Friday, May 29, 2009

To each his own, I guess

I know I said last night I would be on hiatus for awhile, but a girl can change her mind, right? I was reminded this evening of a funny story, and I thought I'd share it with you.

I am married to a big strapping guy. He does manly stuff like take out the trash and change the propane on the gas grill. He fancies himself quite the outdoorsman and enjoys hunting, fishing, and golf. He loves football, hates the Cowboys. He is a good provider and protector, here in the Land of Estrogen.

His shoulders are broad, he carries a few extra pounds. He is hairy and he has big feet. He snores and his goal in the morning is to get clothes on that match...he doesn't begin to pretend to understand the concept of an "outfit." He is unabashedly a big smelly boy.

For a guy who is perfectly happy wearing a golf shirt and Dockers every day of the week, he cleans up pretty nicely. He prefers his clothing freshly pressed (too bad he chose me for a wife), and he never fails to spritz himself with some masculine foo foo juice of some sort, so he always smells good. His beard is cleanly trimmed, and he wears his hair quite short and always nicely groomed. Most days he leaves the house looking pretty well put together.

But as all you married girls know, a husband is sort of a work in progress. As much as he gets right, there is always room for improvement. And given my man's propensity towards the manly version of "getting ready" I've had some hurdles to clear during the past 15 years.

I worked on him for years, YEARS! I tell you, to get his eyebrows waxed. Lots of guys can pull off the no-maintenance brow, but my man is just a lot better looking when an aesthetician works her magic on him. I begged. I pleaded. I nagged. And finally, he gave in. Now, he's hooked. And, by the way, all the more handsome for it.

My latest ongoing Metrosexualization Project has been The Pedicure. I tell him to just suck it up and go do it. Your feel will feel great in the warm bubbly water. You get to sit in the fancy chair and the Magic Massage Motion will take away the troubles of your day. Kind of like Calgon, only in a nail salon surrounded by girls who don't speak English. Lena the Nail Goddess will clean up those calluses and trim up those toenails (I try not to use the word "nasty" here because I think it's a bit offensive). I sense that I am ever so close to selling him on the idea.

One Friday evening last fall, we found ourselves with a child-free Friday night on our hands. I needed a pedicure badly, and I pitched the idea to my beloved. We'll go have dinner, get side-by-side pedicures, and then find a way to while away the child free hours. He didn't bite, so I sent him home alone to ponder what he could have been doing with me while LittleG was away. And I went for a mani-pedi.

When I got to the nail salon, Lena the Nail Goddess swept me to my appointed nail station so she could give me the child-free Friday night pampering I so deserved. As we walked to her station, I noticed a nice grandfatherly looking man in the waiting area. I figured he was waiting for his wife or maybe a granddaughter, so I have to admit I didn't pay much attention to him. At first.

As Lena got started on my nails, something in the waiting area caught my eye. A quick flash of red kind of crossed my peripheral vision, so I turned to see what it was. There, in the waiting room, right on the bench by the nail polish, sat the nice grandfather guy. He was sixty-ish or so, wearing a polo type shirt and khaki pants.

And four-inch patent leather peep toe pumps.

Yeah, you read that right. Four inch patent leather peep toe pumps - red ones.

Before I could laugh out loud or stare inappropriately, Lena took me back for my pedicure. After a few minutes, you guessed it, here comes Gramps, headed for the spa chair next to mine. He slipped off his pumps - and trust me, they were fabulous - and one of the other girls got started on his pedicure.

At this point, I am too stunned to speak. While the other clients around us began to visit with him about his fabulous shoes, I did the only thing I knew to do. I turned up my iPod, shut my eyes, and prayed for it all to end. Lena finished me up and sent me off to the fancy toe dryer, and I missed the end of the conversation about where in the world a man who is over six feet tall can go to find a decent pair of stilettos.

I leave the shop with all the composure I can muster and go home and tell MrG what I've just seen. I let some time elapse before I call Lena to get the scoop, and I try not to giggle when I ask her for the low down on Gramps. Is he in the theater, I wonder? No. Is he a drag queen? No. What's the story then? Lena tells me, "he's just some normal guy." Huh? Say what?

Hate to tell you, Lena, but normal guys watch football. They wear clothes that usually almost match. They brush their hair and trim their beards. Sometimes they get their brows waxed. But a "normal" dude does NOT frequent the salon-in-a-box for semi-monthly spa pedicures, complete with French tip nail polish.

