Thursday, July 31, 2008

If I Were A Super Hero

I told my husband the other day that I've come to the conclusion that Marvel and DC Comics sexually discriminate against women. Although I will agree that there are a hand full of women super heroes, the vast list of male super action stars could span the earth a thousand-million-trillion times.

And not only do their names advertise their gender- BatMAN, HellBOY, SpiderMAN, X-MEN, IronMAN- but almost all of them flaunt their stuff in snug, tight fitting super hero uniforms that never seem to bunch up, wrinkle or stain. Come on guys- wouldn't you rather fight crime in a nice pair of comfortable jeans and a tee shirt?

I guess my sentiment on that subject probably answers the question of why there are so few woman super heroes.

If I was a super hero...

First, I would forgo the cape.
I mean, what good is it, really? Just an extra piece of material that is an accident waiting to happen. It could easily be caught beneath a rolling grocery cart, get mangled in the spin cycle on laundry day, and keep flipping in my eyes as I fly to the Dairy Queen.

The only real good thing about the cape is- it might make a good cover-up to mask those unwanted pounds, hide the pizza grease on my big fat S, (I said S!!!), or to replace a bulky umbrella.

Then there comes the problem of choosing an appropriate super hero outfit...

Sorry- no spandex for me.
(Unless, of course, Hell freezes over- that's when my husband says he'd like to see me wearing spandex.)

But, I will need something flexible, comfortable, stain resistant and inexpensive.
Like pajamas. Yes, that's it.

No knee-high super boots for me, either.
Can you imagine how hot those suckers would get when you're crusin' the equator or waiting in line at Starbucks?

I must say I actually like the idea of a hooded mask...

I could wake up with a bad hair day and just say "Oh, Honey, I think I'll wear my super hero outfit today."
Then pull that baby over my bed-head, cover my make-up free face, and not ever be recognized by anyone I owe money to.

Enhanced vision and keen hearing would be a plus in any given situation.
That way I could see if the cooks at Taco Bell are perspiring over my burrito or making fun of my goofy outfit.

Flying would be the best!
I could leave home at one second till 2 -and still get to the bank on time to keep my check from bouncing!

But, I guess my husband is right about a lot of things.
First of all- the world would never pick a weak scardey-cat like me to fight their villains.
Second- I'm a woman.That's justification enough.
For example:

Our enemies have just released a nuclear weapon and it's heading toward us as we speak. I have only micro-seconds to react.
Is my super hero costume clean?
Does it make my butt look big?
Should I go interstate or cross-country?
Should I travel at the speed of light or the speed of sound?
If I save the world, what will I fix for supper tonight?

And then,flying over cities and towns, I would use my super x-ray vision.
"Oh, my gosh- a yard sale!
Gotta stop for just a tiny minute..."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Goodbye Noxema...

This morning I read where Proctor and Gamble has announced the decline in sales of Noxema. They attribute this to the popular new choices of facial cleansers, acne remedies, and cosmetic miracles. Noxema has the reputation of being "old people" cleanser. Teens rush out to buy Proactive, Neutrogena, and Oxy 10 - mostly because of the contemporary media and commercial hype.

I like Noxema. There is something nostalgic about that menthol smell, the slight tingle of the skin, the freshness of a just washed face. I've still got a big, blue bottle in the bathroom cabinet someplace that I bought years ago.

Yeah, I hate to see a good product go defunct, but they seem to be making a public mourning out of it. Face it, (no pun intended)- there are a lot of great products that slipped out of popularity without a drum roll or front page alert.

I mean, what happened to handkerchiefs, aprons, clothespins, leg warmers, shoulder pads, wind-up watches and Toni home perms?

What became of spongy hair rollers, Dippity Doo, Alberto VO5, doilies, paint by number, model car kits and paper dolls?

Where are television rabbit ears, manual typewriters, girdles and view masters?

The positive thing is that some old brands are not gone forever. The Vermont Country Store has attempted to offer some products from the past. Just visiting their web site brings back memories and smells and tastes of childhood.

Remember Lemon Up shampoo? Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific! And that nasty dry shampoo that sprays in with no water needed- Psssst. (What were they thinking?)

As far as food and candy goes, there is Teaberry and Black Jack Gum, Fizzies, Chuckles, Chicklets, and Bosco.

With the choices in perfumes now days, it's easy to forget when our selections were limited to: Heaven Scent, Sweet Earth, Tigress, Prince Matchabelli, Ambush, and Love's Baby Soft.

