Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blame it on Rio

The furor over waxing brazilian seems to have died down a bit. I assumed we'd achieved a certain "been there, done that, it hurt like hell, only on special occasions going forward" status. So when a friend of mine said that she was contemplating her first, I began to wax a bit reminiscent on the topic. Getting a brazilian falls into the things-hard-to-describe category along with birthing a baby and walking on the moon. (I've done the former but have bumped the later down to the very bottom of my bucket list, right under run for president and convert to catholicism.) Not wanting to scare her, I tried to keep my description vague.

First, let me say, if resources allowed, I would be a complete spa junkie. I love everything about them, from the waterfall on the wall behind the reception desk to the ambient asian lounge music, to all of the delicious potions and reading material, I could spend all day on the verge of perpetual slumber in one of their comfy chairs awaiting my turn on the table for just about anything. I love the lather, the slather, the tweaking and the plucking, the scratch of the towels and the kneading by trained hands. Self indulgence at its finest, where do I sign??? Alas, while it has not always been the case, I now live on a very much do-it myself kind of a budget, so I walk by these salons with a jealous heart, just imagining the various tortures I could be undergoing if lucky enough to be inside. I reminisce fondly about my many treatments, like little mini-breaks I've taken to the beach or the mountains, only without the photo memorabilia, fortunately for you.

Suffice it to say that I suspect some MAN dreamed up the brazilian. This not being THAT kind of blog, however, I'm going to just skip ahead a bit.

My jump from regular bikini wax to brazilian happened innocently enough. I was already unarmed, if you will, on the table with my "girl" when she popped the question. I don't know, did I want a full brazilian that day? It wasn't my intention, but in a moment of curious weakness I agreed, not fully anticipating the chasm between the two services.

Metaphorically speaking, the gloves were off, (though, folks, you want your girls to keep their gloves on of course, because they are, at the point of undertaking any south american experiment on your nether region, akin to a fully licensed medical practitioner and, as such, should maintain the highest level of infection control measures) and we dispensed completely with that silly little paper pantikini....I mean really, who are we fooling? That thing just gets in the way, and you don't want to take any chances that it could stick to the wax or to you or stick you to the wax.

Wax is hot. You assume the reason for this is because it needs to be in order to adhere to your little hairs. While this may be true, the real reason is that the initial burn is just a precursor to the searing pain you are about to feel when those waxy hairs are ripped from their follicles and this heat alerts your brain that something far more wicked this way comes.

So my girl is all chatty cathy through this whole thing, which is impressive, because if I had to pour hot wax on women's hoohas all day long I'm not sure how charming I could be. But no, this one was a regular talk show hostess, asking me all about my day and my life and my hopes and dreams. This does help allay my complete feeling of humiliation at the fact that (a) she's doing this in the first place and (b) that I'm PAYING her to hurt me like this.

So, all chatted up, relaxed into what turns out to be a false sense of security, in an angle that not even my gynecologist has seen, this woman begins to slather on large tongue depressors full of hot wax. Ow. Not OWWWW, but there's definitely a sit-up and take-notice component. Prattling on she pulls out strips of fabric, lays them on, makes pointed eye contact with me, asks a particularly thoughtful question about my college experience and then rips the sheet from stem to stern taking not only the handful of hairs, who, heretofore were sound asleep and like toddlers awakened too early have now emerged eyes screwed, fists clenched and mouths screaming, but also what feels like several layers of my epidermis.

I stop breathing.

I think I might be dead.

I wonder how this will be explained to my loved ones, the fact that I died in a pool of hot, fleshy, bloody wax. Hopefully they will refrain from an open casket.

But no, I'm actually alive, and just as I'm regaining consciousness I realize there's another round of wax being applied which means, yes, MORE RIPPING OF MY FLESH. I panic. Can I get out of this? Can I suddenly remember that I am supposed to be in divorce court right now or maybe that I was actually scheduled for surgery today and, oh, so sorry, we'll just have to finish this in another lifetime? Too late, more fabric and more ripping.

I start to laugh. Not because this is in any way at all funny, but because the fork in the road reads laugh now or cry now and I choose the former, because, after all I'm a grown up and dammit, I got myself into this nonsense so I'd better get myself out.

