Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Past

Someone sparked a wonderful discussion over on G-Plus, asking her circle to share their favorite Christmas memories. (Mine was watching my mother decorate the tree, but I have many favorites.) A few of us replying admitted to getting tearing during the chat.

I have some sadness during the holidays, and not just because I've lost some family and friends. It just feels like there was more of a holiday spirit all through the year.

Remember when we made more time to enjoy our family and friends more often? A lot of us can recall a time when we gathered at somebody's home more often than on holidays. For my family, it was my mother's house. At any time of day, someone was dropping in. During the week, it was after work. Maybe one of the many folks who called my mother "Mom" would have stopped off on their way home. They'd come in "just for a minute" and end up staying to help Mom with something - say, reach something off a high shelf - and then they'd end up helping her finish "picking" greens for dinner. Or she'd have them sit and have coffee with her and watch the news or catch up on their life news.

After work, I'd go in to see my mother and she'd have two people watching TV in the living room, someone bringing up the the laundry from downstairs, and someone stirring whatever was cooking on the stove. By dinnertime, we could have five to ten us us setting us TV trays and fighting over who was going to leave their plate to get rolls out of the oven. My mother would be watching over us, like the contented grand dame she was.

On weekends, with all us siblings (blood- or love-related), our kids, their friends, Mama's friends - whoever we had gathered into our clan - the driveway looked like Walmart's on Black Friday.

There was never a week that passed without some kind of "company" being around my mother's home. I didn't have five siblings and one living parent, I had love flowing from hundreds of people into my life.

Ironically, it was Christmas that gave me time with just blood family. Well, Christmas Eve. The night before Christmas was traditionally a family-only event. Still, if my mother had taken in someone for a while, they were included. And my mother took in people who needed to be taken in. If someone living far from their own family ran into my mother (with 2 military bases here, that happened a lot), they were going to be part of her family if that's what they needed.

This was one Christmas Eve with just some of the kids that year...

Mama is the little dark lady surrounded by just some of her babies." This us the year before she passed away.
Christmas Eve, the kids (little ones and grown ones!) got to open one present. Mama picked the present.  She had the mind of Sherlock when it came to her tree. If any of the kids touched a single ornament, gift or candy cane, she knew.

For me, whatever year this photo is from, it's when I got one of the pearl rings my mother always got me. Not because of the gift, but because of Mama, I haven't had a Christmas so happy since. I think I was about 36 or 37 at the time. It was a Christmas or two before Mama died.

Check out the tree behind me. Every ornament just so!

So, really, Christmas was almost like any other day in Mama's house. Throw in some gifts and a turkey dinner, any day could be Christmas.

I don't think that my family was unique as far as spending time together.

What's happened to us? What happened to making time for each other? Why does it take a designated day for us to put away our computers and briefcases and cellphones and actually relate to each other?

How does the saying go: "Tis the reason for the season"? So why does the season have to be the reason. Why does Christmas have to be the day for family and showing our love and gratitude for each other?

Peace,
--Free

Friday, December 20, 2013

Life in the Age of the Web

So much of our lives are tied to the internet. I didn't send out many Christmas cards this time around - there are online services for that. I really kind of miss getting some cards in the mail that I can hang around my front door for the season.

This is the age of the internet though. Not surprisingly, I'm finding that a lot of my social esteem now comes from my online social circles. If I don't post on Twitter or Google Plus for a few days, I see a major drop in interactions when I return. This also affects my blog because visitor numbers drop into the canyons.

How does this make me feel? So far, it doesn't really affect my personal feelings, but I can see how it could (and still might).

Will I sign onto Twitter or G+ just to keep people interested in me, in what I have to say? Maybe. Will I do it, no matter how insincere my shared thoughts and opinions are? No.

I wonder how it makes other people feel when they experience this social lag. Does it make them realize how thin and passing an online social life can be?

We really need to make sure that we keep a balance in how much time we spend online and off.
Internet acquaintances are alright, but it's our intimate friendships that need to be nurtured most. Go ahead and fall out sick and see which friends are going to be checking up on you first.

This random line of thought brings another to mind: How many people have just disappeared from their online social circles without anyone wondering what happened to them? I've known a few people who went from super-active online to dead silent. Are they dead? Did something happen to take away their need for interacting online? There's really no way to know without turning into a stalker, is there?

I'm a worrier. When I get to "know" someone online - say on Google or Twitter - and they suddenly stop posting or blogging, I think the worst. I don't for one minute imagine that they are just too busy living an offline life to post their every third thought for me to criticize.

We might all need to take regular breaks from our online lives. I do this about once every couple of months. It's an ordeal. You can almost hear the sucking sound as I pry my brain away from the computer. I always have a little bit of "dry out" fever and I will fidget for a couple hours before I can even get anything useful done.

Everything I do offline is cushioned by the internet. If I clean or do laundry, I need my last.fm for music because I no longer own a radio. When I writing, I need Wikipedia or Google because I have no paper encyclopedias, newspapers or dictionary references. I've given my last TV away to a friend, so I have to go online for my shows and movies.

I was talking to a doctor some time back about my Sarc and the problems it causes me. He approved of the "work-arounds" I've fallen back on: different types of listing and note-taking apps. He doesn't like the idea of calculators being used by the general population though. He feels it causes a loss of basic math skills. He's right. I feel almost the same way about our use of the internet.

When did this start happening to us? How far will it erode our skills? Will children one day not know what it is to hold a book in their hands (maybe with a flashlight under their bed-covers because they just have to know how the chapter ends)? I'm already annoyed that my nieces and nephews actually have never had to leave their seat to change the TV channel. It's not fair. On the other hand, they have been robbed of the joy of decorating their bedroom walls with their favorite album covers.

Don't you ever wish that we could have stopped the progress of the internet at a certain stage? Like, we could have email but only for business reasons. We could keep our social networks, but had to ask someone what an agoraphobic is. I think if we could still have a need for each other - to share mentoring and learning and real communication - we'd be better off. I can't imagine what's going to happen to human relationships if we let things keep going the way they are. On the other hand, I wouldn't have been able to tell you all this without the internet. So... we should keep blogs. Definitely keep blogs. And shopping. I can't take those long store lines...

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Writing With Sarc-Brain

For me, writing is a passion.

Passion:
(noun) a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something
Writing with sarc-brain is a frustration, a painful struggle. Sometimes I feel like a starved woman gagged and bound at a feast. All my creativity is at full-throttle, but I can't corral any of the thoughts ricocheting around in my head.

It's maddening to sit for hours, trying to pull all the little sparkles of ideas together onto paper the way they strut through my mind. My mind creates the picture. I can see the picture, but I can't draw it. The characters and the words they speak are real and vivid inside my imagination, but they log-jam into confusion on their way out and onto paper.

