Tag Archives: eyebrows

Close Scrutiny

glassesThere can be few words more alarming for a sophisticated Spinster than ‘so are we doing your lip as well today?’ The context of the conversation monthly personal maintenance; shaping and tinting of ones eyebrows. Quite what one is supposed to say once such an issue has been raised? ‘Oh no let’s leave the moustache au natural today!’ Foraying into the world of the beautician tends to deliver an awareness of the ‘sins of excess body hair’; a vanity that frankly doesn’t come naturally to the Spinster!

It transpired that the Beautician had recently acquired some new hot wax that she was desperate to apply to pretty much any unsuspecting victim to cross the threshold of her emporium. So yes the Spinster allowed the substance to be smeared across her top lip, between her eyes (the mono brow is the height of facial hair crimes; Dennis Healey a lady is not) and underneath the bottom lip, the bit that is on top of the chin curve thing! Disturbingly the hot wax is stretchy; like melted sugar used to decorate posh puddings. And yes when it’s removed with little paper strips it does make a gal draw breath rather sharply; and no the moistening of the eyes is absolutely not down to tears!

Auntie, in spite of her challenging idiosyncrasies, occasionally offers advice both welcome and useful. None I hasten to add are her own ideas; this lady is influenced by the last person to whom she spoke! Auntie’s handy hints: shaping your eyebrows gives your face a lift; the genesis of this tip is lost in the annals of the Spinster’s cavernous memory, these days filled with a vacuum rendering ones thought process akin to an echo chamber! Oh the joys of a post 40 pharmaceutically addle brain! The other handy hint came from a talk given at Cameo; a ladies lunch club with a regular programme of speakers. Said speaker apparently told the gathered throng that a nude bra should be worn under white to avoid a lady’s undergarment’s been on view; this the Spinster has taken to heart as it’s absolutely spot on!

This week the Spinster is staying my parents house where rather extensive building work is being undertaken in the garden. The construction of raised beds and retaining walls to make the garden more manageable; a larger version of the Spinster safe arrangement in Wales. What is a bit weird is that the builder(s) are guys my age that the Spinster went to school with; seeing each other as proper adults for the first time. Let’s face it we are all in our 40s with 20 plus years of work experience behind us; and yet the Spinster found herself momentarily back in the school yard.

‘Do you remember me from school?’ the Spinster asked. ‘Yes and how’s your brother? the builder responded. Hmm I wonder what precisely this guy remembers; a wall flower of muted camouflage shades affording more than a degree of invisibility was the child the Spinster was 25 plus years ago. This guy I remember being attractive in a young teenager’s eyes; and now his slightly nasal camp local accent sounds, well odd. But we’ve all changed and none of us are oil paintings! But the Spinster could really have done with this guy keeping his t-shirt on; let’s face it I wasn’t about to reciprocate preferring to keep this particular flesh mound well covered! And yes ladies the Spinster does have a problem with man boobs; sorry but I do! And yet the craftsmanship with natural stone is really rather good…

On the subject of time passing the Spinster has been going to see the aforementioned beautician for over 10 years; we’ve got to know each other personally as well as professionally. The problem is we’re both of an age where close scrutiny requires assistance; glasses augment the eyeball functioning process. The first time she put her glasses on the attend to the Spinster’s eyebrows I didn’t think anything of it aside from silently noting that this gorgeous specimen’s visage was further enhanced with stylish frames. More recently the Spinster has noticed the tidying process is well not quite as tidy as it used to be; at what point does one take ones business elsewhere? Loyalty it seems comes with an element of compromise; let’s face it that’s what the Spinster’s clients have done albeit I don’t let any of them anywhere near me face with sharp implements!


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The Challenge of Withdrawal

Not all side effects are bad; undoubtedly most are ranging as they do from the mildly irritating to the severely debilitating. With the cocktail I down daily its frankly difficult to work out what causes what and as my GP used to say as he scanned the notified side effects: numbness, poor co-ordination, impaired balance, blurred vision etc these are all the symptoms of MS anyway so you probably won’t notice any difference! Fair play he is a good sound doctor of the old fashioned sort with the added bonus that he speaks to me as if I was an intelligent person (on balance an accurate assessment putting the occasional lapse of judgement (personal relationships and speeding) on one side).

