Monday, December 28, 2009

Number One with a Bullet

This is a first for me, writing a blog just after midnight. Not surprising that I'm up, really, what with the forty billion naps I've taken in the last 4 days. I get on the bed to read and within minutes, I am out. But I have been reading a lot. I just finished the third book in the Twilight series and I have to say, they are pretty damn bad. But it's vacation, so one should read crappy books and watch crappy movies (Alvin and the Chipmunks, anyone?) and eat peppermint bark. I look forward to book four, when Bella goes into labor and Edward chews the baby out of her. Oops. I hope I didn't spoil it for anyone.

When I was at the mall with Small today to repierce the ear that got infected, we were at Nordstrom and there were those huge lifesize cutouts of the Jacob and Edward characters from Twilight mingling with the headless and/or bald juniors mannequins. These cutouts are apparently being stolen right and left. I was trying to explain to Small, who is very sophisticated for all of her nearly eight years, what the hullabaloo was about and she looked at me, shook her head, and said, "I don't get it." I said "I don't either." And then I bought a dress.

Forget about the preposterous novels and the whole vampire chic thing that is happening absolutely everywhere. I look at Robert Pattinson and I see Pretty. Beautiful bone structure, important haircuts, smoldering quality. Pretty. And that does nothing for me. Nothing against him, or Zac Efron, or that blond dude from Gossip Girl, or Rob Lowe back in the day--those guys are so pretty as to be female. This isn't their fault, they won the genetic lottery and have hordes of screaming fans and a ton of dough to show for it. But to me, they are just too pretty. Better skin than I have, use more products than I do, some may wear a smaller size, I'm not sure. Yes, no doubt it is an issue of mine. But this is my blog, remember?

A few months back, I went down to the Cape (remember the giant Diet Coke?) with a group of ladies and we were talking about our Celebrity Fuck List, though i don't think it was called that by the dainty amongst us. These are the celebrities you supposedly get a pass for by your spouse, should you be fortunate enough to run into them at Star Market. Interesting what you learn about people from playing this game. I heard Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp, Bill Clinton (which was not me, but he has a certain dirty quality that would probably make him fun) and Raiders era Harrison Ford. I personally think the qualification of "particular era" is cheating, but hey, that's their list, and if they want an automatic disqualification because now Harrison Ford looks like an aging doofus with an earring (all the hip kids have them!), go right ahead. My first choice? Jon Stewart.

I know that Jon Stewart looks like a lot of the guys I went to high school with, that incredibly ethnic (read:Jewish) thing that does not generally appeal to me. But here are his trump cards: funny and smart. That's it. As I have watched that show, he has become THE most beautiful thing EVER, New Jersey Jew or not--no offense intended, Husband. Because smart and funny is transformative to me, just as stupid and humorless are--watch Jared Leto turn into the ugliest motherfucker on the planet the SECOND he opens his mouth to speak. Pretentious? Check. Overly serious? Check. Self-Deprecating? Nope, not at all. I don't care if you were Jordan Catalano. Your time is UP. Thanks for playing.

So at the risk of embarrassing myself completely, here are the top five on my Celebrity Fuck List.

1. Jon Stewart--even my parents would approve!
2. Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters--not at all afraid to make fun of himself or dress in drag. Fantastically funny videos with
3. Jack Black--who will no doubt surprise people, as it did at the dinner table in Wellfleet. You know what? The man is fucking hilarious. John Cusack is adorable, but I wanted to make out with Jack Black after watching High Fidelity.And he has awesome eyebrows.
4. Dan Savage--yes, I know he is gay and gorgeous. And I don't care.
5. Howard Stern--this one is the hardest to admit publicly, but I will go on record as saying that this is the man I have had the most erotic dreams about. He can be cruel and he can be tiresome, but when he is funny, he is the funniest guy out there. I will also admit that I wake up from these dreams embarrassed. Actually, I am kind of embarrassed right now.

And one more thing--if you are male and I tell you you are smart and/or funny, please don't take that as a euphemism for ugly. Just like I don't take it hard if you describe me as smart and funny. . But if you want to add hot, feel free to do so.

A happy and healthy new year to all of you.

Monday, December 21, 2009

True Love

Today was one of those days that did not go as I had planned at all. On top of the usual stuff, I had to run Medium to the doctor to treat his infected pointer finger, which was nasty and spreading up his arm. I spent a lot of time in Boston traffic, listening to The Who, and wondering when I could get the hell out of the car, into my pajamas and write my blog. Because I have something wonderful to share. WONDERFUL. I bought a new guitar.

Before I praise her to the high heavens, and oh, how I will, I need to explain the SYMBOLISM of this guitar. Because it is indeed SYMBOLIC. At our show on Thursday, (yes, that one, which you did not go to, even though I asked you nicely), I played the guitar for two songs with a full-ass band of five, and it was the most fun I have had, musically, in a long time. Our previous lack of drummer had forced us into a period of acoustic duo-ness, which was fine, for a while. But truth be told, I have been waaaaaaaay bored with the quiet, the subdued and the sad. The full band stuff was loud and rocky and dirty, and after it was done and we kicked the ass of that Radiohead cover , it was abundantly clear that I have entered a period of loud, rocky and dirty. I looked at the guitar I was playing, a sweet little Fender Mustang that BELONGS TO MY TEN YEAR OLD SON, and I thought, Make a Commitment. To ROCK. His guitar is perfect, but it is his, and I needed to find a perfect one for me. And thus, anticipating snow and parked in front of my computer screen, I spent Saturday night on Craigslist and found my new baby. My Fender Mustang. Mine.

Beautiful and small, with a tone that can be sweet or nasty. She fits me like a glove, cools me up, makes me confident, makes me feel like playing power chords is possible. She doesn't have a mark on her, and is a beautiful shade called Daphne Blue. When I took her to Guitar Hero Jim Mouradian's shop today, and I saw her out of the case and on his workbench getting adjusted, I was so happy that I felt almost ridiculous. Luckily, Medium was checking out the selection of vintage amps and didn't see me surreptitiously wipe a tear from my eye. I look at this guitar and I want to write, and sing, and use distortion, have a fuckload of pedals that do random things and an amp that I know how to use. I want to play shows that take people's breath away. I want it to feel new again. And I look at this guitar, and it does.

So, 2010 is the Year of Rawk for Sugar Snow. What that means yet, I don't know, but I can tell you this--at the next show, I will have an amp of my own, a tuning pedal that I know how to use and my new guitar, with it's pickups, knobs and whammy bar. And this one you must go to. Don't you want to see if I hurt myself?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Do you smell what I smell?

My biggest anxiety about my show this week: how bad is the mic going to smell?

God, they are awful. The accumulation of sweat, spit and halitosis in the little silver ball is truly disgusting. I am one of those unfortunates who hasn't mastered the projecting thing, and because I sing sort of quietly, I am right up on the mic and am hit again and again with the aroma of dying dreams. We are playing a great club, a really great club, but the great ones have perhaps the stinkiest mics of all. I became acquainted with the smelly mic problem at the best club in town.

When we first started out and played anywhere,anytime, we had to bring our own equipment with us. An entire PA was shoved into the back of my van, and , of course, we brought our own mics. I never really thought about how personal the use of the mic is, and when we played these small shows, I only had mine and didn't have to share it. It never occurred to me, actually. It was part of the deal of shlepping tons of equipment. Later, when we played at small clubs, clubs with their own PA's and a more acoustic set of performers, i could either use my own mic or theirs, but theirs were fine. Acoustic clubs have a lower volume of spitting performers, less excitable by nature, and while they were not the greatest quality mics, they were clean. Clean to the point that it never bothered me, I never noticed. And then, the big show. And all that changed.

We were on first , so we got the soundcheck, and the whole time I was up there, excited as I was to be in THE club, I kept thinking, "God, I need to brush my teeth or something." It took me a while to realize that it wasn't me (because, as you know, I have excellent oral hygiene) but the ball of the mic. I swear, the stench was so bad, it was eating away at the metal .I discreetly went over to the nicest sound guy EVER and, smiling hugely so as to not offend him. I said "Uh, dude, this mic reeks!" "Oh," he said, smiling back at me," you should have smelled the box the mic was IN. When I opened it and the smell hit me, I felt faint." I watched him deftly unscrew the ball of the mic and spritz it from a spray bottle full of Listerine, clean it thoroughly, screw it back on and hand it back. I thought that was soooooooo cool--like I was in on a big music secret--Listerine to clean the mic! Wow! Went back up to finish the soundcheck, and...THE MIC STILL STANK. Only now it smelled like ripe armpits coated in a Listerine deodorant. The show must go on and blah blah blah. I tried to not pay attention, but I have been scarred by the smelly mic. I fear them now.

So along with all my other anxieties about whether my skirt is too short (I think it is) and whether the photographer guy is going to be able to hide my turkey neck, I will also have to worry about the mic.I will use the club mic, and take one for the team, if I have to, because sound guys can be extremely sensitive about you not using THEIR SUPERIOR EQUIPMENT. And if you don't use THEIR SUPERIOR EQUIPMENT, they can make you sound very, very bad. But please, Sound Guy or Gal at Church on December 17 at 9, let me use my beautiful, odor-free mic. I'm sure your equipment is superior. But sometimes a girl prefers her own.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Can I tell you about my children?

