Gateway Panties

Believe it or not, there have been several times in my life that I have wondered when and how the transition from the average pair of hipsters or bikini cut panties to the excessively full-coveraged undergarment occurs. I mean, it has to be a process…or should I say slippery slope? There’s no way you simply wake up one morning and decide to set your bikini cuts to the side and slip into a pair a humongous underwear and feel great about it? While I’m sure that the when and how differs for almost everyone; from my experience, with working with the older adult population, the transition is INEVITABLE! Just be prepared. Some may say, “oh, it won’t happen to me, I won’t give in, I can handle the peer pressure”…but you just wait!

All of you who have read Quitters are aware that my family has recently suffered from some laundry mishaps. Well, Rick and my children weren’t the only victims! Several pair of my everyday underpants have what I decided to happily consider (on optimistic days) pull-up handles. Then, there are days when reality sets in and I come to grips with the fact that I simply have holes in my undies where the elastic waistband has given way from the body.
So, not too long ago, I decided to replace these, along with others that were simply tired and worn or who had without question… shrunk. I was having an optimistic day and decided in that moment that there was simply no other possible reason for their ill fitting.

I decided to take my new undies selection options up a notch and drove past Walmart to our local department store in our strip mall in rural West Virginia. I began looking at this and that and skipped over many that I’m sure Rick would have approved of and stayed on task to replace my functional, everyday, get ‘er done, work panties. I was desperate to find some undergarments that I didn’t have to think about! Some that could hang with me blasting through my To Do list on my “day off” at home with 3 kids. That was all I wanted! Some that would simply stay in place! No more hoping that the people in the pews directly behind me at church truly close their eyes during prayer; allowing me to get everything adjusted before sitting down for a long Baptist sermon. I was no longer up for the near impossible task of attempting to a de-wedgie with yard gloves on! I mean, come on! Is there not a reasonable answer out there without crossing over into my mother’s generation of underwear at the age of 38!

And there they were before for me… I almost dropped my previous selections in my moment of hopeful curiosity…The Modern Brief… Huh? They were made by Jockey. How bad could they be? Were they the answer to all my problems?!?! I picked them up for further inspection and immediately knew I should put them down.. but didn’t. They were briefs for sure but with some… edginess. The side seams were “only” 5 inches long, possibly going on 6 but who’s counting, and they flaunted something about reaching only the natural waist, in comparison to their full coverage brief who easily hides the belly button.

I was tempted. I’ll admit it. I looked at them and knew they could handle all the bending, squatting, and lifting requirements of a part-time PT, mother of 3, landscaper extraordinaire, and family courier without fail or repositioning needed… But I couldn’t pull the trigger. I kind of felt like I needed to discuss it with Rick or something? It was that big of a decision. I imagined it going something like, “Hey honey, do you have a minute? I would like to discuss something important with you. I’m thinking about… you know… making the transition. How would you feel about that? Do you think it would be confusing to the children to see me in that amount of coverage?”

It all then became suddenly clear. I had in my hands a pair of “Gateway Panties”. Sure, I would promise myself that I would only buy a few and wear them only on special occasions… you know like when doing yard work or running errands on Saturdays. But then, next thing you know, I would want more and more of them, and have plans to wear them every day; despite the activity level.

I’m sure that the first few times I left the house, wearing underpants with 6 inch side seams, I would be paranoid that everyone would know as they watched me walk by. I’m sure with time however, the inspecting of strangers walking by would switch to my side of the court. “Could her coverage be better than mine? She has absolutely no panty line and didn’t seem to be looking for a place or opportunity to reposition after picking up her 2 year-old, throwing a fit in the grocery store floor. I know she has on some 10 inchers. Where did she get them though? And how could I get my hands on a pair? The need to find some panties that could reach higher and higher on my waist and extend farther and farther past my groin and on to the tops of my thighs, would be my unfulfilled desire. I’m sure that all I would be able think about would be finding longer sides seams! I bet I’d feel invincible in them…despite their awkwardly large size. I’d be confident that there was nothing I couldn’t do in them and nothing I’d be scared to try! Nothing could make them budge! NOTHING!

I stayed strong that day and left those “Modern” Brief, Gateway Panties on the rack and avoided that first step onto the steep, slippery slope into a pair of nude-colored, nylon-blend, Sateen underpants by the age of 40.

A Turkey’s Life

I told you I had poultry on the brain…

One day at work, I was evaluating a new patient. I was skimming over his history and somewhere below age and height he was to fill out his occupation. There it was: Turkey Turner. Initially I thought he may work in a restaurant with a high demand for turkey burgers and I would be treating him for an overuse injury of his wrist. However, considering his dress and the fact that we live in West Virginia, I felt I needed to investigate this further. He went on to explain to me that he worked on a turkey farm not far from here. He told me nonchalantly that he walked around all day and picked up turkeys that had fallen over. Unaware that turkeys were such clumsy animals, I continued probing. He went on to tell me that the Toms, or male turkeys, were so genetically and hormonally altered, that they could weigh 60 to 80 pounds sometimes! That would be like Harrison (6) and Sophia (11) running around on muscle-less, scaly, three-pronged legs! No wonder they would give out and fall! I couldn’t believe that they needed help to get up or they would suffocate under the weight of their own breasts!!! What a terrible way to go!

“So how many turkeys do you help up in a shift?”, I asked. I assumed he would report a small number and that he was there to mostly supervise the birds, providing a “just in case” scenario. He went on to tell me that he could turn up to a hundred turkeys in a shift!!! He also reported that he wasn’t the only Turkey Turner per shift, that it could take 4 or 5 of them to keep those birds on their legs all day! “WOW”, I said and shook my head in amazement. I couldn’t help but to compared these big breasted birds to their wild turkey counterparts who can fly and like to sleep in trees. “Geez”, I thought to myself, “just one bad day of Turkey Turner “call offs” and you’d have a 5th Grade Science Fair Project on your hands.” “Evidence for Darwin: Survival of the Fittest”. Blue ribbon for sure.

To pass time I imagined them playing games like, “All Up”, where the object of the game would be to get all the birds standing at the same time. I also imagined harmless, low-bidding gambling going on throughout the day as well. “I’ll buy you a Coke if ‘Crooked Beak’ falls on his face first.” “Deal!” “And I get your break if ‘ol Knock Knees’ falls more than 3 times before lunch.”

I asked him if the turkeys seemed thankful and gracious when he returned them to their feet. He said, “heck no, they come running and peckin’ at ya “! I was thinking then, maybe he had an ankle injury from running or even possibly a finger laceration with tendon repair.  Maybe it was his back? I can’t quite remember. He provided too much other more interesting information. I asked him, “do you look at them differently during the month of November”?  “Do you feel sorry for them or do you check them out to find the one that looks the most delicious?

