Friday, September 30, 2005

The marymuses Confessional: An Activity in Which You Can Participate

I see those numbers going up over on the sidebar, and so I know you're out there, you lurkers, coming by, reading, never commenting. And so today I bring to you an opportunity to step into the more ways than one. First, if you're reading, you need to comment. Today (or whatever day you're reading this), it's required. No exceptions. Whether you're a first time commenter or a repeat customer, step on up. I want to know all your secrets.

Oh, no, wait, I want to know one of your secrets. I'm kind of scared of what some of you may be hiding, and I really don't want to know. What I want is specific information about something we've all been hiding.

We all have favorite songs. We sing them loudly, we sing them proudly, we crank it up with the windows rolled down in the car and we don't really care who hears. Except sometimes, when that one song that we secretly adore but can't admit we can even stomach comes on. It is then that we become grateful for winter and the rolling up of car windows everywhere, providing two layers of glass as a buffer between us, singing loudly along to, for example, that one Michael Bolton number that we happen to know all the words to, and the ears of the public at large.

Maybe the song you sing along to isn't incredibly embarassing, but enough so that if you bought the CD (and I know you bought the CD), you just might consider hiding it in your underwear drawer so that guests will never suspect you have bad taste. Maybe it's so terribly shameful that you only flip through radio stations trying to find it because you wouldn't dare order or download it, even through the seeming anonymity of the internet. Whatever it is, I want to know about it.

So none of you will have to be the first to expose your secret shame, I'll start: Mine is Brandy's "Almost Doesn't Count." I do, in fact, know all the words. I did purchase the CD. It's on my iPod. I'm sure I could rock the house with a karaoke version. But really? Totally embarassed about that one.

All right, then, it's your turn. 'Fess up, people. I don't care who you are or how shy you are; it's time to comment. After all, it's Friday, and it's time for a little bit of fun.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

You May Call Me "Your Dorkness marymuses" If You Want

First, I was transfixed by the windshield wipers on the bus today. Really, they're SO COOL. No, really. Ride the MAX when it's raining; you'll love them.

Second, as I was sitting here checking my e-mail, I thought of a movie I need to put in my Blockbuster Online queue. So I wrote it on my hand so that I can remember to take care of it when I get home. Because I'm not, you know, sitting in front of computer right this second which would allow me to do it right now. Good grief, brain, where have you gone?

It must still be busy thinking about those cool windshield wipers.

A Couple of Tidbits, Pre-7am

Last night I went to bed on time! As in, early enough that I could get the recommended eight hours of uninterrupted sleep! Go, me, go! However, I still felt like I was glued to my bed when the alarm rang this morning. Was that even worth it? I don't think so.

All my pants are a wee bit too big right now, and I need to use a belt, but I hate wearing one--I find it to be uncomfortable. More uncomfortable, however, is the thought that the pants might gap enough in the back when I sit down that strangers could see what kind of underwear I'm wearing. So I capitulated and put one on this morning. I have joined the belt-wearing masses.

Enjoy your Wednesday, kids.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Way I Live: A marymuses Home Tour

Freshly reorganized, but still a little cluttery, my home is ready for viewing. Sort of. What we have here are some blurry photos of the 492 square feet (actual measurement) in which I live. This is it, as it is. I didn't clean for you; I figured it would better if you knew the truth. Come on up, the kettle's on.

home tour:  front door signage

When you come to my front door, this is what you'll see. At this time, I believe it should read: "Felicity Viewing In Progress" or "iTunes Downloading In Progress" or "Napping In Progress" because I don't read much at home anymore; I do that at my own private library, Barnes and Noble. Their chairs are more comfy than mine, and there's a barista on hand.

home tour:  entry and living room

If you look to the right when you enter, you'll see this. Yes, that is a monkey lamp. Also, please note that there is nothing on the top of the desk shelves. It used to be filled with gifts I thought I couldn't get rid of. And now? It has been set free! Hallelujah!

home tour:  the living room

Here we have the living room, including the couch on which I regularly nap. You may ask how I fit, but let me assure you, it is possible. This morning I slept there for 2 1/2 hours. Sublime.

home tour:  the living room

The living room as seen from the opposite corner. I really love that crusty old chair; it once sat outside on a porch for a month, and it still survived. My mother thinks I should trash it; I'm convinced that someday I'll re-upholster it. I think.

