Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tight Squeeze

I detest wearing pantyhose or tights. I have ruined many a pair while trying to hoist them up. It takes some kind of finesse that I apparently lack. Last weekend I had to dress up nice for a wedding. My fancy garb took me about two months to put together. The day before the wedding I decided I needed a dress rehearsal, to make sure everything looked right together. I made the mistake of buying “control top” tights, which is code for “torture device”. I got them up as far as my knees and knew I was in trouble. They were already too tight, and I still had miles of rough terrain to go. After almost throwing my back out, I decided an emergency run to the mall was in order. I found the right size tights (non-control top) and I was in business. All was right with the world and my internal organs eventually sprung back to life. Twenty years ago, I had my worst pantyhose mishap. I had to fly to see my sick mother. I was on an airline pass, which requires a certain dress code. The cranky ticket counter person didn’t like the bobby socks and loafers I was wearing with my skirt. She literally threw the rule book at me (a pamphlet) and demanded I wear hose. I thought socks WERE hose, but didn’t want to argue and get another book thrown at me. I bought pantyhose in the gift shop and made my way to the restroom. Then the contortions began. I was in a stall with my purse and rolly suitcase. I had to balance on one foot while I shoved the other one into the pantyhose. While this was going on, I also had to try not to fall into the toilet. I doubt Houdini could have achieved success. I got the pantyhose almost pulled up when I put a big hole at the top of one leg. Sigh. I gathered my stuff and went to my gate. The entire flight I could feel a run making its way down my leg. After the hassle the counter lady gave me, I figured I might get tossed off the plane for hose abuse. I think I’ve earned the right to be afraid of pantyhose. It’s a good thing my social calendar is pretty sparse. I should be good to go to another wedding in a couple years.

Monday, October 29, 2012


There is a photo of me on the day of my First Holy Communion. I wore a white dress and veil, with my hands folded like I was praying. I remember saying to myself “This is the happiest day of my life! … Nah.” I was only seven, but somehow had already formed the view I still hold of organized religion. I think my parents felt ripped off by my lack of faith. I went to church every Sunday, and attended Catholic school. And still, it didn’t take. I believe all Christian religions have the same basic message – Be good to each other. A lot of extra stuff has been added to set each religion apart. The Catholic Church probably has the most rules, rituals, and secret handshakes. In elementary school, we got dragged off to church every week for Confession. I’m not sure how many hardened criminals there are among ten year olds, but I had to get creative to find sins to confess once a week. My mom used to tell me that wasting my food was a sin (there were starving people in China or Africa, I forget which). I took that literally, and would confess wasting food in my weekly confession. If I had eaten all my vegetables, my fallback sin was not saying my prayers at night. I’m not sure if we were supposed to pray at night before bed, but I thought it sounded sinful not to. When I was twelve, a girl brought a magazine to school that featured people at a nudist camp. There were photos of a nude family jumping on a trampoline, and a naked man on a unicycle. Disturbing? Absolutely, but curiosity had gotten the best of us. Somehow a nun confiscated the filthy rag, and we ended up at Confession, finally with something juicy for the priest. My friends went before me. They were sentenced to saying 5 Hail Mary’s and 5 Our Father’s, every day, for the rest of their lives. No kidding - A life sentence. I declined to step into the confessional, and still have that sin hanging over my head. Eternal damnation for wanting to see a wiener. I have one foot in Hell, and the other on a banana peel.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Elect Me Not

I am soooo ready for the current political elections to be over and done with. I can’t wait for robo calls and political ads to get gone. They are starting to take on a grade school “na na you’re a stinky pooh pooh face” quality. I dredged my brain for some amusing election anecdotes, and came up with two:

-  In 1992, my daughter Molly was in pre-school. They had a mock election at her school one day. When I asked her who she voted for, Molly said “I don’t remember. Which one looks like Elvis?”. I assume she voted for Bill Clinton rather than George Bush.

-  My mother drilled into us the importance of humility and caring for others. Being conceited was just about the worst thing you could be, next to being dishonest. At least that’s what I took away from what she taught me. When I was in fourth grade, I ran for a class officer position. On election day, I took my mom’s lessons way too literally and didn’t vote for myself. I thought if I did, that would make me conceited. I think I came in fourth place, which made me either class secretary or treasurer. That would have sucked had I lost by one vote!

