Going Topless

Back when I had to work for a living, one of the things I endured was going out to lunch with salesmen from my company and from other companies.  One day a man I knew dropped in to see if I was available for a noontime meal.  He also wanted to show off his new convertible. 

This car was not an especially fancy car, and having been driven around before in Lincoln Continentals and Jaguars, I was not overly impressed.  He asked if I wanted to put the top down, and I said no.  While he complied on the ride to the restaurant, on the way back, he insisted on putting it down.  When we got to my office 10 minutes later, he looked at me and said, “Wow!  Your hair is a mess!”  Right. 

I figured that had I had a hair elastic or a hat, I might have fared better.  I also envisioned the glam movie star look with a lovely scarf wrapped neatly around my head, softly framing my face.  That was more than 12 years ago, and I had not had the opportunity to go topless in that time.  Not until earlier this week.

My sister doesn’t happen to own a 12 or 15 passenger van, so when we gave her our children for a few days so we could run away to St. Augustine, she got our van, too.  Since we met halfway between our two homes, we took possession of my BIL’s Jeep.  Last Sunday was cool and rainy, so we kept the top up, and the few days we were in St. Augustine, we mostly walked around the historic district.  But for the ride home on Tuesday and the ride to get the kids on Wednesday, we had gorgeous weather: 70-something temps and sunny skies.

I put my hair back in a ponytail/bun and attempted a stylish wrapping of my head with a pretty blue-patterned silk scarf.  Shockingly (!), real life isn’t like the movies.  I am sure that movie stars never rode in vehicles traveling at highways speeds.  A loose wrap did nothing to prevent flying hair, and a tighter attempt made me feel like I was strangling myself.  I also had a heavier scarf to keep the chill off my shoulders, and I did try using that as well.  However, that scarf, lovely though it is, is from the Middle East, and instead of looking like a movie star, I looked like a Muslim.

For a bit, I just let the wind pull the tendrils from my ponytail, thinking it would be good enough.  But the force generated by a car going 70 mph turns even little sections of hair into vicious whips, mercilessly lashing at my sensitive ears and face.  And when we stopped for gas, I realized that somehow even the the hair on the top of my head secured by the ponytail had managed to get tangled.  After I smoothed all that out and re-secured the ponytail, I tried the silk scarf once again.  This time, I put the middle of the scarf under my ponytail, pulled the ends up to the top of my head, tightly crossed them and brought them back under my ponytail where I tied them off.

My ears were protected; my hair was covered.  The scarf stayed in place.  I didn’t look like a movie star, but I didn’t look like a Muslim.

I looked like a chemo patient.

Oh well.

When we returned the Jeep, my sister asked what I thought, and I really didn’t have a chance to give a full assessment.  I did enjoy having the wind all around, and was happy to note that I could hear my husband when we talked.  But we didn’t talk all that much, which is not normal for us.  Talking on a cell phone, even with the top up, was extremely difficult.  This is fine if you are avoiding people, but if you are trying to arrange dinner plans or find a hotel, it’s not so good.  And if the President is going to visit your husband’s place of work in a few days, it might mean pulling over to the side of the road for 10 or 15 minutes once or twice for him to take a call.

I’m not bitter.

Too much.

Well, at least it’s not directed at my husband.

The tangled hair issue is something I would have to deal with before ever buying a Jeep or other convertible.  A quick look online revealed lots of people who think (wrongly) that a ponytail or a pretty scarf will be enough.  Again, if you don’t go above 30 mph, they might be right.

There are two other issues with a convertible.  One is sunburn.  Bill was wearing short sleeves the first day we drove with the top down, and his right arm got nice and red.  Perhaps there was sunscreen in the glove box, but I’m not the sort to go rummaging through another person’s car.

The other is the possibility of theft.  Normally I don’t carry around expensive things, but since we were traveling we had an overnight bag, a backpack with a really super nice Nikon camera, and a leather briefcase with a crappy netbook computer we wish someone would steal – but not if it also meant the loss of the briefcase.  We own very few truly nice things, but those few things all happened to be in the Jeep with us.  While the top was down, one of us stayed with the vehicle at all times.  When we went to get the kids on Wednesday, we had none of that, and I was much less concerned about having an unattended car.

But, I do think the Jeep was fun.  I don’t think I feel I “have” to have one, but I wouldn’t be upset if that was the car my husband decided to buy.

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Book Review and Giveaway

I’m back from my mini-vacation to St. Augustine.  More on that later.  I was supposed to have this book review done for TODAY, so I don’t have time to blog about sunny skies and warm temperatures and driving in a Jeep with the top down.

