“A night with Venus, and a lifetime with mercury” (Haiku 10: Syphilis)

One thing I’ve learned in the last few months is that the mind, left to its own devices, can wander and dwell on bizarre things.

 

Haiku 10: Syphilis

(by Kristi Garboushian)

1.

Romantic aside:

Keats’ “La Belle Dame sans Merci,”

blown-glass femme fatale.

 

Dead rose

Dead rose

 

2.

Hedonism spawns

creation: le maquillage,

acerbic beauty.

 

Beneath the skin

Beneath the skin

 

3.

Artists, dictators

(brilliant cast of “The Great Pox”),

poets, writers, kings.

 

Thomas Hardy's Ale

Thomas Hardy’s Ale

 

4.

Voltaire’s Candide smirked.

Syphilis an affliction?

Tout est pour le mieux.

 

Candide, Voltaire's famous satire

Candide, Voltaire’s famous satire

 

La Fin.

I’m still obsessed with the syllable, infatuated with the value of these units that make words. It’s strangely soothing.

What I’m Digging Right Now – April Favorites

Today is the second of May, and this is my first post of the month, so that brings us to – already – April Favorites!

I was hard-pressed to think of new “little things” from April that I didn’t already love in March. The Body Combat class at the gym, for instance, has been my Number One Favorite Thing of Probably the Whole Year So Far, but I already talked about that in March. I could add that I’ve been enjoying the Boot Camp class, as well, but not to the same degree. There are only eight things on this list… but they were things that I really loved, and still love.

So let’s dig in, hmm?

1). Mad Men, season seven (T.V.)

 

mad-men-5

 

It’s back! It’s back with its fabulous ‘60’s-‘70’s hair and make-up, interiors and furniture, costumes and cultural ambience, and its thoroughness in capturing every detail of the era in every scene. The writing. The acting! Mad Men is a sharp and exquisitely rendered period piece that’s just a pleasure to behold. But oh, that Don. Don, Don, Don. What is going to happen to Don? Things are supposed to be groovy for everyone, but they’re just not… so far, anyway.

I was happy to hear that they cut this final season into two parts, as they did with Breaking Bad, because I don’t want it to end.

 

2). Bob’s Burgers, season three (T.V.)

 

Bob’s-Burgers-Season-3-500x500

 

The first two seasons of this show brought enough amusement and sporadic laughter to keep us watching. Plus, we enjoyed the characters and found their predicaments to be interesting, in general. HOWEVER, season three? Season three turned out to be one long moment of outright hilarity. It’s like the writers said, Fine! This time we’re going to let it all hang out! I mean, some of the situations are beyond bizarre and just out there, and any attempt at restraining the off-color humor went out the window. There’s nothing subtle about season three, and there’s no longer any use in pretending that Bob’s Burgers is a kids’ show just because it’s a cartoon.

I think a part of it is that Tina hit puberty.

 

3). Ice water with lemon/club soda with lime

 

Club soda with lime. I crave it!

Club soda with lime. I crave it!

 

This one might seem strange for a “favorites” list, but lately, I can’t get enough icy-cold water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and club soda with ice and a wedge of lime when we go out at night. Now that I’ve gotten back into the swing of my life here and returned to my former habits, other beverages hold no interest. Nothing is more refreshing to me, and I’m glad, because icy citrus water is super healthy and costs very little. In fact, when we go out, it’s usually free. I don’t think I’ve ever been charged for water in Arizona, and bartenders almost always give me the club soda gratis because it’s assumed that I’m the Designated Driver. That’s been my experience, anyway.

 

4). Oysterband’s Diamonds on the Water

 

 

I discovered this new Oysterband release on Spotify literally the day after a new friend asked me what musicians/bands I’m currently enjoying! Diamonds on the Water has been my music of choice since then. I especially love “A River Runs,” “Palace of Memory,” “Spirit of Dust” and “No Ordinary Girl.” Good English folk sounds going on here. Love it!

 

5). A t-shirt from Nice, a gift from a friend visiting from France.

 

Sparkly Nice t-shirt from Chantal!

Sparkly Nice t-shirt from Chantal!

 

Of course, the average non-French person looking at this shirt (with nothing on it to indicate a geographical point of reference) is just going to see the English adjective “nice” spelled out across my chest. Nice! Haha! But I love it, anyway. It’s black. It sparkles. It matches my black Paris baseball cap with its blingy red heart and my beloved sparkly Eiffel Tower. Don’t worry… I wouldn’t wear the two at the same time.