The other day, I almost broke down and cried.

At this point in my life, when I am tied into myself with this "cognitive disorder," I regret having been so responsible before I got ill. I wish I had gifted myself with a year or two of selfishness. I could have gone off and locked myself in a cheap apartment to just write.
"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." Ray Bradbury
This sarc is my reality. It is what I think about in the early mornings when I am trying to navigate the worlds I've created with my fiction.

In every other part of my life, I've figured out (mostly) how to control the ways sarc impacts me as a person. I function, I manage, I live. I just cannot figure out how to get my stories written from beginning to middle to end. At first, the puzzle pieces to the plots come together beautifully, but then - as the minutes and hours past, they shift and drift apart in my head. I can spend days at a time, trying to collect them back into their proper place. For three years now, I've been trying to collect them. I always end up standing somewhere on shore, watching them ebb and flow, bump and collide.

I believe this is a form of madness.

The most frustrating thing about having this disease is that no one can "see" it. There's no physical badge of impairment. Unless I'm wearing heels and trip over some invisible obstacle, you'd never know there was something wrong with me. Maybe I'll get excited when talking about something and stutter or stringtogethermywords. You might think I've been drinking. Sometimes I have. Most times I haven't. But if I thought it would help...

The best thing about having sarc is that the people who love me still find me lovable. And amusing. (That amuses me, unless it pisses me off.)

Do I think that I could (even without sarc) be a "great" writer? That's never mattered to me. All I've ever wanted was to have at least one book out there with my name on the cover. Writing fiction is a form of history-keeping. I only ever wanted to tell the stories about people and places I know. They are good and interesting people and places. The world should have the chance to enjoy reading about them.

Will I stop writing? Nope. I'm just losing hope of being read.

Peace
--Free

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quickie Post: Snow, Vodka & Birthdays

This is Alaska. It snows sometimes. Sometimes it snows a lot. No matter. I had a birthday party to go to.

Yep. My car. My job to shovel out...
Did you get a good look at that? Crazy, right?  Snow almost to my kneecaps...

Seriously. Want to see it again?

I love it when the snow avalanches into my passenger seat like that...
I made it. My hair looked like a wet tumbleweed, but I made it.

Half hour before the party, before the place filled with toddlers, I had a quick Vodka and O.J., and found the sleepy birthday boy. He was a little cranky and wouldn't sit still for long. I managed to get one half-decent photo by turning his attention to a cartoon on TV.


He is bored & waiting for his friends to arrive. Sitting still for 2.23 seconds!

That kid right there made my trek through the snow worth it. More than worth it.

Happy Birthday, little Mister Stole-My-Heart! I love you.

I spent two and half hours wearing a silly hat, helping corral little ones and sneaking sips from my drink. Now I am back home & having a cup of HOT chai. Screw this snow. My bed feels a little empty but, mmm mmm, so good. At least I don't have to share the blankets.

Goodnight all.

Peace
--Free

Life Jubilee

A new year is creeping up on us. Again.

As always, I have been examining my life. In 2007, my life felt something like this

via Sim U
Then I just had to go and get married to the wrong-est man in the world. In less than a year, this is what my whole existence felt like

God's going to trouble the waters...
Because I have friends who love me and a family who will collect all their noses to put them in my business if they think I am in distress, I was pulled back on track. I got home to Alaska and right onto a great job that I loved. Ironically, things fell apart for me on the Fourth of July - a national and, for me, a personal celebration. Just when I was getting my shit together, this freak show called neurosarcoidosis decided to come and visit me.

Damnit.

But I try to look for my blessings in everything. Guess what? I wasn't in my right mind when I married a man who pulled a Jekyll and Hyde act. Yes! It wasn't really me who stayed with someone who treated me so badly. It was a woman with a strange stuff happening inside. My brain was just having its own problems.

Or your brain cells doing weird things...
And I have a million stories to tell, most of them kind of funny. (But not the one about walking nine blocks in 100-degree heat for groceries because Mr. Tingles left with the car and stayed gone for over a week.)

Anyway. My brain digresses...

This post is about healing and progression. In shedding the weight of the past, I have decided to no longer make resolutions for a new year, but kind of go bit by bit with my self-improvements. It's the same idea an aunt of mine has about Thanksgiving. She will remind well-wishers that every day is "Thanksgiving." While, she has felt that way since youth, I have just now taken up the same belief about renewal.

I've decided to fall back on what the Bible teaches about cycles. I'm not sure if I have it right, but 2014 is the year for things being better.

In the Bible, the number seven is significant. I'm no scholar, but I remember enough from reading the Bible (and from the sermons I sat through as a child) to know about this "perfect" number.

What I didn't remember in detail, I could easily find around the internet. This one really goes into some detail. Too bad I have the attention span of a gnat.

I found other explanations for the perfection of seven as a number. Some were too scientific for my sarc-soaked brain to love. The vision of numbers in parentheses makes me go blind.


Nooo!!!! I can't look, I can't look!
God being so good as math is enough to make Him my hero. Me being so bad at math, yet fairly intelligent, makes me the opposite of Rain Man.

Kidding aside, this was the best for me. It's a simple repeat of everything I learned in my Pentecostal home as a youth. The seven year/day renewal idea is a simple one that I can intellectually grasp and it fits in with my faith. (Note that it doesn't affect my faith.)

My simple mind can deal with this. It's something I can incorporate into my own life system. I can handle fasting once every seven days, doing something charitable, cutting my hair, trimming my Google Plus circles. Every seven weeks, I can check my oil, call my great-auntie in Arkansas, change my online passwords and delete useless apps from my phone, hint to the fam about the things still on my Google Wishlist.

~Hmmm~

2007 was when things got twisted. 2014 might be at least the beginning of things going better. I'm hoping to get that book written, this heart of mine softened back up, this hair of mine under control, this disease tackled for good... I'm not looking for miracles, just a little joy.

Now that I'm thinking about it, this could be a really good thing. It's a simple thing to hope for. Seven years of struggle, seven years of peace. Please, God.

It's my life, somebody's got to live it.

Peace
--Free

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One Month of Going Natural (on the cheap)

I am just at about one month in on my natural hair journey. Actually, I've been in transition since taking the Methotrexate to treat my sarcoidosis. For some reason, I didn't lose all my hair, but the texture changed and it did thin a bit. Going natural - getting away from the relaxing and dyeing chemicals - has really helped.

As for being overwhelmed by all the information withing the natural hair culture, I am finding a balance by keeping things very simple. I don't have a lot of money to spend on products and there are too many to try without going broke. You don't have to spend a fortune on products to take care of your natural hairstyle.

