Today, I woke up and declared the day, “Beautification day.” I am queen of my world, so if I want to make it a special day, why not?
I began with my car. I spent 9 dollars on the wash cycle (which shows how muddy it was this time), crouching down to wash the muck from the underside and wheel carriage and using the scrub brush and special triple foam (what does that do, by the way?) to make the silver body gleam. I used tire cleaner on the wheels and rubber floor mats then power sprayed the carpet mats. Next, I used armorall on every surface inside (after spending another 4 bucks on the super duper power vac – man, beauty costs). After all this, my trusty carriage looked fairly presentable, which is good, all things considering. My car doesn’t age as gracefully as I do – but then, it lives a harder life as servant to the queen.
Then, it was time to work on the other abused vehicle of my world – umm… that would be my physical vehicle. I went and had a full new set of pink and white nails put on. I have graceful hands (starting to wrinkle, but still they are feminine hands with a gift for touch, so they deserve to be groomed). While my nails give it a good, honest try, they can’t endure long in light of the horse grooming, creek mucking, clay molding, etc.. that I sentence them to do daily. My polished digits looked mighty fine glimmering under the sunroof against the backdrop of a now-gleaming black leather steering wheel.
Then, I drove from the nail salon to the day spa to have a facial and peel. I do this every month, a mid-evil torture technique to remove the outer epidermis of a person’s face to keep wrinkles, discoloration (freckles), and other non-perfections at bay. Peels sting. I spend the seven minutes of chemical burning silently cussing in my head, even though the soothing meditation music in the background is supposed to make this experience an indulgement. Hardly.
Next, I had my hair done. I chopped off a few inches, because it’s getting too long (and after my last cut, I’ve been unhappy with all the layers. It looks too young for a sophisticated woman of my years. Ahem – humor me, please). I’ve decided I want a different sort of look – long still, so I can put it up in French braid or twist, but sleeker. I was very happy with the results. I’m not one to mess with my hair much, because it happens to be my one and only lucky gift from heaven – thick, full, and a color that suits me. But I do cover the gray now, so my low maintenance hair requires a maintenance check once in a while, like having your oil changed regularly, even though your car runs fine.
I had a bit of time to kill before picking up my kids from school, so I stopped by a shop here that I love to peruse. Odd, because honestly, I hate shopping. However, this store has fantastic clothing for a song – the brands I used to buy at expensive department stores for six times more than they are here. It’s a little discount place that has the ambiance of an old K-mart – which is probably why I love it. It isn’t like hard-core shopping. I bought a few cute tops. I guess a couple thousand cute tops aren’t enough for one chick who lives in an isolated area where there is no place to go.
Sue me. I like cute tops.
I am now sitting at my computer in a cute top with perfect nails, nice hair, glowing skin and soon, I’ll be driving away in my spit and polished car. But first, I am waiting for my pear upside-down gingerbread cake to finish cooking. I’m taking it to my sister-in-law’s house. Our in-laws have moved in with her for the next few months, until my father in law is no longer with us.(Feels awful, saying that) Dianne has taken on most of the burden of caring for them, but needs a break occasionally. Therefore, on Thursdays, she takes my son to a cartooning class in Canton, and I make dinner and take it over and spend the evening there. Tonight, I’m making Shrimp Scampi, pasta and green beans. I’ll take a bottle of wine, even though I will be the only one who will drink any of it. It goes with the meal – and makes the evening pass a bit less stressfully.
I’ll take my yarn and crochet hook, and work on another scarf. I’ve been doing a lot of knitting and crochet since my Father in Law got sick, because it’s an easily transportable activity – something you can do in the hospital or hanging out in a living room that doesn’t demand undivided attention. Bt it’s nice to keep your hands busy when you are emotionally uncomfortable.
I used to make lots of textile-associated crafts when I was younger. Quilting, embroidery, sewing, tatting, needlepoint, and anything with yarn. Loved it all. I was no fool. In high school, I made every one of my boyfriend’s mother’s a hand crocheted afghan. Ha. I knew how to be the favorite girlfriend. Boys were afraid to break up with me, because their mother would ground them. When I moved to New York, I sewed all my own clothes out of necessity (that is the only way I could afford the fashion I wanted to sport). All the dancers hung out in the lobby of the studios knitting legwarmers. It was like a dancer’s right of passage. Until you were in the crochet click, you weren’t really a bonifide New York dancer. I remember teaching a few of the dancers who didn’t have the basics how to crochet, thinking the intricate finger dexterity required for knitting was not unlike tap dancing. Gee – life has always been a dance to me.
It’s fun when you live in a place that is cold enough to merit wearable handmade art. In Florida, I just stopped doing anything with yarn. FLEX demanded all my attention, so I didn’t have time for that kind of thing, and even if I did, there isn’t much call for scarves or handmade sweaters in a place where it is summer 24 -7.
This winter, when I started feeling the brisk winds move in, I bought some yarn to dabble with. I couldn’t believe how terrific the products available now are, all kinds of tweeds and textured fibers. Didn’t have that 20 years ago. Excited with the selection, I bought yarn with rugged knots, furry textures and wispy filaments of ribbon woven in. I get such a kick out of seeing how it all turns out, so I’ve been making lots of scarves, just to experiment. I have hairy scarves, bubbly coarse scarves and some that look like fabric is woven into the yarn.
My husband claimed the first scarf, a thick tweedy dark green thing that was soft, but solidly put together. I told him it was my “practice” scarf, and since it was the first one after a long hiatus, he should wait. I’ll get more creative when I get back into it. But he insisted I give him that first scarf. He has been with me eighteen years and never seen me crochet or knit, and I think he’s fascinated to see my hands quickly pulling the yarn, weave the wool, and dip the needle in and out, creating something that looks professionally done. Guess he thought there was nothing new to learn about me. Ha. That will be the day. I will make him something in blacks and grays – a manly scarf before the winter comes. Then, hey, if he doesn’t please me, I’ll have it at the ready to grab and pull – a sharp wringing of the neck comes in handy when a man gets out of line. Yes, I think many scarves are in order.
Anyway, one of the things I love about living in a place with a change in seasons is that inspires me to revisit activities from my past. And working with yarn is one. Tonight, I’m working with a hairy, orange and red tone yarn that looks like fur. I’ll make a thin scarf to wear with a turtleneck I have. Fun.
When I come home, I’ll finish the day with a final project to round out my beautification themed day. I’ll clean up my manuscript, because I have another huge packet due my professor in a week and I’m nowhere near ready. This reveals that I did not have the time, or the excuse, for playing hooky today to pamper myself. I’m a big fat MFA slacker.
Beautification day is all an illusion, anyway. Tomorrow, I’ll go to the land and my car will be filled with dust and mud as the dogs leap in and out -they are on a quest to bring the outside in – in the house, the car, you name it. And I will groom the horses and my nails will get grubby underneath. I’ll tuck my hair into a ponytail so it looks unkempt and the sun will beat down on my brow and let the ultraviolet rays make my wrinkles reappear. Yes – for all that I like to pretend I pamper myself – I sure don’t embrace a pampered lifestyle. That’s not me.
Nevertheless, today, at this very minute, I look, and feel, beautified.