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Monday, February 28, 2011

Dry Hair $olutions

Early in his career, Justin Timberlake couldn't afford the good shampoo.
I came freakishly close to spending $39 on a bottle of shampoo yesterday. It would have been a crazy source of angst for me and was likely to cause me some serious stomach upset. I can’t believe how close I came.

It all started when I visited my sister Kathy in Cleveland a couple of weekends ago. I never realized how dry her family’s hair is until I got in her shower and started reading the shampoo bottles. She had a dozen or more bottles of shampoo, conditioner and other hair products in the corner shower shelf and every one of them promised to hydrate, moisturize and nourish my hair. Kathy’s family had perfectly nice, moist hair, as far as I could tell. I had no idea. I had a dickens of a time picking a shampoo, but I settled on a beautiful lavender bottle of Pureology.

Pureology promised  to penetrate my hair fibers so deeply, that my hair would be moisturized from within, which seems almost wizardly. It also would nourish my hair with soy, oat and wheat proteins, which sounded delicious. While it was at it, it would guarantee that my hair color would not fade and would be protected from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. (Possibly UVC, too, but I’m not 100 percent sure about that.) It would do all that without using harsh, color-stripping sulfates. It is also salt free. And it added rose, peppermint and green tea just for fun.

How could I not pick Pureology out of the smorgasbord of hair care products in my sister’s shower? So I squirted some in my hand and applied. I lathered. I rinsed. I did not repeat. And it’s a good thing, because I now know I used up about $4.90 worth of shampoo in that little squirt.

I must admit, it was about the loveliest shampoo I had ever used. I even went whole hog and used the Pureology Hydrate conditioner and I don’t even want to know how much that cost.

For three mornings, I used a rich person’s hair products with the wild abandon of a recent lottery winner. I felt like a million bucks. My hair looked great, smelled even better, and even though I don’t have a problem with dry hair, I’m certain my hair was in no danger of getting dried out, brittle or flaky.

“It’s really expensive,” my sister said when I casually mentioned how much I loved her shampoo and that I was thinking of getting some of my own.

I thought she meant it was more than the $1.79 Suave in the "family value size" bottle that has been my speed for years.

When we got back home, my daughter was going into CVS and asked me if I needed anything.

“Yeah, check out the price on that Pureology shampoo. If it’s not too much, get me a bottle.”  I told her if she was in doubt about what was too expensive and what I’d be OK with, to call me.

“The Pureology shampoo was $39,” she told me when she got home. “I figured you wouldn’t want it.”

She figured right. Who says daughters can’t read their mothers’ minds by 18? There is no way in hell I’d pay $39 for 10.1 ounces of shampoo, even if it does make me feel like the Breck girl.

It must just be me. I went online to find someone else who is appalled at the price of this shampoo and could only find rave reviews. One site pointed out that “it’s 100 percent vegan.” Another site identified the smell that I loved so much is a signature scent of ylang ylang, bergamot, anise and patchouli. And, what, ground up diamonds? Shredded pages from an original Guttenberg Bible?

I’d like to publicly apologize to my sister for using up so much of her pricey shampoo. To even the score, when she visits me next, I’ll have to take her to The Breakers for Sunday brunch. Because in our guest room shower, there’s nothing but Suave.
Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Jury's Out

I just heard that Mike, a college friend of mine, was called to jury duty. I also notice that he didn’t whine like a little girl and pretend to hate reporting to jury duty. We tend to complain about jury duty, despite the fact that it gets us out of our regular jobs and humdrum lives and adds intrigue, mystery, badass behavior and lawyers to our otherwise boring weekdays. And, you know, you get paid to serve on a jury, don’t you? And your pay can’t be docked for time off work. So quit pretending that you’ve got adult life down pat enough to think of jury duty will mess up your important schedule and get excited! Haven’t any of you seen Perry Mason?

The summer after my freshman year of college, when I was a waitress at Howard Johnson’s, I got called to jury duty and it was most definitely the most exciting thing that happened to me that summer.

When I got the summons, it said I was being called to a “petit” jury and I took that to mean a small, insignificant jury. Maybe for people who had done just tiny little crimes. How could “petit” mean something so different from “petite?”

So imagine my surprise when I got to the courthouse and found that I was being seated on the jury of a murder trial. And a grisly one, at that; full of abuse stories, racial motivations, and lots of sleaze (although at that time of my life, anyone who carried a handgun into a bar was relatively sleazy).

It was in Warren, Ohio, and it was 1978. A quiet black man stopped at a neighborhood bar on his way home from work, and a large angry white man with issues stopped at the same bar on his way from getting his gun at his house. After a few drinks, the white man shot the black man dead, without saying a word to him or even knowing who he was. Thus the need for a jury.

My boss, Mr. Hurley at Howard Johnson’s, told me to try to get out of it, because he needed me on the schedule. He reminded me that because I was being paid almost entirely in tips, I would be earning virtually nothing while I served on jury duty at $10 a day.

