Tuesday, December 25, 2012

When your holiday is disappointing

We have all been there. Starting as a child, December is one long month set up to leave you feeling disappointed - in yourself, in others, in the way the roast turned out, in the future of humanity.

The hype is almost impossible to live up to.

We had a very quiet holiday this year, by design. We didn't make plans, didn't make an effort, didn't make a fuss. Thanksgiving is always huge, and our Christmas celebration - or lack thereof - is in stark contrast to the crowds and laughter of my favorite holiday. Even thought we planned it that way, and knew it was going to be a quiet day, it was still kind of a strange feeling - to be without plans on Christmas feels......wrong. The truth is that while people can feel lonely or left out at any time, it can be hardest during the holidays. And this is about that.

The holiday blues can begin before Kindergarten, and I'm here to tell you, it doesn't get better as an adult.

Your first taste of disappointment might come as the last Hannukah candle burns out, or when the sun sets on Christmas day, and you are sitting in an avalanche of shredded wrapping paper and discarded gift bags, surrounded by toys and games and clothes and sticky candy wrappers - but not the one thing you really wanted. You didn't know you really wanted it, of course, until you didn't get it. You keep looking around, checking under the tree or behind the armchair just one more time for a forgotten package. Re check all of the gift bags to make sure you didn't miss anything. You didn't.

But of course, the disappointment can be completely unrelated to gifts. I have had disappointing Winter Solstices, too, where the drum circle felt off-tempo and my woolen hood was itching me and I lost my walking stick and a squirrel ate my granola. The bottom line is: this entire season is wrapped up in a pretty bow and covered in twinkling lights and if you aren't shitting tinsel then you are doing it wrong. Right? It really doesn't matter how well you prepare. It doesn't matter how firmly you resolve to have a great holiday, or create a lasting tradition. It doesn't matter how fantastic your Thanksgiving was. It doesn't matter how thoughtfully you shop, or how beautiful your wrapping paper.

The holidays are not necessarily what you make of them. Sometimes they are fantastic, sometimes underwhelming, and sometimes they are a total shit show from start to finish. But ultimately, it's out of your hands, no matter how carefully you have planned - or not planned - the day.

You can still find yourself frantically digging through the attic at 5am for "Santa" wrapping paper that is different from the paper you wrapped all the other gifts with, because you woke up out of a sound sleep realizing that you hadn't done that yet, because someone gave you a pot cookie after dinner on Christmas Eve as a joke HAHAHAHA and the rest of the night got away from you. And there you are, in your underwear, still kind of stoned, crawling under the tree trying to decide which gifts are going to be from Santa, because the delivery guy gave the box with the Santa gifts to your kid - and the box had its contents printed on it. So the kid has known about the big box with the fucking pogo stick in the attic for 2 weeks now.

And then comes the moment when you realize that Santa is going to be giving really shitty gifts this year, and you want to just ditch the entire wrapping ordeal, but you know you cannot do that - your seven year old still believes, dammit. Or at least, she wants you to think she still believes so that she will keep getting Santa gifts - which even at the age of seven she knows are always better than the gifts of socks and new underwear from mom and dad.

And then you put a few things in the stocking - really just items you picked out to fill the space, from the dollar bin at the store. You realize that you have nothing for your stocking or your husband's stocking, so you start emptying the fruit drawer and the pantry into your stockings so they wont be empty. You find a Tupperware of lollipops the kids got for Halloween that you stashed for those nights when you really need a cigarette but don't want to shell out $11 for a pack of American Spirits that will, ultimately, give you a hangover and make you feel guilty. You stick one of those in the top and then wonder how long it will be until you can eat it. Because you really need a fucking cigarette.

And then, after all of that, you are wide awake. You can wait for the kids to wake up. You can call your mother who informs you that the box of gifts you mailed had some broken bits, and missing tags. Your father is gluing the bowl you sent for your brother back together, good as new.  When the kids tiptoe into the living room, they barely look at the gifts - the ones from Santa or the ones from you and certainly not the fucking pogo stick - because they are obsessed with the "farting putty" and the "galactic ooze" in the stockings, which, it turns out, stain fabric and skin and the wood floor.

And then you can field phone calls from well-meaning relatives wanting to know what you got and whether it fits and if you like it and who you are with and what you have planned for the rest of the day. Sometimes you make some shit up just so you don't sound completely pathetic.