home tour:  fabulously organized closet

The finest achievement of Autumn Reorganization 2005 was the organization of my closet. Look! There's room for coats in the there! AND! ALSO! THE FLOOR! OHMYGOODNESS, I CAN SEE PARTS OF MY CLOSET FLOOR! Every time I look in there, I nearly faint from the overwhelming delight. (By the way, I only have one closet; this is the living room side. There is also a door that opens into the bedroom, but I neglected to photograph that side. I assure you, it is fabulously organized on the other side as well.)

home tour:  entry

Exiting the living room will take you right back to the entry. Note the two bags of recycling that are waiting to be taken to an appropriate receptacle. There's also a lint roller so that I can give my clothes a last-minute rolldown as I exit the premises.

home tour:  the bedroom

Just off the entry is the bedroom. The bed is unmade because, well, I never make the bed. Correction: rarely make the bed. If it's your first visit, I'll make the bed in order to put my best foot forward. Otherwise, it doesn't bother me to leave it unmade, and obviously Phae isn't bothered by it either.

home tour:  the bedroom

From the other side now. Those white doors to the built-in cabinet don't shut all the way. Ever. I don't mind.

home tour:  the bathroom

This is my tiny bathroom. It's 4x4 plus a tub. The rust stain in the sink is removable if I use the appropriate chemicals, but it always comes back the next time I run water, so I don't bother to wipe it up unless I'm feeling particularly neurotic. Also, the cup over the spigot is there because that spigot doesn't work as anything but a cup holder. Lucky for me, the cold water side works just fine.

home tour:  the hallway

My hallway. Yes, that is a Hello Kitty wall calendar. I just hung the photos in the hall; I'm not sure if I like them there or not, but I felt really accomplished once the job was done.

home tour:  the kitchen

The kitchen, as seen from the hallway. Those items by the back door are there because they need to be transported to The Scary Basement, and I'm too scared to go by myself. Anyone want to come over for a field trip to my basement?

home tour:  the kitchen

The kitchen from the opposite corner. It's what my aunt calls a "step-saver" kitchen. I can reach the fridge, the stove, and the sink from one spot. Efficient!

home tour:  the office

The office, which also serves as a kitchen annex. And a Felicity-viewing station. And an arts & crafts workroom. It's a multi-purpose room, really.

home tour:  the office

The office/kitchen annex/Felicity-viewing station/arts & crafts workroom from the corner where nothing fits. The green and white cabinet you see was made by my great-grandfather for my great-grandmother. I think it's my favorite piece of furniture.

And that's all, folks. You know the way out, yeah? Take a cookie with you for the road; maybe next time you can stay for tea.

Monday, September 26, 2005

If Jack Turns the Radio Dial to the Classic Rock Station One More Time, I'm Going to Have to Stick Cocktail Forks in my Eyes

Truly, I would rather listen to Mary Liz's song of choice, which is straight from Disney's Pocahontas, which she plays the first third of OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER. I think she's trying to learn the words. (And my neighbor reads this and goes, "Well, that's funny, Mary, I do recall hearing Ron Sexsmith's Wastin' Time OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER from the direction of your apartment all weekend." Room to talk? Uh, not much.)

The days have really been rolling along here. Speaking of forks, stick one in me, I'm done! Almost. With therapy! Tonight is my last appointment, not by my therapist's choice, but by mine. I think it's time. Jane, you've been wonderful, but I can't pay you myself, which bothers me (I'd like to pay all my own bills, no matter what they are), and I'm tired of all the weeping. In all seriousness, I simply feel that it's enough. I feel at peace with what has happened in the past and confident about the future. My life is good right now, despite any snags along the way. Sometimes the past is just the past, and it's worth recognizing and reckoning with the way it affects the present and may affect the future, but it can't be changed. It won't be different no matter how many times I put a name to it, no matter how much I cry about it. I got what I needed (and I did need it) in terms of professional help, and now it is time for me to grapple with these things on my own. I'm glad to be wrapping things up and moving forward.

I am thankful it's autumn. The weather today was (finally!) sublime, cooler but still sunny. Mary Liz and I walked around the city and had a beautiful time. As we rode home on the bus, with Mary Liz teasing and laughing the whole way, I thought, "This life, just like this, with its joy and its sorrow, with its excitement and its drudgery, is most definitely worth living." I hope I can do it justice by living it well.