“Tell them you’re prejudiced,” Mr. Hurley actually said.

I hadn’t worked there long, but I already knew to ignore the majority of what Mr. Hurley said, other than any changes in the schedule or table stations that directly affected me.

I thought that being on a jury would be super exciting, especially compared to serving brownie sundaes and tuna melts all day. And guess what? It was.

We got to go on a bus with a police escort to the scene of the murder, wearing pancake-sized badges that said JUROR and implied that if anyone tried to talk to us or slip us a note, one of our cop bodyguards would bust some heads. Photographers snapped pictures of us getting out of the bus and going into the bar.

The jurors all went to lunch together, where one guy drank two martinis every single day. He’ll never got picked as jury foreman at this rate, I thought.

The defense attorney was very dramatic, portraying the defendant as being the world’s biggest loser. His mother took the stand and said he was abused and neglected from an early age. She even admitted to doing horrible things to him. I guess a mother does that to save her son from life in prison. The defendant blasted sad-puppy eyes at us for a solid week, like slow, fat laser beams. We got to hear about what made him snap, which apparently was his uncle being beaten to death by a group of black men in Youngstown about a year earlier. That and the drinks he had at the bar, and all the childhood abuse.

No one took exception to the portrait of the victim as being a standup guy, hard working man, loyal husband and father, who occasionally liked to stop for one drink on his way home from work.

A major issue was the fact that the defendant walked around with a gun in his pants. The prosecution argued that he had the gun with him because he intended to shoot someone that night. The defense claimed that this guy was of the ilk that carries a gun around with him like you and I carry Tic Tacs.

This is just like Perry Mason, I kept thinking.

“Objection!” the prosecutor would occasionally yell out, jumping up. Oh yeah, this is just like Perry Mason.

The only thing that could have made it more exciting was if we had been sequestered. Instead, during our deliberations, we were taken to dinner with our police bodyguards, wearing our pancake JUROR badges. And we were escorted to our cars with individual police guards, which hardly ever happens to a Hubbard girl.

I took the whole thing pretty seriously. I actually had nightmares about sleeping in and being late and being thrown in jail for contempt of court. Then I’d be shooting my own sad puppy eyes at people, trying to drum up a pity party. My mom was cutting out the stories about the trial from our Vindicator but I could tell by the size and placement of the hole that this was kind of a big deal.

By the time the whole thing was over - almost 2 weeks - I was near tears with the stress and responsibility of sending an angry, messed up white man to jail for 15-to-life. It wasn’t that I was unsure of our decision, but just the opposite. I had mentally and emotionally drained myself being so sure of it, so that when it was over, I wanted to smash something.

As we left the courtroom after it was over, the prosecutor walked up to me and Jenny, a fellow juror who I had befriended, and said, “OK, so do either of you want to talk about this?” I snapped, “No” and walked away. I was really upset that the whole court staff wasn’t as affected as I was. Why weren’t they having a big group hug and crying over this? How could they be so la-dee-da about it? It was like they did this every day.

The next day, Jenny called me and told me that the prosecutor asked her out. She went on a couple of dates with him, but it didn’t last long. I think he was kind of a dork. What kind of a prosecutor hits on a juror? Hamilton Burger would never have done that, not even with Della Street and she was a hottie.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Northern Exposure

When Floridians go north
I’ve been back and forth between Florida (home) and up north (the location formerly know as home) multiple times since the onset of cold weather.

My daughter seems to think that she might be capable of going to college in a state where it can snow in three seasons. Eighteen-year-olds are so funny sometimes.

Seven schools to visit, some multiple times, and only one in a climate equal to or hotter than where we live. This required me to dig into the bin of sweaters and coats, which I packed away three years ago. When we moved to Florida, I really never thought I’d see that stuff again. Ever. So I delved into it and it was like a reunion on Christmas morning.

I had forgotten about the red and white striped cotton knit, the blue V-neck, and the gray cashmere sweaters I bought in Lexington. Also had forgotten that the nubby brown sweater with the zipper can drive you to afternoon binge-drinking with its tiny scratchy threads at the neck. I had some fun wearing some of my old favorite sweaters, especially the ones I bought in Ireland five years ago.

Ireland has a way of making you feel like the whole world is cold and there’s a fireplace and a hot toddy in your near future. So you buy big woolly sweaters, hats, coats, scarves. Nobody goes to Ireland and buys a souvenir tank top. We were there in the summer and I bought sweaters and a wool cape. Not long after, I moved to Florida and all signs of my Ireland trip went into a bin on the top shelf of my closet.

So, I brought them out of retirement and traveled to North Carolina in a winter cold spell, Indiana right after an ice storm, and Cleveland during an ice-snow-rain-apalooza. In a few weeks, I’ll go to New York, just in time for one of their infamous March blizzards, I’m guessing.

