Category Archives: Uncategorized (’til I think of something better)

Pullover conundrum

When I’m watching a TV show or movie and a character is putting a shirt on they first sort of roll up the shirt and stick their arms through the sleeves and then pull the neck opening over their head. Once I started noticing this, it seemed the predominant method for donning any kind of pullover UNLESS the scene was being played for comic effect (whereupon the character gets the shirt stuck on his or her head and proceeds to stagger around crashing into walls and knocking over lamps). Usually it’s a smooth two-step move though, and the character hardly breaks rhythm. They make it look cool.

This is not how I put on a pullover. First I pull the shirt over my head and then I wrestle into the sleeves. I’d have never given it a thought but for noticing how actors do it onscreen. It made me think there are two distinct schools on the proper way to get into a pullover – and maybe an adult just does what they were taught as a child. (I know my mother had me put the shirt over my head first).

It further occurs to me as I write this that the onscreen method is probably deliberate so that the actor’s head is visible most of the time and he or she can go right on talking. In any event whenever I see someone do the arms-then-head method I think to myself “I should try that” but invariably I forget to and I remember only as I am contorting into the sleeves. And no, I am not so demented as to take the shirt off so I can start over doing it the other way.

So. How you YOU put on a pullover? If you’re not sure feel free to get back to me on this after the next time you put one on. I’ll be here.

Say hello to my (steamy) little friend

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Whenever I find something good I like to share it. I don’t know about you but by this time in winter, when everything feels so bone-chilling and dry, I crave warmth and humidity. Not having enough moisture in the air makes it feel colder than it is so if you crank up the heat and still can’t get warm, that is often the reason. You need the right mix of humidity and heat to be comfortable. Beyond the comfort factor, allergies have been a life-long issue for me and the dry air does me no good.

People hole up in the bathroom for long, steamy showers or take hot baths to compensate. That’s all very nice and once upon a time I would’ve done it too. However, where I live (and have lived a long time) there is a big-ass WINDOW right in the shower and it gets COLD. I cover up the window with plastic in winter but still, that doesn’t make a huge difference. My point being the shower isn’t somewhere to linger – and hot water is very drying on the skin too. As if you’re not feeling dry-n-scaly enough by February.

I’ve had humidifiers before but they need a lot of baby-sitting whether it’s cleaning or buying new filters. When I googled the difference between humidifiers and vaporizers I was happy with what I found. Humidifiers typically put cool moisture into the air (although there are warm-mist humidifiers) while vaporizers boil water and pump out lovely steam. Vaporizers can have oils and medicinal scents added so they are often used when people, especially kids, are sick. (When I was a kid we had a glass vaporizer for when we were sick. Now they are plastic. I don’t know how you boil water in plastic but you do.) And even better, since the water is boiled it’s less likely to harbor bacteria meaning the unit needs less cleaning. YAY.

I got this Vicks vaporizer recently and instantly took to it. I love the wonderful, steamy, warm mist this baby cranks out. I stuck my face into the steam and breathed deep, getting sinus relief and a facial in one. I just stayed there awhile. It felt heavenly. Where have you been all my life, steamy friend?

My room is small and initially I steamed the heck out of it. The humidity gauge I used to see how well the vaporizer worked shot up to 90%! In fact the windows were covered with water, the mirrors fogged over and the sides of my Ikea cabinet were dripping. It then occurred to me that since Ikea furniture isn’t exactly wood but some kind of composite, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Oops. I mean I’m not trying to create a moldy environment just a more humid one. I’ve subsequently dialed back my vaporizer output in order not to rot out my furniture.

A vaporizer may not be the beach, or an island vacation, or a heated indoor swimming pool, or a clear mountain lake in July, but for this time of year when the pickins’ are relatively slim, it feels awfully luxurious to me.

