Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New and Unimproved!

Due to national security concerns, and because the Kitties totally plagiarized, I made them remove most of their posts for vetting. (The Kitties hate vetting.) If they are worm-free and promise to use their flea spray on a regular basis (instead of hiding behind the bathroom cabinet door and pretending to put it on) I have promised the Kitties that they can re-post some of their favorites. Without the plagiarism parts, of course. We'll see how it goes.

Here are a couple of their recent faves, which I am letting them repost because they clipped their nails:

Monday, April 14, 2008
CPR is Not Always the Answer

I have been an aerobics instructor for most of my adult life. I have taught in high-end, name-brand facilities; where the clientele had staff to select their leotards and matching leg warmers, and mostly chose to admire themselves in the mirrors instead of working out because sweat would ruin their makeup. (Until two weeks before a fund-raising ball, when "we" would have to work very hard to ensure that they could get into their black designer dresses. And could "we" please do some extra arm work because that stuff hanging down underneath has to go? RIGHT NOW!?!)

I have taught in public health facilities, where Doctors of Epidemiology discussed the transmission of the Hante Virus in rural Arizona during leg lifts. (They were wearing t-shirts from malaria conferences in 1976 and their old shorts from high school gym class and - thank God - we had no mirrors.)

I have taught college classes to cute young things in cute little outfits with no midriff fabric; who were training to take my job when they graduated from college with degrees in kinesiology, which hadn't even been invented when I was in school.

And, of course, in church basements, community centers, and the occasional bar on the beach in Mexico. (Another story, another day. Suffice it to say, it is possible, considering the number of tourists with video cameras and the sheer - shall I say - "colorfulness" of our band of merry dancers at the time, this might be found somewhere on YouTube. If you find it, please do not bring it to my attention.)

In order to teach these classes, I must maintain certification from an admired and trusted body of experts, who make me send them a whole bunch of important papers every couple of years - proving that I have not forgotten the Krebs Cycle and anaerobic metabolism and other things that no one in any aerobics class anywhere in the Continental United States or Alaska or Hawai'i or any of the Territories or even Guam or American Samoa has ever asked about. (If they really wanted to be relevant they would test us on "Dancing With the Stars" and Oprah's latest eating plan.)


We have to have a current CPR card.

So, every year there is the Quest For the Short-Version CPR Course. A CPR class can be 8 hours long; even longer if you share a manikin with one of those "Could you explain the ABCs of CPR one more time" types who don't understand that ABC is an ACRONYM for Pete's sake!! That means "A" stands for "Airway", "B" stands for "Breathing", and "C" stands for "Circulation" and that is WHY they call it the ABCs of CPR and WHY we check those things in that order and REALLY, what is so flipping hard about that??? (Sorry, I get a little worked up sometimes, and that is why instructors need the short-version classes.)

I got really, really sick of the hunt. The short-version classes were inevitably held at 7 PM on Monday nights, while those of us who needed them were in class. Or 9 AM on Saturday. Same difference...

The solution was clear. I could become a CPR instructor, I wouldn't have to take any more classes. I could teach my loved ones how to save each other! And how to save me! It was a perfect plan. (But certainly not all fun and games. My instructor-trainer was some kind of American Gladiator maniac, who made us perform an ACTUAL HEIMLICH MANEUVER on him to judge our strength. No telling how many broken ribs he's sustained over the years.)

So I lived and breathed CPR. I dreamed compression-breath ratios. I collected a family of adult and baby manikins, disposable manikin airways, manikin bags and manikin sanitizer. I taught classes to beginners and professionals looking for convenient short-version classes. Life was good. (Well, except for that ornery doctor who decided that, if he saw someone in respiratory distress he wasn't going to mess with CPR. He would just pull out his pocket knife and do a tracheotomy. Do you issue him a card, or fail him? He has that pocket knife...)

And one day, mid aerobic class, it happened.

I heard, "Oh, my God!" above the music...turned around to see a ghostly-white woman clutching her chest with a look of horror...adrenaline kicked in...shut off the music...rushed to her side...grabbed her arm and asked, "Are you OK?"...automatically pointed to someone to call 911...ready to catch her if she passed out...

She said, "I forgot to change bras! I'm sweating in my lace!"

You never know when the next emergency will arise. Be prepared.

Friday, April 11, 2008
I'm Just Sayin'...

My friend, Penelope - beautiful, blonde, brilliant, perky, petite Penelope - is a world-class shopper. She devours design magazines. She might even lick the pages. She knows every name of every designer with a line worth underlining from Paris to Milano to Rodeo Drive to Fifth Avenue. She knows the colors each designer uses by name. And where to get their work, the genuine articles, no Canal Street knockoffs for her, at 60% off.

Pennie likes her quality. She likes her ultra-high threadcount sheets to be professionally laundered. She does not understand my affinity for mowing the grass myself; preferring to use that time instead to have her private masseur stop by to give her a massage while she watches a movie. Pennie has priorities; and, as she says, she is "not optional."

Penelope is a great fan of shopping on line. Designer silks, beautiful stones from China, those high-count sheets - well, they come straight to her door via UPS.

Men, however, arrive in haphazard fashion.

