Life thru the haze of cat hair.

Tag Archives: beauty

Tonight, while at the hockey game (We sucked, we lost) I had a very enlightening experience. And this time, it wasn’t the fights. And there were a bunch. Good ones.

I digress.

Early on in the game, I’m there playing on my phone, and I notice 3 people coming in to sit in the row in front of us. Normally, I will look and move on. This time, there was a young-ish man helping a woman down the stairs. Naturally, I started to wonder – what happened to this girl. Was she mentally handicapped? Was she ill with a progressive disease? Was she in an accident?

I resumed watching the game. Occasionally, I would notice this girl flirting with the guy that helped her to her seat. And I noticed a modest engagement ring. My mind? Oh, I wonder if she got sick after they were engaged? I wonder if she had an accident after they were engaged? Either way, I thought, what a lovely man for not “giving up on her”. I had no idea.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking “My arthritis is acting up. This rots.”

Jump to the 3rd period.

Our team scored (that in and of itself was a miracle – did I mention they sucked tonight??) and the woman – who, I might add, had never stopped smiling and enjoying herself – turned, smiled at me and shook my hand. Then she turned and did the same to Herb.

Then, in short succession, 2 pucks came flying into the crowd, very close to where we were sitting. I noticed the woman flinch – understandably under the best of circumstances – and sort of lean in to her fiance’. She turned around to me and took off her hat and lifted her hair. Right along her hairline, she had a horrible scar. It was somewhat faded, but still very visible. Then she took my hand and put it on her head. I could feel the lumps and bumps of where the bone healed.

It was a little off-putting, but she was sweet. Then she took out her phone, and showed me a text. This woman? She had been driving when she was 16 and was hit so hard by a drunk driver that to this day? She has no memory of the accident. Her left side was crushed and she still wears a brace on her left leg and left wrist. Her vocal cords were damaged, so she cannot speak well. She is now 30.

Then she showed me a picture of herself with her fiance’. They looked very happy. She pulled up another text. (These weren’t really texts. It was more like her story, saved to her phone.) Anyhoo, this one said that she and her fiance’ had been dating for 2 weeks, when he found out he was being deployed to Iraq. So he asked her to marry him.

I KNOW!!

I said to him that he was a really good guy! He said he was just a really lucky one.

I KNOW!!

She showed me a few more pictures and was all girly. It was so cute.

Then her story said she didn’t remember the accident, and would love to find out who did this to her. Her family knows, but won’t tell her. Her fiance’ said it was because they don’t want her upset or to do something to the guy. The other driver was only 17, so I guess it is hard to find out anything about him.

I find that part odd. I can see the family keeping all the horrible details of the accident itself from her, but the other driver? They didn’t do anything to him? That’s odd.

The fiance’? He doesn’t know who the other driver is either, because he didn’t know her back then.

So. What have we learned? This woman, at 16, basically had her life taken from her. And yet, she is out in the world, living a happy life, and engaged to a lovely man. Who met her 2 years ago.

He didn’t see the “damaged” her. He saw a lovely woman who obviously has a love of life. She is in love.

So, while I sat there whining to myself about my arthritis, this couple and their friend were out, living. Sure, she is still angry about what happened to her. Sure, she would love to do something to the guy who did that to her. But she didn’t let that stop her. And he didn’t let it stop him.

It was really beautiful.

So the next time, my arthritis is acting up, or my tea is cold, or I slip on the ice, I need to think about Kelly and Bob*. The next time things don’t go really my way, I need to think about this couple.

Things in my life could be SO MUCH worse. But in all actuality? I have it pretty good. Compared to some others? My life is a  virtual fairy tale.

Thank you Kelly and Bob for teaching me that tonight.

*not their real names

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One thing I’ve never had is a charm bracelet. I find them fascinating. Each piece telling a story about the person – where they’ve been, who they’ve loved.

When my niece was born, I started a charm bracelet for her. For the first 10 years, I kept it to myself. I tried to find charms reflective of what she was into that particular year. On her 10th birthday, I gave it to her. And now every year I send her another charm. Honestly, I don’t even know if she still has it. I’d like to think she does and that she appreciates it.

