Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Mama's Music

When I was watching "Only the Strong Survive" on Netflix the other night, something disturbed me a little. (No. It disturbed me a lot.) My mother and father loved so much of the music the film featured. When I actually paid attention to the lyrics of "The Night Time is the Right Time" and "Midnight Hour," I wanted to wash my brain.

Parts of "Right Time" made me smile with the memories of the good, sweet love my parents had for each other (only it was Mama who cried when my Daddy passed away). I can remember my parents sharing a smile or glance while listening to their favorites songs. But there were parts of the song that was just too much for me.
When I come home, baby, now
I wanna be with the one I love, now
You know what I'm thinking of.
Yeah. I know, and I wish I didn't.

 ~washing my brain, washing my brain~

It gets worse with "Midnight Hour":
I'm gonna wait til the midnight hour
That's when my love comes tumbling down
I'm gonna wait til the midnight hour
When there's no one else around
I'm gonna take you girl and hold you
And do all the things I told you in the midnight hour
Yes I am, yes I am
One more thing I just wanna say right here
You've said quite enough, Mister Pickett.

Yeah. So. I'm going to lay off the old love songs for a while. I just can't take thinking of my parents in that way. Grown ass woman that I am, I want to think that I was the product of something very mysterious and platonic. That's kind of hard to do when I have 5 siblings.

Oh, mommy...



Monday, October 28, 2013

When Life Hacks Get it Twisted

I love those "Life Hacks," but, sometimes, the best thing I get from them is a good laugh. Some things (in my life anyway) are just un-hackable. Maybe certain areas of my life are just not to be tamed. Here are a few hacks that I've run across that don't work so well for me:

Hack: Beating your phone addiction. My Life: Too late. I need a serious intervention.

I'm advised that instead of checking my phone first thing in the morning, I should spend my time "organizing my thoughts." Yeah. Okay. That would be great - if I didn't need my phone to wake up in the first place. I not only use my phone as a morning alarm, I sometimes use it as a noise machine for getting to sleep in the first place. (I love my phone so much that, if it had warm toes, I'd snuggle with it.) Once I do get up and think I might be able to function, I need my phone to outline my day. I even use this app (sometimes) so that I have something talking to me. (My phone is the only thing that wants to have a conversation with me before I've had coffee.) A few more years of becoming any more dependent on our phones, I imagine some of us will forget to breathe without Siri or her boyfriend reminding us. (By the way, is it sad that I've been thinking of naming my phone? Some days, I think of her as "Lou." Some days, I just call her "unresponsive bitch.")

Hack: Having "organizing stations" around our home. My Life: If I was that organized, I wouldn't need this.

This hack made me actually stop reading to roll my eyes. First off, there are 11 of these suggested stations. Eleven! Come on now. With my illness, I have the attention span of a toddler. I read the first one and started skimming the rest. Here are the listed stations: Mail/Correspondence, Wardrobe, Fix-it, Cleaning House, Gift Wrap, Charging, Bag Drop, Child's School, Recycling, Car Travel, Health/Wellness.

Well, damn. I had to rest after just going through the list. Talk about needing a Health/Wellness station... Actually, I have every one of those so-called "stations." They just aren't exactly organized. I even have a Child's School station (and no kids). That's for all the coloring books and pieces of crafts I collected when I was recuperating and learning to talk again in complete sentences. Some of the stations are just crazy. (A sister-in-law of mine did once have a Gift Wrap room, but she had a 20,000 square foot house. I guess she needed to do something with a good hunk of it to keep me from moving in.) I didn't even check to see what a Bag Drop station is. Unless it's where I keep my big Bed, Bath & Beyond bag of Walmart and Target bags... ~shrug~ What the hell ever.

Hack: Motivation to show up at workMy Life: I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.

Right now, there are days I dream of getting back to work. This whole idle lifestyle is the pits when you are too broke to turn idle time into fun. When I was working, I had all the motivation I needed: house note, car payment, $200 a month shopping habit and, oh yeah - mouths to feed. When I first saw this hack, I instantly remembered my mother and what she would say when I'd complain about my job: "You better get your happy ass up and get to that office. Hungry trumps tired any day." (I laughed so hard, I got a cramp. I really miss my mother!)

