Monday, July 30, 2012

The Look

Growing up, I don’t think my family quite knew what to do with me. As much as I tried to conform and be like everybody else, I still had my own way of doing things. My mother fostered creativity in us, but I sometimes took it a step beyond. There was a look that Mom and Dad gave me when confronted with my methods. It was a combination of fear, confusion, and a bit of WTF. Around age nine, I made my dad a voodoo doll of the dog across the street. Snowflake, a white Husky, used to do his business on my dad’s beloved lawn, and chase our car down the street. I thought a voodoo doll might solve the problem. Besides, it was a much better Father’s Day present than a stupid ash tray or pipe cleaners. My dad thanked me, but I think I also got “the look”. I took Dad’s present idea to the next level and made a voodoo doll of my family. It was a generic human being, with interchangeable vests labeled with my family member’s names. In my defense, it seemed like a great idea to make one doll which could service many names. My sister, Kathy, was the first recipient to hang in the hall for everyone to see. Somehow, she was disturbed to see a “Kathy” doll stuck with pins. What a baby! I got “the look” big time. I may have also gotten grounded. In the eighth grade, we learned how to write Haiku poetry. I used to climb behind an armchair in our living room to write my poems. The first time my mom saw me climb from behind the armchair when she called me to dinner, I got “the look”. I never felt like I fit in with my family. They may have been unaware of that fact, but it’s hard to argue with “the look”. My parents are gone now, and my sisters live in other states. My husband has pretty much accepted me as I am. My kids don’t know any better. Hopefully, they will tell stories of their mom with fondness. As Popeye liked to say “I yam what I yam”. Now all I have to do is believe it, instead of giving myself “the look”.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

All Things British

I’m somewhat of an Anglophile. I dislike that term - it sounds kind of pervy. I do love all things British, though. I was listening to my car radio on the way to work this morning. A female British singer was being interviewed. I can’t remember her name, but she had a heavy accent. Then she sang a song, which reminded me of something I’ve always wondered about. Why is it British people sound American when they sing? Their accent totally disappears. The Beatles were accent-free in song, as are the Rolling Stones, George Michael, & Elton John. I could go on and on, but you get my point. Wassup with that? It kind of reminds me of the old “Gomer Pyle” show. Jim Nabors played Gomer, who talked like, well, a gomer. Then, the writers of the show would script it so Gomer had to sing. He would turn into a guy with the voice of an angel. An angel with a very deep voice. When the song was done, Gomer the doofus would be back. All the little old ladies watching the show would wipe a tear from their eyes, and sigh with contentment. And I would roll my eyes at the lameness of it all. Ok maybe this isn’t like the British singers at all. But speaking of Britain, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London start tomorrow. The final Olympic torch bearer is a big secret. As soon as I heard that, a vision popped into my head. Picture it - Queen Elizabeth in a jogging suit, purse on her arm. Would she be wearing a crown? Perhaps. Or in the spirit of the event, she could wear a diamond-encrusted baseball hat. She is in her eighties, so I doubt she could run or even jog. How about the Queen riding on a Segway? OMG! Now there’s a vision. The stadium is darkened. Suddenly a spotlight captures the Queen motoring in on a Segway, purse on one arm with the other raising the Olympic torch. Now THAT is a sight that might bring a tear to my eye!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Middle Of The Night Musings

The other night I couldn’t sleep. I’m not sure if it was from knee pain, or pondering how to get rid of the ants in my kitchen. Perhaps it was because one of my dogs had a whistling booger. Who knows? So, as I was trying to force myself back to sleep, I started to wonder… Is there something generational about the kind of underpants women wear? My mom’s is the Granny Pants Generation, mine is the Bikini Brief Generation, and my daughter’s is the Thong Generation. As women’s butts are getting bigger, coverage is definitely shrinking. What gives? Will a future granddaughter belong to the Commando Generation? Having four daughters posed an underwear dilemma for my mom, which she solved in her usual creative way. Mom put a series of dots on our panty labels with red fingernail polish - No dots, one dot, two dots, and one really big dot. Men’s underwear choices are much simpler – boxers or briefs. The only generational identifier for men is the proximity of the waistband to their armpits. The older men get, the higher the waistband climbs. Think of Fred Mertz, of “I Love Lucy” fame. I seriously doubt the 20-something Fred wore his belt near his nipples, as he did in his 60-somethings. I could be wrong about this underwear issue. Could be it only makes perfect sense at 1 am. Could be a whistling booger helped to skew my sleep-deprived logic. Or could be I’m onto something profound.