The back and forth is surreal. Last weekend I woke up to a rental car encased in a half-inch of ice. Almost dislocated my shoulder trying to get a door open. Drove to the airport with my emergency flashers on through snow and ice. (I wanted to tape on a sign that said FLORIDA DRIVER. NOT USED TO DRIVING IN THIS. CUT SOME SLACK, but nothing would stick to the carsicle.) Got on a plane and when I walked off 2 1/2 hours later, I was in 80 degrees and sunshine. Surreal.

We’ll soon be making lists of pros and cons of each of these seven schools (and knowing my daughter’s parents, there probably will be some charts and pie graphs involved). You can bet the weather conditions will play at least a supporting role in the decision. Visiting her in the winter and having to drive in hazardous conditions is definitely in the negative column. But getting to wear my cape again is a plus.
Monday, February 21, 2011

No Talking

I spent a couple of days last week unable to talk. I had a cold and a sore throat for a couple of days, then one night I started to sound like a goat doing a Clint Eastwood impersonation. The next morning I opened my mouth and nothing came out.

It was an awkward couple of days.

Because I’m one of those people who considers all silences to be awkward silences. If there is a break in a conversation that last more than one complete breath in and out, I’m likely to fill it. Sometimes what I fill it with is just a long string of English language words that aren’t connected in any way. But at least someone’s talking.

I know that this makes me kind of annoying. I volunteer at a community center for mostly Spanish speaking immigrants and whenever I am driving anyone who doesn’t speak English, the drive is the longest most uncomfortable minutes of my year. It just seems rude to not comment on the weather or say something about a billboard or heavy traffic or light traffic or the new restaurant in that plaza.

How do you say “So, what else is going on with you guys?” in Spanish?

I know from past experience with laryngitis that the only cure is not talking for a long stretch of time. When I had chronic laryngitis in college I was prescribed a silent weekend, which is a bitter pill, let me tell you.

I tried to remember the rules of the Silent Weekend during this latest bout with laryngitis, but as it turns out, there is only one rule and its: Don’t Talk.

That is ridiculously hard. I visited my sister in Cleveland and when we arrived, she was in another part of the house. “I thought it was you, but then I didn’t hear you talking, so I figured it must be someone else.”

You never realize how obnoxious you are until you’re forced to act like a normal person and the difference is staggering.

Very few questions can be answered with a simple yes (nod of head), no (shake of head), I’m not sure (puzzled look with squinted eye), kind of (make small sideways figure 8 with face while looking straight up.) Almost everything requires words.

I somehow managed to get through it and my voice is coming back slowly. Right now I’m at the Angie Harmon stage and if I’m lucky I’ll be at Suzanne Pluchette from my college days, in a week or so.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Normal Kids + Non-Psycho Moms = Messy Houses

Point us in the direction of the white love seat, please.
I love to read my friend Jackie’s Facebook posts, because she has two little girls and they are ruling the roost. Thanks to the magic of social networking, I can watch those two kids take over a household inch by inch. Today Jackie said: “I’ve decided that the only way to keep my house clean is to not let my kids play with anything - ever.” It’s pretty entertaining. For a bystander.

My kids aren’t little anymore but I can remember being overwhelmed with tempera paint stains on the carpet, a toy box held together with duct tape that was one of the nicer things in our family room, and homework answers carved into our kitchen tabletop. And once someone brought the bubble mower in the house and nothing was ever the same again, until we moved.

I wanted a nice place to live, but I didn’t want to be one of those moms who had rules like “No Play-Doh in the House” or “Leave Your Shoes at the Front Door Like the Japanese Do” and who never let their kids play with anything - ever.

Although now that I think of it, I knew a lot of moms who were very much like that and their kids ended up turning out just fine. It’s not fair, really, when they got to have white carpet in their living rooms, highly breakable urns, and lots of No Touching zones and their kids didn’t turn out to be mental because of it. At the least, their kids should have required some expensive therapy to put us all on even footing and the same quality furniture now.

I think I was as laid back as I was because I had good role models. My own mom was pretty messy and she didn’t let dust and dirt keep her from putting on another pot of coffee, lighting up a Chesterfield and doing a crossword puzzle.  I once painted a large appliance box pink in our back yard. Neighbor kids kept coming by, so I’d run inside, take off my paint clothes, put on a regular outfit, play for a while; back home, put on the paint clothes, paint some more; another kid would come by . . .  The first time I didn’t bother to put my paint clothes back on I got pink paint all over a nice play outfit. My mom said, “Oh, Diane” and put on a pot of coffee.

When I got my own home and my sisters came to visit, I had to make sure things weren’t too clean or they would make fun of me. I loved their visits. I didn’t have to prepare at all.

And one time the Carpet Emergency Hotline Lady brought me back to reality after I flipped out over green paint on the family room rug.

