Life thru the haze of cat hair.

Tag Archives: beauty

Oh, hello. Come in and have a cookie.

Floating on the lake

day 5 of kayaking

listening to nothing

but the sound of sun shining.

The wind picked up

and I heard the sound

of the birch leaves

applauding my efforts.


Oh, hello! Come in, have some coffee. The muffins are almost done.

Before I start, I would like to welcome 2 new readers: Hawk Eye and Foible Gal. I know they are new, because they commented. There may have been others, but without comments, I would have no idea. Foible Gal also has a blog that you can find here. So, a big Mag and Moo welcome to you both.

Now. On with the whining:

I found out that someone here at the Gas ‘n Sip got engaged over the weekend. He and I work in the same area, and Soon-to-be Mrs also works here, but in a different area. They’ve had some ups and downs in the relationship recently, but it seems that has all been worked out and now… onward to wedded bliss. (And yes, he went to Jared. *heh*) I wish the absolute best to both of them. They deserve every happiness.

A day later, I also found out that another friend of mine is now in a serious relationship with “an incredible guy”. She has also been through some ups and downs with previous relationships and has been treated very badly in some of them. She also recently lost a loved one, so it’s time she got some good ju-ju going in her life. Turns out, Mr. Incredible Guy helped her through her recent loss, and they talk all the time, despite not living especially close to each other. She sounds so happy! I don’t know him very well, but if he really treats her the way she describes? Then I am thrilled for them too. I like to see happy couples.

Things like this is why Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. (That’s a whole other post…)

So, what am I whining about this time?? Good things are happening, and yet I whine. (It’s a gift. Seriously.)

I posed a question to my friend Debra the other day: Is it possible to truly be happy for other peoples’ joy while being a little bit jealous? Can a person hold 2 opposing thoughts in their brain and have them both be true? Or am I just incredibly self-absorbed and need to make it all about me again?

I Googled that question (the 2 opposing thoughts one, not the “Am I self-absorbed” one) and found: intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” by Fitzgerald, along with almost 7 million other options for answers. 

I would like to believe that while, yes, I possess a certain level of self-absorption, I am not SO far gone that I need to make it all about me. I know that, yes, I really am happy for both of these couples and I really do want them to succeed in remaining as happy as they are right now. But also, yes, I am a little jealous and would like to feel some of that new love giddiness and long-term commitment security in my own life.

So, what do you think? Tell me if you have ever thought 2 things that were opposing, at the same time. What were they? Did you question your sanity? (That probably just happens to me… never mind.) I’m curious how others handle this phenomenon.


Oh, hello! Come on in! We’re having mini crustless Quiche this morning.

So, it seems that some of the biggest “news” these days is about this “celebrity” Heidi who had plastic surgery. 

To back up for a second, I recently discovered I have reached the point in my life where I have no idea who most of the people claiming to be famous are. I don’t watch their shows, see their movies, listen to their music, or whatever it is they do. This Heidi is in that group for me. I have no idea why she’s famous, but evidently she is and was showing off her new bewbs on the cover of People magazine.

Back to my point. It’s been widely talked about that she had all these surgeries. She’s been interviewed and said she feels good about it and is very happy about it. Her husband is supportive of her decision. In my opinion, the story should end there. And yet….

And yet, from reading the news online, I have seen a new story, seemingly everyday, where other celebrities (who evidently have some sort of expertise) are opining on Heidi’s choices and condemning her for them.

Who do these people think they are? If this woman is happy with her choice, then the discussion ends there. Personally, I wouldn’t want beach balls for bewbs, but what? Oh, that’s right! I DON’T HAVE TO GET THEM. If it’s right for her, it’s right.

I suppose the argument could be made that she made this a topic of discussion by appearing in People in a bikini. But she’s a celebrity, and that’s what they do. They create photo-ops to stay on the radar. That’s her job. (I’m guessing.)  It could also be argued that she did all this to combat some level of insecurity. So, ripping her apart for it is helping her how? If she was insecure about how she looked before, what must she be thinking now?

I get it that if we aren’t talking about a celebrity, they get concerned. I also get it that what they do/say/wear has absolutely no bearing on my life. And finally, I get it that there is a whole industry built on reporting what celebrities are doing. But how about we focus on what they are doing to better the world and not what “we” think they should be doing. Talk about/Promote the new movies/books/shows/music.

But let’s get away from the constant mental flogging about looks. Use what Heidi did as a spring-board to have a discussion with your kids (if you have them, that is. My cats? Not interested.) about body image. Again, it may not be right FOR YOU, but it was for her. And that’s okay. We don’t all have to agree.

But, step off, Judgey McJudgerson. Or at least remember your feeling of superiority the next time someone judges you.


