I’m probably allergic to you

A few weeks back I bought a GroupOn deal to get some allergy/sensitivity testing done. It was a good price, and I’ve been wanting to get some help in figuring out any food or environmental things that I’m particularly sensitive to. What could go wrong?

The testing kit finally came in the mail and I was excited to get started…until I read the following instruction:

Cut approximately 90-120 hairs, as close to the scalp as possible. The amount should be roughly the width of a pencil.

A PENCIL??? Needless to say, the whole idea was quite alarming. Didn’t those allergy test peddlers know how much time and energy I spend on my hair? How it’s my glory…my best feature? And to top it off, I had paid for this golden opportunity to wreck my ‘do’!

OK…I took a breath. I had to come up with a plan, the goal of which was to not end up with a big old missing clump that would grow out looking like a spiky post-chewing gum hair debacle from my sister’s past (more about that in an upcoming post). I first tried pulling out some hairs, but that got old really fast. (So much for the high pain tolerance I claim to have.)

Plan B – I would selectively cut teeny bunches from a variety of locations, thereby spreading the damage out so that it wouldn’t be noticeable. After patting myself on the back for such an ingenious plan, I picked up my (impossibly awkward) work scissors, decided I didn’t really need a mirror (since I was sitting at my desk at work), and got on with the cutting. The first few, ‘shhh-nip, shhh-nips’ went well enough, but when I bundled my harvest together the grouping wasn’t even the width of a pencil lead…much less a full Ticonderoga #2. Deciding that bold action was called for, I decided to slightly increase the size of the bunches. I would be careful to distribute the damage and was feeling pretty good about the whole thing.

Until…SHHH-KA-NIP!

I pulled my hand away…afraid to look. When I did I saw that I was holding at least a good half-pencil’s width of 18-inch strands, ranging from gunmetal gray to L’Oreal #8 Medium Natural Blonde. It was at that point I decided that my career as a beautician was over.

So far I haven’t noticed any real damage, but I check every single day for evidence of my (lack of) tonsorial skills. Was it worth it? Yesterday I received the following Allergy/Sensitivity List:

  • Ragweed / Mixed grass pollens – Duh.
  • Milk / Lactose / BUTTER FAT – I knew about the milk thing, but THIS explains sooooo much….sigh.
  • Courgette – OK, I had to look it up…only to learn that I’m allergic to one of the only vegetables I actually like. Goodbye, Zucchini…I’ll miss you.
  • Anise – I never liked licorice…I’m SO vindicated!
  • Pine – I think I told ya’ll I’m allergic to Christmas trees.
  • Pine nuts / Pumpkin seeds / Castor bean – And I care because…?
  • Box elder – I’m pretty sure this is the big old tree that #1 planted right in the middle of my backyard 15 years ago – the one that throws seedlings all over the whole neighborhood. Thanks, buddy.
  • Moths – Um…that’s just weird. I guess I’ll have to give up that ‘hanging out under the street light’ habit I’ve been working on.
  • Horse Fly Bot – WTF???? I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far of avoiding most bugs, but especially the larva of flies that live around horses. So much for my dream of becoming a farmer…cause that was so gonna happen.
  • Trimelletic Anhydride – OK…I had to look this one up too, and it turns out it’s an industrial POISON. Wouldn’t pretty much every human being on the planet be sensitive to it? (I hope they didn’t charge me extra for that one.)

And, last but not least…

  • Cat dander

I guess my consolation is that vodka, hair dye and ladies Rogaine weren’t on the list.

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Not exactly a DAYdream believer…

So I just read through some old notes about dreams I’ve had, and I ran across this winner…

A few months back I dreamed about being in a movie; I wasn’t sure what the story line for the script was, but there were lots of thugs and tough guys involved. At some point I came up with an idea that ended up being included in the movie, and I got really excited about it. My brilliant idea was to take a Monkees’ song and change the words around…because you know that’s so gangsta. (For those too young to remember the enigma that was The Monkees, they were a goofy teen heart-throb band from the late 1960’s that was made up for a TV show. They had a few songs that were actually good though, and some sad, middle-aged women apparently still have dreams about them.)micky davy final

Back to the dream…the next thing you know, The Monkees themselves were actually there on the movie set! It was big stuff for me, and I decided that I needed to help them ‘get’ my version of their song, so I sang the heck out of it. Not sure how long that part lasted, but it was a big part of the dream and seemed to go on and on. I guess I must have been singing a bit emphatically (as is my nature), because Davy Jones kept staring at me and he didn’t look too happy (maybe he knew I always liked Micky Dolenz better?)