I was crying when I called her. Crying. MY KIDS SPILLED GREEN PAINT ON MY CARPET! OH MY GOD! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? IT’S EVERYWHERE. (It was everywhere. It had gotten tracked in and there were green smudged footprints leading from the huge blog of paint right across the middle of the carpet.

She calmed me down and assured me it would come out.

And then I said, “I’m never going to let my kids paint in the house again.”

“Now don’t you say that,” the Carpet Emergency Hotline Lady said. “You should be proud to be the kind of mom who lets her kids paint in the house. You let them paint and we’ll get out this stain.”

And we did. And I did.

Sometimes we’d host a playgroup and if a new family came, the mom would sometimes say, “Kids! In the basement! No kids upstairs!” And I would say, “No, in my house, the kids can play right here. With their shoes on.” I was revered by all the kids and the psycho-moms thought I was stupid. But the shoes were actually necessary. You could break a toe on the toys that were lying everywhere.

I miss those kinds of messes. Now, if my house is messy, I don’t have anyone to blame it on.
Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Congressional Morals Seminar

This is the part of the transcript where the bitch sets me up.
I think I’ve figured out what I want to be when I grow up. Somebody’s got to be a Congressional Morals instructor, and I think I’m just the person to do it.

After Rep. Lee of New York became the ∞th (yes, that’s infinity-th) elected public official to be a dumb a-hole, it occurred to me that what this country needs is a seminar.

I’m the perfect person to teach it, because

  1. I always provide coffee with real milk at all meetings that I’m in charge of. No powdered Cremora.
  2. I won’t charge a lot. I’d do it for a small fee, a room at the Marriott, and a small clothing allowance. (I’m good on clothes, but I need some shoes, and accessories would be nice, if I’m going to be up in front of people.)
  3. I’m not perfect but I have never done a fraction of the bad things the average U.S. representative has done. I have lived a life of fear of getting caught, so I’ve kept myself pretty straight and narrow. And while I’m humble, I’m not afraid to lecture these guys and give them the what for. I’m getting to the age where many of them are younger than me now, so it’s getting easier to talk down to them in a condescending way and shame them.

I’m thinking we’ll offer it to incoming representatives and senators, but charge more for governors, mayors and big city council members, too. Anyone with political aspirations can join us and put it on his resume. We’ll hand out certificates that they can use in election materials.

I’ll break it down into four sessions.

Good Choices, Bad Choices and Why Your Penis Is Not Equipped to Make Either

I think there are some books already written on this topic, geared for 2nd graders, which I can use and adapt. I’ll tell my class that when they’re faced with a choice to either go straight home from work to their loving families and their center hall colonials in McLean or go to Argentina with a lingerie model, they need to stop and ask themselves: Which one will allow me to continue to draw this sweet paycheck and which one will have me living in my car and eating out of the vending machines at the bus station within a month?

How Craigslist, YouTube, Facebook, My Space and Simple Email Work

It’s hard to believe that someone who went to Harvard or has a law degree or an MBA, or was able to hold down a job good enough to move out of his mom’s basement would still not be aware that anything you post on anything on the Internet can and will bring you down.

Science is unclear as to why the average 7th grader knows this, yet a middle-aged nerd doesn’t. It may have something to do with age: By the time Gen Z is old enough to hold public office, hiding sexual liaisons may be down to a fine art and we won’t have all this fun to make.

Embracing Your Natural Tendency to Self-Sabotage

It’s not a matter of if they’ll do something outrageous that will lead to utter and complete ruin, it’s a matter of when.

One theory is that at some point between election night and the first 30 days in office, a chemical begins building up in the Ego section of the brain, which compels you to do something stupid and keep doing it until you’re caught. Your chemically altered brain will try to erase everything you’ve learned in the aforementioned Craigslist, etc. seminar, so you have to be keenly aware that it’s happening and put the kibosh on it.

We’ll provide tips on recognizing triggers, for example: Your up-to-now hot wife suddenly doesn’t seem as attractive as the crack whore you pass on your way into the city . . . You find yourself wanting to use your cell phone camera in the bathroom with the door closed . . . You look for excuses to get a post office box under an assumed name that sounds like a pro wrestler or a soap opera character . . . And then we’ll teach you how to slow down the process, at least long enough to serve two full terms.

25 Things That Are Better Than Sex

That’s not just an expression, you know. There actually are many things that are better than sex. It wouldn’t hurt to be reminded of that.

I’ll provide a handy list, laminated and with a clip to keep handy, so whenever temptation arises, you can say them aloud:

“My job. Full custody of my children. My reputation. The American people’s respect. Not being mentioned on The Daily Show. . .”

I also plan to have some guest speakers come in and give some testimonials. Marion Barry, Elliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton all have jobs, but I understand some others might be looking for something that pays a small stipend. Not mentioning any names, John Edwards, Mark Foley, Gary Hart, Mark Sanford, Larry Craig . . . The list is embarrassingly long. Better double that coffee order.
Thursday, February 10, 2011

Take Me Out to the What What?

