Words of Wisdom, From Joe

“Jimmie!” said Joe. “Did you know that macaroni has lots of calories?”

My supper club bunch and I were having dinner at Finezza’s (Italian – very good, highly recommend), and Joe had apparently watched a new documentary.

“Yes, I know,” I replied.

“It’s got more than the cheese! I thought macaroni and cheese was healthy!”

“No,” I replied smugly*, “noodles have a lot of empty calories. They are a great way to convey flavors to your mouth but the calorie payoff is pretty rough.”

*I can say this with smugness because I’ve recently given up all grains and if I don’t say it smugly, I might cry.

“Also, did you know that fruit juice is mostly sugar?” Joe was distraught.

“Yes, Joe, I know. It’s disappointing.  It sounds so good for you but it’s really not,” I replied.

Joe shook his head mournfully. “No wonder I’ve gained so much weight,” he said (he hasn’t) and then he sighed.

The waiter rounded the table to take our orders and I wondered what Joe would eat. He’s a lot like Dammit Todd.  His food is his focus until the meal is gone and there’s no talking to him until the last bite has been consumed.  He thoroughly enjoys whatever he has ordered and it’s a pleasure to watch him at dinner.

“What will you have, sir?” she asked Joe.

“Lasagna, please. Extra cheese.  And lemonade, thanks.”

Oh, Joe. I do love him.

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Snarky

This weekend I went shopping with Daisy. Often I like to shop for undergarments and often I drive my shopping partners nuts because I only wear matching sets.  Finding matching sets isn’t always easy for me despite all those cute undercracker sets you see in Target.  Those cute sets only come in size perky or petite, and this will surprise you, but I am neither.

I’ve been on a quest to find the right nude and white sets of undies. I’m sorry, this is TMI, but we are in the trenches now.  Anyway, on my quest, I’ve recently purchased and worn a set of each, only to discover that the brassieres are at minimum a size too large, despite my having been measured by an “expert.”  (“Expert” here means a shop girl holding a measuring tape and the measuring is done over the blouse, not “expert” like that high school football player who offered to “measure” me that one time because he “knows titties.”)

Daisy was off in the sized perky and petite bathing suits, rummaging for a suit for our pending Florida vacation, when a brassiere measuring “expert” approached me about the undergarments I was riffling through. “Would you like to try one of those?” she asked.  “It’s the best brand.  They fit like a dream.”

“Sure,” I said, because we all know that once a woman trails off into the bathing suit section, things can take a lengthy turn. It’s because women like being mean to themselves and criticizing all their perceived flaws, and I was going to let Daisy do that in peace because no amount of my telling her she’s perky and petite will make trying on a bathing suit any easier.  What else was I going to do with my time but try on some bras? Plus, I was in the market for one.

The “expert” trundled me off to the dressing room to give me a thorough measuring and once she got a gander at my (super cute, almost perfectly fitting) bra, she began bellowing.

“WELL NO WONDER YOU ARE IN HERE. That bra fit is AWFUL. MY GOD, THIS IS TERRIBLE.  You aren’t in the right size AT ALL.  Look at that wide back!  You need a triple D, with LOTS OF SUPPORT, GOODNESS!!!”

She waddled out of the dressing room after my thorough tongue-lashing during which I had to say, “Could you please not let everyone in the store hear my business? Could you please stop yelling?” and helped me select three bras. I picked the pretty ones and she picked the parachutes.

“Try these on,” she ordered. “They are meant to COVER THE BREAST UNLIKE THAT THING YOU HAVE ON THAT LETS THEM SHOW OUT THE TOP.” I clutched my three selections and shame-facedly made it back to the dressing room, me and my ill-fitted bosoms.

The first one, her selection, sure did fit like a dream, if a dream fits too large and droopy. My whole breast was swimming in there, and if any of you have breasts, you could have put one of yours off in there with mine.  It isn’t often I put on an undergarment that is too large, but I have to say, that was heady stuff.  I turned to the side to see how the breast just kind of pushed out from the body and then flopped over like a pancake on the lip of a plate.  That was weird because my breasts don’t do that even on their own, even unfettered.  I’m 44 but gravity hasn’t killed me yet.

The second one was just as bad. Maybe bigger in the cup size, though, and instead of making me look like I had pancakes for boobs, I looked like a little kid in my grandmother’s bra which was stuffed with pads and slightly pointy.

