On Sunday I needed to kill some time while Eric was in Best Buy. So while he was off fulfilling his gender role, I went into Ulta to fulfill mine. Mmm, Ulta. I planned to swoon over the intensely pigmented eyeshadows, try on silly headbands, smell shampoos, and maybe buy a ridiculously overpriced tube of mascara.
I strolled out of the oppressive heat and into a frosty, perfumed heaven of pink, sparkly potions. However. Instead of buzzing around the store like a fat bumblebee in a flower patch, like I normally would, I basically couldn’t take two steps without a saleswoman/makeup artist accosting me. Mostly it was just, “HAIYEE! Let me know if I can help you find anything, OKAYEE?” Which, okay. Thanks. But there was also some, “let me know if you want to try anything AWN!” . . . what? You want to use some of these testers on my face? These gloppy, besmirched tubes of sadness and spawning bacteria? On my face? I felt like a Walgreen’s employee had just asked me if I wanted to try out some of those deodorants that stinky, desperate people use and then put back on the shelf. (Does this happen in your Walgreen’s/grocery store too? In my neighborhood, you have to take the cap off before buying a new deodorant, to double check that someone else didn’t already swipe it across their pits. It happens a lot.)
But hey, maybe some people are into using the Ulta testers on their faces, I don’t know. Maybe a lot of ladies shopping in Ulta want to add to their lipgloss collection and boost their immune system at the same time. Me, I ride the CTA, so I’m covered, pathogen-wise.
But then, this saleswoman (I think it was actually the fourth one to stop and talk to me within three minutes, no joke) said, “let me know if I can help you find anything!” and then leaned in, conspiratorially, and said, “and we do facial waxing here too, by the way.” Of all the things she could have said! “We sell really cute butterfly clips here” or “there’s a sale on Fekkai products” or “I could show you some stuff that would make your eyes really pop” (makeup people, please take note, I do not want my eyeballs POPPED, stop offering) and yet, she had to bring facial waxing into it? I guess I should be glad she didn’t wiggle her drawn-on eyebrows at me and say, “we do vag waxes here and you strike me as the furry type”.
So then I had to wander around the store with my hands “casually” covering various parts of my face, trying to make sure no one mistook me for Burt Reynolds or that guy from the juicer infomercial.
This guy will never die. One day, his eyebrows will take flight, and he’ll soar off into the sky, never to be seen or heard from again.
I get migraine headaches. Not that frequently, maybe 2 or 3 times per year, but they start with an incredibly freaky process that I guess the medical community refers to as an “aura”. (I’m going to go ahead and give you a fail on the naming job you did there, medical community, because when I’m experiencing an aura and trying to communicate that to someone, I do not care for the wry questions about what color it is, is it purple?)
I think auras are different for everyone, but mine go something like this: I get a blind spot in my vision that looks and feels a little like static, my hands and arms go numb, I feel mentally thick and WEIRD in an unpleasant way. These sensations last an hour or so and then they subside and the terrible headache comes. I got my first aura/migraine combo at age 11, and until I was 20 or so, I would panic every time it happened. I am now aware that I will survive what’s happening to me (also I have miraculous, beautiful DRUGS that make the whole thing go away relatively quickly), but there’s admittedly still some anxiety surrounding the process. So this morning, when my left arm started feeling partially numb, I was all, oh for fuck’s sake. This is going to be one of those days. But my arm just kind of stayed persistently, partially numb and things never progressed beyond that. I happen to be wearing this shirt today:
Except it’s not pink, it’s black, because as I previously explained, I have been forced to become a goth. You may or may not see this coming now, but yeah. Dudes. I tied the cute sleeve tie on my shirt so tightly that I cut off the blood-flow to my own arm, and instead of realizing that and loosening the tie, like a sane person would do, I canceled everything I had going on today and took to my bed, convinced I was about to become seriously ill.
I am a genius.
Sorry about leaving Lil’ Kim’s plastic boobs up top for so long. Here, this is less creepy.
The above picture typifies my photos from Barcelona. They were taken in shit light, on the wrong settings, and they’re kind of blurry. My Dad would probably call them “artistic” so that I didn’t feel badly about myself. Thanks, Dad. You’re the best. Any day now, I’m actually going to read the instruction manual for my camera and stop being one of those douches with an SLR who does everything on auto mode. (Deal with my truth.)
Dudes! What up? I haven’t been posting here in part because I couldn’t talk about the only thing that’s really going on with me, which is that I’m quitting my job and going to clown college. Ok, no. Not clown college. I’m just softening you up for the truth, which is automotive maintenance school. Kidding. Beauty school. That’s the real one.
