Monday, July 28, 2008

Bottom….Out

I think I need to lose some weight. I’m not very excited about it. The problem I have starting and succeeding is my warped body image. I suffer from a rare syndrome known as Absolute Total Fat Denial (ATFD), which fools me into thinking I’m thinner than I truly am. It’s only when I see my reflection in a mirror or a car window, or have a picture of me thrust in my face, that I have to face facts.

That’s precisely why I run past mirrors and refuse all photo ops.

They say that alcoholics have to “bottom out” in order to start the road to sobriety. It’s the same thing with chocolate-Dorito-peanut butter-addicts. We need a “harshing.” I’ve ignored several stark, unmistakable nudges in my life recently:

1. Shifting Toilet Seats:

I actually told people while on vacation of my conspiracy theory. Some practical jokester is trying to “punk” me. I have unwittingly been “tagged” so every time it looks like we’re going to stop at a rest room, a buzzer goes off somewhere and a notification is sent to the rest stop, stating, simply: “LOOSEN THE SEAT.” Every single time I sat on a public toilet that whole week, the seat would shift unexpectedly to one side, leaving me shaken and MAD. Maybe Michigan is the “Shifting Toilet Seat” State with a single-bolt maximum law. It can't be that I have a big butt.

2. Sweat = Enlarged Body:

I took a Pilates class at our YMCA. It was a half hour of killer “AB” work, which left me sweaty. My plan was to take a water aerobics class right after Pilates, for a combined 1 ½ hour work out. I stopped in the dressing room, to put on my swim suit. My body must have swelled from all the heated working-out because my suit was “hot-glued” to my hips. Biceps screaming, I tugged the “exercise band” suit, trying to unroll it. My hands cramped. They should warn Pilates participants of this distressing phenomenon! Again, it can't be that I have a big butt.

3. Bottom….out:

My friend had the audacity to put in a backyard pool with no exit ladder. The sides were too high for me to get good elbow leverage. I “ali-ooped” my daughter out on my shoulder a few minutes prior and thought,

“Oh my God. How am I going to get out of here?

I quickly brainstormed putting on high-heeled water shoes, getting myself up on a raft and then rolling over on their deck. I had just laughed myself sick watching my friend launch herself up-and-out like an elephant seal. Now….

“Oh my God. I’m next.”

I tried to jump up and lift myself out of the pool. Nope. Tried again. Nope. Started laughing, which rendered my muscles weak. Tried again. Nope.

“Is she going to live in our pool?” my friend’s 5- year-old said.

“I’ll bring you a chair” my friend suggested. She fetched a green plastic lawn chair which was light and highly un-immersible,” so she jumped back in to help me hold it under water. As I stepped on the chair, the two front legs broke off and rose to the surface.

At this point, my friend’s son starts crying:

“She broke our chair!” he sobbed---Baby Bear to my Goldilocks.

“It’s o.k., we can fix it.” she soothed.

No she can’t. It’s one of those cheap plastic chairs. If you glue it, it will break again, probably when some grandparent sits on it, and then they’ll….

I’m starting to shrivel in the water now. I’m thinking the worst thing is not having to stay in the water, but….far more horrifying, was the prospect of having to call my husband, Fred*, to help me out.

That did it! If I have to get Fred to come and use his engineering brain to figure out a way to add more water or finagle some deep-sea fishing pole or…worse—a tow rope…to get his wife out of a 3-foot pool, there’s no denying it anymore….

They just don’t make pools like they used to!

*Fred is not his real name.

Monday, July 21, 2008

BINGO-Zoids

I was invited to play Bingo at our local casino. Bingo, here, is not only an activity…it’s also a FOREIGN COUNTRY. “The Bingo-zoids”—who live in the “Bingo Land” are serious folks. They HAVE to be! There’s no time for goofing around--there are hundreds of details and customs only known by the inhabitants and those who regularly visit their land.

