Musings and Amusings

Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Santa, Pack a Seamstress. PLEASE!

In the ‘What Was I Thinking’ category, I bought Raqi this child-size mannequin

image

and these It’s So Easy (even an idiot can do it) Simplicity patterns

image image

and filled a sewing basket with shiny pins, assorted needles, pink pin cushion, measuring tape, colorful ribbon, spools of colorful thread, my button collection, black snaps and Velcro strips.

Raqi has been designing and hand sewing rudimentary clothes for her dolls, and she asked for fabric and a mannequin for Christmas to make herself some clothes. Her Mom told me she bought Raqi a ‘beginner’ sewing machine, so I jumped on Ebay to look for a mannequin.

As I was dressing up the mannequin in a scarf and skirt to put under the Christmas tree, lightning struck.

I CAN’T SEW.

I HATE SEWING!

Who is going to help Raqi thread the sewing machine, translate those mind-numbing pattern illustrations, measure and cut the fabric, sew in a straight line?

All my childhood trauma of my complete and utter failure as a seamstress came flooding over me. Mom made all our clothes and fully expected my sister and me to follow in her footsteps. She tried to teach me, cajole me. She even threatened to disown me from the realms of Home Ec majors who’d paved the way in my family.

I can’t make head, fingers nor foot-pedal sense of bobbins, nap, salvage, pinking shears. I can’t even fold the patterns up once they’ve been unfolded, not even with those permanent fold lines seared in that tissue-like paper.

Panicked, I emailed Parker: “Can YOU sew?”

Her response: “No, I thought you could.”

Running through my non-existent list of Plan B’s, I thought of Charisse, Raqi’s next-door-neighbor-Super-Mom who French-braids hair; makes daily meals for six from scratch; paints Halloween faces with the skill of a makeup artist.

I emailed Parker: “What about Charisse? Does she sew? If not, can she learn overnight?”

Parker’s response: “Charisse is out of town. You better bring gin.”

Merry Christmas to all my dear friends, readers, fellow bloggers and your families. May your Christmas celebration be as blessed and loving as I know mine will.

O Holy Night.

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This Doesn’t Add Up!

Hub and I sat down last night to help Sparks (5th grade) with his homework.

You know where I’m going with this, right?

Sparks gave us an hour lesson in New Math, during which my thinking cap was knocked so askew I had to lie down for an hour. In New Math, that adds up to 1½ hours of no one learning any New Math.

We recovered by having some pie.

einstein

Apparently 98% of our population in any given year doesn’t grasp how to add, subtract or multiply numbers by columns. Neither do we know how to divide numbers using this cool Boomer doodle pattern:

division1

That’s the only reason I like long division – that rockin’ doodle pattern!

Don’t worry, there are doodle patterns in New Math; just not that obsolete Boomer pattern.

In New Math, the doodle pattern is 100% addition.

That’s right. Subtraction, multiplication and division are each distilled down to addition. Specifically addition of tens. See how this problem starts out as subtraction but quickly morphs into addition?

subtraction1

In addition, Plus Also, horizontal processing has replaced vertical calculations.

For instance this kind of problem:

 addition2

Now looks like …

new math

The gist is 72 and 39 are broken down into tens and reconfigured into completely new numbers spread out across that doodle-y horizontal line. The new numbers are then … … ok, I have no idea how to proceed, but I’m 97% certain there’s a subsequent calculation requiring an additional doodle.

new math doodle

Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

Call me doodle-brained, but New Math looks like it’s taking us down a slippery slope to a nation of … well … doodlers, not mathematicians!

Nevertheless, I’m encouraging Sparks to stick with New Math. I’m counting on him to calculate answers to some mathematical problems that have long plagued my musing mind:

  1. How is it that my nieces and nephews are approaching age 40 when I’m barely one face-wrinkle past 39 myself?
  2. How is it that my youngest brother, who I invariably describe as age 22, is actually – when I doodle it out – 57?
  3. Why can audiologists fine tune Hub’s hearing aids with eight different programs so he can HEAR, but not a single calibration will entice him to LISTEN?
  4. How can we successfully land a space explorer on a comet after traveling a cumulative four billion miles, but my cable provider cannot accurately sync my ‘automatic recording option’ with the actual start time of my shows?
  5. How can we bask in 70 degree sunshine at 10am; shiver in 29 degree snow flurries at 10:30am; and shovel two feet of snow in single digit temperatures 24 hours later? What is a Polar Vortex anyway? It sounds like something out of the Hunger Games (which I pray is not New World repercussions from the New Math Doodling curriculum).

