Your bra size, your sex life, and other things I don’t want to know about you just yet.

braTips for preventing over-sharing – Learned the awkward way.

It was our third night at an intimate guest ranch near Steamboat, during the last week of the season with only 15 guests.  Eight of us newly acquainted vacation friends who had shared a dinner table the night before were bonding over after-dinner cocktails.  Two or three drinks in, the old “let’s share something random about ourselves” game began, one by one, around the table.  (This always sounds like a good idea at the beginning.)

First up was Steve from Bermuda who follows and films whales for a hobby.  He leans down, rolls off a sock and lifts his foot. There it was: he had webbed feet. It seemed fitting since he was the one with a special fondness for aquatic life.

Next was Sue from Florida who shared her story about her psychic encounter, Mary from Denver who shared with us about her fear of touching ice, Katy from Texas with her memories of being at the resort on 9/11 and Tina originally from Montana who revealed that her husband once lived in an igloo.

Then Patty from California, after her describing her quite powerful executive job (just shy of showing us a pay stub), described a late night encounter she once had with a woman on a business trip. The night before we had learned her bra size. Suddenly it became so quiet that I noticed the sounds of country music and clanking dishes from the kitchen.

It wasn’t that I was uncomfortable our new friend’s lifestyle, as I have many friends of all persuasions whom I adore.  And it wasn’t that I was now able to visualize her 34G breasts all too clearly.  No, we simply learned too much, too soon.

One by one, each chair chirped against the wood floor as it backed from the table, as the group mustered artificial yawns and stretches and announced that we were calling it a night.   As George of Seinfeld would have explained it, our vacation friend world had now collided with the way, way too personal world.  And it was awkward.

The next morning I wondered if Patty realized how awkward the night before had become after her sharing moment.  I don’t think it crossed her mind.

So, to help those unfamiliar with sharing boundaries, here are some general topics to avoid with new acquaintances (no matter how good of an idea it seems at the time):

  • How much money you make.
  • Anything remotely sexual.
  • Your opinion on any isolating political topic.

Trust me, I’ve overshared more times than I’d like to admit, but as a general rule, I really don’t want to know how much money you make or the size of your jock strap until I’ve known you for at least six months.  And even then, I’m not sure how much I’d like to know.

 When was your last oversharing/too much information (TMI) experience?

Knock, Knock.

Not sure why I love doors so much, but I love to snap pictures of them.  The more worn the door, the better the picture and the story.   And most of my favorite door pics are from Europe, where it would seem that doors are taken less for granted as the works of art that they are.

So while I continue to look for the doorway that leads me out of my writer’s block, enjoy some of my favorite door pics, these all from Italy and Spain.

yes another madrid door
door madrid door spain doors more OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA madrid door more madrid door action OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sausage Breakfast Casserole spain door span door spanish door baby

MacGyver’s Competition: Pete Dominick

pete2

Photo from siriusxm.com

I remember riding next to my Dad in his old blue Buick with cushy seats and bouncy shocks down the turnpike.  I always thought it seemed so boring listening to his news shows that he liked where people talked on and on in monotone voices. It bored me to tears and seemed like such a grown up, old person thing to listen to nonstop.

Until I became an old person.

Hello my name is LifeonWry and I am officially a news radio addict. The first step is admitting it right?

I can’t remember the last time I listened to actual songs on my car radio. Which sounds sort of sad. But then, addiction always is.

I have one person to blame for my splurge of a subscription to XM radio and his name is Pete Dominick.  And I think I am in love with him.  My heart races a bit just writing his name, like I should start doodling my first name along with his last name…  LifeonWry Dominic …. TLA 4Ever.

MacGyver is aware of my obsession and luckily he just thinks it’s funny.

It all started with a free trial XM Radio subscription and 2008 election coverage.  And Pete Dominic on the POTUS station.  Since that time I have maintained my extravagant subscription and tried to listen to him almost every single weekday. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get out of the car when he’s talking.  I even followed him from POTUS to his new channel Indie Radio which I’m not a fan of except for his show, Standup with Pete Dominick.  All I can figure is that a big pay raise or a more flexible schedule lured him away from POTUS.  But I digress. I have remained a stalker of his loyal listener.

Pete (we’re on a first name basis but he doesn’t know it) has a background as a stand-up comedian and he is smart as hell.  He calls it like it is and is incredibly real, smart,  perfectly sarcastic, open minded, spot-on with human being behavior, and hilarious.  He’s also self deprecating to top it all off. Stop me, I’m swooning.