Now, the difference, in case we don't all know, between a bikini wax and a brazilian involves turning the knob up to 13 on the pain amp and leaving it there for many more minutes. A couple of things occur to me as I lie there and concentrate on breathing and not dying. (A) I did not realize hair actually grew there. (B) I am going to look like the inside of a pomegranate when she gets done. (C) Part of the service should include my girl texting my husband to let him know how much I truly love him and to remind him of my ring size.

When, finally, she is done, and I mean, done, nothing left, not even a crumb for a mouse, she says "Oh, you did very well!" Which I bet she says to all the criers, but it does make me feel a little better. I'd appreciate a lollipop right now. Or maybe an ice cream cone. Yes, that would be nice. A giant, cold ice cream cone that I could just spread all over the violated region because that little principality is on fire and really pissed off at me right now and I bet we both could use some icecream.

I finally screw up enough courage to take a peek. This is a mistake. Ladies, don't look. Just let the nice staff people go ahead and wrap it all up in a nice package for you, tie it with a bow and take it on home. Hopefully your man hasn't gotten his hopes up about checking out your new do that evening, because the bow stays on the present for at least another day. Oh, and take the next day off from work, since you won't be able to walk anyway.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I have a friend who is a scientist. There's something both fun and mysterious about that for me, since I am not, in any way a scientist. She works in a lab with test tubes and beakers and potions and mice that they do "special things" to, I mean WITH. Because I cannot understand it she is kind enough not to belabor the point with me other than in broad brush strokes.

Today, however, she detailed an experiment where they injected cells with DNA and got them to express luminase, which is the stuff that lightning bugs have in their little butts that allows them to create magic in my backyard. So, they do their sciency thing with these glow in the dark cells and then they use a luminometer to measure the luminosity thereof. Fascinating. I think it would be very useful to glow in the dark myself. Wouldn't it? If I can't get my key in the lock because I can't see the key or the lock.....I would just have to power up my behind, back up to the door and voila!

She allowed as how one could, if creating a human from scratch, genetically speaking, embody them with the ability to luminate. It could actually be done. In which case, I wouldn't have to have a glowing glutemus, I could have the lumens stored in, say, my finger (more helpful) or even my nose (plus/minus helpful, though if my hands were full this would be an excellent fallback.)

I did not know there was such a thing as a luminometer. Very cool. I can only assume there are all kinds of magic measurement machines to test the output of other things we express.

Is there a measurer for perspective? And by this I do not mean how far we are from the horizon or the edge of the planet. Rather, I would like to know how well my current level of perception actually represents my reality.

"People prefer to believe what they prefer to be true." Francis Bacon

I am afraid this might be too true. It would be helpful if we all could be genetically modified to have both an internal and external perspective indicator. One would be for us to know how close (or far off) we were at any time to recognizing the truth in a situtation, and the other would be a bit of a warning light that would alert those around us in situations when we were exhibiting a dangerous lack of perspective.

"Whooooooa, Barry, I think we should maybe continue this conversation later....your light has gone off!"

Or maybe thats when the actual glowing would happen. As we began to lose our grip our own reality we would begin to glow. Everyone could then be visually alerted to this fact, quite easily, and would have the benefit of seeing it coming. (If you will.) One could then elect to steer clear of the superglowy until things calmed down a bit.

Twofold, considering how many people I know that walk around in a complete reality fog, I suspect we could save a lot on electricity. While you might not be able to illuminate your own problems, you could at least help shed a little light on mine.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

If I could have a super power.....

Just once, I would like, for an entire week, to be able to find my car in the carpark at the end of the day. Five days, I beg you, five in a row. It has not ever happened.

I can chalk this up to gremlins. I can chalk this up to Murphy. I can chalk this up to being blondish (yes, the hair is real, but you were probably thrown off by the eyebrows, which are not real. Because I do actually paint my eyebrows on....truth be known, you can't see them when I do not and you would otherwise find yourself thinking "oh my god, does she have alopecia?" if you were around when I got out of the shower in the morning).

The garage is only 7 stories. Large, but, truly, not insurmountable. I see plenty of other people walking to their vehicles with a singularity of purpose each night. I, on the other hand, am walking with a false sense of casualness to belie my trepidation. I think I know where I parked this morning, and yet, having been so wrong, so often, I cannot sally forth with any confidence.

