Saturday, June 30, 2007

Skeletons of Thought

I promise not to give you a dull play-by-play of my holidays but I will tell you those things that occurred that I deem to have some kind of weird philosophical spin-off.

Yeh, I’m a white-knuckled flyer. Frightened of flight. So prior to leaving on holidays I gathered up all I could gather to fluff up a comforting quilt for a chilled mind. A whole parcel of poetic lines that put flying into the context of freedom, buoyancy, lightness, floating, soaring.

My hope was that I could turn my dread of flying into something lovely. And maybe it would have worked, but when we headed for the airport, there were huge black clouds rumbling and tumbling in from the west. And ‘west’ was the direction we were heading. Right into the fray.

And then, at the airport, as we proceeded through the luggage check, something else started gnawing at me. Here we are at a counter with a long line of booths representing different flight agencies. And above the singular booth, responsible for our trip, our safety, our welfare, is an added display. A 3” black streamer about four feet long attached horizontally across the bottom of the airline-logo sign-plate. A black streamer with a repeated pattern of white skeleton faces and crossbones. I was appalled.

Now I’m not superstitious in my conscious mind, but in the subconscious, there is a layer that slumbers but occasionally stirs to harken to subtle warnings. Sights, sounds, or signals that others quickly dismiss are for me, portends of impending disaster. That streamer roused that sleeping thing. Causing even more fright. And fright, when backed into a corner, kick-starts angry defense. So immediately I’m thinking, “Grab a brain, Freak. There are some of us in this line-up that already feel our lives are on the line.”

What kind of perverted airline-checker would decorate his booth with such a gruesome display? Sure there was a green net hammock as well strung up there with colorful plastic miniatures of a starfish, a pirate ship, a sword, and a telescope that I guess were supposed to represent the light-hearted side of some kind of pirate theme. If it was October, I could readily dismiss it as a Halloween theme. I could even set it aside if we were traveling by ship to the Caribbean. But that isn’t the case. I looked around. The other agents have no special decorations on their booths. But still, the décor is deliberate so it must have practical significance but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is. With nothing relative I can only conclude it has a less practical significance – the foreshadowing of disaster. And so, the underlay of superstition in my subconscious mind interprets it as a death knell.

With that interpretation I find myself becoming angrier with that agent by the moment. For heaven’s sake, he, of all people, must know how cautious one has to be about word-speak in an airport. Mention hi-jacking, ammunition, or explosives, and you will be arrested, and here we have a contrived blazon hi-jacking theme pasted at eye level for all travelers to look at. It may be about boats and pirates, rather than planes specifically, but what do pirates do when they come aboard a vessel? They hi-jack it, don’t they? And inevitably, death is likely to follow. (And like others say, ‘It’s not that I fear death itself, it’s just that I don’t want to foolishly rush the transition and I don’t want that transition to hurt.’)

I turned to Hub. “When we get to the counter,” I said, “I’m going to tell that air-rep how much I DO NOT appreciate his display – particularly all the skeletons and cross-bones.” Hub, of course, the ever-practical thinker, told me to leave it alone. “Don’t be so silly and sensitive,” he said. “I’m sure it isn’t bothering anyone but you.”

Oh yeh? Here I disagree. There are at least 25% of us in this world who are white-knuckled flyers, and another 50% of us ruled by emotion rather than practicality, so I’m certainly not alone. I have my backers.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Slack Tale

(I’m back but I’m exhausted. So while I rest up, here for your amusement is the last post I wrote before I left. I didn’t post it because I was a bit under the weather with a grand mal of arthritis in one hip).

It’s right down to the wire – the plane leaves tomorrow – and I am still dealing with wardrobe issues. Particularly since YD has made very special reservations for an outing that she keeps reminding me to deck out in full grandeur for.

First thought was about my ankle-length gown with the velvet jacket. But the jacket is rather heavy for mid-summer wear. And without the jacket I feel a little over-exposed. So I started kicking around the idea of taking something cooler, and more versatile.