You know what my biggest fear is? Not my fear of snakes, spiders or rodents, or my fear of tunnels, down escalators and heights (a biggie) or even my fear of my car breaking down in an isolated area where people find out I am Jewish and ask me to explain the Torah. My biggest fear is people thinking I am boring. And that is because I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT DEAL WITH BORING. I just can't. And thus, I am afraid that someone will cross the street to avoid ME because THEY think I am boring. I am not a juggling-at-parties kind of gal, but I think I am fairly easy to talk to. I can generally find some common ground with almost anyone. I try very hard to limit discussion of my family or my band.In short, I try NOT TO BE BORING. But I think the most boring are the ones that don't realize it. It is an insidious danger amongst us, so BE AWARE. This time of year, with all the holiday parties, school events and random get-togethers, we are all bound to get stuck with A Bore. If this is utterly unavoidable, try to get stuck near the booze table. The Bore comes in two categories: The Limited Interest Bore and the Nothing to Say Bore. Talking to either is like dying a very slow death, but in a different way.

Example of The Limited Interest Bore (LIB): Cornered near the coats by The Mom Who Won't Stop Talking About Her Children. Listen to stories of Walter's three goals at the state hockey championships, Gertrude's starring role in the school play in which a talent scout happened to be present, Fred's acceptance into a prestigious state department program for studies of World Breads. The LIB doesn't notice that you are texting for help, or anything else for that matter. This is never limited to a discussion of children (although that is a frequent offender), but could be about their job, their money, their connections (name-dropping), their hobbies, really anything. This kind of micro-lecture is not boring because the subject matter is uninteresting. It might be. No, it is boring because you, you personally, don't need to be there for it. Really anyone, ANYONE, in the room, would do. It is not a conversation, which involves the exchange of ideas, it is a monologue. So if you don't care about model trains EXCLUSIVELY, you are not being an asshole when you break your own finger and plead for first aid just to shut an LIB up. Kudos to you if you can do that without inflicting pain on yourself.

Example of Nothing to Say Bore (NSB): You are at a wedding, which can be a whole other type of bore, but let's stay on the subject, shall we? At a wedding, seated at a table with some perfectly nice people. Everyone introduces themselves, and of course, instantly forget everyone's name but remember exactly what they are wearing. You attempt conversation with the woman on your right, the Woman in the Blue Dress, and while she smiles at you pleasantly, you never get beyond the stage of "How do you know the bride?" Why? Because she has nothing to say. Unlike the LIB, she has NO interests, NO hobbies, NO discernible personality. Not mean, not funny, not sarcastic, not ANYTHING. Just NOT. AT ALL. This type of bore is much more difficult to deal with, because they have actually done nothing wrong, and the fact that you have nothing to discuss makes you feel like YOU are the boring one. Sometimes you can meet someone and have nothing to talk about because you have nothing in common, but not find them boring. But the NSB has absolutely nothing to say, and you wind up just looking at each other, and because time stands still with an NSB, you could be there for 5 minutes that feel like an eternity or for several actual years. Inflicting injury on oneself is generally not necessary with an NSB. You literally can get up and leave. An NSB is used to that and assumes everyone on earth always has somewhere else they need to be. And they do. Away.

I hope that the people who love me, those funny and fascinating people, will take it upon themselves to stage an intervention should I become boring. Bar the door and remind me that NO ONE wants to hear THAT MUCH about shoes. Withhold food and sleep. Whatever works. Because while my grandmother lived to a ripe old age and died with a full mustache, she was NEVER boring. She was just hairy. And I would rather be hairy than boring any day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Extra Happy Thursday RAVE

I have lived in Massachusetts for many years, and it is true that the drivers here are amongst the worst in the universe, myself included. I have seen people back up on the Mass Pike, people turn left from the right lane, people performing every sort of personal hygiene while driving in the breakdown lane at rush hour. It is hard to shock a Massachusetts driver with anything, so much so that egregious breaches of legal,moral and practical driving behavior are rarely reported in the newspaper. However, I was delighted to read about this recent roadway ridiculousness that happened in our fair state, under the headline Motorist helps police rounding up cows:

Interstate 91 South in Springfield was shut down for approximately 30 minutes yesterday to allow State Police to safely remove two cows from the travel lanes. The cows, approximately 500 pounds each, had escaped from a trailer that came unlatched and were walking near Exit 8. A motorist who was stuck in traffic offered his help to state troopers, Springfield animal control, and environmental police. Dressed in a cowboy hat and boots, the motorist lassoed one cow, then the other, and was able to guide the animals back into the trailer.

Yes, I KNOW that Western Massachusetts is very, very different from the eastern part, but we do not live in Wyoming. What the hell was this guy doing dressed like Woody from Toy Story on the interstate, and with a fucking LASSO? You know when you are stuck in a long traffic jam, and you think to yourself, "There had better be someone bleeding up there!" and crane your neck to see a broken body at the crash site? Wouldn't it be so much cooler to see Urban Cowboy and his golden lasso roping them steers? I am so sad that I missed this! Why did I not get caught in this traffic jam?? Three hours to get over the Sagamore Bridge, and neither lassoes nor blood were involved. Damn.

Monday, November 30, 2009


I am reading this fascinating book called Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk from Dead Kennedys to Green Day by Jack Boulware and Silke Tudor.I have an obsession with rock biographies and this one is in my favorite format, the oral history. All these people recalling the same events, and having everything pieced together like a quilt--the truth is in their somewhere, but the stories are so much more colorful. The thing that is particularly great about punk rock is that people felt compelled to change their names, and they did so excellently. Klaus Fluoride, Leslie Fuckette, Ninja Death,Jennifer Blowdryer, Joey Shithead--why do none of the parents' at my kids school have these names? PTO meetings would be a howl if i could hear, just ONCE, "Yes, Ms. Fuckette?" I would actually go to those meetings.

What I have learned from this book is that many of the kids who got involved in the punk movement in San Francisco were street kids, drug users, troubled youths, who wanted to leave their old personas behind. If you were the picked on small kid in middle school, you could give yourself a mohawk, call yourself Bob Noxious and-poof-no more little nerd. Names are powerful, because it announces you before you have a chance to present yourself. "Meet my friend, Creetin K-Os" is waaaaaaay more captivating than "Meet my neighbor, John Smith." It just is. And I don't think even John Smith would argue with that.

Simone was an unusual name for 1966. My parents wanted to name me after my grandfather, Solomon, so considered Samantha (which was rejected because my mother didn't like Sam as a nickname), Simone and the utterly vile Hebrew name of Smadar, which sounds like some sort of middle eastern headdress or a bathroom cleanser. Simone it was, and has continued to be. As a very, very shy child (I swear I was!), the anxiety of the first day of school or a substitute teacher was excruciating--it was nearly a guarantee that I would be called Simon. Then teasing for the rest of the day, or week, or year, if you were unlucky enough to have Danny Barnett in your class. The gentler teachers tried to soften the blow by saying ".....Berk?" so I would pipe up, correctly pronouncing my name, and they would be spared the embarrassment, as I would. I have been called Simon more times than I can count, and continue to be. Oddly, I was also called Michelle and Nicole many times as an elementary schooler, all girls' French names being interchangeable, apparently

But what I wanted, wanted so much, was to be named Stacy. Or Staci. Stacey. Stacie. Stacee. I wanted to have a name that was "normal", that ended with a y or an i, that was never mispronounced or looked at twice. I wanted to blend in with Tracy, Kelly, Shelly, Marci and my best friend, Wendy. I wanted to fit. And I believed that what kept me from fitting was my name. And to some extent, that is true, because my name made me feel different than everyone else. But I was different. I am different. Not unacceptably so, but different nonetheless. And that is a good thing. At the age of 43, I am embracing my temper as passion, my OCD as focus and my moodiness as artistic temperament. I am abnormally focused on footwear, chocolate and 0 calorie beverages. I love so strongly that I hurt myself. I am generous and irresponsible about money. I dream all my anxiety in an endless loop. I am many things and am becoming many more. At 43, I am not nearly done. So nothing against the Stacys of the world--I am sure, as a group and individually, you are delightful. I have known some of you and can attest to that. But I was never meant to be one of your ranks. I was never meant to be a Stacy.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I love Lemonheads. Yes, the candy. Those little sweet/sour balls that perfectly balance the hardness and chewiness of life. I have always loved them, loved everything about them. The box, the sound the candy made rolling around inside the box (which was somewhat sad, because it never seemed full enough, only sort of full) and the fused pairs of Lemonheads that fell into your hand with a plop when you deliciously turned the box over for the first time. I was (and remain) one of those weird kids who loves anything sour, and between Lemonheads and the kosher lemon hard candy my grandma used to keep on her dining room table in a white trifle bowl--zour kendies, she used to call them in her Yiddish accent--my craving for sour was pretty well covered. Small got several boxes of Lemonheads in her Halloween bag this year, which she generously shared with me, knowing how much I love them. And the Mom n Pop store I sometimes stop at before I pick up Large from school has that same size box for fifteen cents each. I don't always buy them, but alongside the individually wrapped Swedish Fish and the chocolate Ice Cubes, they make me happy.

Don't think I am not aware of how sad this makes me sound. Certain things make me happy that, to me, fall into the category of "simple pleasures" and to others may qualify as "mental illness." Going to Costco and seeing the huge stacks of Coca-Cola products is happy-making. Going to Marshalls and seeing all the potential treasures to be unearthed for a low, low price is another. Watching my dog romp in the snow makes me really happy, too, but not as happy as the photos of Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City. Aisles of by-the-pound candy love is one of the most thrilling things ever. I believe I have a love for Potential--perhaps I will find the perfect boots or the sourest or stickiest or most perplexing candy ever. A good life is about choices, and an endless array of choices at $3.99 a pound is pretty damn good.Mental illness? Maybe. But clearly, I am not alone.

