Archive | August, 2012

Bra Makers are Boobs

31 Aug

I was in middle school—we called it junior high back then—when I got my first one. My mother took me shopping, after enduring weeks of insistence that I really did need one. “What do you want one of those for, honey?” she said. “You don’t even need one.”

“Yes! Yes, I do!” I said. “I’m the only girl who doesn’t have one. They all make fun of me!”

So, off we went to my mother’s favorite department store for my first bra.

I was excited; the teasing and torment were finally going to end. I was excited, that is, until I encountered Brunhilda. I have no idea if the woman’s name really was Brunhilda. The German accent I recall is probably a fabrication of my scarred mind. But there she was, standing between me and the lingerie that would deliver me from the hell of changing for gym in a locker room full of growing girls.

Brunhilda was tall. Brunhilda was big. And Brunhilda had the biggest breasts I’ve ever seen on a woman. There are lots of names for breasts. Some are cute, like “titties” and “boobies.” Some are funny. Think “chesticles” and “sweater puppies.” But this woman had jugs, each about the size of my head.

My mother introduced us, noting that Brunhilda would be fitting me for a bra. Without saying a word, Brunhilda whipped the tape measure from where it was draped around her neck and lassoed me with it. She measured under my wee bits. She measured across my wee bits. She stood and announced, “You don’t need zee bra.”

Just as she was about to point us in the direction of the undershirts, my mother worked some kind of Southern Belle voodoo on her, which consisted of dressing a tart request in a sweet gooey accent. Suddenly, training bras appeared and I could undress proudly for gym.

Our current bra problem is not mine and there is no voodoo my mother can work to make this one disappear.

The cute little bralettes and sports bras my daughter has been wearing, off and on, for some time now have a fatal flaw: they can be seen under white shirts. Because nipples can be seen under white shirts when one doesn’t wear a bra, all of my daughter’s white shirts are no longer wearable and she has a lot of white shirts.

So, we went on the hunt for flesh-tone bras, the kind that blend with your skin tone and seem to disappear under a white shirt.

My daughter has skin the color of very expensive, very fine milk chocolate. I love her skin. In winter, it glows with a warmth that belies the frigid outdoor weather. In summer, it takes on deep cinnamon hues; she looks good enough to eat.

Flesh-toned bras are the color of some mythical Caucasian woman’s skin. Though they work well enough for me, they don’t really match the skin tone of any real woman I know. Still, we white ladies don’t have to toss our white shirts when the boobies start to appear.

There are no options for budding young dark-skinned girls. I know this because I’ve looked in every conceivable place for some kind of undergarment that will enable my daughter to wear her favorite white shirts again. I’ve looked at Nordstrom, Gap Kids, Justice, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, Aerie, Amazon, Brasmyth and Target.

I’ve even been to Gilly Hicks—a store for girls—where “Push ‘Em Up” bras and thongs are displayed under spotlights in otherwise dark shopping environments. A virtual trip to their website was even more frightening. Again, the bras are displayed against a black background, but here they promised “perfect fit with lots of lift.

As a teacher and mother to a ten-year old daughter and a teen-age son, I’ve seen quite a few girls in the Gilly Hicks target market. The only lift any of them needed was to the mall. Aren’t’ perky breasts part and parcel of being a teen?

Lest you think young girls are going after a product marketed to women, take a peek at the GH Girls landing page, where you’ll see a disrobing man and an invitation to “become a Gilly Hicks girl.”

Image: Gilly Hicks

The message my shopping ventures delivered was loud and clear, wrapped in a package replete with hypersexualization and a side order of racism. It’s perfectly ok to acknowledge, even celebrate, my daughter’s burgeoning womanhood. She can, in fact, find any number of garments guaranteed to have her walking down Lolita lane. What she can’t have is a single article of clothing that will enable her to wear her favorite white T-shirt with the pink and grey horse on it.

My kids say funny stuff, too!

