Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fashion ADD

I know, you all come here for incisive political commentary, fabulous commentary on Issues of the Day, and kick ass parenting tips. Right?

Well, even so, today's entry will address the worldwide shortage of fashion insights by Evil Mistresses. Really--no thanks are necessary!

Birthday Barbie

A million years ago, when my kids played with Barbie dolls, one of them got the "Birthday Barbie" as a birthday present. She came with an odd assortment of accessories, including a balloon and a blowout. By inserting the end of either item into her mouth, and then attaching the GlamourWhooppeeCushion to her back, Barbie could operate the blowout or inflate the balloon! Great fun for little girls. For Evil minded girls like me, however, I couldn't help but see her as "Blow Job Barbie," her lips slightly but permanently parted and the hole in the center.

Somehow, in the intervening decade, I had thought this particular excrescence had been discontinued. Imagine my surprise when I find out I was wrong:

Interestingly enough, this "album" cover was heavily Photoshopped and put on the cover of Australia's answer to Cosmo, where it was deservedly fugged.

The Emmys

We "missed" the Emmys a week ago. If you call "not watching a ceremony about people we don't recognize winning awards for TV shows we don't watch" the same as "missing" it. Especially since we were out on the boat on a glorious late summer evening instead. . .

But I never miss the chance to check out fashions. So imagine my horrified glee to see this one:

"What!?!?" I cried. "What the heck is Pheobe Price doing at the Emmys? Surely nobody has actually cast her on a show?"

Then I looked at the caption and realized that this was not the infamous "P squared," but instead Christina Hendricks from the period melodrama "Mad Men." What a relief.

My relief was shortlived, however, because the very next picture I saw WAS Ms. Price, trying too hard as usual:

Oh well.

Jonas Brothers

Sometimes, it's fun to squick out the kids by pretending to crush on the latest prefab preteen item. This year's model is apparently the Jonas Brothers. So, while I am old enough to be their mother. . .I mean, older sister, at least I know who they are. And while my kids were dissing them as lame, I offered "Well, I think Kevin is kinda cute." The looks of horror on the girls' faces were priceless.

But really, how bad is this?

In my defense, he is 21, and thus as old as I was when I got married. So I'm not TOTALLY out of line.

So, why in the name of all that is Evil, Kevin, did you go and get a man perm?

There is nothing good to say about this, except maybe that it doesn't look any worse than Mike Brady looked, back in the day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Bumper Stickers

So, yesterday, I spotted a real jalopy in the parking lot at the grocery store. All four hubcaps were gone, and the wheel wells had rusted through. The back bumper had sagged from it's proper position, looking like a overly-burdened diaper on a toddler. One of the rear lights had been broken, and the whole car looked dingy, tired and old.

Of course, it did have a bumper sticker on it:

Which just goes to show you that the poor sod probably doesn't have much treasure in heaven either.

Politics--Now Organic!

So, does California reflect the nation? Probably not, so why is this even news? A formerly best selling organic Chilean wine has now stopped selling in San Francisco. Not even in the whole of San Francisco, but in one particular San Francisco wine bar.

Hello! It's not even pronounced the same. The wine is pah-LEEN, the candidate PAY-lin. The wine is sir-AH, the candidate SAIR-ah. And yet, the Bay City's discerning Democrats are refusing to drink their formerly favorite wine due to the alleged similarity of name.

Regardless of my politics, I wouldn't go cutting off my nose to spite my face like that--and NOBODY can read the label of the wine that's in a glass anyway!

Talk about odd bedfellows. . .

Friday, September 19, 2008

Arrrrrgh! It Be September 19th Agin!

Avast there, ye landlubbers! I be Keelhaul Kate Bonney, and today be Talk Like A Pirate Day! Did all ye bilge swilling wharf rats find yourselves awash in grog and wenches? Did ye loot and pillage and otherwise maraud the English language?

No? Why not, you miserable pitch monkeys?

Health News--Update

So, what do you do when you have a breast biopsy, and they refuse to give you the results directly, but send them to your primary care provider.