At dinner the other night, while perusing the gift catalog I received from CVS, I saw a picture of something utterly fantastic: The World's Largest Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, each package containing two 8 oz. cups. I am a latecomer to the chocolate game, and my M&M (plain only!!) obsession arrived along with Large, 13 years ago. But predating that was a real love for Reese's and Kit Kats, which has never gone away. So of course, I MUST HAVE the world's largest peanut butter cups--of course!---but i started wondering whether it would cost me my whole day's caloric intake, this thought being a sad byproduct of getting old. So I googled the caloric intake, and it took me to a beautiful beautiful Holy shit, people, this is Nirvana. Beautifully photographed and thoroughly reviewed, this is one serious blog. Simply searching the word "reese's" brought me to a chart of peanut butter/chocolate products, the first of which was World's Biggest. Click on it, and find a really intelligent review with a hilarious rating system (ranging 1-10, from inedible to superb). This was rated as 6-Tempting. What cracked me up is finding a fellow candy weirdo--look at what the reviewer says:

This violates one of my primary rules of candy, which is that it requires some sort of tool. In this case it’s a knife to portion it. Most large chocolate bars are scored and can be broken into pieces. There is no other way to eat this other than huge bites ... which pretty much means you’re not sharing or you’re intimate enough with the other folks or so wasted you don’t care.

Doesn't that sound like something I would say? And incidentally, the caloric intake by the ounce is listed and it is depressing: 143 PER OUNCE, for an 8 ounce piece of chocolate times two. In short, 2,288 calories. Say hello to the World's Largest Muffin Top after eating these. Sigh. I have spent some time on this page, and while I still haven't found any candy that is Inedible, I have heard of some that I will definitely be trying. Dove Peppermint Bark, anyone?

This site sent me running back to one of my favorite books, Candyfreak by Steve Almond. While this book focuses exclusively on various oddball chocolate products, such as the Idaho Spud or the Goo Goo Cluster, the descriptions of how they are made, their history and people's tremendous attachment to them makes me laugh. No, that isn't it. It makes me laugh with delight, delight that I am not the only sweirdo (sweet+weirdo) out there. This book makes an excellent gift, along with a gift certificate to, where your sweirdo can buy Broadway Licorice and Wax Lips in bulk, sent directly to their home to be undulged in without judgement.

And I think the World's Largest Peanut Butter Cup will be a dessert on Thanksgiving, sliced and served with toothpicks. Because I have to have it. I just don't have to have it all.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gimme Gimme Gimme

Christmas season is upon us, and I can't help but feel vastly superior to those who scramble for gifts and overspend. Hanukkah is a much less complicated proposition, with one gift (not the eight that some get--lucky Jews!), potato pancakes, candles and tops. That pretty much sums it up. I used to buy gifts for every person that came within a five mile radius of my children, but I gave up the mug-n-gift card thing long ago in favor of contributing to a class gift, or even better, ignoring everyone altogether. Still, we here at Casa Simone B have our own Christmas tradition--on Christmas Eve, we pile into the car in our pajamas and drive around the lovely city of Somerville to look at the generator powered, over-the-top decorations on the crammed together triple deckers. It's not Christmas without an inflatable Santa.

Real Simple dedicates an entire issue to creativity around the holidays, including the biggest time waster on earth: gift-wrapping. The funniest part of the whole issue, though, is 50 gifts under $50. Honestly, if someone bought me a set of 11 ceramic nuts for $45, I would have to question our friendship. Just an FYI--the following are a total and complete failure as holiday gifts: a decorative ceramic silver owl ($34), wood coasters decorated with a Victorian cameo-type silhouette ($34 for four), or the silver tree snow globe ($29). All of these were the things left over on the coffee table after Nana died, when everyone already took the stuff they wanted.But I think the greatest thing in the magazine is not listed as a gift, though it should be. The Herb Savor Pod (get the little pun there?) for $20 per, or 3 for $40, is without a doubt the gift absolutely, positively no one wants. Yet another job to do--place said precious herbs into the pod, fill the base with water, and it will keep them fresh for THREE WHOLE WEEKS. These fancy schmancy panty hose eggs were foisted on the poor woman who turned her chaotic fridge over to A Refrigerator Organizer. It is now overrun with plastic Container Store containers that this woman will have cluttering her cabinets, when her refrigerator reverts to it's natural state and she no longer wants to yell at her children for not returning the sleek acrylic juice jars to the right side of the top shelf, in the juice-designated area. And no matter how much is spent on those plastic containers, she will be afraid to open them a month after innocently storing the meatloaf, just as she did with the much less expensive aluminum foil.

But this is a season about love and togetherness, after all, about reaching out and making connections. So let's hope that the police in Tampa find it in their hearts to be kind to poor Joshua Basso. He was looking for a little somethin' somethin' and he called the only number his out-of-minutes phone would let him call--911. And he asked the 911 operator to meet him after work for sex. And she hung up. And he called AGAIN. And AGAIN. AND AGAIN. While cops are well known for their excellent sense of humor, by the fourth call they were no longer amused and arrested him. He told them he thought he wouldn't get in trouble for calling 911. Sweetie, they didn't arrest you for calling 911--they arrested you for calling 911 FOUR TIMES and SOLICITING THE OPERATOR FOR SEX. The poor desperado is in jail, held without bail. Let's hope they let him go home for Christmas. And maybe his mom, with whom he no doubt lives, will put some minutes under the tree for him.

But if you are feeling generous, all I want for Christmas is for you to come see Sugar Snow at Church on December 17. We are going on early, around 8:30, to accommodate all the worker bees and old -at- heart friends. We need a crowd for our full-on, five piece acoustic assault, and it is our first band show since January!!! And if you say the words "Herb Savor Pod", I will buy you a beer. How can you pass that up?

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Princess Diaries

Pet peeve of the day: every time I lean over, salt water runs out of my nose.

How I love the return of sinus infection season, with it's excruciating headaches and nasal irrigation. Nothing like starting the day with a two ton head  and a very strong desire to stick a sharp stick into your skull. I should be used to it by now, but just like a Bostonian greeting Winter's first snowfall, I can't believe how much it sucks EVERY YEAR. These annual occurrences are part of my Fall, and as I transition from hayfever to sinus cleansing, the dark afternoons and lost gloves become part of the scenery. But something very, very strange happened this year, something so unexpected that I was as caught completely off guard.

I have started dressing like a girl. 

Sweater dresses. Tights. Skirts. Tunics. Lipstick. It is truly puzzling. I have been skating along the edge of girlie for years, but never fallen into the pond,and inexplicably, that is what has happened. It's not as if I have been dressing like a 15 year old boy. But since I started doing Pilates in earnest, I have these muscly thighs that make 80% of my jeans uncomfortable. And perhaps most surprising of all, I have an ass. An actual, honest-to-god booty.  I have lived 42 years as the unfortunate genetic recipient of a Jewish flat ass, which I thought was a lost cause. After a lot of years of being used to looking one way (pretty much straight down), suddenly having something very different is both wonderful and confusing. Nothing fits the same way, but that is kind of cool. And now I have a goyish ass to balance my Jewish nose. For the last 5 days, I have worn tights and a dress, and motorcycle boots.  And dark lipstick. And today, a hairstyle I like to call Sharon-Tate-in-Valley-of-the-Dolls, actually showing my whole forehead. I mean, the whole thing. I think I have been more sensitive about my forehead than my non-ass; I had a hairdresser who took one look at me, put his hand on my forehead and said, "Oh, honey, you need BANGS!" So, people, this is BIG NEWS: aside from the princess garb, my forehead is naked. And I don't feel like anyone should be showing a movie on it. So it seems that being 43, aside from the fight against decrepitude, is not entirely predictable. Sweet.

And something that I have meant to comment on for weeks already, Big Love to the geniuses at Coca-Cola for fueling both my addiction and my happiness. A few weeks back, on my way down to the Cape, I stopped at a mini-mart for supplies, and in the cold case, I found a tall boy of Diet Coke. 16 Fluid oz. of delight for a mere 99 cents!! I believe I heard angels singing before I passed out. I have not been able to find these up here, but in order to enjoy my super-buzz a bit longer, I used the can opener on the top of the can and now it makes a lovely vase for the flowers in my office.  I smile every time I look at it. And in case you are wondering, to the left of the 12 oz can is the most perfect birthday present ever--a Diet Coke cuff. My BFF knows me so well. So suburban Wonder Woman!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fever Dreams

I am sick. The sky is not going to fall, but god, i feel like dreck. I spent all weekend in bed, in a narcoleptic stupor, with a massive headache and coordinating body aches. I missed pretty much all of Halloween, only rousing myself from my tangle of damp sheets to apply Medium's Ziggy Stardust make-up (looked amazing) and Small's eyeliner (fierce). Fortunately, the husband was in town and I was excused from Mommy duty. But today is Monday, and that excuse is no longer valid. So back to Mommying and blogging. Time to address a few random issues that have been on my mind.

Halloween has gotten HUGE, and here is how I know--a neighborhood kid went door to door on Saturday, offering a $5 insurance policy against egging and/or TP of the house. He would come and clean it up, should the unfortunate occur.We passed, but several neighbors who lived closer to the war zone (a.k.a. the elementary school) paid up. And I think he made $30. Now, while I think this is TOTAL GENIUS, is it possible that he egged the houses of non-payers as a warning for next year? If so, he is even more of a genius, he is an EVIL GENIUS. Halloween is more than inflatable ghosts and Fun Size packages of M&M's these days.  No word on whether any houses were victimized.