Friday, July 20, 2012


I’m a big fan of HGTV - the home improvement I-Can-Do-That-But-In-Reality-That’s-What-Professionals-Are-For channel. I’ve never been drawn in by the Home Shopping Network. HGTV, however, has lured me in with its siren song. After a few shows, I start to notice stuff around my house that needs to be updated, painted, or tossed in a dumpster. I am convinced my house has mold and fire ants living in its walls. I have been trying to figure out how to finance a home theatre in my basement. My kitchen cabinets need to be ripped off the wall and restained. An island with a granite top should be added, but in my small kitchen, that would mean knocking out the wall and building onto my next-door neighbor’s patio. I’ve always detested chandeliers, but need to get with the program and install 5 or 6 of them. My 1950’s green tile bathroom should somehow be turned into a high-end hotel spa. Good luck with that one. These ideas don’t stop with the inside of my house. My yard is fair game for the evil puppet masters at HGTV. One show I have renamed “My Big Obscene Renovation” has me yearning for a basketball court, fire pit, and water feature. When it rains too much, we actually have a water feature in the clogged drain at the end of the driveway. Somehow, I don’t think that’s what these shows are talking about. The how-to-sell-your-home shows usually have the homeowners start with a real intense cleaning. I can do that! It has been a couple weeks since I vacuumed my house. At this point, I’m not sure whether the dust bunnies will fit in my vacuum. Is it dangerous to use a weedwhacker indoors? I thought of a show I’d like to pitch for the executives at HGTV. It is still in the planning stages, but involves a dust bunny cam. They take videos down sewer pipes. I would think a video taken at dust bunny eye level would be more pleasant. One question, though...How do you attach a camera to a dust bunny? I’ll bet the people at HGTV know, but they aren’t telling. They’ve probably already stolen my idea.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I was about six years old the first time I consciously attempted to perform a good deed. At the time, I was obsessed with having a “hut”. As my family wasn’t into camping, a tent was not an option. My solution was to throw a canvas drop cloth over my bike in the carport. I thought it was simply divine. I was hanging out in my hut one day, contemplating life, when I heard footsteps. I crawled out to find a neighbor girl coming to tell me her dad had died. I felt so bad and wanted to comfort her. I offered to let her sit in my hut. She declined and left, and it was a good six years before I felt the urge to do something nice. One Saturday morning, I woke up feeling the love. I looked across at my sister, Mickey, and hit on the perfect good deed. Every Saturday, we had to change the sheets on our beds. I decided the nicest thing I could do for my sister would be to change the bed for her. There was one only problem in my plan – Mickey was still sleeping in her bed. I was twelve, and she was nine. I told myself she was small enough for me to gently lift her onto the floor, change the sheets, and gently lift her back onto the bed. Imagine her wonderful surprise at waking up to a freshly made bed! It didn’t quite come down that way, though. Mick was curled in a ball in the middle of the bed. I pulled off the top sheet, gathered up the corners of the bottom sheet, and dragged her to the edge of the bed. There was no gently setting her on the floor. She kind of went thud, since I was not the muscle-bound brute I thought I was. Needless to say, Mickey’s reaction was not on the delightful end of the surprise spectrum. My mother, on the other hand, must have called everyone she knew to tell them what I had done. Now that I am a mother, I can understand. At the time, though, not so much. It would be a very long time before I attempted another good deed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Naked Strangers