Did Blogger change its format, or is my computer all wacky?

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I am honored today to introduce to you Sarah Reinhard.  Perhaps you know her already?  If not, you are in for a treat.  I’ve “known” Sarah since before I moved to Kansas many years ago (2007).  I actually met her on that move, since she lives not too far from my brother, and I went to see him en route to Kansas.  My husband is not the sort of person to agree to drop in on a total stranger, because virtual friends are not “real” friends, right?  But I built up this plan for quite some time by telling him about Sarah, the Snoring Scholar.  I added the bit of information that she “lived on a farm in Ohio” because that adds gravitas in my world.  I’m from Ohio.  I have relatives who live on farms in Ohio.  I played on farms in Ohio as a child.  Living on a farm in Ohio doesn’t guarantee coolness, but it certainly adds in your favor.  It didn’t take long for Sarah, the Snoring Scholar, who lives on a farm in Ohio, to become a common topic in our house.  To this day, I can’t just say “Sarah Reinhard” without my husband adding in the rest.

Way back then, Sarah was just a blogger.  Now, though, Sarah has more than a few published works to her name.  I highly recommend Welcome Baby Jesus: Advent and Christmas Reflections for Families and Welcome Risen Jesus: Lenten and Easter Reflections for Families.  I have not yet read her Do I Really Have to Give Something up for Lent? but for $1.50, I don’t think you could be disappointed.

And now Sarah has a book-book, not just a pamphlet type book to brag about: Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative or CluelessThat link has a bit more about Sarah, a fancy summary of what her book is all about, and some lovely endorsements from other Catholic blogger/authors.  I don’t have anything new to add to what is written, really.  I feel like a Rush Limbaugh listener who calls in and says “Ditto!”  


But perhaps I do have a few things to add.  First of all, I have two copies to give away.  Just leave a comment here, and I’ll enter your name in for a random drawing selection to be held on Tuesday, May 1st, promptly at noon.  I’ll even put it on my calender so I don’t forget.  

Secondly, I think this book is most appropriate for families with a preponderance of children under the age of 10.  This is not to say that older children would not be interested in any of the activities; it is merely to assist those of you with multiple ages in deciding if it would be right for you.  Half of my children are under the age of 10, and, experienced though I am, I still found many of her suggestions interesting and useful in sparking my own creative ideas on things to do as a family.  My older boys, though, are into a different brand of fun.  Sarah does not include canoeing, fishing, camping or anything involving fire, and I suspect that this is because her son is still but a toddler.  Definitely, though, if you have young children, this book would be great for you.  


And lastly, don’t let the word “Catholic” in the title throw you off.  This is not a book about how to make praying the rosary seem exciting or having your kids memorize the names of the books of the Bible in order or charades where you guess which title of Mary they are (is that Queen of Angels or Queen of Apostles?).  Rather, this book is primarily ideas for doing things as a family with additional ideas for how to make it Catholic thrown in (which you can take or leave).  So don’t feel that you or your family isn’t Catholic enough to enjoy this book, but also realize that incorporating our Catholic faith into normal, family fun is very easy and also beneficial.  Having fun together as a family strengthens the family, and having some faith-base to those activities strengthens our faith.


Of further interest: Sarah has a Catholic Family Fun link on her blog.  Pauline Books has a whole Catholic Family Fun website which promises monthly updates and new material.  And of course, there is the Catholic Family Fun Facebook page.


Don’t forget to enter to win by leaving a comment!

Old Enough to be a Grandma

I was doing some pregnant woman bonding with a woman I happened to see in the maternity section of the store on post.  She is due in 10 days and her husband just left for training in Louisiana.  He *hopes* to be back around the due date, but the training is scheduled until mid-May.  This baby is their first.

She has a doula, which is great.  And she told me that her mother-in-law is coming this weekend to be with her and help her, especially in case her husband doesn’t make it home in time.  Then she paused and told me that I reminded her of her mother-in-law.

{sigh}

I am sure that her mother-in-law is young and hip.

And I’m seriously considering the need to wear makeup every day.

And he wanted to quit piano…

What gets my teenager all excited?  Piano sheet music for two of his current favorite shows and the chance to annoy his sisters by playing them.

I’ll admit that the Knight Rider theme song will get on my nerves, too, if he plays it excessively.

But I think the song from The Adventures of Tintin is pretty cool.  And how can I not love the internet that enables me to obtain such an obscure piece?