Archive for February, 2007

Feb 21 2007

Beauty Call

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I’ve been having a Beauty Blast this week. Contrary to Jane Austen’s assertion that “woman is fine for herself alone”, I only bother primping when the results will be seen and appreciated. Rita doesn’t care if I’m wearing make-up or whether my accessories match, so I rarely bother. In fact, the last time I dressed up was probably the last time I was in New York, where I am heading tomorrow.

So everything that can be dyed, shaped, or altered has been done, and I’m now fit for public viewing. And what a viewing it will be: I’m interviewing 6 money managers in one day, which will be something like a marathon of used car salesmen all trying to sell me a different make and model. Don’t you wish you were me?

In the midst of my preenery, I had an email from my sister Beth asking me how to apply eyeliner. Despite my current lack of cosmetic use, at one time I was a serious addict, doing it at least once a day. And I had learned from the best, since all my application skills came from my friend A’s modelling days, so perhaps it’s justified that my sis considers me to be something of an expert. It’s so hard to shake a rep, isn’t it?

The request reminded me of the last time my sis came to visit me, all the way from England, where the Queen’s the boss and they talk funny. Being the hostess with the leastest, the kind of girl whose guests bring not only dinner, but serving dishes, I was a little concerned about how to amuse her. Of course, the first thing I thought of was shopping.

Turned out that we are the real-life Shopaholic and Sister. I took her to worship at Sephora, and discovered that she was not only unmoved by its cosmetic splendor, but confused by it. She kept asking me what things were, and they were always lip gloss, except the one time it was an eyelash curler.

It made me realize that instead of, say, algebra, for which I and everyone I know has never had any real life use, there could (should!) be classes in the correct and fun way to apply make-up. They’d start in junior high, before a taste develops for blue eyeshadow and other bad habits that are so difficult to break. Lessons would include:

  • Foundation: it should match your skin as closely as possible. You, only flawless. There should never be a demarcation line at the jaw.
  • Lip liner: never obvious, despite the Pamela Anderson school of application. As in Foundation, above, it should match, not contrast.
  • How to apply false eyelashes. They’re not just for evening anymore! Extra credit for eyelash extensions.
  • How to fake a tan: from bronzers to airbrushing, without orange palms or sun-inducing wrinkles.
  • How to perfect your eyebrows: shaping, coloring, maintaining.


The world would be a much prettier and Suzier place.

In case you think I left my sis in the lurch, I sent her this link which pretty much explains all without visual aids. Enjoy!

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Feb 20 2007

Good Day, Good Deeds, Good Dog

Published by under Dogs,Rita,Uncategorized

The two old ladies are alive and well, you’ll be glad to hear. And thanks to all of you for checking up on us, especially those who recognized the Oates quote and feared the ominous worst. I haven’t pulled an Oates (and would never be noble enough to do so), but there has been nothing at all amusing happening in my life, so I elected to keep the dullness to myself. Maybe I am, in fact, somewhat noble.

This must be an all-time personal high (or low) for posting, since this is only the third entry this month. I should get some kind of award for it. The Slothy: for outstanding indolence. Problem is, people would get annoyed with me winning it every year, even though I’d be too lazy to write, let alone read, an acceptance speech.


Rita must have wanted to keep up with my accoutrements of old age*, because the vet has put her on prescription dog food (it’s called G/D, which I prefer to think of as Good Dog, rather than what it really stands for) and treats to help keep her joints healthy and happy. She loves them and is prancing around like a little circus pony, charming one and all as per usual.


I?m sure Emily Post or Miss Manners would say that regifting is always wrong (and they’d probably have an aside explaining why the non-word “regifting” was so egregious, besides the idea of the actual regifting), but it was a total success in this case. I received a hat for Christmas which was cute, but not me. Apart from anything else, it had wooly braids, and if I’m going to wear braids, they’re going to be mine. I finally realized it would look great on my neighbor, and since I never know when I?ll see her, I put it in her mailbox. I ran into her a couple of days later, and she was not only wearing it, she was bubbling over about all the compliments she had received on it. Total success! And a gift that kept on (re)giving.

