Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dense Mammary Meditations

Only recently scientists have discovered that urban women have denser breasts than rural women and unfortunately this leads to urbanites having a higher risk of breast cancer. But my point in this discussion is not to make light of cancer, or its dire implications, but rather to discuss scientific assessments of the cause of greater breast density. This is the article that leads to today's discussion:

CTV.ca News Staff

Women who live in cities have denser breasts than those who live in suburban and rural areas, making them more likely to develop breast cancer…”

And so, out of this study has come the bigger question puzzling researchers – ‘Why is this so?’

And so, with all that academic pondering, within formula thinking, rather than common reason, they think it might be phenomena tied to higher levels of pollution, population, or greater stress, among a host of other wild guesses. And I’m left to wonder if there is any logical sense to these premises?

Meanwhile, the simple sparsely-educated mind thinks it might have to do with wearing bras. I live in the backwoods and because there are no solicitors knocking at my door, no neighbors chatting over the fence, and no one next to me peeking in my window, and no paper boys or mail man coming to my house, my tits hang loose and my bra is around here somewhere (maybe next to my teeth), but it isn’t around my chest.

And when I look in the mirror it seems to me, that when a 34B, is pointed straight at my knee, it lacks density.

Still I am as ashamed and embarrassed to be caught without my bra as I am to be caught without my teeth in my mouth, so it probably goes without saying, if I lived in the city, I’d probably have a bra on 24-7 and I’d know where my teeth are.

So I have to say, does it take a Scientist to realize that when soft pliable stretchy goods are conscientiously packed and supported, they are likely to be denser than when the same pliable goods are hanging loose, flopping around, without any support?

Just a thought…

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Affluenza" - Medical Notes

Have you heard all the hype about the latest disease so rampant in our nation? So aptly named ‘affluenza’? This is a disease that attacks individuals that believe that more money equals greater happiness.

To explain further, when the goal in life becomes a focused and fanatical effort to make more money, move to a bigger house, drive a newer car, get more stuff, that is an affluenza infection. And the ongoing symptoms are people work more hours, spend less time with families, and wake up each morning more disenchanted than the day before. And yes, the malady is aptly named and the symptoms easily understood. The outcome is dire. If left untreated, it results in failed relationships and a barren and meaningless existence without the comfort of awe and appreciation for nature and the beauty of living.

And so books are poring out of bookstores like porridge out of a magic pot to stem the tide of the disease. There are tapes, and books, and television shows, and ads for all the equipment needed to cure this newly defined ailment.

The cures come in the form of hints and helps for scaling back. Moving to a smaller house, riding a bike, cooking from scratch, and living with less. And I had to think, “this is good. It goes hand in hand with environmental protection efforts.” But at the same time, I’m having a bit of a problem with the disease experts and their lists of cures.

The infection comes with a misunderstanding that money brings happiness. But when the bottom line after all the scaling back is the remark that Hub and I heard after watching a show on Affluenza on television the other night, something is very wrong with the overall picture.

An individual, who had changed to the simple life by moving to a smaller place, and reducing his income, and finding recreational enjoyment in wandering marshes, rather than paying to see a movie or dinner out, concluded with a comment that erased all that he was trying to do.

You see the disease starts with a misappropriated understanding about wealth and happiness. And the cure is to simplify life and find a new understanding of happiness unrelated to wealth. So, in summing up his new lifestyle, I expected his reflections to be about a newly discovered delight in the beauty of flora and fauna in the marsh or the birds floating overhead. But, no. He said the grandest thing about the lifestyle changes he had made is that when he readies himself for bed and removes his wallet from his trousers, that the amount of money he had there when he woke up, remains the same.

This is where Hub and I looked at each other and said, “I think this guy missed the whole point.” The one about reverting to a non-monitory focus. The one about awe and enjoyment derived from a simple life.

And so now, I feel a misappropriated understanding of the disease continues with the concept, not so judiciously hidden, that in living miserly one can find such happiness in daily and miserly tabulation of how little money is spent and how much money is saved. That’s when I concluded that in the mix of it all there are many false prophets exploiting false cures.