And then you can spend the day listlessly playing with your gifts because you didn't make any plans, and asking how much longer until breakfast. Then lunch. Then joining the masses of other people going to the movies, to watch people die in various and sundry ways on a very large screen in stereo so you can hear the very last gasp. Which coincides with the popcorn running out.

And then you can drive around town looking for a restaurant that is both open and doesn't require reservations or a platinum card to enjoy dinner. When you realize your options are McDonalds or Jack in the Box, and you look in the rearview mirror and see your kids looking back at you, you can tell yourself that you are not that desperate.

And then you can give up and go home and eat leftovers and complain about how your new bamboo towels aren't as absorbent as good old terry cloth, and how the fudge is too melty, and your new socks make your feet sweat, and wish someone would bring you another pot cookie.

And you can vow (again) that next year will be different, as you pull on your sweatpants and crawl into bed with a carton of eggnog and a $2 box of chocolates. The day - this day you have been dreading for months - is finally over.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gift Guide for People who hate the mall, and think this entire holiday is created to make them miserable

Uninspired? Frugal? Fed up with the bullshit? Listen, I feel you. I really do. I am overwhelmed and exhausted and drained from the emotional and financial stress of the holidays. But I did it. The last boxes go out tomorrow. I have one gift left to pick up for a neighbor, and I need to order New Years cards (because Christmas cards just never happen in time around here).

I survived the holidays, and you can too. If you are freaking out because the store shelves are emptying, and the clock is running out, and it looks like everyone is getting a scented candle and a Starbucks card again, well.... FEAR NOT! Because A. Those are two totally fantastic gifts and people like getting them. And B. I have a few gift ideas for folks that want to try something different, and give a thoughtful gift even if they didn't think about it until the weekend before Christmas. These gifts will work for people who are very high or very low tech. Young and old. People you know well, or casually, or are meeting for the first time this holiday season. And I tried to think of a few things for every budget.

For Kids
A magical Dress Up box: Go to your local thrift/resale store and find some wacky, bright, fun nutty clothes. It doesn't matter what size, as long as it isn't too small - too big is no problem. Party dresses, snap front shirts, scarfs, suit jacket, funny hat, overalls, purses..... anything can become a fun costume.

A board game - remember Operation? My kids love board games, and puzzles too.

A pogo stick. Or a swing. Or a jump rope.

A microscope, or even just a magnifying glass and a mason jar with some holes punched in the top.

Art supplies. Is there anything better than a new box of crayons or a fresh pack of (washable) markers? I don't think so. Don't forget the paper! Also fun - PlayDo and Mad Libs and puzzle books.

Big, cool gift if you order today or tomorrow - We bought the kids a slack line for Christmas. It's like a tight rope, they used one in Thailand a few years ago and I know they are going to love it. These slack lines are great for gymnasts, ballerinas, ninjas and surfers. Really, everyone.

For Adults

I like to give things people will actually use. I *hate* giving "things" that will add to clutter, or may not be useful, or simply don't match the decor. Taste is such a personal thing. But sometimes, gift cards feel impersonal. I have found a few solutions:

To the gym, to Costco, to Netflix, to AAA (the auto club that provides roadside assistance). (Costco and AAA memberships start at around $50.)

Gift certificates:
To their favorite breakfast spot, to their hair salon (and buy a bottle of their favorite shampoo to go with it!) to their tattoo parlor, to a pizza joint for take-out one night....the list goes on and on - and doesn't have to include a box store or chain restaurant. Make a phone call, and shop local, folks.

Tools or materials needed to complete a honey do project:
Found a used window at our local Habitat for Humanity reStore that will work in our shed :) No excuses now!

The gift of reading:
Share e-books, or books you have already read.

New towels:
Kitchen or bath - towels need replacing, and they aren't as personal as sheets. Go with a neutral beige, or white, or try these fast-drying organic ones that don't take up a lot of space.

Paper goods (great hostess gift!)
fun cocktail napkins, pretty paper plates, or the cool plates made out of recycled materials like the ones from Eco-gecko

For Everyone (even your weird neighbor)

Magazine subscriptions
A jar of homemade tomato sauce with a box of pasta, or soup with a loaf of good bread
A fun sprayer for the hose
A birdhouse
A cool clock
A certificate for a weekend of pet-feeding the next time they go away. Allergic? Offer to babysit the fish.

That's all for now - but if I think of more, I'll update :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

You are worried about the wrong thing, you know.

On Friday, when everything was wrong and senseless and unfair and terrible, and news was coming out of Newtown slowly and frequently inaccurate, a piece of information struck me.

