Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Political Climate: Peevish

I recently had no electrical power for a few hours, courtesy of some freakish wind gusts playing havoc with the wires, and it was a blissful time. What? Without all the creature comforts those little volts, amps & currents deliver, how could I feel such bliss? Because no power = no political robocalls coming in on my landline.

Today is Election Day here in the US – and I can’t wait for it to be over. To date, my phone has been inundated with these political calls, as many as 5 within a 2-hour span. If the call isn’t actually bashing the candidate’s rival or rival party, then it’s reminding me to get out there & vote. What? You mean there’s an election coming up? Well, duh!

Like I hadn’t noticed all the mud-slinging, trash-talking political ads on TV, all the full-color “vote for Candidate X” mailers cluttering up my mailbox (exactly how many trees have met their pulp-Maker in this election cycle?), all the election-related articles & editorials in the local/national newspapers. And don’t forget the mailing to good citizens (at least in my state) to inform them of their ability to vote via the mail. How much money was eaten up in printing, processing & mailing costs to get out that critical bit of info – wouldn’t a newspaper ad (print & electronic) have done the same without wasting all the extra paper & money? Seems such a waste.

But the burning question I really want answered, the one that leads me to compose this admittedly cranky blog post, is this: what political campaign wrangler (mangler?) in this era of the Do Not Call list decided that making unsolicited robocalls to the public would be A GOOD IDEA, that such activity would make one look favorably upon ANY candidate?! Who do we blame for this source of irritation, this absolutely fruitless & unnecessary activity?

See, here’s how it works. If one has caller I.D., one does not (usually) pick up a call from a number one does not recognize, nor does one pick up a call from the variety of 800 numbers being used by telemarketers & political campaigns. Hello! That’s the raison d’être for Do Not Call lists & caller I.D. If one does NOT have caller I.D., or does have it and is just really bored and/or masochistic and answers a political campaign call, does one actually stay on the line and listen to the content, or does one scrabble frantically for the off button to end the audio assault? I’m thinkin’ it’s usually the latter option, so yep, fruitless.

One might say, “DOB, you’re being awfully whiney. Just let it go to your answering machine and delete it later,” and that IS what I do, but in my case that still means that I’ve heard the political crapola as it was being recorded on the answering machine. I’m doing my best to tune it out while I work, cook, whatever, as are my kids as they play their video games or do their homework – all in the general vicinity of the answering machine – but certain phrases make it through the haze. You know, things like “Candidate X voted against abortion even for victims of rape or incest.” That’s not really something I want Little Big Ears II (the younger child) to overhear; I’m not yet ready to provide an age-appropriate definition of rape & incest to a grade-schooler. (I must admit, I’d probably take the coward’s way out and begin with something like, “Well, those words have to do with sex,” and REALLY hope to be stopped cold with the standard “yuck, not interested” face. Bullet dodged, DOB relieved.)

Frankly, I think someone needs to put me in charge of the entire political campaign communication process – I’d streamline it and make it bearable. Every candidate will provide me with a list of their “I support/I don’t support” issues by a specific deadline – THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS DEADLINE. All of their information will be summarized, sans BS, in a lovely spreadsheet, which will then be printed in ALL newspapers and posted on their websites – along with a link to each incumbent candidate’s House/Senate voting record so voters can be sure the voting record jives with the stated support/don’t support info. It’s called accountability – GET USED TO IT.

Ta-da!! Public informed, all the issues are explored, and perhaps even more people will actually vote – which is the next item on my To Do list – because they haven’t been disgusted by all the political rhetoric, trash talk and cavalier waste of resources. Problem solved.