And so then I remembered the pant-suit that I bought while housed in the executive suite on Radison Avenue several years ago. The one I bought for way too much money at one of those small specialty boutiques with rugs so soft and deep that I found myself flailing a bit while walking on them in an automated reflex action to stay afloat. One of those small, but ever so fashionable, shops tucked away in the center of downtown. With French doors and mirrors swinging both ways, Greek columns, and silk plants accenting a front-end vestibule with Louis the 5th brocade chairs. A greeter-hostess who sat with me at a small table and provided coffee (in china cups) and a pre-shopping consultation surrounding color charts and fabric swatches. A consultation about winter colors, summer colors, and camouflage styles to correct body flaws. It was one of those places where I had that sickening need to pretend I was something I wasn’t just to manage the stilted conversational exchanges without sneering and saying, “Why don’t we just get real here?”

When I began to try on clothes, ladies-in-waiting appeared in small swarms to tuck and tussle and contemplate with one hand pressed to their faces like “the Thinker” before expressing a mindless cliché. “For you, my dear, excellent! For you, my dear, positively stunning!”

With a safety pin in one bra strap to prevent sag and slippage, I feared my façade of self-confidence would be destroyed by one of them offering to adjust that as well. With gracious countenance, some cutting sarcasm like "My dear, let me assist you. It appears that pin is digging into your flesh.”

So I became panicky about keeping it hidden. A difficult thing to do with the many matte noses and raccoon eyes peeking into the dressing room unannounced, to ask if I would like to try an accent scarf or some exotic jewelry with each ensemble.

It was a bit of a trial, but somehow I got through it, and eventually I was out on the street with a box containing a pant suit and a slip of minute size paper that validated a sudden crash in my bank balance. Truly, the best kind of suit I ever had if value can be rightly calculated from price and the sophistication of the place it was purchased at.

I wore my lovely jade and black pantsuit a couple of times and indeed I was not disappointed. Always comments about how lovely it was. But then, after that, the time came to refresh, dry-clean, before a next wearing. And this is what I hate. The garment that requires ‘specialized’ attention, rather than the freedom to fling it on the basement floor until the next tub of like-minded colors are being agitated at full speed with hot water and some good dependable mix of soap and concentrated stain remover.

So I procrastinated. The darn thing cost me enough already without the price of dry-cleaning which doesn’t always bring about the desired result. So eventually I did what I generally do in such circumstances – I clenched my teeth, set the washer to cold water, gentle cycle, poured in a bit of gentle soap, shut my eyes, and quickly closed the lid on the washer.

Yeh, you know it. The jacket did okay, but the pants, that were a kind of crinkled stuff, went from size 14 to size 7. From a 32” leg to a 24” leg. How do you like those bananas? So while they were still wet I started pulling. I pulled up and down and crosswise until they returned to a size 10. Still not good enough. So out came the ironing board and I ironed all the crinkles out of those suckers. Guess what—with that effort, the slacks went from size 10 to size 28.

That’s when I returned the slacks to a hanger in the back of the closet and said, ‘Enough is enough.’ And procrastination again set in. So now yesterday, I pulled that suit out and found myself wandering through the wondrous nostalgia, of how that pantsuit came to be, and the unequaled beauty it once offered. I put the outfit on and stood in front of the mirror. The slacks were so big in the hips there was room for Hub and me and two friends in those pants. Still the magical appeal they once had came to mind and I decided to haul out my sewing machine and sew them down to size.

Maybe not. Maybe that will just be the complete ruination of them. Maybe the Dry Cleaners can resurrect them? Nah. Dismiss that thought, they’ll probably lose the pants. And I don’t have the stamina to go through what I would need to go through to get them replaced.

So let’s wash them again and try something different. So I did. I washed them again. Again they came out size 7. I stretched them again – back to size 10. Now here is where we have to find a convergence in the treatment. I thought how nice it would be if I had a pant frame in my size, but I don’t. Oh yes, I do. My own frame.

So, although the pants were sopping wet, I put them on. I went out on the deck where a brisk breeze was playing. I walked about in the yard, careful, ever so careful not to bend my legs. I knew if I did, the pants would immediately begin to bag at the knees.

With the semblance of a nutcracker doll, I walked about, erect and stiff-legged until the pants had almost dried. Came to the house, removed them and checked them out. Perfect. Clean, fresh, and a perfect size 14.