“How’s it going in there?” the sales lady hollered through the door.

“I look like a battle ax in these. I mean, the hooks on the back cover up the entire area between the top of my shoulder blade to the bottom of my rib cage.  And the straps are like rip cords. Very sturdy and not at all flattering.”  I was not impressed.

Neither was she. “YOUR ENTIRE BREAST IS FALLING OUT OF YOUR BRA.  These are meant to be SUPPORTIVE, something you CLEARLY NEED.”  I remembered how my breasts looked in my super cute, almost perfectly fitted t-shirt just five minutes ago when they were high and tight in my super cute, almost perfectly fitted bra and was puzzled.

I tried, though. “Sure, I’m with you, but this bra will stick out of my shirts because it comes up so high. The one I own is more of a lifter and separator, because I like my breasts placed in the breast region, not smashed down and covered to my neck, where, and this is weird, I don’t have any breasts. Does anyone have breasts up to their neck? Because this cup comes up to my neck.”

“You do what you want but I wear these all the time,” she sniffed, and then stiffly marched back to her cash register.

I tried on the pretty bra that I picked out and wouldn’t you know it really did fit like a dream. I didn’t look like a ‘ho, but then I didn’t look like Maxine either.  I turned this way and that and admired how high and tight everything was, how I could breathe normally, how nothing fell out of the bottom, and then I took it off and hung it back on the hanger.

As I walked out of the dressing room, the sales lady called, “Did you like that one?”

“I did,” I replied.

“There is a free gift with purchase,” she enticed even though she was still offended.

“Ooh,” I mulled. “Is the free gift a matching panty?” I was intrigued and would have slapped down the ridiculous $65-per-bra lickety split if she had said yes.  But she didn’t.

“No, it’s a lingerie bag. We don’t have matching panties for that bra.”

And that was that. Bra back on the rack, Daisy and I out, saleslady miffed.

That’s how it goes, folks. Never an easy answer for boobs like mine.

 

 

Don’t Freak Out. I Am Okay.

So I had a heart test last week. I’m leading with that in case any of you were planning to give me a hard time about being gone for so long.  Making you feel guilty right out of the gate is a neat deflector when I don’t have a good explanation for my absence other than “lazy” and “in a highly committed relationship with my sofa.”

I had stress echocardiogram to be exact, which is usually prescribed when someone is having chest pains and the like. I wasn’t having chest pains or shortness of breath but I could feel my heart inside my chest.  When I can feel my ovaries inside my abdomen, I know the pain is coming and that there’s no amount of Advil or chocolate or heating pads that will make that pain stop, so when I became suddenly aware of a new sensation in my heart, I assumed it would be the same.  Like all rational people, when the sensation hit at 2:00 am, I self-diagnosed “impending heart attack” and took an aspirin and then toyed with the idea of writing a living will in case I kicked off in the middle of the night.  Note that I did not drive myself to the ER or make a doctor’s appointment, nor did I write a living will.

Perhaps I will do that now in case I ever do kick off in the middle of the night.

Jimmie’s Living Will:

Do not put me on a machine to live.

Give away every organ you can.

Incinerate the remainder of me or donate the remainder of me to science.

Martie is to sell my house and pocket the equity, give my car to whichever kid is next in line to get one, and use my retirement money for somebody’s college education.

Woney gets my Tiffany bow necklace, Daisy can have back the earrings she lent me, Phranke gets Seamus (because Murphy will expire from a broken heart when I do), and Martie gets all the rest.

There. Done.

After self-diagnosing “impending heart attack” three or four times, I did make an appointment with my doctor who scheduled my stress echo, and clearly I am okay because I told you in the title that I was. Here’s the good part, though, the part you have been waiting for ever since I started this post.  I had to take my clothes off for this test.  And because I had to take my clothes off, I handled this doctor’s appointment with as much aplomb and finesse as all my other doctors’ appointments wherein my clothing has to be removed.   Here’s the breakdown of that visit:

Pro:

  • Nothing is wrong with my heart.