You know, now that I start thinking about it, I was treating him for back pain. I specifically remember both of us practicing turkey turning body mechanics in the middle of the busy physical therapy clinic. “Deep squat, bend with your knees, pivot, and RUN!” I’m pretty sure we looked like we were doing Cross Fit. After 3 sets of 10 turkey turns, however, it was evident that my job was a piece of cake, chocolate even, in comparison to my patient’s.

I wondered if the turkey Toms had breast envy? Or maybe they just felt less preyed upon if they were smaller chested.  I worried about how some of the older Toms may feel. I’m sure some of them were really smart and wise and knew exactly where and how to peck on the feeder to give extra grain between feedings. However, because of their scrawny or limp breasts they were less valued.

I can’t imagine being a turkey and living in a world where the size and quality of my breasts played such a role in determining my value and worth as a whole. That would be absurd, now wouldn’t it?

The Willies

I have nothing of real importance to talk about today. Therefore, I’m just going to talk for a while and when I feel done I’m going to stop. You can read and gain absolutely nothing or you can stop now and resume something more important. The choice is yours, take it or leave it.

Raw chicken freaks me out. IF I was ever being interviewed, and IF they asked me to name the Top 5 Things I would most hate to be slapped across the face with; raw, cold, boneless, skinless chicken breast would make the cut.

During my lunch break today I ran home to load the Crock Pot. I only live about a mile and a half from my work. I can say “ONLY” because I have a car and I can drive. Therefore, I often run home to eat, start a load of laundry, or take care of this or that quite often. Don’t be confused, I drive even though I said “run”. I wouldn’t say “OFTEN” either if I was talking about running. I’ve come to the conclusion however, that I go home for lunch, because I have a sick desire for the pressure of trying not to run late for work 2 times a day.

I was making Mexican Chicken A’ La Crock Pot. Which means tossing some raw chick in the pot, sprinkling it with Kroger brand taco seasoning, a cup of water, and a chicken Bouillon cube… whatever those are. I then throw in a can of black beans and a can of roasted corn, stir, cover, and leave unattended just like my laundry that is also unsafe while I am not at home.

Later that evening…

“Hey kids, we’re having chicken burritos!!!”, said with excess enthusiasm. “I hate burritos”. “Burritos stink”, they shout. Trying not to sound too prepared for their reaction, “just kidding!” “we are actually having Fiesta soup”!!! “A party in a bowl”!!!  I turn around and block the crock pot with my body from their vision. 3 more Bouillons + 3 cups of water as instructed=BAM!!! Dinner with a rejection option.

Being a mother, I am forced to touch many gross things with my bare hands. I remember watching my mother shove dinner scraps into the disposal without batting an eye. I swore, then and there, I’d never do such a thing. Sometimes however I even do it with the disposal still running. It gives me thrills that I miss from my younger days.

Touching raw chicken with my bare hands however leads to excessive washing and cleaning under my nails with each decontamination session for the next hour or so. In addition, I am a health care worker so “hands” includes halfway up my forearms. One might think I am a surgeon by the way I wash, but I’m not. I’m a physical therapist with 1. an irrational relationship with meat juice and       2. dry forearms.

I usually put on rubber gloves when I’m touching raw meat. My dad gives me a new box here and there, especially if I keep cooking raw meat for him. I think its a fair trade. I was unaware of how many single-handed, high-dexterity requiring dirty jobs I had until I noticed that I always ran out of right-handed gloves first. I used to get annoyed by all my residual lefty’s until I realized that a left-handed glove inside out is a right! (Go ahead, take a minute. Mentally flip it. It’s good brain work.)

Today however, I planned on minimally touching those bad boys and simply flipping them quickly into the crock pot, thus only contaminating my thumb and index.  I decided before hand that I was capable of rationally cleaning those two digits and wanted to save a glove. I think I did fairly well however as I’m typing this, my forearms feel tight and dehydrated. Raw chicken can just be so fowl.

I think I am done for now.

I have a Part 2 to this story titled ‘A Turkey’s Life’. My voice named “Common Sense”, that you met in my story Walkin’ On Sunshine keeps telling me I should keep pushing SAVE vs PUBLISH. I really try to listen to her! …but sometimes I don’t hehehehe….


I’m beginning to learn that I do some of my best writing when there are clearly, other more important things for me to be doing.  I don’t know what it is? It could be that I’m so absolutely, mind-numbingly bored with my To-Do list task, that has been perpetually progressed from the past few weeks’ To-Do lists, that I am flooded with stories and thoughts to entertain myself… or possibly… I thrive on guilty pleasure?

Anyhow, The Greenbrier Classic, PGA tournament just finished up this weekend at The Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Spring, WV. For the past several years, we have had two weeks during the summer, instead of one, with an influx of people, traffic, activity, and often an unusual amount of rain and flies. Actually, the golfers don’t bring in many flies…just the West Virginia State Fair. I actually kind of enjoy all the drama about the traffic. My favorite are the people who are retired or don’t work and wait until the traffic is the thickest to go out to get their bread and milk everyday. Maybe this gives them something to complain about the next morning when they meet at Hardees for breakfast.

I am NOT a golfer, even though I have hit some golf balls. I can see where it would be entertaining though. You don’t have to worry about people throwing balls at you or being hit and knocked down like many other sports. It also sounds like a fabulous excuse to be tied up and unavailable for 4 hours, which is precisely how long my husband tells me it takes to play a round of golf. I have yet however, to come up with a traditionally female gender activity that requires the same demands…. but I’m working on it.

Twice, and not with the same person, I was a “professional golfer’s companion”. It is a very important and I believe, rare role. One time was when I visited my brother at Emory and Henry College in Abingdon, Virginia. They had a really nice 8 hole course. I think they had to sacrifice a hole at some point for campus expansion? I’m not really sure how many they have now but if it is less than 8, I doubt they brag about it in their college recruitment pamphlets; that could leave the false impression that the education you would receive there might also be incomplete. That is where my golfing education began. I asked my brother every question I could think of about golf and provided him with endless verbal entertainment until he told me to be quiet. He would later tell me when I could resume. The other time was with my husband, Rick, at The Glade Springs Resort in Daniels, West Virginia. I drove the cart and kept the scorecard so he could focus on his game. I learned the terms hook, slice, and halfway house; totally an untapped market for PTOs. If those golfers ate half the baked goods they sucked down at hole 9, we’d have a successful fundraising event on our hands! Both times the weather was beautiful and the company even more so. It was fabulous. I’ve asked them both to take me again but somehow it just has never worked out on their end?

While my interest in golf is negligible, I still usually go over to the tournament at least one day to take it all in. This year I went with my sister. We talked and laughed and really just enjoyed being away from anyone who bothers us. The golf tournament sounded like a perfect excuse. However, just like when I watch football, I kept missing every important putt, swing, catch, or tackle because my attention, or lack thereof, kept being turned to people watching, or landscape admiring, or wondering if the people in the beautiful houses, nestled in the mountain sides overlooking the course, were watching the tournament with binoculars or on TV?


