Vignettes: Of Fingernails, Cocktails, and Ponytails

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Greetings from steamy New England. This has been one of the longest stretches of exceptionally hot and humid weather that I can recall. Boston has already had 17 days with temperatures over 90F/32C, often with dew points in the 70s (think Alabama, Florida, etc.). At least it isn't snow, I suppose...

What follows is a mishmash of topics that don't really merit a full post, but that I thought would be fun to share. So follow along on to the other side for the details!

I've been getting manicures for about a year and a half now, and pedicures for about a year. My reaction each time is the same: where have you been all my life? lol OMG, I don't know how I survived without them!

That being said, I inadvertently discovered a hitherto-unknown level of nail care awesomeness at my last appointment. I inadvertently forgot to book a followup after my previous session, so I popped in a few days later. D, the receptionist (hi hon!), said, "Shellac, Cass?" I replied sure - which turned out to be a wise move. :-)

I discovered the difference between shellac and a standard manicure when I paid before heading over to see A, the manicurist. D quickly explained the difference and offered to switch it to a regular manicure.

"No, this is fine - in for a penny, in for a pound," I said. 

D laughed and promised I would be hooked for life once I had my first.

She was right. :D

When A finished, I started to head over to dry the nails. She smiled and said, no, it's all set - shellac manicures are practically indestructible - well, compared to a regular manicure, anyway. I replied that shellac hadn't yet dealt with my inner klutz; A just smiled knowingly.

My appointment was on Wednesday, August 2nd. I just took the following shots today (Sunday, August 14th):

The verdict: Shellac: 1; Cass the Klutz: 0. :-p

Needless to say, I'm now hooked. Nice to know that every time in the future that I strain, sprain, bruise, or otherwise inadvertently inflict bodily damage on myself that at least one body part will look fabulous!


I'm not much of a drinker, as I've probably mentioned in previous posts. I had a beer on two consecutive evenings back in mid-April, but nothing since. And if memory serves it was last Halloween before that.

In fact, I've been attempting to remember what that Halloween drink actually was ever since. I asked the bartender for something sweet that included cranberry juice; while he was making it I was also chatting with Butterfly Girl, a fellow partygoer who had asked to take my picture. Given my aforementioned tendencies to klutziness, juggling two thought processes at the same time *and* trying to walk back to our table in four inch heels stretched my abilities to their limit.

In any event, the drink was absolutely delicious... which makes my inability to remember what it was all the more frustrating. (Curse you, butterflies!!!)

I've tried periodically to research possibilities online to no avail...

Until the answer arrived on Friday evening.

As these things so often do, it arrived when I least expected it.

I had plans to meet my friend M for dinner, but he wisely suggested we switch it to another night, given the severe thunderstorms forecast to roll through the area just as we would be headed to the restaurant. (As usual, he was correct.)

It was too late to join some work friends who had discussed the latest Girls Night Out earlier that day (fear not - we're having dinner on Wednesday after work), so I decided I would have a quiet Friday evening checking out the Olympics and watching my Blue Jays and Red Sox play.

And then Miss SBS, mentioned in a recent post, called to ask if I wanted to come over for pizza. Well, you don't have to ask this girl more than once if she wants pizza, so off I went.

Once I arrived neither of us were hungry enough to order, so Miss SBS suggested we have a drink. I said sure, provided it was only one (see aforementioned lightweight status), and that it be something sweet (I know, I know - très girly; so sue me! :-p). She asked what I wanted, and I said she could surprise me.

And she did, when she brought me one of these:

As soon as I saw it, I had a hunch my ten month search was over. And after a single sip I sighed contentedly. This was it! 

As it turned out, the mystery drink was a cranberry ginger fizz cocktail. It was just as yummy as I remembered - so much so that, with Miss SBS's encouragement, I had another post-pizza.

Well, having that second drink - something I NEVER do - led to all sorts of adventures (or so I was told lol)... but alas, some things must remain a mystery, dear reader. ;-p 

(BTW, the photo comes from the linked article; it never occurred to me to take a picture of mine as I guzzled it down!)


Last but not least, the third item mentioned in the blog title. 

I wanted to pass along a quick note (which I hopefully haven't done already) about one of those moments when you realize how far you've come in your transition. This one is actually something my dear friend Kelli over at The Good, The Bad, The Blonde wrote about. 

I was out for a run yesterday (the only day with somewhat tolerable temperatures and humidity) when it happened. It was late afternoon, and overcast - so much so that the streetlights actually came on for a time. It didn't rain (although it did later, fortunately - New England is in a serious drought), but the streetlights led to the moment in question.

As I glanced down, I could see my shadow...

...including my ponytail, bouncing out the back of my baseball cap.

It made my breath catch for a moment, as I absorbed that the life I longed for my entire life was now my reality. Because I made it happen. It isn't always easy, and it's taken everything I have to get where I am... but I did it. And will continue to do so, as I grow into the woman I should have been all along.

