Eyebrow Wax, Anyone?

I went to get a pedicure with my mom, niece, and daughter this week. We haven’t done it in a while, and it was so much fun hanging out with them. My niece– a stunning 15-year old– has grown into quite an amazing young lady, especially since she was only 11 last year.

My experience was better than theirs, though. I had the best nail tech ever. It was absolutely fabulous. Here are highlights from conversations with the lady who was doing mine:

Conversation #1
LADY: You need wax eyebrows?
ME: No, thank you.
LADY: No, you NEED wax eyebrows. I will do.
ME: No. I like my eyebrows the way they are.
LADY: [looks at me with the you-are-a-crazy-lady look]

Conversation #2
LADY: You have too much. [pointing to my heels and tut-tut-tutting]
ME: Pardon?
LADY: [showing me the dead skin in the callous-removal-tickle-torture device] You have too much. You need to put vaseline and socks. [shakes head with disbelief]

Conversation #3
LADY: [leading me to the front] You sure you don’t need eyebrows?
ME: I’m pretty sure I don’t.
LADY: [looks at me with the you-are-a-crazy-lady look again]

I know that some people would find this offensive, but I don’t. I figure that she cared enough about my beauty to get a little bit tetchy about it. Plus, it gave me wondrous blog fodder.

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My first post since January and it is one about a pedicure. WTF? I have had tons of ideas, just not the time to sit and write them down. They’re still running around in my brain and will come out soon. Enjoy this in the meantime. I know I did. 🙂

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Dunkin’ Donuts Drama

Earlier this week I was sitting in Dunkin’ Donuts, drinking some tea, and trying to get caught up on my homework. It is usually a fairly serene place to pretend like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. There are few things to distract me from surfing the internet… ummm… I mean answering discussion posts that aren’t really like discussions but more like people trying to prove that they are smarter than everyone else but that doesn’t make me bitter oh no it doesn’t.

This day was different. There was a young lady sitting in the corner working on her homework just like me. Okay, maybe not *just* like me. She didn’t have a computer and was actually using paper and highlighters. Crazy, right? She paused in her pursuit of learning and made a phone call. Here was her LOUD side of the conversation:

“So (insert name here) told me that you were looking for friends with benefits with her. Is that true?”

[pause]

“Well, I didn’t think so. I told her that there is no way that you would do that. I told her that we were engaged and you would never do that to me.”

[pause]

“Don’t get mad at me for asking! I just wanted to make sure. I figured that she was just confused with the old you. Why would I believe her?”

And more along those lines. You could tell that the person on the other end was getting more and more defensive. Finally, she finished the conversation. Then, when she was done, she made another phone call and was talking about how someone had a disease — not sure what it was exactly– and that she would be pissed off if she had it too. There are so many inferences I could have made from the conversation.

Thank goodness I had my back to her, because I would have embarrassed myself. I was uncomfortable but entirely too amused for polite company. I couldn’t help myself. I awkwardly chuckled. I couldn’t believe that she felt that Dunkin’ Donuts was the appropriate place for conversations like that.

It got me thinking, though, about the differences in generations. Very few people who share my age bracket would have done as she did. Most of us would take conversations like those and conduct them in privacy– or at least not loudly. My teenage students have no such compunction. They share entirely too much for my comfort. They share everything on their tumbly-thing, bookface, tweeters, and whatever else social media they use.

(Putting on my grumpy old lady pants) YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME SECRETS! Nobody should ever know that much about you. It’s like not buying the cow because you’re getting the milk for free. Or judging a book by its cover. Or some other cliche that fits better than the ones I came up with. It just isn’t right and it makes other people (me, at least) uncomfortable. (Taking off my grumpy old lady pants)

Or maybe I am wrong. Maybe having everything out there is better than keeping secrets. Maybe full disclosure will help solve the worlds ills.

What do you think?

Lost Words

My body aches when I don’t write.  My shoulders tense up. My hands grasp at the words they want to put down. My stomach feels the pressure of the ideas that need to get out but cannot. My heart hurts with words unspoken, a longing for expression, a desire for release. My brain doesn’t stop spinning the ideas, plates balanced on sticks that continuously reduce centimeter by centimeter, concepts on the verge of destruction through lack of attention, through lack of time.

I long for time alone. A place for my stories and I to get to know each other. A place where there is no seven-year old saying, “Mom. Mom. Mom.” A place where the only things that draw on my energy are my words, the words that so desperately want to get out and tell their stories. A place to dress up words, to dance with sentences, to pull back the curtain and begin blocking the show. A place where I can be alone. Alone.

What I need is so elusive. I can’t seem to find it. I don’t even know where to look.

Then I wonder if I am just making excuses, if I’m not really a writer. After all, if I wanted to do it, I would make it happen. Reading about what a “real” writer does makes me feel like a fraud. The solutions seem so simple.  Just set aside some time every day and write, no matter what. Set up a writing sanctuary where you can be alone with your thoughts. If you are a true writer, you won’t be able to not write. Instead of wasting time, you should be writing. You should be writing. You. Should. Be. Writing.

It really isn’t that simple. Things are so busy, I have to choose between writing and family. Writing and teaching. Writing and sleeping. I know where my priorities have to be right now. I am responsible for my sweet daughter. I am responsible for keeping up my end of my marriage. I am responsible for helping 170 teenagers to become critical thinking members of society. I am responsible for my own health and need for slumber. You’d think that would be enough for my brain to handle.