His show covers topics related to our world, our economy, and our issues and concerns as a society.  The other day I learned from his show that a quarter of humanity, or 1.3 billion people (in addition to the hundreds of millions who face regular blackouts) have no access to electricity and therefore must use dangerous methods like kerosene for light which poses health risks comparable to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. I also learned that WakaWaka is not only a phrase that Fozzi Bear on the Muppets used to say, but it also the name of an organization that offers low-cost energy solutions for those living off the grid to help them be self-sufficient, sustainable and safe.  Oh, and WakaWaka means ‘Shiner of Light’ in Swahili.  Who knew?

The best part of Pete’s show is that on it the staff has a great time and Pete demands respectful and intelligent debate with his guest and call-in format.  He also asks for facts when callers make wild claims or generalizations, which often produces brief and awkward but wildly entertaining moments of silence.  But he does it in a respectful way, which is a fine line that he has mastered.

Pete says he is not of any political party and that he doesn’t want people to get hung up on labels and spout party lines. He works to have callers and well educated guests from both sides of the aisle.  Potentially irate  or rude callers don’t make it through his screening system (a script which I would love to read). It’s just not that kind of show.  Clearly Pete leans a direction that I am drawn to, but he seems open to all arguments and even questions all sides of each issue to spur conversation.

He is also is a regular guy, with a wife (darn, he’s married but then so am I) and kids that he clearly loves. He also seems to have great compassion for human beings which lurks just below the surface of his bold and pointed humor.

I’ve had the call-in number ready to dial several times on my phone.  I think I even dialed it once, only to abort after becoming flustered and worried that I might sound like a stalker if I actually got to talk to him.

So there you have it.  Pete Dominick is MacGyver’s competition.  But don’t worry.  MacGyver, and Pete’s wife for that matter, have nothing to fear.

I will forever be MacGyver’s sidekick.  And his list of similar qualities makes me swoon all the more.

Plus, MacGyver can fix a carburetor with a paperclip and a toothpick with one hand tied behind his back while reading a book and three magazines, listening to jazz and making me the perfect martini.

Now I just need to get him his own radio show.

On Manners … “The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.” ― Oscar Wilde

etiquetteMy parents worked hard to teach me good manners and for this I feel quite fortunate and grateful.   As always, I am a continuous work in progress and I have far from perfected all forms of manners.  I do however strive to set a good example for my kids when it comes to simple etiquette and common courtesies.

I stand wholeheartedly behind the power of manners and courtesy.  I will take on anyone who rolls their eyes about the importance of  teaching these skills to their children, for they will be sending their offspring out into the world with a severe disadvantage.  I guarantee you that, when it comes to job interviews and promotions and just plain life, simple etiquette and common courtesy will take children much further in life than the guy or gal who knows not of manners.

These skills – learned primarily by example – help children to be more genuinely grateful rather than entitled, to have more friends and meaningful relationships, and to realize that we are all interconnected.  Quite simply, manners help us to be more human.

These are a few of the many skills that children of all ages – and frankly humans of all ages – will do well by understanding and working toward practicing as much as possible:

  • When, how and why to thank someone.
  • How to listen and not interrupt, and to let others speak (I am always trying to improve on this one).
  • Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact.  Why it matters.
  • The importance of introductions and inclusiveness in group settings.
  • How to be thoughtful.
  • How to eat at a formal dinner table and sit still at a restaurant.  Even just the basics will empower kids later in life.
  • The art of being humble rather than boastful and aware of others’ feelings (This one is a peeve of mine.).
  • How to make note (whether electronically or otherwise) of important dates or events for other people and recognize them every once in a while.
  • Respect for elders (No matter how old school they might seem).
  • To politely greet and acknowledge a new person in their home or environment.
  • To hold a door open for a person behind them when they are in close range.
  • How to actually apologize (It’s amazing how many people really don’t understand how to genuinely apologize.  You’re not apologizing if you don’t truly own your actions. See The One Minute Apology.) And no child is too young to learn how to apologize and recognize others’ feelings.
  • Letting someone go ahead of them in a long line every now and then.
  • How to say please and thank you consistently and nicely.
  • How to be compassionate.
  • Helping those less fortunate or ill, whether it be by raking their lawn, shoveling a walk or making a meal.
  • Being helpful at a retail establishment even when it’s not your job (I’m baffled by how shocked grocery checkers are at my local store when they are short-staffed and I roll up my sleeves and start bagging my own groceries instead of standing there watching.  How is this not a given?)
  • Occasionally helping strangers who may have simply dropped something or who may be unable to reach or do something.
  • Why, when and how to say excuse me when you bump into someone or walk in front of them, interrupt them, etc. (Another peeve of mine.)
  • The art of writing a simple thank you note.
  • How to give someone your full attention.
  • When to PUT THE PHONE AWAY.  (When having a conversation or meal with someone, when at a restaurant (get up and take the call outside), when at a social event. Trust me, if it’s important they will call more than once.)
  • How to not be condescending to service people or wait staff no matter how old you are or how important you think you are (I’ve always thought of this as a sure way to really know if I like someone).

