Monthly Archives: October 2020

Have you hugged your cow today?

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Good news for all those beleaguered cows out there: they have not been forgotten. In spite of those cow-haters who say cows are polluting the air and who are trying to replace them with “plant-based” faux meat (makes my mouth water), cows have finally made the news for something positive.

It seems that in this time of Covid 19, when social distancing deprives us of the opportunity to hug each other, we have another option: apparently it is just as comforting to hug your cow as it is to hug your friends, relatives, children, etc. This conclusion is disturbing to me on a number of levels.

Probably most pressing is, how was this research conducted? I’m imagining this group of scientists with their glasses on their noses and their clipboards at the ready when one of them exclaims, “Do you know, now that I can’t hug my wife, I’m hugging the neighbor’s milkcow. It’s just about the same!” What caused him to think of this solution to his physical deprivation problem? Did he say to himself, “Eureka! Let’s all hug cows!” Did he perhaps try various animals? What’s it like to hug a snake? Or, failing that, was he able to hold on to a rabbit? Worst of all, what are the possibilities for snuggling up to a skunk, and who holds your nose for you while you do?

I mean, have you researchers actually ever dealt with a cow? Some of them are distinctly unhuggable. There’s a reason bull riding is the most dangerous part of the rodeo–it’s because those beef-buckers don’t want anything to do with a human, whether it’s on their backs or around their necks. Even those who would be willing to get affectionate are not the sweetest-smelling of animals. In some cases, just give me the skunk!

Okay, so it’s cows we must hug instead of people, but I wonder, what do we do to convince the cows? Have any of them expressed an objection to hugging out of their species? Do we need to bring them anything? Flowers? Candy? Fresh fodder? The social mores are absolutely staggering.

In the same article that brought me this astounding news on the new bovine relationships, I heard that some enterprising souls have already made the move to take financial advantage of the situation. They have set up a stable of cows and are charging $150 per half hour for people to spend time with their four-legged “ladies of the night.”

So, you can drive up to the barn and ask to hug your neighbor’s cow and have the whole community talking about you, or you can pay for the privilege and hopefully keep things quiet. Certainly you don’t want to get a reputation for being a cow-lover. I do hope the cows involved in the venture are receiving their cut of the money and that they don’t feel too cheap and empty when their customers just use them like that and leave the money on the dresser…or the stable door.

I fear I will be unable to “embrace” this new cow-hugging fad and I do hope it passes quickly. Cows have important work to do, like providing milk and meat and they shouldn’t also have to contribute to our emotional stability. So all of you would be cow-pimps out there be warned…Bossie is capable of kicking out the stall if she’s too displeased!

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Tripping on lint

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I think it was the late great John Denver who told the story about a friend of his who cut his toe on a Rice Krispee and ended up having three stitches to treat it. I also have a friend who accidentally dropped a kitchen knife, which ended up perfectly, point down, stuck in one of her own toes. I was reminded of these people this weekend as I was dancing around my house, dragging out every curse word I knew, waving my finger in the air after I had managed to perfectly smash the tip of it in the door.

I didn’t end up needing medical attention for the finger, but I was fairly convinced for a while that I had broken it. And this is how life goes for me, because I am a card-carrying, lint-tripping, shower-slipping klutz. When I say that, I mean that whatever you might think is clumsy and self-hurting, I can ace it with imagination and creativity.

I’ve known this about myself since I was very young. In college, I once slammed a drawer, somehow catching the end of a scarf I was wearing around my neck. The scarf was wedged in just enough to prevent the drawer from opening. I was beginning to panic, fearing that I would choke to death and everyone would wonder what weird college ritual-gone-wrong I was performing when I died. At that moment, my roommate came along, saw my predicament and quickly untied the scarf from the other end, thus releasing me using a method I should have thought of myself, but I was too busy choking for rational consideration!

It didn’t improve as the years went on. I slipped on kitty litter (long story) and cracked a wrist. I tripped coming out of a shower and smacked my face so hard on the ceramic bathroom tile that I had to sip my meals through a straw for a week and a half. I once burned the back of my shoulder by getting up underneath a lit outdoor grill (another long story) and tipping it over. My fingers have been burned so many times in so many ways that they are actually more deep-fried than a McDonald’s McNugget.

I have a standard apology I give to people when I swing my arms and hit someone. I am the only person I know who can walk down the halls at my job and trip over the polish on the floor. I frequently fall up steps and the number of times I have hit my head on the corner of a kitchen cabinet would defy the limits of counting.

Clumsiness is not a pretty sight either because I frequently sport so many black and blue marks, I can’t remember where they all originated. I chased down a dog once, who was far smarter than I and then ended up in the emergency room having the edge of an eye stitched up and being questioned closely about whether I felt I was “safe at home.” Whether that was a suspicion about my husband’s behavior or just a comment on my own klutziness, I never did figure out.

Usually, I would prefer that my moments of clumsiness were unobserved, but the height of my traumatic actions is one I wish someone had seen, so they could explain how it was even possible. I was once drinking an iced drink, while walking through the dining room. A piece of ice missed my mouth, flipped out onto the floor, I slipped on it and when I stopped sliding, I was sprawled over the dishes, glassware and food that had been supper. I’m not certain, but I believe that may have defied the laws of physics, but I have no proof!

I could probably go on forever with this tale of “trip-itis” but to tell the truth, the finger that I smashed in the door is beginning to hurt from the typing, so I’d better quit. I do have a lot of paperwork to get done today, so I’ve probably got some papercuts to acquire and maybe I can manage to stick a pencil in my eye. However, I wish all of you an accident-free day and a wonderful week. Stay safe and…ouch! I think I just sprained my pinkie!

