Friday, May 21, 2010

That's not gonna buff out

by Cassondra Murray


When I was a little girl, my older male cousins and brothers used to joke about that. We'd see a wrecked car with its front end all smooshed into the engine compartment, being towed by a wrecker or on the back of a truck . It trundled by and we'd stare and wonder what happened and hope the people were all okay, and then one of my cousins would say, "that's not gonna buff out."


No amount of time with a rotary buffer would make that wreck better.

"That's not gonna buff out," has taken on a whole new meaning for me.



No, I did not have a motor vehicle accident. *knocks on wood* All our cars are fine.

This has more to do with my recent travel experiences, and.....well....my angst.

I've been traveling a lot in the past three months. In fact, I pretty much just leave my suitcase out, and switch out the clothes depending on where I'm going and what I'll be doing. Dry cleaning comes out of the suitcase, goes to the cleaners, then comes home and goes right back into the suitcase, still in its wrinkle-reducing plastic bags. And off I go again.

Once upon a time I could "travel light." I live about an hour north of Nashville, Tennessee, and when I worked down there I had one medium-size shoulder tote in which I packed the essentials. A change of underwear, my makeup, some aspirin and a few other things for emergencies. A toothbrush. If I got stuck down there unexpectedly, as long as I had this bag I could stay overnight anywhere and function just fine the next day, in pretty much any circumstance. I could attend all but the dressiest events with what I had on "yesterday" and what was in that bag, assuming I had a place to sleep and a place to shower.



I carried this bag with me everywhere I went. I never got on the road, when I commuted sixty miles per day to work, without it. If I went on a weekend trip I had only to supplement what was in the bag with an extra pair of jeans and top, and I was good to go. I could even look rather glam with what I could pull out of this bag if I needed to do so.



Alas, things have changed.



Because I'm flying so much now, I've been making a valiant effort to use only carry-on luggage. Thus far I have failed. I have yet to take a trip without checking a bag.



The plain, sad truth is that now, it appears I cannot survive by traveling light.



I need too many lotions, creams and gels.

And there, Bandits and Buddies, is the problem.


In case some of you have not tried to board a commercial aircraft in the past few years, let me explain. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has implemented certain rules. And believe me, having a husband who knows a bit about explosives, I completely understand the reasoning behind these rules, and I support them. They are there to keep us safe. I have no problem with that. High Fives to those officers slaving away behind the x-ray machines at airport security. If they had tip-jars, I would be tossing in dollars.

But one of these rules is a limit--a severe limit--on the number of lotions, creams and gels an individual may carry onto an aircraft. You're only allowed to carry on the amount which will fit into one--yes that's right, I said ONE--quart-size zip-loc baggie. And no container may contain (or be sized to contain) more than 3.4 oz of any lotion, cream, or gel.



How the heck am I supposed to groom myself with one zip-loc baggie full of products?



When I was 20, yes, I could do this. Gimme a bar of Ivory soap and a some decent shampoo, and I was good to go.

But I am not 20. We will leave that point right there.

Not so long ago I had this moment of realization. I got up that morning and staggered toward the bathroom. I paused only to glare at the coffee maker and curse a little-- because it had not yet begun its pre-programmed gurgle-steam-hiss routine--before I stumbled through the bathroom door and up to the mirror. I put in my contacts. I brushed my teeth. I slid out the drawer filled with my expensive lotions, creams and gels, the cost of which would subsidize a small third-world country for a month. I cleansed, exfoliated, tourmaline-primed, power-lifted and firmed, toned, then moisturized all the appropriate areas. I leaned into the mirror. I looked at the lines near the corners of my (no longer 20-year-old) eyes, and a thought rolled through my mind.



That's not gonna buff out.



I can pour all the pennies I want into the fountain of youth, and those lines are not going away. But still. I have seen me with, and without, my lotions, creams and gels. And I know that I don't NEED them, but...I need them. If I stop using them, people start asking me if I've been sick.



I now officially qualify as high-maintenance.



If I don't have my particular shampoo, conditioner and styling products, my hair looks like...well...hell. If I don't have moisturizing body wash, my skin gets so dry it itches. If I don't have my skin-care products, within about four long days and nights of on-the-road stress, my skin revolts and I start to look like that car being towed behind the wrecker...sort of smashed in.



So what's a girl to do?



I mean honestly? I know those lines are never going to buff out, but without my lotions, creams and gels I could star in Return of Medusa. It is not pretty.


And the kicker is that every time I turn around somebody is aiming a camera at me. GAH!


Now for you very Zen folks and the activists out there, I do realize that nothing in this blog will solve world hunger or bring about world peace. I'm not that shallow.

But I'm plenty shallow enough to want my lotions, creams and gels with me wherever I go.




I recently sent off $50 to some online container store in an attempt to get eensy teensy containers, which, when filled with all of my potions, would still fit into one quart-size zip-loc baggie which, by decree, must zip closed easily.

And I have determined that this is impossible. Not because I need large quantities of any one of them (except shampoo--I have a lot of hair), but because I need small amounts of so darn many of them.

And you know what? There is some subtle prejudice against being high-maintenance. There is a cool-factor to being able to travel light and not need all these products to maintain ones-self, and I used to buy into that cool factor, but now, for entirely selfish reasons, I question this. For the past while now, I've been noticing a prejudice against the high-maintenance woman, even in the books I read. And (hangs head in shame) it's crept into my own writing.

For the past two or three years, I've tended to write older heroines. When I first start a manuscript, I give them an age based on their wisdom and knowledge of the world. The way the "feel" to me as a character. Then as I assess the story, I back away and think, "that's too old. Nobody wants to read about a heroine that age. No editor will buy a heroine that age." So I start to make her younger. And younger. Aaaaand younger. If she's over 30, I figure she's too old.

The heroine in almost any novel I read now is neither older nor high-maintenance. She can travel light. She can get caught in a power outage or a hurricane, stay overnight at the hero's house unexpectedly, and still look ravishing. With absolutely no lotions, creams or gels. And absolutely no flaw anywhere which will not buff out.

But back here in my harsh-lighted and mirrored world---there's contact lens solution. It comes in "TSA-approved" size, 4-ounce bottles. There's even a teensy little plane on the label. Newsflash for the manufacturer--the size limit has been reduced to 3.4 ounces. Nothing like being frisked and questioned in the security line and having your Opti-Free Express confiscated before you can board an aircraft.

So tell me, Bandits and Buddies? Do you have suggestions?


Are you high-maintenance? Or can you live with ivory soap and a toothbrush in the outback with the wolves and mountain lions and be happy?

Do you require a lot of lotions, creams and gels?

If you're older than 20, has the number of potions you need to work your magic increased?

Can you travel with only carry-on luggage? Or are you forced to check a bag (and pay the fee to do so) on each trip you take?

Have you found any shortcuts or secrets to traveling light without looking all smooshed-in?

I could use some ideas if you're willing to share.


And even more important--what about the books you read? Are there ever older heroines in those books? How do you feel about them? If you're under 25, can you still relate? If you're older, can you relate to the under-30 heroine?


And for the guys lurking out there, do you find that you're more high-maintenance as you grow older?

102 comments:

limecello said...

Hmm...

Cassondra said...

Hey Lime!

You got the bird again!

Girl, do you ever sleep???? I'm late posting the blog and I'm hitting a major wall. I thought nobody would be up, but here you are!

limecello said...

Erm, I guess I'm not "high maintenance" in the sense that I need a lot of stuff... I don't wear make up etc :X So.
As for contacts stuff - Cassondra - I thought solution could be in a container larger than 3 fluid oz because it's for medical purposes or whatever. Anyway, I've flown with it a number of times and it's never been taken away. *knocks on wood* I mean I need the stuff, and wear hard contacts, so it gets pricey.
Have you considered saving old/small containers? Or going to say Sephora and asking for some empty sample things?

Cassondra said...

Now that the blog is up and the Rooster is safely on his way to Lime's house, I'm going to bed.

I'll see y'all tomorrow, but somebody please make sure the coffee is on and strong tomorrow, will you?

limecello said...

