Month: May 2015

Hope I die before I get old, oops too late

Bette Davis once famously said growing old wasn’t for sissies and as an aging actress in Hollywood she sure knew what she was talking about. Just ask Maggie Gyllenhaal who was told that at age 37 she was far too OLD and decrepit to be the love interest of an actor playing a 55 year-old who let’s face it is probably 75 in real life anyway. It’s no surprise that Rebel Wilson decided to shave a few years off her life because she is only a year younger than Gyllenhaal yet plays a college student in all those Pitch Perfect movies. You go girl! Too bad a classmate who she must have beaten in a high-stakes game of Guess Who (love that game!) back in elementary school decided to retaliate twenty plus years later by ratting her real age out to the tabloids. Revenge apparently is a dish best served not only cold but frozen as well. It really is no surprise then that so many women in Hollywood feel the need to do whatever it takes to keep themselves looking young enough to be the girlfriend (if they are super lucky) of a card-carrying member of the AARP.

Truth be told, I have always thought a large part of the enduring appeal/fetishization of Marilyn Monroe was down to the very simple fact that she died at 36 and therefore never got old in either the eyes of Hollywood or the public and was never cast as some actor her own age’s mother. My advice to Maggie is to stick with British TV where women who are over forty, even over fifty, are regularly seen as well as ones that are not size negative zero. Yes it is possible for women to be smart, talented and even a little hippy and still be allowed on television in the old country.

For a hilarious yet often times painful look at just how awful Hollywood is to women of a certain age check out Lisa Kudrow in The Comeback. There is no humiliation too demeaning for Valerie Cherish to endure as she sees her role in Room and Bored go from one of the roommates to the Mrs. Roper-esque Aunt Sassy of one of the roommates faster than the Republicans in the House of Representatives can come up with another way to try to get rid of Obamacare, or protect guns while doing their level best to make sure women’s reproductive rights are assured FOREVER, just kidding on that last one obviously.

Having just experienced another birthday, I can honestly say I will take getting older versus the alternative because that would kinda suck. That being said, there are certain things about approaching my Jurassic years (by Hollywood standards anyway) that are a bit troubling. Failing eyesight, the fact that my age box on surveys keep getting smaller and smaller and pretty soon won’t even be there at all because apparently marketers these days only care about millennials, you know those selfie stick carrying little sexters that won’t buy homes or cars and don’t give a shit about great-aunt Maude’s china that us late boomers/Gen X’ers have had to fake-care about forever.

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A couple of years ago I decided to grow my bangs out, again, even though it is a horrible process and quite frankly I think I look better with bangs. However, it seems like my four-head was starting to become more of a three-head due to the Earth’s gravitational pull or some other timey-whimey thing and they seemed to get in my eyes and need to be trimmed a lot more than they ever did when I was younger. Now my stylist does the complimentary bang trim thing that they all do but he only works ever other week and it was always the week he wasn’t working when they bugged me the most. Being a semi-obsessive person this would often times lead to self-help in the form of trimming my own bangs and like a lot of DIY projects sometimes it worked better than others.

Bend me, shape me, anyway you want me

Bend me, shape me, anyway you want me*

While I no longer had to worry about my bangs bugging me by constantly getting in my eyes I was now face-to-face with seeing my forehead on the regular and I was not liking what I was seeing. Twenty years of working in the insanity that is known as advertising (why do you think they all drink like fishes on Mad Men?) had resulted in those not-so-cute little eleven lines between my eyes and I could not un-see them much like I can’t un-see all the craptastic movies Johnny Depp has made since he jointly sold his soul to Disney and Tim Burton. Suddenly, the idea of Botox was not so unappealing anymore.

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I pondered it for about a year, if I got my elevens taken care of would I be able to stop there or would Botox become my gateway drug to transforming myself into a candidate for The Real Housewives of Minneapolis? It’s not like being an actual housewife is even required. Would I turn myself into Nicole Kidman, only without the special FX department to CGI in my emotions? How else would my dog know when I am displeased that she mistook the dining room rug for the front yard for the millionth time even though they look absolutely nothing alike?

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Who am I kidding? Like she gives a shit, real or figurative, what I think about anything. So as a birthday present to myself I booked an appointment with my dermatologist’s med/spa facility (he does keep them separately), got six little jabs in my forehead and went out for Thai food afterwards. Anyone who has ever had acupuncture can handle Botox. Will I do it again? Probably, I don’t really see those annoying lines anymore when I look in the mirror and they have a loyalty program and God knows I am a sucker for those kind of things.

*I love this movie and if you have never seen it you should, pronto, it is available to stream on Amazon. The story about how it got released is almost as insane as the movie, you can read about it here.