So. What to do? The same thing as with my other cosmetic issues: go natural to be natural.

First, I thought about what my hair type needs:

Moisture, moisture, moisture
Yep. Good old water. Free and on-hand. I've upped my daily intake from at least 70 to about 100 ounces per day. This is something my doctors will love me for even though staff at any place with a restroom are starting to recognize me by by my run-gait. I go into Starbucks and someone is handing me a pink or blue key before even thinking about taking my order.

In addition to hydrating my body from the inside, I am also watering my hair on a nightly basis. While steaming is way too much trouble without the right equipment, anyone can manage a spray bottle and plastic cap (like these). I think I paid just over a buck for the little sprayer and not much more for a bundle of plastic hair caps. (Heck, I might just mess around and get fancy and spring for a sturdy conditioner cap next month.) I take a 30-minute break in the evening, treat my naps to a good leave-in conditioner, adding a few drops of some SoftSheen glycerin, and do my routine spray-bag-and-sit in a warm bathroom. Just to kill more than one bird with that stone, I downloaded a really cool brick-blasting game on my phone. Reading a book or studying something useful might be a better way to go but, hey, at least I'm not still playing Angry Birds. As much.

$1 Spray bottle from Walmart
I remove the bag and, while my hair is still damp (or I guess you could say "porous"), rub in a little bit of oil and let my hair air dry - and it's amazing that there is no greasy feel. I'm using whatever oil I have on hand, by the way. Right now, it's either olive or sunflower oil (because those are what I cook with most), but I did get pick up some Jamaican black castor oil with my membership at Sally's Beauty Supply when they had a sale. (That JBCO is the bizness!) I tie on a satin scarf to cover the nape and sides of my head so that I can look cute while I protect my hair from my pillows. And, ladies, the look really can be cute in a 50's style kind of way. You don't have to be all "country" about it so that you scare the hell out of your man.

JBCO (About $6) This is great on my skin too.

 mix of black castor oil, sunflower & olive oil.
(Beauty tip: Use w/a baby wipe to remove
 make-up or cleanse & moisturize the skin.)


My niece gifted me the scarf a couple years ago. Thanks Gabs!

Left from an old relaxer kit I had. It's good stuff.
I added a touch of oil to it though.


I like this for the softness and shine

For the wake-up, I will cover my hair for the shower (or another light water-spritz) so that I can add some more leave-in or oil if needed. By the time I brush my teeth and hit my eyes with some liner, my hair is ready to be finger-styled. If I do need to use a tool to "lift" my curls, I use either this comb or a "pick."

Great for styling the natural
 Any plastic. undamaged afro "pick" will also do. I just try not to pull at the root of my hair. I like the comb you see because it's multi-use: it detangles, parts and lifts. I think I paid $1.50 at a local beauty supply.

Since I was too lazy to go get my glycerin spray from the bathroom pantry, this is what I'm talking about.

For now, I have not even gone out and gotten any special shampoos or wash-out conditioner. I've always used ones that are for boosting moisture and softness. Until I use up the different brands I have in the bathroom closet, I am just adding a few drops of oil to them. Next time I buy, I will worry about things whether or not they are sulfate-free or have good "slippage. For now, I'm glad I don't have to buy anything for a couple months. Maybe if I save on products, I'll be able to get this t-shirt

I like it kinky


There you have it. That's my cheap and easy way to keep these natural curls in shape and looking nice. If you have a good routine, you don't have to spend a ton of money. And by the way:

Peace
--Free

Sunday, December 08, 2013

**REVIEW** Lancome DreamTone (Final Update?)

Just a quick post about the results my sister is having after about 2 weeks use:

Her skin is loving the DreamTone. She had some dry, rough patches that were soothed and smoothed almost immediately.

At 10 years older than my 52 years, her skin is taking to the product the way it seems it was meant. To be really honest, I have pretty good skin for my age while my sister does not. She has had a lot of up and down weight gain over the years that affected her face. The DreamTone is not only improving the feel of her skin, but results in texture are visible.

Unfortunately, my sister will not let me post Before and After pics because she is such a grinch. Kidding. She is just vain and camera-shy. I get it. Who knows, in a few weeks, I might be able to convince her to let me show photos.

So, there it is for now. If your skin does not react as mine did to the product, it seems like it could be just the thing for a lot of you ladies - no matter what your age.

Peace
--Free

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Good, Bad & Ugly Internet

Google Plus and Twitter aren't enough for me anymore. I've signed up for Tumblr (not sure how I like it yet), About.me (not sure how it's useful yet), Last.fm (love it), and I've delved back into my dormant Pinterest account (totally hooked this time).

My older sister doesn't have or want to have anything to do with the internet except for the games on her phone. If it were not for the games on her phone, she probably wouldn't even know what her mobile data is for. I think that's a shame. There is so much on the internet that is good, educational, entertaining and socially world-shrinking. On the other hand, there are the Kardashians. This brings me to the point of this post: the good, bad and ugly of the internet.

The Good

  • It's taught me, better than the other time I spend, that there's a difference in being known and being respected. The internet can make a star or villain out of almost anyone. 
  • People find a lot of harmful enjoyment - like my sister with the games. It sure is cheaper. Example: $8/mo for watching movies and shows in my PJs. $10.25 for one evening movie theater ticket. That's solo, no refreshments (or "Pause" button for the bathroom breaks). Nuff said?
  • It's an open classroom for anyone wanting to learn anything. People who can't afford normal portals of education can gorge themselves on knowledge.
  • It really does erase boundaries. People on different continents of different cultures, races and backgrounds can connect, chat, share and even make plans to meet in person. 
  • For people who ever wondered if they were the only ones who (fill in the blank with whatever insecurity, health problem, life problem, etc.) get relief in knowing they are not.
  • People who can't travel - or maybe even leave their home - can see the beauty of the rest of the world.
  • All the time we spent running to the store, the Post Office and bank and holding our phones listening to bad "Hold" music is pretty much done. Gift-shopping is so easy, you can check a person's Wishlist online, order the very thing they want and have it delivered - even if said person hates you and you're under police orders to stay a hundred feet from them at all times. (Don't ask how I know this.)
  • Jobs are opened up by the existence of the internet. Technology needs the tech savvy. Those tech-leaning folk (and those who run from tech) can find jobs they might never have heard about. Some of those jobs can be done without stepping foot into a shower or out of the front door. (I don't recommend that shower part.)
The Bad
  • Fame is there for the grabbing, but that fame is like any pleasure and comes in varieties: worth it, no way in hell worth it, long-lasting, fleeting, surprising or painful - and always with a consequence.
  • The internet gobbles time the way I'd gobble cheesecake if I lived in an alternate universe with no calories or gravity. (By the way, if you know anyone who uses Pinterest, slap them the next time they claim to be to busy to do anything else. That site is like choose-your-crack city. I spent two hours on there one day and almost missed an appointment.)
  • People need people (sing it, Barbra) but, sometimes, the internet is the worst way for people to meet. It's too easy to lie about who and what you really are. 
  •  Seeing our societies shallow attraction to only those who are beautiful and successful can really breakdown the rest of us mere mortals.
The Ugly
  •  Not all people (yet) have access to the internet (though more than ever before) and, sometimes, they are shoved further into a poverty - whether a poverty of learning, opportunity or of spirit.
  • It seems that just many people use the broken boundaries for bad as for good. The cowards and bullies have a bigger platform to recruit and target victims. And they use it. 
  • As far as meeting someone on the internet (for more than "casual" contact), so much can go sideways. We've all heard about the friend of a friend who finally met Mister or Miss Right via some toolonely.com site. Sometimes, they find out just exactly why the liar face is so lonely. Lots of times it can be funny (to the rest of us) when a real-life meet goes wrong, but too many times, it's dangerous as hell, maybe even deadly. At the least, it can be heartbreaking. That's bad enough for some people.
  • You have to be careful with what you put out there online. Most of us (I include myself here) are not nearly careful enough. Someone with enough time or money or lack character can find out what brand and color underwear you use on alternate days of the week. (And don't even wonder why the ads that pop up on the site you visit always have ads for the exact flavor of Coffee Mate creamer you prefer.)
Yeah, so...

