Monday, August 30, 2010

Cosmetics, the Cosmos, and Crises (Of the Midlife Kind)

A few weeks ago I was stricken with Pimplezilla, and ended up hospitalized for four days (yes, it IS sad that I had to go to the hospital for a pimple).  After 3 weeks of serious antibiotics, I've been declared "clean".  Here's the tragic part of this story:  I have to throw away my makeup.  Pretty much everything but powder eyeshadow. The agonized scream from within every cell in my body surely caused some type of intergalactic disturbance...

My doctor, an Infectious Disease specialist who looks about 12 yrs old, obviously doesn't understand the magnitude of what he ordered me to do. I've been perfecting my cosmetics collection for the past....oh.....35 years (I got my first Bonne Belle LipSmacker when I was 10--Dr. Pepper flavored).  My love and desire for makeup has waxed and waned through the years, but has recently been at a fever pitch, probably due to impending old-ladyhood.

So here we are two weeks later, and I still haven't jettisoned the tainted paint.  I haven't been using it--I'm crazy, not stupid--but I'm holding on to my lipsticks from Australia (they were 75% off--I would never pay $28 for a lipstick), my goodies from Switzerland (I did a makeup swap with a fellow YouTube user), all my pigments (they can't be sterilized like an eyeshadow palette can), my creamy blushes, and all of my beautiful, shiny, sparkly, glossy, luscious lip glosses (we're not going to assign a numerical value here--let's just say "a bunch").  It's funny, but I hadn't actually realized I had such an emotional attachment to all this.  So in true Peggy fashion, I began contemplating my navel to try to figure out what on earth is the matter with me.  It's just makeup, right?

The first place I go when I'm truly distressed is to my sister.  She's 10 years older than me, and lives halfway across the country.  We are not at all alike, but she "gets" me.  Sometimes better than I get myself.  As we were chatting, I mentioned that I couldn't figure out why I was so attached to my makeup, and, in fact, had been hoarding and gathering more and more for the past year or so.  "Oh, gee, I wonder WHY you're doing that!" she said sarcastically.  Huh?  Something so obvious, yet I had no clue.  Then I got it.

I've been going through a weird time in my life.  I'm 45, and feel like my life is over.  I get teary when I think about college kids, and how they have their whole lives ahead of them....they have so many choices to make, so much fun to experience.  I've made my choices, and regret some of them bitterly.  I know my life isn't over, but it's definitely not shiny and new any more.  I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that my life is never going to look the way I always thought it would.  I'm never going to have three children, with a wonderful family life, full of fun times and closeness.  I haven't seemed to be able to make the kind of home and family I want my child to have, and that makes me sad.  

Makeup makes me feel a little better about things.  I feel prettier, and younger when I have it on.  I love the colors, the smells, the textures.  It makes me feel like more of a woman, thus more of a wife and mother.  I know it's not logical.  But it's the way I feel.  And sometimes the only thing you can do to make something look better is slap on a layer of paint and pretend it's pretty.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm Okay....

"I'm okay."  "I'm fine."  "Nothing's wrong."  As a mother, I feel like I'm playing a role....I always have to be in control--calm, cheerful, positive and, above all, okay.  I've been going through some major stress recently, and today I'm not okay.

I don't remember my mom ever appearing outwardly the way I'm feeling on the inside.  She was a rock--steady,  reliable, dependable as the sun and the moon.  She's gone now, so I can't talk to her about this, but I wonder:  Was she better able to deal with life's complications, or was she just a better actress?  Am  I weak, or just a poor actress?  I don't know.

Any time I cry, my son always gets very concerned.  "Are you okay?" he always asks.  "I'm fine. Don't worry."  My response.  Even if I have to stop mid-breakdown and take a couple of deep breaths, so my voice sounds "okay".  Tears are streaming down my face, yet I can fake a cheerful voice and say "Don't worry.  I'm okay--just a little stressed."

My heart is destroyed, my soul is hemorrhaging, my spirit is broken and fleeing the scene.... but

 "I'm okay."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Homeschool Sex Education

As a homeschool mom, I deal daily with fear--fear that I'm not doing enough, or doing things right, or doing too much, or doing the wrong things....when a child goes to public school, it's the school district's fault if the child gets messed up.  As a homeschooling mom, I can ruin his life all by myself!

