My Life Has Become a Wes Anderson Movie

boy scouts

Courtesy of Pixabay

Greetings blogging friends! My sincere apologies for my internet hiatus. I’m afraid I’ll be away awhile longer, but I hope to be back in full force by the middle of April. Things have gone (quite) a bit Wes Anderson-ish around here and the Cozy and Sage family have some hurdles to tackle before we expect to be back to normal.

Wish us luck?

Best to all of you! And stay cozy!

Tuesday Thoughts: To Makeup or Not to Makeup?

5 minute face makeup

As I sit here with my coffee and one of my favorite YouTube channels blaring in the background, I shop through some online makeup shops while simultaneously checking for blog reviews. After an hour or so of this (having filled my Nordstrom’s cart to over $200), I pause to think about how much I will actually use these products.

Do I love eyeshadow? Absolutely!

Will I actually wear it? To be honest, most mornings are consumed by coffee and making myself look vaguely presentable for work. Of course, I do usually wear makeup, but only two or three products, and nothing that would require wielding a brush in any kind of precise manner (although my reliance upon concealer borders on addiction).

It feels weird to state that makeup fills any sort of utilitarian purpose in my life, that idea makes my life seem so trivial. However, having said that, the manner in which I actually use makeup IS quite utilitarian.

Am I trying to be artistic or relax myself every morning, hunched over my makeup mirror, attempting to apply products in a pleasing, yet mostly undetectable manner? No, I’m just trying not to look too sick or tired to work. That’s the truth of it, no matter how I attempt to delude myself.

Which brings me to the next logical questions…Am I uncomfortable with how I look? Am I not able to accept myself as I am? Why is that?

It’s true that over the course of history both men and women have worn makeup for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, status, class, culture, etc. The practice of painting our faces is in no way anything new. However, in this day and age of barefaced models posting selfies on Instagram and everywhere else, one would think that going “un-made” might be more the norm.

The thing that perplexes me the most is that while I desperately want to accept my face as it is and bear it to the world, I am also concerned about the perception it gives. Wearing makeup does give me confidence (by helping me not look dead), and yet it simultaneously saddens me that I can’t allow myself to go to work without it.

It seems like such a *ahem* superficial thing, but my internal conflict about the status of my makeup dependence can get rather deep at times.

There are so many folks I see everyday with beautiful faces, made up and not. I often wonder to myself why or why don’t they wear makeup. It’s one of those questions I wish I could pose to the masses.

Hey, maybe that’s what Twitter is for…

I’d love to hear from you about what your feelings are about wearing makeup; stay cozy!

Grateful

Annoyance

One night last week I got home from work to find my home much cooler than usual. I searched the house for open windows and, after finding none, proceeded to play with the thermostat. Minutes passed, the house maintained its chilly demeanor, and the fans that should bring in warm air from the furnace refused to clicked on.

cabin in snow

Courtesy of Pixabay

At first, I was angry. I thought perhaps the gas company had erroneously turned off our service, or maybe the household accountant had forgotten to pay the bill? It was a near-freezing evening and I had a small child in the house. I was irritable and slightly furious at the thought of my poor little one freezing through the night.

I managed to reign in my anger, and my interaction with the gas company phone representative was actually quite pleasant and productive. I wrapped up my son in layers of pajamas and a few blankets, and the gas company sent out someone the next day to solve our furnace issue. Our house is apparently well insulated as the temperature actually only got down to about 64 degrees F inside.

Elsewhere

Fast forward a week, and on my way to work I was listening to the BBC radio crew discuss what is happening in the Congo right now. I was awestruck and dumbfounded by what I heard. The displacement of more than 1.7 million people? The stories were heart wrenching and almost unbearable to listen to; kids starving and dying, families literally ripped apart.

I recall being a teenager and learning about the Rwandan genocide. I remember, then too, being gob smacked by the images and the accounts of tragedy. I felt so helpless about it, and I found myself, for a while, constantly wondering what could be done. The same is true decades later during the recent civil war in Syria.

Although I do attempt to educate myself about politics, I’m afraid I am no expert in foreign affairs and I do not claim to understand the circumstances by which any of these conflicts have taken place. There are much more intelligent people out there who can understand and explain that part so much better than myself.

What I do recognize, is the humanity.

When I stop for a moment and try to put myself in the shoes of someone who has just lost literally everything (granted, I understand that I can never really know how someone feels or thinks), I feel my soul ache. I begin to see the gaping yawn of hopelessness, and I still can’t imagine experiencing it real life, rather than from the safety of my pretend perspective.

africa

Courtesy of Pixabay

This is not a movie. This is not a story. This is happening in real life, to real people.

I tend to believe that life exists on a knife’s edge as it is. However, when confronted with the pictures and reports of what some of these people have experienced, I feel that knife getting thinner and thinner.

(What’s the best way to help? I’m not sure yet, but if I can, I will.)

Meanwhile, I get frustrated with my electric kettle because I need to get to work. I need coffee now, and 2 minutes just seems too long to wait.

My car is starting to show its age and recently the automatic door locks have stopped working, which means I now have to reach across the passenger’s seat in order to allow entry for a fellow traveler. Not that I carry passengers in my “work” car often, but it is annoying all the same…

…until I remind myself of what others are dealing with.