28 Aug

There are about nine thousand “my kids say the funniest stuff/crud/crap/sh*t blogs. Well, my kids are funny, too, and I’m still casting around for something to do with my regular Monday posts. You’ll note this post is being published on Tuesday, just further evidence that I have no idea what to do with Monday. But, I digress.

My son is the funniest person I know. He’s smart and quick-witted. His humor is also obscene. I have spent nearly a year trying to figure out how to present him in a blog that is frequently read by those with more delicate sensibilities, like my husband.

My son gets particularly ribald when in my company. This is probably evidence that my parenting skills leave something to be desired, but I think the cow is out of the barn on this one. My husband used to tell us that we had gone too far, that I was just encouraging our son’s baser nature, to which I said, “Well, duh!” He’s given up; now when my son and I get going, my husband takes off his glasses and buries his face in his hands.

Our daughter, though, is far more subtle. Recently, she agreed to go to exploratory meetings for joining orchestra. Your and my tax dollars make it possible for her to learn to play an instrument; the only cost to us is rental of said instrument. Originally, daughter was on board. Then, she figured out she’d have to practice and get up early for rehearsals. Her enthusiasm waned, but she committed to the two early morning exploratory sessions.

This morning was the first. At 6:30, I went into the office to wake her. (Why, you ask, is she sleeping in the office? See photo below.) I gave her a little nuzzle then a soft “Peanut, it’s time to get up.” She didn’t move. “Remember?” I asked, “you agreed to go to orchestra.” Without opening her eyes, she let out a groan and said, “What did I ever do to you?”

That’s Just Great

24 Aug

Maybe you’ve seen it. If you watched the Olympics, you probably did. A runner is silhouetted against a flat Midwestern horizon. As the runner gets closer to the camera, it becomes clear that he is overweight. He gets closer and closer to the camera and we find he is not just overweight, he’s a kid. Throughout the commercial, a narrator speaks eloquently about greatness, how it’s in each of us. At the end, we see the Nike logo.

Certainly, the spot is arresting and thought-provoking. As a runner and a mom, I was thrilled to see a kid positioned as a role model. How much more possible does getting fit seem after watching Nathan Sorell—for kids and adults?

But not everyone finds the commercial inspiring.

Journalist Lindy West of Jezebel thinks the ad is unreal and insulting to the obese, that Nathan didn’t “just get up and run.” She notes that Nathan puked up his breakfast in a ditch at one point. My daughter took track camp this summer. Every day, the coach cautioned the kids not to eat a full breakfast before running. Every day, at least two kids had to bail because they ate a full breakfast too soon before camp.

Frankly, puking during and after running is very real. If you watched the men’s 10k, you saw Mo Farah, the gold medal winner, celebrating with his friend and training partner Galen Rupp, who won the silver. You may not have seen Rupp upchuck after finishing.

I’m going to assume that Nike coached Nathan not to eat breakfast before filming. I’m also going to assume that Nathan, who does indeed seem committed to losing weight, eats more judiciously now before he runs.

The editor-in-chief of Childhood Obesity, Dr. David Katz believes the ad shows Nathan looking “miserably uncomfortable and as if he’s about to topple over.” Dr. Katz sees nothing of greatness in the effort except, maybe, for Nathan’s commitment to do it. He would have liked to see Nathan doing something that he can be great at, like math or art or music. I’m not sure how that would help the kid hit a healthy weight but I’m not an expert in childhood obesity.

I don’t agree that Nathan looks “miserably uncomfortable.” I think he looks like anybody on a run. Is it great that he got up and ran? Absolutely. Is there anything of greatness in Nathan’s effort? Could be, and that’s where I get stuck.

In my mind, there is a difference between “great” and “greatness.” “Great” means “really good,” to me, as in, “Great! You did your homework” or “Those cookies you made were great, Mom.” “Greatness” means “excellence” to me. Greatness is reserved for those who have risen to the pinnacle in their field, like Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt.