Thanks to the gals over at Grown and Flown for their post today which spurred my manners rant post: http://grownandflown.com/millennials-need-good-manners/.

What is your biggest manners pet peeve?

Dear Selfie

selfie3Dear Selfie,

I take issue with you, Selfie. Actually several.

And the fact that Oxford Dictionary, as part of a genius brand awareness ploy to prolong the death of its product life cycle, yesterday declared you as the Word of the Year for 2013 not only makes me  a little more depressed about the state of humanity, but it actually makes me a little nauseous.

Your meaning is pretty self-explanatory:  a photo taken of oneself with a smart phone or webcam for use on social media. Your origin dates back to when a gentleman first used you in an Australian chat room in 2002 to describe a photo he took of his injuries after falling down drunk.  Your Australian heritage makes sense when you think of the “ie” suffix often used by Aussies as shorthand (think barbie for barbeque).  But that’s about all that makes sense to me.

It turns out the frequency of your use has increased by 17,000% over the past year. Apparently a research program calculates this percentage after collecting roughly 150 million English words in use on the web each month.

I’m curious and at the same time frightened by the fact that so many people are into you that much.  It seems like the world has much larger fish to fry than looking at awkward pictures that people not only spend the time to take of themselves, but then take the time to post for reasons that I can only assume to be self-aggrandizement or the result of a drunken moment like the inventor of the word intended.

Don’t get me wrong, I post a picture of myself every now and then.  But it’s usually with someone or commemorating some kind of moment or experience, and it’s never self-taken.  I know I’m sounding preachy here, sorry Selfie.

 I do appreciate that you have helped make it easier for me to manage my social media.  Your overuse actually motivated me to learn how to control my filter on Facebook which has helped to control my Selfie overload. 

I also understand that reality and movie stars post Selfies to generate business.  That’s actually pretty smart. And in the blogging world they are relatively customary and I get that.  I even understand kids and teenagers who post Selfies to impress their peers, sort of.  But regular grownups who post Selfies …  are they afraid we keep forgetting what they look like?  Do they do it to see how many people will give them a “like” because they need it for the affirmation?  Or do they honestly not know anyone who can take a decent picture of them?

These are the questions that baffle me today, this day after your historical induction into the words of fame.

Congrats, dear Selfie.

Yours truly,

LifeonWry

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

cart before

I admit it. I like to find things in other people’s trash.  Not deep in the trash under banana peels or dirty diapers or anything, mind you (I am still a germaphobe), but trash that’s visible from my car as I drive by.

I like to think of it as high-end dumpster diving. Or re-purposing of perfectly salvageable items on their way to the dump via the neighborhood trash truck. Items for which it causes me physical pain to think about them being hoisted up and over the back of the garbage truck cab and tossed into that teetering back heap in pieces.

These dumpster dive treasures call my name and wave me down as I drive by, shouting out to me “Hey, hey you…  Here I am… Yes, me! Isn’t this a shame?  You can’t let this happen, can you?”  They wait for me to slowly turn my car around to take a closer look and that’s when if they had a tail it would certainly start wagging … and in the car they go.

This is why my kids and MacGyver don’t even flinch when once every few months they see a new piece of very questionable looking furniture in the garage.  They know the drill.

Maybe I’m a hoarder, It may be genetic.  But I like to think of it as being a rescuer.

So, when I was driving through my neighborhood a couple of weeks ago and saw this old tea cart out on the curb by someone’s trash cans, I had to stop and perform a rescue mission. Yes, I was already cutting it close for my appointment, but I could hear the roar of the trash truck getting closer and her demise was imminent.

She had badly chipped veneer (under a perfectly quaint and in-tact wood framed glass tray) and she was missing wheels (which the owner was kind enough to set out for the likely rescuer) and she was was scratched, crooked and unsteady as hell.  In the back of my 4Runner she went.   

cart wheel

MacGyver grinned and shook his head as I later pleaded this poor little tea cart’s case and asked for his help in attaching the wheels and leveling her out.  ‘She can make it,’ I explained.

