Category: Me

Letting My Crazy Loose

Maybe it’s just me, but i really doubt it.

You know how there’s this part of you that’s really nuts? Like not eccentric, but truly batshit crazy? And most of the time you are able to keep it under wraps, but every now and then, it rears its ugly head?

I hate those times. They make me feel guilty and embarrassed.

Sort of like how your weedlings are well-behaved in public. “Yes, ma’am,” “No, sir,” “Please,” and “Thank you.” Then you get home and they behave like they were raised by rabid chimps who’d never seen captivity.

I’m a rabid chimp when it’s been a trying week.

Most of the time, i try hard to be pleasant and likeable. Even doing the customer service portion of my job, when the person on the other end of the line is being ugly and flat out mean, i take great pains to be sweet and affable and understanding… While i’m on the phone with them. Once i hang up, the growler comes out.

“So glad i could help. Have a wonderful day, and let me know if you have any more issues,” Click.  “Good grief. Did you get through college on some sort of affirmative action plan for the daft?”  “Oh, no problem. We all make mistakes. I’m glad it all worked out. Have a good afternoon,” Click.  “And thank you for calling me incompetent before you noticed it was your error, you paste-eater.”  “Yes, sir. I understand. I will get this to the right people and let them know you are eager to get it resolved,”  Click. “By the way, sir, have you considered joining a Schmucks Anonymous meeting?”

Then i’m back to my normal, polite self.

On Friday, i came perilously close to not hanging up first.

It’s as if i am a fully inflated tire that gets closer and closer to bursting as the road heats up…. And some of the air has to be released to keep it from exploding and spreading steel belts across the highway. But last week, the road got hotter faster than i anticipated.

The week was a bit more trying that usual. Issues at work that needed too much tending. SiriDog got stuck under one of my rose bushes and tore off a chunk of her ear. The washing machine is still singing out of nowhere. They upped my escrow payment. I’ve been eating rabbit food for 2 weeks and my favorite jeans are still a bit tight. I tore my favorite shirt, the home renovation is going nowhere, and man, these hot flashes are a bitch. Basically, nothing monumental, but a whole lot of pain in the ass.

Sometimes a figurative pain in the ass is worse than a literal one. Well, maybe only for your anger management.

I did go out after work on Friday to blow off steam with some coworkers, but in spite of my loud, raucous, and crass infusion to the night, i must have still had some steam to blow. Saturday morning found me on my porch in sports bra and lounge pants, coffee in hand, coral-tinted hair probably looking like the Heat Miser, streaming Tim Minchin videos on YouTube… And singing along. (If you’ve ever heard his performances, you can easily understand why the dad from next door, sweet and conservative, moved rather quickly from door to trash bin and back again while giving me the “What the….??” look when he popped out mid performance doing his man-chores…) But hey, the kids were still inside and out of ear range, and i felt so much better after. And it’s not like there were paparazzi taking videos. (Thank you God, Goddess, and Universe!)

I still had a lingering bit of snark this morning. Time to bring out the big guns… Dirt therapy. Two peonies, a rosemary bush, another lavender. Digging holes, hoeing the potting mix, breaking your nails setting tubers… This is the chemo for stress and bad weeks. I dug til my feet had dirt tattoos under the straps of my flip-flops. I dug til my hands felt like sandpaper. I dug til my deodorant wore off. And then i watered it all. Including myself. (Don’t judge me. When was the last time you stood under a water hose set on “Mist”? It feels like the best part of childhood. Really. You should try it.) And then i put my feet up and shared a popsicle with SiriDog. (Seriously, don’t judge me.)  After that, i was too tired to have any snark left.

Anyway, so here’s hoping that by tomorrow i am back to my sweet self. (Quit laughing. I really can be sweet. Sorta.) Back in a place where i can keep my bitchy comments in my mouth until i hang up the phone. And maybe i will remember next time not to let the events of the week build up so much. Even the strongest soda bottle can take only so much shaking. We must unscrew the top just a bit at a time to let all that fizz out in an easy, steady stream… Lest we end up spewed all over people like a mis-timed locker room celebration.