Feel free to make me your write-in candidate – it’s spelled Dirty Old Broad.
[I am morally and ethically bound to confess that there IS a positive side to the political robocalls – sprinting to the answering machine to halt calls from Sarah & Newt DOES provide an incredible workout.]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lady Gaga: Her Hidden Talent

I discovered it by accident, just clicked right into it. I was just cruising YouTube whilst suffering from PMS-induced insomnia (premenstrual syndrome, my ass – more like psychotic monster syndrome), and I decided to check out Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” video. I must admit, I always find myself boppin’ & groovin’ along with Gaga’s stuff (I just can’t seem to help it) and I get the added benefit of embarrassing my kids when I do it. I figured it was high time I watched the video that’s generated some controversy in religious circles – I do like to stay au courant with world events.

Hm. Given that I consider myself more of a spiritual person than what you could call an “organized-ly religious” one, I can’t say much about the religious ruckus – hey, whatever floats your ark. But my inner smartass ran amok, fueled by the sleepy-silly adrenaline rush I cultivated in my college years – usually during finals week. I viewed several more Gaga vids and discovered what I would consider to be Lady Gaga’s hidden talent. Let’s see if you agree as you follow me on a short-but-sweet magical musical mystery tour of selected Lady Gaga music videos. Our tour begins with the video that started me on my quest, “Alejandro.” (Please note: It will aid in our discussion if you actually view the videos – unless, of course, you’ve already committed them to memory.)

What initially caught my eye in this video was the gaggle of VERY hot-bodied guys working out via a little Greco-Roman wrestling (yep, still a dirty old broad). Their hotness was slightly lessened for me by their matching Moe from The Three Stooges haircuts; I kept expecting Curly to jump in with an “Oh, wise guy!” with the double eye-poke & waddle off with a “Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk.” I giggled like a fool at the thought (sleep-deprived, remember?), but it gets even better. At about the 6:16 mark, Lady Gaga & the Moe Boys begin this cool dance routine, and I realize that Gaga’s wearing....well, it’s a loaded bra, literally. As in, with guns attached to it. Madonna had her you’ll-put-your-eye-out bra, and Gaga has her semi-mamomatics.

Now, I’m no firearms expert, so I’m not sure exactly what caliber the mamo- er, ammo would be, nor do I know how many mounds- er, rounds this bra would fire, but I am sure she’d have one hell of a time getting it through baggage check at the airport. Oh, the chaos that would ensue – at the very least, I’m thinking she’d get wanded. (Which leads me to ask where do I get such a bra, and do I get to choose my airport wand wielder – perhaps one of the Moe Boys? Grrr.)

So now my interest and my raging Martha Monthly hormones are truly piqued regarding any interesting accessories in Gaga’s other music videos. Clickety-click-click; next stop, “Bad Romance.” Even my man Rafa Nadal got caught singing along with this one during a tennis tourney TV timeout. (See how I worked in that tennis reference? I’m a crafty li’l tennis freak!)

I sat through the entire video, enjoying its spa-cum-peepshow vibe, but it didn’t deliver ‘til the very end. And oh my, what an end it is for the male character, who bid on and won a night with Gaga – he literally flames out. At first glance I’m thinking, “A highly effective 'don’t smoke in bed' PSA.” Then I spot it – Gaga’s über-cool accessory – a spark-shooter bra! Ouch! “Walk, walk, cook it, baby!” The poor guy ended up a crispy critter.

Gaga would initially seem to have some sort of a .007 fixation. (Can you imagine poor Q’s reaction had Bond, James Bond, asked for such modifications to his tighty-whities? Or would that be boxers, colored boxers?) But according to my theory, the boom-boom bra and the super-sparky model are actually the clues to Lady Gaga’s hidden talent – the talent that doesn’t jive with her super-glam pop star image.

Brace yourself for the shock, there’s no gentle way to put it: Lady Gaga seems to secretly be an outdoorsy kind of gal. In fact, I daresay she is an outdoorsman’s dream girl. It all fits:

Exhibit A - she can start the campfire with the sparky sling.
Exhibit B – she can use the semi-mamomatics for hunting and/or protection purposes. Exhibit C – if she comes up short in the hunting department, no one will go hungry because there’s always the option of chowing down on the jerky made from the meat dress she wore to the VMAs. And finally...
Exhibit D – no getting stuck out in the muck & mud of the great outdoors, because she’ll bring the mud & snow chains she borrowed from Billy Bubba to wear in the jail yard scene in “Telephone.” (Look it up yourself - I'm startin' to get a little punchy.)

