Who’s a Pretty Boy Then?

Who’s a Pretty Boy Then?

This Smirk took place a few years back, at a beauty college no less. No, I was not trying for a new degree, nor was I there for… actually I was there for a girl… my mom. For a Mother’s Day gift that year my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh and I got her a gift certificate for a pedicure… that’s the foot one right? Anyway, her gift was to get her toes shined and colored, her toenails that is, and then we’d take her out to lunch. The whole idea was to spend some time with her while she got pampered a bit, so naturally when we got the gift card for the foot cleaning session we reserved a time slot for all the girls, i.e. my mom, Angela, my little sister living in the area, and my sister-in-law. The plan was for me to hang out in a bookstore while they went and got their toes done, and then we would all go to lunch together. It was a brilliant plan, until…

My sister-in-law had to cancel. My nephew’s soccer team made it to the playoffs and she had already committed to go to every one of his games. This left an open chair for the toe portion of the plan. Taking a completely random stab at her expectations, Angela asked if I wanted to take the open spot. “Sure,” I said. Angela was a touch surprised I agreed to join them. In my opinion, life is all about the experiences we have, might as well add some new ones along the way. I’d always heard people use the term pedicure, but I had no idea what that truly meant, aside from paying someone to paint your toenails so you don’t have to. Besides, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

A week later, on a very summer friendly Saturday afternoon, I and three of my most favorite women in the world walked into what I was assured as the best beauty school in town. As we checked in with the hostess, or whatever they are called at a beauty college, I noticed something… there were not a lot of chaps about. I had noticed one sitting in his car in the parking lot, but once we got inside, I think I was the only testosterone producing organism in the entire building. Not that I was opposed or afraid of this realization, it was just an observation. Although, it was one that made me feel like I was infringing on some secret “women only” club.

As we walked into the pedicure room, it was clear from the looks I received that this was not a place where men usually dared to tread. I imagine for them it was a lot like walking into a polar bear exhibit at the zoo and seeing a lemur riding on the back of one of the bears while wearing a jockey outfit, complete with a riding crop. In short, I was a little out of place, but it was a brand new life experience… something I had never done before, and I had no desire to back out now. Besides, our chairs were right over there and they looked pretty comfy. I think the lady that took us to the room and introduced us to our “beauticians in training” was a little worried about me; she was constantly telling me that they have men come in all the time, just not today. It was sweet of her to try to put me at ease like that.

The experience of getting a pedicure was… well… it was like someone took a number of relaxation therapy processes and decided to mix in a few aspects of the Inquisition. There was the pretty smelling and incredibly relaxing oil rubbed into your feet portion that they start you off with to make you think that everything is going to be just fine. Then in comes the pit of hot wax, where, after essentially putting a loose fitting condom over your foot, you intentionally dip your happy and relaxed feet into a vat of hot melted wax. News flash, hot wax = “Ouch, that hurts!” After getting a nice thick layer of wax to completely cover your feet you are left alone as your brain fails to ignore the burning sensation pulsing through your feet, which the beauticians insist is the time required for the wax to, “work it magic.”

My foot girl, not mine per say, but the one assigned to my feet, finally returns and proceeds to pull off the wax coated latex booties I am now wearing. Once off I was surprised, my feet felt quite nice, and I’m sure if my little piggy’s could talk, each one of them would have said thank you and expressed how refreshed they felt, even the ones that are known for crying all the way home. Of course, just as I am experiencing some more happy feet vibrations, out comes the next implement of my torture, “the scraper.” It reminded me of that little metal pick that dentists always use on you so they can be sure to inform you, “your gums are bleeding” at least once before you leave their office. This metal tool had a different tip at each end though, for very specific scraping needs.

