Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Christmas Miracle—The Transformation into My Mother is Now Complete

In an effort to trick myself out of eating all our annual Christmas baking before it gets delivered to deserving family and friends, I decided to wait until the week before Christmas to start the process.  It’s a lot harder to eat 15 dozen cookies in 6 days, then in, say, 6 weeks.
Enlisting help in this endeavor from my daughter, Krista, should make the event fun and less frenzied.  She is artistic and loves to decorate, but in this kitchen, with this time constraint, we can’t put perfect smiles on every Santa Claus, now can we? 
 “Why don’t you make all the smiles, then go back and make all the eyes, and so on?” I suggested, adding up the seeming 10 minutes each cookie is taking.
“But I want to do it this way.”
The assembly line had come to a complete steam-hissing halt.
“Krista, we have 20 million cookies to make, can you hurry it up?”  Christmas clouds are darkening, laughing has ceased and I’m starting to feel like if something pure like an Angel or a Muppet entered my kitchen, it would fall dead from the “Cheer Vacuum.”
“O.k., Krista, you keep going, I’m going to make more.”
My husband, Fred, entered the kitchen and remarked that I should have started earlier.  All it took was ONE LOOK from me, and he hurried out covering his genitalia.

In the same time I made 2 batches of fudge, 2 trays of caramel bars and removed the ceremonial molten peanut brittle from the microwave, Krista had completed 25 Santa faces--and they were magnificent.
“O.K—we’ve got gingerbread to roll out and this time we decorate before they go in the oven.”
“I think I’m going to take a break.”
 “Christmas Cookie Elves don’t take breaks!!!” I blasted, “Especially while their mothers are pouring their heart and soul into making everything… (Face reddens for dramatic effect) PERFECT!!”
At this point, Heidi had left the building, replaced by the voice of her now deceased, always Christmas-Stressed Mother.  It had to be her; I haven’t heard the words “Christmas Cookie Elves” since 1972.
I have rapid flashbacks of those hard, metal Christmas decorations that break your teeth rolling all over the floor because they never stick in the dough.  I remember her taking my little hands firmly and telling me to make the dough balls NOT sausages. I’m reeling, remembering at age 7, when I accidentally broke a glass near the cookie making station and she had to start…all…over… again.  I really, seriously thought she was going to KILL me…but she did worse.  She cried.
As soon as I realized that Dolores had channeled me, I shook and came to my senses.
“I’m taking a break too,” I said, “LET’S EAT SOME!”
If you, on my cookie recipient list, don’t get your cookies this year…they were delicious.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Putting the “Luck” in the Potluck

I earned a bad reputation for myself at a company Potluck when I accidentally added a plastic-sealed recipe fold-out to my batch of fudge.
“What are these layers made of?” one executive asked, splitting the fudge in two to reveal the white strata.
“Layers?” I asked, my eyebrows rising to my hairline.
“It looks like it has writing on it,” another executive added.
Writing on it?” My mind-- visibly racing; my forehead--wet with anxiety.
“It’s paper!” someone shouted and in a flash, everyone’s head was up, like a herd of deer who just heard a twig snap. 
Those fellow employees will never look at a plate of fudge the same way again.  They will be mistrustful and wonder, “Did some dingbat put plastic in these?”  I’ve done this to them…and I am ashamed.
I can relate to their distrust because I’ve had similar “Close Encounters of the Putrid Kind” at pretty much every Communal Food Event I’ve ever been to.  Here’s how a typical “Potluck Action” plays out:  Heidi spots the cheese and sausage tray, present at all these spreads.  Heidi takes a slice of sausage, alerting the “Sausage Preparer’s” keen ear.  In a flash, he appears at my side smiling:
 “How do ya like my sausage?”  He’s way too anxious for me to try it.  I suspect he’s a hunter, or “meat mingler” as experience has taught me.
“It’s good,” I appease, nodding, thinking, “come on, buddy, what is it? I know you wanna tell me.”
“You’re eating squirrel and wolverine sausage,” he announces with pride.
“Didn’t you make the “pulled pork” in the crock pot too?” I sputter. 
I never said it was pork.”
Trust is also key when it comes to offering temperature sensitive food.  It’s especially hard to maintain quality Potluck food control when alcohol is being consumed and dulls “Food Spoilage” senses.  After a few hours, and the third of fourth round, the SERIOUS "munchies" set in.  I've probably saved the life of many intoxicated party goers by standing in front of a suspicious shrimp ring, trying to get them interested in Doritos instead.

