One Fabulous Thing

…because each day has at least one.

01.30.2010 Fabulous By Association January 31, 2010

Filed under: Style — onefabulousthing @ 7:48 pm

I have always loved going to get my hair cut at a salon. I’m not one to be too precious about my hair, so I don’t get anxious about how it will come out – it always grows back, right? The actual cut is a little beside the point anyway, because the really great part is getting fussed over for a bit. I love getting my hair washed, and the place I go to now has these amazing reclining massage chairs at the sinks, and they usually do some sort of deep conditioning treatment that means I get to relax there for a few minutes with the massage action going and a hot towel covering my hair. Bliss.

Over the last year, I have come to look forward to haircuts even more, because of the stylist I have been seeing since shortly after the babe was born. I first went to her when I was about 6 weeks postpartum, my father-in-law bravely offering to stay with the baby for an hour so I could make the appointment. It was nice to take some time for myself and have an hour to not be on Baby Alert, but it was even nicer to find such an amazing stylist.

My appointment today was an example of what makes this stylist, K, so great. The salon itself smells good, sounds good, looks good. There is furniture I wish I had in my own house, tea that I wish I could source, and music that represents deep cuts from a true music lover’s playlist. The stylists are all interestingly and effortlessly beautiful. This is a place where people are happy. K greets me and compliments my hat, worn because the day so far has been a rush of wake up-change baby-get stuff together-music class-back home-lunch-cleaning-appointment, and my hair was not on that list of To Dos. She asks about the baby, she gets me some tea, she chats with me about how the last cut has grown out and what I’d like to have done today. She doesn’t talk at all while I relax in the awesome chair by the sink, and then engages in easy conversation with me while she works. She points out another stylist’s shoes, something like these, and talks about how she likes those over the kind with the peep toe because the peep toes can look a little too fierce.

Did you catch that? She’s talking to me as though I might be someone who would wear shoes like that, and debate over the relative fierceness of different styles. Me, who is wearing her probably one-inch-too-short housecleaning jeans, with green argyle socks that show a little too much when wear these pants. Me, who always realizes when I sit down in her chair that I need to pluck my eyebrows, like three days ago. Me, who is a full decade older than she is and wore shoe booties like that the first time they were trendy, when I was in the 6th grade. Love her.

I don’t mean to sell myself short. I try to dress in clothes that are current and flattering, but my best efforts are not reserved for Saturday afternoons at the hair salon, so K wouldn’t even know what my best effort looks like. The first time I went to see her I was still in elastic-waisted maternity jeans. I also don’t mean for this to sound as though a 31-year-old mom and a 21-year-old stylist would never converge on their fashion choices – as I’ve said, I don’t like to put people in boxes like that.

There’s just something so genuinely warm and open about her, something that comes through when she talks about her family, her boyfriend, the puppies that her parents’ dog just had, fashion. She’s really personable, not in that fake honey-baby-sweetie way, but in a way that instantly draws in the people around her and makes them feel included. I get that this is part of her job, but it’s fabulous to come across someone who has so obviously found what they love to do and is great at it.

Also, my hair has never looked better.

So, Fabulous Thing #30: Finding someone who makes you feel fabulous inside and out.

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01.29.2010 Same Same But Different January 30, 2010

Filed under: Humanity — onefabulousthing @ 10:54 pm

I can’t remember the exact quote, but I remember attending a sociology seminar once where it was said that there is less genetic variability between all humans on earth than there is between types of snails found in the Andes. I think of this often, since it seems like we focus a lot of time and attention on identifying the things that make us different from one another. I appreciate the importance of recognizing the unique characteristics we all have, but I think we have gotten too far away from coming together on the things we have in common.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the divide we see when politics comes into play. I just can’t fathom that we are all as far apart on issues as the media would like us to believe. Let’s try this simple test:

Raise your hand if you believe that the government should pay everyone’s bills, and if the government can’t, they should steal money from rich people to do it.

OK, now raise your hand if you believe that, faced with the grave illness of a close family member, you will stand by their bedside when their insurance lifetime cap has been reached and say “Tough break, should have worked a little smarter and harder to get better insurance. Viva la capitalism, sucker!”

Anyone? Right. I like seeing those political maps that go a little further than just red state and blue state designations. When you go county by county, then zoom way out, you can see we’re a pretty purple country overall. I’m not sure what is to be gained by making everything seem so overly simplistic – black and white, red and blue, plumber and intellectual elite, truck and Prius. I cringe at the nonsensical rantings of the Teabaggers (I mean seriously – did anyone Google that?) and at the ridiculous ravings of the people who are disappointed that there is still crime and poverty and poor education one year into the Obama presidency. Where has reason gone? What are people hoping to accomplish by painting everyone who is “other” with such a broad brush?

