Thursday, February 18, 2016

Write About The TIme You Broke...

I've decided to start an experiment where I take a writing prompt from a book I got called "642 Tiny Things to Write About" and then expand on it here. Hoping this leads to inspiration to write on at least a semi-regular basis.

Write about a time you broke...

A bone: "I haven't broken one yet! I came close recently when I slipped on a stick and fell on my hand. Doctor said it was just a contusion, they gave me Norco anyway." It happened in September, just when the sun was starting to set a little earlier. The trees must have been shedding because there were sticks all over the streets and sidewalks, those short but fat ones. This one blended into the street. I was wearing my Danskos and when my shoe rolled over the stick, I did the most spectacular pratfall, where I tried to catch myself by running a few steps, but fell over anyway, bracing myself with my left hand. Of course there were people around, and I heard a couple across the street say, "Ouch!" Another guy asked if I was okay, and I just got up and laughed it off. When I got inside I definitely felt achey. I wrapped my hand up in a bandage and took some Advil. Trench was worried I broke it because that's how he broke his hand years ago. We went to the immediate care center and they xrayed it. They said it was a contusion, which is basically a bruise, gave me a brace to wear and a prescription for extra strong Norco, which floored my pharmacy tech husband. I work with my hands at my job, and really should have taken a week off, but figured I didn't have to because it was my left hand and I'm a righty. All the same, it didn't heal completely until a few weeks later when I went on vacation for a long weekend. Next time I'll just stay home so it can properly heal, but hopefully there won't be a next time because I've had my eyes glued to the sidewalks while I walk home ever since it happened.

A heart: "Pretty sure it was L. In the phone call that ended it, he said he knew he was a rebound. He was right." I recently re-read my journal from that summer I dated L. I was definitely kind of a jerk to him. L, if you're reading this, I'm sorry I was a jerk. I was 20, had just gotten my own heart broken from my first boyfriend, and just enjoying dating someone where things weren't complicated. Until it got complicated. We broke up the day after my birthday. I was mad at him because he was trying to blow off hanging out with me that day. He was mad at me because I had spent my 21st birthday with my best friend instead of him. No regrets on that. He said, "I know I'm just your rebound." I said, "Then maybe we should end this." Because I couldn't say, "No you're not."

The law: "When I worked at a beauty supply store, I discovered I could shoplift without consequence, and I did. Inventory didn't even catch it." That entire job was a cluster of crazy, and I have no regrets about anything bad I might have done there. One coworker was a guy. We were so far away from each others types that we were able to become good friends without any sort of attraction to each other. We'd close together and smoke pot in the back office. When I turned 21 he called me days later and asked if I'd buy him a keg...not just beer, but a whole keg. And I did. We laughed our asses off when we found out we'd both been taking whatever we wanted from the store when we closed by ourselves. This is why you don't hire 18 year olds and then leave them unsupervised! I've never done that at any job since, but it was fun to be bad just once.

A promise: "I honestly can't think of one, but there must be something. I do try not to make promises I can't keep." I'm still thinking of this one, but except for kid stuff, I really can't come up with anything. Maybe the promise to not shoplift from your job? I try hard to practice "radical honesty" in my life. Not just for my own morality, but that's also where my dry, blunt humor comes from. I'm sure that there are people out there who might not agree with this, and have distinct memories of me breaking a promise to them. If you're out there, I'm sorry.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Stages of Sickness

Monday: Hmm. My chest is tight and I'm coughing. I'd better have an Emergen-C and drink lots of tea today. Green tea has antioxidants!

Tuesday: Cough, cough, hack, wheeze. Not feeling good, but still mobile. I cancel an appt I had with a friend so she won't catch my gross germs, but still meet her for lunch and Christmas shopping. Drink lots of water, Emergen-C and more tea. I schedule a haircut appt for Sunday because surely I'll be better by then!

Wednesday: Go to my internship where I'm transcribing an oral history. Keep sipping on my water bottle, and push through. The library is freaking cold! Go home and take a hot shower that feels so good. Trench makes chili that I douse with Sriracha sauce. I will burn the bacteria out of me!

Thursday: Drag my sick ass into work. Decline going home early because it's holiday time and I need to make some money. Take a Sudafed, drink lots of water, order spicy Thai food, and drink a hot toddy.

Friday: The virus has moved up into my sinuses. I'm off today, so I hole up on Couch Island with my cat, a box of tissues, and endless cups of herbal tea. I celebrate 12/21/2012 by watching every apocalypse themed episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After a day of rest, I should be better by tomorrow, right?