If you are stressed about beach season and swimsuits. If the pollen count is driving you crazy. If work has taken all your patience. If graduations and weddings and all the other holiday and vacation planning have you at wit’s end… Take the time to blow it off. Have some fun. Dig some dirt. Sing as loud as you can til your frustration has been blown into space. Stand in the mist of your garden hose and let it all go. And thank your personal divinity that you have friends who love you even if you explode.

Hello My Baby, Hello My Honey…

 

Yesterday i mowed my lawn. Not terribly exciting, even if i did do it with my new battery-operated mower, which is crazy quiet and so much easier than my old gas mower. Not even notable for how good the lawn looks this morning after a night of rain and a morning sky that odd shade of lavender-grey that makes all the colors really “pop”. But it did make an impression nonetheless.

When i was finished washing off the grime and pollen and dust and clippings, i discovered that one of my fingers had developed an appendage of its own.

I spent the night thinking i had somehow whacked my finger without feeling it. The large hard lump on the side of my pinkie was surely just a little bone chip. It’s only mildly discolored, doesn’t really hurt, and i can still move the finger. Obviously not anything permanently debilitating.

I wish there was a word for that fear-disbelief-anger-embarrassment you feel when you’ve hurt yourself without realizing it. The older i get, the more lumps, bumps, and bruises appear without apparent reason. I can’t decide if our bodies grow numb, or we just get so distracted that we cease to notice things like the pain of knocking an end-table so badly that you leave a hematoma the size of Trump’s toupee on your thigh.

In any case, i woke frustratingly early for a Sunday morning today. As i lay there in bed, listening to the rain, and trying to devise a plan for my backyard, a different theory of the lump starting to evolve.

When i bought this house, there was a fire pit in back that had a single bench made of cement blocks piled together. The other three seats were made from tree stumps. As i was mowing by them yesterday, i noticed that they had become severely rotted.  I pulled one apart and knocked it over, just out of morbid curiosity. I’m not a big bug fan, but the idea that a single old tree stump could house any number of things was more powerful than my fear and disgust with palmettos. My curiosity was rewarded. The stumps had become a kind of condo for ants, worms, and some remarkably beautiful speckled slugs, among other creepycrawlies. After the mowing, i went back and poked some more.

You know those Italian villages that appear to be carved into the sides of rock faces? That’s what this reminded me of. As i peeled back the bark, a textured brown, tan, and grey cliff with holes/doors of various sizes carved into it began to emerge. The slime from the slugs left an iridescent path reminiscent of water and ice coming out of split shale. The sight both filled me with wonder and made me gag. God/Goddess/Universe is a freaking genius…. But She is also kind of gross.

So as i lay there listening to the rain, i started to plan my attack against the insects’ urban sprawl. I’ve been in this house for almost three years, but have never gotten around to lighting the fire pit. (I’ve been busy. And lazy. Don’t judge me.) The yard work that has been done has created quite a pile of sticks in the concavity, and i’ve a large back stock of logs besides.  I need to burn the sticks first and then somehow manage to get those big stumps onto the fire. They are twice the size of my own trunk, but i could probably pick them up if it weren’t for the bugs…

And that’s when it hit me. That lump on my finger is probably a bite. How the hell i managed to get bitten without feeling it seems strange, even for me. And it’s not like it’s itchy or anything. I slept all night without an allergic reaction. And it is no worse this morning.

Oh hell… What if something laid eggs in my finger? Daenerys is sexy as the Mother of Dragons, but i will be much less so as the mother of rhino beetles. Or fire ants. Or whatever hatches out of my hand.

Naaahhhh, i mean, what is the likelihood, right? Those stories of people hatching insects under their skin are myths, or bare minimum, rarer than nerdy Klingons.

(Can you picture a Klingon accountant? Carrying a badass pen in a snake skin pocket protector instead of a weapon in a sheath? Me neither. But there must be some, right? Someone’s gotta keep the books.)

Anyway, back to the bite theory. I went back to the stumps earlier today to take some pictures. And now i have that phantom infestation like you get when someone says the words “head lice”. I can feel ants crawling up my pants leg, even tho i am certain it’s my imagination. I feel the tickles of beetles and the damp of slugs on my toes, tho i can see there are none.

Apparently, phantom insect bites get my attention more than the real thing.

Of course, that’s assuming it is a bite. It could still be a bone chip.  It could be a torn pinkie ligament. Hell, it could be an alien, poised to pop out and deliver “Ragtime Gal” in a very high and tiny voice. That would only be slightly more surprising than the fact that i didn’t feel it when it happened.