The foot girl now has my feet in some form of a kung fu grip while using the tool to scrape all the dead skin out from under my toenails and from the tops of my nails where the nail meets the skin. This is not a relaxing or feel good experience in any way, and as soon as the scraping ends out comes the nail clippers. My feet are now in a bit freaked out by all the bipolar treatment they have been receiving over the last fifteen to twenty minutes and the nail clippers only add to the anxiety. Still, there is no escaping that grip, so with the expression of someone getting a flu shot who refuses to watch the needle get jabbed into their arm, I kept my eyes closed tight until the metallic sound of my nails being catapulted into any possible random direction stops and the foot girl release her grip on my poor bewildered feet.

At this point Angela leans over and whispered to me, “Isn’t this fun.” Afraid to bad mouth any aspect of this den of relaxation torture, I just smile and nod. “Now comes the fun part,” she adds.

“It’s time to go?” I whisper back.

She just laughs at me and gestures to the posy of foot terrorists that are coming back to our seats.

“This is where we usually put the color on,” I’m informed by the foot girl, “but it’s common for our male clients to get their nails buffed and polished instead, if that’s what you’d like to do?”

I’m there for the experience I remind myself… and then remind myself again, “No special treatment for me,” I hear myself say. “Let me see what colors you have.”

This gets me a look from almost everyone in the room, of which there are probably fifteen to twenty clients and just as many minions working on their feet. “Um, ok,” was the only thing she said and soon an array of little bottle of bright colors were displayed in front of me.

Of all the random times to have a sudden whim of work pride, I choose to take this moment and think it would be appropriate to get something in purple since that it the color of the logo for the company I work for, you know, in case I ever decided to wear open toed sandals to work no one would question my dedication to the company. “Do you have any purple?” I asked, which was greeted by a blank stare. Then the foot girl dug into her little bag full of toenail polish and pulled one only one option… it was a actually a rather lovely color of purple. “Perfect,” I said.

As soon as I got a set of toe separators installed on went the first coat, followed by a drying spell and then a layer of nail protector followed by a friendly session with a hair dryer to aid in the drying process. By this time, I noticed that everyone else was finished. Each of them where sitting in their chair, looking down at their newly colored toes, as their toes wiggled excitedly, acting like they are all dressed up and ready for a night out on the town.

Now either it was a result of having the toe spacers removed and they were happy to be able to move about again, or they really were excited about being all dressed up and ready for a night out on the town, but all my toes were soon joyously wiggling around along with everyone else’s. A lady passing by looked down at my feet and actually commented, “That’s a really lovely color.” And that’s when it happened, with no other prompting or planning on my part, I heard myself ask just loudly enough for the entire room to hear, “Who’s a pretty boy then?” adding a few second later, “I AM!” as I threw my arm into the air as if a was a six year old trying to get the teacher to call on me so I can answer the question she just asked, which I absolutely know.

The entire room burst into laughter. “Yes you are,” Angela added, laughing with the rest of the room.

A little while later all our toes were bundled up and back in our shoes and we headed out to lunch, which was quite lovely as well.

A friend once told me it can be painful to be pretty, and I think my toes would agree, then again, he was bit of a masochist, so who knows for sure. As for my experience… have I been back? No. Was it worth it? Well, it was one of those defining life moments, but more than that it’s one of those memories that always get my mother smile, and that, in and of itself, makes it worth it every single time we get together and laugh about her pretty boy and his purple toenails.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: man getting pedicure.

© Richard Timothy 2011

Healthy Halloween… A Sweet Alternative

Healthy Halloween… A Sweet Alternative

Well, it’s finally happened. This year I became “that guy” for Halloween. No, not “That Guy” that guy, but the one that looks at all those little people dressed up in what I consider to be essentially a collection of multiple dimension origins of alternative Oliver Twist outfits, and thinks, “You’ve had enough.” Sure, I might be stretching a bit with that, but the fact of the matter is that all these kids dress up for the sole purpose of begging for candy. Not that Oliver ever begged for candy, but he is the one person most people reenact when begging, or attempting to beg by saying, “Please sir, may I…” well, you know the rest.

