Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Getting Old Really Stinks!

Getting old really stinks. I mean that literally. Have any of you other over-forty types noticed that your deodorant just doesn't cut it anymore? It used to be you could shower in the a.m., apply the old deodorant and call it a day. That is until you hit forty, or in my case, it seems 42.

Now I find that the once a day deodorant generally doesn't cut it. I am not alone in this and it isn't just a female thing. After passing by hubby a few times lately, I noticed a definite "aroma" coming off of him as well. I finally pulled him aside at one of our parties and mentioned it to him. Being the better spouse as usual, he wasn't in the least offended by this and thanked me for telling him.

In my own pre-wafting days, after my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, I went on a "cull out the chemicals crusade." I began with the deodorants, vaguely remembering some chain email that fingered the stuff. So, I turned to "natural" deodorants, specifically crystal sticks. Well, though they may contain crystal, alas they are no magic balm and they can't perform the way the chemical brands do. So, I grudgingly dove back to Dove.

I have my own theory of why we seem to "ripen" with age like stinky cheese. My theory is that just as wrinkles mean we are slowly shriveling up, the odor we emit is evidence that we are slowly drying up ourselves, becoming more concentrated, more potent. Now if only that potency could translate to other arenas...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Look Just Like I Did Ten Years Ago, Only On Steroids

I went to physical therapy the other day and found myself in front of a three way mirror, diligently doing my rotator cuff exercises. I would blame the rotator cuff tendinitis on getting old, but there were a bunch of high school and college aged kids in there with me with the same injury. I will leave alone the fact that they are varsity athletes and I am a vintage athlete.

Anyway, there I was with nothing to look at but me, pretty much everywhere I turned and I couldn't help but notice that I looked like a puffed up version of my original self. Now, back when I was my original self (read before I turned forty), I always thought I would take this aging thing quite gracefully. Now that I am actually a victim of it, I must say it is rather disgraceful.

Like most things, it is easy to say and harder to do. So what of it? As Nora Ephron suggests, one can simply try to avoid mirrors, but that is a little hard to do (especially when one injures herself and ends up in front of a three way mirror...). As much as I don't like being Puff Mommy, I wouldn't become a botox pin cushion or worse. So, there is nothing to do to except accept that this is the new me. Puffy and proud. Well okay, not proud, but strong, healthy (except for the rotator cuff, which is coming along) and pretty much too busy to care too carefully what I look like...most of the time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Full Disclosure

Last week I had two medical appointments at places I hadn't been a patient of in several years. So, I had to fill out all of their forms again. When I got to the checklist of symptoms/experiences parts of these forms, I found myself laughing.

Both sets of forms stated something along the lines of "Are you experiencing now or have you ever experienced any of the following?" And so began the list with items such as: forgetfulness, dizziness, loss of memory, weight gain, weight loss, sleeplessness, difficulty sleeping, etc., thus the laughter.

Who hasn't suffered from all of the above at least "ever." If you actually took the form literally, you would think there was a lot more wrong with you than why you made the appointment in the first place. I was particularly puzzled by the question as to forgetfullness when at the orthopedic surgeon's office. I was there for my sore rotator cuff. What would that have to do with forgetfulness? Sure it is a standard medical form and none of the doctors bother to customize it, but part of me couldn't help wondering if they didn't leave that question on there so they could decide whether to keep me as a patient. I mean, would my forgetfulness cause me to forget my booked appointments?

As for weight gain and weight loss, most of us don't check those boxes (though I did check the box for weight gain recently and put next to it "due to overindulgent vacation"), but show me the person who honestly can say they have never experienced any weight gain or loss in their life and I will be pretty jealous of that person.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Now Ear This

Hubby thinks I have a hearing problem. I think he mumbles and only gets the urge to speak to me when loud music is playing in the background or when (like usual) Thing 1 is screaming at Thing 2 or vice versa.

Though I hate to admit it, he might have a wee bit of a point. While on a ferry from Seattle to Vancouver recently, I was quite puzzled by the captain's announcement. I thought he had told us that "occasionally we may pass a log with deer around it." My mind was filled with an image of a log floating in the water and several deer, also in the water, doggy paddling (deer paddling?) around it. I could see instantly why one would want to make a special announcement about that. However, I was still mystified as to why deer would be attracted to a log in the water (other than trying to hang on for deer (spelling error intended) life).

So, I decided to ask Hubby what the guy had said about deer. Hubby said "what deer?" I then explained what I thought I had heard the captain announce.
Hubby, after laughing hysterically, pointed out that the captain had actually said "occasionally we may encounter a log but will veer around it." Now why make an announcement about that? I may not be able to hear as well as I used to, but at least my creative juices are overflowing, the circling deer would have been much more interesting and noteworthy.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Zit Happens

Watching Thing 1 enter the wonderful world of puberty, I would have thought that I would have to have dug back in my mind to remember what it was like to deal with acne.

Turns out, I don't have to dig back at all. Guess who gets to experience acne twice? Moi. Sure, there are worse things that I could be experiencing and part of the reason that I continue to battle this acne thing is that I am suspect of some of the heavy duty meds they prescribed for me. I was given three things, one, a benzoil peroxide medicated wash that I was told would bleach my towels, a topical treatment called Clyndamicin, and Retin-A, which I was informed, would make my skin photosensitive, read: stay out of the sun (ha! as if we had any this summer...).

I dutifully went along with this regimen for maybe 4-5 weeks. Maybe my skin was getting better, probably it was.. However, right around that time, I became more and more uncomfortable about putting all of these things on my skin, including my chest, where of course the acne has decided to flourish. As you may know, my older sister battled breast cancer last year. So, I am not too comfortable with the use of unnecessary chemicals in general, but particularly topically applied to my chest.

