things I like this week, vol. 18

Colin's away for the week for work. I'm already feeling lonely - and I'm burying myself in pictures of pretty things instead of my perpetual stack of essays.

. . .

I have been craving autumn, lately. The weather is mostly thwarting me.

. . .

What makes this picture is the curve of her pose in the reflection. It must be nice to be able to take such glamorous shots with one's cell phone. But then, if one does glamour for a living . . .

. . .

It's a bracelet.

. . .

A private screening room of the kind I'd enjoy.

. . .

It's called "Overheard on the Titanic." It would make a lovely Christmas present for me, if anyone's looking for ideas.

. . .

The brick has character.

. . .

Best in full view. I love the softness of her stomach, and that the snake's tongue is almost in her ear.

. . .

Ground Zero at Hiroshima.

. . .

I love the 20's. I would wear that white dress in a heartbeat.

. . .

So much grace.



I've been collecting change, lately.

I didn't used to. For a long time I rarely carried cash on me at all. But recently, without my meaning for it to, change has started following me around.

I have a small stash in a compartment in the center console of my car. When you lift its cover, two small lights on either side illuminate the coins and other detritus - and your face, if it is dark enough - like the mysterious contents of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. It used to only be pennies, but I've started dumping the leftovers from my cash drive-thru purchases in there, and so the treasure has grown.

I have no designated place in my purse for my change, so it gets thrown in the main compartment with everything else. This means that when I am craving Sour Worms as a midday pick-me-up, I must dig through layers of coupons, of my several accumulated lip potions, of pens and other forms of payment. It's not just limited to my small, everyday purse, either - the larger tote I take to work also suffers from the curse of the bottom-of-the-bag quarters.

Perhaps even worse is that I begin to make small piles of change for when I think I might get something from a vending machine, and then, for one of a myriad reasons, change my mind. I've started throwing those piles, when I realize I've made them and won't use them, into one of the small plastic sections of my desk drawer at school. That section has started overflowing and spilling into the others.

I have stashes of change in jean pockets. I have a pile in a metal desk organizer in my kitchen. I have a plastic jar of change that I collected briefly before Joley was born, with the idea that it could end up being some sort of college savings fund. I have change in my makeup bags. I have change in a couple small jewelry boxes. And yesterday, I added a small pile of Mexican change in a plastic baggie to my school desk drawer, holding it in trust for a student who used it for a class project.

In class the other day, one of my more unusual students said, "Miss, I know that for the last, like, thirty years or so, our Senate and House - well, our Congress - have been debating about whether or not we should just get rid of the dollar bill." I told her I doubted that was true, since I hoped they have more important things to discuss, but even more so because they haven't bothered to get rid of the penny, yet.

In some ways, I really wish they would. Bills don't haunt me the way those dim little disks of metal do.



My daughter just fell asleep on the couch, spread out, face down, draped loosely in the worn cotton of her Colin's undershirt, waiting for me to come down and read to her.

I could tell she slept by the silence.

There is violin music drifting from the laptop, the speakers at the end of the keyboard right where the computer rests against the bones of my hips, and there is a drifting feeling of tension in the back third of the top of my head.

The cat sleeps curled up, half on her side, tufts of white fur exposed to the open air, breathing softly.

J exhales from below me, on the couch. I can see her through the slats of the upper landing, as the tension in my head and the music makes me feel as though I am vaguely floating, as if I am little more than the top of my head and my eyes and the fingers that press gently buttons on the keyboard.

When Colin and I hung up, just before he stopped at the house of a defendant, I told him again, though I had said it just seconds before, "I love you so very much." I was afraid, in that breath, that he would die before I spoke to him again.

He is still not home.


on life sans hair

I am surprised that most of the responses to my shaving my head have been positive. In fact, the biggest response I've gotten from women is "I wish I could pull that off, but . . . ." In some ways, this saddens me (as flattering as it is) - I'm firmly convinced that "pulling it off" just means that you act like you can pull it off, and people believe you. Most of the women who've said that I think would look just fine with their heads shaved.

There are days and times I don't think about it much - and times when I do.

