Sunday, September 18, 2005

Explanation Needed

A dear friend recently gave me a trio of bath products containing “botanicals” that include aloe and papaya. The three products also include Red 33 and Yellow 5. I’m guessing that these are dyes and wondering if artificial colors cancel out botanicals or if they are real chummy and get along just fine in the same plastic bottle.

I’m not quite sure which parts of the body the “body spray” is meant for and which parts I should actually spray – just parts like elbows, knees and navel – or go for it and spray toes, backs of knees and ear lobes. The directions clearly state, “Avoid contact with eyes,” “For external use only,” and “Caution: For adult use only.” Okay, no gargling this stuff and or using it for eye drops; I could have figured that out. I’m not clear on the “adults only” and what the effect would be if the body spray were sprayed on a nine-year-old. Would the child suddenly shrink into a one-year-old or explode into an adult, thus missing the difficult teen years?

The body lotion directions are pretty clear telling me to apply all over my body (takes care of the elbow, knees and navel question) to soften my delicate skin and to use it right after bath or shower. What the label leaves out is if should I spray, then moisturize, the other way around, or wait four hours after spraying for any chapping to occur, then nip it right away by slapping on the lotion.

Now here’s the one that has me stumped – the “exfoliating body scrub.” I tried it and really like the results. It has little grainy things that help remove disgusting dry skin and leaves what skin is left nice and soft and smooth (very important if you are already wrinkly and flakey). It’s the name that bothers me, especially the “exfoliating” word.

Is there any link from “exfoliating” to other similar words? If an American who lives in Mexico was tossed out of his church and uses this product, is he an exfoliated, excommunicated expatriate? Can that be shortened to “exfol excom expat?” Just how many “exes” can a person have?

What about the University of Exeter in Britain? When a student graduates, do they get an exegree.? Then there’s FedEx. Think about that one for a while. Are they for or against the government?

This could go on forever. Please EXcuse me but I’m beginning to sense a bit of flaking on my arms so I’ll make a quick EXit to go apply body lotion with the paint roller I found in the garage. Hope you have an EXciting day!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Tidy People

Tidy people are always ready for company to visit. We non-tidy people need a bit of time to tidy up, like a week.

Tidy people purse their lips together and then say, “A place for everything … ,” then clear their throats so your mother’s voice in your head can finish the sentence.

Non-tidy people have a place for everything, too, -- the floor, the bed, the couch, under the bed and the couch, the corner, and if we’re lucky, a spare room to stuff the big stuff.

Tidy people always know where everything is. We non-tidy people (oh, heck, just call us “NTP” to save typing time) know we have it somewhere, we just can’t lay our hands on it at this very minute so we go out and buy another.

Tidy people have matching pairs of things that come in pairs; socks, for example. We NTP buy all our socks in the same color and style, so what’s the big deal about matching?

Tidy people don’t have Wendy’s wrappers and drink containers on the floor of their cars. Yeah, so?

NTP are more adept at finding things and do very well when challenged because of our heightened awareness of what could be hiding under what. Our bodies are also more flexible, kept in shape by stretching to the top of the closet and bending and crawling around the bed to peer under the dust ruffle.

Tidy people line up their shoes by category (dress, casual, athletic), then by color. Same with the clothes. How in the world do they ever find anything to dress “creatively?” I bet they have never worn red tennies to a wedding.

Tidy people should not marry NTP. Drives ‘em both crazy. They can hang out together, then everyone needs to go home – their own home.

Hummm. I wonder what happens when tidy people do marry NTP and have children, if those children are now all the whiney kids you see on Dr. Phil?

I’d explore this psychological breakthrough longer, but I have to go look under the bed for my other sock.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Library Wonderland

When was the last time you went to the public library? For some reason, I missed about forty years, but felt the tug when a brand, shiny new regional library opened last week just down the road.

Whoooee, there have been some changes over the years, let me tell you. First of all, do you know they have videos in both VHS and DVD? (I’m just now figuring out what the initials mean.) The last time I went, video players had not even been invented. The last time I went, we were “shushed” and had to speak quietly because sound echoed around the giant racks of books. Now you can talk almost normally and all kinds of sound-deadeners keep most conversations private.

The last time I went, you had to have a flashlight to find anything on the towering racks or nearly go blind under spitting, crackly fluorescent bulbs. Now huge windows fill the room with light, supplemented with fluorescent bulbs with “natural” glow. Oh, and where did those old wood card catalogs with the hand-typed 4”x5” index cards go? There must be a huge warehouse full of them somewhere because now all you have to do is click, type a few words and hit “Search” and a new flat-screen computer monitor whisks you to your author or title or subject.

Some things never change. The kid's room is still filled with all ages of boys and girls sprawled at tables who are lost to the magical world of reading. Moms hover over smaller children and still point out Winnie or Alice or Dorothy. Now, however, computer savvy kids click, peck and point with the mouse extension of their brains faster than I could ever find the water fountain.