Cons:

  • I waited 52 minutes for my test. I asked and was told twice that there was no back up and that my appointment would happen right on time but I waited 52 minutes and had to listen to not only Rachael Ray’s talk show but also The Price is Right.
  • I had to wear a gown.
  • The schedulers told me three times I could keep my clothes on but I had to wear a gown.
  • The gown was too small.
  • Steven, a student, was invited to observe my test for which I had to wear a gown that was too small.
  • It took too much screeching at a pitch only dogs could hear before we all agreed that having Steven the student join us was a bad idea. My throat hurt.
  • No matter how much screeching at a pitch only dogs could hear that I did, I still had to hoof it 12 minutes on a treadmill with no bra and in a gown that was too small.
  • It took too much screeching at a pitch only dogs could hear for one of the technicians to finally say to her co-workers, “You know, we should probably try to remember what this is like on both sides of the table, shouldn’t we?”
  • My eyes looked like two peas in the snow for 48 hours from all the crying.

Pro:

  • The gown wasn’t paper.

With excellent test results, I’m still left with the question of what’s causing my new occasional heart sensation. A few months ago I began a new eating plan in an effort to rid myself of all of these pesky hips and stomachs I have collected.  I cut out all grains, all diet sodas, and most sugar.  My only treats are unsweetened tea, delicious, and 90% cacao chocolate, which on the first pass tastes like scorched coffee grounds with a hint of cocoa but on the third or fourth pass tastes like divinity made by God, Himself.  I’ve lost a small hunk of weight due to this eating plan – not enough that you will be clamoring for me to sun myself at your beach parties so that you may behold the beauty of my body, but enough that my pants are too big.  It also seems that this new eating plan has done something to the sensitivity of my insides because caffeine, found in both of my meager and sad treats, causes me heart sensations that I do not enjoy.  There’s nothing wrong with me that cutting out my two pitiful and pathetic treats won’t fix.

I mean, I’m guessing. We have no answer for my heart feelings, but as we all have learned, I’m the master at self-diagnosing.  I’m so, so good at it, so good in fact that I get to pay an enormous chunk of my medical deductible off early in the year for a test that told me absolutely nothing was wrong and that I am free to be sick as a dog for the whole rest of the year without monetary penalty from my insurance company.  I have no delicious treats with which to console myself but spending $2200 to discover that when I feel my heart in my chest, the pain of losing my favorite creature comforts is coming and there really is no amount of chocolate, Advil, or heating pad that can fix it.

Sigh . . . no more chocolate.

I missed you all, btw.

Love,

Jimmie, M.D.

I Knew It! Still Got It!

This morning I made my long (long) trek into work. Usually I sit at the light on the entrance ramp to my office for a few minutes, and usually I use that time to catch up on my correspondence.  Since I deleted Facebook, that consists scrolling through Instagram and liking everyone’s pictures.  Anyway, I was catching up on my correspondence when I heard a horn blare.  I jumped, threw my phone, and said, “Poop!” because I just knew I had missed the light.  (I did not say, “Poop!”  I said a different word that means the same thing.)

Turns out I didn’t miss the light. It was still red.  I looked around in confusion and connected eyes with the man in the white van in the next lane who was looking at me like this:

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Probably you should picture him as more of a man, less of a cat, but the teeth were the same and he had just honked his horn at me. Nonetheless, the man smiled

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and waved and then I waved and hollered “good morning” as if he could hear me through our respective windows. Then the light changed and we drove off.

Except remember from my previous story, how people flirt on the interstate? What do you do with it past the initial contact?  Well, he did what normal people do (except the slimy ones) – he pulled up next to me and drove like this

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for a whole mile until we parted ways and waved and I hollered “good-bye” as if he could hear me through our respective widows.

Y’all. I still got it!

For you ladies who encounter my new boyfriend in the white van on the highway and try to steal him from me, I will be forced say this because at heart, I am still a child:

Don’t make me snap my fingers in a Z for.ma.tion

Hip ro.ta.tion, booty circu.la.tion

 Talk to the hand, talk to the wrist

Girl I think you just got dissed!

(lyric and choreography credits go to 11-year-old girls worldwide, but most recently credited to Tigger who, incidentally, also taught me the correct choreography to “JuJu on that Beat” just this weekend.)