That’s why it tickled me to read today that there is a family link between President Barack Obama and newly-elected Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. 10th cousins, I know – not like they’re long-lost brothers, but it does bring you back around to thinking that there are a lot of threads connecting us if we’re looking for them. I wish we’d do that more as a country, and write angry things on signs less.

So, Fabulous Thing #29: Realizing that Scott Brown’s win was clearly political cronyism, and potentially nepotism. (Kidding!)

 

01.28.2010 Unhappy Hipsters January 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 9:57 pm

I love this blog, which I just learned about today.

I took a short story writing class in college, and one of the things that stuck with me from that experience was how difficult it can be to try to capture a big idea in a few words. I feel like it’s even more of a challenge to make those few words funny. This blog succeeds at using the combination of a picture and a few well-chosen words to evoke some big laughs.

Enjoy.

So, Fabulous Thing #28: Finding something new that makes me laugh.

 

01.27.2010 Hey, Nice Rack January 28, 2010

Filed under: Household — onefabulousthing @ 9:30 pm

I’ve moved a lot in my adult life. Eight times in the last ten years, to be precise. Through all those moves I have accumulated quite a few houseware-type items that fit really great in one place, but not-so-great in some of the others. I’ve also accumulated a husband, who came with some of his own stuff (My Very Own Husband! Now, With Accessories!). The last move was to a small, cozy house where we hope to stay a while, so there has been a lot of editing of what we have based on what is actually useful and what fits. There was a yard sale last fall and a large donation of the excess furniture, books, and dishes to various charities after that.

But there are still things that have hung around because I’m not sure anyone else would want a used one (Small wastebaskets? Toilet plungers?) and I have a hard time throwing things away that still might have some use to them. Don’t get me wrong – I have no problems getting rid of junk mail, empty boxes and packages, old clothes, and generally removing from my line of sight things that don’t belong there anymore. That’s what the garage is for. And the shed.

One item just kept lurking around the counters of my last several residences, taking up space and making the kitchen look more homey without the benefit of being useful: a chrome, carousel-style spice rack, filled with matching containers of generic spices that haven’t had the capability to add flavor to food since From Justin to Kelly proved that there are, in fact limits to what American Idol can do for a person. The little matching bottles and the shiny finish provided a nice veneer of domesticity for any hapless young men that came by, but the elaborate ruse was no longer needed when I actually learned to cook.

It was a very fabulous moment today when I realized that the spaces in the two-level carousel rack provide a perfect holding place for a selection of K-cups for our new Keurig. It’s like it was made for that purpose. I’m happy that the shiny carousel got a new life, and will get to keep its spot on the counter.

So, Fabulous Thing #27: A new use evolves for the rack that revolves.

 

01.26.2010 Then, Now January 27, 2010

Filed under: Family — onefabulousthing @ 9:57 pm

Today was my son’s first birthday. I haven’t felt this excited about a birthday since I was a very little person myself, and it made me wonder if my mom used to get this excited for my early birthdays.

One strange thing about today was being reminded of where I was and what I had been doing at that time last year throughout the day. Labor and delivery rooms have these huge digital clocks in them, and as I labored those large, red numbers apparently imprinted themselves on my brain. The result was that each time I looked at the clock today, I was immediately in two places. In my meeting and waiting in triage for a nurse to take my blood pressure. In my office and watching the sun come up in the labor room. In my car and watching the sun start to set again in the labor room. Meeting up with my husband and son, minutes before it was THE MINUTE, and laying on the table in the operating room. Then, now.

My husband and I were discussing how we talk about that experience as though it were a blur, but when we stop to really think about it, every moment is crystal clear and sharply defined. I could say the same about my first year as a mother: a big blur, but yet each moment along the way is cemented in my memory.

On the topic of things becoming more defined, did you know that babies don’t have fingerprints when they are born? The ridges and swirls develop over the baby’s first year, forming the pattern that is unique to them. Today, we marked the occasion of my son’s birth by making an impression of his thumbprint, to be turned into a pendant for me to wear. I love this concept, and I am looking forward to being able to wear it, this tiny representation of the growing my son did in his first year on earth.

But the One Fabulous Thing about the day was something so, so simple: the three of us, together at the exact moment of my son’s birth one year later. It was so wonderful to be with the two other people in the world who have the same connection to that moment as I do. (And with the lovely women at the store where we had the thumbprint made, of course).

So, Fabulous Thing #26: Celebrating the moment we went from two to three, together.