"Are those shrimp moving?" a guest asked.  Reanimated shrimp are a neighborhood favorite, along with a couple of my specialties: "Taco Dip" swill and "Cause of Death" potato salad. 
From the paper in my fudge incident, I realize I had poor awareness when it came to food preparation.  But I’m not the only one putting the “luck” in the Potluck.  An acquaintance of the family made these unbelievably good fruited Christmas cookies.  People would beg her to bring them to parties.  One day I went to pick up a batch, and saw her secret:  She threw a bed sheet on to the kitchen floor and tossed the hot cookies into a pile of powdered sugar.  A lovebird cage with two feathery residents hung just above it.
That wolverine sausage didn't seem so bad after that.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bagging the “Big One” Takes a Woman’s Touch

“Why don’t you just dig a pit and cover it with leaves like they did on “Gilligan’s Island”?” I suggested as my husband, Fred, was getting his stuff ready to revive his hunting spot in the woods, “That way, you can put bait on it and when Mr. Deer walks over to eat, shlooof (!)--down he goes.”
Fred ignored me.
It’s heartbreaking for me to watch Fred do all the “right” things to land a deer and then come home with unopened cans of beans, cold seat warmers and a forlorn look instead of venison.  Sometimes I wish a deer would just tap on his blind and say, “Look, I’m frickin’ starving here,” and take gun barrel like Jeff Goldblum did as “The Fly” and point it at his own head.  A mercy kill—a man can still come home proud after that.
My wish would also include “said” deer would have 20 of those “Antler Thingies” too.
As I type, Fred is out there, somewhere, planning and planting apples.  At the same time, some male deer is taking just as much time on his end trying to hide, while his mate is saying, “Why don’t you just saw those stupid things off and act like a doe.”
Since deer camp is generally a man-thing, I can’t help but think that the female intuition element has been ignored.  Like my pit suggestion—perfectly logical, unexpected. There is the matter of hoisting the deer OUT of the pit, but that still seems feasible. 
Most men sit in a deer blind during rifle season and wait.  They have a minimal view and minimal opportunity.  Therefore, my first suggestion is to hunt like a pack of wolves.  Get a group of hunting camp buddies, circle the area, corral whatever is in there into a main point (just don’t shoot across the circle).  Any meat could then be shared (rock-paper-scissors for the antler rights).
Couldn’t be simpler.
Another clever idea involves motion detecting sprinklers.  Bambi passes a certain maple tree, for example, and a sprinkler goes off---BOOM, he’s not hurt, and he’s on the run, making it easier for seated hunters to be successful.
I thought Fred would like that idea, but Mr. Negative reminded me that most rural forests aren’t plumbed.   I can’t be bothered with details like that.
My last unpopular suggestion?  Take the alcohol factor out of the picture completely.  If I drank all night and woke up at 4:00 am, I would want to shoot…myself.
Happy Hunting, Guys.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Adventures in Unremarkable Organ Removal

