Saturday, December 14, 2013


Even though I'm 50, I'm like a 3-year-old, always wanting to do things "all by myself!" I'm defiant, independent and impatient. 

I rail when the minister tells us to bow our heads, so I look up, out and sideways rather than dip my chin. Instead of asking for help with a too-tight lid, I vice-grip the pickle jar between my legs, and use a strap wrench to turn the top. I  even lotion my own back by rubbing up against a shower tile I've strategically squirted with moisturizer to hit that itchy spot just under my left chicken wing.

Last night, after 3 weeks of waiting for someone to help me carry up the recliner, I couldn't wait any longer. I went to the basement, turned the chair upside down and laced my leather belt around the metal underbelly; now I had a good strong handle. With my elbow looped in the circle of the belt, I dragged that dumb chair to the bottom of the steps. Regrouping for a minute, I assumed a sumo wrestler pose and a gave a hearty grunt to gather my strength. Then I rolled that chair end over end up each cluster of stairs until I was at the top step where I had a rug waiting. Gliding on top of the carpet, the chair slid effortlessly across the hardwood floor as if it were polished ice. 

With the recliner positioned in front of the TV, I sat down, popped out the signature footrest and enjoyed my evening  with a steaming mug of hot water. I watched a show about Alaskan homesteaders who do absolutely everything for themselves. This 3-year-old was very proud of herself indeed!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Breaking the Poncho Barrier

I wore a sweater poncho to work. It was a big step for me. I practiced wearing it around the house, trying to feel normal in it. A sweater poncho touches that same "fashion nerve" as wearing a hat. It takes guts to do in public, and it feels sort of glamour shot-ish. 

Two people complimented me on the sweater poncho, but I wasn't sure if they meant it or if that's simply what one says when an elephant walks into the room. 

Later in the day I started to hit my stride with the poncho. The window by my desk didn't suck the heat out of me the way it used to on non poncho days. It was like wearing a blanket. I felt so "Clint Eastwood" when I threw the front poncho panel over my shoulder, so I wouldn't get pulled into the office copy machine. I could almost hear "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly's" haunting theme song whistling past me as I walked cowboy style down the halls. 

It wasn't long until I saw more ponchos making their way to the office from the back of their owners' closets. I'd broken the poncho barrier. It made my day.

Mon Dieu

I took French in high school but didn't keep up with it in college. I never had a reason to use it aside from my husband's occasional scrabble question, "What's a four-letter French word for cat?"

With no one to converse with en francais, I decided I'd keep up my language skills by praying in French. In the early years I had a very rich vocabulary and had much parlez with God. But now 30 years later with my shriveled French lexicon, my prayers speak of amourmerci, and a lot of mon Dieu. I guess this reduction in vocabulary makes me a more mature Christian. Instead of asking for lots of things, I speak of love, say thank you a lot and my God, my God. C'est magnifique!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pharmacy Pick-Up

I  stepped up to the outdoor pharmacy window at our Kroger grocery store to pick up my prescriptions. The system outside was not equipped with one of those keypads where you swipe your Kroger Rewards card or type your phone number in to receive your purchase credits. 

The pharmacy technician was a young woman in her early 20's and appeared to be new at the job. We had a little friendly cashier-to-customer banter where I told her I had a daughter in college, and she told me she was taking classes at UC. 

We were at that moment where my technician was beginning to ring up my bill. All of a sudden, I realized I had no keypad outside to enter my phone number for my Rewards points. I interrupted her saying, "Wait! Do you want my phone number?" Seeing the stricken look on her face, I instantly realized how she had interpreted my request. Wide-eyed-and-horrified, she drew back in disgust and said, "No!" 

I quickly responded with, "No. No. No. It's not like that. You need my phone number for the Kroger Rewards credit." 

I'm 30 years older than she is, am straight, and have been happily married for 25 years, but I can't help feeling a little bit rejected by the whole thing. I thought I was at least kinda cute.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Camp Damp

I’ve spent a lifetime camping across the United States with my parents and sister, and I married a man who loves to camp. I’ve taken showers with spiders and have expertly dried off while standing on top of my shoes. I’ve blown out my hair with the wall mounted hand dryer. I’ve used earplugs to drown out the nighttime swells of katydids and the campers next door who keep breaking out into song and laughter. I have my ways of adjusting to all the major and minor inconveniences of camping, but camp damp is too much for me. It’s all I can think about. Camp damp!

I made up this phrase during our most recent 3-day camping weekend with my sister and brother-in-law. It’s this pervasive “cold sweat” that dews all over everything, soggying up all forms of paper and fabric. Camp damp! I repeated the phrase all weekend like a Polly who wanted a cracker. It’s the only part of camping I cannot abide.
My sister tells me I just need to embrace it and forget about it, but I can’t. Every 10 minutes I’m standing by the fire again to rotisserate and re-dry all my wet places. Nighttime is the worst. The sleeping bag’s once silky lining is now a wet skin. I’ve tried wrapping my sleeping bag in a plastic tablecloth hoping to seal in some freshness, but it too succumbs to camp damp.

I came home from this past weekend determined to solve this problem. I went to the computer to look up hydrophobic materials that naturally do not absorb water, and I found it - polyethylene terephthalate.  It comes in various thicknesses and goes by the common name of polar fleece. My solution to camp damp. On my next camping trip, I’m simply going to swaddle in fleece. The only problem is that it’s terribly flammable, so my days of rotating on the spit are over.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Man Soap

I don’t like the way women smell. It’s all flowery and fruity and high pitched perfumey. I like the way men smell - with their low note baritone fragrances of woods and water and wonderful. My man is gone all day, and by the time I see him (I mean smell him) in the evening, most of the woods and water and wonderful have blown off of him.

Since I enjoy male scents so much, I decided I should stop waiting to run into manly smells and simply lather myself in them so they’re with me all day. I’m using an Old Spice High Endurance deodorant that’s simply yummy. I found a hand soap in a woodsy green bottle called Stress Relief Eucalyptus Spearmint. It smells not only like a man but a rich man! Rich men wear scents that have both high and low notes. I guess they can afford to smell a bit girly - and they seem to enjoy girly things like shoes, clothes and jewelry. I don’t want to be married to a rich man, and their smell makes me weary eventually, but I sure do enjoy the occasional whiff of one. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Look Alikes

The nose is all mine, 
But my eyes look just like my sister Jennifer's. 
When I'm missing her I stand at the mirror, 
blocking the bottom half of my face with my hand, 
And I am with her. 

There she is looking back at me, 
With our big brown eyes. 
To bring her to me when I need her most 
With just a wave of my hand. 

The curve of her eyebrows, 
Her freckles here and there, 
Even the laugh lines at the corners of our eyes.
She starts to cry;
I wipe her tears.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A February Miracle

All 3 bathrooms are clean at the same time; it's a February miracle. I can't remember when this happened last. Normally when guests ask to use the restroom, I struggle to direct them to one without "ring around the collar" at the toilet bowl's water line. 

I know on the "miracle scale" this shouldn't rank very high, but I find myself wanting to text the special people in my life who will rejoice with me. I'm so pleased with myself that I expect papal smoke to unfurl from my chimney and I'm not even Catholic. Now that would be a REAL February miracle!