20

Middle School Makeover

All of the hoopla surrounding the Royal Wedding in England and the subsequent extreme scrutiny of the attendees’ attire and figures reminded me of my own first encounter with a body image critic at the young age of twelve or thirteen and what it meant to be a girl in the late 1950’s.

Here’s a post I wrote about it in this blog’s infancy:

“Does This Teacher Make My Butt Look Big?”

The phantom of Miss Elwell still follows me about, even after fifty years.

It was 1959 and I had just entered junior high school. In those days, a girl’s highest aspiration was to become a wife and mother. This may not have been stated outright, but it certainly was implied by society and the general culture of the times.

The curricula for seventh-grade girls included a year of “Home Economics.” This entailed a semester of cooking instruction and a semester of sewing. Having just come from a previous school year where I had excelled at touch football with the boys at recess, this was not welcome news. I could kick and pass a perfect spiral and, because the boys were still on the shrimpy side at that age, I had reigned supreme. Now I was supposed to be a lady? I was completely thrown for a loop.

The Home Ec. teacher was a rather portly woman in her 50′s by the name of Miss Frances Elwell. She was charged with the formidable task of trying to whip all this green talent into some kind of reasonably feminine shape by year’s end.

I never did quite figure out why this domestic onslaught had to be imposed on the seventh graders and not the more “mature” (relatively speaking) ninth graders. I guess the school board felt that we were more malleable at that age, before we got any further into the smart-ass teen years where it would be next to impossible to get any kind of response out of us beyond a sneer.

By the luck of the draw, I had been assigned the cooking section for my first semester. We were divided up into groups and given our own little versions of the Happy Homemaker kitchen. No Easy-Bake ovens here. This was the real deal.

Thinking back, I was so oblivious to everything of a domestic nature at that age. My Mother didn’t make me do any housework at home under the assumption that ”You’ll be doing it for the rest of your life” so why bother with it now? The fallacy in all that was how will you know what to do when the time comes if nobody shows you how to do it beforehand?

Consequently, my Mother did quite a bit of my homework for me for cooking class. Make that just about all. One important assignment was to create a place setting for an imaginary individual whom Miss Elwell had randomly chosen for each of us. My Mother and I slaved over every detail. Well, she slaved and I watched her slave.

When I presented the setting to Miss Elwell, I closely watched her face for some sign of benevolence. She critically observed the place setting before her and looked at me with twinkling eyes. Then she said, “Do you really think an elderly bachelor would want a pink paper parasol in his juice glass?”

If I knew then what I know now, I would have responded with:

 “Yes, if he were Truman Capote.”

The actual cooking assignments in class were ones that I had to wing on my own. Only one of those stands out in my memory. (There may have been successes, but I doubt it.) We had to bake muffins, which sounds easy but can be very tricky. You’re not supposed to over beat the batter because that can cause too much air to become incorporated into the mix, creating all manner of havoc and the end of the world, apparently.

After my batch came out of the oven, I nervously took my burnt offering up to the altar of Miss Elwell and waited for the verdict. She broke one open and studied it like an oracle examining the entrails of a goat. Then she pronounced,

“These have tunnels so large you could drive a truck through them.”

I mentally made a note to look for a husband who was wheat intolerant.

Having gone down in flames in the cooking department (figuratively, not literally) I had the sewing semester to redeem myself. It turns out I was even less adept at this than I was in the culinary arts.

My Mother, of course, was a veritable whiz at sewing. She made most of my clothes for school and really knew her way around a sewing machine. I viewed it as an instrument of torture. So, again, my Mother commandeered my sewing projects while I wandered off and watched American Bandstand on t.v.

The main project for the semester was a circle skirt or full skirt. It should have been a fairly straight-forward task but, again, nothing came easy for me in Miss Elwell’s bastion of the feminine arts. I couldn’t find a pattern that fit me. My Mother had to do a lot of cutting and pinning and sweating to get the thing to correspond to my dimensions. All those years of being a tomboy had given me an athletic build. Not good in the world of Elwell.

So when I went before her with the finished product, it was pretty obvious that my Mother had cranked it out. I couldn’t do work like that and Miss Elwell knew it. She gave it a cursory glance and said simply “C,” for my grade. Which was fine with me because I just wanted the ordeal over with.

But when I said something about not being able to find a pattern to fit me, Miss Elwell uttered the words that have stuck with me to this very day, some fifty years later. Words that have haunted me in every dressing room of any clothing store I’ve ever been in and before every mirror where I have stood and contemplated my visage.

