I’m not gonna lie…I always thought my parents were a little over the top with their doctors’ appointments. They will not allow anything to come between them and their beloved providers.
Kind of like Calvin’s except these Calvin’s wear a white coat.
Hell could be freezing over but dammit, they will make that appointment. Like Superman during a blizzard. Over tall buildings and faster than a speeding bullet. Nothing will stop them.
The year before the pandemic, I decided I probably should start going for annual skin checks. 2019 went off without a hitch, then the pandemic hit and I was forced to cancel my appointment for 2020.
One that I didn’t reschedule.
Until recently, when I discovered that two friends of mine were diagnosed with melanoma. Skin cancer. One was caught early. The other, not so much.
Was this a sign? Maybe. But that was all I needed to get on the horn and call my doctor.
It wasn’t even mid-August and the next available appointment with my derm — who I love almost as much as my firstborn — wasn’t available until four days before Christmas.
Am I panicking? Not totally.
But what if? I won’t let my brain go there because I tend to be a bit of a hypochondriac. Just make sure my ashes are thrown in the Atlantic, mmmkay?
Anyway, I think I now get what my parents mean. There is nothing that can make me cancel that appointment. Except maybe death. And it will have to be my own. If it’s anyone else’s they will have to wait.
Is this another by-product of aging? This sudden need to have all the things checked?
ALL the things between the hair on my head and the bottoms of my toes? Inside and out?
Gone are the carefree days of having to only worry about skidding out on your bicycle and scraping a knee.
Oh my god. Knee scrapes can’t turn into cancer…can they?
I can’t pinpoint the date. Probably because it is not exactly what I would call traumatic. And besides, I feel like it was a slow death. Kind of like when your aging gums start to recede until you have no gums left at all. It’s gradual until the time has come for an alternative.
I have a closet full of them (heels not gums). They are all covered in a fine mist of dust and something that looks suspiciously like tumbleweeds stuck at the section where heel meets impossibly steep shank.
They were once very much loved. You can tell by the missing heel tips, and the rubbed-off leather on the technically speaking “counter” (the back of the shoe to you laymen) from using them as driving shoes.
The treatment they receive these days is less than par. Let’s just say if my shoes were human I would be spending the rest of my days making license plates and eating cold porridge for breakfast.
It will be one full year since this pandemic started and I was ousted from the office to work from the privacy of my own home. Yes, I am very lucky. No, I am not bragging. I’m just stating a fact.
Although I absolutely can blame the pandemic on many things, I cannot blame it on my inability to walk in shoes that have a heel height greater than a quarter of an inch.
Before this pandemic I wore flats to work most of the time. Once in a while if I was feeling crazy and wanted to completely let my hair down and get all “Girls Gone Wild” on myself, I would choose one of the two pairs of kitten heels I own.
For those of you who may not know what a kitten heel is, let me put it to you this way: there were plastic princess shoes with a higher heel in my child’s chest of dress-up clothes.
And I can’t wear them. These kitten heels. I try in vain, but by midday my puppies are barking at me like a couple of junkyard dogs.
The last time I recall wearing real high heels was at a nephew’s wedding nearly nine years ago. They are gorgeous, sparkly, open-toed, five-inch heeled stilettos. I have the photos to prove I kept them on longer than the church service.
These days if I even attempt to stand up in a pair of stilettos, I resemble a newborn baby elephant. Except the elephant is much more graceful. No matter how hard I try, I can barely get across the room without running the risk of spraining an ankle.
In my youth I could have run a marathon in high heels. I wore them as if I was born with them on my feet. The confidence I exuded from wearing a pair of four or five inch heels was incredible. And damn. They made my legs look great.
These days I look like a squatty sloth. My fuzzy slippers may be comfortable but they do nothing for me aesthetically. Although they do look real cute with my favorite pair of yoga pants. On days I want to get really freaky, I’ll wear a matching t-shirt.
So, that’s my story. My heel wearing days are over. Well, until my only child’s wedding day. I’ll just be sure there is a wheelchair nearby. Although, I suspect I’ll be utilizing that before the wedding march cues up.