Distraction was the key to managing my pre-surgery jitters when last week I finally got the guts (*cough*) to have my gall bladder removed. 
The drugs didn’t come until later.
It was my husband, Fred, who accidentally cheered me up in the waiting room by trying to make a “basket” with my wadded up wet facial tissues. He missed so many times it was like watching a Laurel and Hardy movie.  By the time he finally sunk it, a crowd was engaged, Fred was red-faced from bending over and I was snorting.
“Whatever entertains you,” Fred said, embarrassed.
Next, I was kept busy trying to put my sterile gown on all by myself. I was required to ASSEMBLE the gown from scratch, snapping material together to create sleeves and various ties (A – D) threaded through various holes (1-6).  The technology was dizzying.  Finally “dressed” and on the gurney, some guy came along with an EKG machine and promptly undid everything. 
The pre-surgery fun continued with my shin wrap fitting.  These wraps inflate and deflate so you don’t get blood clots.  The irony is--I’m way more “motionless” and, thus, “blood-clot fertile” at home in front of the TV than I am during a 1 hour operation, but after a few minutes I rather liked the massage feeling my calves were getting.  It almost felt like a spa treatment. 
I was finally all hooked up to IVs, massaging shin apparatuses in place and draped in my masterpiece snap-together gown.  Naturally I had to use the bathroom.  I kept the nurses busy readying me for my bathroom trip, which resulted in approximately 2 teaspoons worth or pee.  Back to bed, I was hooked up again. 
“Do you SERIOUSLY have to go again?” Fred inquired, moments later. 
“It’s just the “idea” of “not being able to go”,” I said, pulsing the nurse-button.
For all the grief “Gally” the gall bladder had giving me these many months, I half hoped it would emerge in the operating room covered with barnacles and spikes to the horror of all who gazed upon it—an “Alien” hissing organ that fought to survive, bopping and weaving away from the surgeon’s pincers like a boxer. 
“Did the doctor write anything about my gall bladder?” I inquired, doped. 
“No, he usually dictates his notes later,” a nurse replied.
“But, did YOU see my gall bladder?” I asked. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

You Think You’ve Got it Ruff?

My owners are idiots. 
They brought me to the grandparent’s house, leashed me to a shade tree, left me a bowl of water and patted my head.  They were gone for 2 hours (that’s 14 in dog hours), during which time the old folks’ automatic sprinklers timed ‘on.’  There I was trapped in my 10 foot circle while the Ch-ch-ch-ch-tsssssssssssss Ch-ch-ch-ch- tssssssssssss spritzes of water, from which I could not escape, nailed me every 20 seconds.  Oh, they came home and felt bad, but I definitely heard some chuckling at my expense.
This latest incident follows a long summer of “First Time Dog Owner” follies with me as the main act.  Heidi’s previous blog detailing my humiliating “all-over” shave was a crock of dog-doo.  I would have titled it, “Jasmine feels all exposed and NASTY.” I’m glad she got butt-fur on her face.  If I had known it would have caused her such discomfort, I would have blown the hair up at her myself.
This all started back in July, when the “fam” took me with them to a lake house.  They let me swim and run around on the sand bar, catching Nerf balls, which was great.  But all that physical activity loosened things up and you know…I had to go.  As soon as they saw me squat (and it was WAY too late for me to stop squatting), I got yanked back in the boat while someone danced around screaming for something plastic.  I was brought to shore immediately, which I thought was silly, because I was “clearly” DONE.
A couple of weeks after the lake weekend, I started to itch--A LOT. The recommended Borax bath was supposed to dry naturally--so I couldn’t be toweled dry on my way outside.  BOY was I heavy --I could hardly move.  I couldn’t stand it…one…. more…minute… and I shook so furiously, the ceiling and walls were dripping.  That felt better.  Then my skin and hair turned snowy white.  The neighbor dogs raised their tails and growled at me.  Hey—it’s still me guys, I tried to communicate, even though I looked like the canine Methuselah.
The doctor admitted the bath didn’t help, because 2 days later I was covered in the grossest possible nodules.  She prescribed BIG green pills for my skin infection that I got to eat off a spoon with peanut butter.  That almost made up for the fact that I had to be brushed 3 times a day to get rid of the potato-chip sized flakes in my hair. 

Well, after this past weekend “Sprinkler Soak”, I decided to get even.
I tried to stay as moist as possible so the wet-dog smell would permeate the carpet and car upholstery on the drive home.  Next, I inhaled all the air in the car and exhaled it through my mouth.  It was raining so they couldn’t open the windows.  To their credit, the four of them didn’t complain much, and I got 10- 15 Pizza doggie treats just for looking cute.
Guilt is a wonderful tool.
Signed, Jasmine

Thursday, August 4, 2011

MY GOD! Animals are covered in hair!