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day, when you are without the mother part

Over the last few years May has become a very weird month for me. One the one hand, it is my birth month and that is awesome but it is also the month I lost my mother, on Memorial Day no less, and sandwiched somewhere right in the middle is good old Mother’s Day, a holiday I can no longer participate in because I am not a mother myself (not to any humans that can buy me a damn gift at least) and I no longer have one to call my own anymore. This is a sad fact that I am constantly reminded of every year starting around April 1st when both my inbox and snail mail boxes become chockfull of various ways to celebrate Mom. It must be what it is like being non-Christian and having all things Christmas and Santa-like constantly in your face for three months of the year only worse because even people who don’t believe in either have mothers.

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I don’t begrudge retailers trying to shift their products, even though the economy is better it is still not that great for stores, but by the end of April my patience starts to wear a little thin with everyone from Sur La Table (Give Mom All-Clad–40% off!) to Sephora (Gifts Mom will Love!) and the sense of loss and motherlessness starts to feel overwhelming. Ten years ago we celebrated out last Mother’s Day together and this year, like I have done in all the other years since she left, I will mark the occasion by visiting her memorial tree at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

I love coming here in June, her tree is at the base of the peony walk and it smells like heaven!

I love coming here in June, her tree is at the base of the peony walk and it smells like heaven!

Like a lot of children my biggest fear (besides getting a shot or stitches or having to go to my great-Aunt Gertie’s house, she was crazy) was to lose one of my parents. This was exacerbated by a creepy old man from my childhood named Walt Disney who made it his life’s mission to scare the bejesus out of all the world’s children by creating animated classics about either half-orphans with evil step-parents (see: Snow White, Cinderella, Enchanted), or darling little baby animals whose mothers get killed by evil assholes (see: Bambi, Jungle Book, Little Mermaid, Lion King), I mean seriously, the man must not have liked kids at all because he sure knew how to terrify them and he really scared the crap out of me, so much so that I ran out of the theater when I saw Bambi at age five and to this day have never seen it all the way through.

But unlike most children, my fear of losing a parent at a young age had some basis in reality. My father had many health issues throughout my childhood and died when I was in a teen-ager after suffering a massive stroke. Just like Bambi I became a half-orphan and my one remaining parent became paramount in my life even if her name wasn’t Thumper.

My mother was not a perfect mother and I was not a perfect daughter because there is no such thing and anybody who says otherwise is a big fat liar-liar-of-the-pants-on-fire-variety or named Lindsay Lohan as they are practically one in the same. There is not a day that has gone by in these last almost ten years that I have not thought about her. I miss her when something good happens, when something bad happens or when absolutely nothing at all happens. The simple fact is I am never NOT going to miss her presence in my life because it was massive.

I miss the way she smelled, a wonky combination of Pond’s Dry Skin Cream (she swore by it) and Estee Lauder Youth Dew. I HATED to get into the car with her in the mornings because I didn’t like perfume smells (still don’t) so I would chomp on some Bubs Daddy grape gum because I knew she hated the smell of that so I figured we were even. Yeah, our relationship was like that and it was glorious. She also liked to pretend she did not put mushrooms or onions in my food and I would find them and show them to her and she be all like, “Hmm, I wonder how that got in there?” and I would be like really lady? I knew all her tricks and she knew most of mine.

So stinky and yet so delicious!

So stinky  yet so delicious!

Sometimes we fought like mad, she was stubborn and opinionated and on more than one occasion told me my hair had not looked good since she stopped doing it which of course was not true because I have great hair and everyone knows it. Back when I was in elementary school I had to hide picture day information from her or else I would end up with some ridiculous hairstyle that would not look at all out-of-place at the Miss America pageant or at a mall somewhere in bum-fuck Texas and that is not a good look on a ten-year old. (Think Toddlers and Tiara’s, minus the Toddlers because sometimes there were tiaras involved.)

It’s no surprise I got my love of books from a woman who named me after a character from one of her favorites. She took me to movies and plays and ice shows. She made the best poppy-seed cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, a to-die-for lemon chiffon pie and the best sliced cucumbers you have ever had, that in ten years none of us have been able to replicate with the same delicate balance of tangy/sweet she could do with her eyes closed and her hands tied behind her back. (I only slightly exaggerate.)

Lots of little things remind me of my her besides Ponds Cold Cream and Youth Dew. There is a stoplight on Lake Street just past France that she routinely forgot about (thankfully the cross street never had traffic on it or I would not be writing this post), White Castle hamburgers (once all the onions were scraped off ), the Lake Harriet rose garden, cheap-ass drugstore candy, Paul Newman movies, the list goes on and on. You know that old saying about turning into your mother? I am here to tell you it is absolutely true, just like my mother I am always cold, especially in restaurants and about fifty percent of the time I have a kleenex stuffed up my sleeve because I have allergies and my eyes get all watery and it is convenient as all get out.

So happy Mother’s Day to all my Oh-Amy peeps, those who are mothers, those who have mothers, and more importantly, to those who have lost either the person they called mom or a person who called them mom. I’ll be thinking of all of you sitting under my mothers tree this Sunday eating a White Castle while reading my childhood copy of Little Women, it’s my way of remembering her best.