Excuse me one moment, please....

Sorry. Just writing this has put a nostalgic lump in my throat and my heart beat a little quicker.

So right now I'm lathering my face with Noxema. (The jar expired in '77).

I'm digging out my old brush hair rollers. (Complete with pink picks and bobby pins)...

I've found my leg warmers. (What great stripes!)...

Oh, my stretched-out girdle! (Where did that come from?)

And here's some shoulder pads. (Hey, you never know when they might make a comeback!)...

I'm lookin' good, people!

Oh, wait! Here are my Dr. Scholl's Exercise Sandals!

Well, to heck with the treadmill now!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Public Service Announcement

Sometimes I get tired of commercials on television. They either interrupt an exciting point in my movie, or they insult my intelligence. Buy this, wear this, eat this...But I always seem to pay attention to the commercials that attempt to teach, warn, or educate the viewer.

You know the ones I'm talking about- Talk to Your Kids About Sex, Don't Drink and Drive,the Surgeon General warnings, aids, allergies, and the dangers of alcohol and drugs.

On the most part, I figure they have helped a lot of people get back on the right track. Some public service announcements even resort to scare tactics that really work. Some of them actually make me cry!

For example, remember the popular commercial that said, "This is your brain. (an egg). This is your brain on drugs." (now scrambled). I don't know about you, but as a teen, my brain seemed scrambled enough. The last thing I needed was a drug to make it worse. That warning made an impression on me somewhat, I suppose.

Then there are the heartbreaking commercials of drunken drivers and their mangled cars and innocent victims. Visual aids such as these seem to remain in our memory, causing us to pause and consider the next time we have had a few drinks and need to drive home.

So- why on earth haven't they come up with a commercial to help people on diets?

Instead of flaunting photos of "Anna Rexic":"She went from a size 22 to a size six in three months!"- show us the real deal. Undulate the TV screen with cellulite monsters and fat-corroded arteries and liposuction horror stories. Show us middle-aged fat women trying to stuff themselves into theater seats, attempting to buying cute clothes, and having sex with their skinny husbands!!!

Make us sick! PLEASE!!

Make us not want that candy bar we've been hiding or the Double Dose Rocky Road ice cream we've already dished out in our bowl! Make us vision those poor, obese women next time we crave Whitecastle or pray for Pizza Hut, or tingle for tacos. Reach out of the TV screen- grab us by our love handles, and tell us "NO!"

I have already come up with the perfect commercial for those on a diet.

Okay- the screen is dark- slowly lightens. We see a single hippo among a group of giraffes. It is a unusually large hippo, sweaty and gross and panting and grunting. The giraffes look all cool and lean and elegant.

The camera slowly gets a close up of a giraffe butt:

"This is your butt." (the announcer says.)

Then there is a wide-angle close up of the hippo's butt- and the announcer says:

"This is your butt on donuts."

Makes you just wanna cry, doesn't it?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Buying Underwear

There is something extremely refreshing about new underwear. The almost crisp, still-pristine underpants lined up neatly in the dresser drawer next to the still-white rolls of new socks. It's as though we treat them very gingerly at first- folding them carefully, tucking them in after laundry day like tiny baby butterflies.

But later, when the elastic has stretched, the toes become worn, or holes start to pop out like measles- we are not so gentle. We toss them carelessly into the bottom of the laundry basket where they become mismatched, forgotten, or wrinkled into twisted, almost unrecognizable remnants.

Buying underwear today is like choosing furniture. Stores seem to have elaborate displays, offering walls of undies and bins of bloomers and itsy-bitsy live-looking mannequins to help you choose.

Yeah, right!

Why don't they have normal-shaped dummies posing in the lingerie department? Middle-aged woman faces with middle-aged woman bodies, all revealing the typical belly rolls and spreading buttocks and back fat most women actually attempt to clothe.

Last week I decided to shop for new underwear. My old undergarment wardrobe had been forsaken, safety pinned and stretched to the breaking point. My socks were dull, lifeless, struggling in the bottom of the dryer to find their mates.

I knew it was time.

I tell you now, it was worse than the cereal aisle at Super WalMart. So many choices! So many sizes and prices and styles!

There were boxers and briefs and thongs and bikinis. There were slimmers and push-ups and boy shorts and tangas. There were G-strings, hi-cut, lo-cut and athletic. There were control briefs, nude briefs, and seamless briefs. They came in cotton, nylon, spandex, microfiber and mesh.

