Tuesday, January 20, 2009

...And So It Goes On, World Without End, Amen.

Hey, guess what! I feel good! I'm actually well for the first time in months. It's fantastic, really. I'm a little worried that this sudden access of energy and cheer is just the prelude to a manic episode, but what the hell... put the mania to work, I say! And that's what I've been doing the last few days.

I hit bottom with my cold/flu/malaise on Wednesday of last week, the cold medications were starting to do more harm than good, particularly to my gastrointestinal tract... and Wednesday night I decided to stop taking the NyQuil, and so didn't sleep at all; Thursday I was a complete wreck, I actually looked sick and exhausted (everybody commented on it)... so after finishing an important time-sensitive project, I just went home and slept all afternoon.

I tried to go to work the next day, but my body wasn't having it, so I called in sick and spent the entire day sleeping. And I do mean the entire day... I woke up for maybe two hours in the early afternoon, and a couple of hours in the evening, then slept all through the night and late into the next day (Saturday).

And when I woke up, I felt grrrrrrreat! I've continued to feel pretty great ever since, too, so I consider that day and a half a good investment of sick-time.

So on Saturday, I felt so good that I actually finished getting all the Christmas out of my house! It was a bit harder than I had expected, since I decided to make the most of the opportunity and actually went through the boxes and removed all the things we don't use anymore... putting anything that might have sentimental value attached into banker's boxes and throwing out anything that was broken or torn or useless (which turned out to be quite a lot). And then I went up into the attic and re-stacked things so that the boxes, when replaced in the attic, would all be in one place and easily accessed. Then (with Caroline's help) I got all the boxes and bags back into the attic and arranged the living-room furniture to its original formation.

Whew! I was beginning to think I'd never get that done! I was so thrilled with that, I went through my DVDs and sorted out all the ones I don't want anymore, set them aside for removal to Goodwill, and sorted the remainder into genres. Then Caroline and I watched Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, one of my favorite movies of all time.

It was a beautiful day, and I fell into bed with a sense of satisfaction that I haven't felt in absolute eons. And then I slept like a rock for ten hours.

The next day, Grandmother didn't feel like going to church, so I slept in some more, and then got ready to do a drag show... the first I've done since September! I felt a little rusty, but I managed to get all my stuff together for the Winter Extravaganza. And I even took pictures! In fact, I had the brilliant idea to photograph my progress as I put my face on... so at each stage, I stopped, set my camera on my makeup case lid, set the timer, and waited. Wanna see?

Step One: start with a clean, well-moisturized, close-shaved face. I recommend MAC shaving cream for the best shave... that stuff can't be beat. I also used Preparation H on my face earlier in the day, it tightens everything up nicely.

Step Two: I like to lay down a good matte foundation, a blank canvas as it were; I used Max Factor Pan-Stik (Fair/Pale) and l'Oreal mineral loose powder (Translucent), though since Max Factor has stopped making the Fair color, I think I might have to go back to Dermablend (which costs a LOT more but comes in a zillion colors).

Step Three: I tried something new with my eyeshadow, going for a smokey look that I hoped would distract from my wrinkles; I don't know what brands I was using, but they're loose powders and very good quality; I put the darkest brown in the crease of my lids, with a lighter rosy brown on the lids and under the eye, and a shimmering taupe under the brow.

Step Four: I like a blackest black liquid pen eyeliner for the upper line, I'm using Almay because I'm wearing contacts but ordinarily I don't care about the brand; the lower line and the eyebrow is brown/black pencil (the cheap kind...eye and lip pencils are not worth spending money on); I used Maybelline (I think) for the mascara, it's one of those two-coat types that really thicken the lash. I always put a little dot of liquid eyeliner on the apple of my right cheek, a little trademark I've been doing for years... the first time was to camouflage a zit, but it really balances my face so I adopted it permanently.

Step Five: contouring is one of the most important steps in feminizing a face; I use a brownish-rose blusher for this, outlining my face, outlining the bridge of the nose, diminishing my jawbone and browbone, and adding a false shadow under the lip. The lipliner is a pencil, also the cheapest brand from the drugstore, I swear the expensive pencils fall apart immediately, I've never got more than one use out of them.