So in a couple weeks, the big election will be over. Hopefully the people I voted for will be in office, and their opponents banished to the cornfield. I can cease yelling at the TV and scaring my dogs. At least until the next election.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Trick Or Treat

Halloween is next week. As a child, I loved dressing up and foraging for candy. I made a mental note of which lame house gave out tooth brushes or apples. That house would get skipped the next year. Halloween night in Utah is very cold, like most of the country. My mother was super practical, so we were not allowed to have a costume that didn’t involve dressing warmly. I remember seeing a girl dressed like a genie, including a bare midriff and see-through harem pants. I thought that shivering girl was so lucky. Her mother obviously saw the value in authenticity. That year my mom had actually worked hard on a really good costume. I was Raggedy Andy to my friend’s Raggedy Ann. We had matching outfits and red wigs made out of mops. Then, our mothers made us wear our coats. We had to yell “Trick or treat” and open our coats for the viewing of our awesome costumes. I felt like some kind of pervy flasher, without knowing what that was. Most years my mom would say “Hey, why don’t you be a hobo?”, like it was the first time she was suggesting it. This was in the days before the term “homeless” was invented. Hobos were funny, dirty guys who carried their belongings in a handkerchief on a stick. The family hobo costume centered around old pants that belonged to my elderly great uncle. Dirt or coffee grounds smudged on our faces were used to give the look of a five o’ clock shadow. I remember thinking “God, not the hobo costume AGAIN”. I knew Mom had kind of thrown in the towel the year she bought my sister a Casper the Friendly Ghost costume at the grocery store. It had a picture of Casper on the chest, as well as his name. Even though I was only about 8, I knew this was beyond dorky. No self-respecting ghost would wear a picture of himself on his chest. Jeez! So now, I’m all grown up and my mom is gone. If there’s Halloween in Heaven, I’m sure Mom is lounging happily not answering the doorbell. Wonder where the hobo pants went...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Clipboard People

I think peep holes in doors are the best invention, next to flush toilets, the Internet, TV, and mechanical pencils. They are the front door version of caller ID. When my doorbell rings, I never open the door without a look through the peep hole first. Before I had dogs, I would tippy-toe to the door and check out who was there. We have squeaky hardwood floors, so there was a need for stealth. Now that I have three dogs, mayhem ensues whenever the doorbell rings. It’s all I can do to get to the peep hole. Surely anyone on the other side of the door has to have a really, really good reason for braving all the snarling and barking. My personal front door rule is this: I never open the door to anyone with a clipboard. Not no way, not no how. I don’t sign petitions, and am not interested in buying stuff. Plus, I don’t really trust people who go door-to-door. People selling religion are easy to spot, as they come in groups. They might as well be armed with a boatload of clipboards. My door will NEVER open for them. Then there is the guilt factor. I used to get sucked in by a sob story of why someone was collecting funds. It was easier to give money to make them go away. Political people had a way of shaming me into listening to their spiel. I resented how easily I was manipulated, so now the door stays shut. I have been known to see people going door-to-door when I’m returning from a walk with my dogs. Poor little creatures (my dogs, not the people). My dogs have no idea why they are suddenly being dragged post haste toward the back yard. So all you clipboard people out there... just keep walking. There’s nothing for you here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Stink Stank Stunk

I miss farting with wild abandon. Six months ago, I had colon surgery. Since then, things have changed in my gastrointestinal area. Gone are the days of just passing your basic smelly gas. Now, when I feel a fart coming on, I try my damnedest to squelch it. You see, my insides now smell like the bowels of hell. Satan’s halitosis has taken up residence in my colon. Perhaps the surgeon left a sponge or something inside my pipes during the surgery. Maybe some kind of stink filter got removed with the bad chunk of my colon. Makes sense to me. I don’t want to give the wrong impression... I don’t spend my time passing gas. Eau contraire, I now concentrate on NOT letting any fumes make their way to the outside world. It’s a full-time job. Every day, I thank my lucky stars that farts can’t be seen. If some wacky scientist were to invent Fart Goggles, I’m sure my stinkers would be green with spikes, thorns, and big teeth. A stagnant cloud surrounds me when I let one rip. It does not dissipate quickly, or move on. It just hangs in the air like a heavy, deadly mist. Nose hairs burn, eyebrows are singed. It’s not pretty, and I don’t know what to do about it. I warn my family that they may want to take an alternate route to bypass wherever I have just been. I have thought about donating my newfound skills to the US Defense Department as a secret weapon. Imagine unleashing my butt on an unsuspecting enemy who expects an attack from a tank or airplane. It would be nice to use my powers for good instead of evil. So, until further notice, you might want to approach me front the front rather than down wind. Nose plugs recommended.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weight Loss Challenge