Oh, hello! Help yourself to some hot wings and fries. Good stuff.

I had to force myself to not do the ugly cry tonight.

Almost three years ago, Madam X started to not feel well. We didn’t know what was going on, but she kept getting worse. She was tired all the time, her spleen was enlarged, her mental faculties were diminishing. She was gray. There’s no other way to accurately describe how she looked.

After six months or so of living like this and slowly deteriorating, Madam X was taken into the hospital emergency room. Her spleen was of a size that warranted immediate surgery. Since so much blood had been diverted to her spleen, she wasn’t able to think clearly. That explained her inability to think clearly and remember things and walk more than a block without needing to sit down. While they were in there, digging around, they found out that Madam X has cancer. Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

During that time, Madam X and Mister Y were in the process of selling the house in which they had lived for more than 40 years. They were moving into a smaller house that was newer and more manageable. There was a lot going on. Madam X was going through chemo, moving,. Everyone was completely stressed. Luckily, the cancer was caught early enough that radiation wasn’t needed in addition to the chemo. We were all really hopeful.

After the chemo, Madam X went into remission. She recovered slowly, but we were convinced that it was a blip on the radar. Every checkup seemed to be a reaffirmation of this, as the blood tests showed that all counts were good and this vile disease was being defeated.

This past summer, Madam X started to not feel good again. She was tired all the time. She didn’t want to go to the doctor until her regularly scheduled checkup, despite me begging her to do so. I think she knew, better than anyone, what the results were going to be. I should have known. So, in September, when she should have found out that, yet again, she was clear, she instead found out that the cancer is back.

Her doctor seemed to be optimistic and encouraging. Chemo was scheduled for every three weeks for 6 courses. The doctor said this was going to take care of it. I’ve been watching Madam X during all of this and I see that she’s not recovering as well this time. She remains tired all the time. She is certainly not bouncing back as quickly. I can feel my heart breaking.

Thanksgiving is coming up. Madam X does not want to, or can’t, do such an event. Her daughter suggested that we all go out for dinner instead. But even that seems like too much for Madam X. The last time I spoke with her daughter, she callously shot off a “She probably won’t be alive for it next year, so we should do something.”

(Pausing for the ugly cry now…. brb…)

I’m back.

So ever since, that statement has been on my mind. I asked Madam X’s son if he thought that statement was accurate too. He said that he didn’t think it would be that soon, but that it was coming. Hence, the ugly cry.

I love Madam X more than anyone else on the planet. She has been there for me through everything – good, bad, or indifferent. She has been an inspiration. She has been my cheerleader, my leveler, my hero, and my friend.

I know that, at 42, I am of an age where people in my life will be getting sick and/or dying. But in this situation, I feel like I am 12. I should be mature enough to handle this. Of course I will be sad. Of course it will hurt. But do I need to have a complete meltdown at just the THOUGHT of this person not being in my life? People die all the time, and their loved ones go on. They go on with life, with love, with living. They don’t lose their sh*t.

I don’t want to hurry this process along, but how am I going to deal with this brilliant, lovely, loving woman not being in my life? I need to find a way to hold it together the next time I see her, the next time we get together for breakfast. I mean, if I am this much of a mess as a result of some off-hand, snotty remark by Madam X’s daughter, what will I do when the real thing happens?

I am angry and sad and I know that it is completely unfair that this woman is sick. She has worked hard her entire life. She has given everything to her family and her children. She never asks for anything in return. She is kind, and loving, and sweet, and (normally) full of life.

Tonight, this is my struggle. This is my challenge. This is my reason for sobbing.

Madam X deserves better. She deserves to reach the end of her life surrounded by joy and beauty and love. She doesn’t deserve to have this horrible disease get the best of her.

Madam X, I love you and I want you to get better. And if fate is cruel and doesn’t allow that to happen, I want you to know that you will be with me forever – as a constant reminder of how to live, as a good and true person. I can only hope to, one day, be a fraction of the woman you are.


Oh, hello! Try this spinach and artichoke dip I made.

Maine Foliage

Maine foliage


Oh, hello! Have an apple!

but is it art?

but is it art?

there's just something about this one I like

there's just something about this one I like


Oh, hello. Come in. Have a popsicle.

Some of my pictures:

 

bwdahlia

beachporch

 

bwdandilion

 

bwtree

 

That’s all. Have a lovely day.


Oh, hello! We’re having tea and bagels this morning. Help yourself.

I do love me some makeover shows. I loved What Not To Wear (WNTW) on the BBC. Trinny and Susannah picked apart the wardrobes of frumpy, schlumpy women and made them FABULOUS! And unlike American telly, they got to say things like “You have really great tits!”