The thing is, there is good, bad and ugly in everything. We just need to be more aware.

Peace
--Free

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Weirdities Explained

Someone emailed and asked me to explain my phobias - or what I call my "personal qualms." I admit I have some quirks that run deep.

I guess I should thank the person who was cool enough to email me. Instead of just writing me off as a nutty nut job, they came right out and asked why I have all these phobias. If they were snickering as they typed, none of that leaked into the email.

In the years I've blogged here, I've talked so much about my little "issues" that I don't remember if I ever have explained them. I'm just a strange person. Not strange-bad (I don't think), but I have my ways. Maybe being a Cancer is part of it. And I am a serious moon child.

Going back through my old posts, I realized that I might actually need some kind of therapy. For instance, I have discussed here:
  • Not being able to even watch another person in a deprivation chamber that involved water submersion. They looked too close to going under. I mean, just now using the words "water" and "submersion" together gave me the creeps.
  • Having problems with my roommate (and a former best friend) because of her messiness and my fear of it.
  • Quitting smoking made me dream my phobias. Note: Quitting smoking = good for you and adds years of life (I guess). Chantix = great way to stop smoking. Quitting smoking with Chantix = great way to dream yourself into a straitjacket.
  • Being "normal" probably means having one or two things that freak you out. I re-read this post and, based on the number of things that I freak about, I am seeing some therapy or psychotropic drugs in my future.
One good thing about having neuro-sarc: I forget how crazy I am until someone reminds me - or until I review these blog entries. Maybe it's not such a good idea that I have pretty much documented my life here on BeingFree. All my craziness is going to haunt me as long as there is a world wide web.

Peace
--Free


"I'm not crazy, I'm just interesting." (yeah, I said it)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

One of Those Days

Once again, this wouldn't be my life if it weren't funny.

You guys have heard me talk about my Sarc enough to know that it makes me clumsy sometimes, right? And I've told you how I have less than great eyesight. I am near- and far-sighted. I use my reading glasses more than I use my distance glasses for driving, but I pretty much can't see details either way without concentrating.

So on top of being a klutz and poor-sighted, I also have self-acquired Attention Deficit Disorder. And what I mean is that my ADD comes from mental laziness more than from the neuro-Sarc. I'm a daydreamer and I just don't always pay full attention to things.

Now keep all this in mind when I tell you that it was no one's fault but my own when I came this close to sliding under a half-ton pick-up truck the other day.

I had to make a quick run up to a convenience store. Just needed one loaf of bread and didn't want to fight the crowds at the grocery store. Of course, I am too vain to just do the wrap-a-coat-over-the-pjs thing. (My roommate does that all the time and I tell her that she's going to regret it when she meets someone special or important while she's looking ratty.) I don't like to go out anywhere without brushing my teeth, combing my hair and putting on at least some good Chapstick.

And, ladies, understand that I don't do this to impress the guys as much as I do it for you. I hate nothing worse than looking like crap when I run into another woman who looks like she's got it all pulled together. The only sleepwear I will wear in public has "Pink" written on it. Yes, I love my Victoria's Secret type lounge-wear ("type" could be Victoria's Stepsister off the rack at Walmart. Cute does not have to be expensive).

So anyway, I brush my teeth, tame the hair (oh boy) and gloss the lips. I tug on my cutest boots - which are not so ice-friendly but, what the heck, I'm just going from car to store and back. I'd tested the boots on our sanded lot at the apartment. And did I mention that they are really cute boots.

The boots were the first mistake.

Like always, I turn on the music in the car. Now, here's the thing: when I listen to music, I kind of go to that special place in my imagination. It's the place where I can sing well and I give concerts to imaginary fans, chair-dancing included. (Don't worry. I don't do the dancing thing while the car is in motion. That's just for stop lights and parking spaces.)

The music was the second mistake.

I get to the store, park and sit in the car until "No Parking on the Dance Floor" finishes. I'm shy about a lot of things, but I have no inhibition about singing and dancing in my car. Everybody wants to. I just happen to not care who sees me doing it.

So there I am, just killing it to the last little bit of the song.

This is a classic dance jam.


Just when the song was finishing, I noticed a big and beautiful shining monster of a blue truck pull into the space next to mine. I'm still doing my little shoulder-groove thing while I'm getting out of the car - because I can still kind of hear the music in my head.

The guy getting out of the truck is watching me and kind of smiling to himself because - I don't know, I'm the crazy-cool lady jamming down to sounds in her head? Or maybe he's just so damn happy to be driving that gorgeous vehicle? Anyway, as I go to step out of the car, I don't notice that the lot hasn't been salted or sanded. Also, I forgot that I was wearing my too-cute but not-safe-for-the-ice boots. I do the girly car exit (legs together, swivel and stand) still bopping away to my head-music and-

While it was in no way graceful, I bet skaters would kill to pull off the move I did. Everything seemed to be happening in slow-motion.

As I went into an immediate slide, I grabbed the door of my car. That only made things worse because I kind of whipped around and pulled the door out toward me.