One topic that has been tricky in our home has been sex education.  I feel very comfortable talking about sex, but my 14-yr old son DOESN'T.  I will occasionally try to take advantage of "teaching moments" (usually during a Family Guy episode) but my son does not want to hear any of my wisdom.  So  I've resorted to less traditional ways of getting the message out there.  Thus, the following post--sex ed curriculum for today.

Sex explained through BIC pens

So what do you think?  I think I'm the coolest mom in the world.....or the most disturbed.  Should I start a PayPal account for people to chip in $$$ for my son's future therapy needs? 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Panic, Poop, and Promise

I have a friend who posts humorous, wacky, outlandish, and just plain weird stuff on Facebook.  A knitting pattern for dog poop. Links to innumerable toilet related videos. Reading her posts is an exhilarating ride through her amazing mind.

A day or so ago she posted a YouTube video, and though I don't usually watch the videos people post(my YouTube subscription list is so long I don't have time for any more!) one of her friend's replies intrigued me.  "Silly Monkey" was the reply.  Huh?  *click*

I actually enjoyed this man's video a lot.  I, too, have struggled with panic attacks, and the usual angst that is common to humanity.  I loved the way he reduced all human emotion to "silly monkeys", and I believe I'll remember his thoughts about fighting the monkeys, or playing with the monkeys.  I was trying to hang with my monkeys, and one threw poop at me.  Maybe I need to take notes the next time I watch the video.

I'm not sure where this post is going....I'm like a gerbil with ADD that was given access to a computer.  I guess I'm thinking a lot about emotional health and psychological stability.  I've run the gamut in my life....I spent a month on my couch in my early adulthood--I was too scared to sleep in my bedroom.  I needed to be by the front door so I could hear if someone broke in.  I was also terrified that someone had sneaked into my house and was hiding somewhere.  I had a route worked out, where I checked the whole house--going in a very specific pattern so the criminal that was going to kill me wouldn't be able to sneak in without my knowledge while I was in another part of the house.  I didn't sleep....I just laid on the couch watching old TV comedies, eating junk food, crying, and being terrified.

I've struggled with depression.  I've been treated with prescription drugs, some that were very detrimental to me, and some that were almost miraculous, IMO.  Depression is so hard, because it becomes this vicious feel depressed, so you sleep and/or eat, then you get more's vital to break this cycle, but it's like trying to break a concrete wall using only a wet feather.

Let's talk a bit about anxiety.  I grew up in the 60's and 70's and parents just weren't aware that children that appeared fairly normal could have psychological difficulties.  Looking back, I now realize I suffered from extreme anxiety disorder through my entire childhood and youth.  A few examples--I found a little book that I had made in second grade, and it's title was "Poison".  It was about 20 pages of pictures of things that would hurt or kill you if you touched them, or accidentally drank them.  Cleaning products, bug spray, paint, gasoline, normal items.....and perfume, lipstick, and other random things a child shouldn't have been scared of.  And why did I make this little booklet anyway?  In kindergarten, I was terrified someone was going to grab me in their car and take me and kill me.  I only lived 2 blocks from school, but I was absolutely paralyzed with fear.

Then anxiety often eventually leads to panic attacks, which started visiting me in my late teens.  Again, I had no idea what was going on, and as far as I was concerned everyone felt like I did.  Although there was one incident that began my realization that all was not as it should be.  When I was 15 my dad built an addition on to our house, and one of the rooms was my new bedroom.  I could design the whole room--where the windows were, where the closet was (and how big), and then I got to decorate the room any way I wanted.  The main thing I was concerned with was the windows.  I wanted the windows high up on the wall (about 12" below the ceiling).  The windows were rectangular windows that were wide but short.  And why did I choose those windows?  So nobody could shoot me through them.