It seems to me that the poor lost starved souls desperately seeking help are going to have a hard time evading the charlatans. Money is at the root of the disease so when tabulation of money is part of the cure, that cure is a nothing more than an ineffective placebo of no intrinsic remedial value. This is not a disease where immunity can be found through inoculation of the patient with the offending money-think microbes.

What has to be re-cultivated is awe and fervor in the beautiful simplicity of dew sparkling on a rose, a moss-covered rock, a forest blanket of leaves and ongoing reflection and appreciation. The cure is complete when the recovering patient finds all meaning and joy in the affection of friends and family and a spectacular sunset, rather then readying himself for bed by checking the stability of the contents of his wallet.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Empathy and the Perfect Gift

I like to think I’m the Queen of Empathy. I like to think I’m so good at it that I can intuitively know what people are thinking without language. With only a blush, a flush, a frown, or a wave.

And I personify everything, whether animate or inanimate.

In my house conversation is endless from morning to night. I converse with my pets, my plants, even my clothing, bedding, and hardware. I worry about the comfort and care of everything.

I am annoyed with Hub when he drives Car without kind consideration. I make sure Dishwasher is happy and that there is lots of hot water before I do dishes. When I polish a table, I am happy because Table is happy. I talk kindly to my plants and plead with Computer. I have assigned personalities to everything and I keep those distinctive personalities in mind. So that everyone, and everything, will be happy.

And likewise I link my feelings to the feelings of others. When I see human discomfort, I weep. When I see neglect, I’m heartbroken. When I see injustice, I’m truly dismayed.

So am I not the Queen of Empathy? I think I am. In fact I’m quite certain I am. That is, until Christmas comes….

And so you would think the Queen of Empathy could crawl into everybody’s head. And with all that empathetic knowing, so perfectly aligned with the motives, situations, emotional sensitivities, and physical needs of others, I would be able to easily decide on the perfect gift to buy for each and every one. But not so.

Every gift is a problem. A big, big problem. I guess I could ask friends what they want but that so ruins the surprise.

So I get discouraged at Christmas time. I can’t help feeling quite crushed. My inability to choose appropriate gifts is frustrating, but more so is my insecurity about how genuinely I care about others. Maybe I don’t even understand Empathy. Maybe what I feel is nothing more than a game I play that I don’t fully understand.

How can I be sure?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Exfoliation Fallacies

First an intimate confession. Since the first feeble stirrings of hormones as an adolescent, I have been attracted to masculine ruggedness in the form of strong arms and bushy chests.

Now don’t be pulling that sad face with me just cause you happen to be a man that only was able to grow two chest hairs. That’s okay. You don’t have to don a tie. Just button up your shirt all the way and go read somebody else’s blog.

And so, the rest of us continue….

Now the other day I saw a menopause male with an exfoliated chest. Well, yeh, maybe it wasn’t exfoliated, but knowing his nature of preening and primping, and how well his head hair is doing, I’m pretty sure it was. It was so horrid. I wanted to weep.

So what if fellows lose their head hair. There’s nothing in that, that detracts from masculinity. (‘Member Yul Brynner.) And even when men end up with deeply engraved mid-life character lines that come from looking seriously into the faults of a truck engine or staying abreast of a woman’s needs, such engravings in no radical way damage the attractive burliness and brawn of younger years.

But when they fall for that silly routine of chest-hair exfoliation and then walk about with shirt agape at the neck and all you see is an unnatural sheen that gleams and highlights papery skin and wizened tendons that have no relationship to masculinity, that is gawd-awful.

A thatch of chest hair, whether black, brown, grey, or white, arouses eternal appeal.

I hate male chest-hair exfoliation. It’s as bad, no even worse, then grandmothers sporting tattoos. And grandmothers sporting tattoos of their younger years is akin to dressing up in modern artfully tailored fashion while distressing the whole look with a 1977 Souvenir T-shirt. And if accessories make the look why would one want to accessorize with an obsolete generational icon or insignia? (That’s why no one should get a tattoo until they become a grandmother and by then they will know better.) But I digress.