 

6). Ezekiel 4:9 bread

 

Ezekiel 4:9. Best. Toast. Ever.

Ezekiel 4:9. Best. Toast. Ever.

 

Here’s an old favorite! Once I get started on this bread, I never want any other kind, especially since Ezekiel 4:9 makes the most wonderful, crunchy toast that is amazing with Earth Balance. This bread is named for the bible verse that reads: “Take also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils and millet, and spelt and put them in one vessel…” (Ezekiel 4:9) And that turned out to be a pretty good recipe, in my opinion.

 

7). Physician’s Formula Magic Mosaic Multi-Colored Custom Bronzer (in Light)

 

What's this? A bronzer I actually really like! (by Physician's Formula)

What’s this? A bronzer I actually really like! (by Physician’s Formula)

 

Here’s my cosmetic pick for the month. I used to shy away from bronzers, but I started using this one recently just to brighten things up a bit… and I actually like it a lot! The range of bronze shades in the compact makes it versatile, and it’s just a really pretty way to add a touch of a glow to your skin (without too much shimmer).

 

8). Afternoon green tea

 

Trader Joe's Organic Green Tea

Trader Joe’s Organic Green Tea

 

I find Trader Joe’s Organic Green Tea to be a dependable pick as far as green teas go, but frankly, any green tea would do it for me these days. Coffee in the morning. Tea in the afternoon.

One of life’s pleasant little routines. =)

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Deep Conversation about the Feminine Mystique of Eyelashes

Callaghan predicts that within 20 years, false eyelashes are going to become a hot new trend for guys.

I disagree.

“Not eyelashes,” I said. “They cross the line. I can see guys who are goth, punk, metrosexual or just into the vanity thing or whatever wearing…”

“But within 20 years, don’t you think?”

“…concealer, powder, eyeliner, brows… maybe some kind of contouring, maybe some kind of lip product… but not eyelashes!”

“Why not?” (He followed up the question with a French exclamation: “Hein!”)

“I just don’t think that a guy who’s not into cross-dressing would go so far as to wear false eyelashes,” I said. “Eyelashes totally define a woman’s face. They make the visual difference between male and female.”

“How do you mean?” Now I really had his attention.

I cleared my throat, as if I was going to present my pivotal scientific findings before a panel at an international research conference.

“You’re an illustrator. YOU know. How do you make anything female? You give it eyelashes. Want a girl dolphin? Eyelashes. A girl seahorse? Eyelashes. A girl car? Eyelashes!”

It’s not the color pink. It’s not lipstick. It’s not boobs. It’s eyelashes. It doesn’t matter what it is. You can draw a black cartoon helicopter with no mouth and an asexualized build, but give it eyes that include long, curled, flirty eyelashes, and it’s automatically understood to be female.

“That’s true…” He looked thoughtful as he visualized cars with eyelashes. We’ve actually seen two of them in real life tooling around Austin. Cars with headlights fringed with thick black plastic eyelashes.

“Adding eyelashes instantly feminizes animals and inanimate objects, so I can’t see non-cross-dressing men wearing false eyelashes,” I concluded. “But maybe things will evolve. Who knows.”

I was thinking, I don’t even put on false eyelashes… I never have, and I don’t think I ever will, so why would an average guy want to engage in that kind of time-suckage? I’m not dissing false eyelashes, or women who wear them. I just prefer to stick with mascara. Blackest-black, one coat. 30 seconds and you’re done.

Callaghan was convinced.

Later, he recalled an example of a non-cross-dressing male movie character wearing false eyelashes, and he made this brilliant NOT UNLIKE banner in his honor:

 

Female car on the left, Alex in A Clockwork Orange on the right. NOT UNLIKE.

Female car on the left, Alex in A Clockwork Orange on the right. NOT UNLIKE.

 

Also, you should see this seahorse that Callaghan drew for me a while back (that’s why I’d mentioned a seahorse in our conversation):

 

The seahorse (l'hippocampe) that Callaghan drew for me. Eyelashes! It's a girl!

The seahorse (l’hippocampe) that Callaghan drew for me. Eyelashes! It’s a girl!

 

 

It’s meant to go on a t-shirt. Aww!

In Every Bowl of Soup I See / Giraffes and Ligers Watching Me

(That’s based on Shirley Temple’s “Animal Crackers in My Soup,” in case you didn’t know.)

This post is brought to you by the eleventh orange I’ve eaten this week. Not the eleventh hour. The eleventh orange. I’m pretty sure that crime scene investigators could apply their crazy ninja forensics techniques to my laptop keyboard and uncover hard evidence of all eleven of those oranges, as careful as I am to avoid smudges.