When I was an auditor, I had a client who developed his own catch-all math response to my intrusive audit inquisition – probing for the truth about sales, inventory, expenses and profit.

Me: “Hey Sam, I’m looking at your inventory records stating the number of new and used cars you have on the lot, but my actual count is … well, it’s just not adding up.”

Sam (grabbing inventory sheet and his eraser): “What number would you like it to be?”

Sam didn’t need New Math OR a doodle to calculate that!

 

Source of graphics and photos: Google Images

 

Why I’m Banned from Watching Election Night Results

election 2014

Google Images

 

I have the opposite of the Midas touch when it comes to choosing political winners.

Do you want to guarantee your candidate will win?

Just convince me to back the other guy.

Independent, Democrat, Republican – it doesn’t matter. I back candidates of all persuasions and, with inexplicable regularity, they lose.

In our house there is a 100% chance of an UPSET on election night:

  • 99.9% of the time I’M UPSET because my guy loses
  • a measly .1% of the time there’s an election upset and my candidate wins

Two years ago, the latter – an election upset – caused a chain reaction. An upset of such epic destruction that I am now banned from watching tv on election night.

It all began innocently enough. After an hour of watching early returns – all races going as expected (the other guys winning) – my stomach signaled time to eat.

“What do you want for dinner, pasta or salad?”

“Let’s have pasta.”

“Do you want spaghetti sauce or pesto?”

“The marinara sauce, please. With meatballs.”

“Want some wine? We have a bottle of that cab you like.”

“Not tonight, thanks.”

“Well I’m going to have some. It’ll make my candidates’ defeats easier to swallow.”

Twenty minutes later, butts back in our arm chair recliners; tv trays placed squarely in front of us; warm marinara sauce smothering the thick strands of red onion pasta in bowls atop our trays, we dug in. My second glass of wine – full to the brim – beckoned within easy reach on the tray next to my pasta bowl.

A steady stream of election results scrolled across the bottom of the tv screen as the talking heads preened in their illusory self-importance.

Suddenly!

A breaking news alert!

 

election results

Google Images

 

One of the state elections was unexpectedly trending for the underdog – my guy. The guy who had no chance was on the verge of being crowned the projected winner!

I jerked my head up from my spaghetti bowl, turned to Hub with a startled, “Did you hear …” and never finished my utterance.

Apparently when I last left my chair, I hadn’t given the foot rest the solid kick needed to lock it in place. My head jerk and body turn were enough momentum to set my chair in motion.

Slow-w-w-w-w-w Motion

The kind of perceived slow motion occurring when you realize something terrible is about to happen and you are powerless to stop it.

As the foot rest snapped abruptly upwards, catching the legs of the tray and launching it towards the tv, my body was thrown back in sync with the now-reclining chair.

I thrust my arms forward in a futile attempt to grab the rapidly receding tray. Alas, we were catapulted in opposite directions.

I yelled; Hub yelled; the tv tray crumpled; the bowl flew; the glass shattered; red wine splotched; spaghetti splattered.

Everywhere.

The beige carpet, the freshly painted white cupboards, the books and paper piles and yoga mat – all covered with the gory aftermath of a blood and guts murder.

Politics is messy business …

Does anyone want to catch a movie Tuesday night?

 

It’s the Thought That Counts

My doorbell rang a week before my birthday, intruding on my comfy silence.

* cringe *

Isn’t that always an introvert’s involuntary reaction?

Fortunately it was the UPS guy in his behemoth brown truck already turning the corner at the end of the block, racing his way to the next doorbell on the next porch.

I picked up the package addressed to Hub; walked down the hall to where he was sitting on the couch; and playfully asked, “Is this my birthday present?”

It is,” came from behind the newspaper.

What is it?” I teased.

It’s the replacement toilet seat for the one that got cracked.”

 

toilet seat

 

Two facts about our marriage:
1. We like humor.
2. We don’t buy each other ‘have to’ gifts.