That’s me repeating to myself what I need to get from the pantry. On the way to the pantry I stop to pick up a random leaf that has blown in from the back door that, in turn, requires me to turn around and throw in the kitchen trashcan.
While I’m at the kitchen trashcan, I notice it is full so I pull out the bag and reach under the sink to grab a new one. While under there I notice we are running low on sponges. I go to the junk drawer for a slip of paper and a pen to start a grocery list.
I can’t find a pen, so I head upstairs to my office. While in my office, I see that I left a bill on my desk that needs to be mailed. I grab the envelope to bring out to the mailbox. When I get back downstairs, I realize I have to go to the bathroom. I stop in the bathroom and notice I need to replenish the toilet paper.
I head back upstairs to the hall closet and realize I never made my bed. While in the bedroom, I see there is a glass on the side table that I need to bring to the kitchen. On my way to the kitchen, I stop in the upstairs bathroom because I need a hair tie.
All this running around has made me hot.
I go downstairs again and stand in the kitchen staring at nothing in particular. What was I doing? I don’t remember. I’ll retrace my steps. That will help.
On my step-retracing journey, I notice an empty water glass on the sink in the upstairs bathroom, the hall closet is wide open, my bed is half made, the garbage can in the kitchen is in need of a bag, there is no toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom, there is an unstamped envelope in my hand, and my hair is tied up.
How did that happen?
I’m sure it started with that walk to the pantry. But what was it that I needed? Paprika? Or was it sponges? Oh where was that grocery list I started? That’s right. I don’t have a pen.
But first I need to wash my hands.
Dammit. We’re out of paper towels.
“Paper towels paper towels paper towels,” I say to myself as I walk toward the pantry.
And that, my friends, is how I ended up sweeping out the garage.
If you told me this would one day be our reality, I would have believed you about as much as I believe there are martians. It still blows my mind every time I leave my house. It’s like an apocalyptical mask event (I don’t even know if that makes sense, but I feel like this year is a free-for-all for nonsense).
I think we all remember our very first mask. Mine was sent to me in a panic by a friend back on the 112th day of March. It is practical, pinches at the nose, fits perfectly, and alleviated some of my anxiety those first few weeks.
My second mask was made by a friend and features…what else? Photos of ladies drinking wine. I enjoy that when I’m eating at a restaurant al fresco with the hubs or meeting a friend for…umm, wine. Of course. Well, I don’t drink or eat with it actually on. My secret talent is coloring inside the lines, not figuring out how to eat sushi through cloth.
During these past ten months that really feels like ten years, I have collected nine masks. Of those nine masks, only the two above-mentioned fit. The others just flop around on my face like a mackeral that was washed ashore. If I were to rob a bank in any of them, my identity would quickly be revealed.
I actually did go into the bank recently and had to bite my tongue to keep from joking with the teller about how I felt like a bank robber. She probably would have done one of two things: pushed the panic button under her desk or told me to come up with something original.
Anyway, before I digress into places I can’t return let me continue.
I am amazed by how many people have really nice fitting masks. I usually come home from running errands with a touch of mask envy. “Mask Envy.” How is this even an emotion?
So, it has been determined by me that I have some ill fitting masks. That poses the next question, “how effective are they?” Do I need to have them tailored? I mean, that can’t sound any crazier than the whole of 2020, now can it?
Aside from the obvious, there are some advantages to this mask wearing thing. The obvious being it’s said to lessen the spread of disease. Or does it? I don’t think anyone really knows. But I’m not taking any chances.
Another thing I like about wearing a mask is I don’t have to smile at anyone if I don’t want to. I’m not saying I don’t like to smile at people, I’m just saying after being a smiler for over fifty-three years, it’s nice to get a break.
I’ve tried smiling with my eyes, but I usually just end up looking like a certain fictional novelist who loses his mind and terrorizes his family.
My resting bitch face is quite happy and that’s all that really matters. What else do I like about wearing a mask? Well, this is terrible and I probably shouldn’t say it out loud but seeing someone you might know out in public and pretending to not see them.
I know, I know. I realize I just bought myself a seat in Hell.