I don't know if you have heard, but L.L. Bean is going chic. They have hired a fashion designer named Alex Carleton to funkify the huge wool sweaters and duck boots. This cracks me up. I think there are certain brands that will never be stylish, no matter how hard it tries, and Bean is one. This designer has his own line of Maine-based fashions, and the heritage set in Kennebunkport are huge fans, so Bean is hoping to cash in. I went to LL Bean the other day to find some sheepskin slippers and a new lunchbox, and there was not an item of clothing I would buy with a gun to my head. But LL Bean is of a type--Patagonia, REI--serving a niche: keeping one dry and warm without the bother of having a human shape. I don't fault them for trying to widen their appeal, lord knows, but they have an uphill battle ahead of them, one best undertaken in snow shoes. Because picturing a native Mainer in a shrunken denim suit makes me want to wet my pants. 

I saw this amazing piece on the, called 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1), in which only 50 were listed. The author, Bruce Buschel, is opening a seafood restaurant and he offers what he calls "a modest list" of rules for his potential employees. I love this so much because I cannot stand what waiting tables has become. I waitressed for quite a while, back in my college days, and it is a difficult job. But Rule #1 of waiting tables is:  Do NOT do this job if you hate people. This is a service industry, and you are serving them. If people want to feel like an imposition and a bother, they will stay at work. Or eat at home. This is NOT carte blanche for the customers to snap their fingers or humiliate you for forgetting a napkin, of course not. Everyone needs to be on their best behavior. But still, there are those that are unforgivably surly, and should not walk amongst us, carrying hot plates of anything. The flipside, however, is the overly familiar tone the waitstaff now takes with customers. I cannot tell you how I detest a server coming to the table and saying, "Hi, My name is Bubbles and I will be taking care of you today." Is there an implication that I need to introduce myself? Are we friends now? Can I bellow your name across the restaurant to tell you to bring me another Diet Coke? No? Then don't tell me your name.  Buschel also puts on the No-No list my Number 2 complaint--there seems to be some issue around writing down an order. Initially I thought this was only true in fancy schmancy restaurants, where a pen would obviously ruin the line of the waitstaff's uniform, but it is EVERYWHERE. And I absolutely cannot understand it, because the likelihood of a bad dining experience increases exponentially.You know what I want? I want to you to get my order right, even if I am one of those insufferable people who needs everything on the side and no dairy products EVER. And please not then ask me "who ordered the gnocchi?" when you bring it to my table. It is your job to know who ordered what. You know how you remember? You WRITE IT DOWN. You know who nearly always gets the orders right? The waitresses at Friendly's. While they don't have fabulous uniforms, but they have really awesome pens. 

Obviously, my meds are wearing off. 

Monday, October 26, 2009


After a lovely weekend, I came out of my house this morning, ready to go to pilates and deal with the aftermath of my bad food choices, to find I had a flat. Now, I know what you are saying. Uh-oh, this is going to be a rant about the fuckshow that was the flat tire/tire change/buying new tires at Costco. And no, in fact, it will not. I calmly came back in, called AAA, then after the change, went to get new tires, which were installed quickly and efficiently while I shopped at Anthropologie. And now, here I am, with a change in plans that undid my schedule for the day. And yet I am smiling. SMILING.  

I know this doesn't sound like me at all. I know this, because I had a true, honest to goodness epiphany a few weeks ago. And it was this: I am a Very Intense Person. A V.I.P. I didn't realize it. I didn't realize I was an intense type-A. I was watching Small deal with some friend politics and listening to her sadness, her frustration, her anger--I got a gooooooood look at what I actually must look like to everyone else. And what I saw made me realize that as an adult, I should be saying Oh Well a lot more often. There is a freedom that comes with age, which is the realization that you are not everyone's cup of tea, and I delight in that particular thing. But what I do to myself is something else entirely. I am JUST realizing that I can't bend the world to my will, no matter how hard I try. And I have to say, that is a pretty sucky realization to have, no matter how necessary it is. 

Being of the mother of three vastly different children with incredibly different needs, my skill at micromanaging, organizing and advocating has been both necessary and highly successful. I am no shrinking violet (you can laugh here) and being the loudmouth has been an integral part of my parenting. With children, you ARE in charge, whether you choose to act that way or not, and the Type-A is helpful if you are trying to juggle. But a few years back, when the crew was younger, I realized there was so much I had to let go, things that mattered to me that I could not manage. The housecleaning had to stop carrying such a big connection to my success as a stay at home mom, I could not keep up with everything and not be anxious all the frigging time. That was the biggest one, because having a tidy house makes me feel calm in general, and accepting that it was going to look the way most houses with three disgusting children looks, was not a comfortable one for me. Not volunteering in the classroom anymore. Not caring if my children were well dressed, as long as they were clean.  Never, ever worrying about what was petrifying under the minivan seats. Always, ALWAYS being on time. And trying to force my children to always listen to me and always do what I say. And as I let each one of these go, I felt both nausea and relief, and neither have ever completely gone away. But I have let them go, I have. I can't make the children neat. I can't make the Dell repair guy come on time, if at all. And most importantly, I can't make my children do what I want every single time.  I can hope, but not expect. And I should know that by now.

Now, I have mentioned this epiphany to several friends, all of whom looked at me blankly and then started laughing. My thinking I was somewhat mellow is the source of mirth amongst those who say they love me.  But for clarification,  I am now substituting "passionate" for "intense". Intense sounds overly serious and rigid to me, a person who can't go to sleep without flossing her teeth. Passionate sounds more full of life and more devil-may-care, more spontaneous and celebratory. Passionate makes music and stays up late making trouble. Passionate loves with her whole heart. That's what I'm going for. So watch out, my dear friends, because I may french kiss you on sight just to make a point. My forties are about passion, not flossing. Well, maybe flossing, too. Maybe a little flossing. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dear Sugar Snow

I am putting on my pretentious beret and my air of self-importance to answer some of the questions loyal Sugar Snow readers have sent me. And one thing to note--the weirdness in the typeface on the last answer is some weirdness of this blogging site. There is no particular significance to it. Try as I might, I couldn't fix it. Oh, well.

Dear Sugar Snow, You often write about aging and your fight against it. What is the most current weapon in your beauty arsenal? N.G., San Francisco, CA

Well, N.G., this is one of my favorite issues since I am decaying on a daily basis. And right now, I am all about ERADICATING and ERASING signs of aging. There are many products out there that promise to Decrease the troughs and furrows (and notice the pun on "crease"! Those smug advertising bastards!) but I have decided that that is the pussy way of dealing with it. I literally want to remove any signs that I am past my most dewy, and I will use violence to do so. My most recent tool is StriVectin, which promises to cure my incipient turkey neck. Whether or not it is ACTUALLY working or I NEED it to work is not clear,  but thus far I am very pleased with the current deturkification of my throat and smoothening of my decolletage. One of many weapons, though, N.G., and always on the hunt for more.

Dear Sugar Snow, You never write about politics, and I wonder why you are so reluctant to share your political leanings?  P.D., Portland, ME

My darling P.D., it is true that I avoid talking about politics. My general feeling is that no one gives a shit what my opinion is about striking farmers in France that throw CARROTS at government buildings. And if I had an opinion on that, it would be that the group of farmers in Avignon that did that are giant wusses compared to the farmers that burned hay bales on the Champs d'Elysses, and may as well have sauteed up their weapons with a little butter and some cumin. By and large, I try to stay out of public discussions that degenerate into someone being called a troglodyte and a mouth-breather.  I have a cadre of  libertarian Ayn Rand followers who read me religiously and I do not want to alienate them, just as I do not want to anger the leftie pinkos, because I would have no friends. But I do feel very strongly about one thing: there is a deep desire on the part of a certain minority group to indoctrinate our youth in a particularly heinous way, and we must unite and fight.  I want a Strong America! Thus, I advocate that we teach the Australian people a lesson and keep UGG boots OUT of our country. They may be warm, but they are ugly, and aren't we ugly enough?  I know it is politically correct to embrace all styles and colors, but I CANNOT stay silent any longer. Go Back To The Outback, UGG. We don't need your kind here.

Dear Sugar Snow,  Being a famous singer, you must be recognized on the streets of Boston and beyond on a regular basis. How do you stay so humble? B.K., Chicago, IL

Thank you, B.K., for that lovely compliment. I try very hard, and I am thrilled that the humility comes through in my writing. The truth is, though, that I'm not humble. At all. It's just too much work. I recognize my gifts and would be foolish to pretend that they aren't exceptional. I can't go to Whole Foods to pick up my dairy free sorbet bars without people buying overpriced gladioli and thrusting them into my arms. I try to avoid the eyes of all the parents at my childrens' elementary school, because they SO want to be acknowledged by me, and the demands on my time for appearances are endless.  But what I have learned from all this fame is that appearances matter, and if you SEEM humble, it doesn't matter if you ARE humble. So I do stop and sign autographs wherever I go, and patiently pose for pictures. Inside, though, I am rejoicing at my superiority. And laughing at you.

Dear Sugar Snow,  Your writing is full of anger and sarcasm. Are you really as angry and sarcastic in real life? W.G., Delray Beach, FL

W.G, that is a good question. Blogs are only half truths, really, because if you ACTUALLY wrote what you wanted to write, no one would speak to you ever again. I have enough sense to keep it PG-13 on the blog. While for some, blogging is therapeutic, and lets that bottled emotion out, for me, it is a mere dribble from my vast ocean of snarkery. I am actually MORE angry and MORE sarcastic in real life.  I have passed down all my expletives to my children, just as my father did with me. My children may not know what a "fucking douchebag" is, exactly, but they definitely know that Mom will try to run one down on 128 if she is cut off.