With the sugar overload that is Halloween, this year I found myself thinking, “I should get some apples or oranges for those little high fructose corn syrup addicts, instead of candy.” Then I remembered what I did when I was a kid when someone tried that crap with me. First, I would wait for two or three additional sets of trick-or-treaters to go through the “knock of disappointment” as we would call it. Then I would hurl my newly acquired orange at the distributor’s front door and run like hell.

What? When you’re ten and jacked up on sweets it seems like a perfectly good idea at the time. So oranges and apples are officially off the trick-or-treat menu. Also, in the event that you do receive a piece of fruit and take it home, parents never let you eat it because of that stories about razorblades being stuck in fruit on Halloween. So, even though you try to do a good thing and pass out something healthy, it gets tossed into the trash by the parents once they get home.

Instead I opted to go with something else… something in a sealed container. Something so heinous in the minds of most youth that then word got out my house would be dubbed some adolescent term that carries the same meaning and emotional abrasion as the black plague. Hey, if there is one thing I know about little kids it’s their complete and utter lack of being overly dramatic about any and every given situation. I figure if I could get the word out early on then none of the other kids would stop by and our house. We would be skipped out of respect to the commercialized and candy filled holiday Halloween had become in mainstream society.

Raisins, I got those cute little boxes of raisins to pass out. Hey, it might have taken me five months to get to them, but once all of the candy from, Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s day had been consumed and all that was left were those three boxes of raisins, they too were eaten as a last resort… which means after I my siblings and I had eaten all the sugared cereal in the house as well. But they were eaten, and I remember thinking that they really weren’t that bad… as a last resort.

So did I pass out raisins for Halloween this year and become the person received an evening of disappointed signs from the Oliver Twist wannabes when they noticed me handing them a box of raisins? No, but only because my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh took me to the movies to avoid being home for trick-or-treaters. Yeah, so instead of ‘that guy’ I was that other ‘that guy’, which is still completely different from “That Guy!” who usually hangs out at bars making comments about, well, you know.

Still, I did have little boxes of humiliated grapes ready to go. It’s funny, it only took me about thirty years to figure out what was going though the mind of that ‘crazy’ lady that gave me my first box of raisins when I was trick-or-treating all those years ago. I get it now, and if I’m home for the holiday next year I’ll probably be passing them out. I’m ok being ‘that guy’ and they will be new boxes, because now, for the next few months I have a two bags of baby sized boxes of raisin to take to work with me as part of my lunch. So, at least I’ve got that going for me.

What are your thoughts on a healthy Halloween?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: Oliver Twist, throwing oranges, box of raisins, and sack lunch.

It is Ok to Stare if the Art doesn’t Notice?

It is Ok to Stare if the Art doesn’t Notice?

Tattoos, we all have them… or have thought about getting one… or know someone who has one… or know someone who has thought about getting one… or at the very least we have all seen one. I mean, I remember seeing one every week on Fantasy Island. They’re hard to miss really. I see them everywhere, in magazines, on the internet, in movies and on television, at Harley conventions, on people in the military, and even on vampire hunters that are themselves vampires, oh wait; I guess that falls in the movie category.

I know there are some people out there that just don’t get it, and I am almost one of those people. Of course I only feel this way when I come across those few individuals that have tattoos over 90+ percent… it’s the face. I just don’t get covering your face with tattoos. Even if it’s a religious or cultural thing, I just don’t get it. Otherwise, ink up all you want, and sometimes I dig it immensely. Other times, it’s like running into some accident on the freeway and instead of looking away, I slow down and stare at the mess to see if I can decipher what I am actually looking at, curious if it means anything. As I drive away, the only thing I can think is how unfortunate the accident was, and how I hope no one was hurt that bad.

The way I see it, tattoos are just another form of art. When I was taking Art in school, debates would always spring up about ‘What is art?’ I took part in a few of these discussions before I learned the true definition of Art, which is ‘an individual’s personal definition.’ If you think something is art, then to you it is. Is cubism, or surrealism, or pop art, or even impressionism art? For some, yes. For others, no. That’s art for you.

