Wednesday, December 24, 2014

When did my eyelids turn to crepe paper?

I've never been a real eyeshadow kind of gal.  My eyelid landscape is less pastoral and more one bedroom walk-up.  Sure, in my late teens, I went all out with the blue eyeliner and shadow, but lately, I've stuck mostly to some eyeliner on my upper lids.  If I'm heading out for something fancy, something festive, I might throw on some shimmery highlights to make  my eyes looks bigger than they actually are.  Not anime big - that'd be impossible, and just fucking creepy - but big--ger.

Sometime in the last month, my eyelid canvas lost its stretch.  This past week alone - filled with holiday events - has sent me on a fruitless search for my lost lid collagen.   

Maybe it's under the couch...  Well there you are - climb back up here you little dickens!

Putting on simple eyeliner now involves carefully pulling my upper lid into some semblance of smooth all the while guesstimating the costs of a eye lift.  For eons we have been told to only use our ring finger to smooth anything near our eyes, on account of the fact that the skin there is so freaking delicate.  I'm now terrified that if I use more than one finger to do the stretching for eyeliner, that I'll actually leave a tear in my crepe papery eyelids.

"Heather, how are you?"

"Feeling less like myself and more like Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove... and you?"

But, on the bright side, my eyelids are so loose that I can now use them for finger plucking percussion! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

This does NOT taste like gingerbread!

"Oh God... gag... gag... BLECH... shudder

"What?  What is it?"  David asks from upstairs.

"Putting molasses on top of peanut butter toast doesn't help," I say.  "Anne-Marie was wrong."  I shudder, still gagging, as I begin to scrape the molasses layer off of my peanut butter.  gag... gag...

Two days ago, when I was complaining about how eating raw molasses tasted like crap - Anne-Marie had suggested to put it over top of peanut butter on toast.

I had already tried drinking molasses in warm water and when two sips of that made me want to hurl, I tried swallowing an undiluted tablespoon of it. That method, was also unacceptable.

Why, one might ask, was I attempting to eat raw molasses in the first place?  After my bloodwork showed that my iron stores, while normal, were on the low, low, low end of normal, my dietician gave me a list of high iron foods that I could add to my diet.  I had been making my way through the list.  So far I'd tackled lentils and molasses. Lentils - not a problem - I added some to meatloaf - I added some to rice.  I should have been happy - I shouldn't have changed tacks.

But next on the list was molasses - a single tbsp of molasses.  You use molasses in baking - in GINGERBREAD for frickssake!  I seemed completely reasonaable that a tincture of molasses with warm water would be akin to drinking gingerbread cookies. I have never been more wrong in my life.

I'm not usually a taste wuss.  On rare occasions there are flavours, when they hit my tongue, kick in the gag reflex.  Cherry cough syrup?  One of those flavours.  I actually choose to take Buckley's Mixture for my cough because I prefer camphor to the taste of fake cherry cough syrup.  Brussel Sprouts -  those suckers touch my taste buds and the pre-vomit saliva kicks into high gear. But those two taste were pretty much it.  I now have a third.  Any health food nut who tries to sing the high iron praises of molasses to me is going to get a graphic gagging replay of how my mouth reacts to molasses.

No worries, I will continue to move down the list... Quaker Instant oatmeal??  I could have just had Quaker instant oatmeal?!?  You know those exams where the first instruction was to read the entire exam and the last instruction was not to do any of the questions?  I didn't have to gag nearly as much as I've been gagging... (that's what she said...)

Friday, December 19, 2014

And THAT is how Peri Menopause makes you healthier...


"You okay?"

I don't even want to admit what I've done.  "Fine.  I'm fine."

David's eyebrows raise.

I'm sitting on the sofa in our petite grande room.  I have a Rusty Nail in one hand and cheap-ass Christmas romance collection in the other.

"I might have eaten bad things," I mumble.

"Pardon me?"

"grumble... grumble..."



David sighs.  He shakes his head.  "Oh, love..."  He knows.  He knows that it's been a rough week.

Day 5 of my period - I'm having record-breaking blood flow.  Sweet merciful Gaia how much blood can a woman lose?  David has been handing me random glasses of water all week to keep me hydrated.  And my food cravings?  They are through the roof, hence the three Rice Krispie squares before dinner, and the empty bowl that had contained chocolate chips and Skor bits in it beside me, and the Rusty Nail in my hand.

During the night, I suffer.  I suffer miserably from night sweats.  Because why?  Because of all the sugar and alcohol running through my body.  Usually I avoid it.  Not all of it because that would be bananas, but most of it.  I have no caffeine, I limit myself to one drink, I avoid overly sugary foods... 

As I flap the blankets around me, it's revelatory.  THIS.  This is how to begin living healthfully...  Not because it's good for you, but to avoid the worse stuff.  I love caramel, I love enjoying more than one of anything in life, but now that there are ramifications... ramifications that affect my sleep...  I gotta change my ways.  Surely to God there are better things out there than a caramel and alcohol!  Things that won't make me feel ill and won't give me hot flashes...

Sex!  I CAN HAVE LOTS AND LOTS OF SEX!!!  That will give me an endorphin rush AND it will HELP ME SLEEP!!!  How is that for solving things the natural way?  I am a freaking genius.

"David, come here..."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Shopping with the spouse.

We are in the Men's Outerwear department at Sears.  (David has finally abandoned his attempts to zip up his existing jacket with an XL paper clip.)

"This one.  This one is good."  David holds up a long, black parka.

"You haven't tried it on yet."

"Yes, but it LOOKS good.  Good hood, good pockets..."  David shows me the faux fur styling around the parka's hood - reveals the inside coat pockets - the extra long, 'these'll make it very warm,' cuffs.

He puts the down-filled parka on.  "OH YEAH.  This is good."  He zips... he attempts... to zip it up.

"Zipper trouble?"

"I got too excited."  He struggles to get the zipper back down.  "It's all good."  He flourishes his hand and zips again.  Again, the zipper gets caught.  That's when I start handing him other coat options.

"Try this."

He looks longingly at the first parka.  I shake my head.  "Dude.  I know that it has everything you need - but you've gotten the zipper stuck both times you've tried - you are not the most patient of zipper-ers...  This will become a thing.  You will hate this zipper."

He sighs and tries on the second coat.  "No - too baggy in the waist."

"It's got this tightening thingie, right here..."

"That's just for the bottom to keep snow out," he scoffs.  "My waist, THIS waist," he now points to his belly button, "will get too cold in that coat."

I hand him another coat.

"Ugh.  NO!"  He moves his chin back and forth.  "Scratchy.  Too scratchy."

"But what about the rest of the coat?"  I look for inside pockets and check the arm length.

"Doesn't matter - it's too scratchy - that can't be fixed."

"Unless you wear a scarf..."

"Sure, if you want to be logical about it."


"Okay, then - THIS one."  I hand him a parka with a working zipper.

"Yeah, it'll do..." he looks longingly at the first 'perfect' parka.

"I know hon, I know...  but the zipper would drive you to madness..."

"Yeah...  sigh.  Now we'll just check out Mark's Work Warehouse to see if the prices are any better."


"You tell me I should comparison shop..."

He's right.  I do.

We leave the big mall and head to Mark's Work Warehouse across the street.

He circles the outerwear dept.  "Nope.  Nothing here in my size."



I hand him a medium-sized ski jacket with a hood.  "What about this?"

"Ugh.  No. (shudder)  Too colourful."  (The jacket is forest green and navy blue.)

"This one?"

"Too loose."

"This one?"

"Bad hood... Look at it.  All floppy - no warmth!  Nope there is NOTHING here.  I'll get the other one at Sears."

"The one with the working zipper, right?"

He pauses,  hangs his head.  "Yes."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I dub thee...

David has been wanting to upgrade my computer for the past two years.  About a month ago, I finally capitulated.

"All right."

"All right?"

"Start the search."

"The search for...?

"A new computer."