If i didn’t notice what caused this, what else has passed by me without catching my attention? It’s not exactly on the same level as missing Liam Neeson smacking my bottom and calling me sweetheart; but it is still a bit disconcerting. Like, maybe, walking right past a $20 bill on the sidewalk. Or going the whole day with your shirt inside out. I’m too young to be that absentminded already.

Not really, but that’s what i tell myself.

In any case, i’m sure it’s nothing exciting. I’m more just miffed with myself for not knowing how it happened. Especially since there was no alcohol involved. Just my own aging brain. Tequila would have made for a better story. And if whatever is in my finger ends up on a nasty youtube video, that’s exactly how i will explain it. Unless it’s a little singing frog in a top hat. Then i’m gonna make millions.

Throw Your Hands Up

When i was a weedling, i loved to read stories about witches. The pretty ones who hid their talents from the outside world, and the ugly ones who threw it back in society’s face. The good ones and the bad ones. They fascinated me, and i couldn’t get enough. My Ma, for all her weaknesses, loved the library and would take us pretty regularly. I devoured every book in that building that had anything to do with witches, sorcerers – Hell, any kind of misfit with magical powers. I would bury myself in them until my dreams became epics of me, spectacular and powerful, righting the wrongs of the world by raising my hands in a glorious swooping gesture while wearing a bold-faced look of “Take that, you bastard!” Like every other child in the world, i felt powerless in real life, so i lived for the times when i could close my eyes and actually be someone important.

And of course i tried that swooping gesture in real life more than once to see if i actually could make magic.

As i got older, tho i still loved to read about witches,  i branched out a bit. Sorcerers, fairies, aliens, the occasional superhero…. It was still a lot about the power, but also starting to become a treatise on not being bound by societal norms. Instead of being sad because i always felt like an outsider, i started to be a proud of it.

Ok, that’s a bit of a lie. I tried hard to relish being an outsider. I really did. But in reality, i was no different from any other young teenager, desperate to feel i fit in. What can i say? Some things are universal for kids.

And in my dreams, i still made the grand, swooping gesture as i worked my magic… Only now, instead of always being the righter of wrongs, i occasionally took a bit of revenge. I laughed as the ones i envied watched me win at whatever the current favorite thing was. And the ones who made me cry, well, i made them cry just as hard.

I’m so glad that i only had venue to deal with that in my brain. As painful as teenage angst is at the time, in retrospect you end up seeing yourself as so self-involved that it’s embarrassing.

As my teenage years progressed, i discovered science fiction. I’d loved sci-fi TV and movies since birth, but reading science fiction is a whole other ballgame. Science fiction books had it all! Action, adventure, power, altruism, and even (almost) sex. It was misfit heaven, and i felt at home there. Heinlein’s world was mine. Chalker’s world was mine. Adams’ and Herbert’s worlds were mine. Sure, i read other books as well, but it was the sci-fi writers who made me question what i thought was right and wrong. They were the ones who made me think about politics and sociology and human relationships. These writers made me question the universe and the meaning of it all. They filled my dreams with thoughts of power to change the world. It wasn’t me alone anymore. In my dreams i had a band of friends and we all worked like superheroes (And bed-behaved like tomcats. I mean, i was still a teenager, after all), and we made the universe a better, if more bawdy, place. I didn’t often throw my hands up and do the grand swooping gesture anymore, but hey, at least i stopped wanting revenge. Instead, i wanted to make the world, the universe, better and freer.

Not that i didn’t do the gesture once in a blue moon, just in case my magical powers were as delayed as my puberty.

In my earlier adult years, i didn’t read much sci-fi, fantasy, or magic anymore (Well, except for the occasional re-read of favorites.) I found other genres that piqued my interest. And as much as  i love a good historical fiction tome à la Clan of the Cave Bear, that kind of book never gave me the dreams i had with my earlier genres. Ayla had chutzpah, to be sure, but she didn’t weave spells or jump timelines. She didn’t evoke that kind of powerful feeling in me.