For me, some tattoos truly are works of art, and others, well, just refer back to that previously mentioned car wreck metaphor. Besides, it’s my definition of art that I’m using here, so if you disagree, you’re wrong. When I see a tattoo, or collection of tattoos to make one big tattoo like a sleeve, I treat it, or at least I want to treat it, like a painting in a museum or gallery. I want to first look at the art at a distance and take in the full intricacy of the piece, the colors and details. Then I want to get as close as I can to it without making the alarms go off, or making a curator yell at me for getting too close, and take in one small section at a time.

Also, my appreciation for art is enhanced by seeing the original work, as opposed to copies. I can stare at an original work of Michelangelo, or even Bob Ross (I love Bob) for 15 to 20 minutes, but show me the same picture in an art appreciation book, and it’s a turn of a page. If it’s truly an amazing piece or work I might give it a full minute or two. Oddly, I feel the same way about a really impressive tattoo. When I see a picture of a tattoo online or in a magazine, I might go, “Ohh pretty!” but that’s about it. Put me in the same room with someone that actually has that tattoo and it can react in the same way as looking at that original work of Bob.

Trouble is, well, troubles, since there is more than one, is… are… the first problem I run into is that tattoos are always on the move. Yeah, so maybe on more than one occasion I’ve done my best to discretely follow someone around a grocery store trying to get a better look at their tattoos. The second problem is that I was raised with the teaching that it’s impolite to stare, which is exactly what I want to do when I see an exceptional tattoo… but I don’t want to be rude, but I still want to stare… and then stare… and then stare just a little bit more… you see my predicament. So I do a series of quick intense staring bursts as I nonchalantly follow them down the cereal aisle, while pretending to look at a box of Fruity Pebbles. Eventually they go their way and I go mine, but I always feel a touch bummed that I didn’t get a better look at the art they live in. Am I proud of this? Well, let’s just say it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I mean, is there a different code of manners when approaching/admiring a person’s tattoos? Enter my friend Jen. Thanks Jen! Jen is the single most tattooed person I know, and thanks to that, and that our friendship is right around half a decade old, she is my resource for getting the scoop on proper tattoo appreciation protocol. Oh, and for the record, she has some of the best sleeves that I’ve seen. (For those that don’t know, a sleeve is when you have a tattoo, or collection of tattoos that cover your entire arm from your wrist to your shoulder.)

Here are a few things I’ve learned from Jen: Turns out when you stare at a tattoo with appreciation and awe, the owner of the tattoo actually digs it. However, if you are caught staring at a tattoo with a judging eye, which is pretty easy to spot, there is a distinct possibility that you may become the recipient of a barrage of colorful metaphors designed to encourage you to stop your obvious judgmental facial expression.

One important factor to remember when you find yourself in a tattoo appreciating mood, “Don’t touch the art!” If there is one fairly universal rule about art appreciation it’s that you keep your hands off. Believe me, I understand the urge. The first time a saw a Van Gough, I had to fight the urge to run my fingers across it to experience the feeling of all the different textures the piece had to offer. But I didn’t, you know why? Well, apart from getting slapped, fined, and thrown into jail, it’s just plain rude. It’s the same thing when it comes to tattoos. Sure, when I see an amazing tattoo, I want to walk up and poke the tattooed arm with my finger, but I don’t, because it’s an art appreciation no no, and you should really avoid walking up and poking strangers in the arm. You can look, but don’t touch.

Jen told me, “You’d be amazed at how many people think ‘looking at your tattoo’ means pawing you with their hands while they look. I hate that. All of my friends with tats hate that.” She did go on to explain that if you do see a tattoo your really admire and enjoy the look of let them know. Tattoo owners always appreciate hearing that people enjoy their art. It’s kind of like telling a priest you enjoyed his sermon, or telling a Harry Potter fan that ‘Real men don’t sparkle. Real men defeat dark wizards’, or telling a young republican that you miss Reagan too, or telling Hong Kong Phooey he’s a number one super guy. It’s just a nice thing to do and should be well received.