In the end, I decided to stop using all but the Clyndamicin. The medicated wash was not only annoying, but I noticed it contained parabens. Parabens have been shown to be estrogen mimickers, or technically, endocrine disruptors. My sister's breast cancer was disruptive enough, thank you. I chucked the Retin-A too, for similar reasons. I am suspicious of the chemicals, and when I used it, due to the photosentive thing, I started getting darker spots on my face, despite the pronounced lack of sunshine this summer as opposed to most summers.

So, here I am alone with my acne. I am okay with it. At least the zits come and go and I know they won't leave lasting consequences or toxic buildup in my body. Zit happens, and if that is the worst of it, I'll be fine.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Killer Aerobics

So I heard this morning while at the gym that a gunman outside of Pittsburgh had rampaged an LA Fitness aerobics class, killing four women and injuring others. What is wrong with this country?

Are we safe no where? How many shooting rampages do we have to read about on a weekly basis until we say enough is enough? Time for another Million Mom March I suspect.

It is bad enough that it takes a lot of motivation to get thee to a gym to stay fit and healthy. You shouldn't have to risk your life to get healthy. I think some of these gyms will rethink some gym class titles such as Killer Core, etc.

Seriously, it will be a lot easier to make it a lot harder for these looneytunes to buy guns than it will be to build virtual prisons everywhere we go-the gym, our schools, our work, is Wal-mart next? Actually, that one would be super difficult considering they sell guns...

I am tired of hearing how the NRA is such a strong lobby and how the Constitution provides the right to bare arms. Well, we should all have the right to bare arms at the gym and work out safely. Without the fear of a crazed gunman coming into mow us down...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I've been meaning to call "Click" and "Clack" from "Car Talk" on NPR for a while now. You see, "my" 2005 Honda Pilot mysteriously won't start every once in a while. Yes, it has been to the Honda dealer-numerous times. Each time they either say there is nothing wrong with it that they can find, or they decide to order expensive and distant parts such as a new relay system, or in another visit, a new VTM-Lock thingy. Well, I am pretty sure that was the technical term.

Whether we use technical terms or not, the bottom line is, the car is NOT reliable. Not only does it not start, but on two occasions, it stalled out on my while driving along. For anyone who has experienced this, including the accompanying obscene hand gestures and glares from motorists who are forced to go around the dead car with me in it, you can relate.

It got so bad that the last time it went into "the shop" (now I think I know why they call it that, while you are awaiting to reclaim your clunker for the umpteenth time, you start thinking of buying one of the shiny new working cars on the floor so you don't have to spend as much time in the dealership), I told my husband that either we got me a different car, or else I took the other car for all time and "the next time it breaks down, we sell it, no argument."

So, wouldn't you know, yesterday, after playing tennis at a public park which was 1.5 miles away (sure, Mapquest says 1.37, but that is in the middle of the park and the tennis courts are of course, farther) we got into the steamy vehicle only to have it not start. We waited. I tried again, it didn't start. Hubby has a theory that the key immobilizer has something to do with it not starting, so, in desperation, I tried locking and unlocking it. A few times. No dice. Finally I called him and asked him what he proposed I do. I could call AAA to tow it, but to where? The last four or five times it was towed to the dealer, didn't seem to do much for its record of reliability. So, we had words, and I told him that I (ok, "we", Thing 2 had a friend over) were just going to walk back home-uphill most of the way...

Sure enough, later that night, I dropped Hubby off to "deal with the car." Wouldn't you know it started right up? Undeterred, I stood my ground and said I had pint-sized witnesses. Hubby blamed my paranoid habit of locking the car doors, for why the car hadn't started earlier. I countered that in fact, it was the one time I hadn't locked the car because it was literally in front of the court we were playing on. Rather than get in it with him, I agreed to drive the unreliable car home so he could get gas in his car, and I told him that if the car died on the way home I would be serving him with divorce papers. Luckily for him and me, I made it home and have the other car in my possession now. I won't be lulled into the fact that the car seems to be working fine for a month or two to make me take it back. I am sticking to my "guns."

How many of you think that Hubby should give in and get rid of this clunker like I do? Never mind my calling "Click" and "Clack" because I won't even trust what they say either now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Like a gazillion other folks, I just purchased the new Iphone 3GS. It is my first experience in the world of Iphone. I have to say, so far, I am pretty 'appy.'

That's right. My Iphone finally arrived on Monday morning. It was actually really easy to set up-even I could do it without assistance from Tech support (i.e., The Hubby, who, I think was disappointed to be so dispensible-he kept claiming I shouldn't get the Iphone since he doesn't have one and therefore doesn't know how it works and thus, couldn't help with my inevitable 52 million questions). So far, I have downloaded 12 additional apps. All but two of them were free and the two I paid for were ninety nine cents each. The first one is called Newspapers and allows me access to the top 50 newspapers in the world, constantly updated, all for a onetime fee of ninety nine cents. No wonder all those newspapers are going out of business. I told Hubby I was going to download it, though it cost ninety nine cents. He said "why don't you think about it overnight and decide in the morning?" I said, too late I already downloaded it!" I almost instantaneously started chuckling at all of the Brit Wit I had missed reading from The Guardian's Life & Style page (we lived in The UK for three years).

