Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't be Stupid and Lewd at the Same Wrong Time.

Note: In order to avoid overlong blog posts, I'm just going to stop at okay parts and start back up the next time where I left off. I was trying to make self-contained short anecdotes, but I'm too behind to do that now. Enjoy!

I felt like a rock star as my nominating friend Heather and I were led through a service door leading into the kitchen of the Autoport, the restaurant where I was about to be ‘unveiled’. I walked by someone sliding a creamy tangle of fettucini alfredo from a pan onto a plate and automatically I said “yummy.” The surprised staff person gave me an impatient glance, like “who the **** are you, and why are you here?” Chastened, I kept my mouth shut as I passed the other harried waitstaff skirting around us on their missions. Luckily the walk through the kitchen was short and we did not get lost in the bowels of the building, like some other faux-rock stars. (If the Autoport even has bowels).

Heather went ahead into the dining room to say a few words about why she nominated me for the makeover. I stayed back, waiting in a food prep area next to the swinging door to the dining room, my appointed entrance. The two Premier Models that had led us through the kitchen stayed with me. The Models were a beautiful blonde woman and a beautiful brunette woman. I identified them as Premier Models because their company-issued tank tops had "Premier Model" embroidered in the middle of their chests, but sported no nametags. It’s hard to ignore something written smack in the middle of a woman’s chest. I wondered if it bothered them to not have a nametag.

Anyway, I couldn’t think of their names and now their shirts were no help. If we’d been introduced, I’d forgotten it in all the excitement. They showed up at our hotel room door, all smiles and shaking hands while I was busy rubbing my teeth in case of stray lipstick. If I called out “Oh, Premier Model, could you bring me a microphone?” Which one of us would feel dumber?

I eyed one Model surreptitiously, noting her perfect makeup that she probably put on herself, and her slender body that sported “assets” that had the enviable combination of fullness and buoyancy that the young take so for granted. For almost twenty years I’ve drawn the female figure, so instinctually my eyes followed the contours of her back as they pulled into the curve of her waist before flowing out and down to form her hips.

Then I looked away, feeling a little creepy for checking her out, even as an artist. Nevermind that in a short minute I would be extensively checked out by around 80 people in the next room. I had signed up for that, whereas she was just working. If she wanted creepy 40 year-olds looking her over, she could work at Hooters.

We heard indistinct talking coming through the door as we waited for the cue to come out. The model with dark brown hair leaned her head near the door. I turned toward the blonde model and she smiled at me shyly. As I always seem to do lately, I complimented her to prevent myself from trying to be funny. When I’m nervous, my humor gets inappropriate.

Like what happened a week ago when I was visiting a friend who happens to be a pastor’s wife. Her husband, the pastor, had been working on expanding their backyard deck since I’d been there last. I had been chatting with my friend for a bit when the pastor walked out the sliding door to say hello. There are some people I like kidding around with and he’s one of them. But I was a little nervous for some reason and after saying hello, I gestured to the construction going on around me and said “I sure like a man with a big deck!”

Thank the Lord he left before I could say anything else as stupid. My friend was polite enough to ignore the fact that I’d said perhaps the worst faux pas of my life, making a lewd comment to the pastor husband of one of my good friends. So…yeah. When I’m nervous, I get stupid and inappropriate.

I like to think I've learned from that lesson. I just told her her hair was beautiful.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How can I be hungover if I didn't drink?

Hello dear ones!
I am nearly recovered from last week. I mostly just stood, sat, or posed where they told me to, but I was still exhausted by the end of Friday. It was the end of a long month of being made over, and working up to the big reveal. I hadn't realized how much I needed to rest until I got home.

Being hailed by so many people I love was truly wonderful. Plus the loot was fantastic! I'll be posting pictures soon of the outfits and teeth closeups and all that jazz. If you saw the power point presentation at the unveiling, then you may have seen them already. I was hiding in one of the hotel rooms when that was being shown to you all, so I haven't even seen it yet!

I'm slow to recover, and must catch up on work I put off last week before I can venture into publishing the thoughts of the last two weeks or so. Sorry for the LONG delay in posting, the exterior busy-ness stole much time away from all the interior navel gazing that goes into this blog.

hugs to all and I'll post soon the full story of an experience of a lifetime.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fall into the gap.

I met a new doctor at a routine exam. She leaned her head to the side, shaking my hand and smiling as she introduced herself. Her teeth were bed-sheet white and straight, but she had a gap between her top front teeth. My eyes were drawn there uncontrollably. I notice tooth gaps, I always do. Why hasn’t she gotten that fixed? I wondered.

I always shook my head and tsk-tsked when people got plastic surgery to appear younger, or 'improve' some part of their appearance. "Why can’t they accept the way He has made them over time? Didn’t He mean for us to have a big nose, or wrinkle up, and perhaps think of other things than vanity? It’s sometimes a blessing to lose what you value—if what you value is meaningless." I smugly anticipated the day when I would grow old gracefully, I'd show them all, I'd take what came.

This is what came: sagging anatomy, crow’s feet, upper arm hammocks, muffin top and an apron. (If you don’t know what an apron is, keep yourself in the dark.)