Glowing with regifting glory, I went to the store for some necessities (pomegranate juice for anti-oxidant martinis; shrimps and artichokes; coffee). On the lottery counter, some hopeful yet forgetful soul had left her wallet. It was black patent leather, with a big Pilgrim-y buckle on it (if she wins, I hope she buys a new one). I couldn’t resist peeping inside. There was money – not enough for a pretty new wallet, alas – and ID. I handed it over to the cashier, who was either surprised at my honesty or the ugliness of the wallet. She took it gingerly and stowed it under the cash.

On the way home, I amused myself by thinking of how happy the owner would be to get it back. Like ABC’s Wide World of Sports, only backwards: “The agony of defeat! The thrill of victory!”

*When I complained to a friend about how having bifocals makes me feel old, she said, “Having bifocals just means all your energy goes to your intelligence and your eyes don’t get as much.” I feel so much better. And smarter.

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Feb 07 2007

The Birds

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If I were Tippi Hedren, I’d be a little nervous now.

Every day at around this time, the tree in the courtyard hosts a convocation of black birds. They fill the winter-empty branches with their nearly weightless, dark bodies and the air with their raucous conversation. It’s the bird equivalent of a trendy night spot out there, although apparently anyone with wings can get in.

This has been going on for about a week. The variation on the theme is to pack onto all the windowsills, side by side, and then talk as loudly as possible about how crowded it is, comparing it unfavorably to the Tokyo subway at rush hour.

The creepiest part of the proceedings is when someone walks through the courtyard. Then the birds fall silent, as if they had been plotting that person’s demise (or mocking their outfit) and didn’t want to be overheard and caught.

As darkness falls, there’s a whoosh as they all fly off together, calling out one last threat. Or promise.

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Feb 03 2007

I May Be Some Time

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I’m driving my car, my one and only car. It’s a 1966 Mustang convertible, silvery-blue, and looks a lot like this. The top’s down and the radio’s on – since it’s the original radio, it only gets AM, so it’s on an oldies station, to go with the car.

If you’ve never been lucky enough to drive a convertible, you may be under the impression that the driver’s long blonde hair blows romantically back from her face, in the manner of Grace Kelly in “To Catch a Thief”, in the well-known sequence presaging her untimely death as she careens around the Grande Corniche in a Sunbeam Alpine. Since life is seldom, if ever, like the movies, what actually happens is that your long blonde hair blows into your eyes, making your driving Grace Kelly hazardous. This was quite a disappointment to me, since having your hair in a ponytail or hidden under a baseball cap just doesn’t have the same allure.

There’s no traffic on the road, and it’s smooth, as if it had just been paved. The sky is that deep California blue. I’ve never seen that color anywhere else, just like I’ve never seen anywhere else like California. Does anywhere else have oceans, deserts, mountains, all in one place? Drive a couple of hours from San Francisco, and there’s snow. Drive a few hours south, and it’s warm enough to swim. And there’s nowhere like San Francisco. Or Hollywood.

After a while, I realize I’ve been driving more or less on auto pilot, not really noticing my surroundings. When I do, I realize that it’s dark – I’m deep in a forest – and the road is a lot rougher. It’s gotten cold, too. I’m chilled, but too nervous to stop and put the top up. I’ll stop soon.

But I don’t. I can’t. I just keep driving.

I’ve become frightened, feeling alone. I am alone. And I’m not out of the woods yet.

The road isn’t a freeway now. It’s not even a two lane highway. It’s a dirt road. Soon, the dirt road gives way to a track. I can’t drive down the track, so I get out and walk. It’s a long walk, especially in the dark. Eventually, the track ends, too. I stand in a clearing, looking around. I think, “Now what?”

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