Anything YOU want to know? I'm happy to answer questions, especially ones I ask myself and attribute to other people.  Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Less is MORE

So the Heavenly Bed really is heavenly. This is a Westin Hotel thing, this Heavenly Bed, and this weekend I tested this purported heavenliness. King size, with a billion pillows of  all bizarre shapes and sizes, those duvets and feather beds and complicated arrangements of sheets and blankets that adds up to a giant, delicious, high threadcount sleeping bag--yes, I was in my heaven. And I didn't have to share. At 1 a.m. on Friday night, I had a cold Diet Coke, a large bag of M&M's and a stack of magazines, as happy as can be. Until I opened More. 

The tagline on More magazine is "Celebrating What's Next", and the concept is this is a magazine for those unfortunates (like me) over 40.  Never mind the celebrities on the cover, devoid of any and all actual signs of aging--no claw marks between the brows, no turkey neck, no lines anywhere. And the incredible irony of the quote that is attributed to 53 year old Sela Ward on the cover: The biggest gift of age is not being afraid anymore. Sela Ward is, I'm sure, a lovely woman who would look utterly unrecognizable from this wax museum piece on the cover of More, if I happened to run into her at the car wash. But hey, that's Hollywood, and fear of aging and photoshop are standard. I don't even really look at those pictures, though LZ did point out the huge amount of de-turkefying of the neck they did on this photo, and since she and I are engaged in intense StriVecting to address this heinous sign of age (read her brant here:, she was more in tune to that particular absence than I. 

No, the celebrities are the least of it. I already expect to be made to feel inferior for looking human at age 43. But I was supremely irritated at the gushy layout of the Infinity Dress by Donna Karan and it's attached pictures. For $995, you get a sleeveless black tube of matte jersey with two super long skinny black sash type things growing out from the armpits and the OPPORTUNITY to turn this into 7 different dresses by performing knots only a Boy Scout could master and gymnastics not seen since the 1976 Olympic Games.  Literally, manage to twist those two long tentacles around your neck in just the right way, without asphyxiating yourself, and Dress Number 1 is the black sausage casing with accompanying noose. The challenge of Dress Number 6, should you choose to accept it, is to create the Empire Waist version,  which, contrary to how the pictures look, is NOT the Bandeau Dress, Dress Number 3, or that would be only 6 looks and up the price per dress from $142.14 to $165.83. Leaving the appendages to hang does not even count as a dress, and More cheats by adding a cream colored tank, so technically one DRESS is now a SKIRT (Dress Number 7). The actual visual of all this versatility isn't available for your perusal at the More site, unfortunately, but the Oprah site ( has upped the ante by 1. adding jewelry accoutrement for the belt and 2. dress styles More does not have, thus lowering your price per dress. And should you have issues with flabby arms, which the 12 year old model in the More photos doesn't have, you can buy a long sleeve version for only $1095. And personally, I believe that hiding the chicken wings is worth an additional $14.86 per dress, but I may be in the minority there. 

I, personally, do not have much call for this many little black dresses, because restaurants that serve chicken fingers do not have a dress code,  and I certainly don't live in fear of wearing the same one twice (at Friendly's) and being shunned for it. But this is the apparel version of The Container Store Myth: Buy this and it will make your life EASIER. This dress will, in reality, make getting dressed a stressful, contorted agony, with the added value of the guilt over spending all that money and being unable to find  a way to make ONE STYLE flattering. Loser. Most of us are simply hoping for a dress that doesn't accentuate our back fat and zips without breath holding. In other words, a dress that FITS. One. One really good one. 

And THEN, as if a lineless Sela Ward and being intimidated by an expensive straightjacket isn't annoying enough , there is a feature that actually tells you you are WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG. In the area called More Style: Fashion for Grown Ups, it says:

Is Your Closet TOO YOUNG?  This More reader has been dressing like a high school student her entire adult life, but thanks to Tim Gunn she got the wardrobe reinvention she needed. Turn the page for her fantastic makeover

The capital letters and italics are THEIRS, not MINE. Tim Gunn is the hilarious straight (ahem) man on Project Runway, and he is given the task here of correcting the fashion wrongs of the hapless shlubettes that apparently comprise More's readership.  The results of this fantastic makeover are at the top of the page here. Now, I grant you that this 55 year old woman dresses in a way that I would not, but she works in advertising, which places a premium on creativity and originality. I have pondered the question many times of what dressing in age-appropriate fashion is, and realize that by anyone's criteria, I would be utterly inappropriate. And so fucking be it. This woman has made it this far in the advertising field dressing like HERSELF, and now he is turning her into one of The Ladies Who Lunch. Or a Stepford Wife. There is nothing at all interesting about her any longer, nothing to make her stand out from everyone else. So my feeling is this: as long as your skin is basically covered and everything fits, wear whatever the fuck you want. Unless this woman is going to get fired over her leggings, she shouldn't change a thing. Because it is HER. So fucking be it.

When I was young, I read Glamour, and that was the Version of Me that I tried to become. Then I started reading Allure, or Vogue, or W, and futilely tried to be that version. But Sela Ward is wrong. The biggest gift of age is not the lack of fear, but simply not giving a shit anymore. Not dressing for anyone else, not attempting to impress anyone else, being your own damn self and being ok with it. Saying Fuck it, this is ME. I may commit the faux pas of wearing the same little black dress for years, and I may dress like my 13 year old neighbor, but this is me. And so, on Friday night, at 1 a.m., with my hand in a large bag of M&M's, I threw More onto the floor and opened Us. And it was Heavenly.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An Extra Pissy Tuesday Rant

Meet Gwen Thompson, the newest American Girl doll by Mattel. She’s homeless. Her back story contains a deadbeat dad, a strained single mom, and a life literally rooted on the streets. Gwen sleeps in a car, according to the book accompanying the doll. Yet 4-year-olds will be begging their parents to add the blond-haired, brown-eyed doll to their collection. The American Girl website tags her as soft and huggable, in an embroidered lace dress and pink headband - adornments that might be denied to young girls living out of shelters. The toymaker claims that the doll promotes awareness of a real-life social issue. But at $95 apiece? Parents should think twice about spoiling their children with this overpriced doll. A better lesson might be a donation to a charity that helps homeless children, unlike the make-believe Gwen.

This was in the editorial section of yesterday's Boston Globe. And I have to admit, that when I read it, I laughed. Now, I was suffering from occasional bouts of hilarity throughout yesterday anyway, brought about my the information that my ex won the Nobel Prize, which seemed unreal and weird in and of itself. And then, this marvelous piece of comedy above. I thought, This cannot POSSIBLY be real. It is just too..what? Ridiculous? Ironic? Dumb? Yes to all of the above. But the Globe has a notorious no-hilarity policy on the editorial page (actually, aside from Christopher Muther, it is unfunny all around) and thus I decided to check out the American Girl website and then blog on and on about the political incorrectness and all-around yuckiness of this doll. And I found...nothing.

Oh, the doll is there, although you have to really look for her. She is not amongst the Historical Characters dolls, like the newest shtetl darling, Rebecca Rubin. She is not listed with the Just Like You dolls, the dolls you design in your own image, because what child would design a $95 doll to be HOMELESS, just like they are?  So aside from the Bitty Baby and Bitty Twins, and Chrissa, Girl of the Year, Gwen was AWOL. So I searched her name. It turns out that Gwen is a friend of The Girl of the Year, and is connected that way. When you click on Gwen, whittling down from the Chrissa Starter Collection ($178) to the Chrissa and Gwen Friend Collection ($175) and finally to the Gwen Doll and Paperback ($75 with optional hairbrush for an additional $7), there is nothing but a description of the swag you get when you buy this doll. Nowhere on the American Girl site is ANY information, at least that I could find, describing the deadbeat dad and the homelessness. The only reference is in the reviews, where mothers who have purchased these overpriced Children of the Corn try to justify themselves and dismiss the "controversy".

Not for nothing, people, but these dolls are ugly. I was a doll girl (yes, it is true, non-believers) and this is NOT a doll I would look at as a cuddly, lovey thing who would bear the brunt of my childhood anger with a glassy-eyed smile. THIS is a Doll bought by doting grandparents, that sits on a stand, a Doll that gets a new outfit, book or pet llama (as is the case with Chrissa) every Christmas. So I don't understand the cult of The American Girl Doll anyway, just on looks alone. It is a monstrous business, with a Bistro where you can dine with your Doll, and a salon where your Doll can get her hair STYLED, she can be PAMPERED and have her EARS PIERCED. But ok, as ridiculous as this is, and it definitely is, people can choose to spend their money anywhere they please. Want to take your doll out for a festive meal? As long as I don't have to be there, it's fine with me.

BUT. Please. This is just TACKY. Paying $95 for a HOMELESS doll? I may fall pretty far to the left on most social issues, and I am all for learning about other cultures and whatnot, but really, this is a marketing opportunity disguised as social awareness. This is the very, very ugly side of political correctness. This pristine and homely doll is going to teach privileged suburban children about homelessness? Really? REALLY?? 