There was a show on TLC (I think) called 10 Years Younger that was fun. (It might still be on, but something shiny went by and I haven’t watched it in forever, so who knows.) They took someone, put them in a sound-proof box. Then random passers-by critiqued them and what was “wrong” with their look/style and said how old they looked. After new clothes, new hair/makeup, and a pep talk, they went back in the box and went thru the same process. The difference was 10 years younger. (Imagine the editing that went into that!)

Then TLC brought WNTW to America. They made it an hour show, instead of the 30 minutes that BBC had. The first season (maybe 2?) they had Stacey and Wayne. Remember Wayne? The Fabio-wannabe with the long hair who thought he was all that, and a bag of chips, plus tax? Yeah, not so much. He was replaced by Clinton – a tall, thin, fabulous partner. They (S&C) make over women (they used to do guys too, but not any more) and are very respectful of the “big” girls – “It’s not about what size you are”, etc. blah blah blah. (Oh, of course it is. That’s what we do here in this country. But I digress). I still watch them and enjoy seeing the transformations. They finally replaced the hair guy (thank goat!) and now if they would replace the annoying makeup chick (not everybody wants a phucking smoky eye, you whore. And put on a top that fits, while you are at it!) the show would be great.

Well, now we have the best of both worlds. Trinny and Susannah have come to America!! I absolutely LOVE these two. Why? Because, while like C&S, they are respectful of “women of size”, they don’t gloss over it. They confront it and celebrate the “flaws” – regardless of the size of the woman. They also aren’t afraid of pointing out their own “flaws”. It’s definitely more like your best girlfriends telling you what you need to hear, rather than what you want to hear. AND! they take their “victim” to a store in their own town. IMO, this is the best part. They show the makeover person how to shop in their own environment with what they have available to them on a regular basis.

C&S fly the makeover person to NYC to shop. That is great and exciting and glamorous, but it’s not realistic for women who live in North Dakota, or Ohio, or wherever, who don’t have access to the ritzy-titzy stores of Manhattan.

Anyhoo. Today’s blog was brought about because I was trying to celebrate my gut, and I thought about how awesome it would be to have Trinny and Susannah come here and do a makeover on me. Here is their website, in case you want to find out more about them.


Oh hello! Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. Have some noodle salad.

Several years ago, when my brother Herb was still with Satan, we had all talked about learning to kayak and/or buying them. We went to a local sporting goods store which offered “outdoor sports training” and tried out some kayaks. Herb and I thought it was great fun. Satan decided she didn’t like to get wet. Or leave the house without showering and putting on a full face of make up. And doing her hair. She also didn’t like to sweat. So instead, we continued on with the same old thing – they would leave their house on weekends at around 2, after Satan had vacuumed (again), done at least 2 loads of laundry, had 1/2 pot of coffee, cleaned the stove, and gotten ready. Then they would swing by to pick me up, do Satan’s errands which she couldn’t seem to do during the week, and then go somewhere so Satan could drink we could eat.

I’m fully aware that I could have opted to do something else, but I like hanging out with Herb. And I like to go out to lunch on occasion too. But I was getting tired of always having to plan everything around alcohol. Drinking is also all well and good, but jeepers, can we do something else??

The last winter that Satan was around, I said that I thought it would be cool if we got snow shoes and got out and did something in the fresh air. Herb seemed into it, but Satan doesn’t like to be cold. *sigh*

Flash forward to this summer. Satan is gone. Herb is now with a lovely person. Let’s call her….Spice. (Get it? Herb and spice? No? hmmm…) Anyhoo, Spice has to work every other weekend. So Herb has some free time. He also got a bonus over the summer and invested in….. drum roll…. KAYAKS!! WOOT!!!

The first time we went this summer, we went to a little pond. We were both a little wobbly and tippy, but quickly got the hang of it, to some degree. Neither of us could paddle straight – or float straight for that matter! Being the lazy person that I am, my shoulders and arms were toast, very quickly. Then we went the next day, to a bigger pond. Still ridiculously sore, and uncoordinated, but we both realized that THIS was the way to spend sunny summer days. NOT sitting inside cleaning or running errands.

We’ve been a handful of times since that first weekend. Herb spends every other weekend with Spice. (still nothing? huh…). Each time, we get better and more confident and have tried larger ponds and lakes.

This past weekend? We decided to try THE BIG ONE! The lake everyone boats on. The lake our water supply comes from. The lake with more boats, jet skis, canoes and kayaks that we’d ever seen. On the busiest weekend of the summer. Yeah. Good thinking. *eye roll*

So we head out early. It’s a gorgeous sunny day. We have lunch and water and beer and lots and lots of sunscreen. We get there, put the kayaks in the water and set off. So far so good. “Hey cool, we should paddle around those islands!” “yeah, let’s do it on the way back” “k”.

