Sunday, January 28, 2007

Blinded by the Light and Woke Up by the in the Middle of the Night

Yes, I have seen the light. Because of dooce (peer to the right please for the URL), I have begun the arduous yet liberating and exhilarating task known 'round these parts as: Spring Cleaning.

You've heard of it? Well, the oops is on me then.

I started with our coat closet. Apparently, we like coats (and cookbooks) very much. We have coats with my old company logo on them. Coats with at least a year's worth of dirt on them. Coats that the kid grew out of 24 months ago. Coats that I outgrew--on several levels and sizes--in 1988 (which, you will soon see, is a running theme of my spring clean).

Some I kept, like my black and white Fonzarelli motocycle jacket. Finn may want to burn that some day in effigy and I couldn't, just simply could not, rob that from his future angst. A teenage soul needs light--burning, yet controllable, flames, if necessary--to live.

I don't know that I can trash any of my cookbooks. I may want to try that mackerel jelly roll someday. You never really know.

So I closed the doors on the coat closet and took on the linen closet. And it needed a showdown. I mean, really needed a showdown.

I threw out several bottles of infant cough medicine, vintage 2003. I transferred some 30-thread count linens to the costume department. (Finn will be a ghost or mummy this year, methinks.) I sandwiched several bars of Zest between towels, tablecloths, and pillowcases. (To keep the odors spring fresh.)

And then I faced my nemesis.

I don't consider myself a packrat. Or collector. But I know what I like. And back in 1988, yes, 1988, I liked Victoria's Secret Raspberry Glace. It was one of the first fruity scents trapped in a body lotion--and it was less floral and more desserty than a lot of what you find on the shelves today.

So when VS discontinued it in something like 1989, I started buying up bottles. And because I would never, never, never find a scent I would like so much, I eased my use. I hoarded. I left bottles unsqueezed, unopened, unconsumed.

And then, because I taught seventh grade, had female relatives, and was of an age and disposition to care about and smother my B.O., I started receiving other kinds of body lotions. Kiwi and apple. Green tea and lime. Cucumber and melon.

And they kept coming. Fast.

So when I began to clean out my closet, I had a healthy supply of body lotions, aged between 2 and, eegads, 20 years. Stored, neatly and in chronological order, next to my collection of '80s plum eyeshadows (the real and original purples), '70s peach lipsticks I stole from mother, and chalky early 90s reds. And those were stashed neatly next to the wired buckets of free gifts, from every era, decade, and mood of my life. Free Estee Lauder gifts. Free Lancome gifts. Free Clinique gifts. My life, scented and branded.

My really rather entire scent and color-me-beautiful history was all contained on two shelves of a linen closet. I don't have any clothes or shoes left from high school (except for the aforementioned leather and a pair of NaNas). I've never been a big photo albumer. I suppose the multiple bottles of Raspberry Glace and pill boxes of eyeshadow are the closest thing I get to a scrapbook.

So to get all that--and I mean all that--into the trash bag took a lot of sucking air and pep talks. Out loud. Out really loud.

But I'm kind of happy to say that that history is off the shelves and in a Hefty cinch sack. And when you think about, it's rather nice company--a kind of conflating of personal and family history in the mingling of cosmetic tubes and medicine bottles.

It could be said.

(A quick addendum: I did take several bottles of VS on our backpacking trip through Europe in 1992. So for me, Raspberry Glace will always be the scent of youth, blisters--and a democratized Czech Repulic.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Incredible Shrinking Woman

I am drinking Madagascar Vanilla tea--and celebrating being 3 pounds less than I was last week--and 8 lbs. lighter than I was last year.

I feel like crap, and I'm sore from my Buffy workout fantasy of last Monday, but I'm also trying to calculate, using my very substandard powers of arithmetic, what 3 lbs. translate to in terms of space occupied. (Stoichiometry, anyone?) And write a blog at the same time.

See--the things you can do, the level at which you can multitask, when you're 3 lbs. lighter.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Joss Whedon Likes the Squiggly Slide

Yesterday, I decided I desparately needed to get my groove on and my dark chocoloate truffle choxies off. So I decked out in my Flashdance-inspired warm up pants, zipped Finn up in 14 layers of impenetrable gear, and trucked through snow and ice to get to our car and head out for some cardio ass-kicking at the Y.

I boxed whole-heartedly and maybe a bit too passionately for about 12 minutes, just before my heart started thumping loud enough to turn heads and just after the woman next to me looked at me as if my very private demons were about to jump out and very publicly attack her. Then I coasted until we got to the abs and faked my way through 153 crunches.

But this time is not just for me. It's family time--separate but equal family time. I get to play out my Buffy fantasies: roundhousing, jabbing, and hooking my demons into dust, and Finn gets to play astronaut on a very large and very scary indoor play contraption that I like to keep my distance from. I'm just not much into small tunnels and squiggly slides. Perhaps I can trace that back to being stuffed down the laundry chute as a child. Sisters are love.

And so after our imaginative forays into nether and outer worlds, Finn and I regrouped and compare notes.

I shared my feats of thighs and biceps. Finn looked at me blankly, as only a three-year-old who's thinking about what this adventure to the Y should cost me--cookie, ice cream, another shot of chocolate milk?--can. So I tried to pry into his extraterrestial expeditions, extend his imagination, feed his role playing--what planet did he visit? what was his favorite part of the spaceship? did he make any astronaut or alien friends? really? well, what was his name?

Finn thoughtfor a bit. And then said, "His name is Joss Whedon. And he likes the squiggly slide, too."

I suppose that's what happens when you spend the first year of your life breastfeeding while your mom watches reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I suppose that's exactly what happens.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Lions and Rabbits and--Is That a Bear?

Today, Finn woke up and looked like a lion.

Certainly, there's a lion in every toddler. I don't doubt that. But I'm not talking disposition here. What I am talking about is an animalistic resemblance to one or the other of his family lines--a kind of aesthetic inheritance.


My family looks like rabbits. We have upturned twitchy noses, puffy cheeks cast right under our beady little eyes, and a slight buck-toothed overbite. Rabbits.

Barry's family, they're lions. They have longer, wider noses, thin yet curvy lips. And they have fantastic hair. Hence, lions.

Usually, Finn shows the mark of the rabbit clan. And even though he may roar--and I'm talking literally here, with crinkly Klingon nose and incomprehensible gutteral yawps--he still is a rabbit. A rabbit with a roar.

But today, he started as a lion. His features a little less, what?, upturned.

Today, he proved, for once and for all, that he is decidely not the mailman's child.

Who looks a lot like a bear.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Chipping Away the Resolve

So, I skate out to our Ford Explorer. Dig out find a scraper from the backseat. Spend 20 minutes scraping the car, breathing on my fingers, scraping the car, sitting on my hands. Drive to Y for my morning workout, eager to shed the Chinese food I ate last night and the copious amounts of wine I drank this weekend. Skate through its parking lot—

Only to find that today is the day that they’re changing out the cardio equipment.

Skate back to the car, chip more ice off the Explorer . . .