Not a beauty blogger

I am not one for beauty treatments, washing my face and brushing my teeth is about it. But I’ve recently tried masks, curiosity got the better of me in Wal-Mart. 

Tried this one, the luxury of gold and looking like Iron Man convinced me, as well as the 2.50 price. 

Same here, I like the packaging, it looks like jellybeans


Even I know about the magic of Korean skincare.  I saw women carrying shopping bags out of the cosmetics stores in Inchon. Lots of women with lots of bags, even more than the duty-free stores that sold booze and chocolate.  I had some high hopes and I wasn’t disappointed.  It felt pretty good. 

I followed the instructions, peeled the slippery masks and managed to arrange them on my face. Then I was advised to relax for 15-20 minutes. The first time I relaxed pretty hard and dozed off, I wore the Iron Man mask for 26 minutes but no harm. Depleted Iron Man mask below. I think I’m on my way to becoming high maintenance. 

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Thrift stuff

The last time I went thrifting was July, the memorial thrift trip I made for the 3rd anniversary of Jerry ‘s passing. I hit a different store and remembered why I hadn’t been here. They were playing country. I put in my earbuds. 

I took pictures of my finds, they were not very good. I do not know how Instagram “models” do it, I admit I have more respect for their skills now. 

This store has half price tags and nearly everything was marked down. Total was less than ten bucks. 

Black top, I’m wanting something to wear to Depeche Mode next week. I already have several black tops but can always use another.

Another long sleeve black top. I might wear this to the concert or just to work. Can’t have too many black tops.

Blue linen shirt. It’s after Labor Day and though those archaic rules may not still apply, I will wait til next Memorial day to bring this out. Loose, comfortable and I like the detail. 

 
Pillow shams. They look 80’s and design is sort of Japanese, 99 cents for the pair. Doesn’t go with anything but I don’t care. 

Vera Bradley lunch bunch bag, Catalina Blue. Most expensive thing, 2.49, with 4.98 price tag. I have a Vera lunch bunch already, will hang onto it til my current lunch bag gets raggedy looking. 

Black skirt, maybe my best score. Fabric is patterned, thought it was burned out velvet but more like embroidery. Like the silver belt buckle, will wear to Mass. Almost too ladylike for me but 1.49,why not?

The pictures I took trying to model my stuff were blurry, didn’t show detail of the clothes but did show my dirty bathroom mirror and were sad.

I have not mastered contouring or highlighting either. 

Early morning

There is a running club that gathers at the unnatural hour of 6am on Saturday mornings and runs. There are two groups, one training for a full marathon and those training for the half, because we are only half crazy (old, old joke).

I am not a real dues paying member and I don’t know anybody there. I know I am the slowest one in the half group. I’ve been passed by strollers. It does slam my ego to get passed by runner after runner but I try to remember I’m a walker, one who is slowly transitioning to running. Slowly is my byword.

It’s also my secret identity.  No one at work knows I do this walking torture on early Saturdays. I don’t mention it and I don’t worry I’ll be discovered because no one in my department runs. Few if any of my coworkers run, some work out at gyms but not that many. I also don’t worry about being found out because I don’t know any of the running club people. A few I recognize on sight, mostly as they pass me but I’ve never exchanged names or anything personal with anyone. People are focused on their run, no time to chit chat. I’m cool with that.

No one sees me. I am up at 5am, stumbling around in the dark, putting on my shoes in the car (I keep them there because its the only way I’ll ever walk, it’s easy to make excuses if I ‘accidentally’ leave my shoes at home) and drive to some place I’ve never walked before. This is helped by seeing a bunch of people, most very skinny, very fit and very energetic, already there. So I’m not crazy and I’m not alone. There’s usually some announcements about the route and water stops. The first time I did this I was so slow the halfway water stop was already gone. So I take my own bottle of water, looking like a dork but at least I’m a hydrated dork.

No one knows me, I don’t know them either. My dad knows I get up and leave while its still dark and return sometime after the sun comes up but has no idea where I’m going. Most times I’m not so sure myself. But no one else knows what I do, at least not until now. It is, was, my secret. I’m undercover. I don’t look like the serious runners or anyone else out there.  I’m old and lumpy,  I’m not white ( I’ve seen a few Asian and Black people but so far I’m the only brown one), I wear comfy clothes instead of serious running shorts and tech shirts. And I am slow, I’ve only seen a couple of other walkers but most are faster than me.