Yet the desire to write, the ravenous need to put words to paper, overrides all reason. I tremble with pent up inspiration, my words whirling, colliding together, trying to break through. I wonder if it will finally break me.

Save them All

“At least yours is nice. This one here’s nothing but trouble,” said the woman indicating a young girl sitting next to her. This girl couldn’t have been older than 10. The girl’s eyes flashed and her face hardened. Her lips tightened into a line and her body tensed.

I mumbled something about how hard it is to grow up and that kids mature over time, putting on my best parent/teacher conference face– the one that helps me get out of conferences where the parent starts yelling at their child. My daughter and I moved forward in the line; my eyes avoiding any contact with hers.

“This one has had everything handed to her. She doesn’t know how to work for anything.”

“Hmmm.” And because I can’t keep my mouth shut when I see a child being torn down instead of built up, I said, “They usually outgrow it. I teach high school and I see it all the time.”

“Oh, really,” the woman said and asked me what school I taught at. “You won’t want this one in your class.  She’s 11 and she never goes to school. We can’t get her to. She’s rude and hard to deal with.”

creative commons license: apdk

I want to save them all.

I could see the girl’s body language go back and forth. She cycled through anger, dejection, frustration, and despair. I wanted to gather her in my arms and tell her that she *is* good inside and that she could find it if someone helped her. Instead, I just held on to my daughter tightly. Stealing other people’s children is frowned upon, even if you don’t think they’re getting treated correctly.

I was rescued from further interaction with the unfortunate family by the person behind the counter asking me if I wanted rice or lo mein. We got our food (which was delicious, btw) and sat down to eat. I listened to my daughter ramble on about her day, making appropriate noises when necessary and enjoying her company.

I couldn’t get the little girl out of my head. One of the comments that the woman made– that they couldn’t get her to go to school — hit that part of me that hates it when parents don’t take responsibility for their children. I understand that it can be difficult. I really do. I’ve seen some really good parents struggling with their children. The difference is that they take responsibility.

I don’t understand how adults can’t get an 11 year old to school. It baffles me.

My mom was a single mom and we were latch-key kids. We went to school. There was no question about it. Even though she had to work hard to make sure that we had food to eat, raising us was always her first priority. If we got into trouble at school, she made sure that she was there. She built us up without making us arrogant. We knew how to behave appropriately. My mom was a responsible parent and she raised me to be a responsible adult.

I know I don’t know the whole story behind what is happening with this little girl and her family. I try really hard not to be judgmental (and fail sometimes), but I don’t think the answer lies in humiliating a child in a public place by talking badly about her.

When will people learn that shaming doesn’t help? It builds resentment and destroys trust.

Remembering

I realize that my posts have been few and far between and, when I do post, they aren’t the most upbeat. I guess I am in a time of reflection, but I do believe that it is passing. I’ve already got many ideas about fun and happy things to write about. Until then, I’m going to leave you with this.

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Today we went to the Veteran’s cemetery where my father-in-law is buried. We wanted to see the holiday wreaths that decorated the headstones. Our plan was to drive through, not stopping. When we got to where Bill is buried, my munchkin wanted to visit his grave. Even though it wasn’t part of our plan.

My daughter walked (almost) straight to his grave. She was so happy to see it. She hugged the headstone, laying her head on top of it. When she was done, she gave it a kiss. Then she popped up like a typical six-year old and bounced off, light and happy.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve felt that cemeteries are morbid places. I don’t really find comfort visiting them. It amazes me that my daughter feels closer to her grandfather when she visits his grave. It is a concrete reminder that her grandfather was really there and that he loved her completely. Going to visit him is easier with her there.

I’ve always wanted to be cremated. I don’t think that putting my body in the ground is a good use of our limited land resources. I wanted to be cremated and forgotten. I didn’t want any sort of memorial headstone or marker to remind people that I was alive. I thought that the memories of me would be enough.

I think I’ve changed my mind. Maybe my daughter or husband or whoever may be comforted by a physical reminder of my presence on this planet. Maybe I was being selfish because of my own views of cemeteries. It’s something to think about.

Zombie Kitteh Will Eat Your Face

Awww. Such a cutie-pie!

This is Frodo, our new-ish kitten. He looks innocent, doesn’t he?

Appearances can be deceiving.

One night (morning?) at 3:00, he crawled up next to me on the bed purring loudly. I love snuggly cats but I’ve not had one in a long time so this was exciting to me. His little whiskers tickled my faced as he moved closer. I figured that he would just rub against me and then settle down for a good sleep. I laid there, waiting to see what my cuddly, itty-bitty kitty would do next. Then, I felt a tongue in my nose, literally. He was trying to find something in my nostril with his tongue. It was not at all enjoyable; cat tongues are quite rough and- yuck- in my nose! I reached up to pull him away but, before I could, something startling happened.

The little turkey bit my nose! Not just a little nip, oh no, not for this fella. He was full on gnawing on the tip of it. The zombie kitteh was trying to eat my face!

Luckily, I was awake enough to not throw him across the room. I gently took him and placed him on the floor by my bed and tried to go back to sleep. This is when I discovered that my little Frodo furball is a zombie. He is not the typical zombie in search of brains, though. He mindlessly seeks nostrils and the tips of noses. Obsessively, even. It usually takes about five times removing him from the zombie-feeding zone before he gives up. It has been four weeks and he still does it three or four times a week.

Have you ever had a zombie pet? How long did it take for the face eating to cease? Do you think the rules from Zombieland would help? Cuz I’m getting a little bit desperate.

I’ll see you in your nightmares!