Archive for March, 2012

An article in USA Today reported that Molly Barker, 51 and Caitlin Boyle, 27 have stopped wearing makeup, styling their hair, painting their nails, wearing jewelry, donning high heels and shaving anything. They call it the Naked Face Project and it runs from Feb. 1 to April 1. During this time they learned they liked their faces au naturel and have inspired other women to try the experiment.

In a society where women are judged by their looks and cosmetic companies make millions feeding off women’s insecurities I don’t foresee everybody jumping on this bandwagon.

Granted, some people take looking good to the extreme. I used to work with this girl who would go into the ladies room during her lunch hour and remove her makeup. She’d wash her face and then reapply the makeup she just took off. Rather than powdering her nose or reapplying her lipstick she practiced this bizarre ritual so she could look in her words, “Fresh.”

When I was younger I didn’t have to work hard to look fresh, but as I’ve matured it does require effort. When I told my girlfriend I bought primer she asked, “You’re painting your house?” “No, it’s for my face. I need to apply it before I apply my foundation. Apparently, it’ll help it go on easier.”  When I was young and fresh primers were something you bought only at a home improvement store.

Why, we’re so obsessed with looks that when I heard this morning on GMA that the man on the Quaker Oats box got a makeover I wasn’t surprised. To give him a fresh look they removed his double chin and gave him a haircut. (Talk about vanity.) Eating my oatmeal this morning, I looked at the box and thought the guy could use some primer. He’ll look fresh for the next fifty years.

I went to the movies with a friend. She offered to pay for my ticket since I was playing the role of her chauffer for the day. When she said she’d pay for my ticket I offered up the usual, socially obligatory refusal by sputtering such nonsense as, “Oh no, I can’t let you. I don’t mind driving you all over town.” Well, I guess I was to good an actor because when we got to the ticket window she looked at me and said, “Give the man your ten bucks.” When I commented, “Oh, I thought you were paying,” while digging thru my purse, she replied, “You didn’t want me to.” Obviously she was ignorant to how this game worked.

Looking back, I should have learned this lesson years ago from an old neighbor. She was the Mrs. Kravitz (from Bewitched) ofForest Lane. She knew everybody’s business within a week of their moving in. She would make a gracious, neighborly gesture by telling everyone, “If you need anything, anything at all, call me.”

The first time we called we got a busy signal. The second time we called she didn’t answer (we knew she was home. We saw her on her back porch.) The third time we called she was unable to assist. She was devastated, just devastated I tell you, that she couldn’t help, but she had to perform open heart surgery. Wow, that woman’s amazing I thought, amazing because she wasn’t a doctor. A few minutes later we saw her in her pool. We learned that when she told a newcomer, “If you need anything, call me,” that she always neglected to say the next sentence in her head. My husband and I, under our breath, would finish it for her. The complete sentence was, “If you need anything, call me and I’ll give you Irene’s number. Irene was our other neighbor and one busy lady. If I learned one thing from these two different, yet similar women it was not to say things you don’t mean. So, to all my readers, I say, “I’m here for you.”

Halloween has come and gone, but the dish towel we’re using at my house is a Halloween one. Much like Christmas lights left up till March we’re hoping no one will notice. We’re using it because the other towels are old and worn. You don’t know when it happens, but, it slowly creeps up on you until one day, when it’s to late, you realize it’s happened – ‘the parent factor.’  Since I grew up in a house where nothing matched – plates or glasses and the dish rags had more holes than cheesecloth I told myself when I had a family things would be different. Well, it started out that way. My dishes and glasses matched and my towels were capable of drying the dishes.

Then we had kids and things started to change. We bought cartoon plates of their favorite Disney character as a way to get them to eat. We bought plastic, cartoon cups so the good glasses wouldn’t get broken. (Only people with no children use real glasses.) We have a stack of dish rags with holes in them because we had to replace the third kids’ sneakers with the holes in them. When company comes we give them the good plate with no chips and the adult glass that we now consider the good china.

The other day I decided to finally throw out the two cartoon plates sitting in our cabinet. One was the ‘Little Mermaid’ which we bought when my oldest was four and is now 27. The other was the ‘Power Puff Girls.’ I figured no one would notice and it was high time we looked like an adult household. I realized my mistake when my husband and my youngest (now 18) asked what happened to the plates. “What’s wrong with you people,” I screamed. “I threw them out. Just use the other plates. We didn’t need them. Get over it.”

