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Archive for August, 2011

READ MY LIPS

Please understand that I’m not “picking on” other people and their weaknesses when I’m pointing out foibles here.  I’ve had too much experience with “what goes around comes around” to do that.  I really don’t want pay-backs. . . wandering through my public life wondering nervously if I will always have spinach in my teeth or a hole in the armpit of my favorite shirt.   Oh, no.  I am simply pointing out what is obvious to me.  Human beings are just that.  Very human.  Even when we believe that we have transcended this dusty soil and will float forever about on white puffs of wispy clouds, several thousand feet above the rest, well. . . there is always something that will bring us back down to earth in a hurry.  I don’t want mine to be a bolt of lightning, so I will tread lightly.  I am laughing with you, not at you.  There is a difference.  ;^)

However, today’s fashion tee-hee-hee moment is just too good not to share.  ;^)

Just a brief digression:  while referring to the above-mentioned spinach, I would like to share with you that it does not take much to amuse me.  My daughters know this.  My youngest, especially, pulls the same trick out of her hat and never fails to elicit a giggle.  I should always remember that if, say, there are spinach enchiladas on the table or chocolate cake, a surprise will await me.  She’ll bat her eye-lashes and smile demurely, then ask, “Do I have anything on my teeth?”  I turn my gaze to be helpful, as mothers are always supposed to be oh-so-helpful, if not gullible, and she will display a wide-open grin with the appropriate spinach/chocolate covering her front teeth.  This daughter is not twelve, I might add.  She’s twenty-six.  ;^)

Why is this funny, especially, repeatedly funny?  I don’t know.  Perhaps just the ability to  catch me off guard and never failing to pull off the element of surprise in a much over-used family trick.

Well, on to the subject at hand.  I have noticed that several of my slip-showing stories are taking place on Sundays.  I think maybe that the power in the object of hilarity resides in the fact that many think of Sunday as a holy day.  Really, if we’re breathing, every day should be holy.  But, we try so hard on Sunday to exude that little extra squeeze of piety.  We dress up in what we perceive as finery, we carry a holy book inside a protective, zippered brocade cover with a Bic in a pocket (to take sermon notes with) and chin-up, we’re off to the temple.

May I digress again?  I’d like to underscore my point by talking about attempts at very human names upon the holy aspect of a church.  How do you name a church?

I always love the First Baptist Church.  Who wants to be a member of the Second Baptist Church?  Or the Last Baptist Church?

What about Our Lady of Sorrows?  She’s in heaven.  Shouldn’t she be dancing down the streets of gold as Our Lady Who Has No Sorrows?

How about the First Christian Church?  (Don’t stone me, I beg of you…) We wouldn’t darken the doors of the First Sinner Church.  Or the First Heathen Church.

There are boundless church names with the names of Jesus or God or Christ in them.  That is, of course, what it’s all about.  I just really would like to see one called, The Church of Sweet Little Six Pound Eight Ounce Baby Jesus (Because He’s My Favorite Jesus.)  (Yes, I did swipe the basic idea from Talladega Nights.) But it is a fun idea.  Don’t you just love your baby Jesus in the manger part of your crèche at Christmas?  I’ve always been fascinated by them.

Well, the story is progressing into a novel and I haven’t told my story, yet.  ;^)

The particular Sunday of our attention was many moons ago, when, as I’ve shared before, I was partaking in the holy sanctity of marriage and I sold the pink cosmetics.  (I look back now and I wonder, who was that person?  Was she really me?)  Yes, she was.  She was The Many Moons Ago version of Miss Cynthia.  She puzzles me.  But she was real.  Kind of in a Pinocchio was a real boy sort of way.  Like a wooden puppet sitting on a shelf staring out through button eyes. Well, for goodness sake, I digress again. . . .

I sashayed up to the platform (we couldn’t possibly call it a stage. . . it’s in a church for heaven’s sake. . . .) It was time for music practice before the main service.  The song leader, an esteemed member of the church and the community, approached me.

She said, “I need to talk to you for a minute after church.  It’s time to re-order my lip-liner pencil.”

Yes it is, I thought.  The one you’re using is, um. . . scary, I thought further.  It looked black.

A quick glance at her watch and she was off.  Practice would begin, and my hesitation would cost us both.  Oh well.  They were her black lips, not mine.  (Please don’t hang me on a cross and burn me.)

After a full service of singing in front of 300+ people, we met in front of the ladies room.  I pulled out my trusty order form and she pulled out her cash.  I know.  Money was exchanging hands in the temple.  But it was of dire importance.  A lady can not look like a ghostly specter while in front of 300+ people in a place of worship.  We need our lipstick.  Please don’t take it from us.