If He's My Daddy, How'd I End Up So Pasty?

Your Daddy Is George Clinton

What You Call Him: Pa

Why You Love Him: He takes you to church

There Comes a Day When a Girl Must Ask Herself, "Do I Really Need Fifteen Varieties of Lotion?"

For me, that day was today. And so began Autumn Reorganization 2005. I only kept five lotions, in case you're wondering. And only three varieties of lip balm. (Note that I said varieties, not containers; I'd prefer not to reveal how many lip balms I still own. I may have a lip balm, um, problem.) Going against my very nature as a hoarder, I capriciously tossed away items from every room in the house and bagged up clothes and hats for the donation bin. It felt great--so great that I skipped church in order to restore order to my home. Because let's face it: I cannot organize my home without making it first look like a force of nature has struck. The piles take over for a bit, and there's no way, once I'm in the swing of things, that I'm leaving them where they are. There are a few things (*ahem*pizelle iron purchased in 1998 and never used*ahem*) which still need a home within my home, but overall I think I've done a fabulous job. There are no more nasty wire hangers in the closet. The gifts I've been keeping just because they're gifts have been weeded out. The mostly empty bottles of nail polish remover/conditioner/wine/soda/Windex/whatever have been emptied and thrown away. The various bags are out, either in the car to be transported to appropriate donation locations, or on the curb, to be transported to the city dump. Good riddance, I say, and may I never hoard again.

I know, I know. I said it was Autumn Reorganization 2005, not Miraculous Personality Makeover 2005. Still, here's hoping...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Welcome, Welcome, Little One

beautiful baby benjamin
Originally uploaded by marymuses.
Oh, Benjamin, we have been waiting for you, and we are so glad you are here. You are beautiful, and very well-loved already. The wishes come a couple of days late, but: Happy Birthday, Little Muffin. I look forward to watching you grow up.

Aunt Cookie

Friday, September 23, 2005

I Couldn't Think of a Clever Title for This One, So, Yeah, Here Ya Go

As much as I love watching Jack and Mary Liz grow up, I have to admit that I mourn the passing of some of the charming things that they are too grown up to do now. Specifically, I miss all the words they used to say a little bit creatively. When Mary Liz was littler, everything that began with an S or a Z also had a W directly following the first letter. There were zwebras and swandwiches and swecrets, swad swongs and swilliness. On Jack's end, there was injury to replace energy ("I have to take a nap so I can get more injury") and conbububbles to replace convertibles. It was cute and funny and I loved it. But now, well, now we have plain old sandwiches and zebras and convertibles and energy. Boring, no?

However, with age comes greater language sophistication, and with language sophistication comes the ability to assert things that may or may not be true. Such as:

Jack: I have a great idea! I think we should sell things so we can get lots of money, like fifty dollars.
Mary: Well, what are you going to sell, do you think?
Jack: Paper planes!
Mary: Oh, wow. You'll have to sell a lot of paper planes to make fifty dollars.
Jack: NO! They cost fifty dollars! [Insert thinking bubble above Jack's head which reads, "My nanny is a moron who doesn't know anything."]
Mary: For one plane?
Jack: Yes! Isn't that a great idea?
Mary: Well, Jack, unfortunately I don't think people are going to pay fifty dollars for one paper airplane.
Jack: Why not?
Mary: Well, when you're selling something, you have to charge what it's worth, and most paper airplanes are not worth fifty dollars. fifty cents. I would pay fifty cents for a paper airplane.
Jack: I don't think that's enough. [Again, same thinking bubble: Nanny...MORON.]
Mary: Okay, well, maybe you should ask Daddy for a price recommendation, then. That's the kind of thing he's good at.
Jack: Actually, I think I should ask Mommy. She's smarter.
Mary: Smarter than Daddy?
Jack: Yes. I mean, she knows how to get rid of hiccups.

Okay then.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

As Promised, A Photo of Us, Smiling

Kenny Carter makes me look all pasty. Or maybe it was that crappy disposable camera I was using. None of the photos of Ray or Johnny Mayer and The Rest of His Trio turned out, but if you want to see a couple more with me in them, you can click on this one and head on over to flickr.

