Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Driving Nigel

I have never been “into” cars. They are just a way to get from point A to point B. The first car I bought was a new 1974 Toyota Corolla. It cost $3000, which was a fortune to me at the time. Nowadays I might drop that on a couple of vet visits. It was a great little car, but we had a rocky start. Tyrone was a stick shift, which I thought I knew how to drive. I was wrong about that, and living 14 blocks up from the bottom of a hill made our relationship stall. I eventually mastered the stick, and we had a good 10 years together. This included 8 years in San Francisco. I went through 3 clutches while there, so maybe my mastery of the stick shift wasn’t all that masterful. Next came a pickup truck (my husband’s idea), a Landcruiser, and a couple of Subarus. Oh, and there was Maxine, my bad girl VW Bug. Two months ago, I purchased a Mini Cooper. I named him Nigel, as he is oh so British. He is also great fun to drive, and I was his one and only until this last weekend. We loaned our son Rick’s car for a few days. Unfortunately, Rick had to work, so I was forced to share Nigel. Friday night Rick and I stopped at the grocery store. The plan was to have him drive home to get accustomed to Nigel. Rick sat in the driver’s seat, put the Mini key fob thingy in and pushed the ignition button. And... bupkiss. The car would not start. He tried several more times. We got out of the car, and switched seats. I was able to start the car right up. So, we did the old switcheroo again. And again, the car wouldn’t start with Rick at the helm. He tried pushing the ignition button quickly, softly, and held it down. At the same time, we both said “Maybe it knows”, as in it knows Someone Else is in the driver’s seat. Finally, the solution dawned on me. Rick needed to have his foot on the break to start the car. Ta duh!!! While this whole trial & error, running around the car, changing of the guard was going on, we were being watched. A young couple was standing just outside the store taking it all in. I wonder what they thought was going on. Maybe they thought we were some crazy Brits on holiday. Better that than knowing the truth... Two dumbasses who couldn’t start their own car.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Old Photos

I have always been fascinated by old photos. I am fortunate to have inherited family photos dating from the 1880‘s. I could stare at these images all day. I scrutinize their clothing, shoes, hairstyles, and faces. Some faces belong to the era they came from, while others could blend with today. I like to look at their expressions and try to imagine what kind of things they must have experienced. My grandfather was in San Francisco during the 1908 earthquake and subsequent fire. We have some incredible photos of the event. Collapsed buildings, men posing in front of rubble, and signs such as “Shave 5 Cents” are some of the images captured. As a child, I was a little confused about which major historical disaster my grandfather had lived through. I used to tell people he was on the Titanic. Whoopsy, wrong event! One thing I noticed when perusing the family photo collection - nobody smiled. Perhaps it’s because you had to keep perfectly still while the film was percolating inside the camera. Another theory is that people might have had funky, rotten teeth back then, before the dawn of toothpaste. Even though life was harsher, I doubt hard times were the reason everyone looked so serious. Certainly people actually smiled once in a while. I did find some photos of my grandfather’s brother and sister-in-law smiling. They smiled in pretty much every photo they were in. It made me wish I’d known them. Too bad my history teachers in school didn’t teach their subject with more human interest. It would have been more compelling, and I certainly would have gotten better grades. Learning history should be more than drudgery and memorizing dates. Battle of Hastings, 1066... I still haven’t found a use for that nugget. I can’t tell you who the two warring factions were, why they were fighting, or why I should care. But show me an image of what they were wearing as they fought, and I might have been a bit more eager to learn about it. Some people find old photos creepy. I don’t quite know why. The unsmiling visages seem like they are looking right at you. They know stuff, but they aren’t telling. And I will continue to guess...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hanging With Your Bad Self