 

01.25.2010 With Hey, Ho, The Wind and the Rain January 25, 2010

Filed under: Weather — onefabulousthing @ 10:45 pm

My office is in an old industrial building that has been converted to modern office space, with the huge windows, soaring ceilings, and temperamental wiring that comes along with that. I am lucky enough to have been upgraded to a corner office with a lot of those huge windows, but on the circuit that perpetually blows. I have managed to rig it so my computer is on a different circuit, but my desk phone and lights are often sacrificed to the whims of the weather and the HR woman’s space heater.

Today found me sitting in my office, in a good groove with completing some projects I’ve had on deck for a while (how satisfying it is to have all the right data to fill into a spreadsheet for once!), lit only by the glow of my computer screen. The skies were deliciously dark in the early afternoon, the wind gusting, the rain lashing the windows. There were flash flood warnings, and there was thunder. The severity of the weather was a little thrilling and a little unexpected. Where I live I would have expected a whispering snowfall today, not a booming rainstorm. It felt so cozy to sit there, protected from the elements while listening to the storm rage.

Collecting the baby from daycare was an adventure – pant cuffs sopping wet, confused kid wrapped up like a burrito in a mad dash to the car because the umbrella would have been useless in the wind. When we made it to the car I hopped in back to get him settled in his seat, and we took a moment first to say hello and look at the world outside. My son looked at me with his little palm upturned, his way of asking what’s going on. I gave him the words for rain, and wind, and pointed out the sounds that go with each. He put his hand on the window, and slowly tilted his head over until his cheek was resting against mine. We stayed like that for a minute, watching the storm, our breath fogging up the windows.

As we drove home, I was reminded of one of the many details that my husband has made up along the way about the mysterious past of our rescue dog: his favorite song.

So, Fabulous Thing #25: Unexpected moments, courtesy of the weather.

 

01.24.2010 A Horse of the Exact Same Colors

Filed under: Family — onefabulousthing @ 9:58 pm

Today, we had a small birthday brunch for the baby, who will be celebrate the first anniversary of his birth on 01.26.2010. I have been looking forward to and dreading the party in equal measure for the past few weeks. Looking forward to: marking the occasion of my favorite short person’s birth, having him spend time with some relatives he doesn’t see often, making a cake from scratch with my new KitchenAid Mixer. Dreading: cleaning up before and cleaning up more after, keeping conversation going between two families that have been randomly thrown together by marriage, dealing with the fallout of an overtired and overstimulated baby, the potential that everyone will hate the cake.

We kept the guest list to grandparents and aunts and uncles, but that still meant 15 adults were invited to our tiny little house. The decorations were low-key, and I took some help from our local small grocer for most of the food. The cake, and the baby’s cupcake, were baked the night before and frosted in the morning. The baby took his morning nap on time and woke up in an adorable mood. People came more or less on time, were more or less nice to each other, and more or less kept out of the kid’s face long enough for him to shove some cake in. Success.

What I did not even think about, and what turned out to be so fabulous about the day, were the presents that people brought for him. We worried about having enough seating, completely overlooking the fact that everyone would want to be down on the floor with the birthday boy. He mostly loved the paper, and his dad and I loved everything that people had chosen for him, from a tiny-sized KISS shirt to a wagon with all sorts of neat things that spin and open and close.

The One Fabulous Thing though, was a present that my parents brought in without any wrapping paper around it. It was a small rocking horse that my great-grandfather had made for me when I was a baby, repaired and repainted by my parents. I had vague memories of it being around through my childhood and that of my younger sisters, but I certainly was not expecting it to show up in my living room. I also remembered it being a lot larger, probably a function of me being a lot smaller. It is the perfect size for the baby right now, and it was so neat to see him sit on it and instinctively grab the handles and start to rock it back and forth, a huge smile on his face at his accomplishment.

The gift, and the moment, encapsulated things that I am trying really hard to prioritize as a parent: family, traditions, creativity, and whatever the opposite of consumerism is. I love that my late great-grandfather designed and made something that his great-great grandson will enjoy. I love that my parents cared enough to keep it and refinish it, and I love that it made my son so happy. It’s a simple toy, no batteries needed, no specific educational claims made. But if my son is anything like me or his dad, it will make him a cowboy, a policeman, and a jockey. He might name it, he might pet it, he might pretend to feed it, or he might rock crazily enough on it that it scootches across the floor (which is protected from overenthusiastic equestrians by the soft strips that my parents thoughtfully attached to the rockers) until his mama tells him to take it easy.

He might even hand it down to his own kid someday, which is the thought that sort of brings it all together for me, and makes me feel silly for dreading the cleaning up and the potentially awkward conversation.

So, Fabulous Thing #24: Something old, made new again.