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Monica Bielanko
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Crow's Feet Are Sexy

I'm not going to lie, I'm hitting a point in my life where I scrutinize myself in the mirror and start to wonder... Maybe I should get a bit of Botox too? I see friends attending parties where they just get a little injection here or there and unless they specifically told me they were having it done, I'd never know - except it will eventually be as clear as the stiff, puffiness that will become their faces. You can't hide it, no matter how careful you think you're being.

Take women like Kim Kardashian and Courteny Cox - gorgeous women - who have access to top notch plastic surgeons and they've ruined their faces. Instead of looking young they've removed all trace of character from their faces and now appear to be anywhere from 30 to 60, a Madame Tussauds wax character of themselves. Those faces, the puffy, melty, shiny faces of women younger than myself are a sad fact of a society that has it backwards and worships youth instead of age.

I'm telling you all this to intro a piece Serge wrote on YourTango. I wanted to share it to let you know that yes, there are guys out there that find your crow's feet sexy, that like your floppy natural boobs, that want to take you by the hand and pull you into bed and kiss lips that have never been injected with anything...

All of this messing with your face in the name of pure vanity is still pretty much hovering around the level of MEDIEVAL DARK AGES. You pay your money, you get lasered/scissored/injected/inflated/skin-flap-lifted/plastic-cheekbone-slithered, and you come out looking as if a nuclear pigeon shat a half-pound of poison mayo down on your cheek. There's no tip-toeing around it, my friends; there are no 'fabulous' surgeons, and I don't care what Hollywood tells you or how many people are paying big money to smile the kind of smile where nothing physical appears to happen. Because here's the truth: 97% of the people who get those kind of procedures done to the most visible part of their anatomy end up slathered and deep-fried in a whole lot of WTF. And you know what? It's high time somebody called them on it.

To keep reading click on over to YourTango...

Dispatches From A Separated Couple



We made it.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I had another panic attack in the shower today. I stood there sobbing as the warm water pounded my skull, staring in horror at the nightmarishly thick wad of hair clutched in my shaking hand.

I'm losing my hair. It's been happening for a while now. I'd estimate that in the past 2 months I've lost 65 percent of my hair, including eyelashes.

It started in early July. I'd brush my hair and within minutes, an amount of hair that usually would've taken several weeks to accumulate would be clinging to the brush. Instead of the smattering of hairs that would normally line the drain I would spend most my time in the shower dealing with small clumps of hair coming off in my hands.

Initially, I ignored it. I've had long, thick hair for most of my life, so not only do I have hair to spare, but dealing with long hairs strewn about the house or clogging the drain was a regular occurrence.

But this time, it didn't stop

You can read the whole thing over on YourTango.

Moving Day, Redux

It started with the tree. An old man reflecting on his childhood would use this tree as a landmark to his memories. It's that kind of tree. That spectacular. I spent the summer watching them fix up the house next door. I'd be playing with the kids in my tiny side yard as the sound of hammering and sawing punctuated the work underway at the house behind mine. I didn't think too much of it. I knew no one lived there and assumed the owner was fixing it up to sell at a profit. One of those people that flips houses in desirable neighborhoods. Scrape off the seventies wallpaper, rip up the old carpet to reveal the hardwood beneath, paint, throw some new fixtures and appliances in the kitchen - stainless steel and granite for all the folks who've spent too many years watching House Hunters - then hammer down the For Sale sign.

I noted the enormous double-lot; beautifully landscaped, a football field of grass populated with fruit trees, pine trees, 12-foot tall sunflowers bordering a small, red barn-like structure that would make the perfect playhouse for kids. Ivy creeping everywhere, a garden as big as my current backyard filled with all kinds of berries. And The Tree. Old and strong. Solid. Powerful. Standing vigilantly next to the large, back deck, branches stretching protectively over the deck like a mother shielding her child from the elements.

It was love at first sight. This is like THE tree of all trees. A tree house tree. A tire swing tree. An I-hate-my-mom-and-I'm-climbing-my-tree-to-hide-from-her kind of tree. As my kids attempted to play tag and hide-and-seek on the tiny side patio of the rental home I moved to immediately after separating from Serge I stared longingly at the backyard next door. Acres of grass just begging for kids and dogs and all manner of family chaos. One time, after the men working on the house had left for the day curiosity got the best of me and, as dusk descended on my lovely neighborhood, I sneaked over to peer in the windows. Compared to what I'm living in this house felt enormous. Luxurious! Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, roomy kitchen, huge living room, beautiful sunroom. I wondered who'd buy the place when the guy finally put it up for sale. I hope they have kids, I thought. Maybe my kids will be able to play in the backyard with them. Run and stretch their little legs, cramped from our tiny yard and all the side-stepping around each other we do in our little house.

My house is small. What used to be my computer desk at our old house now serves as the kitchen table in my new house. Nothing else will fit. The bathroom is smaller than an airplane restroom. I rented it because it's in a stunningly gorgeous neighborhood where one of the best elementary schools in the city is located. It's also just down the valley from the place Serge rented. So I rented the house, downsized and tried to make the best of it, figuring that within a couple years maybe I'd eventually move to a bigger and better place in the same neighborhood, a place more suited to raising three kids. Three kids and two enormous frisky labs in a house the size of my first apartment after college is difficult. But we are making it work. It was the only place I could find in the area during the few weeks I had to find a house.

One day, as if by magic - or the deep longing in my bones willed it to happen - a 'for rent' sign appeared on the front lawn of the dream house. I was stunned. And devastated. I had missed it by two months, signing the lease on my little house at the end of June. I consoled myself with the notion that the rent was likely far more expensive than my current rent. For kicks I called the number on the sign and inquired. $200 more a month. Which, when you know the differences in the two homes, isn't much. We're talking about a house and yard TWICE the size of my current home.

Without knowing what I was doing - I had just signed a year lease for godsakes - I made an appointment to look at the house. The minute I walked inside I knew I had to make it my home. For my children. Who deserve to grow up in an awesome house with a fairyland of a backyard where they can run and jump and play and climb trees or hide in a clubhouse.

It's been a stressful month. Dealing respectfully with my current landlord who is understandably not happy with me for breaking a lease while waiting for my potential landlord to assess his options AND CHOOSE ME SWEET MOTHER OF GOD PICK ME! Do you not see this rascal, Henry, eyeballing that clubhouse or this sweet peach of a girl Violet assessing the tree for the perfect spot to hang her swing? Can I direct your attention to this beautiful blue-eyed baby I'm holding? PICK US! I was honest with both landlords, telling them I work hard, never pay rent late and am not typically a lease-breaker but this house, oh this house, and I need a solid, great place to raise my kids - no more moving - AND OH MY GOD DID I MENTION I LOVE THIS HOUSE? I NEED THIS HOUSE! I WANT THIS HOUSE....

We move in Wednesday.