By the way, I actually did get a great tip from this hack. I will now be using the "Hemingway Technique" when it comes to writing.

Since I get a daily email feed of hacks, I could go on and on, but you get my point. You can hack some things, but life is, after all, life. Part of the adventure is to live it raw. Of course, I will take help where it helps.


Friday, October 25, 2013

***COMING SOON*** Review of Lancome Dream Tone!

Heads up, ladies.

The other day, I was moaning about the lack of program invites from She Speaks. Well, a big one has come up.

Lancome has this product that I am now SO anxious to try out & tell you about. It's their brand new "DreamTone Customized Skin Tone Correcting Serum." The product comes is available for "Fair," "Medium," and "Dark" tones. Guess which one HRD (Her Royal Dark-n-Lovely) will be trying. (Let's just hope that "Dark" means more Naomi Campbell and less Queen Latifah!)

In the past, I've tried (and reviewed) BB creams, but this sounds like a different type of product and it might be reaching a little higher as far as "correcting" serums. I am pretty happy with my skin, but, like almost any other woman, I can relate to the areas this product is supposed to work on: dark spots, uneven skin tone and color imperfections.

I will be blogging about the product once I've received it. I was really intrigued by the photos of the women on the product website. I've decided that, when I go get the product, I am going to take more than one "Before" pic to post here, then I will try to get a photo every week or so. That way, you will be able to get a good idea of the effects. (And you guys know how I hate having my photograph taken, so I'm going all out this time!)

You guys know that I'm pretty outspoken when it comes to reviewing products, so...

Keep watching for the product arrival. In the meantime, visit the SheSpeaks site and on Twitter. Here's Lancome on Twitter and on (ugh!) Facebook.

You can also check Twitter for folks who've tried the product by checking Twitter for the bareselfie movement for #DreamTone (or go here)

Fellow bloggers - SheSpeaks wants to hear from you. Join up (and be sure to tell them who sent you!) to start giving your opinion.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

If the Shoe Fits, Get It!

I mentioned in the last post that I had a shoe story coming. Yep.

For a gift a couple weeks ago I got some of the cutest  boots ever. Just too cute. See?

Bad pic. The boots are not gold, but dark tan.

Problem is, the heels are about 4 1/2 inches high and I felt like I was drunk and on stilts. I could walk in them but only if I kept shooting my arms out for balance and wasn't required to move in anything like a straight line. On the plus side, my sister had the best laugh she's had since our recent family tragedy. She laughed so hard I thought she was going to vomit. I admit I was a little comical, but didn't think I was all that funny.

Those gorgeous boots went back to Burlington. Since I felt bad having to return a gift, I decided to do an exchange. I mean, it is winter now and I do need boots, right? This way, I was spending no money of my own. Thing is, I can no longer get away with wearing just any kind of footwear. Back in the day, I could cram my feet into any kind of shoe or boot and strut my butt off. I hit 45 and my feet got all snobby about what's comfortable. Then, at 50, Sarc hit me and my whole body got an attitude. Until a few months ago, I got nervous if the soles on my tennis shoes were too thick. Currently, I need something made well and most likely not of man-made materials.  I can finally do heels again - if they aren't outrageous.

Just like the man I want: warm, cute, safe.
I have no idea why classic looks don't stay in fashion for the average consumer. So many of the shoes and boots I saw at the stores around my town looked like they belonged in specialty catalogs for someone dancing off a pole or just trying to spice up their sex life - or maybe just for folks with really awful tastes. And with no fear of heights. This is Anchorage. In Alaska.  We have a lot of ice and snow for most of the year. I'm not really out to impress anyone but myself. I saw too many styles that made no sense at this point in my life.
Cute, cute, cute. But insane!

"You better work, girl."

Where's the rest of it???

"Then I'm going to tie you up..."

I look at some of those shoes and wish I'd lived a little faster when I was younger! Hah.

Guess what? Most shoes, cheap, mid- or high-priced, are made of materials labeled as "man-made," plastic/pvc or "faux-" something. I went through both Burlington stores before I found 3 pairs of boots that qualified as leather, well-made, and (in my book) cute. I even had to put back a super-sweet pair of designer-named boots because I saw that, despite the steep price, the man-made label kicked them off my list. Damn.