I rest my case – and I can finally rest my weary head as the adrenaline afterburn dies down. As I slip off to slumber, I leave you with one final video, this one filed under “imitation is the highest form of flattery.” (Don’t worry – the DOB doesn’t have a starring role.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cialis® & Other Medical Miracles

Hallelujah! I just discovered a miracle drug: Cialis®. What makes it miraculous isn’t that it supposedly does wonders for a man’s down under, though I realize that IS a spectacular selling point. Nope; the true miracle was revealed to me in a vision, i.e., the Cialis® TV ad.

In this vision, a man carries an overfull laundry basket down to the basement laundry room, catches the glance of his grateful woman and…TA-DAH! Suddenly, the background music changes to “mood music” as their gaze deepens, turning to one full of as much lust as can get past a TV censor, and that boring basement laundry room morphs into a tropical paradise. (True, all true! Even I couldn’t make this crap up.) IT’S A MIRACLE!!! Where do I line up for a drug that can instantly turn my laundry room into a romantic beach setting, complete with mood lighting and – miracle of all miracles – no discernable evidence of bugs or other creepy-crawlies?

I ran to my hubby in ecstatic glee, crowing about my incredible discovery. I jabbered to him semi-coherently about laundry, drugs & tropical drinks, ending with, “So Baby, you just sashay your ass on over to the doctor’s office for a year’s supply of this stuff. I don’t care whether it’s covered by insurance, I don’t care what it costs – it’s worth every penny!” Imagine my disappointment – nay, my utter heartbreak – when he just sat there looking at me as though I’d lost my mind, then rolled his eyes & went back to whatever lame-ass thing he’d been checking out on his computer.

Men – can’t live with ‘em, can’t neuter ‘em. (But then actually needing Cialis® would be the least of their worries, right?)

But I don’t want to end on such a deflated (tee-hee) & cranky note, so here’s another medical miracle I’ve discovered, courtesy of my gal-pal Jen who got it who-knows-where on the web. I believe this substance, if used properly and responsibly, would greatly improve everyone’s laundry day – no prescription necessary. Cheers!

Important Women's Health Issue:
* Do you have feelings of inadequacy?
* Do you suffer from shyness?
* Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?
* Do you suffer exhaustion from the day to day grind?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Margaritas.

Margaritas are the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. Margaritas can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything. You will notice the benefits of Margaritas almost immediately, and with a regimen of regular doses you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live.

Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will discover many talents you never knew you had. Stop hiding and start living, with Margaritas.

DISCLAIMERS/WARNINGS: Margaritas may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use Margaritas. However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side effects may include:
- Dizziness
- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Incarceration
- Erotic lustfulness
- Loss of motor control
- Loss of bladder control
- Loss of clothing
- Loss of money
- Loss of virginity
- Table dancing
- Headache
- Dehydration
- Dry mouth
- A desire to sing Karaoke

* The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you are whispering when you are not.
* The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.
* The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to think you can sing (a problem during the aforementioned Karaoke).
* The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.

Please share this, and the following, with other women who may need Margaritas.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Is Espanol Ready for Me?