My brother, sister, and me!

Well, after 4 consecutive days of golf and 72 holes sunk by all, it was down to a four-man playoff. I’m a very competitive person but not necessarily about sports. At that moment, I really wished that they all could win but I knew very well that the sports enthusiasts present would not be satisfied with this idea or even consider it an option. All I could think about was how hard each one of them had played for the past 4 days; how each and every swing and putt meant so much to their final score and outcome status. No room for error and no starting over everyday.

I find golf scoring interesting. A lot of the time when I don’t understand something that I find curious, I look it up and try to understand it in detail. I have not been driven to do this however with golfing rules or scoring but I think I know the basics. Every course has a par score but this score fluctuates from course to course based on difficulty. I’m assuming that the course designer and a few really good players and a few really bad players get together at Hardees one morning and figure it out. Each hole also has a par score and they seem to range from 3 to 5 strokes; based on length and aggravating factors such as sand traps, water, trees, and turns. Supposedly, on a good day, an average golfer should be able to get their ball from tee to hole in this many strokes. That’s why they include good and bad players at the Hardees meeting; you know, to get the average. It also seems to me that golfers who are not professional find this extremely difficult and throw little fits when they can’t do so.

When you reach the hole in two strokes less than par it is called an Eagle. One stroke less than par is called a Birdie. We have all ready discussed par. (Reread the above if needed. Don’t worry, I sometimes have to reread things too especially if my kids are being loud or I’m hungry. It happens to us all.) One stroke over par is called a Bogey and two strokes over is called a Double Bogey. At this point I should probably research “Bogey” before I continue writing but right now I’m simply not in the mood and would rather make some things up. If you all enjoy it, I promise to never ever look the truth up again, to check myself. before posting my blog. Here it goes…if an Eagle is grand and can soar, a Birdie is still amazing because it can fly. A Bogey on the other hand must most definitely be a bird, not native to here of course, or we would all be educated about them. Based on their score rank I would assume they have the flying skills much like that of a turkey. A Double Bogey would have to be two Bogey Birds tied together at just one leg. If you then imagine them trying to coordinate a three legged race just before attempting to jump into the air and fly, that would explain their position in the scoring. I’m sure that is all correct. Please don’t check or correct me, I like to be right.  I don’t know what happens after Double Bogey but I will think about it. If you enjoy reading about poultry check these out: The Willies   A Turkey’s LifeimageAn actual photograph of a Bogey bird is extremely rare, therefore I had Harrison illustrate one for me:) I believe it is spot on!

I am actually kicking myself right now. I just had a very convincing door-to-door book sales woman leave my house who was an exchange student from the European country of Estonia. Estonia is just off the southern tip of Finland; she showed me a map. I bet they are covered up with Bogey birds there! She probably had an entire educational book, all about them, in her car and that was the ONE that I didn’t end up buying!

One more thing…what is with this handicapping system? It had to have been designed by a very intelligent yet poor golfer. He must have been sick and tired of being smoked out on the course all day every day, and he needed an excuse to say he beat someone. In addition, his skilled golfing buddy, who was first convinced that this system seemed rational and was later beat for the first time that afternoon, probably has an extensive library sold to him by an Estonian door-to-door book sales woman. “They” say it’s in place so golfers with differing abilities can compete evenly against one another or to allow you to determine how you should or would possibly perform on a course you are unfamiliar with. Others say it is simply a numerical representation of a golfers potential….but I don’t buy it. I DON’T BUT IT! It really is quite confusing. I mean…multiply the number you got from subtracting your most recent scores from something else on your past twenty rounds of golf by the slope of the course to get your differential? Does it really take 20 rounds of golf to determine how sub-par you are? Without a doubt however, Handicapping 101 is most definitely the weeder course for the hopeful golf majors. I think it would make more sense to consider factors such as: age (of course on an exponential curve), previous sports injuries with residual deficits, and most importantly: the average amount of beer or other alcoholic beverages consumed while playing a typical round.

Can you imagine getting a hole in one? I mean that’s crazy!!!! I bet it would feel amazing! Well…. I guess not to everyone? I’m sure that there are some people, in other professions, who would hate to get “a hole in one”. Take for example, the furniture delivery man. It would be terrible to have to tell your boss that you got “a hole in one”. I don’t know about you, but if I were him, and was having to respond to, “how did the deliveries go today, Sooz?”, from my boss; I might try, “well, I got an Eagle on a PAR 3” and keep going. A lie wasn’t told and I’d simply hope my boss wasn’t an avid golfer or was too prideful to ask for clarification.

I did feel sorry for the golfers and the big time fans that were there everyday, all day in the rain. I guess they all just know that comes with the territory and have gotten used to it over the years. We all have environmental issues to deal with in the workplace. There are days at my office where the air conditioning is so severely abused that even after putting on a light sweater, my old patients and I are uncomfortably cold.  The Arctic temperatures definitely effect my concentration and performance. We all know that we’re not in charge of the weather; God is. At my workplace, I’m not sure who’s in charge of the thermostat but I’m well aware that I’m not. But do I complain? No. I just have to deal with my environmental circumstances just like a professional golfer. It is exactly the same. We are all just trying to earn a living.


There’s only one thing worse than realizing you have been fooled… It’s realizing it took you longer than expected to realize that the fooling had taken place.

When my children were infants I remember meticulously washing their tiny, super-soft clothing and bedding separately; of course using Dreft. I wouldn’t have dared to wash their innocent clothing with what the rest of us brought home on ours, from the world outside. I was only comfortable with our own personal germs.

At some point, I don’t really remember when, their newness would wear off, just like new a car, and I’d begin washing all of our clothing together. I’d of course separate my whites from my darks and would never wash dedicates with what I like to call “hard pants”.

This never really happened with my girls, but there came a day when I remember not wanting my clothes to be washed with Harrison’s. If there was a public floor to whaler on; he did. It wasn’t uncommon for me to have to dump out his laundry hamper to free it from leaves, small sticks, and fine dirt that collected from the dust off his clothes. At night in the bathtub, he’d kick back and have a little smile on his face when his tub water was particularly dingy. It seemed to me kind of like validation that he had truly had a day as great as it had seemed.


This controversy was first evident when I threw his “white” socks in the same pile with my crisp, white, spring capris and I noticed a drastic difference in their pre-washed, dirty whiteness. I’d question myself, “should his socks go in the dark pile because that’s how they start out or should they go in the whites because that’s how I hope they turn out?” One thing I knew was clear, if I did keep washing his “white” socks with my white capris, there would be no question whether these pants would be fashionably acceptable to wear after Labor Day.