A few years ago, I went to the first night of a 12-week weight loss challenge. I also went to the last night of a 12-week weight loss challenge. A good time was not had by all. I had to stand in line with strangers in a church basement, get weighed, and have my butt and other parts measured by a trainer. If that wasn’t bad enough, another trainer was there with a clipboard to write down the big numbers. I sat down, thinking the hardest part was over with. Wrong. We all then had to be photographed standing against a fake wood-paneled wall - facing the camera, then standing sideways. I like to think of it as a full body mug shot. We were supposed to be excited by this, as these were our "before" photos. The seminar leader started her schpiel, and brought out a horn and honked it. Turns out that was to be our reward when we did something good. A honk...oh joy. She kept saying, “I know this is going to be a fun group!”. Looking around the room, I didn’t see a fun group. I saw a ragtag group of disheartened people who seemed as unthrilled as I was to be there. At the end of the session, we were told to sign up for our one-on-one appointment during the next week at the leader's home office. This was to discuss our body type, individual plan, etc. From the moment I walked into the church basement, I had the urge to turn and run. I toughed it out, and made it almost to the end. I even made it past the discussion of the reward honk. For some reason, though, the one-on-one appointment was the last straw. It was like in the "Cheers" episode when Norm found out there would be no beer at the lodge meetings. He threw down his turban and said something like "I'm outta here!". When my meeting ended, I told the leader this wasn't for me and asked for my money back. Then I turned tail and walked briskly to my car. In my head, though, I threw down my turban and ran.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Flu Shots

Many people think of autumn as the end of summer. It is my favorite time of year. When I think of autumn, I think of cool, crisp temperatures and colorful leaves. Oh, and flu shots. My mom was a big proponent of preventative medicine. Even as a child, we had flu shots. My best friend's dad was a surgeon. Once a year, usually around Halloween, select neighbors trooped into his kitchen for the yearly flu shot. As I remember it, we kids were usually in bed when we were rousted off to the neighbor's house. By the time we were fully awake, we'd be standing in line in our jammies, waiting for our shots. Pretty disturbing for someone (me) who hates needles. Every year, my sisters and I tried to distract my parents from noticing that flu shot season had arrived. There was a water tower with a needle on top at Trolley Square. Whenever we drove by it, we would go out of our way to make sure Mom or Dad didn't notice the big needle. In later years, we told Mom about our plot to distract. Her response? "What water tower?" I remember going to a haunted house at Halloween one year. One room looked like a mad scientist's laboratory. The person playing the mad scientist had a big hypodermic needle that he waved around menacingly. Instead of being frightened, we were more intent on making sure our parents skipped that room. I think we even chastised the scientist to "Stop waving that thing around!". Now that I'm all grown up, I try my best to be a good, conscientious mom. Every fall I insist my kids get a flu shot. I got mine today. In line, I had to keep my back to the nurse, or I might have run out of the room. It took a vision of myself hugging the toilet in the throes of the flu to keep me there. On the bright side, I wasn't in line in my jammies. Good thing, since I was at work. That would be hard to explain, and definitely not in compliance with the dress code.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I'm A Dinosaur

I have been contemplating getting an iPhone. The last time I bought a new cell phone, I decided it was time to officially step into the 21st century. It may have been 2010, but better late than never. I bought a touch-screen phone, and at my daughter’s urging, tried to “just play with it”. When it comes to electronic devices, I don’t play well. I get frustrated, scream and yell, and want to throw stuff. It was clear the first night that I was out of my league. The next day, I tested out the new phone as I watched Molly’s soccer game. I called my sister, but nobody was home. I left a voicemail and disconnected the call. Or at least I tried to disconnect. No matter what I did, my phone would not end the call. I was pacing back and forth, and touching my phone all over the place. I poked it, smacked it, stroked it, and even shook it like an Etch-A-Sketch. Nothing happened. After about 4 minutes, I did something right and the call ended. Oh joy...oh rapture! I felt like I had single-handedly landed on the moon. I know how long it took me to disconnect because my sister called me back. She said she had a 4 minute voicemail of me swearing and muttering. She thought it was funny, but I was embarrassed. My sister encouraged me to return the new phone. There was no reason to keep it if I was that unhappy. So, that’s what I did. The bad phone went back the next day and I purchased a slider phone with a little keyboard. There is nothing fancy about it which works just fine for me. I feel like a dinosaur every time I get an email that says “Sent from my iPhone”. Pondering what kind of dinosaur, I think I’m probably something slow-moving with big feet, like a stegosaurus. No touch screens for me. I’d have to be a raptor to work an iPhone with my evil little claws. I don’t have the strength to tackle learning a new phone right now. Check back in about 10 years. I’ll be off grazing on a palm tree.