Monday, July 15, 2019

Be Kind To Your Openings

When my children were young, I made up a song for them.  Be Kind To Your Openings. We all have openings. Most of those openings need to be free, unobstructed, open to the world, ready to take in information.  At the southernmost end, some  of those openings, at the mercy of gravity, urges, and quixotic storage, need to be covered, protected, comforted shielded and contained.  Containment is the most important.

That established, let’s talk about underwear.  I was once a copywriter for a large department store chain and part of my job was to sell underpants.  Here is what I would say today about men’s underpants.

Consider the flat two inch elasticized waistband with stable reliable stretch that never gives up. The body well-cut from 16 ounce pima cotton jersey that yields pleasantly to the shape at hand.  The generous wide crotch contains, comforts and ensures security with a seamless return that spills over and hugs the upper thigh, leaving nary a gap.  No wonder men go into the world with a dance in their step. They feel secure, contained, invincible. 

This is what I would say about women’s underwear:

See this thin string of rubberized material indenting the female waist or worse, quickly losing its elasticity.   See this high cut leg leaving a highway that exposes the vulnerable groin. See the almost see through unyielding five ounce (possibly reclaimed) cotton that orders the buttocks to make do with the available coverage. See the elasticized crotch miserly in width, spitefully narrow, See these  three important most hard working openings, misunderstood, tentative, uncertain.The southernmost platform, exposed, unsteady, not quite contained, nervously poised on the edge of a cliff. 

I went to T J Max and stood before the men’s underwear wall where a feast of life changing containment and comfort awaited.  I unseated a pair of short-leg boxer briefs from a hook. They were dark grey 30” waist, 100 percent silky jersey cotton.  I took the briefs home.  Almost fainting with trepidation over any latent gender misclassification, I put the underwear on.  OH. MY. GOD!  THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR BEGAN TO BELT OUT SEVERAL HALLELUJAHS.  Whuk? Is this how men feel?

Remember that lady marathoner who had to free-bleed while she ran the marathon? Her period had arrived at the starting line.  Unwittingly, she became a champion for women’s final frontier of defiance.  Stuff  comes out of us without our will.  That’s what happens.  Get comfortable with it.  Moreover, we have a delivery system that is not as precise or tractable as the other gender..  We didn’t choose it.  That’s the way it was meted out.  Childbirth takes it down a couple of notches. We deserve equal pay and equal underwear. 


Saturday, May 18, 2019

The repurposed writer: William Barr, you had me at jejune.

The repurposed writer: William Barr, you had me at jejune.: Here’s the quote: “It's unusual to have opposition research like that one that on its face ...

William Barr, you had me at jejune.

Here’s the quote: “It's unusual to have opposition research like that one that on its face had a number of clear mistakes and jejune analysis and to use that to conduct counterintelligence.”

The only thing I heard was “jejune.”  Whaaaat? A government person?

Kudos, AG for obvious familiarity and love of language.  Your delivery was insouciant.  You slipped it in there without hesitation or stumble.

Jejune isn’t easy to say.  I’ve only seen it written.  It isn’t French for I am June.  It means na├»ve, artless, childlike, unsophisticated. It can also mean boring, dreary, insipid, dull, tedious. 

Mr. Attorney General, talk some more.  What other words do you know?

You are positively insouciant

Friday, May 17, 2019

Compression or how to get a restorative hug without touching another person.

When you velcro Fido's torso with a super snug vest called the Thunder Shirt, he doesn't skid around your good walnut floors like an Olympic skater, barking and chasing his tail every time the doorbell rings. He lies in his puffy bed, eyes closed, thinking his dog thoughts:  lick, eat, fetch, sniff, nap. Someone sitting around (like I often do) had a thought.  Fido solved a big life problem.  I could use that.  Could it be?  Can we keep it together by pressing seriously against ourselves just short of asphyxiation?
I remembered something.  The horrid dentist visit was suddenly okay when the nurse threw the lead apron over me as a shield from the x-rays.  That filthy heavy piece of plastic sucked the anxiety out of me. Nothing was going to fall apart - not my limbs, not my head, not my present or future. I was held in place by a benevolent force. My crazy thoughts were still there but they were pinned down. I liked it. Hey, do that some more, nursie.

The most popular compression item on the market is the weighted blanket.  It alleviates anxiety, insomnia, restlessness. Most ads mention the hugging feel as the favorite benefit of throwing a thirty-pound shroud over your body. Why not just stick with human hugging? It's free. And it's everywhere.  We have a hugging epidemic. Even men hug now. They were exempt but they had to try it. Men hug sideways. Around 2016 however, we grew tired of other people. We grew tired of interacting. Tired of talking and definitely tired of listening.  We now prefer to be alone with our devices and be hugged by the blanket.