The dream continued for quite a while, with me singing and Davy being all aloof and snooty, just like I knew he would be. I must have eventually worn him down though, because at some point he came up behind me and told me to walk across the room. He then reached out his hands and sort of held my butt while I walked, as he’d requested. In typical non-linear dream style, I suddenly remembered that I had been having a terrible backache…and he fixed it! Then he started to hold my…well…things started to turn a little sexy…but my back felt great!

Sorry Micky, it wasn’t a lucid dream, or I might have made better choices!

Rules of the road

I haven’t lived this long without picking up a few important things worth sharing. Here are some simple rules that I live by:

  • Never. Drink. Tequila.
  • Shake hands like you mean it…that limp girly thing is just nasty.
  • Never buy a piece of clothing that comes with jewelry already attached to it.
  • Don’t expect a confirmed liar to ever tell you the truth.
  • Know how to cook at least one meal that will impress company.
  • Understand that, if everyone threw their troubles out onto a pile on the floor, you really would pick your own right back up. (Thanks for that one, Grandmama.)
  • If someone tells you you’re pretty, just hush up and accept the compliment.
  • Don’t ever wear leggings without something covering up your important parts (or you won’t get any compliments to accept).
  • If all else fails and you have to lie…do it big. (Especially if you’ve been drinking tequila.)
  • Always wear a bra to work. (I stole that one, but it’s too important to forget!)
  • Sometimes all you actually have to do is breathe.
  • Floss those damn teeth!
  • Love yourself first.
  • That 3rd helping only sounds like a good idea.
  • Go ahead and dance…you’ll probably never even see those fools again. (Warning…disregard this one if there’s been any tequila involved.)
  • Learn to say no.
  • You can set as many alarms as you want, but it’s all about eventually getting your ass out of that bed.
  • A blinker doesn’t turn a car. (Thank you, Mama.)
  • Don’t leave until the credits are over.
  • You deserve top shelf liquor. Just no tequila…seriously.
necklace shirt

Just say “NO!”

The Meemaw Chronicles

Let’s just get this out there: I’m not a grandmother.

I guess that may have something to do with the fact that I was never even a mother. To top that off, I’ve never even had a successful relationship with a man who has kids or grand kids. I don’t necessarily think that I’m child-averse, but it just never worked out.

Not having children in my life (other than a niece, nephew and the kids of a few friends) hasn’t really been an issue for me, but I definitely realize that I’ve missed out on a lot of things. On the plus side, I never had to deal with diapers, croup or the terrible 2’s, but to balance that out, I’ve never known what it is to be someone else’s whole world (even if it’s only for a few years). The worst part, I believe, is that I’ve never known the truly unconditional love that parents must feel. Yes, I’ve had the luxury of being able to be selfish in some of my life choices because I never really had to put anyone else’s interests before my own…but that freedom came with a cost.

My choices have also left me without the chance to pick (or be assigned) a sweet grandmotherly nickname. It’s interesting to me that these names have changed so much over the years. Whatever happened to Gramma, Grammy and the sweet old lady monikers we grew up with? Now it’s all YaYa, GiGi, MiMi and a host of other reduplicates, along with some that are designed to be NON-grandma names…I submit to you Glamma, G-Mom and Honey.  Not that some of these aren’t cute as hell, but who is actually coming up with these names…the grand kids or the matriarch?

My immediate family when I was growing up had fairly normal names for our grandmothers. My mother’s mother was called ‘Nana’ (pronounced Na-naw) when I was little, and ‘Grandmama’ later (after I started caring what other people heard me calling her). Her sister (my great-aunt) was known to everyone as ‘Nana’ with the traditional elegant-sounding pronunciation . It became a sort of vaulted title that suited her perfectly.