It was then I realized something about the ‘parent factor.’ Your rags may have holes. Your dishes may be chipped and your glasses may not shine and sparkle; but the cartoon cups and plates which replace them means you’re a parent with fond memories and that’s an important factor.

I read in Prevention magazine that ‘researchers found that female diners ordered 833 calories at a restaurant when joined by a woman, but only 721 calories if eating with a man.’ They contribute this to women believing eating less is more ladylike and attractive to the opposite sex even if there’s no interest in their male companion.

This is sort of like a woman always wearing makeup while she’s dating her boyfriend. You present a certain image, sure it may be a false image, but, nevertheless you present it. And once you’re married your eating habits will change. When you’re married you develop eating habits for two.

For instance, you go to a restaurant and order one appetizer you’ll both like. You look at your spouses entrée which appeals to you more than your own and ask, “You gonna eat that?” and without a word you exchange plates. You come to expect the other one to reach across the table and take a forkful of your dinner as they comment, “Boy that looks good, mind if I try some?”

You know if you order soup and he orders salad you’ll both wind up eating soup and salad.

Without you asking he’ll give you a taste of his fish because he knows you’ll like it. You’ll give him a bite full of your chicken because he’ll love it.

You share one chocolate dessert with two forks. Your hubby eats a little less than his share, leaving a little more for you which is why you love him. This to me makes him attractive.

At the end of the meal you write your names on your takeout boxes and threaten the other with, “Touch my food and I’ll hurt you.” The attractiveness has worn off and the makeup has come off.

You put on your mascara. You put on your eyeliner. You apply your eye shadow. And then – you get an eyelash in your eye. Don’t you just hate it when this happens, ladies? Your mascara starts to run, your eyeliner runs and your shadow smudges; all that hard work for nothing. But, at least it happened at home, where you were able to immediately take care of it.

It wouldn’t be bad if it only happened once to me, but it happened again, later that same day. I was driving along in my car, listening to the radio when – WHAM, another lash in my eye. Ouch, naturally my eye watered up. Road signs went from clear to blurry and the lines on the road changed from straight to wavy. Other motorists don’t know this and get angry at you for entering their lane. Even their hand gestures were fuzzy. An eyelash may be considered more of a driving distraction than texting. With mascara running down my cheek I searched for a tissue. No luck.

At home I touch up my makeup and was cutting up onion for dinner when my eye began to itch. Without thinking I rubbed it with the finger touching the onion. Let’s just say, “Ow! Ow!, Ow! Sh..! Sh..! Sh..! It was a slow burn that quickly intensified. For the third time that day my eye makeup ran. Not only did I have mascara running down my face, but it was onion smelling mascara. I’ve cried in the past from cutting onions, but never because I indirectly poked myself in the eye with one. My husband said he craved onions every time he was next to me.

I love Shout stain remover. It removes everything from grass to grease to wine. Just dab a little on, let it sit awhile, wash and like magic – the stain has disappeared. I even carry Shout wipes with me wherever I go. I found it a lot more convenient than carry the big bottle in my purse and you can get it on a plane.

The way the wipes works is you lightly rub, in a slow, circular motion over the stain. You are discouraged from rubbing the stain in a rough, haphazard manner. And since the wipes are about the size of a credit card they’re suited for small stains, not big ones.

With this said let me tell you about the hot cider incident. My husband was walking next to our new, big, sectional couch with a cup of hot cider when he slipped and spilled the cider all over the couch. Every inch of the couch was covered in cider. He then runs into the laundry room for what I thought would be something to help wipe up the mess – a towel, a rag, a mop. You want to guess what he emerged with? You got it – a Shout wipe. Yep, one little wipe to remove big stains from a six piece sectional sofa. When I saw him wrap it around his index finger I was going to stand back (and laugh) and let him go at it, but I couldn’t. By the time he would have removed the stains from one side of the couch they would have dried and set in on the other. I just didn’t have the time; besides I wanted to sit and continue watching my show. He would have been going in a circular motion for weeks, if not months (bless his heart.) Together we took care of the couch and the wipe sits in my bag and is ready to assist when needed.

I hate getting into the shower after my husband. I hate it because we have a removable shower head and it’s never where it’s supposed to be. One time I got in after him the shower head was facing the wall. I felt like I was in a hold up. I readjusted it. Another time it was directed at the shower curtain. I didn’t want to swing from the curtain so I readjusted the shower head. Finally, when I grew weary of always adjusting it I brought it to my husband’s attention. He asked, “Well, where would you like me to face it?” “Let’s see. Since I stand in the middle of the shower like millions of others, how about smack dab in the middle,” I replied. I could tell from his expression this was a revelation for him.

