tiaras optional

"My only argument is with those who do not view the world as cynically as I do." Michael Korda

Friday, May 25, 2007

Not That I'm Anxious or Anything, but...

All work and no sleep makes Lady Tiara a dull girl (and kind of a raving bitch). My insomnia has shifted into high gear lately. I have the insomnia trifecta: trouble falling asleep when you first get into bed, frequent waking up in the middle of the night, and waking up really early. Most people have one type. I get them all, over the course of the night. I’m extremely grumpy, and I’m beginning to wonder how long a person can go with only 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night. (If you are one of those type-A personalities who can get by on only 4 hours a night indefinitely, I really don’t want to hear about it.) So, a combination of lots of stress and not enough sleep has made life exceptionally dull lately, hence the lack of posts.

But for the last few days, I was in Austin for work, so that finally gives me something to write about (posts and not very exciting photos to come). The whole process of traveling adds to my insomnia: 1) I get stressed out before traveling, so I lie awake at night making lists in my head of everything I need to do or pack, or I have nasty anxiety dreams about missing planes, and 2) I have trouble sleeping in strange beds.

I have been trying to figure out why traveling makes me so anxious. I like traveling in general. I love going new places. And I’m not particularly afraid of flying. While waiting in the Austin airport, I started making a list in my head and I’ve taken somewhere around 160 flights. My first flight was when I was 4. My first international flight was when I was 5. I am a fairly seasoned traveler. But two things give me pause.

1) Flying makes me feel all eurgh. I have severe motion sickness. I threw up on every domestic flight I took from ages 4 to 13. (For some reason, this never happened on the international flights since I would generally fall asleep five minutes after take-off. I suspect the use of drugs, for which I can’t really blame the adults.) I still often feel like puking when I fly, although I am usually able to hold it together. (Still, the first thing I do when I take my seat is check the seat pocket for the barf bag. I like to be prepared.) I also get severe pain and pressure in my ears, which feels like someone jabbing a letter opener into my eardrums. It’s awesome.

2) I absolutely refuse to ever miss a plane or be rushed in any way, so I like to get to the airport really early. For example, my flight to Austin was Saturday at 12:30. I woke up at 7 a.m. and threw a few last-minute things into my already packed bag. I was in the car at 9:15. I arrived at the airport at 10, and I was checked in and through security by 10:30. For a 12:30 flight. Yes, I know this is totally insane, but it’s all my mother’s fault. When I was a kid, she was late for every flight she ever took. She’s the woman running through the airport rushing to make her plane. Every time. And I was the kid she was dragging behind her. I hated this. I never understood why we just couldn’t leave earlier for the airport. Or why we had to wait until the last possible minute to call a cab. Once, when I was 7, I stopped running and said to her, “Someday I’ll be a grown-up, and I won’t have to fly with you anymore, and I’m never going to miss a plane or have to run through the airport. I’ll be on time!” She just rolled her eyes, but I stuck to that resolution. I’ve never missed a plane, and I’ve never had to run through an airport (except for last year’s unfortunate incident at Charles de Gaulle, but that was entirely the fault of Air France, a.k.a., the bastards who wouldn’t let a couple on their honeymoon sit together). So, I blame most of this on my mother (to be fair, my father also likes to get to the airport with a few hours to spare, so it may be something in my genetic makeup).

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Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm a Slob/Killer Bees

When I arrived home from work last night, Lord Kissington was at the hospital visiting his sister, who had her third baby yesterday (congrats and a big thanks for taking the pressure off me for a while, sister-in-law). He told me that our friend Ward might be stopping by to pick up a CD. I said, yeah, sure, and flopped on the couch to flip through the new Lucky and watch Guiding Light. Ward called a little while later and said he’d be there in a few minutes. And then I looked around the apartment and realized that it wasn’t exactly in visitor-receiving condition.

You see, I’ve kind of been letting things go recently. I’ve been uber-lazy and it’s just so much trouble to actually pick up after myself. And Lord Kissington barely notices and apparently has no issue with living in squalor. But when I realized that someone was going to see the place, I felt a sudden sense of shame and shifted into overgear, trying to fix the worst of it. I removed the drying rack that was covered with bras from the foyer (I know, I know, but really, the foyer is just wasted space and I don’t have anywhere else to put the rack). I grabbed my strapless bra off the computer desk (the damn bra was bothering me so much the other night that I just reached under my shirt and pulled it off. A less slovenly person would have then deposited it in the hamper, but that’s just not me.). I threw the pile of shoes in the dining room into the bedroom. Sadly, I neglected to clean up the pile of US Weekly’s on the couch (which were only there because I was going through a bunch of old magazines and was going to throw them out and totally not because I was planning to cut them up to make a shrine to Paris/Lindsey/Britney or anything like that. I swear.), but I’m hoping he didn’t notice them.


