Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ode to the Imperfections

In this era in which I’m seeing more and more people with faces frozen in perpetual surprise, I’m sort of liking some of my imperfections. Is that weird of me?

Maybe. And I don’t mean all of my imperfections, either. The truth is, I have jowls that could use a support garment. But there’s some other stuff on my body that I’ve grown sort of fond of, in a way. Battle scars, I guess you could call them.

For example, I have a scar that I'm sorry to say is fading because it makes me laugh. You know the sit com joke about the shirt with the iron print burned on? I have an iron print—the tip of one—burned on my arm. I tried to iron while watching a movie with a cute guy in it and got distracted.

Then there’s the extra rib. After an x-ray, I was told by a solemn-faced doctor that I have an extra rib on one side. He carefully explained that it shouldn’t make me feel…you know…freakish. He said it as though he clearly thought it should. In my mid-thirties, I was just old enough that it made me laugh and exclaim that, to be honest, I am a bit freakish.

When I was a kid, I knew a Girl-with-No-Bone in her pinkie toe. Only cartilage. I always admired the fact that she had sense enough not to be bothered by it, and if you asked her, she would take off her shoe and bend it every which way like a fake rubber toe. It was so cool. Funny how we don’t always get smarter when we age, isn’t it?

I had another friend with an extra nipple. She was a teeny bit embarrassed by it, but she did show certain people if you asked her right. Frankly, I was unimpressed. It was on her stomach and didn’t have an areola or anything. Really it just looked like a flesh colored mole.

So anyway, today I noticed another one of my mutations is back. I think generally my eyebrows are pretty normal, but if you look closely, they are very long and sparse. Occasionally I get this freakishly long one. I blame the Scottish side of my family. Have you ever noticed some of those Scottish guys have eyebrows that look like somebody took a golf club and lobbed a couple of small animals at their foreheads? I must have the female version. Anyway, I tweeze this thing out, but then it slowly grows back until it’s so long that it really needs its own hairstylist.

One of my new year’s resolutions is to add photographs, so here goes. Below, for your viewing pleasure, is my Mutant Eyebrow Hair. I had to add it to its own post because otherwise it wanted to go to the top of the post, and that just ruined the suspense.

I haven’t talked to my old friend in years by the way. Maybe I will write her and ask her if she still bends her toe for people in that cool way. I hope she does.

"…I was merely reading the Muggle magazines. I do love knitting patterns." ~ Albus Dumbledore

Mutant Eyebrow Hair

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Coat for When Hell Freezes Over

It’s supposed to get cold here this week, so I took my daughter out for a winter coat. She is a teenager, and she hates coats.

When she was a child, she hated shoes. Hated them. Shoe shopping was such a nightmare that I used to threaten to put duct tape on her feet to get her into school. She had one pair in the world she would wear, and I drove all over town trying to find that brand and style in every possible color.

The coat was like that.

I think we really did see every coat at the mall. It was not allowed to be: too long, too short, or a weird color. It couldn’t have shoulder pads, even small ones. One had “funny pleaty things that stick out.”

It couldn’t make her look like an FBI agent. Or on the way to a board meeting. Or a safari. Or look like one that her childhood Madeline doll wore (she was right about that one). Woe to the coat that made her look pregnant, fat, or like she was "wearing a dead weasel" around the shoulders.

It couldn’t have weird sleeves, oddly sized or colored buttons, or any other outstanding embellishments. The collar could be neither too big nor too small. It couldn’t be tweed. It couldn’t be leather. No plaid. No hound’s-tooth.

I asked her what she would wear. She said, “One like that girl’s.” But when I asked where this girl was, my daughter clammed up—wisely sensing that I was to the point where I would have tackled the girl and ripped the coat right off of her. Then my daughter said she wanted a coat that looked like she’d just come from skiing in the Alps. Lederhosen? No lederhosen. A ski jacket, then. But no, ski jackets are too puffy. They’d make her look fat.

As we were leaving—hot, tired, crabby, and sans coat, she took one more look at the very first ones we had seen. She tried on the one I had secretly dubbed “The British Rock Star.” It had been overlooked because the buttons were too shiny, even though I’d assured her I would personally rip the buttons off with my teeth and sew on whatever buttons she wanted.

In the end, she forgave the shiny buttons, even. It is perfect on her. My daughter, the British Rock Star.

I had it wrapped in plastic, but she took it out and wore it home.

Maybe it’ll be like the sparkly purple snow boots she got when she was nine. She loved them so much, she wore them to bed for days.