Today, after reading the New York Times Personal Technology section (yes out of the actual paper I subscribe to, though I now see why the temptation to cancel it abounds...) I read about Grocery IQ which helps you manage and customize a shopping list, including ordering it to reflect the order of products in your local store (as if I only shop at one store for all things, ha!). Of course, I immediately decided I needed to invest the ninety nine cents to get that app. Don't worry, I decided to sleep on the Cardsmart app (or some similar name) that allows you to scan pictures of your store discount cards and then scan your iphone at the store, avoiding carrying a million store discount cards. The sad truth is that I am used to carrying them around on my keychain now, and based on my ability to somehow have a cellphone that dies because I didn't think to charge it, with my luck, my Iphone would die before I got to the register and then no card, no discount...

I even found a free app that supposedly makes a sound that mosquitos don't like but we can't hear. I don't know if it will work, but hey it is free, might as well try it. I will have to remember to make sure that my phone is fully charged. I wouldn't want it to die, leaving me to be a mosquito buffet due to poor planning on my part. That is, if I ever dine out side this summer. So far, the chances have been few and far between. Cold and rainy appears to be here to stay, oh well, I will stay in and play-with my Iphone.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


It is June. I am fat and yet, cold. I am a pudgecicle. There, I have admitted it. Now what to do about that?
Well, admitting it was a big deal for me. For a long while, Denial was just a river in Egypt (da Nile). But after having several buttons and clasps pop off, I figured out I had to stop popping so much into my mouth.

So, what to do? Less. Less eating and more distractions. Time for the weapons of mass distraction. Social media, really good reads, instead of books I am reading out of a sense of obligation to get to the end and say I've read them. Oh, and of course, massages, facials and pedicures-other ways to treat myself that don't involve calories. All these within reason and an eye towards the shrinking wallet and recession.

There is that word again, recession. It seems for me that the recession has been one long sugar craving. Let's hope it stops soon. Let's also hope it warms up sometime this summer. I am tired of being a pudgecicle.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Remember When A Text Was A Mere Noun?

I enjoyed a fabulous Reunion weekend at Trinity. It was great to meet up with old friends and talk to those who we went to school with but hadn't seen in many years. Many things have changed in twenty years.

Most of us were shocked at how nice the dorms are now after a major renovation. The dorm bathroom is actually nicer than our family bathroom (which admittedly, does not say much for my family bathroom, but that is the topic of a future blog). We also heard things that were frankly unimaginable for us. Apparently, now the students are texted from the dryers in the basement when their clothes are done! As far as my class is concerned, a text was an academic book and uttering the word would not illicit much excitement. If anything, it was the opposite. Now of course, it can be very exciting to get a text.

As for dining, we had the obligatory rubber chicken at Saturday night's dinner and I noticed much later that groups of classmates were walking around with pizza boxes from Campus Pizza. I am guessing the alumni and college could have saved a lot of trouble and expense and just ordered Campus Pizza for dinner. It would have been the perfect way to reminisce.

Sunday's brunch was a different story altogether. The food was fabulous and held at Miss Porter's School-one of my classmates is married to the Head of School there. It was nice to get together in a different setting and for those who hadn't ventured to Farmington in their college years, it is a lovely spot.

When we graduated and departed Trinity all those years ago, we promised to write and call each other. Now, we promise to use that new verb "friending" to keep in touch on Facebook. Some of us can event tweet each other. It does make you wonder what wacky words we will be using in five years' time which will signify newer, even faster ways to communicate. I am just catching up on the tweeting and friending, it is hard keeping up in this new technommunity, but I will try my best.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Twentieth Reunion

I know it is hard to imagine from my youthful looking picture, taken a mere two and a half years ago, but I am going to my twentieth college reunion this weekend. In some ways, I can't imagine that 20 years have transpired since my college years. In others, though, that seems like a lifetime ago.

If someone asked me then what I would be doing twenty years from now, I am not sure how I would have replied. If someone asked me how I would feel twenty years from now, I probably would have said something very clever like, "accomplished."

How do I really feel? Mostly great. I am healthy, happily married and have two great kids (at least when they aren't screaming at each other) and one great dog (except when she digs). What of aging? Well, if you told me that I would wander from one room to another in my home and wonder aloud "now why did I come in here?," you would have been met with a laugh and a question of "twenty years from now? I will only be 42!" I guess the laugh is on me.

If you asked me if I would be bothered by wrinkles, age spots, aches, pains and a sluggish metabolism, I would have said no (again thinking these would not yet set in except for maybe the wrinkles). The reality is, I don't like the wrinkles, and the parenthesis that have come to bookend my mouth, the tightness in my left hip, etc.

But age has also brought me wisdom. I am lucky to still be here, healthy and happy twenty years later. Wrinkles and minor aches are the tolls for the journey I have taken. I have seen others not so lucky, including a handful of classmates who are no longer with us. So, I say bring on the wrinkles, it beats the alternative and gives me something to whine about as well.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Have To Get This Off My Chest

Yesterday I went to an MD for a follow up breast exam. No big deal right? Apparently no big deal medically. But I was nevertheless told that I should come back every six months to be examined (undoubtedly at a higher specialist rate) and should come back in 2 weeks for genetic counseling for being high risk for breast cancer and consider expensive gene testing that would not be covered by insurance. Huh?

The more I think about it, the more I think that all this practice wants to do is maximize the amount of money they can make off of me. My feelings of dis-ease with this practice began right when I was shown to the examining room. While the nurse who checked me in meant no offense, I was nontheless offended by her comment that "if I had to pick a kind of cancer to get, it would be a breast cancer." She espoused about how it was a really treatable disease and people are surviving it, though she quickly added, "not that I am saying it is a walk in the park."

One would think that an individual in the field of breast care would be better informed of the actual statistics surrounding breast cancer. Newsflash: women are still dying of breast cancer. Beyond that, after watching my sister suffer through diagnosis, waiting, waiting, waiting, surgery and a long and grueling treatment, I would never say that I would "pick" breast cancer.