And so it was.  Here are the steps of this ‘little cart-that-could’s rebirth:

1. MacGyver reattached the little wheels under the cart. cart level

2. She was still unsteady due to the odd wheel configuration, so MacGyver worked to level her by adding spacers above her smaller wheels.  I was the assisting nurse, keeping watch on her vitals by watching for the little bubble in the little window of the metal level.

3. Then came the spray paint.  Oh, the glorious spray paint.  I can change the world with a few cans of spray paint.

cart paint

4. I taped and sanded her tray and on the front lawn where I still had good sunlight (my neighbors think I’m nuts) I gave it a few shots of a brilliant, deep red to test out the color.  She started to smile instantly.

5. Then the next day after the glue dried on the little wheels, this little cart got a thorough sanding and a coat of all-over red, except for her big, center wheels which I spray painted black as if they were the black patent shoes she needed for her new, red dress.cart red

6. Her makeover was complete.  She turned out so beautiful in the end that we decided to let her live with us on a permanent basis.  She has found a home in my dining room.

Despite her questionable background,  this little tea cart has made a lovely addition to our family and she seems to be working through her abandonment issues.

It turns out that you just never know what you might find on someone else’s curb on trash day.  And what it could become.  And that, my friends, is the fun of it.

Have you ever dumpster-dived?

Moved by Manilow.

barryThis week’s WordPress writing challenge was to write about how music moves me.

Hearing certain songs can bring me back to the exact slices of time in my life as quickly as the sound of a can opener can bring a cat to the kitchen.  These melodies are able to suspend any current moment, often squeezing my heart a little in the process.

Not knowing this challenge was coming, I coincidentally picked up a vinyl record last week while traveling for the kids’ fall break last week in Portland, Oregon.  In keeping with the “Keep Portland Weird” vibe, we seemed to find hat stores or vinyl record stores on every other corner.  On our last night there, I finally made the family stop in one of the vinyl record stores, determined to find an album that would take me back for a little mini-vacation within my vacation. They humored me.

I knew exactly which one I needed to find because I could see the album cover in my head (or maybe I knew subconsciously which one I could easily find without breaking the bank because no one else would want it).  I flipped through the album covers in the small “Pop” section as my kids marveled at the sight of these round, black plastic discs of music throughout the store.  I quickly found the album I was looking for as if it had been right there waiting for me.  The guy at the register didn’t even flinch as I placed the shiny white Barry Manilow album on the counter.  I paid the full $3.60 for it and am now this record’s proud owner.

Here is my list of top time-transporting music,  along with the moments that flash through my mind when I hear it. Good old Barry in his white disco suit and gold chain tops the list.

  • Any Barry Manilow or old Chicago tune –  I can hear the words of  ‘Copa Cabana’ and  ‘Boogie Woogie Woogie’ and  “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?’ as they swirled about our dark wood-paneled family room as my mom and sister and I listened to them on the turntable of our silver stereo with a hard, clear plastic box top that set upon my grandfather’s antique steamer trunk which was nestled in our groovy brown shag carpet.
  • ‘Amazing Grace’ – Sitting next to my grandmother in church and hearing her beautiful voice as I watched tears well up in her eyes as she sang it with all her heart,  Just writing about it makes my own do the same.
  • ‘Jungle Love’ by Steve Miller Band –  Driving my Dad’s jeep one summer while my car was being repaired and playing this song over and over again in the boombox that I had chain-locked to the passenger seat because the jeep didn’t have a stereo.
  • ‘Mercedes Benz’ by Janis Joplin – Cruising on the interstate with my friend Marcy for twelve hours to Connecticut for the summer in my little red car.  I couldn’t stand Janis Joplin when the trip began but Marcy was determined to make me a fan.   It worked.
  • Any Sinead O’Connor tune – Sitting with my junior year college housemate on our rickety rattan love seat in our little old house on Duncan Street that had an old gas stove and windows painted so many times they hardly opened.
  • ‘Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” by the Four Tops – Riding in my dad’s car long ago with this song roaring, watching the music take him back and hearing him whistle along in exact harmony.  I love hearing him whistle.
  • Johnny Cash and other old country songs- Learning to waterski on my friend Kelly’s boat at the lake.  I can hear the boat radio in the background along with the sound of the idling engine as her dad made yet another roundabout to let me try again, and again, and again to get up on those skis.  He was ever so patient and determined to get me up on those skis. And he did.
  • Aretha Franklin’s ‘Dr. Feelgood’ and anything Harry Connick, especially ‘All of Me’ –  So many moments of that fall during my senior year of college when I met MacGyver.
  • Styx “Too Much Time on My Hands” – I can see my college friend’s face making fun of me for how excited I became every time a Styx song came on the radio.
  • ‘Rosana’ by Kool and the Gang – First boyfriend back in high school, riding in his old Camero.
  • REO Speedwagon – Cruising on my tenspeed bicycle with no hands with my Sony Walkman strapped to the center of the handlebars.  Because I was cool.
  • ‘Jagged Little Pill’ by Alanis Morisette – Working at my most fun ad agency job in an old warehouse with a school bus in the middle which served as my colleague’s office.
  • Michael Jackson and Billy Squier tunes – Walking to Skaggs Alpha Beta grocery store in 7th grade with my friend Lisa with two headsets plugged into that same Sony Walkman.  Because we were both cool.
  • Sheryl Crowe’s ‘Soak up the Sun’ – All the bittersweet memories with my dear friend Courtney who lost her battle with cancer years ago.  It was her theme song that last year and it makes me smile.
  • Black Crowe’s Hard to Handle –  Riding in my friend Mel’s little red Nissan Sentra while we air-drummed and air-guitared this song in traffic one night when she drove me home after a very long day at that ad agency.
  • ‘Like a Virgin’ album by Madonna and Prince’s ‘Little Red Corvette’ – Wearing out the cassette deck in my first car listening to these tunes while driving to and from my high school job selling shoes at the mall.
  • ‘Rock Lobster’ by the B52s, and the entire BeeGee’s ‘Saturday Night Fever’ album – Dancing with my sister as she taught me the dance moves to these songs on that same brown shag carpet on that same shiny stereo with the clear, hard plastic top.

