50 Shades of Ruby Vibes

If you are a woman who wears lipstick, or if you have ever lived with such a woman… or worked with one… or sat next to one on a bus… or passed one in the street… you know that at some point, lipstick tragedy occurs. The arch-nemisis of every perfect shade of lipstick is one word- just twelve letters that fill the aforementioned lipstick-wearing women with fear and rage:


Every time you find your new perfect shade, you think this time will be different.

It’s never different. You may be lulled into a false sense of security for a bit, but after you’ve used up and re-bought that lipstick a maximum- yes, maximum, and that’s only if you’re very, very lucky- a maximum of two times, it is always discontinued. Always. And the hunt begins again.

You may start your hunt on eBay or Amazon, but if you’re like me, you’ll be late to the party. Everybody else already knew it was going to be discontinued because they followed that shade on Twitter, while you were trying to keep Twitter “professional”.

You have no choice but to continue the hunt in the field. It’s scary and uncomfortable and you don’t like to do it, but you do it anyway.

You put on pants and go to the mall.

This is precisely how I ended up with the most expensive lipstick I’ve ever bought. I took my sad, empty tube of Ruby Vibes into the supermegafacepaint store and pleaded for help.

“It was perfect,” I said. My eyes were welling up.

“Oh no! Discontinued,” the lady said with an empathetic nod. She handed me a tissue and I dabbed my eyes. “I’m so sorry, honey.” Then she took me on a tour of 50 shades of almost-but-not-quite Ruby Vibes.

Touring lipstick shades involves getting many swipes of testers on the back of your hand. Depending on the shades you’re testing, you start to look like either you’ve gotten into an altercation with a feral cat or else you really need to go see the dermatologist, like yesterday.

Somewhere around shade 36, my sales lady showed me a great color. I dismissed it immediately because of the price, and carried on through the rest of the tour. But it stuck with me.

It was wine, but bright. The tiniest bit of iridescence in indirect light, but not a shimmer, not a sparkle. A hint of berry. It was, dare I say it? I do. It was better than Ruby Vibes.

I pointed to the slash on my hand. “This one? Can I see this one again?” She knew right where it was and led me back.

I made another line on my hand and held it up by my lips and looked in the teeny mirror. My hands looked like I’d been fondling barbed wire and razorblades but this one stood out.

She opened a brand-new tube in right in front of me and dialed it up so I could see that sharp, slanted edge that always gets me more than a little too excited about a lipstick. Completely seduced, I bought it.

Daisy Plum. Thirty-two dollars.

I have a friend who is the kind of friend everyone should have. The one who is always on board with your impulsive, extravagant purchases; your perhaps not carefully-thought-out schemes; your bold decorating ideas. I once called her in a panic because I found myself in Nordstrom’s shoe department seriously considering buying either a pair of peep-toe calf hair Kate Spades or a pair of sueded art-deco Marc Jacobs mary janes.

She talked me off the ledge. I bought both. (This was before I had children. Duh.)

Naturally, the first thing I did after buying a $32 lipstick was to hit the Godiva store and text her.

Me: I just bought a $32 lipstick.

Her: You’re insane.

Me: Wait til you see it! It’s awesome!

Her: You’re insane.

Me: It’s called Daisy Plum.

Her: You’re insane.

She’s just jealous because Daisy Plum is not her perfect shade. Besides, I know for a fact that she has spent $28 on a lip gloss, and I don’t see what the difference is. (I mean beyond four dollars. I can do math.)

I stand by my purchasing decision. This is the kind of lipstick that when I wear it, people ask why I’m all dressed up when I’m actually just wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Also, it opens doors. Observe:

I work in a theater next door to a concert venue. Sometimes when a band plays there they’re trying to use the same frequencies we do for our wireless mics in our show. We have to go talk to them and get them to change frequencies to avoid disaster (picture, if you will, a touching dramatic scene of a father mourning his dead daughter interrupted by a crass and loud CHECK ONE TWO!!”).

It’s a touchy operation, because most rock and roll sound guys aren’t used to having to do frequency coordination; they’re used to being the only thing happening in town that night. They’re usually behind schedule, understaffed, and haven’t had enough sleep.

The day Guns-N-Roses played next door, it was deemed my turn to go tell them they had to move their frequencies. I’d been working in the shop all day and was dirty, tired, and decidedly uncute. But I did have Daisy Plum in my tool bag.

I used the $32 lipstick/walkie talkie/work boots approach. (It’s highly possible I may have used lipstick to get backstage to a GnR show in the 80’s, but that’s a little fuzzy.)

I talked my way right in, smiled at everyone and got to the right guy. They were all friendly. They got off my frequencies. They moved their shizz and were nice about it.

About ten years ago when I was on the road, I remember a waitress I had in Rochester whose only adornment was her lipstick. She wore no other makeup, her hair wasn’t anything special, she had no jewelry; but her lipstick was perfect. I’ve never forgotten her.