What are your thoughts on tattoo art appreciation?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: tattoos, tattooed face, Bob Ross, shin tattoo, do not touch, and be nice.

Art Class Hallucinations

Art Class Hallucinations

Not too long ago I did a little Smirk about sleep and some of the things we do while we are asleep… like dreaming (I felt that needed conveying for those who have not yet read that piece). However, there was one thing I was reminded as I was writing the piece… the exact opposite of sleep and dreaming. Then again maybe it was awake dreaming. I’m not altogether certain, all I can say for sure is that the only hallucination I’ve ever had in my life was a result of no sleep… for three days straight.

It happened during my senior year of high school. During this phase of my life I had decided that art was my life. I even managed to get the authorization to have three of my seven classes to be art classes. I had even gotten permission to have a ceramics class during 7th period, when no ceramics classes were offered. The teacher would teach her normal beginner art class and I was left alone to play in the ceramics room. It worked very well for me, and you’d be amazed at the number of ceramic thrown bowls I had to give as gifts to friends and family for no reason what so ever.

It was during my senior year that my interest in school began to wane. I did well in school when I would go. It’s just that I wasn’t terribly interested in going, at least going before noon. Staying up late was a bit of a family tradition in my house. Going to bed before midnight was what we called ‘going to bed early.’ Seriously, the lights in our house were almost always on until two a.m. or later, and the last ones to usually go to be… my parents, especially my mom. The woman had more projects than New York, and was always up late trying to get one completed before the new day.

I don’t remember the reason for why I stayed up all night the first night. It might have been for a reason as brilliant as, “Because I could.” Believe me, when you’re 17/18 years old, reasons like that were usually as brilliant as you got. The following day I was amazed at how good and alert I felt. So that evening after dinner was consumed, friends had gone home, and I had made my ‘Sev Run’ (this is what we called going to 7-Eleven) to get 32 ounces of neon colored bubbly sugar water we lovingly called “Dew,” I committed myself to my room for the rest of the evening, knowing that I would be getting tired at some point due to my lack of sleep.

After writing two love poems about girls that would never know how I felt (ah to be a young and suffering artist), I let my imagination dive into a novel a friend gave me to read. When I reached what I considered to be a good stopping point, it was about five in the morning. I only had two hours before I would need to get up and get ready for school. That is when a line from the cinematic genius is ‘Strange Brew’ came to mind. There is a scene where two brothers get a job at a brewery. Once home they decide to celebrate by drinking all of the free beer they had gotten from their new job. As they are carrying cases of beer into the house, one of them says, “… let’s not blow it by being late for our first day on the job…” to which the other brother replies, “Well, why don’t we just stay up all night?”

Why not indeed? Even thought it didn’t work in the movie I was sure I could pull it off. Besides, there was only a little bit of night left, and I saw no point in going to bed. I was even early for school that day, which rarely ever happened to me that year.

Day two of no sleep left me a little more aware that I was missing something that my body and mind were in full support of receiving. The prospect of enjoying some sleep that evening was the key ingredient in getting me through a few nodding off moments during my afternoon classes. Well that and the constant flow of Mountain Dew both in and out of my body, which helped keep me alert and on my toes… mainly because of all the visits I had to make to the rest room.

Sleep would have been eminent had it not been for the gathering of friends that happened right after school. None of us had any homework, which was rare, so we hung out, watched movies, and eventually toilet papered our arch nemesis’s house. Yes we broke all conventional rules for toilet papering a home and did it during a week night. It was a cop’s house, the one that was always giving us a hard time. He would always go home while he was on duty and leave his police car running in his driveway. I think it was so the gas would be used up so on record it appeared he was out patrolling all night. Toilet papering his house was just the kind of spontaneous thing that motivated me to forget all about being tired and filled me with the required amount of adrenaline I needed to make it through another sleepless night. Well that and getting chased around down by the cop after he left his house. Stealthily sneaking back to my house did take a little more time than expected, but was well worth it.