You know what, American Girl? If you want to use this terrible and very real problem as a way to line your coffers, donate a large portion of the profits to an actual homeless shelter. Where ACTUAL homeless children live. But don't hide it. Put Gwen's homeless story, loser dad and living in the car prominently on your site. You can't have it both ways. Embrace your incredibly bad taste and do something about it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Morning Slap in the Face

It is 7:55, and I am sitting at my desk, fuming. I had envisioned writing  a clever little piece about celebrating my birthday and all the attending hoopla, but that has been shot to hell by the sound of stomping feet and slamming doors over my head. Ah, the delightful routine that is called Getting Ready for School. Did I mention it is 7:59? And school starts at 8:00? 

Every fucking morning. I am going out of my mind. The Husband and I are at our wits' end dealing with this particular form of torture. And our torturer is short, and cute, and seven years old. She is in league with the devil himself. This is Small, ladies and gentlemen, Small only in name. She has the unique ability to ruin my mood before I have one, the power to overturn an entire household with her fury inducing ways. It is now 8:09, and she is FINALLY the fuck out of the house. I am watching her walk to school with The Husband, in the clothes she had to choose, the sneakers she had to find, and that distinctly Small sour look on her face.

And she does all this by refusing to get up.

That is a gross understatement, really, because that is not all she does. She has brought in the fine arts of whining and disagreeing as well, but it starts pretty much the same way every day. The wake up process starts an hour before school starts. The house is not (or is it ever) quiet, of course, with Medium singing his Guns n Roses and picking out his rock t-shirt du jour, and me cursing and wrestling with Large's abundant hair.  The dogs bark at every dog walking by, The Husband has left the radio on downstairs, and my ubiquitous space heater for my feet is humming in my office. And so the robotic repetitions of "GET UP" begin. Small, it's 7:15. Small, it's 7:20. Small it's 7:22! GET UP! Large gets on the bus, Medium flees to school to meet his friends and avoid the drama he knows is coming. So it is US vs HER. Alone.

By around 7:30, when my blood pressure has already started to make it's climb, the whining begins. That is always the first sign of life, that she has acknowledged that there is an expectation that she is going to get out of bed, get some clothes on and go to school. But the whine--god, the WHINE--makes me want to bypass the gun and manually push the bullet into my skull. It sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher in a higher pitch and equally incoherent-wawawawaWAAAAAAAAAAAA. 

"What are you wearing?"




"Oh, my god, WHAT???"  until I lose it totally, throw some clothes at her, which she then refuses to wear, and I start in on my morning speech. We can't go through this every day, Small. Every day! I am starting out my days in a very bad mood, and you are late. EVERY DAY! I know you don't like to wake up in the morning, but you HAVE TO. That's IT. There is no CHOICE. And we can't do this every day!"

And we do it EVERY DAY.

So, yes, eventually, she agrees to put something on, I brush her hair while she whines, and sometimes brush her teeth unless she deigns to do it herself. Eventually, she gets out the door for her death march to school. And she invariably turns into a ray of sunshine for her teachers and friends, while I am at home six cans deep by 8:30. 

Now, I know there are many of you reading this and saying that there is too much negotiation, (which is what my mother says,) that therein lies the problem. And, no doubt, there is. Every year of her life,a billion times a year,  when she had enraged me yet again, I would say to myself, "She is 2 (or 3 or 5 or 7) years old! Why am I having this DISCUSSION with her?"And it made me feel outwitted again. And made me feel like a bad parent. And made me cry. But fundamentally, this is Small. She has always done things her way and had a mind of her own. She cut her own hair and refused to admit it even after we found the scissors. AND THE HAIR. She wore a tuxedo as a flower girl (which indicated, to my mother, that she was going to be a lesbian), and a shirt and tie to Large's bar mitzvah. Her goal is to be in the X Games and she plays the drums and the bass. She is bright, clever, independent and misses nothing. There are so many things to love about her, and I do. When she is not making me wish for my own death. 

Yes, she is EXACTLY like me, snarky readers. And maybe it is karma, both for being the child that I was and for being the teacher that judged other parents with children I labeled as "spoiled". Blah blah blah. The universe's big fucking jokes aren't helping me get this child off to school in the morning. I need a PLAN, people, a PLAN that WORKS. A certain friend recommended Wake 'n Bake, and while I dismissed it, it is starting to sound like an option. Wouldn't this fall into the category of medicinal use?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An Extra Pissy Thursday Rant

The other day, I noticed a bunch of kids throwing acorns into the trees overhanging the playground at my kids' school. When I got closer, I realized that they were throwing acorns at a HUGE hornet's nest. In my most parental, authoritative voice, I told them to cut the crap, that it is just stupid to throw acorns at a hive, especially when you don't know if the hive is active or not, and if they learned nothing else in their public education, it should be that pissing off a swarm of bees is idiotic. I said this in a nice way, of course. Then I went into the office to report both the hive and the acorn throwing. The town had been notified about the hive, and it was an active one; hornets had been seen milling about. And a teacher went out to stop the silly little bastards from getting stung a billion times.

The very next day, when going to pick Medium up early for a doctor's appointment, I saw a town truck idling in the school driveway next to the playground, and a grown man, cigarette hanging from his mouth, THROWING ACORNS AT THE HORNET'S NEST.  A town employee, someone paid by my taxes, was doing what I had just told a group of children NOT to do because it was STUPID. I stood there trying to find a single GOOD reason he might be doing this, and could come up with nothing. Lots of bad reasons, but not a single good one. The hive had been reported as being live, so he shouldn't have been testing that, especially by throwing stuff at the hive. He shouldn't have been trying to knock it down, because not only is that the dumbest thing ever (again, angry swarm of hornets) ,but to try to do it with acorns is embarrassing and pathetic. I am also assuming he was specifically sent to the playground and did not show up on his shift to play on the tire swing, noticed the hive and thought that throwing acorns at it would be fun. 

In my world, it should have gone like this: 
1. Town gets call of active nest at school playground.
2. Town dispatches team of EXPERIENCED hornet's nest removers AFTER school hours to remove it, with cherry picker, protective clothing, and whatever other equipment is needed.
3. Town removes hive.
4. Everyone is happy, kids are safe, and no one is in the hospital recovering from their billion stings, jonesing for a cigarette. 

Since the kids are home sick AGAIN, I don't know what the status of the hive is, but it had better be gone. We have sacrificed a lot to live in this town where the taxes are astronomical, and I honestly don't think it is too much to expect that the town quickly, safely and efficiently remove an obvious danger and potential lawsuit from the playground.  But bureaucracy being what it is, throwing acorns at the nest MAY BE the most efficient way to get things done.

God, I need another soda.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dental Hygiene Is No Joke.

I was just sticking my Sonicare toothbrush head into the very cool UV Sanitizer, watching the blue glow light up the bathroom, when I realized what a crazy person I am. I bought one of these things. One of these sanitizer things. I am probably the only person ON EARTH who bought one, actually believing that it would make my toothbrush sparkly clean. But it should have been when I was cleaning out the motorized handle of the toothbrush with a frigging q-tip that I accepted my insanity. But if you had teeth and gums like mine, you would be just as obsessed. Or you would have no teeth or gums. It really is that simple. And anyone who has witnessed their 83 year old grandmother swish her dentures around in her mouth, as I have, would be scared straight into the dentist's chair. Then there was the time at the nursing home when she put in someone's else's dentures. Oy. I know I will probably be senile, but it would be great to not have someone else's teeth in my mouth at that time, dignity being in such short supply.

This all started with our first dentist, seriously named Dr. Smilovits. Simply put, he was a quack. The worst dentist ever. Much of the dental work I had in the late 80's was simply undoing the terrible work of Dr. Smilovits in the 70's. His icky pornstache coming at me, and his then-groovy blue sparkle laminate dental office is indelibly etched into my brain. He looked like a clothed Mark Spitz with a drill.  One of my enduring memories is my father, in all his hugeness, standing over me in the dentist's chair when I was eight years old. My father was shaking the hell out of me, shaking me by my shoulders, and as I was coming to from the overly large dose of nitrous Smilovits had given me to pull some teeth, my father was saying, "Never(shake) Again (shake). While I Am Alive( shake shake shake shake)!" And yet, in the way of many who follow my Mechanic's Theory (continue to take your car to a mechanic you think is no good/cheating you because at least you know what you are getting from him) my parents' continued to take us to this guy until my really, really bad root canal. During my short tenure at Ohio State, I spent much of the time at the Dental Clinic, trying to manage the lingering pain in my mouth. When I ran from Ohio for Boston, I left bad dentistry behind, which led me to where I am now, the excellent and adorable dentist I will call Dr. Flintstone.

Dreamy and dark, Dr. Flintstone remembers everything he has ever done to every tooth in my mouth. I have been seeing him for around twenty years, and there has been a significant amount of stuff he has had to do, and he remembers each and every one. He can tell me from across the room what year he worked on the crown on the left bottom side in my mouth, how long it took and how many tries it took to fit it properly. The man has Mouth Memory. Truly. And while I know OCD gets a bad name, don't you want your dentist to remember every dirty thing he has ever done to your teeth and gums? Dr. Flintstone saved my tooth from the bad root canal, filled my cavities with lovely white amalgam, and has gotten rich off of my crappy gums.And yet, back then, no matter how much of my paycheck I would deposit directly into his contractor's bank account, I didn't floss, didn't care for my mouth properly.  Then he got his stupid gum pocket measuring machine.