Things I Forgot to Tell You About That One Time I Saw The Johnny Mayer Trio and Ray LaMontagne at the Uptown

First off, I was surprised and delighted to see my good friend Kenny Carter there. It occurred to me several times that it would be the kind of show he might like, and was hoping he might make it, but I honestly didn't think he'd buy a ticket and show up. He didn't. Someone else bought him a ticket and he showed up. At any rate, there was some joking around about him being my former sugar daddy when I was introduced to the kids he was with, and I asked, "What? You're not still my sugar daddy? I need a Coke." And the man went and got me a Coke. Now that's service. With a smile. Photo forthcoming (not of the Coke, but of us, smiling, duh), once I get that unfortunate piece of plastic and cardboard they call a disposable camera to the store to be developed into something other than a piece of plastic and cardboard with a flash that could blind the masses.

And second, I remembered the funny thing I forgot in the last post. Which isn't as funny now, until you read the comments that Johnny Mayer had about the show, and then maybe it is...maybe...if you're me. But I'll tell you about it anyway, since you already know I'm just a big dork: Between the regular show and the encore, the crowd was going absolutely nuts. At first it was kind of fun, all loud and wild and stuff, but after awhile it really sounded like we'd descended into the seventh circle of hell or something. I mean, it sounded like mass torture. My ears nearly fell off. Turns out, though, that someone else thought it was a "sweet batch of moments." Uh, maybe from backstage. From where I stood: TORTURE OF THE INNOCENTS. ("The innocents" being my ears and maybe even my very soul.)

So there you go. Nothing happening around here today, just our regularly scheduled naptime, which, hey, I'm missing. I've gotta get to that as soon as possible. See you next time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

That Johnny Mayer Puts on a Darn Good Show

Don't blame me for the new name. He sang it in a song ("Go tell everyone what Johnny did" or something or other with some blues to it) and by the end of the evening Nicole was going "Johnny Mayer this..." and "Johnny Mayer that..." so it stuck. No longer John Mayer, but Our Fabulous Friend Johnny.

There were about six girls standing by the entrance to the parking lot after the show, hoping to catch a glimpse of him getting in the limo on the way to the airport. Nicole jokingly suggested that we go join them, but seriously, people, my feet were too tired. I came home instead.

It was a great show overall. Ray LaMontagne's set was far too short, and the people were obviously not into him the way they should have been, as was evidenced by all the chatterchatterchatter (one must be quiet for Ray, QUIET, I SAY), but I can forgive them because I am that big-hearted. They were there for Johnny Mayer, who rocked the house with his new bluesy stuff. I've always thought he put on a good show, but this time it seemed like he was really having a ball, too. Good, good, good show. It was worth the cash for sure, which is saying a lot, seeing as I have very little extra cash these days.

Good show, Johnny, good show.

Now if I could only remember that very funny thing that I was going to tell you but didn't bother to write down...

Monday, September 19, 2005

In Which I Reveal That I Still Hate My Haircut and That I Love Peanut M&Ms

The hair, it is torturing me. I thought I had it under control and manageable, but then it turned on me. For today I'm blaming the weather. And also admitting that I'll probably be using some form of ponytail type of arrangement to keep it under control until the layers can grow enough for me to get it cut the way I like it. (The way I like it being a cut that I don't have to slather with products or blow dry. I don't blow dry. Ever. The last time I used my blowdryer, it was to dry a spot on my shirt after I'd had to do a last minute spot clean. I simply can't be bothered to blow dry. As for the products, I think I've already mentioned the tube of gel I've owned for five whole years.) So ANYway...tonight's do will most likely be called something along the lines of Attack of the Bobby Pins. Good thing I own, like, a thousand of the suckers.

Oh, wait, I haven't yet mentioned, for the record, to preserve the date forever and ever amen, why I might need to do my hair tonight. Some of you know already, but for the rest of you: John Mayer Trio, Ray LaMontagne, Uptown. Need I say more? Nicole and I plan on having a fabulous time, thank you very much for asking. (You did ask, right?)

(Side note: I told my friend Judy about it, and she got all excited because the venue is great and not too big and so very cool and whatnot, and then she totally blew me out of the water by revealing that she had seen Leo Kottke at the Grand Emporium. And she touched him. More than once. When he sat down next to her at the bar to order a drink between sets. Unless John Mayer goes the the concession stand and buys me a Coke tonight, I think I may be forever one-upped by Judy getting the "Hey, how's it going?" from Leo Kottke at the bar at the Grand Emporium. Bitch. (I mean that in the nicest way possible, Judy. Judy? What's that you're doing with your middle finger, Judy?))