So when four a.m. arrived, about the same time I was getting home, I dipped my cup of reasoning into the endless pool or teenage wit and wisdom, which all teenagers drink from during their time as a teen, and exclaimed, “I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead!” I mean sure it might have sounded cool, and rebellious, and edgy at the time, but it really was quite an erroneous statement. Unfortunately, it was lost on me at the time, so I proceeded to stay up for a third day in a row… more than anything though, I just wanted to see if I could do it. Turns out, I could. What? It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was on day three, during my 5th period art class that my REMly challenged mind had had enough and was going to make it quite clear to me that it wanted a break. I was working on a three foot by two foot pencil drawing of a woman in a dress. Her hair was hanging down in front of her face, which was perfect for me because I was still having trouble drawing faces proportionally. The drawing had no face to speak of, just lots and lots of hair. I remember one of her arms was hanging to her side, but it was a sort of side profile drawing so the arm was placed right in front of the dress. It was as I was shading the dress around the arm that it happened.

The entire picture became three dimensional and popped off of the paper. At first I was quite please because this allowed me to grab the lady’s arm and move it out of the way so I could get the shading on the dress right where her arm was hanging. The problem that arose was her arm kept slipping out of my hand and falling back to its original position, and ultimately getting in the way of the shading I was doing. After five minutes of this, with me getting more and more frustrated by the arms interference, one of my class mates broke the silence by asking me, “Are you ok?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

He told me that I kept putting my hand on top of the drawing and then would move my hand off of it like I was holding something and putting it down next to the paper. After shading for a few seconds I’d do it all over again. Also, apparently there were a few times that I hunched over the drawing and started scratching at the arm with one hand while I was shading right next to the area I was scratching at. My experience was that I was using my finger to tap her arm to the side while I shaded.

As the realization of what just happened hit me. I said I was fine and as I looked back at my drawing I saw the arm falling back into the paper as a flat two dimensional image. I only had two periods left before the day was over and I could go home, but damn if those two forty-five minute classes didn’t have a two to one special going on that day. For ever one minute that passed, I got a second minute for free. It was an epic hour and a half.

When I finally got home, I went straight to my room, taped a “Sleeping” sign on my door, and climbed into bed. I have no recollection of my head ever hitting the pillow. However, when I woke up fifteen hours later to get ready for school, it was clear by my reflection in the mirror that not only had my head hit the pillow, but that one side of my head had battled against it to gain control of my hair for the night. The pillow had won and the left side of my head had my hair sticking out in every direction but down. I am happy to say that after a shower and a hefty heaping handful of hair gel, my puffed pillowy hairdo deflated. Plus, I was no longer sleep deprived. Otherwise, I probably would have just said, “screw it” and gone to school looking like I was trying to win a Robert Smith lookalike contest where I was the only contestant (again… my junior year was an unfortunate time during my high school years… damn you Robert Smith… damn you The Cure.)

So any sleep deprived stories about your school years you’d care to share?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: art class, writing poetry, drinking mountain dew, toilet papering house, sleep deprived, drawing, and sleeping sign.

A Brief Moment in Human Ingenuity… Part 1

A Brief Moment in Human Ingenuity… Part 1

I’ve been having a rather grand time posting a few random pictures on my Facebook page and thought it was be fun to share them here as well. I’ve been calling them “A Brief Moment in Human Ingenuity” and figured I’d include the first four and a few extra. I hope you enjoy Lessons 1 – 10.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 1: How to keep your beer cold and clean.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 2: How to wear a broken seat belt to avoid getting a ticket… (not recommended, ever).

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 3: Don’t be afraid to mark up your books, especially if they serve a structural purpose.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 4: If bad weather is messing with your television signal… remove the weather.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 5: How to conserve water and still use your dishwasher.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 6: Duct tape use 147,872: car door handle… just add stick.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 7: When duct tape fails to repair your car, there is always the zip tie.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 8: How to renovate old entertainment centers to accommodate the new trend of wide screen televisions.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 9: How to feed your baby it’s bottle and still still get something done.