The past few years have sucked been less than optimal, I think, for many people. So last year, I decided I needed a reminder of good things – affirmations, if you will.

I decided to make myself a charm bracelet.

However, there are some drawbacks with charm bracelets. They can be very jingly, which some people at the Gas ‘n Sip would find annoying. (I know I shouldn’t care about that, but there you go.) Also, by being jingly, they can prompt questions from random people; people who don’t need to know what’s going on in my life. People who don’t care, really, about what I’m trying to say with my charms.

So instead, I bought myself a 24″ sterling silver necklace. It’s long enough that it hangs near my heart, and it stays tucked into my shirt, so no one else needs to know it’s there. Also? No jingle. Ergo? No questions. Now if I’m playing with it or someone sees it, and they ask questions, I can tuck it back in, out of sight. Or I can answer questions if I choose.

Why am I telling you this now? Excellent question. I’m telling you now because I am using this now, not so much as a chain of affirmations, but more of a reminder of the journey. Does that make sense?  It’s much less a tangible life raft, and more of a comfortable friend. I don’t need it to be a secret anymore.

So. Do you want to see it?

 

Fabulous, right? Now, would you like to know what they are?

Okay. Since you’ve asked nicely. And really, more that despite WEEKS or MONTHS of no activity, you still keep coming back. (What is wrong with you? *snort*)

I’ll start from the right, because they have been around the longest.

(OMGoat. Why am I nervous??)

The Beginning

The first 3 disks go together. They say Fear, Less, Ness.  Sometime ago I wrote a post that I wanted to get that in a tattoo. But who knows what I called it. I looked for the link but can’t find it. I bought the disks from someone on Etsy. I would totally post links to the store (well, stores really, because a few of these are from Etsy) but again. My organization leaves a lot to be desired.

Anyhoo. Fearlessness is a term I love. And aspire too. I found it on Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart site. She sells one there that is gorgeous (and you can see her wearing it every week on her show) but last time I looked it was $450. Love the sentiment. Don’t love the price.

The next is a heart. It’s to remind me to keep my heart open.

You can’t really see the little clear crystal thing I have. It’s my faux diamond. Because I deserve diamonds.

And the last in this grouping is for courage. Similar to fearlessness. But it’s a reminder to step out of my comfort zone more often. I tend to limit my risks. About this time last year, I broke my comfort zone by signing up for a triathlon.

Next group:

The Year Continues

From right to left: “Follow Your Bliss”, a faux topaz, “I Am Enough” and a little prayer box.

Follow your bliss is something I got at Etsy also. We all need to do this. Listen to your heart. It knows what is right. Also, don’t get trapped in doing what other people want you to do, what will make them happy. Follow your own path.

The topaz is my mother’s birthstone. I have written about her a lot. She is my hero.

I am enough. How many of you can say that, on a regular basis, with conviction? I got this from Tracey Clark’s wonderful blog. There hasn’t been an updated post there in a while, but the message is still true. Have you had your breakthrough moment yet? That moment where you have the epiphany that yes, you are enough?

The last one in this group is a little prayer box. It opens up, so you can put a prayer/wish/plea out to the universe. Once it is out there, the universe begins to conspire to make it happen. I change out my little slips of paper about once a month.

And finally:

Last, but not least. And I'm not done yet.

 This group shows a little disco ball, a butterfly, a breast cancer ribbon (with a little rubber ring) and an owl.

The disco ball is just a reminder to have fun. Dance when I feel like it. Listen to music that makes me happy.

I think the butterfly is pretty self-explanatory. I know that I am working towards becoming something more beautiful than what I started with. And I don’t mean just physically. I know I am becoming a nicer person. I can feel it. The outward appearance is just window dressing.

The breast cancer ribbon? I gave that to myself after I completed the triathlon. It wasn’t pretty, but that wasn’t my goal. I finished – and was seen in public in a wetsuit – and I am still pretty damn proud of that. The little rubber ring came with the ribbon. I like to think of that as the life-saving ring that I might have needed during the swim portion. 8^D

And finally, the owl. Debra got me started with the owls. (Turns out, owls are the new *it* girl). Everyone loves owls now. But for me? Debra reminded me that I am wise, and that inside me is the wisdom I need to succeed. Plus? It’s sparkly.

