Pretty (A Rant)

I was quite interested to see that the new show "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" had a woman on the other night that was actually a person I could relate to. How so, you say? She was a larger woman. She'd lost something like 150 lbs. and looked amazing, but yes, she was still larger than most of the people you see on TV.* On the street, however, she was probably closer to the norm than the images we see in the media, movies and television. Especially when it comes to style and fashion. For some reason the term "forgotten woman" has become a tag for these women. I think Lane Bryant may even have taken it as a new brand name. I noticed Tim Gunn referred to this woman in the same way once.

I used to be skinny. Unbelievably skinny. All my life I was tall for my age and be it the stresses I lived under or just genetics, I was thin. I ate pretty much anything and everything – having a good appetite for most foods – but to be honest I was pretty active, too. Although I was never in any sports (can you say, klutz?) I walked everywhere and did a lot of physical labor around the house (understatement). As a teen I was the perfect geek. Think Ally Sheedy in "The Breakfast Club" and add glasses and zits (I didn't have braces, how I lucked out on those I will never know) and you have a pretty good picture of me. As I got older I finally got contacts and the zits got better but I had such a poor self-image that I couldn't see that I was actually improving and, dare I say, pretty.
After a couple of kids, I gained some weight but even then I didn't weigh what I should have weighed for my height. I went through the divorce dance and ended up back at my high school weight again when I met my current husband.  I had his encouragement. He thought I was beautiful, but of course I couldn't see it. I was so self-concious that for the first few months we knew each other I wouldn't let him see me in my glasses or without makeup – of course he did, but I tried to keep it to a minimum. With more children came more weight and with happiness came a contentment with my body that led me to ignore what weight I was putting on.
At an all time high I finally realized something had to happen. I'd begun working as a manager at a large women's clothing store and had a wide range of lovely clothes to chose from – as well as a lot of really hideous stuff. (Let's be honest.) But I found when I saw pictures of myself in those clothes they really made me look old. Lots older than I was. I finally was becoming aware that I wasn't happy with my look.
Several diets later and many years later and I've done my share of ups and downs. I've never gotten down to what I was when I met my husband, but then, that really was too thin. I'm know I'm heavier than I should be, but I'm not as heavy as I was, and I've accepted I'm probably never going to be a skinny minnie. Ever again. However, in watching this program it came to me that just because I'm not doesn't mean I can't be pretty and sexy and proud of myself. (How many of you are saying, DUH? Okay, I'm a bit slow…) To his credit, my husband has always made me feel loved no matter how I look – even when I'm having a blechy day and haven't showered or brushed my teeth and have the worst bed-head on the planet, he'll still give me a hug and a kiss and tell me he loves me. No, he's not deaf, dumb and blind. He's just good that way. 
The rant. (You were wondering when it was coming…?) One other thing that bothers me about these style and makeover shows is I notice everyone that has poor eyesight and must wear glasses is either put into contacts or given surgery to correct their vision. I want, just once, for them to do all those wonderful things to some lovely woman and do it WITH the glasses. Some of us can't have the surgery or wear the contacts and I think it would be nice of them to acknowledge that. Would that be so bad? I mean, really… they are making an attempt at doing makeovers now for a more 'normal' sized woman. Can't we do the same for the vision impaired? (Maybe they have and I've just missed it. I don't watch every single show on the planet, so if I missed this actually happening I'd appreciate hearing about it. In which case I'll do a Gilda Radner and just say, "nevermind"…)
So… when you look in the mirror, do you think you're pretty? (Yes, guys, that can include you – only we'll call it handsome, 'kay? Happy?)
* I want to point out that I've had this ready to post for a few days but got side-tracked with all the other things going on. However, Sizzle had a wonderful post yesterday that addressed some of these issues and I so agree with everything she said as well. Please check out her post.

Talk Like a Pirate Day! *Updated*

Today. In case you forgot. I caught drift of this when it happened last year, but sadly it was after the fact. Because I'm not good at second languages I'll just say "Arrr" a few times and hope the parrot doesn't shit on my head.