Returning to our current discussion, you know, as women, how we are encouraged to strive for eternal beauty with cosmetic surgery. To the extent that now even men are being seduced into similar procedures. So if I may assume that men yen to do for the sake of women what women yen to do for the sake of men (i.e. maintain a level of sexual attractiveness) then men should NOT be exfoliating any part of their bodies. If they must have a beauty routine, if they must have a cosmetic fix, then the first procedure they should lend themselves to when that reparative season comes, is transplanted chest hair, rather than head hair.

I’ve yet to see a really attractive man’s wig or hair-transplant. Most of them are as obvious as the nose on my face. And though carefully positioned physically, still always somehow out of position visually.

As for me, I’d be a whole lot happier if men (in particular, men of my age) sought to maintain masculinity though faux chest hairs or downy chest transplants. I’m thinking of a few older newsmen and talk-show hosts that could really resurrect their masculine appeal if they were to show up tomorrow on television minus a bad wig but with shirts agape and a furry-mat at the neck.

Man, I never thought the day would ever come when I would find myself encouraging cosmetic fixes for women, and least of all men, but I guess somehow in the flood of it all, I got swept along.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Simple View

Today, a non-CNN moment of instruction and provocative thought from the minority class of Young Children that are never granted air time.

Boy Twin wants the practical things of life to make better sense. And so from him comes this observation:

“Why do we say ‘Febuary’ and ‘Wensday’ and then spell them as ‘feb-roo-airy” and “wed-nez-day’? It’s just not right!”


Then Twin Girl leaves a big envelope addressed to Hub stuck in our door. Inside is a carefully drawn chart on a large piece of red construction paper. This is what it says:


I was nice to my neighbors.
I was nice to my dogs.
I called my neighbors to come for a walk.
I didn’t bother my neighbors.

[And at the bottom] TOTAL CHECKS: ______ (for each day)

Hub and I laugh. What a delightful task list?

As adults we are quite unaware of the nonsense things that frustrate children to an extent equal to that of adults. Things like the spelling outcry above that leaves Boy Twin wondering, ‘What is this world coming to?’

…but yet, on a lighter note, without academia, Girl Twin has the instructional wisdom to know how to make a dreary day so much better.

As for me, I’d like to stay and chat, but Hub and I have chores to do.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Warming Up To Poetry

[All those poetry anthologies that are so bloody depressing]

They slither through moss and dissect broken hearts
Reality and dreams in a death camp apart.
Judgments so somber in rhyme and in verse
Ethereal visions that make me feel worse.

Minstrels and lyrics, alone on the sweeps
Duplicity enough to make court jesters weep
Warnings that in life, nothing will keep
Except the cold bed of eternal sleep.

“Poets, Come stir me but don’t leave me cold
Or I’ll kindle a fire in me word-burning stove.”

I’ll toss in the poetry. I will be that bold.
I’m had quite enough of the ‘moss and the mold’.

And in the warmth of the fire, content and demure
Here will I find a most poetic allure
Oh yes, burning poems into something obscure
Is an exhilarating tonic of indulgence and cure.
I dance to the crackle, pop-flicking, and whrrrr…
Of blackened pentameter and dactylics that purr.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

More About Invalid Care

And so, after the last two posts, about me ailing and about Hub’s less than adequate care for an invalid, I have two options.

1) I can either give my list from the previous post to the lady living here who instructs First Aid and other Certification classes, (though that isn’t too promising – with the itinerary being rigidly fixed by some overseer), OR…

2) When Hub gets a minor flu, I will provide him proven elixirs of relief by preparing him “Sick Room Cookery” from my trusty cook book published in 1899…

Let’s see. It might be well for him to have “Chicken Milk”, “Eel Broth”, “Calve’s Feet Broth”, “Vinegar Whey”, or “Meat Juice”.

The “Meat Juice” sounds perfect. The recipe includes this little commentary:

“Its appearance is against it… Children generally take it without difficulty; but adults, unless they are too weak to have an opinion…, have often an insurmountable objection to it. Nothing can then be done but to hide it in a colored or covered cup, or add a little Liebig’s Extract to conceal the color.”

Of course, I shouldn’t discard the “Oatmeal Drink (Recipe by the late Dr. Parkes).”

Not only does the title for this recipe refer to the “late Dr. Parkes”, the recipe sounds like a potion that hovers somewhere between kill, or cure.