So I got this bright idea to teach myself Spanish – you know, teach the old dog new tricks. Muy bien, senora. My reasons for doing so are many and varied, kinda like my stretch marks:

1. I’ve always enjoyed listening to someone speaking a language different from my own – the unfamiliar rhythm and cadence, the ebb and flow – which is probably why I thoroughly enjoyed working in a chem/biochem library in college, with its constant influx of foreign students;

2. I like the idea of keeping my synapses fit & flexible by taking on this new mental challenge (and warding off anytime-onset Alzheimer’s, thankyouverymuch); and finally…

3. I dream of traveling to Spain to watch Davis Cup competition in the flesh (Lopez, Ferrer, Nadal – el muchacha mala is thinking naughty thoughts again), as well as to get a Barcelona beach bun-burn. (Now that's alliteration!) In this dream, I speak Spanish fluently – I am no ugly American, I fit right in. I also just happen to be ultra-thin and fabulously wealthy. Sigh… yes, mine is a rich fantasy life – rich ala Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, baby. (Does anyone else hear the "Margaritaville" lyrics whenever they see Buffett's last name? No?)

You might wonder how successful my do-it-yourself (let's be honest, el cheapo) methods have been; some of them are a little half-assed, but I’m having fun. Let’s review, shall we?

I’ve loaded up ye olde iPod with Spanish music from Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, La Oreja de Van Gogh and Shakira (from an earlier, less twitchy phase in her carrera). I go hunting on the Internet for the song lyrics in both Spanish and English, then compare the two and get an idea of word flow, syntax and normal vs. slang usage. I think it’s much more interesting than the usual “listen & learn” audio instruction method, and I’m sure I get the added benefit of a cardio workout of sorts because that Latin rhythm makes me wanna shake my groove thang. (Mis disculpas for any scary visuals that triggers.) Hubby seems amused by my antics, but not so amused that he stops watching my thang a’groovin’ – he just won’t join in, as he firmly believes that White Men Can’t Dance. (That’s his lame-ass excuse and he’s stickin’ to it. I think it’s more like Won’t Dance, but whatever. I’ve suggested that he could help me with my quest in other ways, perhaps with a little role playing – the helpless senorita & the marauding conquistador – but no luck so far. Maybe I’d be more successful if I smear myself with salsa & serve chips on the side – muy caliente! I really wish he liked guacamole, ‘cuz I’m a little worried about the hot stuff in the hot salsa lighting me up, but again, no luck – he can’t get past the sound of the word, much less how he thinks it will taste. Sigh.)

I also bought a couple of books to help me with the nuts & bolts of mastering Espanol, and I’m sure they’ll be useful when I actually find the time to sit and read them for more than a few minutes at a whack. In the meantime, those tomes are right where I can access them in an instant, freeing them from their current pedestrian task of performing as oversized, overpriced paper weights cum dust magnets.

The next teaching method in my curriculum involves the wealth of Spanish television programming, a world opened up to me via the magic of satellite TV. I first tried watching a program called “Infarto,” chosen solely for its musical, earthy-sounding name – yeah, you know what I was thinkin’. Imagine my utter disappointment to discover this program has absolutely nothing to do with body functions, earthy or otherwise. Apparently, infarto means infarction, i.e. a heart attack, and this Spanish TV show is much like “Scare Tactics” in the US: put people in terrifying situations & see what happens. (Would it be a ratings blockbuster of they actually caused someone to have…el infarto?) Disappointing – I loathe reality TV. I then tried to watch a few Spanish soap operas, believing that while I may not understand the language, I’d still be able to follow along & learn while viewing all that passion and intrigue. Blech – a soap in any language is still a mish-mash of hammy acting and ill-advised cosmetic surgeries, topped off with bad hairpieces. Instead, I’ve resorted to copying down the program descriptions listed in Spanish, then deciphering them via Google Translate (AKA Transmangle, affectionately), so I get the gist of the action without all the nausea – truly a win/win.

All things considered, I think I’m learning a great deal about another culture, if not necessarily the language. For example, the other day while zipping through radio stations, I landed on 105.1 FM, which was playing – I kid you not – what sounded like a Spanish polka. I’d like to be able to say I could understand the lyrics, but nope – I was too distracted trying not to wet ‘em as I giggled like a fool at the idea of a Spanish polka. So it seems I still have a lot to learn and I need to just keep plugging away – oompah-oompah-oom-pah-pah! Olé!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Agony of De-fuzzing (Do I Have a Hair Fixation?)

