Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Fine Art of Having Fun

I once worked with a young woman who had incredible talent as a writer, but was most appreciated for her unusual sense of humor. Nothing was safe from her barbed wit. If you said you “love chocolate” she would whip back, “Well, why don’t you marry it?” No matter what you loved, she would suggest the nuptials.

She had several girlfriends and before they all got boyfriends and husbands, the “girls” would go out on Fridays to some of the more popular watering holes. Debbie (not her real name and she would gag if she knew I dubbed her “Debbie”) and friends had a unique way to preserve their privacy and have a fun fantasy life as well.

They not only made up new names, they made up entire careers. Debbie had a fantastic imagination, along with knowing a little bit about a lot of things, so her careers were a bit more inventive than her friends. One time she had just gotten out of surgery after delivering a baby by cesarean. Another time she had just flown in from some exotic island where she had been digging in Mayan ruins. She would also mumble about CIA connections, being in the witness protection program, or, “Sorry, it’s classified.”

One of her best pranks, with the help of a friend, was to shadow a third girlfriend who had gone to meet a blind date in a restaurant. Of course, the two “shadows” decided to go in disguise, but funds were low, so they had to settle for wigs – really bad, long, jet black “Elvira” wigs. If that wasn’t bad enough, they wore sunglasses. The girlfriend meeting the young man spotted them right away. In fact, everyone in the whole restaurant spotted them. Debbie was unfazed by the stares of diners and staff alike as she and her accomplice plopped down two tables away.

The friend with the date tried hard not to burst out in laughter, but the sight of the those two in their really, really bad disguises was more than she could contain. The poor guy she was meeting had no idea what was wrong with his date and was probably thinking she was having some sort of spasm and maybe he should just get up and run. After several awkward minutes, the date suddenly remembered his house was on fire, threw some cash on the table for the drinks and bolted for the door.

The three amigos decided the guy was not the right type anyway and had no spirit of adventure, so they ordered a round of margaritas and toasted their friendship. After that adventure, however, the woman with the blind date never told the other two the “when or where” when meeting a date for the first time.

The point is that Debbie had a lot of fun and the people around her had a lot of fun. Her wit was spontaneous, sharp and to the point, but never mean or nasty. She found humor in most situations and never took herself – or others – very seriously.

Life is way to serious. We need more Debbies.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Why Oreos are Good for You

Many dieticians think Oreo cookies are not part of a “healthy” diet. Apparently they have never examined an Oreo carefully and made the connection to the wholesome, nutritious ingredients. Let’s examine an Oreo as a health food.

The “cookie” part of an Oreo is the color of dark chocolate and has a chocolate flavor. It must be chocolate. Chocolate contains flavonoids and is now being touted as an anti-oxidant. Additional ingredients include flour. Flour is made from grain. Grains are good for you. Therefore, the cookie part of an Oreo is good for you.

Now for the center. The center of an Oreo (the part you lick after separating one of the cookie layers) has a smooth creamy center similar to cream cheese or yogurt. Cream cheese and yogurt are high in calcium and protein and are good for you. Therefore, the center part of an Oreo is good for you.

Do you dunk your Oreo in cold milk? Ummmmmyummm, dunked Oreo. Soggy and drippy with cold milk and squishy in your mouth. Oh, sorry, I got carried away. If you dunk your Oreo in milk, you increase your calcium and vitamin intake.

Conclusion: Oreos are good for you.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Alien Theory

Most of the people I’ve known for any length of time have heard my theory about aliens snatching good body parts and leaving behind the older parts they had been wearing. My friends and I heartily agree it has happened to us. That’s why we look so much older now than we did when we were 23.

My theory is that when we arrive at maturity, anywhere from 18 to 24, and we are at our physical peak, our bodies are done “growing” and cease to age. If it were not for these damn aliens running off with our parts, we would be gorgeous, young and energetic forever.

Now I know you are thinking this is a lot of bunk. Uh, huh. Look at your hands. If you are over 30, are those the hands you started out with? Look in the mirror. See what I mean? If you are over 50, I bet that is not your neck and that flab around your butt isn’t yours either.

Over the years, depending on how old you are, parts have been repeatedly snatched from right under your nose. Speaking of under your nose, girlfriends, did you always have that little mustache?

Here’s how it works. The aliens sneak down to earth in their invisible space crafts. (Yes, invisible! Have you ever seen one?) Their bodies are very old and wrinkly with splotches and saggy places and most of the little old women aliens have flaps under their arms. (Now you have seen those, right?)