Here again, the recipe includes an interesting commentary:

“If you cannot boil it you can take a little oatmeal mixed with cold water and sugar, but this is not so good; always boil it if you can….
Those who tried this recipe last year, found that they could get through more work than when using beer, and were stronger and healthier at the end of the harvest.”

[Source: “The Dominion Cook Book containing valuable recipes in all the departments including SICKROOM COOKERY” by Anne Clarke].

And here’s where my imagination kicks in. Can’t you just see pub-goers who buy into a healthier lifestyle sitting at a table watching a hockey game on the big screen and yelling for another draught of oatmeal?

Yeh. I think I’ll keep my cookbook at the ready, but I won’t seek revenge. I’ll just seek to improve Hub’s health, strength, and work motivation at the end of the harvest.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Duped and Distressed

I told Hub the other day when we were invited to a social gathering, it was not a good idea. When you tend to be as reclusive as we are, (and hate the dreaded trip to town as much as we do), we have little, if any, immunity. And so, I was right. Sure enough I picked up a bug.

But so what? I was in expert hands with Hub with his whack of certificates that make him an expert in First-Aid, Resuscitation, Tourniquets, Heimlich maneuvers, shock recognition and prompt medical treatment.

Now I, on the other hand, have never been to any of these classes. So I don’t know what is involved. But I do know what isn’t involved. And the gaps have certainly swayed my confidence in the value of certified caregivers.

These are the things Hub does not know and how could this happen with him going to another intensive 3-day seminar every time I turn around?

1. He doesn’t know how comforting it is to have one’s pillows fluffed and flipped.

2. He doesn’t know that sick people need to be provided with food and encouraged to eat something—anything. Small, bland, yet attractive meals. At the least, tea and soda crackers, or maybe delicately cut bites of soft toast with a bit of broth.

3. He doesn’t know that sick people should have a bedside jug of ice water replaced at least twice a day.

4. He doesn’t know how comforting it is to the patient to have a warm sponge bath – arms and face if nothing else. Or a bit of hair brushing.

5. He doesn’t know how healing a lavender-scented back-rub can be.

6. He doesn’t know how the sick one will hide under a blanket and grin with sheer delight when the caregiver shows dedication by turning off the Lone Star Channel and checking the condition of the patient frequently (clumsily, on tip toe) to see if anything more can be done.

7. Or even how reparative it is to the patient to hear Hub telling the puppies they must be quiet cause Mom isn’t feeling well.

8. He doesn’t know that it wouldn’t hurt to feel my forehead, even if his callused hands aren’t sensitive enough to pick up a fever.

9. He doesn’t know how important it is to query if the patient wants more blankets or less blankets. Or how glorious it is to have one’s toes tucked in.

He doesn’t know how all these things guarantee a speedy recovery. On second thought, maybe not. Maybe if he knew all these things I’d still be sick – very sick!

But the big question in my mind is how can anyone attend so many seminars given by professionals with such intensity and earnestness and write all those exams and still miss so much of the really important stuff?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The New Authority

Though bookstore shelves are heavy laden with manuals on aging and retirement, there is an important aspect of the reality of aging that is never mentioned. A reality that I don’t think any one is ever prepared for.

What always comes as the biggest shock to retirees, is waking up one morning to find that mental preferences no longer rule the body. That the line of command has shifted.

When they say, as they’ve always said, through childhood, youth, and middle age, “Run, body, run” or “Jump, body, jump”, the body suddenly and unexpectedly refuses to do their bidding. Like a spoiled child, all they get from Body is stubborn dormancy and “Nah, don’t want to.”

It is the wildest irony that when the mirror reveals a failing physical form, that is when the power and long-time rule of Mental Preferences will be suddenly usurped by the authority of a feeble, mindless, stooped, and willowy-thin bit of hair and bone.

So here is a brief tutorial of what to expect when the Body becomes the new ruling authority and mental choices become obsolete.

BOOK 1: Rules for the Day (under the new authority)

1) Wake up.

2) Do not move. Do not attempt to rise. You will need to work out and warm up first. Start by gingerly stretching to unclasp padlocked limbs and loosen knots in the calves of your legs. It will take more than a few cautious stretches in order to abort impending macramé of every tendon.