Now, what was I going to share? Oh yes:

“A Giraffe totem corresponds to farsightedness and balance between earth and sky.” (Llewellyn)

I’ve been thinking that my so-called spirit animal must be the giraffe, since reading that quote has an oddly grounding, motivating effect on me. Now, when I close my eyes and envision the giraffe at the window of the safari bus in Arizona that one time, a feeling of centeredness comes rolling back. It works!

I remember when I thought that my spirit animal was the wild horse. I re-thought that whole thing when I discovered, not too long ago, that I’m actually kind of uneasy around horses. I’m still in awe of the wild horse spirit, but the reality of a horse and me standing together is just… I don’t know. It’s a hard thing to phrase, so, just to show you, here’s a picture of me with our neighbor’s horse in France back in April:

 

Pardon me. I just live here. Oh wait, this is a French horse, so... Je m'excuse. Now how do you say "I just live here" - "J'habite seulement ici?" Or "J'habite juste ici?" Not working. American slang doesn't translate! Nevermind.

Pardon me. I just live here. Oh wait, this is a French horse, so… Je m’excuse. Now how do you say “I just live here” – “J’habite seulement ici?” Or “J’habite juste ici?” Not working. American slang doesn’t translate! Nevermind.

 

See the body language dynamic going on there? This was a candid shot of a chance encounter. Callaghan captured a spontaneous moment, and looking at this picture brings back the awkwardness of it. That horse and I were both, like, uhhh… yeah. I just didn’t know how to relate to that guy. Have you ever felt self-conscious in front of a horse? (Surely I can’t be the only person who’s ever been discomfited in the presence of a horse.) I didn’t connect with that horse on any level. It was like he was the reincarnation of someone I used to know. Someone who used to fluster me at cocktail parties.

So, yeah, giraffes.

Speaking of animals, the other night, I was reading to Callaghan about the liger (lion-tiger hybrid) and her baby liligers (offspring of a liger and a lion) at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia.

“Check out this liger,” I said, shoving my laptop under his nose. “They actually exist outside of Napoleon Dynamite!” We started flipping through the slideshow.

“Look at that! He’s got strots,” said Callaghan, pointing at one of the baby liligers.

“Strots?”

“A mixture of stripes and dots.”

 

The liger and her liliger cub at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia

The liger and her liliger cub at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia

 

In other animal marking news, my current favorite eye makeup look is sparkly pink shadow with a matte black overlaid on the lids:

 

Friday, 21 June 2013

 

Can you see it? (Don’t mind the hair. I had the front chopped and deep layers cut all around for growing-out purposes.)

While I’m at it, here are some pics of us goofing around before we left the house this morning:

 

Goofing around on  Friday, 21 June 2013

 

Goofing around on  Friday, 21 June 2013

 

A bonus cool thing that happened today - our state ID and drivers license arrived in the mail! Texas state residencies established, check.

A bonus cool thing that happened today – our state ID and drivers license arrived in the mail! Texas state residencies established, check.

 

Happy Summer Solstice, Everyone!

Make-Up? Big Ugly Deal!

For some reason, make-up bashing seems to be coming into vogue. Generally, I’m hearing things like “make-up is nonsense,” and its users are “superficial” or “high-maintenance.” We are reassured that we don’t need to wear make-up, so we shouldn’t worry about it. Of course, in our beauty-obsessed culture, it’s flattering to hear that we can bypass cosmetics because we look great the way we are. These are nice words to hear. But it’s also kind of a dubious compliment, when you think about it. It’s like, thank you for your approval of our un-made-up faces, because otherwise we’d think that we would, indeed, need to wear make-up. We would feel “naked” without it. And that’s terrible, right? It’s sad.

I love make-up. A lot of women do. We enjoy it. For many of us, wearing it isn’t a burden or an obligation to the beauty police of the world… putting it on is simply a part of our grooming and getting-ready-to-leave-the-house routines. In that sense, yes, we might feel naked without it, just as we’d feel naked without clothing. But what’s so sad about this? What’s the big deal about wearing make-up? What am I missing here?

True, it’s unfortunate that society often pressures women into believing that they need make-up in order to be pretty. I get that. No argument there. But can it be said that all women who wear make-up do so as a result of societal pressure? No. People have probably worn it long before Cleopatra came along with her dramatic, heavy eye make-up. And I’m pretty sure that Cleopatra didn’t wear make-up because she felt pressured by society.

