Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Going grey

It seems going grey is top of the list of things that make us feel old ... even if you're still in your 20's like I am.

I started dying my hair when I was 14 ... and pretty much tried everything but blue. About a year ago I was sick of the chameleon shenanigans and decided to go natural ... which unfortunately, by that point, turned out to be grey.


So, I'm back to dye jobs to cover up my tinsel head. But that's me — some one who's accustomed to beauty in a box. What about those who never experimented with their locks? Are guys less inclined to color their hair? Silver foxes certainly still seem to get their fair share of action, so why bother?

How much salt gets into your pepper before you take the plunge? Or do you leave it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Getting Old

According to a recent study, old age begins at 27!!!

And with the big 2-7 just around the corner for me, I can't help but feel a little gray in spite of my still blond locks.

Maybe it's because I just read that article and now know I don't have the same mental capabilities I did say... 6 months ago.

Or maybe I feel old because...

1. I'm wearing a ring on my left hand.
2. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen.
3. I recently uttered the phrase, "I need an apron!" and meant it.
4. I spent the day at Adam's wishing I knew how to start a flower garden.
5. I no longer Google "Top 10 Reasons Not To Get Married," and instead ponder the "Top 10 Ways Botox Enhances Your Life."
6. I met a gal for drinks, and ordered ONE. The. Entire. Night.
7. I prefer "mom jeans" to previously adored "low-rise."
8. I now think an evening on my back porch with a good book sounds a lot better than a night in the back of the bar with a good looking boy.
9. I know the meanings of words like "sconce" and "bistro" and use them frequently.
10. I'd rather spend my last 20 bucks at The Christmas Tree Shop than at Shadows on the Hudson.

What makes YOU feel OLD?

Monday, April 27, 2009

How much skin is too much?

People can gross you out with too much info about their sex life ... physical health, you name it. The same could be said about too big a glimpse at their flesh. In public. I'm not just talking about girlies showing midriff here ... I'm talking turn away and shudder, or lose your lunch.

While I was away on the Great Road Trip I saw an example of TMB (too much boob ... chick swimming in a sheer white t-shirt ... sans bra ... which maybe was hot, but I was both blinded by her headlights and so terrified of her nipples poking out my eyes I had to look away.)
And then there was TMC (too much crack ... middle aged mama sporting low-rise jeans perched in a bar stool ... and yeah, there was butt-to-chair-action, so much was hanging out. It was like a front row seat overlooking the San Andreas fault.)

Then I witnessed (with great amusement) a portly stand-up comedian reveal his next Halloween costume. Michael Phelps ... as in his ample frame shirtless and wedged into a speedo. Funny, yes ... but still .. that was a lot of flesh.

Does this kind off thing gross you out? How much skin is too much for public eyes? (outside of a beach of course...)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Road trip, part 4 "The Big Easy"

At last we had arrived.

I lived in Florence, Italy for a semester in college. The old European architecture took my breath away and the artists lining the sidewalks were a constant inspiration. No American city had since compared ... until I strolled through the narrow streets of New Orleans' French Quarter.

What's more, in all the traveling I've done, it's never been with a boyfriend. I gotta admit, though I relish in my independence, there's something to be said about having that special someone to share a beautiful experience with. (I'm not talking about sex, you pervs)

We had an awesome Creole dinner at a brewery. Creole food is great. Beer is great. New Orleans is great. Wonderful combination. So, naturally I got drunk.
The French Quarter is still beautiful at night ... but those cobblestones can be shifty little buggers after a couple drinks. One of them actually leaped from the road and called me a lightweight in French. Those are fighting words to a scotch-o-holic. And, just because I was wearing a second-hand beret does NOT mean I speak silly French.
The French. Oh great ignorers of consonants. Gluttons for excessive letters ... only pronouncing half of them.
After a lazy (stumbly) stroll along the Mississippi, it was time to catch a nap and await news from Chuckles, the dear friend we had traveled to see in the Big Easy, who would be arriving around 2 a.m.

I awake with a start at 5 a.m., panicked at not hearing from Chuckles. Had something happened? Toughguy wakes up as well, also alarmed. We hear a snap of the fingers and look over at Mohawk - still in sleep position, save for his arm in the air, finger pointing at the floor.

