Monday, June 27, 2016

Pretty. Oh So Pretty.

Last month I got a subscription to Birch Box for reasons which are confusing primarily because I really don’t wear makeup. I don’t judge that kind of woman. I’m just not that kind of woman. Tequila, it turns out, makes me that kind of woman. Tequila and Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

                I wasn’t anticipating this foray into the world of makeup would actually be much fun, but it actually kind of has been. Adult life is woefully short on anything that might be remotely considered a pleasant surprise. Opening up a box of mystery goodies woke up a part of my psyche that hasn’t gotten much use since I was, I dunno, about seven and opening up Christmas presents. Naturally, I decided to share the joy. You’re welcome.

Avene Eau Thermal:
It’s a bottle of water. You spray it in your face. There’s a lot of patter on the bottle about a “unique composition” that fights redness and wrinkles. Sure it does. It’s water. In an aerosol bottle. The full size is $18.50. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’ve used it after runs. Cool mist feels great after a hard work out. It doesn’t feel $18.50 good, but it feels good. 

Verdict: Seriously? Why is this a thing?

Benefit Cosmetics Gimmie Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel:
OK, I have a bit of a blond person problem where the old eyebrows are concerned. Which is to say that I have them, but chunks of them go invisible, especially during the summer. From time to time, my eyebrows make me look a little like a two year old who’s gotten ahold of some scissors. So I actually kind of liked this product—it made me look like I don’t mutilate myself, and that’s a big win. Also, it was easy to apply, waterproof, and not in the least bit heavy or unpleasant feeling. 

Are my brows on fleek? I'm not even sure what that means. I'm old. And a dog. Leave me alone.
Verdict: Yeah. Good stuff. At $24, it’s not prohibitively expensive. Also, it comes in a variety of different shades. Probably great for giving your dog eyebrows.*
Note: Please don’t give your dog eyebrows. I don’t want PETA coming after me with lead pipes because someone out there doesn’t get a joke.

 Kiehls Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate:
I’m skeptical of products that claim to restore elasticity and other sundry facelift-in-a-jar sorts of things. How much can something you smear on your skin actually do to counteract the natural aging process, and why the fuck should I even want to look twenty? I earned my goddamn battle scars. That’s what I tell myself, and then I see skin sagging on my neck and a vain little voice in the back of my head starts whimpering. Bastard sonofabitch. So I tried the Precision Lifting Concentrate with more than a little baggage in tow. It actually feels really good. I didn’t notice a drastic difference, but there was a difference. My skin tone was better, and I only needed a small dab to cover my face and neck. The smell was lovely and citrus-y, and I felt very relaxed every time I used the sample.

Verdict: $65 dollars!?!? On skin cream?!?!? Goddamn, rich people. You have some nice shit but Goddamn. $65 dollars is more than I spent on groceries this week. I think I’m gonna take my wrinkled old ass down for some box wine and have a good cry.

Lavanilla Healthy Sunscreen Sport Luxe Face & Body Cream:
Pros: It doesn’t have a lot of the toxic crap you’re supposed to avoid shmearing all over yourself. It does hold up well to strenuous athletic activity. It probably would keep you from getting wind burn during the winter.
Cons: It’s water proof because you’d practically have to use a sandblaster to get that waxy shit off. It feels disgusting. I have sunscreen that works just as well for half the price. Screw phthalates anyway. We’re all going to be dead in eight years after our respective governments kick off nuclear Armageddon.

Verdict: Nope with a hefty dollop of nope on the side.

The Beauty Crop PBJ Smoothie Stick:
Back when I was a teenager, it seemed like most parents had a stricter code where makeup was concerned. Fifteen was the usual age girls started wearing makeup at my school. Of course, rules never stopped us, and the most frequently shoplifted line of makeup was Bonne Bell. (Don’t worry, Dad. I only stared longingly and borrowed frequently from those with fewer scruples.) Targeted at tweens, a lot of Bonne Bell lip glosses came in all manner of repellent candy flavors. So when I saw the PBJ Smoothie stick, I thought of good ol’ Bonne Bell, and prepared myself to be grossed out. Fortunately, the PBJ Smoothie stick only had a vague PB&J aroma. It felt fun without being childish, and it works well as a moisturizer. Bonus, there’s a mild tint, so if you’re looking for a splash of color that doesn’t go over the top, this is a win.

