Thursday, March 29, 2012


Today, I am rebelling against Vogue, Jimmy Choos, and Cover Girl, and all other purveyors of making women feel like they aren't good enough without thin bodies, high heels & painted faces. But first, a little back story.

I have always been rebellious, though not always in a good way. If someone told me I had to do something, or I really should do something, and they didn't give me a good reason, or the reason was "That's how it has always been done", I was bound & determined not to do it. These usually had to with two things: gender roles and worrying about how something "looks" (the "What will people think?" type of comments). Trouble is, some of those things I really should have done, and sometimes there were consequences.

So, in the process of reinventing myself, it's not that I am suddenly rebelling, I've just reached the point in my life where, if someone doesn't like what I do or how I look, that's their problem, not mine. Mostly, anyway. The "reinvention" part is that, in doing this, I am fighting myself and a lifetime of cultural & familial brainwashing.

I'm talking about these:

The unique combination of the four essential nucleotides that came together to form my DNA was somewhat unfortunate in one teeny weeny area. At least, in the grand scheme of things, it is teeny weeny, but it has caused me a lifetime of insecurities. I refer to certain aspects of my appearance, namely:
  • Pale, freckly skin
  • Spaces in my teeth.
  • Bad eyesight.
  • Frizzy/curly red hair.
  • Eyebrows & eyelashes that are blonde, hence, invisible.
Ah, thank you. I can feel your "awwww" of sympathy way over here.

Some of these I have dealt with, but during those awkward years, especially when I wore horn-rimmed glasses & braces, I bore the brunt of a lot of not-so-goodnatured teasing. Seriously. Remember these pictures?


Freckles aren't considered so bad anymore.
Braces & laser surgery took care of the teeth & eyesight.
Now my curly red hair seems to be the envy of a lot of female types, ALTHOUGH, as I get older & a lot more white creeps in, I have been called a blonde by more than one idiot. Damn.

The only thing that stumps me is the blonde eyebrows & eyelashes. If not for regular cosmetic shenanigans, it looks like I don't have any. Really, people look kind of odd without eyebrows, doncha think? So, I have been taught to think that I have to wear eye makeup to look normal. If I don't, I get comments like "Are you sick?" or "Gee, you look tired." Thanks a lot. To avoid making small children recoil in fear, I dye my eyebrows every other week or so. I lip gloss. I mascara & eye line. I do all those things culture told me I had to do to look acceptable. All to keep me from looking pale, sickly & wan.

Enter M&M. Bless his heart, since day 1, he has told me that I don't need makeup. That I am beautiful without it. That he prefers me without the "false advertising"*. Have I ever said I love this man? And the best part is, I'm starting to believe him.

So, the rebellion is that I no longer wear makeup every day. I even go to work sometimes without it, and, oddly enough, no one has run away screaming or passed out from the shock. I get really brave on occasion and leave it off when I go see my mother. I kind of look forward to hearing the sigh of sad resignation (part of the rebellion). And the deliciousness of being able to rub my eyes whenever I want is indescribable. I kind of like this rebellion, although I will continue to dye my eyebrows. I have my limits. Next, maybe I'll make my hair red again. What do you think?

Oh, and what caused me to think about all this. My good friend Russ, to raise money for cancer, participated in a drag pageant and was enlightened by the beauty regimens women put themselves through. He wrote a terrific article about it here. Go read it.

*false advertising - wearing cosmetics and looking lovely, but then taking them off and making people go "Aaack!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


The Tide is AWESOME!

Oh my gosh, did I just say that? Me, who was pretty skeptical of the whole light rail thing?
Let me look... yes I did.

I succumbed because I wanted to pay a visit to my favorite almost-17-year-old boy,
who just happens to have gotten himself sick & landed in the hospital.

(I've written about him numerous times. Just search "Brandon" and the screen will fill up.)

He is in Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters,
part of the medical complex that is the end of the line for the Tide.
The stop near St. Mary's is at the other end, and parking is plentiful and FREE.
"Self," I said, "let's just give this thing a try and see if it was worth all the delays,
budget overruns & controversy"
So, I drove all of three blocks to the FREE parking lot (did I say that parking is free?)
and bought myself a ticket.

I figure that for the $3 I spent on the ticket, which would have let me ride the Tide all day,
saving on gas, wear & tear on my engine/oil/tires, parking at the hospital
(which is NOT free, except for parents of the kiddies that are there),
and the aggravation of rush hour traffic getting out of the city, I was ahead of the game.
It might not be as fast as driving, but the difference was not worth worrying about.
Yes, it has stops along the way, but it doesn't stay at any of them any longer than
I would have sat at any of the numerous stop lights there & back.