Sitting at her desk she looked up at me with those twinkling eyes and said,

 “You have an oddball shape.”

This was spoken by a woman who was as wide as she was tall.

There was one happy memory from that year of living femininely. I had to sew a shank button on a piece of fabric, which meant sewing the button on loosely and then wrapping the thread many times around the bottom of the button to make it more secure. I tentatively placed it in Miss Elwell’s hands and waited for the usual. Instead, she looked at me with those twinkling eyes, smiled and said “A.”

I may be an oddball, but I wouldn’t be an old maid after all.

This ATC’s for you, Miss Elwell.

17

Up and At ‘Em!

Here’s an excerpt from an interesting article I found at MSNBC.com on the perils of ED drugs like Viagra and Cialis, written by Judith Newman of Prevention magazine. 

She explores these drugs from the viewpoint of women on the…er…”receiving” end of their benefits. 

(I always knew those bathtubs were the Devil’s playground!)   

The problem can be especially daunting for older women who are widowed or divorced or just beginning to date after years of being alone or with one man. Certainly this was the case for Marjorie P., a 60-something woman who complained about the drugs on a 50+ Web site:

“Men have been saved from their middle-age sexual issues by Viagra and Cialis. They can be thirty again, while I have to deal with the sexual issues of being my age. It’s put the world on ’tilt.'”

Andrea D., a twice-divorced physician from Santa Monica, CA, and an over-50 dater, put it more bluntly. “Viagra has been liberating for men, but unless a woman is taking hormone therapy, she may have vaginal dryness and really not be that interested in the kind of driving, pounding intercourse he’s now capable of.”

There is also fallout from the erroneous belief that Viagra causes not just greater blood flow but also greater desire. The hormone testosterone is the driving force behind libido; a man with little or no testosterone will not have any desire to have sex, Viagra or no.

Moreover, even with normal amounts of testosterone, “Viagra does not just instantly give a man an erection,” says Abraham Morgentaler, MD, associate clinical professor of urology at Harvard Medical School and author of The Viagra Myth.

“You have to be in a sexual situation, you need to have desire and intent, in order for the drug to work.”

Dr. Morgentaler tells the story of a patient who was very upset because Viagra didn’t do the trick for him.

“He said, ‘Doc, I followed your directions exactly. I took the pill an hour in advance. Then I watched a baseball game on TV and waited.’ The man’s wife was in the other room, waiting too; neither of them realized that the drug would be effective only if they were together, doing what couples do.”

Adds Andrea, whose own Viagra dating experiences and the experiences of similarly aged friends have ranged from excellent to Emergency Care Needed:

“You have to be crystal clear about what works for you and what doesn’t. Because even with someone you really, really adore … sometimes you just want to get back to reading your book!”

Your thoughts, ladies?  (And gents.)

17

Look on the Bright Side of Life

 
“My luck is getting worse and worse. Last night, for instance, I was mugged by a Quaker.” Woody Allen
 
My mother is a card-carrying pessimist and worrywart. 
 
She’s been that way as long as I can remember.  Her world view can be summed up as:  “If there isn’t anything to worry about, just wait.  There will be.” 
 
She doesn’t see the glass as half full or half empty.  She worries about who’s been using the glass before her and did they have a cold.
 
My Mother is particularly pessimistic about the marriages in our family. 
 
Both my brother and I have gone through divorces (two for him, just one for me.  At least I’ve got that going for me). 
 
She and my Dad, however, managed to stay married for almost 60 years.  Their marriage was a good one, from all appearances, but she came from an era where you were supposed to stay married no matter what.
 
I remember a couple that my parents were good friends with when I was growing up.  Even at the tender age of 10, I could tell these two loathed each other.  The wife was from the South.  She would smile that Scarlett O’Hara smile, dripping with honey, and say “Dear” to her husband, but only through tightly gritted teeth. 
 
If anybody should have gotten a divorce for the kids’ sake, it was them.  But, they stuck together to the bitter end.
 
My Mother never understood the reasons behind my divorce, or my brother’s.  She only knew that we’d “blown it” in some way.  (Her words.)
 
I’ve been happily married to my second husband for almost 35 years now, and my brother has been married (I assume happily) to his third wife for at least 25 years, so you would think my Mother would relax a bit.
 
Nope.
 
