Burning The Ugly Pants: Join a 2010 personal style makeover (Part Four)

March 30, 2010

This new beauty diet could use a little salt...

‘Stumbling’ upon a rerun of VH1’s Celebrity Rehab, I was shocked to hear Kerri Ann Peniche describe how, even as a child, she was forced to primp for every public appearance – middle school to grocery store. Her mother’s mantra, “because you never know where you’ll run into Mr. Right,” had an insidious effect on her daughter’s psyche. Lipstick in the produce aisle? Poor girl never stood a chance.

My parents, an artist and a poet, lived by very a different set of rules – none of them involving a hairbrush! Needless to say, we had a whole lot of fun, but advanced personal grooming was part of some other world, right along with daily dish washing and remembering other people’s birthdays. Personally, I’ve never been afraid of glamming it up, but only on occasion. The idea of daily maintenance, aiming for some rudimentary baseline, has never made it past the “wouldn’t that be nice” phase – until now. Part of my hesitation has come from knowing that for any perfectionist, the word baseline is such a tease. Where do you stop? Lipgloss? Eyeliner? Flat-iron? Where do you draw the line?

When you’re used to jumping between your own 1 and 10, how do you settle at 5? There’s a risk in projecting an honest, albeit lightly highlighted, self. Suddenly, there’s nothing to hide behind, no more comforting “he’d have noticed me if only I wasn’t wearing this sweater” delusions. And what if they do start noticing? I’ve been married to my own Mr. Right for almost 7 years, why would I want random strangers judging/soliciting me? Doesn’t ‘being on display’ just add more pressure to a person’s day?

The way I see it, the only way this can work is if our projections are 100% authentic, which is only possible once we’ve fully explored (and come to terms with!) the who/why/how’s of our most private selves. And, since time creates a dynamic system, and no system, even if static, can be fully justified within themselves (good ol’ Gödel), we come to an impasse. Or do we? For me, this is where faith comes in. It takes the edge off, so to speak. When your confidence is rooted in the infallible, that confidence (though not necessarily you) becomes impervious to smudged eyeliner or moments like these.

But enough talk… on to the action. In the pics below – because what’s a makeover without hard evidence – I’m glamming it up with my new highlights and Covergirl Lipstain in Berry Smooch. Because, like I always say (at least since this past Saturday), why snag your hair with gloss when you can set it free with tint!

Having a Winston Churchill moment with Covergirl Lipstain - Air kisses (in Berry Smooch) for all!

I have two confessions before I sign off. First: like all self portraits of quality, these come directly from my bathroom mirror. Second: I had just come back from the grocery store – sorry Kerri Ann. But in my defence, it was lipstain, not lipstick!

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Spice up your marriage using THIS golf skill

March 29, 2010

It was the perfect swing, precise and powerful, a clean hit off my 6-iron’s sweet-spot. The exquisite “PING” was followed by a more human, yet equally exultant, sound from close behind my mat. It was warm and gutteral, an expression of blissful satisfaction entirely inappropriate for the driving range. I turned to find my husband standing behind me, his mouth still hanging open.

“Do you need a tissue?” I asked with a giggle.

“Don’t stop!” chided dear hubby. “You’ll lose your rhythm!” 

So, like any good wife whose husband’s golf guidance is finally paying off, I pulled out my driver and savoured the ecstasies as said husband sailed clear over the moon. I can only imagine what would be coming out of Hank Haney’s mouth if Charles Barkley ever swung so pure. The Golf Channel would need a whole different rating!


Burning The Ugly Pants: Join a 2010 personal style makeover (Part Three)

March 26, 2010

The early 20th century factory workers who painted phosphorescent numbers on clocks were a creative bunch. They used to paint their teeth with their radioactive pigments, then take turns in the broom closet scaring each other with glowing Cheshire grins. This was all good times until their teeth honeycombed, rotted, and fell out. Why does a glowing smile always have to cost so much? 

Price-wise, I started ahead of the game, buying my Crest Whitestrips on sale at 1/2 price. I didn’t even get charged for the emergency trip to the orthodontist after running into “complications” on day two. But what, I ask, is the flat rate exchange for a person’s dignity? 

I can handle ‘slucking’ back my saliva every 15 seconds – not a big deal. Answering the phone, “Good morning, Matrix Geoservices,” without being able to pronounce the letter M, is workable. A lisp never got anyone fired – at least not legally. However, when the owner of the company you work for gives you an important plot to fold for an important client, and you go and drool all over it, well, then we might have a bit of a problem. 

There I was, a perfectly competent, mature 27 year old, staring in horror at the silver-dollar sized dollop of drool centered smack dab in the middle of the front page. I watched, paralyzed, as the ever-expanding circumference of saliva spread across data worth millions of dollars. Luckily, you don’t need an M to swear. I took evasive action with my sleeve and dabbed and blew and pressed and blew and flattened and blew until I’d done all I could do. I left the folded plot in my boss’s office and hoped for the best. 