I've thought about Gramps often since our first encounter, but I have not been back to the shop on Friday night since then. Until tonight. I waltz in, and lo and behold, there sits Gramps, feet happily submerged in a tub of fragrant bubbly water.

Turns out, pedicures and high heel shoes are his thing. He's a regular in the shop, every other Friday night, 6 pm. Always French Tip polish, and always high heeled shoes.

Tonight he was pretty conservative in his white golf shirt, khaki capris, and cork wedge heel sandals, complete with woven straps and shiny rhinestones. If I had to guess, I'd say they were about 3 inches high. I suppose a boy's gotta go casual when he's sporting his summer capris.

A rather large, and dare I say scary-looking, man of color came in with his wife for side-by-side pedicures this evening, and they sat down in their respective spa chairs just as the Nail Goddess In Waiting was finishing up with Gramps. I guess since the guy had already forfeited his Man Card at the door, he lost all rights to judge another man at the pedicure station. But that didn't stop him from guffawing out loud as Gramps teetered out to his truck once his polish dried.

After what we're calling the Patent Leather Peep Toe Pump incident, I've given up trying to drag MrG in for a pedicure. And I'm pretty sure that the lovely lady who was in with her man tonight won't be enjoying side-by-side pedicures with her guy any time soon, either.

I guess now I need a new project for MrG, because the pedi' ain't ever gonna happen for my man. Thanks, Gramps.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Just wanted to pop in and say hi. I've been traveling, and there's nothing like 12 hours in the car with nothing but flat land ahead of you and lots of time alone with your thoughts to fuel the creative word machine that is the blog.

But, alas, I have some health things going on right now that are taking up a lot of my brain power. I'm hoping they turn out to be nothing, and when the time comes, maybe I'll share more with you.

But for now, I've sort of curled myself into the fetal position, hugging my duck, and rocking myself in time with my night night music. And so, no blog for you! For that to be funny, you have to say it like Seinfeld's Soup Nazi. For those of you who aren't Seinfeld junkies, sorry about that.

Be back the meantime, if you're due for one, please go get your annual gyno exam and mammogram. Go see the dentist and get your teeth checked. Have a colonoscopy if you're over 50. Eat enough fiber. Lay off the booze. Get some rest.

Yeah, I know. None of that sounds like a bit of fun, but no one should have to be frightened about something they can help control.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lady Steele, by MrG

Tonight, while watching the Dancing with the Stars Finale with my highly metrosexual husband, I was so enjoying the spectacle that is Lady Gaga. I commented on her unusual outfit and persona, and my Dearly Beloved pointed out that she may be Lady Gaga, but I am Lady Steele. And, he pointed out, I am TWICE the woman she is.

In case you are wondering, I will NOT be riding his Disco Stick. Not for a long damn time.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My spam filter, my friend, Monday Morning Edition

Sorry. I just couldn't let these go without a little Monday morning commentary.

We know the method to quit the aging process. Yeah, me too! It’s called death.

Sick of instant headaches? With us you can forget about them. They’ll still hurt like hell, but you just won’t remember them.

Prove to your wife that there still can be a lot of flame in your bed. That’s right kids, fire!!

A complete man consists of virility, stamina, endurance, and strength. Not a sense of humor, good job, intelligence of any kind. Sounds pretty damn incomplete to me.

Know the exact time at any part of the world. Oh, look! It’s 8:37 pm in Sri Lanka! My life is complete now.

Forget about depression and be in a perfect mood all the time. I know, I shouldn’t be tempted, but somehow I want this.

Have a look at medicine of unbelievable quality but funny prices. I don’t even know what this means.

You can look great without any special efforts. That’s right, ladies. Don’t primp, preen, or pluck. No effort whatsoever. Somehow I think this ties in to the pharmaceuticals referenced above.

We got medicine to cure any illness you suffer from. Oh yeah? Seems to me like all you got is bad grammar. A preposition is a horrible thing to end a sentence with. Ha!

When you feel that your virility is already dead, call us us. Because we we are offering special members only virility death ceremonies.

We offer the best alarm-clocks for your little friend down there. Goodness. Every little friend I’ve ever known has been able to get up without the aid of an alarm.

Our common secret! How secret can it be if it’s common?

Lose that fat without exercise. And while you’re at it, bank a million bucks without a job, and solve world hunger without feeding anyone.

A complete male in bed is always ready. In bed, yes! In the garage? In the back yard? In the kitchen? Not so much.