I ended up with... Vera Wang, baby. On sale for less than the shoes I got as a gift. Score. And, seriously, it matters not too much to me that the boots are by V.W.; I just love that they are leather, cute and comfy. Triple score. The label does indicate good quality. I like that. The ones I got are called "Emmanuel" and very similar to these, except the top buckle is higher up on mine. Sturdy, cute and very durable.

No matter who's on the label, these are Alaska-worthy.
Anyway, since I came out a little ahead of the game (and I had a little PFD left from bills), I went ahead and gifted myself with this pair of Fergie boots. I'm now officially a fan of the footwear line. So damn cute that when I'm strutting around in them, I forget I still have over 20 pounds to lose! Except for one thing, I actually like them better than the V.W.s

"Giddy-up" +J.D. Hughes & Marla would be proud!

Freaking cute!

Of course, that's not the end of this story. (This is me we're talking about.) Girl met boots and they fell in love, but didn't exactly live happily ever after.

My Fergies and I needed a little post-purchase adjustment period. Literally. I fell instantly in love with these boots, but the store only had one pair left. In size 7 1/2. I used to fit that size. Back before my freaking "growth spurt." I'm not sure if I am a full size 8 or not, but I had to shoe-horn the hell out of the Fergies until I could walk without pimping, crimping and making all kinds of crazy faces. It's all good now.

By the way, just in case you didn't know, there are ways to get a tight pair of (leather) shoes/boots to fit better:

  • With a couple pairs of socks on each foot, cram into the footwear and run warm dryer over the tight area while wriggling your foot around. (I could barely get my bare foot in my boots, so I crammed in some old towels instead.)
  • Stuff the footwear with damp towels or paper and let sit overnight. (I didn't want to use this method because I was afraid of my lighter-colored leather being affected. I suppose you can just work with dry materials and let sit for a couple days.)
  • Use a shoe-horn to gradually stretch out the footwear. When you can wear the shoes or boots without being in too much pain, walk around the house in them until you break them in.
Such a pain in the butt, huh? I don't care. I kept the other couple pairs of shoes and boots I own and just pretty much tossed out my other old  dressier type footwear. I'm going to be wearing the soles off the few pairs of shoes and boots I still own. Quality is still preferable to quantity.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Help Yourself (to Exercise)

If I have to find something positive in being disabled and temporarily unemployed, I can say that I have time to learn things and improve myself. (Actually, I keep busy just so I don't lose what's left of my mind.)

The focus of my latest self-help project has to do with regaining my balance. The effects of the steroids I was on for so long were easy to combat. Eating right and staying really active is helping get me back to my "usual" shape and size. What the neuro-sarc has done to my balance and flexibility is a whole other battle I have to get through.

The exercise I do for my figure is helping a little with flexibility but not as much as I'd like and it's done nothing for my balance issues. I'm not sliding down stairs or walking face-first into walls like when I first got sick, but I've become chronically clumsy. I had to return a gift of a super-cute pair of boots because the heels were too high and thin. (I did manage to get an equally cute pair with heels not as high and a little thicker. There's a story that'll make you smile.) For now, though, I wanted to share some pages I ran across online - whether you want to lose weight, tone up or have better balance or whatever.

I came across a video teaching basic Yoga moves for "beginners." Couple problems there. For one thing, I'm wary of messing with Yoga because of my religious beliefs*. Even if the religious aspect didn't bother me, one thing did: the woman showing the poses obviously had bones made of some alien substance. There is no way on this planet I'd ever get my body to move like hers. "Beginner." My ass. For those of you with gristle in place of solid bone, knock yourselves out. Really, go right ahead.

Yoga, Pilates, Zumba. It all seems so intense. I'm looking for something I can do without hurting myself or someone else. So... I decided to check out something more specifically designed for someone with my problems.

These stretches seem good for helping to increase my flexibility. Nothing too complicated for me even though I got a cramp looking at that first slide. "Stretching safely," is what it says, but I almost knocked over my dresser when I fell over trying to get my leg in that position. Guess that's why the dude in the pic is leaning on the treadmill for support. Pro: slides are courtesy the Mayo Clinic. Con: no way to view all slides on one page. Hate that. (Be sure to check out the other links on the page for more exercises.)