Having no “Bingo Land” visa, and without a Berlitz “Bing-ish” cassette, I try to follow my more seasoned companion around like Egor, with a “monkey-see-monkey-do” method of managing diversities.
Some terms I heard that, without a “Field Guide”, are left to my interpretation:

1. Early Bird - Are we going to mark numbers using assigned beaks?
2. Crazy bingo - Are we going to play under the table? Or maybe behind our backs?
3. Blackout - Turn the lights out? That will be challenging.

I understand nothing. Now is not the time for vanity---I am a complete idiot here. “Bingo-zoids” are pretty much exclusively senior citizens with sharp, pointy minds. To pass the time in my spinning head, I start to feel silly. OH-OH. The more I think about how serious things are here, the sillier they seem. I start to nervously point out “funny” things to my companion and tablemates. I am “Tigger” in a room of constipated Eeyores.

Note: I am no where near as energetic as the REAL Tigger, but compared to the “Bingo-zoids”….I am both flouncy and pouncy.

People are holding up one and five dollar bills in the air. I ask if there’s a stripper (they probably wouldn’t notice anyway). Horrible, awful, violated-type looks came upon the faces of the “Bingo-zoids” at my table—which only created more of a humor-vacuum in my head. You’re supposed to “prime” your “dauber” (which sounds dirty doesn’t it?) to create the wettest possible daub. So…oh yeah, I WENT there… I am always behind hearing the numbers and my companion saw the next number, thought I missed it, and just as she was reaching over to my card point to it out, I accidentally daubed her, hard, on her finger. This made us laugh.

I am annoying and distracting—a deadly combination in “Bingo Land.”

I felt that if these people could have pried their fingers from around their daubers, they would have threateningly cracked their knuckles “Soprano-like” and eyed their hit men:

“We have another Tigger in the building. Make some more cement shoes.”

Honestly—it’s mental boot-camp here. I don’t know how they do it. I had a 6 pack (which in “Bing-ish” means 6 games at once)—but there were people 100-years-old who had 12 and 15 packs. There are schematics to memorize and follow in order to create the figure of a DEER, a SHOVEL or a BROKEN ARROW with the called bingo numbers. These Century-arians conquer this with seeming ease.

I think the secret is they don’t get emotional….at all. A woman at our table won many hundreds of dollars.

”Congratulations!! That’s awesome!” I say.
She barely cracked a smile.

If being unemotional is the key to winning bingo, I might as well go home. If I had won—I would have done an emotional, freak-out, WINNER dance and insisted on a confetti drop.

I think now they have a picture of me at the desk with the caption:

“Distracting Idiot. Do not admit.”

ANTS: Part DEUX

The name “Heidi” actually means “Battle Maid.”

There is a battle going on in my house.

This morning’s mini-war ensued when I was washing my hands in my bathroom and looked down to see One-GOZILLION FEGILLIAN FINNINIGAN ants everywhere on my counter. I ran and got a spray bottle of “Fantastic” and a pump bottle of non-scented Ant Killer. I am John Wayne, cocked and ready, with itchy fingers on the trigger of both bottles. I shoot the Ant Killer. The ants stagger, shake themselves off and continue on. With the Ant Killer seemingly impotent, I shoot “Fantastic” (thank you, Jeanne) which works like a CHARM.

(Question: WHY do we spray something that instantly lethal on kitchen surfaces?)

The smell of Fantastic is "wofting" through my house—forever-more the scent of victory. I am left physically unscathed, but mentally…WIRED!! After each invasion, I have to clean up the mess—my house is really sparkly after a battle.

[Hmmmm… now I am thinking my husband is behind all this!! He wants a clean house, so he’s probably just outside my window, commanding ant “generals” like the Wicked Witch of the West ordered the winged monkeys to attack Dorothy… and her little dog too! He’s giving each ant “company” wads of bills, “HI- 6-ing” them.]

As a result of all this… I think I’ve actually developed “ANT SENSES” and am starting to THINK like an ant. I use my two pointer fingers as antennae, pointing them various directions to see if I get a signal.

Wait…. A message is coming in…

….They’re looking for a new, cooler abode, one that has water and food. Single ants investigate first, and then if they don’t get squashed, more troops excitedly arrive, looking around my house saying:

‘Not bad. Not bad at all.”

