Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In a Snap

I have a complicated relationship with my face. I'm in hate with my huge forehead.  I wish it was smaller and smoother without the hereditary wrinkles my dad passed down to me. But, not enough to get Botox and rob my asymmetrical face of expressions.  I'm not a fan of the dark circles under my eyes or my blotchy skin.  Then there's my long face devoid of bone structure.  While I like my nose (it's the only thing besides my curls that I got from my mom), I think it's too wide for the rest of my face.  And what's with the off center mole on my pointy chin?  Not a fan.  

What I look like in real life without filters.
But, I'm even less of a fan of having my face altered by an app, not because I don't think my face looks better that way, but precisely because I think it does.  And what's the point really?  Seeing a better version of me is just going to make me more critical about how I look in real life.  Especially as I get older and my face gets more hollowed, droopy and wrinkled while I make the transition into a Bloodhound because I refuse to get work done. But, before I fully commit to growing old gracefully and swearing off apps that digitally alter my face, let me see what I'm missing out on. 

So, I signed up for Snapchat because I heard that they automatically modify photos of your face to make you appear more attractive, even without the extra added weird filters.  Which I don't understand why anyone would want to look like a dog or puke a rainbow anyhow.  It just doesn't make sense to me.  And then the pictures disappear within a few seconds?  I just don't get it at all.  Anyhow, with my teenagers unavailable for consultation, it took me far longer to download the app, sign up and navigate the site than I care to admit.  The truth is, I have a terrible sense of direction, so I didn't "navigate" anything so much as I figured out how to take a selfie and then screenshotted it because I didn't know how or where to find the photo if I saved it.  Because I'm an old fashioned, untech savvy kinda girl.  In other words, I'm old.   

Me with a Snapchat filter.
In a snap my skin was perfectly pale and near flawless.  And my forehead, nose and chin were narrower just like I'd always wanted them to be.  I have to admit, I prefer the Snapchat version of me to the real me, just like I knew I would.  Which just really pisses me off!  Why would I want an app that validates that I'm flawed and need to be fixed?  That's my job!  And I'm really good at it too. What's wrong with us as a society that the real us isn't good enough?  So, I deleted my Snapchat account.  Which took me far longer than it did to create the damn thing in the first place.  You either get the real me or you don't get me at all.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Cheap Sunglasses

If there's one thing you're going to need lots of this summer, besides sunscreen, it's sunglasses.  You'd think you only need one pair, but that's not the case.  Oh, you'll have a favorite pair of sunglasses that you'll wear all the time.  But, you know that'll end in disaster because they get so much use it's highly likely you're going to scratch the lenses, lose them or just straight up break them.  So, you'll need back up.  This is why you get cheap sunglasses.  And let's face it, everyone looks better in sunglasses.    They are the original filters for your face.  So it's important to choose the right pair.  

Aviators are probably my favorite type of sunglasses.  They're universally flattering on pretty much anyone's face.  Plus, they're casual and sporty but they still have an intimidating CHIPS vibe at the same time.  But, not the mirrored ones, they just make you look like a douchebag.  I don't know why, I don't make the rules, they just do.  But, the thing about aviators are those the little pads that rest on your nose.  Not only do they fall off, but when I push my glasses up to sit them on top of my head, they get tangled in my hair.  And do you know what looks really uncool?  Having both hands above your head desperately trying to untangle your hair from your sunglasses, which takes at least 5 minutes and usually another set of hands (and eyes) to do.  That's why I never actually wear aviators in real life.  But, I keep them as back up just in case I lose my six other pairs of sunglasses.

If you see me wearing sunglasses, chances are they are wayfarers.  They're both classic in design and plastic, which is important when you're accident prone like I am, but you still want to look Johnny Cash kinda cool.  Bonus, I can push these up on top of my head pulling my hair back away from my face because they double a headband.  This comes in handy if it's windy and you have hair blowing in your face and sticking to the chapstick on your lips.  Or if you have a dramatic moment that needs to be accentuated by looking someone in the eye, like you just solved a murder.  The problem with these sunglasses are if you get a pair that's too tight on your head.  And of course you won't know you've bought a pair that are too tight until you're wearing them and get a headache.  I bought two pair recently that did exactly that until I finally found this pair (see above photo).  And I'm positive I'm going to break these soon because they're absolutely perfect.