You know, ‘twas not so long ago that a woman’s body was expected to have hair in most of the same spots as a man’s body – just go a lot easier on the facial and leg hair. But something changed in the psyche of the denizens of North America and Great Britain; they began at first to expect women to shave their armpits, and then to shave their legs. If you do a little research, the dominant theory is that this was due to changes in women’s fashions in the early 1900s – namely the introduction of sleeveless tops & shorter skirts. I don’t know – it seems a little too pat an answer for my dirty little mind to accept.

My theory is that this madness started with an apparently bored prostitute who decided to shave her legs and her armpits – be it for laughs or all in the name of niche marketing and customer service – her “clients” liked it, and a trend was started. Mind you, for quite a while, good girls (i.e., wives, sisters, mothers) left the hair where the Powers That Be put it, but Naughty Nelly was pushing the envelope. In fact, to add insult to injury, the little tart actually upped the ante & began to denude (I know, it sounds like an oxymoron) her naughty bits.

Now we’re in a more enlightened age, where women are edging closer and closer to equality in all areas of life, but we’re still stuck with the pain-in-the-ass task of hair removal from a large percentage of our bodies. And it’s not for medical reasons or religious regions, but because our society regards it as a grooming necessity, a must for sexual attractiveness and, hell, just part of one’s basic personal hygiene. The general opinion seems to be that hairlessness is next to cleanliness is next to godliness – translation: if it needs a shave, it must also need a good scrubbing. Sigh……

Naughty Nelly, you silly twit.

Now we’re stuck with finding the hair removal method that best meets our selection criteria: least painful, least expensive, the least inconvenient. The options follow, in no particular order or ranking. Just between you & me, I think Nelly’s got a whole lotta ‘splainin’ to do.

Let’s start with chemical hair removal via depilatories. You can spray ‘em on or smear ‘em on, but they’re all pretty messy (and smelly). They can even be a little painful, probably due to the chemicals that basically dissolve the hair right off the body. I have to wonder what those chemicals mean in terms of my carbon footprint, other than making it a little less wooly.

Then we move on to epilation – which is just a fancy way of saying there ain’t nothin’ quite like yanking hair out by the roots en masse. Remember the Epilady of several years ago? (Do they even still sell those little doohickies, you may ask. Yes, they do, and for what it’s worth, they do seem to have greatly improved upon the technology. I’m just not up for any product testing.) A friend of mine had purchased one of the early models and did her damnedest to use it, but she just couldn’t take it. She was angered/amused when her husband christened it the Epileptic Lady after watching one of her attempts at leg hair removal – one’s limbs seem to move of their own volition in response to the painful stimulus of dozens of hairs being forcibly removed almost simultaneously. My friend warned me of the contraption’s effects as she passed it on to me to try; she never wanted to see it again and told me to trash it if I didn’t like using it. I figured, “What the heck – I pluck my eyebrows & survive it, and the skin on my legs is tougher than the tender skin around my eyes – how much tougher can it be to yank leg hairs?” Now I'm the twit. I made it through a couple of passes from ankle to knee before I gave up – It. Hurt. Like. Hell. My leg felt like it was on fire and I nearly wet my pants. Imagine if I’d tried it on my underarms or, God forbid, my down-doobie-do-down-down; someone would’ve had to peel me off the ceiling and help me with a massive, messy clean-up. Bottom line: epilation was, for me, an epic fail.

Friction is a popular method of hair removal, and it does work, but it’s kind of messy in a construction site sort of way. You purchase a “handle” to which you attach what is basically a piece of fine-grit sandpaper, and you sand off that pesky hair – along with a few layers of skin. When all is said and done, those newly naked areas will be covered with a whitish powder, which is all those poor little skin cells that gave up the ghost for what you hope will be a sexy, shiny, smoothly hairless you. Just beware the potential for friction burn – you wanna be a hot mama, but the friction rash is no picnic.