Cassondra - insomnia Y_Y but yes - I'm going to try to sleep now. Heh. Good morning? :X It's 4:40 AM >.<

Helen said...

Hey Lime well done have fun with him

Cassondra
I do love your posts as for me I am very low maitenance I think we have a hair dryer somewhere but I never use it and I don't use any lotions or potions at all I wash my face with warm water no soap even just use soap for the body LOL. I do use hand creams because my hands dry out but any will do I have very short hair but I do use a nice shampoo and conditioner but for me I don't travel much at all and if I go somewhere it is usually in the cars so I pack what I want to take.
I little secret for me stay over weight you have less wrinkles on your face LOL ot good for everyone though.
Sorry I couldn't help Cassondra I am sure there will be lots of others with great advice.

Have Fun
Helen

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I kind of went backwards, when I was a sweet young thing I wore make-up and creams and lotions etc. Now I don't, I just don't, what you see is what you get. I am 58 and just don't like the fuss of it all. On rare occasions (like meeting the Banditas :-D ) I will pull out the bag and try to make myself a little more presentable but every day, not happening. In the summer if I am going to be outside (say fishing maybe) I do wear sunblock because with the way I react to sunshine you would think I was a vampire. Other than that, definitely low maintenance. I haven't been on a plane since 1972 so I don't have a clue about flying. I do know that there are little travel bottles of shampoo, toothpaste, etc. at drugstores, perhaps you could just get any brand and refill them with your own stuff?
My BF's sister came up to WV from Florida and she shipped a box of her necessaries to her dad, it got here before she did.

Caren Crane said...

Congrats, Lime!

Cassondra, my name is Caren, and I am high-maintenance. I used to be fairly low maintenance - except for the hair - but that has changed drastically.

I just had a *cough*birthday*cough* and I noticed, once again, just how dry my skin has become. I was never an oily person, but the Saharan moonscape on my face and body startled me. I lotion, potion, salve, cream, exfoliate, repeat. Often.

I used to travel with a tiny carry-on, plus a backpack for hair products and make-up. Now I can only do that if it's strictly overnight. Anything over 2 days and I am checking luggage!

I know I qualify as high-maintenance now, but I firmly DO NOT CARE. I have my appearance to worry about. For ME, not anyone else. I expect to look a certain way and, barring power outages or natural disasters, I work toward that goal daily.

And it is work, believe me. The years have not been easy nor particularly kind and every one shows on my face. One day, I will wear all that experience proudly on my deeply-lined face. Like, when I'm 90. For now, I'm fighting the good fight and packing heavy!

Deb said...

Hey, Cassondra. I have always been high maintenance because I can't stand leaving the house without makeup and my hair done. I've been able to get ready in 20 minutes, if needed, but I really want a good 45 minutes every day.

As for packing, I never know what I might need, so everything goes with me. My hair is straight as a board and has no body, so hair products cannot be left at home. Nor can my curling iron. (Note: I love my before, during, and after hair products and am glad I discovered them a few years back. I haven't had a perm in 3 years.)

My skin has become dry and I'm still looking for a facial lotion that helps, but really haven't found anything yet. I don't wear liquid foundation any longer, but use a mineral powder foundation. Then there's the mascara, eye shadow, blush, lipstick, and eyeliner. I use mood lipstick because it's the only thing that stays on all day. (Seriously, it changes color on your lips; I use blue that turns a pretty pink.)

Man, I AM high maintenance, aren't I?

Deb said...

P.S. I never had one blemish in high school and then, BAM! When I turned 30, I had some problems and still have a blemish once in awhile now in my 40s. Hormones, I suppose.

jo robertson said...

ROTFLOL hilarious post, Cassondra. I spewed my OJ all over the computer screen!

Whenever I think of high maintenance people(and we Robertson women are very HM), I remember that scene from WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. She asks him if she's high or low maintenance and he answers that she's the worst kind: she's a high maintenance who thinks she's a low maintenance.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

I think it's impossible for me to travel light. The shoes alone take up a good amount of space. But the fact I drive or take the train makes packing a lot more a lot easier.

I think I'm fairly low maintenance in the lotions and gels department. Maybe I need some of that stuff, but I haven't broken down and started using them yet -- nothing beyond lotion to keep dry skin at bay. I still get my makeup at Target and will use the shampoos and conditioners at hotels to save room sometimes.

jo robertson said...

Oh, my what nature and gravity have done to my face and body should be illegal!

I still use few lotions and potions, however. It's just not worth the time and money to me. As I've grown older (read that "more mature"), I find I'm embracing all those lines and wrinkles as a sign of wisdom.

Yeah, right.

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Cassondra! I'm so with you on the packing thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm a really efficient packer after all the travelling I've done (starting when I was 11 and going back home to England to boarding school), but these new regs are a nightmare.

I always take too much - as does lovely hubby - I can get it all into one case per person - if you don't weigh the darn thing!

As for the essential toiletries, I've given up with trying to scootch them into carry-on. Oh well, more room for the books and shoes!

I'm not high maintenance in that I don't care which shampoo etc I use, I don't use a hair dryer or styling stuff and I only use make-up on special occasions. I've even given up wearing perfume most of the time - i'm so overpowered by all the other scents people wear that anything on me can cause a headache.

I don't have to worry too much about wrinkles (must be the Persian blood that gave me the acne from you-know-where as a teenager, but has kept my skin fairly smooth)

But ... when it comes to those under-eye bags, I'll try anything and everything!

Like others, the hormonal changes are a killer for drying the skin. I've had to start using lotion for the first time in my life! Again, I'm not too fussy as long as it works and smells nice.

Anna Sugden said...

Oops forgot to answer about more mature heroines - I write heroines who have lived a little, so they tend to be older. I enjoy older heroines because, to me, they're more interesting with more experiences to develop their character.

I also find it hard to read about heroines who are younger than my step-daughters! That seems way too young!

Cassondra said...

Okay all, I'm up. WAAAAAAY to early since I went to bed at 5 in the morning. Coffee is on but I am here.

Wow. The sun's bright this time of day. *shrinks back toward a darker part of the lair* Wow.

Cassondra said...

limecello said:

Have you considered saving old/small containers? Or going to say Sephora and asking for some empty sample things?

Well, I have nice little travel bottles--some very small which I got from that container store But the fact is that I need too many of them. When I pile them all together and treat it like a puzzle, I still cannot fit them all in.
:0/
I must either give up something, or find another way.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Lime got the Rooster! We're back to being able to gossip about those two. Grins.

Cassondra, fabulous post. I was LOL.

On one hand, I don't think of myself as high maintenance. I don't do a huge amount of stuff with my hair - I can dry it in about 7 minutes - nor do I use a lot of makeup. Before you curse at me, however, I carry three different brushes with me for said hair. My DH does NOT understand this. Why three? One to curl the bangs and flip the bottom under, one to actually brush the hair, and the other to carry in the carry on. Hmmmm.

Goops and sa'v's (salves) and unguents (a friend's funny trio designation for care products) are more fun. You can carry larger sizes in your checked bag, hence the fact that I always travel with a checked bag.

Travel Light? Are you kidding? Not me, even tho' I'm not really high maintenance. Shoes. My feet hurt, I always carry extra shoes in case I can't wear the one's I'd planned to because my feet hurt. Shoes take up a LOT of space.

Just a carry on? Nope.

The carry on's for books and the netbook and snacks. Grins.

Was there a time when I packed lighter? Yes and no. I COULD, but I usually didn't. Snork.

So, I'm no help. But you've traveled with me. You knew that already. Hahah!

Cassondra said...

Helen said:
I think we have a hair dryer somewhere but I never use it and I don't use any lotions or potions at all I wash my face with warm water no soap even just use soap for the body LOL.

HELEN! OMGOSH! You must have the best skin in the world to be able to do that. That's amazing. On the rare day that I'm so tired I just fall into bed without the skin care routine, I look absolutely haggard the next day.

Oh and the weight. Mine tends to swing up and down a bit and yes, I have noticed that I look younger when I am heavier. *sigh* It's a trade-off isn't it?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Caren said: Like, when I'm 90. For now, I'm fighting the good fight and packing heavy!