Saturday: Drag myself to work again. Take a Sudafed and it does absolutely nothing. Barely drink any water because what's the fucking point? Same with tea and Emergen-C. Antioxidants have failed me. Fuck off, hydration. Go home, eat some dinner, try to sleep and fail. I have my haircut appt tomorrow and I really want to go.

Sunday: Cancel hair appt. Today shall be the hunt for antibiotics. Minute Clinic, here I come.

Monday, October 15, 2012

product junkie

Wow, haven't posted since my birthday. Not surprising since that was also the first day of school for me. This semester has been a challenge. I only take two classes a semester, but one of those classes has proved to be a huge time-suck, including a shit-ton of reading that we have to discuss in class (so I can't get away with not reading it, although I still try), and an internship in which my teacher wants us to complete 60 hours in eight weeks. I have a paper to write today, but I figure that some blogging will get me in the right frame of mind. I do have lots of ideas for posts that I jot down sometimes, but trying to do anything creative during the school year is difficult.

So I'm going to turn my brain off and post about something fun that is the polar opposite of archiving and library management. Beauty products! In my day job as an esthetician, I get to play with products all the time. These days it's makeup, but I do miss working with skincare products, and have recently signed up for Birchbox so I can feed my inner product junkie without shelling out tons of money for the full sizes. Here is what I'm using these days.

Miss Jessie, where have you been all my life? After trying a generous-sized sample from Birchbox, I immediately bought the full size (which I swear I will only do if the product is REALLY REALLY AWESOME). To tame my curls I've always had to use a bunch of products...leave in conditioner, mousse, cream, gel. Not exaggerating at all. I've never been able to use just one product in my hair, and have that be it. Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls is officially the Hair Product To Rule Them All. After a shower, I'll put a nickel-sized amount in my wet hair, and then plop it into a t-shirt. My curls have never looked better, and it never looks frizzy anymore. I just wish I had learned this trick back in July when it was over 100 degrees every day!

I also recently purchased a Clairsonic Mia 2, after years of wanting one and not being able to justify the money. Thank you birthday gift card!
Such a great buy! The brush head is soft enough for my sensitive skin (although I think I want to get the "delicate" one for the winter), it gets off makeup like nobody's business, my skin is soooo soft and smooth after using it, and my pores really do look smaller. And all these years I've been washing my face with my hands like a sucker!

In all my years of working with skincare, I have one cleanser that stands out as my absolute favorite. That would be the B. Kamins Vegetable Cleanser.

I used to use this for almost every facial. It incredibly gentle, takes off makeup easily, and makes the skin feel clean and soft. I'm out of this right now, and every other cleanser I use just isn't the same. Might need to make a trip to the spa I used to work at to replenish.

As for face cream and eye cream, I'm using some stuff, but I haven't found anything I'm crazy about in a long time. My skin is starting to change, so I'm on the look out for products with more heavy duty ingredients like retinol and peptides. I generally just use Cetaphil in the dead of winter because my environment-activated rosacea flares up, but I still want something I can use during the rest of the year. If anyone has suggestions, or if you just want to dish about your own favorite products, leave a comment!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

birthday musings

Today is my birthday. I'm turning 36. Meh. I'm not doing very much today besides collecting all of my birthday greetings on facebook, then later I go to my first Management class at my university's campus in the burbs. Yawn. But there is a party planned in a couple of weeks. Trench and I have our birthdays five days apart, and in our 20's, we threw giant house parties at the end of every August. Good times, but now that I'm in my 30's, I just don't want to spend the whole day cleaning anymore. And everyone leaves by midnight anyway because booze makes us sleepy now. So this year's party is going to be at a swanky bar, but is on a Sunday night and starts at 7 so people can be in bed by ten if they need to. This is how we party in our 30's. But at this point it's more of an excuse to get all our favorite people together in one room.

The parties in our 20's used to be raucous affairs. At the very first one a friend of ours brought over the two baby kittens she found abandoned in her garage, who were destined to become Puck and Elle. Random people from different groups of friends would hook up (sometimes in our basement). One time a whole posse of teenaged punk kids descended on us uninvited, and we finally kicked them out when we saw the 10-year-old drinking a beer. A friend of ours did "psychic backrubs", in which he would tell you things about yourself and deduce your future by rubbing your shoulders. Perhaps he regretted showing off this skill when every year people would descend on him with cries of, "Give me a psychic backrub!" and he would spend entire parties at work. One time Trench and another friend took off their clothes and went streaking in the rain at four in the morning. Another time a friend (the same one who brought the kittens) brought a jug of Peach Schnapps that no one drank. The next morning Trench tried giving it to a homeless man who was crashed out on the stairs next door to us and not even he wanted it. There was dancing and hugging and laughing and people passing out on our couches. I wouldn't exactly say that things have changed that much since we left that particular stage. Just that some of us have an earlier bedtime now, and hangovers can't be chased away with a couple of Advil and a glass of water.