The shooter had used his mother's licensed, registered guns in the attack.

And he had started by shooting her, in her home, in the face.

Some people believe passionately that this is about mental illness, and that people who are mentally ill need better resources, and their families need more support.

And some claim that increasing the regulation and banning of firearms won't eliminate gun violence, declaring that anyone can get around gun control laws if they are determined to get their hands on a gun. Some suggest that if there had been an armed security guard at that school, that things would have been different. More guns - not less - is the answer. That people are going to have to pry the gun out of their cold dead hands. I am pretty sure the shooter's mother felt the same way. She was reported to be "a gun enthusiast", owned multiple weapons that her family claimed she kept for personal safety, and frequented shooting ranges for target practice.

Some people are arguing that this isn't just about mental illness, and that gun control needs to be taken further than it ever has before. That if guns were outlawed completely, we would all be safer. That no one needs a high-powered assault rifle for any reason, ever. That if you need one of those extended clips, then maybe you should just work on your aim so that you don't require hundreds of bullets to hit a target. That, as a law-abiding, target shooting gun owner, the shooter's mother wasn't any safer than the unarmed teachers in a locked school.

Somepeople are concerned about our growing numbness and exploitation of violence as entertainment - movies, video games, gun toys, Airsoft and Paintball - and our increased comfort with the act of shooting another human being, whether bullets are involved or not.

The only thing uniting all of those very different positions is that EVERYONE is outraged and ready to defend and promote their point of view in an effort to make us safer.

We can pick sides, and we can argue with each other and be self-righteous and protest and howl in frustration. But if we don't actually do something, this is going to happen again. It happened TWICE THIS WEEK, young men in a public space at opposite ends of the country shooting innocent people. This is not a coincidence. And we can't allow ourselves to become numb. To accept that evil just can't be stopped. We can't change the channel, can't change the subject, can't move on and let it fade away.

Folks, everything about what happened on Friday is wrong. Everything that happened in the mall in Oregon, and the movie theater in Colorado, and in all of the other locations in this country where innocent people were killed by a stranger while they thought they were perfectly safe......it's all wrong.

If you want to focus on gun control to solve the problem, fantastic. If you want to focus on mental health services, wonderful. I think that you should focus on whatever inspires you to get up off you ass and do something to make a difference. Because obviously, something needs to change. Everything needs to change. So whatever speaks to you, whatever you feel passionately will make this world a better, safer place - honey you just go on ahead and fight the good fight.

But for the love of all that is good and right in this world (that which is disappearing faster than I think we realize) don't attack each other. Don't focus on the negative - put all of your energy into finding a solution.

Don't blame these tragedies solely on mental illness - clearly the shooter would have to be mentally ill to walk into a  first grade classroom and kill all of the students. Are we arguing that? Is anyone really going to argue with you about that? No. But now what? What the hell do we do? What is the bar for locking someone up because they might kill their mother and then go to the neighborhood school and shoot 20 six year olds?

And by the same token, don't blame these tragedies only on gun control laws. None of us know for sure that tighter gun control laws are going to end our nation's proclivity for shooting each other. We do know that countries with tighter gun control have less killing. It's a fact. You can't argue with it. It's there in numbers and they aren't made up or twisted around - the United States, with our right to bear arms, bears arms against each other on a regular basis, and a whole lot of US citizens are dead because of it.

Don't talk about how the kid should have been hospitalized - we don't know his medical history, and you cannot lock up every socially awkward, depressed, emo young man you come across. I am sure that if his loving, educated, present and accounted for, actively parenting mother thought he was a risk to himself or anyone else, she would have addressed it already. And she obviously felt safe enough to keep multiple guns in her home where her son lived.

Sorry. I shouldn't tell you what to think or how to feel. After all, I am writing this because I am tired of being corrected myself. Tired of being told what I should focus on and worry about. Tired of hearing about the constitution, and our rights, and the rights of others. Tired of signing petitions that go nowhere. Tired of telling my kid that he cannot download violent games onto his tablet. Tired of holding signs on the side of the road drawing attention to a cause or candidate. I don't know what to do. I don't have any suggestions of where to go or how to help.

For now, I am focused on remembering 20 first graders, whose rights were taken away from them.

They had rights too. Their teachers had rights. The mother of the shooter had rights. The shooter himself had rights. Those rights did nothing to keep anyone safe. So we need more. Different. Better. Safer......something. But what? Help Lines? Security systems? Laws? Hospitals? Asylums? Prisons?