Grieving for famous people you’ve never met (Part 2)

The longer you live the more people you will see die, people you know and people in the public light, both of which you may have known or known of, for decades. That’s just how it works. If you want to go on living and stay relatively sane, you have to have a way to accommodate that in your philosophy. I’m not going to say “acceptance” because the hell with acceptance. I don’t think you have to accept. Tolerate. You’ve got to tolerate. Because if you don’t the price is becoming a half-alive person living in the past, disengaged with current life, wallowing in emotional stew. Maybe drinking, leaning on pills, using drugs, or overeating. Maybe just hiding away in your home, avoiding others. Maybe becoming a bitter, unpleasant person.

I initially wrote Grieving for famous people you’ve never met in2014 when Robin Williams died (6 months after Philip Seymour Hoffman died). That post gets regular hits from strangers. I feel a little guilty about that. As if I don’t have enough to tell them. I mean I’m not responsible for people, true, but if they were looking for something to help them when they felt hurt, I’m not sure arriving at my blog post was going to do the trick. This is how my mind works. I tend to feel responsible for other people, even strangers, certainly in a situation like this (people arriving at my blog because they are grieving the death of someone). Did I have anything to offer them? That post seems too short to me now, not complete. Like there is more to say. That is what brings me here.

Although it was Robin Williams’ death that spurred me to write that particular post, I didn’t name him because more often than not in this blog I try to write about themes. Even when there might be a specific story in my life or my head, what I want to do is burn away the dross and get to the essence, to a narrative that more people might relate to. My losses aren’t going to be your losses. But loss is general. Ain’t nobody getting away from it. That’s what binds us. That and loving other people. It doesn’t matter who.

I could list out the people in my life who’ve died, who left a wicked hole inside me that is always there, some larger than others. They web over like scar tissue but it’s never the same again. I could name also, the long, growing list of public people who’ve died and left me bereft as well. And the same holds true, some of these were tremendously painful, others not as much. I still miss public people – celebrities if you will, entertainers, famous people – dead for decades. You almost certainly have your own “lists” of people who occupy these same sorts of roles in your life.

The way I grieve for someone I knew versus someone I didn’t is not quite the same, for obvious reasons. But some of it remains the same, the preoccupation, the wanting to hold on, the renewed appreciation, the sadness – the degrees of which vary depending on what the person meant to me.

I want to say again, something I said in the initial post, which is the pain and sadness at a death stem from how much you got from the person in life. And I maintain that feeling is the same emotion whether you knew the person or not. Maybe it’s a little harder when you didn’t because you may be alone in your grief; there isn’t a built-in support system the way there often is when the death is someone you knew.

Here’s the thing. Here’s the takeaway. Grief means you got something. It means your life was enriched. If you’re sad or hurting it is because you loved, because you cared. Because somebody gave you something. Made your life better. (I’m not disallowing grief from painful relationships, twisted grief that doesn’t spring necessarily from pure, good dynamics between people, but talking about most of the time when it does. Moreover in the case of people we didn’t actually know, having a conflicted or difficult relationship isn’t going to be an issue.)

We grief for what we lose. In the case of public personalities, there won’t be any more coming from them. That’s it. Whatever they’ve done, it’s over. Maybe a movie will come out post-mortem, or a cobbled-together album, or even a book of lost writings. There will be tributes. But the gist of it is that whatever gifts they put out into the world, they no longer will. It’s over. If they still had promise, more that they hoped to do, that’s unfortunate. For them and for us.

The point is to do what these others have done. To do your own version of what put the public personalities once admired and now mourned, on the map. To put out into the world whatever it is you have to offer. To find something you do well – or well enough – and give it. That’s honoring dead people. Dead people who’ve touched our lives. Most of us will not win Grammies, or contribute to a winning Super Bowl team, or win a Nobel Prize, write a New York Times best seller, or star in an iconic film. But we can do our bit. Do something. Contribute something. I am convinced that is the penultimate takeaway.

My tasteful holiday decorations. No, really.