I carry my keys and my phone in my hand. The phone is not to call my car (though wouldn't THAT be handy), rather it is a prop, so that when the folks I got out of the elevator with on floor F, see me again as they descend on floor D, I will appear purposeful and occupied with what clearly has to have been an urgent phone call to distract me from the business at hand (of locating my vehicle and finally going home). I smile at them as they buzz past with my best "wouldn't you know it....unavoidably detained here" look. It is only as they've rounded the last pillar that I can pull the phone from my ear and begin my search anew. If I leave right on time there are lots of people using the elevator and succesfully driving home so this cycle can go on for quite some time as I wander from floor to floor, secretly searching while talking some imaginary jumper off the ledge on my cell phone.

Occasionally I will realize that another soul is in the same boat (that would be the S.S. ShortTermMemory) with me. We will both walk down the aisle only to turn around and head back to the stairwell, together. Smiling with embarrassment at each other sometimes we will even acknowledge the dilemma. "I can't find my car" I whisper. "Me neither!" They whisper back. "This happens to me almost every day" I reveal, emboldened by their admission. "Me TOO!" they will reply. Someone told me once that the secret was to park on the same floor every day, that way the guesswork was removed.

Unfortunately, I cannot seem to remember that tip either.


As I pulled up in front of high school to drop my daughter off she sighed heavily, "I don't really have to get out, do I? Please tell me you're just doing a drive by to scare me into behaving better." I laughed very hard, remembering the phase we went through with my son when we posted a photo of the local military academy on his bedroom wall and told him "THAT is where boys who don't listen have to go....Listening School!" Turns out he had a touch of ADD and was incapable of listening, so really, that was a mean thing we did, and thank goodness he never called our bluff because we could not have afforded to enact the punishment. But clearly, the concept has settled into family lore.

I began to ponder the differences between my high school experience and my daughter's. The same drama-trauma trifecta of flaky friends, heaps of homework and terrorist teachers frames her experience, as it did mine. She, however, has many more options and an openness to the social experience that is completely foreign to me. In addition to all of the usual student organizations; Key Club, sports clubs, academic clubs, theatre and musical groups, her school has an active Gay/Straight Alliance club that advocates for understanding and tolerance. There are gifted resource teachers, career specialists, home school coordinators and a school psychologist. This high school has a dual enrollment program with our local college. A number of students in the science/math track are provided with netbook computers at the beginning of their program.

Perhaps the most striking difference to me is the variety of electives offered. When I was in school it was the usual menu of mechanics, wood shop, home economics (the only time I ever managed to prepare a hollandaise that did not curdle) and the four standard foreign languages. My daughter now has the opportunity to take courses including music theory, poetry, practical law, time management, digital photography, medical terminology, medieval art and Japanese. So, when she expressed indecision over choosing electives for the upcoming year, I assumed it was because she had too many wonderful choices and was having trouble narrowing it down. "Hardly" she said, rolling her eyes "I just really don't understand why they can't offer Hindi!"

Of course. Silly me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No, I'm not kidding...

I've lost it.

I know I've lost it because I want to buy a goat. Really. Not just one goat, I want a little herd. Heard of goats? I've heard of goats. Ahem!

OH MY GOD, aren't they the cutest things EVER?

Now, these particular goats, because they are pygmies, aren't really that "useful"...I mean, they aren't here to be milked as a source for a thriving cottage chevre industry or anything functional like that. These are strictly adorable, oranmental goats that would frolick and cavort in my little pasture, wiling away the day as they nibbled on dandelions and awaited my return from work so that they could canter by my side as the sun went down.

While they may not leap for the frisbee or chase a stick, they could keep my lawn trimmed and I would not have to put them in everytime they started barking. They could probably live in my basement, and I bet they'd even be content to lie on the sofa with me watching hours and hours of True Blood.

I could get them little crates, and take them on vacation with me to the mountains. I could get them collars and little leashes and we could hike together all Heidi-like through the heather.

I must have these goats. Just as soon as I procure a pasture.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fear this

Running through town on Sunday, the title of a book in a window caught my eye: "Love is letting go of the fear." Really? I wonder if this author has children. Because, for me, love and fear are the siamese twins of parenting.

This is not a new concept, certainly. I believe the great bearded one also tried to make this point. While I appreciate the sentiment, he did not have to lie in bed at night waiting for the click of the front door, footsteps on the stairs and an alcohol free kiss goodnight before he could get his shut-eye.