I couldn't take the endless UNRESPONSIVE SCRIPT warnings and time lags - which is hilarious, because anyone in their 40s remembers what a true time lag is - the ones at the beginning of internet usage when it would take 23 minutes for a page to load.

First we went looking at Staples - in advance of Black Friday...  An entire aisle of laptops.  From the very cheap Google tablets...  (I'm just making that name up - it's a computer that does everything by using the Cloud.  The cloud creeps me out.  I don't want the CLOUD) ... to the ridiculously expensive.

"What do you want?"  David says

"Whatever's cheapest - whatever is faster than mine  (everything is faster than mine - my last laptop was a refurbished Dell - 4 years ago), whatever is lighter than mine (everything is lighter than mine - see last parenthetical),   whatever has a standard QWERTY keyboard ('cause with some of these new laptops, the keyboard, she shrinks just a titch).

We found a light, compact laptop and I started typing.

"No!"  I moved to the next one.


"Split shift keys.  I shift with my left pinkie.  That keyboard," I point to the last one, "has a split shift key.  My typing will be off."  I go up and down the aisle, looking at the keyboards.  "No.... no... no... no... no... NO."

"Just try them," David urges.

I type my full name.  The first letters in my legal name now read "\" .  "Nope... nope... nope annnnnd NOPE."  Before David even opens his mouth, I stop him.  "I am an old dog. And though you might be able to teach an actual old dog new tricks - old dogs don't have to type.   I have been typing a certain way for the last 30 years.  30 YEARS.  THIRTY.  The level of practice it'll take for me to adapt to a split shift key?  I don't have time for that!!"

So he researches and online comparison-shops.  And the Lenovo that I am now typing on arrives.

"CRAP!"  says David.


"It has a split shift key."

I look over - yep - there it is - the dreaded split-shift key.  I typety-type for a few moments.

"No, I think we're good," I say.   The keyboard, being a little shrinkified to make the laptop more compact - has designed the shift keys a little bit smaller.  I won't have to adapt that much. That's not to say that the keyboard isn't just that slight bit off  when I type certain things, I fuck them u[.  UP.  I f7ck things \up. No worries - it'll all be fine.

"Okay.  Now you have to name it," he says.

"I get to choose a name?"


"Huzzah!"  I LOVE choosing names.  Naming things is my forte.  Five minutes later I'm still sitting at my computer.

"Haven't got one yet?"  David asks..

"No, not yet, but..."  My fingers lift from the keyboard in anticipation...  "Nnnnnnnnope."

"You know that you can change your mind?"

"I want to get this right."  My first instinct was Margaret, but as I toss the name around in my head, it doesn't ever settle down.

"It starts with an 'm,' I say.

He raises his eyebrows.  "With an 'm'?"



I stare at the screen.

I clear my head.  I breathe deeply.   Moments pass.  "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...." 

"Are you meditating now?"


"Mmmmmmmmmmmm... HAH!"


"Yes.  I've got this."  I begin to type.  Eight letters.

M. A. R. Z. I. P. A. N.

"You've named your computer after almond paste?"

"No I have named my computer after a pig."

"You know a pig named marzipan?"

"No.  But if I had a pig, I would name it Marzipan.  As it stands now, when I see the computer's name I will think of a small pig, possibly made out of marzipan, who, coincidentally, is also named Marzipan."

David opens his mouth and then closes it.

"What?" I ask.

"Nothing.  I love you."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Eggnog Equation

I recently  made the mistake of looking at the nutritional information on the President's Choice "World's Best" Eggnog.  1 cup = 290 calories.  290 CALORIES???  Without the rum??  Sure, on occasion, one might drink eggnog sans rum, but I don't.  Which means that I've gotta add that extra 72 calories for an ounce of rum.  So that puts the total up to... 362 calories... for a serving of eggnog. 

Just for comparison, I thought I'd look at the calories in Kawartha Dairy Eggnog - the best eggnog in the UNIVERSE.  I looked at the calorie count and got so excited!   ONLY 190 calories per serving!!!

I could have TWO servings and it'd only be... wait... just... a... second.  They say that 1 serving is 1/2 a  cup.  Who drinks 1/2 a cup of eggnog!?!  Who does that?  I know for sure that I don't.  No one I know drinks 1/2 a cup of freaking eggnog.  An actual realistic 1 cup human serving of the best eggnog in the universe would be 380 calories, PLUS rum.  452 calories.  That is not a snack's worth of calories.  That is a meal.  That is the caloric equivalent of a meal.  *bangs head on keyboard*

Eggnog.  Oh, eggnog, why?  WHY???   I have to find a way to have a satisfying amount of your eggy, creamy goodness without giving up one of my meals in a day...  Yes, sure I could drink the light eggnog *gag*, but really, what's the point?  


SHOTS!!!  EGGNOG SHOTS!!!  I pour out 1 oz of eggnog with a 1/4 ounce of rum, top 'em with a little shake of nutmeg and I do them as SHOTS!  I haven't done a shot of anything in probably a decade.  I could have 4 eggnog shots and it'd only be a snack!!  I bet even after two shots, the sense memory of slamming back a shot will have me saying, "Okay, whoa there Nellie... let's not get out of control here..."

I'm having them for breakfast this morning... You know, on account of the fact that there's a huge amount of protein in eggnog shots.  THIS.  This may be the best idea I've had EVER.  And I give it to you.  Share it freely with all those who worship at the altar of eggnog.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Oh chocolate, thou Christmas strumpet!

Self-control, why hast thou forsaken  me?  I know that I shouldn't eat this shit.  I know that.  I'm a grown up, I've lived with my body for long enough to understand how it works.  So.....  


I'm going to hell.  It's the freaking holiday season, sending me headlong into the Hell of a Thousand Sugar Plum Comas.   Tonight's conveyance?  A box of Pot of Gold chocolates.  Sweet Jesus, the rum butter caramels and the mocha caramels and the almond caramels... You see a pattern developing here?

I was given free boxes of chocolates.  Yes, you read that right - boxes - plural.  You cannot say NO to free boxes of chocolate.  I defy even a diabetic, to say NO to receiving free chocolate.  Hell, if you can't eat them, you could at least watch someone else eat them. You know, vicarious-like.  Saying NO to boxes of chocolates is akin to turning away lottery winnings.   Have you ever heard someone say, "No thank you, I'd rather not have the 7.6 million - give it to that person over there..." ?  No, you have not.   At the very least, one accepts the lottery winnings before giving those winnings to charity.

Me?  I'm offered sinful confections and I respond thus,"FREE CHOCOLATES!?!  ALLLLL RIGHT!!!!"

And now I type this post high on sugar and chocolate.  Caramel is my Achilles Heel.  The feel of it, its sweetness on curve of my tongue - it undoes me.  You want to hobble me?  Throw a box of caramel chocolates in my path.  I'm high, with the added bonus of a sugar headache behind my eyes.  I am also consumed with guilt for eating 7 chocolates - on top of the 6 I had earlier.

Watch how Heather's blood sugar spikes then plummets - right about here on the chart.  Why does she do it, you ask?  Because once those pleasure sensors in her brain are activated, she will not be satisfied until all the caramel chocolates in her view have been consumed.  

Holiday chocolate bingeing brings on the holiday wrestling with one's inner bulimic.  I will not make myself throw up.  I will not make myself throw up.  I will not make myself throw up.  

Time to get Rissa to hide the other box before the cellophane is cracked.

Shoulders back.  Own this.  I apologize blood sugar - I fucked up.  I'll do better tomorrow.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

She loves me THIS much...

WARNING: This post might gross some readers out.

"Mummy, I've got something that you can pop on my back," says Rissa as she comes down the stairs.

I leap up from my chair.  "You do!?!"  This is groundbreaking.  Rissa rarely lets me anywhere close to Zit Country.  I can usually see it only from the highway, passing at 117 km/h.

"Yes.  BUT.  I have to ice it first to dull the pain."  She heads to the freezer.

"Well, yes, of course, you ice it..."  I try to act all nonchalant... I keep my hands demurely clasped in front of me.  I don't say, "Let me see, let me see, let me see!"