Three weeks from today, my beloved internet comrades, I will be willfully unemployed and coasting on the hang glider of my savings (which will be attached to the bottom of a twin-engine cessna of student loans.) I’m excited! I’m pleased. I’m filling my wardrobe with black things because that’s all I’m allowed to wear at beauty school, apparently. It’s all very goth. I’m considering renaming myself Minerva and changing my default greeting to “Hail Hades, lord of the underworld”. That could totes work. Maybe I’ll get one of those creepy neck piercings, too.
Anyway. I will be excitedly reporting back to you on things like my chemical burns, how I ruined some girl’s prom night, and what it’s like to be a total know-it-all at beauty school. Trust.
P.S. Is Minerva too subtle? Maybe I should call myself Suqubus?
Alright, hey. I have written like 80 blogs without hitting the publish button, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. But hi friends! Today is the day I hit the button no matter what drivel comes out.
Here are some things that have happened to me lately:
1. I adopted a cat. Her name is Georgia O’Keeffe, but you can call her Vagina Flower. I know I do. Her name was actually originally Rex, but it turns out I’m one of those evil adoptive parents who changes a kid’s name even though the kid is 4 and answers to “Dakota”. I just made the cat=kid analogy and I’m dropping it now. I’m actually really not into it when people refer to themselves as their pets’ parents. I find it creepy, for multiple reasons. Firstly, I do not wish to intimate that I had unprotected sexual relations with a cat, and then had his cat baby. Secondly, if Eric is supposedly this cat’s father and I’m supposedly its mother, that means Eric is a were-cat. Or I am. And if either of us are going to be were-animals, we had better be way effing cooler than cats. Like, were-alpacas. Or were-jaguars. My third reason is that I don’t like the idea of playing house and using a cat/dog as a substitute for a baby. That’s the reason that isn’t a joke. If I wanted to have a baby, I would have one. I wanted a cat. That doesn’t make me a mom, it makes me a cat owner. Also, apparently, it makes me a little defensive about my life choices.
2. It turns out that sometime in the 7 years between moving out of my parents’ house and bringing Rex Vagina Flower Georgia home, I developed a cat allergy.
3. One of my best friends had a very serious operation on her skull last week. She had to travel across two states to get to the specialist who did her surgery, so last weekend 2 of my best ladies and I got up before the sun had risen and piled in my Ford Escort to drive a few hundred miles and visit our recovering friend. Everything was going well, we had an Us Weekly to ironically read to one another, we had free lattes (thanks, favorite barista!) and we were contentedly cruising down the highway when out of nowhere 5 jackasses in a Volvo decided to turn the road into their own personal pinball machine. They crossed 3 lanes of traffic, slowing to 15 MPH as they went, crashed into me and then bounced off in the other direction, back across the 3 lanes and off into the sunrise. Oh yes they did. They crashed into us and kept on going. So I found myself at 7:00 AM parked at U.S. Cellular Field describing this accident to State Trooper C. Martinez, who never once took off his Oakley sunglasses while talking to us. I decided based on that quirk that the C stands for Cyclops and that Illinois is very lucky to have him.
We went ahead and drove across 2 states after this incident because the damage to my car was minimal and we are not the kind of women who let jackasses ruin a perfectly good road trip. Well actually, I’m exactly that kind of woman, but my friends aren’t, so I pulled it together and drove.
4. My friend who had the surgery is recovering well and going to be just fine. However, I think I may have to stop hanging out with her for a while because whenever she’s in the room I get absolutely no sympathy for my cat allergy.
5. Unrelated to cats and car accidents, I can not stop reading trashy novels. It started in Spain, when I brought the 3rd Sookie Stackhouse book with me to read on the plane. It’ll make the hours fly by, I said to myself. So I read it, and promptly bought the next one on my boyfriend’s iPhone, and read that one too. It’s a vacation book, I told myself. So, still in Spain, I downloaded the 5th and 6th Sookie Stackhouse books and allowed myself to use jetlag as an excuse to stay up all night reading them. Everyone’s doing it, I reasoned. I can quit anytime I want, I thought. Dudes. I can not quit. Since Spain, I have read 19 Charlaine Harris books. I’m reading the 20th now. At first I made myself switch to more challenging/intellectually stimulating books in between the Harris books but I’ve dropped all pretense now. I will keep going until I’ve read everything she’s written. It’s a really good thing I’m not into drugs because based on my reaction to this trashy novel addiction I’d be like, “I’ll quit just as soon as I’ve snorted all the coke in the world.” And that would end badly for me, I’m guessing.