I love my children, with every fiber of my being and, therefore, I have lots and lots of fear that some great evil will befall them. Danger lurks around every corner for them, from a skiing related closed head injury to the potential car crash or date rape, or according to NBC this morning, choking on a nerf gun dart.

What to do? I've often wished I could surround my children in bubble wrap. While this may seem comical, I realized there's some truth to it. There are people in our lives that we must wrap tightly in our love. Not so tightly that they cannot grow or breathe, but tightly enough that they can feel it, always, so that, hopefully, our love might serve as some sort of a protective shield for them. This act is a talisman for us as well, so that we will never be left thinking "I wish I had loved them more."

Sometimes the bubbles in our wrap get stomped on and they pop. Fear serves a purpose in reminding us to check for wear and tear and to add more wrap to those we love when we see it wearing thin, to make sure that the ends are tucked in and that there's no straggling plastic to trip them up.

So, while love may be letting go of the fear, I certainly am not.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How low can you go?

Just had lunch with my pal Jen which is always entertaining, always enlightening and always thought provoking as we are both in varying stages of life-crisis...though of very different varieties. In any event, we discussed being "in limbo" and its inherent suckishness. Limbo, to me, brings to mind multicolored Caribbean dancers winding their way under impossibly low bamboo poles. Turns out, however, that limbo is a catholic concept referring to the "edge" of Hell and people who don't have what it takes to get into Heaven right away but also haven't yet been etched onto the naughty list and therefore still have the possibility of redemption and the trip North. Limbo refers to the waiting room where these poor souls end up, which, I now picture to be much like the DMV waiting room, with tickets and windows and numbers being called so incredibly slowly that you think it quite possible that you might just spend eternity there waiting.

Wikipedia kindly directed me to other related topics, one of which was "Spirit prison." Leave it to the Mormons to take the DMV experience to a whole new level. In their afterworld the DMV turns into a giant classroom where you have one more chance to repent and accept the ordinances of salvation (and by these I don't think they're referring to armaments though I am having a flash to the Holy hand grenade of maybe they are, but I digress) and get your ticket punched for the pearly gates. Should you, however, turn out to be ineducable, they just LEAVE you there, listening to the lecture over and over and over again until you either get it or the end of the Millennium arrives when you will be freed from that experience and achieve resurrection. Now, if being stuck in a DMV lecture hall isn't, actually, hell, then I shudder to think what fate could be worse. I suspect that most of their folks pass on the second try. Just a guess.

I love Wikipedia, because I now know that the Jews have added their own fascinating twist to this. Their limbo is called Gehenna, which is a waste yard of a valley where the wicked dead go for one last chance at spiritual purification. The Jews are much more reasonable in their approach to redemption as this purification process is limited to a 12 month period and you get the Sabbath off from punishment, so it's really just a 6-day a week stint. Once your twelve months are up you either ascend or end up in the molten lake of fire! Better than an eternal DMV hell I think.

According to our friends at Merriam and Webster, limbo is also a place or state of restraint or confinement, a place or state of neglect or oblivion, or state of uncertainty, from the Latin for "border."

I find myself in limbo enough to really wonder about it. I am in different phases of limbo when it comes to different issues in my life. There are things in my life about which I have felt uncertain for a few weeks, and there are some things that I have been uncertain about or neglecting for an embarrassingly long period of time (so long I will not assign a number to it here).

I wonder, do the people who end up in the eternal DMV of the afterlife do so because they never resolved their limbo in the fore-life? Maybe it is not really the bad and goodness, so much, of one's nature that determines the outcome, but rather the ability to commit and truly live their lives in a constant state of certainty?

Jen suggests that maybe it's all about the process, and that limbo is your opportunity to work things through, to gain perspective, to be in a place to make decisions.