With all the recent drama (if you don't know what I mean you've been living in a box, page down a bit) around here, then my trip out of town to visit Rick's I thought we could use a bit of light-hearted frivolity. In the spirit of the day I have a question. When you hear the word WENCH what do you think of? Tell me the first thing that pops in your head.

Now without changing your opinion I'm going to tell you I'm also known as Wench in my make-believe life. Relax, this is no big reveal that I'm not actually living the life of a farmer's wife in the heartland but am actually The Donald's Love Child. No, I'm talking about one of my other time-wasting pastimes. I'm nowhwere near as pre-occupied with it as I once was (mainly due to sub-standard internet service) but as I've mentioned before I have a (small) addiction to World of Warcraft. In the game you must have a unique name which in itself is not as easy as it sounds. For some reason I hit on the word "wench" with other combinations, i.e. Wikkedwench, Deathwench, Motherwench, and it became my unique signature.

Hubs hates it. He doesn't play, but he knows that's what I'm called and he has negative connotations associated with it. Me? Not so much. (I even have a male character I created that resembles him and named Manwench just to freak out my kids who play…Heh.)

Anywhoo – that is the first part of this post, to ask what do you think of when you hear WENCH?

The second reason is a meme. I was originally tagged by Olivia and begged off because I'm feeling a bit vulnurable right now with all the attention I've gotten lately and didn't want to give out my real middle name. I've not been subtle with the rest of my name but there are enough 'clones' out there I'm assured a bit of anonomity. However, when Michael tagged me again with the same game the lightbulb went off in my head and I decided to do it with my 'fake' middle name. (The rules say you can make up a name but I really wanted one that had some association to me and until I thought of WoW, because that's how I actually met Michael, I was being dense.) So, Olivia and Michael, here I give you my response to your 'tag' – using WENCH. 

Rules: Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you do not have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have. At the end of your blog post you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Do not forget to leave them a comment telling them they are tagged and to read your blog.

W – Woman, hear me roar. If you are too young to remember this song… well, then damn, I am Old. No, Old doesn't start with W. Worn Out however, does.

E – Elegant. (Can you hear my family laughing from there?) yeah… not so much. I'm more Earthy. With a touch of Elephant and a bit of Excitement and a lot of Evolving.

N – Nice. Most of the time.

C – Complicated. If you don't believe me, ask my husband.

H – Helpful? Happy? Haunted? Hopeful? Helpless? All of the above.

Since I have a name with five letters I'm supposed to tag five people. Ya know what, tho'? In honor of "Talk Like a Pirate Day" I'll just let you walk the plank. If you want to play, let me know. Arrr.

My pirate name is:
Red Bess Rackham

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Bustin’ My…

…maybe I'd better just say I'm not here today. I'm over at Rick Leonard's guest blogging! C'mon over. You know you want to. Even you –  the guy that hates to follow links. C'mon… just once? It'll be fun. I promise. It won't hurt a bit. Just move over the words "Rick Leonard" and click. Just once. See? Wasn't that easy? Oh. You're reading this. That means you're still here. Why are you here? You didn't click? What is wrong with you? I said it would be easy… geez. Pretty please? Pretty please with Splenda on top (see how us diabetics have incorporated everyday things into our lives?)…  

If you're still here. I suppose I'll just see you tomorrow. Back here. Same time, same place. Still? You're missing out…  I just had to say that.

btw – I'm still open to your suggestions about how to handle comments, but I will tell you that there is now a place to click in the comments that will give you RSS feed for comments. You know, just in case you want to see what everyone else says or if I happen to respond via comments. That is all.

Drama *Updated*

I'm used to having a bit of drama in my life, 'cause, well, that's just my life. With four kids, their spouses and/or significant others, a grandchild, and too many critters and grand-critters to mention Hubs calls our life the "whack-a-mole" game. I'm sure you've seen this game at some fair or community fun-fest. You get a big mallet and the moles just keep popping their heads out of the holes and your job is to get them all pounded down… and make sure they stay that way. Hubs always says that about the time every "mole" is put in its place and calm has descended, you can be sure another one will pop up.