So my dreams got rather boring until the rebirth of fantasy for the younger generation. I delighted in going to the midnight release of the newest Harry Potter book with my own weedlings. I read all of the Hunger Games and Divergent books along with them. (I’m so glad i had children at that age. I would have had to come up with a good story otherwise, since there was never any doubt in my mind that i had to read the books!) And i started having those dreams again…. Those dreams where i am powerful and fixing the world.

Yes, i also try to do a bit to fix the world for real. I have raised good and socially conscious weedlings. I reduce, re-use, and recycle. I save energy where i can and eat less and less meat and dairy as i get older. I volunteer and help at causes that are important to me. But it’s not the same, is it? I have no lightning in my being to throw at bad guys. I can’t steep herbs from my yard and make cancer go away.  And even tho i occasionally throw my hands up in the grand swoop, it doesn’t do anything except make me giggle.

It’s terribly anti-climactic.

Thankfully, we have books. And dreams. And in them, we can have the power really change things. Not that we should give up the efforts in real life, but it can be really therapeutic to wield a wand, or a sword, or a phaser to fight the righteous fight. There is something to be said for keeping those childhood fantasies alive and well in that place in your mind where anything is possible. And if you occasionally throw your hands up in the grand swoop to see if you are dreaming, i, for one, will not laugh. In fact, i may invite you to the Leaky Cauldron for some butterbeer. Or the local pub for an actual beer. We can talk about books, We can talk about fantasy. And we can talk about our powers and how we make things better.

Kick It To The Curb

Aaahhhh…. It’s that time of year  – The new year. Fresh starts, new leafs, clean slates. For so many, it brings celebrations complete with fireworks, champagne, and general overindulgence. For others, it is feasts of black-eyed peas and other lucky foods, and time spent with family. All different kinds of traditions all over the world. But for me, the new year means one thing…

REORGANIZING!

I love sorting things and getting them all settled into an orderly fashion. I like little drawers and buckets and boxes and new coat hangers. And i LOVE getting to throw away things that do nothing but clutter my space. To my way of thinking, it is best not to bring last year’s garbage into the new year. The coming year will have plenty trash of its own.

Yes, yes… I know that if i were a better woman, i’d have thrown all the crap away as it appeared and not waited til the day i hung the new calendar. But i’m not. And i didn’t.

No one has ever accused me of being Nellie the Neat Freak.

So this time, every year, i go thru the house with bags to hold the garbage and bags to go to charity. I clear everything out that needs to go. Expired medicines and makeup. Clothing i hate or haven’t worn in a year. Accumulated magazines. Any Tupperware without a lid. And the bags of reuse/recycle items that i had craft ideas for that never panned out. And then i go back through and sort everything into new and better containers. Pretty baskets, decorator boxes, expandable shelves… You get the idea. By the second week of January, i am Martha Stewart’s rightful heir.

Come next season, it’s all right back to Clutter Central.

Throughout the year i will go back through and do a smaller version of the purge, but nothing like the High Baptism of the New Year’s Shedding of the Past Year’s Shit.

Seriously – This New Year’s ritual is my own personal day of rebirth.

For the record, i make no resolutions other than the one i always do – To be a bit better this coming year than the last. And each year, the cleansing of my house and head last a a bit longer than the one before. (Nothing like a resolution that you can keep!) It’s unlikely i’ll live long enough for the organization to last all year. I’ll keep doing my best and falling short, and the Grim Reaper will be tripping over stacks of books and craft supplies the day he comes to find me.

Unless the Hindus and Buddhists are right, in which case, i will die on December 31st of the year i finally keep my closet in order for a full 12 months.

At my current rate of improvement, that should put me somewhere around 200 years old when i finally leave this Earth.

This year’s purge is a little more complex, as i am starting to double down and really work on the house as a structure. I have lots of big plans for my little beach cottage in the woods… And the funding to complete about a third of it in the coming year. Not ideal, but it’s a start. And because i have all these plans that might actually come to fruition, i’ve had to cull even more than usual. Because trying to rehab a house that’s full of excess crap is like decorating a Christmas tree with green bows… Unhelpful and unnoticeable.

Anyway, the point of all this housecleaning is that it becomes symbolic – As my house is, so is my head. By clearing all the cobwebs, dustbunnies, and unused hand lotion samples; i am clearing my head of the same. Unused hand lotion samples become any leftover grudges and head smacks as they hit the trash bin. Dustbunnies become those things that i beat myself for daily, even tho they’ve been under the couch so long that everyone has forgotten them but me. And the cobwebs become… Well, truthfully, they’re just cobwebs. And the older i get, the more of a pain in the ass they are in both my house and my brain.