Make her sweaty and exhausted. Yeah, baby! Nothin’ says “I feel pretty” like sweaty and exhausted.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An open letter to KFC

Dear KFC Grilled Chicken Product Manager and Marketing Team,

I'd like to congratulate you all on the greatness that is Grilled KFC! I couldn't believe it when I heard a few weeks ago that you had finally come up with the perfect combination of the Colonel's secret spices AND healthy grilled chicken. Could it actually be true?

Oh, yeah, baby....KFC without the fat! A whole chicken breast for just four grams of fat? And a yummy one at that? Hold me while I cry!

It's now possible for me to feed my family grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes, without turning on the stove! Toss in a bagged salad, and bingo, instant bordering-on-healthy dinner that we can all agree on!

I would like to ask you to rethink your new website, though. I know you marketing guys get your eyes on the prize and forget to really THINK about the message you're sending. In this case, you're telling us about thinking thin, about the unfried, the healthy, blah blah blah.

But seriously, guys! Your new website? You know the one:

Some of your predecessors spent their entire careers branding KFC in the minds of consumers. So I hate to be the one to break it to you, but when we see "unthinkfc, "we don't read "Unthink FC." We see "Unthin KFC."

Hello? This the message you're trying to send?

Silly me! I was totally sold on grilled chicken throughout your commercial. See the pretty chicken? Ooh, pretty chicken! Low fat! No grease! Feed your family fast food, minus the guilt!

Then you go and eff it up by splashing your web address across the screen, and you replace the message of decent healthy meal by telling me "unthin KFC!"

Now I'm just confused! Can someone tell me - is it healthy or is it unthin? I'm a pretty smart girl, but this is just too much to figure out.

Reminds me of the Nissan commercials a couple years ago that said G O F A R T H E R. We all know they meant "go farther" but the way the letters appeared on the screen the first time I saw the commercial, I read "go fart her." And the next five hundred times I saw the commercial, I wondered only what "go fart her" really meant.

Maybe you and the Nissan guys all work for the same ad agency and no one checks your work? Hard to know.

In all fairness, I am in sales and not marketing, and I really don't understand what it takes to put together a marketing campaign for a new product. I've gotta believe, though, based on my own experience with marketing managers, that at least SOMEONE out there ought to be paying better attention!

Gotta go fart her. Unthin KFC. Peace out!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Anna Quindlen on motherhood

As is so often the case, my friend MK has sent me once again the perfect message. Funny and sweet and touching and true. The message, and my friend who sent it.

By Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author:

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, have all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there some thing wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, 'Remember-When- Mom-Did Hall of Fame.' The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, 'What did you get wrong?' (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

My spam filter, my friend

We have a spam filter at work to help cut down on the total crap we get through our email system. I always take the time to go through what gets caught there, because inevitably, one of my clients emails me and their note gets stuck in cyberspace.

I am alternately enraged and entertained by what I get via email from the scumbag spam masters who clearly don't speak English. Here are just a few real live subject lines, verbatim from my spam filter this morning, along with my thoughts.

Lost your libido and strength? We will help you look for it! Really? Wouldn’t it be more effective if you help me find it instead of just helping me look for it?

Aid your darling sexual times. Darling kittens I get. Darling puppies I get. Darling sexual times? Not so much!

We know the method to get rid of even the most destroying ache. Yeah, me, too. I’m thinking it’s a better spam filter!

We have inexpensive medicine from every illness. From, not for. Morons.

Uplift your belove night adventures. What is a belove night adventure and how do I know if I have one?

You feel like your little friend is a real dengerate? No, not my little one, but maybe my big one.

Barak caught nude. Good gawd, y’all! You think POTUS actually takes a shower in the buff?

Ascent your sweet sexuality. Not accent, mind you. Ascent.

You will like the quality of our soft, but moreover you will like the prices. Well, of course, if you’re going for soft, you'd better get your money's worth.

Revew your masculinity for yourself, for her and for your love. Is “her” also your love or do you have two “hers?” Or maybe a “her” and a “him?” Hard to tell from this. Really.

Enlarging your male instrument means winning a war. Hmm. Hadn’t really considered that a man’s sexual organ has anything at all to do with men and women fighting and dying.

The lack of confidence in men is a real turn-off for every woman. Oh yeah, baby. I like my men to be total arrogant jerks. Forget those sensitive, understanding, caring, loving guys. Wussies.