“Which color do you use?” I asked.  Carefully.

Miss Melodious pulled a teeny nub of a former lip-liner from her purse.  “It’s this one, I think.”

I said, “Um, I thought you have always worn ‘Raisin’ Lip-Liner, you know, the dark, cherry red slash dark chocolate brown one?”

“No,” she said. “It’s this one, I grabbed it from my lipstick case this morning.”

I inspected it closely.

“Um, it says, right here, on the barely readable, scratched-off side, “Black eye-liner,” I said.

NO!” she said.

I dared to lift my eyes from the pencil to her lips.

Yes, they were lined in black.  And this wasn’t even a Gothic church.  It was a  fairly up-scale, respectable, progressive band-and-all church.

We rushed through the ladies room door.  We both faced the mirror at the same time.  We both faced each other.  Well, she faced me.   I faced the floor.

She was a good sport.  She burst out laughing.  What could I do?  I did, too.

Note to self:  Always.  Always.  Always double-check your lip-liner label.   And use your handy-dandy rear-view mirror in the car, for Pete’s sake!  What are they for, after all?  Never.  Never.  Never be in too much of a Sunday-morning-rush-routine to not do so.

:^)

The End.

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Lions and Tigers and Chiggers, Oh My!

Make yourself a tall glass of iced-tea and chill out with me.  We’re going to talk about bugs . . . but don’t sweat it . . . that’s what the tea is for.  :^)

This summer has brought record temperatures across the U.S.  In my parents’ yard in Oklahoma last week, it was 119(F).  Yes, it’s been almost unbearable.  I am astounded that the heat has not killed off the bug population.  Instead, they seem to be thriving.  The grasshoppers have taken over my yard.  Not only is everything brown, it is bare.  I’m happy that something is prospering and oh-so-glad that I can keep something alive in my yard.  If it’s bugs, well, so be it.

In Oklahoma we have little invisible bugs called chiggers.  These little dears lurk in anything green, especially tall grass and weeds.  If you even just brush by them, they will find you.  They like to burrow into your skin around the tight spots . . . waistbands, leg openings . . . “snug as a bug in a rug” comes to mind here.  The itch that they create is pure misery.

When I first moved to Oklahoma, I was horrified with the scope of bug potential.  My first run-in with a tarantula came early on.  (Story to follow at a later date.)  ;^)

Chiggers . . . I remember finding out about them when we would come to visit my grandparent’s farm while I was growing up.  Between the humidity and the bugs, I did not venture outside much.  The family loved to make home-made ice-cream and visit out in the yard.  Me, not so much.

(This is me around age 18, visiting Oklahoma ~~ waiting for the home-made ice-cream while my Uncle the Cowboy makes fun of me for not putting my feet on the ground.  Chiggers, ya’ll!!!)

After moving here, I did find that there were remedies.  My dad douses himself with vinegar after a jaunt in the garden.  One of the area pharmacists whips up a secret-ingredient cure.  For years I used rubbing alcohol and hydrocortisone.  Lately, I’ve resorted to a natural remedy.  A few drops of lavender in a carrier oil works like a charm (before an outing to prevent or after one to soothe.)

I discovered last week that Florida has a critter called “no see ‘ums.”  It puts the chigger to shame.  My daughter was covered in bites before we even knew there was such a bug.  There were about 50 bites on each limb and countless others over the remainder of her torso.  We’re not sure if they found her while on the beach or if they were in the house.  But she was miserable and ended up going to a doctor.  Kind of makes a vacation not so relaxing.  You wouldn’t think that something so small could produce such wretchedness.  It’s enough to make a tough cookie yell, “Mercy!”

I have a friend in Scotland who says that “midges” keep tourists off of the island he lives on in certain months of the year.  That could possibly be a boon to the locals’ privacy.  It sounds like midges are the ultimate tourist deterrent!  I know that when I go to visit in some distant moon, I will schedule the trip in the midges’ “OFF” season.

