The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
How to make housework fun
Take one outfit reminiscent of the late '50s or early '60s. Put hair 'up' and do your make-up. Remember to wear red lipstick and flat heels. Try to look somewhere between Audrey Hepburn and Betty Draper from Mad Men.

Add one husband with a camera who likes to tell jokes. Give husband dirty looks if he says "you missed a spot." Play the "lounge" music collection over the computer and dance your way through the chores - and voila! Housework as play.

Your reward - husband does the dishes and you get to relax with a glass of wine.

Who says chore day has to be boring?

Today, Dan has to repair a plumbing leak. Something tells me he's not going to dress up as Don Draper or Fred Astaire to do it, though.


posted by Melanie O. at 10:36 AM - 2 comments
Friday, August 28, 2009
Unsolved mysteries
As I approach another birthday (one of those "milestone" birthdays that I refuse to acknowledge exists), I find that I am still troubled by some of the mysteries of the universe. There are some puzzles, it seems, that will never be solved.

One that haunts me weekly is, where do the mates to my socks go? Why is it, I put pairs of socks in the wash, and when they come out of the dryer, there are two mismatched socks with no mates? I want to blame the washing machine or dryer, but we clean those regularly and there have been no missing socks returned to their owners. Do they disappear down some strange black hole? Do aliens like my socks? Are my socks missing time?

Another one that troubles me: why don't I ever have enough coat hangers? I hear they multiply for other people. If this is so, why am I always short on hangers? I regularly clean out my wardrobe, just to free up some hangers, but there are never enough. I have to rotate my clothes with the dirty laundry basket just to make sure that there are enough hangers to go around. Do I occasionally buy new hangers? Of course I do - but still - there are never enough! Where do they go? And why do I have fewer clothes in my closet and still not enough hangers? Is there a hanger thief in my neighborhood?

Why do I always have more work to do on Fridays than I do on Mondays? Monday is the start of the week. That's when all of the tasks should begin, but no - I wind up with the end of the week being the beginning of the week. In other words, everyone wants things done at the last minute, before the start of the weekend. I think there should be a law that says Friday should be the prequel to Saturday and Monday should be the sequel to Sunday. Then we could all work hard one day a week, on Wednesday.

And lastly, why does my husband, whom I love dearly, always want me when I'm in the middle of something else? I can be falling asleep on the lounge, doing nothing but listening to a movie that I have no interest in, and he'll be off doing his own thing. The minute I sit down to do some work or get involved in a project, his hands are all over me. When I'm in the bathroom having a private moment, he makes up a reason to have to check the dryer in the laundry closet just outside the bathroom door (maybe he's looking for socks!) If you have young children, you know that this is a carry-over from childhood, when your kid decides to act up the minute you get on the phone or the minute that Reader's Digest comes to deliver your sweepstakes check.

I've had to accept the fact that there are just some things in life that will never be resolved to my satisfaction. Like aliens and UFOs. And why do aliens make crop circles anyway? Are they just trying to express their artistic tendencies? Or are they trying to tell me where my socks are hidden?


posted by Melanie O. at 4:52 PM - 0 comments
Saturday, August 22, 2009
There's nothing so sure in life as change, and over the past few months, this has become increasingly evident in my life. Perhaps it's the perspective of getting older that makes me perceive things in a compressed view.

In the past six months, couples have split up and moved on, people have moved away (and replacements haven't moved in), work has been restructured and people have been retrenched, and I even changed my hair colour.

I can understand the person who coined the phrase "Stop the world! I want to get off!" Like Ferris Bueller said, "life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around every once in a while, it's gonna pass you by." Problem is, I think most people get to a certain age, and they just don't want to play that game any more. It's taken me decades to get my life to where it is. I'd like it to just stay this way for a while. Trouble is - you stay the way you are for too long, and you become a dinosaur.

I suppose this makes change a good thing, and it's also responsible for that thing we call Nostalgia. If things never changed, there'd be no nostalgia. So, in honour of change and nostalgia, here's a list of things I really miss, due to Change:

  • Metal ice cube trays. They never cracked or leaked and you never had to tip the water down the tray to fill up all of the little cubes. The water also froze a lot faster in the metal trays.
  • Sunday morning with my friends watching the Sunday Monster Movie Matinee. There was nothing better than watching Abbott and Costello meet the Mummy, or the original Frankenstein with Boris Karloff. Every once in a while, there'd be a Shirley Temple movie. My favourite was The Bluebird. Do girls even watch Shirley Temple movies now, or are they all hooked on Hannah Montana?
  • Dangerous kids' toys, like my Thingmaker. Kids burned themselves on the hot plate, so it was taken off the market, sold, and re-issued. How about kids learning how not to touch the hot plate? Or how about parents supervising its use? Another great toy was my Easy Bake Oven. I'm glad that Hasbro still makes that.
  • Phone conversations. Remember calling your friends and chatting for ages on the phone? I can remember my mother yelling "get off the phone! I need to make a call." Nowadays, few people use the phone just to chat. Now, it's text messaging and email, or VOIP if you have it. Every time my phone rings, I know someone's trying to get me to donate to a charity. That's when it does ring - which is hardly ever.
  • Nice clothes. Nowadays, in order to get clothes cut for a woman's shape, you have to go high end designer brand. My mother used to take my sister and me to Sears or JC Penney. They had clothes for every kind of figure. Now, it's not profitable enough for manufacturers to offer so many sizing options. The sizes have all been made generic, which usually means that if it fits me in one place, it doesn't fit me in another. I'm going to go back to sewing my own things.
  • Time. I used to have more time. I could put my hair in rollers and not have to worry about catching the train into work at 6:30 am. Now, I don't do anything with my hair. No woman I know does, other than the basics. If it can't be styled with a certain cut, it gets pulled back into a pony tail. I could also spend over an hour making dinner if I wanted to. Now, if I can't make it in half that time, then we grab fast food.
  • Decent music. OK, now I know I sound like a real fuddy duddy, and I do like some new music, but most of it seems to be a complete rehash of the things I listened to in the '70's and '80's. Has the planet run out of talent? Maybe it has and I just missed the memo.
  • Pastels. I recall little Mid-century Modern homes with turquoise trims and wall colour, or peach and lemon. Cars came in pastel shades like coral, lemon, cream and turquoise. The world just looks so much more harsh without pastels.
  • Men in suits and a hat. I rarely see a man in a suit. In a button up shirt - sure. But a suit? Rarely. In a hat? Almost never. And pipes? Do men smoke pipes any more? I mean, beautiful burled wooden and clay ones that don't use water and burn flavoured tobacco and not that green stuff. I miss the smell of brandied tobacco burning slowly in a pipe.
  • Going out to see a movie. Last time Dan and I went to see a movie, all we bought at the concession stand was a bottle of water, and it cost us a total of $38. No wonder we rarely go.
Of course, there are good things about change. I travel more. My salary goes up. My kids are maturing and finding their niche in the world. However, it's pretty telling that one of today's most popular and acclaimed television shows is about life during the Kennedy years.

As for the future, it's still one big blank canvas. It's guaranteed to be full of ch-ch-ch-changes, however.

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posted by Melanie O. at 11:21 AM - 0 comments
Monday, August 17, 2009
A message to all lip gloss manufacturers:
I try to keep this blog light-hearted, which is why you won't find me discussing things like health care reform, politics, homelessness, the war, or mental illness very often. These things concern me greatly offline - so I refuse to bring them online. My blog has become a refuge from these weighty matters.

Having said that, though, I would like to reach a little into my dark side and register a complaint with the lip gloss manufacturers out there.

Why can't you design a tube of gloss where the applicator doesn't fall short of the bottom of the tube? I wind up wasting about 15% of the product in the tube due to the short applicators. The gloss is too thick to try to tip closer to the applicator - it just sits there at the bottom of the tube - taunting me and reminding me of the waste of society in general.

Oh, I have caved in to my practical side and broken up coffee stirrers to try to scrape that last bit of gloss out of the tube, but why should I have to do this, after paying a lot of money for that gloss in the first place? Can't you make your applicators a bit longer so that they just scrape the bottom of the tube?

I don't like squeezy tubes of gloss. They're messy and inaccurate when you go to apply it. I want a nice gloss with an applicator that doesn't waste product, in a tube I don't have to squeeze to apply. Is that so much to ask for?

I'm feeling particularly rant-y today because this situation reminds me of something in our materialistic consumerist lives: planned obsolescence. Everything from PCs to televisions, to underwear and appliances, is designed to fall apart within a couple of years. I think this may be another reason why I love vintage. Vintage items have withstood the test of time. They were made at a time when people were willing to pay a little more for better quality.

Too bad you can't buy vintage lip gloss - and even if you could, would you want to? I bet the applicators could get all of the product out of the tube, though.

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posted by Melanie O. at 12:14 PM - 0 comments
Monday, August 10, 2009
A sign of getting older
Dan called me from work today. He told me that he had a sign from above that he was getting older.

"What happened?" I asked.

"I was out unloading the trailer today, when a bird flew over my head and pooped on it," he told me.

I was rather puzzled as to why this would be a sign of getting older. Doesn't everyone get bird poop on them at least once in their life?

He went on to explain:

"I went to the washroom to clean it out of my hair, when I realised that I couldn't find it. It had partially dried and had blended with my hair."

Dan's hair is getting to be more salt than pepper, and so I giggled. And Dan laughed.

All I could respond with was "ewww". I hope bird poop is good for your hair, and I'll have to remind Dan to shampoo in the shower tonight.

When we both stopped laughing, Dan said "put THAT in your blog." And so, I did.


posted by Melanie O. at 3:31 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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