Hoist your sweet sexual times. Hoist, like using a pulley? Is there heavy machinery involved?

Could go foreverv. Write your own joke.

Never half-staying in bed. Far better to be half-falling out??

Wanna be a big sized guy? No, I’m much happier being a girl, but thanks.

You might not have gold in your wallet buy you will have gold on your wrist. Gold? Who needs it? I have plastic!

When you wish to feel like a man, nothing will stand on your way. Poor way! You think it hurts bad when you stand on it?

Be cool and be trendy, be a man that looks like candy. Nothing says big handsome stud like a peppermint patty.

This crysis never ends. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

This is how we do it!

This is why we do what we do, folks....

I've wished all my life to be a mom, and now that I am, I totally get it! It doesn't really matter how different your child is from you - different eye color, different skin color, different gender, different beliefs - you love that kid anyway, because that's what we do.

We love and we provide and we nurture when we can, and we help our little ones learn to stand on their own. And hopefully, we do the same with the children around us who aren't our own.

There may not be a more noble job imaginable.

Happy Mothers Day!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I have achieved Nerd Nirvana

I got an email at the office today as follows:

Subject: Oh goddess of the spreadsheet

Will you help a lame mortal with Excel?

Now how, exactly, do you turn down a request for help from anyone (much less a beloved co-worker) who refers to you as a goddess (of anything) AND thinks you have it going on well enough to solve a problem??

I did, by the way, have the answer.

I SERIOUSLY need a dose of coolness in my life. Now where did I put that damn pocket protector?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad

I missed you today. It's been a long time, and sometimes I just wish the phone would ring and it would be you. I didn't appreciate our time together like I should have, and I'm sorry.

For your birthday, I'm assuming you got what you always asked for....a little peace and quiet. I thought I'd give you a quick update on my world.

Life is good for me. My job right now is what you would have called "a learning experience" and I'm happy to say that my mind, like a parachute, works best when open. You were right about that, but I don't know that I ever told you. It might surprise you, or not, I guess, to find out that I turned out to be a pretty respectable sales person. Funny where life leads you, I guess.

You were also right when you told me, sometimes repeatedly and not very nicely that I am just like my mother. I would like to think that's true, and I believe it is to some extent. You loved her for more than 40 years, so I'm thinking her track record isn't half bad.

LittleG is beautiful and sassy and so much like me that it would make your heart ache to see her. I call her Sugar sometimes, like you used to call me. It makes us both happy, and I think it's a quiet tribute to you. I told her the other day that you used to call me by that name. She asks about you sometimes and wonders if you and Daisy are ok together in heaven. I don't know how much she will remember about you, but I'm doing my best to remind her that you always had a sucker for her, especially when we visited you in the hospital.

MrG is such a good man and I am convinced at alternating times that he is a total blithering idiot, and the most brilliant man on the earth.

I am so lucky to have such a nice family.

We've been in our house now for nearly a decade, and we've never been a day late on the payment. Who would have thought all those years ago when all I could manage was overdue student loans that I would ever turn into a real live grownup?

Just because I know you'd want to know, yes, my car is running well. I have just over 53,000 miles on it, and it will soon be time to rotate the tires and change the oil like a good little car owner should. Thanks for the valuable lesson in car maintenance and responsibility. By the way, I still have my dorky Excel spreadsheet that calculates the mileage. Some habits die hard, I guess.

I'm putting some money away every month, just like you taught me, and someday, perhaps, I will be able to afford to send LittleG to school for a semester and buy a book or two. Those lessons about financial planning make a lot more sense to me now.

I have some really terrific friends - friends who surround me and hold me up, who laugh with me and cry with me, and see my faults and love me anyway. Jennifer sent me a message today on Facebook, and I know she misses you, too. I learned a lot about the value of a friend from you.

I look back with respect and admiration at your friendships....the 12 men who stood with you as we celebrated your life then marched down the aisles of the church to the strains of the triumphant Aggie War Hymn, the hundreds of people from all over the world who played an online memorial backgammon tournament in your name, the church friends you found late in life, and the folks from the irrigation community who respected and loved you. I will probably never have the type of friendships you had, because I think few people do. But you know what? My posse is mine, and they love me, and I love them in return.

I tried to make you proud, Dad. Good job, good family, good friends. A girl could do a whole lot worse.

I hope wherever you are tonight that this message finds you and you feel the love across the miles. I miss you, Dad. Happy birthday.