And you know your primary care provider is out on maternity leave?

You wait the 48 hours they say it will take, and you call your doctor's office and say: "Hey! There's a biopsy coming in and how do I find out what it says?" Because I'm sure as heck not waiting until maternity leave is over, am I right?

"Oh, well." Says the receptionist. "If there is something wrong, somebody will call you." Yes, she actually said this. "No news is good news."

No, I don't think so. How long am I supposed to wait to find out that I'm not going to get a call?

Fortunately, a very thoughtful and understanding nurse gave me a call. "I just didn't want you to have to wait all weekend until someone could call you on Monday, just to find out everything is normal."

So--YAY! Nothing to worry about over the weekend! Nothing abnormal, nothing questionable, no further medical intervention necessary. Now I am free to whine about how itchy my bandage is.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Plus Ca Change. . .

Sursels had a volleyball game today, and there is a dedicated cadre of parents who come to watch the games. Today I had the pleasure of watching with one of the coolest parents in the gym.

Because we are parents, cheer every play whether it is successful or not. So do the players. In fact, whenever one of them makes a good play, they high five. When one of them makes a bad play, they low five in support.

My friend mentioned this. "When I was a kid, I don't think we did all that congratulating and touching each other. You know, after every play?"

I thought for a moment and realized that she was right. "Actually, when we were kids, we were a lot more likely to point out the kid who made the bad play and blame him. 'You idiot! Why did you do that? We would have won except for you!'"

"Oh yes. Exactly! Maybe this IS better."

Health News

I had a biopsy today. Since my mother had breast cancer three years ago, my health history is a lot less rosy. A close female relative has had cancer. Recently. A friend of mine is doing a 3 day walk for the Susan J. Kommen Foundation, and she shamed me into getting my annual mammogram.

Shall we talk about mammograms? Ugh. Man, it's like they are calculated to make you feel differently about your body. Those aren't breasts! They are tennis balls in a stocking! No wonder they can get stretched and squashed and pressed flat. It's because they are just accidentally attached to your body. I mean, jeepers! As I get older, my skin is becoming less elastic, less able to snap right back to where it was. At some point, if I keep getting annual mammograms, I might as well just leave my breasts there at the doctor's office, since there's no way they are going to spring back onto my chest any more.

I thought that things looked clear when I left the doctor's office last week. But I got a call early this week--doctor wants to see some new views. He will look at the films right there, and possibly order a sonogram. You will have answers before you leave the office today.

So I made the earliest appointment I could, and went back over. I dutifully put my clothing and jewelry into the provided locker, donned the faded patient "robe" and waited to get squashed again.

It was even worse this time. Only one side was questionable, so the up side was that they only had to torture one breast. On the down side, I quickly felt asymmetrical, with one side pulled and stretched, and the other side left alone.

You know the stupid thing about the robes they give you? Once you get into the room with the machine, you have to pull your arm out, at which point you are essentially undressed anyway. And then the technician has to position the questionable boob, pushing and pulling it across a VERY FLAT steel surface. The extra fun part is that, because this is a retake, and they are trying to get a magnification of a specific area, the pain is extra exquisite. Because once the technician gets your boob in place, and squishes it flat like a pancake with the automatic Boob Squisher (I think that is the actual name of the device)--she then has to give the thing an extra turn to really make things painful.

So, there I am, squished and bent over a very solid and very square machine, which is also COLD, and the final turn has knocked the breath out of me. So it's really not necessary for the tech to say "hold your breath." Because really, who's breathing?

I went through this three times, and then was sent back to the waiting room while the doctor reviewed the films. I hadn't even made it all the way through an US magazine when I was called into a new room. A "procedure" room.

Turns out that I had calcifications. Not that that is unusual, of course. Lots of women have calcifications. These particular calcifications, however, had changed over the years. They were kind of hard to see. The doctor wanted to be certain, so he wasn't going to order an ultrasound. No. He wanted a biopsy.