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New and Improved! Farewell, Pepto Pink!

I thought this was a little easier on the eyes...and stomach. Tell me what you think.

In the meantime, I promise I can blog about something other than vomitus, but I just have to get this one last thing out of my system as it were:

Practically Scientific Chocolate Study
I was curious to see if I could eat chocolate again.

I long ago decided that it would not be a bad thing if I developed an aversion to chocolate. So every time I was exposed to stomach flu or thought I might have a chance of throwing up later, I’d be sure to eat some. I once ate expired baking chocolate rooted out from the back of my pantry. But wait…that might have just been an ordinary day, come to think of it. But I know for sure on at least one occasion, I rushed out and bought some with the specific intent of later blowing chocolate chunks.

This went on for years. The only thing I determined was that chocolate is apparently a very reliable puke-preventative.

Except with the aforementioned barfing episode. Amazingly enough, I ate chocolate on New Year’s Eve. In fact, if color is an indication, and I find it usually is with puke, chocolate came up in the very first round.

So, what did my almost scientific chocolate-hurling experiment prove? Drum roll…………...............................................Are you kidding? This is chocolate we’re talking about. Chocolate!

Nevertheless, here’s what I’m telling myself. It just didn’t “take” this time because the chocolate had been consumed too early on. I’m convinced that it needs to be freshly swallowed chocolate. Which means, of course, that next time I will have to have chocolate ready to go at a moment’s notice.

“The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives the hurt.” ~ Max Lerner

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It is now three days post-puking, and I have a flat stomach.

I had to announce that, because it’s not going to last long. Not such a bad thing, I’ve decided, to start the year cleansed and purified. I can now call it a "cleansing" since my face is no longer thrust into a receptacle that was never made for the end of a human being which contains items such as a nose and mouth.

I haven’t had coffee for three whole days (which would explain the headache), or chocolate, or any of my other addictions.

The book signing was wonderful, by the way. I don’t know when I’ve ever laughed so hard or met so many nice people.

P.S. I couldn't find a feature that asks me for my favorite quotations, so I am going to add a quote of the day.

Today's: “The fire of anger burns only the angry.” ~Confucius

Friday, January 2, 2009

Not-So-Fun Thing for Losers to Do on New Year's Day:

Barf repeatedly.

I spent the first day of the new year curled in a fetal position in a nest of sorts made out of bathroom rugs piled under my toilet, with my head smashed against the tub, in between bouts of sickness spewing from various orifices. What I kept thinking is how you can really see new kinds of dirt from that perspective. Specifically, I was wondering how on earth black dog hair gets piled so thickly along my baseboards when my dog won’t go in a bathroom.

He was a rescue dog who had clearly been locked in bathrooms a lot as a puppy in his first home. Almost 13 years later, he still won’t go into a bathroom. But clearly, his hair will.

Anyway. It was a gastro-intestinal virus and not a hangover, I swear. I feel sort of ripped off. I’m really not a drinker these days. At first I’d thought it was my shrimp contribution to the dinner, but everyone ate some and no one else got sick. Plus the friend who hosted the get-together assured me that “stomach flu” is going around and her son had it not long ago. Bleah.

My dog was much more concerned about me than my daughter was. He even stopped by the bed several times to check my breathing by sniffing my nose and mouth with a worried look on his face. Big shock to open your eyes to a cold dog nose. Then he came and squeaked toys in my general direction. I couldn’t tell if this was a celebration of some sort or an assumption that I should play with him as long as I was breathing and all.

Today I can cross my house to put in a load of laundry without having to stop and lie down on the floor to rest several times on the way.

Here is what the Magic Eight Ball said, by the way. I did not drop it from a step ladder, but it still managed to be too bubbly to read the first time. I am for some reason compelled to shake it like it’s a can of V-8, even though as a 3rd grader my daughter instructed me in proper Magic Eight Ball consultation. “You have to wave your arms,” she said, “like this,” and she demonstrated a grand flourish. While doing this, she told me to say (with equal grandeur), “OH, Great Eight Ball! Please answer this question…!”

I consider it a good thing I couldn’t read it the first time, because I’m pretty sure the first word was “Don’t,” and that just doesn’t sound good.

So I tried again without shaking it up so much. This time it said, “Ask again later.” Wimp.

So I did. The third time was indeed a charm, especially since I’d recalled the proper procedure by then. I drew the words out and gave them lots of feeling, just as she’d taught me. “OOOHHH Great Eight Ball! Will 2009 be a good year for me?!”

So, it’s definitely official. 2009: “Outlook good.”