So, I have discovered during the writing of this pointless essay that I don’t really like smiling, may or may not have robbed a bank, could be deranged, and that I like hot places. Talk about discovering yourself.
Also, could there be martians? We’re matching our face masks to our pocketbooks, so anything is possible. This is the year 2020 after all.
It’s like a cruel joke on the human female body. Generally, I love being a woman. I think we’re smarter, more logical, better looking, we have better clothes, and can have babies, just to name a few. But this nonsense of menopause is just a bit over the top, don’t you think?
Not to get graphic or anything, but the majority of us start with the menses at an early age. I know the reason for it. I don’t need a theological or health education refresher. I get it. But why for the love of all things sacred does menopause have to last longer than an unwrapped Hostess Twinkie?
By my unscientific calculations and some early grammar school math I will have suffered, from beginning to end, for over forty years. That is if my menopause lasts for as long as a recent study determined it can last for — fourteen years. Fourteen years. The magic number when I became a woman. How ironic.
Since November, when a blood test confirmed my current state, and since the last time I complained about it, my “symptoms” have increased exponentially. How, you ask? Oh, please allow me to do the honors…
I trust my menopause brain about as much as I trust gas station sushi.
My thermostat works as well as the 1980 Fiat Strada I had when I was seventeen.
I not only feel like an old jalopy, I’m starting to look like one, so to speak. Just take a look at my unmaintained hair. I have more grey’s than a cloudy day.
I am sleeping almost as much as a bullfrog, which is zero in case you didn’t know. File this under “random things you find on the internet when you can’t sleep.”
God help you if my mood changes and you’re standing directly in my path. You would be safer outside during an electrical storm. On your roof. Holding a metal rod.
Random itching during the most inopportune times. It’s like the tooth fairy except instead of money, she’s leaving little droppings of itch dust directly on my skin. I wonder if that is the bullfrog’s problem?
I went from not needing to wash my hair for four days to my roots looking like they took a dip in a McDonald’s fryer after two.
As a typically extroverted person, I am amazed at how introverted I have become. Oh wait. That’s because we’re in a pandemic. Never mind. Phew. That was a close call.
I am alarmed at the amount of hair that falls out and into the drain during a shower. The good news is the one lone chin hair that has been sprouting for years has magically disappeared.
During a flush, my face could be used as a steam iron. Black & Decker has nothing on me.
I feel like I have been spending the last few months complaining about this, but I believe I have earned the right. So, buckle up. It’s going to be a long ride. Ten months down. Only 158 more to go.
Remember back in the day when we could go do fancy things and wear fancy clothes? Like, for a wedding or formal dinner? Ho hum, me too. I sure do miss you, any year before 2020.
Although I have to say I have grown quite accustomed to wearing yoga pants and not wearing a bra or makeup — with my hair up in what I call a messy bun, but may look more like the home of a black-billed magpie to you — I sometimes long for somewhere decent to go besides the McDonald’s drive-thru and ShopRite.
Somewhere to go where I can actually take the time to put on makeup and look presentable enough to see the Queen. Or at least her housemaid.
Unfortunately for me, the little black dress requires some extra help these days. And it comes in the form of the household name called “Spanx.”
The Spanx I do not miss. Although it does lie in wait for me — sharing a drawer with my most private undergarments — I do not look forward to shoehorning myself into those items again anytime soon.
One of the last weddings I attended was that of a nephew. This was before I lost weight (and gained it back again, as I do). I took the time to curl my hair with the same hot roller set my mother used in the ’70s, and applied my makeup with such precision anyone could have confused me with Michelangelo during the painting of the Sistine Chapel, I’m sure of it.
Everything looked good from the head up. In my opinion, anyway. Now to do something with the below-the-neck portion of myself. I couldn’t very well go to this event bodiless now, could I? No, that most likely would have stolen the bride’s thunder.
My little black dress fit like a glove — you know, of the O.J. variety. If it didn’t fit, then why didn’t I quit? Because, like I said, I had something in my arsenal that I hoped would help.
Enter The Spanx, stage left.
Now, of course, like most women in my situation I have more than one to choose from. I have the high waisted brief, the bodysuit, the shaping cami, the thigh slimmer…just to name a few.