I was ready to walk out immediately. I was almost reduced to tears, not knowing where to start. But visions of my ransacked drawer at home caused me to persevere in this huge puzzling Pantie Land.

The most frustrating thing about buying underwear is choosing the right size. You can't try them on. You just have to know. You have to hold them up, tilt your head from side to side, and decide if your butt is gonna fit or not.

I always seem to fall someplace in the middle of two sizes. One-and-a-half butt cheeks might gather up into a size Large, but Extra Large would accommodate my entire rump with room to spare. What's a woman to do?

Some underwear I saw were smaller than my watchband, thinner than gold leaf and more pricey than Porterhouse!

I spent two hours and twenty dollars and purchased six briefs, six pairs of socks and a bra from the bargain bin. I took them home, ran them through the wash and began to put them away.

I was tired. It had been a grueling and ghastly ordeal.
I folded them extra carefully,making perfect squares of panties and delicate puffs of socks, knowing that the next time I put them away, they'll be thrown into a sea of chaotic undies and forgotten foot wear.

But for today, I'll hold my head up high and walk briskly in my new underwear. The crisp, still-new fabric in size Large with printed daisies and comfort waistband and half-a-butt-cheek rolling out!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Some Parties of the Past...

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Cool School Tools

Even though I no longer have school-aged children, I still enjoy thumbing through the Back -to-School sale circulars. I think it must be that little girl inside of me that still wants neat stuff.

When I was growing up, we were lucky to get an 8-count box of Crayons. (And even then, it was most likely not a name brand, but simply a generic box of "colors"). I awe at the selections available now. Crayon towers- Crayons that glitter and glow and explode. Fat, skinny and gi-normous crayons.

I was perfectly happy to get a little red hand sharpener, but now there are multi-colored sharpeners in neon colors with batteries and sounds and cool shapes and sizes. Makes a kid just wanna sharpen colors and pencils all day long!

Then there are Highlighters- such cool tools that I never had in school. The bright yellow, lime, and pink markers that assist in labeling important sections of a lesson. Or, in my case, I'd have all my notebooks and folders decorated with highlight art.

Speaking of folders, mine was usually a plain giant three-ring binder with special tab dividers. Now they have binders and portfolios and 5-star spiral notebooks. They are available with popular teen stars and logos and movie posters. Barbie, Hannah, HSM, and Batman gloss the front of countless paper options in every WalMart.

Then there are things that we never even thought of having or asking for. Like locker mirrors, digital combination locks, super-cool gym shoes, sticky-notes, back packs, and fancy calculators.

I wonder just how much better my grades would have been if I had used a laptop to take notes during lectures, instead of a pencil.

I just wonder how much more popular I would have been if I had carried a Monkees notebook,
a tower of Crayons, or whipped out a day-glow Highlighter in Science class.

I wonder if I would have made the cheer leading team if I had those bouncy gel sole shoes.

I wonder if I would have passed Algebra One if mom had bought us a pocket calculator.

I wonder if the 5-star is really that much better than the 1-star...

While grocery shopping today, I will probably make a quick run through the school supply aisle.
Just to smell the fresh crayons, new notebooks, Elmer's glue and dry-write markers. Just to see the rainbow of colors and tons of choices and a bunch of cool stuff that I never had.

And maybe- just maybe- to see some little girl getting excited about starting school.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Katie Couric Should Have Listened

My sister Linda and I just spent a few great days together doing things that we love the most. Searching the yard sales, eating, drinking, watching TV - and last but not least- exercising a great talent that we humbly admit to possessing:

It is our over-powering fashion sense.

For years Linda and I have had our concerns about Katie Couric. There are days when her hair wasn't quite right, her outfit a bit too snug- her white, pearly, frosted, over-glossy lipstick just a tad too much. From a comfy spot on the sofa with our coffee and donuts in hand, (wearing no makeup or cutesy hairstyles), we discussed the fact that Katie just might be doomed to failure.

We so often observe that women who fail at fashion soon begin to weaken in all other aspects of their lives. If only our opinions had been sought, CBS could have saved themselves a lot of money and their reputation.

We apologize to fans of Rachel Ray also. Although Linda and I have salivated in front of her thirty minute meals, her harsh voice and tasteless selection of practical cooking clothes have us almost speechless. Her sometimes lo-cut, bat-winged, button popping blouses are so-not-right for an afternoon of cooking.