And there lay Chuckles. Looking like one of Fagan's kids curled up at the foot of our bed. It was as if some hobo Easter Bunny had left us a present. I briefly considered looking for where the chocolate eggs were hidden, but decided instead to let him sleep.

Squeeky was named our unofficial guide, having been to New Orleans a couple times, she knew the best places to hit up for food and wonderment. First off, she steered us to a café, where we enjoyed coffee and beignets at a cafe, checked out cool shops and ran smack into the Easter Parade. Where we were attacked by locals armed with strings of plastic beads. This was nothing compared to the Gay Easter Parade that we lucked into a bit later. Drag queens, assless chaps, costumes and make up galore! It was quite the spectacle ... and they too, we armed with strands of merriment to be flung at onlookers.
Mohawk was a prominent target, sporting his "fin of flamboyance", he was a beacon for the coolest beads. By the end of the two parades he was so weighed down by his trinkets, Toughguy had to carry him on his shoulders. I have to say, they made a pretty good-looking couple. And the buddy swap made us all fit in better.
Except that every five feet people were stopping Mohawk, asking to take pictures of him (his hair) and how he made it stand up (his hair). I told him he should start charging, and that would be our booze money.

This was a good day. There was no driving. We found Chuckles. I'd keep looking at him and smiling, incredulous as to how we all made it there in one piece and got to spend a couple precious days with someone I missed so dearly.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Clothing is optional

Sometimes we just want to feel pampered. And in spite of the horrible economy and the fear of furloughs, sometimes a girl just needs to get rubbed.

By a professional of course.

But on my infrequent trips to the spa I've realized that relaxing the right way is an art form, and while the first massage or facial is supposed to be luxurious and relaxing, not knowing the "spa rules" is sometimes cause for embarrassment and tense muscles rather than the desired outcome of feeling refreshed.

So for those of you who have yet to get rubbed, by a professional of course, here are the things I've learned along the way.

1. Clothing is optional.
Most places recommend that you receive your spa services in the nude, they will place towels/blankets around you to make sure you're at a comfortable temperature. But if you're shy or prefer to wear something, a bikini for women and shorts for men is probably the best option. ***Keep in mind that co-ed areas of the spa usually require clothing, so the robe and bathing suit help***

2. Gratuity is MORE than appreciated.
While you might double the tax for your friendly server at a restaurant, spa etiquette usually encourages a 18% to 30% tip for the person performing your treatment. These are trained professionals who may have spent years perfecting their craft, they expect a little more than a thank you.

3. You can say "OW."
Every person prefers a different amount of pressure for their massage or perhaps a different scent for their facial mist. Don't be afraid to let them know if they are hurting you or you can't stand the smell of lavender. After all you're paying them well.

4. Get in bed.
You're given a few minutes to yourself once inside the room where your treatment will take place. Use this time to get cozy under the covers and wait for instructions as to which way you should lay/move for best results when they return. It's easy to panic and believe, "They will think I'm a fool if I'm face down when I should be face up!" But as someone who puts her johnny coat on backwards every time she's at the doctor, trust me when I say they must be used to this.

Whether it's the spa rules, proper wine pouring, or figuring out which fork is for what course, sometimes we find ourselves feeling embarrassed. But if I've learned anything in my life as a country girl it's that the only way to know the rules, is to ask the right questions. (And the Google search of course;)

Have you ever found yourself in a "new world" of luxury and worried there were rules you weren't aware of?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Road trip, part 3 "Great BBQ, a Rocket, and the Nastiest Bathroom ever!"

It is amazing what some sleep and a free breakfast can do for a travel-weary soul. Bright-eyed and refreshed, we were ready to explore "Music City."
I'm no country music fan, but that didn't keep Nashville from being a worthwhile stop. On a quest for cheap cigarettes, we stumbled on a fantastic vintage shop run by a hippie with a thick southern drawl.
He was awesome. He asked if I thought he had a heavy accent. I pretended I couldn't understand him. Then I bought a 1930's beret.