Whew, there you have it, a lengthy smattering of songs and their corresponding flashing moments, many close to my heart.

Clearly music moves me.  Along with white disco suits and gold chains.

What songs move you?

Memories of Hallow’s Eve Past

IMG_5122[1]Memories of Hallow’s Eve past:

– Decorating with my Mom (Little Red Riding Hood LOVED to decorate for Halloween – I come by it honestly.  See latest addition this year – my new hanging Nasty Bat.)

– “Mr. Nasty Man” who has enjoyed our various porch benches at various homes for the last 17 years or so (only the mask has changed since the early one melted in the Oklahoma sun long ago).IMG_5115[1]

– The sounds and smells of rustling leaves and the cool breezes that accompany them.IMG_4971[1]

– Trick or  treating with my friend Boogieman.

– Making my own Steve Martin costume one year when I was little (my Mom was so proud that I made it and talked about it for years).

– Getting hit in the head with a flying pumpkin. See older post for background.

-Dressing up my kids for trick or treating year after year (Now they are too cool.  If I had known how much I would miss it, I would have savored it more.).

– The costume birthday parties we used to have for my oldest son each October.

IMG_5116[1]

– Receiving a box of little decorations and goodies every year from my Mom in the mail (along with a card that said “Watch out for flying pumpkins!”).

– The beautiful, beautiful colors of fall everywhere I look.

– The squirrels who eat my pumpkins on my sidewalk each year. (See their latest masterpieces.  I don’t have the heart to throw them away — I’m thinking when they bring their buddies at mealtime,  it’s like a trip to the Country Buffet or Western Sizzler).

Although  much has changed over the years, and some things have remained, fall continues to be my all-time favorite season of the year,  And Halllow’s Eve a special favorite.

Happy Halloween!

What memories of your Hallow’s Eve past come to mind?

P.S: Watch out for flying pumpkins!

IMG_5117[1]

Snap. Crackle. Crap.

ImageSo I’ve gone to a personal trainer (I shall call her Firey Ginger) for two weeks now.  Twice last week, twice this week.  This is huge.  She’s been making me actually sweat and breathe heavily and work muscles that my body had almost forgotten how to use.

She is a cute, firey redhead who looks like she could kick my arse in a New York minute if I pissed her off.  And her tattoos make it even more believable.  Which is a good thing since i have the self discipline of Monkey Dog eyeing a slab of bacon.

So I’m feeling better about myself, eating fewer BBQ Lays and even trying to drink more water. (Now I understand how drinking more water helps you feel full.  Took me 30 years to believe that fact.  Better late than never.)

I’m even trying to be more aware of how many calories are in a glass of Chardonnay.  And I’ve realized the grapes really don’t count as fruits.    The potatoes in vodka aren’t veggies either.  For real.

Life is good, I’m feeling good, I’m on a roll.  (Insert sound of stopped record.)