Jasmine, our Golden Retriever, needed a special bath to help sooth a skin irritation.  My idea was to shear her hair shorter so the bath concoction would penetrate better.  I have a friend who shaves baby cows to prepare them for the county fair—BABY COWS!  How hard could clipping a 60 lb. dog be?
Ah, the naivety of a first time dog owner.
I decided I should give her a haircut before I got out anything electric.  Jasmine “laps up” any attention I give her, so for the majority of the grooming session, she lay in her deep-sleep, “Butcher Chart” pose, still, aside from her tail thumping.  The books will tell you to have her either stand or sit…but I didn’t think to consult those books.
Using the “Grab a Hank and Cut” method, I felt like the White Witch from “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” with Aslan on the stone table.  After an hour and a half of squatting, rolling and panting (me, not the dog), one slightly molted canine emerged and one garbage bag of 4” hair was harvested.  The books would tell you to bathe the dog before you trim her hair too.  Next time…
For step two, I found Fred’s hair clipper (which I use it on him semi-monthly) and popped a ¾ inch hair measurey-thingy on the end and started it up.  MY GOD!  Animals are covered in hair!  With the exception of a small portion of flesh on her belly and maybe her nose and eyeballs, everything else had follicles.  I sat on our porch outside on a non-windy, humid day with Jasmine across my lap and buzzed and buzzed until my buzzer hand was cramped and the clippers and I whined for a break. 
Then I had to flip her.
As I turned her over on her opposite side…a sudden wind blew.  A flurry of Jasmine’s fluffy white butt-hair, made fluffier from the procedures, blew up at me and stuck to my sweaty skin.  All of a sudden, I was itchy and I didn’t have enough fingers to scratch all the itches.  I wanted to quit, but I was only half done.  Back straining, arms shaking, I shore my last stripe 30 minutes later.  “Alternate Dimension” Jasmine was born--not quite a dog, not quite a sheep.  A SHOG.  She happily ran off.
Covered with dog fuzz, I wasn’t quite sure what to do next.  I didn’t want to go in the house like this.  I considered just hosing myself off outside, but I didn’t think I could do that to myself.  Finally, my solution was to strip off all my clothes in the garage, with the door closed of course, plug a small fan in and hold it up to my face to release the hair that wasn’t cemented to my skin.  I then streaked into the house for a shower.    
I startled my daughter, Krista, who had just come upstairs and who was completely oblivious to what I had been doing.  Alarmed, she asked, “Why are you naked?” 
Followed closely by, “Why are you furry?”
Shog grazing.
In the mirror, I was “The Shaggy DA” wearing a Charlton Heston (as Moses) descending the mountain with the 10 Commandments in hand, white wig.
I’m glad I’m a “fairly” hairless human, who will probably not complain about her one chin hair anytime soon.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Freddie-locks and the Three Chairs

Once upon a time, my husband, Fred, wandered around from store to store, searching for a comfortable, portable outdoor chair.  I, as his wife, decided to come to his rescue and order what claimed to be a “Mammoth” chair, suitable for giants like 6 ft 5 Fred.
“Why is the box so long?”
“All the better to seat you with, my dear.
Fred straddled the box and pulled with the strength of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  Finally, out sprang a long, long, rigid canvas anaconda-like parcel.  He set it up in the living room and unfurled the arms.  Eyes and mouths wide open, we stood in silence.  It was the “Great Chair of the Forrest” –the FATHER of camp all chairs.  Three bears and three pigs could all enjoy a little “down-time” on the chair and not rub fur or skin. Its 6-cup holder equipped arms stretched out like King Kong reaching for the Empire State Building.
Fred in his chair. 
Note feet not touching the ground
Bravely, Fred climbed 5 foot 6 inch “Mt. Chair” like Jack did his beanstalk.  Once in it, he swung his feet like a child.  “All I need is some zinc oxide for my nose and I could be a lifeguard in this thing,” he beamed.
The legend of “Fred and his Humongous Chair” would live on for centuries if he set it up… anywhere.  To enjoy campfire fun, he’d need a 7 foot marshmallow stick.  While sitting on it next November, in the snow, waiting for deer to show up, a whole herd could walk right under him, ducking their heads only slightly, whispering to each other, “Get the camera, I want a picture with his guy.” 
That chair was tooooo big.
Fred, upset.
The second chair arrived to serve its new master from a catelog.  It was stouter, but offered more power with its reinforced front legs.  Fred took the second chair with us for the weekend in the outdoors.  In a short time, it was clear that the chair was not made very well and already had a broken leg, causing Fred to sit lower...and lower…and lower.  He bound it together with half a roll of duct tape and finished the weekend. 