I wonder about greatness and my children and I don’t think I’m alone. All of those future President/CEO/American Idol Onesies are going to someone. I hear snatches of parental aspiration everywhere. Witness this overheard during my daughter’s gymnastics lesson:

Younger sister, to her gymnast sib: “You were great!”

Mom to the gymnast, who I figured to be about eight: “You were not great. You were not good. You fell off the beam three times. You have to be focused.”

Someone needs to run that mom the footage of Gabby Douglas clinging to the beam upside down on national TV.

Photo: Washington Post

My son plays guitar and drums. Lots of people assume he wants to be a rock star. Even though his heroes include Dave Grohl and Jeff Beck, he has no desire to get on the road or the stage. At a recent Passover, two (middle-aged male) guests couldn’t believe he didn’t want to be the next Jimmy Page. At first, I didn’t believe him either, but he’s said it often enough that I’m not seeing any backstage passes in my future.

My daughter looks to be passing on greatness for now, too. Watching Aly Raisman nail her floor exercise, she said, “So, if I work hard enough, I could go to the Olympics, too.” “Sure,” I said. She considered the possibility then said, “Nah. Too much work. I want my child years.”

I don’t mean to imply that my children won’t achieve greatness or that I don’t want them to. Maybe they will but I would like to let go of the idea that they need to shoot for the top in all of their endeavors.  I don’t want to amend my definition of greatness, either. My daughter is right. Achieving greatness takes a lot of hard work, no matter if you have natural talent or not. Elite runners train twice a day, every day. Gymnasts move away from their families and get tutored instead of going to school. Musicians spend hours practicing mind-numbing exercises. All in pursuit of greatness.

I think it’s great that my daughter loves flipping herself around a wooden beam and running faster than almost everyone in her class. I think it’s great that my son loves music and wants to learn how to play every instrument he gets his hands on. Is there anything of greatness in their flipping, running and playing? I don’t know and I’m working hard on not caring.

I think it’s great that Nathan Sorell got off the couch and ran. I think it’s great that Nike chose to spotlight a pretty ordinary kid.

I believe it’s true that we are all capable of greatness, but I also believe that, in some things, being great is enough.

What to do? What to do?

23 Aug

My children went back to school today. My son woke me at 6:20 to say goodbye with “Mom! Get up! It’s time to go back to the angst.” “You have angst?” I asked. “All teenagers have angst, Mom,” was the reply.

I am working on several things at the moment: today’s blog post, my professional website and a memoir. Today’s blog post could well wind up being tomorrow’s blog post. The professional website is an ongoing nightmare. I wish Le Clown would do it for me, but I have no money. The memoir? It makes me giggle to even think of it as I have the worst memory in the history of history. But, my husband has a Ph.D. in history and knows me pretty well, so he can help me remember the stupid things like dates.

So, if y’all don’t mind, I’m going to enjoy the three more hours of freedom I have before the boy comes back to regale me with tales of angst. I’m going to run then get my butt in the kitchen to crank out my traditional first day of school cookies.

This Is My Country, Part 2: We Pledge Allegiance

16 Aug

AP Photo

During my student teaching assignment, I stood every morning with my students and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Every morning, I managed to cough during the “under God” part. I’m sure the kids thought I had a cold or allergies, but the truth was, I couldn’t say the words without feeling like a hypocrite.

See, I don’t believe in big-G god. You know, the white guy on the cloud dispensing justice. The creator of the Universe, the guy who put dinosaurs and people on the Earth together then decided to kill off the dinosaurs and cover that little slip up by making it look like dinosaurs died ever so much longer ago than they really did. I like to think of God playing a little prank on archaeologists. Just his way of having fun. Immortality’s gotta be boring as (wait for it) hell.

I also don’t believe that the United States of America was founded as a Christian nation, but that’s a discussion for another post.

So, my saying “under God” is not going to happen without a fight. I know I could just say the words as if they don’t really matter. Who really knows what all those words mean, anyway? Certainly the children who say them have no idea what they are really saying. But I do. And I can’t make myself say the Pledge the way we currently say it.