So Firey Ginger says to me yesterday as I’m doing squats, “You know, you might want to have those knees checked out by a doctor or something.  Just in case. They’re pretty loud.”

Crap.  I’ve been noticing how much noise my  knees have been making but hadn’t stopped to realize that the hideous crunching noises have most likely increased since I’ve been working my tail off for an hour at a time with Firey Ginger.  Or it may be because I’m actually doing something physical and my body is in shock.  Either way, ick.

I came home and started doing enough research online to freak myself out.

Several references to crunchy knees had people comparing the sound to Rice Crispies.  Nice.

It seems that I have crepitus, which probably means I’ve lost some cartilage and now things are rubbing together the wrong way.  Could be caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritus, or patellar dysfunction which means my kneecap doesn’t track properly.

Or my legs are going to fall off.  Or something like that.

Either way now I can’t stop hyper-focusing on the sound they make when I go up and down my stairs.  Luckily it doesn’t hurt.  FOR NOW….. BEWARE… all the websites say.  Lovely.

Apparently it’s important to have this checked out so that I do not injure my knees by doing the wrong exercises.

So I have a doctor’s appointment to have my Rice Crispy situation looked at later today.

I’ll bring along a little carton of milk and a spoon, just in case.

More on this at a later date.

Happy Friday.

Daily Prompt: Imagine all the People.

imagineToday’s WP daily prompt, Imagine all the People, was to observe people from a photo of a public place and imagine their lives.

I remember taking this photo my first afternoon in Madrid.  We were sitting at a table at a restaurant outside (you can see the chairs in the foreground). We found a quaint square which was much quieter than the other larger, more popular squares.  It felt like a little hideaway and a good place for our tired feet and hungry stomachs.

We were just getting into the routine of the whole tapas and late dinner timing, along with around the clock wine.  We were ready for dinner but it was the in-between time (I think it was around 7 pm) when most restaurants seemed to only have versions of ham (jamon) and bread plates available.

As we sat and drank our Albariño wine (lighter, white Spanish wine) and ate our jamon (think prosciutto) and bread, we loved watching these little boys play outside. Looking at this photo, I can hear them giggling and shouting now, and the way their voices bounced off of the walls of the square.  At one point their ball even landed in the middle of the tables, which caused even more contagious giggling.

I wondered if their parents were possibly eating at the same cafe?  Did these boys live in a nearby building?  Was this square their “backyard”?  Were any of them brothers? I also wondered about the little boy near the step — was he afraid to jump into the game perhaps because he didn’t know these boys? I could tell he really wanted to jump right in, but he was holding back.

I love this picture and it takes me right back to that exact moment.   Photos are marvelous little time machines.

What photo of yours comes to mind which makes you imagine all the people in it?

How my 4Runner humiliated me. (Also why I am a gigantic DORK.)

4runnerflamesThis is almost too embarrassing to share.  But that has never stopped me before, so why stop now?

Warning:  Do not try this at home.

Disclaimer:  Weird things involving injuries and bruises used to happen to my sister when she was alive just as often as they happen to me, so I’m blaming genetics.

Okay, here’s what happened:

IMG_4763

Crack of doom

I was running late to a doctor’s appointment yesterday and putting on lipstick at a stoplight (don’t judge) when an eyeliner suddenly slipped out of my purse and into the crack of hell space between my driver’s seat and center console.  ( I know many of you are judging at this moment because I sound like a nightmare to be on the road with – but please note that this took place at a long stop light and I’m telling myself that makes it better.  Stop judging.)

At any rate, retrieving an item from this crack of doom narrow space should be no biggie. Unless you drive Christine my 4Runner.  You see, this body style of comes with a hard plastic carpeted shield in the cracks which helps catch things before they fall into this valley of death crevice.

So… I reached down to try to grab the eyeliner before the light changed.  In most cars this would be no big deal.  It was a tight squeeze, so I took my ring off my right hand. (I know, that should have been a sign right there.  Stop judging)  I reached back further and felt the eyeliner slip deeper into the abyss.  I knew I must abort the mission as the light was about to change.

But my hand was stuck.  I’m not talking a little stuck.  I am talking all-out eye-stabbing-pain STUCK.  The handy shield protector does it’s job so well that it does not let your hand come back up and out after you reach in.  It was stuck and I was unable to move it.  (Insert very loud profanity repetition here which took place at the same time that I was experiencing that feeling you get when a ring gets stuck on your finger and you think someone may have to cut your finger off to get the ring off.)