(hands he had supposedly washed)

So one day, I watched the Clorox commercial for the last time before getting up off the couch and writing “Clorox” on my grocery list. Their whites were so white and they seemed so happy! I had to get in on the secret! Why had my mother never used bleach?

My mother is a bonafide laundry specialist. Some would even say a “Stainmaster”. All she needed to know was what, what, and when and she could get it out. The who would be obvious when I handed her the favorite article of clothing. In my frustration I usually offered the unnecessary where and why sounding something like, “we were trying to have a nice meal out and he wanted spaghetti but I suggested chicken tenders since he was wearing a white shirt. However, to avoid an argument I gave in. Now look who is paying the price because he wasn’t paying attention of course.” What Part A= substance that caused the stain. What Part B= what treatments have been tried yet failed. Finally, when=how old was the stain. The Stainmaster made it clear and did not guarantee any results from her work if the item had been dried. We all knew this up front as we delivered a beloved item to her door step with hopes that she could do her magic.

My first week with this magical solution was just that…MAGICAL! I was in awe after my first couple loads. My whites were so bright! I felt like I was on the Clorox commercial! Why did my mother, the laundry specialist, not use this amazing solution! It seems like the answer to all my dingy problems. It didn’t even seem to bother me, like it had in the past, when I had one sock left over without a match. It was so white I couldn’t help but love it sitting on top of my dryer…waiting. I found myself flitting around the house singing, ” Just a cup full of Clorox help my whites come out briiiiiiggghhht, my whites come out briiiiiight. (Of course since I played trombone for 5 years I never miss out on the opportunity to sing in a long trombone slide and gave briiiiiigggghhhhhht an extra long slide.)

I had my first mishap during my second week with Clorox. It was far from stopping me, however, from regular use. My respect for this potent cleaning solution was simply raised. I inadvertently splashed one of my favorite shirts with it and the beautiful blue color vanished before me in minutes. Before placing my beloved shirt in the yard-work wearing pile I attempted to artistically spritz my shirt with Clorox in the garage; hoping to create a masterpiece but ultimately just learning a lesson. I do now have some sweet yard working attire.

It was in the third week I began to discover some of the repercussions of Clorox. When Harrison ran quickly, his socks began to slide down his legs and blouse at the ankle; like you do after tucking in your shirt. By the fourth week, however, they simply draped over his tennis shoes and flowed gracefully like a white tablecloth at a beautiful outdoor wedding. I wasn’t singing anymore as I filled my children’s sock drawers with bright white “quitters”; a perfectly coined term from my brother-in-law. I could no longer bear to watch my son struggle, holding these little white bags in place on his 6-year-old foot until he had them secured with his tennis shoes. I found myself warning Rick to not apply the usual amount of tension to his white undershirts when tucking them in. They were only one wash away from becoming mesh like and without the most tender care the body would surely separate from the reinforced crew-neck.

I was near rock bottom and my family had become the victims of my desire to appear sparkly white… feel perfect… at least one area of my life. After of course trying to blame or ridicule the person who came up with the brilliant idea to make socks, of all things, white or the Clorox Company itself, I humbly realized that I… had been fooled and it took me longer than I’m proud of to realize it had happened.

Since we’re talking about laundry, I don’t think it’s necessary to hang all your “dirty” out on the line for everyone to see. Nor do I believe you should ever quit trying to improve and grow. I just think it is easy to forget that we all have dingy white socks as well as less than pristine children, marriages, or _________. You fill it in. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel secure or comfortable, or do the job well most of the time. I’ve learned that making perfection your goal can slowly but surely destroy your tensile strength or elasticity; weakening your integrity or ability to bounce back or even create an overwhelmed quitter.

So today I’m going to replace all our white quitters with life camouflaging black, navy, or khaki ones, that don’t fatigue when my son runs. A simple fix for a silly problem. I’m going to try to view the dirt or imperfections in my life as evidence in the bathtub water that it truly had been as good as it had seemed.

Do someone a favor today…be real.

It might just be the magical solution to help them manage their “whites”.


2013-06-06 09.00.45

Good thing for me he chooses navy and khaki over white when he dresses himself! SHAZAMMM! What a looker 😉

Life Lessons

It occurred to me today while playing “kitchen” with my third and 3 foot tall, 3-year-old, that our family has once again been unhealthily busy. Instead of serving me a well-balanced meal of plastic food on a tin tray, like she usually does, Haley handed me a brown bag filled with french fries, donuts, a straw, and even a prize. Awareness raised. Lesson learned. Will do better tomorrow night.

les-son: noun or verb: a structured period of time where learning is intended to occur

Therefore, a “Life Lesson” to me= noun/verb (could be “John” or “Rob”, and a host of places, things, or ideas, or fun activities that take place from birth to death that we are intended to learn from. I will add: active participation versus passive recommendation, as well as having a strong desire to change future behavior based on prior failures in order to avoid punishment, injury, or embarrassment improves odds that learning will take place.

The other day Rick came downstairs reporting, “That is it! We are done with pets!” ” I’m serious!” ” After we kill this last hamster we are done!” “No more fish, no more hamsters, and a dog is definitely out of the question… PERMANENTLY!”

As you read in Warm Blooded Love , our family grew by two rodents several months ago. Harrison let’s say loved his to death recently. I remember him asking the pet store owner if his hamster would last longer than his fish. She told him that a hamster should live about 2 years and he seemed content with this idea and was ready to start a long friendship.

I try not to be gender bias, however, while working on my psychology degree, I remember reading a study that I found particularly intriguing. The statistically significant conclusion was: when good happened in a man’s life they tend to base the results or outcome on internal factors that they influenced or caused. However, when bad things happen, they blame external factors beyond their control or having occurred due to chance. Women unfortunately and unsurprisingly to me, quite often say “the stars must have just lined up” instead of taking recognition when good things happen to them; yet often blame themselves when negative outcomes occur that couldn’t have possibly been due to something they did or didn’t do. This study’s results were supported when Harrison reported to me that his hamster must have obviously spent the first year and a half of his life at the pet store and that his playing techniques were not possibly the cause of his death. It had to have been unfortunate timing that was to blame for poor Mickey’s imminent death 6 months following living with us . This Y chromosome rationale did however seem to help my sweetie thru the grieving process. You can read more about some of Harrison and Mickey’s favorite things to do in 12 Things I Should Probably Quit Doing

I discovered that Mickey was not just demonstrating nocturnal sleep patterns one day on my lunch break, when my 6-year-old was at school. Since I didn’t have the time or the stomach to manage the remains while I ate a quick sandwich, I had the opportunity to internally debate my options and to seek counsel. I was torn between letting him experience death outright or taking care of it myself and simply telling him about it. I asked a man I consider wise and he didn’t pause a moment or blink an eye before responding, “He needs to see it.” “Death is a part of learning about life”.