Verdict:  I am actually planning on getting another when this one runs out. I like it.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Midwest Mobius Strip

        I got caught holding the door open for my co-workers for nearly two minutes today. It’s a problem I share with a lot of Midwesterners. We hold open the doors for people. Usually someone comes along in fairly quick order to take a shift. Sometimes, however, the system fails. Two minutes isn’t even close to my record. Once, during undergrad, I got caught holding the door open at the Student Center. It was sleeting out. I stood there, grinning like an idiot as I held the door open for a bunch of glorified children who didn’t trouble themselves to look up from their smart phones to see why the door was open for them. This lasted a good five minutes.  A secretary noticed I was standing there and rescued me from my peers. She warned me that it was important not to waste energy being nice to assholes.

            It’s a lesson that I’ve always had trouble implementing. Damn, but does that conditioning go deep. Just the thought of being brusque with someone to their face makes me break out in flop sweat. I mean, sure, I can be salty, but that’s with people I trust. That’s for laughs. 

            The problem is when I get caught holding the door open until I catch my death of cold. The problem is when people take advantage of my niceness to be complete and utter douche nozzles.

             And this last week has been just chock-a-block full of douche nozzles. Some of the douchetry seems to come from pure cluelessness, and some have been just transparent shit weasels.

                Example one: an old church biddy asked my husband (my husband!?!) last Wednesday when I’m due. (Answer: when hell freezes over. Babies are sleep vampires and germ factories) My darling only one thought it was a good idea to tell me about this event. It was not.

                Example two: Saturday, some redneck made an Islamophobic comment on one of my father’s Facebook posts. Reading the comment section is something I typically ignore because I don’t enjoy tire fires, but this was my father’s space, and douchebucket was disrespecting that space. I corrected him politely because I was raised by a Goddamn gentleman. His response was to post something from some fucking white/Christian supremacist hate website and to belittle my intelligence.

                Naturally, I took his “arguments” apart with a fair degree of civility. I didn’t want to. I wanted to point out that arguments coming from first grade educated, cousin-touching sheep shaggers were inherently invalid. The cousin-touching sheep shagger rebuttle, while classic, is categorized as “non-productive.” 

                We’re not supposed to descend to the other guy’s level because that’s not how you win arguments. Here’s the thing, though. I don’t think that there’s an argument that would get through to these guys. The possibility that they could be wrong doesn’t penetrate. This shitbird will vote for Trump. He will keep making the world a shittier place until he drops.

                What is nice getting me, then? It seems from my angle that it’s mainly getting me caught holding the door open for selfish peckerwoods.

                Maybe it’s about time to start letting the door shut in some fucking faces.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

There’s No “I” In Concussion…. Wait

There are certain activities that for me epitomize a perfect late spring day. Gardening would be a good example. Running and taking a nap afterwards with all the windows open is another, more preferable one. Especially the nap bit. I quite like those. For preference, preceded by a couple glasses of refreshing post-run box wine.

It is probably goes without saying that major cleaning/organizing” projects do not fall into the category of “perfect late spring day activities; nevertheless, big organizing projects tend to be the order of the day on most days off this season.  I suppose that it has to do with all that social conditioning about spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is most definitely a less perfect form of perfect activity, but it is most thoroughly a thing of the season for people of a certain age.

Being the perpetual overachiever in all matters pointless and quotidian, I decided of a late spring weekend to try to get all of the things done. And by all of the things, I do mean all of the things.

Because apparently if you leave the weekend without feeling like your muscles have gone jelly, you’re a lazy sack of crap. At least that’s what the voices in my head keep assuring me.

                I started reasonably enough on Saturday with some housekeeping interspersed pecking away at my Work In Progress. “Reasonably enough” falls under the category of potential famous last words. I should have probably run screaming the second that I realized that my plans were “reasonable enough.” Instead I started cleaning and reorganizing the bedroom I share with my husband, a pit bull and a very large, very fluffy orange cat.

           There are two basic categories of messy people. The first is the simple lazy/unhygienic messy person. I am not that person. That person leaves crap lying everywhere, presumably out of the mistaken belief that if you refuse to see it, it will just go away. Pro tip: absolutely nothing works that way. Not even cats. Actually, refusing to see a cat will just get you a tripping induced visit to the ER. Because that’s just how cats roll.

                The second category of messy person is your busy/overcommitted type. This is my personal m├ętier. I know it’s a humble-braggy sort of bullshit thing to say, but it’s true. I got a lot of shit going on. So does my husband. Balls get dropped. Balls that make it look like a paper bomb went off in your house.