I hate to admit this, but the most perfect kind of sunglasses are the ones that make you look like a total bitch, they way Victoria Beckham does.  I know, I don't like it anymore than you do, but it's the truth.  First off, they kind of wrap around your eye, so no light gets in through the side.  It's almost like an eye patch, really, but one you can see through.  But, the best part don't have to maintain your eyebrows.  You could have overgrown Drake eyebrows going on under there or maybe you had an over plucking mishap and now they're uneven.  No one will ever know!  And no one even wants to know because you look like such a raving bitch in those glasses that no one even wants to get to know you. Now, you could say that that's the downside to these glasses.  Unless you're an antisocial introvert.  In which case, these are best glasses ever because they provide built in people repellent.

Whichever sunglasses you chose, just know that people are judging you in direct proportion to how much you're judging them in theirs.  So, choose wisely.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Now Showing

I'm going to say something shocking here: I'm not really into seeing movies. I only go to the theater to see one semi-annually.  Trust me, I know it's weird.  The thing is... movies permeate so much of our culture.  Which makes me an outsider.  You know that time during a party when it turns into movie references and quotes?  I'm completely lost.  Also, if you ask me if an actor is hot chances are I'll have no idea who you're talking about.  Unless it's Channing Tatum.  I don't know how I know who he is because I've never seen a movie with him in it.  But, I do know I don't find him the least bit attractive.

Anyhow, it was Friday and I saw an interview with Amy Shumer talking about her new movie, I Feel Pretty and decided to go see it.  Bonus, everyone else is going to see the new Avengers movie, so  won't even be crowded at the one I'm going to. But, first I'd have to cancel my usual Friday night plans with my couch.  Then make sure that all my kids have rides so that my plans to go out don't ruin their social lives.  (Which would be another reason I don't go out very often.)   To my shock, the stars aligned and I put on my leather jacket (that's how much of an occasion going to the movies is for me) and headed out to the theater.

Now, I haven't been to any other theater besides the small independently owned one that's downtown and extremely small and outdated (but just so happens to serve wine) in years.  So, when we got to the ticket booth I was shocked that we had to choose a seat there at the box office.  Since when is there assigned seating at a movie theater?  What if I choose a seat next to a loud eater or a slurpper?  Or even worse...people who talk through the movie.  And now I'm committed to a seat.  A seat, I found out when I walked into the theater, that reclines. The recliner is nicer than anything in my house.  And cleaner because there's no dog fur covering it.

So now, I'm waiting to see if anyone is going to take the seat next to me while I eat all the popcorn and Milk Duds before the movie even starts.  Then, he arrives with his girlfriend, who brought a blanket.  They're professional movie goers.  Note to self: bring a blanket next time.  On second thought, I'd definitely fall asleep in a reclining chair snuggled with a blanket.  Bad idea.

After a half an hour of previews for prequels, sequels and remakes of movies, the movie I came to see finally starts and I'm enjoying it.  Amy Shumer is really good in it.  But, who gives a crap about her?  Because who is the hot guy in this movie?  I wait to read the credits at the end of the movie to find out his name and I google him when I get home.

Tom Hopper.  

(I posted a photo as a public service for the other 2 people in the world who don't know who he is.)
Apparently he's been in a bunch of movies and Game of Thrones.  
I might have to watch them.  
Who am I kidding? 
 I won't.
Because I'm pretty lame.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Happy Trails

I live in Colorado Springs, which is the second largest city in Colorado. We're nestled into the foothills Rocky Mountains, have little traffic, 300 days of sun a year, pot is legal (although recreational weed has to be purchased outside the city limits, don't worry it's a quick drive over to neighboring Manitou Springs) and there are lots of gorgeous trails to hike. Which probably accounts for why Colorado ranks in the top 10 happiest states to live in.

I like to get out and hike at least once a week, preferably not on a trail that is infested with rattlesnakes or where there's been a recent mountain lion sighting.  The truth is, it doesn't matter if anyone has seen a cougar or not, because they're around and they'll see you long before you see it.  Then there's the bears.  Sure, you can hike with bear spray to protect yourself in case of a bear attack.  But, it's really a false sense of security.  One of my kids "accidentally" sprayed my youngest with bear spray a few summers ago.  She wasn't even 100 lbs. at that time and it didn't even take her down,  but it did piss her off.  So, I can't imagine it would do any good with a 350 lb. bear.  Basically, I like to live in denial and pretend these threats don't exist and go out on the trail anyway because hiking is my happy place.

 On some of the more remote trails, you won't run into another living soul.  
But on the more popular trails, you're bound to run into other people.  
And that's when things get weird.  
Because people ruin everything.