Now, the thing you've really been waiting to hear about: peanut M&Ms. I think I need more of them. While visiting friends on Saturday night, one of them mentioned that I might need to buy smaller jeans because, they said, "those are falling right off of you." (Which is totally not true because my butt would not allow that. I think I could go up two sizes and my butt would not allow that. But the jeans were baggy; I'll give 'em that.) I can ascertain two main reasons for the problem. 1) I hadn't washed the jeans for quite some time, so, you know, cotton, relaxing, blah, blah, blah, etc., etc. 2) I've grown lax in my consumption of peanut M&Ms.

Enjoy your Monday evening, people. I know I'll be enjoying mine.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

My Perfect Attendance Streak--RUINED!!

Guess who was sleeping it off (it being the same thing that Jack was sleeping off, which he so kindly passed on) today instead of going to work?? Yup. Yours truly. Fortunately for me, I know all sorts of anti-vomit techniques, so I did not participate in the vomiting portion of the illness. I participated in the "call in sick for the first time in the three and a half years I've worked for this family" portion of the illness, and the "can't sit up entirely straight without feeling woozy" portion, as well as the "wide awake most of the night with symptoms" portion. I'm feeling a bit better, but still feel mostly like sleeping or watching movies from the pallet I set up using my couch cushion and various pillows on the floor of my office. (This is one time I totally miss having an actual television.) To look forward to: The "maybe I can eat that, but I don't have the energy to make it for myself" portion and the "good grief I'm bored" portion. Fun times, kids, fun times.

Stay well; I might need you to bring me something.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Happy, Healthy, Feel Fantastic, BOY AM I ENTHUSIASTIC!

Okay, not so much, really, but I thought you might like it if I gave it a try.

Jack is home again, this time thanks to a new illness involving vomit. Fortunately for me, I was not around for the vomit, just for the sleeping-it-off part. Whew. Dodged it on that one.

I am, however, around for Grandma to tell me about the evils of milk for sick children (an old wives' tale dating back to 1902) and how her salad from last night is still sitting right here. (She pats the area right below her throat and asserts again, "Right here.") Earlier today the kids' mom called to do a sanity check (mine, not Grandma's--we already know she's crazy), so I took the call upstairs in order to, well, hide from Grandma while I was on the phone. I came back down to check on Grandma and the kids (though really, the kids are the least of my worries--they know how to behave when I'm taking a phone call, and know they'll catch some consequences if they don't), and she says, "I was looking for you to tell you to make the kids lunch if you want to, but I couldn't find you." Well, duh, Grandma, that's because I was hiding from you so I could tell stories about you behind your back. Sheesh, can't a girl get some privacy?

Speaking of privacy, with Grandma here, the children seem to have forgotten about a lot of our rules and procedures, the one that troubles me most being the one that goes: Thou shalt not bother the nanny whilst she is using the facilities. Thou shalt wait until she exits said facilities to announce your need or ask your question. I haven't entered the bathroom once without a little voice on the other side of the door going, "Maaaaaarrrryyyy????????"

I also find all sorts of completely rude comments running through my mind when I am dealing with Grandma. For example, yesterday we were shopping for a dress for her to wear to a wedding (which we didn't find--BIG SURPRISE), and she starts looking through a rack of dresses for her size. The dress she was checking looked a little too, um, youthful to suit her, so I asked, "Grandma, do you like that dress?" To which she replied, "No, it's not my style." I see. So then why the HELL are you looking for your size? WHY, GRANDMA, WHY??

Then we have the restaurant, where, without looking at the menu, she says, "I just don't know if they'll have anything I like." And the menu is extensive. With lots of variety. Of lots of things. And substitutions possible for everything. If she'd been a child in my care, I would have said, "Well, then we can go home and you can have peanut butter." But she's an adult. With opinions. Which she airs loudly because she's, you know, deaf as a post. Pity.

And also? I think the printer is possessed.