Now, to make the excruciating decision of which garment to wear, umm, under my garment. I tried on several and quickly discovered that just one pair of Spanx wasn’t going to cut it.
It was made abundantly clear there was only one way to tame the beast. And that was to double up.
In the end I decided on the bodysuit and the high waisted brief (yes, it’s as sexy as it sounds). The bodysuit OVER the high waisted brief to prevent the brief from rolling down my body like a roller shade.
Except it wasn’t. You know, brilliant.
Have you ever worn armor? The kind that is made of steel? Me neither. But I imagine it must be pretty darn close to what I created for myself that day. It was total torture.
Once I got everything pulled on and pulled in, I thought I looked pretty good. But what I didn’t factor in was sitting down, bathroom breaks, the damage I was potentially doing to my internal organs, and umm, living.
I’m not really sure how the ladies of the 18th and 19th centuries survived this nonsense. It’s a wonder the corset survived more than a day let alone several hundreds of years.
Also, I don’t know who came up with the cliche, “beauty is pain,” but she should have her tongue cut out.
Fun fact: Can you believe a woman invented the first corset? She probably died of internal bleeding.
Not a mere few hours prior I was channeling Michelangelo. Now I was channeling a pregnant women overdue with a literal village. Bending at the waist was a near impossibility. It was not going well.
Trying to use the facilities was a whole other story. Although unintentional, I was suddenly a physical comedian. Lucille Ball had nothing on me. Unfortunately, the show was wasted on the inside of a 2’x2′ bathroom stall.
Anyway, I survived the night. Mostly because I gave up and pulled the darn things off altogether. I could hear the collective deep sigh of relief from my ovaries to my liver.
These Spanx may not have fit nicely under my little black dress, but they sure did fit nicely in my little black bag.
I have come to the conclusion that Generation Z can, by all accounts, bamboozle the hell out of my generation just with their own special language.
Let me give you an example:
I wrote on my private Facebook page a couple weeks ago that my daughter’s university had shut down for the remainder of the year due to the coronavirus. There was a response from her boyfriend that went like this, and I quote, “rt if u cri erytm.”
At first, I was concerned that maybe he had a stroke and thought I should call 911. But then other kids from his generation started answering, “oh you’re so funny” and “don’t encourage it.” There were “likes” and “LOLs” in response to his comment. Clearly he was speaking their language. None of it was lost on any of them…except me.
So, I asked a simple question, “why are you speaking Latin?” To which he replied with one of those ROFL faces (“rolling on floor laughing” for those of you who don’t know — please don’t think me a traitor). I’m not sure what he thought was so funny. Personally, I thought it was a “wicked” good question.
In my day we had phrases like, “gag me with a spoon, “you hoser,” “wicked” (see above), and my personal all-time favorite, “no duh” which I still use from time to time.
What can I say? Old habits die hard.
The generation before me used lingo like, “daddio” and “far out.” Although I’m certain their parents thought it was ludicrous, they could at least somewhat decifer it. As I’m sure my parents could.
But these kids today? I feel like they have their own village. This language is so foreign to me I need a passport, in addition to a translator.
“Bae” still puzzles me even though my dear child has tried to explain it to me time and time again. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even really know herself.
And what the hell is “yeet?” Say it loud and fast, and it could be mistaken for the mating call of a wild bird from Madagascar. Upon looking up the meaning though, it appears it’s some kind of battle cry. A battle cry to go along with their village.
The one that baffles me the most is this “VSCO girl” business. At first I thought I was hearing “disco” girl and got super excited because although two thirds of The Bee Gees are long gone, I sure would love for them to make a comeback somehow. I’m not embarrassed to admit disco is one of my favorite music genres. How deep is my love? Pretty deep.
Alas, “VSCO girl” is not disco. It has something to do with the Hydro Flask. Unless there is wine in that Hyrdo Flask, I’m not interested.
Then they have acronyms like:
ilysm — Could they mean “I’ll leave you smoking, ma’am?” No, too violent.
brb — “Bring real beer?” Nah, kinda been done already.
smh — “Send my homey?” Hmm, I may be onto something.