The chairs, aaaahhhhh, the big lounge chairs, are new and just made to sink into and read the latest newspapers from all parts of the world or browse through favorite magazines, no matter what your interests. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then do research on the computer if you get there before the older kids come in to do homework.

Even checking out a book has changed. No more cards to remove from the pocket at the back of the book where you could see who else had read your choice. No more squish, then bonk as the librarian inked the due date, stamped the card and slid it back in it’s little pocket. Now you just scan your new plastic, wallet size bar-coded card, then flip up the side of the book with it’s own bar code, scan, and you are on your way.

There are some things I miss, like the slightly musty smell that, as a kid, I thought was knowledge floating around in the air. (Obviously, if I thought that, it must not have been.) I also liked the old porcelain water fountains with the bubbly cool water. (Don’t put your mouth too close, you just don’t know who else has been there!) I miss seeing those prim ladies at the checkout desk with their lace collars and sensible shoes who peered through wire-rimmed glasses and said, “Now don’t forget to bring this back next Thursday.” Those prim librarians have been replaced by young men and women in slacks or jeans with ready smiles.

What I love about the new library is the rack of Best Sellers, all the videos, the thousands of book choices, books in paperback, the huge selection of magazines and newspapers, the “reachable” shelves, the really cool checkout, and the casual atmosphere. “Come on in and read.” Well, now that I think about it, I just love everything!

So many books, so little time.

Yep. I like the changes the forty-some years have brought. What I like best is the one thing that hasn’t changed. You can still check out a stack of books for free!

You Know it's time ...

You know it’s time to mop the kitchen floor when you leave the room and your sock stays.

You know it’s time to get a new shirt when a passerby says, “Hey, great retro threads, man.”

You know it’s time to spend less time on the computer when you try to “refresh” the TV screen.

You know it’s time to clean the refrigerator door when you can’t let go.

You know it’s time to vacuum the carpet when sprouts appear.

You know it’s time to clean your car windshield when the guy passing out flyers in the parking lot just slaps one on the glass over the gooey bugs.

You know it’s time to mow the lawn when the dog disappears … and it’s a great Dane.

You know it’s time to trim your ear hair when someone comments on your sideburns and you don’t have any.

You know it’s time for the kids to move out when their Social Security checks take up all the room in your tiny mailbox.

You know it’s time to take down the Christmas tree when all the needles have shed from the tree and it’s an artificial tree.

You know it’s time for the neighbor to crank up his new leaf blower when you have just settled down for your Saturday afternoon nap.

You know it’s time to think up – and contribute – one of these when you read this.

Friday, September 09, 2005


What ever happened to “dungarees?” I haven’t seen dungarees for sale in many years. I can get “jeans” and “denim,” but where are those good old, sturdy “dungarees?” Years ago, getting a new pair of dungarees was almost like getting married. You picked them out, signed the paper (charge slip), brought them home, and if properly cared for would last for years. I had a favorite pair of dungarees that outlasted my marriage!

The old-fashioned dungarees had to be broken in before they could be worn. First you had to wash the heavy-duty fabric several times just to get it to bend. Few homes had indoor driers or even fabric softener, so most dungarees were line-dried, adding to their stiffness. Just bring ‘em in and stand ‘em in the corner! It could take months, even years, of wearing and washing to achieve that softer, relaxed fabric.

Dungarees were made of such a thick and tight weave, even after “breaking in,” they provided a degree of protective covering. You could climb trees, roll across concrete and fall into creeks and although the dungarees might be scuffed and scraped, your body remained unscathed and in one piece. Parents bought their kids dungarees in one size too large knowing that the blue armor would last through several growth spurts. Unless you were the youngest of a family of ten, you could count on getting hand-me-downs that originated with the oldest sibling.

Depending on how tight a fit was desired, we teen girls pulled on our new, store bought dungarees and jumped into a bathtub full of hot water for a custom-contoured shrink alteration. Well, maybe it only rinsed out some of the dye, but we thought the shrink trick worked. Less expensive dungarees could result in an added surprise and take up to a week for the blue stain to wear off our lower bodies! As for tightness, if we didn’t have to fall backwards on the bed and inhale deeply just to zip, the pants were too loose!

There were no style choices, just sizes. No ”low-rise,” no “flare bottom” no “boot cut” no “elastic waist.” Just one style, but, oh, what you could do with that one style if you had imagination and a sewing box full of decorative trim. Older dungarees were turned into “cut-offs” and could be snipped anywhere from knee-length to cheek-to-cheek. We were wearing the shorter version of cutoffs way before the heroine of “Dukes of Hazard” pranced around in her now famous “Daisy Dukes.”

Now that I’m more mature – okay, really mature – I miss dungarees. I also miss the body I once had that fit into those dungarees. Now I shop for pre-shrunk and softened, elastic waist, stretch, no-iron, wide-leg jeans to fit the expanded areas of my body. If I had to fall backwards on the bed to zip, I’d probably fall asleep and never get out of the house. Yes, there is a lot to be said for the immediate comfort of the new style jeans. Oh, and the less said about the body that now fits into them, the better!