 The main side effect that is causing me grief as it wears off is my hair is losing its bounce; really it is slipping gradually from curly to wavy to limp lifeless and lank (not quite there yet but not far off). Aside from being irritating there is a real impact on the time it takes to get my mullet into a world ready state; either I will have to get an even shorter crop or get up 30 minutes earlier! Except if I’m going to get the week day morning swim in that won’t help as the Council aren’t going to accommodate me needing half an hour more to style my hair by opening at 630 am instead of 7 – although given the Council Tax we pay I feel justified in making the request!

The real differences I have noticed this week are associated with my co-ordination or rather lack of co-ordination with an enhanced shake. Some things are becoming rather more dangerous or at least require a greater degree of concentration to manage the associated risk. If Health and Safety Legislation was applied to the home I’d be slipped into a firm jacket with cross over sleeves – I wonder if they come in a range of seasonal colours…

 For illustrative purposes this week’s challenges fall into two categories:

–      Problematic i.e. really need to find a way around them

–      Potentially useful i.e. those that could bring added benefits

The problematic:

–      Personal Grooming: the plucking of one’s eyebrows is for me non negotiable and I blame Auntie for introducing me to the practice some years ago now. Darling she said it gives your face a real lift! At 25 I didn’t really feel I needed lifting as in those days I had a short bleached blonde cropped ‘do’ which gave me all the umph I needed (until it started to break off when austerity led me to bleach it myself – remember the days when peroxide was peroxide and mixed into a blue paste? Hells bells that takes me back!)

–      Beard Removal – this as with the eyebrows is another must do activity. I wish I could wean myself off stroking my chin absentmindedly meaning the skin is worried into a permanent state of anxiety before I’ve whipped the tweezers out! This and the eyebrows are dangerous high wire activities with the current shaking ‘n’ shivering going on and the nipping of delicate skin is PAINFUL and not exactly life enhancing. The professional beautician I seen regularly made me promise to stop over plucking as I was ruining her handiwork given the attention she paid to creating the perfect arched brow. Believe me given the amount of time I spend scrutinising said areas she’s telling the truth. She is minded to come and remove the magnifying extendable mirror from the bathroom; guns at dawn if she dares!

–      Contact lenses – several of the drugs cause dry eyes (ears, skin and well any area that is meant to well not be dry not to put too fine a point on it!). Until about two years ago I wouldn’t have dreamt of wearing glasses everyday – you know the adage men never make passes at girls who wear glasses – without the glasses of course you’d never know who was passing by and frankly that would be preferable in many cases! But now the challenge is to clean the contact lens without flicking it somewhere never to be found (without the aid of torch light) and then of course insert the lens without poking yourself in the actual eye. My advise keep your nails short (and unvarnished) to avoid infection (following injury).

–      Finally the decoration, the finishing touches otherwise known as make-up. Well I’m minded to start a trend for the wavy/discontinuous eye liner – remember rick-rack anybody? The zigzag edging that was attached to clothes in the 1970s? The shiver effect applied to an eyebrow pencil (that seems determined to migrate giving the attractive black eyed look – hmm not quite the smoky kohl heroin chic of the 1980s more someone who hasn’t had a good night’s sleep for a week)

Today the good news arrived the Pain Consultant has prescribed the new wonder drug that is going to release me from the tortuous side effects of opium based painkillers. Typical as I had just resolved to reverse the dosage upwards as the challenge was beginning to bore me rigid or more accurately 10 days of hardly sleeping was getting tiring ha ha! But before I get all excited I have 6 days before I can see the doctor who will no doubt tell me he needs to take advice on the transfer process; working with drug addicted patients must play on one’s mind given the responsibility that comes with it. And then of course the Pharmacist will have to order the drug as its new and won’t be in stock so that’s the best part of 10 days…

 However more pressing on the Friday afternoon is what to wear to the Labour Party Fundraising dinner at the Mount Sorrel Hotel in Barry tonight. Fear not I am going as a guest of a party supporter to the extent I have omitted to remember the name of the candidate beyond thinking it is a male and the Christian name begins with a C! I’ll wear black, keep quiet and focus on being earnest (with a hint of pale and interesting for that read pallid complexion with dark circles under my kohl rimmed sockets)!