I don't know. I am tired and fearful of the not knowing. But at least I am alive, and I have a voice, and I am not huddled in grief. I am ready. I am willing. I am able. And I am angry.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Having a birthday the week before Christmas was already a bummer.

Having a birthday the week before Christmas sucks. I would like to think that, had I realized Max would be born 10 days before Christmas, we might have waited until April for that procedure at the fertility clinic.

But I would be lying to myself.

I was so desperate for a child that it didn't matter to me when he would be born. I wanted to get pregnant. I wanted to stay pregnant. I wanted to give birth to my biological child, one that I conceived with the person I had chosen as the father of my future children. 

We try to make up for the whole "born right before Christmas" thing, a situation that is only slightly better than the whole "born right after Christmas" thing, which is a scenario that virtually guarantees 2-fer gifting (or regifting) and having no one in town for your birthday party.

We always have his gifts wrapped in birthday paper. We always have a party. (Even if it is 2 weeks before his actual birthday, to ensure people actually show up.) Relatives have been threatened with excommunication if they send one gift for both holidays. But more than just the material trappings of the birthday, we also go far beyond the norm in terms of being grateful. 

I was not able to get pregnant - or stay pregnant - on my own. I had Princess Kate-style morning sickness. I spent the first half of my pregnancy afraid I would miscarry, and the second half knowing that there was something wrong with my baby, the extent of which was yet to be determined. From pre-term labor to excessive weight gain to extreme fatigue and nausea, and then looming at the end the surgery, everything else paled in comparison. It didn't matter what time of year he was born, just that he was born and that everything went okay and in the end, that we had a healthy child.

Between the gratitude, and the fact that Max was born during the holidays, his birthday has always been a bit of a production. Not gift wise - we don't do huge presents and extravagant parties - but it's always very celebrated, to make sure it is not lumped in with all of the rest of the holiday festivities. And now - right now - it is all systems go. He will have his party and his fun. But I know that in the back of my mind, I will be thinking of the parents in Newtown who might have had a birthday party planned that will not take place. So we are celebrating a little extra-hard. We are going to be furiously happy because we have been given the opportunity. Because the opportunity has not been taken away.

And I am really glad I got him a cellphone for his birthday. I want to be able to call him and hear his voice and know that he is okay. I wan him to be able to call me if he has a question or a concern. And to see the joy on his face when he opened the box and saw the very unexceptional basic phone that I had told him repeatedly he didn't need and wouldn't get for years..... made me grin like an idiot.

Don't get me wrong. Its still real life over here. I'm not shitting rainbows and tossing glitter, I just yelled at Max because he didn't brush his teeth, and Sam came out of the bathroom to inform him that he still needed to flush the toilet, even if it was his birthday. But underneath all of the realness is the remembering. We are lucky, and grateful, and will never take the unflushed toilets and unbrushed teeth for granted.

Monday, December 10, 2012

You can take that one horse wooden sleigh and dash the hell out of here.

I know you know I hate the holidays.

HATE. The holidays. And so it is time for my annual "I hate the gift part of Christmas" post that I usually write after I get my credit card statement. Welcome, friend. This won't cost you a penny, get comfy.

I am trying to pull together some new traditions, and make it special for my kids - but one of the ways I make their lives special ALL YEAR LONG is sending them to private school. Unfortunately when I proposed that we wrap the teachers up and leave them under the tree Sam thought that sounded "creepy" and "inappropriate". I told him that our couch was COMFORTABLE AS FUCK and I would be an excellent hostess but STILL NO.

Whatever. I think it would be "inappropriate" to wrap up the tuition bill but frankly I'm running out of gift ideas, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

The reason I am out of ideas is because every adult I know is BLEEDING ME DRY of gift suggestions for my kids. I have to actually hold back on ideas so that I have something left to buy them. Last year I didn't do that, and I screwed myself - the kids got a collection of random, vaguely pathetic non-gifts from us that I cannot even remember at this point. It was not my finest hour. I believe I ended up fluffing out our gift selection by wrapping snack food I bought at Ross Dress For Less on Christmas Eve. Max actually really enjoyed the beer pretzles, come to think of it.....

ANYWAY. This year I ordered a few cool things, and had a game plan for the rest.....but then the requests started rolling in.