So here’s to those of us who shun parties in favor of self-improvement. While it’s true that we may not get to keep our OCD award for more than a month or two, we are setting ourselves up to start the year with a literal clean slate. Well, if we have a slate. I don’t. I’ll be starting with a clean closet. But i don’t think there’s a euphemism about closets that applies in this situation. Although i suppose it could to someone else. If they cleaned their closet and then came out of it. I think. Maybe. But being in the closet when there’s already so much clutter in there… I can’t imagine.

And there i go, weaving another cobweb.

No matter how you celebrate the new year, i hope it starts you off right: With Love, Light, and Laughter, and faith in a year that is better than the last. I wish you all the sweet things that life has to offer… And just enough salt to remember how sweet the good stuff is. And i wish you a rebirth and the chance to make yourself all you can be… Even if you fall short and there are still dustbunnies under the couch, your effort is not in vain. Any bag of garbage that makes it to the curb is a good thing, both literally and figuratively.

Let the purge begin.

 

“I’m Weeing in the Rain, Just Weeing in the Rain…”

SiriDog hates the rain. Like most small dogs, she’s a bit of a diva, a bit daft, and she doesn’t like getting her fur wet or being cold. So when we woke this morning to some near-freezing rain, and i took her outside for her morning wee, i was treated to full-on Dopey Diva mode.

First she goes to the side stairs of the porch. One step down, she realizes it is raining and comes back up. Then she goes to the front porch stairs, and like usual, seems surprised and peeved to see that it is raining there, too. She looks at me as if to say, “Now what do i do?”

She trots over to the side stairs again. Sure enough, it’s still raining there. So she goes back to the front side again. Yup. Still raining. Back and forth one more time, just to be sure.

“How do you expect me to pee? It’s raining everywhere!”

“Siri, we are not going back inside until you pee.”

She starts down the front stairs. Two stairs down, she gets hit with a big drop from the eave and runs back up. She scoots around my legs like they’re a box on the highway and plants her tookis at the front door.

“Nope. You gotta pee first.”

She barks at me in her annoyed voice.

“But i’ll get wet!”

“Too bad. Go pee.”

She stares at me.

“Siri… Now! It’s too cold out here to be playing this game!”

“Exactly! Now let me back in! I’ll just go in there, where it’s warm and dry.”

She wags her tail.

“No. The pads are not supposed to be your primary pee spot. They’re for times when i’m not home. Besides, you miss it a quarter of the time. I’M COLD! WILL YOU GO PEE ALREADY!?!?!?!”

She sniffs in my general direction and then heads back down the stairs at the speed of an elderly sloth. She wees about 6 inches from the bottom stair and then trudges back up, scowling at me like i made her eat brussel sprouts.

She is still sniffing. Not sad sniffs, mind you, but the sniffs of an overly-powdered aging socialite who is forced to fly coach. She is inconvenienced. She is wet. And she is mad as hell.

We go back inside, i give her a biscuit, and she forgets she had to pee in the rain.

Then i got to thinking… SiriDog and i aren’t really so different. How many times in my life have i taken a slightly different approach to the same old same old, essentially just changing stairwells to the same yard, and been surprised to find that it is still raining. And when confronted with that reality, shouted indignantly to my Master/God/Goddess/Universe, “How do you expect me to do what You ask? I will never make it! And it’s gonna take too much work!” because i feel like i’m expected to pee in the rain.

Kind of humbling, since i generally consider myself smarter than a chihuahua.

But it is also true in that we can both be distracted from anger and misery by a small treat. So i suppose it isn’t all bad. I rather like that quality in myself.

I don’t dare compare myself to the way she humps her toys before she tears them apart. If there is any commonality there, i’ll let my therapist deal with it.

********

And now, in the relaxing part of the afternoon, we are sitting together on the couch. Me in my slippers with a nice cup of tea, her buried under her little throw blanket and snoring. We are companionable. Compatible. Sympatico. But i do like to think that i’m not as much of a diva. And that i don’t snore as badly. (However, i know one of those things is definitely not true.) In any case, there are worse things in the world than sharing some traits with my dog. I think dogs, in general, tho simpler minded, are more pure and loving of heart. And like every other human on the planet, my jaded heart can use a little purity and loving.