About ten years ago, my husband and I joined a gym. I was anxious to get in shape, and excited to start the ball rolling. That is, until I made my first visit to the ladies’ locker room. OMG! I forgot how horrifying public locker rooms can be. As soon as I walked in, I almost ran smack dab into a large naked woman lovingly spreading lotion on her ample body. She took her time, and savored every moment. I told myself it was probably an isolated incident, but it was just the beginning. My next encounter involved Slow Motion Naked Woman. She was elderly, thin and very frail. She emerged from the steam room, walking slowwwwwly with one of those canes with the little feet. Who knows? She’s probably still making her way to her locker even now. After that, I thought I would avoid naked people by going to the gym really early. Wrong again. This time, I was bombarded by Gaggle of Naked Girlfriends. These women had just come from the pool. They were giggling and chatting and not getting dressed. I went swimming, assuming they would be dressed or gone by the time I got back. Nobody was dressed when my laps were done, so I got a double feature of group nakedness. The piece de resistance came with The Goddess. After a swimming aerobics class, I was dressing in front of my locker. A woman said “Excuse me” because I was blocking her locker. I turned to see an exquisitely beautiful naked woman. She was tan and perfect. She was also really nice. A deadly combination. So I schlumped away and finished dressing. Right before I walked out of the locker room, I checked my hair. It was then that I saw the World’s Biggest Booger perched on the end of my nose. Great. Maybe The Goddess wasn’t so nice after all. I guess it’s hard to tell a total stranger that they have a cantaloupe-sized boogie on their nose, but still. Guess she wasn’t so perfect. Welcome to the club!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Soul Mate

I came out of the womb looking for my soul mate. At age three, my first crush was on Liberace. Hmmm… Interesting choice. In my defense, he had a TV show that came on right before my beloved cartoons. Even at three, I sensed that there was something over-the-top about Liberace. On my first day of kindergarten, I fell in love for real. One glance at Jimmy M. and it was all over for me. Angels sang, I saw stars and heard bells. For the only time in my life, I was kind of slutty. Anytime Jimmy was in reach, I would grab him and kiss him on the cheek. I told my mom about this, and she was horrified. She told me not to kiss him anymore. The next day, I came home so proud because I hugged Jimmy instead of kissing him. Poor kid. That crush came and went all through school, and finally went for good. On the flip side of the love coin, I seemed to attract the paste eaters and nose pickers. In fourth grade, a kid named Donald liked me. At least I think he liked me. He used to pick his nose and throw the boogers on my desk. A gift? In some countries, I believe that made us engaged. Around sixth grade, my school's only hood, Ralph, became enamored of me. He sat behind me and tried to comb my hair with his greasy comb. I don't know if I was more terrified of him or the nun catching us in mid-groom. Ralph's mom was a very butch woman with a deep smoker's voice. I believe she saw me as Ralph's savior/girlfriend. In ninth grade, Ralph invited me to his reform school prom. No joke - reform school. Even after his mom put the squeeze on my mom, I got out of it. My mom said I wasn't allowed to date yet. God bless you, Mom. All through school, I never got that boyfriend I craved. Somewhere out there, though, a booger flinger has my photo on his fridge.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Digging To China

