Monthly Archives: July 2006

By a Nose

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I’m not usually vain, but thanks to Amy, I’ve recently been thinking a lot about my nose.

I don’t know if you can tell in my profile picture, but I’m the bearer of an unusually long nose. I mostly notice it in photographs taken from in front and slightly above me, where the viewer can peer down the bridge of my nose as a skier might look down a particularly steep Austrian Alp.

As a teenager, I hated it. I was constantly catching it in my peripheral vision, a reminder of my permanent place among the ranks of the average-looking masses. I mean, there I was, a unique and poetic soul with dreams of being wooed by the prince of a small nation or swept away on horseback to the halls of Pemberley to be adored by the modern day equivalent of Mr. Darcy, and all the time I was saddled with this monstrosity of cartilage and bone–a fleshy, immovable barrier to my transcendental designs.

That was years ago, though, and I think that my nose and I have finally made peace with each other. It no longer jumps out to surprise me from pictures (a nasty habit it developed in the eighties), and somehow I won my princely Mr. Darcy despite its stubborn refusal to mutate into a cute little button nose set over a pair of pouty, bee-stung lips. (Lips, however, are a subject for another day.) At last, I’m able to claim my nose with some measure of acceptance and yes, even pride.

So many people have boring noses.

Jennifer Grey, for example, should have spent more time in self-reflection before subjecting her distinctive schnoz to the knifework of Hollywood surgeons, becoming just another pretty face in a town full of them. Her nose used to be a beacon of individuality and spirited self-assurance. We all watched her with fond delight as she flouted convention to cha-cha with Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing and ditched school to catch Ferris Bueller red-handed, faking his ninth sick day of the year.

Where did she go? She disappeared, or so I thought until the Internet Movie Database revealed her to be the forgettable flight attendant in the Ben Affleck/Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle, Bounce. Gone forever is the cute little hook on the front of her face, and, seemingly, the hook that snagged her the juicy character roles we remember her for.

So I guess I’ll keep my nose. It may never net me a speaking part in a movie, but Paul seems rather sentimental about it, and I am kind of attached to it.

Besides, I spent all my plastic surgery money on sushi and scrapbook supplies.

What Does It All Mean?

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Last night I dreamed of Jay Leno.

I was in the middle of cleaning up a potty training fiasco when the doorbell rang. With a mop in one hand and a plastic bag in the other, I answered it. There he stood, in plaid pants and a leather jacket, sunglasses hanging from the pocket.

He came inside uninvited, explaining that he was an avid reader of my blog and had decided to stop by and say hello. I gave him the “grand” tour of our two bedroom palace. He kept making jokes about how messy it was, and I was getting a little irked, to tell the truth.

He especially wanted to see my infamous laundry room. It was in worse state than usual. I opened the door as far as it would go (about two feet), so Jay could poke his head in. He only nodded, awestruck, with the slightly reverent air of one who has just seen the Jungle Room at Graceland.

We went outside and he let the kids play around on his white Harley. It had Rosie O’Donnell’s signature on the seat. Then he asked if I would take some pictures of us together. I did, of course, holding my arm out to take a close up of our faces. He said he looked forward to reading about his visit on my blog, and away he rode, into the Idaho afternoon.

I remember composing the blog entry in my head while I went inside to download the photos from my flash card.

Then I woke up.

I really wish you could see those pictures. They turned out to be quite good.

Quick Hello

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Whoever called it summer “vacation” had a great sense of irony (and not the Alanis Morissette kind). Mothers everywhere sort of roll their eyes when they hear the phrase. Life zooms by at warp speeds in these three brief months, leaving white star trails of memories (and massive piles of fast food wrappers) in its wake.

Currently, we’re doing the VBS thing, Vacation Bible School for the uninitiated. Five days, three hours a day, of all-ages Bible based games, crafts, snacks, and activities. Katie and Caleb are attending. I volunteered to teach, which I love, but every day the three of us drag home like a gaggle of spent marathon runners to collapse on the couch and wonder how three hours of Fiesta-themed fun can wreak such havoc on young bodies (and yes, I’m still including mine in that category.)

Naps are good.

I’ll be back, no worries.

What Happens in Vegas

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What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what you eat in Vegas hermetically attaches itself to your thighs and belly and follows you around forever.

Yes, food played a major part in our girly Vegas week. I’ve already mentioned my passionate discovery of sushi, but that was only the first course in our comestible Bacchanalia. We satisfied our Southern fried appetites and listened to live music at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, indulged in exotic chocolates at Vosges Haut-Chocolat in The Forum, and ate one unbelievable meal at the famous Bellagio Dinner Buffet.

