Category Archives: Personal Grooming

Stories about the art of cleaning, grooming, and maintaining parts of the body – preening.

Eyebrow Wars ©

Battling eyebrows with Shinazy

eyebrowSomewhere in the back of our mind we know this to be true – our eyebrows conspire against us.  Without us noticing, they set-up base camp above our sunglasses and below our caps.  They conduct surveillance on everything we see and everyone we talk with.  Every time we look in a mirror . . . there they are, mocking us.  We need to be alert because our eyebrows have an agenda.

For our eyebrows to carryout their plan they have an arsenal of strategies; one is the art of subterfuge.  As boomers, we wonder:  why is it our eyebrow hairs start to grey, appearing to fade away, just when we’re having difficulty focusing our near vision?  Even when we’re wearing cheater glasses, our eyebrows play peek-a-boo.

To counter this evasive maneuvering, I commandeered a Magnification 20 Assault Mirror to ambush my eyebrows.  It’s a small mirror, no need to see the wrinkles resembling the Grand Canyon, which is another boomer issue, but I digress.  Eyebrows are cunning, even after I assault them with tweezers, ensnaring every visible hair – or so I think – I sometimes discover a spy.  If I’m in the right light, at the right angle, what do I see but a single hair, a banner flapping in the breeze.

Score 1 for the eyebrows.

Another strategy in the eyebrow’s tactical master plan: as hair on my head thins, the hairs in my eyebrows grow to become Amazons.

Eyebrows 2, me 0.

eyebrowFor a few folks eyebrows are allies.  My granddaddy never trimmed his eyebrows – he never engaged in the Eyebrow Wars.  As a child, I would twist his eyebrows into pointed peaks or divide them into little spires.  This action never lost its sense of amusement.

My Aunt Judy was swift and decisive; during the 1940s she conquered her eyebrows and annihilated them.  Not a hair remained.  Today, in her late 80’s she can draw perfectly matching arches.

Rather than a pencil, my weapon of choice is eyebrow mascara – I’m always armed and ready.  I can unify the patches of grey hair into the patches of dark brown hair, camouflaging the tiny calico mascots standing ever vigilant just above my eyes.

Like wisdom teeth, eyebrows have outlived their purpose.  As the human species evolves and Homo Sapiens 2.0 is released, I vote to eliminate eyebrows.  It is time for eyebrows to stand-down.

Game point.

photos courtesy Myki Roventine and janetmck

Botox to the Rescue ©

Botox, loved by Malati Marlene Shinazy

My mother had a few warnings that resonate continually in my mind like humming birds dive-bombing past my head on their way to the feeder:

# 1.  If you laugh all day, you’ll cry all night!

# 2. Put on sunscreen or you’ll end up looking like an old leather purse!

botox# 3.  Keep frowning like that and your forehead will stick in that position!

Many of these warnings were meant to scare us children into one behavior or another, so we generally ignored her.  Little did I know, however, how genetics lends some credence to caution # 3.

Recently, Shinazy, BOBB’s publisher and my sister, wrote a story, ‘Botox ‘n Duct Tape’, proudly promoting the secondary use of various tapes for reducing frown lines.

“Ha!” I thought, suddenly envious, “Easy for you to say.”

“While we both inherited extraordinary breathtaking beauty and brilliant minds (place smile here); you inherited most of the best genes in our family“:

“You are the marathon-running-every-continent-on-earth sister.”

“I am the sister who, like our grandmother, trips over small twigs and pebbles.”

“You are the sister who has hardly-worth-mentioning salt-and-pepper hair.”

“I am the sister with super-wide silver streaks at my temples — resembling a skunk ready to ruin everyone’s day.”

“And, while you can joke about those itty-bitty lines between your brows that you affectionately refer to as wrinkles,”

“My brow creases would need surgical retractors to hold them apart.”

botoxI’m not sure my mother’s warning that my tendency to chronically worry and frown as a child, adolescent, young adult, and older boomer would force the corrugator supercilii and procerus muscles to fix into permanent contractions.

To me it hardly matters.  When my staff kept asking me if I were angry or upset upon arriving at the office first thing in the morning – after I’d had a great night’s sleep, peace-inducing meditation and a satisfying cup of coffee, I started my hunt for Botox® Cosmetic.

