Monthly Archives: April 2014

A Hairy Situation

You know I love people watching.  I do it whenever I can get away with not looking creepy, and I sometimes make up stories based on what I’m seeing.  I invent careers, families, histories, medical backgrounds, and best birthday gifts ever.  (It’s a sickness, I know.)  Recently I had another opportunity but this time I was focusing on hair.

I was seated somewhere I needed to be quiet and pay attention for a very long time.  Like, two-hours-and-fifteen-minutes long time.  I am not a very patient person, just moderately patient, so naturally my attention wandered.  After I checked my phone countless times to keep me awake, I thought it would be a good idea to maybe keep my head up and eyes ahead instead of bowed over and fixated on my lap.  (This was not a situation where it would look like I was praying.  In fact, it would have looked like I was having a massive hangover, so not good form.)  I started looking at the women’s hairstyles.

First, I counted how many women were blonde, which took a bit of time.  Then I counted how many women were naturally blonde, which took almost no time at all.  I counted brunettes and the varying degrees of darkness: black to dark brown all the way to chestnut and auburn and that in-between mousy brown and dirty blonde.  After that, it was on to style.  There were virtually no women who had straight hairstyles, as almost everyone had some sort of layered look with varying heights.  Those whose hair was probably naturally straight usually had very short cuts which looked expensive and time-consuming in terms of upkeep; one gal had apparently given up entirely and thrown it all back in a messy ponytail, but for all I know it was a carefully-planned messy ponytail because I wished I looked that good in a ponytail.  I look like a 1920s gangster who has their hair slicked back which is a really stunning take on fashion for me.  (Clue: that’s sarcasm.)  There were the careful curling-iron styles which is current right now and reminds me of the 1970s Farrah Fawcett look of I-just-got-out-of-bed-tumbled-curls-but-this-really-took-me-hours-and-half-a-bottle-of-hairspray.  You can tell when they turn their heads and the hair moves with them like a helmet that there’s nothing natural about that style.

Me?  I’m a dark-brown, shoulder length, slightly angled cut that I don’t really do anything special with except dry it after a shower.  If I need to go someplace I’ll put a small dollop of mousse in the front before I dry it so I have a fighting chance of it not collapsing in the first ten minutes of emerging outdoors.  If I have to go all out, I break out the hot rollers.  Hello 1980!  Even then, it’s not something that lasts longer than a few hours.  I once asked the miracle worker who cuts my hair why it always collapses since I don’t have thin hair, and other hairstyles on other women seem to stay in place for days.  Her reply: “Your hair is too healthy.”

Oh.

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Exactly my reaction.

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I’m Having a Moment

It rained last night.  I know this not because I saw or heard it, but because of the sight I saw this morning.  It must have rained pretty hard, because even though the sun is out in full force and it’s 10:30 a.m., there’s still a good-sized puddle on the back deck.  That’s not how I know it rained, though.

I was opening the window to get some of that sweet April breeze through the house and I saw diamonds scattered all over my back yard.  Truly.  Droplets of water still hanging on, even in full sun, reluctant to evaporate yet reflecting the sun in a thousand prisms and stars all over the grass.  Like the fairies were throwing their own Easter egg hunt but their eggs were sparkly and glittery.  (Note to self: hide diamond-encrusted eggs next year.)  It was one of those sights that makes you catch your breath and try to take it all in at once, eyes darting here and there to make sure you see it all and don’t miss anything, yet quickly before it all goes away.  It was One Of Those Moments.

I love those Moments.  It’s like you’re brought to a different place where something is vastly different and you can’t explain it but you are transfixed and filled with joy.  Sometimes it’s with a sunset.  We’ve all seen sunsets and I really can’t say there’s such a thing as a boring sunset, but there are times when it’s so spectacular that there are no words to describe it and you don’t even make appreciative sounds; you just take it in and feel humbled to be in the presence of something so utterly beyond beautiful and then you have a Moment.  I guess many times it takes place in Nature which can be so perfect yet random, but I’ve also experienced Moments with literature, music, art, food, aromas, and even certain textures.  

The wonderful thing is you can’t look for a Moment, it just happens.  

 

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Poetry Month? I’ll Play!

There’s a groundhog named Fred

Who lives by our shed

And he’s roly and poly and round

As he noses around

With his feet on the ground

He looks gray with a fair bit of brown

 

There’s some mighty big holes

In our yard, not from moles,

And the answer has filled me with dread

As we dig our way down

My smile turns to a frown

‘Cause the culprit just has to be Fred

 

 

Good thing that he’s cute

Or else he’d get the boot

Which wouldn’t be friendly at all

But it’s my freakin’ yard

And we’ve worked it so hard

Mr. Fred better learn to play ball

 

 

 

 

 

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Ten Things on a Thursday (Yes, Again)

1.  Boilers (or furnaces, I don’t really know if there’s a difference but it means my house is cold) are not fun things to spend a whack of cash on.  Ask me how I know.

2.  Neither are taxes.  Again, ask.

3.  Fun things are yarn, lunches out, and travel.  None of which is happening with my wallet now.

4.  2048 is a HUGE time-suck.

5.  April is weird.  Time to do ALL the gardening, apparently, but the ground is still too cold.  So should I plant cold-weather things?  Like pansies and peas?  But peas should have been planted on St. Patrick’s day.  But the ground was frozen.  I’m so confused.

6.  Tea solves everything.

7.  There is a direct correlation between the amount of sarcasm I employed and the fact that I am not employed.  I assume this means once my audience is gone, I am less sarcastic.  What does that say about me?