When my son comes home for Spring Break, he’s bringing his girlfriend and her parents, so I’ve been looking for fun Florida Spring Break type activities for us to do. Things that don’t involve your run-of-the-mill Spring Break activities, such as going to bars that smell like urine and letting strangers drunk-drive you home.

I thought a nice baseball game would do the trick.

We live a few blocks from Roger Dean Stadium, which is where the Marlins and the Cardinals have spring training.

But the best thing about Roger Dean - and arguably the best thing about baseball - is the Minor League. The Jupiter Hammerheads play teams like the Bradenton Marauders, the Charlotte Stone Crabs, the Brevard County Manatees, the Fort Myers Miracle, and the Clearwater Threshers. Just the team names make me want to binge on over-salted popcorn, play the organ, and learn how to throw a ball not like a girl. Overhand.

I’ve been to some memorable baseball games, especially for someone who is not a baseball fan at all. I watched the Pirates win a World Series game and I watched Mark McGwire try to eke out another home run in his race against Sammy Sosa for the record. At those and other major league baseball games, it struck me that the spectators acted like they were sitting in their living rooms. They kind of shuffle in, not even trying to get there in time for the first pitch. They’re wearing slippers and pajama bottoms and carrying flasks and food from home. Some of them bring magazines to read during the slow periods. The pace of baseball doesn’t lend itself to standing up at all - ever - or even raising your voice unless you’re yelling “Over here! to the beer guy.

So how does Minor League Baseball even begin to get fans excited about showing up to their games? I know from my days of selling concessions at Lexington Legends games (8 games per season plus training on how to spot a fake ID, required as a marching band fundraiser) that they give a lot of tickets away just to fill some seats. There was always a bus or a bunch of handicap vans idling out front when I reported for duty. Blind kids, deaf adults, group home residents, convoys of wheelchairs, there were always groups of people who were only there because that’s where the bus was going.

Then there were the people there for the theme. About every third game there were fireworks, which would bring out the pyromaniacs, Vietnam vets and boys 4-12. Dollar Pizza Night would draw people looking for a cheap dinner. Thirsty Thursdays, where beer was $1 and unofficially “all you can drink,” brought entire fraternities and interns and residents from the hospital just getting off duty.  Hat Night . . . well, Hat Night wasn’t that popular. Everyone already has enough hats. But someone forgot to tell Minor League Baseball.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been to a baseball game. This Spring Break, I’m looking forward to the overpriced and oversalted food, some of the best lethargic-people watching ever, and I might even watch some of the game.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Boycott Part II: Where Diane Gets Her Comeuppance

My post on Boycotting Men Who Boycott American Women has completely backfired on me.

This morning, I was trolling through my Google Analytics and I noticed a large number of hits coming from a message board site, specifically a women-haters’ message board site. Boycott Boy, after spamming his link onto as many Blogspot blogs as was humanly possible, returned home to the Men Going Their Own Way website and proceeded to brag about how much Web time he’s getting.

“I can’t believe the mileage you’re getting out of this!” one guy gushed. And then they all agreed to just talk about why women are such bitches.

Under a thread titled, “Femenists (sic) pissed at men boycotting them!!” here’s what BoycottAmericanWom says about me:

“Here’s the latest pissed off American bitch who has written an article against my blog . . . Hilarious! These women are fucking retards. They do not possess a quality called introspection. It’s always someone else’s fault. American women are perfect in every single way. Therefore, it must be the rest of the world that is wrong, not themselves.”

I’m highly offended. I am not a fucking retard. And I am, too, introspective. Look at my blog for the past 3+ years. (I mean, really, please do look; I could use another hit surge.) I’ve admitted to fantasies of being in the Witness Protection Program so I could get fat and bleach my hair blonde. I’ve owned up to an unhealthy obsession with Law & Order. I’ve told everyone that I secretly love to see bad parenting because it makes me feel better about my own screw-ups, including accidentally giving my toddler son a margarita that was disguised as lemonade. All of my faults are out there for the world to see.

Everyone who knows me knows that all I really want is for people to like me. I’m a Laney girl, a Hubbard girl and a “nice Lutheran girl.” It’s part of my genetic and environmental makeup. The more doubts I have about getting in the HOV lane to heaven, the more I think my chances are better going for the Miss Congeniality award in purgatory.

And some of those guys over at Men Going Their Own Way don’t like me very much, I don’t think. S.T.A.L.K.E.R., John Rambo, Notaredneck, Dontmarry, Avoidwomen and Loser don’t know me at all, but they don’t seem very fond of me.

