Tag Archives: life

I gave up Facebook, and I feel fine.

Yes, at first the habit of signing in and seeing what everyone I know (knew?) had been up to while I slept, made itself felt.  But I was spending far too much time there, so I stayed away.  After approximately two weeks I forgot about FB, except when something I’m interested in wants me to sign in through FB, or worse, my favorite local nursery’s website is a FB page.

Posting on FB had ups and downs.  Do I always post happy stuff I wondered.   I survived lectures about posting protest types of comments.  One was said with a little laughter at my expense, suggesting that I wasn’t enlightened enough.  A lot of my acquaintances were in the realm of woo-woo, which can be wonderful, until it isn’t.  Until they tell you the things they see in your aura without having been asked, and it’s never good.

Every time the news posted something about the lack of privacy on FB my inner Ron Swanson would go on high alert.

Do I care how many people “Like” a particular post?  Sometimes, and I questioned that and was not thrilled with my answer.  More frustrating was the lack of human responses beyond a “like” or an emoji.  I also don’t appreciate seeing other people’s food that doesn’t involve a professional food stylist.  Don’t they see that it looks like dry vomit or fresh road kill?  If it’s delicious, tell me about that, with words.

I’m happy to say I never developed an inner grammar police.  I’d see the typos or errors, stop, double check I understood the meaning and keep going.  Not everyone got an A in English.  Some folks speak several languages, but English wasn’t their first so naturally, there are mistakes.

Then there are the comments I didn’t post because, well, family.

It wasn’t just my family, it was his family too.

FB was useful for instant messaging, but then I found myself using that more than the main page.  Don’t I have a phone that can text?  Why yes I do.  And all the while FB is prodding me to update photos, to post a new comment.  It dawned on me that I had more acquaintances than friends.  I started a new job and life got busier.  My writing time dwindled.

Finally, someone shared that FB is keeping tabs on my account by having a “friend” hiding in the shadows.  One I could not delete.  It is, after all, their service, I’m just the squirrel trying to get a nut.

It’s been since the end of February.  I write more, I call or text friends, I read the newspaper when I want to know what’s going on in the world, and I feel fine.


Adventures in Makeup

Now that my inner child is a teenager I have been diving into the world of makeup in a way I never have before, (parochial upbringing) and loving it.  For me, makeup is fun and not at all about following trends (my eyebrows can confirm this) or trying to look a certain way, other than colorful and shiny.  I’m talking the Joss Whedon, Firefly kind of shiny.  I also mean shiny as in, metallic eyeshadow because it makes me happy like Ramona Quimby puddle jumping with red rain boots.

This was an experiment to discover if lip products could become my favorite makeup items.  I thought it was time to try ‘high end’ i.e., pricier products, with the idea of discovering some kind of holy grail product.  I purchased a smile-shaped box holding six different high end brands in a variety of lip finishes from Sephora.  For $28 dollars I got two full sized products, and four products in what the beauty world calls ‘deluxe sample’ sizes.  (I have to admit I’ve become a snob and eschew foil packet samples.  Don’t save me.)

I’d heard wonderful things about Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick by Too Faced.  It felt softening and perfect, the color seemed made for me, but it had a cloying sweet smell that while not overly powerful, was strong enough to give me headaches. (I applied it on two different occasions, and wore it for at least half an hour to be sure.  I now think of it as Evil-in-an-Elegant-Squeeze-Tube).  Next I tried Kat Von D. Studded Kiss Lipstick, the miniature spiky looking container is perfect.  The color is fine, but the formula feels drying, and it has a mild scent that while it didn’t give me headaches, it didn’t fade and annoyed me the entire time I had it on.  Also I have the same color in a Colourpop Lippie Stix, which costs $5 compared to the full size KVD Lipstick for $21, and the Colourpop doesn’t feel as if it’s actively removing moisture from my lips.

There’s a Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment, it’s a balm with a hint of color.  It’s beautiful (product and package), it feels great, looks great, but again, what is with the strange scents in lip products? Hello, cosmetics companies?  The nose is right above the lips, have you not noticed?  Wearing a scent I don’t like on my lips is like having a smoker living in the apartment beneath me.