How can I describe the buffet? In the management’s own words: “The Buffet at Bellagio offers you the finest cuisine, hand-picked from a myriad of exotic places. Revel in a variety of sumptuous selections from Italy, China and Japan, as well as fresh seafood and traditional American delights. Satisfy your discerning taste with custom cuisine. Live-action cooking stations assure that your meal is made-to-order.” One review I read before the trip advised taking small portions so that you could sample as many new tastes as possible. Indeed. Lined up end-to-end, the many buffet stations would stretch out longer than a football field, and every inch is packed with delicate, savory delights, from Alaskan King Crab to Kobi Beef, with a selection of desserts that could put a carbaholic like me into a coma. Tracy and Regina nearly had to roll me out of there. It’s a good thing the Strip is four miles long; I had an opportunity to walk off at least some of the damage.

Eating isn’t the only thing we did in Las Vegas, of course. We also saw the critically acclaimed musical Mamma Mia!, a dramatic masterpiece written entirely as a vehicle for the chart-topping music of Abba. It was, perhaps, the most fun I have ever had with live theater. Tracy and Regina and I were singing and seat-dancing throughout the performance, standing at the end to join the cast in a rocked out reprise of “Dancing Queen”. We laughed so hard I was afraid I might experience my own reprise of the 1994 Piper Suit Incident*, a thought that sobered me right up. I realize that audience participation isn’t always considered polite in theater-going circles, but it takes a stronger woman than I to resist the urge to sing along with the likes of “Waterloo”, “Money, Money, Money”, and “Take a Chance on Me”. It only added to our delight when we recognized ourselves in the characters of the three friends onstage. I’ll leave it to those of you who have seen it to decide which of us is which.

We packed a lot into five days. I’m starting to realize that this post could easily reach masters thesis length, so I’ll just hit the high points:

*walked through the gate at the airport to find a huge bank of slot machines staring at me. I took a picture, not realizing that they were only the first of 800,000 I would see as we wound our way through the city’s various hotel casinos.

*ran into Alan Thicke, live and in person, filming a game show called Second Honeymoon in the mall.

*shopped in the same stores as Paris Hilton (although I’m betting she never made it over to the sales racks…)

*experienced 120 degree heat. People were clustered in the patches of shade on the sidewalks, and many sidewalk vendors attempted to draw business over with swamp coolers, large water tanks spraying cool mist into the air with industrial size fans. I stopped to cool my feet in one fountain, but when I put my bare foot down on the sidewalk to take off my second sandal, I burned my sole and it hurt for two days.

*played, and lost, one dollar on the quarter slots. So much for being a high roller.

*saw the Fountain Show in front of the Bellagio, the moving statues at Caesar’s Palace, the live lions at the MGM Grand, the M&M World Museum, the gondoliers of the Venetian, the Aquarium at the Mirage, and the Sirens of Treasure Island. I was a little put out to find that the Treasure Island gift shop did not, in fact, sell pirate boots.

*rode the Deuce, a bus that runs up and down the strip, where Tracy managed to start up a conversation with the Weird Guy Who Knows Everything About Las Vegas. He told us where to find a cheap steak dinner and gave us VIP passes to one of the hottest nightclubs in town. Unfortunately, the passes were for the previous night.

Of course, as always happens on these relaxing, unscheduled girl trips, we didn’t get around to a few of the things on our list. Maybe next time:

*the Imax at the Luxor

*Jesse James’ tattoo parlor at the Palms, where the show “Inked” is filmed (*correction* The tattoo parlor, called Hart and Huntington, is actually owned by Carey Hart, not Jesse James. Thanks, Natalie!)

*an hour long massage at the hotel spa

*Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum (Does anyone else see the questionable wisdom of creating a wax museum in a town that regularly sees the thermometer hit 120 degrees?)

*Cirque du Soleil

*The Liberace Museum (and no, I’m not kidding.)

So, there you have it. Our real Las Vegas vacation. We must be quite a disappointment to the Las Vegas advertising council. No drunken partying, no wild gambling, no lying to strangers and waking up in strange hotel rooms. We didn’t even make it into an episode of CSI.

But we talked. We talked while eating, while walking, while laying around in the hotel room in front of the air conditioner. We talked about real things, deep things, the things that never seem to get said in emails and phone conversations because they require eye contact and body language to be said in full. We celebrated fifteen years of being in each others’ lives, and looked ahead to the next fifteen with anticipation. We’re even discussing our next trip already. Maybe Seattle. Or Canada.

Or maybe we’ll just come back to Vegas. We’ve built some good memories in that golden city baking under the desert sun. And the Liberace Museum won’t be there forever, you know.

*In college I was part of an improvisational children’s theater group called The Pied Pipers. During a break between two performances, we were all sitting around talking and telling jokes. Let’s just say that a full bladder, a can of Grape Faygo, and a classic spit-take were a catastrophic combination. In the ensuing laughter, my bladder surrendered and I had to perform the entire next show with my backside carefully turned away from the audience.