*waves hanky* Preach it sister! Woot!

In total agreement...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Jo said: She asks him if she's high or low maintenance and he answers that she's the worst kind: she's a high maintenance who thinks she's a low maintenance.

Hahahah! This is me.

Cassondra said...

aka Dianna said:

I do wear sunblock because with the way I react to sunshine you would think I was a vampire. Other than that, definitely low maintenance.

Ah, velcome, sister vampire. Ve vill be sure to bring our sunscreen so that ve do not turn to a crispy critter in the rays, von't ve?

And a low-maintenance vampire at that. You and Helen are amazing. And I have not met Helen in person, but I can attest that you are gorgeous! So whatever you're doing is certainly working.

As to the travel bottles...I have those. Just too many of them. :0/ Clearly, I need some kind of therapy for my dependence on potions.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna, you have gorgeous skin. An for the eyes, there's this great Clinique stuff...I'll get the name of it for you.

I've had dry skin all my life so maturity hasn't changed that one bit. Pregnancy did, but only for a brief fling...grins.

Cassondra, you asked about older heroines. I like to read all ages, though I tend to write heroines at the 28-35 age range. Why? 21 is too young to know how to be a heroine. Hahah! (except under unusual circumstances) and I don't relate as well to heroines in their 40's and the market doesn't seem open to them as much. Altho that may be changing. Hank Ryan's Airt Time series, the heroine's in her 40's. In Kathy Reich's series from which the TV show Bones is takes, the heroine is in her 40's. So...

Then again, I think younger heroine's are targeted as YA, so I don't read that as much. I don't know....hmmm...Trish? Kirsten? You're YA writers, your thoughts?

Karyn Gerrard said...

Cassondra, I feel your pain.

First, air travel is becoming a stressful adventure. I mean, full body scanners? It's like a scene out of that old Schwarzenegger movie, "Total Recall", everyone was scanned where ever they went!
And don't get me started on those bottles, And let's not even discuss those harrowing weapons of destruction, nail clippers, tweezers and nail files.

But nothing is more dangerous than...the wire in your under-wire bra.
Yes, I walked through the scanner and it went off like I hit the jackpot in Vegas. I was scanned three times, told to remove my shoes, etc. Finally, I was allowed to board the plane. I mean, what I am going to do, whip out the wire out of my bra and strangle the pilot? Not likely. Note to self, wear raggedy old bra when traveling by plane in future.

Yes, I am high maintenance. Lots of creams, shampoos etc. Oh, I even had to put a tube of liquid lip gloss in that zip-lock bag, that was a first.

Whew! Thanks for letting me rant!

Cassondra said...

Posh said:

my name is Caren, and I am high-maintenance. I used to be fairly low maintenance - except for the hair - but that has changed drastically.

Oh. Thank. God. Posh to the rescue. I was beginning to be seriously afraid that I was the only high-maintenance woman on the planet. And it's so discouraging to have once been LOW maintenance, but to now need all this accoutrement I must drag around. But there it is.

Thank you Posh. *sniff* I'm so glad that at least one of my Bandita sisters will be checking bags alongside me.

MsHellion said...

I am high maintenance. Technically I can get away with very little because I rarely wear my contacts, and I even more rarely wear makeup. I figure work is not a good enough reason to wear makeup. I've never been hired at any job because I looked good. So if I were going light, I could get a travel shampoo and conditioner, a travel size of my hair stuff (to make the waves unfrizzy), and my barette and I'm pretty much good to go. Oh, and toothbrush and paste and floss, clearly. But those don't take up much room. I could get away with this little because that's how I dress everyday.

However, when I travel, I'm on VACATION. And VACATION is a reason to dress up, pull out all the stops, and LOOK GORGEOUS. So when I travel, I go Scarlet O'Hara. I have LUGGAGE. I pack things I haven't used in MONTHS, like makeup, contacts, heels, and dresses. I wear earrings!

If I stay a weekend with a friend, they are always impressed if I only come with a backpack and my handbag. They're always: "You went light. How did this happen?"

Cassondra said...

Deb!

*Cassondra high-fives Deb from across the lair*

Yes! Another admitted high-maintenance woman!

Deb said: I can't stand leaving the house without makeup and my hair done. I've been able to get ready in 20 minutes, if needed, but I really want a good 45 minutes every day.

Now I will say that I am FAST. If I don't have to do my hair (which, if it's not an important occasion, I might not) I can be out of there in ten-fifteen minutes. I've gotten FAST at the routine. But if I have to shower, wash hair, and do the whole buff and polish on all the parts, yeah...it's 45 to an hour.

I will also say that as long as I take care of my skin, I can put on mascara, shove my ponytail through the back of a hat, put on my big hoop earrings, and go. So I can use those days to regain my lost low-maintenance confidence.

But if I have to be up in front of people or cameras of any kind, I want the treatment. Vain. That's what I am I guess. Vain. (hangs head in shame)

Cassondra said...

Deb said:

P.S. I never had one blemish in high school and then, BAM! When I turned 30, I had some problems and still have a blemish once in awhile now in my 40s. Hormones, I suppose.

Oh honey. That's the thing. I was 35 before I got rid of them. And you know what got rid of them? Finding the right lotions, creams and gels. The expensive ones. Nothing short of that would stop me breaking out like a teenager. It's one reason I'm so adamant about maintaining it. Pimples when you're a kid are bad. Pimples when you're a middle-aged woman...well...I'll let you imagine the verbiage I would put there.

Cassondra said...

Jo said:

I remember that scene from WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. She asks him if she's high or low maintenance and he answers that she's the worst kind: she's a high maintenance who thinks she's a low maintenance.

You know what? Sometimes when I go into a restaurant, I say to the server, "Have you seen When Harry Met Sally?" And they say yes. "Well," I say, "I'm Sally."

Hey, I think they need to be warned.

And what I want is usually not that hard. It's just not what everybody else usually wants. I want water with lots of lemon and no ice. How hard is that?

But I get what I ordered only one time in fifteen without their having to take it back and bring another. I get water with ice and no lemon. Or water with lemon AND ice. Or just plain water with no ice and NO lemon. How. Hard. Is. That? I'm Sally. I know what I want.

If they get it right the first time, they get a much bigger tip.

Cassondra said...

Trish said:

The shoes alone take up a good amount of space. But the fact I drive or take the train makes packing a lot more a lot easier.


Now see? I carry one pair of shoes plus my hikers which I wear on planes. MAYBE two extras if I have to wear a suit and it's going to be warm so I want a pair of flip flops. I am not high-maintenance with shoes or clothes. At all.

It's the lotions, creams and gels. And honestly they pack into a somewhat small space--I don't LOOK high maintenance necessarily, if you look at my luggage. It's just that the rationed items won't fit in that teensly little quart-size bag. :0/ Thankfully there will be no TSA screenings to get into the afterlife. If so I would go looking ugly.

Cassondra said...

Jo said:

As I've grown older (read that "more mature"), I find I'm embracing all those lines and wrinkles as a sign of wisdom.

Yeah, right.


Jo, I'm fighting them with every weapon I've got. I know I can't stop the invasion, but I can choke off their entry point and snipe a few of them off as they come through the door.

Cassondra said...

Anna Sugden said:

I've even given up wearing perfume most of the time - i'm so overpowered by all the other scents people wear that anything on me can cause a headache.


I don't do perfume either. At home, just every now and then, I'll spritz on a tiny bit of one of the two bottles I own. But I get overpowered by perfumes and they can make me really sick. If I get onto an elevator with a heavily perfumed woman or--worse--an over-after-shaved man, I'll get off at the next floor and wait for another.

Cassondra said...

Anna also said:

I also find it hard to read about heroines who are younger than my step-daughters! That seems way too young!

See? Me too. (Not that I have stepdaughters. I don't) But when I read about a woman in her early 20s who is as worldly-wise as I am now, and knows herself that well, my bullshit meter pings a little. I don't know a woman who figured out who she really was until she was nearly 30. Sometimes older. Most writers do a really good job at making me attach to the heroine in spite of it, but I just wonder why there is this resistance to a slightly older heroine?

