Friday, January 28, 2011


Thank you, Cloud of Secrets, for selecting me to receive The Stylish Blogger Award!
The rules of acceptance:

~Thank and link back to the person who awarded you
~Share 7 things about yourself
~Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers
~Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

1. My favorite hairstyle is second day curls; that is, I sleep with damp hair in sponge rollers and have a day of curls, then don't wash my hair, but might put it up for the night. The next day, when the curls are a little more relaxed, they still have body and make it look like I have more hair than I do. I like to pin it up and have curls at the back of my head, with curly tendrils falling artfully down. Like this:

2. For the longest time, my favorite Halloween costume ever was my Arabian princess, for which I wore silver press-on nails and one of my sister's dance costumes, with a veil and lots of rhinestones. But as an adult, my favorite was Terpsichore, muse of the dance, for which I made a simple blue toga edged in Greek key ribbon, and a pink shepherdess drape tied with ribbon and a bejeweled broach. I wore a flower circlet. I don't have a ready copy of a picture of it, but I modeled it on old art pieces like this work by Eustache Le Sueur.

3. My favorite instrument to listen to is probably the cello. I'm particularly fond of the violin also, but something about the cello gets inside me. I recently watched this video of Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic playing MJ's "Smooth Criminal" and I nearly drooled. Luka Sulic in particular is dreamy to me (the one with short hair and an impossibly alluring lower lip). I know nothing about these gentlemen except that they are award-winning cellists. And they give me goosebumps and shivers. The passion and thrill...I can hardly bear it. I've watched this over and over P.S. There should be more videos like this, classical instruments played with zest...and I love that it's a rock classic. I love my classics, but don't you think this would get kids interested in playing instruments?

4. I am almost pathologically independent. I find it very difficult to accept help from anyone for anything, with the exception of my family, and even their input is limited to some key areas like health, car care, and general advice. In the Shirley Temple version of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, she repeats the line, "I'm very self-reliant." That's pretty much me. And while people have said, "You deprive others of the joy of being helpful to you," I somehow can't get behind that sentiment. I don't know if it's because I don't like to be beholden to people, I don't like to feel like a helpless woman, or I feel like I was given enough by God that I should be able to survive with that, or what. I accept help when it's blindingly obvious I need it, but that is rare. I just seem to have a hard time letting people take care of me.

5. My favorite non-internet PC game is Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? Sure, I loved Blue Max and made it to the end, played hours of Tetris and its other versions, and Carmen Sandiego's other versions, too, and begged for Oregon Trail. But Where in Time was one of the first games we owned that had extras...there were the cases, but there were also places to go in HQ, like the coffee machine. There was also the chrono-thingy which had a pretty cool effect for a late 80s DOS game. And it came with a paperback encyclopedia.

6. I think the height of wealth would be having a house with a library so big you'd need a ladder on wheels to get at the high books. It should have a well-ventilated fireplace and comfortable, cozy chairs, and long windows with a view of a forest or a meadow or some such natural features. Not unlike this one, from the article "Super Home Libraries" over at Business Week. And if I can get one with a secret passageway, so much the better.

7. One of my most bizarre traits is chameleonism, most especially with my voice. I tend to pick up an accent and vocabulary quickly when I'm around people with a similar one (and drop them when the next group comes along), but I also do it while singing. I don't actually know what my natural singing voice sounds like, because I tend to imitate involuntarily, and I sing a song the way I've heard it. I remember driving in a car and singing along with The Cardigans' song "Lovefool" and my friend telling me I sound just like the lead. But I can do the same thing with many other artists. I am actually not very good at impressions of most people, but for some reason my singing voice is a total copycat. I notice it in church, too, after a soloist sings, or if someone good is near me...I sort of up the ante on my own voice. I don't know why it's like this, and I'm not always glad it's happening, because it doesn't make me trust my singing voice any, and I don't do it on purpose.

Who reads this blog? All of you are officially nominated :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bath Cap Redux

I did take a bath last night and use my fancy bath cap. I kept it on while I snuggled into my pink jammies as well, and curled up in my Woman's Blankie, and listened to an audiobook.
I think about luxury a lot. How I have a very difficult time understanding a $300 pair of jeans or $1000 pair of shoes. How, instead, I prefer "cheap and cheerful."
We so often think of luxury as something rare or pricey, something others might covet because of its expense or exclusivity. Sure, many of those things are luxurious. But I can never really get behind that definition.
I feel like luxury is really about the things small and large that delight us without having to try. The things we gravitate to and smile secret, enigmatic smiles about. I don't even think they have to be particularly rare.
For example, I can afford to keep five kinds of chai handy for ready drinking. A cup of tea requires a choice. Every time I make a cup, especially if I've made it in the microwave and am lifting it down, I hold the cup to my nose, usually before I have even put sugar in it. Sure, I make some just about every day. But it's a luxury, nevertheless, because it will never fail to inspire a little twist of my heart, a little ritual of calm, and the luxury of decision.
Don't we, after all, overestimate what is normal? I find myself making that mistake all the time, forgetting that what I might take for granted is actually extraordinary. I remember when MSU had a bunch of fabric that was printed incorrectly. They sent it to a poor African nation to be cut up and used as blankets, as so many didn't have anything through the surprisingly cold nights. Every night, as I sink onto my mattress, enveloped in layers of sheets and blankets, I have that same little ritual of calm, that little acknowledgement of gratitude for something extra. It's a bed. Nothing could be simpler. But I treat it like a luxury and I keep it the way I like it (seldom making it, for instance) because I can.
This isn't a post about being grateful for what we have, or helping those in need. Those things are important, but this is about acknowledging that luxuries don't have to be things others would view as unreachable, or things we have to save up for. We are just as capable of making luxury as having it handed to us on golden salvers. It's nice to have nice things. It's nice to be able to afford something you usually can't, or receive something you might not buy for yourself because it is not "necessary" for life (I'm looking at you, delicious salted caramel chocolates, of which I ate two yesterday!).
But isn't it also nice, and luxurious, to put on a girly bathing cap, run a tub full of hot water with bubbles and herbs, put on an audiobook read by Rene Auberjonois, checked out from a library, and opt to just sit for a half hour? Isn't that, really, the biggest luxury of all?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Accio Bath Cap!

It didn't work, by the way.
I had a lovely stolen day on Sunday. Went to church, then off to volleyball (I signed up for a co-ed team at the community center with some friends), only to find out they'd delayed the season for a week. So, back home. I finally got some things put away, though the house still looks a mess. I watched TV and read a book, and dozed on the couch. There was a Star Trek movie marathon on all day, and later Masterpiece Classic began Downton Abbey.
It was the perfect evening for a bath and a paperback book, which I often do on Sundays. I used a new Lush bomb, one that is meant to smell like strawberry ice cream. It kind of did, but more important was the delicious foam that resulted when I held the slow-dissolving bomb under the tap. I was so entranced by this process that I failed to realize that I had not grabbed my new Victorian Trading Company bathing cap, a Christmas present I'd intended to use at earliest opportunity.
So there I was, already cozied into the water. Helas! The spell did not work, and I went capless. I certainly wasn't going to freeze by getting out of the water onto the chilly floor. As it was, inside all day in wool socks, my toes were cold and rather white. My apartment does not seem to be heating quite as efficiently as last year.
I can only imagine how much more girly bathtime will be next time, with my charming new accessory!