More About Ye Old Face

4444 4444_ () 4444 4444 One early morning last week, Paul and I got up for an arctic-themed run. I try not to complain about our weather because I know I live in the South. On that particular day, I checked my phone before our 6 a.m. run to see I would be greeted to temps of 39 degrees. Horrible, but nothing compared to the temps being posted all over my Instagram feed from people living in the “feels like -6°” regions of the country.

Really, 39 is practically for tanning!

As an aside, I learned my lesson a few years ago when I texted my good buddy Danielle, who lives in the trundratic climes of Almost Canada and complained about it being 32. “Boo to the ever-loving hoo” was her reply, and while those may not have been her exact words I can assure you the sentiment was the same.

So out we went for our run, and I was met with many a gusty wind. I brought a hat, which I pulled down over my face as low as was feasible for remaining in the non-prone-on-the-concrete position. Running with a hat pulled to my chin seemed unwise and counterproductive. But don’t think I didn’t consider it.

We did our little run, about thirty minutes worth, and then headed back inside. I think I warmed up halfway through the second mile, which gave me one or two more laps around the block to enjoy the scene feeling a tad thawed out.

Fast forward to the end of the day (a GREAT day, as I always have after I run, ENDORPHINS HOW I LOVE THEE, the likes of which bankrolled my energy for the upstairs room-switch-a-roo) where I found myself (big surprise!) at the gym. We had two games, and I was going to stay as long as the little ones could hang.

At one point during the first game I started to notice my face felt a tad flushed, like perhaps I had a bit of color. The way you’d feel after inserting your foot in your mouth (which I never do) or downing that second margarita (rarer still).

“Your cheeks are a little red,” said my friend Rose. She homeschools her crew and was there to cheer on the team we were playing. (Information only interesting because I met Rose’s friend, whose son she was there to see and based on how I looked, as you shall soon find out, I’m probably now on everyone’s prayer list).

“Oh, thanks,” said I, “I did notice they felt red. I guess I’m just a little flushed.”

I figured keeping track of two small children while cheering on my son’s team and having the occasional conversation with fellow parents while also wearing a path from my seat to the concession stand…well, all that can make a person feel “a little flushed.”

Here’s what I think of when I say “a little flushed”:

healthy glow

That’s obviously not really even “a little flushed” at all. More like “healthy glow.” But that’s what I imagined my skin looked like (my hair? Not so much.) at the end of a long day with my face feeling a little warm. Like I was “aglow” perhaps. Nice rosy cheeks, but a HAPPY HAPPY smile. Flushed is good, right? Isn’t it great to watch back to back to back b-ball games. Yes! Yes it is!

A few minutes later, I headed to the restroom. I can’t remember if I had to take Isabel, the details are a little hazy. Because while I was in there I checked myself in the mirror and what stared back at me was nowhere near “a little flushed” or even “healthy glow.”

Nay, looking back at me was this:


Are you terrified? Lord knows I was.

“Whaaaaa????” That’s all I could say. Why did no one tell me? All the people I’d seen face-to-face… How could they make conversation? How could they make eye contact?!

For the rest of the night, I tried hiding my Rudolphian cheeks with my honey-blonde tresses but it was hard to watch the game with my face blanketed by hair. I would get aggravated with my coif in my face, push it behind my ears, remember my cheeks, pull my hair forward and repeat the cycle of agitation all over again.

Whatevs, I finally told myself (me and myself have a very casual relationship), you need to chill. It’s not about you. It’s about your boys. It’s about basketball!

So I pushed all the embarrassment aside while also assuring my dad (who was at the game with me) that I didn’t think I had a serious case of Fifth Disease, despite the message my cheeks might be sending. I had run that day in the freezing cold temps, probably froze off the outer layer of my dermis, and also worked like a crazy woman rearranging furniture, thus rendering my facial region unkempt. My poor dad, he was really concerned about me.

The next morning, I was recounting all of this to Paul and the boys, my skin, the glow, the red, all of it.

“I’m pretty sure it’s from running in that freezing cold weather,” I said to Paul.

“Wait,” said Augie, “that wasn’t make-up?”

“Um, no,” I laughed, “that was from the cold wind after dad and I went running!”

“I thought that was that make-up you put on your cheeks!” said Augie.

“The bigger issue,” I said to the group (recovering from the shock of Augie’s low opinions of my ability to apply blush), “is what I’m going to do tomorrow morning when dad and I go running again.”

“Doesn’t Charlie have something that you can pull over your face,” said Paul, referring to a very nice wicking number we bought for our boy to manage his asthma on the playground.

“Good idea,” said I.

I called to Charlie, who was in another room, and asked if I could borrow that hat of his, the one that you pull down over your face to keep yourself warm.

I should have been more specific, because a few minutes later, Charlie was kind enough to bring me a hat and it was indeed one you can wear on your face.

It was a ski mask, and I cannot for the life of me decide which fate would be worse — to spend the day looking like Lady Elaine Fairchilde, or to run around my neighborhood in the wee small hours of the morning looking like a cat burglar who got lost on his way to the job.

Unrelated (except it includes my face) here is me reading a teleprompter and promoting CatholicTV’s telethon going on right now. Keep up the great work, CatholicTV! I am so proud to be a part of what you’ve got going on!:

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  1. I did NOT go running [yesterday]. However, I was outside for a total of about 20 minutes [spread out over 3 frames of time at work] in SUPER windy Norther Virginia….and at about 7:30 last night I too looked like this. Happens every time; even in warm weather: my Irish cheeks light up from windburn. Now, having said that, if I’m not at work (like the above situation) and I KNOW I am going to be in for a face-o-wind, I put a pretty heavy layer of Vaseline [or any petroleum jelly] on my face. It seriously cuts down on the chapping, but also the neon-red glow.

    Of course, I don’t recommend doing this in the summer because your face would melt off.

  2. This post literally made me laugh out loud! And as a side note, I live in an area where, just this week, we had 2 days with temps that felt like -40 degrees with the windchills. The 30 degree weather projected for this upcoming week is going to feel heavenly compared to that! 🙂

  3. I have the same thing when I exercise, eat hot or spicy foods, feel any strong emotion, use any kind of strong soap/cleanser/exfoliator on my face. Mine is called a skin condition called rosacea and there is a lot you can do to help it if you catch it in early stages. Mine is so advanced that I would love to only look like lady Elaine! More like red-purple Rudolf face 40% of the time. It might be worth asking a Dr. about because the mild forms of it are often responsive to treatment. Your last two posts had me thinking about mentioning something- I don’t want to alarm you, just let you know that if it pops up again there might be solutions.

    On a cheerier note, I really enjoy your blog and am often reading it with my 4 year old boy climbing on me or bouncing off of the walls. I enjoy your humor and it heartens` me to know that if you can make it with a houseful, I can survive my one boy!

  4. I am so sorry for you, but the way that you re-tell the story is hilarious! If I didn’t have a sleeping baby boy in the same room with me (that has been fussy ALL day and just finally let me lay him down) I would be LOL’ing so loud right now. Thank you for a great laugh, and I do hope that you find a solution that doesn’t end you up in the pen 🙂

  5. It’s been freezing in the ATL, too, and my 9-year old and I are training for a 10K. So run we must. Another running buddy was laughing at me the other day as I was layering and hatting and gloving myself. I explained to her that I ABHOR running (although it’s my selected form of exercise at the moment, becuase who has time to hit the gym?!) and ALL conditions must be perfect. There may not be any moments of discomfort or that’s all she wrote…….!

  6. I love that your witty humor has been cracking me up for 6 years now. You’re the best, Rachel! 🙂