Sunday, May 30, 2010


Women of a certain age need help. Luckily, there is help available. With the huge Boomer Generation now approaching their dotage, the free market has seen the opportunity for huge profits, and thus the underwear and cosmetic giants have introduced many miracle products.

I have five different pairs of Spanx. These wonder undergarments slim you, make you look firm, and remain somehow comfortable for long periods. I remember the old days of long line girdles, and I DO NOT want to go back there! I have black Spanx for evening wear, skin toned Spanx for every day, and for extra special occasions, I have a Spanx bra/panty combination that makes me look fine even in a TIGHT TOP.

These days, sweating is no longer a worry. The pharmaceutical folks have figured out a way to make their deodorants PRESCRIPTION STRENGTH. This means that hot flashes can’t ruin my silk blouse. I haven’t bought a silk blouse in years, but I could if I wanted to, thanks to those scientists.

Wrinkles and crows feet? I LAUGH AT THEM. Those powder foundations seem to banish just about all my flaws! I buy creams that burn the hell out of my face when I put them on, but boy, they peel off all my spots and leave baby clear skin in their wake. Some very rich dermatologists apparently have discovered the fountain of youth, and now you don’t have to visit their competitors, the plastic surgeons! OH NO. Now you just purchase extremely expensive lotions and creams after your yearly mole check!

Those hair dye people have been making money for years. But they too have refined their products, so that you don’t have to drip dye all over your good towels or worry about dark roots. Now you can COMB on your dripless hair dye, and use a mascara-like thingy to banish roots when they show up suddenly.

I love to use facials that peel off. I study the peel after I remove it, and marvel at all that debris that must have been in my pores. I also use those scrubby, sandy exfoliators. They are guaranteed to “smooth your face and make you glow.”

I am menopausal, but I look marvelous. I have my beauty routine down to a science. I look almost as good as I did when I was in my twenties. I swagger around the Mall in my Spankified glory, glowing, radiating youth and confidence.

But it takes me two hours to get ready to leave the house.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


They say that opposites attract. That certainly seems to be the case with my marriage. He is skinny, and let’s not say that I am FAT, but that Weight Watchers is my sorority. He plays a pretty good game of golf, and I think that nothing could be more boring than hitting a little ball, then having to walk a mile, talking with three other people about Tiger Woods, and then hitting it again.

However, the source of a great deal of my angst these days is the brand new, high def, slender screened, sleek looking television in the den. Really, you can see Matt Lauer’s PORES. I am thrilled with it. I want to watch all my shows and see them in a way I have never seen them before.

My husband, the accordion man, has his own ideas about entertainment. Apparently he studies the TV guide and marks the shows he wants to TiVo with a highlighter. He then TiVos every single one of them. Nothing wrong with that. However, there is a huge imbalance that exists, and this is going to be my undoing.

Here are the shows I adore: Grey’s Anatomy. Anything involving hunting for a house, designing a house, staging battles on blocks, and losing massive amounts of weight. I also favor dog training, infomercials for gadgets that make omelets and bake cakes at the same time, and yoga shows. I love nothing more than sitting down to the TiVo with a nice steaming cup of coffee with sugarfree Vanilla dairy less creamer, a cat on my lap, to watch some rich person look at New York lofts with the Kliers.

But this is not happening! The TiVo has been taken over by my husband’s interests. The “browse recordings” screen has NOTHING TO OFFER ME. For instance, just yesterday afternoon, here was the bill of fare: “The First Christians,” “Black Holes,” “Stephen Hawking Explains the Universe,” “Lions and Other Massive Predators Killing and Eating Things Right Before Your Eyes,” “String Theory Demystified,” and last but certainly not least, “The Three Stooges.”

On that same screen, here were my options: “House Hunters” (a rerun), and “Cats 101” also a rerun. The Siamese and I were out of luck. I considered trying Stephen Hawking, but he is impossible for a lowbrow like me to fathom. “The Early Christians” was, truthfully, BORING. Oh yes, and there was one episode of “Red Green” available, but I had seen that one.

What is a person to do? We have had some discussions about the fact that Charlie RECORDS all of these shows, but rarely WATCHES them, thus leaving them on the TiVo roster, and hogging all the space. I swear, “Vandals and Goths” has been sitting there waiting for someone to watch them rape and pillage for SIX MONTHS.

I have figured out a revenge strategy, though. Once a week, in the afternoon when he is in the basement communing with his accordion, I go in and ERASE a show. Yesterday I killed “Early Attempts at Creating Atomic Fission in a Basement in Milwaukee.” So far, he hasn’t noticed.

Have any of you seen the latest “Househunters International?” Will you tell me about it?

Saturday, May 15, 2010


My husband and I are not nearly as cute as the Tripplehorns. If you don’t know who the Tripplehorns are, you aren’t getting out enough. While we are not as young or cute as the couple in the movie, we have had our share of date night calamities.

My first horrible restaurant recollection: the night of my 50th birthday, when my nerdy husband decided it would be funny to have our friends call me on my cell phone at intervals throughout the evening to wish me well. The first call was hilarious! After the tenth call, I was furious, the other patrons were seething at the constant beeping, and I developed acid reflux.

Restaurants these days rarely have dress codes. Americans are notorious for wearing golf shirts and sneakers everywhere. So when we were on vacation in New York, Charlie confidently made reservations at a fine eatery, reassuring me that our attire was entirely appropriate. Upon arrival, the maitre d’ offered us a pair of pantyhose and a necktie.