Sure we could take a shower together, but we tried that. It didn’t work. The reality of two people showering together is unlike the fantasy portrayed in the movies. In movies the guy washes the girl’s hair and they share the soap. In reality my husband refused to wash my hair and we used two bars of soap so we could save time and water. (Isn’t the point of showering together to save water?)

In the movies both people get wet and never fight over the water temperature. In reality only one person at a time gets wet and you fight over the water temperature. In movies nobody ever drops the soap. In reality one of you drops the soap. When you bend over to pick it up shampoo will run in your eyes and you will start groping blindly for the soap. You firmly grasp the soap with both hands. When your husband screams, “Ow,” you drop what you thought was the soap. “Sorry.” He accepts your apology and in a fetal position gets out of the shower. You both agree showering together is best left to the stars on the big screen.

By watching what I eat and trying to eat healthy I eat whole wheat bread instead of white. I eat cereal with fiber instead of cereal with marshmallows. I eat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Frozen yogurt bars are popping up all over. When the Red Mango replaced my neighborhood Ben & Jerry’s I decided to give it a try.

The Red Mango, like other yogurt shops have the yogurt station and the toppings station. They also have thimble size paper sample cups for customers to taste test. I try to avoid these cups as you have to suck the yogurt out and most likely you’re also sucking on the germs of the person before you who touched the cup.

Most yogurt bars have three size cups for you to choose from – large, extra large and get out of my way large. So, you choose your cup and fill it with fifteen pounds worth of yogurt. They don’t offer small cups (even though the sample cups are proof they have them) because they wouldn’t make any money. After you get the yogurt you moozie on over to the toppings bar (you have to moozie because you can’t hold fifteen pounds of yogurt and move fast) and proceed to top your otherwise healthy dessert with non healthy toppings. And each topping will cost you as you pay for your yogurt creation by weight. Spoon a pound of crushed Oreo on your yogurt, that’ll cost you one buck. Sprinkle on crushed up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and that’ll cost you five bucks. Scoop a heaping serving of Lucky Charms cereal (that you no longer eat because of the marshmallows) and you’ll have to take out a loan. Douse it all with syrup and whipped cream and you’ll have to mortgage your house. Eating your thirty pound healthy yogurt dessert will cost you a weight gain of five pounds. To shed five pounds it’ll cost you twenty-five hours of much hated exercise. So, stay home and have a scoop of plain ice cream.  The price of healthy eating is too high.

What would you do if your spouse or significant other lost their memory? Would you remind them of your life together – the good times and the bad… or would you omit the bad? Would you use your partner’s amnesia as an opportunity to your advantage and build the perfect relationship you wish you had?

My story “Refresh My Memory” published on divine caroline at discusses such a dilemma and have you wondering what you would do in this situation.

Yesterday, while driving I saw a mailbox that was knocked down, lying curbside, on the homeowner’s lawn. I can imagine what a challenge it must be for the mail carrier who has to stop the truck, collect the mail, exit the truck and bend down to insert their one piece of junk mail.

There are some people who take pride in their mailboxes and showcase them as works of art. Some people decorate them with flags. Some plant flowers around them and some engrave their names on it.

I never really got into my mailbox, probably because when we lived in Pennsylvania people kept running into ours and knocking it down. Why people kept driving into it – we don’t know. We do know it was visible as it was curbside just like every other box on our street.

People backing out of our driveway would hit it, get out of their car and say, “Huh, I didn’t know that was there.”

People pulling into out driveway would hit it, get out of their car and exclaim, “Well, has that always been there? I didn’t see it!

Come winter the snow plow would hit it and continue to pile a mound of snow on top. At least the snow drifts were tall enough for us to rest the mailbox atop so the mailman didn’t need to get out of his truck. (Oh, by the way – he also ran it over.)

On one occasion a friend plowed into it as she backed out of the driveway. We didn’t know about it till the next day. We were eating breakfast, when from our kitchen window we saw her pull up. She got out of the car, removed a shovel from the trunk and proceeded to dig a hole around the mailbox. She removed the old box, threw it in her trunk and took out a new box to replace the old one. She filled in the dirt and left. After that she always parked on the street.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she still drives around with a shovel and mailbox. You never know when a mailbox emergency will sneak up on you.