I was ahead of the game, you know. We created a wishlist 4 years ago on Amazon. So smart, right? I am all about "shop local" but I thought the wishlist concept was great - it would give everyone ideas of what to buy the kids and I could go on my merry way (due to copious amount of Xanax and a nasty little eggnog habit). I discovered last week that Amazon does not necessarily keep track of what has been PURCHASED off the wish lists, especially if the gifts were not purchased from Amazon. (sigh) And of course as soon as Christmas is over I forget all about wishlists and it never crosses my mind to update them. So, inevitably, we started receiving duplicate gifts - some of which we added to the list 3 or 4 years ago. Last week the first duplicates arrived. I panicked and raced online to update the wishlists, reflecting all of the shit we have already received over the years, and adding a few current items. The problem is that the kids don't really *need* much, and we don't have TV so they don't see commercials advertising toys. THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S OUT THERE. We mostly missed out on the Hexbugs craze and the weird rolling ZhuZhu hamster addiction and we escaped that bizarre thing that looked like a gremlin entirely (and thank god for that, really).

But they don't live in my basement. They know that there is cool stuff out there - even if they don't know EXACTLY what their options are.

Max has been begging for a video game console. An XBox or a Wii or something - I don't know, I stopped listening as soon as I heard "video game" to be honest, and by the time he had finished describing all of the violent-titled games he wanted to get in honor of Jesus' birth, my eyes had glazed over. He's not getting one, needless to say. How about a nice unicycle or something, huh? That should cause plenty of blood and gore while he's learning to ride it.

But there IS a gift request I am currently sweating. This year, Lucy wants a microscope. She asked Santa for it - it is the only thing she really REALLY wants and she swans around the house saying things like "I would love to examine this under a microscope....if I ever get one" (sigh sigh sigh swan swan swan). So I added it to her wishlist and then realized that I couldn't leave it to chance - I had to buy it in case no one else did. But then I was afraid someone might have already ordered it. And now I am stuck. Do I start calling relatives to ask if they purchased the fucking microscope? Because that's not going to be awkward. Or do I just buy the damn thing and return it if she gets a duplicate and then just pretend that the gift from her aunt is actually from Santa like she asked, and then stick a label with her aunt's name written on it onto some other package under the tree. You see what I am saying? SANTA HAS TO BRING THIS MICROSCOPE.

And if Santa or anyone else sends a gaming console I am going to smash it with a hammer and send it back with a lovely thank you note.

I hate this fucking holiday. And it's not the microscope. Or the console. Or the kids, for that matter. I am getting emails every day from people asking what to buy ALL of  us. I get phone calls from the mall parking lot and the aisles of Target. I can feel them standing there with a pen in their hand ready to jot down notes as i recite sizes and colors and try to be vague so no one at my end knows what I am talking about. It stresses me the fuck out. I feel like I am A. asking for people to buy us things that we don't need and B. like I am having to deal with everyone else's holiday shopping and not just my own. I have enough trouble thinking of good/useful/fun/timely gifts to give our loved ones, never mind actually buying them and wrapping them and then getting them where they need to be on time - trying to remember who else is buying what or shopping where is overwhelming me. I can't do it anymore. The Amazon list has failed me. My brain is a stuttering mess of gift ideas that I may or may not have shared with others. I have two boxes of presents in the attic that I purchased over the last year and I can't even remember what's up there anymore.

And then, let's not forget the reason for (hating) the season: My father, who is the cause of most of my holiday angst (and medication) and who's relationship causes me no small amount of stress the rest of the year, also wants in on the gifting action. He sent me an email last week telling me what HIS kid is into, and asking for ideas for my kids gifts.

Jesus H. Christ on a cracker I am pretty sure this is not what the angels had in mind when they sent those wise men.

I am over it. Over the whole thing. I am stuck in holiday hell. I wish I could just call a moratorium to gift giving, or at least the part of gift giving that involves wish lists and keeping track. I want to give meaningful gifts - whether they be something they need or a token of my affection - to the people I love, to let them know I am thinking of them. And if those gifts arrive in April, SO BE IT.

And if you are looking for inspiration, stay tuned. I am putting together a gift guide for fellow haters. HUZZAH!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Daffodil and the dirty Elevens. Adventures in Botox.

It was time.

That is all I can say. I woke up one morning and discovered this pair of what I can only describe as "vertical tan lines" between my eyebrows. They had been wrinkles, but now they were wrinkles with character. Character I was not interested in flaunting on my forehead.

My wrinkles had tan lines.

"Oh, the elevens," my friends all nodded solemnly when I got uncomfortably close and jabbed a finger at my forehead in indignation. "Yeah, I got those taken care of."