But Americans, by and large, love their flag. They love their flag so much that they even get kind of snotty when someone—say, a politician or an athlete—doesn’t wear the flag.

Back when Barack Obama was running for President the first time, some media pundits decided to pick on him for not wearing a flag pin. Everyone else was wearing a flag pin but Barack wasn’t wearing a flag pin. That meant he wasn’t proud of his country. He said some stuff about living American values that didn’t really get anyone to settle down so he started wearing a flag pin.

Recently, some unnamed pundit-y guy on Fox (“unnamed pundit-y guy” means I can’t remember his name) decided that the TeamUSA women gymnasts weren’t American enough because they didn’t have little flags on their $500 custom-made leotards.

Photo: buzzfeed

Now, I watched the gymnastics. I watched a lot of the gymnastics. There were white leotards, red leotards and blue leotards. All of them were encrusted with white Swarovski crystals that twinkled like stars. If you paid even a little bit of attention, you could see that the top of the “V” in their uniforms was actually the top half of a star and radiating out from the star were stripes. Get it? Red. White. Blue. Stars. Stripes. Sounds like the American flag to me. I guess the pundit-y guy missed that ‘cause he was so distracted by Gabby Douglas’ messy hair.

The American value I am most proud of is our freedom of speech, speech in all it’s forms. I am free to not say “under God.” I am free to call my President a spineless wienie if I like. I am free to say that George Bush was not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. I am free to protest anything my government does that I don’t think is American or even humane.

One of the things I am free to do is to burn my flag. When my country does something so heinous—say, expanding a war from Vietnam into surrounding countries—I am free to protest in a way that clearly shows how angry I am. The Supreme Court has ruled, more than once, that constitutionally okay to burn the flag in protest because the burning is protected political speech.

While the Supreme Court would have my back should I decide to burn the flag, there are plenty of Americans who would likely shoot me in the back. Or at least want to.

I understand where the whole idea of pledging allegiance comes from, thanks to reading “Game of Thrones.” Way back when, before anything, kings didn’t have armies. When they needed to go to war, they gathered up other nobles and influentials to “pledge” to be on their side. Every body had their own flags to indentify their group of warriors, so an army might have lots and lots of flags in it, but everyone was pledged to fight for the big guy and gather under his flag.

Wearing a flag doesn’t make you more or less American. Acting like an American—choosing our own leaders, defending the right to free speech and the pursuit of happiness—these are what make us American.

We can imagine no more appropriate response to burning a flag than waving one’s own, no better way to counter a flag burner’s message than by saluting the flag that burns, no surer means of preserving the dignity even of the flag that burned than by – as one witness here did – according its remains a respectful burial. We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents.

— Justice William J. Brennan, from his majority opinion in Texas v. Johnson (1989)

Like this post if you’re like me

13 Aug

Every morning, my ankle hurts. Just a little, in a spot that makes it obvious I’ve got arthritis. I’ve got the same thing going on with my wrist. I get up, though, and get moving. By the time I’ve had my second cup of tea, the pain is gone.

My teeth are a mess, I have hot flashes, my kids are both in double digits and old enough to know when I’m full of shit. In other words, I’m getting old.

With such abundant evidence in my real world, I don’t need it in my virtual world. But every time I get on Facebook, I see another of those dumb ass memes of some antiquated crap I’m supposed to “like” if I remember what the hell it’s for.

I remember what they’re for. The ice cube tray made out of aluminum with the lever you pulled that broke the cubes loose, while also breaking half the cubes? I remember that. It was common before we knew that aluminum consumption contributes to Alzheimer’s. I like my ice maker ‘though I’m pretty sure we’ll discover the plastic parts it’s made of cause erectile dysfunction.

I remember flash cubes, Captain Kangaroo, Mister Ed, and cassette tapes. I know what the relationship is between the cassette tape and a pencil.

I am not going to “like” any of these things.

See, I remember them and some of them even fondly. But my brain still works  the way it’s supposed to work. I can still learn new things. I can still challenge myself. I can still be part of the world evolving around me.