But would I recommend this treatment? Not really. My pant-suit is back to its original beauty but now I’m off on holidays with a discomforting bit of arthritis in one hip. I think that is what happens if you use a body frame to mold a wet pair of crinkled slacks. Still, I think it beats the distress that could come with sending them to the dry-cleaners.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A New Ballroom Balcony Gown

Vacation days are fast approaching. Remember when I asked for help on how to capture the essence of being a good tourist (blog - May 26th) ? The only help I got was from my friend, matty.

She told me that among other things, I should be “loud and demanding” and do some “wild n crazy stuff”. I’m not sure if I’ll be loud and demanding, but already I’ve started with the ‘wild n crazy stuff’.

Now YD has reserved Hub and I a room in a fine hotel with a balcony. And since I don’t intend to go dining and dancing, I decided the best kind of outfit I needed was a ballroom balcony gown. So I want to show you what came out of that effort.

Now this is my original balcony gown that is now more years old than I care to confess.
It always went on holidays with me. I’ve walked beaches in this gown and lazed in campsites in cool comfort on hot, hot days. But it’s pretty much ready to cast aside. It has been mended and mended. I even borrowed fabric from the neck facing to stitch up lacerations in the cloth. But still as long as it hangs together I don’t intend to part with it.

Now about four years ago, ED (eldest daughter) gave me some wild and crazy cotton. It was a beautiful blend of mauve and brown and gold that was more defiant in challenging me to a suitable sewing project than any cloth I’ve ever had. And I knew, before I started, that matching colors and working out a flattering method for that cloth was likely to prove more than my small brain could handle. Still, I maintain that 'a chunk of cloth in the drawer does no one any good. Even a bad effort is better than no effort at all.'

So that’s when I thought, “Why not a new ballroom balcony gown?" And so, here it is.

The wild and crazy part of it is because the fabric was wide blends and bands of opposing colors, the back of my gown is gold, the front is mauve and blue. But that might be my salvation. I should be able to be arrogant and demanding in that kind of cutting-edge style.

Do you think?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sure Things Go "Bump" in the Night

I think I know why traditionally monsters exist in the night. But what I don’t know is why I am so much braver at night than during the day.

After dark, if something disturbs me, I will take brave, quick action without contemplation. There will be no pause to wonder if my actions will be well received, if they are politically correct, or if those actions will be viewed with disdain by others. And when I decide to write something at two in the morning, no matter how unorthodox that writing, (like this rant I'm writing right now), I bravely conclude, without question, that it makes good rational sense and has the utmost cohesiveness and clarity. Even though, when morning comes, I will look this over again and find it is nothing more than a grand mess of disconnected phrases, nonsensical thoughts, and jumbled words.

Maybe my nighttime bravery makes sense. I mean if I were to see Dracula or the Boogie Man standing in a sunlit room, I don’t know about you, but I would certainly run for cover. But if I saw these same creatures in a thin insipid stream of moonlight at night, I would just laugh and tell them point blank, “You don’t scare me.” (The reason being that in darkness, nothing is clearly visible, so I immediately chalk everything up to imagination).

So I don't fear what I can't clearly see. If I hear unusual noises at night, I bravely leap from my bed to go and investigate. I will let Hub sleep while I go to check out the back yard and wander through pervading darkness without alarm. Not so in daylight. That's entirely another matter.

If I hear uncommon noises in the garage or basement during the day, I am not wanting to investigate. There will be no investigation by me. Hub will have to check it out. Maybe it all boils down to the silly notion that “if I can see IT, then IT can see me.’

But at night I can easily rationalize anything. The creak in the floor and the noise in the wall is the house settling, the whining noise in the yard is simply the wind, the noise in the attic a wayward bird or small wood-boring insect. But these same sounds during the day are disturbing – too disturbing for me to even want to investigate.

Guess I was raised to believe and expect things go bump in the night.

You can turn off the flashlight now and go to your tent. Cause that's my scary campfire tale for tonight.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Dastardly Day

I have no patience with anyone who thinks they can cook in the kitchen while relaxing in the livingroom. I have even less patience with husbands who thinks they can cook a perfect steak on the deck barbecue while tracking a hockey game on TV in another room as Hub sometimes does. When stuff burns, or boils dry, there is no excuse now, and has never been an excuse, except the straight-forward confession of irresponsibility. Really, people should know better.

Now having articulated those thoughts, I will tell you a story.

