One thing that continually surprises me as I re-read this book is how little has changed. The Clean-Tone-Moisturize routine for oily skin (that’s meee!) is still recommended. To hold off the march of time, avoiding smoking, hard liquor, and the sun are still on point. One big difference, though:
“By the way, if you’ve read a few frightening articles about the sun causing skin cancer, you can relax a little. It happens only rarely, and only to a small fraction of lifetime sun worshippers.”
Well, okay then.
Mostly, this chapter contains very clear information on how to care for your skin. Including exercises! Yep, not even kidding. I remember this being a thing in the 70s. Not only were you supposed to contort your face, you were instructed to tap under each eye 50 times. 50 tiny little taps each day to go with your facial massage. To my surprise, the tapping is still recommended for reducing under-eye bags.
I did everything but the masks. I didn’t have the wherewithal for that kind of luxury. Also, no tween wants to look like an idiot, and let’s face it, masks look stupid. Of course, I’m all grown up now. I have a spa day every week, and I totally do the masks. Heck, I do two.
The biggest revelation for my young self–and it’s kind of a “duh” moment–we have no real idea what we look like from looking in the mirror. When we look at ourselves, our faces shift to neutral. The minute we turn away, we are engaged with life again, our expressions bringing life and animation.
There is no mention of facial peels, botox, or lasers, naturally. So there’s been progress, but the basics are the same. Except for the sun thing. Yeesh.
Last week, we were watching a Great Blue Heron by the pond at the Spousal Unit’s work. He was a mid-sized Bluey, and he had caught himself a big ol’ catfish. Not sure it tasted very nice, because he kept putting it back in the shallows to rinse it, and then swishing his beak as well. Then he’d pick it up and try to eat it again. Sadly, we didn’t get a picture of him packing the fish along the pond. It was adorable.
At one point when the dead catfish was on the rinse cycle, the heron suddenly backed up several feet.
We couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t going back for another round with the fish until we leaned forward a bit.
This juvenile alligator was about 5 feet long, nose to tail. He wasn’t big enough to eat that heron, but he was gonna give it the ol’ college try. His nose is about a foot from the fish. He waited. And waited.
It didn’t work out for the alligator. After much hemming and hawing, the heron decided he could live without the fish. He moved down the bank several feet behind the alligator, hoping the sneaky bugger would move off and leave him to breakfast.
And that didn’t work out for the heron.
No heron for breakfast? Fine, I’ll have catfish!
The heron looked on, incredulous and disgruntled. He finally flew off to find another damned fish.
Smug and well-fed, the gator cruised back to the middle of the pond to float and digest.
We all become nostalgic for the things of our childhood. For me, it was two things in particular: an album of western themes, and the book Discover a Lovelier You.
I kept thinking about bits from the book, until eventually I found a used copy.
I remembered every picture, and great swaths of text.
There are twelve years between me and my older sister, and she left the house when I was just tweening. Mom owned one green dress, one tube of lipstick, and one cake (yes, cake) of mascara, and used them about once a year. If I wanted to practice girly stuff, she was going to be no help.
My sister, who enjoys the girly side of things, knew this. She sent help in the form of this book by Ann Craig. Written in 1972, it is a time capsule of late-60s attitudes, many of which turned out to be timeless.
The book helped form my entire attitude toward beauty. I read it over and over, and did every single thing therein that applied to me. Even the face exercises.
Considering it is a book entirely about conforming to current beauty standards, it begins in a surprisingly non-conformist manner.
The first chapter: Self-Image: The Key to Your Looks, instructs the reader to love herself, no matter what she looks like. Quotes from models and actresses complaining about their looks hit home with young Kitty. The message I got was that external pressure means every woman thinks she’s fatally flawed, and every woman is wrong.
The exercise for the chapter is to take a “soft” look at yourself in the mirror, and appreciate all your bits. My self-esteem was a horrible mess, but I can credit Craig with helping a little.
The chapter also introduced me to feminism (or “Womens Lib,” as the book called it), questioning the very premise that we should make ourselves beautiful.
While, naturally, Craig doesn’t agree with the “militants'” abandonment of beauty practices, she does agree that we are far too anxious about how we look, to our detriment. She insists that we approach beauty first by liking ourselves, and ready to enhance our natural beauty, not to bash ourselves into fitting some impossible standard.
Your own unique physical existence is a gift to be treasured. You can like yourself just as you are, or experiment with a few things that will enhance your looks and deepen your pleasure in being you. Self-enhancement is one of life’s “optional extras”–and a delightful one at that. Basically, it should be a kind of game, in which you explore new ways of caring for yourself, expressing your individuality, and giving special pleasure to those you love.
If I had a pet pliosaur, I would name him Eric, right before he killed and ate me.
In 1987, a miner in Coober Pedy discovered Eric’s seven-foot skeleton. Now, if you know anything about Coober Pedy, you know they mine opals there. And that’s what the miner found: Eric had been completely opalized.
I think I first heard of opalized fossils watching an episode of Bones. I was immediately enchanted.
The fossils come from the Cretaceous, when Lightning Ridge and surrounds were heavily forested, and there was a shallow sea. Mostly the opal settles into the shape of the animal or plant, but rarely, if the organism hasn’t rotted away, internal structure is preserved as well.
Mollusks, snails, and plant matter are the most commonly found fossils.
Exporting opalized fossils from Australia is illegal without a difficult-to-get permit. The Australian government offers a tax credit for opalized fossils, to help keep them in the country.
Along the way, I also learned about Ammolite. While opals are made of silica, ammolite is made of mollusk shells, mostly ammonites. Naturally, you get ammolite ammonites.