Thursday, February 25

Small Vanities.

I suspect everyone has small vanities.
Little things they like to keep perfect, or as near as they can get.

One of my small vanities was my fingernails. When I was young, they were frequently admired. Not my hands, though. Just the nails.

I seldom wore nail polish, as I could never stand the suffocation my fingers seemed to feel, with the varnish cutting off the air supply.

My nails are not so nice now, they are not as smooth or strong as they were. I no longer consider them a 'vanity' matter.

Once upon a time, my slim figure and small waist were vanities to be proud of.
Now I try not to think of them, gone forever, as they are.

In fact some days I rather feel I resemble a Troll who has lost her bridge!

I have a social family event coming up, and am wondering how to make myself presentable.

Which brings me to another small vanity.

I have a nickname I am comfortable with, I feel more 'myself' in this name.  I dislike my given name, I don't feel 'me' in that name. I really really dislike my second given name!

Noone, apart from older family members call me by my given name, thank goodness.

In the social family event, my daughter asked if I would be a Witness for her, then she mentioned it would involve my full 'real' names being used and read aloud publicly. She was worried I could not stand this to happen.

I told her it is a small vanity, and I could never be so 'vain' about it as to let it alter her plans.

One by one, our vanities seem to go, as we age. My handwriting used to be nice and neat. Now it is barely legible, even to me! Thankgoodness for computers, and typing.

A family story which delights me every time I think about it, concerns my father, and his grandfather.  My Great Grandfather was, apparently very vain about his nose. I have no idea why. Perhaps he considered it to be much better looking than other noses in the family. There were some honking large noses about, to be sure, but I am not sure which side of the family they came from. Perhaps it was his, and he considered himself very fortunate to have escaped the large version himself.

When my father was a child, he was weilding a knife for some reason, which family legend has never really explained. Greatgrandfather was a very skilled cabinet maker of some great pride and perhaps he was instructing the young grandson.
As he was instructing the youngster to "Never cut up Boy! Never cut up!" my father gave a huge lunge upwards with the knife to sever some cord, (as near as we can tell from the legend!) and lo! He cut his grandfather's nose!

Of course his Grandfather was so horrified he never forgave the boy, and so he fell out of favour with both his Grandparents, because his grandmother, who was married to the grandfather with the princely nose, could never abide my father nor his sister, and she frequently referred to my Aunt as "The limb of Satan".

My father, aged around two,  once almost hung himself on a cord of a blind on a French door, and apparently Greatgrandmother thought it hugely comical, as he hung gasping for air, off the step at the verandah.

There were older siblings, who were in favour, and later younger siblings who were also in favour. I have no idea why the middle two were so disliked.

Family stories can be so fascinating. I wonder how I will be remembered, when I am gone.

On a hike to a medical facility, I noticed this strong funghi growing up through the detritus on the ground.

I was quite amazed to think how much strength it had, to push aside the twigs.
The life force is very strong.

This post took hours to do. I could not find the photo of the Great grandparents. I could not get the funghi to upload.  My connection keeps dropping out. So frustrating. Grrrrrr.

Sheryl Crow. Every Day is a Winding Road. One of my favourite songs.


Warty Mammal said...

Gosh, yes. Isn't it simply hysterical when little kids almost kill themselves? I know that every time I see a little kid choking himself to death with a blind cord, my first reaction is to just stand there and watch and give a big old belly laugh.

Seriously, what was she thinking? That is a head shaker for sure. I'm glad your dad survived. I hope your grandparents avoided leaving him with great-grandma after that.

Somewhat related rant: my stepmother was out visiting a few years ago, back when my son was just beginning to toddle. I left the two of them alone in a room for a few minutes so I could cook supper. While I don't think visitors and grandparents should be expected to babysit, she had stated that she was fine watching him for a few minutes so I could cook.

I then heard her say, in a somewhat dreamy voice, "oh, he's sticking his fingers in the fan". I ran back to find her reclining and doing absolutely nothing except watching him try poke his little fingers into the running fan. The fan she had plugged in and turned on high. True, the blades were made of plastic, not metal, but I was not pleased. Maybe his fingers wouldn't have gotten chopped off if the blades had hit them, but perhaps they would have been broken.

At that moment, I realized that not only did she not like me, but in a very fundamental way I couldn't trust her to watch out for my son's safety. At a very minimum, she lacks common sense. I will never, ever leave him alone with her again.

Jennifer said...

You are right, Meg, about our little vanities becoming less important as we get older.....but I am keeping my hair long. Families are odd things, there is often one child less favoured than others - who knows why. Perhaps the child reminds other family members of someone they dislike, or would rather have nothing to do with.

persiflage said...

Ah, vanities! I used to have a nice small waist too. And I liked my hands, which are now arthritic and warped, and less able to cope with anything needing fine motor control.
As for names, I used to dislike my middle name, which I was given to distinguish my initials from my older sister. It was bad enough to have three first names, but to have an old fashioned name stuck in the middle was worse. Now I rather like it. It was my grandmother's name.
This social event sounds as though it is going to be just lovely. Maybe a nice floaty loose jacket over your dress or pants would go well?

lovelyprism said...

I've missed your stories! We all have our little vanities, I refuse to let my hair go grey. My Mother used to call my Grandmother Miss Vanity, she's 93 and the nickname still fits.

quiltmom said...

