The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Old lingerie never dies
Something happens to me when it gets to be the end of the year. I go through my wardrobe to clean out the things that no longer fit right that I feel someone else could benefit from. Usually, this means getting rid of pants and tops that are too tight, or skirts that are now riding up my thighs instead of hanging the way that they should.

I have a dilemma this year - what to do with lingerie that I am bored with? As incredible as that may sound, lingerie can get boring. Part of the allure of lingerie is that it offers a cover for secret places, and those covers themselves can be charming due to unexpected nuances. If you know the terrain too much, the excitement dies and the lingerie becomes just another nightie. A sexy nightie - but too familiar, all the same.

There are no charities that I'm aware of, that accept second hand lingerie. I guess I could sell the stuff on eBay, but that defeats the whole charitable aspect of giving things away. My conservative upbringing won't allow me to just throw it out. It seems like a sacrilege anyway, to throw away something that has brought so much pleasure to so few.

So, I'm stuck with lingerie that may never see the light of day again. If anyone has any ideas for what to do with it, please let me know. I need to clean out my dresser drawers.

So that I can buy more lingerie, of course.

Listen to the audio [3 MB]

posted by Melanie O. at 4:06 PM - 4 comments
Monday, December 24, 2007
Christmas memories - Pt 1
I'm not sure why Christmas is such a strong evoker of memories, but around this time of year, I start feeling nostalgic for the ghosts of Christmas Past. Not that there's anything wrong with the present, but nothing can replace the memories you develop as a child, when you believed in the jolly man with the white beard and red suit.

The first Christmas I can really remember, I was five. I had asked Santa for a doll and doll bed that year. I wanted a doll bed just like the one I'd seen in our nursery school.

There was no big lead up to Christmas in our house. My parents' only decoration was a nativity set that I used to play with as a child would play with dolls and a doll house. My favorite character was the little shepherd boy and his lamb. That nativity set was a staple in our house for many years. If my sister and I were lucky, we'd each be given a glitter-festooned cardboard Advent calendar that had a Bible verse behind each door. That was the extent of our decorations. It's no wonder that the sight of red flocked reindeer and ceramic pixies gets me excited nowadays.

Church was a big part of our lives. My mother was the church organist and my father was on the church business committee. We were there nearly every Sunday, and I couldn't wait for Advent and the lighting of the candles in the Advent wreath, which hung suspended from the church ceiling. Once Advent started, I knew that Christmas wasn't too far away, and I had to be extra special good.

Of course, my sister and I had our photo taken with Santa Claus at the local Sears department store. Department stores were really different back then. They had mezzanines and much smaller stock areas, which made them feel a lot more cozy than the steel and glass boxes that pass for department stores today. Some of them had elevators with expandable gates and men who would ask you which floor you wanted to go to. Shopping was so much more personal.

That first Christmas of my memory was filled with much anticipation, as I was old enough to understand the concept of Santa Claus. In our house, Santa did everything: brought the tree - all decorated with lights and baubles, filled the stockings, and brought the presents for under the tree. It was truly magical with everything appearing nearly overnight.

I got my doll and doll bed and remember feeling so excited! Nothing can compare with the magic of believing and then getting what you want when you're a kid. As an adult, I try to re-create that feeling in the way I decorate my house and in the enthusiasm that I have for one of the most beautiful (to me) holidays. Even though I am no longer an avid church goer, the message of "Peace, Love, and Joy" reverberates within me and will stay with me forever.


posted by Melanie O. at 4:11 PM - 4 comments
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Hams in hats
We had our annual planning day for work, this past week. For the first half of the day, it was business-like and we did our duty by setting some goals and objectives for the rest of the financial year. But the second half of the day, we let our hair down in good style.

Or rather, we put on hats.

We held our meeting at the Online Manager's house. Jo has a nice terrace style home in a desirable part of the city, and her back yard is completely walled and paved, in inner Sydney style, with plants professionally planted to create a little haven in the middle of the hustle and bustle. It also has a gas barbecue, which we took advantage of, for a late lunch.

Jo is also very much like myself, with a love for all things fun and kitschy, and has a collection of hats in her dining room, that sit, in a wicker basket, just waiting to be unleashed. By the end of the day, we had S., in a pith helmet, working the barbecue, and another S. in a pink cowboy hat with attached tiara. In rotation, we had my pink fedora, a straw farmer's hat, and a captain's hat.

It was a great day for a barbecue, and for hats. R, who is also a photographer in addition to being a great IT guy, brought all of his equipment, including reflective umbrellas, remote flashes, and tripod. The afternoon turned into a mock photo shoot. I'm not sure which magazines the images would have been appropriate for. Perhaps Urban Cowgirl and Sailing Weekly.