How sensitive to scent am I?  On a scale of one to ten, one meaning I can sit next to tuna man on an airplane and never notice, I’d say I’m a seven.  I’ll notice the unpleasant odor, and ration however many sticks of Big Red I have in my bag to last the length of the flight, chewing until my jaw hurts in order to smell something other than my neighbor.  If I keep the comparisons to other lip products, the scent on Colourpop’s Lippie Stix I don’t particularly like at first uncapping, but it disappears in an instant (and it’s not on all of them).  Another example I can give, Fresh Sugar untinted balm hits me with a whiff of, no joke, lemon pledge furniture polish, but, and this is a big but, the smell fades quickly and I can wear it in comfort.  I can’t say the same of the tinted balm in this package, which in all fairness the scent is faint, but for me, it’s just strong enough to be an annoyance.

Back to the box, I picked up the full sized Juicy Shaker by Lancome.  Upon first glance it’s an adorable, tiny martini shaker but with a see-through lower portion which showed the product to be separated like old nail polish.  Ghastly.  Ah ha! I realized, it must be shaken.  I shook it and told myself my lips were being spared from a nasty binding ingredient, but between you and me that glimpse of unmixed product wasn’t appealing.  Then I saw the warning sticker telling me the contents are “Flammable”.  Let me pause so that can sink in.  ___________.  I want to ask Lancome, what exactly should I avoid doing while wearing your lip product?  Visions of birthday cakes setting my face on fire came to mind.  Too much Stephen King you say?  You may be right, but  I haven’t opened the tiny shaker yet.

There’s a Smashbox  Always On Liquid Lipstick (the other full sized product) which I had planned from the first to give to my niece as she loves that brand.  Also, a NARS Satin Lip Pencil, which my oldest daughter says is one of her favorite brands, so that is going to her.

All in all, eyeshadow remains my favorite makeup product.  While I expected I might not like the finishes or the colors of all the lip products, it didn’t occur to me that I’d have issues with scent of more than say, one item.  Oh well.  I’m ready for the next adventure.

how true can you get?

Is it me or my social networking site?

There’s speculation that because we can tell our large, or small world, of family and friends what we’re up to at any given moment, that we aren’t really making meaningful connections with one another.  We no longer have person to person, face to face conversations that matter.  I did agree with that idea, but woke at one a.m. thinking, it’s not the vehicle, it’s the people.

If I don’t have or make connections with people every day or even once a year, that doesn’t preclude that I never will or never have.  I have a grown daughter who does not allow ‘parental types’ on her FB page.  That’s alright with me.  When we see each other, I make a point of sharing with her a bit of who I am, what I think of outside of being a mom, and the work I love.  Wonderfully enough, she returns the favor, trusting I will listen, and not rush to judge.

However, that doesn’t happen simply because we are face to face.  We have meaningful conversations over the phone as well, because we’ve built a trust enough to say what’s really in our thoughts.  I can and do have similar conversations with other people in my life, who happen to be on my social networking site, and, a couple of them I have only met once, and one or two I’ve yet to meet.  We have built this for one another and use it to bridge any distance.  Sometimes it will be months between nice long chats or emails, but when these communications happen, they mean the world to me.

That’s when I realized it doesn’t matter if I literally see a person once a week at a family dinner, or everyday at work, or only in person once a month.  How honest we are about what we love, and how we support each others goals in life, is up to us.  Before all of the technological goodies came along, people could have stood around the town hall, saloon, or sat in a knitting circle and talked about a whole lot of nothing.   I’ve decided to converse with people on a particular level, in any forum, takes cultivating.

where cake meets frosting

For a long time, I held fast to the idea that lasting memories have nothing to do with the buying or giving of things.  Those moments with my family, wherein we talk about our days, wishes, and dreams, those were what I determinedly held onto as the end all, be all.  True, they were and are, fun, funny, loving.  In a word, cake. Subtly sweet, with hints of the sublime.  At the same time I thought the extraneous things of life; a closet full of shoes, a dozen watches and/or sunglasses, a holiday abroad, etc., as frosting.  I didn’t realize I had become rigid with an either/or on those ideals.