I'm not used to drama in blogland. I've heard rumors it happens, but until this weekend I hadn't had the fun experience for myself. For those of you living under a rock, this is what happened:

Heather (who I won't link because you wouldn't find admittance anyway) was a relatively new blogger that commented one day on my blog and I followed through to go "meet" her (as I do, you know, 'cause I'm curious and gotta see who is coming to see me!). I found a most exciting blog of a young woman who is a marine biologist on a 23 day journey to find a previously unidentified species of whale. Cool beans, huh? That's what I thought. She did my interview and I followed her site for the past nine days staring open-mouthed at the gorgeousness of her (I asked her if that really was her in the id photo and was told yes!) and the outstanding photos of the sea life, the boat, and the life she was leading.

To make it even more intriguing, was her family, left at home. A husband and three (I believe) children. The kids and her husband and apparent real-life friends have commented on her blog and her husband left a very moving post on his own blog. It is one of those where life is really way more exciting than fiction.

Then enters Thelma. Thelma who? I haven't a clue. I wasn't one of the lucky recipients of Thelmas' comment… but she must have hit every other person who had ever visited Heather's site. Her comment? That Heather was a fraud. She put links to some of Heather's more exciting photos to other sites on the internet and said she'd stolen them from these sites and that she wasn't who she said she was. I saw several people post about this – totally shocked.

In the mean-time, Heather had e-mailed me and told me she was going to take her site private because her friend's photos were being copied from her site and he didn't want them taken as that is how he makes his money. Made sense to me. People go private for lots of reasons and that one made perfect sense as she did have some gorgeous photos there. (Just for the record, I never copied a one.)

Finally I got this email from Heather that addressed the controversy. I know she put a similar comment up on another blog to try and explain what was happening:

"I havent followed any of the links that this woman left, but the pictures will and always will belong to Tim (he works for Discovery) until he sells them and he's allowed to post them whereever he'd like.  No the things being said about me aren't true, and I commented on kimmyk's blog.  I don't have any desire to get into a drama fight though over a blog,"

So. I guess until I have proof that someone is lying to my face, I just take it all with a grain of salt and try and stay out of the fray. I'll hope Heather lets me in to continue to enjoy her journey and if I find out she really is blogging from Nebraska, well, we'll deal with that if and when it happens. Until then, I'm going to just go with it… like I go with all of you. Okay? Play nice now.

*Update* So, I guess I've made an enemy. Not what I intended, that's for sure… but I guess we can't always predict how our words will be taken. Heather has left a comment that pretty well puts it all out there and now is, for all intents and purposes, closing the door.  I wish this hadn't happened. I wish, truly, that Thelma, whoever she is, would have just kept her nose out of it. She took a good thing and trashed it big-time for all of us who were enjoying getting to know Heather and her journey. Crap. Now I just feel bad.

Input Necessary *Updated*

I know I've asked you all this before, but the last time I brought up the subject there were only 3 of you reading. Now that there are slightly more than that I need to check in again. It is related to comments. Please tell me which one you prefer:

  1. To have your comment answered or acknowledged via e-mail (which is how I've been doing it).
  2. To have your comment answered or acknowledged in comments
  3. To have me pretend you were never here, making you feel better about having come here
  4. None of the above – suggestions welcome

Thanks! If you'd be so kind as to respond, this may stay up through the weekend just so you all get a chance to answer. I really AM wondering. Seems I see a little of both out on your sites and just didn't know which one you thought was proper… or correct blog manners. Is there such a thing? Hmmm…

*Update* Once again I thank everyone for participating in my poll. As of now there really is no clear "winner"… but I think I'm getting an idea of what you'd like to have. Also, is it only me who sees the irony in practically breaking my own highest number of comments from people commenting on a post about comments? Okay, maybe just me…

For a Friend

A friend asked me to post this because he's not sure if any of his real life friends have found his blog and he doesn't want to say this in front of them, but we all need an outlet sometimes, don't we? Please know all comments will be forwarded to him. (I'm not linking to his blog for the privacy issue, also, but if you want to know who it is I don't think he'd mind if I told you privately.