Step Six: the frame of the hair makes such a difference to the face, I like to put my wig on before I finish my makeup to see if I need to make any alterations or additions before I finish up.

Step Seven: a fresh coat of pressed powder and a coat of lipstick finish the face; the clothes (black ballet tights, black boots, strapless longline bra, beaded corset, brown silk suit with fox collar and cuffs) and jewelry are my favorite part of drag, what I got involved in it for in the first place. I can't quite explain the oddly dissipated expression I'm wearing in this picture, it makes me look drunk. I got a lot of compliments on that pendant, it's actually a snowflake Christmas ornament that I got at Pottery Barn!

The finished product. I felt so pretty in this outfit, and it was really quite comfortable. The boots got on my nerves after a while, as did the underwires in the bra, but it was very slimming without being terribly constrictive.

And finally here I am with my good friend Jason, whom you may remember better as Angelique deVil. I had a really good time at the show, hanging out with Jason and Damon and all the Court folks whom I haven't seen in months and months. And the venue, the Bench & Bar, is so big that I was able to hang out comfortably without feeling crowded at any time (a frequent problem at smaller venues). All that combined with my already good mood, and I had a really fantastic evening.

And then I went grocery shopping afterward (after changing back into jeans and washing my face, naturally)... and it just goes to show how good of a mood I was in, I actually enjoyed it! I was smiling the whole time and even felt indulgent toward the patently incompetent checkout clerk. The fact that there were five separate absolute hotties wandering around the store while I was there helped.

Well, the next day was the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, which I had off from work, and in which I planned to clean my room. Unfortunately, the show on Sunday and all the manual labor on Saturday were a little more than the frame could take, and I had to admit that I'd overdid it just a trifle. I did manage to get some laundry done, and I cleaned out Claudius' tank, but most of the day I FaceBooked and read Dearly Devoted Dexter (which was amazing, I heartily recommend).

Now I have to go back to work, which will be a test of just how good I feel... and whether or not I'm feeling good or am just running manic. I'll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, rest your eyes on this loverly specimen:

(I just realized this is the second time in as many months that I've used model Ashtyn Long in a post-punctuation. This image is the desktop wallpaper on my laptop, and I gaze and gaze and gaze at it. I think I may be falling in love again...)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

...And So It Continues...

"Teeheehee, that Robert~Marlénè is a stitch!" ~ God

My plans continue to progress, but not at the pace I had set for them. I am about halfway to the place I had expected to be a week ago... the boxes are up from the basement, but I still have to repack them and then get them to the attic; the tree is gone, but the ornaments are sitting on a blanket where the tree used to be, the living-room is still arranged around that empty tree-space, and all the other decorations are still in situ; I'm two-thirds of the way through my laundry, but the bedroom is still full of trash and dust and the same sheets I've been sleeping on for months.

But we seek progress, not perfection... the journey is more important than the destination... and other platitudes to that effect.

The thing is, I'm still sick. I'm not sure if it's a new facet of the same cold/flu I had at New Year's, or if it's another one that came along and kicked me while I was down, but I've progressed from the weakness/aches/nausea symptoms to the sniffles/congestion/hacking/sneezing symptoms. I'm able to do my job (more or less), and to get some things done at home, but every time I do anything difficult, like picking things up or stooping to get something off the floor or climbing stairs (basically whenever my pulmonary rate goes up), I start wheezing and hacking and coughing and have to stop and rest for a while. Which, as you can imagine, is rather limiting when most of the work you need to do involves stooping and lifting and climbing stairs.

So I'm taking a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race attitude towards the whole thing and I'll get where I'm headed eventually. It might be Easter before the Christmas is all gone, but whatever.


In other news, my fascination with (addiction to) FaceBook, or rather with the various games and apps in FaceBook, continues to grow. I started off with a game called Blood Lust, which my friend Indigo invited me to join; one goes on "quests" and "journeys" and whatnot, slaughtering all and sundry and getting paid in gold and nifty equipment for it. Then my niece Ariel invited me to join a game called Make Me A Celebrity, in which one works various "gigs" for points and cash, which can be spent on a variety of luxury stuff. Another friend, Spencer, invited me to an app called MyFarm where one stocks and operates a little farm with fruit trees, staple crops, and animals.