The other day when I went to take her grocery shopping, she said my brother had phoned her from his home in Colorado.  He said his wife had to go to California to be with her grown daughter from her first marriage. 
 
The daughter had been seriously ill with some mysterious illness and had been hospitalized.  My sister-in-law stayed in California for 38 days with her, but now she was back home.
 
I expressed concern about my brother’s stepdaughter and hoped that everything was going to be okay for her.  When I pressed my Mother about the details, she kind of brushed it off—partly because she can’t remember sh*t, but also because that wasn’t her biggest concern at the moment.
 
Out of the blue, she said “I hope they aren’t getting a divorce.”
 
For a moment I thought she was talking about someone else; maybe the kids across the street who ricochet back and forth in her esteem from a “lovely couple” to potential contestants on “Divorce Court.”
 
But, no.  She was referring to my brother and his wife–only because she was gone for 38 days–taking care of her desperately ill daughter. 
 
My Mother’s mind (much like the Lord) truly works in mysterious ways.
 
 
26

The Mother Who Didn’t Cry “Wolf!”

Sometimes my Mother can be a four-foot-eleven bundle of paradoxes.  Having come of age in the Depression Era, often she views things as either black or white, with very few shades of gray. 

If I had a dollar for every time she told me that “a family should be able to live on just the husband’s salary,” I might have been able to do just that.  But then I would have missed out on the joys of cleaning other people’s teeth for a living. 

Hmm….I’ll get back to you on that one.

Despite all of her firm traditional values, she (and my Dad) could be surprisingly open-minded at times.  For twenty-five years, until my Dad died, they lived in Laguna Beach, California.  (They weren’t wealthy, just lucky to have gotten a home there before it became the place to be for folks with tons of dough.) 

Laguna had always been an artist colony and was increasingly becoming a mecca for the gay community—a San Francisco South, in other words. 

So for people who believed in things being done the way they were supposed to be done, my folks were remarkably accepting of all that. 

In fact, my Mother, a frustrated interior designer wannabe, embraced the male “ho-mo-sex-u-als,” as she called them–rarely using the appellation “gay”–with fervor because they were living her dream.  They had the best homes and gardens; when they bought a fixer-upper, you could be sure it would turn out spectacularly. 

(Not so much the lesbian couple across the street—they were more into motorcycles.  As my Mother often says:  “Whatever.”)

With my Mother, you never know who’s going to turn up–will it be the Lifestyle Critic or the Libertarian?  Live as I say–or live and let live? 

That’s what makes taking her to doctor appointments such an adventure.  I never know if she’s formulating some criticism in her mind which she’s suddenly going to articulate out loud–often in the middle of a crowded waiting room. 

It’s like when my kids were toddlers and they would ask in a loud voice “Mommy, why is that woman so fat?” within earshot of what usually turned out to be a very pregnant lady and a store full of bemused shoppers. 

Only with my Mother, you can’t stick a cookie in her mouth to shut her up.  Well…not very easily or inconspicuously, anyway.

So it was with some trepidation that I sat in the crowded (is there any other kind?) waiting room of the eye doctor with my Mother yesterday. 

She, along with half the population of our town, was waiting for her pupils to dilate so the doctor could finish her exam.  Patients would disappear into the dark recesses of the office and come back out to the waiting room to quietly sit and dilate.  We were there for two hours before the process was completed.    

She’d been doing pretty well, given the wait.  There was no repeat of the time she stuck her tongue out at me at her regular doctor’s office while the nurse was taking her blood pressure. 

That was brought about by the argument we’d had earlier because she’d neglected to take her blood pressure medicine before the visit. 

I knew the reading wouldn’t accurately reflect what her pressure normally is, and I was afraid the doctor would change her medication.  The last thing we needed was her passing out at home because her BP was too low. 

So, of course, her BP reading was higher than normal.  But she made up for any scolding the nurse gave her by telling her we’d just had an argument, so it really wasn’t her fault.  Big smile aimed in my direction. 

Which left me sitting there feeling like I had the words “Elder Abuser” written across my forehead in blinking neon.

But anyway, this visit was going quite well. 

Then a large elderly man in a wheel chair was brought into the room by a young woman who must have been his granddaughter.  They stopped directly across from us and the woman sat down in a chair next to him.

Now, unlike my Mother, I try not to scrutinize people too closely in situations like this.  First of all, I don’t care that much.  Second, it’s none of my business. 