I would like to think that this is an isolated incident, but I fear that breast cancer and the fear/risk of breast cancer is a very lucrative business. While I will go for mammograms and breast MRIs as dictated by my risk factors, I will not be returning to this practice. Sure, this has to do with my breasts, but I am going with my gut on this.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Vote with your Tech Skills

So, I have been really busy with work and have not had time (or really creative energy) to blog. But, I am back now and asking you for a favor. Please vote for Aurora Women & Girls Foundation at www.communicause.com I am going to try to get us going "viral" here and get lots of folks to vote for us! The most voted charity will get $25,000. Imagine how far that money would go to helping our Foundation help fund women and girls programs in Hartford, CT and its surrounding towns? It will also help us increase our endowment to ensure we will be here, always, for the women and girls of the future.

Thanks, tweet this link to your friends, send an email, do what you can and thanks in advance for your help!
ps I promise to write some funny stuff again really soon...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just Leaf Me With My Lettuce

Yesterday was Earth Day. Or better yet, feel guilty day. I often feel as though I am doing my little part to make the world a better, greener place. I have the right kind of light bulbs. I bring my own shopping bags to stores. I don't use chemicals outside and for the most part inside my house. I only use the dryer for towels. I cook most of my own food from scratch (yep, even much of the bread we consume). I even recently started composting.

But yesterday I was listening to the news and they were talking about how some colleges were not serving beef or cheese for Earth Day to bring attention to the amount of global warming caused by the desire for beef and dairy in our country. Now, let me say here that I gave up beef several years ago for different reasons (I don't trust the EPA, which is filled with former Cattle Industry Execs.) so I considered it an ethical bonus that I am also being green by not eating beef due to the enormous amount of water and energy that goes into each 1lb of beef that gets to market. There's the beef, but what of the dairy? Can I just say that I love dairy?

Dairy would be harder for me to give up and it make me feel like I can't enjoy a little Fromage D'affinois, a little artisanal ice cream without feeling guilty about what I am doing to the planet now. Yikes, I have enough to feel guilty about (like not spending enough quality time with my kids, like not keeping the house clean enough, like those dark chocolate covered almond turtles-which also contain dairy...). It is human nature, or at least my nature, to make me want something when it is not supposed to be good for me or I am just not supposed to have it. It was only later that I realized that the dinner I had served actually had no meat or dairy in it. If you told me I couldn't have dairy, I would be miserable until I found a way to have it.

It is enough for me to utter the words "f*%@ the planet" every now and then as I reach for the ice cream, even though I do earnestly try to do my part. This is especially the case when I walk around my neighborhood and see how many others are NOT doing there part. There is the neighbor that leaves the TV on all day long, for THE DOG. There is the neighbor with the giant SUV that "warms it up" even in April, for 5-10 minutes before revving off in it. That isn't even to mention all the ChemLawns of the world that operate in these parts.

My daughter, taken up with the "I will do this once a year on Earth day" mentality insisted last night that we had to shut off all of the lights for one minute. I, having just sat down for the first time in hours, enjoying perusing a King Arthur catalogue, protested vociferously and pointed out that NONE of our neighbors were shutting off their lights. I muttered something about the fact that I did more for the planet all year and one minute of her shutting off the lights was a drop in the bucket. Of course she tried to make me feel guilty about my protests. I in turn countered her argument by lecturing her about her love of meat and dairy and how that was killing the planet quicker than one extra minute of electricity.

It's not easy being green, but it is pretty easy to feel guilty about not being green enough.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bird Brain Part 2

A very curious thing happened yesterday as I was writing the blog about Bird Brain and how annoying it was that Bird Brain kept slamming into the window in my office, every 38 seconds or so. The curious things was that as I was finishing the blog post, Bird Brain disappeared and did not return again all day.

I immediately wondered what magical powers blogging had. Could I, by merely posting about something really annoying, have it go away like Bird Brain did? My daughter and I marveled about what a strange coincidence it was that the minute I wrote about Bird Brain, he took off. Then my daughter started annoying me while I was trying to work and I had to threaten to write a blog post about her to see if my theory of having creatures that annoy me disappear.

I remained surprised and proud over my blog superpowers for the rest of the day and night. Until this morning, when once again, Bird Brain was at it. In fact, he seems to have doubled his efforts and as I write this, the time between intervals of window crashing seems to have decreased to every 25 seconds. I guess I will have to figure another way to get rid of Bird Brain.

Bizarrely, I was reading David Sedaris' latest book, When You Are Engulfed In Flames and he has a chapter, Aerial, devoted to how he contended with birds that wanted to get into every window of his home in Normandy (I guess Bird Brain looks relatively tame in comparison). His solution was to put up photos of the 9/11 hijackers which Hugh, his partner had blown up and worked some artistic magic on, and the covers of various albums (from Hugh's collection) showing singers' faces, in each window. He found that the faces were what kept the birds away. Now, I would try this, but I think the neighbors would be a little put off by the "faces" in every window.