No matter what goes down every year at the end of August, I'm grateful for the amazing friends that I have who bring joy and light to every occasion, whether it's a manic house party in our 20's or a tea party at the nursing home when we're in our 80's. I've carved a pretty fabulous life out for myself, and it's something I need to remember when I fret over whether I should have done this or that differently years ago. That is definitely something to toast. Cheers.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Gentle Read

Recently I needed a new book to read before bed. Something simple that wouldn't be too gripping that could ease me to sleep. I have a shelf dedicated to old favorites from childhood/YA years, and I saw Madeleine L'Engle's Meet The Austin's. "Hey, that would be fun!" I thought. "I haven't read that since I was a kid!"

Oh my.

Um, it was kind of annoying. The Austins were L'Engle's concept of the perfect family. Two parents and four children in New England, with strong morals and high intellects. They spend their evenings singing psalms and quoting Shakespeare. Sometimes they fight, but gosh darn it, they love each other despite it all! The oldest one is building his own space suit. One of the girls wants to be a doctor and performs operations on her dolls. Their grandfather lives in a stable that he converted into a library (okay, that part is cool). They call their parents "Mother" and "Daddy", even the sixteen year old son. But when a young orphan named Maggy comes to live with them, she disrupts everything with her spoiled, selfish ways. Oh noes!

I loved the Austin books when I was younger, and read them over and over, but  I read them all out of order, and when I finally picked up Meet The Austins I distinctly remember not liking it as much as the others. This is the one where the narrator, Vicky, is thirteen, and doesn't do much more than talk about her awesome family, complain about Maggy, and crash her bike. In the other books she's a teenager, and there is Romance and Mystery and Intrigue. This book is merely the introduction of the world's nicest family, who always say grace before dinner and listens to classical music. My Reader's Advisory class at library school would probably classify this as a "Gentle Read."

A small part of me wants to re-read all the Austin books and blog about them, but I feel like snarking on L'Engle crosses a line somewhere. I have a feeling that even re-reading the books I liked might cause great amounts of snark, because I'm pretty sure that although Vicky gets more interesting and has Love Triangles, a lot of her teenaged angst has to do with whether God really exists and if we're just alone in this crazy universe. Just to be clear, I identify as an agnostic (I don't know what's out there after we die, and I don't think anyone else does either), but the heavy Christian overtones don't bother me too much since this was written in the 1960's and I consider it to be part of the time period. That said, goddamn, this one is preachy!

I grew up loving L'Engle's work, so I might leave the Austins and revisit the Murrys. The Murry/O'Keefe family traveled through time and space and even biology (the world of mitochondria!). However, I still might write a snarky review of Meet The Austins if there is popular demand for it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Living With An Attack Cat

My brother in law is visiting from California, and so far my cat Puck has not tried to attack him. Puck is usually pretty good with immediate family, but he's been so unpredictable lately that I was nervous. Puck has always been the tough guy of my two cats, and as he's getting older, he's getting worsel.

Puck and his brother Elle were found in my friend Diane's garage when they were wee little babies. Puck had a gash on his back so something must have attacked them. As Diane and her posse were en route to our birthday party (Trench and I are five days apart and threw massive parties all throughout our 20's), she brought them with in case anyone wanted to adopt them. Of course the minute I picked up Puck, it was love. It was our other friend Michelle who took both newborns home and nursed them to robust health with a combination of kitten formula and an eye dropper. I took Puck home when the time was right.

As a kitten, Puck could be a little terror, but he was also pretty chill. He was friendly and liked to be around people. He'd jump in laps and want to play, and we were very proud of our sweet little guy. I'm not quite sure when that changed. It might have been when he had his first vet appointment to get shots. He had his first kitty melt down and had to be held down and wrapped in a blanket. Perhaps it reminded him of being held down by whatever it was that attacked him when he was a baby in a garage? After that he decided that anyone who wasn't me sucked and deserved nothing but wrath.

Most of our friends are aware of Puck and his evil tendencies. Our other cat Bowie doesn't care much for people either, but he hides under the dresser like a proper cat. Puck still has to be out in the mix, and does this incredibly sneaky thing where he rubs up against people (trying to get their scent), then viciously attacks when they try to pet him. A lot of our friends have suffered at the claws of Puck over the years, but we learned to warn people when they came in to just not pet him. "Look," we'd say, "when you come in, Puck is going to approach you and act like he likes you, but he doesn't really like you, so don't try to touch him." It was always the "cat people" who ended up injured, because they had such a hard time understanding that they aren't the Cat Whisperer that All Cats Adore.