Seeing is believing. I completely understood. I wanted plastic surgery. Once I found out the cost for arms, butts, or boobs, it was necessary to adopt the attitude that if God made old people look old, who was I to change that?

I had a gap between my two front teeth on and off since I was knee high, and I (usually) never liked it. I chose to pretend it made me look fun and likeable. I'd never have to worry about someone hating me because I was beautiful. That’s a silver lining, right? I tried so hard to love the gap, but if you have to try, it usually ain’t gonna happen. I tried to love being a size 26, but could never figure out how to do that either.

There’s a quilting tradition in U.S. where a quilter will purposely sew a mistake into their quilts—an upside-down patch, a mismatched color, a backwards pattern. This is to acknowledge that God is the only being who can make perfection. I reversed that in my mind, seeing my tooth gap as a God-made flaw which he wasn’t correcting. If what He makes is perfect, why am I like this? And anyway, isn’t it some sort of hubris if you PUT the imperfection there? Does it count as humility, instead of some disingenuous gesture? Maybe it depends on the quilter.

My Non-Pleasant Gap was ever-present from when my teeth came in to when the braces eradicated it at 13. After braces I always wore a retainer of some sort which kept me gap-free until I was about 30. Some dental work ruined the fit of the mouth guard that had kept the top teeth in place. I didn’t want to drop $400 for a new one. I didn’t realize how much the guard was keeping everything in line.

Suddenly unfettered, the teeth eventually grew apart. Their separation left a new gap. Or maybe it was the old gap, just coming back around like an ex looking to hook up.

I assumed God brought it back. I pouted. Eventually, I decided if God wanted it there, who was I to change it? I suspect I only adopted that attitude because I was told there really wasn’t a good option for improving function or appearance. Essentially they weren’t broken, so my dentist wouldn’t fix them. Fine, prudent, responsible, but a bummer. Is the word ‘bummer’ back in style yet? I still use it. I’m like a stopped clock that’s still correct twice a day. Every 30 years my lingo is back in style.

So. There I am, telling my front gap that I’m not ashamed being seen with it, while looking all around for a way to ditch it. (Teenage flashbacks.)

Back to the quilt metaphor-thingy. What if I made a perfect quilt as a celebration of his Glory rather than a proclamation of my human inability to measure up? In other words, can I justify fixing the gap like I really want to do, by saying it’s a testimony, not a false humility? I want perfection to look how I think it should look, but He’s got his own ideas, I guess. Why else slap that gap back on my face? Was it to keep me humble through my (perceived) imperfections? I correct it, does that go against what God wants for me?

And then, the Mother’s Day Makeover arrived, making the whole thing a little more confusing.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Optical Delusions

I was sitting in the patient’s chair at Tar-jay Optical. Why go to Target for your optical needs? Why not? I feel so comfortable at Target. Red and white is my favorite color scheme.
This appointment had nothing to do with the makeover, I just needed an eye exam. My arms were getting too short.

The optometrist is Dr. Miller, A friendly woman somewhere in her forties kind of age, I think. She had blonde hair, long and wavy in even undulations instead of curls. She directed me to put my chin here, look there, track the flashlight. “Don’t worry, this (nozzle that is zooming real close to my eye) just blows out a puff of air.” Later she asked repeatedly: “Which one looks better? (Click. Her voice lilted up in a soothing question)…A? (Click . Her voice slid back down.)…or B? (Click)…A? (Click, with a wee-bit longer pause)…or B?

The exam was over more quickly than I expected. She sat back in her rolling chair and began to explain how my far-range vision is fine, but my near-range vision is beginning to degenerate in that way that always seems to begin as you take your first waking breath on your fortieth birthday. She then eased into a practiced explanation about some glasses that would help me see at both distances and—

“You’re going to say the ‘B’ word, aren’t you?” I interrupted.
She smirks and regains her footing in her choreographed spiel, continuing without repeating the word, but dancing around it.

OMG! As the kids say.

A few minutes later I am at the front desk, asking if they have a pair of over-the -counter magnifying eyeglasses I can try on before committing a lot of money for real reading glasses. (I called them ‘cheaters’ when Rob got OTC magnifiers. Now it’s not quite as funny. Let’s call them “cheapers,” because they are.)

I slipped on the cheapers. They improved things sight-wise, but when I glanced up at the attendant, I reflexively pointed my nose down and gazed up over the glasses. The Librarian glare.

I already need age-related reading glasses, which is enough of a blow, I don’t want to be seen doing that over-the-glasses gesture that automatically ages you ten to twenty years.

I got the invisible trifocals. Doesn’t that sound better than bifocals? Like I have a legitimate vision problem, not just the usual accompaniment to crow’s feet and sagging assets (—my God-given bosomly endowment is now an “en down ment.”)

I purchased a pair of cool looking cheapers (yes, that's possible) to have as a spare, because Rob’s prescription reading glasses seem to run off with the car keys right when he needs them.

When I get home I talked to Rob about going out for dinner.
“I want to go now, I’m hungry.” I said. Both of us swivel our heads to look at the clock on the stove. It’s almost four pm.
“Oh, no!” I cried. “I’m even eating like a senior citizen now!”

At least now I’ll be able to read the menu without pictures.