Adventures in accessorizing: I just realized that I’ve been walking around my office all morning with only one earring in. And it’s not a tiny stud, it’s a big silver hoop. So, basically, my coworkers think I’m an aspiring B-girl. I was hoping that secret would take a few more years to come out, but here we are. It’s true. I know all the words to Ice, Ice Baby and I can put one hand on the sidewalk and flip both feet over my head. Wow, it’s like such a weight has been lifted, admitting that to you guys.
I have this big-ass chunky turquoise ring that I love to wear. But when I go to fluff up my hair in the bathroom mirror (Designing Women style), I forget that I’m wearing it and run my hands through my hair, catching a nice chunk of strands and ripping them out of my head each time. Then I impugn the honor of someone’s mother, loudly. So that also happened this morning.
(This is the same ring as mine, but I have a different stone. See the way the square setting sits on the band? Makes it prime for hair ripping.)
I came across a studded leather spiked heel lying in the center of the sidewalk at Clark and Roscoe the other day. It must have been at least 4 inches high. I totally understand why a woman would want to shed footwear like that (OUCH) but just the one? This raises a lot of questions for me. Perhaps she was wearing a cast on the other foot? A prosthetic leg? Was this some misguided attempt at a modern-day punk-rock Cinderella?
In other city sightings, I almost drove my car into an open manhole on Pershing Avenue yesterday morning. The manhole cover was lying next to the gaping hole, and after I swerved to avoid it, I shook my fist and cursed the carelessness of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
So, my Italian professor is going to be teaching a course at a language school in the Czech Republic this summer. She had been talking about maybe bringing me along to work as a conversation coach. That plan fell through a month ago, when it was discovered they would require 5 years experience or some kind of teaching credential to hire me. (I have neither, but I once wrote a screenplay for Taylor Hanson and I to star in as star-crossed lovers*, so . . . I don’t know what more they could want in terms of qualifications.)
Anyway, I gave up on the idea and adjusted my summer expectations accordingly. Academic study in a foreign country? No. True Blood Season 3 and a pan full of brownies? Yes. I had lunch with my professor on Wednesday and she brought the adventure in the Czech Republic up again, saying that even if they weren’t going to pay me to come as a teacher, I should come as a student. There are multiple courses offered that I’d like to study or study further (Italian, French, TEFL) and I was like, yeah, that would be great, but unless they’re paying me to go, it’s out of the realm of what I can afford.
But out of curiousity, I looked into it further yesterday morning to confirm just how much I could not afford to go. I’d miss 3 weeks of work (without pay), the cheapest airfare I could find was $1400.00, and tuition to the school (which includes breakfast and a bed) is also $1400.00. Then there’s food and transportation and . . . woof. So, looking at the numbers I knew that to go I would have to totally wipe out my savings and go in to debt. Which is not cool. So I said to myself, well, if the money drops in to my lap somehow, I’ll go, but otherwise queue up the True Blood and pass the brownies.
About an hour later my phone rang. Long story short, the money just dropped into my lap. I mean, not all of it, but a solid chunk. (And no, it was not my other boyfriend the displaced Nigerian prince.) So . . . that was all a little tidy, wasn’t it? Eh, universe?
And despite this uncanny string of events, I can’t decide if I’m going to go. Even with this new cash injection, it’s bloody expensive. And I could use that money for so many other useful things, right? Like filling out my collection of commemorative Lord of the Rings glowing mugs from Burger King. Or college.
So . . . does the internet care to weigh in?
*It’s in talks**. Watch for straight to DVD releases in 2014.
**My cat and I talk about it a lot, is what I mean.
I’ve been keeping quiet over here for a while, so here I am. Opening my internet mouth.
My Grandfather died last Thursday night, while I was in Barcelona. It’s been a jarring couple of weeks for me, with the international travel and the death in the family. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a funeral before. A few wakes, sure, but I’ve never stood there at the graveyard before looking at a casket that holds someone I love. I keep checking my mental status against my psych 101 knowledge of the grieving process. Am I accepting? Am I bargaining? I have a defeatist attitude, so bargaining has never been my strong suit, even when it comes to death.