But then somehow, out of nowhere, came the name my nephew bestowed on my mother: Meemaw. It stuck like day-old grits and now that’s her NAME…she has become Meemaw to the world! I realize that this is a term of endearment that periodically surfaces in Southern culture, but I’d never heard it used before, and at first…well, at first it scared me a little. How could my sweet little Mama be someone’s MEEMAW? Now though, 30 years later with her grand kids all grown up, Meemaw suits my mama just fine.

We just found out that one of Meemaw’s now grown-up grand kids is going to have her own child. It’s exciting to know that my sister is going to be a Nana, or MuMu or maybe just a LynnieG. Whatever she (or the new little one) decide that she should be called, I know that my amazing little sister will simply be the best grandmama out there. Congratulations Lynnie!

Hmmm…maybe I need to establish a new tradition that requires great-aunts to have cool names too. Then I might just insist that the grandkids call me….wait for it….

 

TEEMAW!

Meemaw

Stolen, so please excuse the spelling!

Teacher’s pet on steroids

"Come on, you know you're just projecting..."

“Come on, you know you’re just projecting…”

I was wandering through a Goodwill store the other day when I ran across one of these dinosaurs. For those of you not from the era of mimeographed handouts (with that weirdly addicting, shiny-blue chemical smell that couldn’t possibly be good for you), or if the fun of turning the egg-beater-like handle of the requisite manual pencil sharpener at the front of the classroom is lost on you, this contraption ———> is an overhead projector.

 

These beauties were used to share super important information…like this:

Important stuff

Hey Jimmy…we can’t see THROUGH you!

 

 

 

School was pretty different back then. (And yes, I’ll see that bet and raise you a, “Hey you kids, get outta my yard!”)

 

 

One thing that probably hasn’t changed in the classroom though is that annoying kid who sits in the front row and seems to always have their hand up…you know the one. hand up

Well, let me just tell you, it’s not EASY being that kid! I would keep that hand up in the air until I sometimes thought my arm would fall off!

Eventually, that eternal hand in the air syndrome morphed into all of the telltale signs of a geeky teacher’s pet: refusing to cut school (even when threatened with bodily harm), being the kid chosen make bulletin boards or run to the office to deliver messages, and the one most likely to be left in charge when the teacher left the room on business (smoke ’em if you got ’em, boys).

In case you ever wondered what happened to those annoying kids, well, this one just recently found out her Myers-Briggs scores during a training event at work. It turns out that the Extrovert part of ENFP can be somewhat…um, I think the word the Introverts used was EXHAUSTING. They also mentioned something about having to fight to get in a few words during classroom…, um, I mean office discussions. Of course, I was so busy trying to get the instructor’s attention that I may have missed a few details. Maybe I’ll be able to do some extra credit follow-up…or at least buy the boss a latte.

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Evil?

It’s midday on New Year’s Eve, and I’m still trying to figure out where I’ll be toasting in the New Year for 2014. Not that this is a particularly new phenomenon…it’s pretty much my routine every year. The last few years ended up being ushered in by a Duck Dynasty marathon and some fattening food, but this year I’m actually going out. Of course, that just brings up a ton of angst over all of the details that come into play when you’re NOT on the couch when the fireworks go off.

Figuring out where to go is a biggie. A friend and I finally decided to forego the $100 big hotel deal with multiple DJ’s, tons of people, party food and a whopping single glass of champagne at midnight (in spite of her repeated reminders that there would be a matchmaker service ON SITE). Another friend wanted us to join a group on a party bus that she’s ’emceeing’, but the idea of hustling in and out of 6 or 7 bars on amateur night just didn’t sound all that fun, so we politely declined. We eventually settled on a smaller hotel bar with a semi-decent band and a $25 cover. That seems more reasonable for a glass of inferior champagne and a party hat, I’d say.

Then there’s the issue of what to wear! My friend is wearing “the dress”…a beautiful new party dress she bought a few months ago in celebration of her new status as a single mom. Of course, the ‘mom’ part prevents her from actually using the dress very much, but her 4-year-old did tell her that she should wear it every day, since it’s so pretty. I’ll start digging through my closet in another hour or so, and the whining will commence. I have a couple of really cute dresses, but I’m a girl, after all. I’ll probably end up wearing the first one I pull out, after trying on every other thing that I own.

