Sunday, January 29, 2006

I'm Pretty Boring in My Old Age

In real life, I prefer not to call attention to myself, so I am mystified by my recent post proclaiming my own birthday. What's wrong with me? Perhaps it's old age breaking down my inhibitions.

Yesterday morning, I took my daughter to the grocery store to buy essentials: milk, bread, cookies and $107 worth of groceries when it was all said and done. My little girl sat in the cart, so she was positioned perfectly to transfer everything to the conveyor belt. Which she did, by herself, no help from Mommy required. She wore a sundress, tights and hot-pink Converse Chuck Taylors . She looked ridiculous and charming, so much that every menopausal woman in the story smiled and tried to chat with her. (Her Royal Majesty of the Pink High-Tops wouldn't answer a single question nor make eye contact.)

I spent my birthday afternoon getting my hair cut. My poor stylist. I said, "Okay, see? I don't want to look like a cocker spaniel. You know what I mean? See this? Ears? No. Too much length. But no layers. I hate layers. Layers make me look like Little Orphan Annie. You know what I mean? And my bangs. I think I need more bangs. What do you think? They are thinning a little and can you fix that? I want a sort of a bob, but not too short. And not like a mushroom. The curl is natural, yes. See, how it's weighed down and flat on my head, but like a cocker spaniel down here?" I went on for five incoherent minutes while she squinted at me and finally pulled out a book full of hairstyles. We settled on a style and at one point, they were straightening my hair, two of them at once, tugging and burning the curl out of my locks. I went home with super-straight, silky hair, in contrast to my normal Ronald McDonald bouffant.

I was home only an hour or two, long enough to cook dinner and tidy up a little. My mother came over half an hour late to watch the children. As we drove, I telephoned the restaurant--they won't take reservations for parties of less than six people--and asked to be put on the waiting list. Good thing I used the telephone girl's name ("Stephanie"), when we arrived because they had no trace of us on their list and the waiting time was up to an hour and a half. When I said, "Well, I talked to Stephanie," she whirled around and said, "That's me!"

We waited only fifteen minutes, then sat in a corner table where we could see the sky darken from gray to black before our dinners arrived. We gazed at the lit-up ferry as it slid up to the dock nearby and I said, "We need to take the kids on a ferry this summer." Two tables were full of high school kids in formal gowns and tuxedos. I only wish we'd been right next to them so I could have eavesdropped successfully.

Dinner was excellent and my husband was in fine form, making me laugh. We really ought to go out more often.

Last night, I watched "The Beach" on DVD. I'd recently read the book and wanted to see the movie in its entirety. (I've seen bits of it on the Oxygen network.) I was most fascinated by the special features, specifically the director's commentary about deleted scenes. Of course, the book was better than the movie. Books are always better than the movies.

This morning, my daughter insisted on wearing a Barbie ballerina costume to church, which I allowed. I simply dressed her in a black turtleneck and black pants and her pink Chuck Taylors. She looked endearing in a crazy sort of way. Sadly, I didn't get a photograph. She reminded me of that guy who dressed like the tooth fairy on some television commerical. Only smaller and more adorable and with blond curls.

We napped together, she and I, for two glorious hours, during which time I had an insane dream involving Mexican guys keying my car and two baby alligators in my garage and my daughter wandering the street due to my carelessness and my husband scolding me for driving in a dangerous residential area in Houston.

When we woke, she informed me we'd be going around the block and I knew better than to argue. I pointed out that she'd have to get dressed and that it was cold and rainy. We made it only halfway around, she on her tricycle, me walking, when she decided to turn back. She parked her trike, then we started off again, splashing through puddles and veritable streams on the side of the road. It's rained thirty-eight out of the last forty days and half our driveway is a pond large enough to cover the tops of yellow rubber boots.

Can you believe this recitation of my weekend? I feel like I should be writing it on notebook paper and turning it in for a grade to my creative writing teacher who would then ask me to please rewrite and use more interesting details and embellishments. Have you learned nothing from James Frey? she'd say.

I watched the Screen Actor's Guild Awards tonight. My favorite moment just might be Jamie Lee Curtis stumbling and then regaining her balance while she came down the stairs. And I was pleased that "Crash" won for Best Film Ensemble. And Reese Witherspoon won, which is perfect.

Then I sobbed during the end of Grey's Anatomy, which can mean only one thing.

I'm not menopausal yet, despite being fortysomething.

(Thank you, everyone, for the birthday greetings. I appreciate it.)


Blogger ilovecheese said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEL!!!!(though a tad late..) I see that you did have a nice weekend (but the rain is a real party pooper is it not?)..
I think it was Abrham Lincoln who said "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." You have accomplished so much and I wish you get your handful of the sky!

2:58 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

The shoes are adorable. And good for you for not making a fuss about them.

6:04 AM  
Blogger The Dung Beetle said...

Happy Belated Birthday... glad you went out and had some fun.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Darling said...

Wow what a birthday! It sounds like fun. I laughed right out loud when you wrote, "Have you learned nothing from James Frey?" You're incredibly funny!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Eyes said...

Happy Belated Birthda, Mel!!!!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

Love the shoes, and I know exactly which commercial you are talking about.

Have you ever thought of doing the Japanese hair straightening? It is semi-permanent, at least six months or so, if not longer depending on the hair. I don't think it is too expensive, maybe 300 or thereabouts.

9:21 AM  
Blogger JEB said...

I'm glad I'm not the only person that likes to eavesdrop at restaurants. My fiance (that still feels weird) is amazed that I'd rather listen to strangers than him, but I figure I can always listen to him after the strangers finish their conversation. It's just too good to be true at times! Even if I don't catch every word they say, I like to fill in the blanks and come up with GREAT stories.

9:25 AM  
Blogger dinodoc said...

That would be the Nabisco Snack Fairy ("snack happy!"), a.k.a. Colin (the Canadian) from Whose Line Is It Anyway.

Yes, I realize it is scary that I know these things.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Traci said...

Happy Belated Birthday Mel! I was so glad to hear that there was someone else that loves to eavesdrop and then JEM confesses to it also. My husband and friends think I'm crazy and that it's rude. The people don't know I'm eavesdropping so how is it rude? I'm fascinated and sometimes amazed at what others have to say. I LOVE to people watch too. I could sit in the food court at the mall for hours and just watch the people going by. Airports and dirt track races usually present some great people watching also! That's the main reason I tag along with the hubby. That must be why I am a reality TV junkie too!

12:05 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

What a wonderful weekend! By the way, we are HUGE fans of pink Converse in our house. We have an 8 year old sized pair AND an 11 year old sized pair. I bet they're even sweeter on your little one though. I never thought Chuck Taylors translated well to big feet... lol

8:22 PM  
Blogger red fish said...

I LOVE the shoes. I'm embarrassed to admit how many Chuck Taylor shoes (high top and low top) are in my closet. They compromise at least 50% of all of my shoes. My most recent pair was white low tops with purple flowers. They were a gift from my husband. I can't say he never buys me flowers!

8:39 PM  

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