I give up. Go ask a teenager or young adult. My brain hurts and I’m frustrated. If you need me I’ll be crying into my wine-filled hydro flask reading the latest version of “Tiger Beat.” If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Yolo.
I thought I was done talking about this, but I’m not. I’m never done talking about anything. Just ask my family and friends. I bet it takes all the energy they have to not throw tomatoes at me during a movie. I feel the need to give commentary even when not wanted. Or needed. Is that the same thing?
Today my day started with making a smoothie and putting a wooden spoon into the running blender. A friend suggested I strain the wood-splintered smoothie, which I proceeded to do…right into the sink. How was your day?
So, here goes my Coronavirus Random Brain Dump:
Most restaurants and bars are shutting down across the entire country. Think about the enormity of that. People aren’t gathering anywhere (except Florida beaches but I don’t want to talk about it). It probably hasn’t been this quiet since Columbus didn’t discover America.
Less cars on the road equals better air quality. Less pollution. Less gas being used. Less mileage. Longer car life. Has anyone seen the pictures from Venice? Soon enough the Hudson River will be safe enough to drink from. I mean, I know Venice doesn’t have cars. Potato Potawto.
Toilet paper is something I will never again take for granted as long as I live. At least until September, anyway. If I run out of it, I don’t know what I’ll do. Wiping my backside with moss really doesn’t do it for me. Growing mushrooms out of there isn’t a trend I would be too keen on participating in. Mushrooms may be hard to find right now, but I’ll take my chances.
This event is an extrovert’s worst nightmare. I have been feeling squirrelly since day two. Please send help. Just send it in a hazmat suit.
I’m getting so conditioned at practicing social distancing that when I see characters on television hugging or standing close in a group, I scream at the screen, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? SIX FEET, PEOPLE! SIX FEET!!!”
I haven’t seen this many kids outside playing and riding their bikes since I was twelve.
I think I have tennis elbow by repetitively looking at Coronavirus memes on my smartphone.
I really hope the virus outbreaks shrink as much as my pores have from not having an opportunity to wear makeup.
If I don’t start shaving my legs soon, there WILL be mushrooms growing. Moss not needed.
That’s about it for today. Stay safe out there, and please don’t do what they are doing on TV. Or in Fort Lauderdale. For the love of God, practice social distancing. Thank you and have a nice day.
One year ago today, I wasn’t exercising at all, I was lazy, and a major couch potato. I was the textbook definition of that word that I hate most: Sedentary.
My flexibility was so bad I would wonder how I was going to do something as simple as push myself up from a sitting position. Time and time again I put off going to the gym in favor of going home and relaxing because I had a bad day and “deserved” it.
I drank something alcoholic every single night of my life and woke up every single morning groggy and with a bad attitude. I basically didn’t care about anything. I wasn’t depressed, but I wasn’t happy either.
I ate all kinds of bad crap. I hardly ever ate a vegetable. I suffered from high cholesterol and terrific heartburn, but I didn’t seem to care. I liked to eat and dammit I ate what I wanted with the reckless abandon of a teenage boy. My weight was the highest it had ever been and was climbing.
I fought with my closet every morning over what to wear, which inevitably made me late for work. I never packed a lunch, prepped a dinner ahead of time, and more often than not I’d go to the grocery store with a list in my head and not on paper. That never ended well and often required me to hit the store again because I forgot something.
I had no good habits. I never wrote which is something I adore. I was addicted to my phone and social media and would choose that over doing something else that I adored: Reading.
I never planned a thing in my life. I flew by the seat of my pants because that’s the kind of person I said I was. The problem is, it didn’t work for me.
A year later I exercise and stretch consistently. I wake up early to do yoga most mornings. I eat right and track my food. I have developed so many habits that not only work for me but have helped to improve the quality of my life that include simple things like packing a gym and lunch bag and picking out my clothes the night before.
I plan out my exercise and meals. I even plan out when I’m going to write and read. I go to bed early to be sure to get a good sleep and wake up before the sun comes up with no problem.