 What possessed me to agree to go out on a Friday night when the chances of me feeling like a rag doll whose stuffing is seeping out are always rather high? Try as I may I can never find the source of the leak where my energy drips from – still it would be like the proverbial small boy putting his finger in the dyke i.e. not the most effective of solutions! And I am gutted that there wasn’t Prawn Cocktail on the menu! So I’m holding out for a slab of Sara Lee Black Forest Gateaux – nothing like a dose of addictives to damp down the withdrawal symptoms!

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2 October 2011

Dear Sophisticated Ladies

Curiously the 2nd October 2010 also fell on a Sunday; I note this simply as the date popped up when I saved this missive. How on earth is it already October? And a shade under 30 degrees Celsius; no wonder the poor plants in the garden are confused! When I heard on reliable Radio 4 that magnolia’s were once more in flower I immediately ‘dashed’ to the raised back bed to see if my Stellata was likewise in distress. No chance it’s taken the summer off as usual.

 This afternoon I was reading in the garden after working in Merthyr all day yesterday. The disembodied voice of my neighbour came through the tangled mixed Clematis-Honeysuckle hedge between our houses. As she talked it struck me that the encounter was a little like a confessional. We exchanged local intelligence noting that Ophelia in the house opposite had celebrated her first birthday this weekend.

 The series of parties one holds for a first birthday tend not to be repeated and the invitation list is eclectic shall we say. Attendees span the generations with older persons dressed appropriately for the occasion with ‘a (patterned) dress and jacket with matching handbag/shoes’ for her and a ‘casual’ shirt under a smart jacket for him. The curve of the male belly often sympathetically pregnant in scale; not a problem as long as the buttons are showing obvious signs of distress.

 My neighbour and I expressed pleasure that the car that had been mysteriously parked outside my neighbour’s house had finally gone. You will be pleased to know the abandoned vehicle had not encroached on ‘my’ space. Through a Miss Marple process of deduction my neighbour deduced that the owner of the shabby car (in her parking space) had returned from holiday with people who live two doors up. I added my two penneth saying I had concluded that they had been on honeymoon.How had I worked this one out I hear you ask? Well simple really as my neighbour had told me that the mother, (of the man two doors up), worked for the bank who deals with the accounts for the Dairy where my neighbour works. Are you keeping up ladies? And this being Barry i.e. somewhere secrets are seldom kept, the man’s mother had told my neighbour that her son was getting married. This was two/three weeks ago so the absence was likely to be a honeymoon cum holiday.

 No rocket science required; just a couple of brain cells able to generate friction when rubbed together! The couple two doors up have recently had a baby, a boy unless they are dressing a girl in blue for fun of course; this being Barry humour of this ilk is unlikely! But I am curious as to whom they took on holiday with them; a babysitter on ones honeymoon would be a good plan me thinks.

This week I woke up with toothache in two places. This is not in itself unusual as one of the side effects of the drugs is sensitive teeth; self diagnosis as dentist does not agree. The difference was that this time the pain didn’t subside as it usually does. Only a month or so ago I had visited the dentist for a filing and it was the same tooth this time; plus another. Fortunately my distress was mid-week and an appointment was available albeit not with my usual dentist. Frankly I didn’t care who I saw as long as they could stop the pain; toothache and earache are my bugbears! Curious for someone who spends most of her life juggling pain competently; so off I pop to Windsor Road Surgery.

 In preparation for the appointment I have tidied up my eyebrows which, given that my manual co-ordination is not exactly accurate, may not have been a good plan. I do indeed accomplish the task with only a couple of wince inducing pinches; no blood is drawn. My logic is that the dentist gets awfully close to ones face and even if they are ostensibly focussing on one’s mouth you can’t rule out that their eyes might wander!