A headline caught my attention today - “Men in kilts swing free, have happier sperm”. Kilts worn without underwear, as they were meant to be worn “let our laddies swing freely in the breeze”. So just what constitutes a happy sperm? Do they smile or hum a snappy little tune? My cartoon-loving mind reels with images of these tiny guys out to enjoy themselves. This study was pretty much about pinpointing the right scrotal environment. Apparently, the Scottish Highland coolness is the perfect environment to make robust sperm. Now hold on... Robust is totally different than happy. Do testicles in Scotland make really buff and muscular sperm? How much can they bench press? I’ll they could drop and give you 20 pushups without breaking a sweat. Raised temperature and tight pants can result in sorry, wimpy, and generally unhealthy sperm. They probably have asthma, thick glasses, and get beat up a lot. Sperm count can also be effected by restricted testicles. I did not know sperm could count. They sound like interesting little characters. In addition to counting, the healthy ones can swim and go after their intended targets (eggs) with a gusto. Being a girl, I can’t imagine what it would be like to own a pair of testicles. I’d want to protect them. Knowing me, I’d be wearing bubble wrap underpants, and would probably tippy-toe my way through life. In view of this study, my sperm would be stupid and could probably only doggie paddle. I still can’t picture the kilt-wearing Highlanders riding horses and tossing cabers sans underwear. I guess that’s what makes them and their sperm so brawny. The article also mentioned that kilts are sexy. I’d like to chime in on that point. I believe it depends who is sporting the kilt. I once saw a middle-aged guy with a beer belly wearing a kilt. He was also wearing a golf shirt and tennis shoes. Soooo not appropriate. To look good in a kilt, a guy should be in his twenties or thirties, and wear a tee shirt and army boots. It takes a kind of tough, dangerous-looking guy to pull off the kilt look. Meanwhile, underneath it all, some tough little sperms are ready for a fight, or maybe a little romance. Just hanging with their homey.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Be Gone, Kardashians!

I watch a lot of TV... a lot. I’m most fond of crime mysteries, and detest reality TV. Much of reality shows involves fighting, swearing, crying, and more fighting. I dislike conflict, so these shows are not my idea of a good time. Just about every show on the E! Network involves some flavor of Kardashian. I just don’t get it. At the dawn of reality TV, I asked my daughter exactly why these people had a TV show. What were they famous for, other than being famous? She could never give me a satisfactory answer. Nobody could. I admit I have watched some episodes of the Kardashian’s shows with Molly. Call it mother-daughter bonding. But now, I’ve reached my Kardashian limit. Bruce Jenner, the emasculated patriarch and former Olympian, is a victim of bad cosmetic surgery. Kris, the mom, is starting to look weird too. The three sisters are extremely whiney, and super spoiled. The brother isn’t so bad but I’m not sure he’s featured much. Kourtney’s baby daddy is a major creep. He makes me want to barf, and needs to buy some socks. Unfortunately, there are a couple of teenage Kardashian girls lurking in the wings, and grandkids bringing up the rear. Even if I never turned on my TV, I would still see them on every magazine cover at the grocery store checkout. Kim Kardashinan’s maternity clothes, weight gain, love life, new mansion... there seems to be no end. I am so done with these people that I can’t even derive some snickers from learning that Kim has gained 2000 pounds. I yearn for the good old days when the only Kardashian in the headlines was Robert, one of OJ Simpson’s defense lawyers (the one whose mouth hung open at the Not Guilty verdict). These people need to go. They have made grundles of money, so probably never have to work again. They should all retire, even the babies. They are addicted to fame rather than money, though, so retirement is probably not an option. Perhaps Outer Mongolia needs reality TV, and I’ve got just the family to star. Go international, Kardashians. Go global. Whatever you do, though, just go... please. You are everywhere, and I want you nowhere. Please.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Plethora Of Jobs

I have had a plethora of jobs since I entered the work force at age sixteen. Most of them have been entry-level, menial, and pretty awful. Aside from the 22 years I have spent at my current airline job, the longest time I’ve lasted at another job is 3 years. My first job was as a snack bar waitress at the grocery store. It was a major learning experience, but definitely not my calling. I tried waitressing at a Holiday Inn. As part of Utah’s weird liquor laws, patrons could bring their own wine into the restaurant. I put someone’s RED wine in an ice bucket, thinking it was a classy thing to do. I’m sure I had seen that done in a movie, but probably with champagne. Not a good move, and the handwriting was on the wall that I should move on. I have had jobs with uniforms - McDonald’s (blue polyester - don’t get too close to an open flame!), and a movie theatre (Keystone Kops in hot pants). I worked in retail, where I sold home goods and apparel. I was an assistant buyer at a department store, where my main responsibility seemed to be the scheduling of lunch breaks. I was a travel agent, a hotel reservation agent, and also did data entry at several different companies. None of these jobs held my interest for very long. For a short time I even tried my own house cleaning service. This was a really bad idea, as I am allergic to dust and cats. My favorite job was as a window trimmer. It was creative and sort of unusual. I thoroughly enjoyed starting with an outfit and a mannequin, and ending with a completely decorated window, replete with accessories and props. One of my favorite chores was having to climb onto landings between the Up and the Down escalators to change a mannequin’s outfit. I hate to admit it but that bit of acrobatics made me feel important and special. Surely, shoppers moving past me must have been envious and wanted to be me. (Yes, even then I led a rich fantasy life in my head). If I were young and starting over now, I would totally pursue that display job as a career move. A design degree is probably required now, but that’s alright. I have spent my life trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I’ll let you know when that happens - the growing up part I mean.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mr. Leonard