Many years back, Dr. Flintstone lost his office, and almost his life, to a major fire. The only upside to that was he was able to build a really state-of-the-art, blue sparkle laminate free dental office with all the bells and whistles.  One of these whistles was this nasty machine that measures how deep the pockets in your gums are. If things are bad, the hygienist scrapes them out to prevent periodontal disease and any enjoyment of anything you might have for the next three days. Truly, it is awful. I am genetically blessed with really bad gums, and I have long been familiar with  gum pocket cleaning hell. But then he got this machine, this evil machine, which was designed to take the guesswork out of measuring the depths of the pockets while having the added bonus of making the patient feel like the biggest dental degenerate of all time. Stick the little needle thingy into the gums, and it actually CHANTS the numbers out loud, for everyone in the office to hear. 1-3 is peachy, four is dicey, and anything after 5 is an invitation to the ritual scraping. Lying there in my drool covered bib, hearing "FIVE", "FIVE","FIVE" over and over again, I wanted to take the little dental drill and put a hole in my own head. Dr. Flintstone came in from ACROSS THE ENTIRE OFFICE, which is not small, and said to me, his big brown eyes staring into mine, "Are you ready to take care of yourself now?" Weeping, I nodded. And together, we went into the promised land of excellent dental hygiene.

Thus, I own the best Sonicare toothbrush one can buy. And I change the head every month. And I have the UV cleaner. And I floss EVERY DAY or I am unable to sleep. And I use that rubber tipped thingy to stimulate my gums. And I am FANATICAL about using a straw to keep my teeth as white as can be. AND I see Dr. Flintstone and his band of merry hygienists every 3 months. And I am happy to report that he got rid of that stupid gum pocket measuring machine, at the nearly universal request of  his patients. Which is a shame, in a way, because I would like to hear that machine chant my periodontal triumph to the whole office. All twos and threes, with the very occasional four. So his OCD and mine worked together in complete harmony, and my smile is all the better for it. How I heart Dr. Flinstone.

But I still won't let him fix the space between my two front teeth.

Singing Under the Influence

DISCLAIMER: I am sitting in front of the computer now, at 1 p.m., after a useless earlier attempt to write this week. I would like to say I woke up from my return to bed refreshed, but at least now I am somewhat coherent. Somewhat. I promise no more.

This weekend was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Clean house, new boots, fancy schmancy honey from virgin bees in the Amazon, and dinner with friends. And, oh yeah, services. Topped off by a Sunday afternoon doing a mitzvah--participating in Singing Out Against Hunger, raising money and supplying food for the needy in Rhode Island. All good things to start a great new year. And then I got sick.

Not surprising, really, because Small and Medium have been hacking up a lung for the last week. It was only a matter of time. When they are home from school, you can practically see the germs swarming around me, like a cloud of mosquitos. I felt absolutely fine until Saturday, when I had to go back to sleep for the second time, after being awake from a nap for an hour. I awoke with a 1,000 pound head and the inability to keep my eyes open. This was just as well, since I knew I would have to sing on Sunday, and this shut me up for an extended period of time. I have a tendency to talk too much (shocking, I know) and sleeping for 16 hours does protect the voice.  Sick or not, I was going to play on Sunday, no matter how much Sudafed it required.

It turned out to be quite a lot, with spectacular results. I do have experience with Sudafed. I am a constant allergy/sinus infection sufferer, and it is very effective. Usually it has the delightful affect of making me more spastic and hyper than I usually am. But what I found was, taking a bit more than the recommended dose had the effect of a weak dose of Valium. I felt no pain, and everything was just so very very pretty--the blue sky, the smiling people, everything! I know I was. Everything was happening a split second slow, like it was underwater. It was lovely. But I didn't know if I could sing in my dreamy state, because I  am not an indulger.This is not a personal philosophy (Drugs are BAD!) as much as a self-preservation instinct--I am one of those annoyingly sensitive people that will sleep for a day and a half from one Children's Benadryl, or have the lampshade on my head after half a drink. So aside from the occasional forays into Pepto-Bismol and Nyquil, I am generally drug-and-booze-free.  So it was brand new for me to experience a show as Janis Joplin.  

The performance was a challenge, but not because of me. As it often is outdoors (I am told) the sound was very bad and none of us could hear the other. Neither Danielito nor I could hear ourselves AT ALL, which is incredibly difficult and annoying when trying to sing. Rather than worry about it, which helped no one, I just sang and hoped to God I was somewhere close to on-key. It went both exceedingly fast and unbelievably slowly. I had to remind myself that I was singing and to stop being distracted by what people were eating at the table in front of us. And at one point, I got a pain in my left big toe that was so excruciating, I had to struggle to stay with the song and not collapse on the stage, weeping and clutching at it.  I saw people singing along to our 80's covers, mesmerized by their moving mouths. But I'm told we sounded great. I personally believe we rocked Rio harder in Danielito's living room, but money was raised and food items collected for the needy. And I have absolutely loved playing with these fabulous musicians the last few months, so it was fun, too. Danielito, Captain Ron, Knitting Natalie, Jamie the Giant, Joe Drummer and Lisa OurBiggestFan, you are all amazing. And so very very pretty.

And so, after the family had eaten obscene amounts of crab cakes, fried clams, clam cakes (or clunchkins, as the husband called them) and, of course, chicken fingers for Medium, and I said my good-byes, we headed back home. I was too wasted to drive, and that should tell you EVERYTHING you need to know. I am the worst passenger there is, pressing the invisible brake and gasping in anticipation of an accident every five feet, and thus, have done all the driving in our marriage. My children were shocked to see me climb in the passenger seat. I proceeded to stare out the window stupidly and serenely for the next hour and fifteen minutes. I thought for sure the pictures would tell the story, that my over-sudafedinizing would be obvious. It doesn't look that way to me, but maybe I'm wrong. The show must go on, and all that. And it did. I have the pictures to prove it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Capitulation Wardrobe

7:15 a.m. and already at my desk.  But with a feeling of great accomplishment, which is amazing for a Monday morning. When Mr. Simone B. is traveling, which he often is, I am up and at 'em early and against my will. But up I am, the kids are ready to go and gone, a load of laundry is in the machine, the dishwasher is empty and everything is quiet. I sit here with my first can of the day in my hideous Monopoly pajamas and contemplate the day. And with that, of course, is the question of what to wear.

Those who have actually seen me probably marvel at the fact that this actually requires some thought. I have seasonal uniforms and rarely veer from them. And, shockingly, it involves a t-shirt and jeans. In cool weather, there is a v-neck sweater and a pashmina added. The shoes are the wild card--boots from Fall to Spring, flip flops for the summer, and my Chuck Taylors interspersed. When I look at the 8th graders at my kids' school, and realize I dress almost exactly like them, the question of whether this is appropriate dress does cross my mind. I do know that I need to address the issue of "dressing my age", whatever that means, but part of this stubborn dress code is my fear of the Capitulation Wardrobe. The moment when I don't care what I wear and I've given up. The moment I look middle aged. The day that I shop at Chico's.

This is in no way meant to malign Chico's or the lovely women who shop there. But Chico's is my personal point of capitulation. The minute I look at rectangular linen jumpers, square cardigan sweaters and quirky earrings as my new uniform is the day I will have moved into middle age and beyond. The day I dress STRICTLY for comfort, as I did when I had babies, is the day I know that Naot sandals and Vera Bradley purses/publicly carried toiletry bags are close at hand, as are bad, short haircuts and going gray. That will be my official, personal, expiration date. Simone goes bad, like an old carton of milk.

My BFF had an intervention in order to stave off the Capitulation. Her husband put the kibosh on her denim overalls. Yes, she is busy, and yes she is a mom (the arguments she used in her defense) but she also happens to be an absolutely gorgeous woman who had stopped looking at herself in the mirror. Somehow, he wrestled her away from her urban farmer attire and saved her. He risked his own hide for that, but then BFF's husband is unusual that way. He actually notices what she wears, and complains when her jeans are too loose. True love!!

And then there are those that never Capitulate, because the Capitulation Wardrobe IS and has ALWAYS BEEN their uniform. If you have been wearing slacks, walking shoes, carrying a "handbag" and have had the same haircut for years, you have been living on the dark side for so long it feels like home. But these things are, and have always been, WRONG and you should not do them!  Style has morphed into habit, and a habit, unless it comes in a frosty red and silver can, is a bad thing.  A recurrent, often unconscious, pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition is NOT the way life should be. That is something I have come to realize and embrace in my forties. And if my way of not capitulating is to wear a Nirvana t-shirt or a pair of jeans that do not make my ass look huge, then so be it. So be it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Am In Love

That deserves all capital letters. It truly does. Because I want to proclaim it to the world. I Am In Love. With my new boots.

My personal tradition, of the last ten years or so, is to buy a new pair of boots to celebrate my birthday. So I begin the hunt in July, when all the best boots are in the magazines and stores. This is one of my favorite parts of the whole Birthday Boot tradition, visiting all the shoe porn sites to find the perfect pair.  Deciding which color, heel height, style--all part of the delicious process. But there is one absolutely unchangeable element: the boots MUST be knee high. Not over-the-knee (which is very big right now, and NOT for women who are shorter than most 5th graders) or calf height (which accentuates the "athletic" calf and makes one look squat) or ankle height, (which is, again, all the rage right now and can only be worn by an 85 pound waif in an empire waist dress and red tights.) Knee high for tucking in the jeans. Knee high for bringing on the attitude. KNEE HIGH, damn it, because really, why bother otherwise?

