Yesterday I cashed in my gift certificate for a facial that’s been sitting in my drawer. My face insisted on it. Sometimes I find it hard to stop and take care of things for myself. Having a facial, and I’m probably the only woman over fifty out there that hadn’t had one before she celebrated said birthday, if done properly is close to heaven. Because I’ve waited so long between treatments by the time I got situated on the table and the damage surveyed by the esthetician, it seemed she was left no choice but to load the big guns.
Facials are tricky. Usually the atmosphere is prime for relaxation. Celtic music drifts dreamily from unseen speakers, a hint of aroma therapy imbues the rooms with a subtle scent of eucalyptus. Like a cocoon, the temperature hovers slightly warmer than average and tightly drawn drapes allow only the slightest hint of daylight to penetrate the fabric. Breathe deeply. Breathe. Okay, wake up. I’m trying to write here.
It is reminiscent, not that I was there mind you, of how it must have been when Cleopatra ruled Egypt. Hand maidens brushing their queen’s hair until it was shining and lustrous and anointing her body with fine oils and exotic scents.
A metal elbow sprays a fine mist of steam over your face and hot towels are draped across and removed from your cheeks at intervals followed by the painting on of creams and moisturizers to define pores and restore tone. Both arms and hands are rubbed with rich lotion and massaged until soft and refreshed.
Just as you sink into a wonderful relaxing place and are lulled into a false sense of security the container with the chemical peel used to sluff off the dead skin cells is opened. Run at this point. DO NOT LOOK BACK. Do not be lulled by the siren song of soft music and sultry smells. Run, I tell you. Going on it feels gooey, like the texture of half set jello, and cool, so cool. Uh-huh. Hold that thought. As a matter of fact hold anything you can wrap your fingers around. It builds like a crescendo. At first just a little prickly sensation, and then it becomes a full fledged slide into a bed of cactus. Wow. I believe I was heard to utter “hot, hot, hot” repeatedly. Funny how annoying Celtic music can become when you’re writhing in pain.
Calmy speaking in the void of the world beyond my burning skin, I heard “relax, only another five minutes”. I was reassured that without pain there was to be no gain and if this in fact was true, undoubtedly Christie Brinkley would have a run for her money after I was done. Thankfully the hot towel returned and the battery acid masked as jello was wiped off and a cooling balm applied. I believe vapor rose from my face.
After she was done and I was back to feeling somewhat comfortable I got dressed and wrote a check. On the way out the door I caught my reflection, or who I believed to be me. The jury’s still out on that. For all the world I looked as if I’d been bobbing for French fries. Rabbits eyes are less red rimmed. My face seemed to scream “get the fire extinguisher”. Ach.
Once again reassured that this would calm down in four hours and I would be fabulous I slunk to the car. Like the Phantom of the Opera, not wanting to be seen in broad daylight lest I scare young children, the elderly or small animals, I made an effort to disguise myself by plopping a ball cap on my head and turned on the ignition.
The drive from her office to our house takes less than fifteen minutes thank God. Going a bit heavy on the accelerator in order to get home I looked in the rear view mirror to see a red light blinking behind me. RU serious? No choice but to pull over to the side of the road and await the humiliation a young officer strode up to my window. Sigh.
Rolling the window down I couldn’t see his eyes behind his glasses but I’m sure he was evaluating whether or not he needed to call the paramedics. Looking anywhere but at him I asked what the problem was. After comparing the picture on my license to the visage now before him several times, he informed me that my registration was out of date. Thankfully I had it in the glove compartment so once I presented it he suggested it would be far more effective actually placed on the license plate and after inquiring if I was all right sent me on my way. Fortunately, the blush couldn’t be seen under the predominating red already in place.
Arriving home my other half looked up after taking a sip of coffee and I thought I was going to have to perform the Heimlich maneuver on him before he caught a breath.
I found an appropriate bag and pulled it over my head and prayed for time to move swiftly. The cat litter box needed some work so I went about the process of removing the old litter and placing it in a plastic trash bag. This, with the cat lingering close by waiting patiently to leave her mark on the pristine litter not yet poured. It’s like a rite of passage with her and she rarely misses the opportunity to savor the moment. Realizing I needed a fresh liner for the litter box I left the open bag with the soiled litter in the laundry room and went to fetch a fresh liner in the garage. On my return I found the cat hunched inside the bag of old litter depositing her breakfast. Apparently she’d gotten the call before I could set her up. Truly a day I found myself deeply embedded in the poop, to be most polite.
Finally, last night I began to see myself peeking through again and I welcomed me back. I do have to admit that my skin feels soft as a baby’s butt, but my, oh my, at what price beauty.
It’s pouring here today, just saw a shnauzer float by. We’re having soup and sandwiches for dinner and with my granddaughter off for spring break, putting our feet up and relaxing.
Creamy Broccoli Potato Soup
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. butter
3 potatoes, large diced
2 cups cooked chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1/4 tsp.black pepper
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 dash paprika
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Fresh parsley for garnish
Cook broccoli, drain well and set aside. Place diced potatoes in saucepan and cover with water. Cook until just tender but not mushy.
In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter over med. heat until tender. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 mins.
Stir in soup, broth, potatoes and seasonings (except parsley) and whisk until well blended. Bring to low boil and cook for 20 mins. Add half and half and stir until smooth mashing potatoes against the side to add thickness. Do not boil. Stir in cheese and stir until all cheese is melted. Adjust seasoning if desired. Garnish with parsley.