All of these games/apps require absolutely zero skill to operate, you just click a button (Do Quest, Take Gig, Harvest Crop, or what-have-you) and everything happens on its own. Yet I get a wonderful little thrill when my button-clicking actually achieves something, like reaching a new level of celebrity or defeating a particularly terrible vampire foe. I get a kick out of sending gifts to my FaceBook friends, which is what drives several of these apps; I feel like I'm actually communicating with people without having to think of anything interesting to say.

Soon I added Lil' Green Patch, Lil' Blue Cove, Pet Pupz, YoVille, and Elven Blood, and I visit all of these apps at least once a day, some of them several times a day, earning frequent visit bonuses all over the place. I'm a level 54 Pop Star on Make Me A Celebrity (there are 100 levels total), with homes in Beverly Hills, Manhattan, and (as of this morning) Greece, as well as a Rolls Royce and a private plane; I'm the second-wealthiest MyFarmer in my group of farming friends, with $82,048 in cash, 140 crops planted, 128 fruit trees bearing, and 42 animals (which don't do anything, but you can sell them); I'm at level 41 in Blood Lust and level 35 in Elven Blood (I don't know how many levels there are, nor how many quests to the end), and my Pet Pup Aloysius the Pug just learned how to play dead.

I wonder what life would be like if I didn't have these ever-changing obsessions... would I be productive instead, or would I just stare off into space? I have a feeling it would be the latter; in fact it is for that reason that I allow myself to do these things at work, because I spend less time on them than I would spend staring off into space. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

And So It Begins...

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." ~ Woody Allen

I made a resolution to start the new year with a clean room and a clean attitude. I planned out my attack, decided what to do with all the stuff I want to get rid of (it's going to Goodwill), and took New Year's Eve off from work so I could get an early start.

And then I came down with a flu. Hear that sound? It'd God laughing His ass off.

Well, the clean attitude came into play here, and I did what I could with my room despite the weakness and the nausea and the screaming pain behind the eyeballs.

I've taken over the guest room to deal with my clothing surplus... one bed is covered with laundry, which I cart out of my room by the armload every time I exit; the other is covered with clean clothes that I intend to keep, and there's a big box (in which our new vacuum cleaner was delivered) slowly filling up with clothes that don't fit very well or which I no longer wear. I also went through my CDs, including software, and got rid of everything I don't want. Laying around and feeling miserable took up the rest of both days (as well as celebrating midnight with the Grandmother and a very ill-looking Dick Clark, watching a few episodes of the HBO series Rome, and FaceBooking all over the place...I'm totally addicted to FaceBook just now).

So once I have all the clothes out of the room, I am going to start taking out the trash... there's a lot of it, and should take up this evening fairly well (I'm now feeling a lot better and hopefully will have the energy when I get home from work). Then Saturday I take out all the pillows and stuffed animals off the bed, wash all the bedding, and cover the bed with a dust-sheet to become (for the day) my book-sorting surface. I'm emptying my shelves, dusting them (this is the important part), and putting the books that I want to keep back in nice neat order...and putting the rest into the Goodwill box. The goal is to reduce everything by a third.

Sunday I will take down the tree and put Christmas back in the attic for another year, and then on Monday I return to the gym (with all the other Resolutionists, it will be crowded) and start my diet-and-exercise regimen anew. And then, giggling God willing, I will be starting the new year nice and fresh!

Other plans for the new year include getting my finances under control (shopping may only occur when there's a surplus from the previous month) and getting a handle on my mental state (I have an appointment with my shrink first thing in February, and the diet-and-exercise thing as well as the cleaner room are designed to help lift the depression a little more in the meantime). Finish my novel, write more on my blog, go to more meetings, do more work at work (and less FaceBook), and exercise more patience with the Grandmother rounds out the list.

I'm looking forward to accomplishing some of these things this year (or at least keeping God ROFLMAOing). This is a Seventh Year of my life, and Seventh Years always bring amazing changes, so I am hopeful and excited about 2009.

I'll keep you posted on my progress!