Sedaris had already tried the obvious Scarecrow to no avail. So, no scarecrow, no magical blog superpowers, no LP covers or photos. Anyone have a better idea? I have tried telling Bird Brain to give it up, to evolve, but he won't listen...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bird Brain

"Oh, what a cute little bird!" I imagine this is what you are thinking as you look at the image above. I, on the other hand, am thinking, that I finally got the moron to sit still long enough to get photographic evidence of it. This seemingly harmless little Robin has managed to make working from my home office, our sunroom, nearly impossible.
Today is Monday. Last Friday morning, as I sat down to work, I was met with the sound of repeated crashing noises, not even 8 feet behind my head. I turned around to investigate and there, on the branches of one of our rhodedenderons was our little friend, Bird Brain, as I have come to call him. He didn't stay there very long. Instead, he made what had to have been his 22rd attempt to crash through one of the sunroom windows. The attempts come reliably every 38 seconds or so.
I am not sure what the exact learning curve of a bird is, but unfortunatley, for my sake, despite crashing into the window all day for the last four days and running, neither is Bird Brain. I am not the only one who has been annoyed and unable to work under the constant crashing of Bird Brain against the window. My husband likes to hop on my computer over the weekend, and it seems to have been a distraction to his Dungeons and Dragons Game. My daughter has even noticed it despite having the Disney.com channel blaring while playing on Club Penguin. The whole family is annoyed and has different theories.
My husband's theory is that Bird Brain is trying to build a nest in the sun room. I am thinking that Bird Brian is fixating on the pub sign above my desk which has an English landscape scene in it. My guess is that Bird Brain thinks the landscape is real and keeps trying to fly through it. My daughter hasn't hazarded a guess but likes to marvel at all the bird poop all over the rhodedenderon leaves where Bird Brain likes to perch in between flight attempts/crashes. My thought on that is that he has stressed himself out so much he has made himself sick to his stomach.
Our bedroom closet is over this sunroom. Early this morning as I was getting dressed I heard thudding noises and was momentarily startled. I imagined an intruder in our living room. Then I remembered Bird Brain. Of course, he would be up early. What is that saying again? "The early bird gets the worm?" However, in this case, it is "the early Bird (Brain) gets the window"...and gets the window, and gets the window, and gets the window...

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Happy Medium

You have heard the saying before "the medium is the message." Well, today the message is the medium. Medium is what I have been seeking in some ways and what I have ended up with in others.

Take our new dog Hanna for instance. We love to speculate on how big she is going to get. We used to have a big dog (a samoyed), Kramer. So, I was used to having a big dog like Kramer and thought that is what I wanted when Kramer passed away and we were ready to welcome a new dog into our lives. Then we spent a few weeks in the UK with our friends Mary Jane and Rick and their little Westie Sophie, and the kids convinced me that a little dog just like Sophie was what they wanted. Okay, I agreed. I filled out the Westie rescue paperwork and got myself mentally prepared for a small dog.

Those who know me know that patience is not my strongest suit. So, after a month with no replies and no leads on Westie rescues, I went on Petfinder and started looking at other dogs. To make a long story short, along came Hanna, who was advertised as a border collie lab mix. That is what her mother was anyway. Watching her develop and hearing her "howl" outside at times, we are pretty confident that Hanna's father must have been 100% beagle. No matter, she is really cute, has a great disposition and we love her, all 28ish pounds of her at almost 9 months. Though at first I wanted a big dog, then the kids convinced me to get a little dog, we are ending up with a happy medium, by the name of Hanna.

On the other hand, quite literally, I really am seeking medium sized dishwashing gloves. I had a pair of smalls that were way too small. Then somehow I ended up buying ones that would have been comfortable only on Lurch. Add to that the fact that I kept forgetting to get new gloves when I went to the store. Finally, this week I remember to buy new gloves. After literally scaling the supermarket shelf (why they put the gloves hanging over the very top shelf is beyond me. We all know it is us little women who do the dishes and even if it were the men who did them, do you honestly think they would wear gloves to protect their hands?) I found myself trying to remember if I had originally bought medium or small. Paranoid about getting gloves that were too big again I opted to "play it safe" and got the small size.

Well the small size is definitely not too big. In fact, you would probably be amused at the nightly gyriations I perform in front of the sink after I have done the dishes and am trying to remove the gloves that have now been suctioned to my skin because they are so tight. In the end, I should have chosen the medium. Maybe I will remember next time, but given that I am now over 40 and can't seem to remember much, don't bet on it.

Dear reader, my message is this: learn from my lessons and seek the happy medium. I don't think you will go wrong, or too big or too small.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tank of America

I had to make a major deposit today for work of lots of cash and checks. I didn't want to be carrying this kind of money around, so I made sure I was at the bank right at 9:00am-the advertised opening time. This was at Bank of America's location in the center of my town.

Bank of America-yes, that bank, the one with pretty big image problems (even bigger than most). So, you would think given all of the bad publicity that the bank has been getting, that the employees, who, unlike most of the rest of America, still have jobs, would show up on time for them and open the bank on time. That would be asking too much apparently.

There were three of us crowded in the vestibule, waiting for the stroke of 9:00am. Then the strokes of 9:01 and 9:02 came and went respectively. Then I decided to knock on the door and interrupt the group breakfast the employees were having in the far corner. You would think this would rouse them to open the doors and run to their posts. Well you would think wrong. They made brief eye contact and kept eating and chatting.

Apparently, they must have been waiting for the teller manager, because when she came past us with her Dunkin Donuts breakfast in tow at 9:05 and told us we couldn't follow her in until "they" opened the doors, "they" suddenly leapt to and came to life.

Now, as I shared with the other two individuals waiting with me, I am baffled that these folks can't be ready to serve the public at the advertised time. This is especially so when you figure that they still get away with working "bankers hours" of 9-4 when the rest of us have to put in a whole day's work. Leaving that aside again, the irony too was that we were all making deposits. So much for the banks not being able to get money to hand out in loans. Maybe if they opened up in time they would get more money! The deposit I was making was for my employer, if it was my own money, I would move to another smaller bank, where the employees show up on time and are eager to serve you.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Magazine Queen Abdicates

Slowly but surely, I am cancelling my magazine subscriptions. House Beautiful, Elle Decor and the like were all fun and useful when I first moved in and needed ideas for decorating. They were also more fun when I was in the mood to spend money on such things. Those days are gone. Just like the rest of America, my wallet is now under lock and key.

