October 27, 2009

how to be a girl

I have been traveling a lot lately, and inevitably the entertainment comes down to trashy magazines. My laptop battery is decrepit, I run out of new podcasts, and I need something more akin to cotton candy than whatever heavy, dense, fruitcake-of-a-book I happen to be reading (because, of course, it makes me feel good about my English-major-self to wade through books like this and check them off my list, but my attention span just isn't up to it). Enter: a glossy mix of celebrity gossip and fashion/personal care magazines.

They're fun and pretty and indulgent, but after flipping through two or three of them in a row, it starts raising all sorts of concerns in the far corners of my brain. For instance: I do not have a Skin Care and Beauty Regimen to speak of. The magazines declare this is a critical problem because, if I do not adhere to some sort of 5-step program, my skin will spiral into disrepair and LOOK OLD. Never mind the fact that it will, in fact, one day BE old--nasty, wrinkly, crone-face old--I never under any circumstances should look my age, and the time to moisturize is now. The magazines instill a sudden Sunscreen Paranoia I never knew I had. Usually I just wash my face when it starts to feel greasy; who knew that I was unwittingly propelling it even faster into the future?!

I can't even enter the Fashion arena because, a. even if I had the disposable income to spend on a purse with a four figure price tag, I couldn't bring myself to do it, because WHAT PURSE IS THAT AMAZING? and b. clothes are fun, and I like to look cute, but beyond that I am not terribly fascinated by the coming and going of trends.

Outcome of all this? I am a shoddy female. I probably spend the most personal care time on my hair, but that only happens every three days. I DO NOT SHOWER EVERY DAY (If that's a friendship deal breaker, I understand). I wear makeup, but usually when I'm forced out into the public. I hope my husband isn't too fond of the makeup, because if he tells me I'm beautiful too many times without it, I might just quit.

I guess this is where I'm confused: if all this "Personal Care" is really for myself, to make me feel good and for my own well-being, why is it so focused on what I present to the world? My (many) insecurities render me susceptible to how everyone perceives me, although I really really REALLY do not want to care what other people think about my hairshoesjacketeyeshadowrockhardabsjewelry. But I DO care, and I can't help it. We all do, even if it's just the slightest lack of confidence in one small area. And the glossy magazines are getting to me. Evidently there is all this stuff I should be doing, products and regimens to care about in the name of womanhood; an ever-expanding realm of personal care to be insecure about. I suppose there will always be some aspect of my body or appearance that I'm not whipping into feminine shape & order (And I don't even live in L.A., Manda- the body obsession must make you CRAZY).

Yeah, I'll be taking a break from the magazines for a while.

October 13, 2009

just the occasional hiccup

Okay. I now live in Michigan. Last week I was reunited with my husband and my dog after five weeks apart: all good things. Let's talk about the less-than-good things, hmmm? Just because I'm Negative Nancy.

Last Tuesday I was hustling a car full of suitcases of clothes, various toiletries, and bubble wrap stolen from my former employer, trailing warm memories of friends and mixed feelings about Denver behind me. It was a wonder the car made it from Denver to Chicago with no conniptions, and I may have been pushing my luck the last 300 miles... but anyways. I left Chicago late in the morning, in the rain. I drove through Indiana and southwest Michigan in the rain. Continued across the soggy mitten in the rain. Are you catching the less-than-subtle foreshadowing? Of the less-than-good things?

Well, less than 10 miles from my destination (and my dog and my husband and his family), I exited the highway on a curved off-ramp. Ever so slowly--and yet marvelously quickly!--the rear end of the car decided to try to pass the front end, like a scampering puppy whose front paws can't keep up with the back ones. I couldn't tell you which pedal I was kicking at (if at all) or what words were tumbling out of my mouth until I came to a complete stop, but I can tell you that the back end of the car slammed squarely against the guard rail--blessed, precious guard rail--and slowed me down. 30 minutes later, my husband and father-in-law came to collect me, my bumper and my crunched car and drove us all home.

In the days that followed we took a brief trip to Hamilton and back, and I started settling in at my husband's parent's house (possibly while nursing a sore neck). On Saturday we ventured out to find cider donuts and apple cider, because that is what Midwest Autumn tastes like, and it's glorious. Unfortunately, we came home to a slightly altered version of Toby: Scarface edition. We trucked him over to the vet, and one hour later escorted him home with dilated eyes and ten stitches in his cheek. How he managed to gouge his face open while chasing a tennis ball, we may never know. Certain unnamed neighbor children won't be playing unsupervised any more, that's for sure. Toby may not be playing unsupervised any more, either.

This whole major Life Change Transition could be going smoother, is what I'm trying to say.

October 12, 2009

boy do I have updates for YOU.

but until I have time to pull it together, check out the most recent book Yann Martel sent to Stephen Harper. I'm pretty sure I've posted/written about this project of his before, but I find it fascinating and tremendously important. What is Stephen Harper Reading?