She presents her back, and pulls her cardigan to the side.

"Wow," I say.  Impressive.  It is an impressive zit.

"WaitJUSTWAIT," says she.  She holds the ice cube to it - wincing.  "Okay, do your worst."  She turns her head to the side.

David comes around the corner.  "What's going on?"

"Rissa's letting me pop a zit!!!!"


"I can't reach it," says Rissa.

"Godspeed," says David.

"With great power comes great responsibility, With great power comes great responsibility," I chant silently to myself.  If this goes well... Dare I hope?

I squeeze the zit - a spectacular amount of guck comes out.   I do my best to internalize my 96% similarity to apes and do not whoop out loud.  "Ice it again."


"Again.  I want to make sure that I got it all."

She looks at me in horror.

I shrug apologetically.  "I know what I'm doing here.  Years.  Years of perfecting this."

She raises the ice cube again.



I finish the job with finesse.  "Here.  Here is a Kleenex.  Apply pressure."

"Apply pressure?!?"

"Yeah.  Just so you don't get blood on your sweater."

"Blood on my..."

"Just do it."

"It still hurts."

"Medicine, in my side of the vanity.  Apply now and when you get back from school.  My job here is done."

I will wait until she's left for school before doing my Snoopy Dance.  Gross?  Most definitely.  Satisfying?  Words cannot express.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

6 inches to sleep on...

“Do you have that little carpenter’s level handy?” I ask.

David looks over at me from his side of the bed.

“Because why?”

“Because I’m feeling pretty askew here,”  I say looking down at my torso.  My boobs are doing a great impersonation of a ship in distress – listing to the west.  “We have a divot in the bed.”

“I think you mean valley.  I don’t think there’s any sod that needs to be replaced from a bad golf swing.”

Valley then.  Our bed has a valley.  See?”  I prop myself up on my side and immediately roll to the middle of the bed.  “It’s fine when I’m flat on my back, my tatas are equalized, but if I try to go on my side…”  I demonstrate a second time, rolling into David.

“That’s why,” he says - a light dawning.  “That is why, by the end of the night, I wind up with 6 inches to sleep on.”

"That's what she said."


“I’m  not doing it on purpose,” I say.  “Divot.”



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Is it wrong to do this with my husband beside me?

I'm holding my hands to my face to hide my blushing cheeks.  David shakes his head at me. 

"You are ridiculous."

"I can't help it."

We're watching The Good Wife.  Finn Polmar has just flirted with Alicia Florrick.  I feel it would be bad form to beg to rewind the scene... right away...  with David beside me.  I'll wait until the episode is over.

I'm such a cheap turn on.   I remember way back, watching Chocolat on VHS, listening to Johnny Depp say, "I'll come round some time and get that squeak out of your door."  The look on his face as he watches Juliette Binoche walk away?  I almost broke the tape rewinding it. So much better than porn. 

 ( 1:50 is where I lost my mind.)

Then there's the film version of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen where Mr. Darcy helps Elizabeth into a carriage and then there's a close up of his fingers... and he FLEXES them.... because he's so affected by just TOUCHING her!!!   Those 5 seconds make me hyperventilate. 

And before the Colin Firth fans get their knickers in a twist... yes, the pond scene in the Pride and Prejudice miniseries...  That's just a given.  The whole series, for that matter, acts as foreplay.  6 hours of Austen foreplay is always better than 2 hours and 9 minutes.  David is guaranteed sex after I've watched anything Austen.

Back in the present, Rissa comes in to say that she's going to bed.

"WAIT!!  Watch this with me!"

David rolls his eyes and leaves the room.

I sit on the edge of my seat as Rissa first watches the inital scene with Alicia and Finn when they make the rules about what sort of interaction they should have, and then, despite their best efforts, they end up at the diner on a date-date and he says "I can't say anything...." and does this shruggy-glancy thing.

"Do you SEE?!?"

Rissa looks at me like I'm nuts.

"I think I need more context."

As I ready myself for bed, I finally understand why the fan videos pop up.  I want to have every interaction that Alicia and Finn have ever had and edit them all together so that I can get a hit whenever I need it.

And, if I want to wallow, nay revel, in masculine edibles,  I can fantasize about the other men on the show, 'cause it's not just Matthew Goode this season.  Taye Diggs has been added to the firm, plus there's  campaign manager, Stephen Pasquale - and let us not forget Matt Czuchry as Cary Agos - who, I'm sure would never be able carry me Rhett Butler style up a ginormous staircase, but still has a voice that sounds like he's talking dirty all the time.

"You're fantasizing about them right now, aren't you?"  asks David.

I find myself startled. "Well, I mean... COME ON... I could have Finn, Dean and Johnny all... um... massaging me, with Cary whispering dirty nothings in my ear the whole time."

"You know some men might be worried about their wives showing such preference for fictitious characters."

"I have no problem if you imagine Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone all together." I pause.  "Wait, give me a sec... that would probably work for me too."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

And it only cost us $56.48!!!

"OH MY GOD,"  says David.

"G'aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh..." say I.

"It's SOOOOO good...."

"Mmmmmmm.... hmmmmmmm," I sigh.

I move my legs.  It is delicious.

David gives a decidedly dirty chortle. 

"We need to do this more often."

"We are in complete agreement my love."

David makes the same noises he makes when he has his favourite hot chocolate.  "Is it warm enough for you?"


"That's all it takes - just that little bit of heat."


Our hips bump.  We sigh again.  Bliss... unadulterated bliss.

"How much did it cost?" David asks as he rolls us over.

$49.99 + tax."

"So worth it." 

"I'm putting it in as a budget line for next year."

"I love that you think ahead." 

"That's only $4.71 a month...  $1 and change a week.... For all..."  I rub against him.  "Of..."  I kiss him.  "This."  Our hips tremble.

Flannel Sheets from Sears.  For an added thrill - place them over top of a heated mattress pad.  You won't regret it. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dangerous: Unmaintained Road

"Wait!  What did that sign just say?" Rissa asks as we careen around a corner as the rough gravel road turns even rougher, then strangely becomes less gravelly and more made of dirt and grass with a light covering of snow.

"Dangerous: Unmaintained Road."


"Use at your own risk."


"It's a short cut."

"We're trusting the GPS?!?"

(In the past, the GPS had been known to lead us slightly astray.  I particularly enjoyed a winter's trip to pick Rissa up from a sleepover after a heavy snowfall.  Following our trusty GPS, I noticed the road getting narrower and narrower and, as I drove up a one-lane road, praying to reach the top of a hill, I suddenly realized that the emergency kit was not in the car, nor did I have proper winter boots on, nor did I have a cell phone... and the sun was setting.)

"No worries," says David as we hit another bump.  "It's all good."

We are parallel-ish to the 401.  We'd veered off the 401 because it'd taken us an hour to go 17 km from Belleville to Trenton.  This detour was saving us from an evening of highway entrapment.

Rissa doesn't like bumpy roads at the best of times.  Me?  A good windy, gravelly road is the next best thing to a roller coaster.

"We're all going to die," wails Rissa from the back seat.  "We're aaaaaaaaalllll going to die!!"

"Wheeeeeeeeee!!!" I say, hands up in the air.

"Sit in the middle seat and look at the road," suggests David.

"What road?!?  There is no road!"

"It's an adventure!!!"

"I will have trauma after this ride!"

"You will have a story to tell!!"

"I will have a story to tell... of my TRAUMA!!!"

"Guys!  Guys!!!  I recognize this road!  I recognize this road!!!"  We take the bridge back over the 401.  Kilometres of red tail-lights illuminate the night sky.

"See?  Success!  We would have been stuck in this!  Victorious!!  We are VICTORIOUS!!!"  I then sing a little of the Adventureland Theme Song.

"Yay...." says Rissa weakly from the backseat.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I now understand the zip-up, floral, velour nightie/housecoat/muumuu...