Today’s run was on Sunday and I went to Mass on Saturday so I’d be covered. I got up, made to the Catholic high school where the run was scheduled. So even though I missed Mass I was still on familiar ground, so to speak. The marathon runners did 14 miles today, the half marathon runners and I did 7.

There’s something stupendous about seeing the city before it wakes up. It’s like seeing things in a benign way, you are free and safe, there are no cars or people around when the run starts. lt’s almost like being a superhero, in a low-key way. It’s like we’re a bunch of ninjas traveling secretly through the city, no one knows. But as the sun comes us there’s more activity, more people, cars and reminders that we aren’t alone. It is somewhat comforting to see other people, but that spell of secrecy is broken. Yet most of the people walking dogs or riding bikes are friendly. People in cars, that varies.

I like seeing other runners, usually the marathon runners, as they pass me. I even catch up to some of the half marathon people, those who started out fast and passed me may be walking now and that makes my ego feel a little better. It almost makes up for being passed earlier. Even if I’m not as fast as the others it is a reminder than we are still out there, that we made the effort to get up freaking early and that this is worth it.

It will pay off. Eventually.

I also took these pictures along the way. Since I’m by myself and slow as a turtle stampeding through peanut butter my finish time doesn’t matter.

The mall is a dangerous place 

I went to the mall today, the first time in months. I know that it isn’t good for me, I see stuff I want and things I think I need. I am usually broke or my money is already allotted for bills, either way I can’t spend it. 

I did buy something, a blue cotton rug for my room. I got it on sale at Dillard’s for $7. I went looking to see what kind of clothes are in the stores, not so much to buy but just to look. Then if I liked anything I saw to look for similar stuff at the thrifts. Or so I told myself. 

I didn’t make it beyond housewares. I had lunch before in the food court and it quickly and violently disagreed with me. I was in the bathroom a long time and all I wanted after was to take my clammy, queasy self home. Window shopping be darned.

It is the back to school season and though I haven’t been to school in years I still want new clothes. 

It’s also looking at my clothes, my jeans in particular and realizing they need to be replaced.  The hems of several pairs are fraying and they look worn, not in the intentional sense just old. 

I look like the Before in a makeover. 

I don’t want cheap trendy clothes or uncomfortable clothes or shoes. But I want updated versions of the stuff I have. A couple of pairs of jeans or pants, some new tops and dresses or skirts I can wear to Mass. My real quest is for dress shoes, low heeled but not geriatric. 

Though I never made it downstairs I did see some Pendleton luggage I really wanted. Though I have one 25 in. suitcase already, don’t plan to go anywhere and probably won’t need them, I was thinking how cool they looked. I even told myself they would be easy to find on the luggage carousel and I’d look good pulling them through an airport. They were on sale and it’s not likely I’d find all the pieces together again like this.  I could have bought the biggest suitcase or two of the smaller ones or I could pay my car insurance this month. I walked away before I started to think about it. Feeling lousy helped. So whatever made me sick today, I owe you. 

Maybe I don’t need car insurance. 

But I still need clothes. I like window shopping, it’s usually safe. I rarely buy anything. I am used to thrift store prices and freak out from sticker shock. Frankly most clothes, aside from underwear, are okay to buy used. When I worked at Lane Bryant I saw clothes sent to the dry cleaners to remove stains and even funk before they were put back on the floor. The idea that new clothes were pristine vanished. The main downside with thrift stores is a top, dress or pants will come in only one size or color, and if it is too small, big, long, short or a color I don’t like, too bad.  But I might consider something different because it’s less than $5 and if it doesn’t work I can donate it back. 

Even though the mall on the weekend is crowded, more hectic and prone to bad overhead music, I’m thinking about going back tomorrow.  I will avoid housewares, luggage, all stores and departments but women’s clothes. And the food court.

ANTICIPATION 

I am in a strange state of anticipation. It’s not a good place, anticipating something I want or to earn. Rather I am waiting, monitoring, the health of my mother-in-law and dad. Both are elderly, unhealthy and I am preparing myself for the inevitable. In other words, I am waiting for them to die.

I am not a vulture, ready to inherit money or their possessions. It’s likely I may have to contribute financially, especially for my mother-in-law who has no savings. What my dad leaves will be mostly memories and a lot of junk (sorry, dad) in the garage. I’m not rubbing my hands together in greedy anticipation. There will be stories, memories and pictures, those we will share and carry with us. I know this because I’ve been through this before. With Jerry and before with other relatives, I know what to expect and I want to be prepared, as much as it is possible to prepare.