Now, periodically, I invest in a Botox® treatment– the savior of genetically compromised sisters.  I advise the younger members of our family to entrust their foreheads only to professionals like a Registered Nurse at a Board Certified Dermatologist or Cosmetic Surgeon’s office.  — I have found that these specialists unfailingly inject the Botox® in such a precise manner, it removes involuntary scowl lines, yet still enables me to animate my face — unlike many celebrities we know who sport a fixed-expression countenance after their Botox® treatment.

And, I give thanks to all those scientists who discovered at least 20 medically critical uses for Botox® before they found its benefit for people like me, a boomer who wants to look happy and cheerful whenever I am happy and cheerful.

My sister may have a few genetic advantages.  I have Botox® Cosmetic.

photo  courtesy TomiTapio


Botox ‘n Duct Tape ©

Duct tape uses by Shinazy

Granddaddy was a practical and handy guy.  He believed there’s a simple solution to every problem and he applied his philosophy to repairing everything.  Even his gifts represented his viewpoint.  When I graduated from high school he gave me a toolbox that contained his favorite tools: hammer, flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, and a roll of duct tape.  botoxHe told me the tape would become indispensible.  At age seventeen, I thanked him with a smile and when I turned my back, the first of many frowns appeared on my then uncreased, pre-botox forehead.

As the years passed, I carried duct tape everywhere – there is a roll in my car, a roll in my office desk, and another roll in my first aid kit.  It is at the top of my “Things To Pack” when I traveled.  I was thrilled when 3M released duct tape in colors so some of my repairs could appear ‘fashionable’.  Duct tape is always within reach; I can mend the many worn and broken parts of my life.  Yes, duct tape will only patch my worn and broken stuff; the things that make me mad / sad are beyond duct tape’s effective adhesive ability.

And it‘s these mad-sad experiences, these unrepairable events that cause me to clinch my teeth, or droop the corners of my mouth – with the accompanying squeezing of my eyebrows.  When one is a Boomer, one has had decades of eyebrow squeezing resulting in an ever-deepening cavern, otherwise known as a Frown Line.

botoxGranddaddy would not approve of the current remedy for frown lines – Botox – a neurotoxin botulism bacterium protein.  And, I would never tell him that I went for Botox injections only to discover I’m Botox resistant, not just BXT-A, but also BXT-B.  Oh, joy!  I had no way to iron my frown lines.

When faced with a challenge I’m intrepid.  So, I tried Frownies that “Reverse the signs of aging – naturally!” skin smoother.  I was unable to get the little triangle to stay put, especially the pointy corners.  But they were sticky.  Ah, ha, sticky, what else is sticky?  Tape!  So, I tried Scotch Tape.  But it stuck to my pillowcase and hair better than my frown line.

There is one final countermeasure – Duct Tape.  I have yet to try it, but I know Granddaddy would smile at the thought of me applying his repair principal and he was right, Duct Tape is indispensable.

photo courtesy Jim J

Ode to Waxing Leg

This Ode was written by Bobbi Rankin
Bobbi’s Legs in Maui
Legs, it’s your turn….
your turn to do something you’ve never done before.
You faithfully have taken me to many places,
you’ve never let me down.
Yes, we’ve done much together.
Now it’s your time,
your turn,
I’m going to wax you for the very first time!
Yes, can you believe it?
We’re going to Maui
the goal is to be smooth, soft and above all
There again not wanting to be a slave to the razor,
familiar theme?
Every one of those pesky hairs will be gone by bedtime.
I’ve set it all up
I’ve exfoliated
I’ve dusted with cornstarch,
heated the wax,
sitting on the floor with newspaper all about
let’s get it done!
Hot wax!
Ok, clam down and do the job,
can’t see the backside of my legs…
apply, pull, pile the hairy wax out of the way.
I’m getting it,
actually pulling those hairy suckers out,
be gone you pesky hairs!
I think I’m done.
I jump up, elated, but oh,
I realize wax is still stuck to my legs
wax is under my fingernails
wax is on the floor.
AND what else do I see?
Hairs sticking up in defiance?
where are my tweezers?
After all the goal is to go to Maui with hairless legs
even if I have to pull ever last renegade out by hand!
Mission accomplished
the goal is completed,
now you smooth legs you can proudly carry me to Maui.
I think next time I’ll pay to have this done….            
I’m off to bed.
Ooohhhhh ….the sheets feel so good against these hairless legs!    
photo by bobbi