All I did was quote from Boycotter’s blog. He’s not spending any time defending why his buddies are so bitter and soured on women. I would definitely be interested in hearing some of the stories. I believe them when they say they have encountered some bitchy American women. You don’t have to tell me. I’ve worked with some of them. But there are some nice ones, too, and I’m one of them. I wish Boycott and his friends would admit that there are at least a handful of ladies out there who  are not going to treat them badly, secretly go off their birth control, spend all their money and then have affairs with their best friends.

I’ve never done any of those things.  And the margarita incident is no skin off your back, so you can’t judge me on that.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Five Things You Meet in My Purse

There’s a blog baton being passed around, called “Five Things You Don’t Leave the House Without.” At first I thought, Why anyone would want to read Purse. Cell phone. Keys. Altoids. APStylebook over and over again? Humans are not that different; We’re all going to leave the house with the same five things, right?

Wrong.

I looked at several of these lists online and I found some people don’t leave the house without:

Coupons

My butane cordless curling iron

Rubber band on the wrist

Kids

Vera Bradley key chain

Crochet hook and yarn

Pair of pants

Beer

Pepto, Tums, Immodum, Rolaids, Tissue

Xanax, Prozac, gum, My Pomeranian, My car


Life in the Mom Lane tagged me in the relay. This must be List Week in blogging, because several other bloggers I follow have resorted to lists. I would have done Facebook’s 65 Things About Me if I hadn’t gotten this tag from Life in the Mom Lane, so be grateful. The first question in 65 Things is “What’s the first thing you wash in the shower?” (It’s not a good sign when your answer to that or any question is “You don’t want to know.”) I might be wrong, but I don’t think my readers want to know the chronology of my hygiene. I’m of the age where there’s not enough waxing and too much tweezing going on.

Austin Powers had his own list: Testicles. Spectacles. Wallet and Watch.

And my mom had a list that she recited every time she got ready to walk out the door: Cigarettes. Glasses. Money.

Despite the fact that I have become my mother, and when I look in the mirror, she’s there looking back at me, wearing my clothes, my Five Things list is vastly different from her Cigarettes Glasses Money:

My iPhone, which doubles as my address book, Internet machine, calendar, GPS, camera, compass, photo album, Kindle book reader, flashlight and Demon game player. I’m told I can also use it to make actual telephone calls, but hey, I don’t want to get too cocky. My iPhone makes me feel like April Dancer, the Girl from U.N.C.L.E.

A debit card, which has single-handedly turned me into Jane Jetson. Money? What’s that, Mom? I recently took the final step and no longer carry around my checkbook and record my debit transactions. It’s all online, baby. (But I do record everything later, at home, when it’s not an inconvenience to others.)

Car key fob to my car which is turning me into I Dream of Jeannie. If I approach my car, it unlocks when it senses the fob. I push the Start button and my car starts, just knowing that the fob is somewhere on my person. Possessing the fob is like having Open Sesame written on my forehead. I love the fob. The fob brings magical powers.

Reading glasses, which instead of making me feel like Tina Fey make me feel more like Ted Kennedy and not the young, wavy-haired, cute one. Someday soon I hope to get Lasik surgery so that I can only have four things when I leave the house.

Membership cards, which bring me right back down to earth and make me feel like myself again. Democratic National Committee, the library, the liquor store frequent buyer club (I get points), organ donor, voter registration, and Beall’s Monday Club (“For Customers 50 and Better!)

So no cigarettes, Pomeranians, Xanax or butane curling irons for me. I’m just a simple girl with five simple things . . . that make me feel like a fictional character.
Monday, February 7, 2011

Boycotting Men Who Boycott American Women

Sometimes the comment section of this blog is funnier than I could ever hope to be. Because I’m behind on blogs and am using this week to catch up, I’m going to take the easy way out and turn my blog over to a guy who made a comment on my post My Elusive Mid-Life Crisis.  But before you go clicking on that link and looking for it, it’s not there. Here’s why:

Logging on as Anonymous (and for good reason, as you’ll soon see), he left a comment - a long one, too, with a title, a subtitle and a rallying-cry ending - and then he must’ve immediately deleted it. It never showed up on the blog post. It did however, show up in the automatic email that I get whenever there’s a comment left on my blog. It only has to be on there a nano-second to generate the email.

So here’s the comment:

BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN
Why American men should boycott American women

http://boycottamericanwomen.blogspot.com/

I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!


Where to begin . . .

His Boycott American Women blog doesn’t accept comments, so I couldn’t leave one (or leave one and then immediately delete it, which is all the rage this year). Also, there is no author named to the blog. He identifies himself only as a divorced American guy. Shocking.

Instead of actual blog posts, Boycott American Women posts testimonials from other guys who say why they are boycotting American women, for various reasons. The guys are all good looking, successful, extremely kind and gentle people, but the American women they’ve encountered have all been bitchy, princess-like, greedy, mental cases who don’t want to cook and clean, and who watch too much Sex and the City.

There are no photos of any of these guys, so you have to actually read the testimonials to get clues as to why they have been so mistreated by American girls. One guy actually says, “And I do not have a small penis!”