I was like a kid who keeps the peas segregated from the mashed potatoes.  It turns out I have so much to learn.  Life as I saw it had to fall into parameters I understood, and when they mixed I kept my perspective tightly focused on what I felt was the most important part, the cake, eschewing the frosting.  Was I afraid of becoming superficial, that I’d miss the real stuff because I was focused on shiny bits?  Maybe.

What’s really fascinating to me is that when all the changes started happening, and I can’t pinpoint when that was, but somewhere in there I let things mix together, and I enjoyed it.  What I had thought of as strictly cake moments, became sweeter, and the formerly rationed frosting magically appeared with it.  Now I get these awesome bites that have the perfect balance of cake and frosting.  I am floored, and get this, nothing changed except how I savor each bite.

Okay, (shyly admits) it’s possible that it also has to do with allowing myself to have it in the first place.  Why didn’t I hear about doing this ages ago?  Sigh, I’m sure several people led me to moments where I could have lapped it all up and chimed “How sweet it is!”  And like the stubborn horses of cliche fame, I would not drink.  Forget singing, heck, I probably wouldn’t allow myself to be led, because I can be ridiculous that way.  (another thing I want to look into changing)

Baby I’m lapping it up now though, and I recommend giving everything another taste, adjusting viewpoints, trying something new, whatever it takes.  Why did I ever pigeon-hole the way I enjoy what life has to offer?  I can’t explain what makes it more so for me, and I’m not certain what could change that for anyone else, but I’m loving this and I suggest whole heartedly to everyone to find a way to taste it all.

One tasty reason to be cool and encouraging

Being cool and encouraging works for most things in life.  I was reminded recently how wonderful it is that I have a partner who can create meals from basic ingredients.  This fell into my lap when we had a friend over for dinner, my man, Sam, cooked a delicious meal.  The friend, his friend, was pretty surprised and told me I was lucky to have a partner who cooks.

I clarified, I’m not lucky, I’m smart.  The first time Sam cooked for me was our second date.  He took a recipe out of his college student cookbook for beginners, and made a slow cooker stew.  I felt it was great.  He was disappointed with it.  He had gone with the idea to add broccoli and, yes, it slightly over powered the dish.  Still, it was far from inedible, and more importantly, he cooked it just. for. me.  Pay attention non-cookers, this isn’t simply to make your partner happy, because believe me, you learn to cook something your mate likes and you’ll be thrilled too.  Wink wink, nudge nudge, know-whattamean, know-whattamean?

Years later, he has a handful of specialties that delight guests and family alike.  Why?  Because while he’s been trying and learning, I’ve been there saying, yes, you could make that.   I’ve also given him the most powerful of tools, full control of the kitchen.  Yes folks, you’re going to have to cede control of the kitchen to someone else.  Harder still, you’ll probably have to stay within view, no running off to hide, because chances are the beginner cook has no idea where you stash certain tools and staple dry goods.  You could have been storing canned tomatoes in the same place since you two met, most likely next to the cereal boxes they’ve been reaching for every morning for the past ten years, … they’ll still ask, “Honey, where is the tomato sauce?”

Keep a sense of humor, be blind to the mess and don’t worry, it won’t last forever.  At some point they’ll get comfortable enough for you to absent yourself, and you should absent yourself.  Go to the library, visit a friend, get a pedicure, anything fun, and turn off your phone.  When you arrive back home at the appointed time; smile, taste, encourage and encourage some more.  He or she tried and that’s what counts.  Before you know it, you’ll have someone who is a capable cook, and that is priceless.  Remember, encouragement goes with everything, and everyone, not just cooking.

verbal immunizing and kissy face angels

We’ve all got parts and aspects of ourselves we’re born with, and some of them we aren’t always thrilled about.  Usually we aren’t happy because of the reaction from the outside world, often starting in elementary school.  For me that could have been my freckles.  I’m a freckle face.  I’ve been called every freckle name you can think of.  Thanks to being told when I was very young that my freckles are special, I love this part of me.