                The bedroom is always pretty much the worst of the semi-controlled chaos for me. I suppose it’s largely because it isn’t a company room, and I don’t have to let people in to see how I actually live. The problem isn’t helped by the fact that I use our bedroom as a mini office. (Yes, I am aware of how stupid that is, but my actual office has nothing for me to sprawl on, and I’m lazy.) So there were clothes piled here and there, receipts, reference books, entertainment books, crafts, forgotten notes and other sundries to contend with. Also the dust.

                I am allergic to dust. It makes my eyes swell and my lungs go into conniptions, which may contribute to my somewhat chaotic ways. I persisted through the swelling, through the cat delivering a truly blistering fart in a poorly ventilated room, through ten pages of writing.

                A clean bedroom and a bunch of fresh writing.

                It probably made me a bit cocky.

                Strike that. It definitely made me cocky because when I woke up the next morning, I genuinely believed I could clean another room, do all the laundry, run three miles, garden for three hours and still write another ten pages.

                That’s not crazy, right? Right? Eye of the tiger! Clear eyes! Full heart! Can’t lose! Woo!

                I did get through the run just fine. I did immediately after succeed in starting up the laundry. Then I thought it would be a great idea to clear saplings. Not just regular weeding. No. That’s not simple enough. Saplings.

                To be clear, I have the upper body strength of a two-year-old, and my husband was ass deep in reorganizing the garage and would not be available to help. He said so when he saw me walking out of the shed with the mega sized pruning shears and a manic glint in my eyes.

                Here’s how the conversation went:

                “You understand I won’t be able to help you break all that down.” He said in that high pitched voice reserved for people sprinting top speed down the primrose path to perdition.

                “Uh huh.” I said, merrily hacking down another mulberry sapling and adding it to the already impressive pile of tree waste I’d gathered.

                “So you’re going to break all that down?”

                “Yup. That’s the plan,” I said, hacking away.

                “OK, then,” he replied. 

I’m fairly certain psychic powers aren’t a thing, but I did sense a certain “It’s your funeral” vibe from that “OK, then.” 

Reality started dawning about an hour later when my blood sugar crashed, and I realized we had no food that didn’t require cooking in the house. I decided to solve the problem by treating myself to a little Taco Hell. Because I deserved the diarrhea, apparently.

Mainly, Taco Hell is the sort of place you do in drive through form. I suspect it’s got something to do with keeping one’s shame eating nice and private, but we live a few blocks away from that bastardized tex-mex pit of despair, so I thought it would be a good idea to walk and just eat there. Why I thought that was a good idea is a bit of a mystery. But there you have it. A short while after putting away my pruning shears, I was surrounded by a sea of elderly Swedish-Americans and the stink of cheap ground beef, which smells curiously like paradise when you’re running on fumes.

Because I’m health conscious, I ordered the gorditos meal and an extra-large bladder buster of Mountain Dew (yes, that’s a real unit of measurement. Because I said so), and went down to the cleanest, most vacant part of the joint. This is where the story takes a sharp left turn into the regrettable, and not because I was fixing to put a down payment on shitting my pants later. It’s because my straw rolled of my tray and onto the floor.

The rule for things that fall onto the floor in fast food restaurants is simple. You burn them. With fire. It’s the only way to keep from being patient zero in an outbreak of Captain Trips.  You cannot mess around with this stuff, people.

Naturally, I immediately leaned over to pick the (still packaged. I’m not that far gone) straw off the floor. Which caused my head to make sharp contact with the edge of the nearby table. The crack of bone on dirty table, well, it was audible. As was the high pitched helium sucking “eeeeeeeeeeee” I emitted afterwards.

There were elderly Swedish-Americans staring at me. Concussing myself publicly in a cheap fast food restaurant wasn’t one of my better moments. Though, why Taco Bell thinks it’s copacetic to give ten inches separation between tables in the land of the obese is utterly mystifying. 

I returned to my tasks with a belly full of regret and the promise of a goose egg on my forehead. I probably should have broken down the saplings I’d already culled and retreated to Netflix, laundry, and chilled boxed wine. But I didn’t. I also didn’t clean another room, or put away the laundry I’d washed and dried, or even put some more time into the old writing. I did get a corker of a headache and a bunch of blisters. I also completely overdosed on adulting, and was completely useless around the house the rest of the week.

The moral of this story is that I don’t know the moral of this story. Don’t bite of more than you can chew? Don’t pick up things off the floor in Taco Bell? Drink more box wine? Whatever. You decide. I’m going to go on a run. And then clean. And garden. And do some laundry. And work on my D & D campaign. And work on my comic book.

I may have a problem.