The light changed.  (Insert more profanity.  Was this really happening?)  I had no choice but to drive left handed while leaning to the right until I could get to a place where I could pull over and retrieve my hand.  I jiggled it and wiggled it and was only rewarded with more eye-stabbing pain, and no sign of it coming loose.  I am not kidding you people.  This really freaking happened.  I could not make this up.

I reached my doctor’s parking lot 5 minutes up the road and started feverishly trying to work my hand out of the vice grip between my seat and the console.  I tried moving the seat forward and backward.  More wincing pain (I was too freaked out to even curse.  What if a fire department was going to have to get involved?)  I thought my hand was going to break off down there.  I am not kidding.  It would have been a bloody mess, but at least I would have made it to my appointment on time and my hand would have been out of there.

Eventually I just had to squint my eyes, go to a happy place, take a deep breath and yank that fucker my arm out of there.  As soon as I did, I felt my heartbeat pulsate from my thumb knuckle all the way up to my elbow.  I thought about how easily I bruise if you even sneeze in my direction.  I could already tell that by the next morning someone would see my arm and report MacGyver for domestic abuse.  I pulled myself out of the car holding my arm like a cat that had just been hit by a car.

I made it into the appointment with my pulsating, bluing arm dragging on the floor behind me, banging from wall to wall down the long hall way because at that point I couldn’t feel it anyway.  Once home, I received minimal sympathy from my boys but luckily later that evening a friend saw the ensuing bruises and swelling (insert her profanity) and made me ice it and take various anti-swelling  medications to help abate the bruising process.

IMG_4771

This is only one side.

I am still in pain as I type this.  It even hurts to fold laundry if a t-shirt even grazes my hand or wrist.  Several bruises have appeared – on each side of my hand and on both sides of my arms.  It is super sexy, in a junkie kind of way. A different friend at lunch today saw the bruises up and down my arm and felt too awkward to ask me what happened until I mentioned it.  Yes, that bad.

And that, folks, is how Christine my 4Runner humiliated me.  And why, my friends, I am a gigantic DORK.

What is the stupidest way you’ve ever injured yourself?

What I did at the theater while no one was watching.

Theater photo by Petermilli (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Theater photo by Petermilli (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The intermission bell chimed.  My heart raced.  There I was.  In my perfectly refined Ann Taylor get-up for the theater, with pearls and heels on to boot. I had moments left to get a beverage with as much caffeine as humanly possible and return to my seat.  The line I had chosen  at the intermission bar had been moving painfully slow. (Why do I always pick the slowest line?)

I quickly scanned the drink list signage for a coffee beverage.  No, no… it couldn’t be.  Surely they have coffee, surely they do.  It was a semi code blue situation.  I needed caffeine and I needed it stat, like in an intravenous kind of way. Otherwise I was simply not going to make it through the second act.

Before I realized there were no coffee options available I saw a clear countertop refrigerator full of tall, silver, red and blue Red Bull cans.  Who in the world would drink Red Bull at the theater, I thought to myself almost laughing at the irony as I scanned for a coffee pot anywhere in sight.  Red Bull at the theater just seemed wrong.

But I had been dozing in and out of consciousness  (like my Grandmother did in Star Wars I when I was little for God’s sake) throughout the entire first act of a wonderful live performance.  I was with two girlfriends the other night, one of whom was nice enough to invite me and let me use her spare second row, center ticket to see Peter and the Starcatcher – a wonderful show with an uber talented (and handsome I might add) cast, a great story line, a terrific script and wonderful stagecraft.  Who could possibly fall asleep on the SECOND row where I could clearly see the spit coming out of the actors mouths when they spoke?  Grandma Johnson… and me apparently.

can

I’m almost positive that I caught each one of my friends glancing my way at different times during my short, startled awake spurts and noticing me fighting to stay awake.  Or maybe I dreamt that. I was playing it cool, and told myself that I probably wasn’t drooling or making snortish, gargling snore sounds each time I woke up, so they probably didn’t notice.  And hopefully I didn’t lay my head on the shoulder of the random woman to my right (did that on a plane once).

I had no choice.  As I reached the bartender stand, my fears of no coffee were confirmed.   The Red Bulls on those cans stared me squarely in the eyes with little smirks on their faces.  So I quietly ordered a Red Bull.  “Sugar free or regular?” the gal asked.  I didn’t know there were different versions and didn’t care.  I murmured to her that I would take the sugar free Red Bull and a water as I handed her cash like I was making a drug deal.  She gave me a little cup with a lid (luckily no sharpie) and explained to me that under no circumstances could I open the big can before I was sitting down in my  theater seat since such a massive vessel of caffeine would not all fit in that little cup. ( I assume this was so that it wouldn’t spill all the way down the stairs to my seat, which was smart on her part considering she didn’t even know my history of similar episodes. )  She almost made me pinky swear that I completely understood her as she looked at me sternly to confirm my acceptance of this rule.