Yesterday I was baking my weekly batch of eight loaves of bread. And so I mixed the dough, kneaded it, and extracted a small amount to make a pizza for lunch. I put the remaining dough in my big bread bowl and put that bowl in the oven to rise in the heat of the oven light, as I always do and have been doing for years.

My pizza dough meanwhile rose on the counter for a brief time and was soon ready for topping. That’s when Hub came in and asked when lunch would be ready. By then it was late, after two. He was very hungry and so was I so I quickly began assembling the ingredients for the pizza. And while rushing to do that I turned on the oven to high, cause you know, pizzas need high heat, right?

About ten minutes later my now delayed, rather than immediate, state of recall kicked in. In a state of panic, I jerked open the oven door. Big puffy bread, quick rise, oh yes, but at the same time, the heat liquefied the bottom of my plastic bread-bowl. That part of it was now draped in long streamers around the oven racks and the bottom heat element. What a bloody mess?

Hub immediately took action. Bread bowl out on the deck, oven racks out on the deck, ice cubes to harden the streamers, and then removal of the rest of the mess. Meanwhile yelling, “Clear out of here, woman, or you’ll burn yourself!”


I’ve told you before that when my feet hit the floor in the morning, it’s entirely up to me if I make or break my new day. I broke this one good.

Why am I telling you this? So if you are having a bad day, you will know with solid conviction, that you are not alone. And if you have done some stupid irresponsible thing that has you beating yourself up, you should see me.

Hub is from the old school and he does not normally help with kitchen clean-up, but in the midst of disaster he is the Protector of the Vulnerable. As dependable as a rock and ALWAYS comes a-running. I’m grateful for that fixed protector-part of the old-school philosophy that made gender differences, as they used to be…rather nice.

So Thanks to Hub, right now my oven looks like nothing happened and so does my kitchen. I wonder how this what have panned out if Hub and I were entrenched in gender equality and the spin-offs that come with that kind of thinking. I think I might still be picking plastic off the heating element as penance for my own irresponsibility.

Maybe it is unfair, and even untrue, this thought I harbor in my head, that amidst gender balance and total equality, he would stand by silently thinking… “When I make a mess, I clean it up, so when you make a mess, you can clean it up as well.”

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Once Friend, Now Foe

I peek around the window casing. I must not let them see,
They will tuck their brilliant color when they see—it is me.
I still have tattered remnants locked in a childhood vault
Of a friendship that was broken, it was nobody’s fault.

But if I try to resurrect how it once was with us
I’m not sure if I should smile, or if I want to cuss.
When I glimpse their little faces and see them nod their heads.
Back come all the gentle thoughts combined with what I dread.

Thoughts of patient-plaited blossoms, I wear as a golden crown
And a feverishly-plucked bouquet, of soft and yellow down.

I remember all I longed to know as I lounged in a golden field,
Secrets only a dandelion knew and only a dandelion could reveal.

There were things told to me through spectral fluff
That I breathed upon with a gentle puff
Perilously one parachute clings to the vine.
Giving sacred promise – that he will be mine.
So loved by one, though no longer by three…
I’m not disappointed, if that’s how it must be.


Oh I know they’re so jolly in hot sunny weather,
And with all of the grand times we’ve had together
When did that fast bond get so twisted with pain?
To a malignant affinity of disgust and disdain?

I’ve never expressed it, but they certainly know
Cause they duck and fold wherever I go
They bend and cower and play hide-and-seek
And when they think I’m not looking…
They have a quick peek.

So unfold for children, when they come to play
But stay distant from me, it’s better that way
Though skittish you are and though you may hide
I know that you’re there and you’ll always abide!

A blessing in one form, a curse in another
Still a most precious gift from a child to her mother.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Through the Looking Glass

I realized while drafting a couple of recent posts something I thought we should discuss. I realized that writing via a blog-medium invites reckless exposure. Even though all I pin up here, in this cyper-place is an image rather than a real person. So is there a threat? There shouldn’t be. But I think I see one although I never did in the past.

It strikes me as odd, coincidental, that as an overly-shy child, with nothing in my physical shell except a quivering emulsion of insecurities and ‘fraidy-cat jelly, I was so brave when confronted with my own reflection. I looked in mirrors and pouted and posed and contorted in reckless ways. Straining and twisting in poses of face that would have prompted pant-wetting laughter, or overt disgust, if viewed by others.