We personally find that an already grease -stained tee shirt, pajama pants and fuzzy slippers is ideal - not only in comfort but is also conducive to various other kitchen chores, such as taking out the garbage, mopping up after the dog, and finishing off the margaritas in the blender.

We were always suspicious and critical of Martha Stewart -and the world knows how that turned out. Linda and I knew there wasn't something quite right about her hair- that dirty blond shoulder length mess that fell in her face every time she popped a casserole from the oven.

If she was at all unsure about her appearance, Martha should have followed our time-tested advice concerning hairstyle: Let it grow till you hate it so much that you start pulling it out, experiment with every hair color except gray, slick down the sticking-up places, fluff up the flat spots, and hide in your house for a few months till every thing looks right again.

Our extreme gift of Just Knowing What Looks Right has been used most often at the local WalMart. We gulp in disbelief at the fashion selections of some people, criticize hundreds of hairdos and shoe styles, and pity those most that think they look great, but are living in the 80's.

We mean no disrespect, but we have trained ourselves to see the truth. Our gift is like Superman and his X-ray vision. It just can't be helped.

However, we should warn you that our tactics are a bit new age. We personally have not adopted any sort of hair style, fashion preference, diet plan, or manners. We feel that as a duty to others that seek our help- we must remain as neutral as possible, even coming close at times to seeming bag-lady-ish.

Just focus on our talent, people!
We could possibly arrange to give some of you makeovers. But all we can say to others of you is: Get out of the middle of the damn grocery aisle! Cut that crappy lookin' mullet, change your XXXLLL Daisy Dukes, cover that gray and quit linin' yer lips!

But I am here to warn you now. If you see two old ladies in pajama pants, tee shirts, bed-heads, no makeup and no bras- Be ready!
We just might be willing to give you the makeover of your life!

We just can't seem to help ourselves.....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Borrowing From Becca

Is it just me, or is everybody broke lately? Even my grown children who always eat out at nice restaurants, buy their kids cool clothes, and whose living rooms look like Best Buy are suddenly hurting for extra cash. I know it for a fact because I tried borrowing a little money from them this week.
They all have a certain Money Personality that reveals itself when confronted with a possible loan. But my daughter Becca has by far the most extreme responses, so of course, I went to her first just for the practice. Borrowing is her specialty, (not loaning), but I used some of her lines and tactics that I've picked up over the years.

I started out rather high- "Could you spot me a fifty till pay day?"
You should have seen the look on her face. You would have thought I just crapped my pants in front of her! It was a scrunched up face, with narrow, disgusted eyes that scanned my torso as though I was a lice-ridden stranger.

She finally composed herself- at last realizing-"Hey, this is my Mom here. She gave birth to me, fed and clothed me for eighteen years- got me that expensive Tommy Hilfiger backpack I cried for when I was a Junior in high school."

She backed off, rubbing her lips in deep thought and then smiled like the Grinch.

"Well, how about twenty-five?" I asked, feeling like I was asking to drive my dad's car for the first time.

Becca propped herself on the sofa, crossed her legs, flipped through a magazine, and shot me a look over the rim of her glasses.
"Don't think so...", she hissed.

She shook her head no.
"Eight?" I pleaded.
Still no.

Then I decided to try the Famous Guilt Complex Formula that she had formulated as a child and still uses successfully as an adult.
"Becca, do you remember the time you just had to have that red prom dress and couldn't afford it? I didn't have the money either, but I pawned my typewriter, your dad's golf clubs, and your sister's college fund so you could buy that dress that you only wore for two and a half hours on prom night."

She wiggled uncomfortably as I gave her the Sad Doe Eyes.

"Ok, Mother," she finally caved in, "Here's what I'm gonna do. Spot you a five today, but in return, I get dinner at your house three times next week, free video rentals on your account, a Saturday of babysitting, and that twelve pack of Coke in your fridge."

She scrunched her eyes again in disgust, waiting for an answer.
"What are you doing, Mom?"

"Crapping my pants," I heaved, thankful that I had two more kids.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's Alive! It's Alive, I Say!

Well, the time we have anticipated for months has finally arrived! Those tiny little seeds that we pushed into the soil, nurtured with our sweaty palms, fertilized with our last dollar, and protected from the elements- have matured. The garden is in full harvest.

My husband and I shrieked in joy when we spotted our first zucchini! Like a baby toe, it wiggled from the plant all shiny and sweet. We couldn't wait to savor it, watching it daily for the perfect time to pluck it from the vine. How wonderfully delicious it was! How proud we were of our creation! We licked our plates clean and smiled at one another.