One day in the summer of 1959, my mom told me to get in the car. She had a surprise for me. I was 5 years old and was fascinated at the thought of taking part in something special that didn’t involve my sisters. It was eons until my January birthday, so I was intrigued. I asked Mom if I was getting a doll house. I was told no, I would just have to wait and see. When we arrived at the magical place of the Grand Surprise, I was disappointed. Turns out I was getting my long hair cut. Big whoop. The beauty parlor was located in the lady’s side of a barber shop. There were photos of hairstyles torn out of magazines lining the mirrors, yellowing and kind of dog-eared. And there stood Mr. Leonard. Anybody over twelve seemed old to me, but Mr. Leonard seemed ancient. I’m not sure if it was an age thing or a disease, but his hands had tremors. This did not bode well for being on the receiving end of sharp scissors. I believe I got the first shag haircut in Salt Lake City, years before it’s time. The best thing about my subsequent visits to Mr. Leonard was checking out the pet store a couple doors down from his salon. Watching the puppies in the window after my haircut made the frightening shaking scissor experience well worth it. I’m not sure how Mom stumbled upon Mr. Leonard, but she eventually took over for him and cut our hair. We sported some pretty heinous, super short Mamie Eisenhower bangs back then. Mom believed that bangs should have a curve to them, rather than going straight across one’s forehead. Unfortunately, she wasn’t always sure where to stop. Sometimes our bangs went halfway to the back of our heads. Talk about your bowl cut! My ears aren’t symmetrical, so getting my sides even was sometimes a challenge. I believe Dad took away my mom’s scissors on the Day of The Five Haircuts. She couldn’t seem to get my sides even and just kept at it - five times by my count. I went to a birthday party directly after this extreme haircut and the birthday girl said I looked like a boy. Oh the humanity! My hairstyle then looked pretty much they way it does now, minus hair gel. I’ve come full circle. I wonder if Mr. Leonard would approve.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I saw a story in the news about a woman who attacked her husband with hot oatmeal. The attack occurred while he slept, yet she claimed it was self defense. Hmmm... Defense against what, snoring? I have been eating oatmeal every day to lower my cholesterol. Never in my wildest dreams did I know it could also be used as a weapon. I assume any hot substance poured on an unsuspecting person could be used. Oatmeal, though, seems like it has extra stickiness that would enhance the damage. My daughter goes to night school. I worry about her safety as she goes to her car in the dark after class. I’m not a fan of guns. Knives aren’t a good option either. Maybe some sort of Weaponized Hot Oatmeal Delivery System, or WHODS, needs to be invented. Raisins definitely should be a component. I know oatmeal has some skin-tightening properties, and is also used to take away itchiness. In the future if you got caught misusing a WHODS, you could just say you were helping someone exfoliate. See? I’m way better than that lady at coming up with excuses for bad oatmeal behavior. Self defense? ...Sheesh, what an amateur! I’ve always thought tube socks would be a great component of a home-made weapon. Actually, they’re hideous so that’s all they should be used for. Years ago, I got an award at work. My trophy was a very heavy disk-like paper weight. The first thought upon receiving it was how it would make a great weapon if hidden in a tube sock. Visions of David & Goliath? Seriously, I’m not a violent person, just always thinking. A multitude of things stuffed into a tube sock could be quite harmful - rolls of quarters, rocks, marbles. I could go on, but I’m sounding less creative and more nutball. In summation, oatmeal is good for lowering cholesterol but bad for sound sleep when your spouse holds a grudge. Any questions? I’ll be tinkering in my basement on my WHODS.