ANYTHING BUT SPIDERS

I’m afraid of spiders. Not because they are dangerous, though some are. Not because they are poisonous. I’m afraid of spiders because they make my skin crawl. They scare me half to death and it doesn’t have to be a particularly malevolent member of the species. Under the right circumstance — like when I’m sleeping and wake up to find a spider on me — I can actually levitate from fear. Rise right up off the mattress, screaming. Wake everyone in the house.

A friend of mine was attacked by a wolf spider while sun bathing on her patio in Arizona. The thing was the size of a small dinner plate (dessert plate?) and landed on her breast, then proceeded to take a chunk out of her. The pain was one thing. The fear was so intense she promptly sold her house and moved to a place where there are no wolf spiders. I’m with her.

Giant forest scorpian (heterometrus laoticus)
Giant forest scorpion (heterometrus laoticus)

I lived in Israel and did not deal well with scorpions. I am not physically brave. I will take emotional and professional risks, no problem. One garden spider will unglue me.

Do I remember the last time this happened? No. There have been so many times. The best thing about a mindless phobia? You only have to imagine there’s a spider nearby to get your heart pounding, your blood rushing in your ears. It could turn be a bit of dust or dog hair brushing your leg. Or an ant.

It’s the thought that counts.


Fight or Flight – Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

IN PRAISE OF YOGA PANTS

With all the serious issues in the world today, why am I writing about pants? Maybe it’s frivolous, but my lifelong search for comfortable, well-fitting pants has finally come to an end. Throughout my life, I have sought two things: shoes that look good and in which I can walk … and perfectly fitted slacks I can throw into the washer and dryer.

yoga pants gray

My feet are happy since discovering Uggs for winter, FitFlop clogs, and Clark’s sandals for warm weather. Perfect pants eluded me. Jeans, the iconic garment of my generation, look better than they feel. As soon as I sit, they pull down in the back, ride up in the front, and dig into my waistline all the way around. The better they look standing, the more uncomfortable they are sitting. Stretch denim improves the comfort factor, but my body has never been shaped right for jeans. I’ve been thin, not-so-thin, fat, and all sizes in between. Never found a pair which fit quite right.

Too loose or tight, waist too high or low enough to slide off my hips. I could wear a belt, but I hate belts. Add them to brassieres with steel bones for garment-based misery. Complete the picture with spike heels and a thong and you have head-to-toe discomfort.

new boots booties uggs

I can’t be happy if I’m uncomfortable. If my shoes pinch, if underwear is up my butt, the waistband of the jeans is sawing its way through my mid-section, I’m not going to be my scintillating self. I will twitch, pull, and rearrange garments in a never-ending and increasingly desperate attempt to get comfortable. Eventually, I will look as if I have a weird nervous disorder.

red fitflop clogs

Some years back, an end of season clearance on Land’s End featured yoga pants. I’ve owned stretch pants. They’re okay, but never looked quite right. But yoga pants. From the moment I slid into them, I knew I’d found it. Boot cut, so my short legs appear long and graceful. Forgiving fabric which stretches every which way, but bounces back to its original shape without a saggy butt or droopy knees. They wash like a dream, have no issues with the dryer.

Gradually, I stopped wearing anything else. My size hasn’t changed in years, so I have a lot of clothing, much more than I need. All of it fits.

Fortune has smiled on me. My best friend and I wear exactly the same size, right down to shoes. When my wardrobe threatens to explode, I can pass the goodies to the one person on earth I know will appreciate and like them. Did I mention we also have the same taste?

I need to visit her very soon.

Yesterday, I slipped into jeans. They fit well, even a bit loose. I wore them for almost two hours before I changed back into yoga pants. I guess there’s no turning back. Yoga pants forever.

MOTORCYLES: AT THE SHOW

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bikes and Motorcycles

I took these motorcycle pictures on one single summer afternoon at the bike show in Mendon. A funny way to take pictures. The show was at a huge car dealership on Route 16.

It’s a major road, the only way to get to a lot of our towns and is Main Street in many places. Never more than a single lane in each direction, it passes through the middle of dozens of little (and not so little) towns and villages as it meanders into Boston. It jams up easily and regularly.

The show brought in a lot of traffic. Route 16 was at a near standstill. With little else to do, I took pictures, hanging out of the car window as we inched along. Much to my surprise, I got a few nice ones.

And that’s why I carry a camera wherever I go.

OO-BLA-DI, OO-BLA-DA

No news is not good news. It’s just no news.

We are in a slow news period. It’s not as if nothing is going on. It’s just that nothing is going on in which anyone is especially interested.

2014’s elections were the usual vicious, contentious, nasty business. We used to get outraged, upset, furious about elections. Now, they come. They go. Everything changes, but nothing is different. This time, when the elections ended, it got quiet in a hurry. Bring on Christmas.

72-birds in the bush_029

The holidays came and went. All through February, the weather (pardon the pun) has been the hot topic. And who Prince Harry is (or isn’t) dating. “Deflategate” is being beaten to death on the sports networks, but is anyone listening? Do we care? As memories of the Super Bowl fade, spring training begins. Can the Sox pull themselves out of the tank? Is there hope for 2015? That’s the most interesting question on the news horizon.