You see them in the lingerie departments of the Bay.  You see them in the Sears catalogue.  You have memories of your Gran or your Great-Gran wearing one.  You think to yourself: I will never wear one of those. 

I'm shopping for one.

I used to sleep naked.  I used to revel in my naked slumber.  Since the night sweats began, nakedness is not an option.  I'm the peri-menopausal Karate Kid.

Blankets ON!  

Blankets OFF!

Blankets on one leg and half your torso!

Blankets OFF!

Blankets only on your legs!

Blankets only on your torso!  

Blankets OFF!!!

In between fits of thermo-nuclear heat - you get chilled.  You cannot revel in nakedness...   your teeth chatter as your sweat cools.

The other night I was in my striped, zip-up onesie.  Night sweats came and I UN-ZIPPED.  No hems to raise or lower - no pajama tops to tear off, then hunt for on the floor when I got cold.  Getting my arms out of the fairly snug onesie did rouse me a bit from sleep, but the zipper - that zipper - EPIPHANIC!!!

This is why older women wear the zip-up nighties/housecoats/muumuus!  The zipper is key!!  No buttons, no hems, no snaps that you then have to struggle to re-snap after a hot flash!!!  It's all about the zipper!!!  You're hot?  You unzip!!  You're really hot?  You unzip and take your arms out!!!  It's perfect. 

I propose going that one step further.  Muumuu-sized onesies with a little more give in the arm/shoulder area.  Then the on/off functionality of a regular zip-up onesie gives you the freedom to extract yourself from any arm covering.  Wait, that doesn't allow for the women whose legs get hot...  AH-HAH!!!  If we create a zip-up slanket...  or a poncho... I make a zip-up, velour poncho!!!  Which is... basically a muumuu... 

Annnnd.... I've turned into my Grandmothers.  No worries!  It took until my generation to update maternity wear - to make it fun and sexy...  Now my generation will conquer night sweat attire.  I'll start a design collective to create  a modern take on the zip-up, velour muumuu. The ÜNÜÜ!!!!!  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The countertop is my nemesis...

Rage, all-encompassing RAGE.  Because why?  Because David left the peanut butter and honey out on the countertop.

All-encompassing rage with a side of dockworker swearing.  Because why?  Because there are crumbs on the countertop.

All-encompassing rage and swearing with a side of growling and hiccuping sobs. Because why?  Because there are not one, not two, but three broken bread tags on the countertop.

Common denominator?  The countertop.  When pristine, its 4" x 4" tiled surface is charming, and cottage-y.  Problem is, it's never pristine.  When we bought the house the grout was already stained.  The kind of stained that make you think that you might develop dysentery by wiping it. 

We don't have the budget to replace it.  And because I seem to be the only person in the house to actually wipe it - the countertop has become my nemesis.

Quick!  TO GOOGLE!!  "Stained grout."  Huzzah!!  There is grout paint!  The local hardware store carries it!!  I buy it.  I paint the grout.  TA-DAH!!!  New countertop!!

Until I try to wipe the grout the first time.  Until I need to scrub the grout to get all the bits of things that wind up in the grout, NOT on the tile.  EVERYTHING winds up in the grout.  David spilled our tin of dill weed.  I anticipate cleaning up dill for the next 4 years.  I need a special grout vacuum.  I need one of those wee little sucking vacuums that you can use for the crumbs in your keyboard.

I try to remain calm when it's time to wipe down the counters every night.  I approach it with quietly, cloth down by my side so that I don't startle it.  I hum gently to myself.

Wipe.  SIGH.
Wipe.   For the love of...

My parents just replaced their laminate countertops with a Corian solid surface countertop.  It was like seeing Shangri-La for the first time. 

I laid my head on the counter.  "It's so smooth!!!!"  I crawled up on the counter and lay there, my cheek against its cool surface, my hands caressing its non-grouted top.  "Soooooo smooooooth...." I might have wept a little.  Right there I then I decided to put money aside every month to able to afford a countertop such as theirs.  It might take years, but it will happen.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Next stop, the SEX OLYMPICS!!!

I always had a sneaking suspicion that I'd go crazy - I just didn't know that it would hit me quite this young.  I am 46 years old and my mind has already begun the descent into madness.  Not only that -  I'm watching it board the CRAZY TRAIN, don Groucho Marx glasses (with nose) and wave at me mockingly from the window.

It's because of sex.  I'm thinking about sex almost all the time.  Because why?  Because Rissa has had a boyfriend for almost three years, who now lives in the same town and walks her home everyday after school. We love him, he's a great boy, and he obviously adores her (hence the walking her home everyday), but he's still a boy who wants to touch my daughter's boobs.  This notion of someone wanting to grope my daughter, has made me fucking mental. 

Rissa and I were doing bedtime, chatting and laughing, with the added delight of a small tickle fight, and I accidentally copped a feel.

"Sorry!  Sorry!  Not cool for your Mom to cop a feel."

"It's okay Mummy.  It's not like you were squeezing them."

And then the thought hit me.  "Has...the boyfriend done any...?"

And then... she shrugged.  That's all it took.  A shrug.  Letting me know that the boyfriend had already copped a feel.

"Oh God!  OH GOD!  Above the waist!!  He can touch you anywhere ABOVE THE WAIST!!  PLEASE, KEEP IT ALL ABOVE THE WAIST!!!"

This is when David yelled from downstairs "Everything okay up there?"

"Mummy's gone crazy."

You know how Inception is all about creating an idea in someone else's mind?  That planted idea takes hold so strongly that it cannot be unrooted.  The idea of the boyfriend having sex with my daughter has undone me.  No longer am I the cool, collected, unflappable, unembarrassable mother.  Now conversations with her about sex have me imagining the boyfriend having sex with her - ALL THE TIME.

David's attempt at pragmatism: "Well there are worse things than having her first time be with someone who so obviously adores her."


When they study after school, I see his hand on her knee and in my twisted mind, it's one short step from that relatively innocent affection to her entering the Sex Olympics.  (face palm) And when your daughter's made it to the Olympics you want to be all supportive and thrilled with her performance,

"Great job honey!!  Great job!!  That double-twisting somersault mount was AMAZING!!"

but it's THE SEX OLYMPICS!!!! (head banging on table) 

I have layered scarring on my tongue from biting it so hard.  She knows.  I know she knows.  She's not dumb.  But I also remember what it's like to get caught up in a moment and get all tingly and squishy inside.  And the next thing you know - BAM! - hymen-less.

So here's what I've come up with:  I try not to harrangue her every single minute of the day, and she has a prescription for the pill.  I have told her that this prescription is not tacit permission.  I have told her that I still believe she should wait until she's older - much, MUCH, older... but I'm not an idiot - she's in a long-standing relationship with a boy and I remember what I was doing at her age with boys who weren't my long-standing boyfriend. I frequently share the fact that, at 16, I was not emotionally ready for sex.  I share the fact that I had a terrifying almost pregnancy at 16, and did not practice safe sex when I was young.  I tell her it was by the grace of divine intervention that I didn't end up pregnant, with and STD and HIV.  During my Tourette's moments I might yell out the words VAGINAL WARTS now and again.

I didn't think this would be me.  I thought I'd be even-tempered and intellectual about it all.  I thought my usually brash nature would take over and allow me a measure of laid-backness to my daughter's maturity.

"I'll take Illogical Suppositions for $1000 Alex..."

I didn't account for the Mom Factor.  The very thought of my baby having sex makes me hyperventillate.  My massage therapist came up with a great idea.  We start a parents' group.  It would be a rotation system - we would all talk to other people's teenagers about sex.  Teenagers, with whom we don't share DNA.  Teenagers with whom we don't have a huge emotional connection.  Without the Wonder Years' esque remembrances of the day they were born,  how their teddy bear got its name, or their first day of school, it will be so much easier to talk freely about chlamydia and the fact that oral sex should be an equal opportunity sexual act.

I'm starting a sign up sheet for NOT YOUR MOM'S SEX TALK - who's in?  Until we really get going, I'm handing out these pins.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

This brassiere will self-destruct in 10 seconds...