I thought about posting pics of all of these creepy-crawlies for you, but they’re too ghastly for me.  Just Google/Image it if you’re the brave sort.  ;^-  (In my opinion, enjoying photos of disgusting insects does not a Tough Cookie make . . . . )

What does this have to do with tough cookies?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Bugs adapt to every climate that I’ve lived in.  Even in Nevada, where the temperatures would drop 40-50 degrees on a summer night, we had mosquitoes.  In order to cope, I’ve had to adopt the “don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude.  I do what I can to not be overrun by the little buggers, but have learned to adjust.  If I want to sit outside on the porch, (in much cooler temps than we’re having now) I pour on the preventive.  Grasshoppers, mosquitoes, chiggers, fire-ants, wasps . . . all try to chase me away from my peaceful perch.  They may be tough, but I’ve determined:  I’m tougher.  Nothing is going to deter me from enjoying the out-of-doors if I want to.  (Well, OK, maybe 119 degree temps,) but NOT bugs!  I’m a TOUGH COOKIE!  (I’ll just keep telling myself that . . . I have, after all, survived 30 Oklahoma summers now.)  There’s got to be something tough about that.

A Tough Cookie does what a Tough Cookie has to do.  (Now, where did I put that lavender oil?)

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Long before it was a fashion statement, oh, along about the time it was truly a blunder, I made a statement all right … by wearing a pair of mismatched shoes to church.

It’s been so long ago, as a matter of fact, that I still had children at home.  And a husband.  ;^-  (Thus, the reason I probably didn’t have a clue as to the nature of my own appearance.) (I spent a great deal of time in La-La-Land in those days ~~ it was a self preservation technique that I honed to a fine art.)

It was also at a time when I actually cared what I wore to church.  (I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it now, but it does make for a better story.) (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wear cut-offs and a tank top to church, but this place was, well … I’ll just say, “over the top.”  It was quite the church to make a fashion statement.  It was more of a diversion than Paris in the Spring.  Showing up to see what the fashionistas were wearing was right up there with praising the Almighty.  You know.  Priorities.  One simply must keep them straight.

Now, I must insert here that my mother made sure that we wore our Sunday best to church when I was growing up.  It was important that we offered our best.  I understand that theory.  It makes sense.  What I’m speaking of in the previous paragraph is another man-made (or woman-made) warped sense of importance.  Oh, how we human beings can skew a perfectly good sanctity.

Nevertheless, I digress.

On said Sunday, I rushed about in the usual tizzy, trying to get myself ready, the children ready, as well as  answering the perfunctory Sunday morning question from the former Mister  (Does this tie match this shirt?) (No.) (Did it ever?)  (You’re color-blind, for St. Peter’s sake.)     ;^-

Sundays were not my favorite day of the week.

On this particular Sunday, I donned a long, navy-blue, broom skirt, (comfy…no hose required) and a flow-y black and blue top (to match my attitude) (AND covers a multitude of sins)  ;^)  … and a pair of navy-blue pumps.  Or so I thought.

After an entire first-half-of-the- service, singing and playing the piano (a longggggg self-imposed penance that I supposed would secure my spot behind the Pearly Gates) (Boy, was I wrong….)  I took my seat on the front row.  I let out a long sigh.  I let my mind wander.  (I forgot to put the roast in the oven.  I wonder if I can convince the Mister to buy lunch at the Mexican restaurant today?)  Sigh.  I crossed my legs to swing my foot in nervous anticipation for the end of the sermon.

Several foot swings later … Did my eyes deceive me?  No.  They did not.  There was a navy pump.  Good.  On the other foot ~~ a black pump.  Noooooo!  I blinked my eyes.  It had to be a mirage.  Blink.  Blink.

(Noooooooo.  I am DEFinitely NOT winking at you, Mister.)  (Are you kidding me?)  (Your tie doesn’t match your suit.)

And my shoes didn’t match each other.

Oh, horror of horrors.  THE fashion faux pas of the fashion faux pas’Z.

I cannot tell a lie.  I was in church, for goodness’ sake.

I wanted to laugh.  Why cry?  There were too many other perfectly good reasons to cry that I had skipped right on over.  Laughter would be better.  Yes, much better.

I covered my mouth with my hand.  My eyes began to sparkle.  I stifled a giggle. It certainly was the most interesting thing I had seen that day.  And I thought it up all by myself.  Oh.  That’s right.  No thought was involved.  None whatsoever.

Oh, who cares?  So, I wore mismatched shoes.  No one noticed until I pointed it out afterward, laughing at my own joke.  Why was I the only one laughing?  They were too busy sashaying down the runway.  I mean, aisle, viewing each others’ regalia.

I was FAR ahead of my time with the one-black-shoe-one-navy-shoe-thing.  I just didn’t realize it then.  I think that I may try it again sometime.  Just to see if anybody notices.

Oh, fiddlesticks. Who am I kidding?    ;^)  I much prefer the church where cut-offs, tank tops and bare feet are accepted.  I think they call it, “the beach.”  ;^)   The Almighty speaks there, too.  And he definitely doesn’t care what you wear.  ;^)

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