 I am early. After 10 minutes the locum dentist calls my name; just as if I’ve been caught out doing something illicit I leap up! Then losing my balance I sit back down. Pink tunic encased Locum pauses not quite sure what to do. By now I’ve clocked the ill-fitting nature of the outfit; those uniform tops fitted with an inverted pleat flatter no one and should be banned! I’ve no idea where the Dentist I usually see is but the Locum either has hay fever or is fighting a cold (and cough). Although she is wearing a mask, and turns away from me to splutter, I’m not feeling exactly relaxed. Not seeing anything obvious she decides to X-ray the now throbbing area. I am amused by the way that the Locum and Nurse stand by the doorway when the picture is taken. Is it really safe for the patient if the practitioners have to stand by the door? The X-rays reveal nothing amiss but she decides to get the drill, trowel and grout out anyway. The injections follow and I am asked to wait in the room next door presumably so the Dentist can blow her nose and take a Lemsip. Every time I wince as she sticks the needle in she says ‘sorry’; how unnecessarily kind. Just pay more attention next time please!

 When I can no longer feel half my nose and lips the Nurse calls me in; I am just getting to the interesting bit in an article about Kate Winslet in Hollywood. Is the picture of the woman with bleached blonde hair really her? I shall never know now. A mere 40 minutes later I have two fillings and a second appointment as Locum is confident that one of the teeth will have to come out. The next appointment is in two weeks which given that Locum’s parting comment is that when the anaesthetic wears off it will hurt; a lot, seems a long time. Adding ‘you probably can’t take any more painkillers can you.’ Gee thanks lady!

 A friend has been visiting her elderly mother in hospital daily since her operation three weeks ago. Part of her bowel, a kidney and a bit of her pancreas were removed; she has had two infections one in her wound whilst in hospital. It has been a rollercoaster of good news followed by bad and yesterday the doctors asked my friend what they should do if her mother needed resuscitating. What a horrendous decision to have to take. Her mother has wavered between saying she wished they could give her an injection because she was so much trouble, to saying she didn’t want to die. Talking it over with her brother my friend said her mother should be resuscitated; and then she asks me if I think she’s made the right decision.

 What can you say? I said she was brave to have made the decision; that you can only make the decision based on what feels right now and if things changed then you think again. There is no right or wrong answer but I know you feel guilty either way. I send her a hug and say to let me know if she needs anything; anytime. Her husband and adult daughter are feeling neglected as she’s spending so much time at the hospital. I am sadly neither surprised nor speechless; my friend is a bloody unappreciated saint.

 Work is quiet although I am thankful I still have some work. What it means is that I need to attend meetings to meet people so they remember where I am when they have work. So this week I end up in a meeting about recycling theatre props and costumes; it is hilarious with people curiously cautious and open to ideas all at the same time. The woman leading the meeting works for the university and is the spokesperson on the 5p plastic bag scheme; the meeting is the day before the scheme goes live and she is a little distracted.

 Someone points out that the women are sitting on one side of the table and the men on the other. None of us know each other and lame jokes are welcome. Personally I am interested in getting involved in an initiative around recycling costumes as there is potential for a sustainable business incorporating training too.  What is the difference between vintage and second-hand I wonder? About £10 I suspect!

 As a freelancer I can ask the awkward questions and point out the obvious; I take full advantage enjoying it tremendously. No one will leave the meeting forgetting I was there especially as when they arrived I was sitting down; as we leave I reach under the table for my crutches simultaneously watching the response. It always amuses me how uncomfortable some people are with disability; as if it is infectious somehow – that’s why I make light of it to spare their blushes! They probably thought I was eccentric before then and they certainly will now! Yesterday I was facilitating an away day in Merthyr and was introduced as having a good pedigree – 57 varieties a la Heinz came to mind. A varied portfolio; eclectic guilty as charged, but pedigree mm not sure how I feel about that!

 Before the formal business of the day we were taken around the Old Town Hall; currently undergoing refurbishment and on its way to becoming an arts and creative industries centre. The highlight of the tour was the cells in the basement. Originally, before it was most recently used as a nightclub, the building had housed the Council and the Court. The single hanging cell where prisoners sentenced to death were held before being taken to Cardiff was sobering.

 I trust you have all taken advantage of the ‘Indian summer’ this weekend as I believe the normal seasonal behaviour will be reinstated by mid-week. Missed the opportunity to sell excess outfits on eBay again; or perhaps the canny shopper buys out of season?

 In sophistication as always

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