Most people would probably wonder why we'd keep a cat like this around. A dog that attacked so many people would have gotten put down by now. But Puck is a mama's boy who is a marshmallow around me. He follows me from room to room, cries when I leave the house, pushes past the laptop and any book I'm reading to get in my lap, and swivels himself around to put his front paws around me when I pick him up. He's absolutely my baby.

The "don't pet the cat" trick worked for a number of years, until recently. Puck's more territorial than ever before. He's learned he can freak people out even more if he combines hissing with a growl that turns into a scary yowl as he advances. I've had to fend him off with a pillow while guests race to the spare bedroom and slam the door. It might be scent that gets to him. Immediate family seems to be safe...they must smell familiar enough. Dog owners also seem to get along better with Puck...he must smell a bigger animal and decide not to mess with this one. If he can smell cat on you? Forget it! Sometimes even guests who don't have cats can get their leg pounced on if they do something alarming like drop something or laugh too loudly. One recent guest spilled a pitcher of coffee in the middle of the night, and said it was like a cartoon attacked him. So I've had to resort to keeping him separated. If people are just coming over for an evening, that's not a big deal. It's less stressful for everyone involved, including Puck. When people are visiting for a weekend, it's harder because I feel so terrible to keep my cat locked in a room all the time.

I'm trying to do research for answers. Trench and I started watching My Cat From Hell, and I even bought the host's latest book. So far I haven't seen a cat quite like Puck. Once money is flowing a little more freely, perhaps I'll splurge and get a cat behaviorist to give us answers on why Puck does what he does. (Stop rolling your eyes, dog people! You're the ones shelling out big bucks on obedience school and day care!) But right now he's chill, so the world must be alright as far as he's concerned. For now.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

being a grown up

When I was eighteen, I had a job at my mom's office that I really shouldn't have even had. I made lots of mistakes and was bored all the time, and the only thing I learned from it is that I don't work well in offices. I endured it much longer than I should have because the pay was better than the retail jobs that my friends were working, and when I got laid off due to budget cuts, I had to force myself to keep from breaking out into a big smile.

I remember one night I was sitting at my desk, waiting impatiently to get out because it was my one year and four month or whatever anniversary with my boyfriend, and we were going to go out for dinner somewhere fancy. We were kids in the suburbs so "somewhere fancy" meant Red Lobster, but it was at least a step up from Dennys. I had my outfit all planned out and I couldn't wait to wear it...I think it was a silvery A-line dress with silver shoes, very Clueless-inspired. A couple of my coworkers asked me what I was doing that night. They were ones I kind of was a single mom and the other was in his mid-20's and very sweet. I talked about my outfit I had planned and they laughed good naturedly about how I was like a little girl, excited to put on a pretty dress. Then they suddenly switched gears and started telling me how eventually I'd grow out of all that and I wouldn't care about what I was wearing anymore. I protested that yes, I would! They did the world-weary adult thing of, "No you won't, you'll stop caring, you'll have more important things to be concerned with."

Way to ruin my evening, coworkers! I remember that I went home, put on my cute dress and shoes, and went out with my boyfriend, and not even tasteless, rubbery lobster could cheer me up. I was in a funk the rest of the night about the death sentence that just got put on my grown up life was going to be gray and joyless and I would be too worried about bills and kids and my crappy office job to enjoy putting on a cute dress every now and then.

I'm 35 now, and putting on a cute dress still makes me smile. Yes, there are plenty of more important things to be concerned with, but that doesn't mean I can't still get excited about planning the perfect outfit to wear to a friend's wedding or a restaurant that isn't part of a nationwide chain. I actually like being a grown up, and quite frankly I wouldn't trade the problems I have as an adult for the problems I had as a nineteen-year-old for all the John Fluevog shoes in the world. I married a man who doesn't leave the house without putting on a fedora and knows how to rock pinstripes. I'd say everyone in our circles upon circles of friends are a fun loving bunch who know how to dress with style (from crunchy granola to librarian chic), and I'm relieved to see that parenthood hasn't changed that for any of them. I'm happy to say that getting older doesn't mean your personality has to change. It can deepen into something much better and much more you as the years go on, but it doesn't mutate to fit a mold of what society thinks an adult is supposed to be.

I wish I could take credit for this next quote, but it's something that a friend of a friend posted as a "happy birthday" on a facebook page, and I loved it so much I copied and pasted it so I wouldn't lose it. "My 20's were pretty interesting, but my 30's turned out to be even cooler, and my 40's even cooler still. Life seems to be like some kind of self-renewing plant - as long as you keep adding water and re-pot now and then, the darn thing keeps turning out flowers and getting more beautiful."