So that’s my charm necklace. I didn’t buy all the charms at once. I buy a new one when I see something that strikes me. I don’t think the owl will be the last one either. Just as I’m not done improving, my necklace needs to reflect that.  The first charms – Fear, Less, Ness – are looking pretty beat up and worse for wear. But they’ve been with me the longest. The owl? Still pretty new.

There is your glimpse into my life. I don’t let it show often. But Courage, right? If I don’t show it, I won’t have new experiences. And that’s what life is for.


It’s December. 2011 has just flown by!! I’m already looking ahead to 2012.

About this time last year, I was on top of my game  – feeling good and ready to make 2011 my bitch! I started the year that way too. But then, as the year progressed, I slipped back into my old ruts and habits. My word for the year was Kind. But regressing back to self-destructive behavior isn’t very kind, is it?

I was kind to others. I was kinder to myself than I had been in years past. But I’m still a work in progress.

As I look to 2012, the word that keeps coming up for me is Wellness. I know some people won’t understand that I need to take care of myself. Since I’m single and have no kids, what else am I doing? How can I *not* be taking care of myself? Right? Well, in 2012, that is my focus.

How, you ask?

1. I’ve already started eliminating beauty products with chemicals in them. My goal by the end of the year, is to use homemade or organic products only.

2. My job at the Gas ‘n Sip – I will either get a new job or get promoted. Either way, by the end of the year, I will be in a different job.

2a. I reached my absolute limit at the Gas ‘n Sip Monday. Background: You already know I am the Slurpee Manager. However, there is an exam to become certified in Slurpee creation. I have been working towards this certification for years – it’s a combination of education and hours. You have to spend a certain number of hours making Slurpees before you can take the certification exam. I? Have completed all the prerequisites and now I just have to take it. But here’s the thing. The exam is ridiculously difficult. So, in order to help the Slurpee Managers at the Gas ‘n Sip pass the exam first try, the company is hosting a prep class. YAY! The class is being held in another state. BOO! My manager said I could go. YAY! But her manager said it was too expensive to send me there. BOO! What the phuck??????? Am I so dispensable? You can’t send me to a class to advance my career? I was so pissed. I am pretty defeated.

2b. I spent Monday evening stewing and not sleeping and feeling like a loser. But then? I got up on Tuesday, and turned on the radio, like I do every morning. The song playing was that woman screeching “You are loved, you are loved, you are really really reeeeeeeeeeeeally looooooooooooved.” You know the one I mean.  The Universe has spoken. I stopped and listened. And then I realized, Slurpee Manager is what I do, not who I am. I have been beaten by them for the last time. If they don’t want to send me to a prep class? I’ll send myself to a prep class. I *will* get certified. And then #2 will be realized.

3. By the end of the year, I will have all but eliminated processed food from my diet. I can’t promise to give up pizza, because, c’mon. It’s pizza! I’m human, not a robot.

4. I won’t quit the group I joined. I still think it’s a tough group to get into, but everyone is so nice and I totally support what they do, so I’m going to tough it out. It’s worth it.

There will be more that I will add to this list before the end of the year. I may have slid downhill a bit this year, but I plan to keep trying. 2012 will help me regain that ground and move ahead again.


This morning, I was skulking around on the Interwebz, looking for new and lovely blogs to add to my readers. I have several now, but as my tastes change, as my interests change, as *I* change, the blogs I like change too.

Anyhoo, when I looked at the “suggested sites” that were listed on my reader, I noticed that there were several “bundles” available. A bundle is sort of a folder of blogs, grouped together by theme or category. Well, now, that is wonderful! So much easier for me!! There seems to be a bundle for every interest – news, sports, computers, gaming, writing – you name it. How cool is that?

Then I see a bundle called “Beauty”. Awesome!!

Only…no.