Except for the references to botox and plastic surgery, I used to enjoy reading More magazine. It seemed like a cool badge of honor for us over-forty types. Now I look at the magazine and think the name More rather ironic. I think I would be more willing to pick it up and read it if it was called Less. Truthfully though, a bonus reason for getting rid of these magazines is that I never get around to reading them and then feel guilty about not doing so. I don't need another source of guilt, especially when I am paying good money for it.

You might be thinking to yourself, so she is cancelling a few magazines, what is the big deal? Well, let's put it this way, when I lived in the UK, I used to give all of my old magazines to my friend Mary Jane. Her husband once asked me if I had been stealing from a doctor's office. He couldn't believe the volume of magazines coming through the door. (I must admit to still having a weakness for those Brit magazines-sometimes I go to Borders and finger the few they carry for old times sake). So the magazine industry is going to take a hit, but it can't be helped.

The great magazine blackout is not the only change going on in my home. Here is the scoop: I am no longer dating those guys Ben & Jerry. The affair had lasted for years and we saw each other a few nights a week, despite my being married. Sadly, I am still unfaithful. But now I am back to seeing that guy I hadn't even given a second look at since high school. His name is Breyer.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Love You...From 5 Ft Away

Cold and flu season has officially arrived in our house. Thing 2 has had two bouts of pneumonia, or a pneumonia-like virus and Hubby is now recovering from a viral bronchitis that sent him to bed for a day.

Thing 1 and I, the women and girls of the family, appear to be the steel magnolias (dare I jinx myself?). To be on the safe side, I have sent myself to bed early, taken to drinking echinacea tea with fresh ginger in it, eating more oranges and avoiding Thing 2 and the Hubby.

Easier said than done. Because Thing 2 is almost 11, isn't feeling well and now needs three breathing treatments a day, I kind of can't avoid him. Hubby on the other hand, is clearly an adult, needs no breathing treatments and is generally self-sufficient. Still, it is harder to avoid him than one would think.

Just last night as I was in my mad dash to go to a school event with Thing 2, I asked Hubby where the camera was. Note: I did not ask him to get me the camera. However, he took it upon himself to not only go and get the camera (thereby touching it with his undoubtedly infectious hands) but to also take the actual camera out and turn it on to make sure it was working. The faces I was making while this little manuever was going on would be akin to the expression on Eddie Murphy's face in "Daddy Day Care" when he went to check on the state of the bathroom after one of the children had "used" it.

Of course, Hubby took great offense to this. The fact that I then proceeded to lecture him by pointing out that I had not asked him to get the camera, but rather where the camera was, did not improve relations between us. In fact, after I returned from the event, he asked me for a hug. I told him I could ill afford (okay, pun intended) to get sick, so no hug for 48 hours.

Cold and uncaring? Go ahead and call me uncaring in this instance, but it is the cold part I am trying to avoid. Being the chief cook and bottle washer in these parts, I can't afford to get sick normally. Add to this that I have a very big event going on for work next week which is all on me, and you can see why I have turned into a germaphobe.

It isn't actually that I don't care. In fact, after wiping down the phone with disinfectant (I saw him on the phone last night when I came in.) I called hubby today to see how he was feeling. Of course I do care and I do still love him, just from a safe distance and armed with disinfectant.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Recess v. Recession

Recession, Recession, Recession. It is all we hear about, it is all we think about. Being inundated with the word, I have taken to examining it more carefully. It contains the word 'recess' in it. 'Recess,' remember that word from your school days? It was the highlight of our days. We could run wild through the playground and be carefree (particularly when the teachers were looking the other way.)

What we are learning as adults, though, is that there is a big difference between 'recess' and 'recession.' 'Recess' was a time to be giddy, to go wild. 'Recessions', as we are quickly learning, are a time to be paralyzed and fearful (to use the playground analogy, it is the position you assume when playing tag and you are commanded to "freeze").

Maybe, in order to get through this 'recession' thing, we could combine the most palatable elements of the two words. While we may no longer 'go wild' in terms of spending money and resources, maybe we can remember what 'recess' was all about. It wasn't about spending lots of money and having lots of toys. It was usually about one kickball and a bunch of friends. Even the kickball was optional when playing 'tag' or 'king of the mountain.'

So, I am going to play like it is 'recess' while being mindful of the 'recession' all around me. Instead of placating myself with new 'toys', 'trips' and other things that I don't actually need, I am going to gather family and friends around and 'play' (board games, outdoor games, Wii, etc.) until I hear the words: 'recess(ion) is over.'

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dog Gone, part 2

Today it is officially a year since Kramer left our family. It is easier to write this from sunny Florida than wintry Connecticut where Kramer loved the snow. We have healed somewhat from losing Kramer and have a new love in our lives now, Hanna, who is so different from Kramer that Kramer's aura remains unchanged.

Here is what I wrote for Kramer last year when he left us:

Ode to Our Valentine: Kramer

Yesterday on Valentines Day, we said goodbye to you. Those who know me know that I don’t believe in Valentines Day and have labeled it a Hallmark Holiday. I always say, much better to do something unexpected for someone you love because you want to, not because the Hallmark corporate conscience tells you that you should.

Yesterday, we did the unexpected for you. We said goodbye.

You couldn’t get up and were in discomfort. I tried to help you but your legs had quit. I knew then that I had to put you out of your misery. It was no life for you if you couldn’t move. I never thought it would happen like this: that your mind would be fine but your body would give in. Strangely, it still was not a difficult decision. You told me in your way that you were done with this life. The raw chicken on the counter couldn’t tempt you, nor could you get yourself into the crate, though a homemade turkey dumpling beckoned to you.