My dad was ultimately right I think, however there were moments I was concerned about what life lessons my 3-year-old had learned that day as I later heard her recap the scenario. “Harrison loved stiff Mickey and that’s why he was crying, but Sophia said not to bend him before he put him in the ground so he would grow straight.” “We put a rock on top of him so none animals will come and eat him up before he is done and can play again!” “Yay!”

Rick was a little hot but cooling down as he explained to me that he discovered that Sophia’s Daisy upstairs didn’t have a seed in her bowl and her water bottle was laying BESIDE the cage. Additionally, I’m sure that if Daisy had the ways and means to get on I would have found a tiny brown box the next day on my front porch containing a hamster sized gas mask in attempts to avoid ammonia asphyxiation. He went on to say, ” I told you I was against the idea and would have nothing to do with them and then I had to sit up there and hold little Daisy’s water bottle so she could get a drink!” “I told you it was a bad idea”.

“Now Rick, kids need to learn from their mistakes. Do you want our grandchildren to be fed and watered and played with like this? They have to learn! I know several adults who without a doubt should have raise a couple more hamsters before moving on to children.
And what about us? No one asked me, but if you’re not pausing daily in a moment of gratefulness that you live with someone who has had the opportunity to hone her life partner skills via multiple failed past relationships, I think the ball is being dropped somewhere.” And what about your first car? I bet as soon as I quit talking you are going to jump up and call my parents, thanking them that I am not learning to drive and responsibly own a car that you’re making monthly payments on.”

My first car was actually my brother’s first used, but new to him car. While it was sub-par to be safe or reliable for out-of-town driving back and forth to his first year of college it had many local driving lessons to teach me. I’m not really sure how my parents came across it for him in the first place. It had been abandoned for years in the back of an old woman’s garage, which kept the mileage low of course. Once the squirrel’s nest was cleaned out of the backseat she was good as new; with adventures to be found and lessons to be learned. I’m not quite sure where I was going with her but when I was behind the wheel I knew I had arrived!

Without a doubt I know that the price tag of our little car did not have a number in the ten thousandths place and the number in the thousands place when rounded could have easily tipped to nothing. I learned how to check my oil, top off my washer fluid, and learned that when the gauge is on “E” you really don’t have long to make sure that you are at the top of Washington Street so you can coast down to Simms Exxon’s self-serve. I’ve learned to jump my car and also how to jump on the end of my ratchet to loosen a stubborn lug nut so I could drive home cockeyed on a small doughnut tire.  After “bumping” a few, I’ve also decided that all mailboxes really should be installed sitting on top of a swiveling hinge so when you back into one they simply bend over and POP back up as you drive on. I learned to allow extra time, on those cold frosty winter mornings, to not only scrape the outside of my windshield but the inside as well. I also had the opportunity for artistic expression in my car; altering the designs and patterns of the thumbtacks we stuck in the ceiling to hold the lining up so that in the summer when we were driving with insufficient AC we could put down the windows and it wouldn’t flap around and hit my passengers in the backseat. Oh the stories I could tell and the places we went together.

Each story started off same…One day we were driving down the road in my baby-blue, Ford Tempo GL 5 speed and the GL stood for good-looking… And this particular story started off just like that…

Living in a small town you don’t think about things like people do in bigger cities. For example, I found it a great help to simply keep my keys in my driver side door pocket. I would simply pitch them in, slam the door leaving it unlocked of course, and go on. I always knew where my keys were. Simple.

Well, every year in August our little town hosts the West Virginia State Fair and with it we get a huge influx of Fair folk. Not to say that these Fair folk aren’t fine Fair folk, I’m just saying you could have the same number of monks and nuns per square foot, who volunteered to take the local elementary school kids on a field trip, and the heat, and the whining, and the waiting in the endless line for your overpriced corn dog could make anyone turn. Not to mention feeling the stimulating Red Hot Chili Peppers’ songs pounding through your body as you go round and round on the Hit 2000; true colors are going to show and a few bad apples are going to be found.

Following one said night at The State Fair, I woke up early at a friend’s house because I was expected at home to learn some life lessons about hard work in the yard, and left my friends asleep in bed. I went out into the driveway and it was empty!?! My car was gone!?! Well, being aware of my flighty attendances even back in High School, I ran back inside to question my friends that yes, we had driven my car home last night and parked it safely in the driveway. Like any good, WV raised girl, one of my friends suggested we look over the hill to see if the emergency brake had come loose like had once happened with her mother’s truck while under her supervision. No such luck. It was gone!

Calling my parents to tell them that my car was missing was one of the hardest phone calls I have ever made. Anyhow, due to my prompt police report and the fact that my car couldn’t exceed 65 miles per hour without the dashboard bouncing up and down so high and shaking the car because I had once, as a new driver at night, underestimated the time required to slow down before making an almost 90 degree turn.  In addition, someone had the brilliant idea to contain their mulch with wooden railway ties and hitting one with my passenger side front wheel shot my friend Mary into the sky landing on my console, throwing her juice all over us and the car. This is possibly what threw my car off alignment and why a piece of wooden railroad tie was found wedged in my frame during its state inspection that I happened to know nothing about at the time when I was asked.  We all knew that my seat belts we’re more decorative than functional but were donned anyway to be legal.

The fine Fair folk were caught surprisingly yet unsurprisingly at the same time in a high-speed chase somewhere in North Carolina and my baby blue Ford Tempo GL 5 speed was returned to me unharmed. I did tell my father that if I was ever stopped in a routine traffic check and some dog sniffed marijuana or worse in my car that he would have to explain to them the story and that I was taking absolutely not responsibility for any paraphernalia found.

So, while I do occasionally approach my car finding it unlocked accidentally I ABSOLUTELY…. rarely leave it running and unattended to drop off or pick up a child.

“Now Rick, aren’t you happy that I have learned these lessons?” “Don’t you want our kids to have these learning opportunities as well and hopefully turn out like me?” “Basically, I am in complete agreement with you that the Leatherman household is still not ready for a dog, but I am however, more than prepared to continue my argument that Harrison and Sophia both obviously need to kill….. mean raise…..a few more hamsters.”

I Want My Hoover Back

I can’t seem to get anything fully accomplished today anyway, so I decided I would take a minute to waste some time to tell you about it…

When I went off to college my mother and I went to the store and picked out a vacuum cleaner for me to use in my first apartment. It was quite the moment; sort of a “rite of passage”. I felt like an adult, with new responsibilities; owning a vacuum. I left the store with a $75 Hoover upright requiring F-type bags. About five years later when that vacuum gave out I considered the following: $75×1.06% sales tax=$79.5 total investment. Then, if 365 x 5= 1825 days of ownership, my final calculations determined that my Hoover had been well worth the average 4 cents per day it cost me. I then carried my Hoover to the street, swung it around my head one time for good measure and chucked it into the trash pile and wrote “new Hoover” on my grocery list. Done.