The blogs in this bundle included references to high-end clothing stores, expensive make-up brands, how to find the best shade lipstick, etc.  So, that means that only by making the packaging “pretty” can one be considered beautiful, right?

I am not so enlightened that I eschew make-up or nice clothes. I like how mascara makes my eye-lashes look. And I would be delighted to find that one perfect shade of lipstick. Maybe it’s societal pressure; maybe I’m just crazy vain.

However.

I don’t consider the wrapping an indicator of beauty. To me, beauty goes beyond me and what label is on my clothing. It goes to helping clean up the environment. Or to helping other people. Or smiling at someone. Or lending a hand/ear/shoulder to a friend in need. Or even saying “Good morning” on Twitter everyday without getting a response.

Beauty is teaching others how to live a more peaceful life, or to eliminate clutter, or to walk through this life gently, or making people laugh, by pointing out life’s absurdity.

Maybe this is a function of my getting older. Or more cynical. I know that I bought into advertisers’ ideas for fashion and beauty back in the day. How can a young person NOT succumb to the constant mental and visual barrage?

I like my idea of beauty better. I like to see a smile. Or to see the silver lining in a bad situation.

My idea of beauty doesn’t match up with Google Reader bundles. And maybe not yours either.

When  you think “beauty”, what comes to your mind?

(Also, if you have any recommendations for yummy blogs, please let me know.)


After 6. Long. Months, it’s official.

I am a triathlete.

Sunday, 7/31, I participated in the local triathlon, Tri-for-a-Cure. It’s a women’s only event and all funds raised go to further breast cancer research. On Sunday, we were told that unofficial totals were that we, the participants, collected over a million dollars for breast cancer research. Go us!!

I’ve written about this before. And if you have spent any time with me at all, I have no doubt that I have driven you absolutely crazy with my stress and worry and fear of not being good enough.

Sunday started for me at 7:30. I got to the venue and set up my transition area – where we dump the swim stuff and pick up the bike for that leg. I met some women and we were all feeling a great anticipation. Those of us who were first-timers had no idea what to expect.

I picked up my timing chip – it was an ankle strap that would record my time for each stage of the race. Then I picked up my wetsuit and wandered down towards the beach for the start of the swim.

I did, though, stop by the medical station to see what was in my eye. It felt like I had a small animal in there. And of course, I kept rubbing it.

I caught sight of my brother. He came to support me and represent the family. Mum and Dad were not able to come, so Bro was there. Then my friend, the K2Kid, and her husband came to cheer me on. It was a HUGE help that they were there. Since I had signed up alone, and trained alone, it was nice to know I wasn’t alone for this day.

All the athletes made their way over to the start area for opening remarks, etc. But since we were all in our wetsuits, we were also all cooking in the sun. It was SO HOT!! The event itself didn’t start until 10am, so the sun was high and hot.

The swim portion was broken up into waves so that 1,100 women wouldn’t be plunging into the water all at once. We were all given color-coded swim caps so that we knew when we had to go. The first wave is reserved for Survivors – women who have won their battle against cancer. It was so cool to see all these incredible women who will NEVER give up. After they go, there is a 5 minute wait before the second wave went. Then, every 3 minutes after that, each consecutive wave entered the water for the 1/3 mile swim.

I was in Wave 3, so thankfully I didn’t have too long to wait. One lady beside me told me to just relax and take my time and look around for the experience of it all. So that’s what I did. When it was my turn, I walked into the ocean with 100 of my sisters, to begin. I didn’t start swimming until I knew I wouldn’t get kicked in the face. Then, I did just what my new friend told me. I took my time. I passed some people. Some people passed me. Despite having a stitch in my side from about 2 minutes in, I finished that portion with ease.

Bro was there to take my wetsuit, and give me a clean shirt. Others were sprinting up to the transition area for their bikes. I was taking it all in.

I got to transition, got my gloves and helmet and an energy snack and started out on the 15 mile bike ride. Bro and I had ridden the route once before, so it wasn’t completely foreign. I was going along pretty well – don’t get me wrong, it was HARD! But, again, I was passing some, and some were passing me. It’s all good.