Or maybe the whole thing IS limbo. Maybe all we get is right now, and our inability to recognize that fact is what creates a schism that we have labeled as limbo....where we wait, in vain, for something to happen, not recognizing that the happening is now and now and now and that, in waiting for resolution, we are missing the nows which results in great angst for us. Perhaps it really is as simple as donning a vibrant costume and dancing your way through life, instead of spending the day waiting for your name to appear at window number 9.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Out of the closet

I woke up this morning to find a strange woman in my closet. She was rifling through my t-shirts. It takes me a second to “come to,” if you will, in the morning, so I didn’t come up swinging, but rather lay in bed watching her. She was pretty, of medium height, medium build, with beautiful but messy red hair, red sox pajama bottoms and a led zeppelin t-shirt. She looked over and smiled at me, warm brown eyes behind green framed glasses. Something about this was vaguely familiar, only not in that “oh, I’m looking at myself as a girl” way, since this woman did not resemble me in the least. It was more in a “I spend a lot of time in there working out what I’m going to wear, too” kind of way.

I love my closet. It isn’t big, though it meets the definition of walk-in. In a house where I don’t have much, or any, really, ME SPACE, my closet is somewhat of a refuge to me. I even meditate in my closet in the mornings, running the extension cord for the CD player under the door separating closet from bedroom so that I can be at one with my breathing and Jon Kabat Zinn’s voice in the mornings without arousing any suspicion or spectators. I am a little anal about things in my closet. Boots go together; scarves (of which I have way more than shoes) are all hanging on a nifty rack together, hats in a box, memories in a box, bags in a box, etc. I like order, and as Queen of Closet Kingdom, I can exercise a very demanding standard for all things organized which makes me an extremely happy regent.

To find this interloper, then, in my sacred municipality, was a bit unnerving. I didn’t remember issuing invitations, nor did I remember being approached about hosting an open house or even a viewing. This visitor had simply walked across the border and straight into the command post of my palace.

She selected a long sleeve white t-shirt and then turned her attention to my shoes. I don’t have a lot of shoes (at least not a lot by female standards – though my son has repeatedly asked me why my gender needs so many when all one truly needs is three pair; one for sports, one for fancy and one for everything else) so it didn’t take her long to pick up my cowboy boots.

She took another broad look around, and, seeming satisfied with her selections exited the room and walked past me in bed. “Good Morning Mom!” It was my daughter, who, suddenly, wears my size in, well, just about everything, and is clearly a fan of eminent domain. Me thinks Princess Pillage and Plunder is about to give the Queen a run for her money.

Existential Crisis in the Recording Booth

Yesterday, I recorded a short piece I wrote at our local tv station. Having not been in a recording booth since college (where I had a brief and unsuccessful stint as a DJ), it was more nostalgic than anxiety provoking....until I had to record the promo. It sounded simple enough when she asked me to say: "I'm Cygnus Jones, a 'insert one word description of who I am here,' from Magnolia Meadows. " OH GOD! Who am I? I stared at the reporter like she had suddenly sprouted horns and was asking me to tap dance naked through the lobby. I sat there blinking furiously as I thought. "Wife?" No, boring. "Administrative Genius?" No, boring and stupid. "Middle Aged Mommy in the midst of a full blown meaning-of-life crisis?" True, but perhaps juuuuuuuust a bit TOO revealing. The mental Rolodex was in free fall. Perhaps, sensing my panic, (or maybe just in the interest of spurring things on a bit) she said "Why don't you just say you're a writer?"

Well, that would just be silly, wouldn't it? I'm not a writer. I mean just because I write things, and occasionally someone stumbles upon one of my musings and finds it entertaining doesn't mean I'm a writer. In fact, since I can't find a single word that describes me, maybe I'm not really anything at all, really. (You'll get used to this logic if you stick around for a while.) Because I could not come up with anything else, though, and because she was really very nice and I didn't want to cry in front of her and ruin the whole thing, I tried it on for size. She smiled which I took as a positive sign, and we recorded the rest of the piece without incident.

As I drove home afterwards I realized the full implication of what I'd just done. "I am a writer." What was I thinking? Now it was out there. I couldn't take it back. I reached very very far from the edge of my little meadow and stuck a flag on a piece of foreign soil. It amounted to a raid, of sorts, under cover of dense fog where I raced in from the forest of my neighboring land and stole a sheep from the wealthy kingdom while no one was looking. We'll see what happens when it airs and someone realizes they're missing a sheep. (I don't think I'll eat it yet, just in case I'm discovered.) But, maybe, just maybe, I can keep this sheep, steal another and start my own flock, and begin to foray, legitimately, into the magic kingdom.

In the meantime, allow me to introduce myself, I'm Cygnus Jones, a writer, from Magnolia Meadow.