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Baggy pants brigade

Nothing makes me more angry than pictures of women in dresses that smooth over their curves and fit their shapes perfectly. It is maddening to know that somewhere, they found clothes that actually fit them. That makes my situation a little tight, or perhaps I should say a little loose.

I have always been terrible at math and one of the side problems of that is I have no idea how to estimate the proper sizes for my clothing. I have always compensated for that by buying everything in sizes that are appreciably larger than I think they should be.

It has worked worked fine, even though it has helped me become used to clothing that fits loosely. I feel comfortable in my too large clothing, but I am still the baggy elephant lady, envying all of those girls in svelte, form-hugging clothes. I am even jealous of the mannequins in stores, who stare vacantly into space while wearing shorts, shirts, dresses, etc. with a precision I will never achieve, no matter how vacant my expression!

Wearing clothes that are the wrong size may be comfortable, but it has its drawbacks. For one thing, if I misjudge the size of bra, it can cause padded wrinkles under my shirt, or in dire times, it can cut straight across my chest and make me look as though I have four, instead of two breasts. This is neither comfortable nor attractive!

Most shirts are at least a size or two too large to avoid the dreaded “button gap” and if I wear trousers, they must be able to slide on without being unbuttoned.

All of these things worked very well, until I, in the matter of about a year, lost 40 pounds. It was a good thing, and I was very happy, but it meant that my too large clothes are now seriously large and in some cases, dangerously so. My only two dresses now sag and flow around me like a “moo-moo,” I believe they used to call them because there is a lot of material to cover the “cow-cow”, I guess. It’s comfortable, but not an attractive look.

My trousers are now loose enough, that they, too, tend to drape around my body and if I sit too quickly, I find that they will wrap themselves in a strangle hold on my upper legs. In addition, if I take too deep a breath, I run the risk of having some of the largest ones fall down!

So now you’re asking yourself, “Why doesn’t she just buy new ones?” The reason is because of the genes in my jeans. I come from a long line of people who do not throw out a garment just because it has a little wear on it…or because it fits like the robes of a sheik in the desert! When these things wear out, I will go out, look at the women wearing clothes that hug their figures, commune with the mannequins pointing at nothing with their appropriately sized-outfits…and buy my baggy pants every time!

Happy fall, everyone, and may your sweater bag, your bra be smooth and your pants never need to be unzipped!

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De-constructing a marriage

This week I passed my 38th wedding anniversary. It’s a bit of a milestone and since it happened, I’ve been asked by any number of people, “How have you stayed together this long?” My standard answer is always, automatically, “Dumb luck,” but since we are starting to pile on the years together, I’ve tried to come up with some real answers. This is what I have.

Learn the fine art of compromise. After all, wasn’t the whole country founded on compromise? And I don’t mean the kind of compromise where one person just gives in and lets the other one have their way because it’s just too much trouble. I mean, the kind of compromise where I learn to watch the Vikings on Sunday afternoons with my lips clamped together, so that I can watch NCIS New Orleans on Tuesday evenings and look at Scott Bakula, without an argument. And the true compromise comes when he finds that maybe Scott Bakula can actually act and I find that yelling at the Vikings for missing that pass is very satisfying. Compromise is critical…are you listening, United States?

Adjust your palate. He stops eating things that are ultra spicy and you stop eating things that are 90 percent sugar. It is a proven fact that the longer you are together, the more closely your taste in food will align. We both agree that nothing beats a good Chinese buffet, but that we are not extending our palates to include sushi. We can frequently be seen in the line at the McDonalds or the Burger King, but we are not likely to ever join the even longer lines at Starbucks.

Learn the fine art of holding your tongue. Roy never answers the question, “Do you think I look fat?” If he is annoyed with me, however, he will suggest, “Wear those red plaid pants of yours tonight, dear, everyone will notice you in those.” And when last spring, I was looking for mask ideas and I suggested that we could use the padded bra I had, he puffed out his manly chest and declared, “I would rather die of the virus than walk around in public with half a bra strapped to my face.” Then, this fall, he plucked the very same padded bra from the clean laundry basket, held it up to his face and declared in the voice of a man who just had a brilliant, original idea, “Hey this would make a pretty effective mask!” Did I remind him that it was my idea last spring? Of course not. I simply said solemnly, “Ooooh, and it looks very manly on you too!”

Never, never NEVER construct anything together. I don’t care if it’s changing a lightbulb in a lamp. It is never wise to do repair or construction projects as a married couple. I have made peace with the fact that I married a perfectionist when it comes to this. And he has realized that my scrawny arms and whiny attitude make a poor assistant! “Honey, I just need your help for a minute,” is a statement that brings down a feeling of doom on me every time. I know it will involve me having to hold something while he measures, mutters and stands back to observe his project. I will be pushing the sheetrock against the wall, wondering how much I could get in the divorce settlement or whether it would just be quicker to grab the hammer in his toolbelt and hit him with it.

I love my husband dearly, but I have had to come to terms with the fact that he is a man who will take three hours and two trips to the lumber yard to nail in a loose board on the garage stairs. And he has had to come to terms with the fact that he is not married to Tim the Toolman Taylor! No construction, ladies and gentlemen, unless you want to deconstruct the marriage!

By now, I’m sure that you have figured out that there are really no rules for a marriage. It just takes two people who are determined to make it work and who are willing to go forward together, warts and all. I wish I had some great words of wisdom to impart, but even after 38 years together I think I’m going to stick with my original answer, “I think God is on our side and we’ve had a lot of dumb luck!”

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