Thank you for being such a great part of our lives for almost 15 years. You kept us laughing with your silly ways, from your first “suicide attempt” when you put your paw on the “up” window button in the backseat, while having your head out the window, to when you took a sudden, intense dislike to buses, trucks and any cars with especially loud engines, and lunged at these vehicles. I will always remember how you loved the arctic weather and how that first extreme winter you were in your glory, sleeping on your snow throne and forcing me to come out in pajamas and boots to chase you inside. You always wanted to be with us, though sometimes you changed your mind. Especially when we went swimming in Rhode Island and you swam in too. As soon as you could no longer stand, you tried climbing onto one of us in your panic. It was then we had to remind you that you were a snow dog, not a Labrador.

Above all, you were my best walking companion. Until the last week or so, you were always eager to go walking. You were a great walker, always at my side, never pulling. If you saw other dogs, you would moan in that cute way I will never forget. I wonder if your old British boyfriend, Jerry the Golden Retriever can sense that you are no longer with us?

It is very hard to be at home without you gone. Even though you mostly slept these last few months and had become so deaf that I could sneak out of the house to catch my early morning gym class without disturbing you, you were a constant presence in our home and in our life. I spent a lot of time yesterday telling you that I loved you and that you were a good dog. I know you heard me.

We rescued you from the CT Humane Society when you were seven months old. Your card said that you were given up for adoption because you were “too hyper, cannot control.” When we got you, you surely were that. You would jump all over us, pee in the house and leave a path of destruction of shoes, books and other items of value in your wake. We built you a cage in our first house and though you ate your way out of it numerous times, eventually you grew to like it and would go down there yourself when we were out. You were our world at that time, before Maddy and Will arrived. I used to take you for rides and dote on you. You were Diane’s boyfriend when the others didn’t work out. You liked using her lap as your pillow when we would return from Rhode Island.

You gave us quite a scare when, in your Krameresque manner, you ate your Preventic Collar and you were lifeless when we returned from a trip. We rushed you to the hospital and you came back to us.

You weren’t sure what to make of Maddy when she came home from the hospital, but you grew to love her and all the food she dropped, and you even let her ride you (as this was well before the arthritis set in). By the time William came around, you were used to these screaming little creatures that pushed you down the ladder of love. Though not to be outdone, you managed to get yourself sprayed by a skunk the first night William came home from the hospital.

When we learned we were going to England, we didn’t have time to get you microchipped and rabies tested for the 6 month waiting period. So we scrambled to find you a temporary home. Our neighbor Laurie and her kids took you in and gave you love for four long months until you could join us in England. They opened their hearts to you and you and their dog Mimi got along well. Finally, you arrived in the UK. We joked that everyone on the flight must have needed those Bose noise cancellation headphones. However, the man that delivered you to our house said that you didn’t make a peep from the airport to our house and that you only started barking when you saw me.

We were so happy to have you with us in the UK. Especially me, as I had my walking companion back. Together we explored the Esher and Claygate areas. You managed to get yourself in trouble right away of course, by stealing some food you shouldn’t have eaten and pooping all over the house. Your timing was bad. We had just left you with a young babysitter and the kids for a romantic getaway in Venice. The sitter took one look at the mess you had made and the anxious calls to Venice began. Luckily we had Judith, your faithful friend, to call upon. She came over, cleaned up your mess and took care of you. When you then became sick, she got the Claygate Vet to come and look in on you. She took care of you while the sitter bailed to her parents’ house, our kids in tow.

When we returned from Venice, it became apparent that on the boiled chicken diet that the vet had prescribed, you were becoming a giant chicken nugget. Food in, but no food out. I used my instincts and gave you some of my daily fiber pills, mixed with yogurt, and eureka, you were better.

Gradually the aches and pains and deafness began to set in. We had to make sure we got your attention so you didn’t panic when we stepped over you. We of course had to step over you because as usual, you chose to sleep right smack in the middle of the traffic flow. You started to moan and groan when you went to lie down and found it very hard to get up.

One day, you snapped at Will and Kara, our friend and babysitter. I took you to the vet and your blood work (which you needed to be sedated to draw) indicated that your liver was barely working. The ultrasound confirmed what we already suspected. There was cancer in your liver, spleen and pancreas. Dr. Gary, your new, much better vet, started to discuss biopsies and chemotherapy. I started laughing on the phone and pointed out that you had to be sedated to draw the blood, because you so hated going to the vet. I said that I wasn’t prepared to do that to you. You had lived a long, wonderful life and you were just going to ride off into the sunset in your own way. Dr. Gary understood. I asked him how long we could expect you to live, and he said six weeks to six months. That was almost two years ago.

With every vacation we booked, we thought to ourselves that sadly, this would be the last time we would have to ask Judith or Jill who also so loved you, to look after you. Yet, like the Energizer bunny, you kept going. Finding joy on your daily walks and barking at the table for the “clean plate club” that Chris had misguidedly enrolled you in. If we took too long to eat a meal, there you would be, barking for Chris’ plate to “clean up.”

We never thought you would make it back from England, yet we got to have seven glorious months with you. Until this last week or so, you still found great joy on your walks. Lately, however, I noticed that you started pulling back to indicate that you would much rather be home than on the walk. It was your own way of telling me that I needed to ready myself to walk alone.