This idea applies to other forms of body art. Think about tattoos! Tattoos have overcome years of negative association; they’re finally merging into a fashion realm approaching the mainstream to the point where tattoo intolerance is recognized as antiquated. Now why would anyone bother to understand the concept of creative self-expression behind tattooing, but profess to not understand the same of wearing make-up? They both qualify as body art. The only difference is that one is permanent, and the other isn’t.

Sure, we can look around and spot make-up that doesn’t appeal to us. No doubt there’s poorly applied make-up out there, too. We’ve all seen it. Likewise, we’ve seen tattoos that we wouldn’t choose for ourselves, or ones that are badly done. There are whole websites devoted to bad tattoos. Thing is, if you make a mistake with make-up, you can fix it. If you make a mistake with a tattoo, you’re stuck with it… unless you decide to have it removed, which is an excruciatingly painful experience, from what I understand. Make-up removal can be annoying, but the removal of a tattoo? Torturous. Time-consuming. Expensive. And it still looks like crap in the end. Maybe even worse, with the scar tissue that results.

The bottom line here, though, is that it’s our decision what make-up we wear and how we wear it, just as the tattoos we get is our choice (at the mercy of the tattooist doing the work). It’s not for us to criticize others for their personal aesthetic choices.

You know what’s sad to me? That those who decorate themselves with tattoos are still pressured – yes, by society – to cover up and hide their body art from certain people, in certain situations. Going on job interviews. Presenting yourself in other areas of the professional sphere. (We as a society still, for the most part, lag in the area of tattoo acceptance in the workplace. See the Facebook page of the same title.) Visiting with family members, potential future in-laws, your kid’s teachers, or the parents of your kid’s friends. And so on. How is this less “sad” than women feeling naked without make-up? It’s the same concept, but in reverse. Not all women feel like they “need” to wear make-up, but most people with tattoos feel that they ought to conceal them at times. We know that society can pressure us into not getting tattoos, but if we want them, we’re going to get them anyhow… because we like them. Because they make us feel good. Because they’re meaningful to us in some way. Because they’re art. Make-up, too, is an art. It’s is an art like any other art; it’s privy to subjectivity and open to personal interpretation and intention. People who apply it on others are called “make-up artists” for a reason.

Besides, make-up can be fun. Reaching beyond simple grooming and vanity, make-up is fantasy. In one way or another, everyone likes to play make-believe every once in a while. It’s a step above a daydream to feel like you’re transforming yourself, not because you don’t like who you are, but because doing so momentarily releases you from the worries that contribute to the shape of you. This is what many people find so compelling about reading novels… losing yourself in a story is a harmless form of escapism. Make-up can also make us feel liberated. It’s hard to feel imprisoned when slipping deliciously into a persona of our own creation. It’s hard to feel imposed upon when we use make-up to achieve the look we want, whether that happens to be in an enhancement capacity, or a theatrical one, or anything else.

Make-up can also serve as a powerful tool in our overall well-being. This is a documented fact: if we see the dark circles and bags under our eyes, we can end up feeling more tired than we actually are. Make-up can give us a mental and psychological boost, which can make us feel more physically vibrant. There’s something to be said for the adage “The mind is more powerful than the body.” When we look less tired, we feel less tired. When we feel less tired, we feel less old. Feeling less old means feeling more energetic. I fully believe that the younger we look, the younger we feel.

This reminds me of Coco Chanel, who said, “When you give women back their mystery, you give them back their youth.”

Mystery! The inexplicable, incomprehensible sparking of excitement and wonder and curiosity, the stirring by surprise… make-up can create a mysterious vibe if we want it to. Awesome, right? Make-up can be magical. Probably no one knew this better than Cleopatra herself.

Anyway, I’m not sure how make-up got its bad rap of being pointless, silly, frivolous, or extraneous. It doesn’t make sense to me.

When I put on make-up, I come out looking the way I want to look, not how others want me to look. I don’t need anyone’s implicit permission to go without it. I appreciate the compliments on my natural beauty, but I don’t need or want to be saved from spending time, effort and money on make-up.

I have to wonder whether Mark Antony ever told Cleopatra that he preferred her without make-up.

You know what I think we should do with cosmetics? Whatever we want. If you want to wear make-up, then wear it. If you don’t want to, then don’t. It doesn’t matter either way, because beauty isn’t about what’s on your face, and neither is your self-worth. We shouldn’t feel apologetic for wearing make-up or not wearing it. What we do with our faces is no one’s concern but our own.