And the reason I was in this particular "procedure" room was because that was where the biopsy would be. Right here! Here in this room where there was a large examination table with a hole the size of a dinner plate in the middle of it. Because that's where you put your boob so the doctor can shoot it full of lidocaine, cut it open, and use a computer to take tissue out. But the fun doesn't end there! No! Because as you are lying there, they run the tissue out and x-ray it to be certain they got what they wanted. And then! Are we done? No we are not! Then the doctor inserts a titanium thing that looks like a tiny staple, so that if they need to get another sample, they can go right to the same place. And! The titanium thing works as a marker, so in future years, they can watch for other changes in that location!

So! Do I want to do it now? Or do I want to schedule it for another day? It's clear they would prefer I do it now. Maybe they are afraid that if I leave I will never come back. The idea is kind of appealing. But really, maybe I can just get it over with. So I climb on the table, and have to lie perfectly still.

Which is easier said than done, of course. Because as I find out as the procedure takes its time, when I first lay down, I was very tense. Tension in my arms holding me up from the table, keeping my head parallel to the pillow. As time passed, the muscles in my shoulder and neck started complaining. Which was kind of distracting, and actually hurt more than the shots for the anesthetic.

I had a doctor and two technician/assistants. The two assistants took turns laying a hand on my arm or shoulder--to comfort, or to keep me from moving? You be the judge. "Now the doctor is doing X. Now the doctor is. . ." and the second one said, "Don't tell her what the doctor is doing now. She doesn't want to know."

It wasn't too bad, actually. Especially since I was given a list of things I can't do for a couple of days until the incision heals. Not that they put in stitches or anything. But I should mow the lawn or rake. I shouldn't lift anything over 20 pounds. "I'll bet I can't cook dinner either, right?"

"Oh, not for at least three days, up to two weeks! And no vacuuming. What else should she not do?"

After the doctor was done, I got to get up and. . .have ANOTHER MAMMOGRAM! Oh, what fun! Of course, my whole boob was pretty numb at that point, but this time, they don't need it to be as squished as they needed it every! other! time! Sure--the time it doesn't hurt is the time they don't hurt it anyway.

You know what else? They lied to me. They took the biopsy, but they didn't tell me anything about it. Nor will they. The results will be sent to my primary care physician, and SHE is supposed to call me. Oh, but by the way? She's out on maternity leave.

Well, too bad, but that's where the results are going, and I'm going to have to find somebody there to tell me what's going on.

What can you do? If I don't hear anything by Friday, I should call. Friday--is two days away! So, I'm just going to have to assume that everything is fine, unless I hear otherwise.

On Friday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Death Knell

Have you noticed how everybody even slightly famous seems to have a clothing line these days? Sarah Jessica Parker has Bitten, Madonna is at H&M, P. Diddy has Sean John, David Arquette (David effin' Arquette? Who died and left him behind as a style icon?) is starting one. All the cool kids have them too--Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, 50 Cent. . .the list goes on and on.

So really, it should be no surprise that LL Cool J has a line as well. Actually, it is apparently this third line of clothing, after FUBU and Todd Smith. I was kind of surprised to hear about this latest one, however, since I haven't heard ANYTHING about ole LL since about 1989. While he's been making cds and acting and writing books since then, none of that ever showed up on my radar.

Hence, this latest effort has a decided whiff of desperation about it:

LL Cool J, exclusively at Sears.

Sears? SEARS? WTF? I mean, Sears has negative cool. Sears sells house paint! And lawn mowers! And tool boxes! I mean, if ever a store embodied dead white suburban dads of the 1950s, it would have to be Sears. If somebody cool went into a Sears, we'd experience a cool/anti-cool implosion that would rip the space time continuum.



Good luck with that.

Prius Easter Eggs

Some video games give you "Easter Eggs;" funny little extras that the game programmers put in for amusement. Easter eggs usually require that you do something unusual--some combination of moves and buttons that aren't ordinarily something you would do. The reward varies, but can be a video clip, an unusual inventory item, you get the picture.