So that leaves just one more thing to obsess about…what the HELL do you do when it’s time for that midnight kiss? I could probably count the successful New Years Eve kisses I’ve ever had on one hand, and still have a few fingers left over. When I was married and had someone who was obligated to kiss me on command, we were usually asleep by the time the New Year came in. After I was divorced and started going out on December 31st, well, let’s just say that choreographing a moment like that without a fallback second party is tricky, at best.

Charlize-charlize-theron-1693225-1024-768

Bow before me, New Year’s minions!

You have to start scouting things out well before midnight, and you can’t be obvious about it. Assuming that you do find someone who has potential, the odds are still against you, unless of course you’re a dead ringer for Charlize Theron…or if you ARE Charlize Theron.  (By the way, if you are Ms. Theron, thanks for reading and please tell Oprah about me if you know her.)

Also, a lot of people out on this particular night are coupled up, and unknowingly laying a big wet one on someone else’s man is a sure recipe for disaster! Yes, I know…after several hours of drinking and dancing it may seem like a good idea…but just say no. Trust me on this one.

Then there’s the awkward, “Yay it’s midnight!” and you look over to find the prey you’ve been stalking for the last hour averting his eyes to look anywhere but at you…staring up at the ceiling, checking his watch or (God forbid) TEXTING! Then you have to start second guessing your choice of dresses (I KNEW I shouldn’t have worn the sleeveless one), your decision to go with your (usually reserved for the living room) hoochie-mama dancing…things just spiral from there.

This year, I’m guessing that my friend and I will just dance through the awkwardness and give each other a big old New Year’s hug and high-five combo. Then everyone there will just assume that we’re a couple, which is a pretty damn good option, considering the consequences of inadvertently kissing Charlize’s date!

Happy New Year everyone! Have fun and, if you end up on the couch with a bunch of redneck duck call makers and some Ben and Jerry’s…well, I envy you!

Planning ahead is good…right?

I’ve been thinking about how I want my funeral to go. Now, I’m not sick, and I don’t plan to jump onto any train tracks in the near future, so don’t worry about me. It’s just that I live alone, don’t have a (full-time) significant other, and it occurred to me that unless I spec it out…who knows WHAT kind of crazy ya’ll might come up with!

1. I don’t want to be there.

It’s not likely, but in the event that my body has any usable stuff left, please give it to someone who can use it. Seriously…what do I need it for? Burn the rest and, if it makes my mama happy, put it in a nice jar or something in front of everyone. (I’m ok with putting a bow or something on the jar so no one mistakes it for an ashtray.)

2. Make everyone dress up, whether they like it or not

I’d prefer if they wore costumes, but that’s gonna be a tough sell, so nice clothes are ok. Black is only required if, like me, it’s a fashion choice. No latex/rubber.

3. Find a decent picture of me

Trust me, there are very few good photos of me out there, so please take the time to only use decent ones of me for any type of wake or celebration. This will be challenging…just a heads up. I do NOT want anything like the one where I have braces and am smirking at husband #2 on our wedding day, or the one of me on the camel in Morocco.

4. Have a party

A good one. There should be crappy beer, lots of shots, good music and dancing. (If Mama is still around, she can dance as much as she wants to…thereby making her feel better and providing entertainment for everyone else.)

Regarding the music, whatever the crowd likes is fine with the exception of rap, house music, and The Circle of Life (just don’t). At some point, please play The Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler (do not substitute with Boogie Woogie Bugleboy).

And seriously, if you play that Disney thing, I’ll know.

5. Talk nice about me and laugh

I give my mother and sister permission to tell whatever embarrassing stories they can come up with. (Mama will need a few of the aforementioned shots first.) Don’t forget to talk about how great my hair was, and someone should be responsible for mentioning all the good things I did for others…well, at least mention that I had a blog and lived through two husbands. Stories likening me to a pioneer woman (since I moved to Oregon) are acceptable.

6. Remember me

I don’t believe in paying someone for a hunk of ground that I won’t even be buried in…so no ‘grave’ is needed. Really, if someone feels the need, plant a tree somewhere, or maybe find a small used monument…you might try the Goodwill in southeast Portland.

bizarre grave

Just say no one’s home, Kim!