What’s it like to sleep under a weighted blanket? If the 600 thread count pima cotton sheet is like a whisper on your legs, the 25 lb. weighted blanket is like Ethel Merman belting out Everything’s Coming Up Roses without a mic.  If you want to move your legs, you willfully drag them.

You might want to gift your anxious friend or a relative whose narrative is off-track with a compression item.  Here are some suggestions.

The Calm Company makes weighted blankets in 15, 20 or 25 lb. weight.  The 25Ib. blanket is always sold out. Because, you know - heavier. Honey, can you get the crow bar and lift this boulder off of me so I can go to work. The reviews all say pretty much the same thing.  I fall asleep faster and I sleep better.  I bought it for my dad who was struggling with anxiety.

At ETHOHOME they call it the Gravis Blanket. The gravis blanket holds you down and might give you gravitas. You can become a pundit and get a hug. There are many brands of weighted blankets, but the principles are the same: choose a weight, a fabric, a color, and a fill (sand or beads are mentioned.)

WikiHow has instructions on making your own weighted blanket. I would make one, but the first step is going to a craft store for beads.  I could go to the beach or the driveway and pick up pebbles. I also have to drag out my old sewing machine. To begin, you sew several vertical tunnels through two pieces of fabric, fill with a portion of pebbles and then sew horizontally every few inches, creating closed squares. This technique is called "baffling" Baffling prevents the stones from drifting to one place. You know what else is baffling? Crafting.

You can buy compression clothing including Bomba socks that have a ribbed swath that compresses the instep. 

In researching this post, I read reviews men leave on the compression athletic wear pages on Amazon.  Compression wear is used for faster recovery after gross (tough) exertion. It takes a long time to put on compression clothes, especially the tights. You have to stretch and pull to get the item up on your body. In the reviews, men talk candidly about the size of their bottoms and which brands give them the space they need.  Here's one gent that went that extra mile in reviewing his Tesla compression tights.

The good: The XL were tight (as a good compression layer should be) so the sizing makes sense to me. The bad: this is the only layer I own that doesn't have a wiener hole. Which isn't necessarily a problem if you pull your pants down to whizz in the woods. Personally, I like shooting through the wiener hole myself so it can get uncomfortable when you have say five layers on and you try to shoot through four wiener holes, but you have to pull just this layer down. It can be done but it's just not the same. 

Father’s Day is almost here. 

* Faith Popcorn predicted all of this (the stay-at-home, self-sufficient human, twenty years ago in her book Cocoon.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Oh no, oh no, oh no!

Last night something happened to me that seldom happens.  I was sick, painfully sick.  I was going to say sick as a dog but I’ve noticed that dogs are hardly ever sick.  They can eat a decaying hotdog out of the garbage, lick some slurpy liquid off the sidewalk and still dance around and chase a stick until your arm comes out of its socket.

I was in such discomfort that I begged God to help me.  I writhed in pain  - how do you writhe in pain?  You turn hither and yon and rub where it hurts and stretch out and do it all again - and then I said, “Oh God, oh God, oh God.  Help me.”  Why would I think that after months, maybe years of no direct communication, God would drop everything at 2 a.m. on a Friday night and say, “Rise, take up your pallet and walk”   But you know what?  God did help me.  I took three sequential baths and walked around and got out my hot water bottle and did a few other things that are too gross to mention.  Finally, soaking wet from my third bath, I wrapped myself in a big towel and got in bed.  I tried my breathing technique and finally fell asleep.  When I woke up four hours later, the pain was gone.  I still felt very tentative about my stomach but I could manage it and I could walk around without wishing I was dead.

The takeaway here (besides God) is that sound, as in SOUND, even whining sound is very helpful when you are in pain.  Feel free to talk out loud about how much it hurts.  Oh, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts. Groan and say oh, no, oh, no. oh, no.   Fortunately, I live alone.  

I thought I should write this all down in case you are ever in that situation.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Suborning: that's when you have your baby in a submarine.

We hear these new awkward words every day.  Our drunk uncle tells 
us what they mean.

Collusion:  This is when I’m driving and a dentist in a 
Range Rover crashes into me.

Perjury:  That’s where you go to throw up when you have an 
eating disorder

Suborning:  That’s when you have your baby in a submarine

Subpoena:  That’s the green soup I don’t like. 

 Delegitimize:  That’s when you try to delete something by resizing it 
in a minescule font so nobody can read it.

Dossier:  That’s when you can't stay awake during Roma.

Fisa!   That stands for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act   
That’s some serious sh*t.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Oh, Will, wherefore art thou?

This morning I showered early took my ipad into the kitchen and listened to a YouTube meditation while I tidied up.  I felt calm and in control.  I was going to fast for the next ten hours.  I was a grown up with will power to spare.

AT 8:45, hunger began to knock. Ping, ping, ping.  I made this to protect me:
No kale but avocado and red cabbage

I wrapped the bowl to keep it fresh.  It sat on the counter undisturbed.