When the excited troops report back with no mishap, they will begin the Single File Invasion (SFI)…

You think I’m kidding?? While on vacation last week, my 18 year old son, Jon, forgot his “sentry” duties while home alone…and that EXACT thing happened. He encountered the MOTHER of all ant invasions in our living room. He sprayed an entire can of Ant Killer on them, adhering the ant carcasses to the carpet, leaving a single, black, schmerey, blotchy line of destruction…..for me to come home to!! I turned over our sofa and found a Chocolate NECCO wafer underneath my couch with little ant tooth marks all around it.

They had apparently found Utopia. (NOW it REALLY IS war—they’re after my CHOCOLATE!!)

I wonder if I can lure them OUT with a Pied Piper sort of instrument or use my new Ant Powers. Maybe a GIANT roll of Necco wafers outside, well beyond the house would mesmerize them…..

….AND THEN I’D “FANTASTIC” the BUGGARS!

BWA-HA-HA-HA

Sunday, July 20, 2008

ENTER ANIMATRONIC ZOO ANIMALS

I spent an afternoon with my family at the zoo while on vacation. It was so hot we felt “microwaved” by the elephant-footprinted pavement. Looking around as we walked, it would seem--the animals were also feeling the heat. Their way of coping was to …lie down and do absolutely nothing.






I can totally relate to these animals.

When I’m hot, I’m not interested in parading around for neighbors or spectators—even if I am being coaxed with meat. A “Heidi Exhibit” on the day like our visit, would be entitled:

“Overheated Mid-Western House Bitch.

I completely understand their need to remain motionless. BUT... I paid to see them and I want to see some animals looking alive!

In addition to the comatose animals that are visible, there are many more animals you simply can’t see due to the arrangement of their habitat. I long for the zoo animals of my childhood that were in your face and doing stuff… year round. Is it SO wrong for me to miss those days? I remember Bongo the mountain gorilla, swinging on tires and throwing things in the air, indoor elephants and polar bears diving and retrieving things for fish. I’m not at all advocating animal cruelty or abuse---I’m just saying…. I miss seeing zoo animals actually moving. The Zoo we visited has multi-million dollar “natural” exhibits. I have visited many, many times and have never, ever seen a chimp, for instance. Instead of poo-flinging primates 4-feet away from my face in the 1970s “Ape House,” vacant, chimp-less acreage exists with implied sign-age:

“Sorry, Kiddies, the chimps must be hiding.”

My daughter, Krista, on the flip side, is very excited to see even part of an animal. We took several photographs of wart-hog hooves, tips of rhino’s heads, and tail of red panda. In order to please everyone (even cynical adults like me)—wouldn’t it be great to have Anima-tronic Zoo Animals be an option?

When the “live” animals are tired, grouchy, bored or...completely invisible to the naked eye, they can “punch-out” and go indoors. Then their REPLACEMENT Anima-tronic ROBOT substitutes can swing around in a duplicate exhibit, pivoting to the right like new “Match Game” contestants.

This would absolutely fool young children. Imagine their glee if a sleeping Anima-tronic Animal suddenly whipped its tail, or raised its head a bit. The robot animals could be fashioned to make very small movements that replicate their models. I’d rather see a robot animal than watch “piles” of real animals—or animal-less exhibits!

…But that’s just me.

Maybe they have Anima-tronic housewives too? My husband would love that.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

CRUSTS, LIES and NOSEPICKING

My daughter was having a rare, pouting moment the other day so I said:

“You’d better watch out or your face will stay that way.”

The warning I gave her was purely instinctual. I heard that same thing from my Mom dozens of times. I said that because I wanted her to stop frowning. I could have just as easily said:

“You should stop frowning honey, because if you don’t, the evil warthogs that live in the bowels of the earth, will slither up the plumbing and rip off your toenails.”

No more false than the “frozen face” threat, but with an added touch of fear thrown in for additional manipulation.