Here are some choice quotes from Boycott American Women:


John from USA:
My Vietnamese girlfriend will be over soon. She will probably bring some sort of wonderful Vietnamese food ( I give her money for the raw ingredients), and then we will make great love and she will snuggle with me while we watch a movie. I am a 'giver' and so is she. Find me an American woman here in America who is a 'giver' not a taker.

*

French man in Israel:
Every single american woman that I have had the displeasure of standing behind in a line or whatever has been mean and obnoxious to the poor guy/girl in the register. Wtf is up with that? They seem really spoiled and annoying. No us girlies for me! Going to avoid them like the friggin plague.

*

Christopher in Oklahoma:
I say don't get married period. But if you must be a hardhead, I believe outsourcing is the best idea.

*

Tom in Washington
American women, get used to living alone, or else become a lesbian. If you hate men so much, you might as well just come out of the closet and become a lesbian whore . . . Anyway, American women are either too stupid or too arrogant to admit to themselves and to the world that they have been brainwashed by the feminist western culture. . . So, get used to living alone with your 10 cats, or else become a lesbian. Those are your two options, American women!

*

Henry from California:
i've never met any women other than american women, but i will say they (American women) are a huge pain in the ass and i couldn't imagine women from any other country being any worse than american women.

*

Not even a first  name on this one:
Feminism is directly responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And to anyone who doubts that feminism is a major cause of this bloody war, let's not forget that feminists have openly tried to justify this war in the name of "liberating the Afghan women". If these scumbag feminists feel that way, why don't THEY go out to the front lines? That would be REAL EQUAL RIGHTS! But no, they send the men off to go die so that they can continue to sit on their fat ass and watch Sex in the City.


*

Mark from the USA:
Many foreign women have much nicer body shapes, more feminine traits and a lot still have nice long hair, opposed to the boyish low-maintenance short cuts that most American women get by their mid to late teens and never grow back.


Since there is no contact information, no email address, no way to comment on the Boycott American Women blog, I think it’s fantastic that he was able to find all these testimonials. There must be a secret club or something.

He probably doesn’t know enough about SEO writing to realize that by next week, this blog, the one you’re reading now, will probably show up higher in a Google search for “Boycott American Women,” just because I used that phrase so much.

Boycott American Women.  Boycott American Women.

I’m terrible, I know. Spiteful and mean. But then again, I am an American woman.
Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Elusive Mid-Life Crisis

My husband and I were at the kitchen counter this morning and he was giving me the wrap-up of his pre-dawn gym visit and I asked him if The Grunter was there.

“How old is The Grunter, anyway?” I asked. I’ve only heard tales of this guy, but he is legendary and is mentioned in all stories about the pitfalls of going to the gym after 5:30 a.m.

I knew the answer before he even said it. 


“Mid-40s,” we both said simultaneously. Figures. The Grunter is entrenched in a mid-life crisis that is taking the form of proving that he’s a stud. He wants everyone to know how studly he is, even the blind. So he grunts when he lifts weights.

According to my husband and the Legend of the Abacoa Gym Grunter, the guy grunts so loudly that the other gym rats can hear him over their iPod earphones.

I guess we should be grateful he didn’t pick speeding and swerving, the most popular mid-life crisis option for men in South Florida. Showing everyone how fast you do everything is another way to prove your masculinity. Because, you know, chicks dig a guy who’s in a hurry.

I got to thinking about mid-life crises and the fact that I’m still waiting for mine. The fact that I’m already 52 can only mean that it’s going to be a whopper when it finally arrives.

I’ve been waiting for it since I was in my mid-30s. That was back when I thought 30 was mid-life. I tried to assign the Mid-Life Crisis label to every stupid little thing I did, thinking that if my mid-life crisis was over, I could safely get on with aging gracefully, living a life of dignity and grace, and staying out of the tabloid headlines that start out “HOUSEWIFE SHOCKER” or “SUBURBAN MOM OF 3 ____________S!”

I got two speeding tickets in a 6-month period and called that a mid-life crisis. When that didn’t take, I claimed crisis when I went on a vacation without my husband or kids. No one missed me and we didn’t even come close to divorce proceedings, so no deal. (It probably didn’t help that I was asleep by 9 every night of my wild weekend.) I got braces . . . does that count? I was 49 and just vain enough that I wanted straight bottom teeth and was willing to endure the smirks, questions and muffled laughter at my pronunciation of “self serve gas station.” However, I wasn’t vain enough to get a nose or boob job, so I don’t think braces make the cut.

That’s not to say I didn’t have ample opportunity to strut my aging stuff. I’ve been inside tattoo parlors and opted for a henna tramp stamp that wore off in two days. I had to replace my 8-seater family truckster and instead of getting a convertible sports car, I got a Prius (which, thanks to The Other Guys is now the butt of every high school kid’s jokes. Thank you, Marky Mark). Other than the time I stabbed myself in the palm with an X-acto knife while working on a Pinewood Derby car, I have had no piercings besides one in each earlobe.