Around 9:05, moving robotically, like The Manchurian Candidate, I opened the freezer and found this.
48 ingredients,40 of them not food

I microwaved it, cut it into dainty sections and ate it while moving around the room. 

Around 10:35, I was surprised to find this on the shelf and then in my hand:
How did you get in my house?
It held seven three inch tamales stuffed with a smidgen of ground beef in mild chili sauce
I ate four of them michrowaved and three straight out of the can. 


Is life, as one of my children puts it, just one long act of de-assholefying yourself and then you die?

It is 6:00 p.m. and here's the good news and the bad news.  The good news:  After the last tamale and a thorough tooth brushing, I forgot about food for the rest of the day.  I answered my e-mails.  I wrote this post for my blog after which I de-cluttered the lower kitchen cabinets.
You're going to miss me
 For the "home exchange area" at the local recycling center.
And the bottom drawer of my dresser.
I'm going to miss you
For BigBrothersBigSisters.

The bad news:  there is no bad news. The same robot that made me eat also reclaimed the day and got hold of it.  Maybe learning that I could do that was the lesson here.  All is not lost over a 6-inch pizza and seven three inch tamales.  Somebody gave me a shove and said, "Get over it and keep going."

Saturday, February 23, 2019

I've got your back. It's who I am.

What do you hate?

I hate it when people rush to distance themselves from a social idea and say, “That’s not who I am.” I am flummoxed to hear that anyone has parsed all their private and public values and know who they are.  I have no idea who I am and sometimes when I’ve done something questionable, I will look in the mirror and say, “Who are you?”  Joe Biden used the phrase the other day speaking for himself and all  the citizens as if he is our Uncle Joe.   He said Americans wouldn’t want to keep illegal immigrants  from crossing the border because that’s not who we are. 

Gayle King, repurposed Oprah friend, uttered the sentiment (once removed) about Meghan Markle.  The Duchess re-gifted her baby shower flowers to Roses Repeat who gave them to the homeless, the cancer ridden and the elderly.  There was a picture of a young girl - her head bald, her leg in a medical boot, holding an elaborate bouquet.  Gayle said, “I thought it was a very sweet thing.  It just speaks to who she is.”  Hmmmm.

Truth is, our core personality is in the grip of a subconscious secret game plan hatched when we were a year old and didn’t know the difference between a pebble and a Cheerio.  It’s almost impossible to get a copy of the dossier of who we are and discover our m.o. 

Anything else?

I hate it when you’re going somewhere or doing something and a non-reflective dolt will say, “Have fun.”   Fun is personal and infrequent.    You only know you’ve had fun after it’s over. Fun is so impromptu that it makes me hate fun. Sometimes, in order to preserve fun you have to cut it short. A lot of times people will say “that was fun,”  Usually, they mean it was a passable experience that didn’t totally depress them. 
Is that it?

No. When a naif says someone “has his/her back.”  It's  a buzz phrase on the airwaves.  CarShield has my back, this woman says.  No. They don’t.  One man is certain that The Hartford has his  back. No. They don’t.  The only situation where someone might have your back is if a friend went with you to the emergency room for a sprained ankle and the doctor misread your chart  and decided to take out your gallbladder.  So when you were alone, the friend put all your clothes back on and helped you hobble out of there and drove you home. The only person who might have your back, in other words look after your interests with anything more than casual curiosity, is your mother and that will end when you are about fourteen and  she realizes that your interests are opposed to her interests.  No one has your back.  Have fun.

Is there anything you do like?

I used to like the expression, “I’ve got this.”  It’s smart nuanced quick talk.  “Don’t worry about that difficult  task.  I’m going to take it off your hands and do a good job.” I wouldn’t mind saying it myself but  I don’t want to take any task off anyone’s hands.

There’s one other thing I like a lot.  Michael Phelps, the gold medal champ in swimming, didn’t have a warm personal image.  Now he is my new very interesting hero.  In a public service spot he  talks about being in the pool hour after hour and it’s just Michael and his thoughts and the bottom of the pool.  He was prone to depression and anxiety.  He didn’t know how to talk to people.  All he knew was how to swim and win gold medals.  He got help.  He talked to someone.  And it helped.  See?  When you are authentic and don’t go on too long, people like you.

Then there's this.  I thought I was too old to have a crush on an actor but I have a crush on Jon Tenney who plays the love interest to Kyra Sedgwick on The Closer.  I think it takes a particular kind of man to tease a woman gently and she is comforted by it.   Fritz (Jon) teases Brenda Lee (Kyra) gently.  When she (reluctant to have him move in) asks “How do I know after you move in that you won’t stop liking me?”  He answers, “Because if I was going to stop liking you, it would have happened by now.” I like that.