What is it about traveling that makes you think you have to dot all the i's and cross all the t's before you leave? I guess it's sort of like when you're gonna have a baby, you start nesting near the end of the pregnancy and wanna make sure every little twig and piece of lint is arranged "just so" before the baby is born so you will have a proper nest to put her in. When I travel, I not only want to have clean clothes to pack in my bag (that's a given) but I want my hubster to have clean underwear in his drawer and his jeans and shirts washed and hung. I want the refrigerator cleaned out, the bathrooms acceptable, and the house pretty much in order. I definitely would not call myself a perfectionist by any meaning of the word, but I do like leaving a straight house and coming home to the same. Even though hubby won't be traveling with me this time, I don't want him to have to clean up messes after I leave. Just ain't right. But he is usually the one who leaves a mess if the truth be told. And I have reason to believe he has hustled quite fervently before to have the house to my standards by the time I arrive home from a trip when he has not accompanied me and has been bachin' it in my absence. Fluff the pillows, load the dishwasher, and have the candles burning, baby!
Years ago I heard it said that you should always make sure you have on clean undies because you never know when you might have an accident and they may have to cut your underwear off! That left an impression on me. I think my obsession with leaving things "just so" when I travel is the same sort of philosophy. What if (God forbid) your trip is your final trip (and I mean final as in going-to-the-home-on-the-other-side kind of final)? Can't you just see friends and family coming to your house to pay their respects and having to sit on a moldy toilet or find 9-month-old leftovers in the fridge? I have been known to smell something foul for days at a time and finally discover it's an old pot of leftover greens I cooked three months ago and forgot was in the fridge. It would be a total disgrace to the family left behind if that was the situation. I would've left a legacy for my family, but one they would not be very proud of. I can just hear people saying to my daughters, Oh, you're herrrr daughter (the one who never cleans out her fridge)..." Gotta be careful about those things. Also, smells are some of the first impressions, good or bad, folks remember when they walk into your home. Once when we had a house on the market, a lady came in and asked the realtor if we had pets (we didn't at the time) because she didn't like the way the house smelled. Afterwards we realized we had forgotten to take out the kitchen trash, ugh! We promptly emptied the trash, called the realtor, and asked her to bring the lady back for another sniff. We never heard from her again.
I certainly hope and pray this trip won't be my last and that I will return home safe and sound, complete with clean underwear intact. And I hope that my hubby will remember his unspoken commitment to have the house straight when I return. There is something about returning home to a clean house. It's your place of abode at its very best. If you are anything like me, you feel your home is really your castle when it's clean, free of clutter, and smells nice when you walk in the door. If you are blessed to have a peaceful dwelling that you call home, it's that one place where you can rest without distraction, be yourself, and enjoy all the pleasures of life -- like a comfy bed, good food, a hot shower, and Blue Bloods every Friday night. I think I like returning home as much as I like traveling. Matter of fact, I'm sure of it.
Today has been a good day. I photographed the most adorable little guy, and it was such a pleasure to try and squeeze a smile out of him. Afterwards, I took out to attend to some much overdue grooming, and received a great haircut and a lovely pedicure. Photographing a sweet little guy or gal is always a pleasure; that goes without saying. I get to snuggle a baby and have the honor of capturing their sweet little faces with my lens.
But you'd think I would (like most women) look forward to a haircut and pedicure. I don't. Although most women today consider pedicures a routine grooming affair, pedi's are still very much a luxury to me. When I was growing up, my sister and I didn't know anything about having a pedicure. We painted our own fingernails and toenails and we thought everyone else did the same. But nowadays women pay to have those things done, and it has become a thing of relaxation and something that calms the mind and relaxes the body. I'm sure women have been paying for this amenity for decades if not centuries, but what do I know. As for me I've had a total of maybe 10 in my entire adult life. Why then, with it being such an extravagance, do I dread going? I know when I leave the salon, I will be glad I went. But I put it off, always thinking Oh, I don't have time or I don't feel like it today or I don't want someone judging my feet. What, are you kidding? That's what a pedicure is all about. Letting someone else deal with the grossness of your feet. But I'm the kind of silly lady who thinks she has to clean her feet up before she goes. It's much the same for the haircut. I put it off with the lamest excuses. I haven't colored my roots! I haven't even styled it today! What will they think?!! In fact, when I finally signed in at the hair salon today, I was shocked to find out that I had not been in for a trim in 49 weeks! Forty-nine weeks -- that's almost a year! But, unknowing to the hairdresser, I really hadn't withheld myself a trim that long. I actually had gone to another salon where I had a coupon but, as coupons sometimes go, I wasn't so pleased with that haircut. Then the last time I actually cut my own hair. That's right. I pulled it back smoothly in a low ponytail held with a wide clip and oh-so-carefully trimmed off my ponytail. Today my hairdresser said, "Oh, you had an undercut bob last time, didn't you?" Haha, it was hard to contain my snickering, as the hairdresser actually put a name to the style I had given myself! An UNDERCUT BOB, who'd have known?