This chair was toooo frail, and had to go back.

Unknown short-statured person
beside King Fred.
By the time Fred’s third chair arrived, he was weary…and leery. Fred surrendered himself to this one…last…chair, and brought it with him to an outdoor music event.  At last, he was feeling kingly and confident in this, his new throne. Animals were lying down next to him, a rainbow appeared in the sky and bluebirds swooped.  All was calm and bright...because this chair was JUST right.  The only disruption to the peace of a good chair was the arrival of a "little person", whose size posed such a distracting difference to Fred's, that his friends ran for their cameras. 
But Fred has lived, so far, happy with his chair ever after.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Gall Bladder of the Pastry Whore is Enflamed

I’ve discovered there’s a whole new world of denial out there, associated with medical conditions that require non-emergency surgery.  I call it "Surgery Avoidance World."  Much like Elmo’s World on Sesame Street, it’s filled with bright colors, friendly people and most certainly NO scalpels.
I’ve heard of people who let hernias bulge so far it looked like the Loch Ness monster.  I’ve heard of people who walk around with goiters so big that bounce.  I used to wonder why they wouldn’t get those taken care of.  I don’t wonder anymore, because I’ve met them all in "Surgery Avoidance World."  The sun’s denial rays are so bright here--we don’t notice such things. 
I have gallstones, you see, and when I get a good helping of cinnamon rolls, my gall bladder screams, “You Pastry WHORE!  It’s ON!  I’m going to ENFLAME!”  And it does.  Apparently the stones are large enough that they can’t escape, but still make mischief and rattle the walls of the organ like a convict clanging his cup on the bars.
Dr. Minkey was all set to do my gall bladder-ectomy last November.  But when I heard his name, all I could think of was Peter Sellers in “Return of the Pink Panther” talking to the blind organ grinder and saying, “Filthy Minkey (“monkey” in Inspector Clousea-ease).”  I can’t possibly let someone cut into me with such a silly name, could I?  I’d be wondering where his squeeze box was, and giggle, which would probably tick him off and he’d “Whoops” drop his gum in one of the holes he would bore near my belly button and leave it to rot.  But non-emergency surgery was up to me to schedule and even though Dr. Minkey (snicker) said it would get worse…all I heard was I’m free.  Soon, my gall bladder forgave me for the doughnuts and re-friended me.  I decided if I was going to have the surgery, surely it could wait until I lost a little weight or cut out fatty foods completely.
Time marched ahead one month.
Napoleon probably had an enflamed gall bladder, because I can COMPLETELY relate to the position of his hand inside his coat.  He’s using his forearm to cradle his sore side.  Napoleon was in “Surgery Avoidance World”—and who could blame him really? He probably ate the fattiest meals possible before he posed for his painting.  See that “I’ve got a Gall-Stone” grimace?  It’s the same one your see on the Mona Lisa--who probably had an enflamed gall bladder too—solving, once and for all, the mystery of her wince/smile.  I have a dozen pictures of myself at Christmas looking like that saying, “Hurry up and take the picture so I can lie down with my pillow” like a ventriloquist.
Dr. Minkey retired two months ago, waiting for me to schedule the surgery.
My new doctor’s name is Dr. Collision.  Collision.  With a name like that, I just hope he looks where he’s going when he’s wielding that knife.
Unless my gall bladder re-friends me of course, and then I’m calling the whole thing off.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Butterfly Enemy #1 and 2 (and maybe 3)

The first time my oldest son, David, was terrorized by a butterfly, he was 3. He was sitting in a shopping cart in a flower nursery when one landed right on his nose and wouldn’t move. He cried…a lot. It was a big bug, after all.