As soon as she's exited the kitchen, I am SO sneaking downstairs to take a nap.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Someone Else's Grandma is Back in Town

Okay, so: Jack and Mary Liz's grandma is in town from Brooklyn, and since the pediatrician recommended that Jack stay out of school an extra day after being sick all weekend, Jack, Grandma, and I took a little spin on the Plaza. Grandma always wants to buy a few presents for the kids, so we went to Barnes and Noble to pick up some of the Brio trains that Jack likes. At the cash register, the cashier gave Grandma the total, but Grandma couldn't hear her, so Jack decided to explain, and Grandma did not disappoint in her demonstration of the problem:

Jack: You have to talk really loud to Grandma because she doesn't hear so good.
Grandma: What's that you said, Jack?

And here's another exchange, this time at Tomfooleries:

Grandma: What's your soup today?
Waiter: Turkey and rice.
Grandma (looking puzzled): Is it potato?
Waiter: Um, sure. Would you like a bowl or a cup?
Grandma: I want the potato soup.
Waiter: looks at me, eyebrows raised
Me: She'll have a bowl.

Gosh, we're sure having a lot of fun!!! Heh. Heh. Heh.

(Please note that I did not complain one little bit in this post. Not one bit. I deserve a chocolate brownie sundae for that one, let me just TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT. Except I can't, because that would be complaining, and I am trying not to complain. I think I need a nap...)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Playing Catch Up: The Experiment Update for Months Eight and Nine

Originally uploaded by marymuses.
Wonder what this whole experiment thing is about? Click here to get the scoop from the very beginning.

I left you hanging for month eight, as I was taking a little blogging break then, but I'll try to sum up today for both months. I'm going to focus on food, as clothing hasn't been a huge struggle. I did have a brief fling with the Gap's return policy (you can even wash 'em and still bring 'em back!), but other than that, I've been happy with what is in my closet. I am grateful to have so much, especially seeing the images lately of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, of knowing that there are many people who left everything behind while I sit in a dry apartment, with all my clothes still hung neatly in my closet.

So. Here's what's up in the food department:

It's been a couple of very busy, very, um, let's see...let's call them challenging months. I have never been so forlorn yet so well-cared-for in all my life. I might as well not have been doing an experiment, what with going on vacation to Pikes Peak (all cheeseburgers and fudge, all the time) and with all of you showing up and feeding me so often, not to mention sending me food in the mail and slipping me dollars meant for buying treats. And the Starbucks gift cards: Those were like gold. I have been very well fed, not only in the physical sense, but in terms of care. Thank you all so very, very much. I have experienced much generosity these past two months. Enough that you'd think that these months, of all the months, I wouldn't cheat. Except that I did. With ice cream. I confess, and I am sort of sorry I did it. Sort of. And then there's Starbucks. I did add an "in case of emergency" clause to my Official Experiment Rules, but I think I may have over-stepped my bounds. Still: I'm making progress. I continue to eat what is in my cabinets before buying more food. To keep in mind for the next shopping trip: Buy less cereal. I currently have six boxes of dry cereal and three boxes of oatmeal in the cabinet. The cereals have officially overwhelmed all other foods, and have become fodder not only for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but all points in between. But I am happy to eat them. I am content to cook up all the beans and freeze them into individual servings. I am thrilled to have pasta with a little olive oil and some parmesan. I look forward to the next three months and what they will bring.

Until next time...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

marymuses and the Haircut of DOOM

my new haircut
Originally uploaded by marymuses.
On Thursday I made an appointment at a salon to have my hair cut by a girl who cuts a friend's hair. My friend's hair always looks really cute, so I thought, "Hey, why not?" I found a picture of what I wanted and went in to have it done. And it was great.

Um, or not. Mostly not.

Because, people? She did not cut my hair like the picture. At ALL like the picture. She cut it like a bouffant with walrus tusks protruding out the front. And she used thinning shears, which may not sound so bad, but if you saw the short bits of hair sticking up on the top of my head, which I have to plaster down with smoothing serum, you would know that the thinning shears are a nightmare. I did not authorize the use of thinning shears. Everywhere else I've gone to get my hair done, the stylist has asked before he or she used thinning shears. (And I've always said, "NO!" so they never used the thinning shears. Untouched, my hair was, by the dreaded thinning shears.) The crowning glory of it all was at the end when she said, "I didn't really cut it like the picture, I cut it cuter than that."

Excuse me???