After the hair salon, I headed to the nail salon. I settled into my massage chair and the lady dipped my feet into really hot water. Ouch, I said to myself, just like I thought, she thinks my feet need the hottest water possible or there just might be no hope for these feet. But she graciously tempered the water and I hunkered down for a heavenly foot massage that I literally could've sat there and indulged in for the next 24 hours. But, alas, it came to an end, and I took my freshly painted toenails out the door and thought to myself that all I was good for at that moment in time was a long nap. I guess that's proof that a good haircut and an even better pedicure is one sure way to bring a little relaxation and luxury into your day. And for that I am very grateful. My sweet girlfriends usually give me gift cards for pedicures for Christmas or birthdays so I am doubly blessed not to have to pay. Uh-oh, I wonder if they think my feet are disgusting...
Oh, well, whatever excuses I come up with, I am always glad when I finally go for that haircut or indulge in that pedicure. It takes my appearance to a whole new level, somewhere between acceptable and pretty darn good. At least I don't have to continue walking around like a cavewoman with overgrown hair and
six-month old nail polish on my toes.
But in all honesty...I'd rather photograph babies. They don't give a rip what you look like!
I respectfully request that you humor me.
I am doing the happy dance. I will be headed south to Honduras this next week. It's been just over four months since I have seen my youngest granddaughter, and my "missing my grandkids" bell starts to ring quite loudly after just two. She is coming up on 21 months, and she is changing so quickly that it makes my head spin. When Hollie was pregnant, I gave her this small piece of advice: Just when you think things are under control (i.e., the eating schedule, the sleeping schedule), things will shift and you will have to re-evaluate and adapt changes for your "new normal." That is because a tiny baby is constantly evolving by their quicker-than-life growth -- first, a small child, then a bigger small child, then a grade-schooler, a tweener, and a teen. Every season of their lives has its own set of challenges. What about the "I wanna do it myself!" stage or the "No, it's mine!" stage or the "My hair looks horrible!" stage or the "Nobody likes me!" stage? With each new stage comes a new set of trials, but always a new set of joys as well.
Since early May when I last saw her, she has: Mastered the art of running and jumping and climbing onto the sofa all by herself; she has siginificantly improved her motor skills and can throw a ball like a champ; she knows faces (even on wavy Skype) and can call people by name. And her personality has changed significantly as well. She wrinkles that little nose, shows her temper, can shriek to the highest heaven, and lets you know in no uncertain terms what she wants and that she wants it RIGHT NOW!. They (her parents) are teaching her to use her words to let them know what she needs and she is doing quite well at that. And thanks to a daughter and son-in-love who try really hard to send pictures and videos and Skype as often as possible, I have been able to share in these milestones through virtual reality. It thrills my heart when she sees my face come up on the computer and she screams "NaaaNa!" There I am, melted into a puddle of emotional goo on the floor.
However, no matter how pleasing it is to see an image of a slice of double-fudge cake, it's just not the same as taking a big bite of that cake in reality. Likewise for a giggling, curly-headed mop of a little girl named Preston Noelle. This nana's hands are itching to touch, hold, stroke, and squeeze tight. I am also looking forward to many sloppy kisses, just the way she knows how to give them. The Good Lord willing, I'm just one week away from doing all of the above. It will take an early morning trek during the Atlanta rush hour to make it to Hartsfield to board a 3.5 hour flight, then go through customs (ugh, and I don't speak a lick of Spanish exact Hola and a few other greetings), then travel the hour or so through the craziness of a developing country's capitol city and just out of town up to the mountain where the little cherub abides and flits about her flurry of daily activities. It seems she stays really busy these days stacking up boxes, lining up her babies, and helping mommie clean (I say that in the loosest form of the word "clean"). In my mind's eye I can see her running to me at the airport, yelling, "NaaaNa!" It's worth every single bit of the effort it takes to get there, and I am beyond excited! Sometimes I wonder why God has allowed all my children to move so far away from me when being with them is really all I ever want to do. I occasionally indulge in a pity party and think to myself What have I done to deserve this? Is God punishing me for something? But I have had people say to me, "Well, you love to travel, maybe that's His way of allowing you to do that." And that is quite true, I do enjoy traveling. Also, I know that my little Preston by virtue of being my daughter's daughter is involved in a picture that is so much bigger than this nana wanting to see her grandbaby. She is a part of a grander plan.
So...after four years of adjusting to my daughter and her family living out of the country, I have somewhat adjusted to my "new normal" I think...or, uh-oh, does this mean changes are coming...will I have to adjust to another "new normal" soon? That, I don't know, but this I do: My angel baby will be squiggling to get out of my arms in less than 200 hours, me attemping to chase her around and hold onto the package of preciousness that she is, as she struggles to break free in her quest to be her own little independent self. And she will do all that, despite the fact that her nana has traveled 1400 miles to see her.