We’ve had a lot of snow.

snow window poster february 2015

I’m sure a national calamity was predicted for this year, but I forget what it was. Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, the sky isn’t falling, unless that’s really what all that white stuff is … the sky falling, I mean.

72-Dirty-Snow_09

So there are no fresh disasters. Whichever huge controversies were with us last year and the year before are still lurking, along with a few tired, sleazy scandals. It’s the same old, same old. Back to the everyday struggles of a tired population hoping things will get better and suspecting they won’t. A new year is rolling along. Oo-bla-di, oo-bla-da.

CEE’S SHARE YOUR WORLD, WEEK 8

Share Your World – 2015 Week #8

Your favorite blog post that you have written? (add link)

My personal favorite is not my most popular, but I think it’s the funniest. It makes me laugh each time I read it. “Oy Vay! Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” was written in response to one of the Daily Prompts.

For those who don’t remember, back in the good old days, WordPress issued writing prompts every day. They were fresh, sometimes clever or funny. A bunch of us enjoyed writing them, then seeing what others had done using the same prompt.

sepia monochrome coffee kitchen

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $500? Why?

I’m absolutely, completely, totally, and redundantly torn between a weekend somewhere with Garry or a piece of camera gear. Maybe a lens. Or, if I shop carefully, a whole camera. Making this choice would be delightful. I would be happy with either outcome. Rarely in my life has my problem been how to dispose of money. It has always had a way of disposing itself, quickly and effectively.

If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?

Um … can I take “the meaning of life,” for 500, Alex? I think I already have the answer. In the immortal words of Bill Belichick, “It is what it is.”

Where do you eat breakfast?

soft focus art effect kitchen vertical

Like so many of us, I plead guilty to drinking my coffee and munching a few cookies while checking my email and comments. In my defense, I only use cups with screw-on lids and have a sealed keyboard so crumbs don’t become permanent residents.

WHEN THE MACHINES WENT DOWN

Dateline: Uxbridge, Massachusetts 

It was an ordinary day. A sunny day in southern New England. Cool. Almost crisp. The leaves had changed and shone bright yellow and orange. Autumn. The best time of the year.

An ordinary day. Except, we ran out of half-and-half.

72-Foliage-9-29-14_003

In most homes, this would have been no big deal. It would surely not have been an emergency requiring an immediate trip to town. But in this household of addicted coffee drinkers, no way we could get through 24 hours without half-and-half for our coffee. Someone — okay, Garry — would have to buy half-and-half.

The nearest shop only sells tiny containers and sometimes, has none at all. So it was off to Hannaford’s.

Hannaford’s is our grocery store. We don’t own it (I wish), but it’s the one we patronize. Not big or fancy. Even for Uxbridge, it’s a modest store, but that’s one of the reasons we like it. It’s part of a small Maine-based chain. Prices are pretty good and the produce is usually fresh. They offer locally grown products in season. You don’t need a special card to get discounts and they offer a 5% discount to Senior Citizens every Tuesday. Most important, they are close to home, easy to get to, and have ample parking.

I was in the middle of a book — I usually am — so I didn’t pay a lot of attention as Garry went out. Not a big deal. Just half-and-half. Maybe pick up something for dinner. He came back a couple of hours later, a bit longer than an errand like this should take. Garry looked amused. Maybe bemused.

“There is shock and confusion in downtown Uxbridge, today,” he announced.

“Shock and confusion?”

“Yes,” Garry said. “I thought it might be delayed PTSD from 9/11 or changing seasons. Everyone in Hannaford’s looked stunned.”

“Stunned? Because?” I questioned.

“The credit card readers were down. You couldn’t pay with your bank or credit card. Everyone had to pay cash or use a check. They looked shell-shocked. Thousand-yard stares. Stumbling, vacant-eyed around the store.”

“Holy mackerel,” I said. “I can only imagine.”

“You could see them mumbling to themselves. They kept saying ‘cash!’ I could tell they were confused and unsure what to do.”

“Wow,” I said. “How dreadful! What did you do?” I asked. Garry seemed to have survived with his sense of humor intact and brought home the half-and-half.

“Oh, I paid with cash. I had enough on me.”

He went off to the kitchen chuckling to himself. I hoped everyone would be okay back in town. A shock like that can haunt people for a long time. Cash. Imagine that. Everyone will be talking about this for weeks.

The day the machines went down at Hannaford’s. That’s huge.


Weekly Writing Challenge: LOCAL FLAVOR

PERMANENT CURE FOR “MUFFIN TOP” FOUND!

Marilyn Armstrong:

Nothing makes us feel better about our bodies than accepting them! Great — funny and true — post!

Originally posted on Stuff my dog taught me:

UnknownLike about 99.99% of women, I gained a few pounds as my 50th birthday approached, with most of the weight settling into the inches around my belly button.  I like to think that I am a self-confident woman who knows that beauty is more than skin deep, but something about this newfound roundness just ate away at me.

I started using a phone app to “track” my diet.  In principle, this seemed like a grand plan… enter my weight, set a goal, then eat the number of calories necessary to get to the finish line… how simple is that!?!  Super simple… except that I now spent every minute of the day thinking about food.  It is impossible not to obsess when every bite that goes in your mouth has to be entered into your “food diary”.

Most mornings, this meant that by 9am I was already stressed because a slice…

View original 728 more words