I wanted to go, "WOMAN! It looks like I have walrus tusks growing out of the front of my hair! What do you mean you 'cut it cuter than that'???" But I didn't because I'm nice and also a wimp who can't say, "I hate those things that look like walrus tusks, please fix it." So instead I used office scissors and trimmed the walrus tusks off in the bathroom at work. And then I went and bought some smoothing serum so I could smooth the crap out of my hair every day, twice a day. That's right, kids, I, Mary, the girl who has owned the same tube of Aussie Natural Gel for the past five years, have to use product on my hair. Every day. Usually more than once. And I do not like it, Sam I Am. I do not like it with a fox, I do not like it in a box. So I'm also resorting to using a styling method I like to call The Bandanna. The Bandanna is perfect for errands, movies, and housecleaning. It is not, however, perfect for birthday parties.

And so on Friday night before attending a birthday party, I smoothed (and smoothed and smoothed and smoothed) the smoothing serum through my hair, and the look in the photo is what I ended up with. Not too shabby, especially with added make-up. (Added make-up, which, I might add, is not added often because I have yet to find make-up that does not cause such a level of discomfort as to make me want to claw it off my face within 3.2 hours of application. But that's beside the point.) I guess I looked nice enough because the next day my friend Nicole called just to tell me that she thought I looked beautiful, and that she couldn't believe she'd let me get away without telling me so. How nice is she? So very nice.

I'm feeling much better about my haircut.

(But I still don't like using product. So there.)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

It Was Worth It. No, Really, It Was. I Thoroughly Enjoyed the Fruits of my Toil.

Really, all I wanted to do was to watch a movie. Since becoming a member of Blockbuster Online, I've been getting these free rental coupons to use in the store every month, but I've never used one. So I thought, "Hey! I can print one of those out, stop into the store on the way to the grocery, and come home with a movie. No, WAIT! Two movies! Because this second coupon says I can get one of their previously viewed DVDs for FREE. To KEEP." I got a little excited, printed the coupons, and headed out. As part of my new plan to put fewer miles on the car and save the enviroment all at the same time, I determined that I would walk. After all, both Blockbuster and the grocery are within easy walking distance, and it wasn't like I was bringing home canned goods and a watermelon or anything.

So I slipped into Blockbuster, made my selections (one to rent and watch immediately, one to KEEP), and went to the counter. Where the employee asked for my Blockbuster card. "Oh, I don't have one," I told him, "I'm just an online member."

"Well, we can't process your coupons without an account number. Do you know what your account number is?"

"Um, no. You can't just input my name from the coupon?"

"Well...." (At this point he's dialing his manager, and I'm hearing things like, "I know. I've never heard of it, no, she doesn't have a card to any store....yeah....just don't know either??") "Ma'am, I'm sorry, but we need your account number."

"I guess I can go home and look it up online. Can you hold my movies? I walked here; it might take a little bit."

So I walk the half mile home, log into my Blockbuster account, and discover that, hey wait, there's no account number. You have to get that at the store and then type it in to link it to your account. So I call the store and ask if there's any way I can apply for the card over the phone since I was just there and I'll have to enter the number into my computer. The lady says, "No, sorry ma'am, but you'll have to walk back over here, fill out the form, get your card, then go back home to enter the number into your online account so that the store account and the online account will be linked and you can actually use the coupon. And, no, we don't have online access in our stores so we can take care of it here, and no it won't work to use the coupons if the accounts are not linked." Okay, well, maybe she didn't say it quite like that, but still. And did I mention that Blockbuster is half a mile away? I did? Well, let me tell you again: Blockbuster is half a mile away.

At this point a normal person would either give it up for the evening or resort to driving, but I was committed both to rotting my brain by watching a pointless romantic comedy and to walking my errands. And so I walked back to the store. And I filled out the application. And I got my card. And I walked home. And I linked the accounts. And I went back to the store, where I picked up both the free DVD and my selection for the evening, which was...

Which was...

(Oh, dear, this is so embarassing...)

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

I know.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Can You Feel the Excitement?

Okay, me neither. Not yet, anyway. But it's coming.

Nearly a year ago, I decided to start a small photography business. I went to two major retailers and purchased all my electronic gadgetry. By the time I was done, the amount of merchandise in my car was worth twice as much as the car itself. I had a small moment of panic in which I thought, "Should I take this all back right now?" And then I drove it all home and heaved it upstairs and put it all together. Even if I didn't make much money on my venture, I decided that it would be all right if I could just pay off the business debt within one year. If worse came to not-so-bad, the business wouldn't have flourished, but I'd be clear on the debt and would have all this fun stuff to play with besides. And guess what?