Truck Guy came to the rescue. He caught me just as I was about to do an inspection of the underside of his ride. I ended up with my face planted in his underarm while my feet were doing this Scooby-Doo slip-slide-run thing. I felt like this went on forever, but I guess it only lasted a few seconds. Finally, I was standing upright but unable to move without sliding again.

Truck Guy was a gentleman. I know this because, even though I could feel him shaking with laughter, he kept a straight face while he asked if I was okay. I mean, he didn't even crack half a smile. That's control.

Of course I wasn't okay. I was embarrassed and I think I got whiplash in my ass.

Worst of all? There was a woman in Truck Guy's vehicle. He was polite about not cracking up but that bitch was laughing so hard she was about to give herself a hernia.

Truck Guy sort of toddler-walked me into the store and he even waited while I paid for my bread. He practically carried me back to my car. God bless that man, whoever he is... I'm sure that he and old girl entertained all their friends with that story. I know she did. That heifer.

Peace
--Free

Monday, November 25, 2013

**REVIEW** Lancome DreamTone (end of wk 3) UPDATED

~sigh~

It's over for me, ladies.

Sorry, but I gave up on the Lancome DreamTone that I've been trying out. It simply made my skin feel too dry. That's the bad news. The good news is that I am letting my sister try it. She might have better luck with it than I did. Already she likes the way it makes her skin feel. And she is pretty picky about products. Again, the bad news: she won't agree to let me photograph the full-face results. Something about not trusting the internet... I am going to try doing close-ups of her skin to mark progress.

For my personal final statements regarding DreamTone, it smelled good, felt great and I loved the design of the container. My main problem is that it made my skin feel thirsty. I work hard at moisturizing my entire body. For me, dry equals damage and wear. I like to feel soft and touchable.

Using DreamTone did not seem to damage my skin, but I did not see any dramatic improvements either.

At around $100, the DreamTone is rather expensive. As an alternative, I can purchase Anew for around $30 (for approximately 2 months use alone) or Olay for around $25 which would last over a month if using it with any other type of OTC moisturizer. At the cheapest, I can use olive, coconut or sesame oil in place of all the cosmetic brands. For someone in my financial position, the difference between five and thirty dollars for a vanity product is, well, enough of a difference. I get complimented on my skin all the time, so I will work with what I have for the time being. When I start having major issues with my skin, I might consider shifting more money away from food toward things like cosmetics and other vanity items.

Bottom line: DreamTone is probably just right for some skin types. Unless any results are expected to last for a while past final use of the product, the price seems high for the average working woman.  Using the product lightly twice a day, I could have expected to spend over $700 a year. For that kind of money, a woman could get a professional treatment in a doctor's office to handle minor issues.

Maybe DreamTone is going to be marketed to women in a higher income bracket. I don't know. My skin concerns are not that serious and my pockets aren't that deep. My sister says that, depending on how the product works, she would consider budgeting for it to use intermittently with other products. That's a thought, I guess, and it would be nice if there were more than one size and price option.

Peace
--Free

Forgot to add pics. I took the most honest ones I could: first thing in the morning, after sleeping with eye makeup on, hair NOT done. This was tough, but here goes:

I wanted to get rid of the dark "freckle" like spots on the left side

I didn't use DreamTone the day before, but went back to "cleaning" w/oil & using my Anew moisturizer.


Left my skin soft but just feeling too dry & kind of tight. That has passed now that I've stopped using it.

Not good to sleep in makeup. 


I might see a little smoothing of the lines on my forehead. A little.
(I'll make this one a profile pic since you can't see the lines! LOL)

I prefer to call them  smile lines. You don't notice them if I'm smiling!

Now all I need to do is start working on that hair!

Me and This Hair of Mine

A lot of women are going to be able to relate to this post. +Merry Weathers and I were having a conversation about our hair and I wanted to keep it going here on the blog.

(First of all, let me say that when I am talking about those who wear "natural" hair, I am speaking about black women. Not that it is only black women who have, in general, hair texture that is curly, kinky, thick or coarse. I am just speaking to what I know for myself.)

I am in a love/hate relationship with my hair. Hate is the current feeling at the moment. Okay - maybe not hate, but a strong irritation. And I'm not always the innocent party in this arrangement. Sometimes I'm abusive, then I make it up by being gentle and buying great products. Then I get lazy and start taking things for granted... It's a vicious cycle. But I am ready to admit my faults and accept help. I wish there was a Hair Help Anonymous for curly girls. I'd be all up in the front row of those meets:

"My name is Free and I abuse my hair."

If I treated my hair the way I treated my skin, I'd probably have a healthy and happy Afro by now. As it is, I have this TWA that dries up like a tumbleweed two seconds after I leave water. It wasn't until I started checking in with Curly Nikki on a regular basis that I figured out my problem(s).

Number One - I had never bothered to identify my hair type. This helped explain a lot. Now, I at least know that my hair is in the category of "low porosity" (versus "normal" and "high"). This helps me in choosing products that are better for my hair. You won't believe the mountain of products I have that are completely wrong for my hair type. ~sigh~

Number Two - Though I know some things now about my hair, I'm still a slow learner compared to folks who know the letter and number designation of their hair.  I know that my hair is nappy. Why the heck do I need to have a designation for that? The silliness. (I thought that was just for store-bought tresses! Live and learn.)

Number Three - Hair (especially when you are trying to "go natural") is like the best friend you pissed off a week ago: it's still there for you, but you have to treat it special for a while before things are good again. The relationship needs some real growth.

So, now that I have some clues about my hair type, I've been learning how to treat it better. I'm learning all about the Cherry Lola treatment, steaming (without spending a fortune), and which products work better for high, normal and low porosity hair. (True story: Talk about dry hair... in testing for my porosity type, I put a strand of my hair in a cup of water. It floated for two hours! It probably would still be floating, but I tossed it.)

I will tell you right now that if you are doing the "natural" look,  you need to check out the these sites. Be sure to let me know your suggestions for other sources of info.

I am learning that there is a whole language to the natural hair world. The co-wash, pre-poo, etc. It's a lot to grasp, but common sense should be your guide. For instance, I kept seeing "glycerin" being mentioned as a good moisturizer for my "lo-po" hair. Could have driven myself crazy getting to a supply store to purchase something. Guess what? My nephew had some SoftSheen Sta-Sof-Fro hair and scalp spray in a bathroom pantry. The second ingredient listed: glycerin. (Too oily for daytime, but a steamer treatment product for me.)

If anyone gets hold of more info, please share it with me. I'm off to steam my hair with a wet towel, plastic bag and a borrowed dryer.

Peace
--Free

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Challenge You All: To Do vs Done It

I am an app junkie. Time, weather, math, spelling, games... If there's an android app, I probably have had it on my phone.