What are ‘have to’ gifts?

The birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day conventions that dictate you show your love with gifts on these days. I’m not judging those who celebrate with flowers, candy, and jewelry because they are meaningful expressions of love for many couples.

Just not for us.

I much prefer spontaneous, unexpected gifts on non-event days, although traditional gift-giving days have created some gold nuggets in our family lore.

When I was four – back when we had thriving main streets with a movie theater, a soda shop, and hardware, clothing, pharmacy and ‘Five and Dime’ stores within a 3-block stretch – Mom gave each of us a quarter and let my older sister and me walk to the ‘Five and Dime’ to buy birthday presents for Dad.

I bought him this postcard:

orangutans

And a receipt book:

image

2014 Version

image

 

The postcard has travelled back and forth between Dad and me as a ‘laugh’ for 60 years, sometimes appearing in family photos or other unlikely locations.

Although I didn’t understand his job at the time, Dad was an accountant and I became an accountant and finance professional myself. I still like to look at receipt books and ledger paper in the office supply store.

Like the toilet seat Hub gifted me, Mom received tokens of Dad’s love through the years including a rototiller, a riding lawn mower and a washing machine.

Yup. Hub and I are carrying on the family tradition of ‘It’s the Thought That Counts’ gifts.

My grandkids have gifted me rocks, dried seeds and countless crafts. The usual – but nevertheless cherished – stuff, all of which is crammed onto a three-shelf display stand in my kitchen to get pawed over each time they visit.

Solidifying family memories of who, when, where.

My favorite gift from Sparks was when he asked me to participate in his ‘Now & Then’ school project – interviewing an older family member to compare my youth to his. Of his six grandparents, he chose me; and the time we spent discussing the interview questions and compiling this book are a gift I treasure.

 

Now & Then

 

Raqi has shown her love for Hub and me through many spontaneous gestures. When she was three years old and we were saying our goodbyes at their front door, “Wait!” she suddenly cried and scurried into the kitchen.

She hustled back with two single-serving peach paks from her snack cupboard.

“Here, Mima, Papa. For YOU!”

Shortly after, Hub and I were moving to our current home. Raqi had decorated a blue (now-faded) frog at daycare and gave it to me one night at their house.

image

 

As we were leaving, she held out her hands, “Mima, give me the frog.”

Why?”

“Wait till big truck. I bring it.”

Raqi had no experience with moving nor had any of us talked to her about the moving process. She brought the frog on her first visit to our new home and carefully placed it on the top shelf of the display rack.

Some people have an angel watching over them. I have Raqi’s frog.

image

Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Finale

This series has been a real eye-opener.

What’s become alarmingly clear to me – should I ever be searching for one of you bosom buddies in person – is the most likely place to find you is in the Men’s Clothing Department buying everything from Levi’s to jockey shorts.

FOR YOURSELF !

Even Dan could just as easily be selecting Valentine’s Day work boots for his wife as adding to his own closet.

So much for Sammy’s deep dark sartorial secrets.

It certainly makes me hesitant to post my musing on whether anyone REALLY goes to those nudist camps for summer vacation!

Lest you think I’m a complete buzz-kill in black tanks and tan shorts, I’ll leave you with images … of … my … sox.

 

003

001

 

Can you believe it? The clinically proven explanation for this cluster chaos in my otherwise utilitarian wardrobe?

I retreat to Sox Sanctuary, confidently buying “Size 9-11” when the trauma of facing another claustrophobic dressing room with one pair of pants in each size: 10, 12, 14 and 16 becomes more than I can handle.

The sock department is not without its tiny torture. Sure, I can buy 3-paks and 6-paks, but sox in those paks match only one other sock which means I’m left with strays every time my washing machine eats a sock.

Defiantly, I wear the lonely singles – one on my left foot and one on my right.

 

002

 

Walking down the aisle at Whole Foods wearing the above two sox, I approached an oncoming Whole Foods employee. You know who I’m talking about: the 20-something farm-fresh, freckle-faced vegan who’s never met a calorie she can’t burn.

“I like your sox,” she chirped as we passed.

Holy Tank Top, Sammy! That little whippersnapper likes your sox! I got so giddy I gave myself a Fashionista Fistbump.