If I show you these and then tell you I am a believer in tasteful, sedate Christmas decorating, you’re probably not going to believe me. Geez, I’d doubt me. So anyway, I keep my eyes open when I’m out-and-about (a regular theme in this blog) and in that way have acquired many wonderful roadside/sidewalk finds. A bunch of years back I spied these guys, who are a bit over 3′, plus two shorter “tin” soldiers unceremoniously chucked out by the road. They immediately drew me. Not because I wanted giant plastic retro decor for myself but because I thought it might be funny to leave them set up in the yard – preferably where neighbors would get a good eyeful – of someone I knew (I had a person or two in mind, heh). Can you imagine opening your curtains one morning or bustling out the door for work and seeing these? I could!

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What happened instead, before I got around to my practical-but-harmless joke, was I got attached to them! I’ve had them probably a dozen years. That’s Snow Man naturally, and the other I like to call Put-upon Santa. His overwhelmed, martyred expression slays me. What’s he got to be so upset about?! The man works but one day a year and elves do sweatshop labor for him the rest of it. Santa needs to take a page from blissed-out Snow Man (maybe it’s his special tobacky) and chill.

Seeing (a little) red

This past August I shared photos of my Dipladenia, an annual flower (which means it grows for one season and dies). Well I wasn’t having that, since despite being described as tropical, the plant still looked good as Fall came. So I brought the pot inside over a month ago and made sure it got lamp light. Damned if the beautiful thing isn’t still producing blooms! I am so excited! To walk into the room or come home after being out and see that stunning red is so cheering (I HATE when all the flowers die and everything turns brown-n-dreary – and stays that way for months). It’s not like it was outside but anything is good by me. I took these photos today.

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This goofy tendril has grown since it came inside

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One potato two potato…

Check out these potatoes. See anything unusual?

 

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Yum, should we have baked potatoes or fries?

 

The one on the left is a rock!

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This flat side gives it away. No fries for you.

 

 

Coupla thoughts on the election

There was a time – and it just wasn’t all that long ago – when the President-elect’s thrice-married status would have been the big news. The thing people would have tsked-tsked about, the aspect of his character that we would have found – or been told to find – concerning. Ha. Ha. Ha. Gee, that sounds like the Good Old Days.

You know what I never liked? When two or more people have some kind of knock-down, drag-out, ugly-piece-of-business fight, and then afterward, somebody either makes them or tells them to “shake hands and make up.” That’s always hit a false note with me. And that’s how it feels now. Shake hands and make up. Right. Now.

I remind myself this country has been far more divided than it is in this moment. Blood relatives shot and killed one another in the Civil War. The phrases you often hear are “brother against brother” and “families torn apart.” This isn’t like that. I know. And– we kind of patched that up too. It’s not like there’s a border guard at the Mason-Dixon line where you have to show papers to cross to the other side. There aren’t two governments, North and South. I guess I’m saying – I’m telling myself – if those folks managed to get themselves back on some kind of track as roughly one country, we should be able to as well.

I also remind myself – because I must – this is the same country that elected our current President not once but twice! And recently at that. But, but…. I’m a might confused. How can we be BOTH? Are we really that fickle a country? Is it as I fear that we are a child-like people who want – demand – instant gratification? Who are never satisfied with our lot, whatever it may be? Do we constantly insist somebody “fix” everything and when they don’t/can’t/won’t, jump to the next person or faction who assures us they will?

Do we really as a people want to talk about “tough tines” and our hard lives when many of those people who lived through the Great Depression still walk among us? When people who were subjected to a segregated U.S. – and all the atrocities which came with it – are still here to remember?  I mean to say that as a nation we seem to run from one thing to the next, we seem to always want more than what we have; no, insist we deserve more. (Ironically, it is the very flamboyant existence of high-profile individuals like our President-elect who help create this very dissatisfaction – this very American dissatisfaction.)

My sense of humor is at low tide this week but hasn’t entirely escaped me… If you don’t know the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” let me share something from it that’s been going through my mind. There’s a wedding scene that turns into a killing brawl. To patch things up between the aggrieved parties, the father of the groom says, “Now now, let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who, this is supposed to be a happy occasion!”

Right. This is supposed to be a happy occasion.

(Note: I’m currently having internet woes and may not see or be able to respond to comments right away, my advance apologies.)