Three glasses of champagne later, I was ready to captain the Queen Mary 2.
posted by Melanie O. at 11:04 AM - 3 comments
Friday, December 07, 2007
More Beauty and Health Tips from Blog Readers
As promised, here are some reader contributions that help us all (men and women) retain a bit more of our youth and vitality as we move along in years:
Kanani said...

"Beauty tip:
Wear rubber gloves while cleaning or washing dishes."

gardenbug said...

"My friends are in their 70s...and have trouble with dry skin. The solution was to not wash every day with soap. Sweat washes away with just plain water. Oily secretions needs soap and water, but glands have pretty much shut down at our ages. A quick rinse off does a good job of keeping us socially acceptable. Soap is needed only on those places that are "dark, warm and moist." ..selective washing, you could say.

I learned to rinse off in the tub with warm water. A few drops of an oil in the water keeps my skin from drying out."

Anthony said...

"I love these health and beauty tips! I think being healthy, treating your body as your temple, and taking care of yourself as best as you can makes one beautiful. I also know that self-love, self-appreciation, and self-respect are beautiful. I would also like to suggest brushing your teeth with baking soda; it gets them nice, shiny and white, and it neutralizes bad breath, too! Also, a lukewarm or room temperature rinse of green tea or chamomile is also good for your hair and gives it a nice shine. You can also use it as a spritz during the day to moisten your skin. Lavender water and rose water are also good for these purposes."

Donald said...

"I'm an American. There is no avoiding stress these days. Unless I take up drinking....but I like my liver."

Don - taking care of your liver is a good thing!
Kanani said...

"Oh... water.... I drink loads of water each day.
And in the morning, I get up and put saline eye drops in....moistener, so that I don't rub my eyes so much during the day!"

LivinginOz said...

It is so true - it's very difficult to avoid stress, especially when it comes to making a living, paying the bills, and trying to get ahead. I think this is where having a well developed sense of humor and the ability to see "the big picture" need to come in.

I have come to see life like a game of chess. You have to be able to think ahead several moves to avoid setting yourself up for a pitfall. Unfortunately, I am a long ways away from being a chess grand master. ;-)

P.S. I love my readers' contributions and will add on any others that you wish to contribute. They're worth sharing.
posted by Melanie O. at 7:24 PM - 2 comments
Monday, December 03, 2007
O Christmas Tree
Anniversary Christmas TreeToday is Dan's and my wedding anniversary. We really didn't have anything planned for today. Instead, over the weekend, we went out and picked out a Real Tree for our livingroom. It is, by default, our anniversary gift to each other.

I decided a long time ago that real trees were far more "green" than trees made from petroleum products (besides, they smell wonderful), so, we sought out a tree farm in our area and picked out the tree that we wanted. On the farm, we were met by an elderly German farmer who warned us that most people pick a tree that's too large for their house. He also noticed our old BMW and declared that Audis were better sellers in Europe.

Being an experienced tree-picker, I declared that if we could find a tree that was Dan's height, that would suit us very well. We have 9-feet tall ceilings in our house, and I felt certain that a tree that was just over 6 feet tall would work well in that space.

Well, we got our tree, and slung it into the trunk of the car where it dangled dangerously just above road level on the way home. Thankfully, we didn't have far to go.

The afternoon was spent shaping the tree and getting it into my old cast iron stand. The stand has stood the test of time and still is in great shape, with the exception of missing a couple of locking nuts. As it turned out, these were important to the general stability of the tree.

Several hours later, after digging through several plastic storage bins, the tree stood, proudly, in its stand, in one corner of the room, partially blocking the view of the television set. Sure, the height is fine - but the tree is FULL. And sappy. Still, proud of our accomplishment, we "let it go," determined to enjoy the tree more than our view of the television set, and called it a day when our eyelids were drooping and after I had wearied of cleaning up pine needles.

Dan went off to bed. And that's when we heard the Crash. Followed by the sounds of tinkling broken glass ornaments. I rushed into the livingroom and surveyed the carnage in front of me. The noise woke Dan from his slumber and he looked with dismay over the water-logged wreckage. We looked at each other. And laughed. We were too tired to cry.

The next day, we went to the hardware store to pick up the missing locking nuts, and spent no less than four hours detangling four strings of lights. The tree is now in the other corner - away from the television set, and shows no sign of falling over. It smells heavenly and now it feels like the holiday season at last. The great thing about having a wedding anniversary so close to the holidays is that it feels like the world is celebrating with you.

Listen to the audio: [ 5.5 MBs]

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posted by Melanie O. at 4:00 PM - 4 comments

About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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