In the Nancy Drew games by Her Interactive, the Easter eggs are really Easter Eggs that just sit in your inventory and sparkle.

Apparently, Toyota has some game programmers on their staff, because recently, I have had to do some pretty unusual things to change settings on my Prius to make it work the way I want it to.

The things I want to change are pretty innocuous--most recently, it occurred to me that my Bluetooth connection would be more useful if the person on the other end of the call could ACTUALLY HEAR ME. I mean, it's not terribly driver friendly to answer a call and then have to stick my mouth right up to where the microphone is hidden, just to be heard. Especially since I don't know where the microphone is hidden, so I just direct my voice toward the speaker from which I hear my caller, and TALK REALLY REALLY LOUDLY.

You could work yourself up to some road rage that way, having to holler until your neck veins stick out trying to make yourself understood.

"The word is 'flat.' FLAT. FLAT!!! F as in flag, L as in little, A as in apple, T as in table--you know--straight across! Horizontal! FLAT!!"

Yes, that was an actual conversation I have had from my car.

So, maybe, there's a way to increase the volume on the microphone? You know, make it so it picks up my voice better? That seems like a natural kind of thing--you change the volume on the radio, you can raise and dim the inside lights, you should be able to adjust the microphone as well.

So, clever me, I go to the MFD. It actually stands for Multi-Function Display, but sometimes we call it something else with the same initials. Anyway! I pull up the Information screen, get to the Phone screen, and tap the Settings button.

No sale. I can change the volume on the ring. I can change the volume of the caller. I cannot change the setting for the microphone. So I go look in the Owner's Manual.

First, I look in the index for "microphone." Nothing. Then I look up "BlueTooth." Yes! I go to page 272 and start to read. And turn the page. And turn the page. And turn the page. You are getting the idea, aren't you. There is nothing about the microphone--location OR settings--in the Owner's Manual.

Well, I'm not to be thwarted! No sirree! If there is even going to be a point to having BlueTooth in my car, I need to do something about this damn microphone. So, I go online.

Of course, there I find the answer. Answers, actually. I can find information and videos on how to install a second microphone. I can order a BlueTooth headset with attached mike, so I look like Britney Spears In Concert when I make a call.

And, bless their geeky little hearts, I find the answer on PriusChat. All I have to do is go turn on the car, hold down two buttons on my MFD and turn the headlights on and off. Three times. This will give me a new diagnostics screen on my MFD that will allow me to adjust the mike settings.

Of course, this is ridiculous, isn't it? Turn the headlights on and off three times in order to get a new screen on my in-dash monitor? Who would ever think of doing that? I don't know, but DANG! if that didn't give me exactly the tool I wanted. Factory setting for the microphone is "0" on a scale of 0-10! No wonder I sound like I'm living in the bottom of a tin can!

I wonder what would happen if I opened and closed the gas tank hatch three times?

Bumper Stickers That Don't Exist

We were talking about bumper stickers around the dinner table the other night, and Sursels presented us with her own composition:

HONK! . . .if you like noise.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Come Join the Conversation

I know I have mentioned the MinnMoms site here--it's a new site run by the St. Paul Pioneer Press to highlight newspaper articles that address mom issues. More to the point, it has community boards where I (along with 13 other metro moms) are talking and posting about the stuff that we are interested in.

We are having quite a lively discussion about Sarah Palin here. We are helping each other commit to writing with writing prompts here, and a round robin story here.

The main page is here, and you can contact me privately through that site. I'm AKAMom over there, and I hope you might come join us.

More Reasons to Love My Prius

Reason #4356: Cool young hipster at Labor Day protest parade points at Prius, points at me, and says "That's hip." (I'm hip! Who knew?!?)

Reason #4357: after getting a manicure, I can leave the keys in my pocket, and still unlock the car and drive away without marring the nail polish!

Sign that Prii are officially ubiquitous? Finding a parking place at Target, and ending up nose to nose with another one.

Bumper Stickers Seen in the Hood

The political season has brought out some new bumper stickers. Enjoy.