My mother has this gift, she is able to stay composed under just about any circumstances. I can only think of one time in my life I’ve seen her cry. My dad on the other hand, tears up pretty regularly. My dad cried when I moved out, my dad cried when Kevin Spacey went back to the planet K-Pax, he’s just a crier. I am similarly wired. Don’t even talk to me about that phone commercial from the late nineties, the one where the runaway calls his mom collect from a payphone because he’s ready to come home? Damn, dude. That commercial is emotional for me.
I was pretty much always able to keep myself together over the weekend’s rituals, unless my dad was crying. I really admire people who can silently weep because I cannot. I make the strangest, most embarrassing sounds when I’m trying to hold it in. It’s like I’m strangling a little puppy in my chest. My dad would start strangling his puppy, and knowing that he was hurting and shocked to be burying his father, I’d start strangling my puppy and everyone around us made notes to themselves that we were not likely to be good pet owners.
That wasn’t even funny. And yet I’m letting it stand.
And, what can you say to your extended family at a funeral? I can’t say “thank you for coming” to my cousins, aunts and uncles, right? How weird. It is similarly wrong to ask “how are you?” “I’m shitty, thanks for asking, how are you?”. How about “It’s good to see you”? I used that one a lot, even though it was strange to say because, you know, we were both wishing that we weren’t in these circumstances, and therefore it really wasn’t very good to see one another.
Nice things: my Grandpa was a Naval officer during WWII and a policeman, and all of the men and women in uniform at the funeral and wake were comforting to me, strangely. I liked the dozen police cars in the funeral procession, I liked the salutes and formal speeches. I liked the flag that they draped over his casket and the shots they fired off in the cemetery. He was old school, he believed in formality and ritual and ceremony and I loved the deference he was given by the organizations he was a part of. It meant a lot to me.
Most of the familial awkwardness had passed by the time we left the cemetery (although I have a few choice foot-in-mouth stories for you) and the lunch afterward was really nice. We ate my grandpa’s favorite foods and listened to old stories about him. I never expected the weekend’s activities to give me a sense of peace or closeness to my family, so it was a really lovely surprise when they did.
I have other, better things to talk about with y’all, so I’ll be back. Thanks for letting me take a break from trying to be funny. In return, I’m not going to post a youtube video of a choral version of “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep”. I think that makes us even.
I’ve been quietly working on a project for the last month or so. It all started when I saw Jenny’s brilliant tufted ottoman tutorial, and a puddle of drool formed on my desk whilst a light bulb went off in my brain. Yes, I was electrocuted (it’s true what they say about combining moisture and electricity) but once I recovered, I got straight to work on a spin-off diy: a tufted headboard.
I am not the first. There’s a tutorial here on Apt. Therapy for a tufted headboard. There are others as well, but they are . . . less successful. I considered the square shape and plywood background that the Apt. Therapy version suggests, but I have a penchant for traditional shapes and pop-art colors, so I decided to complicate matters for myself and make one with a curved top. I set off in search of raw materials.
Funny story. I found the wooden headboard that I used as my base in a thrift store a few miles from my house. I liked the shape of it, and that it seemed to be made of solid wood. So when the store manager offered to sell it to me for $20, rather than the $70 on its price tag, I didn’t pause to think about it, I just said, here’s my money! Sayonara, sucker!
On this particular day, it had gotten unseasonably warm and sunny. Eric and I were sweating in our winter coats on a morning walk around the block, so we wore a light jacket (me) and a hoodie (him) on the afternoon headboard excursion.
When we walked out of the store carrying the 50 lb queen sized headboard, the sun had disappeared, the wind had picked up, and it was damn cold again all of a sudden. Not to worry, though, we had driven there in my compact automobile. So we would go home, warm and cozy, in that same automobile, right? Well, we would have, except that the headboard absolutely, positively, would not fit in my car. It was not mathematically possible. I had a tape measure in my pocket, so I could have, oh, I don’t know, measured the headboard before buying it? But in my bargain lust, I neglected to do that. So if you saw a man walking down the street wearing a woman’s jacket and carrying a massive wooden headboard last month in Chicago, that was Eric, carrying it home on foot. He’s pleased to make your acquaintance.
This is what the headboard looked like, freshly home from the store. It is scarily reminiscent of my parents’ bedroom circa 1995.
Sorry about the gross flash photo, complete with carbon monoxide detector. I think it kind of adds to the “before” feel – the headboard is badly lit, unwashed, and braless, just like those poor women in the first half of What Not to Wear.
After a bunch of drilling/sewing/sawing/stapling, here is my final result (photographed in my extremely dark dining room):
It’s not perfect, but it’s much prettier than the blank wall that’s been behind my bed for the last 7 years. Win!