The second time (age 5), it was when my mother innocently put on a butterfly puppet in the mall and flapped it around him. He screamed like he’d just seen …a big stuffed butterfly overtake his Grandma’s hand. I suppose it did look creepy--5 wiggling black gloved fingers and Grandma making a buzzing sound.

The third time, age 8, he was on a school trip to a butterfly house when another winged-intruder came very close to his face. A couple of nanoseconds of flailing arms and then STOMP, he killed it dead, causing a scene of unimaginable proportions including, screaming, running and hysterical zoo keepers scraping up the remains of the Ruby-throated Pussycat Swallowtail with cardboard. I’m sure there’s an age-enhanced picture of David at the zoo—even now--with a “Keep Him Away from Butterflyarium”” warning.

We’ve made gentle fun of him over the years for it and he’s taken it reasonably well.

Flash forward 20 years, when I take my first turn in a butterfly enclosure. It was very hot and humid in there--to satisfy the needs of the plants and the butterfly cocoons. There were pretty flowers, but buzzing everywhere.

Naturally, one landed on me, and I did the very uncool, “OH MY GOD!” scream and, using both my hands, rapidly flapped at it until it was gone (and I didn’t care where). The entire population of the exhibit (including the butterflies) turned to face me. The guard straightened his face menacingly. I imagined the butterflies lining up and performing stunt flights in a flying “V” and skimming my hair like bats.

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave, “the butterfly-loving guard said, which would normally have embarrassed me, but only brought me joy.

“I could kiss you, “I said, sincerely.

In the “Decontamination Chamber” where you go to make sure there are no butterflies are on you, I ran “in place” –which is “hurry up” in body language-- while a “netted” guard whisked one off my neck.

This past weekend I sat outside the zoo's new butterfly exhibit, while my daughter, Krista, and husband, Fred, went in together. I soon spotted a kindred spirit--a woman passing rapidly through the line, knocking children over, and repeating “Get me out of here!” As she rushed past the “Decontamination Chamber” and out, I spotted a butterfly on her back.

Poor thing. The woman, not the insect.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

“I *Never* Do”

I’m feeling kind of “Weddingy” these days. I just saw “Bridesmaids” and now my youngest son is engaged. A friend’s daughter is set to wed on Saturday and a neighbor in a couple of weeks.

Because I have a lot of experience in what not to do....HERE COMES THE: Wedding “I never Dos”

1. Brides--Never, EVER pretend to throw the bouquet.
I was 20 the first time I tried to catch a bouquet. I was at a wedding reception with my boyfriend. The bride positioned herself to toss the flowers backwards. Just as she made a motion to throw, I, alone, charged for it, crazed ram-like. I tripped and when I raised my head up from the grass and saw my boyfriend, now sheep-white with several men around him slapping his back and laughing. The bride had only pretended to throw it that time.

After 26 years, I still want to punch her face in.

2. Never allow yourself to be photographed doing the “Chicken Dance.”

I was having a very good time at my wedding. Such a good time, I didn’t realize that my new uncle-in-law had stopped filming the 19 year old Danish foreign exchange student and turned the camcorder on me until we were at a post-wedding gathering at the Eagles Club 2 weeks later.

“Is that you?” my husband, Fred, asked. I looked up from a conversation to see myself flapping and making “talkie-crab hands” on 5 giant T.V. screens. Thanks to a prior undocumented slow dance with Fred’s sweaty friend, my make-up was running.

I was Alice Cooper in a giant lacey albino orca suit.

Don’t even get me started on the “Hokey Pokey” clip.

3. Unless you want exploding boutonnieres roses, never order from “Discount Flowers.”

I ordered peach roses for my bouquet and the men’s boutonnieres from a cheap florist. We were outside only 10 minutes before the temperature change caused the cold flowers, pinned to the men, to explode. We’re talking Morticia Addams-like beheaded flowers. Petal-less stems. “Anti-Boutonnieres.”

4. Make sure your wedding photographer doesn’t have a brain tumor.

We took requests for extra picture copies back to our wedding photographer—who had a complete personality change and didn’t know who we were. I described us, “The Frazers. You know, exploding flowers, white nightmare “Chicken Dance”, super-model foreign exchange student?” But still, “No. Sorry.”