It's dawned on me in the past few days that what I need is not a "To Do" app, but a "Done It" app. Until I find such an app (or learn to create one), I have been using pen and paper. Every couple hours or so, I make notes of what I have actually accomplished. Just before bed, I take a look and - well, I just started doing this so, right now, I mostly realize how little I do accomplish. What I am learning is that I waste a lot of time. Since I am forcing myself to be more aware of how I spend my time, I hope to start spending it better.

The Challenge:
If you want to try this, I suggest that you keep pen and paper nearby. Every couple hours, jot down what you have accomplished. (It can be a little cringe-worthy at first. If you don't think so, look at my first list below.) Don't try to change your usual routine for the first day if you want to get an honest idea of your time use. On Day Two, on one side of your paper, make a note of what you'd like to get done by day's end. On the other side of the paper, keep a log of what you actually did get done.

Wow, right?

So, yeah. That's my little challenge. But I'm not knocking the use of apps. Matter of fact, some apps are really necessary for me. I have one that tracks my blood pressure checks. This is because my doctor's like to monitor that sort of thing and I can rarely remember appointments, let alone a month's worth of pressure readings. Because I check my phone so much, I always notice the widget, which reminds me to check my pressure and log it.

I used one app when I was quitting smoking. It was (literally, I guess) a lifesaver. Whenever I wanted a smoke - which was about every 2 seconds, it seemed - I'd open Quit Smoking: Cessation Nation (*) and play a game or check my quit stats. It's kind of nice to be reminded of how your body is healing itself after years of nicotine abuse.

The apps I love though are the ones I just know I am going to use. I see them and think, "Wow, this is what I need to help solve every life problem I have." (Okay, not really, but I do get all hopeful like that.) I have so many apps on my phone that I forget about half of them unless I try to re-download them. Seriously.

One of the things I struggle with is keeping myself on track with goals. I am trying to get this book written, but I have trouble keeping plot and characters in line. Evernote has been my best friend for a minute now - though I don't like its widget. But the main kinds of apps I have been attracted to are the memo and list apps.

I actually use the Memo app (that came on my Samsung Infuse) several times a week. It's the only app of its kind that I do use on a regular basis. Not that it's the only good app of its kind, but there is something about how easy it is to use. Also, it never gets trashed up with updates. It's a good thing and they let it be. Bravo! (Watch what happens now that I mentioned it...)

Here are just some of the other apps I always intend to make use of:
By the way, I hope my challenge works for you.

Peace
--Free

My 1st Day List 

Checked and answered email
Online
Blogged & Music
Set out stuff for dinner
TV
Online and email while eating
Exercised for about half an hour
Light cleaning
TV
Music and on phone
Visited family and took a nap
Early dinner
Ran errands
TV
Some editing

That's it. Like I said, cringe worthy. I am pretty embarrassed that I got nothing much done. And what in the hell did I do that warranted taking a nap? What am I - 2 years old?

Thankfully, I can say that this is one of my slower days, but I was up at around 8am and in bed by about 11pm. This is all I did with my precious life hours??? Yeah, so, my next step will be tracking start and finish times. 

(*) Thank you, Ron Horner, for an app that probably really did add some years to my life.

Peace
--Free

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stuff I Was Surprised is Online

My ex always liked to say that there are 2 things that will surprise us about heaven: who will be there and who won't. That's probably true (sure hope I get to find out!), but I am still being surprised about the here and now.

I know that the internet has broken barriers to almost everything. Why am I still so surprised when I run across what's available to anyone with an internet connection? If I were raising kids today, I would be so out-gunned. When I was helping to raise my two nieces, half my power as an adult was my ability to lie with a straight face. (Don't you judge me. Every adult stretches the truth about some things in order to frighten kids into behaving.)

Anyway, if our kids had had access to the internet back then, there's no way they'd have bought my bluff about knowing if they'd been having sex by taking their pulse. 

Courtesy the internet, you can learn just about anything and anything about anything - and not just how to add, subtract multiply and write code, which you can learn withing ten minutes of a Google search. You can learn useless stuff, cool stuff,  fun stuff. For instance, I found you can do the following:
  • Attend a handbag academy. Not kidding you. For a hundred bucks a year (or twenty-five per month), you can learn how to make handbags at home. You might even be able to sell them. Now, that's what I'm talking about. (My broke ass is already  plotting how to afford this.)
  • Learn to chant. Yes, chant. I think I'd have to learn to hold a tune first.
  • Learn how to get qualified to fly a plane. (I won't be worrying about this one. Hell, I'm not coherent enough to figure out if that last sentence made sense!) 
  • Buy Canned Unicorn Meat? Seriously? Sort of. Well, yes. And other strange things. I found out about this silliness via a post on the Mother Nature Network. (And, yes, I do really need either a man in my life or a job. Like ten minutes ago.)
Now, this isn't a huge list because I went ahead and found these other places you can check for more weird online stuff:
  • Incredible Things - Very cool site. Don't go over there if you are supposed to be getting anything else done for a while. If you need to be taking care of things like work or chores or rescuing a kid who's gotten his head stuck in a drawer (remember when that happened to DJ on "Roseanne"?)
  • Having home delivery is cool, but having tampons delivered? I don't want any stranger knowing that much about my life.
  • I only put this in because I like playing Sims.
  • More weird buys, via Reddit.
  • Weird college classes you can take online. (Ask me why the hell I bookmarked that page? Maybe because there's an "Art of Walking" class? I dunno.)
  • Blisstree has a bunch of stuff to check out. Hope the links here are all still good. It's an older post entry.
One thing I thought of when I was looking at some of these sites is, I'm not the only odd person out there checking out weird stuff. It's good to know you aren't alone.

Peace
--Free

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hi. How Are You? Who Are You?

The other day, when I was looking at stats to identify the blog's most popular posts, I also glanced at where returning visitors come from. Actually, over the past several months, I have used Feedjit off and on to see where my visitors hail from. (By the way, I myself don't like the idea of being watched, so I don't like to look too closely at my readers without their knowing. That's kind of creepy, don't you think?) Anyway, Feedjit just gives me a look at locations of readers. If it does give me any more info than that, I don't really know or care.

The only reason I even like knowing where readers come in from is that I'd like to sometimes post about things that might interest them instead of talking about myself all the time. Because I have the attention span of a toddler, even though I glance at my reader stats all the time, I remember those stats for about half a second. The good thing about that is, repeat visitors kind of stand out even in my memory.

It looks like I have some faithful readers out there from outside Paris, France, in Washington state and California and New York and down in Brisbane and Sydney. I get a lot of visitors from the UK. If I look closer at stats, I seem to attract the attention of more folks outside the US - at least enough for them to come back. Wonder what that means?

