Monthly Archives: June 2015

One of those days weeks months?

When I was a kid, there was a toy I saw advertised on TV. It was a child-size inflatable/plastic clown that you punched which, once hit, would fly backward only to right itself. The children in the ads looked like they were having a swell time walloping on the clown. This toy may still be around and it’s possible I’ve remembered it inaccurately but in my mind’s eye, it’s a smiling clown figure. We never owned one – doesn’t strike me as the kind of thing my parents, or mother at least, would have sanctioned. I suppose I could Google it now to see if I recalled toy correctly or to find a picture but I really don’t feel like it and skipping that step is not gonna hurt the rest of my point.

My point being there are sometimes periods in my life – a day or a week or a month – when I feel like I am that clown and a giant fist keeps swinging up, seemingly out of nowhere and socking it to me. I reel back, stunned, and then straighten out my bearings again, only to take another one on the kisser. Sort of like this:

Artist's quick-n-dirty rendering from memory. Which may or may not be exactly right.

Artist’s quick-n-dirty rendering from memory. Which may or may not be exactly right.

Looking at flowers fills me with delight.


Michael Jackson (and the price of sleep)

It’s six years since Michael Jackson died. He’s somebody I’ve been aware of all my life. I wasn’t obsessed, but I was very much a fan of his music and the then-young man himself, mainly back around the Thriller days. He seemed so likeable then. He looked like he was having fun – such charisma – and he made us want to have fun too. I was as thrilled as anybody to watch the Motown 25 special where he blew across our consciousness into a different stratosphere of entertainer. Before that he’d been great. But then he was brilliant. He’d become something else.

Before things really got strange – in the “elephant man bones” and “oxygen chamber” days and prior to child molestation charges – I distinctly remember reading in a book where the author suggested Michael might “slowly be going mad before our eyes.” That statement was so haunting. I’ve thought of it regularly in the decades since. It was awfully prescient. I don’t know if he went mad but he went something.

There’s a thought that has been percolating in my mind over the six years since Michael Jackson’s death. The way I understood it, he died primarily from a drug he took to help him sleep, one that was not traditionally used for that purpose, but was used to put people under for surgery. It was reported that he insisted on being prescribed the drug.

Exactly how badly must someone want sleep before opting to be administered a drug meant to render pre-op patients unconscious? One never intended as a sleep aid? How crazed and desperate would you have to be even to try it in the first place? This is all the more puzzling considering how incredibly common sleep problems are, resulting in an industry rife with sleep medications and aids. There’s quite a few steps between counting sheep and being rendered unconscious.

I don’t pretend to know what the life of a superstar celebrity is like, with its overbooked schedules and incessant pressures. But from a human angle, I very much know the importance of sleep. Personally, I find that sleep rules my personality and outlook. When I lack it, I’m prone to pessimism and joylessness. I feel like I can’t cope with things. Everything seems like an ordeal and effort. It is almost shocking the difference a decent night’s slumber has on my well-being. I’m perky and energetic and smiling at the world. My mind is clicking with ideas and I bound around getting things done. While surely some of us are more sensitively wired than others, I can’t be alone in this dualism.

So sometimes, when I can’t get to sleep, or more typically, wake up in the middle of the night only to toss around and stew, or when I drag around all day fatigued from a piss-poor right’s rest, I think of Michael Jackson and how desperately he must have wanted sleep. Enough to risk having it forever.

gimme food

These plastic lids amuse me. As you might surmise, they are for re-sealing opened dog and cat food cans. I found them in the pet food aisle at the grocery store. I don’t have a dog or a cat and as I am not yet reduced to consuming pet food, I don’t use the lids for their intended purpose. The cat lid is a perfect fit for a standard tuna can and the dog lid is a match for a 15 ounce can of pumpkin (which I use often in baking). But what really sold me was the words gimme food which so perfectly sums up my personal philosophy.

Outfit for a Special Occasion (bargain style)

I had a special event to attend on a late Spring evening and I wanted to dress up. I’d be walking outdoors in prematurely hot weather and then be inside with air conditioning. Here’s my outfit:
This is a favorite dress – “a most excellent dress” – I bought new for $10 over ten years ago. I haven’t worn it too often so it’s still in nice shape. It’s probably the lowest cut piece of clothing I own; I’ve never been too comfortable with showing a lot of boobage. Short skirts & dresses, yes. Still, I’m at ease with the neckline here because not only is it fitted to the body and not gaping, but the ruffle adds another layer of material to the top.

Did I say this dress is short? I’m a good bit older than when I bought it and while I’m not ready to stop showing my legs, I could see it was too short for me now. I toyed with sewing a piece of fabric to the hemline but happily (since that was going to be boring hand sewing), just letting out the hem with a seam ripper gave the dress another solid inch of length and voila! That did the trick. The dress is now about 35″ long. (Should I still have this dress in five or ten years, maybe THEN I’ll sew on an extra piece of fabric!)

Comfortable flats for standing & walking.

Comfortable flats for standing & walking.

I knew I might get cold inside so I took this little jacket purchased from a thrift store or rummage sale (can’t remember which).
It’s so cute, not to mention a great match for this dress but for some reason I never seemed to wear it. I studied it to figure out why. The problem was it had two sets of snaps where the two fabric flowers are but none higher, so the loose fabric of the jacket hung open oddly at the top when I put it on, threatening to slide off my shoulders. To remedy this, I removed and re-sewed two snaps closer to the top, which made it fit much better.

When you have a special garment like this dress, it’s best not to over-accessorize in order to let it take center stage. Dress and skin are enough. For jewelry I paired earrings I made with this Avon necklace I got at a yard sale which I wore as a bracelet by wrapping it twice around my wrist. (I originally got that slick idea from a magazine or book.) Not all necklaces can work as bracelets but this one was perfect, especially since with all those loops, it could be hooked closed wherever I wanted.
(And here’s the necklace looking like a necklace:)

At a yard sale a few years ago I was delighted to find this and picked it up just in time I guess because another lady quickly asked if I was taking it. Oh yes I was!

At a yard sale a few years ago I was delighted to find this and picked it up just in time I guess because another lady quickly asked if I was taking it. Oh yes I was!

If I wasn’t going to be doing much walking and/or wanted to shake things up to make this outfit more fun/sexy, I’d bring in red touches. These sandals have about a two inch heel. A red purse would be really cute too but I don’t have a red purse. (Note to self: keep thrifty eyes open for red purse.)

Let’s fix up a little wood table!

At the same yard sale I found this dress/blouse, I also found this little 23″ table:

That's the price tag still on it: $1!

That’s the price tag still on it: $1!

My space is limited and I think in terms of scaled-down furniture. The table was wooden, solid, and showed promise. Now, roosters aren’t really my thing, and the top bird was peeling off besides. I tried to scrape off the rest of the rooster but it was a pain and not really worth it to me so I decided just to paint. A friend had recently given me aqua spray paint which I used first on this project. I thought the aqua could be a good fit here too. It was!

Buh-bye roosters!

Buh-bye roosters!

I try to only get things from yard sales that I need (either stuff I don’t have or which could stand improving/updating). Here the table holds a fan (which is getting a ton of use this Spring). The fan was also a yard sale find several years ago. It worked fine but the settings label came off and wouldn’t stay glued. Hence the handwritten numbers!