A brief moment in human ingenuity… Lesson 10: Apart from saving lives, seat belts can also save you from having to listen to that annoying grinding noise from your dragging muffler.

Image Sources:
An e-mail from a friend.

A Brief Moment in Human Ingenuity… Part 1

Angela's Birthday Weekend

Recently my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh had her birthday, and as birthday’s go this one went rather well. The celebration of which managed to expand over a three day period, which is almost the amount of time it takes to watch the Lord of the Rings Extended Version Trilogy back to back… almost being the distinguishing word there.

So what made this birthday so grand and drawn out? There were a couple of elements added to this holiday. The first and main reason, it was Angela’s birthday and in truth I could just stop there. When the one you love becomes a year older what better cause for celebrating for three days in a row. As far as age goes, I am going to break all southern etiquette rules… or is it female etiquette rules? I am going to break all southern female etiquette rules and let you all know that it the fourth anniversary of Angela’s 29th birthday. And that means only one thing! Butterflies! I’m pretty sure that the symbol of the fourth birthday anniversary is the butterfly. At least that’s the theme I went with. Of course having Angela overly smitten with most things butterfly caused this choice to work out pretty well.

Saturday evening began the birthday festivities in a tri-celebration. Two additional friends were also in the season of their birthday so in the spirit of giving I made a vat of fruity alcoholic happiness. One of the birthday people had brought two questionable bottles of wine. The type of wines that had exceeded its stay in its home of fermentation and over the years had become a bit withered and grumpy, and constantly yelling at all the young wines to stay out of its rack. One was a white zinfandel and the other was a seven year old bottle of Chianti. After trying each it was clear that both had gone over to the dark side. I used my mixing mastery in to save these poor decrepit wines from being undrinkable, and turned them into the base for my beverage dispenser of fruity birthday toasting.

We did end up putting a skull and crossbones sticky note on the drink dispenser though. Apparently if you fill something with fresh fruit, ice, and make the liquid in it a happy and festive summer color, little kids tend to think that it was made specifically for them. I learned this as I was finishing up the drink and a line of little people formed asking if they could have some. There was a chorus of adults loudly denying this request. “That drink is not for you.” echoed throughout the party and a pitcher of lemonade was quickly produced and poured into the little one’s cups.

As the party came to a close and birthday people began to head home, we had the present opening portion of the evening. To Laurie, our gracious party host, and whose husband Dwight and friends serenaded our birthday honorees with live music, we gave her a cage for naughty candles that refuse to play nice with others. At least that’s what it reminded me of. It was a round wire cage with a twisty bottom that you could remove and place a candle on, and then twist back into place so that the candle was in the cage. It also had a long wire handle so you could hang it on a ceiling hook in a corner of the house when you decide to put the candle in time-out.

Then there was Mike, who received the collection dollar items for the sole purpose of filling a lovely leather travel toiletry bag that had a water proof lining for Mike to take with him on all his many travels… to meet up with his wife who travels all over the world for work… which means she now has a very nice travel bag to take with her when she travels and that will always house one extra tooth brush for Mike for those occasions when he gets to meet her somewhere in France, Germany, Michigan, wherever really.

I did manage to get Mike a new t-shirt though, which is inherently him. Some people collect spoons, others collect spices, which is a lot more people than you might think. Think I’m kidding? Go to your kitchen and look in your spice drawer, you just might be surprised at how many spices you have in there that have never been opened. If you have more than five, then you are an unknowing spice collector. Welcome to the club.

As for Mike, he collects vintage looking food t-shirts. Like his red shirt with a big McDonald’s M on it, or his brown t-shirt with the A&W logo on it. He loves them. It’s a sort of tie to his youth when junk food tasted better, was cheaper, and was probably better for you than it is today.

For you slightly out of your twenties folk, do you remember the Tootsie Pops commercial with the owl and the little kid asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? The owl takes the pop licks it three times and then bites the pop off the stick, and hands the stick back to the kid telling him, “three.” Well it just so happens that I found a t-shirt that had Mr. Owl sitting on a branch with the word POPS in the back ground, and a caption under the owl that read, “How many licks?” When Mike unrolled the t-shirt and saw what it was… it was like looking into the eyes of a six year old who had just eaten his first Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It was the look of pure joy.

