Monday, January 22, 2007

Hope springs eternal

So, I had lunch with two colleagues on Saturday, and after a very satisfying bit of catching up over soup and crusty bread, we decided to pop in to the Ulta shop across the parking lot from our restaurant.

I can't post photos of my friends without their permission, but they are both very attractive women - physically, and personality-wise. One is in her late 20s, the other in her late 30s. I, in my mid-40s, am considerably less attractive, but reasonably well-turned-out. All three of us have master's degrees, and one of my friends is a month away from defending her doctoral dissertation, so we're not exactly slouches, intellectually. I give these details to assure the reader that, between the three of us, we have quite a bit "going on". Yet, the moment we walked into Ulta, we underwent a transformation. No longer self-assured and happy with our lot in life, we became Hopeful.

By some alchemy of the fragrant atmosphere and glittering mirrors, we lost the critical faculty that allows us to discern the inflated claims of cosmetics marketers. We wanted to believe that our chemically stressed hair could be "transformed from the inside out"; that our winter-dry lips could be "plumped to a level of lusciousness most women only dream about". We soberly consulted over whether our undereye circles were sufficiently dark to justify a $95 corrective treatment.

When one friend, whose wavy, long blonde hair is her crowning glory, picked up a $200 straightening iron, it was like a dash of cold water in the face of a sleepwalker. I looked her straight in her Maybellined eyes and said, "No. Not just no, but Hell No." Then all three of us glanced sheepishly at the collection we had amassed in our shopping basket - at least $300 worth of makeup - and one by one began to put things back.

And it was hard! We had become like magpies in our acquisitiveness - each glistering tube, each tiny compact, so damn cute it almost hurt - how could we pass these up?

I ended up with a Smashbox tinted moisturizer and one pot of eyeshadow. One friend bought a couple bottles of nailpolish. The other made a bigger splash - we didn't succeed in talking her out of the straightening iron - but she vowed this was her last Ulta visit for the year.

As I dabbed on my new moisturizer this morning, I thought about my friends. I wondered whether they felt prettier today, and if it would make a difference in their relationships and interactions with others?

Monday, January 15, 2007


This is really sad. Only three posts in six months. Apparently other people care more about me keeping this blog going than I do. Guess I need to decide whether to let it go or not...

In the meanwhile, my answers to a meme tossed at me by Trina at My Life My Words My Mind.

4 jobs I've had:
Waitress/barmaid (while in college)
Copy editor for a small town newspaper
Christian education director for an Episcopal church
Museum educator

4 movies I'd watch over and over:
If you were hoping for sophisticated choices, I'm sorry to disappoint...
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Get Shorty
Love Actually
and the seasonally obligatory Miracle on 34th Street

4 places I've lived, apart from where I live now:
Guess I don't get around much, as I only have three -
Akron, Ohio, "Rubber (as in "tires", so get your mind out of the gutter) Capital of the World" and birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous. I grew up within walking distance of the Goodyear blimp airdock.
Greensburg, Pennsylvania It's completely unremarkable, go ahead, see for yourself.
Athens, Ohio (home of Ohio University, "Harvard on the Hocking")

4 TV shows I love:
Mystery on PBS - consistently excellent series, no matter what detective is featured.
Scrubs - for its combination of hilarious dialogue and genuine human dilemma.
The Antiques Roadshow - I love watching the people when they are told the value of their stuff.
South Park. What can I say?

4 places I've been on holiday:
Nags Head, North Carolina (about a dozen times) - surfable waves, fishing, hangliding from the highest sand dunes in North America, seafood to die for, lighthouses...
Albuquerque/Santa Fe, New Mexico - high desert landscape, skiing, petroglyphs, Native American, Mexican and early Spanish art...
Montreal, Quebec, Canada - click on the link to see live photos of this beautiful city
Lake Erie islands - vineyards, bike trails, maritime history, and geode caves you can stand up in.

4 websites I visit daily:
eBay -yep, I'm addicted to the world's largest flea market.
MakeUp Alley - don't buy beauty products without checking out the product reviews.
The New York Times - all the news that fit to . . . click.
Weather Underground

4 favorite foods:
Chocolate, in all its marvelous incarnations
Oyster fritters
Fresh tomato sandwiches (whole wheat toast, tomato slices, homemade mayonnaise, salt and pepper)
Potatoes, for their versatility

4 places I'd rather be right now:
Here is good, but I also want to be in
(A) Boston to help my daughter with wedding preparations, and
(B) Paris for that long-dreamed-of trip I've been promising myself that will now be postponed a bit due to (A).

4 books I enjoy re-reading:
Matthew Fox's Original Blessing
The Bible (these days, I am enjoying Eugene Peterson's paraphrase version, The Message)
anything by Thich Nhat Hanh
anything by Jane Austen

4 CDs that never leave my rotation:
Honestly, I change 'em up so often, I can't answer this question.

4 people I'm tagging:
J, of Slap Of The Day
Annie of Blogdorf Goodman
Mireille of C'est Chic
and hoping to lure my friend Neela, of Life In Paris, out of retirement!