Confession of a Selfish Shallow and Craven Friend

I met Steve after Ron introduced me to Connie. Connie’s Father passed away and she and her husband Steve had filmed a series of interviews with both the old man and his wife Rose just days before he passed and wanted to know if I could make a memorial video for them.

Ron is a local Karaoke Jockey and Connie and Steve are regular followers of his, and when they discussed what they were looking for my name popped into Ron’s head as someone with too much time on his hands.

The footage was rather extensive and I watched about six hours of narrative, sitting on the edge of my seat with excitement as Poppa Buck shifted from one side of his recliner to the other. And Rose put her glasses on then took them off again, then took a long slow draw from her glass of the lemonade or sweet tea she held in her mildly shaking hand. There were long periods of uncomfortable silence when nothing was said, no questions formed so no response given, just mild fidgeting and bemused stares up in the direction of a painting of a meadow scene with a large antlered deer majestically captured. The pentacle of Reality shows.

Sometimes the commotion from the kitchen or from the production/camera crew, the dynamic duo of family documentaries would out weigh the focal action of the star of the show as he sat swinging his feet back and forth and pulling a wispy strand of cotton white hair away from his head like a small child waiting in some clinic’s reception room. Other times the silence was deafening and awkward until another outbreak of squabbling about what to ask, where to focus the camera, which should do what would burst from the background. All in all it was a challenge, but not without merit.

There were some very tender moments, and a lot of humor from Buck and Rose as well. By the time I finished the video, I missed Buck as much as the family did.

Connie dropped by the clubhouse at my open mike night extravaganza one Friday night to thank me for the DVD and introduced me to her husband Steve. They stayed awhile and sang a few songs and decided they liked the company. The next day they looked at a house down the street from me and completed a purchase making themselves at home in our little community in a matter of weeks. Steve still works as a truck driver and yet still finds time for fishing, shuffleboard, jam sessions, picnics, horseshoes, singing, home repairs and maintenance, helping out in community projects, and just sitting out on the front porch visiting with neighbors.

We have all become the rat pack of the community, the gray rapscallions; Ron, Steve, Bill and Don and yours truly pitching in with the practical jokes and irreverent disregard for the stiff collared cool status quo of the community affairs committee; although despite our best efforts we tend to do more towards the communities welfare than its disservice.

Bills wife Rose passed away from cancer just over a month ago, and we are still grieving. Don’s wife just under went heart surgery and won’t allow Don to tell anyone what has happened (obviously she is not well if she thinks something like that could be kept secret) Don is stressed and we only speak of it in vague references like how do we offer comfort food? I was just aimlessly walking by with this fresh pie in my basket and realized I just can’t carry it any further will you do me a great favor and take it off my hands please? Steve was diagnosed with prostate cancer a couple weeks ago and just Thursday afternoon received the word that all twelve biopsies came back malignant. The doctor suggested there is no need for painful radiation and chemo treatments. It is too far spread. I was actually relieved when he and Connie did not show up for Open Mike night last night. I am full run out of support and strength. Steve is the youngest, most active, best looking, most popular of us all and yet he must face his mortality too soon. And all I can think is I am older, lame, and more broken down. I am a virtual dam of ailments ready to burst at any moment yet everywhere around me my neighbors are dropping like flies. And as much as I am not ready to leave this troublesome world, I don’t want to be left alone.

That is why I cannot post this where there is even a remote chance that my neighbors might find it. Then they will know how selfishly shallow and craven I really am.