I beg your pardon?
The Elevens? My forehead tan lines have a name?
That is a sure sign that I needed to have them removed. They are becoming their own entity for fucks sake. Next they'll have a social security number and a zip code. But how could this have happened? Why did it have to come to this? What could I do about it? And most importantly: how much were these little bastards gonna cost me?

The thing that pisses me off about this more than anything is the amount of money I spend on moisturizer with SPF in order to keep wrinkles at bay. I have abandoned all of my "not tested on animals" politically and morally upstanding ideals to find a moisturizer that kept those lab animals WRINKLE FREE dammit. I want to know it works. I WANT PROOF.

I started buying the "good stuff" in the fancy jars a few years ago when I finally came to the conclusion that having to take not one but TWO Xanax to have a facial was not normal. I think my esthetician was relieved when I decided to stop trying to be "the girl who gets facials" - I am, by all accounts, not a fan. I think they are gross, and the closest thing to waterboarding that I have ever experienced. And no, I am not being overly-dramatic.

I do not like people squeezing my zits and examining my wrinkles through super-magnification and tsk tsking about my pores. I do not like having steam blown up my nostrils, things covering my eyes, and goopy cream all over my nose and upper lip so that I feel like I am suffocating. I do not like to lie flat on my back for an hour. I do not like having little bits of cream stuck around my hairline. I do not like wearing those stupid towel wraps. Aromatherapy gives me a headache and I don't want to be greasy or have people breathing close to my face. And I hate the fucking quiet music they play. Why in the love of all that is holy can I not have Pearl Jam playing during my facial? I wish I liked facials. I really do. I love spas - Just ask Tammy. So why can't I relax and enjoy a facial like every other woman on the planet? It's a mystery.

In an effort to avoid facials I try to take good care of my skin at home, with the super crazy moisturizer that should leave me WRINKLE FREE, a blemish extractor for emergencies of the porous kind, and a compact magnifying mirror, just like the good lord intended. I have a cleanser and an eye cream and I use them both every single day. I wear enormous hats.

With all of that, how is it that I have these THINGS on my forehead that make me look so tired, angry, and.....I'm just gonna come right out and say it: old.


I can handle saggy boobs (breastfeeding!) and gray hair (Premature! Runs in the family!) But there is no way to talk myself around the wrinkles. There they are. Right in the middle of my face. So I did what women all over the world are doing. I made an appointment and I tackled this problem head-on. Like a car crash.

I liked my doctor - she understood when I said I still wanted a little action. Her nurse estimated that they were going to use 12 ampules, but the doctor only used 8. And a half. I walked out of there feeling a little tingly. My forehead felt odd and slightly itchy, and I could still wrinkle my brow - a little too much, actually.

A few days later I called back. "I still have wrinkles. I really don't want wrinkles. Can we get rid of the wrinkles?" I didn't mind being able to make wrinkles and wriggle my eyebrows around - that was fine. But I didn't want to be sitting on the couch looking angry when I was just reading the Anthropologie catalog. That shit is my happy place. I want to look happy. The receptionist reassured me it could take 2 weeks to see the full effect, and promised to call and check in with me. I reluctantly hung up, and then felt instantly embarrassed at my vanity and impatience. Did I really just have to be told to chill out and wait for the toxins I shot into my face to settle in?

Yes, yes I did. I am that girl. Joan Rivers and Kenny Rodgers better watch their ass.

"Next time you are going to try bee venom therapy" Sarah informed me. I informed her that I was not interested in having bees sting my forehead but thank you anyway. That's just crazy talk. Because shooting botulism between my eyes is totally rational.

I was impatient, but I am also cheap - if I could avoid paying for another round I was happy to do so. I didn't want my face to be frozen. I didn't want people to take one look at me and say "Oh, Botox. How sad. Why do doctors do that to women?" I wanted subtlety. I wanted to be the only one who could tell. I don't know why I care, since I have told everyone I had it done and handed out my doctor's name like I'm her publicist. But still. I didn't want it to be obvious. So I agreed to give it some time - and I'm glad I did.

The bottom line (no pun intended) is, I waited two weeks after the treatment, or procedure, or whatever I am supposed to call it, and I can honestly say I am pleased with the results. It cost less than $100, and it really made a huge difference. I don't look tired and angry - unless I am actually tired and/or angry. I can move my face, I can move my eyebrows, and I can make it very clear to everyone around me when shit is about to get serious.

"Who ate my Lucky Charms?"

And best of all, I went out and got the cutest little pixie bangs cut. I've got nothing to hide.