I really like the idea of the balance exercises. That is just what my klutzy butt needs. (Not too harp on it, but I'm so awkward that my not-yet-2-year-old nephew is steadier on his feet.) My goal is to work my way up to running on a treadmill at the gym without hanging on for dear life. It's really embarrassing. Pro: once again - Mayo Clinic! Con: I couldn't stop giggling at the slides. In #1, the dude looks like he's seducing a crowd of gullible followers. In #2, old boy looks like he's learning or teaching the Electric Slide.

My favorite form of exercise is something anyone can do. Some of us do it badly, but, hey. I'm talking about dancing. You don't have to follow any special moves or rules or anything (except maybe not doing it in the nude in public).

I think one of the reasons I was able to get back into most of my (almost) skinny clothes is because I dance all the time. Am I a great dancer? Yep. In my head, I make Beyonce look like Jerry Lewis. Actually, I'm not a bad dancer, but I am too shy to really let loose in public. But around the house... Boy, let me tell you, I can move. I can't help it. If I hear music, I have to move to it. So, if you don't get any other kind of exercise, turn off the TV (a benefit right there) and get the music going. While you're cooking, cleaning, washing clothes or just wasting time on the internet.

Whatever you do, just move. Move while you can move, dance while you can dance. There are so many people who can't walk, move or dance at all. Celebrate your ability.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Word of (Sour) Mouth

A looong while back, I told you all about some of the word of mouth marketing programs I like(d). Two of them were my favorites: She Speaks and Vocalpoint. (It only took me a short time to not like Influenster.) As of now, I have to revoke my endorsement of She Speaks and Vocalpoint. I am doing this with regrets, but I try to be honest about what I do and do not like when I share things here.

She Speaks used to rely on their own site for trying out products and getting feedback. Things have changed. These days, every She Speaks notice I get requires me to use Twitter and/or Facebook to get involved. That might not bother some folks, but I don't want to be forced to use my other social networks. Since I refuse to use Facebook, I resent that so many online sites (from news to android apps and on) almost try forcing users to tie themselves to FB. I do use Twitter, but I didn't join Twitter to use She Speaks. I joined She Speaks for one reason and Twitter for another. Occasional use of Twitter to tout She Speaks is fine, but do I really have to always go to Twitter in order to benefit from my She Speaks membership? Maybe She Speaks ought to change their sign-up info.

My boredom with Vocalpoint probably comes out of their laziness. There aren't many exciting products to try and the site has become sort of ho-hum.

Since I am on this rant, I can tell you that I wasn't ever super-crazy about Influenster. Okay, that's a lie. I really liked the idea of Influenster. They presented themselves wonderfully. Then I joined and worked hard at getting involved with everything on the site. And... nothing. I got nowhere with getting any offers or additional invitations to be involved. It was all kind of a dud.

Maybe all of this is a sign that I should give up on any word-of-mouth sites. You all know how I love trying and reviewing products, but I can do that on my own. I refuse to give these dud sites my contact information so they can re-sell it. Okay, that is another lie. I don't mind giving up some of my information in return for the chance to get a discount on or try a product. I just don't like not getting anything out of the deal.

Lately, I've been considering doing promotions for samples on this blog. Of course, I don't know how Google feels about that, so I have to do some checking first. Until then, if any of you know of some good product try-and-review sites, let me know.

By the by: Bzz Agent is still standing (IMO) as a worthy site. It requires participation, but doesn't hold you hostage to Facebook or Twitter.


(Notice that, other than Bzz Agent, I didn't link to any of the sites mentioned in the post? They don't deserve the promotion.)

UPDATE: She Speaks emailed me about their Lancome program just minutes after my post today. When I tried to go and sign up - surprise, surprise, I had problems logging in. Go figure. Of course, they will contact me to say they fixed the problem, but it will be too late to join the campaign. This is the first campaign invite in months. Whatever.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Winterizing Skin & Hair

This isn't just for the ladies. These days, a lot of guys care about their skin and hair as much (more?) than we do. I'm not judging. Just going to pass along tips my friends and I use.

For winters, it's cold here in Alaska, stays fairly warm and dry in most of Arizona, and the weather is all over the place in Texas. You may be able to use some or all of these suggestions.