Part of the reason I did it was I was bored with my look and my clothes. They wear differently, now. My usual t-shirts look much more androgynous, and my outfits have become less complex. If I wear something very girly, the look is more interesting than it used to be, because of the contrast with my lack of hair.

The biggest change, I think, is how I do my makeup. I was surprised to discover I needed less make-up instead of more - taking away your hair puts the focus directly on your face, so I don't need my make-up stronger, just more perfectly applied.

I always paid attention to my eyebrows, but now I'm even more precise. I found NYX's eyebrow powder and wax (which I chose because the colors were better and because it had both products in one compact), and have been having good success with it. I invested in a heavier concealer (the one I used to use wore off after a couple hours). I'm still using the same blush, but I'm putting it higher on my cheekbones to draw attention away from the jowly cheeks I inherited from my father (that was my first reaction when my head was shaved and I saw myself from the side: shit, I *do* have my father's cheeks).

I've been doing a smudgy-eyeliner-no-shadow thing for a few months, now, but with the added attention drawn to my eyes, I've been happily waterlining and smudging all around, and now it doesn't make them look too small (I used to only do the top lid). I'm using Stila's smudgepot, which is awesome and blends when you first put it on but stays the rest of the day once it sets.

My piercings and tattoo somehow look infinitely more extreme with my hair gone. I'm wearing my smallest nose stud, and when I put the usual captive bead ring in my cartilage, it was the first thing the eye was drawn to, so I had to put a thinner, simple hoop in. I can wear small earrings, but anything too big looks garish. I haven't been wearing any big necklaces, either.

I do get my head rubbed fairly often - which is not at all a bad thing - and instead of playing with my hair, I run my hand over the stubble. Even now, nearly two weeks later, it still feels weird to me. For awhile afterward I could feel every motion of the air over my head, which was super distracting, but that's settled down, now.

I'm balder now than I've been my entire life - I was born with more hair than this. It's kind of fun.


things I like this week, vol. 17

A pool with a natural filtration system. Wonder how they'd do in Arizona.

. . .

From a friend's facebook profile. I love the headpiece the most, although I really, really want a sari.

. . .

An old friend from high school. Actors make the best photography subjects.

. . .

Fireflies. =)

. . .

A facebook meme, I think. Speaks for itself.

. . .

Crystals in bullet casings. I like the juxtaposition. A .22 is most appropriate for me, I think.

. . .

Bubbles, frozen.



joy is:

  • sleeping in until noon after seeing the dawn break through the blinds
  • breakfast of eggs fried in toast and fresh blackberries in a clean kitchen
  • a leisurely shower
  • tangled limbs in fresh sheets
  • spoiling oneself from the proceeds of the first acting gig one has ever gotten paid for
  • hanging framed pictures
  • the mountains turning red from the sunset, watched from an open-air balcony
  • mushrooms and red peppers sauteed in white wine
  • drinking the crispness of the white wine
  • a small child cavorting in his white tshirt, which she is using for a nightgown
  • playing records with a friend through turntable.fm
  • "mommy, can you make me land gracefully on the lake?" by which she means the couch, flapping her hands as she flies
  • and later singing along quite seriously to the music played on turntable.fm
  • papers graded slowly and steadily, with no expectation of anything but industriousness
  • plum dahlias given just because


liftoff and subsequent justification

In case you had not deduced from the last post, I shaved my head on Monday.

While I like it, I have quickly gotten tired of the constant iterations of "why?" (sometimes with the subtext of "you must be crazy," sometimes just out of curiosity). I have yet to come up with a response that accurately conveys my feelings about the question; it does not cease to amaze me that I'm expected to justify with some especially persuasive reason why I would shave my head; no one would ever bother to ask why I decided to get an inch trimmed off. To me, it is very nearly the same question: it is hair either way.

Lately, I'm tempted to start quoting Merchant of Venice at them; Shylock's speech in Act 4 scene 1 is an accurate and eloquent answer to the question of "why":
. . . I'll not answer that:
But, say, it is my humour: is it answer'd?
What if my house be troubled with a rat
And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
To have it baned? What, are you answer'd yet?
Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
Some, that are mad if they behold a cat;
And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose,
Cannot contain their urine: for affection,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame
As to offend, himself being offended;
So can I give no reason, nor I will not . . .