It’s simple, from the earliest age I was told they were angel kisses.  When school began and a kid would tease me, I’d practically dance away laughing at the ridiculous idea that there could be anything wrong with my freckles.  Indeed, the very freckles that were being mocked were there because, (drop voice in awe), angels had kissed my face a bazillion times.

To be honest, I’ll bet at first I didn’t know what an angel was.  My dad probably could have said “baseball players”, with the same reverence in his voice, and I would have been just as thrilled.  Of course, the magic would have worn off as soon as I watched a game and saw grown men spitting and scratching.  All the same, it turned out to be one of the most amazing gifts I’ve ever received.  To this day I love my freckles.

I see how simple it can be to give someone a way to love something about themselves.  Looking back at how well that worked, I wish the ‘angel kisses’ magic wand had been waved over other aspects of my life.  I could joke about height, glasses, etc., but seriously, just imagine if the first time you stepped onto a playground you felt positively amazing about yourself.  And that when you walked off the graduation stage at age 18, you still felt just as mighty as that first day in kindergarten.  How do we make that happen for kids?

The fact that those closest to me made sure I knew something about me was perfect and even special, shielded me so that nothing any kid said in the future could change that.  It was as if I was immunized.  I don’t know if there could have been words to ease every awkward stage of growing up, but I am grateful for those angel kisses.

Who do you know, child or otherwise, that you could ‘wave’ some words over, to help boost them to realize a part of themselves is spectacular?

setting intentions

If you’ve heard the term, set your intention, but weren’t sure what it meant, allow me to explain a little and use an example of how it might work.  Every morning I quietly focus on an intention such as; let me be open to new ideas, I am open to lots of laughter and play, etc.,. etc.,.  Somedays I get more specific and focus on being patient with my mom, kids or clients.  Other times I put the focus of patience on myself if I notice I’ve been harshly criticising how I write (me and grammatical rules remain at a stand off), how I look, how I … anything.

As the knowledge that people are all connected continues to deepen for me, I’m ceasing to use ideas  I do not agree with, as reasons to shut folks out.  Did that make sense?  We all use different ‘reasons’ to separate ourselves don’t we?  Whatever it is, politics, weight, occupations, clothes, skin color, religions, (coughs) rednecks, hippies… we think things along the lines of, I don’t like what they stand for.  And we try to live our lives pretending they aren’t there, or get angry when we see them or hear about them, or a combination of both.  If we can’t physically move away, we mentally build a huge fence.

Down the street lives a family with a truck that had the stars and bars painted on the hood.  The hair on the back of my neck used to go up when walking past their house, especially if the old white man was sitting out in front.  I tried waving, smiling or saying hi as we’d ride by on our bikes, but he’d remain still and silent.  I told myself he didn’t hear or see us.  And maybe he did, I don’t know.

One day I noticed a small bus in front of their home to pick up a young man in a wheelchair.  The driver of the bus would have to get out and assist with all the equipment and safety checks necessary.  In rain, cold and summer highs of over 100F, this driver doesn’t just pull up and honk a horn, but gets out, greets the old man and teen, and does what it takes to put him safely inside the bus.  I’d see this as I went back and forth, taking my kids to school.  I went from seeing that truck and mentally flipping the bird, to noticing the old man looking haggard, and told myself I should send a positive thought their way.

Making that little change took some doing before it started happening naturally.  That surprised me.  Was I really that wound up in my own, gulp, negative assumptions of who they were, and/or my own fears, to not allow my own mind to think a new thought?

Then came the day there was a new bus driver, a black woman was now helping get the chair and rider into the bus.  I’d see her smile at the old man and be surprised to see him give a genuine smile back.  Sometime around then, I noticed the truck hood got painted over.

I like to think life presented an opportunity for the old man and his family to see things differently and that maybe, something clicked for the better in the way they see people.  I know that’s what happened for me.  I could be wrong about them and the reasons behind the truck.  But the old man nods hello at us now when we ride by, sometimes he even waves.  Who knows, maybe if I take the time to have a chat with someone who strikes me as a world apart from who I think I am, I just might learn something, maybe we both will.  I am open to surprises like this.