My dad can’t. For brevity’s sake, let’s just say his brain is clogged with knots of protein. His cognitive function is so impaired he makes things up. He’s paranoid. He can’t remember my mother is dead, so he confuses other people with my mom and insists she’s ignoring him. I have had to tell him she’s dead three times in the last month.

So, I won’t be “liking” anything from my childhood. It’s not that I don’t smile when I remember them, but when I’m 80, I’d like to have someone post a picture of Katy Perry that I can “like.” Maybe I’ll do it when I come in from a run.

Fractured Fiction: You finish it!

10 Aug

Like many writers, I have attempted writing fiction. I have attempted it so many times that I think there is more fiction on my computer than there are entries in my Quicken files. I have a plethora of ideas and I’m really good at starting. But I get stuck. Maybe, I thought, my loyal readers can help me get over the hump. So, I’m going to start going through the mountain of beginnings I’ve written and throw one out to you every week. YOU finish it!

Here’s the first:

I woke to the sound of the shower running. This was a problem; I live alone. So, either I had turned the shower on and fallen asleep, or there was someone in my shower. My head was fuzzy about the night before. In fact, I had no recollection beyond hitting my head as I sat up too quickly while backing out of the undersink cabinet. The damn disposal had choked on something again and, in my effort to get it running, I’d had to crawl into the cabinet up to my shoulders. Getting back out is never as easy as getting in, is it?

So, my memory was going to be of no use in figuring out why my shower was running. A pile of men’s clothing lay on the chair beside my bed. My own clothes lay on the floor, short black skirt on the bottom, black silk blouse next, then red lace bra and panties. At least I’d dressed nicely.

But this was bad, very bad. Not just because of the obvious; I had had sex with someone and couldn’t remember the act, let alone the actor. I’d done that before.  Oh, crap!  Check for condom.  There, near the panties, a used wrapper. One little bit of good news. No, it wasn’t so bad that I had woken up with no memory of my activity the night before. The bad part was that this time, I’d brought the stranger home. Or, was it a stranger?

The water stopped.  I heard the shower curtain being pulled back. In a few moments, I assumed, the mystery man would make his appearance. I closed my eyes, feigning sleep. Obviously, he wasn’t going to kill me. If he were, I assumed he would have already. Why take a shower before getting all bloody?

Head of the Class

9 Aug


Not too long ago, in my newspaper column, I wrote about my son’s friends being given cars by their parents. I had heard that kids with cars—and I don’t mean Power Wheels—was pretty common here, but didn’t really believe it until one newly minted driver after another was given a car. And we’re not talking old cars in funky colors, like the mustard yellow Pinto that was my first car. Two of my son’s friends were given new Priuses. Or is it Prii?

I wrote that no kid should be given a car, especially a kid who just learned how to drive. Let that kid buy a car and he’d appreciate it, care for it, drive it with caution, fill it with gas using his own money. Until he could do that, I wrote, my son would be asking to borrow the family car. I mentioned that we can’t afford to buy our son any car, but even if we could, there’s no way in hell that we would.

I was accused of having class envy. You need to understand where I live to fully appreciate this accusation. Money magazine has named Naperville one of the 10 best places in America to raise children—more than once! There are a lot of reasons to like Naperville: good schools, nice houses, lovely downtown near the historic district. A river even runs through it.

In Naperville, you could live here.

With all that good publicity from Money magazine, lots of people moved here in the past 20 years or so. So, you’ve got the old timers who mostly live in the old neighborhoods. Back when I was a kid, houses in those neighborhoods were very affordable for a young family; my own family almost moved there. If you moved here in the good old days, your $25,000 house is probably worth more than $500,000 now. Wealthier people have moved here and built even more expensive houses. And less wealthy people started moving here when builders started turning farmland into subdivisions; I live in one of those. Today, we even have town houses, condos and (gasp) apartments.

Or you could live here.

Or here.

What started as a pretty nice small (white) town has become a city of more than 140,000 people replete with every race, religion and socio-economic grouping. We even have a prostitution ring and a heroin problem.