Caring For The Skin I’m In

by Shinazy

I decided to come here.  I’ve been coming here every 5 weeks for 20 years.  Even when I was unemployed I came here.  During those lean months, I terminated my cable TV, walked rather than drove, removed any unnecessary expense so I could continue to come here.

Today, just like every other time before, I lay on a bed that contours my body . . . a bed of jumbo cotton balls.  The room is painted in a green that bears the undertones of everything in nature.  The ceiling is the color of the sky at the horizon and there’s a dome painted an enveloping shade of blue; it’s dotted with tiny LED lit holes.  I’m reminded of dusk in Tahoe after the last spring snowstorm.  As I stare into the ethereal sky, I see constellations, never the same ones, and maybe only imaged ones.  It’s easy to breathe. . .  I feel I’ve always been here, and during these 90 minutes, I’m disconnected from everything.
I’m also here so that Liza can renovate my skin.  She is a beauty alchemist, a master aesthetician.  Liza applies masks, serums, mists, creams, and uses the latest technology in skin care.  She removes boulders when I’ve been in the desert for weeks, peels layers of residue from gallons of sunscreen and sweat when I train for a marathon, evens my skin tone after days of mid-summer solar exposure.  I emerge restored. 
Skin care is part of my family’s DNA.  My grandmother was a Noxzema Girl.  She toted the cobalt blue jar everywhere.  During our annual Buck’s Lake vacation, she would even smear Noxzema onto the face of her favorite stable horse, who had a skin condition.  By the end of our stay, the horse’s skin was radiant, just like my grandmother’s.
My mom used Pond’s Cold Cream – “an evolution to skin care.”  I remember her using it to clean her face in the morning, laying the foundation for her “paint,” and removing the make-up at night.  She always receives complements on her skin – claiming it is all due to her dedication to her skin care routine and Pond’s.
Does all this attention to skin care make us appear younger?  Well, my grandmother always appeared old, because she was . . .  my grandmother.  My mom never appears old, because she is an accomplished make-up artist.  I appear – my age.  So, why all this devotion to our skin?  Why do I continue to come here?
I like clean skin.  I want my skin to reflect my good inside health on the outside.  And, when I look you in the eye, your eyes see just that . . . great skin.
Thank you Liza!  I’ll see you in 5 weeks.
– – – – – – –
You can find Liza at

photo by Craighton Miller

FOLLOWER Friday: Ode to Bobbi’s Eyebrows

  An Ode by Bobbi Rankin
Yo, eyebrows where have you gone? 
I see less and less of you every day 
You let me down
You betrayed me
I have a few words for you…… 
In my youth you were strong,
Arched and nicely dark brown. 
You were the envy of my friends
So easy to care for, too. 
I could wink and flirt with confidence
Having the fullness of the perfect brows.
Today, I must color you when I color my hair
I’ve become a slave to my eyebrow pencil. 
Oh, too much pencil color or too little?
This becoming the ongoing morning battle.
Now, more than ever as age begins
To try and take you away,
I need you. 
I need you to be strong
I need you be of color,
To help me face the world
I want you eyebrows to stay the same
And not let me down…
Not disappoint or betray me…
You know what I talkin’ about?
Alas, at this time in my life,
Have I not more fun and important things to do
Than to pour such pity onto myself,
Over eyebrows?
I think I do. 
I think I’ll put my cap on
Go for a long walk along the lagoon
Enjoy the world
Enjoy my life as it is today. 
I know for a fact that I have today,
Faded eyebrows 
You aren’t important any more.
I think I’ll save myself this grief
Simply say no more,
About my eyebrow betrayal, that is. 
For as sure as I’m sitting here
I do have more important things to talk about
About . . .
    photo by bobbi
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