Moisturize the body:
This is for all year round, but especially if you live anywhere cold, dry or dusty. (My sister-in-law who grew up in moist weather of the Seattle area has the best skin and hair in our whole family.) I use coconut oil in the summers, and still use it (or olive oil) to wipe my face first thing in the morning and just before bedtime. As a body moisturizer, I'm learning that it's just not enough during the colder months. I personally love Jergens and Dove. Jergens Ultra Healing & Overnight Repair lotions are great for after hot baths or showers. (One of my friends says that Jergens has a "scent" she doesn't like. I don't notice.) The "Overnight" is great for all day. As for Dove, when you especially want your skin to have a sexy-soft feel (no judgement), their Cream Oil lotion is amazing. (While it makes my skin feel sexy as hell, I don't find the Cream Oil is enough for a long day in cold or dry weather, but that's just me. My girlfriend J thinks it's just enough for her less-dry skin.) I'm not a fan of Nivea because it seems to only coat my skin, but I have friends who swear by it. ~shrug~

Moisturize the face:
Like I said, I still use oil (coconut or olive) to remove eye makeup and to prep my face morning and night or my Olay or Anew Ultimate. I run a humidifier which helps, but the oil is not enough to keep the dryness away, especially overnight. I prefer Avon's Anew in the winter and Olay's Regenerist. For some reason, the other Avon and Olay products don't work well for my skin. (BTW: you can join Club Olay here.) My sister prefers using Pond's Dry Skin Cream. It's way too heavy for my face, but my sister just found out how well it works for her. For lips (and I have dry lips), my routine is to use an oil/sugar or oil/baking soda mix to to slough with a Wet-One, then I put on a coating of petroleum jelly, rub that in until it's mostly wiped off. If I'm wearing a matte lipstick, I'll use whatever type of lip balm I have on hand or just prep my lips with some face cream. It kind of works, but I'd love to hear anybody's suggestions for a good lip balm.

Moisturize the hair:
Dove, Dove, Dove. Since I got sick, I wear my hair "natural" (no relaxers or perms), but I still dye it. Natural hair for most black people equals dry. Mine tends to be super-duper dry! If I don't want to use heavy leave-in products (and I don't), I can use Dove's Daily Oil Care Shampoo and Conditioner. After I wash and blot, I rub through some Organix Moroccan Argan Oil for extra dry & coarse hair. (They have lighter versions for different hair types.) My hair comes out soft, natural and not dry without being oily or greasy-feeling. I do use some heavier oil on my scalp about once a week before bed. One of my Caucasian friends likes hair treatment by Ion. Her hair always looks like it's clean, soft and well-conditioned.

For the feet, elbows, knees and other really dry areas (like the back of the thighs and butt), you just have to put in a little more effort. I have feet that I hate to whip out even in front of professionals.They are pretty dry! I try to stay in the habit of coating them at night with Vaseline and putting on a pair or warm socks. For those other areas, try putting on a thick coating of whatever lotion you like then blotting it instead of rubbing it into your skin.

Moisturize from the inside:
I have a major crush on my doctors, but I'm pretty pissed (wait for it...) that I'm on a medicine that makes me pee if I even see a glass of water. Still, they are right about one thing: it's important to drink a lot of water. Not soda, not tea, not booze - just plain old water. I've been better about drinking a lot of water for about two months now. I've noticed a couple of things: my mouth is less dry (duh) and my perfumes tend to wear better. It's still not easy to drink a lot of water if you aren't sprinting distance from a restroom at all times. I find myself walking into places, checking for the "Ladies" sign. Just in case.

If you have suggestions for winterizing (or summer-izing) the body, hit me up on G+


Monday, October 14, 2013

Speaking of Talent

When I spoke before about certain people being smarter than others, I mentioned  some folks with unique talents. I looked up a few other articles about people with pretty amazing artistic skills:

  • This lady makes cakes that look like anything but. How cool is this? I told family members that I'd love to have that looks like a bottle of Shalimar.
  • As someone who could only draw simple butterflies before I got sick (and couldn't draw a glass of water now), I love these works. That she drew these by hand with anything, let alone a pencil, just blows my mind. Oddity Central has quite done articles on similarly talented people. Some are weird, disturbing or silly, but Ms. Olga and this fellow are my favorites.
  • I love "paper art", especially the work of Peter Callesen. Check this page for his and other paper art artists. (Love, love, love Brian Dettmer's book sculptures!)
  • The same source site from the previous gave my first glimpse of Cecelia Webber's work. She takes the idea of "human body art" to the next level past fabulous. How beautiful are her designs?
Nice work, huh? I only wish I could afford any of it. By the way, if there is a point to this post (other than highlighting some cool talent), it's that we should all concentrate on what we are good at instead of worrying about our limitations. 