Miracle of miracles, he didn’t notice. Or maybe he did, but found other blame for the defect. Really – unless one of my dear readers rats me out – who would suspect an employee of such monumental regression? I kept my secret, as I’m sure you would too. There are some things that are just too hard to explain to middle-aged, male geophysicist – whether you have a working M or not!  

And so the makeover continues. All I’ve lost is my dignity and a small slice of flesh that’s been acid-burned off the front of my gums. Small price to pay for beauty? Let’s find out…

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(image source)


Every writer’s dream…

March 25, 2010

Card's inside caption reads: ...And Live The Dream!

It’s every writer’s dream… a free-wheeling roadtrip across Canada with nothing but your wits and words to get you from A to B to N (Alberta to B.C. to Newfoundland). As I type this, Patricia O’Neill – one of Calgary’s best storytellers – is busy whittling down her life to fit in the back of a car. She’ll be blogging her way across the country (web address coming soon!) as she winds her way through the stories, people, and places along the road. It is rare in this life to be offered a chance at true freedom, and there are too few people brave enough to grab hold of the opportunity. We’re proud of you Patricia! Go forth woman… and live the dream!

Update: You can follow Patricia’s incredible journey on her blog – Moving in the Write Direction


A whole new way of looking at golf…

March 22, 2010

It’s no secret that golf is a mental game. Is there anyone who hasn’t flubbed it off the first tee after an hour of perfection on the range? Body memory doesn’t cut it where golf’s concerned. There are too many other variables at work on the system. So why not try looking at golf as a ‘series of problems to solve’, rather than a ‘set of skills to master’?

This is my new 2010 golf philosophy. I’ve always learned by understanding and exploring underlying patterns, in math, physics, even new social situations. What are the rules? I ask, before finding out how far I can bend them. Golf is physics; physics is about predictability, which just so happens to be the biggest challenge in golf.

Any relationship requires trust. To be honest, even after 6 years, golf and I still haven’t quite bonded. It’s my fault, really. Not once have I ever sat down with the game, took it by the hand, and said those magical words: “Ok, so now let’s talk about you.” This season, I’m putting our past animosity aside. I’ve spent too long feeling helpless, like some poor abused child, quaking over the ball, not having any clue whether I’m to be rewarded or punished for my persistence. This year, I’m exploring the ball’s motivations before bringing my body back into the equation.

In math, every complicated equation can be broken down into its components and worked through systematically (BEDMAS anyone?). The golf swing’s string of complex contortions can be worked the same way. Basic physics are the simple additions and subtractions underlying golf. Only by developing a close personal relationship with the fundamentals can one hope to have any sense of security (or even hope) while standing over the ball. The idea isn’t to produce a perfectly consistent swing (although a girl can still dream), but to know enough about the ‘why’ to be able to bring an errant swing back from the brink on the 17th hole. Because isn’t that as much as any of us golfers can ask for… just a wee bit of hope?


Burning The Ugly Pants: Join a 2010 personal style makeover (update II)

March 11, 2010

Despite the dust in one eye, the redness and squinting. Despite my lifeless ponytail and lack of concealer. Despite the scotchtape holding my glasses together. Despite the cyclist who bawled me out on the bikepath this morning, when I was only trying to give him MORE room. Despite everything, I went ahead and waved my wand in front of the office bathroom mirror.

For the first time, I understand why lipstick sales spiked during World War II. My lipgloss isn’t about conformity,  it’s a rebellion. I’m taking a stand against entropy. Beauty doesn’t have to be the final touch. It can be the beginning – a tough revelation for any perfectionist. 

Every “Despite” up there can be changed to a “Because.” This simple switch in semantics gives us back our power. Rather than victims of circumstance, just trying to catch up, we move up to the offensive line. Besides, who wouldn’t want to start off the day with a little taste of ‘rasberry sorbet’.

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This gal’s dream girl

March 8, 2010

Elbow deep in dirty dishwater, I threw back my head and cried out her name…

“MARTAaaaaa!”

Someday, somehow, somewhere, we’ll be together. I just have to hang in here long enough for fate to connect us out of billions. Her gentle green eyes haunt my every chore, promising relief, freedom… joy of the purest kind.

I know my fantasy is horribly politically incorrect, especially after this, but I really don’t care. I dream of my Marta the way soldiers dream of peace, the way golfers pine for the snow to melt. She is the light at the end of my tunnel, a constant, almost physical, presence giving hope to my housework addled self.

I would know her if I saw her on the street – the vision has become so tangible. Over the years, I’ve modeled every feature of my model maid. But I doubt there really is a Marta. And if, by some miracle of justice, she does exist, somewhere out there, I’m sure she’d have better things to do than our dishes!