Stomachs rumbling, it was time to find some food. Southern food. Damn good BBQ to be exact.
We ditched the car back at the hotel (after a couple wrong turns ... but really, I look at that as more sight-seeing) and walked along this beautiful pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River. This took us straight into downtown Nashville ... which led us to Jack's BBQ. It looked like a hole in the wall, but served up the BEST BBQ pulled pork sandwich I've ever had. By the time we were done eating they had a dinner line out the door. I smugly walked by the waiting cowboys, smacking my lips and rubbing my full tummy. Suckers.

We checked out cowboy boot shops ... where I must have been hypnotized by the bolo ties sashaying in the wind. I suddenly had the urge to buy a hat, boots and poncho and make an entrance like Bill Murray in 'Ground Hog Day'.
Fortunately the price tags snapped me out of it, and, in any case, we had to get back to the hotel to try out the FAMOUS GUITAR SHAPED POOL!
This was fun, except it was filled with children and mysteriously salty water. I say "mysteriously" because I didn't want to accept the obvious.
Not to mention I didn't have more then a minute to ponder the salination issue before I was blinded by some serious headlights ... or flying saucers ...
No ... it was a busty girl swimming in a white t-shirt. I think she took a wrong turn on her way to Cancun. I'm no prude, but really, is that how 5 yr old boys and girls should learn about puberty? From a wet t-shirt contestant in a piss and sweat-saturated guitar shaped pool?
None-the-less, the musical swimming excursion was a novelty, as was being in a pool in March (where I believe it was around 40° F back home - HA!).

In the morning we headed out for the next stop: Birmingham, Alabama. It felt good to be back on the road ... especially since New Orleans was a mere 8 hours away.
Alabama is beautiful. Flowers and green everywhere ... rolling hills ... and a big ol' rocket greets you at the first rest stop after the state line. A truly impressive phallic structure ... It must have spotted Miss Cancun from the night before. We spent some time at the Korean War monument so we could say we took in some history. Then we continued on to Birmingham in search of fried food, grits and gravy. Which we found and it was deliscious.

From Alabama we ventured into Mississippi. Another dead zone. Alabama had felt welcoming and warm. Mississippi was a wee bit terrifying. There was a pick-up truck sporting a bumper sticker that read "Does my American flag offend you, call 1-800-LEAVE-USA" ... that was a little bit awesome. I slowed the car down so Mohawk could snap a pic ... then sped off as the driver aimed his shotgun.
Really needing a bathroom, and still a couple hours a way, we made a stop in Lumberton. Don't ever do this. There isn't a whole lot there, 'cept for the nastiest restroom I've ever seen. The walls were corroding. The water was brown. The floor was blanketed with some sort of insect ... I believe the scientific name is grossious runneth foryourlifeth, and only most of them were dead.

Finally we got on a bridge that takes you into New Orleans. It just might be the longest in the world. Beside the one we were on, you can see the bridge that was toppeled by Hurricane Katrina. There is still so much damage down there, it served as a sobering reminder that although we were on this fun adventure to find Chuckles, we were traveling in an area still reeling from some serious tragedy.

With the help of my sometimes reliable GPS, I navigated through a series of one way streets and a sketchy neighborhood until ... there it was, our hotel. In New Orleans. After about 28 hours on the road and two whole days, total, since leaving Poughkeepsie, we had reached our desination.

So, just one question remained .... where was Chuckles?

Road trip, part 2 "Heading South"

Like all great journey's, our rag-tag foursome got a late, but uneventful start.
Punctuality is for the weak, and not to mention, we had a whole 24 hours to make it to Nashville where a hotel room would be waiting for our travel-weary bodies.
And weary they would be.

We sped out of New York on I-84 and into the perpetual "farm scents" of Pennsylvania. (Seriously, why does the entire state always smell of poo?)
Needing gas, food and a car laptop adapter we were seduced by signs for a Wal-Mart and a Sheetz. (There is something so white-trashilicious about making your first road trip-stop at a Wal-Mart.) Now, a Sheetz, for those of you who don't know, is a gas station/fast food stop where you put your food order into a computer (with a full color interactive picture menu), pay, then pick up your food. Fantastic.
Even more fantastic was driving past the "War College," complete with a training site made up to look like a war-zone with helicopters and fox holes. I didn't know such a place existed! I want to enroll there and major in "grenade launching," with a minor in "walkie-talkie." I wonder if you play a game of "Risk" as the entrance exam.