I planted two little bayberry bushes in my yard last weekend. As I dug the holes, my mind was transported back to when I was eight years old and tried to dig to China. My neighbor had a little strip of dirt next to her front door. I thought this dirt was really special because it was clay-colored. I dug for a while, wondering if I’d like China. After about three minutes I decided that China probably wasn’t all that great and moved on to some other activity. My hole was only about two inches deep (I believe my digging tool was a stick... not the best choice). Was I a quitter, or just a child genius who knew a dumb idea when she saw it? The two holes I dug last weekend were about a foot and a half deep. Not even close to China, or burning hot magma at the center of the earth, but that wasn’t my intention. Years ago, I decided to put a garden in my front yard. I love flowers that cascade over rocks. Unfortunately, my front yard was just boring, flat lawn. Nothing to cascade over. So, I built a rockery on either side of my front walk. I had small boulders and soil dumped in my front yard. I rolled and placed the rocks, shoveled and raked the soil, then planted some choice flowers and greenery. It was by far the hardest physical labor I have ever done. A strange thing occurred while all this was going on. Neighbors who’d never spoken to me suddenly showed up, chatty as hell. “Whatcha doin’?”. At the very moment I was struggling to roll boulders across the sidewalk, every child within 10 miles decided to ride their bikes past. Several people remarked how it sure looked like a lot of work, but nobody offered to help. It was all very odd and annoying. Nobody bothered me while I dug my two recent holes. I got a little piece of serenity, a little dirt under my fingernails, and two new additions to the garden. Maybe I was a genius all those years ago, deciding to stay put where I was.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Take A Hike...Or Not

I read a story today about a severed human foot that was found off a hiking trail in Missouri. The foot was inside a men’s size 13 shoe, with two socks. Hmmm. Wonder what the extra sock was for. Interesting, yet horrifying. This is exactly why I don’t hike. It’s ALWAYS hikers who discover dead bodies, or parts of bodies. You never hear about someone finding a severed head in the produce aisle of the grocery store. During the few hikes I’ve attempted, I’ve found myself on the lookout for circling buzzards. Fortunately, the grossest thing I’ve encountered has been some extremely large (and live) banana slugs. My doctor has encouraged me to get more exercise. Between asthma and arthritic knees, climbing stairs or anything else just about kills me. I hesitated telling my doctor about my hiking/dead body phobia. I’m sure she’s heard every excuse, except maybe that one. I told her once that I suspected there was a tiny village of Cellulite People living in my thighs. So, chances are, I can’t shock her. Who knows? She may enjoy hearing a new, if bizarre, excuse for not exercising. My dead person phobia doesn’t stop at the Great Outdoors. There is a women’s restroom off the lobby in my office building. It has a long row of stalls, with another row of stalls behind. I have never ventured to the far away row of stalls, for fear of stumbling across a body. I’ve heard of people parking their bikes back there. As far as I know, there have been no corpse or zombie sightings. Still, I can’t bring myself to take a peek behind the first row of stalls. Not even an emergency pooh will get me to check it out. So to all you marauding corpses out there... Take a hike (without me).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

4th Of July

As holidays go, the 4th of July has always been kind of ho-hum to me. My parents pretty much nixed anything messy or dangerous, so our fireworks consisted mainly of sparklers. You can only write your name with sparklers so many times before boredom seeps in. I tried to step up my game by using my sparkler as a sword, a scepter, and baton. Still bored, bored, bored. Actually, my favorite part of playing with sparklers was the sizzling sound they made when I’d put them in water after they burned out. Tsssss! In Utah, the 4th of July isn’t nearly as big a deal as the 24th of July. This is the state holiday known as the Days O’ 47 or Pioneer Day. It commemorates the 1847 arrival of Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. There is a fireworks display for both holidays, but the 24th of July is way bigger and better. There is a parade on Pioneer Day, with float after float of costumed pioneer re-enactors. It’s a sea of long gingham dresses and bonnets on the women, and fake beards on the men (tennis shoes on both makes me snicker). The one and only time I attended the Days O’ 47 parade, I was 7 months pregnant. I sat on a little canvas camp stool and watched the floats go by. It was very hot, and I was really uncomfortable. At some point, the old camp stool gave way and the canvas tore in half. The next thing I knew, I was on my back in the gutter. Let me tell you - nothing makes a pregnant woman feel pretty like busting a chair. The added attention of people trying to hoist me up out of the gutter was special too, and not the good kind of special. This episode didn’t endear me to parades, July heat, or gingham. So now, I’ll celebrate Independence Day my own way. I’ll sleep in, hang the flag, and just chillax. My version of freedom.