“What are you talking about you don’t remember—don’t you keep records?”

“I had a brain tumor removed and my short term memories are lost,” she eventually stammered. She might be able to locate the negatives… but then she asked me who I was again.

5. Never acknowledge it was your kid who took all the cheese cubes off the ice sculpture table.

Well, obviously.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Aunt Heidi Speaks on Mature Body Awareness

This is not meant to replace your annual physical, mammogram, pap-smear or prostate check.

We all remember “The MOVIE” right?  They put the boys in one room, the girls in the other to teach us about the forthcoming changes in our bodies?  How about making one for us in our late 30s, so when things start changing… again…we don’t think we’re dying?

Man Movie Highlights:

When you reach your 40s, you’ll have new and wonderful areas of expanding skin…just above your eyebrows.  Don’t worry--the hair isn’t disappearing, it’s just moved… to inside your ears.  The new 4” long eyebrow hairs you’re growing should take the focus off your shiny head.  Nature finds a way!

Speaking of ears-- it’s not your imagination-- they actually ARE getting bigger.  Don’t bother your doctor--you’re not becoming a chimp--ears grow forever.  Your nose grows forever too.  In fact, in about 30 years, you and all your male friends can have an “Elmer Fudd” look-alike contest…and you’ll all win. 
Please--don’t worry about that indentation on your “remote control” thumb.  You’re not dying.  That’s from turning the volume up…a lot.  It’s not the new plumage of ear-hair interfering with the sound waves either.  Go get an exam or one of those “Miracle Ear” thingamajigs and give your family a break…or we’ll all go deaf!

If you think I’m picking on you men—I dare you to be a 45-year old woman for a day….

Woman Movie Highlights:

I’ll start with some free association:

Turkey-neck.       Leaky Bladder.      Grey Hair.    Anti-Gravity Boobs. 

Eye-lid Hoods.     Wrinkled...EVERYTHING.    Hooves.

Dried-Up Like a Wind-Mummified Nomad.

Don’t be surprised by facial hair growth.  Like most 13-16 year old young men, peach fuzz can appear on our upper lips and chins.  And…just like 13-16 year old boy, if you shave your chin often enough, the hair will come in like Rasputin’s. 

Warring hormones will burn you like a cross on a vampire, causing sleeplessness, marital challenges and angst among your coworkers.  You’ll also have to go to the bathroom at night as often as a new puppy.  Advice:  Go to your happy place and put a piece of duct tape across your mouth…and reorient your bed so you’re closer to the bathroom.

Heidi trying to avoid being photographed.
If you’re in your 40s now, chances are you worshipped the sun as a teenager like I did.  Hope you had fun, because it’s time to pay the “Tanning Piper.”  I look so much like a spotted hyena right now and if I got on all-fours and laughed, someone would shoot me with a tranquilizer gun and haul me to the Milwaukee Zoo.  Be sure to have a “Mole/Liver Spot” map made with your doctor.  Be sure to ask for credentials if you happen to go to a “Free Full Body Scan” clinic.

If you’re having trouble reading this… 

Go get some bifocals.  There are no more “lines” to tip off people that you’re half blind.  The true tell-tale sign of a bifocal wearer is “Nodding” to find the right spot to see through.  It also makes us appear very agreeable.

Does this help in your transition into mature adulthood? 

Yeah, me neither.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I’ve Mounted WAY MORE than My Share of Birthday Saddles

Anyone out there who has darn-near hyperventilated blowing out trick candles;  who’s had 20 friends startle you in a darkened room; or who’s been attacked by 30 pink flamingos on your front lawn—and hated every second of it—let us commiserate together.

But we do like the cake and presents though.

“Is having a nice, quiet birthday too much to ask?”  I inquired of my husband, Fred, earlier this year…pre-birthday.

“But what fun is that for everyone else?” he replied and flashed that I’ve-got-something-in-the-works guilty look. 

