Stories from December 2010

What’s THAT On My Face?

Karrie McAllister

Every time my kids tell me that something isn’t fair, I blurt out three words:  ZITS AND WRINKLES.

Because in my world, there is nothing as unjust as having to treat them both on the same face at the same time.  Nothing.  Not even being carded for a bottle of wine I was buying one day when I was also purchasing wrinkle cream, which is a very true and funny story I’ll save for another day.

But back to the appalling state of affairs that is being in your thirties and waking up to a whopper right there on your chin.

“Mom’s got a spot,” I hear.

“It’s not a spot, it’s a pimple,” says the wise one.

And I find myself mumbling the horrors of hormones, reminiscing teenage years and wondering why on this green Earth I haven’t outgrown these things and what I did to deserve this blemished trait.  Surely I must have done something really awful because I’m absolutely certain I’m the only person in the world that has to endure fixing her hair differently to a school choir concert so that the other parents can’t see the eruption on my forehead.  Not to mention the crow’s feet around my eyes when I smile at my kids on stage.

That’s the other part of the ultimate in unfairness: wrinkles. They creep up out of nowhere and permanently attach themselves to your face like a toddler to a leg on the first day of childcare.  And like the toddler, they don’t go away easily, no matter how hard you shake and bribe. (Read more…)

Coordinated Throw Pillow Dreams and Leather Ottoman Wishes

Angie McCullagh

My husband and kids ruined my dream of living inside a glossy catalogue full of lovely wine buffets and distressed maple headboards. You know the ones. They come to our mailbox thrice monthly and are mostly redesigned versions of the exact same accent furniture and Mason jar mugs.

Still. When I was a singleton in my 20s, I got the catalogues in the mail and, sitting on my futon surrounded by hastily assembled bookcases and orange crate end tables, flipped through dreamily.

Someday, I always thought.

But, living alone in an expensive city, I couldn’t even afford one silver-plated picture frame. When my husband and I moved in together and accrued enough money to buy a few new things, we found we had different tastes. Not to mention price ranges. His fell somewhere between garage sale and curbside Free. (I exaggerate. But only a little.) (Read more…)


Kate Chretien

I was walking up to my mini-van in a parking garage, breathing a sigh of relief that I actually correctly remembered which floor I parked it on.  Score! Kate: 1, Early-onset Dementia: 0. But, as I rounded the back of the car and headed to the driver’s side, I noted just how close the car that had parked next to me was. Neither of our vehicles were too close to the parking line, these were just tight spaces, apparently, something I had failed to appreciate when I pulled in (and no car was on my driver’s side at the time).

I walked up to my door, unlocked it, and pulled the door open as far as I could. Wow. It was tight. 6 inches of clearance? 7? I looked down at my 6-month preggers bod and tried to open the door just a little more. But, nope. No more possible room.

I casually glanced around. No one in sight. I took  a deep breath in and tried to squeeze my way in. First, with my shoulders squared , hoping just to pop through with blunt forcce. Nope. Then, obliquely. Nope. I shimmied a little. Uh-uh.

College physics, don’t fail me now.  But all I seemed to be able to recall was levers and pulleys and wasn’t sure how that might help me right now.

This was getting embarrassing.

If only my abdominal protrusion could squish in a little, I could make it…I tried pushing in on my belly to deform it for a second but, dude, that uterus was not budging. (Read more…)

Losing Santa

Linda Kennard

I was nine, living with my mom and grandparents while Dad was in Vietnam, when I lost my starry-eyed belief in Santa Claus. The world was white, the sky was blue, and I was cold and mad, standing outside my glass school doors. A classmate of mine stood on the inside, warm and sneering. I swung open the door and shouted, “Yes he is real!” She waited a moment, stuck out her head, and said with infuriating calm, “No, he isn’t.” And on it went. I didn’t tell my mom, grandparents or even my sisters what I learned that day; I didn’t have to. Eventually, they all knew that I knew.

Jay outlasted me on the belief front. Three months shy of her 12th birthday, she was wary but still believing. A year earlier, she narrowly missed having her eyes opened wide when she confessed her belief to a non-believing friend. Nick’s parents had laid it out for him, but when Jay told him that she believed and explained why (because she once heard jingle bells on our roof), Nick listened and said only, “You might be right, Jay.” I love him for that. I’m not sure precisely when Jay stopped clinging to her visions of a winking old man slipping into her home leaving gifts. One Christmas, I just knew that she knew.

This Christmas, Clyde and Tanner know. I can feel it. BigG asked them to rank their belief in Santa at the bottom of their Christmas Wish lists. “A 5 means you believe and a 1 means you don’t.” They each wrote “4” but later retrieved their lists, crossed out the “4” and bolded “5.” But I know better. (Read more…)

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This Weeks Tip

You would think at our age that we wouldn’t have to worry about these things. But, as Kate will attest, even at *ahem* 27, untimely breakouts can (and will) happen. What to do? Apply an ice cube for 30 second. Then soak a cotton ball in eye drops and press it to the “spot” for 3 minutes. The theory is that the ice and drop combination will cause blood vessels below the surface to contract—leaving you looking, well, a little less like Rudolph.