The Internet is similar to a mirror. Here we define a space and create within that space a self-image. It is a reflection as simple as a pond or mirror reflection that seems to pose no threat and thus encourages us to be brave. But is it that simple? To answer that I want to move to another discussion about mirrors and reflections.

This other thought arises from vague memories of a child’s book of fantasy – “Through the Looking Glass.” Though written well before the invention of computers, the author of this book clearly perceived the magnetic pull and fascination of reflective images. And though I only vaguely remember the story, this much I do recall. This book offers a spellbinding analogy of how mirrors offer a place so much more enticing than our real world.

And so if the story were analyzed with the same intensity as works of Nostradamus, we would certainly see the book as a foretelling of human nature and the draw of Internet communication. Here is the prophet of how an exact, but not-so-real-world copy, has the same compulsive draw because it features a perfect counterpart scenario without censure.

Some time ago I read a note about the communication and exchange of one’s unconscious needs within computer mediation. What researchers discovered is that stone-sober bloggers are impulsive and reckless. In fact, they have fewer inhibitions than a slobbering drunk at a private house party. But why? I guess because we are compelled, in ways we fail to understand, to step through the glass, as Alice did. And here in this not-so-real-world of cyberspace, we tend to dissociate with ease from the disciplines that hold us true to who we really are.

I expect you think it quite silly that we are discussing scenarios that seem as much pretend as a story about walking through a looking-glass. And I would agree except I remember so clearly how, as a child, I longed to do just that. I recall the tension and tangible waves of will and spirit that invited me to step into and explore a reversed world that held so much more appeal than my own.

So now, just for kicks I want you to go to a mirror and look in it. Take a particularly close look at the background of that reflection.

(When you’ve done that, come back and finish reading).

So now, tell me truthfully. When you looked in the mirror, didn’t the reflective backdrop of your home looked cozier, the kitchen tidier, the chesterfield more inviting? That’s part of the force and pressure, strain and draw of reflective images that can’t be denied.

As for me, so much time as passed since I was a child, but still I feel the draw. And it is not just dream-stance but even practical considerations that draw me. The twining of reality with a mirror-reflection stimulates my sorting and organizing skills as well. It makes me want to get in there and grab the twin object, so I can overlap it with the original and stash the two together in the same space.

So, it is true. I have felt the pull in a tangible way that radiates from a looking-glass inviting me to come to that world. As strong, but even more insidious is the invitation to go unfettered into the reflective image of myself on the net. But having recognized the parallels of that magnetism with a common household mirror, I remain cautious. I am keenly aware that everything in the mirror, though seemingly exact in detail — is not.

There is a contortion and skewing that changes values, expectations, and intent. It is called the ‘reverse factor – left is right, and “tfel si thgir”. That’s pretty scary.


P.S. We are all aware of so many parents with responsible, modest, obedient, mature-thinking teens, that are aghast to find that they have stripped in front of viewer-cams or engaged in conversational exchanges that are so far removed from their real life persona. Perhaps this looking-glass invitational ease is the thing that parents should discuss with young people as much as other risks of the Internet. It is a seduction for a child equal to that tug you and I feel for an early morning cup of coffee…or the tug to write another Blog.

Monday, June 4, 2007

A Pic for Pauline

This little pic is for Pauline and others who wonder why I don't cut grass. I live on an acreage with about two or more acres of lawn. See the trees and other obstacles and this is only one small back corner of the yard. The bit of dirt by the gardening wagon is the flower bed I have been weeding. And yes, that is Hub out there, no doubt mulching away with fresh, anxious-to-germinate, dandelion, quackgrass, and a variety of other noxious weed cuttings...

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Maturity and Minor Set-Backs

When I was a teen, I was immature. And because I was immature I thought the world rotated around me. And I thought nice clothes would make me popular and if I were ‘really’ popular, everyone would love and adore me. Immaturity made me think others adore us for how we look rather than who we are.

And when I was a young wife, I was immature as well. I thought Hub’s role was to amuse me and cater to me. I thought it was a simple equation. I cater to you with my heart and you cater to me in every sensitive and material way. Immaturity made me think this way rather than understanding, that when my feet hit the floor every morning, I am solely responsible for the quality of each and every day.