But suddenly, our plan for a manageable garden backfired.

Those little baby vegetables aren't as innocent as they seem. Beneath those leaves and stalks and vines is a Frankenstein of sorts. A man-made monster that has taken on a life of its own! Just when I think I've picked all the cucumbers, another one lies hidden- ready to ambush me the next day with a bigger-than-my-arm smile.

Those still-green tomatoes turn red overnight, the okra shoots up like bamboo in two days, and the green beans keep producing more, more, more! I fill up sacks and bushel baskets and barrels- but still they come. Still they invade my table, my freezer, my fridge and my life!

Of course, as they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Well, you might as well call me Bubba Gump Squash! I have boiled, fried, sauteed, steamed, breaded, battered, smothered, candied, mashed, chopped, diced, deep fried and dunked every piece of squash that I can pick. But like an Alien, it keeps coming back - seemingly stronger and more menacing than ever!

There are nights that I make three different squash dishes. We have fried zucchini, microwaved zucchini, and zucchini with brown sugar and cinnamon.

It's hard to lick our plates and smile lately. But, you know, it's our own fault. That's the hardest thing to swallow.

I glance outside and it is raining now. I see the garden full and green and soaking up the rain like vitamin-induced hormones. The little monsters are growing as we speak!

I know, I know- I'll be pleading for those plants to stay alive,come about September. I'll be crying for a ripe tomato and fresh green beans. I'll be craving a cucumber salad and fried okra and sweet corn sweeter than cotton candy.

I'll probably even be wanting some squash.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Random Thoughts...


Toilet paper rolls replace themselves.

Money grows on trees and chocolate grows on bushes.

Kids automatically grow wise and leave the nest on their 18th birthday.

Fat can be removed as easily as fake nails.

A "couple" or "lovers" always means a man and a woman.

Houses clean themselves.

All the politicians in power have been fired and we've started a new slate.

Every child grows up knowing how to swim, drive, and balance a check book.

You can pick who your neighbors are and how far away you want them to live.

Grass grows only an inch a season.

Cold weather makes you younger.

Once you find a great haircut, you can keep it forever. (like your fingerprints)

Christmas is free.

They make perfect bed pillows, comfortable shoes, ideal purses, and bras that actually fit!

Teeth fix themselves.

Everyone is a perfect driver.

Criminals, slime balls, and loud mouths live on another planet.

Lightning bugs come in 64 brilliant colors.

Two Sides of One Story: An unbiased interview

With the heat of summer upon us, the favorite past time of my grown kids and husband is a float trip. They drift dreamily into a happy place whenever they remember summers on the river. Why is it that the four of them remember so differently than I do? I still dig my heels in and refuse to go anymore. Wanna know why?

Here's THEIR story of our last float trip in bold.
MY side of the story is in italics...

"It was a perfect summer day with a soft fragrant breeze- a mixture of suntan oil and mimosa. The river was clear, blue, and warm- with just enough current to make the float trip lazy and relaxing. Our inner tubes were over sized and firm as we set off down the beautiful river."

"It was so freakin' hot that day that I was sweating like a pig! The water smelled like dead fish and was the color of chocolate milk. It was flowing so fast that it was sweeping cows downstream. The inner tubes we rented were tiny lifesaver- sized donuts and I feared they would all deflate immediately as the river swallowed us up into its fury."

"Mom was wearing a turtleneck tee shirt a pair of long pants and was stuffed into a double thick life vest to her double thick chin. She had on the ugliest water shoes we had ever seen in our lives! She sat on her inner tube like a frozen statue, fearing to move as we all splashed and played around her. It was so great to be one with nature! We saw a small water snake sunning on a rock and a little water turtle. We relaxed. laid back, and had a few beers."

"I wore sufficient clothing to keep from burning and the most wonderful water shoes I've ever worn. They were really cute. I was a little concerned because my life vest was barely as thick as Saran Wrap- a thin little thing that seemed destined to suffocate me. We came across a giant water moccasin that tried to attack our tubes and a huge snapping turtle that was eating small water birds! Lot of good my kids and husband were if I had needed help- they were already drunk and practically drowning themselves!"

"It was a quiet float trip that lasted about three hours. What a perfect day! We all got a nice bronze tan and had some great laughs. We ran eagerly on shore, suddenly hungry for cheeseburgers. But poor old Mom crawled slowly onto the river bank and collapsed."

