The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Perpetual motion
It's Sunday afternoon and I'm sitting here, sweating. Me! Sweating! My big hair is even bigger! The weather's nice, so you know what that means... it means that Dan and I are working on the house.

Our house, since it's an Edwardian one, requires lots of TLC to keep it in reasonable shape. The driveway is white gravel and needs to be re-done and have weed mat laid down before we are engulfed in vegetation. The brick wall that hides the piers under the foundation needs to be re-done, as the mortar is crumbling and the people that patched over it and painted it didn't want us to find out. We eventually did find out when the bricks went askew and all of the rendering peeled off.

Dan's cleaning out the garage and taking things to the local garbage tip. I've been weeding the rose beds and mosquito-proofing our outdoor toilet. The next thing we're doing is putting unwanted items out on the curb for the locals to help themselves.

It wouldn't be so bad, working up this sweat and going until my hands give out, but it never ends! I'm glad that we're cleaning out a lot of the unwanted items, however, since it gives Dan more space in our garage. I would love to have more living space in our house. I mentioned this to Dan and his mind immediately went to work.

He took me around to the back of the house and went to work, describing how we could add an informal room to the back of the house, where the pergola currently sits. At first, I'm excited, but then I wonder ... how much will this cost, and how long will it take to build this room? I already feel like I live in a perpetual construction zone.

Pity our friends though - between completely gutted kitchens and bathrooms, they've been living in a construction area for months. I think I've figured it out. Women like projects that they can see the end of. Men like projects for the project's sake and when one gets done, they want something else to tinker with. Or maybe that's just Dan and me. We'll never split up. We have too many unfinished projects.
posted by Melanie O. at 2:23 PM - 3 comments
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Hair, the long and short of it
I was browsing through the celebrity news this morning (which is often what one does on a lazy Sunday morning,) and came across Victoria Beckham's new short pixie cut, which is great for women with small faces and frames. The consensus seems to be that she looks wonderful. As for me, I see too much maintenance. Trims every month or so - having to use a blow dryer every day. That's just not for me.

I had my hair cut in a bob a few years ago, and hated every moment of it. Not that bobs don't look fabulous - but unless your hair is pretty much dead straight, it takes a lot of work to get it to look nice, and one rain storm or humid day can ruin 45 minutes' work with the blow dryer and straightener. I have Albert Einstein's wild hair. It was a great look for him - not so good for me.

I wear my hair long now and find that it can look great and isn't a lot of work. I wear it "up" at night and brush it out in the morning. It doesn't need to be washed and blow-dried every day. It's great for someone like me who prefers a more carefree approach to mornings.

One issue I've always had with my hair, however, is that it's thick and wavy (even curly in some spots), and hairdressers just don't seem to be able to do cuts for wavy/curly hair. I've seen some pretty horrible shaggy cuts that flip out in the strangest directions. It doesn't help when your hair has an uneven curl to it and just does its own unflattering thing if left to its own devices. It's disheartening to walk past every hair salon in town and see posters of women with dead straight hair. Needless to say, I've been doing my own hair for years.

What is it with hair, though? We women with wavy hair either want it straighter or curlier (just be something - anything, please!) Women with straight hair want more body in it. Women with curly hair want straight hair. I think this is part of the human condition. The grass, or hair is always 'greener' on the other side of the fence.

posted by Melanie O. at 9:04 AM - 4 comments
Friday, September 12, 2008
Update on Andy
A couple of months ago, Andy called my mother, asking if she'd get him a copy of his birth certificate. Why? Turns out, while he was briefly hospitalized, his wallet was stolen. In his wallet was his birth certificate, his photo ID, and his winning lottery ticket.

Horrified, my mother asked him if he'd reported it to the police. Andy's response:

"I'm a mental patient. They'd think I was making it up and would say I just misplaced it."

After recently reading stories about mental patients being ignored and allowed to die in corridors (NC) and waiting rooms (NYC), I can believe my son.

On the bright side, he's out of the hospital and has a small subsidized apartment in a facility where there are other men like him who have mental illnesses or addictions to overcome. They have social workers and access to their medication. This is probably how Andy will live, indefinitely. It hasn't stopped him, however, from getting a girlfriend!

I like to think that having his lottery ticket stolen is a blessing in disguise. I think that the moment the government got wind of his winnings, his benefits would have been cut or terminated. A loss of a short term gain - in exchange for longer term benefits.

I only wish he'd write!
posted by Melanie O. at 8:17 AM - 0 comments
Monday, September 08, 2008
Dressing up
My birthday is coming up, so I've decided to treat myself to something that is a little bit special. I'm going to purchase a vintage silk dress.

I love vintage - and make no excuses. Designers used to design to flatter a woman's figure. Clothes had curves - just like women do. Although the women I work with dress nicely, everything looks vaguely like maternity wear - shapeless and flow-y. Somewhere along the line, designers stopped creating structured garments, I suppose, because it's just too expensive to manufacture tailored clothes. My size US 6 used to be a size 12/14 back in the 60's. It got too expensive to have such subtle sizing differences, so now I can wear clothes that are either slightly too tight or slightly too loose.

So, to go forward, I'm going back. And I'm buying vintage. And I'm going to wear it to work and introduce my colleagues to the wonderful lines and fabrics of vintage.

This also reminds me: does anyone dress up any more? Friday casual has become Monday - Thursday casual, and Friday casual has become weekend carefree. I have heard people say that they work better when they don't have to think about how they look - but in my experience, people that dress sloppily are also casual about their work. It's not that I'm uptight about appearances - far from it - but I just think we're losing something. I rarely see a man in a tie any more, which makes me sad. My dad wore a suit and tie to work every day, and he was a computer tech. Today's IT techs show up in jeans and t-shirts now.

I knew that I would start missing some things as I got older. But dressing up? Who would have thought it? I used to hate trying on clothes when I was a kid (I still hate it), but I always loved dressing up. So, I'm bucking the trends and doing my own thing. I suspect this will make me a relic one day. I'm hoping that I'll be a well-dressed relic in clothes that flatter my figure - or I may look like a kid that ransacked my grandmother's attic.


posted by Melanie O. at 10:35 AM - 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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