I don’t mention this, of course. I look at my sisters and wonder what it will do to them when our dad goes. They were young when our mom died and it affected them for years after; they missed her when they graduated and got married, and when my nephew was born. Our dad was able to be there for those occasions at least y u how much longer? I know they think about this too.

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We all had lunch today with our dad; my sisters, their husbands, my nephew and me. It’s a rare thing for us all to be together but they made the effort because we all know our dad has one operating artery and there is nothing else the doctors can do but give him pills. He goes to his cardiologist on a monthly basis. He eats bacon and pork rinds without being scolded. While we were eating he casually mentioned the pastor he wants to do his funeral, he’s already asked him. I just swallowed some Diet Coke and choked a little. I know he’s made his arrangements, a military funeral and burial. I know, we all know, the funeral home handling the arrangements. He did this because he’s trying to be helpful, to make it easier on us when the time comes. My grandpa, my mom’s dad, did the same thing. Truly it did help but there are still details and hard moments, it isn’t easy. Grief is a layered business.

My mother-in-law is a contrast. She’s not planned for anything. Honestly I don’t blame her, denial is a pleasant place. She’s in Florida (God’s Waiting Room, she once called it) I talked to her and she was groggy on painkillers. She has heart problems too, but raises the stakes with a large blood clot in her left leg. She had surgery on her leg, the clot was bigger than they thought and now she’s recovering in a rehab facility. My brother-in-law is helpless and frankly useless. I ask him how she is, what the doctors said, what about her meds and treatment and he says she’s not good but that’s all the info he has. He’s never had to deal with stuff like this, I know he loves his mom but he isn’t a good advocate. Jerry did all that for them both, he was the steady and responsible one, taking care of them both from an early age. He’s not here now and neither of them seems to know how to cope, Ruth because she’s sick and weak and Mike because he never learned. Most of my info comes from Bear, who takes his dad’s role as protector seriously even when he’s 10,000 miles away. I dread getting a phone call from Bear about his grandma. I hope that when the time comes she isn’t hurting or alone and I hope someone is with my brother-in-law too. I am concerned that I may have to go to Florida, she once told us she was paying on a funeral plan with a funeral home but not sure she kept making payments and I don’t know its name.

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I don’t look forward to making arrangements, calling people, deciding whether to put it on Facebook (probably will for my dad), finding something to wear and dealing with the condolences, among other things. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again but I know better.

Bear messaged me and said he is thinking of visiting soon. His wife’s Visa is still being processed and they don’t know when it will be ready. He says he might come anyway. He says he misses Fall but we both know the real reason; he wants to see them both and say goodbye.

Roughing it

I am not a fan of camping. I do not see living outdoors without modern conveniences to be a fun thing. My idea of roughing it is staying in a hotel without room service. 

So I am not taking well to having plumbing problems. My bathtub didn’t drain well for awhile, I would be in standing water after a shower. My dad noticed it too. We lived with it, complained about it to each other and muttered under our breaths. 

He got fed up and called a plumber from the phone book. Plumber came out, and according to my dad, stuck a crowbar down the drain and called it good. He took his $80 and left. When my dad went to check it out there was some evil looking sludge in the tub. 

Phone calls were made, the plumber came back, looked at the evil sludge and gave my dad an estimate for $1650.00. When I got home my dad was not happy. Neither was I, since I was looking forward to taking a shower. 

The sludge changed to a tub full of murky water. It looked evil and it smelled evil. I described it to my sister as “smelling like a nursing home.” I’m sure there are wonderful, sweet smelling nursing homes with honest, well-trained staff and well cared for patients but I’ve not run into them, that’s another issue for another time. 

I drained the tub using a bucket and plastic cup. It took me several stinky trips to dump these loads way in the back of the yard. All was well, for awhile. Unfortunately we still had to answer Nature’s Call and the tub backed up again. So I got the bucket and cup and started the process. I tried not to think about cholera and other diseases that ran rampant because of bad sanitation. 

 I wiped down the entire bathroom with bleach, which helped.  Then I wondered how people dealt with the smell, especially in summer. As much as I am fascinated by history I am glad, overall, that I live in the 21st century. 

I’ve left the house to go to the bathroom, including going outside at the river. I’ve taken “cat baths.” I just washed my hair in the kitchen sink. But I still have air conditioning and a microwave. It’s the closest I hope to come to camping.