Who Decided Eggs Had To Be Breakfast Food Anyway

Speaking of Squirt, the last time I was in Florida with Daisy, Squirt came to stay at our snazzy beach house with us. She had to sleep on the couch, of course, because one of the beautiful things about being single and self-indulgent is that when you go on vacation with a friend who is also single and self-indulgent, everyone gets their own room. No sharing of the bed, I don’t care how much I love you.  (God, when my husband who does not wear skinny jeans comes along, and also my husband who is similarly-to-me aged comes along [same man], please bring us a king sized bed.  I’m going to love him but I’m going to like him better when he’s all the way over there while I sleep. Amen.)

Anyway, Daisy and I went to Florida, now an annual trip in case you were wondering, and Squirt came to stay. Daisy and I took turns cooking breakfast. Since neither of us can abide an egg, and since Daisy is currently off carbs, our breakfast grocery shopping is a bit unconventional.  Daisy’s offering came in the form of hot dogs and Atkins bars, always delicious.  Mine came in the form of this:

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I slaved away in kitchen and presented plates to both roomies. “Ta da,” I said, “breakfast is served!”

Squirt looked at me, fresh from her slumber on the sofa. “Wha?  Why?  That’s peas . . . “

“Yes!” I exclaimed. “With turkey bacon and cheese!”

Daisy said, “Is there butter?” Squirt said, “Is this even real meat?”

“NO! Peas are good on their own! Yes, I think so! Except it smells like plastic if you cook it for too long, so I don’t do that!”  I was muy entusiasmado, usually a problem for those who are not also similarly morning people.

Tentatively, Squirt said, “Do you have any eggs, maybe?”

Which brings me to my rant. Why do eggs have to be breakfast food?  Who determined that sausage should have an Italian version, a smoked version and also a breakfast version which is a complete non-descriptor?  Why pancakes only in the morning?  Why can’t we have pancakes for dinner and just call it pancakes for dinner?  We always have to say “breakfast foods for dinner.  I love breakfast foods for dinner!”  No. This is wrong on many levels.

Firstly, eggs are gross. They taste like eggs, particularly when scrambled.  I can abide a good deviled egg but it must be super salty and mustardy and I only eat the white parts if they are covered in yellow.  I can abide a fried egg only when it’s over something like toast or potatoes which mask the flavor.  I can abide a hard-boiled egg covered in ranch dressing or a very good Italian.  First thing in the morning, though?  Oh, my stomach.  OH, HURK.

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Secondly, why aren’t turkey sandwiches considered a breakfast food? Peas, also.  Lately, I’ve even found myself enamored of a roasted beet or steamed Brussels sprout for breakfast.  Full of fiber, pretty colors, throw some olive on there to clean out the arteries.  What’s not great about starting your day that way?

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I did some research to figure this out so that you don’t have to. I found this, about Edward Bernays, long considered the father of public relations:

“To get an idea of Bernays’ abilities, think for a moment about a traditional breakfast. What do you think of? If you are like most, you will come up with bacon and eggs — so what? Prior to 1915, bacon was not part of a traditional breakfast — so Edward Bernays was hired to increase bacon consumption in the United States. He incorporated a new theory of gaining assent from recognized leaders either with their knowing cooperation or without. He conducted a survey among physicians and received their overwhelming recommendation that Americans should eat a hearty breakfast. Coupled with predictive results from the physicians, he began an advertising campaign stressing that a breakfast of bacon and eggs was just that — a hearty breakfast. It may sound simple, but look where we are today because of it.” (Jack Monnett, PhD.)*

I guess I can blame Edward Bernays for eggs-for-breakfast tradition. And I guess this is only two levels of wrong but it’s my post.

For the record, Martie has lots to say about my breakfast selections. Mostly they involve phrases like, “No.”  Also, “OMG, why???”  Perhaps even a “You are gross, how are we sisters?”  Then she sends pictures of her lobster grits, consumed at Blue Heaven in Key West and I ask the same question.  Daisy felt similiarly, I think, despite her fondness for hotdogs at breakfast but I believe I changed her.  On our last day of Florida vacation, Daisy fixed us breakfast.  It was a giant bowl of peas, loaded with butter and salt, and it was delicious.

And that, my friends, is all I have to say about that.

*http://www.ourrepubliconline.com/Author/183

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Squirt with her new Paraguayan friend, Gilbert.

Serves Me Right

A couple of weeks ago I was driving my senior citizens in our big fifteen-passenger bus (we have upgraded from van to bus, and it’s a hoss) to dinner, and when I stopped at a red light I got out my lipstick.