Lifting the straps wasn't helping. Why not?   Lifting the straps always helps.  The band just seems to... What the?  I'm in the office bathroom.  I lift my shirt and present my back to the mirror.  The whole left side of the brassiere band is... torn??  How much pressure are my tatas putting on this brassiere?

I'd noticed the week before that the double-sided fusing tape that sticks the front and the back of the band together was a little more visible - that it was hanging around under my armpits - looking a little worse for the wear, but it's a freaking brassiere!  Sure they get dingy, the cups and band might get loose, under wire might start to poke you, but this brassiere was BROKEN.

It must be these newfangled, wide, comfort bands that they're throwing on all these brassieres.  Well, all the brassieres for the women in their 40s, who want to mask the back pudge and armpit pudge, while still lifting the girls to parallel from the ground.  Nice soft, extra wide, malleable, elastic-y, tuck in your extra flesh, comfort bands that are all the afore-mentioned adjectives, but really don't lift and separate all that much.

In all my 46 years on this planet, I have never had a brassiere break on me before. For the price you're shelling out for the really well-made ones, I feel that brassieres are supposed to last... indefinitely

Okay, I just Googled it.  It is recommended that you replace your bra every 6-9 months.  HAH!  Show of hands... who replaces their brassiere every 6-9 months? I just asked around the office - apparently they do.  But I work in an office of mature, well-put together women.  Crap, now I have to research.  Apparently I should have 3-5 everyday bras in rotation and I should never wash them in the washing machine or put them in the dryer.  Who has the time to hand-wash delicates??  I don't put mine in the dryer, but they do go in the washing machine in a delicates bag.  Also, word to the wise, if you have a larger cup-size, your bra won't last as long either.  Excellent, I am now being punished for having a D cup.

So let's just do the math.  3-5 bras, at an average cost of $45 each (not the Victoria's Secret 2 for 1 deals, but not the chichi, made in France, $175 ones either) ... So... $180 (ish) every 6-9 months?  That's $360 a year. PLUS TAX.  That's $406 a year.  Really?  What woman does that?  I now have to start a savings account to pay for brassieres.  My $1.11 a day for support account.

I look into my bra drawer and I have bras that are,  Sweet Jesus, there are some in there that are over 20 years old.  That can't be right.  Yes, many of them are the 10-seconds-to-naked bras - for show and nothing more, it's probably due to their age that these items look better when one is horizontal rather than vertical.

"Hi there sailor... ready to come in to pier?" 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2... and... NAKED.

My Mom just bought me a fancy schmancy strapless bra this past summer. The support it offers is EPIC.  I can jog in this strapless brassiere, not one word of a lie.  Mind you, its massive molded cups make me look like a G cup instead of a D.  Rissa saw it and decided to wear one cup as a helmet.  Not a wonder that when I'm wearing this bra under men will almost have a brain aneurysm trying to meet my gaze.

I can't put it off any longer.  I have to go bra shopping this weekend.  I'm years behind in bra purchases.  I'll simply block off three to five hours on Saturday and try on everything in my size range.  My change room will be a revolving door of decolletage.  I can do this.  I can invest this time in better breast support.  It could be much worse, I could need a new swimsuit.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Do you type to your Grandma with those fingers?

I've got a job for all the socially-conscious hacktivists out there.  Join together you cyber Robin Hoods - join forces and find the anonymous trolls who spread their bile throughout the Interwebs.  Identify these trolls, procure evidence of their gross violations of common civility and then give transcripts of those violations to the trolls' Grandmothers.

Public shaming on a social network scale doesn't work for these folks - they get off on flaming things up in the comments sections of newspapers, blogs and twitter feeds.  You need to bring in the big guns for these people.

Post something mean to another kid at school?  Get a call from your Nonna.

Post something racist? Dinner across the table from you Grandma.

Joke about gay-bashing or slut-shaming?  Wake up to your Granny at your door.

Threaten to rape, assault, murder someone...?  Not only will the Cyber Robin Hoods give the transcripts to the police, but they'll tell your Mee-Maw. 

Reading "SHAME ON YOU!!!" from the masses won't faze them, but I can bet that having the person whose good opinion means the most to them in the world - be it a parent, grandparent, favourite aunt, uncle,  mentor?  Having that person shame a troll?  I bet that'd stick.  I bet having to look your Nana  in the eye and explain to her why you've called someone a dirty whore and hope they were hate fucked would bring your shame to a whole different level.  Modern shame isn't working - we need Old School for this.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I thought we were past the baby gate stage...

We watch as he makes a beeline for the living room.  "Bodhi??  Where you going, buddy?"  He doesn't even acknowledge us.  He takes his 100 lb bulk and climbs up into the Lazy Boy, squeezing his hairiness between the arms of the chair - legs splayed - head over the side.

"Bodhi.  Dude.  You don't belong on there.  DOWN."

His eyebrows droop before he slides dejectedly off the Lazy Boy.  He immediately moves towards the sofa.  "No.  Bodhi, NO."  Head down, he moves past us towards the kitchen/family area.  I beat him to the punch, going the other way around the stairs and place a kitchen chair on its side on top of the family room sofa.  "Dude.  Seriously.  No couches.  No.  You shed too much."

He sighs, cocks his head to one side, and gives us the eyes... you know the ones... the "how could you do this to me, aren't I the most adorable thing you've ever seen in your life, why are you punishing me when I am so new to your home?" eyes.

"Stand your ground," I warn David.  "Don't let him play you.  We have to be a united front."

"I'm thinking this is a losing battle."

"Everything is going to smell of dog."

"Well, he is, in fact... a dog."

"Yes, but the furniture isn't.  Find the baby gate."

Thankfully, we've just emptied the storage locker and have yet to move its contents into our... I was going to call it a basement, but crawlspace/cellar is more accurate - it has an egress door and a dirt/gravel floor.  Two baby gates lean against the wall of the living room - we haven't had to use them in years.  We wrestle with the old-fashioned wooden gate.

The doorways in our new house aren't the same width as our old house.  The original markings that we'd left with Sharpie on the gate are now completely wrong.  It takes us about 6 tries before we get the geometry right.  The gate now blocks the path to the living room.  Bodhi stares at the gate and huffs at us.

"Sorry dude."

He walks away.  He goes over to his food bowl and stands there... crestfallen.  He glances sidelong at us, using his peripherals - I guess he's trying to figure out if we're going to steal his food now too.  He sighs again and slowly sinks to the floor, lying with his head on the rim of his food bowl, but not eating.  He just lies there.  His eyes cut to us and then back to the bowl.  He takes one piece of kibble and begins to chew.  As he finishes the piece, he glances over at us again.  He's holding his breath.  We're holding ours. 

David raises his eyebrows questioningly.  I shrug.  He motions over to Bodhi with his chin.  I shrug again.

"Have you ever seen a dog do this?" he whispers.

"No," I whisper back. "I think maybe his old cat used to stalk him while he was eating."


We sit on the bottom stair, silently watching as Bodhi eats with the daintiness of a 18th century debutante.  He finishes and looks back at us... wags his tail.

A week and a half in... I'm totally going to cave.  I might as well start shopping now for possible quilts we can use to cover the family room sofa. 

p.s.  There IS a dog bed, bought - BRAND NEW - the day he arrived.  It sits on the floor beside the family room sofa - his disinterest is EPIC.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I really miss my right arm.

Ironing left-handed is akin to learning to ride a unicycle, but I'm pretty sure this hobble-shouldered old dog can learn new tricks.  Cursing and taking double the time to actually get clothes wrinkle-free - but 20 minutes later, the shirt's relatively smooth.  TAH-DAAAAH!!!!  Until the iron falls, spilling water everywhere, and I reach for it with my dominant arm.  What are the synonyms for pain?  Imagine them all now... all of them...   Each one emanating from my supremely fucked right shoulder socket....