And speaking of hot mamas, let’s move on to waxing. Now there’s a concept I believe even Osama bin Laden could get behind – hot wax slathered onto incredibly delicate areas, then ripped off, thereby removing the pesky hairs. Sounds like a form of torture, doesn’t it – something cruel and inhumane? Idiot that I am, I considered having a Brazil wax done as research for this blog, since I’ve only tried a “regular” bikini wax one time. Then I reminded myself how painful that “regular” was. Helloooo, there’s a reason it was a lone attempt! I’ve decided that the Lord giveth me hair down there for a good reason, so if He thinks I need to cultivate a cute little landing strip, He can taketh the hair away. It’s not as flashy a trick as a burning bush (if you'll pardon the pun) or turning someone into a pillar of salt, but I’d certainly utter, “Hallelujah & Amen!”

The original tried & true method, shaving, is both time-consuming and tough on the skin. And the cheapskate in me resents the fact that over the years you end up spending an arm & a leg on replacement blades for a good razor, i.e., one that leaves your skin intact. And I loathe shaving any part of my body in the wintertime; the chilly temps in my drafty bathroom result in goose bumps which, when shaved, morph into little bloody bumps. But if you don’t shave (or somehow remove the leg hair), that razor stubble under the bed sheets, combined with static electricity, can result in a surprisingly realistic imitation of the aurora borealis, with added audio – snap, crackle, yeow! [In a related note, I cannot for the life of me understand how some women can stand to shave their poor little coochie. I got really daring (or was it drunk?) and tried it one time, and believe me when I say this will NEVER happen again. The logistics are a nightmare; if you have any boobage whatsoever, it’s damned difficult to even see what you’re doing down there, which makes razor burn the LEAST of your worries. And the razor stubble as it grows back itches terribly – think baseball player readjusting ye olde jock strap while stricken with a mega-infestation of, er, crustaceans. It’s not a pretty or particularly ladylike sight to behold.]

In conclusion, I would state just for the record that I think we women have, once again, gotten the short end of the stick. (Like it wasn’t enough to deny womankind the ability to pee standing up?) So to even things up a little, the next time your honey-bunny complains about having to shave approximately one-third of his widdle face, offer to treat him to a professionally performed wax job that starts at shoulder level & ends with the fuzz on his big toes. And if possible, book the session with an esthetician named – what else? – Nelly. The bitch owes us big.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Tennis Lust & Squeaky-Clean Balls

Though the title suggests raunch, I promise this post has absolutely nothing to do with Shakira’s steamy new hoochie-coochie video, starring tennis hottie Rafa Nadal getting in touch with his inner porn star. (Be still, my percolating hormones!) No, these fevered ramblings are all about the lengths to which this tubby li’l tennis freak will go in order to satisfy her rediscovered tennis lust.

If you only know the older me, a little background may help. I played tennis competitively in my high school glory days. Well, glory days may be pushing it. High school was something to be endured, with its bitchy cliques and locker room nudity anxiety: are they too big, too small, did I de-fuzz everything that needed de-fuzzing? (Sing along: If you dare wear short shorts, Nair for short shorts. This to the accompaniment of that distinctive chemical odor as it dissolved hair, penetrated mosquito bites and probably removed a few layers of skin.) Fast forward many, many, many years later; I have 1 hubby, 2 kids, 2 cats and 1 large mortgage, along with a forty-something baggy-saggy bod. Somewhere in the midst of obtaining & maintaining all the trappings of adulthood, I’d misplaced my love of & lust for (ironically, since I’m lusting) the sport of monks.*

Screw that.