From Pennsylvania, we trekked into the Maryland panhandle. How can such a small state go on for so long? We stopped for dinner in a lil city called "Cumberland," where the fountains were filled surprisingly with Tang, not milk. But they did have tasty Maryland crab cakes.

Soon after Cumberland, we entered the DEAD ZONE many know as West Virginia. No phone. No GPS ... and the wee overnight hours were just beginning. (Which is unfortunate, because I've driven through the DEAD ZONE during the day, and it was quite lovely.) We made a quick stop at a delightfully sketchy gas station - fueled up, held my nose in the rank rest stop bathroom and continued on. (Important note - it was still cold outside, but the DEAD ZONE was the first stop where everyone had Southern accents. This was encouraging. Oh, and the speed limit was 70 mph! Crazy!)

Kentucky is a blur. I was getting tired behind the wheel ... it was pitch black, and VERY early in the morning. I remember passing a castle all lit-up. It was beautiful, but out-of-place. We drove through some of Lexington. Gassed up, grabbed coffee and a snack ... Tennessee was just a few hours away.

Then the sky opened up. Walls of rain pummeled the road and my poor little car. The bullying winds threatened to veer us off into the, now muddy, bluegrass fields. Awesome conditions when you're half asleep ... of course nothing wakes you up like unbridled fear. I remember thinking we were so close to Nashville (our dry hotel room), then seeing a sign that we were still 2 hours away.
That was a bad feeling. Then a truck tried to merge into my door. That was worse.

Finally, the sun began to rise. The rain was dying down, and we passed the sign I'd been dying to see "Welcome to Nashville."

The hotel took us in early. They had complimentary breakfasts and a guitar shaped-pool. That sign might as well have said "Welcome to Heaven."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Road trip, part 1 "The Plan"

My dear friend, Chuckles has a great sideshow act built on charm, skills, props and just enough "crazy" to pull it all together.
A little over a month ago, he packed his worldly possessions up in his car, scoffed at life (the way most of us live it) and hit the road to perform his act across the country.

God did I envy him just a little bit.

What if you could just say "screw it all?" Leave the old 9-5er job behind and see what's out there? I wanted just a little taste of that ... so I planned a road trip to intercept him in a city I've always wanted to see ... New Orleans.

The plan:
1) Head to Nashville, making random stops on the way.
2) After resting in "Music City," continue to Birmingham Ala.
3) Get out of Mississippi as soon as possible, make way to New Orleans.
4) Find Chuckles.
5) Drive straight back to Poughkeepsie to get to work on time.

The cohorts:
1) My boyfriend, Toughguy, the muscle in case we get into trouble.
2) Mohawk, the entertainment to keep spirits up during the long trek.
3) Squeeky, the common sense so we don't die.
4) Me, Untiring long distance driver, and owner of road trip vehicle.

Antacids. Southern and Creole food can be rough on our sensitive northern stomachs.
Deodorant. It's warmer in the South ... and it's a long ride in a small car.
Ear plugs. We all snore.
Nose plugs. We all fart.
North/South dictionary. None of use speak Southern fluently.
Cross and bible. Disguise ... just in case.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

No stings attached

I often look at "fanatics" with a bit of amusement.

Their certainty, whether it be in their religion or what they feel is the "right path" to salvation, is entirely unrealistic and enviable. They have a faith that exists regardless of proof, regardless of lacking tangible evidence, and they are effortlessly without any doubt.

And if we evaluate the beginning of most romantic relationships we can see that same conviction.
As infatuation envelopes us and we begin to love, our doubts subside.

Because we think we're different.
We think this relationship is unlike all the rest.
Because this. is. it.

And then, something happens to change our certainty.
However small or grand the occurrence the result is the same. We begin to have doubts.

The first loose thread in an otherwise perfect relationship.