The aliens start working backwards, or maybe that’s forwards for them, starting with the older people first. You are pre-selected (kinda like all those offers for credit cards) for which part or parts can be snatched. When you are sleeping, the aliens furtively apparate (Harry Potter term) from their crafts to your sleeping quarters. Whooosh. Before you can snore once, there go your hands, maybe the skin around your eyes, a tooth or two, your vision. Over the years, you are all old and wrinkly and the aliens are strutting around in all the good stuff they have collected over the years.

Can it happen to them? Sure, if they are not careful. Why do you think all these cosmetic companies are promising to rejuvenate and preserve that youthful look? Yep. Alien companies.

Can you stop the aliens? Only if you catch them and quickly snatch back any parts you want. Don’t forget the inside parts, too. Get the ones that work real good. Be warned, those aliens are pretty fast and they sometimes sneak up in twosies and threesies.

Well, now that you know what’s going on, you can be on the lookout. From now on, when you look in the mirror and that “older” person looks back, it’s not your fault. It’s the aliens.

The only way you can keep anyone from knowing you are "getting older" is to eat lots of garlic. Oh, and don't bathe. And live in a cave. You still “age" because aliens can't smell, but you will stink so bad humans won't come near you.

The good news about being avoided is that you won’t have to listen to that lie, “Oh, my gosh, you haven’t changed a bit!”

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Superwoman Multi-Tasking

The young working woman of today fascinates me. I think they should be called “superwomen.” Their ability to mesh the requirements of career, home and family far exceeds anything women of my generation could accomplish.

In the ‘50s, we girlfriends all wanted to go to college to get our “M. R. S.” degrees. (Isn’t that just so cute you could barf?) We ultimately had our sights set on one of those new homes in the new subdivision with two bathrooms and parking for two cars. In a lot of cases, our degrees in nothing-too-hard-because-we’re-only-here-to-find-husbands were put aside to shove Mr. Right through the last few years of his going-to-be-really-successful degree. We ‘50’s girlfriends went along with this silly idea because our mothers taught us that if we didn’t have husbands, we would not be accepted into proper society.

Then came the ‘60s and with each bra burned, so did liberation of women’s brains. We taught OUR female children that it was okay to be brainy and aspire to become independent and self-sufficient. “Yes, dear, you can become a doctor, lawyer, physicist, astronaut, and/or mommy. Whatever you want to be.”

Now their daughters are heads of corporations, perform delicate surgical procedures, serve our country (and sometimes die) in the military, design beautiful bridges, hold government offices, and lead missions to the space station. They do all this during the day and at sunset change careers to become super mom starting with picking up the kids from daycare -- a baby on a hip while steering a toddler into the SUV using the vise-grip-on-the-head technique.

Marriage is not a necessity, but rather a choice. Childbearing is not required and is now a choice. Even a woman’s sexuality is a choice. Modern women have choices! Whaaahooo!

I’m amazed. And jealous. I want a life “do over.”

Now if you daughters of our daughters can just get this war thing under control, which I know you will as soon as you stop primitive men from blowing each other up (oh, yeah, like explosions solve anything), we can get on with finding cures, exploring space and cleaning up our atmosphere.

Right on, daughters of our daughters!!!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

On Being a "Senior"

Before I became one, I always thought I had already been one and then grew up. Now I’ve found that even though I had been one in high school and later in college, and then not one, here I am – a “senior” again. My “senior” friends from years ago are also “seniors” again. The frustrating part is that we didn’t recapture the youthful vigor of the former “senior” incarnations.

The good part is that we get discounts. Secret discounts. Most merchants don’t tell anyone about their senior discounts, but if asked, employees will shout, “Why of course I can give you a ‘senior’ discount.” (They assume that all “seniors” can’t hear. We “seniors” assume that all people under the age of 30 can’t hear because of nerve damage to their ears from listening to that music through headphones and riding in cars that can be heard thumping from three blocks away.) We shout back, “Thanks, “Junior.”

Another good part about being an elder “senior” (oops, elder and senior mean the same thing), okay, and old gezz, is that we get away with saying a lot of stuff about people that we couldn’t get away with when we were younger. We were taught that if “you can’t say anything nice – blah, blah, blah.” We held in a lot of opinions about each other like, “That guy is not only ugly, but he’s a total looser.” We said things like, “He has rugged features and a lot of potential.”

Now we just blurt out our opinions, wanted or not, and get away with it! Our younger family and friends excuse our behavior and attribute our rudeness (we call it “honesty”) to our advanced age and impending senility. What fun! The cartoon character, Maxine, has it right with her famous line, “A friend will always a tell you exactly what she thinks! So I guess that makes me friends with everybody.”