My daughter is 8, and isn’t easily fooled. She would have totally laughed at the “warthog” thing, though.

During my first 5-6 years, I believed all my Mom and Grandma’s lies intended to fool me into socially acceptable behavior. I remember lying awake wondering what else I wasn’t supposed to do that they’d forgotten to tell me or that I hadn’t been caught doing yet. For example, I distinctly remember pushing really hard on my eyeballs at night to create kind of an alternate dimension full of “fire-worky” sparkly colors, then guiltily thinking I shouldn’t be doing it. I’m still waiting for my eyes to invert or be stricken blind as a result. Is it any wonder I’m strange? My childhood was built on paranoid, irrational threats. So, in retaliation, I’m exposing….

….SOME LIES MY MOTHER AND GRANDMA TOLD ME:

Lie #1: I became a carbo-aholic, bread-eating FOOL thinking if I ate all kinds of bread crusts my hair would become curly. I have a lifetime of perm receipts to prove that isn’t true.

Lie #2: Is my thick, middle-section the result of years of swallowing gum wads which ultimately created a gigantic stalagmite in my stomach? I think not! It’s probably not a good idea to swallow gum, just because it isn’t food—plus if it’s a big enough piece you could choke. Still….. swallow your gum if you want to. The end result will ultimately be ….an end result (wink).

Lie #3: The ice cream man plays music when he’s out of ice cream. That’s just cruel.

Lie #4: My personal favorite: If you pick your nose, your finger will stick there. No, it won’t. In fact, your nostril is EXACTLY the right size for your index finger to fit in and out perfectly. It doesn’t matter what size nostril you have either, because the size of your nostril directly corresponds with the size of your index finger. What’s more, there are some boogers that HAVE to be removed via the pick-method. Nose-picking has a long evolutionary history too and has been researched thoroughly. Dr. Thomas Harrison from Harvard University, in 1987, suggests, in his paper entitled: “Nose-Picking in the Pongidae and Its Implication for Human Evolution” that evidence of such behavior goes back some 20 million years! Grandma was SO Lying.

Lie #5: “Better watch out, better not pout, better not cry, I’m telling you why, etc, etc.” That one worked. I wanted presents.

Here’s one I’m still afraid of though:

Lie #6: (or is it?) If you cross your eyes they’ll stick that way. Just in case there’s any truth in that warning, I’m not taking any chances. I’m too busy anyway, getting ice cream off the ice cream truck and swallowing big, giant pieces of gum. I might even pick my nose too!


Sunday, July 6, 2008

There’s a white-hair in my eyebrow and I don’t know whose it is….

….I tried to brush it away, but it must have somehow adhered itself to the rest of my eyebrow. I rub. Shockingly—I have grown my own white eyebrow hair. Suddenly my youth is gone—I am 150 years old.

I associate white eyebrows with people like Santa Claus, Oompa Loompas (the “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” variety--not the later “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” “chones”)…and my 96-year-old Great-Aunt Louise. Stray white and grey hairs are to be expected past 30….but not on my face!!

I riffle through my cosmetics bag looking for either tweezers or a brown magic marker…or both.

Yesterday, I was driving, and I looked at the hands on the steering wheel-- which clearly were not mine!! The hands at 10 and 2 had age freckles and wrinkles. I remember those old dish-liquid ads where the mother and daughter hide behind the plates and put up just their hands so the consumer could judge whose hands were whose. These hands would never fool anyone into thinking they were my daughter’s.

Will they ever bring back ladies fashion wrist-to-elbow gloves?

I have a spunky, young-person spirit. I am just wearing a “nearing-middle-aged woman”… suit. I didn’t ask for this suit. I’d like to unzip it and climb out—find my old body again and wear short-shorts. I fear though, as I unzip the suit, I’d tear my rotator cuff, topple over and break a hip. Inside, I am a tiger, not a playtipus who says “oof” every time she gets up from the sofa. Why such a “mindset vs. looks” discrepancy and what is the solution?