I told Maggie we already covered shoes with Dan’s earlier “when I like ’em I buy two pair” comment. However, I’m compelled to point out during this series the only shoes we’ve mentioned are:

  • Birkenstocks
  • Keens
  • Crocs
  • Sauconys
  • Dr. Scholls
  • Work boots
  • Comfy FLAT ankle boots

Need I point out these are the foot fashion equivalent of black tank tops and shorts?

Not a Manolo Blahnik or Christian Louboutin among you? (Kirsten?)

Google Images: Louboutin

Google Images: Louboutin

My 7-year love affair with high heels ended when my burgeoning bunions required surgery – both feet – four surgeries.

Couldn’t former Mayor Bloomburg have widened his Nanny State Health Net to support this sadly neglected women’s rights issue? The right to wear orthopedically correct shoes on the red carpet?

Thus ends my series on Boomer Fashionista Secrets.

That cacophony of applause is suspect ….

 

Seriously, dear blogging buddies, I’ve reached a few blogging stats milestones this month. The stats we all claim we don’t pay attention to, but check daily as newbies.

The stat that matters to me is YOU.

Thank you, every one of you, for giving me support, encouragement and soft landings while I try unfamiliar writing voices, share personal experiences, and muse on curiosities possibly too mundane to garner an audience.

I never thought of myself as a writer. And I never thought of writers as artists. Now I know we are.

I count my blessings and you are many.

Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Part 3

When Hub and I started dating, ski trainwe occasionally rode the weekend ski train to Winter Park, which was such a luxury because after a chilly day on the slopes, we could all party relax on the train on the ride home.

One Saturday, a fellow passenger  – who obviously partied relaxed too hearty – stared cross-eyed at Hub and me cuddling in our seat then slurred, “Zou look like brudder and zizter.”

Ewwwwwww

We weren’t dressed alike that day but since then, when we see a couple dressed alike, we look at each other, “Promise me. Never!”

I’m not talking about those bad-dude, leather-decked, heavily tattoed bikers with their wind-whipped babes on the back of their hawgs. They’re wearing BLACK and you know how much I *heart* black.

I’m talking about those harmless little white-haired, stoop-shouldered elders Blue Jacket 1in their MATCHING pale blue jackets. What is it about the elderly and pastels – especially blue? Is there some rule like the “No white shoes until Memorial Day” that decrees once you reach 85, your jacket has to be pastel blue? And if you’re married and 85, your jackets have to match?

No siree! Not only will you never catch me in a pastel blue jacket, you’ll never catch Hub and me in matching apparel anything.
 

        * cricket  cricket  cricket * (sound of uneasy silence)

 
Fine. That’s not quite true.

I have another Sammy Secret.

If I tell you, I’m going to have to kill you. Some secrets are just that embarrassing sacred.

I’ve never had a waist to speak of. I’m best described as a tree trunk. Fairly straight up and down as in: thick waist + smallish hips = straight up and down.

Consequently I’ve always had trouble finding pants that fit. Women’s lower-half clothing is designed for pears and apples, not tree trunks.

If I get pants wide enough for my waist, they are too big for my hips. If I size down for my hips, they squeeze my waist. In addition my legs are short enough that I have to shop in the “petite” section. Did you know petite means “very sparse selection”?

Worst of all, whether petite or regular size, clothing is invariably too short/tight in the crotch resulting in a wedgie-like condition to the extent that I find it utterly painful to sit and barely tolerable to stand.

Two summers ago when I pulled my skorts and shorts from the closet, I realized a sadistic prankster had snuck in and shrunk everything. Nothing fit.

Cruelly, I was faced with that dreaded trip to the clothing store. The thought made me a little crazy.

I cannot justify or live down what I did next, but for some inexplicable reason instead of heading to the store, I opened Hub’s dresser drawer; removed a pair of his white briefs; and put them on.

What’s even more shocking than trying them on is discovering they fit! (Why do men’s butts get skinnier and women’s get wider as we age?) Sure there was a little excess room in the frontal area, but crotch-wise, hip-wise and waist-wise, the briefs fit. Comfortably!

I swear I’m not a cross-dresser and I wasn’t seeking a new line of underwear (like I said, inexplicable impulse).