Each year, when I blow out my birthday candles I wish the same wish—just give me my fattening dessert and don’t involve strangers with fiendish grins.  I wish, O granter of birthday wishes, that there was a law against embarrassing birthdays, so that the next time someone slips a waiter a note about my birthday, a police officer would poof in, put them in handcuffs and force THEM sit on a table-side saddle in front of 150 strangers on their 40th.

Yeah!  Ride THAT cowboy!

This year a friend offered to take me to lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant on my birthday.  I accepted, but begged her—

“Please don’t tell them it’s my birthday—I SERIOUSLY do not want to wear the sombrero!”

But…faster than you can say, “Where’s the ladies room?” a mariachi band had assembled and the Spanish speaking waiter presented me with a fabulously ornate black sombrero, fiendishly grinning, saying, “Feliz Cumpleanos!” which I hoped meant “Here is a million dollars” or  at least “We spray for head lice.”

My “Birthday Embarrassment” is not limited to dinning.  In fact, surprise parties should be listed on a bottle of Benadryl as a cause for hives.  Fred threw me a surprise party for my 33nd birthday but he now knows if he ever does that again, he should plan to sleep with one eye open and his good ear up…forever. 

Children LIVE for their birthdays and they don’t mind people staring at them waiting for their amusing reactions and having total strangers size them up to guess their age.  They squeal happily over the fuss and don’t fret about how they’re going to look in all those candid pictures (or who will post them on Facebook).  Save the parties, the hats and horns and the singing restaurant employees for the little kids….

…and leave us this old, camera-shy “Birthday Grinch” alone!  

I still want cake and presents though.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Please Don’t Let Me Sound like Charlie Sheen (repeat)

I had a job interview yesterday.  It was mental and physical Get-A-Job Olympics.  We began with the:

Job Applicant Triathlon  
In retrospect, it seemed a WHOLE lot like they were administering a psychological test, from behind a one-way glass, designed to weed out any of us job candidates (nay Olympians) from undesirable  “Charlie” personalities—those being:  Charlie Brown, Charles Manson, Chuckie and Charlie Sheen.

Event 1:  12-page Application Completion- Those fun-loving employers set us up with a clipboard and pencil on a rickety, wheeled office chair and no table. I managed to recant my life with only one episode of writer’s cramp and one small “Hoo-Hoo-Hoo-Hoo” Tigger from the 100-acre wood sound-effect when the chair moved backwards unexpectedly.
·         Charlie Brown would have talked himself out of trying.
·         Charles Manson would have tapped on the one-way glass like a bad boy does in an aquarium to make fish move.
·         Charlie Sheen would have put is feet under the chair and done 1,000 sit-ups
·         Chuckie would have scared the dickens out of the receptionist.

Event 2:   Math Test in an 80-degree Room- I haven’t had a math test since I was 16.  That fact alone made me sweat, not to mention the high room temperature.  Deductions for water requests (which I made).
·         Charlie Brown would have screamed “AAUGH!” and all you’d have seen was his mouth and the top of his nose. 
·         Charlie Sheen would have rolled it up and smoked it. 
·         Charles Manson would have scribbled swastikas on it.
·         Chuckie would have melted

Event 3:  Viewing of the Corporate Video- This doesn’t sound much like an event, but the office manager put the video on, left the room, but neglected to hit ‘play.’  The same video scene ran for 2 LONG minutes before I got up and pushed ‘play’ myself (full marks for bold movement).  They tried to increase the difficulty by seating me in the middle of the busy, distracting office environment.

·         Charlie Brown would never have pushed ‘play’.
·         Chuckie would have torched the place. 
·         Charles Manson would have interacted with the people in the TV.
·         Charlie Sheen would have found the remote and flipped around for the Porn Network.

Next was the:

Interview Hurdles
To my great relief, this morning’s interview was one-on-one.  Questions asked included the dreaded, “What is something you’d like to improve about yourself.”  I managed NOT to say, “How long do you have?” 

And finally the:

Endurance Run/Wait for the Phone Call

I’m passing the time waiting for my results by practicing sitting on an unpredictable chair and not making cartoon tiger noises.

Unless that will get me the job, in which case, “Hoo, Hoo, Hoo, Hoo!”