The date was September 14, 2004. In just over a week, on September 14, 2005, (that's right, exactly one year later) I will mail the final check to pay off my business start-up costs. Even though I haven't had a whole lot of business and the business itself, has, in fact gone in different directions than I anticipated, the one thing I truly wanted from the beginning has come to pass.

How cool is that?

(I think I might be starting to feel the excitement. How about you?)

(By the way, I'm totally crediting God on this one. I stink at sticking to a strict budget, but somehow still I never lack for any good thing.)

(Maybe that last part shouldn't have been a "by the way." God does deserve a lot of credit. But I don't like to beat people over the head with God. I think that most times He's gentler than that, and so I should be, too. That said, I will say: Thanks, God.)

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

You May Want to Sit Down for This One

Because I, Mary, who loves cookies nearly as much as anything else on God's green earth, am sitting within reach of some fresh-baked, still-warm, delectable sugar cookies, and I am eating cantaloupe. Which I don't even really like so much as I tolerate it for the sake of its health-enhancing properties.

You fell right out of your chair, didn't you? For heaven's sake, please recover from the shock quickly in order that you might make note of how dedicated I am, in this very moment, to proper nutrition.

The angels sang, the peasants rejoiced, hallelujah.

(Do you think it's okay to have a cookie now, or would that just totally ruin the moment?)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Some Thoughts on Labor (Day)

I woke up this morning a little depressed. No big reason, really, that I could think of, just the idea of a day stretching before me for which I had nothing planned. I contemplated rolling over and pulling the covers over my head one more time, but instead scooted out of bed and into my flipflops. I sat down to check my e-mail and some blogs, and soon realized why I was depressed: I wanted some work to do.

What??? It's a national holiday on which I can sleep in as late as I want and I wanted to do some work???

Fortunately for me, there is plenty to do around here. As I swept and emptied trash and returned things to their homes that had gotten lost in other parts of the apartment, I mused as to why I might want so much to get some things done and even to find more to do once the obvious things were completed. And here is my conclusion: We were designed to work. It is part of the natural order of things, part of the balance. Too much play can make Jack a dull boy just as much as too much work can. A life full of doing nothing but recreational pursuits is a life void of real purpose, and we will soon feel the ill effects, whether it be by experiencing financial hardship (an overt effect) or loss of dignity (more covert, and harder to put a finger to--no one wants to say, "I've lost my self-respect because I'm too dang lazy").

In a country where overwork is common, I sometimes hesitate to sing the praises of good, hard work, but it's also a country in which laziness has taken root. I would guess that there are many of us who fall more to one side or the other, when what we really need is a balance. We need work for our hands to do in order that our rest may be earned and truly enjoyed. We need work as a means of purpose. I'm not talking career here; I'm talking just doing something constructive with our hands and hearts and minds, avoiding falling idle. There is a big difference, I think, between idleness and rest. Here's to a happy Labor Day and to figuring out the balance. I'm off to do the dishes...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Relief in the Checkout Line

Add to your grocery list:

Donation for hurricane relief

For those of you in the Kansas City area, I know that local Price Choppers have little coupons that you can have them scan to give $1, $5, or $10 as you are buying the rest of your groceries, and I'm sure many other stores are doing the same. As much as we shouldn't let convenience drive our generosity, I think it's great that the opportunity to give exists in a place that most people will be anyway. Even if you've given elsewhere, I encourage you to add a little something to your grocery tally next time you're shopping.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Just Something Curious and Then A Little Story About What Happened When I Looked at my Citibank Online Account

1. Every time I hear London mentioned, or see it on a map, or on the world clock feature of my phone, I feel an ache deep in my chest that travels up the back of my neck, through my head, and to my eyes, making them tear up, and it is intense enough sometimes to cause me to put my hand to my chest and close my eyes tightly. Nothing else does this to me. Nothing. Weird.

2. When I finally braved the Citibank website today to see the total vacation expenditure tally, I gasped, made a choking noise (G-A-A-A-A-A-A-C-C-K-K, or somesuch), and fell over and died. The end.