It does make me wonder, tho, if SiriDog thinks of me the same way.

 

 

 

To Break the Monotony

I didn’t write last week. And i almost didn’t write this week. Sometimes the daily drudgery gets so overwhelming that i forget my life hasn’t been filled with just earning a paycheck, doing chores, and raising children. It’s easy, at times like these, to think that maybe i have nothing of value to write at all. Because who wants to hear about today’s adventures in laundry? But then i get to thinking about what story gems i have in my head. Moments of excitement that the universe has afforded me throughout the years.

For example:

My oldest weedling and i were once almost arrested for taking pictures of subway art in Portugal. In our defense, the art was really awesome. And it was only the tunnel to the train… We didn’t think the tile walls and industrial lighting contained military secrets, so it didn’t seem improper to take pictures. And there weren’t any signs telling us not to. We couldn’t be blamed for wanting to document memories. The Lisbon police begged to differ.

I was also once chased by military police through an airport in Madrid… Because i was carrying a sword. When they came running after me, i got scared and ran too… Still brandishing the sword. It was a ceremonial replica, a gift for my husband at the time, and it never occurred to me that running through the airport with a sword held high was the reason they were chasing me. When they finally caught me, they seemed surprised i wasn’t drunk. In retrospect, it would have been less embarrassing if i had been drunk. Drunk is usually better than just stupid.

I once was publicly reprimanded by a sheik for calling out the ref (Who also happened to be the sheik) at a pickup basketball game in the United Arab Emirates. Well, the public reprimand was rather fake, to be honest. He knew my outburst was an accident – And it wasn’t like he was trying to hide the fact that he was terribly biased against my shipmates who were playing the locals. So he quietly told me i was making him look bad and to not do it again. Then he told me to cry so that all the people who were watching the game would think he had torn me a new one. Rather nice of him, as i’m sure he could have publicly flogged me or something. Instead, i got a true story that sounds like fiction.

I have a terracotta pitcher in my kitchen that i use to store cooking utensils. I won it in a hole-in-the-wall bar in Spain. It was the grand prize for being able to dance around a chair for an entire song with the pitcher on my head… While it was filled with sangria. Actually, i was filled with sangria too. That may have had something to do with it. Maybe. Probably. But i have been known to dance for less.

Just ask my weedlings. It’s the bane of their existence.

I’ve been in protests (Including quite a few “nurse-ins”) and served in a war. I’ve had varied careers and have equally varied college degrees. I’ve performed on stage, deejayed on the radio, and entertained foreign dignitaries at dinner. I have flown a plane, fired a weapon, and swum with fishes (As opposed to sleeping with the fishes, which i have not done, obviously. Thank you God!)

I have also slept on the ground, eaten cold beans from a can, and been so broke that i didn’t think i’d ever be anything but scrap-poor. I’ve made huge, mind-boggling mistakes. And i once took last place in a beauty pageant. Gotta have the downs to appreciate the ups.

I have had pasta and gelato in Italy, poutine in Canada, and bananas in the Central American jungle. I have also had Japanese food in Jamaica, Korean food in Panama, and Nepali food in Wisconsin.  Go figure.

I have seen the sun rise over the Pacific, and the sun set over the Atlantic. (Yes, my fellow Americans, it can happen that way. I promise.)

I have done so many things that started out as stupid ideas, but turned out be amazing experiences. And i’ve had grandiose plans turn into snore fests. You never know where things will lead when you take that first step.

So as i sit here on the couch with SiriDog, staring at the dining room which needs to be cleaned, thinking about the work i need to do tomorrow, and making lists of the bills to pay tonight… Really, in a way, this is just a rest stop between the last adventure and the next. Time to start planning the next one!

Unfortunately, i still have to do the chores and pay the bills before i get there.

 

She Looked So Cute With Her Foot In Her Mouth

Last weekend i had an interesting encounter with two women just a tad bit older than me.