But with this young woman, it was hard not to notice her.  She was kind of plump, with long brown hair.  She was wearing jeans and a stretchy sleeveless tank top, which exposed her arms and shoulders.  When she bent over, there was an abundance of cleavage on display. 

But the most noticeable thing about her was her tattoos.

Tattoos on women have certainly become commonplace nowadays.  It’s not unusual to see them prominently displayed on just about any visible body part. 

This gal was no exception.  I tried not to spend too much time observing her, but I couldn’t help but notice that, among the several tattoos I could see, there was a rather large head of a wolf on her upper left arm near her shoulder. 

I remember thinking to myself “Why would a girl choose that?” 

But then, again, as my Mother says:  “Whatever.”  

The Tattooed Lady spent some time texting on her phone, but every once in awhile she would smile and talk to her grandfather and pat him on the arm in a reassuring way.  He seemed to appreciate her company and would smile warmly back at her.

Finally, we were released from our ophthalmological purgatory and I escorted my Mother out to the parking lot.  After we got into the car, she turned to me and asked “Did you see that girl with all the tattoos?” 

Thinking to myself “Here we go—she’s going to blast away at how the younger generation is going to hell in a handbasket,” I replied that, yes, I did notice her but I try not to stare at people.

To my surprise she said “I thought it was wonderful the way she patted that man on his arm.  That was really sweet.  It just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover.” 

And sometimes the mother whom you feared would be wolf-like in her criticism, instead turns out to be–a little lamb.

31

Age: It’s All (Your) Relative

When I spoke with my son a few days before his 45th birthday last week, he seemed somewhat bummed out by the prospect of his advancing age. 

I tried to reassure him that, from my perspective of 63 (soon to be 64), he was a young whippersnapper.  To me, 45 is still youthful. 

I don’t think I convinced him.

Two days ago my husband had his 75th birthday.  He’s not big on celebrating his natal day either.  He discourages any big show of gifts and he suggested that everyone just ignore that date on the calendar. 

He felt it should be skipped over for lack of interest—his. 

But I couldn’t do that, of course, so I got him a funny card from me and the cats, and our daughter here in town got him three packages of his favorite treat this time of year—Easter Peeps.  (Those things make my teeth hurt just looking at them.  Everyone knows chocolate is the only real candy, folks.)

In an odd juxtaposition with my telling my son he’s still (relatively) young, my husband’s 92 year-old mother phoned to wish her first born son a happy 75th. 

Now, that has to be a weird feeling for her.  How many mothers live long enough (and have their children young enough) to be able to wish them that? 

Not many, I’d wager.

Last night on an episode of Roseanne,” her mother, Beverly, is considering moving to a retirement condo.  She’s 63. 

Jackie is all for it because it will get their mother out of their hair, but Roseanne is oddly reluctant.  The condo is set up for older residents, with a medical alert button on a wall in every room and the option of moving to an adjacent nursing home should the need arise.

Roseanne tells Jackie that it makes her really uncomfortable to consider their mother’s death.

Jackie:  “Come on, Roseanne!  We’ve been planning her death for years!” 

Roseanne:  “That’s plotting, Jackie, not planning.”

Beverly has her way and moves into the condo without Roseanne’s blessing.  But Roseanne drops by with a housewarming gift and the two have a chat. 

Roseanne asks her mother how old she feels inside, since she and Jackie had that conversation earlier. 

(Roseanne had said she feels like she’s still sixteen.  Jackie started to say “Twenty-…” and then amends that to “Twelve—or maybe eight.”) 

Beverly is perplexed:  “I feel like I’m 63.  I feel like a 63 year-old woman.”

After a bit more discussion about the retirement condo and the looming nursing home, Beverly hugs Roseanne and tells her not to worry. 

Beverly:  “I may be 63, but I don’t feel like I’m old.”

Roseanne:  “Yes, you are.   And you’re draggin’ me with you.”

 

19

Wrinkle Resistant

The other night I was watching t.v. when another of those “miracle wrinkle remover” commercials came on. 

You know the ones, where they say they have a limited supply but they’ll send it to you for free if you just pay shipping and handling costs.  That’s because the stuff is essentially worthless and the company makes all of its profit on the shipping and handling.

There have been many ads like this lately but this one had a new “wrinkle” to it, pardon the pun.  It stated up front the only women who might benefit from their product are “between the ages of 40 and 60.”