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

I can dry it in about 7 minutes - nor do I use a lot of makeup. Before you curse at me, however, I carry three different brushes with me for said hair.

Ha! Yes! My evil twin comes through again. I am fast at doing my hair. Yeah, 7 minutes would probably do it. And I also carry three brushes. A little bitty round one to curl the bangs, a fat round one for the rest of the hair, and a regular one for plain old brushing. No curling irons or flat irons or any of that though.

But actually, I think you're pretty low-maintenance because of the makeup issue. I dunno about your goops savs and unguents. Those might give you trouble in a carry-on. Hmmm....

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

I tend to write heroines at the 28-35 age range. Why? 21 is too young to know how to be a heroine. Hahah! (except under unusual circumstances) and I don't relate as well to heroines in their 40's and the market doesn't seem open to them as much.

This is the age I usually write. Though as I grow more insecure about a given manuscript (ducks flying fruit) I tend to start dropping her age to under 30. Maybe I need to just go with my gut on that. I have not tried the 40-year-old heroine, and I guess maybe I haven't done that largely because I'd have a tougher time writing the hero for her.

Cassondra said...

Karyn Gerard said:

I mean, what I am going to do, whip the wire out of my bra and strangle the pilot? Not likely. Note to self, wear raggedy old bra when traveling by plane in future.

SNORK! *beats fist on table* SNORK! Ahahahahahahaha. I have not had my underwire set off the scanners yet. It's not a big underwire though, cuz it's not a big bra cuz they're not big....uh...okay I won't go there.

I think it's more about what kind of explosive devices you could be disguising as 38 DDs. Clearly, if I'm any indication, 34-B-size explosives are not nearly as much of a threat.

And yes, it's frustrating. I have on my list to purchase a bra with no underwire for travel. Haven't done it yet.

Cassondra said...

Hellion said:

If I stay a weekend with a friend, they are always impressed if I only come with a backpack and my handbag. They're always: "You went light. How did this happen?"

Ah, Hellion. Those were the days for me. People used to see me arrive on their step and say, "want me to get your suitcase?" and I'd say, "nope, this is it." And they'd say, "wow."

Not so now.

That said, I'm impressed that you can dress every day with that little maintenance. If I did that, they'd send me home with orders to go see a doctor.

Kim in Hawaii said...

I'm in a bit of a reverse situation where we will be packing light for our summer travels to the mainland, but I'm sure our suitcases will be full for the return flight home (shopping is limited in Hawaii; we return just as school resumes; and grandparents' indulge my children). And, of course, my suitcases will be bulging after RomCon and RWA (probably mail the books home). We are flying Southwest within the US, so no baggage fees! But we'll probably have to check some bags on Hawaiian Air. Then again, I have two roommates for RWA, so we all have to be aware of how much space we take in the hotel room!

Virginia said...

I don't think I am not high maintenance, I do have some lotions but never remember to use them but believe me I need to because I am older and like everyone else my skin is dry! I just don't take the time.

Cassondra said...

Kim in Hawaii said:

And, of course, my suitcases will be bulging after RomCon and RWA (probably mail the books home). We are flying Southwest within the US, so no baggage fees! But we'll probably have to check some bags on Hawaiian Air. Then again, I have two roommates for RWA, so we all have to be aware of how much space we take in the hotel room!

Oh yes...the stuff you pick up at conferences is an issue isn't it? I have grown BRUTAL about it. I cruise the goody room, but most often pick up nothing. The free books we get on our chairs? If I'm not absolutely certain I'll read it, I pass it along to someone else before I leave. I bring home five or six books, tops, and no junk. I don't have room in my house for it, and my TBR pile is already teetering, so I just don't bring it home.

And oh the roommate issues. I don't have too much of that issue with my suitcase. For me, it's the bathroom counter issue. One of the first things I ask is, "which side of the sink do you want?" Meaning on which side does she want to stash her stuff. My travel cosmetic bag hangs, so I can usually get that out of the way, and after that I try to consolidate. But still, my lotions, creams and gels can overwhelm the countertop of I'm not awfully careful.

I think if it were not for these darn lotions, creams and gels, I might actually BE low-maintenance.

Cassondra said...

Virginia said:

I am older and like everyone else my skin is dry! I just don't take the time.

Virginia, that right there is the definition of low-maintenance for me. You and Dianna. You don't want to fool with the stuff or take the time to mess with it. That's very cool. (picture me bowing in your general direction). Alas, I am angsty, but coming to accept that I quite likely shall never be low-maintenance again.

Stacy said...

I'm medium-maintenance, but only because I've never found any creams and lotions that actually worked for me. I'd love to know the ones you really love...

I've always worn contacts, and used to be disappointed that if I was ever stranded on a deserted island I would have to wear glasses. In that sense, it's nice to read about heroines who can make it without the "extras." But I don't really care about age or maintenance, as long as the heroine is believable and the story is good.

Great post!
Stacy

Nancy said...

Cassondra--Now that I've stopped laughing, I have to say yes, alas, I know what you mean. I cannot travel as lightly as I once did, in part due to the need for "product," as cutie-pie Kyan used to call the range of such things on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

I recently had to renew my driver's license, and they made me take off my glasses (without which I've been more or less blind since 4th grade) because "they're reflecting." The nice little secret to glasses is that they hide a certain degree of what we can politely call "change" around the eye area. Without them, in the lighting used by the DMV, the changes clearly are not going to buff out. *sigh*

Part of this concern, I think, is our culture of youth, especially as regards women. Women get "old" while men get "distinguished." Their faces don't seem to hold up much better than ours, but they have less pressure to maintain a certain look.

I didn't used to need blush, for example, but as I've grown older, I find that I do, that I have less natural color in my face. This is annoying. Any item that HAS to be in my purse or luggage, other than money and i.d., is annoying.

Most days, though, it's moisturizer and blush, maybe lipstick--that's it. If I feel a need to be more formal, I do the whole deal but only then. That's my compromise, I guess, with recognizing that I'm not 20 anymore. I have to admit that going to a powder-based makeup has simplified the whole "zip-loc bag for the airport bit" since I use only four products that have to go in it.

As for books, yes, I can relate to younger heroines, even though I'm over thirty, but I now sometimes find myself writing slightly older ones. My spy heroines are older because it takes time to acquire the experience they need to be at the skill level where I want them. My historical heroines are younger, though, because women married younger, as a rule, back then.

Limecello, congrats on the rooster.

Nancy said...

Dianna, we were in New York when the liquids limit for flying was imposed. Luckily, we found out about it on a weekday, so we went to the PO, got a Priority Mail box, and shipped my toilet kit home. The only thing that came out of it and went into my suitcase was my hairbrush. As I said, I mostly use powder-based products now, but I was concerned about moisturizer, etc., and uncertain of the rules, so we just shipped it.

Cassondra said...

Stacy said:

I'm medium-maintenance, but only because I've never found any creams and lotions that actually worked for me. I'd love to know the ones you really love...

Stacy, mine is Aveda, and I can't say enough good about it. I tried everything and nothing worked. It would always break me out, so I tried drying out my skin when I was younger (cuz that's what the dermatologists said do, yaknow?) and it still didn't work. Finally I tried Aveda and found out that my skin was so angry because it was so dry! Aveda gave me the moisture without the irritation, which no other product line did--even the fancy expensive ones. Their tourmaline products ROCK! For me anyway.

I've always worn contacts, and used to be disappointed that if I was ever stranded on a deserted island I would have to wear glasses

HA! I feel your pain. If I were stranded on a deserted island I would end up prey because I couldn't see well enough to feed or defend myself. I don't even have glasses now, just contacts. My vision is that bad. Yes, I am one with contact solution.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

Part of this concern, I think, is our culture of youth, especially as regards women. Women get "old" while men get "distinguished." Their faces don't seem to hold up much better than ours, but they have less pressure to maintain a certain look

Yes, absolutely this is true. Some women can blow it off, and I always thought I would be one of those women, but I'm not. Growing older is tough enough with the changes your body goes through when you simply don't have the strength, stamina, or plain old energy you had when you were younger.

