DIY


While I was home over Christmas, I had my yearly facial with the awesome esthetician I’ve been seeing since I was 15  (15, and then in the throes of dermatological unpleasantness).  She is the mistress of the art of extraction, and my first visit to her was as much a cultural touchstone of my entry into modern womanhood as my first trip to the gynecologist.  Though no less painful than my first pap, at least the esthetician rubbed my face and shoulders down with essential oils, and I had glowy skin a week later, once the zits she coaxed to the surface and the redness had subsided.  The gyno just poked me with a metal spatula and gave me the pill… which made me break out.  (Sudden stroke of brilliant idiocy – spas that also offer pap smears!  I am trademarking that business idea right now.  Whole Women’s Health & Beauty sees you inside and out!).

Sadly, after treating my skin for almost 15 years and my own mother’s for 30, our esthetician was hanging up her tweezers, imported creams, and bug zapper to retire.  This would be the last proper facial I will have in a while, as I’ve yet to find anyone half as good.

Lying back in the chair, listening to Enya, snuggled in my quilt, wholly safe in the hands of a professional, I was sad, and wanted to mark the occasion somehow.  What about… a lip wax?  I’d been annoyed at the downy hairs on my upper lip for some time.  Terri is the only person I would let wax and pluck my eyebrows, given her skill, and the only person I trusted to tell me if an upper-lip wax would be a terrible mistake, or a bold move forwards. (more…)

It’s a little move I like to call “The Reverse Douche.”

(Japan brings us Vagina Bubbles from Hell, from Female ninjas:  The Magic Chronicles).

Sometimes individual things add up to form a light-shedding, bigger picture.  Sometimes it is not a pretty one, and sometimes it is deceptively pretty, which is not to say that either may be accurate.  No, wait, come back!  I promise, I am going somewhere with this, Your Honor.

I have a Blackberry, which I regularly use as a mental scribbling pad or an electronic ribbon-around-the-finger to remind me to do stuff.  It is better than a ribbon, because it vibrates and blinks and when I pull it out of its little leather case, it says things to me, like:  (19:00) MILK, or (21:00) Client meeting tmmw – IRON/GO TO BED, or (10:30) SandPOW.  These are all recent reminders that Past Tailfeather sent myself at various points.  The first, clearly, was to remind myself to pick up some milk on the way home from work.  The second was to remind myself not to stay up until midnight drinking wine and watching Community on the internet but to, instead, pluck the least crumpled blouse out of my wardrobe and pass out at 11:00 pm after forgetting to call my mother.  The third, sadly, I have stared at for the last three weeks as a saved reminder in my Outlook calendar and still have no idea to what it pertains.  I have a friend nicknamed Sandy, but what is POW?  I refuse to delete it until I figure it out.  It is like a riddle of my own creation.

This Blackberry is a company-owned one, which is another reason I tend to keep my non-work-related reminders cryptic.  This is why one might enter “RX,” for example, instead of “pick up yeast infect meds.”  Also, it is catchier.  So with both work and personal reminders, I sometimes find myself making lists that grow throughout the day.  A work example would be if I have several clients or contacts to call in Southeast Asia.  As I sort through them the day before, my 9:00 am reminder grows from:  (9:00) Call Client X, to (9:00) Call Client X, Provider Y, Client D, Contact A, Contact C.  And then I know to start calling those people early in the day so I can spend my morning sweet-talking them.  Likewise, a personal errand list might grow from: (18:30) Nails, to (18:30) Nails, shower gel, toothpicks, sea bass, SORT RECYCLING.

Those items on my last example list are not related.  Like, that is at least two stops, if not three, plus home from there, as I do not professionally sort recycling or get my nails done at a place where I can also buy seafood.  And yet if you were a television detective trying to solve my murder by reviewing my planner, you might be confuddled.   “Let’s just go to Soho,” you would say wearily.  “It must be some underground perv thing.  Or drugs.  Shower Gel is a big thing now, right?  Oh, sorry, yeah.  That’s Bath Salts.” (more…)

I have been using Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes recently, as I scored a fancy new job and am wearing mascara for the first time in my life.  Because that is fancy for me.  For the vast majority of you, mascara is not an extravagant addition to your repertoire, but something you’ve been expertly applying for 20 years, so keep in mind that I am a Domestic Dilettante and a Noob of the Feminine Arts.