The end came quick. You woke up early yesterday and barked to go out. Chris let you out and we heard you start yelping. You had fallen on the ice covered snow and could not get up. Chris had to put your leash on and pull you over the ice until you could stand. You could no longer stand in the kitchen and I got you to the door by pulling you with the leash and a miracle and you made one last jaunt to the bus stop with Will and I. In the mistaken belief that a bit longer of a walk would help to lubricate your joints, I tried to get you to walk past our house to the end of the street. You wanted no part of this and pulled back. I gave in. We went inside and you were not able to stand again. Not when I went and finally bought a muzzle and tried to help you, and not with the muscle relaxants I went to the vets to get for you as a last ditch effort. You spent the day in discomfort and I knew, with no uncertainty that it was time to let you go. When you soiled yourself, I begged the vet to move up the appointment so you no longer had to suffer.

You were a rescue dog and yes, we rescued you. But you rescued us too. We were rescued from an ordinary life. You were a constant companion and source of comfort. You kept us laughing and though we cry now because we miss you and are only now realizing the great impact you had on us, we are so happy to have had you in our lives. We are so happy that you were “too hyper, cannot control” for those other owners who gave you up (and named you Alaska! Yikes) because you came into our life and gave us joy and companionship. You will always be our Valentine.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Confessions of a Blog Slacker

I started my blog because I thought it would be fun and a good way to use my writing skills creatively. It was a lot of fun at the start when I wasn't working (as in paid work) very much.

However, ever since I took on a new, supposedly part-time role in August, the blog has suffered. Instead of being fun, most of the time it is a source of guilt. It is like a child I don't pay enough attention to. Or, more accurately, who I am not spending quality time with. Gone are my well thought out and funnier blogs of the beginning months. Here to stay for the time being are my quicker, quirkier perspectives.

Just add it to the list of things I have to be guilty about, like the magazines I subscribe to which I never seem to get around to reading, or the recipes I cut out and then forget about or realize I lack the energy to shop for and then make. No wonder blogging is such an attractive thing to we women, it is a way to release energy, and another thing to add to our massive to-do lists.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Skirting The Issue

Last night I locked myself in the closet and tried to clean the mess up. It was total pantamonium. That is no spelling error. It looked like a wild beast had charged through all of my dark colored pants, leaving a trail of destruction. Well, at least the beast part was true.

It was the sad remains of trying to find a pair that would fit me after the gluttony of the holidays. Gone arethe guilded days of eating. Here lies the sad reality. None of the pants fit. Okay, well, some of them "fit" only in the most technical sense. But, wearing them outside of my closet would have resulted in a serious fashion felony. I would have been guilty of gross distortion as to my actual body image.

I cleaned up the whole closet, but I couldn't bear to hang the pants up. I mean, why bother? They don't actually fit now, so why hang them up again. Hanging them would be a sign of hopefulness. Did I mention it was 10:00pm at night? I am very pragmatic when it comes to expending any energy when it comes to my clothes. That is why, back when I used to have clothes that needed to be ironed, I would only grudgingly iron them immediately before wearing them. My mother would constantly lecture me that I should set aside one night and iron all of the clothes that needed to be ironed. That struck me as overly confident that I would definitely get the opportunity to wear them. If I was going to get into a car accident tomorrow that would put me out of commission for a while, I imagined that while I convalesced, I would be extra bitter that I wasted those hours ironing clothes that I wasn't going to be able to wear.

So, you see why I won't put the time and energy into hanging those pants up now (so what if it would take only 10 minutes? That is ten minutes of valuable time doing something else, like whining about this issue in a blog post). Maybe I will have the confidence to hang them back up today after I polish off the last offending bit of Christmas excess-the peanut brittle. Then, no more temptations and no more excuses.

In the meantime, I have relied on the most wonderful fashion accessory of all time. The skirt. Sure, it gets a bit drafty in the winter time, but when all of your other options make your legs look like cocktail franks, you embrace the skirt and brace the wind. The only thing better than the skirt in these dire days of post Christmas reality, is of course, the skirt with the elastic waist band. Talk about a true friend, with you through thick and thin, literally, though thin hasn't been around much of late.

As for the pants, I hope to get back to them and not have to buy a new set. I am going to the gym again and not scarfing down all kinds calorie laden tidbits (at least not regularly). I am getting back on track. So, I should probably hang those pants up before my daughter reminds me that I promised to make homemade cookies with her this afternoon.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ho Ho Go!

Okay, I am so over the holidays. I can't wait to pack Christmas back up in its box. I got yelled at last night by hubby for taking down all the candles in the upstairs windows. So what if I am a party pooper. Enough with the excess, it is time to get right back to the recession and the grim prospects at hand.

Speaking of hands, if I could get my hand out of the 2 lb. box of See's candies that our friends Susan and Eric brought over, I might have a better chance of getting my butt back in the pants that seem to have shrunk as small as my wallet. It isn't just the See's. There is also the homemade peanut brittle, the homemade bread (well, it did save money to bake it, too bad it now beckons me to eat it and thereby threatens any cost savings be transferred to a new larger wardrobe) and the banana pecan streusel muffins I decided to make yesterday when hubby prodded me to do something with the frozen bananas falling from the overloaded freezer.

As the guy said in that commercial for Ronco, "but wait, there's more." There is also the leftover lemon almond polenta cake which I made for my daughter to have a piece of for dessert on Christmas Eve. And the homemade cookies that hubby's Aunt sent us.

If all that fails to tempt, there is always the usual snacks, cheese and what I like to think of as "food mines" to be had. So yeah, I just want to be done with all of these things and start a new. Except I can't. Throwing out these once a year goodies would be very wasteful, especially in this economy. I know, I may as well strap them to my thighs. But, I can't bring myself to get rid of them and those nuts and chews from the See's box sure bring a measure of comfort in these uncertain times.