Whoa.  This is the first time I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been deemed a hopeless case by the cosmetic industry.  It’s like, cosmetically speaking, I’ve been set on an ice floe and shoved out to sea.  If there still were ice floes.

I guess this company considers my wrinkles are of the permanent press variety.  In other words, in there to stay. 

I can just see the bigwigs sitting around the corporate conference table, discussing women over 60: 

“Naw, Herb, the wrinkles on those broads are so deep, even a steam roller wouldn’t flatten ’em.  Let’s go with the younger chicks who just think they have wrinkles.”  Guffaws all around.

My new patron saint of aging gracefully is Betty White.  So far I’ve really enjoyed her in her new TVLand sitcom “Hot in Cleveland,” along with her co-stars Wendie Malick, Valerie Bertinelli and Jane Leeves.

In one episode Jane is lamenting to Betty that she feels she’s getting old.  Betty tells her a secret that no one knows—that even though she is old, she still feels the same on the inside.  She goes on to admit that she’s often surprised that the face looking back at her from the mirror is not the face she was expecting to see.

Then Betty narrows her eyes, looks off into the distance and mutters:

“Sometimes she bugs me.”

I  hear ya, Betty.  Sometimes she bugs me too.

39

Not a Thing to Wear

I’m almost sixty-four years old and I don’t own a dress.

There was a time in my life when I did have garments of such a decidedly feminine nature—back when I was about twenty-five, maybe. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I like dresses and sometimes find myself going through the dress racks at my favorite department store just to see what’s in style right now. 

I have even been tempted to try some on, although the gawd-awful lighting and fun house mirrors in the dressing rooms make the experience more of a psychedelic one than I would wish.

It’s just that at this point in my life, I really don’t need a dress.  I’m not a church goer (see The Orthodox Agnostic for more explanation on that) and I don’t have a paying job that I have to dress up for. 

The kindergarten kids I read to twice a week wouldn’t care if I came to our sessions in pajamas.  In fact, there is a Pajama Day at their school where everyone, including the teachers, wears his or her snuggliest jammies for a day. 

Is that a blogger’s dream or what?

At this stage of the game, I’m more into comfort than getting dolled up in a skirt or dress.  I have a lot of nice dark wash jeans (thank you Stacey and Clinton for the advice) and several pretty sweaters and tops so I always look put together when I have to go out in public.  

So it was amusing when my granddaughter asked me a probing fashion question the other day as we cuddled together on my couch, while watching “Ben 10 Alien Force” during our weekly Sugary Cereal/Cartoon Marathon at Memaw’s last week.

Most of her inquiries in the past have been of a theological nature, which always leave me squirming a bit as I try to walk that delicate line between not contradicting what her parents have been teaching her and my blurting out that Genesis is basically a creation myth. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m under the scrutiny of a miniature Torquemada—but one who’s much more adorable than the original, I can assure you.

This time, she kind of squinted at me with those sweet, green eyes of hers as she posed the question:

“Memaw, why don’t you ever wear a dress?”     

My answer was essentially what I’ve just been saying here; that I don’t really have the need for one and I like wearing pants because they’re comfortable and easier to get around in for what I have to do during the day.

She thought about that for awhile and then told me:

“I know when you can wear one.”

“When?” I asked, thinking she would say “to church” and that I would have to dance around that minefield once again.  Instead, she said:

“To my wedding.”

I smiled (and melted inside) and said:

“You got it!  I will definitely wear a dress to your wedding.”

My granddaughter is eight.

I figure I’ve got a good fifteen years before I have to start looking.

My very first artist trading card

20

Unsafe at Any Speed

More notes from the Elder Care Underground—

The other day when I was driving my mother to the grocery store, I was mentally trying to hold my hands over my ears and go “la, la, la,” so I wouldn’t have to hear her latest story about the nice young couple across the street. 

She watches them like a hawk from the big window in her living room and observes all their comings and goings like some kind of neighborhood air traffic controller.  Nothing gets under her radar.

But since I wouldn’t allow her to go into her usual litany of complaints about the husband doing all the child care (he carries the baby out to the car–OMG!), she decided to tell me once more that she wished she still had her car so she could drive herself to the store.

It doesn’t matter that a.) she’s 91 years-old and b.) she’s essentially blind in one eye.  Technically she still could drive if she had a car because the state of Texas, in its infinite wisdom, issued her a driver’s license renewal through the mail four years ago. 

