's game the same day as Pride! Our friend gave us free tickets - score!

In July, Jeff turned 48! Here he is with his birthday table. He spent the day relaxing in his new lounge chair outside and reading. 

We went to the Bothell 4th of July parade! So much fun! Look how festive we are. 

Hayley turned 23. Here she is with her birthday table. The birthday fairy still comes even when you move out! 

Harrison starred as Cliff in Cabaret. Here he is with his Sally Bowles, Erin Hyatt. The show was fantastic!

A huge highlight of our year - we adopted our new puppy, Junie B! She is a Husky/Shar Pei/Shepherd/Pomeranian mix. She is so beautiful and look how little and cute she was! She has grown so much since then.

We went to Boise again, and back to Paint 'n Sip, this time with Mimi, Marcia, Sydney and Monica. We were supposed to paint an outhouse, but as usual, I did what I wanted and made mine a cabin because.......an outhouse? Wtf? 

We were also in Boise to celebrate the boys' birthdays. These three kids are our little loves! Wish we lived closer to see them more often. 

We took Megan kayaking and crabbing on the Sound. She had never had fresh crab straight from the water before. We cooked it on the beach. YUM! 

We kept up on the home improvement by buying new patio furniture. 

In August, we took a lovely vacation to Florence, OR and stayed in a bed and breakfast. This is a re-creation of a sunset pic we took of the kids in 2008. Nothing like the beach with family. So relaxing!

Hannah turned 21! Here she is with her birthday table. Finally old enough to drink! We did go to Red Robin so she could order a drink but she didn't even have to use her ID because the waiter knew it was her birthday. 

We took Junie B kayaking. Such a good water dog! 

Harrison and his band, Bushwhack, performed at the Seattle Premium Outlets, and received new Doc Marten shoes as payment! 

We had taco Tuesday with our good friends, Haley and Lexie. Love keeping up long-term friendships. Lexie was leaving for a study-abroad trip to Spain.

Flower and David visited Seattle and we went everywhere! Downtown, the Fremont Troll, Archie McPhees, the waterfront, Pike Place. It was a packed couple of days. 

We went kayaking at Lost Lake on Flower's 24th birthday!

We taught Junie B to paddleboard! Good dog! 

Bushwhack performed at the Woodinville parade, on the flatbed truck. Rock stars!

Hannah had double jaw surgery. It was tough - six weeks of no chewing, and a liquid diet at first. She was such a great patient! And her face looks so different now.

We went to see Joan Jett, Heart and Cheap Trick in concert at the White River Amphitheater. We decided we'd never make the long drive again but it was fun to hear some old favorites. 

In September we went to the fair! Selfie with a goat! And he's sticking his tongue out. Cheeky goat!

Hannah and I went to a Paint Nite event and she finally got to use her ID to buy a drink! We painted owls and, following paint event protocol for me, I made mine very "fall-y" because I don't like to be told what to do. 

Harrison started his senior year of high school. Class of 2017! This is it, folks. The end of an era - my last baby is graduating. 

Harrison and his boyfriend, Alec, went to homecoming. How handsome are they? I also missed this one and Hayley took pictures. I was out of town. Mom of the year. 

Arlie had her wisdom teeth out - here she is with Hannah - twins with their post-surgical chubby cheeks! Arlie's antics after surgery meds were hilarious and we have video for posterity. 

In October, Hayley and I went to an alcohol painting class. No, not the kind where you DRINK alcohol (sadly) but the kind of alcohol you mix paint with. Here are our masterpieces! 

Jeff and I took a trip to Pennsylvania for a conference where he was a speaker. We took a covered bridge tour this day. Beautiful fall colors everywhere!

We visited Hershey, PA where we experienced all things chocolate at Hershey Chocolate World. 

We also took a quick side trip to New York City! It was a whirlwind but we had David and Flower as our guides and we accomplished a LOT in one day. We will be back in Jan. 2017 when Harrison performs with his choir at Carnegie Hall. 

Harrison was in the homecoming court at his school for "virtuoso" - someone who excels at his activity, in his case, choir and drama. Here he is before the game. 

We managed to squeeze in a trip to the pumpkin patch the day before Halloween. We spent $120 on pumpkins and only carved half of them. Next year it's bring-your-own-pumpkin! Plus it was muddy and kind of cold. Perhaps it's time to give up the giant family pumpkin patch visit?

We celebrated Halloween! Here is Hayley in her costume - Eleven from the TV show "Stranger Things". She made Hannah go to the store with her to get this shot with the waffles. 

In November, we did a quick photo shoot for Harrison's yearbook photo. This is after he dyed his hair purple and it had faded out. He's so handsome!

Harrison and his boyfriend, Alec, had their wisdom teeth out on the same day and recovered together at our house. It made for some funny pictures!

We celebrated our sister-in-law (and aunt) Heather's 44th birthday in the hospital after a successful double lung transplant that we never thought would happen! It was a miracle and a very special birthday, indeed. The second pic is the day Heather's girls, Makayla and Maiya, first saw their mom post-surgery. It was an emotional reunion.

We had a big family Thanksgiving with Sydney and Stu, the littles, Greg and the girls. Lots to be thankful for this year!

Loved spending time with these three over Thanksgiving weekend. 

In December, we saw The Little Mermaid at the 5th Avenue Theater! It was amazing!

We had a snow day! Junie B loved the snow like the little Husky she is. Also, look how big she's grown!

I celebrated my 49th birthday. Here is my birthday table. How did I get to be 49? I thought I was 29!

On my birthday, Jeff and I celebrated at his company party and stayed overnight at the Sheraton in Seattle. We got all dressed up - I borrowed my dress from someone on my gifting group. Afterward, she let me keep it. The party was a masquerade theme in a ballroom with ice sculptures, dancing and karaoke. Fancy pants!

We had an ugly sweater party. It was more of a gathering of the kids' friends - and only one adult came, which was fine with us, because we were tired. Proof that we're getting old. Ugh!

We celebrated Christmas early with Hayley and Megan because they were headed to Indiana to spend the holidays. Onesie jammies for everyone!

We went to Snowflake Lane to experience the magic of the season, but it turned out to be just a huge crowd and a parade/show we couldn't see. Still, fake snow! Yay! 

Christmas morning came and we celebrated with our not-so-little-anymore kids. Ok, so two of them are technically adults. Sigh. 

We had a big family Christmas with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, fiancees and boyfriends. We are so lucky. There was a present explosion. We had brunch on paper plates because I couldn't get my shit together to do real plates, and also the tables weren't cleaned off so we just sort of ate around the junk and it was messy and loud and chaotic. But it was also so good. Because, family. 

We said goodbye to 2016 in a grand finale of celebration, seeing Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Key Arena (another bucket list item checked off) and then stepping out to the spectacular fireworks at the Space Needle as snow started to fall. It was so perfect and magical, right up until we spent two solid hours in the parking garage because the traffic did not move one inch. And then we were hungry so we went to McDonald's at 3 a.m. and waited in line for like 40 minutes only to find out they were only serving breakfast so we just came home and ate whatever we could find and collapsed into bed after 4 a.m. But still, it was an incredible night and when was the last time we stayed up till 4 a.m.? 

Farewell, 2016. You were good in all the best ways and you kicked our asses in other ways. But look how lucky we are. Another year gone, another year of memories tucked away and a clean slate awaiting us for 2017. We're ready!