I want to take the iron, and throw it through our living room window.  Except I can't, because I can't throw with my good arm, and if I attempt with my left arm, I'll probably hit myself in the head by accident.  I want to light the now re-wrinkled shirt on fire and throw it through that broken window.  I want to dance in the flames of the burning shirt and howl into the night sky.  I don't, but I really, really want to.  My shoulder and right bicep scream with me.

"Breathe Heather.  Just breathe."  I pour myself a Scotch - my best Scotch, the 12 year old Scotch - over ice.  I tumble the ice in the glass take deep breaths. 

I will not desolve into tears.  I will not desolve into tears.  I will not desolve into tears..."  I pledge, as tears now roll down my cheeks.

David glances up from his computer.  He hasn't heard anything because he works with headphones on.  "What happened?"

"Iron," I mumble around the rim of my old-fashioned glass. Right elbow, tucked into my side, right hand pushing the glass up to my lips as my left arm holds the shoulder down, in case it decides to do anything else stupid.


I point to the offending small appliance with my chin.  "Iron.  Falling.  Catching.  Apparently right-handedness is instinctive."

"Oh baby...  Can I get you something?"  He smooths the tears from my cheeks.

"Yeah. Can you please place me in a coma for the next 18 months?"


"A coma.  Just put me in a coma until the shoulder unfreezes."

'Cause that's what'll happen.  A shoulder can decide to freeze, all on its own, and it can decide to unfreeze - all on its own.  Regardless of treatment, drugs, physio.  One morning a year and a half from now, I might just wake up and be fine.  Until then - bumping that arm, attempting to use it to pick shit up off the floor, absent-mindedly putting weight on it, can send the closest thing to labour pain that I've experienced since giving birth.  I'm not exaggerating.  I bumped that fucker while performing onstage and almost passed out.  For last half hour of the play, I counted the seconds to get to drugs.  My shoulder, as it freezes, is actually worse since I started physio.  That's counter-intuitive.

Apparently, my body provides the perfect storm for weird-ass shit like this.  Frozen shoulder affects only 2-3% of the population.  Between peri-menopause and Hashimodo's Disease,  I am rocking those percentages.  I am a statistical GLADIATOR!  I should totally be buying those Princess Margaret lottery tickets! I have a 98% chance of winning! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Help! My crock pot's making me flatulent!

The potatoes in the chicken corn chowder should have been cooked.  They'd been in the crock pot for 8 hours.  Instead they were crunchy.  After 8 hours in the crock pot - they were still raw, crunchy potatoes.  Tried to nuke the chicken corn chowder, but cooking everything together just made the creamy parts curdle.  I was well on my way to pitching a fit when David took the slotted spoon - which does, in fact, catch the potato (that's for you musical theatre geeks out there) - and gathered up all the spuds and cooked them separately. We left the crock pot on to cook the remaining chowder - another 5 hours on high until bed time... and found the potatoes crunchy.  I know this because every time the chowder was tested for 'doneness,' I'd eaten a potato.

As I went up to bed, my stomach was already beginning to rumble.  Oh dear.  This was going to be bad.  Very bad.  Raw potatoes bad.

"Keep your distance," I warned David.

"What do you mean?"

"I ingested raw potatoes tonight - this could get ugly."

"I don't under...  OH MY GOD!  Is that YOU?!?"

"I warned you.  I warned you.  Stay away, it's for your own safety!"

"How can you still be alive?  Are you sure that you're not a rotting corpse?"

"Raw potatoes baby.  It's the crock pot's fault, I'm telling you.  Stay on your side of the room, you might be safe over there."

As I was getting ready for bed, I tried my best not to defoul the air -  I even left the bedroom at one point, leaving a raw potato bomb out on the stair landing.

"How long are you going to be out there?" asked David.

"As long as it takes for the smell not to follow me when I walk back in.  You should go to sleep without me."

The next morning, after a mere 22 hours, the remaining potatoes had finally cooked.  Yes, we'd suspected that the element in the crock pot was malfunctioning in the past - but it had never really been and issue.  It had never been a danger to the family.  The time had come.  The time had come for a new crock pot.  David's world view was forever changed. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why this old thing...?

Nothing like a barium swallow to get you in the mood.

"Shirt, pants, bra... OFF.  Leave only your panties."  The nurse hands me two hospital gowns.  "One on the front, one on the back."  She turns to leave.  "Oh... you can keep your socks on."

"What about my boots?" I joke.   I point to my yellow rain boots.

The nurse looks at me like I'm nuts.  "Probably best not to."

Thank God for striped knee socks...  I'll still be able to make a fashion statement.

One gown on the back.  No problem...  Just tie it up at the neck here and... we're missing one of the ties at the waist.  Let's try the other gown...  untie the two ties and then re- tie it up at the neck and... where's the other frickin' tie?  Ahhhh... it's more like a house dress kind of closure.  I get it.  The other one was probably the same.  Which pale blue, washed-a-billion-times gown would be more pleasing to the eye as the 'front'?  There's a pale blue one with birds on it or an even paler blue one with teddy bears. Fuck it - my ass is covered, I'm going out there.   I grab my purse and exit the curtained cubicle.

"Here are some crystals that you need to swallow with water."  The nurse hands me a medicine cup with what looks to be Liquid Plumber crystals in it.  "It's to give you gas so that the images come out clearer when you swallow the barium.  As soon as the water hits them, they start to work - so you need to swallow it all down right away or it'll come out your nose.  After you've swallowed, don't burp."

I swallow my container of pop rocks with the little bit of water provided.   Don't burp?  It's all I can think about now.  Bloating... bloating... bloating...  stomach extending.

"The radiologist will be with you in a moment - you stand up here."  She indicates a wee dolly platform attached to a movable table.

"Do they have this ride at Wonderland?" I ask.

"Here is your barium.  Hold it in your left hand.  Right hand here." The nurse adjusts the handhold for me. 

The doctor comes breezing in.  Early 40s,  blond, well-coiffed, wearing fetching trousers and... be still my heart... great shoes... He is also Australian.  Well hello sailor...  My morning is looking up.  I smile winsomely at him.

"Good morning Heather.  Any chance that you're pregnant?"

Well, that steals a girl's thunder.  "Nope.  I'm good."

Apparently my bloating must really be working because he gets the nurse to double check.  Awesome.

"Now go ahead and swallow the barium Heather.  Gulp it down as fast as you can."

I chug down the liquid chalk.  Then wipe my mouth.

"Don't worry about that," the nurse says.  "We'll give you a cloth afterwards."

Then the table lowers back and I'm asked to roll around... I snort, thinking of Terri Garr in Young Frankenstein.

"Keep rolling Heather - on your back and then side and then stomach.  That's it.  Keep rolling."

"Do I get a treat after this?"

kunnnnn-clunk...  kunnnnn-clunk...  kunnnnn-clunk...  The machine goes off, documenting my esophagus and stomach for posterity.

"Hope you're getting my good side," I say flirtatiously, with a saucy wink.

"You're doing great, Heather... doing great... Everything's looking wonderful.  Don't breathe, don't breathe, don't breath... and... BREATHE.  You're doing great.  It's all looking good, come on over and I'll show you what I'm seeing here."

The table comes to vertical once more and I step off the dolly platform with incredible grace before sashaying over to the doctor, throwing him my best smile.

"No ulcer, no tumors - you're looking great here.  You have what looks to be inflammation in your esophagus - probably acid reflux.  Do you take a lot of anti-inflammatories?"

"I been taking a lot for my shoulder."

"You might want to give those a rest and just manage with acetaminophen for now."

Handsome and caring... how lovely.

"Thank you so much.  I'm so relieved."

"You're most welcome." He shakes my hand.  "Glad I could give you good news."  He gives me a bright smile which I return enthusiastically.  This was a great way to start my day.

As I'm watching him finish up, the nurse hands me a wet cloth.  "This is for your mouth - you can wipe away the barium contrast..." She motions to pretty much my entire lower face.

Awesome.  I wipe away with the cloth - thinking I'll have gotten it all.  I turn to the nurse.  She shakes her head, points to my chin.

