Monday, July 27, 2009

Life, Love and Other Mysteries

Yesterday I went to Thomas Road Baptist Church, which is the church founded by Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was totally awesome. I really loved it. It is, to date, the largest church I have ever been in; I don't know how many thousands of people were there....somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000, which is unbelievable. So not only did I really enjoy the service, but something absolutely wonderful occurred (I think it was one of those "in the right place at the right time" kind of things). When KB and I sat down with his mom and brother there were announcements scrolling by on a screen on the wall in front of us and one of the flyers said, "Point of Grace in Concert Tonight at 6:00 p.m." You might be asking yourself, "Who is Point of Grace?" but let me tell you that they were my favorite band growing up. They're an all-female contemporary Christian band. I had every cassette tape that they had (I was a 90's follower). I knew every song by heart. I sang at least two of their songs in church at LCF growing up, "You Are the Answer" and "Who Am I?" (with the soundtracks, duh) and I basically wanted to be Denise and Heather simultaneously, but Shelly and Terry were cool too. I think I stood in front of my mirror giving concerts in my room about 3 days/week, giving "Check 1-2's" in between songs just to make sure my hairbrush was on and the levels in the monitors were good. I love love loved them. Back to Thomas Road. The worship team was leading everybody in song and after two songs, the lead vocalist gives a few comments, you know, making sure everybody was along for the ride and everything and then he says something about "talking to the girls," and I'm thinking, Who are the girls? Well, the girls, were Point of Grace (Heather and Terry are no longer with them, but they have a new girl) and they roll out onto stage in the middle of worship to sing a newish song called "How You Live" and the great oldie "The Great Divide" (the choir sang with them on that one). It was amazing. I think my jaw was hitting my knees the entire time; I was literally in shock. Although I didn't get to go to the concert because life's odds and ends beckoned, yesterday's worship service was pretty much the manifestation of my childhood/tween dream. And it was awesome.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Who'll Stop the Rain

So on Friday night, it was pouring the rain, literally pouring. I really love summer rains; there's really nothing like them. I was relaxed listening to the rain and watching TV because that's one of my new found favorite past times when all of the sudden I thought to myself: It sounds like it's raining in my bathroom. So I walked the ten feet from the living room into my bathroom and lo and behold! there was water running down my freshly painted (by fresh, I mean a week ago) Diving Board walls. Now, this is the downfall of living in the basement; no drainage system, no gutters to fend off water, etc. The really old, grungy white curtains (the ones I haven't replaced) were soaked and there was a steady stream of water racing down the window. My neighbor/friend/co-worker/landlord was not upstairs and I didn't really have the resources or the means to be making any major DIY repairs on the exterior of my windows because a waterfall was keeping me from doing so. I got kind of depressed because a) I didn't have any plans, b) It was raining in my bathroom, and c) I was standing on top of the toilet holding a towel below the window staring into the black oblivion on a Friday night. Now if that's not depressing, I don't know what is. So I decided to "be proactive" (an encouragement my mom always bestows upon me) and went to look for something to fend off the army of water molecules trying to sabotage my paint job. I found a medium-sized piece of plywood and trekked outside, found a place to prop it so that water wouldn't come into the apartment anymore, and in the process got soaked (because my rain jacket was still at my other apartment, imagine that). My friend/former-roommate Niknak happened to ring me up and in an attempt to get a jump start of some of her own home improvements, like painting wooden side and coffee tabletops this awesome teal color, she needed some steel wool. Is it sad that I had a whole pack in my tool box? Niknak and her sweet dog Roxiebear came over and cheered me up; I told her about my lame evening and she dropped an even worse situation on me. She had just found out that her soon-to-be-landlord, who is in the process of fixing up her soon-to-be apartment, committed a major decorating faux pas by painting the ascetically pleasing, red brick, largest wall in the apartment with white paint! We are both very distressed about this and she is actively searching out every possibility for fashionably turning the disaster into a masterpiece (I'll keep you posted on what happens next). Niknak, if you're reading this, don't despair; you'll figure something out! So when Nik and Rox were leaving, like any normal hostess, I walked them to the door, and we were just standing there chit chatting when we happened to just look at my door and it looked like yellow gunk was running down the door. We had no idea what it could be, but when we looked closer, we realized that my apartment door was being attacked by miniature slugs. It was a very shocking thing to see; I'd never seen microscopic my life...Ever. Niknak quickly left because they were falling into the basement and I freaked out, ran into my kitchen, poured a handful of salt and threw it at the door like my life depended on it and slammed it shut. I then resumed the TV watching, wondered if slugs would invade my apartment and crawl into my ears while I was sleeping and became exhausted at the thought of it and went to bed. Oh the joy of summer rains.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Magic's in the Makeup