As women, our hair is supposed to be our glory. It says so in the Bible, it does. And if we researched just how much hard-earned cash women spend on their hair every year cutting, trimming just a smidge, washing, conditioning, styling, dyeing, undyeing, ombre-ing (is that a word?), perming, crimping, and a million other things, we probably would be astounded. Back in the olden days you were lucky enough if you got a good shampoo occasionally (and a bath), and braiding and pinning was about as fancy as it got.
I don't know why I've been going through old photos lately, but every so often I enjoy taking a trip back in time to visit earlier years...the years of my youth...my teen years, my early adulthood, my early years as a new mother. I mean, isn't that why we take pictures anyway? I guess it gives me pause, if not great contemplation, to see where I was and how far I've come. Hopefully most of the time I can say that I've moved forward and not backward. It's the same with hair. We look back at the old hairstyles and think to ourselves WHAT WAS I THINKING? But would you also agree that 10 or 20 years from today you will look back at your hair in pics from 2014 and think once more what an idiot you were for wearing your hair that way? Allow me to share some hillarious photos of my own hair evolution...
Now, this one to the left is one I especially don't mind, and one I am actually very proud of. The short, short crop was not from a haircut but was the grow-out from the chemo baldness in 2006. This is an image of a woman who was glad to still be walking around on planet Earth.
I might add that I hope you enjoy these pictures of me, because it is rare that I would share them. But as I flipped through the old images recently, it dawned on me that life is a lot like hair. We go through different eras. We try to change things up. We work on it, try to cover up the grays, even take the scissors sometimes and snip off the part we don't like. But it is what it is, like the ol' saying goes. Life -- with all its ugly grays, split ends, and aggravating ability to be out of control sometimes -- is still life. And there's only one alternative to life, and you know what that is. Besides, hair and life are both what you make them (again, as the ol' saying goes). In the picture to the left, I was just glad to be alive and well...and to have any hair at all. So next time you take a trip down memory lane and flip through some antiquated images of your earlier self, don't think about how bad you looked or the lonely, hard, discouraging days those pictures might represent. Think about how life, like hair, sometimes looks good and sometimes it looks like crap. But having any kind of hair is better than having no hair at all. Ditto for life.
When my girls were young, I went through a "Victorian" stage. Do you know what that is? Everything was influenced by the Victorian era. My decor of choice included lots of silk floral swags over everything from the fireplace mantel to pictures that hung on the wall. There were lace doilies everywhere, and rich burgandies and hunter greens and dusty roses mingled in the heavy floral wallpaper. One day recently while flipping through a magazine which featured a "2014 house of the year," much to my surprise and angst the decorators featured the living room in dusty rose and slate blue. I couldn't believe it! I lamented that those colors might be coming back in vogue, and I felt a little nauseous just at the sound of the words "dusty rose." "Noooooo," I thought to myself, "not dusty rose...I think I might get sick!" But usually whether it's home decor, fashion, or a cultural practice (like gardening is back in in a big way, whereas in the eighties not so much), history surely does seem to repeat itself. One Christmas I even had a pale pink and gold Christmas tree, fully decked out in Victorian angels, flowers, feathers, gaudy swags, and all things of excess. When I look back at those pictures now, I think how awful they look but, at the time, it was all the rage and I cannot tell you all the oohs and ahhs I got over that pink Christmas tree. In the seventies I had orange laminate countertops in my kitchen and I thought I would never, ever again embrace orange. What color do I have in my kitchen today? Orange, of course. What goes around truly does come around.
But one good thing that came out of my Victorian stage was that of practicing the art of tea. Tea was a very Victorian thing to do, so I embraced the tradition (even though I really preferred coffee) of having regular tea parties with my girls. Now, tea parties are as old as time, but it took my affinity for all things Victorian to realize that my girls might love a great tea party, and they did -- even into their tweens. I mean, what's not to love about a perfectly brewed cup of tea, laden with sugar and cream, perfectly cut tiny sandwiches without the crusts, and petite cookies and cakes? And the fun of lifting that pinky as we raised a cup to our lips! I had a great collection of teapots, cups and saucers, and the tea party became one of our growing-up rituals. I think I can speak for my girls when I say we loved every minute of it. I especially cherish those moments because the time spent with them in the anticipation and carrying out of tea party preparations remains one of my best memories to this day. So...as you can see in the above image, it appears as though Hollie has begun the tradition with her own little Preston, complete with all of Preston's "friends." I think I might see bunny, piggy, owl, and even D.W. (of Arthur the Aardvark fame). At this point it is just pretend tea and cookies but, oh, the pleasures of many, many tea parties to come. The artistry of crafting tiny finger foods, brewing the perfect pot, and choosing an impeccable flower-laden cup with which to indulge -- it's the things little girls are made of.
And, Hollie, I wish you all the joys from future tea parties just like the joys that I still to this day embrace, and the rich memories of a time when a tea party with your daughter was the best part of your day.
I think Abbie was about eight-ish in this photo, the perfect age for grown-up tea parties (BTW, notice the oak chairs , hunter green hutch, and floral wallpaper? Totally Victorian...eww)
Posted by CC
I love to write; you love to read...let's share!