So I’m here to tell you "youngin's," “Back off, Buster.” We “seniors” may have lost our youthful agility, but what we can no longer accomplish physically, we have gained verbally. Unless you want to get cut up into tiny little syllables and scattered on the floor, you better spit out that “senior” discount, shout “Thank you, ma’m,” and pull up those damn pants.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Friends and Computers

I have found my friends fall into two categories: those who do not have computers and those who do. The friends who have computers fall into two categories: those who are techies or techies-to-be-soon and those who get where they want to go and that’s all they want to know.

The proficient ones have already checked out my blog and made comments. The other group – well, in marketing lingo you might say they are the slow adapters. Getting to my blog is way beyond clicking on the email button and wading through the “friendship” emails, the “good luck” emails, the “dire warning” emails, the “photos of animals in really cute situations” emails, the “info” emails, and the ever circulating “trashy jokes” emails.

Of those who don’t have computers, there is a small segment of “no way, no how” friends who will have nothing at all -- not now not ever, don’t even think about it -- to do with anything that resembles a computer. Most of these friends are my age and they are, well, ssshhhh – don’t tell – senior citizens.

The other day a conversation went like this.

“I just started a blog.”

“A what?”

“A blog.”

“Whad ya name it?”

“Name what?”

“Your dog.”

“Not a dog, a blog.”

“Nadablog? That’s a stupid name for a dog.”

“I don’t have a dog. I started a blog – it’s on the Internet.”

“What? You haven’t named it yet?”

“Yes, I named the blog.”

“Whadda ya call him?”

(Igiveup.) “SKIPPY!”

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Mower Guy

I just watched a guy drive past my house. I live in a typical subdivision, you know – houses side by side, neatly kept lawns, trimmed driveways and sidewalks, kids playing in sprinklers in the front yards. People drive by all the time. So what?

The guy was on a riding lawnmower on the sidewalk! Really. I’ve seen him several times before and have no clue (a) why he is riding around the neighborhood on a mower, and (b) why he is on the sidewalk.

He was wearing cool sunglasses, a muscle shirt, shorts and sandals. He’s mid- to late thirtyish and does not appear to be handicapped. He has a nonchalant attitude, sort of laid back, driving with one hand, and lips pursed as if he’s whistling. As he cruised by, he was scoping out the yards and houses. (Yard envy?) Perhaps he imagines himself in a Miata negotiating the roads of Monte Carlo at breakneck speeds of two miles an hour.

Okay, maybe he is on the sidewalk because riding mowers are not street legal. Are they sidewalk legal? I can see him now at the tag agency. “Uh, yeah. Need a license for muh mower. I run that baby through the hood. Corners real gud.”

Oh, you know what, maybe he’s a voyeur, but too lazy to walk. Sort of a mobile perv. The fresh air, the open road, uh, sidewalk, and the vibration of that 20 hp engine despite the “turfsaver” tires.

It’s a pretty sharp looking mower, all clean and shinny, nice polish job. Bet it’s one of them jobbies with automatic transmission and zero turning radius. Maybe the little woman at home said, “Hell, no, you ain’t gettin’ no Harley!” and this is his way of showing her who is boss.

Maybe he’s just a civic-minded citizen doing his part to keep that long strip of concrete sidewalk free of grass. You know how fast it takes over, especially those little runners that hide down in the expansion strips between the driveways and sidewalks. Those babies will get a way from you and in five or six years will completely cover a sidewalk if not scalped out right away.

One of my friends suggested it was a new pizza delivery gimmick. Cut your lawn and deliver a pepperoni special. I wonder if you would have to tip for both the pizza and the lawn trim or only for the pizza.

Whatever the reason is that this guy rides around the block on his mower, he seems to be happy doing it, despite the stares of astounded neighbors. Maybe next time he zooms, oops, what was I thinking, putt-putts past, I’ll dash outside and ask him if I can take ‘er out for a spin. Who knows, I might bring home a pizza, too!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Since when do pepper shakers come with directions?

My friend and I went to a trendy new place today for lunch. We both got trendy new sandwiches, hers on a "multi-grain," mine on "pump." My friend likes pepper on her trendy chicken salad with citrus, but could not figure out how to get the pepper out of the trendy McCormick shaker.

We finally figured out it wasn't a shaker, it was a grinder. She ground and ground. No pepper. She pried off what looked like some sort of cap and a handful of pepper plopped out. Being the expert at mechanical things after having such great success with my lawnmower, I offered to give it a try.

I ground and ground. No pepper. I took off the lid. Pepper plopped out. Duh.We gave up on the pepper grinder since we had enough pepper for at least 10 sandwiches and discretly brushed it onto the floor, into our purses, and the trendy trays that held our trendy sandwiches.