8.  I didn’t have to report for jury duty, even though this was one time I didn’t want to get out of it.  The only time I actually showed up at a courthouse my girls were very young and I announced I had to leave by 2:00 to pick them up from school.  The man behind the desk (which was really a folding table) looked at me oddly and said I couldn’t leave.  I looked at him oddly and said if I didn’t pick up my kids from school, the very same courthouse would be arresting me for child neglect and endangerment, so what did he suggest I do?  He curled his lip and told me I was dismissed.  I wonder if that’s why I’ve never been selected again.

9.  Luna bars make a satisfying breakfast, in that I don’t have to think about anything.  I love breakfast but don’t like to make it.

10.  Flurrious broke my heart, but I might forgive her.  Especially when the soup arrives.

 

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Hooray for Hollywood (or, in this case, New York)

One of the benefits of NOT working a traditional job (or, in my case, at all) is the ability to do things that can’t be done when you are otherwise engaged from 9-5 on a regular basis.  To that end, this week my friend invited me to come with her into Manhattan to see a taping of a talk show.  I’d never done something like this before; never even thought about it, actually.  The only show I ever wanted to see live was David Letterman, and as a teacher, the only time I’d be able to do it would be in the summer and I wasn’t keen on the idea of standing outside in the humid summer with fetid exhaust fumes just to maybe not get in at all because that’s always a possibility.  And now he’s going to retire so there’s a life event I might not get to fulfill, but with this new schedule you never know.

ANYWAY.  We left our comfortable suburban New Jersey homes to tangle with the wild beast of NYC, and emerged into the huge monster known as Penn Station.  You can’t just get off the train and pause to gather your wits about you, peering at signs to determine which way you want to go.  No, that’s a good plan only if you intend to be swept away by crowds and poked with umbrellas and assaulted with backpacks from all the folks who have some. place. to. be. now. dammit.  You just start walking in the same direction as everyone else and wait for an open area to present itself.  Then you fling yourself violently against the wall and catch a deep breath because of course the escalator stairs weren’t working and you just climbed the equivalent of three flights of stairs in double time and you’re sure your heart has never reached a tempo quite that fast before, all the while wondering which of these passing strangers might perform CPR on you because surely you’re about to die?  But then the world starts to focus slowly and you can figure out which exit you want without ending up on another train to an exotic location like Poughkeepsie.

No matter how many times I go into New York, it’s always a bit of a culture shock when I emerge onto the street.  I get transported back to the days when I had to go into “the city” with my mom when she was working as a comptometer operator and she had to bring in big office envelopes of completed work.  The smell was exotic and heady and at the same time just a bit disgusting.  Cigarettes, burned pretzels, taxi exhaust, coffee, and heat.  Enter the subways and you can add a fine layer of old urine and mechanical grease to that.  I was like a dog trying to identify all those odors, but at the age of 4? I guess? it was just a mishmosh that immediately signaled that exciting yet mysterious stuff was going on all around us.

Today, as a mature adult, I certainly don’t lift my nose in the air and give a long appreciative sniff followed by several little ones as I used to, but I still get that jarring sense of excitement and danger when I hit the streets.  Even though it was a bit chilly (and I’m sorry, Bill Evans of Accuweather Forecast, but will you please stop saying it’s going to be 64 degrees when it never seems to get over 48? Thank you.) I didn’t care, I was on an adventure.  On a Wednesday!  At 11:00 in the morning!  I wasn’t teaching third grade how to play recorders or 8th grade how the music industry is a growing one or reporting for cafeteria duty!  

We decided to head to Eataly.  And there, my friends, is where I died and went to Italian heaven.  If I ever meet Mario Batali or Lidia Bastianich, I am going to kneel before them and kiss their talented fingers.  (I have seen Lidia Bastianich before.  I worked in an office that managed the books and payroll for her early restaurant, Felidia Ristorante, and I think I worshipped her then, too.)  This place which takes up an entire city block of Manhattan, is like a grocery store, import store, deli, and restaurant with everything Italian you could possibly dream of.  If we were not continuing our journey on to a show taping, I would have bought enough Italian goodies to sink us into serious debt.  (As it is, I’ve informed my family that we WILL be making a visit there.  Soon.)

After some serious touristy-type gawking, we decided to eat at the pasta section.  The other option was pizza, and I love a good pizza but come on!  PASTA.  Just look at this gorgeousness:

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I’ve carefully edited out the drool spots

That?  That is spring pea and lemon-ricotta ravioli, with scalloped edges, and buttered asparagus with cheese.  OH. MY. LORD.  I grudgingly offered a bite, but thankfully it was declined and I had the whole plate of deliciousness to myself.  Had it not been so crowded I totally would have licked the plate.  My friend had this:

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She never took her eyes off of it, or it would have been mine, too.

I believe this was called parchetti, but I could be making it up.  It is like amazeballs giant rigatoni and had shrimp, scallops, mussels, and probably lobster.  Ohhhhhh…….

And then we shopped among all the jars of pesto and jardiniere, packages of every pasta you could think of, fresh meats, chocolates, fresh fruit and veggies, kitchenware, and this delightful looking spot:

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Which would look a lot more delightful if my iPhone took better pictures, or had a better operator. Hmmmm……

Oh, man!  Cheeeeeeeeeeese…………

Are there any other places like this?  Does Wisconsin have a huge palace devoted to the delights of Dairy Country, with the artistry of a master chef (or two)? Indiana?  What about West Virginia?  I want to know.  You know.  For science.

 

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