About 2 Hoovers and 10 years later I decided I was going to get serious about my cleaning. I was ready for a mature vacuum like any proud part-time physical therapist / homemaker would be proud of. I watched Lowes advertisements like a hawk and practically stole a $400 Electrolux from them about 5 months ago. Driving home, with my new drag behind canister Electrolux, I dreamed of the Vacuum Therapy we would experience together and I promised her I would never toss her to the side of the road like I had done to my others. It was going to be a long-term relationship.

Until a couple of months ago, my only complaint with my new Electrolux was that it was so quiet I couldn’t pretend that I couldn’t hear others in my family trying to talk to me while I was sucking up floor debris. However, after 3 months of inefficiently loud vacuuming, I noticed it wasn’t sucking up dinner remains on the floor even as good as the $20 electric broom my mom used to make one of us 3 kids run in the kitchen from time to time. (And no that didn’t kill us but I do always blame Mimi and say, “when I was a kid”, when my offspring complain about running the vacuum.)

For the past 2 months, “calling Electrolux Customer Service” never quite made the top of my list until this weekend when I discovered there was no suction at all. There were times previously that I was wondering if the debris was being sucked up or just being thrown around by the roller brush when I would be hit by a small bead or gravel right smack dab in my shin. However, like with other uncomfortable housewife duties, I just moved on.

I put my Electrolux to the test this weekend; one my old Hoover could have tackled with ease. I will let you figure out the details of the scenario but Harrison spent about 4 hours in our upstairs rec room vacuuming up kinetic sand that he and a friend had thrown from end-to-end, side to side, and top to bottom of the room. It was extremely ugly. Not just the site, but my reaction to the blatantly defiant, destructive action, lacking any blame of childhood innocence that I try to consider when raising my son. I’m quite confident that Harrison’s list of words that is he never to repeat was lengthened that day.

So today, in addition to calling Samsung to get my washer door to stay closed so I can keep my family looking presentable and smelling fresh, I called Electrolux. I spoke with an Elaine, who continued to assure me that “we were going to take care of this”! She sounded like she worked at Mel’s Diner minus the gum chewing. Also, her name was “EEE”laine. Little did I know that “EEE”laine was going to walk me through a step-by-step maintenance process for my Electrolux. I quickly discovered that I had only been cleaning two of the five filters that required regular routine washing, then drying 24 hours, then replacing. On the back of one of them I found enough fuzz to compose a small animal that could have been enjoying some of the toys I had sucked up in the past 3 months as well. It was at this moment that I realized I had made a commitment I was not ready for. I was not ready to be a serious cleaner removing 99.9% of allergens in my home. She told me to simply remove this and that, check the brush roller for hair, and on and on with the 24 point inspection. I decided that the extensiveness of the exam was getting out of hand when she wanted me to take the hose out into my yard and swing it around my head to loosen any clogs. Enough was enough, I said. I was not going to use an old toothbrush on my vacuum and we no longer have wire coat hangers in our house to the best of my ability; moving to plastic hangers SOLELY was also a rite of passage I remember making me feel like an adult. How many years had I been walking around with puckers in my shirts, sticking up in my shoulder region…ridiculous.

Well tomorrow, I’m supposed to call “EEE”laine when my filters are dry for us to continue our customer service experience.  I looked at all the parts and pieces of my vacuum in the floor and immediately realized I hadn’t taken pictures with my phone to help me put it back together. In stressful situations I am well aware that my visual memory is less than 24 hours. I made a quick reminder note to myself to give Harrison a lecture after school that would sound something like, “so help me, if you put your grubby little hooks on even one part of my vacuum cleaner, laying here in a million pieces that look fabulous to play with, I will…”

Regret at this moment, is what I was feeling. I was stuck, in a commitment that was going to require maintenance, care, and upkeep. “EEE”laine did say she was making note of how friendly and nice I was about the situation and that it would help me if we needed to discuss “replacement”. Reality hit me again; I was stuck, no chance of refund to spend on an upright Hoover I should have bought in the first place.  I have learned over the years however, that sometimes when the “pooh” is hitting the fan it is more effective to dodge than to face your adversities. I do however wish that right now I had a 5-year-old Hoover; that I could swing over my head and chuck into the trash pile by the road. It would be so freeing; knowing that tomorrow someone would come by and simply carry away my problem. Instead, I am trying to pump myself up like “EEE”laine and be confident that “we are going to take care of this”!

Wish me luck with SAMSUNG!


I was 8 hours behind my group and still feeling sub par and questioning if I should have packed a second pair of pants. I was determined to make it by dinner and not miss out on anymore time I had been looking forward to with her. I drove alone, passenger-less, having sent her ahead that morning to the West Virginia Dance Festival. sent her Sometime in the middle of the night I had woken up with what I thought was the beginning of the salmonella outbreak that my family is eminently doomed for as discussed in 12 Things I Should Probably Quit Doing Just days ago I had made two pans of brownies, loaded with chocolate chip cookie dough chunks and I licked the bowl and had eaten more than my usual amount of raw egg laden dough nervously preparing them for an upcoming presentation I was giving. I thought to myself, “if my presentation leaves them wanting more, at least they will be satisfied by my crankin’ brownies”. I was fortunately the only victim but I’m still quite sure I will lick my next brownie bowl.

I drove alone, disappointed and wondering if Sophia had recognized or missed my absence. She is 11 you know and her friends are becoming very important. I did wear an outfit she likes of mine. I hope she seems excited to see me. I remember when she always chose me first. She loved to sit in my lap, as a tiny little girl, straddling my waist and kissing my left then right cheek over and over again like we were French people greeting one another. I remember her laugh and smile between each kiss.

I turned on the radio and hit scan hoping to find something to inspire or entertain me. I started thinking about the presentation I have just given the day before discussing “The Vestibular System: Diagnosing and Treating Common Disorders”. Pretending my coworkers had a choice to attend made me feel a little less nervous but I couldn’t stop thinking about “the pause”. Was it obviously long? Did they see me holding in a snicker? I was describing a torsional eye movement that is often seen with a common disorder and said something about the eyes torqueing in their orbits. Is that right? I said to myself. Torqueing? Why did that sound wrong? Torqueing? Torqueing? Twerking? Torqueing? Twerking? Thanks Miley Cyrus, there went faking the professionalism I was trying to exude. I got back on track in what I have decided was a reasonable amount of time and what I’m pretending looked more like deep thought preceding a profound statement verses an awkward pause. I do however strongly recommend, if you ever see eyes twerking in their orbits during an ocular motor exam: STOP IMMEDIATELY and refer to a neurologist with a stat recommendation for an EEG and a brain MRI including the brain stem. I’m quite confident that eye twerking does not fall within my scope of practice as a physical therapist.