It’s a bit rougher out there than we’ve seen, but nothing we can’t handle. We paddle up one side of the lake, looking at the ducks and trees and camps. We went for about an hour and a half. Then we stopped at a sand bar, where there were a lot of people sunning themselves or bringing in their boats to stop for lunch. We swam for a while, had lunch and rested.

Then we get back in to go further. Onward we go up further into the lake. There are a LOT of boats now and the wake is getting higher. But we pressed on. We traveled that way for about another hour-ish, then turned back. By this point, the waves were practically white-caps due to the number of boats going by. We were both exhausted, but kept going.  We even went by a whole flock of tufted ducks. They looked almost like loons, but they were brown with tufts of feathers off the back of the head. Tufted Duck This is the closest picture I can find. But the real ones were way prettier.

Almost back, we decide Hey! Let’s go across to the island! Yeah. From where we were, to get to the island, we had to go across “open” water, across the boat lane, across the jet ski lane. No protection of the shallower water. No protection of the shore. And off we went. For about 30 minutes we paddled. Hard. I lost feeling in my hands from gripping the oar. We both decided our shoulders were burning. Finally!! We made it. Um. Yeah. That was fun. Kinda. NOT.

The waves from the boats were pushing my boat into the shore and I almost got washed up onto the rocks. But halfway around the island, we discovered such calm water that we floated for a while then. We made our way back towards the car. We had to wait at the bridge for 5 or 6 boats to go under first, then we went under and back to the car.  We were out for about 4 and a half hours. Whew!

Long day. But the weather was perfect. The exercise was great. The water was warm. We had a lot of fun. I did feel badly that after all of that, Herb had to drive down to Spice’s house for the evening. Spice lives about an hour +/- away. UGH. I was toast. I don’t know how he made it. 

But the best part? After that adventure, we decided that we would be able to make it out to one of the coastal islands next summer. Ocean! There is a lovely restaurant out there that we could have lunch at. FUN!

Oh, and if you are wondering why Herb doesn’t go kayaking with Spice? It’s because she is not a strong swimmer and is a little bit afraid of it. I still think she would be fine and have a blast, but Herb doesn’t want to push her. She would have probably died out on THE BIG ONE with us, but the smaller ones would have been great for her.

So there you go. My new favorite thing to do. Kayak. If you have been kayaking before, you know. If you haven’t, and you have the opportunity, GO! You don’t really need to be a strong swimmer if you stay on the lakes and wear a life vest. (I consider myself a strong swimmer and still wear one, because you just never know what could happen.) Try it. You may find yourself with a new favorite thing to do, too.


Oh, hello. Cocktails this afternoon. Martinis, I think.

Before I start ranting about hair dye, how is it that Maggie’s fur is soooo much softer than Seamus’s? I wonder if she uses a different conditioner. I must research that I think.

Usually, if I need to get my hair done, I head down town to the Salon of Awesomeness. This place is a little oasis of heaven, right in the middle of the city. Everything is shiny and white and smiley and pretty. All the stylists are shiny and smiley and pretty. No one person handles more than one job. (I know!) So I get to see Ashley for my color, and Hannah for my style. There are assistants who bring you wine or coffee or water or snacks. Yes, wine. Even early in the morning! Seriously. Salon of Awesomeness.

However, as of late, my checking account has not been accommodating my need for Salon time. *sob* Finally, I broke down and bought a box of root-touch-up goop. The box said, and I may be paraphrasing here, “Guaranteed to match any color, no matter what brand!” It said it on the box, so it must be true, right? *snort*

I mix up the goop, brush it on to the 1 inch roots/gray, and am supposed to wait 10 minutes. I may or may not have gotten distracted by something shiny, and remembered the goop burning my skull 20 minutes (or so) later. So, yeah, it’s way darker than I anticipated, but the gray is gone. (Most likely due to them being burned from my head) (not really. I’m exaggerating) (sorta).

I used to be really good at self-dying. I would go to the beauty supply store and become my own little chemist. Mix a little of the white stuff with a little of the color stuff, shake, and you’re good to go. Although, there was the one time, years ago, when I dyed my hair 3 times in one weekend. I didn’t like the color it turned out, so I kept doing it over. FYI: so NOT a good idea. I’m sure I have mentioned before that I have very curly hair. After that, um, display of genius, my hair was toast. And straight. For a long time. Until it completely grew out again. So not pretty. *sigh* The things we do in the name of vanity.

I’m hoping that I will be able to visit the Salon of Awesomeness again next month. I miss Ashley and Hannah. I miss the shiny, smiley prettiness. I miss the free HUGE glass of wine.