"Pssst," my friend said one octave above discrete, "that old guy behind you just did the same thing, but he shook the pepper grinder over his plate without removing the lid and nothing came out!"

Then I saw directions printed on both the pepper and salt container labels. Directions on how to get the contents out! Both the pepper AND the salt containers were grinders! They both had pictures with directions of how to convert the contents to a less dense form from the glass container, through the grinder, and onto your food. Directions! Salt and pepper "shakers" with directions!

Just remove the "lid," grind over food, and put the lid back on. Well, dang, we could trendy well do that. Well, how trendy, but I bet a pain to refill. Oh, says here they are not to be refilled.

Okay, and when the container is empty, just throw it away? Throw away a perfectly good glass container with this nifty grinder thing that comes with both pictures and printed directions?

How much do these babies cost, anyway? Is that why my trendy sandwich cost $6.95? Would this trendy restaurant knock off maybe a buck if I didn't use the pepper?

Am I so old that I appreciate the simplicy of the old metal containers with the dual purpose lid? Flip up this end and you can slip in a small measuring spoon or pour out the contents. Flip up the lid on the other end and just shake. When empty, recycle the container.

Maybe that's why there is so much frustration in the world. Too dang trendy!

Thoughts from a week ago

Entry for July 31, 2005

This is for the girlfriends -- especially those girlfriends who grew up in the '50s and '60 when men dominated households, businesses and just about the whole world.

I've always felt there was a great male conspiracy to keep women from knowing about things associated with gasoline -- sort of like a secret society. Fathers passed this "knowledge" only to their male children. "Son," the father would say in a solem voice, "today you are about to enter into the secret gasoline society of men."

Prior to self-serve gas pumps, with the exception of a few women, only men were brave and strong enough to wrestle a gallon or so from the brightly painted beasts at "filling" stations. Then came self-serve gas pumps. Men still siddled up to the pumps with confidence. At first, women timidly approaced the pump and perhaps would giggle a bit as they removed the nozzle and inserted it into the openings of their gas tanks. After filling their tanks with the sacred fluid, they drove away thinking, "That's it? That's all there is to pumping gas!? Good grief, four loads of laundry is more complicated than that!"

Now I am about to destroy another myth about small gas engines; in particular, lawn mower engines. If you have a manual with drawings, fixing one that won't start is no harder than laying out a pattern on cloth, cutting it out and constructing a garment.

The "bargain" lawn mower I bought a few years ago developed a leak in the gas tank. After consulting the manual, I ordered the new part, then on a nice afternoon, replaced the gas tank all by myself. Took a few screwdrivers and a bit of time, but I did it without male assistance. I had to go back and redo the connection to the pull handle starter, but I figured out what the problem was and how to fix it.

The other day, despite the lovely new gas tank, the engine stopped. I consulted the manual again. Ah, ha! Air filter. Those things have to be changed every now and then. Could also be the spark plug. They don't last forever.

A quick trip to the store to get the air filter and spark plug and I'm ready to go. One screw -- just one screw -- to remove the panel holding the air filter in place. Took all of five minutes to take out the yucky old one and pop in the pristine new. Took a little longer to break the old spark plug loose, but maybe a whole minute to put the new one in. My total cost was about $6 for both the filter and the plug.

Then came the moment of truth. Varooooom. That baby cranked up an ran like it did when it was brand new. Since I was in the driveway, I tried to not look too smug in case any of the male neighbors were peeping from behind their blinds.

The moral to this story, girlfriends, is that, yes, you can do a lot of things you didn't think you could do. As for the secret gasoline society of men, grab your ceremonial robes and run, boys, we women are taking over the world! (Another subject.)

Entry for July 29, 2005

Teeny tiny type really ticks me off. While talking to a friend the other day, the subject came up about the teeny tiny type that whippersnapper web designers use on their cutesy web pages. I'm convinced they use teeny tiny type as a way of keeping us "mature" folks from seeing what they write; the information is a secret between them and other whippersnappers.

Just what is a whippersnapper anyway? Does it have anything to do with turtles? If a snapping turtle turns it's head quckly to see a fly on a leaf, does that make the turtle a "whippersnapper?"

As for the teeny tiny type, if you have to get close enough to lick the computer screen to see the type, the type is too teeny tiny. I say we send protest emails to the designers of web pages who insist on the teeny tiny type, but instead of normal print or teeny tiny type, send an actual message but use that type face that is all symbols. That'll get 'em. Serves them right.

Damn whippersnappers!