Armed with this attitude, I bought a new racket and a can of fluffy yellow balls, then took a lesson with a tennis pro at a local indoor tennis facility. I was a-huffin’ and a-puffin’ at the end of that lesson, but suffered no coronary catastrophes – sweet! Turns out that tennis is a lot like riding a bike: you don’t forget how to play, but you’ll need to kick off the rust to regain your mojo. For a true tennis freak, there’s nothing quite like the bounce-swing-thwack of a tennis workout. Forget the hot tub time machine – I can transport myself back in time nearly 3 decades by merely stepping foot on that hardcourt & letting it rip. So there I was, elbows-over-asshole in love all over again.

But then Reality, ever the party-pooper, reared its fugly head. Indoor court time (a must during the nasty winters here in Chicagoland) ain’t cheap at $20+ an hour, and in any season it can be tough to find another tennis freak whose schedule meshes with yours, so factor in ball machine rental. Total hourly cost of your fix: about $30. If you want to sate your lust several times a week, well, y’all can do the math. Crap.

But I would not be denied – frugality and lack of a winning lottery ticket shall never triumph over true love! What I needed was a ball machine, a portable one small enough to tote without painful herniation. Did I want a battery-op unit or one that requires an electric plug-in? (This is also a concern when buying, er, personal small appliances, but that’s a pervy post for another day.) Could I find a reliable one that would fit my tightwad budget? I compiled & crunched data, tabulated results and presented them to my darling hubby – who’s darling because he didn’t bust a gut laughing or give me the all-male “OK, what now?” eye roll (you know the one I’m talking about). The boy ain’t stupid; he’s learned a lot during our 20+ years of wedded bliss, or at least enough to accurately gauge the extent of my re-emerging tennis mania. One quick cost/benefit and ROI analysis, a quick web search, and my little object of lust was delivered via UPS (the Boys in Brown – I just love a man in uniform).

Again, Reality piddled in my corn flakes. As I sped through the instruction manual, one fact in particular jumped out at me: do not use new tennis balls in the machine. Apparently, the manufacturing residue and the bits of loose fuzz found on the new balls will gunk up the machine’s innards, ergo, one must feed it only used tennis balls. WHAT THE HELL?! Where am I gonna find 100+ used tennis balls? Not to mention the fact that I’d already purchased several dozen brand spanking new ones!

Now I’ve got balls on the brain.

I pondered my options feverishly – maybe I could buy old balls from that indoor tennis facility. Nope – duh, they need to keep their old balls for their own ball machines. I couldn’t think of any other source for old balls and I was dying to use my new toy, but I didn’t want to give it indigestion or full organ failure the first time I used it. Then it hit me – eureka! I could WASH my balls in my front loading, heavy duty washing machine! I’d just put them through a few rinse & spin cycles, then give them a tumble in the dryer on a low setting (didn’t wanna melt the fuzzy little bastards).

It worked! Truly, it was a sight to be seen – and heard. You just haven’t lived ‘til you’ve experienced the thunka-thunka-thud of dozens of tennis balls pinging around inside the stainless steel drum of your washer & dryer. It’s oddly rhythmic and soothing, maybe even musical, and the end result has been very satisfying. The laundered tennis balls don’t give my sweet little ball machine indigestion, or even the hiccups, and I get to feel like a kid again, satisfying my tennis lust while battling the dreaded middle-age spread. Truth be told, I may not have the finest footwork or the sweetest strokes on the tennis courts, but I’d bet the farm that I have the cleanest balls in all tennisdom!
* Tennis as we know it is believed to have evolved from a game called paume, played by French monks in the 11th or 12th century. May this factoid someday help you kick ass at Jeopardy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Don't Shoot 'Til You See the Whites...Above Their Eyes?

Holy crap! Just in time for my maiden blog post, my world has shifted on its axis, my equilibrium has been shattered, and I’m in full deny-it-and-it-doesn’t-exist mode. What could be of such import, of such gravity, could create such a kerfuffle in Dirty Old Broad Land? I just discovered a white hair in one of my eyebrows. And before you get all attitudinal with my seemingly self-absorbed answer, I never promised you a socially significant answer. (Frankly, if you crave a blog that’s going to serve up anything other than heaping helpings of forty-something attitude, peppered with the occasional profanity, move along; there’s nothing for you in DOBLand.)