"The whole ordeal was like riding the white water rapids. What's worse is- the trip lasted 6 or 7 hours! We were all blistered and burnt and could barely stand after being plugged into those tubes so long! When we finally reached shore, I realized how truly lucky I was to have survived. I fell to my knees and kissed the ground."

That's both sides and it's up to you who you want to believe. I just know how I remember it and needless to say -I won't be floating on the river this summer!

Friday, July 18, 2008


Motherhood is quite a trip.

I'm talking other than the obvious sacrifices in the act of giving birth, such as: suffering through a fifteen point pain level on a ten point chart, having your insides pooped out with the baby that you are destined to deal with almost as long as your mortgage, and bearing stretch marks that drop the word sexy and attractive forever from your husband's vocabulary.

I suppose cleaning out the closets last week caused me to reflect a bit about being a mom. Surrounded by boxes of keep sakes, I laughed, shed tears and fumed. I saw regrets, mistakes and lessons. But I also saw joy, pride, and a journey that grows shorter every day.
Sitting cross legged on the bedroom floor, I suddenly grew old.

How wonderful to have gotten the precious homemade cards crafted with crayons and paste, the little portraits of our stick men family, and finger paintings as bright as a rainbow! And they all said “I love you, Mom” scribbled somewhere on them. It is sad to think that Hallmark ruined their creative, loving spirits. Now I am reduced to a card like every other mother gets on special occasions- a four dollar generic message that rarely seeps of love. Don't get me wrong- I enjoy and appreciate all the cards I receive, I am just a bit fond of the old days lately.

Sifting through photographs was the most difficult. That really got the tears flowing. Special smiles, new haircuts, favorite outfits and the look of innocence. When did my girls sprout boobs and mascara lined eyes? When did my son grow whiskers and deepen his voice?

(When did I start wearing old lady underwear?) Life is a mystery ...

Despite the fact that I had no parenting lessons, I think I did pretty good. They all seem well adjusted and happy. But it was a long road. Discipline and rewards were haphazard and inconsistent on my part, I admit.

Among the heap of memories, I pulled out a big package that once contained sheets of 500 little foil stars. I remember well sitting the kids down one morning (when they were fairly young) and offering to pay them an allowance. I would make a chart of chores for each of them, with a time limit, and post a star next to their name on the fridge. They were ecstatic!

In my head I imagined a mass of bright foil stars shining on the refrigerator, clean bedrooms, and tidy closets. I told myself this time I would enforce my idea. Not only would it benefit me, but it would provide a lesson in responsibility to the kids.

Apparently, it must not have worked. Opening the package of stars, there were still 497 left.

Days go by too fast. But every day that I have been a mother has been my reward. My children have given me the stars and the moon. My love for them will last beyond all the photos and cardboard boxes and the inevitable passing of time...

Choosing A Cell Phone: A Ladies Primer

I'm getting quite excited. Next week I get to pick out a new cell phone.
But for those that know me, you all understand that it may prove to be quite a shock to the system. There are so many options to choose from anymore. How does a gal know what's right for her? So, I am making a quick list of things I must have and nix those options I don't really need. Take notes, girls.

Well, to begin with, the cell phone must be easy to hold and transport.
I don't want to dig into my purse to find some teensy, tiny, matchbook-sized phone beeping out “Love Shack” for everybody in WalMart to hear. People have a strange tendency to stare at a woman who has a purse as big as a bowling bag and a phone as small as a cracker. Especially when she's spilling out every piece of change and sticky gum wrapper and old receipt that she's toting around, trying to find the source of the musical ring - the entire time mumbling, “Crap, crap, crap...” under her breath in the Bible aisle.

Okay, so now we move along to the buttons:
I don't see well without my glasses, (which are usually sitting in the bathroom next to my stack of reading material). But, heck, I don't see that great with them, either! So, the buttons must be legible in an emergency. I'll never get 911 by dialing 622 or 844 or whatever my blurred vision tricks me into seeing. Ideally, the buttons must be larger than a grain of salt- but smaller than a Post-It note. I am hoping to find a phone with buttons as large as a stamp. There is nothing more difficult in the world than trying to push a pea sized button with a bratwurst-sized finger!