My vanity is that I have nice eyes and I hated having to wear glasses to read, but being able to read is more important LOL, so I have gotten used to wearing them.
Most of us can remember when we were thinner or had thicker hair or didn't glasses etc. My gran once said to me that when she looked in the mirror she didn't see the woman with the wrinkly skin but the young girl she was- she wondered where that young girl had gone and who was that person in the mirror.. She said she didn't feel any different on the inside but we change all the time. Maybe we do change lots on the inside too but don't realize it because it is harder for us to see visually. By the way, my gran was a beautiful woman - all the years of her life. She was a tall woman - about 5'10'- not like me who is somewhat vertically challenged- 5' 5'LOL
I love your new profile photo with your dog, it is really lovely of you.
Hugs, Meggie,

marigold jam said...

I was amazed to read that your fingers couldn't cope with having their air supply cut off when wearing nail polish as that is exactly what I feel and yet have never come across anyone else who had the faintest idea what I meant! I know what you mean about lost vanities these days and as a saying on a friend's teacloth says "To live at all is miracle enough" and the vanities are no longer important.

Jane x

Mary said...

I just wish I had appreciated more my slender frame when I was young.

All I ever saw were my faults.


Thimbleanna said...

Interesting, as always Meggie! And so true -- as we get older, we just don't care as much about vanities. Or maybe, it's because we realize what is really important in life.

Now. Sooner or later, you should reveal that beautiful name LOL!

Jo said...

It's funny, when I was younger, I never thought I was very pretty, and I didn't think I had anything to be vain about. Strange, hey? Now that I am ... a woman of a certain age ... I constantly have people telling me how pretty I am, and it boggles my mind. I look at people I knew when I was younger, who were much prettier than I was, and some of them have not aged well. I guess everyone has a turn.

I like your new avatar. It's nice to see what you look like, and by the way, you are very pretty and have a lovely smile. :-)

Like Bells Wringing said...

Wow! It amazes me how many things you post are things I can identify with. Small vanities and anecdotes of strange family members and moments are no exception.

Recently I pondered the deepening wrinkles around my eyes. Eyes which used to captivate many. I was often told they were my best feature. Now they just seem tired, peppered with humor and flashes of frustration.

I have little energy or patience for vanity lately. I do not know if this attitude is born of age or depression. Thoughts anyone?

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I have never thought of myself as pretty ..... my sister was pretty, I was the plain, plump one. Now when I see old photos of myself I sometimes wonder "who is that"! Looks familiar, but was I really that slender? Now, it really doesn't matter as much.

Anonymous said...

I see absolutely nothing wrong with vanity. Pride in who one is to me is a sign of a healthy psyche. As long as the vanity is not too obtrusive, or demeaning of others, I might add. Personally, I like the fact I still have my hair and I think it looks good.

Rosie said...

it is great getting older. I dont stand for any nonsense these days, say what I think and usually feel confident (usually!) Dont worry about what I look like...I dont have to get on a stage any more.

Pauline said...

I love coming here to read. You wander about amongst subjects and I'm left thinking about the ideas you engender long after I've shut off the computer. I always thought my Memere didn't like me. She chased me once with a clothes whip. And there were some "honking large noses" in my family, too, much to my own chagrin. I used to fuss with polish on my fingernails though they felt much the same suffocating you mention, and my slim figure has long since disappeared except in old photos. Thanks, Meggie for making simple things so engaging.

julieQ said...

Hmm, personal vanities...used to be my long, long hair. Down to my legs long!! Now, not so much! Thank you for sharing your stories.

ancient one said...

I was the skinny one ...always told to eat more.. I guess I'm about the right size now.. no one is telling me to eat more. In my youth, I decided I would have fun. Beaches and sand and sun... (no sun tan lotion for me).. So today I have all the ugly spots from sun damage (which so far are not cancerous) and I just smile and remember all the good times I had getting those marks. I guess I worried more about how I looked when I was younger and comparing myself to others always left me feeling inferior. Thank Goodness I'm past that. I used to worry that nothing I did was perfect. Now I can say that good enough IS GOOD ENOUGH and let the worrys go.

As for the handwriting... mine was just average... but signing my name in front of pople would make me nervous... I especially thought I had messed up my name on my driver's license.. Then I thought.. well, if I get caught driving wrong, and I have to sign my name it will look just as shakey as it does on my driver's will match.

I never had many vanities and probably have none now... not my mom though...she wants everything right! You should have seen me in my cheap glasses trying to pull a few facial hairs on her chin. She finally decided she could do it better than me.. ha ha

I love the subjects you bring up... and I appreciate you posting and not giving up with the annoyances that you encountered today.

Selina Kingston said...

Oh dear. I think my life is one big vanity which I think explains a lot of the mistakes I have made in my life!
I like the picture of you Meggie - you look just as I imagined you

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

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Isabelle said...

Yes, I too wish I'd appreciated my youthful slimness. I was too conscious of not being as slim as I wanted but now I look at old photos, I was quite slim. Unlike now!

The Sagittarian said...

Ah I have always wanted nice nails but am 'blessed' with square stumpy things that won't grow. A few years ago for a wedding i got some of those acrylic nail jobs done and had fab nails for weeks until the 'back fill' was needed and the effort involved over time made me decide I would rather have stumpy boy nails!

catsmum said...

I admit I used to be vain about my long auburn hair - of course that's long behind me now ... it's very very short and the colour comes from a bottle LOL
Ahh well, I can remember, can't I ?

and I would have envied you those nails. Mine were and are as weak as tissue paper.

MJ said...

Never vain about my eyes ( ~ had glasses in Gr 4); my nails were always poor so kept cropped short. I've never thought about what I am vain about: perhaps my hair? But then I realized long ago that it would do what it wants and, if a bad cut, it will grow out. I think my vanity has been my skin as I've been taking good care of it since my early 20s (& avoiding the sun since my teens when I realized that I didn't tan well and why bother trying?). I'll keep working on the skin! I want to look fabulous when I'm 80!