Pennie is recently single, and open to changing that descriptor. Men seem to be aware of that fact. Penelope can walk into a gourmet grocery store and leave with the cake designer; who will have greatly admired her pretty blue eyes,and was pretty cute himself. Unfortunately, she will discover, three dates later, that the first thing he does in the morning is to down the first of several Singapore Slings, which led to that unfortunate and costly situation with his ex-wife.

She will be introduced to Mike at a friend's dinner party. Mike, it turns out - while mildly amusing - would make a much better BFF than BF. Tom, the handsome widower, also a dinner party date, has potential. And a gaggle of adoring divorcees with long nails and pointy teeth.

Now we have Bob. Pennie met Bob at the video store, where he was renting "Hairspray." Bob's first remark: "I know a lot about musicals for a straight guy." Pennie remarked that there was a lecture on John Travolta's movie career that very evening at the University Cinema...did he want to go? Dinner followed. No sushi, fish, Indian, Asian, spicy, Mexican, Greek or Ethiopian. Bob likes steak and a baked potato. No margarita, Bob doesn't drink. Dinner next Thursday? Bob is not sure if he will be hungry then; and he might have to chair his Neighborhood Watch group.

And I am not even going to go there with the Mushroom Soup Incident. It was ugly.

I wonder if Stacey and Clinton could be compelled to do a "Who Not to Date" intervention?

Penelope, my dear; this Random Man Shopping is like me trying to make an "outfit" of the stuff in my closet. There are some nice pieces, but there's not a lot to choose from. After great effort, I can pull it all together with the right accessories, on a "good hair" day. But you are a world-class shopper; point, click, perfection! There are men on line, with pedigrees. It is time to move the Manhunt to the Internet.

Knowing you, Mr. Right is just a click away; and you'll find him for 60% off.

Monday, April 7, 2008
What Happens When You Start Making Accessories out of Garbage

One very ugly winter day I was out for a walk; trying to convince myself that I was walking on a beautiful beach and the sky was blue and the water was clear and there was a parasail above me and that little cafe would be a nice place to have a margarita and the sun was shining and I forgot my sunscreen and I could tell I was burning and I probably better set up an appointment with the dermatologist as soon as I get home. Wait a minute, what was I talking about?

Oh, yeah. Walking on a beautiful beach. Looking for beach glass to make into something beautiful. The perfect beach jewel...and thinking, beach glass is really just trash! Walking, picking up trash, making it into jewelry. That's what I wanted to be doing. And instead, I am walking, and NOT picking up trash, and NOT making it into jewelry. Hmmm...

So I looked around, and lo and behold, there in the road, just out of reach, was the cap from an energy drink. And I thought, just LOOK at that beautiful emerald green metal against the onyx-like background! And I knew JUST what to do with it! But if I darted out in traffic, I'd be roadkill. Roadkill. Hmmm...Roadkill.

American Roadkill, The Series, was born.

So I waited for the traffic to clear, snagged my cap and tried to look sanely back at the onlookers. What the hell. I was picking up garbage because I am an artiste. Let them think what they want.

I boldly continued on my new mission. A Marlboro pack! Candy wrappers! The most glorious assortment of bottle caps! Who knew bottle caps were so beautiful? Tail light glass. Mirror shards. And, of course, some things that I had to really wonder about. For example, why are there so many dental floss packets on the side of the road? Do people really floss in the car? Ewww, seems like that would make a mess of the inside of the windshield. Or, perhaps there is some OTHER use...something wicked and unsavory...for the stuff; and I am simply unaware of it. (The only other use I know for dental floss is to cut cheesecake neatly. And I did use it once to it hang a mobile from the ceiling, when I didn't have any fishing line because I sold all the unused fish gear at a yard sale without thinking about hanging mobiles.)

Another sociological question: Candy wrappers are a dime a dozen. (That's a silly expression. I know I couldn't get a dime for them, but you know what I mean.) However. There ARE no TicTac boxes by the side of the road. Does this mean that fewer people consume TicTacs than candy bars? Practically every woman I know has TicTacs in her purse. In fact, if Monty Hall was still making deals he would never offer to trade a woman a box for TicTacs because he'd lose his box. Then again, it would be just my luck to have the TicTacs in my purse and decide to trade them for the box and in the box would be a chicken. Yes, if I were Monty Hall, that's what I would put in the box. Then I could score some TicTacs and get rid of the damn chicken at the same time.

Maybe TicTac people are politer, or more environmentally aware, than candy bar people. If they are more environmentally aware, does it then follow that TicTac people are more likely to vote Democrat? Are there grants to study trash demographics? As usual, I digress.

Perhaps the strangest phenomenon resulting from my newfound source of artistic inspiration is the northern creep of the Sanibel Stoop. Family and friends frequently forage for me, looking like walking advertisements for anti-osteoporosis drugs. But to see their little faces light up when they present me with a broken blue lighter or a Kroger loyalty card (clearly discarded from a stolen purse) - just priceless.

And when the finished pieces come together; well, you know what they say.

One Girl's Trash is Another Girl's Jewelry.

(You can see some of the series in my Etsy shop, using the link to the right. "American Roadkill" is my idea, and pictures of it are mine, and all the clever things I say about it are mine. If you would like to mention "American Roadkill" or use any photos of the series, or in any other way copy the designs or information about it, I am the Boss of It and even though I share and I Play Well With Others we need to talk about it first. Thank you.)

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