I hope we get a chance to do some Spring clothes shopping in “the big city” while we are gone. I’m exhausted with Wal-Mart and Kmart’s wardrobe selections. She has grown so much this winter. Will she like anything I pick out this year? I bet she won’t want to go to Claire’s and accessorize, looking for bows and barrettes to complete her look, like I loved doing with her when she was five. 2013-08-01 07.53.55 Moments later I realized my Sirius radio was still scanning. Those of you who can’t imagine not noticing this, obviously do not have a third child who absolutely never stops talking. I can tune about anything out quite easily and applying my essential oils to my inner wrists and temples helps. While I don’t know what my 2 older children will become when they grow up, Haley is surely destined for a bright career as a QVC host.

Other than the occasional, unexpected wave of nausea and predictable, prepubescent look from my daughter that clearly stated, “I can’t believe you just said/did that”, we had a beautiful weekend together. Being my oldest of three, I miss being with her even though I see her everyday. Thankfully, I found some rekindling that at least I had been looking for. the look On our drive home Sunday evening, my sweet, tired passenger slept. It was raining so I slowed down…but mostly to enjoy and soak the moment in. Curled up in the front seat she lay like she used to in her infant seat in the back; peacefully resting under my watch. Just me and her…alone. The hillsides were covered by new spring redbuds and speckles of white, wild dogwoods opening. Above them all in the tips of the tallest trees glowed a lime green light of tender leaves waiting for a long, full day of sunshine to fully come out and turn dark green. Time was changing her as well. My sweet, peaceful reminiscing was repetitively interrupted by hints of panic that kept trying to intrude.

I’d see a bridge or interstate overpass ahead through my windshield wiper blades and look forward to that sudden, momentary absence of noise that is so loud and pronounced; as the last raindrop hits my car on one side and the first to hit on the other. How long was I dry?, I’d think to myself. What would I need to know to find out? The width of the bridge, the length of my car, and my speed. Yes that would do it. But what if the rain was coming down crooked? The questions. Would the height of the bridge matter? The unknowns. Would the density of drops per square inch change the experience for me? Anxiety kept trying to steal my moment. I forced myself to stop thinking about my college physics class so I could fully enjoy the next bridge.

While there are constants in life, like the width of the bridge, that I cannot change, there are many variables that surround the same situation; some I can control and others I can’t. I can look at my sleeping beauty sometimes and almost panic thinking about time passed and I can imagine my future with her slipping past me just as quick. While I can’t slow time or lengthen life or tell the rain when and how to fall, I can change how I move through it, so I won’t miss that lime green glow of spring that lasts only a few sunsets. A gift of Spring I always enjoy… that can be easily missed if I’m distracted by the noise of my life stuck on scan, jumping from one event to the next, forgetting to soak any of it in.

While there are so many thing I hope to teach my daughter, I hope she learns that even very short, even silly periods of time can be moments filled with experience if her mind and senses aren’t tune out by busy noise. I hope she will be filled with great memories of time spent with me but that she will have many little ones; like driving under interstate bridges in rain storms or watching trees glow in the Spring, that will top her list as favorites with me. This will let me know that she learned how to live awake, instead of simply passing through distracted, missing beautiful, simple, normal, little moments that make life full and satisfying.

“To the illuminated mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light” -Emerson 2015-05-04 17.44.23

The Rub Down

Every year in April, Rick and I leave the kids at home with his parents and go away for almost a week for a business trip. This year it was in San Diego. While it is business for him it is full trip for me…the whole time. I sleep in, I slowly drink my coffee in the morning, while watching a show that I chose, and primp while getting ready like I used to before kids. Our anniversary is April 14th, my birthday is May 1st, and Mother’s Day comes about a week later; so basically I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy my season of receiving or that I don’t look forward to it every year.

My kids and hubby usually get me trees and spring flowers to plant in my yard as gifts. To some of you this may sound like a terrible present but to me it’s perfect. It often comes wrapped with time alone with my hands in the warm dirt, a clear mind, and only the sound of the birds chirping as I find happy homes for my new “babies”. On other occasions it means time with my wee ones offering their “help” and with me hoping they too will fall in love with process. My trees and plants are gifts that keep on giving. Every Spring I look forward to my pink dogwood blooming and the thoughts of my girls, past and future, that come as the buds open. In the same way, my Weeping Alaskan Spruce stays strong and alive, even in the deepest winter snow, reminding me of my boys.

My parents and in-laws on the other hand, always get me something that fits perfectly and is always useful…CASH. I believe Rick has caught on, but I spend my birthday money a few times while I’m away. Every year, once a year, on this trip, I go to the spa and enjoy a rub down. The one I had this year at the Marilyn Monroe Spa at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel probably topped them all. The best way for me to explain to you how wonderful it was, I think, would be if I compared and contrasted it to another one I have experienced.

I had just finished a relaxing eucalyptus steam and was waiting in the Serenity Lounge in a beautifully soft, white robe, (and provided slippers) and enjoying a cup of warm herbal tea. My masseuse came out to greet me. He was a clean-cut man probably in his mid-fifties with an appropriate amount of gel in his neat hair. He was gently plump which immediately made me feel comfortable, knowing he was used to softness. I felt instantly relaxed and followed him.

Since I’m a storyteller and I like to paint pictures with words, I thought this one would be best in color. When I was a little girl in Sunday school, one of my favorite songs to sing went like this: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red, brown, yellow, black, and white they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the World”. While I loved looking around at all my little friends smiling and singing along, I did worry that my olive skin toned friend could be feeling left out.  Now as an adult, I’m concerned that someone with a severe case of jaundice could be misled by this innocent song, convincing them that they are fine and causing them put off that much needed bilirubin check. More importantly, it always made me remember that we are all beautifully different and the same mold has never been or never will be used twice. It seems that I love each one of my plants and flowers for that very reason. The yellow ones make the purple ones even prettier just because they aren’t purple and the occasional “odd-ball” grabs my attention and extra admiration just because it is unlike the 10 other perfect ones surrounding it.

(Sophia found this crazy buttercup right smack dab in the middle of a patch of normal, 5-petaled buttercups. It of course was our FAV!)

In much need of some deep relaxation, I anticipated the results of my upcoming massage. I sat in my street clothes, in a room more like a doctor’s office than a spa, as I waited to be received. Moments later, I was greeted by a young, fit, fine specimen of a man, who with all 2% of his body fat, nearly filled the doorway. He called my name. As soon as I stood up I could tell that I was nervous for there were significant body composition differences between ours; with mine being far more palpably soft. While I hoped my young masseuse had many fond memories of time spent with his mother as a child, I hoped that a memory of learning to fold and knead white bread dough wouldn’t be stirred while rubbing my posterior thigh area. I found myself quoting my Spring clothes shopping mantra as I followed him to my room: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.