I've been in places emotionally where I felt fabulous. Meditation, exercise, journaling, really paying attention to what is going on inside me makes such a huge difference.  I love reading self-help books, and I see myself as a fixer-upper.  I'm like the wonderful old Victorian house that is amazing, but the insides are a mess, there's no plumbing, no closets, it needs a new kitchen, and there may or may not be bats in the attic.  I'm my own favorite project, that is until I get to the point where I'm frustrated and want to just sell myself.

But I always come back, hammer, book, and paintbrush (or makeup brushes) in hand, ready to fix up another corner.  I'm sure this is a lifelong project, but I believe the project is worthwhile, and the end result could be breathtaking.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh Where, Oh Where Did My Weekend Go???

As I'm getting a little older, I am slowing down a LOT.  Because I'm moving so slowly, the world around me seems to be speeding up -- to the point that sometimes I feel I'm going to be thrown right off the merry-go-round of time, never to be seen again.

I had a great weekend.  Last night I went to a Luau thrown by a friend who's a fellow homeschool mom.  My husband and I don't socialize much, so I was thrilled to have a party to go to :)  I was simply amazed by the preparation that went into the party, and the fact that everything was done, and it seemed nothing had been forgotten.  The hostess is a single mother, with two special needs teenage sons, and I'm very doubtful I could handle any of her regular days, much less pull off a party.  But when I got to the luau, albeit an hour or so late, it was beautiful.  There were decorations, drinks, straws, enough chairs, cups, utensils for the food....all the little details were covered.

I'm not like that.  The party brought back to mind my dad's surprise 70th birthday party (it turns out that he actually had cancer at the time, but hadn't been diagnosed yet.  I am SO glad we had that party for him....he was thrilled by so many little things that day).   I was in charge of planning and executing the party (even though I lived 600 miles away).  The pre-party planning went well....I delegated several things, and had a master list drawn up (I LOVE lists).  The problem is that I am a procrastinator.  And my siblings are procrastinators.  So the bottom line is that the morning of the party I was at Sam's Club with my sister-in-law buying 80% of the food, and the large gift from his children (a Pimpin' Grill....he called it the Cadillac of grills).

Fast forward through the day, and it's time for the party. Literally, it's 4:00 and the party invitations said 4:00. I'm rolling in to the driveway, and my stomach sinks because I see all the cars.  Darn it! I forgot normal people (read: not my family) aren't usually 1 to 2 hours late.  And we invited normal people.  Luckily my dad was out with my brother, and they weren't coming home until we told them to.  So I went rushing to the house, sent all the nephews out to carry in bags, grabbed everyone I knew (and one girlfriend of some nephew that I didn't know) and gave everyone a recipe and ingredients to make the food.  I'm also trying to be hostessey and greet guests, many of whom were family and work friends of my dad's that I hadn't seen for twenty years.

It was actually amazing how quickly everything pulled together.  It took probably 20 minutes to get everything made and set out (unfortunately the meatballs baked in grape jelly and chili sauce were a casualty of poor time management--or maybe it was some type of subconscious protective instinct).  There was a beautiful cake (thanks Sam's Club for being able to decorate one in 15 minutes).  My dad came in about 10 minutes later, everyone shouted "SURPRISE", and I have the priceless memory of my dad being absolutely thrilled.

The question is, why the last-minute rush?  I knew about the party 6 weeks in advance.  I had my master list that was detailed enough for the most anal retentive of party planners.  I knew where to get everything, had my recipes printed out with grocery lists for each attached.....but the follow-through wasn't there.  The result was that there were 20 minutes of absolute chaos--10 people in a kitchen, all trying to rush through and prepare food.  I couldn't help sneaking glances at the guests, trying to read what they were thinking.  I'm pretty sure most of them were thinking I'm a flake.  I don't actually like being (or looking like) a flake.  I usually laugh things off (my favorite coping mechanism) but living on the edge of disaster is starting to bother me.  I want this part of my personality to be different.

I read an article about a year ago (or it could have been 8 years ago--remember that whole time speeding up thing) that was discussing procrastinators like me.  There are two intervals of times--NOW, and NOT NOW.  If something needs to be done NOW, it has to be done.  NOW.  If something needs to be done in a week, or a month, or tomorrow, it's NOT NOW.  Thus it goes to the back of the line, until it's NOW.  Unfortunately, many times NOW is actually AN HOUR AGO, so it's EARLIER, so it's already TOO LATE--and there you have my life.  I understand normal people do things in stages, a bit at a time, so things get done in a timely manner.  I want to be one of those normal people.  I just haven't figured out how.