"Enjoy your day," says the Doc as he breezes from the room.

"You as well..." I manage, madly scrubbing at my chalky chin.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

And this isn't even auto-correct...

I laugh with everyone else when they post texts from their Mom peppered with profanity as the auto-correct takes hold of the device.  I'm sure that if my Mom were texting me, her messages would be equally hilarious.

Typing too fast in Scrabble chat gives almost the same effect.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What's bigger than SUPER PLUS?

"Do tampons come in anything bigger than SUPER PLUS size?" asks Rissa.

"I didn't even know they came in a SUPER PLUS size..." I answer.

"They do."

I only pick up Rissa-sized things.  Having fully converted to the Diva Cup a while ago - I haven't purchased tampons for me in so long.  I do my best to recall the Shoppers Drug Mart Feminine Hygiene shelves: lite, regular and super... you know that box, with all three sizes all together - purple, yellow and green... IS there a SUPER PLUS?  What colour is it?  I'm thinking about how much cotton would comprise something bigger than a SUPER PLUS tampon and the logistics of said tampon's insertion for a woman who hasn't given birth yet.

"Really?  There's a SUPER PLUS?  You're not just making that up?"

"Nope.  They're orange."

"Huh...  Okay then.  SUPER SPECTACULAR PLUS size?" I suggest, with accompanying jazz hands.  I'm already envisioning a 30 foot high marquee celebrating them.  I feel it warrants song.


Rissa snorts.




(Now with added SPARKLE and PIZZAZZ!!!)

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Human Broiler

My Mom?  She used to make 8 grilled cheese sandwiches at the same time by putting them under the broiler.   The oven door would remain open, just a few inches, so that the sandwiches could be monitored - ensuring even browning.  My Granny used to do the same thing for breakfast, with open-faced hamburgers buns.  The broiler would toast bread to perfection.  The broiler was a secret toasting weapon.

I'm dreaming of grilled cheese.  At 5:45 a.m. there is a cookie sheet of buttered sandwiches in bed with me.  Dozens and dozens of sandwiches, evenly toasting at first, but then I remember that the oven door isn't open, I haven't been checking on their progress - they are turning to charcoal under the blankets.  I am turning to charcoal...


"What?!?  WHAT?!?"  David starts awake.

"Hot flash!  HOT FLASH!!"  I flap, flap, flap the blankets around me, desperate to stop the toasting.  "TOO HOT!!!"  My torso is seconds away from spontaneously combusting.  "THIS IS HOW IT ALL ENDS!!!"

Then, my human broiler shuts off.  "Oh thank God..."  I have 32 seconds of comfort before my skin chills and my teeth start to chatter.  The blankets back on - I now huddle next to David for warmth.

I thought I had it all figured.  I know my triggers... caffeine... alcohol... if avoid them, if I only have that one glass of scotch, I'm usually fine.  Wait a second!  I didn't even have scotch last night!  What the hell is going on?

I think I might just have to face it. I'm 46 years old, this could just be the next stage in Peri-Menopause. Yes, I've been 'flashing' since I was 36, but my Mom, now 69, still gets the occasional flash.   Upside, Heather.  There has got to be an upside...

It's autumn in Canada - won't need to wear that light jacket outside.

My hot flashes can augment our house's heat!!  Our gas bills won't be as high!

If I am my own 'sweat box,' I will be able to burn body fat with this process!

When I reach the combustion point, eggs can be cooked on my torso, which means that less electricity will be used in the home, PLUS I'll be able to hire myself out to side shows for some extra cash and we'll be able to pay off the mortgage just that little bit faster...

See?  All I needed was a perspective shift.  It's all good.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lick my Phlegm

There's a difference between mucus and phlegm.  I mean beyond the spelling.  Although, frankly, just spelling  'phlegm' gives me a sick philologist's thrill.  That 'g' - it is so tasty.

Basically, mucus is supposed to be there and phlegm isn't.  Mucus relates to actual mucoid tissue - like say in your nose or eyes or genital areas - where it's good to be that little bit moist.  Phlegm, on the other hand, is more related to disease.  It's like MUCUS PLUS ++.  It's thicker, coats the back of one's throat and makes you feel like you're going to choke to death in the middle of the night.  Gives you that chronic throat clearing that drives people nuts.

But then I've been driving people nuts since I was a child.  My running tally of chronic conditions makes me sound like an Edwardian Artist -  infections of the throat, ears and lungs, migraines, dizzy spells, hypoglycemia, back, chest, neck - and now - shoulder pain.  My father frequently threatened to take me out back and shoot me - you know, to put me out of our communal misery.

"Heather, you're very sensitive to your body."  This from my mother, usually as she shakes her head, wondering where the hell I came from.  My mother - healthy as a horse.  Me?  Not so much.

My present ailments thrust me deep into Catch 22 territory.  My right shoulder, hindered by pain, with a side of next-to-no-mobility, should be treated with anti-inflammatories for pain and... well... inflammation.  (Along with icing, and physio.)  As instructed, I've been throwing anti-inflammatories at the problem for the last couple of months.  Turns out, these same anti-inflammatories, can eat away at a gal's stomach and leave her with ulcers and GERD, which in turn, give her blinding nausea, phlegm and difficulty swallowing.


Last night, I found myself at the pharmacist's counter, begging for wisdom.

"Is there anything I can take, other than anti-inflammatories to help with inflammation?

"What's the issue?"

"I have inflammation in my shoulder."

"And you can't take anti-inflammatories?"

"I cannot."

"Why not?"

"Because they give me ulcers. Is there another way to deal with inflammation that doesn't involve a pill?"

"Topical Creams."

"Like Arnica?"


"Doing that."

"Is it helping?"

shoulder shrug

"Cortisone shot?"

I hold up my prescription bag - "Doing that."

"So you're doing the topical cream and you're having a cortisone shot?"


"That's as far as I can take you."



"You don't have a hush-hush Shaman-like herbal remedy that I could cook over my stove, leaving me with a stinky mess of unguent to apply to my bum shoulder?"

"I do not."

"What if I slip you a Sir Wilfrid Laurier?"

"Are you attempting to bribe me?"

"Not at all.  How do you feel about Sir. John A.???"

Friday, October 10, 2014

Life was so much less expensive before I had taste.

A slightly bigger cross-body bag.  In a fancy colour.  That's all I wanted.   Slightly larger than the bag already slung across my shoulders, my affordable purple Kipling bag, the physical representation of which gave me a template for the size the new bag needed to be bigger than.  'Cause unless you have a small tape measure with you at all times (another reason why I needed a bigger bag), you need to have the old purse with you, because you'll look at new purses and, on first glance, they will appear to be bigger than your old purse.  Zippers all over the place, secret compartments, places to put things, sections that are separated.  They look like they'll fit things.  They won't.  My Kipling purse, purchased to see if I could downsize,  resembles an overstuffed sausage when I carry everything I 'need' in it.

hand sanitizer
ballet slippers
a book or my e-reader
compact shopping bag
nail clippers/file
hand wipes
extra underwear

Sure, you can try to eliminate items.  Only my car and house keys. No slippers, no extra underwear, no compact shopping bag, one lipstick, no books, no tweezers or nail clippers/files, no hand wipes, no tampons.

For 2 days I managed.  Less strain in carrying.  I could totally manage this!  Until I got my period unexpectedly and had no tampons and no change of underwear.  I broke a heel on my work shoes and had no ballet slippers.  Was the only one to the office, with no office keys.  Had three hairs in my neck without tweezers and broke my thumbnail beyond the quick - reaching for nail clippers/file that no longer travelled with me.

I was done.  I needed a bigger bag.  I didn't want black.  Everyone has a black bag.  I wanted something sassy, something bright - something that I wouldn't mistake for anyone else's.  I wanted to have something reasonably priced.

For 55 minutes I wandered the Handbag Hall at the Bay, killing time before my train ride home.