Unfortunately, even if I managed to recite the whole thing, I would still get blank stares.



"Nothing's perfect," sighed the fox. But he returned to his idea. "My life is monotonous. I hunt chickens; people hunt me. All chickens are just alike, and all men are just alike. So I'm rather bored. But if you tame me, my life will be filled with sunshine. I'll know the sound of footsteps that will be different from all the rest. Other footsteps send me back underground. Yours will call me out of my burrow like music. And then, look! You see the wheat fields over there? I don't eat bread. For me wheat is of no use whatever. Wheat fields say nothing to me. Which is sad. But you have hair the color of gold. So it will be wonderful, once you've tamed me! The wheat, which is golden, will remind me of you. And I'll love the sound of the wind in the wheat . . ."

The fox fell silent and stared at the little prince for a long while. "Please . . . tame me!" he said.

"I'd like to," the little prince replied, "but I haven't much time. I have friends to find and so many things to learn."

"The only things you learn are the things you tame," said the fox. "People haven't time to learn anything. They buy things ready-made in stores. But since there are no stores where you can buy friends, people no longer have friends. If you want a friend, tame me!"

"What do I have to do?" asked the little prince.

"You have to be very patient," the fox answered. "First you'll sit down a little ways from me, over there, in the grass. I'll watch you out of the corner of my eye, and you won't say anything. Language is the source of misunderstandings. But day by day, you'll be able to sit a little closer . . ."

The next day the little prince returned.

"It would have been nice to return at the same time," the fox said. "For instance, if you come at four in the afternoon, I'll begin to be happy by three. The closer it gets to four, the happier I'll feel. By four I'll be all excited and worried; I'll discover what it costs to be happy! But if you should come at any old time, I'll never know when I should prepare my heart . . . There must be rites."

"What's a rite?" asked the little prince.

"That's another thing that's been too often neglected," said the fox. "It's the fact that one day is different from the other days, one hour different from the other hours. My hunters, for example, have a rite. They dance with the village girls on Thursdays. So Thursday's a wonderful day; I can take a stroll all the way to the vineyards. If the hunters danced whenever they chose, the days would all be just alike, and I'd have no holiday at all."

. . .

That was how the little prince tamed the fox. And when the time to leave was near:

"Ah!" the fox said. "I shall weep."

"It's your own fault," the little prince said. "I never wanted to do you any harm, but insisted that I tame you . . ."

"Yes, of course," the fox said.

"But you're going to weep!" said the little prince.

"Yes, of course," the fox said.

"Then you get nothing out of it?"

"I get something," the fox said, "because of the color of the wheat." Then he added, "Go look at the roses again. You'll understand that yours is the only rose in all the world. Then come back to say good-bye, and I'll make you the gift of a secret."

. . .

The little prince went to look at the roses again.

"You're not at all like my rose. You're nothing at all yet," he told them. "No one has tamed you and you haven't tamed anyone. You're the way my fox was. He was just a fox like a hundred thousand others. But I've made him my friend, and now he's the only fox in all the world."

And the roses were humbled.

"You're lovely, but you're empty," he went on. "One couldn't die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she's the one I've watered. Since she's the one I put under glass. Since she's the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she's the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three for butterflies). Since she's the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she's my rose."

. . .

And he went back to the fox.

"Good-bye," he said.

"Good-bye," said the fox. "Here is my secret. It's quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."

"Anything essential is invisible to the eyes," the little prince repeated, in order to remember.

"It's the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important."

"It's the time I spent on my rose . . .," the little prince repeated, in order to remember.

"People have forgotten this truth," the fox said. "But you mustn't forget it. You become responsible forever for what you've tamed. You're responsible for your rose . . ."

"I'm responsible for my rose . . .," the little prince repeated, in order to remember.

~from Chapter XXI of The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; translated from the French by Richard Howard.