Friday, November 12, 2010

Is it still Halloween?

"I'm Italian. We don't have that gene that tells us when enough is enough. I grew up in a house with a chandelier in every room."

This is what a friend said to me at work the other day.

The comment was in response to the appearance of another beloved colleague who had walked into the office OD'd on zebra-print*.

*Identifying fashion crimes have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
Colleague #1 (let's call her Tracy) has a person who steps in and lets her know when to say no. For example, if Tracy wants to wear leopard-print shoes with a leopard-print belt, bag and sweater, her guardian fashion angel will step in and say, "No!"

Unfortunately, Colleague #2 has no such friend. But her clothes to seem to make her happy and I think that is probably the greater good--fashion police be damned!

After Tracy's comment, I couldn't stop thinking about the problem of fashion binging that curses so many. I wanted to help, so I came up with some terminology that I thought could potentially help others keep themselves on the right side of the proverbial fashion line (or keep the black "Glamour Magazine" DON'T bar from across their eyes).

I walked into Tracy's office and said, "I think I have something that might help you when you're tempted to go overboard.

"Think of the term 'statement piece.' A statement piece is something that makes a big splash on it's own: animal prints, red, etc. One piece--shoes, a hat, a scarf--is enough. One piece," I emphasized, "is a statement piece. Head-to-toe is a Halloween costume."

We laughed. Hard. And I like to think that I may have struck upon something that will help others who are also missing certain fashion genes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sick and Tired

Those are my excuses for my absence.

I have been sick




BUT--in a quick decorating update, the neighbors have added a rectangular sort of plaque to the door--above the oblong, belly-level, fall-themed welcome sign--that has a thanksgiving-looking pumpkin on it and says, "Dear Great Pumpkin" in a kind of handwriting style font.

I noticed it on Monday.

Last nite it was face-down in the entryway, having fallen when they closed their door. I picked it up and propped it next to the door so they would find it.

This morning it was absent.

Tonite when I got home it was back on the door--although hanging quite askew.

First of all--"Great Pumpkin?!?!" That is a HALLOWEEN thing (not to mention a Charlie Brown thing!)...someone got their signals crossed.

I want to (and have tried) to take a picture of their door to share, but I am held back by two things:

1: I feel like it might be some kind of security/privacy breach to photograph
and post pictures of my neighbor's front door for the world to see

2: I'm irrationally paranoid that they will see me taking pictures of their
door through the eyehole (is there a more official name for that?) in their door

Bottom line: I'm a chicken.

Anyhoo...Teen Wars will be coming soon to a blog near you!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Aggressive Decorating

This blog is dedicated to Terri, who told me that I had to keep my momentum and go home and write this down...thanks for your undying support you bossy control-freak! Loves!

So, one day last month I came home and noticed cute, purple bat lights hanging across my neighbors' patio, and an array of festive window-clings adorning both their sliding glass doors and the kitchen window that faces my parking space.

Walking down the stairs to the landing we share between our front doors, I saw a Trick-or-Treat doormat, a fall-themed welcome sign hanging in the belly of their door (you know--not up high enough, more like it's hanging around the belly button of the door) and two pumpkins: one white, one orange.

The next day when I walked down my stairs I saw that the white pumpkin was now the head of a little iron skeleton that was standing proudly in front of their door with the orange pumpkin at its feet. (The iron skeleton w/ pumpkin head is super-awesome and I would steal it but they might know I did it when it's out in front of my door...)

A couple days later I noticed that their patio bats were now accompanied by three lawn stakes with Halloween emblems on them. A few days after that I spied a wind-spinner-type Halloween ornament staked in the lawn next to the three other lawn stakes. The front door also had a new sign hanging above the belly-level one. It was tin and said something like Dan's Demon Disco and featured skeletons boogie-ing the night away.

I was starting to be amazed at the ever-growing decor--but they weren't finished yet.

Next there was yellow caution tape in a giant "X" across the patio (under the previously-mentioned bats and behind the lawn stakes). The door also boasted yellow caution tape--and a little crafty, wooden, painted "BOO" dangling from a nail at the left top corner of the front door.

This continued day after day--now the white pumpkin had a scary face drawn on it, next a sparkly, lighted Frankenstein was frolicking with the lawn stakes, eventually three jack-o-lanterns appeared next to Frankenstein.

It was relentless!

After Halloween passed this weekend, I was curious to see what would happen next door. Sure enough, on Monday the welcome mat, skeleton pumpkin head, Dan's Demon Disco and "BOO" were replaced with an empty space where the Trick-or-Treat welcome mat had been, the lone belly-button fall sign and...wait for it...a little, tin turkey standing in the skeleton's place--holding a banner that proclaims, 'Thanksgiving Blessings.'

The purple bats were gone. There was no caution tape in sight--and the jack-o-lanterns now stood alone.

Tonite (just to keep me interested, I'm sure) there was a miniature pumpkin sitting proudly next to the tin turkey.