In that context, I understand the anxiety that pushed an obviously wealthy long-time resident to think that when I said “ there is no way I’m giving my son 24/7 access to something that is a proven killer, particularly of boys” what I actually meant is “rich people suck.”

I don’t think rich people suck—well, not all of them. There are rich people that suck and poor people that suck. I’m equal opportunity when it comes to thinking someone sucks. So, me with class envy? Nah.

I have had several other types of envy. Like kid envy. There are children who make their beds every morning, get their own breakfast and go happily to school. There are children who join in school activities, practice their music lessons, do their homework and help around the house. There are children who respect their parents, walk the dog, get good grades and brush their teeth. These are not my children.

Frequently, I find myself wishing that my son were more involved in activities at school, such as anything. And I would love for my daughter’s room to not look like Lord Voldemort could hide in it. But, then I wouldn’t have a son who calls me on his cell phone and says, “Hey, Mom. I’m sitting on a couch on the corner of Sanctuary and Lowell.” When I drive to said corner, I do indeed find my son sitting on a discarded sofa, kicking back like a football fan on a Sunday afternoon.

I have had penis envy, too. When I worked in public relations, I made a fairly decent salary. We bought our first house on it. But, if I had a penis, I would have made $25,000 more. That would have also made us a gay couple, but we’re ok with that. Hell, we adopted our second child and lived in Oak Park for a while.

Do I even need to mention shoe envy? Massive quantities of shoe envy here. My sister and her daughter have truly gorgeous shoes and they wear the same size, doubling the number of shoes available to each of them. Not fair, right? When my husband finally got his PR business off the ground, I could buy truly gorgeous shoes, too. I paid lots of money for some pairs. I still swoon over the Italian ones made completely of leather. Does that mean I envy myself my shoes? I think it might.

I certainly envy my daughter’s shoes. She has narrow feet. With a lot of obese children in the US, they make cheap shoes really wide these days. So, the Empress—I mean, my daughter—can only shop at the pricey children’s shoe store in town, or Nordstrom.

But the envy I’m most likely to suffer is Writer’s Envy. Like most writers, I read a lot. I read all kinds of things, from crappy fantasy to classic literature. And when I find truly good writing, I want to crawl in a hole and never touch my computer keyboard again. I feel like Mike Myers and Dana Carvey meeting Aerosmith in Wayne’s World. “I am not worthy,” I think, “I am not worthy.”

Being bipolar actually has its benefits in dealing with Writer’s Envy. Reading something truly fabulous will send me into a tailspin. But all I have to do is wait for the next mania train to pull into the station and I’ve got myself convinced I can write a bestseller . . .in a month . . .while still working . . .and raising my kids. You jealous yet?

Would you go back, Jack, and do it again?

7 Aug

If Lincoln hadn’t gone to the theater, he would have been run over by a carriage. Or he would have had a heart attack. Or he might have fallen down the White House staircase and broken his neck. Or something like that.

My husband, a historian, hates speculative chat about history. What difference does it make what might have happened if Lincoln hadn’t gone to the theater? Lincoln went to the theater; he was assassinated. There are no do-overs. Write it in the book and move on.

But, I want a do-over. Actually, I want more than one do-over; I want a lot of do-overs. As my daughter might say, even, I want a lot, a lot, a lot of do-overs.

I’d use a bunch of them this morning. First, I’d do-over my dental situation. I’ve got dental dominoes going on in my mouth. My front crown fell out recently, bringing down with it a whole range of dental woes, from yellowing to molar rot.

One of the indignities of aging that rarely gets mentioned is teeth. You hear about hot flashes, back pains, creaking joints, heart attacks, weight gain, gray hair, sagging chins, drooping butts. But no one ever told me that I’d be sitting at my computer, flossing while catching up on blog reading, and my tooth would fall out. Just fall out and plink right onto my laptop.