I did the most dreadful thing any woman could do before going to work. The one thing you must never forget to do before leaving the house, the one thing that completes and sets the look for the day, the finishing touch. The thing that makes you go, "Ahhh" to the mirror right before walking out the door. The dusting of powder. I totally forgot it yesterday morning. All I could hear in my head was my mom reminding me that my nose looked shiny! Needless to say, I felt very incomplete yesterday and wondered if anyone else was wondering where the bow was on top of the package. But then I had to ask myself, why do women care if there's really microscopic pieces of flesh-tinted translucent mineral powder resting in our pores? During my second year of college, I took a history course called,"History of Women in America 1865-Present," and it was one of the most interesting classes that I ever took in college. Not because I'm apart of the hardcore feminist movement, but because we studied every decade in general and looked at things like fashion (for both men and women), industrial and political movements, etc. We had this huge"Research-driven thesis" project where we had to go to the stacks at Alderman Library and look at a ton of archived magazines to find a topic of interest and actually do our own research on it via historical magazines. So basically, I looked at Cosmopolitan (called Hearst International back then) magazines, which have been around way longer than I would have ever expected from the 1890s until the 1940s. I was totally submersed in the cosmetic advertisements, so I looked at the rise of mass-marketing in very early in the cosmetic industry, focusing on the 1910s-20s. The results were kind of sickening. There was a Maybell Laboratories (what we now refer to as Maybelline) ad in a1917 issue that said, "Beautiful Eyebrows and Lashes will transform a plain, unattractive face to one full of charm, beauty and expression." I also read ads that actually said, "Are you ugly? Well try [Insert Product]!" So what is disgusting about the cosmetic industry is that it attempted to make a woman think that she needed the makeup to cover up her ugliness and by doing so, she was entering into a new realm of society: aristocracy (and maybe, just maybe she could be like a movie star). Ironically, before the everyday woman wore makeup, it had been considered the corruption of beauty (Basically, before the 20th century, only prostitutes and movie stars wore makeup.). Once the everyday woman was accepted by society when she wore makeup, it was the cosmetics that created her beauty, or so people were taught to think. Now, a little gel (Who knows what's in it? Who cares, right?) under the eyes can do wonders for the modern woman and her tiring endeavors. A little foundation can turn a face into a smooth canvas and save its life (and you don't have to debate with yourself about which shade to buy because now, you can find the shade that's just right for your face on any particular morning, whether you're sporting a sun-kiss or an allergic reaction). And every woman knows that applying some lip gloss during lunch break can turn any frown upside down. So many products, so little time. I don't think a little makeup hurt anybody, but I do think it's important not to place all the emphasis in life on trifles like face powder. It's kind of stupid, really. Then again, I don't think I could part with the Benefit BADgal Lash mascara I've been using! All of this is just to say that maybe I shouldn't have gotten so self-conscious about my face just because I didn't have my powder on yesterday....or maybe it's Maybelline.

Friday, July 10, 2009

She Works Hard for the Money

Imagine an attorney, a paralegal getting ready to go to law school and a paralegal-in-training briskly walking along the sidewalk to the bank to wire money for a real estate closing. The attorney is wearing a black and white knee-length dress with black flats, the paralegal getting ready to go to law school is wearing black pants, a white shirt and a crimson red tie and the paralegal-in-training is wearing royal blue and white checkered pants and a short-sleeved button-up shirt with a yellow sash and silver 3-inch high heels. On any ordinary day, this endeavor wouldn't be a sight to see, but on July 7, 2009, it was the attorney's first commercial real estate closing, the paralegal getting ready to go to law school had the form to give to the bank and the paralegal-in-training was tagging along for the ride with less than five minutes before the bank would cease doing wire transfers for the day...Therefore, the attorney began running in her flats down the historic Charlottesville Court Square and the paralegal getting ready to go to law school followed in her footsteps and they left me, in the dust, in my silver high heels, pathetically trying to run on the balls of my feet. The attorney turned around while running and said, "Don't run in your heels! You have to be employed somewhere at least 30 days before workers comp. applies!" I stopped and began laughing because only a lawyer would say something like that. It was awesome. Through it all, the wire transfer was a success; I did make it to the bank shortly after the attorney and the paralegal getting ready to go to law school, and I didn't eat bricks in front of the historic Albemarle Co. courthouse, which was a good thing. I started work full-time on Monday, July 6, 2009 at a law office as their new paralegal. I worked there as a part-time office assistant from August 2008 until May 2009 and was promoted to paralegal. I just graduated from the University of Virginia and am staying in Charlottesvegas a while longer. Now I can actually do all the things I always wanted to but was unable to do in college, such as, oh, I don't know, actually go to Monticello. I'm also in the middle of apartment improvements, such as painting every room in the apartment. I have my bedroom and the living room finished; they are painted with a Laura Ashley color called "Swiss Almond." My kitchen and bathroom are tentatively going to be painted my favorite of the paints I'll be using, Martha Stewart's "Diving Board." Save the best for last, right? I'm going to upload before and after pictures later when all is said and done, which should be in another week or so.