But being called ma'am and referred to as an "older lady"? Reality or not, that's just plain unacceptable at this point. It's unpleasant even when you're all glammed up. When I look like hell on a bad day and know it, I do not react well at all. The thing is, I don't FEEL old until I look in the mirror or get some kind of comment from a kid.

The last time it happened it was a young lawyer-friend of mine. He was attempting to hire me to do some work for him. Bugged me about it for a long time. He said, "You're exactly the kind of person we're looking for. We really want an older lady who doesn't need the income but just wants out of the house for a bit."

I thought, "Kid, do those dipomatic skills get you far in the courtroom or in negotiations?" I did NOT take the job.

So, alas, I will fight it and attempt to get that less often.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said, with regard to the imposed liquid regulations and her kit:

The only thing that came out of it and went into my suitcase was my hairbrush.

Now THAT is most assuredly the lowest-maintenance thing I've ever heard of, short of shaving your head. Not even a toothbrush?

Louisa Cornell said...

Yes, lets wait for Lime and the GR to leave the Lair so we can all talk about them!

Cassondra, thanks for my laugh for the day. I cracked up through the entire thing because, for the most part, you could have been talking about me.

However, I fear I have always been "high maintenance" when it comes to my luggage. When I traveled with the opera company I had one trunk just for my shoes! Yes, Imelda Marcos would have been proud! Even now, the gals in my writing group with whom I traveled to Nationals last year teased me mercilessly about my "shoe" suitcase.

And I have a duffle bag on wheels for my "necessaries." That hormonal dump at 50 is KILLING me! I have a certain shampoo I use and a conditioner to match. Lotions, potions, face regime, hair care products. moisturizers for my face, my body, my feet! Really, really sad.

One of the girls and I are driving down to Florida in her van so we should be fine. VBG

However, next year I will have to fly. EEEK! And I will, in all likelihood have to check a bag...or two.

Yes, I'm no help at all!

And, my first two heroines were in their 20's, but the heroine of the book I am trying to polish is 30, while the hero is 27. Writing historicals you have to go with the societal norms of they day, but I am beginning to realize that the more mature widows were the gals having all the fun!

Nancy said...

Cassondra wrote: But being called ma'am and referred to as an "older lady"? Reality or not, that's just plain unacceptable at this point.

Interesting comment. I'll go with you on the "older lady" part, but I much, much prefer "ma'am" to "miss" and always have. Besides, with the "miss" thing--what, do I look 17, or are you just blatantly and clumsily kissing up, seeing as how I'm here with my husband and teenaged son?--and "honey" or "sweetie," especially from people younger than I am, sends me ballistic.

I once got "honey"-ed by a teenage salesclerk, and I wondered what would happen if I dropped a reference to having been a lawyer. In a heartbeat, I became "ma'am." Ergo the job deserved respect she didn't give the average customer in front of her. That just doesn't cut it in my universe.

But then, "ma'am" was always a term of respect to me, and I used it to all women of all ages whose names I didn't know. When I worked retail, all female customers were "ma'am." Just as all witnesses were "sir" or "ma'am" in the courtroom. :-)

Nancy said...

Cassondra said: Now THAT is most assuredly the lowest-maintenance thing I've ever heard of, short of shaving your head. Not even a toothbrush?

Nope. Had nothing to wrap it in, so I pitched it. They're cheaper than "product."

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

I once got "honey"-ed by a teenage salesclerk, and I wondered what would happen if I dropped a reference to having been a lawyer. In a heartbeat, I became "ma'am." Ergo the job deserved respect she didn't give the average customer in front of her. That just doesn't cut it in my universe.

But then, "ma'am" was always a term of respect to me, and I used it to all women of all ages whose names I didn't know. When I worked retail, all female customers were "ma'am." Just as all witnesses were "sir" or "ma'am" in the courtroom.


See, to me, Sweetie and Honey is usually just being nice. I do that to people sometimes when I know them from a regular stop. So that doesn't bother me unless it's an obvious condescension. Maybe it's a southern upbringing thing for me. I walk into the bar at Fridays and Amanda, the bartender waves and says "Hey Sweetie, you want water?" I've only had it set me off a couple of times when the male server, about 19, was so obviously saying it BECAUSE I was older. It didn't work for me because it was obviously fake. It has to be a natural outgrowth of a person's personality for it to work for me.

And ma'am from a sales clerk or someone at work or in some position is fine. I was also taught to speak to any female older than me as ma'am. And maybe that's the kicker right there. Any female OLDER THAN ME. So now I'm said female.

Ma'am used to bug me when I was in my 20s because it made me feel old THEN.

Cassondra said...

Louisa said:

Cassondra, thanks for my laugh for the day. I cracked up through the entire thing because, for the most part, you could have been talking about me.

OH GOOD!!!!! Another one who gets it. The sad thing is, I really would LIKE to be low-maintenance, but I think it ain't gonna happen. And with the liquids, creams and gels rule for carry-ons, I can't even fake it by carrying no clothing and only my maintenance products. *sigh*

However, I fear I have always been "high maintenance" when it comes to my luggage. When I traveled with the opera company I had one trunk just for my shoes! Yes, Imelda Marcos would have been proud! Even now, the gals in my writing group with whom I traveled to Nationals last year teased me mercilessly about my "shoe" suitcase.

You and Trish and the shoes! When I pack, I toss a bunch of black stuff into a suitcase. One pair of black shoes (two at the most) is really the maximum I can make use of on any kind of work-related trip. I don't pack "an outfit for each event." I just pack. Then I get it out and put it together. It's always the same suitcase, with more or fewer black clothes in it, depending on the number of days. They go together in any number of ways depending on what I'm doing.

I pack simple because it takes less time. And my cosmetics/toiletries bag stays packed all the time. I only have to refill the travel bottles. If it's a razor or a nail file, etc, I have a spare one just for the travel kit so I don't have to take time to pack it.

It really is fairly efficient.

Except for those pesky lotions, creams and gels. :0/

Donna MacMeans said...

LOl Cassondra - I do so love your posts!

I'm not high maintenance, not because I'm some natural beauty that has no need for moisturizer, but because I'm more like the smushed up car. I'm old, and nothing short of plastic surgery is going to ease those wrinkles. Heck - they don't even card me for senior discounts and I barely qualify!

Now I do drag out all the cosmetics when heading for a big night out - but that's rare. I'm more of a wash face, slather on moisturizer, head out the door woman. Oh - that and I smile alot. When you smile, people don't think so much about the wrinkles. Come to think of it - neither do I!

As for traveling - fly Southwest where bags fly free. That's my new motto -- that and "Be the Buffalo" but that's another story.

Kate Duffy once said that an older woman can relate to a younger heroine because she's been there. She knows what being twenty feels like. A twenty year old, though, doesn't know what it feels like to be fifty. They can't relate. So you need to know your customer base - or wanted customer base - when you plan your heroine.

Back to booking on the deadline!

Cassondra said...

Donna said:

Oh - that and I smile alot. When you smile, people don't think so much about the wrinkles. Come to think of it - neither do I!


You know, you're right. And I tend to forget that sometimes. You do smile a lot. It seems to be a natural expression for you.

And I am flying Southwest for the first time next week, and really enjoying the process so far. Wasn't looking forward to the cattle call seating, but I think they've improved that a bit with their new boarding process.

Pat Cochran said...

I don't travel much and all our
traveling is by automobile. Thus
I am assured of being able to
cart about all the lotions and
potions I need! NEED is the key
word here. At my age, I need all
the help I can get! I guarantee
that if they sold my moisturizer
in a gallon size, that would be
what I'd purchase!!

Pat Cochran

Louisa Cornell said...

And in our family, Cassondra, the phrase is

"That's going to leave a mark."

It can be a hard hit at an athletic event, a car wreck, the crash of breaking dishes. We were watching LOTR and during one of the battle scenes an orc and its war-hyena went over a cliff and my niece in a theatre full of people said "That's gonna leave a mark." The whole place cracked up.

And that is how I feel about birthdays "That's going to leave a mark."