Hair-dye: BIG fan of hair dye—but it’s hard to get right on your own. I’ve had mine go lavender on me trying to save a buck. One of my part-time jobs is devoted to earning enough money to cover the cost of my chronic hair color habit. Hats, wigs, turbans also pose possible answers I’ve explored.

Plastic Surgery: The older I get the more I understand multiple points of view. The world of black and white has evolved over these years into a mauvy, grey-greenish, macaroni and cheese color—with more colors being added every day. I understand why women want to change their outer appearance to match the inner-self. I just could not “elect” to have my body cut open or injected with goop.

Teeth-Whitening: I will admit to trying this years ago. I spent a fortune having a dentist make a mold of my teeth, then build custom “trays” to inject this bleechy stuff into so I could wear them for several hours a day. Only the edges of my teeth ever got whiter. I now have this eerie “set” of plaster teeth as a souvenir, which if I were ambitious enough, could “hinge” and put out as a Halloween nick-nack.

But white eyebrows—what to do about them? If I pluck them out—sooner or later I’ll end up WITHOUT any and look like guy in “The Wall” or my Grandma, who I busted eyebrow-less one day when I was a kid without her usual drawn-on arches, and had a recurring nightmare involving her and some “Lost in Space” anti-matter world. Dying them, I’ve read, can cause blindness.

I’ll keep trying to fight old age, though. If you ever see the outer-shell of an older- woman lyng somewhere, you’ll know I’ve made a break for it!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Warning!! Parents—Guard your yearbooks!

(names were changed to protect the “innocents”)

In preparation for a reunion I’ve decided to go to, I’ve been refreshing my memory of names with faces. I own two different high school yearbooks which are strewn on the floor near my computer for quick reference.

“What does KIT mean?” asks my daughter, holding my senior yearbook.

Keep in Touch.” I say.

“What about RMA?” she asks, pointing.

“That’s Remember Me Always.” I answer

KIT and RMA were “great-grandmothers” to the more modern OMG and LMAO.

We were WAY ahead of our time.

“What about SEXY?”

WHAT??

In a milli-second, I rapidly flash back to all the autographs, forget-me-nots, comments and notes that were written in my two books. Not knowing for sure how many things she read before she asked me a question, I say:

“I need to look at that, dear.” Mother has some damage control to do.

I see what she meant. Someone had written:

“If you read Gertrude’s yearbook- I am just kidding about what I wrote. We all think you look SEXY without a bra! Just kidding!

See ya, Bruno”


I don’t recall what this about-- yet I am oddly flattered.

I read another entry:

“…It’s been a great year being just friends!! (remember?!)…

Luv ya, Herman”


Herman was dreaming when he wrote that—if I’m catching his drift.

Eleanor writes:

“…we’ll ride our bikes past “certain houses”…and maybe all four of us can go to Green School and play around.”

Love, Elli”

Yikes!

JEHOZIPHATS!! All these years of Parental Control on the television, “Kiddo-Net” only privileges, making sure Victoria’s Secret doesn’t send tantalizing catalogs to my house, and here, where ANYONE can find it…unlocked and unguarded… is a Mature-Rated book of smut starring ME!

A few people appreciated that I sat next to them in biology, helped them with algebra or made choir “bearable”, but the vast majority of entries were loaded with catch phrases of the day, winks, nudges and innuendo. All meant to be teasing, I’m sure, and probably hilarious at the time ….but MY GOD! Someone reading this would have no choice but to conclude that I was a kind-hearted and fun-loving yet bra-less and boy-crazed wild woman.

That wasn’t me at all…was it??

I think I’m going out to buy a safe and lock this treachery up for good!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Peek-a-Boob

Been clothes shopping lately? I am getting increasingly frustrated with the “fashion” available to us women! Why is there nothing else cute out there but low-cut, cleavage-tease type shirts?

I recently went on a shopping spree and discovered there are three types of shirt possibilities:

T-Shirts: Which are boxy and boring--seldom cute. I look better in my husband's t-shirts than those I've found for women.

Spaghetti-Strap Shirts: I'm more of a "lasagna-strap" girl these days.