So, what am I grateful for?

So much.

I am grateful for the kind and decent human beings of the world who are working to help the people in places like the Congo, Rwanda, and Syria. They are heroes. I am hoping that they can forge a way for peaceful resolutions and avoid further catastrophe.

I am grateful for the place I was born. No country is perfect and I certainly would not contend that mine is, but I have had rights and opportunities opened to me here that I may not have had in other places. I live in a place that allowed me to get an education and give my son a more secure childhood than I had. Sometimes I contemplate chance itself and the fact that I could have been born anywhere, perhaps into great wealth, but most likely into even greater poverty.

It is complete happenstance that I ended up where I am, and it is a privilege to live my life for this reason alone.

beach heart

Courtesy of Pixabay

I am most grateful for the people I have had the honor and privilege of knowing.

My husband: He is an idealist. He is the one who reminds me what the best qualities of human beings are. And he makes me laugh. Considering my relative hermitage, outside of work, he is the one I could be around 24/7.

My son: The kind of care I have for my child is like no other I have felt before. I never thought I could move mountains; I’m still not sure can, but now I’m willing to try.

My mother: Though her life was cut short, her sensibilities continue to inform my daily decision-making. Her compassion inspires me to have love for people everywhere. She used to keep this Maya Angelou quote on her refrigerator (and she lived by it):

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

My father: He is a brilliant man. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but he challenges me to see and appreciate different perspectives. He is sweet and benevolent, in his own way.

My grandparents: The glue of our family, the people who gently and consistently keep tabs on their children and grandchildren. They have raised more children than they asked for, with love, kindness, and grace.

My friends: I only have a few close ones, and they live very different lives from myself, but they are people whom I trust implicitly. I do my best to be worthy of such alliances.

You: I am still flabbergasted that anyone would be interested in what I have to say out here on the web. I am so grateful to all the folks who have read anything here on Cozy and Sage. I am thankful for all the connections that I have made here in the blogging community as well. Thank you for being part of this relatively new and exciting writing journey!

Wishing all peace and warmth; stay cozy!

*This post was inspired by, and written for, The Blessed Project by Susie Lindau. Thanks so much for hosting this wonderful project, Susie! 

Late Summer Harvest

Recently, my family and I went on a quick trip a little south to see family and friends. We had such a wonderful time just visiting, playing in a local park, and enjoying some home cooking from my grandmother. It was an idyllic weekend in many ways and for many reasons, not the least of which was my own ability to “suspend,” if you will, my troubles for a bit (not a small feat for someone so organically neurotic). I allowed myself a little break from the anxieties of work and the world, and just enjoyed my cherished loved ones.

While we were there, we visited a farm and bought some fresh peaches, and picked various vegetables from my grandparents’ garden. I was reminded of the beauty of a late summer harvest and the bounty that benevolently cared for ground can produce. Every time I go back there, and stand amongst the vines and the leaves, I feel a little closer to the earth, terra firma, home. I feel, for a moment, like I am finally focused on what truly matters, the essentials: food, shelter, and above all, family and friends.

late summer fruit and vegetable harvest

Late summer fruit and vegetable harvest

It is always a bit of a shock to me when I realize how much of brain is normally consumed with concerns that are so artificial and have very little to do with real life. I then realize that I am quietly angry at the ten thousand things that vie for my time, attention, and money, on the most mediocre of my days. Ten thousand things that seem to stretch far and wide and yet have no real bearing nor genuine interest in my life.

I allow it to happen to me though; it’s not the fault of those nameless, faceless, and yet omniscient entities, it’s mine. I let myself become distracted and distressed by events and persons who happen to be half a world away, beyond my physical and perhaps intellectual grasp. I am NOT one who enjoys feeling powerless about situations, even if they be a million leagues afar and property (or fault) of someone else.

However, I also cannot solve all the problems or atone for all the situations that may ravage the globe. I simply am not capable of, nor would I be proficient at, as a single human being, carrying all the sorrows of the world. Mine is to do my little part, help where I can, and carry on.

It is a hard pill to swallow at times, realizing just how small and insignificant I might be.

And yet, there in my grandparents’ garden, it is a comfort to be touching the grass with my toes and devouring the sweetest of plums under one of the many apple trees, observing my young, beautiful son play in the yard. To feel the abatement of worry, and the arousal of our most basic senses seems like a tiny vacation to me. I have left my smart phone inside, ringer off, and I don’t miss it for once. I wish to recede from the world and become “smallish”, if only for a moment or so.

If restricting my world to the very simplest of pleasures for a weekend makes me happier, what does that say about the manner in which I generally run my life? What does it say about whom and what I let into it? How did I let it go this far? And how do I re-center myself and my life in what seems more real?

I’m not sure about the precise logistics yet, but I’m working on it…

late summer fruits and vegetables 2

Late summer harvest

Other than the peaches (which were from a stand), the other produce was plucked from either my grandparents’ garden, or the garden of a nearby friend, and gifted to us before our return home. They were all succulent and delicious! I hope y’all get to enjoy some of the season’s best!

Ever so much thanks to our friends and family for a lovely weekend, and a minor resurrection of my humanness.

Stay hominid, stay cozy.