~shrug~

Blogger, Technorati, Feedjit... numbers, graphs and charts. I can give myself a major headache if i look too long at any of this stuff. What am I supposed to do with this information? No clue. I just found it interesting for about five minutes. And it made me want to know about the folks who come over and take a look at the blog. I'm so self-focused when write my posts, but, if I could talk to you guys, I'd want to know more about you.

So, all right then, I am talking to you, and I am very nosy:

  • Where are you from & do you like it there or not? Why?
  • Are you Android or Apple?
  • What would you do if you could do anything and get paid for it?
  • What's your favorite social network, if you have one? (G+, Facebook, Twitter....)
  • Are you creative & how?
  • Do you have a theme song? What is it?
  • What's your zodiac sign?
  • Are you part of a big family? Do you like that?
  • What's your favorite song, book, quote...?
  • What cycle of your life are you in right now? (Happy, sad, changing, learning...)

Of course, I have learned from experience that my readers tend to be shy. I get more direct emails than I do comments here and on G+. That's okay. If you do email, please remember to put the post title in the Subject line. Sometimes things go straight to my junk folder and I can't tell what's what.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Theme Music. Life Music.

Katt Williams suggested it. Ally McBeal did it. Me too.

I decided I needed some theme music for my life. A soundtrack, I guess.

What would be your theme song if you could have just one tune to represent you? If you could pick more than one song - say, 10 or 12 - would they all be from one time period or genre?

The idea of having hearing music playing in my head when I walk into a roomful of strangers - or enemies - or while I am writing... It's just such a cool idea. And it wasn't Katt Williams or Ally McBeal who first put the idea out there in public. When I started this blog, I met (online) another blogger who talked about a life soundtracks.  This woman was way ahead of the times and she is way more than a blogger, but this is where I discovered her.

So the idea has been there. Katt put humor (and truth) to it.


Once I saw that, I realized I'd been doing this all my life! I've always been like Rose. C'mon, you know Rose, don't you? Best comic strip ever.* 

Anyway, I am usually cooled out like "regular" Rose until I need to bring out my inner "biker chick", then I'm all

image by Don Wimmer

Yeah. Like that.

The thing is, one song is not enough to cover my many moods, oddities and whims. For that, I probably could put together a multi-disc pack. But, if limited to just one song, it would be "Shine" by the Bar Kays,







 but I have music of all kinds running through my head all the time. It must be something with me and the songs about inner light. INXS's "Shine Like it Does" is my back-up theme song. The words are so beautiful. The reminders do me good.

By the way, when I told someone about my theme music, they (of course) pointed out that I only mentioned secular songs. Well, guess what? I don't think that any one genre of music has God locked down. Matter of fact, the "Shine Like it Does" lyrics are all about something positive and eternal. So, you can just miss me with that criticism. I'd get all on my soapbox about "Shine" too, but I can't find the lyrics anywhere online. (And I'm bad with lyrics. To this day, my family starts snickering when I try to sing along with "In Da Club" by 50 Cent.)

Not to appease anyone, but I do have my one gospel song that I will really lean on when I'm just worn down.




Like I said, it's about being reminded.

Peace
--Free

*For more Rose, check this out.

Monday, November 18, 2013

**REVIEW** Lancome DreamTone (end of wk 2)

Okay. This is Day 15 of using and reviewing the Lancome's DreamTone I received (compliments of SheSpeaks). Not much has changed visually in the last week, so I won't do photos this time. What I have noticed is a little bit of difference in the way my skin feels.

(And, before I start product reveiw, let me mention for Lancome: The skin type listing should be on the front of the container. On the back, it's not easy to spot whether the product is customized for 1/Fair, 2/Medium or 3/Dark. Just a minor quibble.)

Before using DreamTone, I could go a couple hours after waking before having to apply any of my usual moisturizers: the oil I use to clean and soothe my morning skin and the Anew that I sometimes use after removing the oil with a warm, damp rag. (If I just had to, I could skip all this until around noon.)

Since I have been using DreamTone, my cleaned and moisturized skin feels nice - a little smoother to the touch, I think - but...

This is a big "but": my skin dries out a lot quicker in between moisturizing. I'm super sensitive to changes in my skin's moisture level. If my skin feels dry, I will apply a little oil or moisturizer during a nighttime bathroom run.

It's only been 15 days, so I am trying to decide if it's worth the hassle of the extra-moisturizing. This is not me being lazy, folks. This is me being broke and my skin being addicted to moisturizer that costs a little more than I like to spend in the first place. Pre-DreamTone, I was using oil to cleanse and moisturize about twice a day (morning and night). I use my Avon Anew on days when the atmosphere is drier due to extreme cold or heat - or my not drinking enough water, having a cold... Ya know. I've already dipped into my Anew way more than I'd like to this month. Also, do I want to use something that might improve the look of my skin but cause it to dry out? I mean, who wants dry skin, no matter how good it might look? That's got to be bad in the long-run, right?

I have to start getting some more visible results - and soon - to make using the DreamTone worth it. I don't want to dry my skin to make it look better, any more than I'd want to use surgery to change it. Another question is, if it works, will I need to continue using it long-term to keep any benefits gained?

This brings up a truly "First World problem": if the product does  work, I have to figure out how to afford it. The price is $98 for 1.3 fl. oz. I can score a lot of single gal groceries with five 20-dollar bills (when 6 eggs run $0.78 at Walmart). You know? But I am woman so for a miracle product I'd add it to my gift wishlists, but... for a little bit of a difference? Nope. I wouldn't want a gift that cost that kind of money. My last name is not Getty.

Here's something else I want to say:

Product reviews are great in one way (you learn if anyone had seriously horrific reactions or not), for the main thing, but you really do have to make adjustments for your individual differences. When reading (or writing) reviews, I like to think of skin products the way I do perfumes: we all have a "type" that seems to work better. My sister and I are different, so I can wear Hynotic Poison like it was made for me and, on her it reeks. (I mean, it's goat-funky!) It goes the same for skin products. I like Olay and Anew, but those don't work well for my sister. Olay makes her break out.

I suggest that when you read other reviews for DreamTone (or any product) that you check out what the reviewer likes for their skin type in general. I'm just saying.

Check SheSpeaks for reviews from other ladies. Also, here's another via YouTube from a lady in another country who had my question about long-term retention of results. Love that accent.)

Peace
--Free

(P.S.: A little sarc'ed today. Hope post is coherent enough!)

Being Free is Almost 8 Years Old

Playing around with an app called Days Since, I realized that this blog is - at this very moment - 7 years, 9 months and 11 days old.

