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April 2007
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June 2007


    I have discovered a new guilty pleasure, one that surprised me to no end when it first took hold of my psyche.  I am in love with Bones.  Normally I'm not such a tv person - I'd rather read a good book (fewer commercials).  But this one really got  me.  My sister was raving about it when the kids and I first moved in, so to humor her I sat down one evening and watched.  WOW.  This show is good.  I mean, really good.  It's smart, funny, intense, thoughtful....the list of adjectives goes on and on.  The characters are incredibly appealing, in spite of their multiple quirks and oddities - or perhaps because of them.  And the actors make you believe in the characters, and do it so (apparently) effortlessly that you want to jump through the screen to interact with these people.  This is definitely my idea of "must-see tv".  Stay tuned for more.
    In other bone-related news, my brother-in-law David is  becoming much more aware of some of his bones right now.  Last Saturday Dave was on his motorcycle when a truck driver didn't see him and cut him off.  Dave's right leg hit the truck so hard (thank God he was only going 35 mph) that his thigh bone rammed through his hip socket, fracturing it and displacing the fragments.  Rather badly.  He's had two surgeries already, and the doctor is hopeful that he won't need more and all will be well, but he's looking at months of recovery and therapy.  Thankfully he was wearing a helmet and protective jacket, or there could have been even more trauma.  Moral of the story - always wear protective gear on a motorcycle, and never assume that the car/truck/whatever next to you has actually seen you. 

Hairy situation

    I am a slow learner.  I mean really, really slow, at least in some areas.  You would think that my current age would have brought a certain level of wisdom and maturity (quit snickering) but apparently some things just never sink in.  The current example - hair removal.   No, not the stuff on top of my head, although I got a whoooooole lot of that whacked off last week (fresh air!!), the stuff on my legs.  You heard me, legs.  I hates it, precious, hates it!  See, I was born with dark - almost black - hair.  Dark hair on my head, my arms, my get the picture.  I was also born with lots of hair - on my head, my arms, my legs... When you're five, hairy legs aren't a big deal, but when you're 15 - or 25 - or whatever unpleasant number comes after that - they really are.  Boys mock.  Other girls whisper snide comments.  Your panty hose look like they have intestines.  Hair removal becomes very important at this stage, which leads to the neverending quest for the perfect hair removal method.  And this, my friends, is where I fall.
    See, when I entered this stage of my life, I began with the traditional shave.  Into the shower with some soap and the razor, and out came silky-smooth gams (theoretically).  In reality what came out was a bit of a mess at first.  I am probably the only woman you'll find who actually has scars from shaving her legs.  (And no, thank God, I never considered a career as a surgeon, for obvious reasons.)  While the blood loss was the minimal, the scabs were a nuisance, as well as being decidedly un-aesthetic.  What to do?  A-ha!  Cream hair removers!
    Do you remember cream hair removers?  Nifty or Near or whatever they're called?  They're still out there, screaming their lies at another generation of hapless young girls.  "Gentle hair removal" claims one bottle - "fresh flower scent" says another - "silky-smooth legs with no nicks or cuts!" proclaims a third.  Lies, lies, all lies!  It's gentle, all right, because it doesn't work. Hard to be tough doing nothing.  If my flowers smelled like this stuff, I'd burn 'em all now.  And no, you will not experience nicks or cuts while using these products (that comes the next day, when you have to shave anyway because the stuff didn't work); however, what they don't tell you is that leaving the junk on your legs long enough to be effective will not take the hair, but it will remove the top layer of your epidermis.  Beet-red, excruciatingly sensitive legs are not an improvement.  Trust me. 
    So, razors are effective but dangerous.  Cream hair removers are ineffective and also dangerous.  What next?  Wax!  There you go!  Now, I have to admit to being curious as to who first looked at a pot of hot wax and thought "Hey!  I bet if I smear this boiling, sticky substance all over my legs, let it cool, and then rip it off, the hair will come too and I won't have to shave for a while."  I mean, really - who would think that's a good idea?  But clearly someone did, and they managed to persuade other someones, and now that whole ball of wax is still rolling merrily along. There are even "cold wax" and "wax strips" to try.  Problem is, wax doesn't work for me either.  I don't know if my hair just really loves me or what, but the times I've tried waxing, all I lost was time, patience and roughly three hairs.  Nothing else came loose.  Sigh.
     Do you see where this leaves me?  There are still other methods of hair removal - plucking (ow), laser treatments (financial ow), etc. - but for me, it all comes back to the razor.  I have learned over the years to be considerably more careful with a blade, so I rarely get cut now.  And the fancy-schmancy razors of today cut so close and so smooth that my legs really do look great after a shave.  So why did I come home yesterday with the newest incarnation of hair-removal cream?  I guess hope springs eternal.