The volunteers along the route were amazing – yelling encouragement and cheering. There were homeowners out along the route too, yelling encouragement. I don’t care what anyone says, that REALLY helps!

Right about mile 3-ish, I got a flat tire. GAH! I had a spare tube, sat down and started changing it, trying not to get frustrated. A race official stopped to help me and I was on my way in about 15 minutes. Great, yeah?

Jump ahead to mile 7-ish. Flat tire number 2. AYFKM?? There was another route official there, picking up a couple of women with a medical issue – they would not finish – and he stopped and helped me. This almost made me lose it. But, I just kept remembering why I was there.  20 minutes later, I’m back on the bike.

I was cruising! It felt great! I was coming up to mile 12 – almost there!! WOOHOO!!! I look down. Front tire flat. (The first 2 were the back tire). Oh. Em. Gee. WTF is going on??? I found a group fixing tires and made it to them. They fixed that, I get ready to go – Um, did you know that your back tire is flat too??? Flat tire #4. Awesome. Oh! And? At this point, I ran out of water, AND the small animal in my eye? Yeah, that was a torn contact lens, which had scratched my eyelid, thanks to all my rubbing. Let’s tally this up – so far? 4 flats and I’m down to 1 eye.

Assured that I was almost done, and that *this* tire would hold me until the end. The same guy fixed my tire twice so far, and he kept behind me making sure I was okay. Bless his heart, he offered me his water bottle, which I took gratefully! About 1/2 mile from the end of the bike…yup, you guessed it. Flat tire number 5. Even the guy fixing it couldn’t believe it. I carried the bike back to the transition area. It took me FOR. EVER. to finish the bike portion. All that time, sitting on the side of the road, counted against me.

By the time I was done with my bike, I noticed that almost everyone else was done. With everything. I still had a 5k run. I filled up my water bottle, and started out. Bro was there with an icy bottle of water, and an energy bar. Did I mention how awesome he is?? He walked with me a little way and then I got to a “non-spectator” area. I caught up with another lady – we were both walking – so we walked together.

She was from NY and had come up to participate, along with her sister and sister-in-law, in memory of their dad, who died from cancer in February. We walked almost the whole rest of the way together, just chatting. Right at the end, I jogged across the finish line.

The. Finish. Line.

My time was horrible. But that wasn’t the point, right? I, myself, raised $870 for breast cancer research, thanks to the generous support of friends and family. I set myself a goal to finish the race, and I did. And I did it all on my own.

My life will never be the same. I don’t think I can every say “I can’t do that” and really mean it. Apparently, I can do it. No matter what “it” is. I’ll stumble. I’ll end up with 5 flat tires. I will scratch my eyelid with a torn contact. And I will run out of water. And you know what? I will finish. And still be smiling.

I am a triathlete.

 


Dear Designers:

I am a woman of substance. I am a woman of size. I am not a size 2. I don’t look like Taylor Swift or Angelina Jolie or even Jennifer Hudson (now). I have curves – boobs, booty, tum. All of it. And do you know what? I look good.

I have very good taste. I am stylish. I like nice clothes. I like to dress nicely.

Yesterday, I told the world about an event in which I took part. I wanted to look nice for that event. I thought a new dress would be appropriate. So off I went to the local mall – a place I loathe, by the way – to find a dress. How hard can this be, I thought?

I will not be mentioning store names directly. Why? Because stores stock what you, the designers, makes. I. Blame. You.

The first store I went to had a limited selection of clothes for women of substance. Mostly, there were sweatshirt-type clothes. Really?  Fat women only deserve sweats? Don’t even get me started.

Store number 2 had a huge selection of dresses. There must have been 25 racks of dresses. 24 of these racks had sizes no bigger than a 10. The last rack? So called “Plus” sizes, but all were very “blingy” and appropriate for, say, the mother of a bride at a mafia wedding. Um. No.

Store number 3 had one rack, and 2 wall displays of dresses. They were all 100% polyester and would have been appropriate for, say, a church outing at the retirement home.