And then during mid-life, I was still immature. Now plagued by an immaturity that spawned perfectionism and dilly-dallying. Immature enough to think I had to do all tasks in the recommended way. I was seriously hampered by a belief that there is only one right way to do anything. And so, with this kind of immaturity, I ended up fussing and fuming and fiddling away hours to make sure I did things the right way. If I had never done a thing, and if I couldn’t find someone who did, I didn’t attempt it. Never occurred to me that in my soul I had enough creativity and wit to do it.

But Hah! I am now mature and my maturity brings such freedom. I don’t care anymore how other people do anything. With maturity comes the wonderful new freedom that I can, as Frank Sinatra said, “do it my way”. I have only now come to realize that is what creativity is for.

And so, now I sometimes wear socks that don’t match. I use what I have and for what I don’t have, I make do. I substitute rags for brushes, emery boards for sandpaper, and in my garden – horse shit for bulb food, hollowed out stumps for brown pots. I often don’t follow recipes. Instead I use them for a rough guideline. I convert flat sheets to fitted (without pattern instructions) and I put buttonholes in the oddest places. And here we pause. I want to tell you about the buttonholes but it is a secret you must promise not to tell.

I have a lovely navy outfit I received as a gift a couple years ago. A perfect color for me with my pale face and mature graying hair. Nice fit as well. I would have loved, loved, loved it, if it were cotton, but instead the outfit was a polyester blend. So that meant it was one outfit I never intended to wear.

The problem is I can’t stand to be sealed in plastic blends that don’t breath. But the clothes were so nice and eventually the yen to wear them was greater than I could bear. So I did the mature thing. And the mature thing is not what other people do, or the recommended thing, it is just what might possibly work.

So I made four small virtually invisible buttonholes in the crotch of those pants and two in each armpit of the shirt. And guess what? With that bit of air circulation, I can wear either, or both, in complete comfort. No sweaty armpits and no sweaty…well you know. Maybe if Brittany Spears knew how to make buttonholes?…right now there would be no photo record of her without under-pants. I’m thinking her drawers must be full of lacy, nylon-blend, polyeste-weave, transparent but yet hermetically sealed underthings rather than good ‘ol simple, peon-style, cool breathable cotton knit or sacking.

Now you may think it sounds like I have reverted to a devil-may-care attitude, but I haven’t. I still want everything I do to reside within the boundaries of dignity, decorum, and reasonability. I mean, obviously, if that were not the case, I would have simply made my shirt topless, and my slacks crotchless.

But now, to get back to the topic here, if we even had one. Unfortunately, for every upside there is a downside. Yes, with maturity comes freedom but sometimes it is a freedom I don’t know what to do with.

Yesterday I dug for hours in my flower garden. I dug up dandelions and quack grass. It was backbreaking work. Now I try not to be a nag about it but I keep saying to Hub, “Please don’t blow the grass clippings toward the flower garden when you cut the grass.” (You know it and I know it but Hub isn’t convinced that grass and dandelion clippings are guaranteed to grow volumes more of the same). So I say, not often, but occasionally, “Just go around the flower bed in the other direction so the clippings are tossed unto the lawn.”

So while I cooked supper last night, Hub cut the grass – and yes, you guessed it. He cut it so all the clippings went on my freshly-turned sod. So now what?

If I was still immature I could kick him in the shins and pour Round-Up on ‘his’ lawn. If I was still immature I could throw things, smash things, or cut the belt on his lawnmower. If I was still immature, I could cuss like a trooper and stomp my feet. Even throw his supper in the garbage can. And if all else failed, if I was immature, I could cry.

But unfortunately all the foregoing possibilities are too immature for a mature lady. And crying won’t do because that act has to have a proper qualifier. Sure mature individuals cry, but only for the serious heartbreak that comes with loss – loss of people, pets, affection, love. Flower beds don’t qualify. Immature tears that once flowed freely for every frustration are now mature tears and mature tears are sparsely shed. They are for heartbreak, not minor setbacks or minor discouragement.

And so, with maturity comes freedom, but the flip side of that is with maturity there also comes a mature level of responsibility that supersedes the cleansing of mind and soul with cursing, screaming, tears, and a temper tantrum of notable proportion.

But…since…because…now…that I’m totally mature…dear oh dear, what can I do?

P.S. You’re wrong, oh so wrong. That was not a sniffle you heard. If anything I must have just caught a cold.