This morning I came across Steve and Connie having coffee at the clubhouse. Steve looked calm and ordinary, well if the 'coming off a two-day drunk' look were ordinary which at our age it is not; Connie couldn’t hide the puffy red eyes and sunken cheeks. She wore a smile on her face and laughed and made polite conversation, but her eyes betrayed her emotions. Steve met me with a steely gaze that said don’t go there at least that is my interpretation and I didn’t.

Our encounter was more “Hey.” a casual greeting from Steve.

“What’s up?” dismal silence, more glare.

“Coffee’s good.”

“Sounds good. Uh, I guess I’ll go find a cup.” Envision me skulking away at double time to the coffee maker.

Everyone is avoiding Steve like he is a dark shadow attached to Connie, and to Connie they all pretend like nothing is going on. I hate this. I am part of they. I don’t know what to do or say. Do I really want him to just wander off from the herd to be forgotten, left to fend on his own?

I am home now and I never want to step outside my cave again.

Game Day!

        herky       cy

I'm not normally a sports fan. For some reason, even though I don't watch sports I like the background mood they give to my day. When I hear a football game playing on television I'm instantly reminded of crisp fall breezes, maybe even a turkey roasting, and cold beer. I don't even drink beer. Huh.

Today is the "Iowa Superbowl". University of Iowa in Iowa City is playing Iowa State University in Ames at Ames. So far, Iowa State has won the majority of the match-ups, but this year could be a disaster. A new coach has gotten ISU to 0-2 compared to Iowa which is 2-0.  Because I live near Ames, worked several years at ISU, and my children have given them more than they should lots of tuition, I have to root for ISU when the two teams come together. (Any other time I will root for both teams against whoever they're playing.) I don't normally even watch the game, just take a wait and see attitude hoping my home team doesn't get creamed too bad. Today I may even watch… I'll keep you informed.

2nd Quarter: ISU is leading by 9! OMG… is this possible?

Half Time: ISU is leading 12 – 0. ZERO. I'm flabbergasted. Should I stop watching now? Will I jinx 'em? Decision, decisions… let's go make popcorn.

3rd Quarter: Reality is setting in. ISU 12 vs. Iowa 10.

Final: WE WON! WE WON! WE WON! ISU 15 vs. Iowa 13. Holy COW!

I think I need a nap.

A Peek Inside My Bedroom*

I'm generally snuggled into a comfy recliner downstairs or the bed watching a different television program than Hubs. He and I rarely watch the same programs unless it is a movie we both want to see. Having said that, he generally comes in to bed anywhere from 8:30 until 10:00 and is asleep shortly as I continue to watch my program (which, if it is British, will have him snoring in record time!) or I'm reading. Last night he came in about 8:30 as I was in the middle of a two-hour round of "Top Chef". (Why I have gotten hooked on this program is beyond me, not normally my kind of show. Ironically, the youngest daughter is hooked, too, and we found out by reading each others' blogs!)

Hubs: Oh… this is that cooking show. The one that has that chef-guy you two like. Which one is he?

Me: The bald one.

Hubs: THAT one?

Me: No, that's Howie. Nobody likes Howie. Wait… wait…. there he is!

Hubs: Him? Ewww… 

Me: He's got a good personality and I like his smile.

Hubs: He's a complete opposite of me!

Me: But I love you.

Hubs: …

The repeated hour concludes, now we get to have the new episode.

Hubs: What? Again? Is this a marathon?

Me: No, just another episode. Look at it as a 2-hour movie.

Hubs: Can't we watch "Ice Road Truckers"?

Me: Yes, you can go watch in the other room.

Hubs: …

Me: Or, you can watch it here and I'll go in the other room.

Hubs: …

Nobody moves. A few minutes goes by.

Me: You know what? This is making me hungry… Peanut butter!

Hubs and Me together: On saltines! (We're good like that sometimes.)

I go get the crackers, peanut butter, margerine, paper plates and knives and we proceed to crumb-up the bed.

I know you're jealous. we lead such an exciting life.

*Technically, this is our bedroom, but due to OCS (Only Child Syndrome) I have a unique way of looking at things. I'm just lucky my husband has a good sense of humor.