There are things I admire about my neighbors' overly enthusiastic holiday decorating. There are also parts of me that fear people with such little self-restraint.

"Maybe they have a lot of holiday spirit," my work colleague said.

"They have a lot of something," I replied, "And it's not taste."

Terri finds them entertaining and (sadly) quite admirable. When I throw out my jack-o-lanterns (any day now!) and trade out my spider-web doormat for my fall-colored (but mostly regular) doormat, my door will look exactly the way it did BEFORE Halloween--with my fall-colored berry wreath (that, regrettably, is in its death throes) and fall-colored rug.

I won't be switching it up again until Christmas.

Wait...Christmas! Can you imagine?!? How crazy might these people get if they have items to add daily for a non-decorative holiday like Thanksgiving?

I am equal parts terror and anticipation--both so strong that I may pee my pants. What if I try to go toe-to-toe with them? If I get all Betty Lou Who on their ass, will they respond in kind? Could we have a Christmas decorating showdown? If I get crazier and crazier will they go totally off the grid and reach new heights of condo Christmas spirit?

Part of me is planning to diabolically make this happen.

Another part yearns to be tasteful. A very tiny part. Terri is sure to hold that part back. I wonder, in the end, which part will be victorious...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A few of my favorite things...

Here are some things that I have been just GUSHING about lately (& threatening to blog about) and, to give us all a reprieve from the dating dialogue, here you are:

1) Falsies: It's a new mascara from Maybelline--I'm sure if you haven't already noticed it, you will soon start seeing the commercial for it non-stop. It;s in an obnoxiously large and purple tube, but it ROCKS! I totally LOVE it! I've been trying a lot of different mascaras over the past few months & this is the first one I've purchased AGAIN. It goes on very wet, but as long as you can be a tiny (and I mean super-tiny, it IS me we're talking about!) bit patient, you will have no smudging & I've also had no flaking...AND it washes off easily with my all-in-one cleanser (yay! no extra eye makeup remover step needed!). (BTW--not gonna double-check the punctuation situation back there, but pretty sure that's a hot mess!)

2) Schick Quattro For Women: I have to admit that I am slightly ashamed that I love this so much! I absolutely HATED the commercials (with the women walking by the bushes and the bushes magically transforming into trimmed triangles or rectangles, etc.) but I decided to try it and it's AWESOME! So much easier, cheaper and less painful than a bikini wax (or so I hear!). The only thing I've had a problem with is the holder that's supposed to suction-cup to the shower. I don't know if it's me or my shower, but mine has fallen down, like a MILLION times. It's embarrassing. I was determined to win this battle, but after about an hour and at least fifteen crashes, I had to give it up. The Schick is now happily resting on the edge of the tub right next to a lovely bottle of Skintastic shaving creme. You can't win 'em all!

3) Wasatch Pumpkin Seasonal Ale: Every fall I look forward to trying out the seasonal pumpkin ales. Every fall I am disappointed in the lack of spice and all-around pumpkin yumminess in the brew. Not this time. This beer is Halloween and Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie and changing leaves and the special, fall crispness in the air all rolled into one fabulously brewed libation--drink up!

4) Betsey Johnson Tights: I had the incredible luck of finding Betsey Johnson hosiery at Ross the other day. Not only is one pair fabulously purple, but the other is a black argyle. And the best part of all is that they feel super comfortable! Not too tight. Not at all saggy. Not stretched out and unwearable after just one wear. They amazingly snap right back into shape. I HEART THESE TIGHTS!!! And for $5.99 for two pair--could it get any better?

5) Cougar Town on ABC (Wednesday nites!): So, Shal's daughter blurted out during one recent episode, "This show reminds me of Becky!" It involves a single mom whose kid just went to college, who thinks what would make everything better is wine, and who is engaged in the treacherous practice of grown-up dating. I laugh out loud every time I am able to catch an episode (and I often--much to my dismay--find the subject matter eerily familiar).

6) Sherlock (on PBS-see pic): If you have missed the first two episodes you need to find a way to catch up! I have, for decades, adored all things Sherlock Holmes. This new series, set in contemporary London, combines the quirky genius of my favorite PBS Holmes (Jeremy Brett) and the inspired film interpretation of Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock is played to perfection by (the most aptly named Brit--EVER) Benedict Cumberbatch and Watson as a post-Afghanistan military doctor is Holmes' perfect counter-balance. You have one more chance to catch the last of the first three installments this Sunday on Masterpiece Mystery! on PBS at 8pm. If you love the intrepid detective you HAVE to check it out!

Well, that's it for this round of 'A Few of my Favorite Things.' Hope you find something here to love as much as I do!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dating Taco Bell

I have a friend who likes to say "you have to stop dating Taco Bell..." Not to me, necessarily, but in regard to the dating habits of many whom she observes.

I mentioned this to Jeffrey today and he commented on how Taco Bell only has five ingredients, but they keep finding ways to rearrange them so that they seem different and new.