As for the little white interloper, when I saw it waving gleefully at me, my mind flashed to memories of my Great-Grandpa Mensch, with his ginormous, white, caterpillar-fuzzy eyebrows. And don’t even ask me about what was growing out of his ears – pardon me while I throw a hissy fit. I think I’ve just suffered a head-on collision with my genetic destiny, and the airbag did not deploy.

I feel like ranting and raving at the universe: THIS IS NOT FAIR! I mean, is it not bad enough that I’ve tolerated white hairs populating my southern equatorial region – absolutely a pluck-free zone, thankyouverymuch – for the past few years? The only good news with them was that I could hide the little bastards from the general public, with only my darling hubby getting a viewing, and hey, he’ll gladly grin & bear it if he wants me to grin & bare it on a regular basis. But now they’ve gone from pubic to public in just a few short years – white hairs in the eyebrows!?? What the hell!

Of course I plucked that little sucker ASAP, which takes care of the problem for now, but I fear it’s only a temporary solution that will remain effective only if these white hairs continue to be merely an occasional occurrence (or should that be an eruption? an infestation? an amalgamation?). But this hoary happening does not bode well for the future. Imagine it – 10, 12, 15 and counting of the little buggers! And unless they’re evenly distributed throughout the brow, a plucking-only regimen means I could end up with bald spots, which methinks would be worse than just leaving the white hairs, from a purely esthetic perspective. If it gets to that point, should I just leave them alone and “age with dignity” (yeah, I got your dignity right here, sweetie), or should I start investigating other methods – the only other method I can think of being to dye my eyebrows?

Now there’s a great idea – chemicals applied to the eyebrows by little ol’ me, the woman who stubbornly refuses to trade her glasses for contacts because she can’t stand the idea of having a finger closerthanthis to her eyeball. Yep, it’s definitely a recipe for tragedy – it’s all fun & games ‘til somebody loses an eye!!! Of course, there is the alternative that involves me handing over my hard-earned (hardly there) money to a professional esthetician; I suppose not blinding myself would be worth a little time and moola, and my problem would be solved.

But speaking as one who overanalyzes everything, here’s the rub: is this really a problem, or is it just a vanity issue? In all other respects, my eyebrows are satisfactorily performing their functions: wiggling suggestively, frowning, quirking ala Mr. Spock when he opined, “Fascinating.” I can’t think of much else they’re supposed to do. Am I too vain if it bothers me that I could end up with strips of salt & pepper fuzz doing the wiggling, frowning and Spocking?
Certainly, I do other things to my eyebrows in the name of good grooming. For instance, I don’t consider it sheer vanity to pluck my eyebrows or have them waxed now & again to keep them looking shapely and sleek; in fact, given that I tend to be a little hirsute (damn that Mensch gene!), it seems like a necessity, unless I want to cultivate a “squirrels camping out on my forehead” look. (Though that is a look that could help me land a spot in a GEICO ad, or maybe a small walk-on role as a Klingon hottie in another Star Trek retread.)

OK, OK, maybe I should just tap the brakes here – in the grand scheme of things, perhaps worrying about these itty-bitty white hairs doesn’t mean I’m leaping into the narcissistic abyss (though an entire blog entry on the subject would suggest I’m teetering on the edge), and I’ll be able to take yet another step down the path to maturity with equanimity and acceptance. But mark my words: I can guarantee that the day this flippin’ Mensch gene rears its ugly head in the form of white hairs growing out of my ears or, God forbid, my nose (shudder), all bets are off. Equanimity? Ain’t gonna happen – more like a burst of belligerence leading to a plethora of profanity (I love that word, plethora), culminating in a screaming blue mimi fit worthy of a Dirty Old Broad. Cover your ears and pass the popcorn – it’ll be one hell of a show.