Though I’ll bet you $32 her shade has been discontinued.


One & Done Sunday #20

Welcome to One & Done Sunday. One picture, and five links that are worth your time.

Here’s your picture:

It’s a total geek shot of my Superstar console. The question people always asked when they saw it was, “Why does it have so many colors?”. Looking at it from this angle, it kinda looks like the venue we performed in in Berlin last year. There’s a very Euro-techno feel to it. Plus, it’s dusty.

Earlier this month, we played our final performance of Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway. It was bittersweet, as I guess these things always are. I’m better for having this opportunity to work with such talented–and nice, being that they’re largely Canadian and if they’re not nice enough they get kicked out of their country– people.

There was a party afterwards. I’m not big on parties and went to a yoga class instead, planning to swing by the party on my way home.

When I walked into the locker room it was nearly empty because I was running late and made it just in time. Something caught my eye: a prosthetic full leg, from just below the hip, on the floor against the wall.

Because the natural state of my mind is to be small and boxy, I couldn’t imagine anyone who actually needed that prosthetic would be down in the hot room to do yoga. My first thought was that it was some sort of prop, a possibility since this midtown yoga studio caters to a lot of performers.

They say yoga expands your mind.

I went downstairs and set up my mat. I looked to the right of me and there was the woman to whom the prosthetic belonged. She was tall, strong, and determined and there to do Bikram. I was humbled and inspired. I could not in good conscience sit out of a single pose that class.

It was an immediate and complete shift in my perspective.

I wished that I felt confident enough to speak to her after class, but I didn’t. I didn’t have confidence in finding the words to convey what I felt without those words being condescending, insensitive, or disrespectful. But in my eyes she was a goddamn rock star.

I don’t know if I’ll see her again or not, but the memory remains. I’m grateful for it.

The next day when I was extra sore from the extra effort I put out in that class, I thought of that badass woman and smiled.


Here are your links:

I just came across this post this morning and it filled my soul. Not much makes me happier than when one of my kids likes my music (and props to this kid for being a RUSH fan!): Pretty Girls Make Gravy: The Day She Discovered Led Zeppelin.

When your kid has to write an apology letter on the last day of school. Sh*t my 6-year-old-says: Apology Letter

Maybe some are staged, but I prefer to believe they’re not. 21 Pictures that will restore your faith in humanity

Get schooled on heavy metal: LA Weekly (thanks Deathrow Dan for the link).

This entire blog is worth reading, so I’m linking to the home page: An Athlete’s Journey Through Breast Cancer

Happy Sunday.

A Post for #3

Last night I experienced one of the less cool aspects of my job: not having a sub trained in my position, and having to miss a certain 8th-grade graduation.

Sometimes because of the timing of a show’s opening in relation to the Tony awards and when Tony voters are coming to see it you can’t train a sound sub, which is at least a two-week process, for a while.

And sometimes the show gets a closing notice before that even happens. Sadly, we did get a closing notice for July 1 but that’s not what this post is about.

This post is dedicated to #3, whose 8th grade promotion I missed last night, who is attending her very last day of middle school today.

She is beautiful and she makes me laugh and I am pretty sure that neither she nor I are ready for her to be in high school yet.

I am also certain that neither her father nor I are prepared for her to look this grown up, but it’s happened.

Isn’t she lovely?


Text exchange with her earlier this year after her field trip to the Franklin Institute:

Me: How was the field trip?

#3: Mmm the busss ride was rlly good. The actual place not so much.

Me: Oh that’s too bad- he was a really interesting dude. Guess they didn’t really bring that through?

#3: Mmm noooo maybbbe they should paint his statue pink.


Texts we exchanged yesterday:

Me: Hope you’re enjoying your last day of middle school!

#3: the last day is tomorrow… haha but thanks

Me: Well it’s kinda silly that you have to go in after you graduate, isn’t it?

#3: yeah but we also have the pool is party 2mom.

Me: That’s worth going in for.

#3: I guess… all the guys r obsessed with one of the teachers with big boobs so now theyr even more obsessed since she’s going to the pool partyy

Me: That’s pretty much how they’re going to act for the rest of their lives.

#3: Ugh!

I was pleased to note that her text spelling has improved somewhat over this year, and that even though she still seems to have something against apostrophes, she did use more than one ellipsis.

When I came home from work Tuesday night she had just finished up a collage for one of her teachers: on a background of crazy colored and patterned tape, she had cut out and artfully arranged all her test grades for the year.

She had a bunch of writing on her arm and at first I thought it was some sort of home-made tribal tattoo. Then I thought it was a cheat sheet for a final.

“No,” she said. “I’m done with my finals. It’s the mean, median and mode of all the Facebook Likes on the pictures we put up from the 8th grade dance.”

Just in case you teachers thought they weren’t paying attention. . .