But I desperately needed summer apparel for my bottom half. Why not shop in Hub’s closet?

Lo and behold, his black shorts fit me perfectly! Not only were they tree-trunk straight, but they had oh-so-comfy crotch space for my delicate self.

I raced to the store; bee-lined for the Men’s-Is-the-New-Women’s Department; and returned with 3 black, 1 tan and 1 gray pair of shorts.

010

 

I pulled out my Perma marker and tattoed my labels so we could tell them apart in the wash.
001

 

009

 

Mission accomplished, I poured myself a gin & tonic and toasted my Fashionista Coup. Two summers hence I’m still loving my men’s shorts.

When I was 10, I remember vowing, “When I get married, I’m ALWAYS going to dress up for my husband.”

Instead, I dress just like him!

Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Part 2

Raqi is eight years old. For the last year and a half, whenever we have put on our swimsuits; taken a bath; changed into pajamas, there’ll be a moment when – her top off – Raqi will hunch her shoulders together to make (non-existent) cleavage; gesture towards her chest with her hand; and look up at me with hope and wonder in her eyes, asking, “Mima, don’t you think I’m almost ready for a training bra?”

At first, I’d say, “Almost,” thinking she’d lose interest.

She hasn’t.

Now I want to ask, “Train them to do what, Honey?”

I settle for, “Raqi, you’ve got 90 years to wear a bra, and they aren’t all that comfortable.”

She’s not listening.

Of course, this gets me musing about my own ambivalent history with bras. I can sum it up as:

The Five P’s of the Bra-pocalypse:

  1. Puberty
  2. Protest
  3. Perky
  4. Professional
  5. Past Their Prime

Puberty

I was so traumatized by the Puberty P – PERIODS! – that I have completely forgotten details of my first bra or my teen years wearing one. Perhaps you blogging bosom buddies can ‘fill me in’ on your memories of crossing that threshold.

I’m begging you; no stories about PERIODS.

Protest

I was a child of the ’60s; now I’m in my 60’s.

Has placement of one apostrophe ever altered meaning more drastically?

When I arrived at college in September 1969, the Forbidden Fashions of Free Love flourished on every corner of campus.

I promptly ditched my bra, modest knee-length skirts, and suffocating nylons (girdles! garter belts!), happily donning the peasant blouses, bell bottoms and fringe belts that proclaimed to the outside world I was ‘down with the protestors’ even though my inside voice kept crying, “Where are the adults?”

Perky

In my early 20’s as a married-too-young, college dropout housewife, I played tennis with my small town fellow housewives who were in their late 30’s. I was lucky – my boobs were tiny and perky. I never considered caging them, not even for tennis.

One judgmental competitor with a bleached blonde beehive hairdo and securely harnessed buxom bosom jealously lectured me: if I didn’t ‘support’ my breasts in my 20’s, they’d be sagging by the time I was 30.

She was as off the mark with that prediction as she was with her backhand.

Professional

Post-divorce, returning to college to complete my degree and securing my first career position, I dutifully wore a bra every day to work. Those were the days when a professional female ‘costume’ consisted of pantyhose, white blouse, navy suit (skirt, not pants) and one of those silky patterned rectangular strips of cloth that we wrangled into a clownish neck-choking bow

Aha! That must be the reason for my aversion to wearing patterns!

After two miserable years, I fell into my dream team position at a small firm where I could dress in a more boutique-y style, ditching “the costume” altogether. But I still dutifully wore my bra for work.

Past Their Prime

OK, they’ve finally lost their perk and – Victoria’s Secret be damned – there is no suitable bra for 60+ year-old national treasures.

There’s also no credible reason my past-perkies chose this stage to expand 3X the size they’ve always been.

I see three choices:

  • Free Range Roaming No Bra
  • Pushed Up and Painful Underwire Wonder Bra
  • Flat, Flatter, Flattest UniBoob Athletic Bra

Well hell. I’m a Colorado Cowgirl; ain’t nothing better’n Free Range Roaming for my buckaroos.

I cling to my Sammy Secret that my all-black ensemble covers a multitude of sins. Except of course for the rare opportunity to meet a blogger buddy in person, in which case I’ll ‘saddle up.’

 

 

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