There are so many added features to cell phones today. However, I've narrowed it down quite nicely, I think:
I don't need texting because I can't type faster than 10wpm anyway. By the time I got done typing in "hello", I coulda visited in person!
I don't need television or game capability- it's hard enough to see my 40 inch flat screen at home when I'm sitting two feet in front of it!
I definitely don't want Blue Tooth.( Sorry, but there isn't anything more ridiculous in the world than seeing a grown woman with a bird-sized ear bud wrapped around her lobe, talking to herself in the ladies room). (It's truly embarrassing, too, when you continue to answer her questions from the adjacent stall, not realizing she's Blue Toothin' with her mother the whole time!")
I don't need GPS features. I know my way to get groceries, the mall, and the drive through at the liquor store- so what's to need?!! I've never gotten lost yet. (Now, if they want to add something that will help me remember where I parked my car, I'm all for it!)

It's amazing how cell phones emerged from black and silver into cool blue, vibrant orange, passionate purple, frosted cranberry and apple green. Keep it simple, I always say. Besides, when I see a fifty year old lady with a pink phone, I put her right straight into the Floozie catagory. Don't you agree?

Although I need the basics, this one thing is very important- I don't want anything cheap. No plastic or wobbly buttons or antennas that break off. No flips that flop or bar phones that bend. No chocolate that melts down or blackberries that turn sour. (That's a joke there).

MP3, internet, music files, and 1500 ring tones? Don't need 'em. Just give me two or three rings to choose from, such as a beep, a chime, and “Sweet Home Alabama”- (I will choose-depending on how wild a mood I'm in).
As far as all the added features, the only one I really want is a camera. Don't figure I'll ever really use it, but as I always tell people - you never know when you might run across a UFO or Big Foot and not have a freakin' camera looped around your neck!

So, when shopping for a cell phone, us gals have basically come up with the same conclusions we came up with when we were shopping for a man:
1.Don't need nothin' fancy.
2.But won't settle for cheap.
3. Size does matter!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Paint Chips and the Empowered Woman

One important lesson I have learned in my life is that the most simple home projects can balloon into complicated catastrophes. In my experience, changing a single light bulb can manifest into picking out new faucets or installing a new floor.
Be forewarned. Do-it-yourself projects breed more projects. They don't stay confined in your imagination or your notebook. They spread out over the entire house, spill into the yard, and take over not only your life, but your wallet, too.
Take for example, the rainy day that I sat at home and stared at the living room walls. It became a game for me trying to figure out what the fingerprints surrounding the light switches looked like. A puppy, a balloon, the Mona Lisa. That's when I came to the conclusion that it was time to paint.
With all the colors of the rainbow and the universe, you would think that picking out paint would be a breeze. I wasn't prepared for what I faced in the paint aisle at my local DIY center.
Rows and rows of paint chips, color swatches, brochures and booklets overwhelmed my optical senses. It was visual overload. It made the sixty-four count box of crayons that I had as a child look pitiful.
Nearly falling into a fainting spell, I was temporarily saved by a old gentleman in a blue vest named Bruce.
“We have two aisles of paint and thousands of colors to choose from,” smiled Bruce, “If you need me, I'll be over in aisle ten.”
And as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared, leaving me to groovy world of tie-dyed walls.
I knew immediately that I was in trouble. I realized that the fifteen minute trip I planned to pick out paint would turn into days and days of agony and suffering, of decisions and choices, of sleepless nights and nightmares of swirling colors and dancing paint cans, and rollers with faces.
But a simple flashback of my dirty white walls at home empowered me to grab a novel sized stack of paint chips and leave the tunnel of color before hallucinations set in.
Later that evening, as my husband and I finished supper, I began spreading the paint samples out in front of him, hoping that his eye and his possible input would create a quick choice of what suddenly seemed like madness.
“Do you like Evening Sunset, or how about Morning Kiss? Thunder Rose, or Cowboy?” I questioned him.
He gave only non-vocal answers. The arch of an eyebrow, the twist of his lips, a slight nod of his head in either direction.
I persisted.
“Rusty Pear or Kentucky Derby?, I asked, holding up the little colored squares so that he couldn't see the TV. “Brushed Linen or Roman Holiday?”
This went on for hours and hours till the living room floor was carpeted with a confetti of variegated paper paint chips whose names read like some Ralph Lauren nightmare. There were colors that I had never seen in my life, and some I hoped never to see again.
Three days and two sleepless nights later, I marched into the paint store with my husband in tow, confident that I had narrowed my selection down enough to confer with the paint specialist in aisle seven. It was Bruce again. This time attempting to be a little more helpful.
“So, what can I get for you today ?” he said with a hint of torture in his voice. “Egg shell, satin. gloss, semi-gloss- high gloss, flat, indoor, outdoor, mildew resistant, historical, special effects, or concrete paint ?”
Suddenly I felt weak. The tunnel of color was vibrating around me, each sample whispering their fancy name.
“Well,” I stuttered, realizing I had forgotten the color names I had picked out, “I left the samples at home.”
“Quite all right,” Bruce assured me, “What color family were they in? Or how would you best describe them?”
Aware that I was having a slight brain fog, my husband attempted to explain to Brucie that I had chosen a bright white for the ceilings and a soft, muted brown for the walls.
Bruce looked down his glasses at us, totally confused and asked if we could be more specific.“
For a moment I realized how ridiculous it was. I was determined that this DIY job would not get the best of me. I was a woman! I knew what I wanted! And, by golly, those names and choices were not going to stop me! I was not going to be intimidated!
“Milk and Poop” I blurted out. “We'll be in aisle ten if you need us.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Fat Little Fellow