“You never know when you are going to meet the love of your life,” I said as I caked it on. Pink is a good color for me.

I didn’t think another thing about it because we were headed to Tenn16 over in East Nashville which everyone knows if full of hipsters wearing skinny jeans, and everyone knows I am not going to find myself in a relationship with a man who wears skinny jeans. Ever.  (God, hear me on this.)  During dinner I noticed that Jan, me in thirty years, was talking to a man at the bar.  Since I like to make new friends in bars and restaurants my own self, I thought nothing of that either.

Later, after food was consumed and plates were cleared, Jan got out her lipstick and caked it on. Mauve is a good color for her.  She motioned for me to do the same and once that chore was accomplished, she invited me down to her end of the table.

“Jimmie,” she said, “I have someone I want you to meet. That man behind me at the bar?  His name is Jerry.  I went to high school with him and while I’m furious with him for aging better than me, I want you to meet him.  Here’s what I think I’m going to say:  This is Jimmie. She’s looking for a hookup.  Are you interested in going out with her?”

Y’all. Y’all!  Jerry is 70 years old.* Open up that floor and swallow me whole.  I’ve got to keep my mouth shut around Jan.

In other related-but-not-really news, I recently lost my driver’s license in Key West. This story would be far more exciting if I were able to tell you that I lost it in the bar or on the beach, but alas, I believe I lost it in the grocery store buying something boring like cheese. Anyway, I had to go through TSA twice with no ID of any kind and unless you count a pat down so thorough I felt like I needed a cigarette after, it was not a pleasant experience.  Getting a new license was not a pleasant experience either but I was rewarded with a new license photo that makes me look like a melted piece of cheese (apropos, no?).  Also, it looks like every chin I ever had in my life showed up for that photo.  I suppose that is what I get for losing my license, although I feel good about replacing it so soon because I can speed again.  Was terrified to do that without one.

In final related news (not really), in our last blogging episode I threw my dear sister, Martie, under the bus. In retaliation, she threw me under the bus and in a display of her pipes and creativity, she wrote me a song.

Please enjoy her non-warbling-nor-screeching tune written rightfully at my expense. For the record, I feel about Willie Nelson much like I do about Patsy Cline.

In Which Martie Throws Me Under The Bus; Or, A Song By Martie

Ain’t we great? That is some sisterly love right there.

*I feel I should defend myself here – while I’m not opposed to an older man, I think maybe five years is my limit. Seven, tops. (God, hear me on this.) I’d like for our wrinkling pattern to be roughly the same.

You, Too, Can Look As Good As All This

Katniss and I were having lunch the other day and she said, “I went to lunch with a girl in my office last week and Jimmie, I missed you. We went to Blaze and we ordered our pizzas and she ate three pieces and claimed she was stuffed.  Just crammed to the gills.  Couldn’t eat another bite or she’d be sick.  I was on piece four, heading for piece five and I felt so guilty for eating it all that I quit.  Please don’t make me do that again.”

Katniss does not have to worry. I will eat a whole Blaze pizza* and not feel one bit bad about it.  Besides, Iman, you know her, she’s the gorgeous angular, exotic toothpick widow of David Bowie, said that older women should maintain an extra five or ten pounds to keep our faces looking young.  That extra bit of fat plumps out the wrinkles, see, and keeps us from drooping into our later years.  I feel like if five or ten pounds is enough for Iman with her gorgeous cheekbones, then I need to go a step further with my lesser cheekbones.  Maybe more like twenty-five or thirty pounds, yeah?  I’m just doing my part to look young, to inspire all these kids to embrace aging with relish.

*For the record, Blaze pizzas are created for single individuals and are as thin as a Kleenex. They are meant to be eaten in one sitting because they are small and taste terrible when they get cold.

Speaking of looking young and beauty routines, I thought I’d share some of my tips and secrets with you today. I turned 44 a month or so ago and when I tell people, they’ve often said, “Well, you barely look over 43 and a half, what’s your secret?”  I’ll tell you.