Dinner and a movie sound fun. But dinner IN THE MOVIE isn’t. At our local theatre, you can get pizza, hot dogs, Starbucks and funnel cakes right in the lobby. We were bored and hungry one Friday night, and so we decided to try it. While juggling his pizza, Charlie knocked my arm off the armrest, causing me to spill my Belgian Caramel half-caff Mocha Latte all over the lap of the woman next to me. We missed all the good sex scenes while mopping up.

Having friends over for dinner is a no brainer. Smart hostesses serve tried and true recipes with sure-fire desserts purchased from the bakery. I, on the other hand, in a social climbing frenzy, hired a chef and invited around a dozen guests for dinner. That evening began with lovely cascades of snow which quickly developed into a blizzard. The guests all arrived bedecked in their finery, but the chef got lost in the whiteout. At nine o’clock, with no chef in sight, we broke out the Cheerios. We have not seen those twelve people since.

This year, we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We are now very old, and very wise. We had the foolproof date night: Pizza carry-out, two bottles of wine, HBO, and Klondike Bars.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Every precocious little girl should have an old lady for a friend. Adults are much more interesting than children. Adults know about the world. Adults know great big words, and use them without affectation. For a child who is easily bored with childish things, an older woman can be the friend that changes life forever.

My lady friend was named Mrs. Mason. She lived next door with her irascible husband Kermit, their two adultish children, and lots and lots of books. Mrs. Mason (I was absolutely NOT allowed to call her Rebecca) had a college education, a charming lack of commitment to keeping house, and a real LIBRARY. In our house, that room was called a “rec” room, and it had our TV in it. At the Masons, the television was in the living room, and the big room on the first floor was full of books.

I went over to the Masons' house just about every day after school. I was always welcome. I followed Mrs. Mason around, watching her make supper, plant seeds, or we just sat and talked. We talked about adult things, like politics and the neighbors. I gave my opinion, and she listened. Mrs. Mason was a terrible cook, and so when she wanted to make something good, she always asked for my help. We would make a treat, and go downstairs to the library while we waited for it to bake. Mrs. Mason would bring the laundry into the library and do some ironing, while I browsed through the books, looking for a good one. I could borrow any book I wanted to. Some of the books I read from Mrs. Mason’s library included “The Thirteen Clocks,” which scared the daylights out of me; “The Complete Works of Rabelais,” which luckily had some illustrations that gave a rough idea of the goings on; and “Wuthering Heights,” which Mrs. Mason and I both LOVED, and which we discussed at length.

I was an eccentric child, and reveled in my friendship with the Mason family. None of them minded my constant presence, and all gave me the respect that most adults reserve for each other and rarely grant to kids. Apparently, the Masons were also eccentrics, but I didn’t realize that. I thought all next door neighbors dried their own herbs, dabbled in oil painting, let all the dishes sit in the sink to wash “tomorrow,” and listened to classical music on the stereo full blast.

My Mother worried that I was an annoyance next door, and she tried her best to interest me in more age appropriate pursuits, like the Girl Scouts, roller skating, and dancing lessons, but I remained steadfastly devoted to Mrs. Mason. Finally, my mother gave up, and Mrs. Mason and I continued being best chums. We experimented in making our own ink out of flowers, which didn’t work. We grew cactuses. We painted faces on rocks, and placed them artfully in the garden. But more than anything, we talked about books.

When I went to high school, I saw less and less of Mrs. Mason, who seemed very understanding. We were still very friendly, but I just ran out of spare time. However, until I got married and moved away, I made the trip next door once in awhile.

I am now at about the same age that Mrs. Mason was when we met. I don’t have a “library” in my house, but I wish I did. I am a bit eccentric. I actually HAVE dried some herbs successfully. I sometimes let the dishes sit in the sink for awhile.

But I don’t have a seven year old best friend.

Monday, May 3, 2010


“Why would anyone care if you are having a bagel?”

My husband doesn’t use Twitter. Furthermore, he is mystified why I spend so much time there. So I felt obligated to explain to him the workings of this particular social media giant. It didn’t begin well.

“Twitter is a very fast link-up for people, and when you communicate, you use only 140 characters.”


“So it will be very fast.”

“Very fast to tell the world you are having a bagel?”

“Well, I use it for more lofty reasons. I use it to promote my blog.”

“Do your blog readers want to know if you are having a bagel?”

“IT’S NOT ABOUT BAGELS! People on Twitter tweet about Haiti, politics, animal rescue, the oil spill, and women’s issues!”

“But you don’t blog about any of that. You blog about cleaning the house, infomercials, shaving your legs, and getting old. How do you Tweet about shaving your legs?”

“I don’t Tweet about shaving my legs! I tweet with others about their writing, their state of mind, books, and cooking.”

“How in heaven’s name do you tweet about someone’s state of mind in 140 characters? Howru?”

“My God, you are so dense! Twitter is responsible for spreading the news faster than CNN or CNBC! The earthquake on Haiti was reported on Twitter first!”

“But you don’t tweet about the news. You tweet about doing laundry. I still don’t understand why your hundreds of followers want to know whether you use Chlorox or all fabric bleach…”

“I have never tweeted about the laundry.”

“So give me an example of one of your tweets!”

“Ok. I say things like: visit my latest blog post about my children.”

“And you say you have HOW MANY followers?”

To all my twitter friends: I am having a bagel.

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