"You keep hoping for something mind-blowing but always end up with a tiny package of something mild," he quipped.

If you don't look too closely, it seems like you're scarfing down something entirely different. You can even go out of your way to order something you've never tried before, and not until you've swallowed that last bite will you notice that it tasted amazingly familiar.

I've been thinking about the Taco Bell theory lately--and whether I'm stuck in the drive-thru. Or (even worse) whether I'm Taco Bell.

Actually, I think I do have a fast food attitude toward dating. I like convenience. I resist investing too much. I get tired of cheeseburgers and look forward to changing it up with a fillet o fish or beef baja gordita. And, at times, I know putting in my order is going to be bad for me.

Part of me wants to blame it on the current dating climate: online dating is eerily similar to ordering off the menu. The classic American problem of too many choices makes deciding what you want--and then sticking with your decision--more difficult than perhaps it needs to be.

O, for the days of arranged marriage! Or settling down with the neighbor boy down the road because he's basically the only person of the opposite sex that is within a 50-mile radius.

I think dating Taco Bell comes from laziness, convenience and that old standby--a desire to stay in your comfort zone. There's also the possibility that you don't know the difference. You've never been to the Red Iguana, let alone La Caille. In that case, you have no way of knowing why you keep getting the same intestinal payback every time you eat out.

Or--if you have sampled finer fare--you feel like it's better than you, so you never go back.

Another aspect that my friend is alluding to when she offers her sage advice, is recognizing that you usually aren't a Taco Bell person, but you've gotten stuck there. The question is, why? When will you notice and snap out of it?

AND--are other people the only ones who recognize it?

It's usually so easy to see that someone else is with a person who just doesn't seem like a good match. There are the superficial things: looks, height, weight, income, education, what car they own, etc.

Those are usually where the Taco Bell assessment takes place.

But there are also those secret ingredients that are much more difficult to detect: emotional intelligence and maturity, communication styles, family history, belief structure. You can be hitting the drive-thru for those things too.

Thinking back on my dating history since my divorce, I think that I have bounced around a little bit. The first relationship I had was with a man who seemed, on nearly every level, to be the complete opposite (and a whole hell of a lot of steps up on the food chain) from my ex-husband.


Yes, he had a job and was able to keep it. He paid his bills and owned a house. He acted like a grown up. But he was still an emotionally crippled liar with addiction issues. That--along with a pronounced pompous asshole gene--seems to be my favorite thing to order.

My last real relationship was solidly NOT Taco Bell. He was a lot like Mary Poppins, in fact: practically perfect in every way. But this restaurant was bland--like putting ketchup on your burrito and thinking it's hot sauce. He couldn't tell the difference. I could.

Part of me is afraid that I can't really be satisfied with anything other than my local Taco Bell. Maybe that's what happens. We become junkies and our tastebuds can't be satisfied by other, more healthy (more attractive and even more expensive), flavors.

Right now I'm not sure what drive thru I'm idling my engine in...but I'm certainly keeping my senses tuned for whiffs of that old, familiar bean and cheese burrito (with sour cream, of course!).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Back in the pool...

...the dating pool, that is.

I don't know if it's some special brand of masochism or the more unlikely possibility that I have some endless wellspring of hope, but I just can't seem to stay out of the dating game.

This time I went back to I have had the most luck in the past. I'd like to say that I didn't resort to online dating, but after trying to do it the old-fashioned way for nearly two years with no results, I don't know what the viable alternative is.

The great thing about is that I always get a lot of action right away--AND you get to browse the merchandise without them shoving the dudes THEY think you SHOULD like down your virtual throat.

I've been on for about six weeks, have met four guys, have seen two of them more than once, and one of them more than twice. I am proud to say that I've broadened my horizons and met both a short (same height as me) guy and a dude with a big truck. The short guy was a no-go, but the truck (much to my surprise) is holding his own.

However, I seem to have clung to other old habits--like prematurely stating my complete lack of expectation that this relationship will turn into anything earth-shattering. I don't know why, but I've been told that not only is that ridiculous, but also kind of defeats the whole purpose behind dating in the first place.

I don't know where my reluctance to fully participate comes from, but it is finely honed and quite deeply rooted. Obviously I must, on some level, want a long-lasting, life-sharing "relationship," but I don't regularly, or on a conscious level, recognize or nurture that desire.

I think part of the problem is that I don't feel like I have a missing piece that I'm trying to find. I don't feel like peanut butter without jelly or pepper without salt or unicorns without glitter. I feel mostly just fine--and horribly comfortable and set in my ways. I love being home alone. I love coming home from work and putting on my jammies and rubbing my eyes until I look more like a raccoon than a girl and not caring because no one is going to see me. I love having the bed all to myself. I love being selfish (well, as selfish as a mom can be).

But I guess I don't love it enough to not sometimes hanker for those benefits (and burdens) of engaging in a relationship.

So, much to all of our dismay, here I am again. I just hope it's at least entertaining!