My husband used his up already, when he got a Jeep and drove it once with the top off. He expressed some skepticism that that counted, since it’s not like it was a Porsche or anything and he was only 28. But, yes, I told him, that definitely counted, so he’s done with any youthful shenanigans.

At 52, is there even a mid-life crisis in my future? If it doesn’t get here soon I’ll barely be able to enjoy it. I’m sure I couldn’t keep a motorcycle upright without the kickstand down, sports cars aren’t even allowed in the assisted living parking lots, and an affair with a younger man is out: Cutting up his steak at dinner “because we don’t want anyone to choke” is not acceptable as foreplay these days.

I guess I could go to the gym and grunt. I understand it works for some people.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brought to You By . . .

I will never blog a product endorsement for money or free stuff. Know that. I can’t stand when I’m reading a blog and all of a sudden I start to notice that they’re going on about something and then I realize that they agreed to use a freebie in return for a blog post promoting a product. I hope it was worth it, because you just turned me off and put a lock on it. I probably stopped reading you right then. If you’re going to review products, then rename your blog Product Reviews by Carol.

Having said that, I will give extra points to Skippy, who writes a blog called I Make Soap, which is nothing about making soap, so I can only guess that it’s a code word for something that I’m not cool enough to know. Skippy lives in suburban DC and although I’ve never met her, she’s like my 7th best friend. This proves that you can meet someone over the Internet and have a meaningful relationship. She’s super cheerful about life, even though she often gets dealt a raw deal. I love reading her blog because she and her family are as chipper as the families on the Olive Garden commercials, except Skippy’s family makes me happy and feel good about the future of the human race, while the Olive Garden families bring out the sarcastic, cynic in me and make me want to puke.

Skippy once wrote a blog about a tea kettle that she was given to blog about and she tried it and then reported that the tea kettle was crap. I think she said the best thing about the tea kettle was that it was orange. I love that.

So for today’s post, I’m going to tell you about some products that I’ve tried and am absolutely gushy about. I am not getting paid money or free stuff for telling you this, so you can know I must really love these things.

Wine Away

We had a dinner party on Friday night and Good News Bad News: The Bad News is that my husband spilled about 5 ounces of red wine on a beige tablecloth. He tried to create Good News that it was in a beautiful spray-shape that looked like the Spin Art at the fair done by someone who had only one color to work with: Merlot. But that wasn’t the Good News. The Good News was the woman sitting across from me told me about Wine Away, which you buy at the liquor store and spray on a red wine stain and it goes away.

This is true. I was busy the whole next day, but my friend Kathy dropped off a bottle of Wine Away. On Sunday, when the wine stain had dried to a crispy crunch, I sprayed the stain and literally watched it melt away. Thank you, tipsy and clumsy husband! for putting me in a situation where I could learn about such a wonderful product.

Non-Stick Reynolds Wrap
Oh brother, is this stuff good for lasagna. And enchiladas. And anything that has a cheesy top layer that tends to stick to the tin foil, reducing me to pick it off and eat if before I call everyone to dinner. That’s just so beneath me. So this Non-Stick Reynolds Wrap is worth every overpriced markup. I suspect that it’s just regular Reynold’s Wrap that has butter smeared on it. It could be rotting away in my drawer right now for all I know. But it works.

Bounty paper towels

This is an old product, it’s been around forever, but I would do a commercial for these paper towels for free. I use two squares of Bounty paper towels for a dish rag to wash dishes. In a pinch, I can squeeze it out and reuse it for the next three days.

[Don’t mistake Bounty for Brawny, the paper towels with the lumberjack wearing those jeans that are too tight in the crotch. Bounty is the quicker-picker-upper. Brawny is mountain man and cougar housewives. Yuck.]

I once told my husband how much I admire Bounty paper towels and he suggested I write them a letter, praising their product.

“No, because I’m afraid if I do they’ll get cocky and raise the price.”

So do me a favor and don’t tell the Bounty people how much I love their paper towels.

Bert’s Bees Stuff

It’s unlike me to spend as much on personal grooming products as Bert’s Bees. For Mother’s Day one year my kids got me a gift pack of Bert’s Bees products (probably because they had my debit card and knew no bounds) and I was instantly sold. For one thing, you can buy it at the book store, putting me one step closer to having a store where I can buy all the stuff I like - food, picture frames, wine, clothes, books, iTunes gift cards, dress shoes, and Bert’s Bees Honey Almond Hand Cream.

This has been an unpaid endorsement of Wine Away, new non-stick Reynolds Wrap, Bounty the quicker-picker-upper and Bert’s Bees Honey Almond Hand Cream and other fine products. Available at fine stores everywhere.