While at work today, I saw something swirling around outside my window. Out of the corner of my eye, it sort of looked like snow, which didn’t seem very plausible seeing as it’s May and kind of hot out. Upon closer inspection, whatever was swirling seemed sort of yellow, so I figured it was some sort of plant material, like massive floating chunks of pollen. But it wasn’t. The floating things were a huge swarm of bees darting around. Which is just fantastic. Ummh, hello, universe? I don’t have enough things keeping me awake at night? Now I need to worry about swarms of killer bees? Awesome.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Tiara of the Moment

With a blog titled Tiaras Optional, I would be remiss if I did not comment on Queen Elizabeth’s tiara at Tuesday night’s state dinner. Sadly, she wore one of my least favorite tiaras from her large collection. She wears it fairly often, so I’m guessing it’s one of her favorites. I was hoping for the Hannover diamond tiara (the tiara she wore at her wedding), which is a spike tiara (modeled after the Russian kokoshnik, traditional headdress). The one she wore is certainly glittery, and she had lots of other glitter, in her necklace (three strands of big diamonds) and earrings. (I can’t give the name of the tiara, as the fantastic site I used as a reference is no longer available and it’s one of the few British tiaras not mentioned in the fabulous book Tiaras: A History of Splendour, which holds a place of honor on my shelves.) Although the British royal family has probably the largest collection of tiaras of all the royal families, I much prefer the Swedish and Norwegian collections, which have some truly stunning examples.


I need your help, readers who read. I would like some book recommendations, as I will be on a business trip later this month, and I’d like to be well stocked with reading material. On my last business trip, I got through 3 or 4 books (there was a lot of downtime), so please recommend anything you think I might like. Unfortunately, I’ve been in one of my not reading phases for the last few months, so I don’t have my normal pile of “stuff to read next.” I go through these phases every once in a while. Normally, I probably read two to five books a month (depending on time and length/difficulty of book), but since the beginning of the year, I’ve read maybe 6 books total. This is worrying me a bit. It might have something to do with the insane amount of TV shows on DVDs that I’ve been watching lately, which has cut into my reading time.

I received about 8 books for Christmas. I’ve read only one of them. I suppose I could bring some of them with me on my trip, but they’re not necessarily the kind of books I want to travel with. The kind of books I’m looking for are lightweight, engrossing, not terribly thought-provoking (do I really want to be awake all night in a hotel room pondering the implications of an airborne toxic event?), and not scary (I don’t want to be awake all night thinking a serial killer is under my bed either). So, if you have any recommendations along those lines, please let me know.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Those Shoes Just Don't Seem Appropriate for This Situation

It is perhaps a testament to my extreme laziness that I am getting around to writing about my weekend now, although I could easily have done so during the many hours that I spent sat around over the weekend. However, that would have interfered with my precious TV time.

1. We went to the Arcade Fire show on Friday. Like many things that I get ridiculously psyched for and then have to wait a long time to happen, I no longer cared about the show by the time it actually arrived. Thankfully, Arcade Fire broke through my ennui. They are fucking awesome live. There are about 28 people in the band (Lord Kissington has helpfully told me that he counted 10) and some of them play multiple instruments. Totes impressive. It even made me like the second album more.

2. Lord Kissington’s niece made her First Communion on Saturday, which put us in a church for the first time in ages. It seemed to go on forever. At one point during the sermon, his 6-year-old nephew said rather loudly, “Why is the priest talking about cars?” Everyone shushed him, but I was thinking the exact same thing. It was some sort of extended metaphor about learning to drive and taking Communion or something like that. I kind of zoned out somewhere in the middle.

I spent most of the Mass checking out what people were wearing. I know that standards of what is appropriate for Church have really dropped over the years, but since when are shorts (even the dreaded formal shorts) acceptable for this sort of event? The worst transgression was a woman wearing stripper shoes (and she appeared to be a grandmother to one of the little darlings). Yes, 5-inch, platform, completely see-through shoes (lucite heels, clear vinyl straps, etc.) that looked something like this. These shoes seem wildly inappropriate for an event that is happening in a house of worship and at 10 in the morning (I can’t help but think of these as evening shoes). Her shoes make baby Jebus cry.

3. Can anyone recommend a strapless bra that actually works (i.e., one that doesn’t compress my boobs, push them too far up toward my neck, or slide down)? I’m wearing one right now, and I had forgotten how much I hate them until I started having to readjust (an attractive and tres appropriate office activity, of course) it every five minutes.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Roses Are Dead, Violets Are Blue

The other night, I was walking through the hallway to my apartment, and I noticed that someone had stuck a single red rose through the door knocker of the apartment across the hall from me. “Oh, how romantic,” I thought to myself. Then my eyes adjusted to the low light, and I realized that the rose was dead. And it hadn’t been there earlier in the day, so it’s not as if someone stopped by a few days before and the person was away and the rose died before they got back. No, someone placed a dead rose there. Creepy, but at least it wasn’t on Valentine’s Day. Maybe my neighbor has a Goth admirer?

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

At Least I'm Not Bathing in the Blood of Virgins

For years, I’ve been kidding myself that I’m somehow really low maintenance. Sure, I never leave the house without makeup, but it’s a very simple makeup routine, and I can do it in five minutes if pressed. But making this list exposed my habits to the harsh light of day. And here’s a scary realization: I use seven different kinds of moisturizers.

1. 45 SPF facial moisturizer for day
2 and 3. Two different nighttime moisturizers for alternate nights (one with hyaluronic acid and one extra creamy moisturizing one)
4. Eye cream (for night use)
5. Another daytime moisturizer for my eyes only (I can’t use the sunscreen one too close to my eyes since it makes them burn, so I use this one instead and always wear sunglasses)
6. Basic body moisturizer
7. Hand and nail-specific moisturizer (the body moisturizer isn’t quite strong enough for my hands, and since I started using this stuff, I haven’t broken a nail)

And even though it seems like overkill when I write it all down, I really can’t live without any of them. My skin has been pretty good since I began this regime and it seems to be staving off the wrinkles (vampire-like avoidance of sunlight helps too). And this is just the skin care stuff. I haven’t even gotten to the hair products. No wonder my suitcases are always so heavy.

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