And anyone reading this can do it too, if they work hard enough and believe in themselves; I'm living proof. You won't regret it!!!

And finally, I want to give a shout-out to the wonderful and amazing Divine Miss M, who was singled out by the CEO of our company for recognition of her efforts on Friday during his all-employee call. She was the only employee mentioned by name, and he could not have made a better choice. Way to go, hon; I'm very, very proud of you!!! xoxoxo


Continuing the inadvertent (but welcome) Texas songwriter trend in recent posts, here's the great Joe Ely, playing a song about a topic near and dear to both myself and Miss SBS - albeit for different reasons. ;-p

I originally thought that, like Robert Cray, I'd never posted anything from one of my Desert Island Discs - 2002's Now Again, by The Flatlanders. It turns out I had (I re-read the original 2012 post, which includes a memorable coming-out story with my friend M, mentioned earlier in this post - check it out if you'd like a laugh :D). However, they're so good I'm going to keep what I just wrote anyway. :c)

The Flatlanders are a justly legendary band, formed in the early 70s, by the aforementioned Joe Ely, along with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. The story of their long and winding path to success as a band is fascinating. They issued their debut album in 1972 - on a  tiny label in Texas, and only on 8-track. They split up soon afterwards, and went on to distinguished solo careers, playing on each other's albums and writing/covering each other's songs.

In 1990 Rounder Records, a highly-respected label based in Cambridge MA, reissued their lost debut as the aptly-titled More A Legend Than a Band. The  reissue justly ignited renewed interest in the band. One listen to a song like Jimmie Dale Gilmore's beautiful, haunting "Dallas" will show you why:

They began touring together again as The Flatlanders, and, in 1998, contributed a song to Robert Redford's film The Horse Whisperer - the gorgeous "South Wind of Summer." Since I already posted the reworked version from Now Again, here's the original, more stripped-down version from the soundtrack (which is excellent, by the way, for fans of quality songwriting).

And in 2002 they released the aforementioned Now Again. Here they are performing "My Wildest Dreams Grow Wilder" on Austin City Limits shortly before the album was released. Their good-natured banter preceding the song is as charming as the song itself. :c)

They're still going strong today, both jointly and individually. I was lucky enough to see them perform in Seattle when Now Again was released, and had the chance to tell both Joe and Jimmie directly how much the album was helping me in a difficult period of my life. They were as gracious  and humble as you would expect two Southern gentlemen to be. Thanks again for the wonderful music, gents!


Halle on August 15, 2016 at 8:40 AM said...

Looking at my nails done only two days ago and already showing signs of wear, you might have sold me on shellac with that photo. You wouldn't kid a gal would you? :-D
Glad you found your cocktail Hon!

Calie on August 15, 2016 at 11:33 AM said...

Love the nails (and your hair)!

Abigale's Airings on August 15, 2016 at 11:39 AM said...

Envy you MissC! Wish I could have my nails done like yours a little more often .. hey what am I saying .. EVER!

Coline on August 15, 2016 at 2:34 PM said...

Here is a girl who had a ponytail for forty years but now has a short bob and has dozens of wee bottles of nail colour which hardly ever goes on the broken gardener's nails... Where did I go wrong!?

Unknown on August 15, 2016 at 7:53 PM said...

"And will continue to do so, as I grow into the woman I should have been all along." What beautiful words! I'm sitting on my couch cheering you on! My partner grew her hair out and I love seeing her ponytail sticking out of the back of her cap.
I'm glad I found your little place here on the internet and look
forward to reading more. Oh.. and yes, me too... I am hooked on shellac!

Cassidy on August 21, 2016 at 9:44 PM said...

First of all, my apologies, ladies! Blogger apparently snacked on my first response to your comments early last week. Hopefully it cooperates this time.

@Halle: I assure you that shellac is most definitely worth the investment. The mani pictured here lasted 18 days, and it wasn’t until the evening before my next appointment that they showed any wear. And even then it was only the corner of one nail. I’m sold!

As for the cocktail, I’m thrilled I finally discovered what it was too! As you recall, Peacock Girl was *quite* the distraction that evening! :D

Hope all is well with you, hon, and that you and Alice get to hit the links several more times before the season draws to a close!

@Coline: It’s so funny; I chewed my nails to the nub my entire life. Then, I just… stopped, several months before I realized I had to transition. It’s fascinating that I’d subconsciously accepted that reality, and that it was my fingernails, of all things, that were the trigger to my conscious realization. As far as hair, I only wish mine would grow faster! lol Alas, wavy hair takes longer, so I just have to be patient. :-)

@Abigaile: No time like the present. hon! Go for it! :D (I recommend flaming red, but I’m biased. lol)

@Calie: Thank you so much, hon! Hope you are doing well out on the Left Coast! We are long, long overdue for a chat!!! Let’s make it happen, shall we?

@Mary: Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m happy to have you as a neighbor in my little corner here. :D Also… ponytails do indeed rock!!! ;-D

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