Here's the deal. It is pretty much convenient to everything downtown.
It either puts you off by the door of, or within a little bitty walk of,
Norfolk State,
Harbor Park,
the Norfolk city offices,
MacArthur Mall,
Scope/Chrysler Hall,
the Norva & the Roper,
all the funky restaurants on Granby,
the YMCA & surrounding buildings,
and the medical complex at the end of the line.

And it was FUN! And relaxing, not having to drive.
The trains are clean, quiet, and go at a pretty good clip along the highway.
They run often, so there isn't much of a wait.

This is the second time I have posted something good about Hampton Roads Transit.
Long ago, I wrote about how good the Handi-Ride service has been for us (and our parents)
to take our kids out into the community.
Now the Tide. They should pay me.

Now, if they would only extend it to, say, to ODU, the Navy base, the Zoo,
that would be even more awesome.

And, Virginia Beach?
Get with the program.
Run it to Town Center, Princess Anne Plaza, Lynnhaven Mall, Hilltop, the oceanfront.
Can you imagine the ridership it would have, especially in the summer, if it went to the beach?
Really, that's what keeps a lot of locals away in the summer -
trying to park may actually make your brains explode.

But, here's what I don't understand.
I bought a ticket. I boarded the train.
No one asked for my ticket. Nowhere was there a machine to insert my ticket.
The young lady sitting by me said that they will do random ticket checks.
If you don't have one, it is a $250 fine.
Still, it seems risky. There are a lot of dishonest people who would take that chance.

Friday is my brother's birthday, and he will celebrate, as he always does,
with a gathering of his friends at the Monastery downtown.
Parking will be a nightmare on Friday night, so, I'm thinkin', maybe.....
It will only be a walk of a block or 2 from the Monticello stop to the restaurant.
Of course, I am taking the liberty of speaking for M&M, but he'll go along.
Huh, sweetie?

Oh, I almost forgot the best part. When you insert money to buy a ticket,
it gives you change in dollar coins!

I LOVE dollar coins!
There are a few missing though. Some of them got Brandon a happy get well balloon and
tipped the nice people at the local non-chain pizzeria.
The rest went to our coin jar. Makes us feel rich :-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


A friend's computer was recently infected with the computer version of Ebola.
Caused it to crash & burn.
I think there were actually flames shooting out of it's dual high-speed USB ports.
It's the stuff of nightmares, I tell ya.

But it got me to thinking how dependent I am on this blasted machine.
Email, Facebook, word games, my daily jigsaw, Wikipedia,
Google, You Tube, online banking, online shopping.

Need I go on?

But, pretty soon, M&M & I will be venturing out to the high country.

There will be mountains involved.

But not these.


But not these.

Mountain lakes.

But not this one.

Remote trails. Crisp, clean air.
I can feel the cares of daily life lifting already.

There will be lodging with no phones, no TV, no internet, no cell reception.
I can feel the potential for the shakes starting already.

So, this reinvention isn't really about going forward.
These boomers are going back in time.
Back to childhood pursuits.
Before all this technology that has us hooked.

Remember when we:

Played outside?
Looked for bugs, bunnies & butterflies?
Read books....made of paper & cardboard?
Weren't convinced we had to post every random thought that crossed our minds on Facebook?
Or that our friends & acquaintances really cared?

A weekend without technology. It will take awhile to prepare.
A weekend of bathing in mountain air and woods. I can't wait.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


By "independence", I'm not talking about being able to go out with friends anytime I want to or staying out all night if I want to or eating cheesecake for dinner. Not that I ever did those things all that often anyway. I'm talking about letting someone else share the load.

How long is it going to take to sink in? A man lives in my house. A man that knows how to do man things, like fixing stuff, lifting heavy objects, building things, and taking things apart then putting them back together. For 25 years, I was the one doing the man chores, and I'm not used to the fact that I don't need to be so independent anymore.

I don't always have to be the one with the screwdrivers & wrenches when the box says "Some Assembly Required".

I don't have to haul 40 lb. bags of salt home from the hardware store by myself because I'm too stubborn to connect to city water.

Someone here knows how to do wiring & plumbing & construction & assembly & guy stuff!

And he does these things for me because he WANTS to. He LIKES that kind of stuff. He roams around the tool section of Lowe's with the blissful look of Fat Albert at the Golden Corral.

(There's a Tim Taylor in there somewhere.)

Having a hard time getting used to that. I've never really had someone to help with that kind of stuff because they wanted to, so I learned to do it all myself. Well, not all. A lot of things just didn't get done, because I have a hard time asking for help. Anyway, back last summer, he crawled under the house to check out the bathroom pipes. 'Bout did me in. I figured that, because it was such an unpleasant task, he would wipe the dirt off his shirt and say, "Yeah, you know, I don't think this is going to work out. Have a nice life."

But, no. His manly soul was being fed. He stayed.
Oh, and he opens doors for me. Be still my heart.