I'm carrying around a full grown beaver.
Yeah, I agree. That's pretty gross. And it even sounds nasty. But let's face the facts here.
Full grown beavers weigh about thirty pounds, which is about the same amount of weight that I need to lose. Every time I think about grabbing a chocolate bar or a slab of salami, I try to focus on that huge beaver. I try to imagine myself walking through the mall or doing housework with the portly beaver buried under my teeshirt or curled up around my buttocks. I just wish he would give me a good hard slap of its tail when I start giving into temptation. For heaven's sake, what good does it do to carry around your own beaver if it doesn't contribute something?
When you're overweight, it causes new problems that skinny people never have.
I mean, how in the world do you dress a full grown beaver? He falls unattractively out of lo-rise jeans, lays like a adult python on your waistline and slobbers grotesquely beneath any sort of sexy nightgown.
I could live with the fact that I'm stuck with this beaver if he'd let me choose where he stays. It would be great if he would lay across my breast and remain there -firm and perky for the rest of my life!
Oh, believe me- I've tried to starve him out, practically living on broth and tofu for days. I've tortured him with green, leafy salads and fresh fruit. And, if I'm really lucky, he'll shrink a quarter pound or so in thirty days.
Some days I'll even forget he's there. I'll put on my extra loose jeans and enormous tee shirt and spend the day busying myself so that I don't have even a minute to grab a snack or quick bite.
But, by the next day, he's back again- peeking out from beneath my pajama top or rolling around in my sweat pants. He sure is a fat little fellow!
A lot of people have life goals - important things in their lives that they wish to accomplish. Well, I am here today to announce my personal mission statement:

My Fashion Faux Pas

I'm getting to be the age when fashion no longer matters. I don't need a shirt that makes a statement or a dress that makes an entrance.
I don't need the coolest, the hottest, the latest or the brightest. All I need - and all I want- is "comfort"!
Bless the designer that brought us sweat suits. Think about it- they are like a versatile, universal uniform. anyone from infants to the elderly can wear them. It's the absolute;y perfect outfit for a large dinner party, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. especially if you plan to over-indulge. No need to loosen a belt or pop a few buttons. It's a self-adjusting, stretchable outfit. What a miracle!
Forget high heels, too. My personal choice of footwear are slip-on shoes. They do away with buckles, laces, snaps, and even Velcro. No bending, reaching or pressing. You can remain in an upright position with no grunting or heavy breathing- just slide them right on before leaving the house!
Hair is another comfort factor. If it has to be pinned, sprayed, ironed, or jelled - forget it! If it has to be dipped or dyed or dolled with - I'd rather not! I pray every day for hair that dries, styles and cleans itself. But until that day comes, a pony tail holder is a gals best friend.
Actually, I think I may finally have this fashion thing under control. My comfort zone has succeeded in taking over.
I ran into the grocery store the other day. Of course my hair was in it's self-stying mode. I had on my stretchable sweats and my favorite slip-on shoes.
Two old friends passed me in the produce section and we spoke for a moment. They had on designer jeans, tiny T-shirts with cool words, and shoes that begged to be shot. Their hair was perfect, their nails manicured, and had purses big enough to carry a small child.
As I walked away, I overheard them whispering. "She has got to be the most comfortable woman in the world!" they exclaimed.
I just flipped my ponytail, popped the waistband of my jogging pants, and smiled to myself.
That was the best compliment I've ever had!