Certain dental work can be delayed, like repairing molars. Heck, I figured, I’ve got more than one and it’s not like I’m eating caramels every day. Filling the 22 cavities in my 9-year-old daughter’s mouth seemed far more pressing a year ago. So, my molars waited. But a crown. . . now that can’t wait.

A crown can be a lovely thing and mine served me well. Beneath the crown, though, is a stump that looks like something cooked up by a British Hillbilly dentist on crack. Money be damned, I could not—would not—go around looking like Austin Powers.

Replacing the crown is going to be far more involved than I suspected. First, the surrounding teeth need to be bleached because I’ve spent years drinking coffee, tea, cola and all the other things that keep me awake for the glory that is my life. Apparently, they don’t make crowns in the yellowish ivory hue my teeth have taken on. So, bleach. Which leads to bleach trays. Which leads to this morning’s appointment.

Preparing for the dentist required blow-drying my hair. My hair, which I affectionately refer to as “frog fur,” is fine. And flat. So, I bend over and dry it from the roots believing that this will magically make my hair fuller. I bent over, began drying and then screamed with pain as my back fell apart, perhaps in sympathy with my tooth. When the pain subsided, I stood up and decided that a half-head of volume was better than no volume at all.

With my half-full head and broken back, I hobbled to the hall closet for my purse. No purse. Everywhere in the house? No purse. So much no purse that I decided my purse must have shrunken and was now so small that my dog ate it. Then I decided my children were no longer content to drive me crazy figuratively and had invented a new game: Gaslighting Mommy, which involves hiding things Mommy frequently needs, like glasses, car keys and her wallet. I called around. No purse at Whole Foods. No purse with husband at his office, as if he suddenly decided he needed a lavender and white man-bag. No purse in my son’s or daughter’s rooms, though I was too afraid to move anything for fear something frightening might be under them.

So, I called the dentist to reschedule my appointment. Then I found the purse. In the garage. I know how it got there; I’m not telling.

Then the dentist called. They were worried about me. I decided it was nicer to have someone worry about me than to point out that they wouldn’t have been worried if they were checking their messages. We rescheduled.

Finally, all the drama seeped out of the morning and I got over wanting a do-over. I decided the newly discovered down time would be well spent at the library.

I wakened the teenager. We drove to the library. On the way, I rear-ended a Jetta.


Have you ever wanted a do-over? What would you use it on?

PS. I attempted to download a photo of a lovely woman with terrible teeth to accompany this post. My computer crashed three times.

What really counts in the Olympics?

6 Aug

Photo: Bleacher Report

I’ve been watching the Olympics this year much more than in the past. My daughter does gymnastics and I run. She also did a track camp this summer, so we’re grabbing the highlights every night and watching the things we missed OnDemand. Last night, we watched Mo Farah win the men’s 10K, then do the happy dance with Galen Rupp. It was awesome.

Loved watching the women’s gymnastics and the swimming. We even watched a little women’s boxing, a match between a Chinese woman and one from Kazahkstan. We’ve seen Brits, Romanians and Russians win and been inspired by South Africans, Germans and Jamaicans.

All that good feeling goes out the window when the medal count begins. Is it only my country, or does every country keep count of how many medals they’ve won? Sure, my country wins a lot of medals, but my country is huge. China wins a lot of medals, too; they invented huge along with noodles and fireworks. I know it’s very American to want the best, to want to be the best and to think we are the best, even when we aren’t. After Mckayla Maroney landed on her butt in the vault and the gold medal went to Sandra Raluca Izbasa of Romania, the US announcers were still proclaiming Maroney the best gymnast in the world on vault.

Well, Maroney may be the best in the world on most days, but at the Olympics she sat down and her competition didn’t. I would have liked a little more focus on the winner, a little slow mo’ on her performance. But I got shots of a stoic Maroney and then a break-away to the anchor desk for a recap of my country’s race to win the most medals.

What’s it like in your country? Daily medal counts? Or do you get to savor the Olympic moments of all the champions? If you’re American, do you care about how many medals “we” win? Just wondering.

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