For Angela, I gave her the one thing she always seems to need more of, time… sort of. It was a watch, actually two, but I gave her the second one on her actual birthday instead of at the party. I guess you could say that I gave her time pieces symbolizing how time flies, but that just means that the watches I gave her had butterflies on them. Yes, accessories with butterflies on them truly is the one thing she currently seems to need more of.

Getting her two watches started when we were in the Fossil store a few weeks back, which happens to be the same store where I got my sun dial. She saw two different watches that had butterflies on them and fell in love. She self debated for a good twenty minutes over which one she liked the most. Once she reluctantly decided I told her we’d come back as soon as pay day arrived. Then the next day I went and got both of them for her. My birthday message to her mimicked a message that she has been sharing with others for a while now. To paraphrase the message… you don’t have to settle in life, you can be happy in personal and business relationships, healthy, wealthy and enlightened. Life is not about living in just one of those areas, while the rest suffer. Life is about all of them and living in a way where you have a balanced and whole life. In short, you deserve it all, and Angela deserved all of the butterfly watches she wanted.

Day two of the celebration consisted of sleeping in, and moving slowly once we got up as a result of moderate alcohol consumption and an assault of vindictive pollen beating my allergies into a state of sneeze filled exhaustion. One we hit the post shower level of begin awake we went over to Laurie and Dwight’s and helped clean up the party mess. Once that was done, we hit the last day of the Utah Arts Festival. We spent five hours wanders around looking at booth after booth of various forms of art, such as painting, jewelry, ceramics, glass work, pencil drawing, sculptures, stained glass, and so on. All the while we were being followed around and tempted by the savory fragrance of cinnamon roasted almonds… that mouth watering tempter of sweet crunchy goodness. We did manage to resist its temptation though.

There were five different stages at the Arts Fest and through our walkabout we did see two spoken word performances, a collage of different dance performances, an obnoxious pigmently challenged rapper, an Ani DiFranco sounding angry anti-folk singer, and a fairly groovy soul/funk band. Our evening ended with us going home around 9:30 as a result of me falling asleep on the grass while Angela was listening to the music. I really tried, but I was on a losing battle against the summer horror that is allergies.

Day three, which was the official date of the celebration, consisted in me taking off work and spending the day with my sweetie. Again, sleeping in was our first accomplishment for the day. By 1PM we were out of the house and heading downtown to eat at Angela’s favorite Mexican restaurant. It was so good, but so… much… food… We didn’t eat anything else the rest of the day/night. The margaritas were strong and left Angela enjoying a birthday buzz as we went shopping the rest of the afternoon. Before lunch I did give her the second watch, and a card/sketchbook. Meaning I gave her a sketchbook where I sketched something on the first page and wrote an inscription along with it so it could serve as a birthday card. She cried when she read it, but in a good way.

I’m not sure why it’s become common practice to always add that clarifier when you mention you made someone cry. I mean whose going to advertise that they were a jerk and made someone cry? Ok that is who beside Don Rickles, or a politician publicly apologizing for making their wife cry because they are a liar and cheater? Oddly though, every time I hear someone mention they did something to make their significant other cry, they always clarify it with, “In a good way?” It’s always quickly added as well, as if there is some very large man close by holding a cricket bat ready to smack you in the kneecap while yelling, “You don’t make women cry!” Still, we feel compelled to clarify every time that phrase is uttered.

All things said and done, it was a wonderful three day celebration for my beautiful wife’s fourth anniversary of her 29th birthday. I love you honey! Next year I hope the celebration lasts a whole week… you deserve it!

Any thoughts about today’s Smirk?

Image Source:
Google Images, key words: Happy Birthday Angela, fruit punch, hanging candle holder, tootsie pops owl, fossil butterfly watch, Utah arts festival, and red iguana Utah.