Anyway, I finally discovered makeup remover after 15 years of just washing my face with good cleanser and attacking any raccoon-eyes with a Q-tip and moisturizer.  The “problem” I have (I have put “problem” in bunny-ears because, like, people in Haiti have problems – I am struggling with mascara and an ill-judged haircut.  Oh, the humanity!) is that the wipes are way too big, and I hate to waste them.  I use less than half a wipe, and have tried to make it last until the next day, which works reasonably well, but it gets a bit dried out.

Full disclosure:  Despite being an avid consumer of mass-produced shit, I am loathe to waste things.  It is the weird result of growing up in the age of cheap consumerism and environmental awareness, and the essentially foolish tightrope one always walks between the two.  I recycle everything I can and hate to waste food, but purchase ready-meals and coasters picturing Flamenco dancers because they are on sale and cute.  I also use half a tissue, save it, and then finish it off on a second nose-blow.  I thought this was all thrifty and fine until a colleague was in my office and yanked the top tissue out of my Kleenex box, to find it had been half-crumpled and stuffed back in.

HER:  “What is this?  Is this a… half-used tissue?”

ME:  “Eerrrmmm…  There was a…  You know what, give that to me, and I’ll give you a new one.”

See, if I were really all that environmental, surely I would use a handkerchief.  My dad does, which I think is adorable and retro until I start to think about germs, and then I have to bring in my sanitizing hand lotion to gently massage away the icky.

So these makeup wipes.  Only half-useful, and then dried out and not-so-useful on a second go-around.  But you know that they are good for?  Cleaning your bathroom counter!  My super-’70s pad has a stainless steel sink that collects toothpaste like so much bird shit.  I have found that a discarded make-up wipe works a treat for a quick spin over the basin, counter, and mirror to cut through any built-up scum.

Go forth, my bare-eyed and shiny-sinked friends.  Namaste.

David J. Phillip / AP

In September of 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston, Texas with a Category 5 equivalent storm surge and winds up to 120 mph at its center.  Originating off the coast of Africa, Ike was responsible for at least 195 deaths:

Of these, 74 were in Haiti, which was already trying to recover from the impact of three storms earlier that year…  In the United States, 112 people were killed, and 23 are still missing. Due to its immense size, Ike caused devastation from the Louisiana coastline all the way to the Kenedy County, Texas region near Corpus Christi, Texas. In addition, Ike caused flooding and significant damage along the Mississippi coastline and the Florida Panhandle. Damages from Ike in U.S. coastal and inland areas are estimated at $29.6 billion (2008 USD), with additional damage of $7.3 billion in Cuba (the costliest storm ever in that country), $200 million in the Bahamas, and $500 million in the Turks and Caicos, amounting to a total of at least $37.6 billion in damage…  The hurricane also resulted in the largest evacuation of Texans in that state’s history. It also became the largest search-and-rescue operation in U.S. history.

Besides the devastation to homes and infrastructure, loss of life, billions of dollars needed for repairs and damage to Galveston’s tourism, it was also an ecological disaster.  As Swamplot noted in November 2008 (bold casing from original article): (more…)

Dutch group pushing right to suicide for people older than 70 gains support.

Reports from The Netherlands say that the first country to legalize euthanasia is taking steps to make it easier for people over age 70 to terminate their lives when they feel they’ve had enough.  The phrase being used is, “consider their lives complete” — potayto, potahto.  I am for this, as I am for suicide – the world is overpopulated as it is.  Besides, doesn’t the word ‘euthanasia’ come from the Greek, meaning, “good death”?