There are the people who don't pick up their dog's shit.  People who think they take priority on the trail and that you should go out of your way to give them the right of way.  Like they think they're better than you because they're running the trail training for an Ironman competition.  And everyone is training for something here because it's also one of the fittest states.  Then there's the mountain bikers who come out of nowhere and sneak up behind you.  Or the people who are on their phone.  I don't want to hear your phone conversation when I'm shopping at the grocery store, so I sure as hell don't want to listen to it while I'm hiking.  

But, I think the worst trail offense comes from other hikers who don't acknowledge your existence at all.  Common American trail etiquette says that if I'm hiking in one direction and you're hiking in the other direction and we cross paths, some kind of cursory salutation is in order.  It could be "hi", "beautiful day isn't it" or just a smile.  But in my experience, this exchange of basic pleasantries only occurs about 60% of the time.  The other 40% of the time the other hiker, walking quietly on a path, walks right past you (stepping off to the side to avoid any chance of accidentally swinging an arm into you), careful to avoid eye contact so they can pretend they don't see you.  And this is what happens in one of the happiest states in America.  What the hell is it like hiking in Mississippi, Kentucky and West Virginia?  Which are three of the least happy states.  And do people even hike there?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Awkward Moments With Teens

I have four teenagers.  Yes, F-O-U-R.  I didn't realize how much easier it was when they were toddlers.  Because back then I was just so exhausted from entertaining them and trying to be the perfect parent, trying to cover up the fact that I'm a flawed human being.  It's a relief in a way when kids get to be teenagers and you can stop pretending you don't swear.  But, it comes at a cost.  And that cost is a lot of awkward moments with your teens.

It starts in the tween years before they're even teenagers and you tell them about sex.   Trying your best to be honest, direct and make eye contact with your kid, who can't look you in the eye because they are so grossed out by the thought of you, they're old, embarrassing, disgusting parent doing that.  But, what's even more awkward than that is when you get a new king size mattress for your bed and you go to give your oldest (who has a crappy mattress) your old queen size one because it's still in good condition.  And then you think about the things that have happened on said mattress (I'm sure that thought gives my kids nightmares) and hope that your teens don't do that for a long, long, long time (the thought keeps me up at night).  

The truth is, I kind of resent my kids in a way.  I know that sounds really bad, so let me explain. It's their fast metabolism and that fact that they can eat whatever they want without consequences.  (Except for dairy products, I've got a couple kids who need to avoid those or we all suffer.)  That and the way they know everything.  I remember when I was a teenager, when everything was so black and white before I realized I didn't know a damn thing. Not one.  Because you only realize how stupid you truly are when you have kids of your own to raise.  And then you're like...."Who the hell let me have kids? I'm a complete idiot!"

Of course your teenagers only reinforce the notion that you are an idiot.  Like when you can't help them with their algebra homework.  Or when you're teaching them to drive and they call you out on all your everyday traffic infractions.  Then suddenly out of nowhere, they start to think something you're doing is cool.  So they start borrowing (stealing) your sneakers (chucks) to wear to school. And you're like oh my god, I'm cool.  My kids think I'm cool!  But, they don't.  They think they are cool wearing your chucks, but they think you look as old, embarrassing and ridiculous in them as you are wearing or doing anything else.  Then one day they return your chucks to your closet (all molded to their foot) because now vans are way cooler.  And now it feels like you're walking in someone else's shoes. Because you are!

Then there's the whole social media thing.  As if I don't embarrass my kids enough in real life, social media and my blog take it to a whole other level.  I think the stuff I put out online is PG, at most, but it doesn't matter.  My kids are absolutely mortified by it just the same. Especially when their classmates find my blog. Which is exactly what happened with my youngest recently.  She told me so-and-so from her 7th grade class reads my blog.  Even though I try to tread carefully with my writing, especially where my kids are concerned, I have an underlying guilt that what I share publicly effects them.  So, I asked the important question: "Does he think I'm funny?"  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Buddha says, "The root of suffering is attachment."  Think about it, everything that brings you some semblance of happiness will have an end eventually.  Everything is temporary.  Be in the moment.  And when things end, send them on their way with your best wishes.  I try to live my life this way.  With one notable exception.  My hair.  I will not give up to hair loss without a fight.

This whole aging gig is really sexist.  If a man gets wrinkles it makes him look rugged. Grey hair makes him look distinguished.  And a guy going bald can look really hot.  But, none of these things are true for women.  Having shaved my head once upon a time for charity I already know exactly what I look like without hair.  And that I have a really weird shaped head which is why I'm fighting this fight to keep my hair so hard.