In the end, everything eventually gets done.  I just can't help but wonder what it would be like to enjoy a function without the stress of standing in line at Target twenty minutes before the function buying a pair of shoes.  Or praying that my car won't run out of gas because I waited until the last minute to buy gas, and also left home late.....thus initiating a game of Russian Gas Roulette.  I long to be the calm, collected, color-coordinated woman who is in control of her life and her environment.  There are a couple of women in my life who come to mind...I admire them so much.  And if anyone ever throws me a surprise 70th birthday party, I hope one of them are in charge :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Loving my new purse!

This is sad, but at the age of 45 I just purchased my first Coach purse.  It's actually my first designer purse of any kind.  I've wanted one forever, and my husband has offered to buy me one for Christmas several times, but I just could NOT bring myself to pay that much for a purse.  I grew up in a fairly small city in Missouri, and we weren't rich by any means.  My dad was a detective, and my mom was a mom (the best job in the world, IMO).  So when I was in school, there were no designer duds.

There were the Nikes, the Calvin Klein jeans, the Gunny Sax dresses.  I never felt that I fit in--stylewise, or just in general.  The funny thing is that I was okay with not having the popular stuff.  Of course, I asked for it, and I really, REALLY wanted a pair of Nikes with the swoosh...but I dealt with it.  We shopped at thrift stores, garage sales, and my mom made my clothes.  If I was getting something REALLY special we went to Sears (another memory--I wanted the day of the week panties so bad! lol).

As I became an adult, I continued to shop in a thrifty manner.  My husband went to college, law school, got his MBA....there wasn't a lot of money during the lean years, and I just used whatever I had.  There were a few incidents where I got credit cards and went a little crazy....but even when I went crazy it was at Wal-Mart or JC Penneys.  I remember when I was about 28 I went into a Neiman Marcus for the first time and felt completely out of place.  It was years before I ever went back.

Fast forward to now.  I'm 45 years old.  I worked hard, and my husband worked hard, and I supported my husband working hard, and I deserve some nice things.  Right now I'm in the process of building my collections of the things I feel I need right now.  I realize these things sound shallow, but so be it.  If it makes me happy, I'm going to do it.

That brings me to my purse.  I can't explain my feeling about this just makes me happy.  It seems to open and close easier, it's more flexible, ready to do its job with a good attitude. Not like a Target purse, that grudgingly lets you pry the magnetic closure open, then is dark inside so you can't find anything.  When you take the purse and put it under the light, the stiff, unyielding middle pocket regurgitates your belongings, and you have to pick everything up.  After all your stuff is wedged uncomfortably in your bag, you then have to struggle to get the magnetic closures to CLOSE.  Pursey is better (btw--her name is Pursey).
Item imageIsn't she cute?  She's bigger than she looks here....she's a convertible cross/body bag. However, I will confess that I got an amazing deal on her.  I was in Bloomingdales (my new favorite store) getting a sample of Creme de la Mer so I could see if it is worth the price. I'll tell you my opinion on that later. As I was walking through the store to leave, after stopping by the MAC counter to look at all the pretty, pretty colors, I noticed bags in a "Clearance" section.  My eye immediately went to the Coach (it was the only one in the sale) and I got 40% off the already reduced clearance price.  The sale didn't actually start until the next day (it was almost closing time and they were putting the items out for morning).  The saleslady let me do a pre-sale purchase, and voila!  Happy me.  I will just say that I got a $200 bag for well less than $100.  So what should my next bag be?  I've almost always only had one bag--brown in summer and black in winter, unless Target had a big sale.  I want to build a bag wardrobe......I think I want my next one for Christmas :)

Please let me know what you'd like to see in the blog.  I can do makeup or skincare reviews, shopping tips, family stuff...let me know what makes you happy.  Please click to the right and subscribe to my blog, and follow me on Twitter :)