Hey, +maria antonia Trajano I see how you love art. Hope you find something you enjoy via th links posted here! :-)


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sense and Intelligence

In light of the beating that my self-esteem took a few weeks ago(yes, I still think about it), I found this article very interesting. I don't really care that this guy can clap his hands thirteen times per second. Really, I don't. Reading the article did trigger another thought for me:

There are some people who are considered to be very intelligent because of their academic or professional achievements or abilities. There are doctors and lawyers and physicists who've made it to the top of their fields. Can all of them clap thirteen times per second? (And does it matter?)

How many people can paint like Cheryl Kelley? Draw like Olga Larionova?  Speak as many languages as Timothy Doner? How many people can be taught to do any of those things?

Maybe I just felt so awful and battered when the recent testing I underwent highlighted my lost scholastic abilities. Maybe I'm just feeling defensive.  In one of my meaner moments of the past few weeks, I came up with a response for anyone who might ever try to make me feel I'm not as intelligent as they are: "If you are so smart, why aren't you smarter?"

I don't like being mean. I'd rather be brave and honest enough to just say that I'm no good at math. Never have been. I can, as people like to say,"own" that. Being worse at math since Sarc doesn't bother me as much as being worse at spelling or speaking. I hate that. (I also hate not always being able to remember my phone number - or where I put my purse, what time I was supposed to be at an appointment or why the hell I hid my extra house key wherever the hell I did.)

This is the frustration of my daily life. I don't need the additional stress of feeling shame because I need a calculator for doing more than adding simple numbers. And I really hate that someone has labelled my lack of mathematical prowess as "Dyscalculia." Seriously, people. Naming the crap just gives me an excuse. I don't want to make excuses. I want to be honest.

So, this is sort of a pep-talk to myself. (I said, sort of.)

I am a good person. I have plenty of common sense, tenacity and character. Pre-Sarc, I was a fairly sharp and intelligent person. With this illness (or peri-Sarc for the smart-asses), I find it a struggle sometimes to do things I used to be good at (and want to give up on things I was never good at). Still, I'm the good and decent person I've always been.

If I wanted to make excuses or be defensive about all this, I'm sure I could find ways. I don't need or want to do that. I am finally learning to be okay with who I am as I am. I'll always strive to be better, but I'm not going to run myself crazy in the process.

There is an awesome harmony in math. There is soul-stirring beauty in literature. There is something glorious in any scholastic pursuit. I aim to be the next Zora Neale Hurston. I'll leave it to someone else to be the Leonhard Euler of our times.


"Mathematicians are born, not made." (Henri Poincare)

 "Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater." (Albert Einstein)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Music That Creeps, Music That Soars

I love music. Jazz, Rock, Rhythm and Blues, Rhythm, Blues, Orchestral, Gospel, Techno, Funk, Rap. The only kind of music I don't like is any that leaves me not feeling moved in a good way.

If I'm sad, I want to hear something that will make me want to dance (or that gives me release to cry). When I'm happy, I want to hear something loud with a thumping bass or something that I can sing to. Sometimes, I just need to cool out. I like Etta, Smokey or Otis for moods like that. And, though my body is well past making babies, I still love baby-making music. Marvin, INXS, Sade, Mint Condition.

When I was younger, I discovered music via my parents' record collections or from being that idolizing little sister who always hung out with the older kids. As I got older, I laughed, cried, made love and danced to the same music my friends lived their lives to. When I got wiser, I started listening to whatever made me feel like living my own life. That's when I went back in time for Big Band, Swing, Classical and Gospel music. A couple of years ago, I got way into Reggae.