When I think back to that girl I was a year ago, I feel bad for her. I no longer think of exercise as a chore but something I actually look forward to. It’s something I do to improve my life, my flexibility, my mind, and my body. My mindset has changed from being irritated that I need to exercise to wondering how I could ever not do it.
In the past year I’ve lost weight, lowered my cholesterol, and have controlled the terrific heartburn. I have learned about self care and how important it is. Today, I almost want to say, “I don’t even know who this person is.” But I know who this person is. It’s ME. It’s who I always was. I was just bogged down with negative thinking, laziness, self doubt, and no self control.
Is it perfect all the time? No. I’m human. But the difference is now I just pick up and continue on. Instead of throwing it out the window and starting again “on Monday.” Or worse yet, “next month.”
But I did not do this alone. I joined a fitness group online. This group of amazing women, run by a badass instructor, helped me to achieve what I thought was unattainable.
You should join me in the war to combat unhealthy living. It’s really pretty awesome. I would not be here saying this if I didn’t see with my own eyes what it did for me.
You don’t have to be a mom or even have young kids still at home. It turns out, that was really just an excuse for me to not take care of myself. Being an empty nester for 3+ years didn’t change my attitude.
I’m sharing because we all deserve to take better care of ourselves. Also, the deal is amazing. And no one loves a good deal more than I do. Also, I’m cheap as they come, just ask DH.
The next course begins on January 13, but the cart is open now.
So, who’s in? (Click the link below for more information)
What in the love of God is this? Things have changed. Overnight. Out of nowhere. And uninvited. You know, on my body, in my body, all over my body. There was no warning either. Why wasn’t there a warning?
For starters, I feel like I’m losing my mind. If you lifted the top of my head off you will find little blips of memory from when I was twelve, thoughts of food, a squirrel, and the proverbial cobweb or two.
Then there is the loss of words. Simple words. Words I know. You see that word “proverbial” in the paragraph above? It took me exactly seven minutes to recall it. Usually I would turn to my trusty online thesaurus, but I couldn’t think of the word “thesaurus.”
I think and say really dumb things. Remember that riddle, “what color is George Washington’s white horse?” If I hadn’t already heard it a million times, I’m not confident I would answer correctly.
Then we have the hot flashes. They come unexpectedly and often. It’s like someone installed a furnace inside me and there is a tiny man shoveling coal into the thing like his life depends on it. I wish the guy would drop dead of a heart attack or something. No offense, tiny man.
My evenings are filled with three changes of pajamas, covers that end up on the floor until I start freezing again. And sweat. Pools of it. If only I could bottle and sell it. I’d make millions. You know, if sweat was trending.
And let me introduce to you the Mood Swing. It can turn on a dime. Like a Lamborghini. Maybe not as sexy, but most definitely as fast.
I don’t care who you are — except 1973 Robert Redford — if you do or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, you are crucified.
Like, get me some nails and a hammer and you are done for. You know, metaphorically speaking, of course.
I am predictably unpredictable. My family walks on egg shells. They know I’m gonna blow. They just aren’t sure when.
My mom has an uncanny ability to actually smell my hormonal shift and she lives 600 miles away. My husband usually wishes he was dead. My daughter tries to get another family to adopt her. And my co-workers look around wondering if they made a wrong turn and wound up at the circus freak show instead of the office.
Also, I have weird dreams. Case in point: This past week I dreamt William Baldwin was released from house arrest and I couldn’t wait to write a blog post about it. Imagine my disappointment when I woke up and realized I made the whole thing up.
Randomly waking up in the middle of the night and then not being able to fall back to sleep is a real thrill. Staring at the ceiling waiting for the Sand Man to pay me a visit is about as entertaining as listening to Taylor Swift stuck on repeat.
The facial and neck hair that seems to sprout like wildfire during the Santa Ana winds is super fun. Because I can’t see close up without my readers, I don’t always see it. Until someone else does.
And my all-time personal favorite? Muscle atrophy. I exercise almost every single day. If I did that when I was in my twenties, thirties — hell, even my forties — my body would look like Jane Fonda from her 1970s workout videos. Instead I look more like Gumby with boobs.
That just about covers it. I wish I could end this post on a witty note, but I can’t find the words for it.