It started a few years ago.  I noticed when I was in the shower that there was more hair clogging my shower drain than there was on my head.  The thing is, I have thin hair to begin with.  On top of that, I just finally figured out how my hair looks best. When my daughters complain about hating their hair, I always tell them they'll love it when they're about 40, which is the age when self acceptance really begins. (I leave out the part about losing it. Because some things are better left unsaid.)

I've tried thickening shampoos and conditioners; they only made my hair look frizzy.  I tried expensive serums, which made made my hair look greasy.  Then I found an inexpensive root stimulator spray at the drugstore.  What did I have to lose except more hair?  Except, now it's harder to find.  I scour the store shelves, but most times it's just not there.  So, I did what every American woman would do, I found it on Amazon and ordered a shit ton of it.  But, I've come to the realization that it's just a matter of time before this product is discontinued.  And I'll suffer a loss all over again.  Do you see what a vicious cycle attachment is?

Now, I've got to up the ante.  I think I'm ready for the hard stuff: drugs.  And by drugs I mean herbal supplements.  So, I did my research to find just the right weapon to wage my own personal war on hair loss.  Then, I found it.  According to Consumer Reports, it's the top rated herbal supplement for promoting hair growth.  Making it my weapon of choice.
But, I'm skeptical.  The question I have is...does it promote all hair growth?  Like all over my body? Because when you're a woman in your forties, you start to get hair sprouting from weird places.  So now, are my random, scattered chin hairs going to turn into a full on beard?  There's only one way to find package from Amazon is supposed to arrive later today.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Off the Grid

There's nothing I love more than being off the grid.  Isolated out in the middle of nowhere, connecting with nature while I disconnect from the rest of the world, especially Wifi.  It rejuvenates me.  But (as with most things in life), there are certain conditions.

We arrived in the middle of nowhere in the Mojave Desert by RV, the most fuel-abusive, environmentally unfriendly vehicle outside of a tank.  (I haven't actually compared the fuel efficiency of these two vehicles, but I'm sure this is accurate.)  Also, I'm traveling with eight other people, so it's far from being isolated.  We drove through towns in the desert with smaller populations.  And when I say "we" drove, I mean my husband.  He didn't let me drive because he doesn't trust me with a 30 foot vehicle.  Which was a really sound decision on his part.

Let me just go through some preliminary rules we established the first time we rented an RV.  First and foremost: NO ONE POOPS IN THE RV.  Because the only thing worse than being cooped up in a small space with 5 other people for a week is the experience of someone lightening their load 2 feet away with the only a flimsy door for protection.  Secondly, no one showers in the RV.  The shower serves as the wet bar for the trip.  And happy hour takes precedence over hygiene.  Plus, if all 6 of us showered there'd be no water left to cook and wash our hands with.  We only take showers when we pay to stay in real campsites with public bathrooms, which is every other day or so, depending.  But, when we're camping off the grid, boondocking, you cop a squat by a cactus and put on an extra swipe of deodorant (or two).  Also, don't forget to buy Febreeze at the beginning of the trip like I always do.

We're somewhere in the middle of the desert, parked right next to a cliff for the night.  Because, why not?  There's no one here to tell us not to.  In fact, we haven't seen anyone else for miles.  And we also haven't had phone service for miles.  Which was exactly what we wanted.  We opened a bottle of wine and watched the sun set over the mountains.


Until we went to bed.  An extremely small bed.   So small that every time I roll over I whack my arm into the adjacent cabinet.   An extraordinarily small bed in an RV with five roommates (including a teeth grinder and an incessant snorer).  That's when the wind picked up.  And you know how everything can be great during the day, but when you wake up in the middle of the night you start to worry about everything?  Especially when you're awoken by a chorus of snoring, teeth grinding and a wind so strong you think you're going to get blown off a cliff.  That's when anxiety turns to certain doom in your mind.  Did we (and by "we", I mean my husband) put the parking break on?  What if someone suddenly gets life threateningly ill and we need to find a hospital in the dead of night?  And then we drive over a cactus and get a flat tire.  How far would we have to hike to get phone service to call an ambulance?  Do they even have ambulances out here?  And if we all die after exhausting our supply of trail mix, water and wine (of course that would be the first ration to go)... how long would it take before someone discovered our dead bodies?  And would we be picked apart by vultures or some other desert creature?  After a few hours in the dark contemplating all the options, I decided it was probably just more efficient if the parking break was off and we just rolled over the cliff. 

When I'm off the grid, I've got lots of time to think.
And over think. 
Which isn't a good thing.
No matter what Thoreau says to the contrary.


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