Back and forth - wending my way from section to section.  I must have passed the same bags 7 times.  From Guess, to Kate Spade to Fossil to Calvin Klein.  There are probably 5000 sq feet of displays on the first floor that are devoted to moderately priced purses and bags.  Then there is this other side, say another 2500 square feet - adjacent to the jewellery section, perpendicular to the moderately priced purses and bags, a section that is brighter and shinier and much more like travelling to Oz.  I knew.  I knew as I stepped across the divide that my shoes couldn't afford to touch the carpet.

Don't lift the tag, it will just make you cry.

The colours were stunning on that side of the aisle. Buttery leathers, crisp felts and elaborate fabrics calling out to me...

"Heather... Heather... just touch us.  Just feel us.  Look over here, Heather... Look over here..."

As in a dream, I lifted the price tag on a turqoise bag.  $525.00?!?  I could buy a new dishwasher for that!!!  I couldn't contain my bark of laughter.

Two young women, probably early 20s - but to my eyes, still in high school - said, "Beautiful bag, isn't it?"

"Yes.  Yes it is."

"Would you like us to show you any other bags in that line?"

I couldn't help but laugh again.  "No thanks.  I shouldn't be here.  Really, I shouldn't.  I feel like I owe you money just for lifting the price tag.  I'll just go back to other side of the aisle."  I gestured with my chin as I backed up.  "You know.  Over there, where I don't have to amortize a purchase to make it worthwhile."

I nonchalantly meandered back to the other section, trying not to yell out to the other shoppers as I passed them, "ARE YOU INSANE?!?  IT'S A FREAKING PURSE!  A PURSE!!!  YOU COULD MAKE AN EXTRA MORTGAGE PAYMENT INSTEAD!"

As I moved back, it occured to me that there were bags priced far beyond the $525 mark, I just hadn't lifted the tags on them yet.

In the moderately priced section I spied another turquoise bag - this one leather, with studs on one side. Not thrilled about the studs, but I could turn it around - kind of messengery in style and... $225.00.  Having just been to the other side, this was a bargain!  I should buy two and just hold the other one for 5 years until the first one wore out!

And that folks, is just what they want you to think.  They have their shiny designer side all well laid out with their perfectly dusted shelves with the make-you-gasp price tags... They know that the regular shopper isn't going to pay that much for a bag.  I don't spend $225 on anything - unless it's a winter coat.  Even then, I'd be balking and trying to figure out how many years I could get out of it.  $225.00  I was doing the math as I took my cheap-ass Kipling purse and measured it against the new bag.  The bag was almost the same freaking size!!! 

On my next pass through Handbag Hall I had my current purse out in front of me - sizing as I went.  Only when the prospective bag was bigger, did I turn over the price tag.  $295.00?!?

"Oh, COME ON!!"

$295 was considered moderately priced?!?  That just didn't compute.  I looked around at other shoppers - trying to make eye contact, trying to say without words, "Fight the power!  Together we can make a scene, let them know this is unacceptable, we won't take it any more!!"   I suspect I just came off as socially inept, suffering from a glandular disorder that made me wide-eyed.

I left without buying anything.  I showed them.  I showed them all.  And then the next week, I sourced another cheap-ass - slightly larger than my original - cross-body bag for a tenth of the price of the first bag I looked at.  Sure, it's not as pretty,  isn't exactly what I wanted and probably won't last many seasons, but it didn't cost me an extra mortgage payment and I can carry an entire box of tampons in it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Causing cardiac arrest in caterpillars

I don't do it on purpose.  It's just that in my capacity as impulsive animal saviour, I may, on the rare occasion, leave them with PTSD. 

There you are, a woolly bear caterpillar or a fat earth worm, trying to make your way across the asphalt bike path, when you suddenly find yourself rolled, pushed, nay verily, road-rashed to safety.

It's fall and it rains a lot. There are wee furry caterpillars and earth worms all over the freaking place. Were my finger nails long, I could use them as pincers to grasp the fur of the woolly bear caterpillar (or the full width of the earth worm) and lift it into my hand.  However, my finger nails are not long, which is why I generally make several failed attempts in my catch and release manoeuvre.   I end up having to roll them around a bit before I can gain purchase upon their carcasses and then I walk them over to the grass and set them back a good 4 feet from the bike path.  I worry that after I release the wee furry/slimy little bastards their compatriots have to rush over with wee defibrillators to stave off the cardiac arrest I've set them headlong into.

"I was just out for my Tuesday stroll... heading to the Country Style for coffee and a bagel...  From out of nowhere, a great, hulking shadow appeared above me.   I was squeezed and lifted a good centimeter off the ground before I was dropped - 4 times.  Then I'm rolled like some cheap carpet, over and over again before I find myself in its hideous grasp - travelling at MACH 10 to the grass."

Oh God.  I'm probably seeing the same caterpillar over and over.  A poor woolly bear caterpillar that struggles to make its way back onto the path after I've moved it.  It's probably trying to cross the freaking road.  And there I am, every morning, forcing it to re-enact its very own version of Groundhog Day.  I'm a monster!!

I just have to streamline my rescue process.  I could spray the animal with some sort of topical anasthetic - you know, to sedate it.  If I laminate some small pieces of very thin cardstock - I could use those as rescue boards for the transport, getting them underneath the body so that they don't have to be rolled so much.  I could play Holsts's Neptune the Mystic, not the ominous beginning part, but later, like 6 minutes in when the angelic chorus starts... I could shroud myself in an ethereal cloak - so that the beast believes it's having a religious encounter.  Then, and only then, may I transport it safely across the road...  To a caterpillar playground/spa...   I may have to leave the house earlier in the mornings. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Craving cutlery

I missed being the small spoon.  If I didn't really throw my arm over David's side, I could almost manage the big spoon. But small spoon?  Months had passed since I'd been able to lie on my right side and claim that privilege.

Heavy sighs.  Discomfort.  Near tears... a new nighttime ritual.

"What is it love?" asked David.

"I can't be the small spoon." I whispered.  Another protracted sigh.  Pain, less manageable at night, turned me into a whiny adolescent.  I hate being a whiny adolescent.

"Let's change sides," David said.

I drew in an epiphanic breath of air. Change sides?  WE COULD CHANGE SIDES?!?  "Quick!  Quick!  Help me up!"

"No, you just scootch over.  I'll run around."  And then he did, circling the mattress, as I used my good arm to drag myself across the sheets to his side of the bed.

The blankets lifted for a moment as David settled himself back into the bed.  He then pulled me into the curve of his body, the warmth of his chest upon my back, his right arm looping around my waist, one hand routinely cupping a breast, sending me headlong into Nirvana.

"Oh my God.  So good.  This is soooooooo good."

He murmured assent into the back of my neck.  His breath, on the back of my neck?  I thought I might expire from joy.

"This is better than sex."

He squeezed me closer.  "Yeah."

I snuggled back against him, attempting to glue our bodies together.  "I can't believe we didn't think of this before now."

"Your ask is my demand, my love."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Try to get this one past your filters...


The soft porn had been unexpected.  From what I knew of the books, I'd gleaned that there'd be kilts, horses, time travel, romance to be sure - but the soft porn?  A delightful bonus.

The opening allusion to sex in the  first episode of Outlander - was just that - allusory.  Squeaky bedsprings groaning - first from carefree, laughter-filled bouncing, and then from actual unseen lovemaking.  The scene was charming and let you do your own imaginative heavy petting.

Later on,  David and I sat up a little straighter as oral sex filled our screen.  We exchanged glances.

"I didn't know we got this along with the good acting," said David.  He shot me a grin and waggled his eyebrows.  I waggled mine back.  Not only was there oral sex on the tv, but it was man-on-his-knees-in-front-of-his-loving-wife oral sex - some might say the best kind.

"Who produces this?"


"...You're making that up."

"No seriously.  There, up in the corner, starz."

"For a company like that, I feel that instead of the well-scored sountrack we are hearing, it should be of the "bown-wown-chicka-wown-wown" variety.

"I'll bown-wown-choica-wown-wown you."

"I will take you at your word sir."