Some feel it’s just “wrong”, a response I won’t even take the time to address since it has no justification whatsoever.  Some think that by allowing the practice we are somehow going to provide less care to those who are elderly and sick because we will know that they have this option to just die and so why bother?  I don’t think so.  I think that knowing that there IS something that will finally make the pain stop for a suffering patient can only alleviate some of the pressure and worry involved.  As the terminally ill or chronically pained patient, I can’t imagine how tortuous, how bleak the days must look when you are confined to a bed, attached to probes and sensors and fed bags of IV cocktails that no-one can assure you will work.  Add in experimental treatments and trial protocols, and all those ‘what-if’s’ and ‘maybe’s’ could turn into the cruelest mistress; one who dangles a promise of hope but will never deliver.  As the caretaker of a suffering patient, I think a similar measure of relief could be felt, knowing that your round-the-clock efforts and attention need not become the agonizing motions of just delaying the inevitable.

There is death in this world every day, it is omnipotent.  Our societal constructs have framed our views such that we feel we can categorize and rank death; which is justifiable and which is not.  We mourn when children die but not so much when they are born into abject poverty and despair, facing a life (however short) of ache, misery and brutal truth .  We gravely assess the sick and the elderly and decide in quiet voices that they should be made ‘comfortable’ but declare no intention to ease their agony before their bodies give out.  Why?  Why is euthanasia such an uncomfortable topic?  It is a part of the package, as constant as time, we can’t escape the end that will come to us all, yet we try mightily to bury our heads in the sand about it.

My thought about suicide in general is:  It’s Your Right.  If you want to take the big sleep, who am I to stop you?

“But kadinsky, what if it was your parent or sibling or spouse who wanted to kick the bucket?”

Well, I would be sad about that and I would try to understand why they wanted to do it, but it still is NOT MY DECISION to make.  I might spend time thinking about how much I love that person and all the ways they influence my life and that could very well lead me to a vat of panic and sorrow at the thought of not talking to them anymore, but you see, those emotions I would be feeling have absolutely nothing to do with WHY my loved one wants to end their life.  And that’s the part that I think gets glossed over.  We can never fully know what another person is thinking or feeling, and if that person is in pain, be it physical or emotional, we will never actually know what that feels like for them.  We can try to commiserate, we can try to empathize, but we’ll never know how each day greets them, or what kinds of signals the neurons in their brain are carrying, or the depth of the desolation in their soul.

The debate about euthanasia, whether assisted or unassisted has been going on for decades and I have yet to hear a justifiable reason for denying it.  The Religious Ones denounce it “on principle”, to which I scoff heartily. I find very little concrete logic in most religions, but let’s leave that for another day.  I just don’t get it, how any person can feel they have the right to interfere in someone’s suicide.  That would be like someone feeling they also have the right to tell you when you can breathe or have a thought – does. not. compute.  No-one questions it when you take steps to “improve” your life, whether it’s eating better, exercising more, finding love or donating your time to philanthropy – but try and bed down for the dirt nap and you better watch what you say to any and everyone or else you’ll be labeled as an unbalanced nutbag, incapable of making your own decisions.  If we can trust our species to know when we want more from life, then we can also trust ourselves to know when the ride is over.

When I moved to Scotland over two years ago, one of the things I purchased on my very first trip to the grocery store was a bottle of Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky, aged 12 years.  The handsome green bottle was encased in a tall, serious, emblazoned tin, with the prestigious history of the whisky detailed in gold lettering on the back (for quickie course of the proud tradition of whisky/whiskey, the Wikipedia entry is as good as any a place to start).

I stocked up on a number of basic necessities that initial trip – it was a new home, never mind a new country! – but the bottle of whisky still made the list of must-haves.  I was already entertaining fantasies of newfound friends, colleagues, and yes, gentleman callers, popping round for a chat, a smoke, and a civilized drink.  I was ready to embrace Scotland, and if Scotland would embrace me, I would greet it with a glass of decent Scotch and amusing banter!  I was ready for this new life, and eager to partake in the cultural mores of my new home.

Ignoring the fact that I was never actually swept up in my envisioned social whirlwind (due to my inherent loner tendencies and the reality that it was so freezing cold six months out of the year that I left my apartment only to go to work and Blockbuster), the whisky did not go down as smashing a treat as I had imagined.  Oh, I did have people over, but I quickly discovered that the offer of whisky was far less compelling than the offer of beer, wine, or a vodka mixer (all of which I fortunately kept on hand).  It turned out to be a good thing I never sprung for a proper whisky tumbler, after all, as I couldn’t convince anyone to drink the stuff. (more…)

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