Yes, but as long as Cover Girl is in business I can hide that mark!

Cassondra said...

Pat Cochran said:

NEED is the key
word here. At my age, I need all
the help I can get! I guarantee
that if they sold my moisturizer
in a gallon size, that would be
what I'd purchase!!


LOLOL! That's what I do with Aveda. It's expensive but it lasts a long time. I buy the biggest size available!

Susan Sey said...

Hey, Cassondra! Great post! And it must have really struck a chord with me (as your posts always do) because I'm about to write an epic reply. :-)

So yeah, I've noticed the years on my face lately. I'm looking 38 in the eye this August, & I found my first persistent gray hair recently. The kind that comes back when you pluck it out. And stands up. And waves around up there like it's dying to be noticed.

But want to hear something interesting? I don't care that much. I was never a conventionally beautiful person, not when I was young & not now. Dogs don't howl when I walk by, mind you, but it was clear pretty early on that I was never going to be loved for my exterior, you know?

That was a blow when I was in my teens & early twenties, especially when I was reading romances featuring heroines of such stunning beauty that heroes and villains alike were driven mad with a desire to possess them.

But as the years went on (and on & on as they tend to do) I realized that all those years I spent reading instead of dating were years when I developed the knack for telling a good joke. For being a good audience when somebody else is telling a joke. For pulling my weight at a party. See, because I *appreciated* being invited. Because so often, I wasn't.

So when boys emerged from their hormone-driven cloud (around 30, 35?) and looked around for a decent girl to marry, there I was. And I'd had years to think my thoughts without interruption, so I had plenty of interesting things to say. I was ready & willing to laugh (at myself, at them, at life), and not too hung up on physical perfection (mine or theirs).

From about 25 on, this flat-chested, freckle-faced bespectacled girl and her truly intimidating vocabulary had more male interest than I knew what to do with. And it was all because I'd learned to shine from the inside. To figure out my freak flag and fly that thing with pride.

And so, even though seeing the years pile up on my face isn't a picnic or anything, it doesn't chip away at my self-esteem. I don't care to erase those marks. I earned 'em laughing with the people I love and they don't impinge on the only beauty I claim. And best of all, the people who love me don't even see them.

So I'm good.

Cassondra said...

Louisa, LOL about "that's gonna leave a mark!"

Yes, but as long as Cover Girl is in business I can hide that mark!

Amen Sistah! Amen!

Cassondra said...

Susan said:

From about 25 on, this flat-chested, freckle-faced bespectacled girl and her truly intimidating vocabulary had more male interest than I knew what to do with. And it was all because I'd learned to shine from the inside. To figure out my freak flag and fly that thing with pride.

THAT is what we all want I think--and fwiw, I think you're gorgeous, and poised on top of it, but the fact is that you do absolutely glow, and yes, that glow comes from inside. It makes you FUN!

And so, even though seeing the years pile up on my face isn't a picnic or anything, it doesn't chip away at my self-esteem. I don't care to erase those marks. I earned 'em laughing with the people I love and they don't impinge on the only beauty I claim. And best of all, the people who love me don't even see them.

That is a stunning positive sense of self right there, and if we all had it, we'd most of us be better off. And that's the way we want to earn the lines on our faces too, isn't it? I both applaud and admire you for being exactly the way you are and loving it.

And I particularly love the "hormone clouded haze" description. I think a lot of us women form our impressions of ourselves based on that haze, and that's most definitely not a good thing.

A toast to you, my dear, for being your beautiful self with no worries about it!

Susan Sey said...

Cassondra wrote: fwiw, I think you're gorgeous, and poised on top of it, but the fact is that you do absolutely glow, and yes, that glow comes from inside. It makes you FUN!

Awww, Cassondra, you're so sweet! But this is my point--the people I love are beautiful. Objectively? I don't know. For me? Absolutely. I'm at the point where I can't tell anymore. It's like my kids--when they first got here, we were all like, "Oh, there are Uncle Joe's ears, there's Aunt Mamie's smile..." And now? They're just themselves. It's no use even trying to find myself in them because they own themselves so completely. I hope they never lose that.

Cassondra also wrote: And I particularly love the "hormone clouded haze" description. I think a lot of us women form our impressions of ourselves based on that haze, and that's most definitely not a good thing.

EXACTLY! So often, our girls' self-esteem takes root outside our girls. And that's as unhealthy as it is inevitable. I think the only hope is to plant the seeds of "beauty is as beauty does" and hope those slow-growing rascals are tenacious.

Can you tell I'm the mother of two little girls, already fretting over the teen years? :-)

Nancy said...

Cassondra said: See, to me, Sweetie and Honey is usually just being nice. I do that to people sometimes when I know them from a regular stop. So that doesn't bother me unless it's an obvious condescension. Maybe it's a southern upbringing thing for me.

It doesn't bother me from people I know well. All the kids in my family have always been "honey," as far back as I can remember, and it was a spousal endearment as well. It's a Southern thing, at least that part of it, as you said.

I grew up in the South, too, y'know. My grandfather was born in 1882, and his middle name was Lee. My mom's family was pretty southern. A lot depends on context.

I guess part of it is having gone into a male-dominated profession at a time when not so many women were and having to deal with "honey" where guys got "sir" and having had to step on that pretty firmly. From people to whom everyone is "honey," regardless of age or gender, and I know that, I'm okay with it. But I tend to err, as you know, on the side of formality with people I've just met.

As for the packing thing, I much prefer packing for DragonCon. Change of jeans in case I spill, undies, pjs, toilet kit sans all makeup but blush, and a selection of what the dh calls "appropriately decorated t-shirts" go into my usual carryon bag. Then I'm done.

For RWA, however, it's suits, dressy clothes, shoes, accessories, casual clothes for sightseeing (including tops acceptable to Posh *g*), totebag in case the one we get is too small for me, handouts, pjs, undies, etc., including full makeup supplies.

So in my natural environment, I'm low-maintenance. In a business environment, more toward the high end. Just not happy about it. *sigh*

Nancy said...

Susan said: Can you tell I'm the mother of two little girls, already fretting over the teen years? :-)

I think you're smart to be looking down the road and anticipating this big societal pothole. Boys have self-esteem issues, too, but they tend to be based more in things other than appearance.

I love the points you made about cultivating the inside.

Barbara Monajem said...

I'm low-maintenance, mostly because I'm lazy. I use shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and hand cream when it's dry out, and that's about it. Make-up and hairdos are time-consuming and require skill, and skill requires time and effort. When I was fifteen, I was prepared to spend time rolling my hair and putting on eyeliner. By eighteen, NO WAY. Life is just too short.

Now I'm so unaccustomed to makeup that I can't stand it. I submitted to having my makeup done for my author pic (by a lovely young lady who did a gorgeous job), but the instant the photos were done, I started wiping it off. People said it looked great, but it was driving me nuts, as if my skin was being smothered, which it probably was. And my daughter looked at the photos and said, "But...but, Mom, where are your freckles?"

Cassondra said...

Barbara Monajem said:

When I was fifteen, I was prepared to spend time rolling my hair and putting on eyeliner. By eighteen, NO WAY. Life is just too short.


Now see, if it took a lot of time, I wouldn't do it either. (I don't presently do eyeliner, actually, but if I did want to, I would either get very fast at it with whatever kind I was using, or not do it. Period.) I think I got fast at it when I was in show business and on stage all the time. If you don't use makeup there, your face disappears under all those lights. So that's probably where I got my speed and skills.

I can ALMOST put makeup on in the dark, and can make certain products do things they're not supposed to do, in case I'm out of the others. (Blush for lipstick and vice-versa, etc) If I had to spend a lot of time doing it? No way would I do it. That's the interesting thing. I'm willing to spend MONEY, but not TIME--not much anyway. It may seem like a lot to everyone else, but I get a lot of "wow that was fast" when I'm doing the basic routine.