Now, while I do enjoy spending money (which is why Sugar Snow Joe keeps all the band money at his house) there are certain things I will not spend a lot on. I have not ever purchased a lamp anywhere but the Christmas Tree Shop. I buy my sheets and curtains at IKEA. All rugs come from Target or Lowe's. I shop for the bulk of my clothes, as well as the family's clothes, at Saver's.  Shoes--the dress shoes I occasionally have to buy, the flip flops I buy for the summer, I will pay marginally more for, usually at Marshall's. But the boots fall into their own category. I have a budget, yes, but it is far more elastic than any other limits I set. The margin of error is generous for the boot budget because, a) boots last for years, and my OCD requires that I take meticulous care of each and every pair, and 2) it's my birthday.  So, I suppose, one could make an argument that it doesn't really count as a budget. I don't buy that argument, but I can see where you are coming from.

This year, this GLORIOUS year, I found the most amazing boots. I saw them last year, could not fit them into my "budget", but I did not forget them. I could never forget such perfection. Now, markedly cheaper because of their "last season" status, I snapped them up. But buying shoes is like online dating, and what you see is definitely not always what you get. So I was wary, of course, that they would not be as remarkable as I thought. And my worry was all for naught. They are camel suede, lace up the front with an industrial strength zipper for on-and-off ease, three inch heel, right up to the knee. And--BONUS--comfortable!! I wore them as soon as I got them. Wore them around the house. Put on my Winter jeans (the tucking-in-the-boots jeans) and walked around the house in them. Mr. Simone B. approved wholeheartedly. LZ approved, and I believe she may have heard a chorus of angels. Neighbor Ken approved, in his droll, understated way. Even Small, my harshest critic, approved, although she did comment that I wouldn't be able to skateboard in them.  Eventually, I took them off, and they are now a shrine on my desk, right next to my computer screen. To the right of them sits a bag of  M&M's. At the toe is a can of Diet Coke and a fresh straw. My lip balm. My cell phone. And my Cleveland snow globe. 

Last night, at my dear friend Ms. P's Coming Of Age party, it was cold. It was downright cold outside. And all I could think was, Only 3 more weeks. 3 more weeks until my birthday, and the official beginning of my boot wearing season. October 1, folks, and the suburbs will be in danger of being overwhelmed by my Boot Coolness. Prepare yourselves.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Cooking Cult: Hell, No! I Won't Go!

This is a repost of a ranty old myspace blog. Enjoy!
It isn't true that I can't cook. But there is nothing that I hate more. The sight of raw meat, the shopping involved, the time it takes--I hate every bit of it. But I can cook. My very traditional mother made sure of that. She is waiting for the moment that my husband decides he is going to leave me because I won't cook. Or because I didn't change my name when we got married. Or because I drink too much Diet Coke. Or.....

As you might guess, I only identify the kitchen as the room that one walks through to get to the bathroom. Mr. Simone B does all the cooking, and registered for everything when we got married. When he travels, which he does often, my children fly into a panic and anticipate starvation. Two large pizzas from Pino's for all three meals of the day is my answer to their fears. And I, myself, enjoy eating Rice Chex for dinner. Or a Kit Kat.

So, when I was invited to a Pampered Chef party, you would think I would run screaming. And maybe I should have. Being surrounded by kitchen utensils and storage containers is, in general, enough to make me ill. That's why I walk through the kitchen quickly, averting my eyes from the counters, when I need to go to the bathroom. But the BFF gave the little soiree, and she is a great cook, so I went. I brought my friend Laura Zigman, published author, brant writer and my current girl-crush, for company. And hilarity ensued. But more on that later.

What is Pampered Chef, you ask? Why, you don't know? Shame on you, blog readers, for not being familiar with this particularly insidious cult. How will you protect yourself from the Chef's Tools and Silicone Crown Cake Pan? It is the cookware equivalent of Mary Kay, without the blue eye shadow. The woman who did our particular show has her shtick down to a science, including the whole history of her abduction and consequent assimilation into the Pampered Chef "family". Just think how much bigger the Manson Family would have been had he offered stoneware baking dishes.

Laura came to spare me the pain of the glassy eyed kitchenistas that always come to these shows. But she was immediately made to wear a name tag with a V on it, for Virgin. Virgin to the Pampered Chef. Why she didn't flee then, knowing that virgins are generally sacrificed, I'm not sure. Maybe because there were a few other virgins to choose from. My name tag had "ice cream scoop" on it, the only thing I bought at BFF's last show that didn't break and was still in the drawer at home. I'm told. And the Blessed Virgin Laura, poor dear, had to listen to my profane comments about how many of the utensils looked like sex toys. A girl has to entertain herself , after all. 

Round and round the circle of ladies went the bowls of ingredients to make fresh salsa (ladies, use those kitchen choppers! you'll wonder how you ever made salad without them!), the chocolate cake in the Batter Bowl-Classic that ended up sticking to the non-stick pan, (painfully funny to watch the horror), the almond crusted brie that demonstrated the mini-nut chopper. One snarky woman next to me muttered "So handy, you could use it while driving." I love nothing more than snark. I didn't touch a single one of these ingredient bowls, for fear of cooking cooties. But I did find myself sucked in, highlighting the smooth-edge can opener, the large and small micro-cookers, and a variety of other things. Mob mentality is very powerful. I wisely called Mr. Simone B before writing any check, who limited my purchase to a cutting board and bamboo tongs for the kids to use to remove frozen waffles from the toaster oven. I always thought the burnt fingers were part of the charm of frozen waffles. And if you burn them enough, you eventually don't feel it anymore. 

Now, I don't mean to imply that it wasn't fun. It was great fun. Watching these suburban ladies gushingly extoll the virtues of their stoneware is worth all the fresh salsa in the world. I love watching people search the catalogue for the one thing they haven't purchased yet. But I feel no shame, no matter how hard my mother has worked at it, for not being turned on by kitchenware. And these little parties exploit the elements of shame and guilt, to make people feel bad for buying nuts pre-chopped or never using nuts in a recipe because it is too much work. But if people really want to feel shame and guilt, they can come to MY next party. Frozen drinks and sex toys, ladies?

Here is a link to Laura's brant/blog:

I know she is planning to talk about her side of this experience. If it's not there yet, read about her love for Hugh Jackman, who starred in the movie of her novel.

Monday, August 31, 2009

And The Days Go By....

In one month, one month from tomorrow, I will have another birthday. And I am dreading it, yet again.

Before I go on, yes, of COURSE I appreciate everything I have--wonderful family, good health, a lovely home, delightful friends...all the things that one works a lifetime to achieve. I have them ALL, and I am supremely glad, thankful and, as is my wont, incredibly worried about everything turning to dust and being sucked up in the giant vortex of bad luck and ickiness. But this is not about all of my good things. This is about the bad. And the bad part is, I am getting old.

Boys and girls, I am not asking for compliments here. Feel free to give them, they are always welcome, but this is simply a statement of fact. I am getting old. This October 1, I am 43.  I am slowly, but with increasing speed, creeping into the mid-40's. And creeping is the operative word. The creep is so slow and insidious, that it is all but unnoticeable until you suddenly have lines around your eyes, your mouth, your forehead, your neck-- the light in my bathroom must be super flattering because it wasn't until I was on an airplane (going to Cleveland to play a big show for people that I had not seen in 25 years) that I looked into the bathroom mirror and saw EVERYTHING. Every unruly brow hair, every age spot. Fortunately I had not carried my tweezers onboard for fear of confiscation, or i would have gotten off that plane with a huge need for eyebrow Rogaine. And yes, there is such a thing. That is something you learn when you are old.

When I was living in the world of sweatpants and bad undergarments (i.e. when my kids were little) I never thought about any of this. Partially because I was in my very early thirties, and partially because I just didn't care. Things were so loony when my kids were young, sometimes in a good way, sometimes decidedly bad, that I simply didn't care what I looked like. I made the perfunctory effort to look reasonable, but that meant a haircut and lipbalm. It was an accomplishment to be clean. The only time I really went all out was when I had Meetings With The School. Then, beauty rituals were like armor. Manicure and pedicure, haircut, make-up, even a suit for an attempt at the intimidation factor. And it worked, at least for me. I'm not sure if anyone was frightened by my lipstick, but I thought there was a Xena factor there.

The irony is that the older you get, the less make up you should wear. This is not so as to embrace the most heinous of expressions, GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY (accept your decay without excess complaint), but because make-up can settle into your wrinkles, can accentuate the dark circles, does not actually cover up the age spots caused by the youthful exuberance of lying in the sun smothered in baby oil. It doesn't work. It just doesn't. God forbid I should go out unfinished (as my BFF likes to call it) so I have a few tricks up my sleeve. And I am obsessively vain about my skin. But the goal seems to have become not to look younger, but to not look older. This depresses me beyond belief.

After the Cleveland show, I watched the video, something I usually avoid, and I was pleasantly surprised. The pictures made me somewhat nauseous (sorry, Blair!) because it was 9000 degrees at The Barking Spider and I was hot and shiny, rather than "dewy" or "luminous".  But in the video, I looked ok. I looked kind of cute, even. That was heartening, that maybe my beauty product OCD was paying off. Or maybe doing something that I really love is just good for my face overall. I was smiling, I was happy. And I liked my shirt, even though I question it now.

It is POSSIBLE that other people don't see all the history I see on my face. Maybe when I'm singing, when I'm laughing or telling a dirty story, those historical markers are not obvious to anyone else. Maybe they never are. Awesome for everyone else. Because when I look at myself in the mirror, I say, Fuck Aging Gracefully. I am fighting it. Or maybe I should take my friend LZ's advice, and tell people that I'm 50. I look amazing for 50.