“Peek-a-Boob” Shirts: Which "gather" in front, and/or squeeze together and expose what is squeezed together --create a line (read “arrow”) directly down the front of your shirt. Designers do this on purpose.

Is there no other way to create a flattering woman’s shirt but to have this….

Right in your face?? Distracting isn’t it?

I get that some women want that—but not everyone does. There should be more options for the rest of us!

Whatever happened to shoulder pads? I loved shoulder pads. My sons have happy memories of hugging me and having “pillowie” shoulders to rest their little heads on. They created a SHAPE (and miraculously made hips look smaller). They were a girl’s best friend! Who took them away? Where did they go?

I am the mother of two male young adults. The last thing I want, is to run up and greet my sons in some “Peek-a-Boob” shirt --or worse be greeted by one of their friends. If my father were still alive--I would have had to wear a "bib" to cover up the front of me. Sons, fathers, grandfathers and their friends, are not meant to be face to face with my.......

And as often as you see all those cleavage lines in "those" types of shirts, though, people are still not desensitized. Yesterday afternoon I had to get a few things at the store and I ran into Pastor Gerry. I spoke with him for a few minutes before realizing I had a good 4 inches of cleavage showing. I felt his awkwardness. I wasn't his fault....

I was having a hard time not looking down my OWN shirt.

Next time I go out I guess I could put a piece of duct tape there. That wouldn't be distracting, would it?


The Power of Chocolate


I am having a really stressful day. One of those days where there’s a little black rain cloud hanging over the side of your bed, so when you stand up into it, it wraps you up like a burrito. One of those days a fortune cookie or a horoscope warns you about:

Aries: “….not one of your better days—stay away from everyone and everything”

or

“Happiness will be yours if you cover up with a blanket and hide” a similar Chinese-to-English translation might read.

On this kind of day, I need to lean on my crutch. My pacifier. My one vice…Chocolate.

Problem: Since I ate the last three chocolate Necco wafers my daughter didn’t like off her plate earlier (when it was only a “Chocolate Alert”)-- there isn’t a crumb of chocolate in this house.

I know there isn’t any more because as each molecule of chocolate enters this house, I keep a feverish, 24/7 mental surveillance on it (call it “Choc-dar”). I am aware when there is a spoonful of chocolate ice cream left in a container. I lift up the chocolate syrup in the fridge to see if there’s enough for a glass of chocolate milk. I know if there are any packages of chocolate pudding lurking in the back of my cupboard. I keep track of it all in case of a “Chocolate Emergency,” --during which time I prowl through my kitchen like one of those aquarium cleaner fish and suck up all chocolate products, so there isn’t even a “Cocoa Pebble” left.

Now---I’m PANICKING!! Right now-- I might even need to be hooked up to an IV for a few thousand CCs of chocolate malt. The rapid induction into my blood stream would allow the color would return to my face, my eyeballs to un-bulge, become un-bloodshot and un-“deranged.”

I just don’t know how to cope without that luscious, silky, delicious brown shot of happiness.

I NEED MY CHOCOLATE! When I’m stressed out and I don’t have my chocolate, I’m like a bad Gremlin; a beast. Did you ever see “Witches of Eastwick” where Jack Nicholson’s character starts turning back into Mephistopheles----looking “molted” and hobbling on his cloven hoove? He’s the EASTER BUNNY compared to me when I’m “chocolate-less” during a 3-alarm “Chocolate Deprivation Catastrophe.”

Why hasn’t someone thought of a Chocolate Delivery Service? People who don’t rely on it for appeasement could be in charge of the supply. When an emergency call comes in (like mine would today), some nice calm person would take down my address and my preference for milk as opposed to dark, chewy vs crunchy and “POOF!!” an un-marked creamier-shade-than-“UPS-Brown” truck would pull up in my driveway and leave my scrumptious “fix” on my doorstep. At this point—cost is not a barrier!!

Someday—I might have to treat this addiction. Maybe they have something like a chocolate “patch” I could wear on my arm, like smokers do to kick the habit. But....

....Nah—I’d just eat it.