Dang.

Up to now I have published 702 posts (not including this one).

Wow.

Since I haven't published any of my fiction novels, this blog is the most of myself as a "writer" that I have put out for anyone to see. Here's to another 8 years of the blog. Until I do get a book ready to be published, here are the posts that people seem to like the most. Based on Blogger's stats, these have all gotten the most views. (To those of you who have posts regularly hitting in the thousands, let me just have my little moment here.)

If I wrote only to get a lot of visitors to the blog, I guess I would write more about kids, the devil and skin products! But I write to make myself think or laugh or wonder, and it's pretty cool when so many other people come over here to share it all with me.

Peace
--Free

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Quickie Post: Multiple Uses for Ordinary Items

Hmmph! Some people on my list for lifehack mailouts* are such grumps. Fine, I will list my latest list of hacks I wanted to pass on here. For you. The gracious bunch of you.

Multi Uses for:

Other Goodies:


*I get most of my "hacks" from here. You can subscribe to a feed. Let me know of other good places for hacks.

Peace
--Free

Friday, November 15, 2013

Entertainment vs Real Life

Until more movies start reflecting people and situations as I know them, I'm going to rant. There are two versions of life, apparently: the movie version and the real thing. How do they compare?

Scary movie vs Real life
  • Movie: When night comes, everyone goes to their separate rooms. Reality: I'm not going anywhere by myself. If you are going to your room for the night, I am going with you. Matter of fact, I'll get there with you before your skin does.
  • Movie: People do things quickly. The first idiot goes off to get killed within the first couple of minutes. Lead Guy and Lead Girl fall in love so fast it's insane. And when Lead Guy is in love, he's pretty quick to get chivalrous. "Stay here," he'll command when something happens - like a strange noise or something. Lead Girl is so in love, she usually obeys. Reality: Not me. I'll never be that in love. Stay here, my ass. Baby, if you so much as move one inch, I'll be so up on you, I'll become your proctologist.
  • Movie: It's not just Lead Guy who wants to play the hero. There's always that one ballsy (or crazy) person who runs  off to investigate "that noise." Reality: I'm so nosy that I once fell through my boss's door trying to listen in, but I don't care so much for things that go bump or "screee..." Nah. I'm good. Unless not going means I'll be left alone. In that case, once again - me and your doctor...
  • Movie: It takes a lot to happen before everyone is on board that there is a ghost or demon or something. It's usually not until after a lot of inanimate objects move on their own that folks seem to know something bad's going down. Got to be all hardheaded. Reality: When it comes to scary stuff, I'm Lionel Richie. All easy like Sunday morning. You let one door slam even one time. I'm leaving footprints across someone's back getting the hell out of there.
  • Movie: Folks will play with a Ouija board or draw pentagrams, or whatever it takes, to "call up" things they have no damn business calling up. The idea is that they can control things. Reality: Not me, boo boo. The way I see it, if it died and came back, or it never lived but is trying to come around here, I want not a damn thing to do with it. I have a six word rule of thumb: "Leave it alone. Let it be." You can set that to music and sing away your troubles.
You let me even imagine I'm seeing something that looks like it came from "beyond" or whatever...



Romance/RomComs vs RealRoms

  • Movie: Guy meets Girl, there's a little bit of conflict, then there's a miraculous resolution. Guy and Girl either live happily ever after or, at the least, end up as really good friends. Reality: Guy and Girl meet. If he's not really crazy, stupid or walking around with the emotional maturity of a fetus, she is. There's rarely a resolution, but often a compromise, in which case they end up miserably connected for life or going through every trouble in the world to avoid seeing each other. (Okay - I went a little overboard on that one, but it's been a rough few years.)
  • Movie: The sex is always phenomenal - for both parties - and the morning-after cuteness is never marred with breath that could light forest fires.  Reality: We all know that sex is often good and sometimes phenomenal but, I swear, good sex must create bad breathe. I have never in my life been able to roll over in the morning and say "Hello" in anything but sign language to someone who doesn't love me a whole lot. For anything else to happen, I'd first have go on a water-only fast and refuse to burp.
  • Movie: The women always look great - no matter what the situation. The starring actress in, say, a romantic comedy, can survive a horrific physical mishap, a family tragedy, the loss of her job and every decent thing in her closet and she will still look: miserable-and-sexy, smudged-up-and-sexy, forlorn-and-sexy, sexy-and-sexy - or, at the very least, really cute and adorable in a goofy or quirky or "It Factor" kind of way.  Reality: The average and decent-looking woman living in this real world of ours can pull off sexy. I think we all have a sexy-ness inside. Some of us just require the right lighting, some really good foundation and the talents of the makeup girl at Nordstrom to pull it off right. I mean, I can be hella sexy, don't get it twisted. I just can't pull of my sexiest without a good night's sleep and at least one cup of morning coffee. Then I will sexy my ass off - and yours too.
  • Movie: Men are always hot in some kind of way. If they aren't built like an Adonis, they are hot because they are so smart or have a drawl or an accent or they have perfected the kind of bad-boy sizzle that can make a gal's toes curl just by giving her a glance. There are men on some magazine's "Hottest" list who some of us would run screaming away from if their names hadn't been top-billed at a theater.  Reality: The guy trying to hit on you in the check-out line at Safeway can have all the drawl or accent they want or bad-boy sizzle there is. If we see them loading their bags onto a bicycle, they won't be feeling anything from us but an arctic chill. We woman can be such bitches in real life - not all cuddly and cute like a Meg Ryan at all. (Because she'd ride that bike with him and find out he has a Porsche parked at his summer home.)
  • Movie: The mean mother or nosy sister or awkward friend always adds a little "flavor" to a couple's relationship. Not like in  Reality: where the lovers damn near end up on a TV court show because of the fist fight that broke out at the engagement party or something. I actually have a friend whose parents didn't know she was living with her boyfriend (for FIVE years) before the couple married. The woman's parents (especially her mother) were that awful. 
Cable TV Shows vs Real Life
  • Series: Ugly Betty, Nip/Tuck, Desperate Housewives, Weeds Reality: First of all, how many "regular" folk have that much money, that much sex, raise kids that badly and live life with such carelessness? I mean, the world is pretty messed up, but not (yet) that freaking apocalyptic... 
And, don't bring up the so-called "Reality" TV shows. Most of the Real Housewives aren't (or never stay) married. I'd rant more, but the only reality shows I watch are about women in Atlanta and Orange County who are supposed to be classy, fabulous and rich. Most of them dress like poorly paid hookers, trade friendships like Pokemon cards and rent their homes. Yeah, fabulous. But at least they are entertaining. So far.

Peace
--Free