It's a mystery

    Having been a mom for 15 years now, there are some things that I've finally figured out.  Things like kids and dirt (completely inseparable, don't even try); kids and vegetables (they only like the ones you hate, or anything covered in cheese sauce); or kids and kids (it's a love-hate relationship and you just never know which it will be from moment to moment).  What I haven't figured out is kids, sleep schedules and hearing.
    There is clearly some mysterious relationship between my need or desire for sleep, the amount of stress I'm under, and the kids' ability to shut up and GO TO BED ALREADY.  Because the more I want them to go sweetly off to dreamland, the more they fuss.  And play.  And come up with incredibly inane questions that have to be answered right now or I'll die, Mommy! that keep them running up and down the stairs for two hours after bedtime.  After years of threats, bribes, and whatever dire consequences hubby and I can dream up, the pattern continues.  I'm no longer sure if we are missing something as parents or if our kids are just phenomenally persistent and will someday cure cancer, create world peace and come up with a cheesecake that doesn't make you fat, because that kind of stubbornness has to be good for something beyond making us crazy.
     Hearing is another issue entirely.  How can the child who fusses at you that you're "making too much noise" talking at the other end of the house after you've told him to go to sleep, then proceed to sleep through three freight trains outside the window, the neighbors' dogs barking the "Hallelujah Chorus"  and the unbalanced washer thumping like it's going to explode?  I don't get it.  I can scream "Go to BED!!" at a decibel level rivalling that of O'Hare's landing strips and they don't hear me, but if I whisper "I need to be alone for a little bit", BAM!!  It's like trying to wade in the Amazon with "just a little cut on my leg" and thinking you'll evade the piranhas.  Not gonna happen.   I can stand right in front of them and tell them, firmly and in very clear English, that they need to take showers and go clean their rooms, and five minutes later all I have are blank looks, dirty kids and dirty rooms.  It's like I never even spoke.  How can this be?  Are certain words or phrases simply more intelligible to the average kid?  Things like "ice cream", "Nintendo", or "going to Grandma's" are always heard and understood.  It's words like "clean", "bedtime", or "quit hitting your brother/sister" that seem to get fuzzy for the little darlings. There has to be an answer to this problem, but I'm not sure what it will be.  I do know one thing, though: I'm not asking the kids.  They won't hear me.   

Back to the dorm

    Since the kids and I hit the States, we've been leading a rather gypsy-ish existence...a week here, ten days out of suitcases and so on.  Thank God that we have family willing to put up with our little refugee family, because I'm not sure what our options would be otherwise.  At any rate, our "official" home base is my sister's place in southern Ohio.
    Now, for you to fully understand the situation, you need to know that Melinda and I are so completely different that people have thought we were lying when we said we were sisters.  I'm short, dark hair (courtesy of L'Oreal, thankyouverymuch), not much of a fashionista, happily married mom of three.  I haven't worked outside the home in 15 years.  Melinda, on the other hand, is a tall single redhead who is currently completing her doctoral dissertation while teaching at a very highly-regarded liberal arts college in the area.  I drive a '99 Buick, Melinda drives an '05 Honda.  My fashion sense is "if it's clean, wear it" while Melinda perfectly coordinates and accessorizes her outfits before she goes anywhere.  We have been this different since birth. 
    When we were younger (say, up until about 5 years ago or so) we fought.  We fought a lot.  If Melinda said it was black, by golly I was going to say white.  We loved each other, but our polar-opposite personalities clashed constantly.  However, age and distance have worked their magic, and now we get along quite well, which is a good thing since we're roomies for the first time in over 20 years.  Oh, and we're roomies with my three kids too, which has to be a bit of a smack in the chops (figuratively speaking) for a single woman who's been living alone for lo these many years.  No more privacy!  But you know what?  It's working.  In fact, it's working quite well.  The kids adore Melinda and she's pretty fond of them too, as well as frequently amused by them, which helps.  Since she's busy being the professor -  and since I feel a need to help out since we're basically squatters here - I try to run errands, clean, etc. so she doesn't have to worry about things.  (She commented the other day that she might need to get a wife after this!)  It's really pretty good.
    The best part, though?  The part that really tickles me?  I am having fun with my sister.  Real fun.  Melinda makes me laugh so hard sometimes I'm afraid I'm going to have to start wearing Depends.  We haven't had much time to just hang out and be goofy over the last few years, and it's actually been really nice to just sit and chat with her.  We still have our differences and always will - that's just life - but for my part, at least, I'm enjoying getting to know Melinda as another woman and not just my little sister.  She's an amazing gal.  I guess there's an upside to this situation after all.