Now the hair? Same deal. I'll spend money on the good products and salon services, but I won't spend time beyond blowing dry and a few twirls with a round brush to style I'm not carrying a bunch of corded appliances around with me. I'm just not. In fact I won't spend ANY time curling my hair as a rule. If I can't just blow it dry, forget it. Ain't gonna happen.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

I grew up in the South, too, y'know. My grandfather was born in 1882, and his middle name was Lee. My mom's family was pretty southern. A lot depends on context.


I always seem to forget that you grew up in the South. I think it's your lack of southern accent. You may well have one, but it's not pronounced, and you use a more formal language style than most folks in the south, so I tend to think of you as coming from somewhere else. I KNOW you're from the south, but my brain doesn't seem to want to assimilate that. (ducks flying magnolia limbs)

Pissenlit said...

Nope sorry, no suggestions...well, no helpful ones, at least. :D

I'm not high-maintenance. I don't think I have the patience for it. I do need a bit more than a bar of soap and a toothbrush but I pack really light. A little less light than before I was 20 though 'cause yes, I do need some mandatory magic nowadays *grin*...but I can travel with only carry-on luggage.

As for shortcuts? I roll my clothes, pack them in a plastic bag and squish all the air out before knotting it...it has the added bonus of being water/bug/sand-proof(can you tell I learned to pack for interior camping trips?) Ya, that would be pretty smooshy-looking but I figure that smooshy is an okay outback look and if I'm staying in a hotel or something, there's always an iron.

Yep, there are older heroines in some books that I read but then again, I also pick up some YA books too. I think more books need to be written with older heroines.

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

Cassondra said: I KNOW you're from the south, but my brain doesn't seem to want to assimilate that. (ducks flying magnolia limbs)

The late SF writer Thomas F. Fuller, discussing correct use of setting in a seminar at M&M, read a passage in which a heroine descended a staircase for the prom or some such with a wreath of magnolia blossoms in her hair.

Really? Magnolia blossoms? Wreath? Just how big IS her head?

Your comment reminded me of that, as almost any mention of magnolias does.

Anyway, I digress. Yes, I have a sort of mid-Atlantic accent more than a Southern one. I don't know how I acquired it. My mother was pure Southern, my father from the Philippines via the U.S. Navy and not having any noticeable accent, to me anyway(maybe his was mid-Atlantic), and I grew up in a small (pop. 1200 when school was not in session) southern college town.

I have been known to turn up the Southern on those very rare occasions it offers a tactical advantage. *g*

Suzanne Welsh said...

Crawling out of the coffin...er...bed.

Cassondra, great post, as always!

When I was younger I used to wear makeup daily, foundation, powder, rouge, eyeliner, masscara, lipstick, gloss. Had my hair permed quarterly, cut monthly, etc...

Then...I started working nights and I was working L&D. I had a nursing instructor, Kip Sexton, tell us in nursing school, "Try not to be overly madeup while taking care of laboring mothers. They're at the end of their pregnancies and feeling terrible about how they look. Don't flirt with their husbands, even innocently, either."

So, the makeup got less and less. Now I only put on my Oil Of Olay regenerous formula and a light dusting of powder. Talk about freeing!!! Now when I go out with hubby or to RWA National, I do put on a bit more, but hey, it's daylight, people actually look at me!

Recently, since the recession and hubby not working, my hair has taken a change, too. I've stopped getting perms, period. This lovely lady named Lily cuts it in the cutest at-my-jaw-line bob with feathery bangs. No fuss, no muss, I can blow it dry with a round roller, let it dry naturally and take a big hot iron to the bangs and sides, or just let it dry and do nothing!!!! OMG!!!

Once every few months I do a color rinse because I do have some white hairs creaping in, but no permanent coloring or highlights, (the wash makes the white hairs into highlights!)

However, I have found the dry skin thing to be a problem. Especially in the dry, counter flow ventillation we have in our hospital. (It's supposed to prevent microbial growth.) Couple that with the arid Texas winters and the ungodly amount of handwashing I have to do, my hands are like sandpaper in the winter.

There is a solution, at lest for me. Nurtagena body wrap lotion. OMG!!! It's made up with colloidal oatmeal. Yes, dear fans, oatmeal! You put this stuff on and your hands, (body or legs too) go, ahhhhhhhhhh...soaks it up and here's the best part...stays moist for 5 or 6 more handwashings!! Other lotions take numerous applications throughout the night. This is like 4..depending on my night! HALLELUJAH!!

So am I high maintenance? Not as much as I used to be.

Suzanne Welsh said...

I'm in mixed feelings about heroines. I think with historicals you can have younger heroines, but my two american historicals my heroines are in their early thirties and just coming into themselves. hmmmm, come to think of it I don't have a heroine who is younger than 25 in any of my books...

I'd like to write a 40 year old heroine someday... hmmmm

Nancy said...

Suz, I have a haircut now that I can just let dry, and I love it! I also decided, as the gray started to creep in, not to dye it. So I'm with you on the whole ease of care thing.

Suzanne Welsh said...

See, to me, Sweetie and Honey is usually just being nice. I do that to people sometimes when I know them from a regular stop. So that doesn't bother me unless it's an obvious condescension. Maybe it's a southern upbringing thing for me. I walk into the bar at Fridays and Amanda, the bartender waves and says "Hey Sweetie, you want water?" I've only had it set me off a couple of times when the male server, about 19, was so obviously saying it BECAUSE I was older. It didn't work for me because it was obviously fake. It has to be a natural outgrowth of a person's personality for it to work for me....

Okay, I get sweetie and honey between friends, family and equally matched coworkers, especially down here in Texas. Am guilty of it! Use it with my patients. Never had a complaint.

BUT we have a doctor who calls the nurses, "Precious"...........OH hell no!! My Mama doesn't even call me precious! The doc called me precious ONCE...I said, "excuse me," in my Mom voice. She blinked. I said, "You may call me nurse, Mrs. Welsh, Sue, Suzanne, but don't you ever call me precious again. I'm older than you, I've been doing this longer than you and I will not be called that."

To this day I'm the only one she calls ma'am. Thank you.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Nancy said: Suz, I have a haircut now that I can just let dry, and I love it! I also decided, as the gray started to creep in, not to dye it. So I'm with you on the whole ease of care thing...

I've always had very straight hair, and now it's a blessing. Especially with swimming weather coming up!

Deb said...

@Suzanne--Hurray for older heroines! I guess I consider my own romance and love life because I didn't become serious about a man and get married until I was 35. I was the oldest bride in Iowa, I think, LOL!

Pissenlit said...

Suzanne - BUT we have a doctor who calls the nurses, "Precious"...........OH hell no!!

Ick. I find "precious" as a casual term of endearment extremely cringe-worthy. I'm with you on the "OH hell no!!".

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Cassondra said: Pimples when you're a middle-aged woman...well...I'll let you imagine the verbiage I would put there.

SNORK!!! Oh, yes, I can...

Nancy said...

Louisa, our family also said, "That'll leave a mark." A very versatile saying, just like Cassondra's "That's not gonna buff out."

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Cassondra wrote: HA! I feel your pain. If I were stranded on a deserted island I would end up prey because I couldn't see well enough to feed or defend myself. I don't even have glasses now, just contacts. My vision is that bad. Yes, I am one with contact solution.

Ditto. Prey. Mostly though because my eyes are so different. One is mild the other really bad. Weird, eh? I can't read w/o glasses or contacts anymore because of the dichotomy. Gives me a headache.

Deb said...

@Jeanne--my vision is the same way; I have glasses for driving and little readers for up close. I think I am going to invest in contacts this summer because it is really irritating to see figures across a room and not be able to see their facial features.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Susan said: From about 25 on, this flat-chested, freckle-faced bespectacled girl and her truly intimidating vocabulary had more male interest than I knew what to do with. And it was all because I'd learned to shine from the inside. To figure out my freak flag and fly that thing with pride.

Snork. Totally. :> It's the intimidating vocab that does it every time, fer sher, until the guys hit around 30. Theyn they can take it. :> And the geeks have grown into all that brain and found their inner manhood, so...yeah. 30's good.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Cassondra said: I KNOW you're from the south, but my brain doesn't seem to want to assimilate that. (ducks flying magnolia limbs)

Heeheehee. Nancy, I have the problem too. You probably had to get rid of most of the Southernisms for court. I had to do it for making speeches to people from outside the US. I discovered that "I reckon" and "yonder" just do NOT translate into Japanese. Go figure.