Anyway, when God made me he dipped his paint brush in a color somewhere on the spectrum between “Milky White” an “Ultra Caucasian”.  When God was selecting a color for my masseuse he chose a color somewhere between “Moonless Night” and “Rich Expresso” and used it liberally. In addition, being born and raised in West Virginian, I have to work hard to say “hey man” without giving “man” two syllables or showing all my molars when pronouncing my valves with a wide smile. In comparison, my masseuse greeted me with a quick, happy-go-lucky, “eh mon” and led me to the massage room.

I peacefully entered the Marilyn Monroe treatment room and positioned myself prone as instructed under crisp, white sheets that were warmed by the gentle heat of the massage table. My masseuse would carefully expose one extremity at a time, gently folding back the soft sheets. The room was filled with scents of lavender and rose hip and my muscles melted with his deep pressured strokes. In the background I listened to a CD that had to have been titled “Tranquil Morning”, with birds chirping and creeks streaming. There was the occasional moment that I thought the beginning of the Titanic theme song was starting up but it never climaxed. As my massage came to an end, I was concerned that I would be unable to find enough motivation, amongst the relaxation, to physically get off of the table or support my body weight with my limp legs in order to walk out.

I was a “hint” nervous waiting on my Jamaican masterpiece and I was glad my massage table wasn’t heated; I was already equator warm. After hanging my clothes on the backside of the door I slid under the faded black sheets face down and waited. I tried to relax but the CD playing in the background, which could have easily been titled “Monday Night Slow Jams”, wasn’t helping. I answered the knock at the door with an audible “I’m ready” but with an internal “I hope so” that followed. He entered. He rolled the sheet down my back low enough to make me question if the top part of my crack was exposed and began rubbing. The scent of Johnson and Johnson baby oil surprisingly helped me relax. He finished my back and neck and arms and…. it was nice. He then rolled the sheet back exposing my right leg and started working. As he moved up my thigh into my gluteal area I reminded myself that I’ve been in other even more uncomfortable situations in my life time but at the moment could not think of one. He moved on to my left leg but kept my right exposed. I’m sure that in an aerial view of me at this moment, none of us could deny that I wasn’t wearing what I would like to call a black sheet thong.

He stood at my feet with his hands every bit as big as my US 6.5 wides and he rubbed up and down my calves at the same time, inching higher and higher with each stroke until he was undoubtedly focusing on my “thass” area. Up and down he went from toes to calves to thass to waist when swooped his hands out to the sides scooping up a handful of flesh from my bumm before sliding back down.  I felt like I was being milked and I knew he wouldn’t stop until I rendered milk from my toes or relaxed. At one point, I began thinking that producing milk may be easier than calming the clinch that was instinctively activated when his big hands slid up the back of my legs and fanned out over my buttocks. I’m sure that if I could have seen him in this moment, I might have mistaken him for Bob Marley singing One Love while delivering his milking strokes. I tried to reconnect with my inner hippie; pretending that what I was experiencing was a beautiful moment of giving and receiving between two souls in this world, but found myself challenged to fully embrace the idea. I did however conclude that I was thankful that I had not bought my mother a gift certificate for Mother’s Day at this facility because she has no inner hippie to even try to connect with. Several strokes later and about the time I was wondering if I had accidentally bought an 80 minute massage instead of 50, he covered me up and said, “Thank you. You are done”.

“I did it!”, I said to myself excitedly. “It was over”…exhale.

So that is how much I enjoyed my massage at the Marilyn Monroe Spa in San Diego California.

The Jewel

I had just spent most my morning in La Jolla, the Beverly Hills of San Diego, primarily window shopping for obvious reasons. It really is “the Jewel” from what I’ve seen so far on my trip. I did eat lunch on the patio of a yuppy little restaurant that was much more hip than their customer occupying a table for 2 overlooking the bay. I thought about enjoying the view from inside since it was cool but knew I would have to take off my sunglasses in order to avoid looking odd being indoors. The reality however, of me taking my sunglasses off, would have been more bizarre since I had just sampled a $700 wrinkle cream just before lunch. The beauty consultant had only applied cream to one eye and the left side of my forehead to show off its immediate results and for comparison’s sake. And that it did!!! I still can’t decide if I looked as if I had an acute case of Bell’s palsy on my untreated eye or if I seemed to be chronically winking on my left.

Anyway, outdoors in the sun, with my shades in place, I enjoyed a beautiful Caesar salad with grilled jumbo shrimp while doing my best to eavesdrop on my patio dwelling neighbors. They were ultra cool. Three young men, probably in their twenties, discussing how the perfect watch could finish the image they were searching for. I’m not sure which I found more interesting to consider leasing, their expensive watches or their women they talked about that, when hired, make their parties more fun. I’ve been told I’m fun to hang out with but I don’t think they were talking about the particular type of entertainment I can provide at a party. Considering I’m in California and the sad fact that prostitution has been going on for centuries, I found leasing watches more interesting for the moment.

After my lunch stomach was satisfied I decided to fill my desert one. After sampling approximately 7 types of gelato on those a precious little spoons, I settled for chocolate espresso paired with a small scoop of salted caramel! This little cup accompanied me as I meandered through several art galleries pretending to find the art as entertaining as the exorbitant price tags attached. Lets just say I tried not to laugh out loud because I didn’t want them to think I thought their art was funny. I truly don’t think I’ve ever had gelato so creamy and buttery and I have taste tested a number of frozen novelties in my day. While my actual knowledge about gelato vs. ice-cream is at a novice level, my taste buds in this arena are quite adept. Probably another reason I’m not considered the lease-able type.

By the time I got back to my hotel my left eye was almost capable of fully closing since its treatment and I was feeling fabulously relaxed and sleepy and thought about a short nap in the middle of the day. You know why? Because I’m on vacation, with no kids, and my husband is golfing, and I can. That’s why! It was going to be AB FAB U LOSO!

I had just removed my new earrings that I had purchased at Kohl’s to update my rural, capri-wearing, mother of three look and was snuggled in for a beautiful nap for no reason at all other than because I wanted to …..when Rick burst in the door from golfing.

I tried to pretend I was dead to give him the hint I wasn’t interested in talking. After a bit of conversing with himself, he said, “you know, a nap sounds like a great idea”. I wanted to jump up and yell, ” it IS a fabulous idea and it was MY fabulous idea, so it’s taken”! I didn’t however because we’re on vacation alone and I’m trying my best to be cordial even when I don’t want to.

After he had finished pushing every button on his phone at least twice, brushing and flossing his teeth, then organizing what sounded like a years worth of receipts, he got in bed beside me. The emotion of irritation is not conducive to sleep so I found myself wide awake waiting for the puffing to begin. Puffer

I gave up, found my shoes, and headed to the lobby to have a coffee and write you a little story.