These days, I try to surprise my ears. That's hard to do because only the crappiest, trendiest sounds get big play - on the radio and in the lounges and clubs. Okay, it's not all crappy, but so little of "popular" music deserves its popularity. Like fashion and attitudes, music has gone trendy and clone-ish. Anybody singing or playing outside the twerk-and-jerk box is being ignored.

I'm so glad for YouTube. Sometimes, I just scroll through the offerings, just randomly listening to music (because I'm not really into the visuals). That's how I lucked up on Nneka and rediscovered Nina Simone and Steely Dan. I'm glad for the folks in my online social circles who post links to good music. This is how I discovered (years late) Jeff Buckley and The Waterboys. From paying attention to music from TV shows, I fell in love with Eva Cassidy, Band of Horses and M83.

Music has a deep effect on people.I think this is why there are groupies who will get in line to sleep with someone like Mick Jagger even though he seems like a horrible, arrogant toad of a person. I know that I fell for the worst man in the world (for me) partly because he is a talented musician. A person I know well married a woman simply because she can sing. When someone once asked why he, being such a ladies man, had married such a plain woman, his response was crude but true: "Whenever I think about the other women I could have married, I just close my eyes and tell her to sing for me." Jackass.

One song I recently discovered gives me the creeps every time I hear it. It's from the show "Damages."

Ewww.... Makes me want to take a shower in holy water.

On the other hand, there's this song. I feel I need to listen to it after hearing that creepy song. It puts me in such a mood of worship even though I have no idea what the lyrics are.

Music. It's strong stuff.


Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Cootie Catchers and Life

Do we ever really grow up? I'm not sure that we do.

The other day, people here in Alaska received a $900 check, courtesy of the Permanent Fund Dividend. One woman I know (who is not wealthy or bill-free) spent the entire amount on a designer bag. A tote. Seriously. She went out and bought a Louis Vuitton Neverfull. And, If you ever read this post, you might not think I'd have room to criticize, but I was young and stupid. The person I'm talking about is old enough to know better.

The thing is, I'm not surprised that people spent their money on things like designer purses and big TVs because, while we all grow older, we don't all grow up. I believe that all of us, in some way, retain a schoolyard mentality.

When I was a kid, my friends and I wanted the latest or the coolest or the best-est of everything. As adults, we still want the latest phone or coolest car or best whatever. If we get a cellphone today and a new one comes out tomorrow, we are impatient for our upgrade. If we ladies get a Coach bag and our friends start carrying Pradas, we just have to have a Chanel or Fendi. It's like when I was in my thirties, had a great job and just had to have Edwin jeans for casual Fridays because Levi's were so damn common. A co-worker of mine (who probably thought Edwin was a boyfriend's name I'd sewn on a label) almost hurt herself going out to buy a pair.

If it sounds like I'm just picking on women, I'm not. Men are almost as bad. No - they're worse.

One of  my brothers is a car freak. He loves cars the way I love perfumes (and I love perfumes enough to marry my bottle of Shalimar). This is a man who makes good money and is smart with his finances. He doesn't give a flip what other people think so he's not into impressing others - except when it comes to his rides. The only time I've heard this particular brother of mine use urban slang is when he calls his cars his "whips." Lord.

Yeah, so we women might be little girls when it comes to our purses and shoes, but you men go all Peter Pan about cars and electronics. Hell, maybe even about perfumes.

This playground crap isn't just about material things. When we like someone, we want to fall into the old game of "I like you, do you like me? Say Yes or No." (Remember those little paper origami things called Cootie Catchers?) Within our close adult circles, it's the game of "She's no longer my friend, so why are you still talking to her?"

If we are a "football captain" or "cheerleader," we want to be the "brains." If we are the "Nerd" we want to be the "Hunk." And on and on it goes, where it stops, nobody knows.

Games, games, games. They're the same whether we're 15 or 50. The stakes are just higher. From schoolyard to nursing home. It's because we all have insecurities, we all want to be liked, to be loved and to be cherished.

So, maybe none of us ever really do grow up. I guess that just makes us what we are: human.


Post Script of two things:

1. I'm getting that freaking Vuitton bag. (As soon as Walmart starts racking them!)
2. I want to play Cootie Catcher with someone so I'm going to make one for the next time I see them.