I was at the fabric store looking through the pattern books for a specific design. Now, if you have never looked thru a pattern catalogue, or haven’t looked in one recently, pretty much every company now has a few designers dedicated to the more “modern” creative. They have patterns for retro looks, funky punk looks, and even cos-play. The models for these patterns are selected as people who would likely be wanting them. (Makes sense, you don’t want a size 6 modeling a plus-sized pattern, so why would you have a supermodel aesthete modeling a 50s pin-up or Superhero look?) It is actually a very cool thing, in my opinion, because these new pattern makers are bringing a new generation and breed to the sewing circle.

 

Sitting across from me at the pattern table were two women. I vaguely recognized one of them as working at the same hospital i do. Both women have maybe 5 years on me. Both were dressed like more typical 50-60 somethings. Pedal pushers, sensible shoes, and shoulder-length hair dyed the color it was in their 30s. I was wearing a linen dress that i had designed and made myself, metallic sandals, and some kickass holographic lipgloss that i was told complimented the white in my hair. The table is the width of 2 school desks, so tho i was not intentionally listening to my tablemates’ conversation, i could hear every word.

“Would you look at that?” One points to a picture in the pattern book of a raven-haired, crimson-lipped woman dressed in a jumpsuit with a Rosie the Riveter vibe.  “What is she gonna look like when she is our age? She is going to look ridiculous. Like an old peeling billboard. Why would she think that is attractive? She looks trashy!” … As she points to the (beautifully done) tattoos on the arm that is poised in a power move.

I didn’t mean to laugh out loud. It just happened.

They look up at me and turn the pattern book so i can see what they are talking about.

I reach out to hold the page up, showing off my wrist tattoo.

They went parchment white.

“Bbbbuuut, yours is pretty. And it is small. I mean, hers covers her whole arm. She’d never get a professional job.”

I reach out with my other arm, the one with the rat, Algernon, on it, and lift the book to look closer.

I don’t want to make them feel badly, because i am an adult and i don’t pick unnecessary fights. But i also don’t want to let them off the hook because, well, because i’m me and i often do things before i think them thru.

“It’s ok. I know they aren’t for everyone. But i actually have a few others, some very large, and i do have a professional job. In fact, i work for the same hospital you do.”

I didn’t think it was possible, but they got whiter.

“I am sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I just don’t understand the whole tattoo / piercing / giant hole in the ears thing. I didn’t mean that you were… ” She drifts off here, i think because she wasn’t sure what, exactly, she had been trying to imply.

“It’s ok. Really. I understand that many people don’t get the appeal, ” And then i showed her the one that i got to cover a giant spider vein on my leg.

“Oh! That is pretty! I have a bad vein too, and i had been thinking about getting a treatment on it, but it is so expensive! I never thought to cover it that way!” And we start to talk about how all hospital workers end up with spider and varicose veins, and how much it sucks to be on your feet all day, and how so many don’t realize exactly how hard our jobs are, and on and on. A right proper hospital-sisters bitch session. Before you know it, they are asking my opinion on a dress pattern they are looking for that would be suitable for the older of the two to be married in (No… We were quickly approaching lunchtime, so there weren’t enough hours for me to discuss my thoughts on marriage. Or my many failures in them.) I tried to convince them that the Delores Umbridge look wasn’t celebratory enough for a wedding (Not in those words, because i’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have had a clue what they meant), but they didn’t care for any of the patterns i liked because they had this aversion to their Hi-Helens (Or bat wings, if you prefer) flying free in all their glorious, aged splendor. To each their own, i guess.

By the time we went our separate ways, we were laughing.

I am certain i didn’t change their minds on body ink. Nor did they change my mind on the appropriate dress for a woman our age. But maybe they learned that their viewpoint isn’t a given with women our age. Or maybe they learned that inked people aren’t what they expected. Or maybe they just learned to look before they speak. For my part, i got to practice how to confront behavior without being harsh, and how to handle differing opinions with tact (Confrontation in general isn’t my strong suit.) (Neither is tact.)  I learned that i don’t always have to suck it up. And maybe i even made a work connection with someone very different who shares the same love of designing.

In any of those cases, it beats not saying anything and allowing myself to feel stomped. It beats getting angry and causing others to feel attacked or shamed. I’m pretty proud of us and how we handled it. And since practice makes perfect, maybe someday i will grow to be that resolved and tactful all the time.

But i wouldn’t hold my breath if i were you. I’m still me.