But there was no way in hell I was going to carry a huge, obnoxious Red Bull can into that theater and pop open the can just as the show was about to re-start.  I would have had to scratch my crotch afterwards or something. Plus, it didn’t go with my great outfit and pearls, or the ambiance of the entire evening.  Kind of like when you see a bride in a beautiful wedding gown holding a Bud Light.

But I was desperate.  I needed a hit.

The bell chimed again.  I quickly scurried over to a corner behind a column where the bartender gal couldn’t see me and poured a third of the can into my little lidded cup.   I quickly swigged some of it down and did a quick refill.   All I needed to complete this class-act picture was a cigarette package rolled up at the top of my Ann Taylor sleeve and a chain wallet hooked to the belt loop of my cute leopard capri pants.

That would have to do.  I took a deep breath and stretched my eye sockets as widely as I could and headed back in.

Luckily the caffeine hit my bloodstream quickly as I’m sure Red Bull is intended and I was able to thoroughly enjoy the second act.  I blame my exhaustion on a crazy work week, a first week of school for the kids with tons of forms to sign and hellish school supply shopping trips, that face punch gal incident way earlier that same morning and a little bit of that wine headache that might have been still lingering.  I was a zombie, but in a cute leopard capri pants.

Desperate times called for desperate measures.  and luckily it worked.

The best part?  I don’t even think I drooled on anyone during the second act.

Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Wise

Since school starts Monday and so many things are already starting to run through my head that are freaking me out about having both kids in high school this year, this post that I am re-blogging is timely.
Even though I think she has kids that are younger, all of these things still apply, some of them even more so.

Many of these things I wish more people taught their kids. Especially the parts about being kind and brave.
PS: check out her penguins too.

I Miss You When I Blink

Back to school. Time to start being responsible(ish) again. Sigh.

I’m not sure if I’m a Tiger Mom or a Sloth Mom or a Shark Mom or an Exotic Albino Sandflea Mom or what. Honestly, I don’t know what in the name of Athena’s flashcards I’m doing most of the time. (Which is why I almost never write about parenting here.) I just try to apply some method to the madness, focus on what might be the most important values, and hope I’m not doing anything that makes these little people decide to be strippers or bounty hunters or mimes when they grow up.

One of the few things I do as a parent with any confidence and regularity is send my children out the door with these words every morning:

BeBraveBeKindBeWise

It’s kind of our mantra, I guess.

If we have a few extra minutes over breakfast, sometimes we elaborate…

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Open letter to a Barbecue Lay’s Potato Chip

chipsDear Barbecue Lays Potato Chip,

Tell me why, after all these years, have you found me again?  Now I’m afraid I won’t be able to forget you again for a while.

I have resisted your temptation for a few years now since my boys have become obsessed with you.  I have often stared at your bag in the pantry where you live with all of your relative chips.  Even though I try to store you out of my sight, I still see you.  You have just politely and quietly stared back, almost knowing that you were my forbidden fruit and having mercy on me.

Maybe it was the way that our grocery store has been recently remodeled so  beautifully, making that chip aisle damn near impossible not to stare dreamy-eyed down the aisle of shiny bags, with you now perfectly positioned at eye level upon approach.  I think I heard harps playing in the distance as I pushed my cart down that aisle the other day.

You made me buy a couple of bags of you for the kids.  I didn’t want them to run out, after all.  I brought you home, and tried to position you  in the pantry so that I couldn’t make eye contact.

But then the other night, as I was perfectly perched with my soft blanket and dimmed lights, ready to watch my trashy Sunday night Housewives TV series (that makes my life look ever so simple, which is a good thing), I heard you calling.

Maybe it was Clone’s fault for being so nice and asking me if I wanted him to get me anything after grinning at the TV screen, knowing how awful the TV show was that I was about to spend an hour with.  My household loves to make fun of me for this weekly vice.

Whatever it was, I gave in.  I ate way too many of you.   So many that I might even be able to forget you for a while since I satisfied my craving so sufficiently.  If it weren’t for the orange powdery residue you left under my nails.  That makes it harder to forget you.

You were good.  I thank you for that.

If I smoked I would have had a cigarette afterwards.

Thank you for the great Lays, my friend.