Snork.

Cassondra said...

Pissenlit said:

I do need some mandatory magic nowadays *grin*...but I can travel with only carry-on luggage.

Ah, yes. I dream of this. Being able to consolidate my lotions, creams and gels down to a carry-on quantity.

And as to the desert--I've never wanted to camp there. Maybe I'm missing out, I dunno. It sounds as though it's absolutely beautiful, but more in a "scenic overlook" kind of way than an "I want to spend large amounts of time camping here" way. I think I'm more of a beach/water/mountain person. But I think I should at least experience this before I pass judgement. And I'm thinking that in the desert, I might need even MORE lotions, creams and gels. :0/

Gillian Layne said...

I am going to double pack my toiletries in plastic baggies and hope they don't leak all over the place. I hardly ever fly. I'm going to be the one holding up the line while they go through my bags.

We were at the mall last weekend getting a book signed by Debbie Macomber (I was there so early the bookstore manager researved me a chair at the front, and when I went to sit down people asked who I was! It was hysterical) and my girls dragged me into a store called Lush and had me buy a little round bar of solid shampoo. It's so neat! You swipe that thing across your head a couple of times and bam--huge amounts of suds. I'm just thrilled I have one less thing to leak.

School, as of noon today, is OVER. There is nothing like finishing the end-of-year paperwork...I am buying virtual drinks for everyone tonight. :)

Cassondra said...

Suz said:

So, the makeup got less and less. Now I only put on my Oil Of Olay regenerous formula and a light dusting of powder. Talk about freeing!!! Now when I go out with hubby or to RWA National, I do put on a bit more, but hey, it's daylight, people actually look at me!


Suz, I can totally see the need to not go into work all glammed up when you're in that situation. If I were in labor, I would feel absolutely horrible about the way I looked. I have no doubt that it's easier for those women in labor to have nurses who don't come in to work in full makeup.

Cassondra said...

Suz said:

I'd like to write a 40 year old heroine someday... hmmmm

I really do hope the market opens up so that there's an age range. It might have to be targetted a little differently because I think Donna's right. When you're 20, you can't really relate to a 45-year-old. But with the number and age range of romance readers, it seems like there are enough of us to support a sub-genre of older heroines doesn't it? And second chances at love are so popular anyway, I can only imagine the possibilities.

Cassondra said...

Suz said:

BUT we have a doctor who calls the nurses, "Precious"...........OH hell no!! My Mama doesn't even call me precious!

Oh yeah. Now I would kill anybody who tried to call me precious unless it was at a roadside diner in Idaho and I couldn't get food anywhere else until Colorado. Then I would drive away and never come back.

Cassondra said...

Deb said:

I consider my own romance and love life because I didn't become serious about a man and get married until I was 35. I was the oldest bride in Iowa, I think, LOL!

Woohooo Deb! You go girl. That's awesome!

Cassondra said...

Deb said:

I think I am going to invest in contacts this summer because it is really irritating to see figures across a room and not be able to see their facial features.

Ha! Without corrective lenses, I can't even see the figures across the room. Heck. I can't even see the other SIDE of the room. :0(

Cassondra said...

Deb...

Hit send too soon. I was about to type that you will love contacts. LOVE them if you've had only glasses before. Find a good practitioner though. A good one will help you see great. A bad one will frustrate the dickens out of you.

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

It's the intimidating vocab that does it every time, fer sher, until the guys hit around 30. Theyn they can take it. :> And the geeks have grown into all that brain and found their inner manhood, so...yeah. 30's good.

Yes, 30 does make men better. Hmmm...maybe we should start a campaign for young girls. DON'T GET MARRIED UNTIL YOU'RE IN YOUR LATE 20s!!! Think that would go over well?

No, I didn't think so either.

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

Heeheehee. Nancy, I have the problem too. You probably had to get rid of most of the Southernisms for court. I had to do it for making speeches to people from outside the US. I discovered that "I reckon" and "yonder" just do NOT translate into Japanese. Go figure.


Yuu know, I got rid of mine ENTIRELY in college. (I never had a heavy accent, so it wasn't too hard to lose.) I was in broadcasting school and we had to lose our accents to pass the program. I worked in radio and tv this way for a while.

THEN a few years after school, when I'd decided broadcasting was not what I wanted to do, I found out that to be a highly successful radio broadcaster you needed a bit of regional flavor to your language and diction. The Typical Midwestern American Broadcaster's Accent was not actually popular with the public--only with the teachers. I could get by with no accent, but to develop a following, I needed some kind of personality to ME and to my voice and accent. Interesting, isn't it? Perfect is far less interesting than regionally flavored.

Cassondra said...

Gillian Layne said:

School, as of noon today, is OVER. There is nothing like finishing the end-of-year paperwork...I am buying virtual drinks for everyone tonight. :)

Woot! Everyone, drinks are on Gillian! Woot!

And as to the packing and airport lines and such...there was a GREAT tutorial online about getting through security successfully and easily in 2008 when I flew to San Francisco. Dang, I wish I had that still. It gave advice for how to handle the little trays in the x-ray line efficiently and everything, and it was deas-on. I never have any trouble and I still do it pretty much that way.

Pissenlit said...

Gillian - my girls dragged me into a store called Lush and had me buy a little round bar of solid shampoo. It's so neat! You swipe that thing across your head a couple of times and bam--huge amounts of suds.

Oh yes, I've heard that Lush is magical! Unfortunately, I can't get within smelling distance of a Lush store without having sneezing fits.

Nancy said...

Gillian, congratulations on finishing school! And thanks for the beverage. :-)

Cassondra said...

Pissenlit said:

Unfortunately, I can't get within smelling distance of a Lush store without having sneezing fits

Well, dang. That means it would have that effect on me too, probably. Any highly-scented stuff does that unless it's actual essential oils. Dang.

Cassondra said...

Y'all have to pardon all my typos this evening. The tired is starting to show for certain. Staying up until 4 this morning, then getting up again at 8 has done me in.

limecello said...

Hmm Cassondra- I admittedly am still curious as to the size of the containers you got. Sometimes I keep hotel shampoo bottles etc to fill with my own stuff.
But the Sephora sample ones I'm talking about would be like 1/3 that. So if your trip was only say 3 days, it would be sufficient. And seriously, I think like 30-40 containers could fit in the regulation size bag. No joke. Filling them would be a pain, but if you NEED/WANT it...

Cassondra said...

Lime, I don't know what Sephora is.

I bought several sizes and varieties of container from The Container Store online. Some of them are working out okay, but I haven't gotten it down small enough yet. I'd be willing to look at other containers.

Cassondra said...

Okay y'all I'm about to go to bed EARLY for a change--it's only midnight!

Thank you so much for telling me about your lotions, creams and gels, and for sharing your packing ideas! This has been a fun day in the lair! I'll check back tomorrow for any late posters.

Christine Wells said...

Cassondra, I can very much relate to this story! I get extremely nervous about going through airport security especially in the States and so I end up taking not much at all in hand luggage. When I went to National last year, I thought who's going to see me between my hotel room and the airport? Of course, I got off the plane looking like a wreck after 20-odd hours to DC and then have to share the shuttle to the hotel with ... you guessed it, another romance writer, who is perfectly groomed, perfectly lovely, but who must have been wondering if those Aussie girls had never heard of hairspray.

Sigh. I can totally relate!

Cassondra said...

Christine said:

then have to share the shuttle to the hotel with ... you guessed it, another romance writer, who is perfectly groomed, perfectly lovely, but who must have been wondering if those Aussie girls had never heard of hairspray.


LOL Christine! She probably thought you looked fine. When I'm that tired from travel I stop caring how I look at all and usually shove my hair up into an umbrella-style ponytail and just go. You know, that's one thing I don't carry and don't worry about--hairspray! I guess it's small consolation though, since I have a bunch of other "product" as Nancy calls it, to make up for the missing hairspray.