Really, designers? Are all fat women old? Are we all lazy? And dumpy? And slovenly? Should we all be looking at Wilson Tent and Awning for our clothes? Should we hide the fact that we are beautiful and sexy and fun and confident? Why can’t we wear the same clothes as the “Misses” sizes, but just in our sizes? (I might have included Juniors sizes there, but that is a whole other post.)

I know I am not the first person to complain about this. I know that this post will never be seen by anyone in the fashion industry. And while I accept that, it makes me sad. You are missing out on a whole demographic. A wonderful demographic that has money to spend. A lot of money. A demographic that will represent you well and make you proud.

I hate the word “fat”. I hate that “Plus” is a term used to describe full-figured women. I hate that we are looked on as lesser individuals. I hate that we are labelled. I hate than anyone is labelled.

We are not lesser. We are not inferior. We deserve so much more. You are missing out on so much.

I hope some day you will learn that. I hope one day, we will get the respect we deserve.

Regards,

Mag And Moo.

 


Have you ever gone to see a Notary Public? You know, when you need your signature verified – you might need a notarized copy of something? I’m a Notary. It’s not hard to become one. And normally I don’t even consider it to be a big deal. Until…

Monday last, after my latest trip to Canadia, I was back in the office, thinking about how much I wished I was somewhere, anywhere, else. Then the local Director of Foreign Affairs asked if he could talk to me in the conference room. My first thought? “Oh, goat. Now what??”

The DFA never, NEVER, talks about his personal life at work. Ever. So we sit down and he says, “You may know that I got divorced 5 years ago.” No, how would I know. YOU NEVER TALK ABOUT YOURSELF. He went on: “I have been with my girlfriend for about a year and a half and we are getting married.” Me: Okay. Congratulations? Him: “You are a Notary, right?” Me: OMG! Can I marry you?? Him: “That’s what I was hoping you would do. It will be a very small ceremony. It will be at ___ hotel, then we’ll have champagne. No one here knows.”

Side note: only 3 states allow their Notaries to perform marriage ceremonies. I happen to live in one of them.

What happened next? In true MagandMoo fashion, I proceeded to freak out. Why? Because this is a HUGE event in someone’s life and what if I screw up? I knew that this was in no way about me. At all. But I kept thinking that if I didn’t do a good job, the focus would then shift to me and take it from the bride. I didn’t want that. It was their day. I was just given the honor of being a part of it.

I found some non-religious based vows online and made a few tweaks to them. Then I printed them out so that I could practice on the cats. (They were so no interested.)

So, yesterday, I went to ___ hotel at the appropriate time. I was the first one there – which was fine, because I totally thought I would be late. The DFA and his friends showed up and proceeded to give everyone a glass of cognac. At 10am. Sure. Why not.

Everyone milled around a bit for about 30 minutes. Then we hear the elevator ding, and the bride was there. We got into position and the bride came in – so lovely, so young, so giggly – in a beautiful dress, elbow length gloves, hair all pretty.

After I read the first part of what I had down-loaded, I looked at the groom – normally very serious and business-like at work. He had tears in his eyes. It was so sweet. So touching. And I knew I had found the right things to say.

We did the intentions portion. Then the exchange of rings. The groom started cheering. I had to stop him to get to the part of “You may kiss your bride”. She kept giggling.

The whole ceremony took about 15 minutes. It was his 2nd wedding, but her first. She looked so happy. Even the DFA looked happier than I have ever seen him. There were lots and lots of photos – I believe I was fortunate to avoid most – if not all – of the lenses. I was hugged and thanked and told it was an honor that I had done this thing for them. But to me? *I* was the one honored to have been part of it. No one else from the Gas ‘n Sip was there. And I can’t tell anyone! It’s not my story to tell.

When I got my Notary license, I always thought it would be fun to marry people. But then when the time came? I really *got* what a big deal this was. I was able to make this young bride’s dream come true. I changed the lives of these 2 people. Forever.

I don’t know if this union will last – I hope it does. They are certainly adorable together. But I do know that I will forever thank them for granting me the honor of being a part of their day in such a personal way.

So what did you do this weekend?