Firstly, I maintain a youthful exuberance with the wavy, loose curls I like to iron into my hair. Ideally you’ll use a 1.5 – 2 inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron because it can heat up to 400 degrees in a matter of moments. This really puts a good scald on your hair which is necessary for getting a good curl.  If you can smell the heat, it’s hot enough.  In reality, I used to use the ideal 1.5 – 2 inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron but it slipped off my hair one day and onto my shoulder.  The 400-degree barrel gave me a nice oblong blistered burn that looked like a bubbled up hickey, and that really ticked me off because not only am I celibate for what seems like FOREVER, but I got a hickey from a curling iron and not a hot man. In retaliation I whacked the 1.5 – 2 inch barrel over and over against the counter whilst cursing like Andrew Dice Clay and the end result was this:

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Now I use the 1-inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron that also heats up to 400 degrees that had been lounging in the bathroom cabinet for a year or two because the curls it makes are too tight for my liking. You can still reach the youthful exuberant look with this wand, though, as evidenced here:

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Once I get my coif fluffed to an appropriate fullness, I begin work on my eyes. The eyes really tell the story of your aging, so you want to take very good care of them.  Ideally you will have a regimen than includes delicately patting ludicrously expensive eye cream under your eyes morning and night, and you will use a gentle cleanser, equally ludicrously expensive, to remove any makeup you have caked on in an effort to make your eyelashes look like caterpillars. I’m on board with that except for the part where I cannot afford ludicrously expensive anything.  I can afford Avon makeup remover which is actually very good, so that is what I use until I run out and realize that I forgot to reorder and then I rummage in my cabinets until I find something else that will work.  Behold:

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And this is how well it works. Behold:

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Ain’t that awesome? I’m down to the bottom of the jar now so I have to stick my longest finger down in it and scrape some out which I then smear on my eyes, squishing it all around until the mascara finally releases its spidery death grip on my lashes and gets washed off with a very thin washcloth which has permanent mascara stains.  Works great! I think the fat from the coconut oil and the potential allergy issues I could have from the amount of cat fur in my house (behold below) keep my eyes nice and puffy which as we read earlier, keeps the wrinkles from wrinkling which makes me look youthful!

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Once I have performed all beauty ablutions, I head to the closet to pick my clothing for the day. I told you once that I like to wear wafty, gauzy, floaty things because they make me look like a calm and serene type person. This remains true. I also believe that they make me appear younger.  No “good looking” severely cut blazers for me. No skin tight pencil skirts with fitted shirts that emphasize my (not) tiny waist and (not) bubbly bum.  I like stuff that doesn’t really touch me.  Ideally.  In reality, it turns out that wafty, gauzy, floaty things make me look pregnant as proven by the eight-year-old girl who caught me talking to her eight-year-old boyfriend at church.

“Hi, Lee,” she said as she pulled his arm into hers. “Hi,” she said to me with a squinched up mouth.  “We need to go, Lee,” she said as she dragged him off, and as she sashayed away she flung over her shoulder, “That dress makes you look pregnant.”

Well, at least I look young enough to be pregnant.

Speaking of stuff I like and use, my go to brands are below. These are the things I will spend ludicrous amounts of money on, no matter how little money I actually have:

  • Lancome Eyelash Primer – Oh my crackers, this stuff is expensive but it WORKS!
  • Benefit Mascara, Black – Talk about tar but this mascara will give you the best spidery lashes in the world!
  • Clinique Chubby Stick, Mightiest Maraschino – I wore this lipstick the other day and a girl at work said, “Wow, you look edgy. Kind of bitchy. I wouldn’t mess with you at all!” Thank you, my work here is done.
  • A Hair in My Biscuit’s Hot/Cold Eye Mask – Martie makes these and I keep one in the freezer at all times. When you have slept in cat fur all night (Thank you, Murphy) or eaten too much salt (Thank you, anything more than one grain) or stayed up too late watching Downton Abbey (Thank you, Amazon Prime), you’ll want one.
  • Flax clothing – Generously sized so that when I purchase a medium and it floats around me, I feel dainty and small. This I love because the only other way I’d ever feel dainty and small was if I had lunch next to Shaquille O’Neal.

I think this whole list screams youthful, don’t you? I mean, isn’t that what youthful really means?  Very poor decisions regarding things that really do matter and very expensive decisions on things that do not? Don’t care.  I love my caterpillar eyelashes.

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Don’t look a minute over 43, do I? Puffy eyes and all.

 

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