The doubt unravels our certainty.
Creating a small hole in the very fabric of our connection that only gets bigger with time.

Because our expectations are no longer in harmony with our experience.

And instead of being full of love and anticipation, we're reduced to a mess of loose strings.

Attached... to nothing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Our gift

Gift giving usually comes without the need for compensation. It's meant to make the recipient happier, appreciative, and validated without any need for reciprocity.

But what if we consider that giving is a gift in itself?

In romantic relationships we give ourselves, our love, as a gift. And in that moment we drop our defenses and at once allow those we've bestowed with affection the opportunity to hurt us.

Because those gifts of giving love are wrapped tightly in vulnerability.
Once the paper has been torn, once the recipients hold our hearts in their hands, there is no amount of repackaging that could get them back to their original form.

And instead of just a "thank you" these offerings are received with an acknowledgment that our feelings are theirs to handle, however gently or roughly they decide.

But like any other gift, our expectations should not be for the return, but for the satisfaction of giving, at all.

An exchange of love for humanity.
Always, unrequited.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hooking up

We know there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Our closest friends will fill us full of vodka and take us out on the town to prove that for every man you've dated, there's at least 100 who you haven't (although in Poughkeepsie, the ratio might be more of a 1/10;).

In any case while single and looking, or single and being told to look, we're faced with the question of whether or not to "hook up" with our newest catch. And perhaps more importantly, when.

According to this author, "Hookups can be damaging to young women, denying their emotional needs, putting them at risk of depression and even sexually transmitted disease, and making them ill-equipped for real relationships later on."

Apparently the "hooking up" culture isn't meant for women. Many fear that if they spend too much time "in search of a career" that they will inevitably "miss out on love" and end up alone and diseased.

But the reality of the situation is that hooking up has always been a man's game.
A game in which women were active participants, but also those who would never win the trophy.

Because in spite of all those fish in the sea...

We're under the impression that women can't take the hook's bait without the emotional strings attached.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tic toc

There is a huge epidemic that is being ignored. Apparently women over 25 develop time-keeping growths in their uterus... yet there is no surgical help available to these poor women.

Horrific I know.

Imagine walking around like you have a clock ticking in your core ... you can't sleep... can't even think over the endless clicks every second. And the worst part? I'm 28 ... so I MUST have one, but I don't feel it at all!

Why don't I hear it like so many of my friends? Maybe it's drowned out by the time bomb in my lungs, or the miniature Sumo wrestler bouncing on the scotch-filled water balloon that is my liver.

This is all new to me ... so I don't really understand how it works... except that I have a certain amount of time to get married and have children until ... um... well ... that part is fuzzy.

What is the countdown for exactly? Infertility? The magical time when I finally won't look like a crime scene once a month? Cause I'm not sure why women dread that. I guess the next time I'm doubled-over in crampy pain I should praise the lord for punishing me for being a constant sin-encourager to weak-willed men.

Poor dears. I am an evil temptress.

And really, if you want offspring so badly after your clock runs out of batteries you can always adopt. There are starving children in Connecticut in desperate need of a home where you can purchase beer after 8:00 at night.
Talk about being against a clock.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

You're Just Not That Into HIM

I sometimes think women spend too much time stressing over how much the new guy in their life "likes them."

They immediately wonder when he doesn't call back how invested in the relationship he is.

They spend time obsessing about why he "disappeared after one perfect date!"

And they consider all the things they may have said to turn him off.

But the reality of the situation is that they are focusing on HIS FEELINGS rather than THEIR OWN.

So the next time a gal is sipping her martini and wondering why he hasn't called her back, perhaps she should consider if she wants to be with a man WHO IS RUDE. A man who ISN'T BRAVE ENOUGH TO BE HONEST or CAPABLE OF HANDLING A SITUATION LIKE AN ADULT.

Maybe if we spent more time going after what we want instead of just being satisfied with him wanting us then we'll be grateful when Mr. Almost-Good-Enough blows us off.

Because with every unexplained dismissal he is doing us a favor by showing the kind of man he is.

Exactly the kind, we don't want in our lives... at all.