Her license is good until she’s 92–with no vision test–nada, zip, bupkus.

Besides being glad that she’s not on the road with other unsuspecting motorists, I was ecstatic when she sold her car because I hated that thing. 

It was a Saturn.  They don’t make them any more, so that tells you something right there.

It was one of the most irritating vehicles I’ve ever driven–and I’ve driven everything from a Ford Falcon with a perpetually primered fender to a Porsche 912, so I know. 

Imagine sitting in a bathtub as you drove down the street.  It was a lot like being in a Cialis commercial, but without the four hour erections.

Then I got to thinking about all the vehicles my parents had owned throughout their marriage.  I think my folks were lemon magnets, to be honest with you. 

When I was in high school the family car was a Corvair.  Yes, a Corvair!  The very car that Ralph Nader had warned us about in his book “Unsafe at Any Speed.”  Among it’s many attributes he noted that the Corvair’s single-piece steering column could impale the driver in a front collision. 

Now there’s a lovely thought to contemplate on your Sunday drive. 

Just taking the car out of “park” carried as much risk as Evel Knievel jumping over the Snake River on a motorcycle.

Later on they bought a Ford Pinto station wagon.  You know, the one where if you happened to be rear-ended by another car, the gas tank would explode–incinerating the Pinto’s occupants in a gigantic ball of flame. 

That Pinto.

So I’m very grateful that my mother isn’t driving any longer.

Although, not being able to drive hasn’t left her immune to a different kind of traffic accident. 

A couple of years ago a woman lost control of her motorized scooter at the supermarket and ran into my mother’s heels while she was weighing some fruit in the produce section. 

Personally, I think there should be an inquiry into the safety of those scooters.

Where’s Ralph Nader when you really need him?

 

28

On My Mother’s Sh*t List

We moved my now 91 year-old mother here to Texas from California about a year after my dad passed away. 

My older brother moved to Colorado from California around the same time. 

Consequently, my husband and I have been the overseers of my mother’s general welfare for the last 11 years.  Now that she doesn’t drive anymore (thank you, lord) I take her grocery shopping and to her doctor’s appointments. 

I keep track of all of her bills so she doesn’t get behind in payments for crucial things like her health insurance and property taxes, both of which came periously close to disaster awhile back when she forgot the statements were languishing in her desk drawer.

I pick up her prescriptions for her and either my husband or I fill her little pill boxes every week so she gets the right dosages of medication at the right time.  All she has to do is take them every morning.

In short, I do everything that a dutiful daughter is supposed to do for her aged mother while my brother enjoys a relatively carefree life in Colorado with no responsibilities to speak of apart from his dog and his third wife.

So this morning, the day after shlepping my mother to the grocery store while trying to ignore her unfounded complaints about the nice young couple across the street, she calls me to tell me a cute story my brother told her when he phoned today to see how she was doing in our unusually frigid weather. 

Normally he calls her about every three weeks.  The two of them have never gotten on very well and I know he’s quite happy having some physical distance between them. 

What I’ve discovered is the one who is farthest away becomes saintly in my mother’s eyes, and the one here closest to her becomes the target.

After telling me my brother’s story, she then asked me what I did with her grocery list from yesterday.  I told her I threw it away because she’d been leaving the old lists in her purse, which meant we went through most of one previous shopping trip working off of a list that was no longer relevant. 

Of course, I had to be wrong about that because she didn’t remember it.  She said she wanted to go over the list from yesterday to see if there was anything we forgot.  I said that the time to do that was while you’re still in the store, not a day later. 

And besides, we did go over the list before we left and I had asked her about an item we hadn’t gotten.  She had said she didn’t really want it that much anyway.  So this whole list thing was moot, in my view.

But did it stop there?  Ho, no, my friends.  “List-gate” went on for several more minutes, allowing my mother to get quite angry with me—which was her purpose in the first place.  If you can’t goad your adult children into an argument once in awhile and raise their blood pressure, what’s the point of having kids?

Is it too late for me to move to Colorado?

9

Oh, the Irony!

I found out recently from a cousin of mine who used to be a professional genealogist that I’m distantly related to George H.W. Bush and, by some huge cosmic joke, to his son, Dubya.

I told my cousin how ironic it all was, given my political persuasion, and said I would much rather be related to President Obama instead.

Upon hearing that, she laughed and said that could be a real possibility too, since Obama’s mother was born in the same county in Kansas as my father.

There’s always hope…