(Remember in your party days how you used to press a foot again the wall to keep the room from spinning. You are going to have to do that again.) Lift one leg high and press your foot against the wall in order to ward off an impending cramp in the arch of the foot. Hold that posture until the spasm has passed.

3) Sit up and swivel body until legs drape over the side of the bed. No, maybe not. Not if there is a back spasm threatening. Maybe just roll over on stomach and push, crawl, fall over edge of bed. Now secure a good hold on the bed frame and stagger to your feet.

Support the upper body with arms braced and ease the torso gently onto the legs. If legs fold, repeat.

4) Don’t look at the clock. It is of no matter what time it is. Life is no longer a process marked by time. Your body, though frail, is now CEO of this relationship. And as the newly-installed CEO, Body will determine when you should rise, stand, sit, or lie down, and will needle you with cramps and pain if you disobey.
There will be no insubordination no matter what the clock-time or how physically and mentally exhausted you are.

Under the new authority, you may be obliged to stand and walk about at 4:30 a.m. and to lie down and sleep at 10:30 a.m. But still, within this new re-organization, you are obliged to do what your Boss-Body demands when your B.B. demands it.

5) After pre-testing of legs and eventually independent stance, put one foot in front of the other and head to the bathroom. Have the Nil-Odor within reach.

You will feel an urge to relieve yourself and you may, but at the same time you will for certain expel surprising and unexpected volumes of noxious gas. [NOTE: Nil-Odor has warnings not to inhale the fumes but the other can’t be safe either. So take your pick.]

6) Re-install your teeth. Mindless body will not prompt you to rinse them first. So maybe make a note of that because dental-soak is as strong as the acid used for marble etching.

7) Assemble bath materials – soap, towels, dry-skin lotion, non-skid bath mat, shampoo, etc. Remove night clothes. You may tell your body to “scale the tub” but Body will likely say, “Shut up, I’m the boss here and I don’t want to.” So there is nothing for it but to work up a soapy lather on a soft cloth and wash pertinent areas starting with UPPER portion of body and working down! [Another routine that it might be well to write down in appropriate order.]
Rinse and dry.

8) Crawl back into night-clothes because mindless-body forgot to bring day-wear to bathroom. Trudge back to bedroom to extract clothes from closets in order to dress. Lay wardrobe on bed. Go to kitchen. Boil water for tea. Make tea, make toast, take pills. Return to bedroom to get dressed. Return to kitchen to remember why you went to bedroom. Return to bedroom to remember why you went to kitchen.

Didn't help. Oh well, it's of little matter. No doubt, by now the new CEO or Body Authority will decide that that is enough body-movements and physical commissions for now. And so Body, at this point, will bullishly insist on a lie-down. And so, submissively, that’s what you will do.


If we were consulting clocks, which we are not doing, this process would have started at 9:00 a.m. and reached completion by lunch-time.

And so now…I’m wondering if there is a real need for this kind of handbook. I’m wondering if after this mandatory nap, if I should attempt to work on Book Two. I expect the new boss will say “Nay” to that as well.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Lessons in Review

I’ve learned a few things in the past few weeks that are quite astounding that have actually stuck in my forgetful mind.

I learned from another blogger’s summary of her life-mediator’s advice that one can improve their self-esteem by crossing their “T’s higher. And that journals, in order to effect positive change, should only contain positive thoughts. So much for my “Rage” journal – the one I keep to serve as a therapeutic outlet for the impetuous thoughts that I dare not speak (or post)...

I learned from the Dalai Lama that society needs to shed the conflict created by an enduring ‘them’ and ‘us’ attitude and realize that with today’s technology we are all linked and become only ‘we’. And in realizing that we will readily understand that any act of aggression against other nations is an act that equally cuts into our own flesh.

I learned that garden dirt has something in it called ‘a happy bug’. Something that releases pleasurable endorphins that insulate our bodies from various ailments. We used to get an adequate amount from garden veggies but that is no longer so. The happy bugs are all being washed and rinsed away. Scientists say this happy bug is/was a source of immunity for children against allergies, bronchial problems, even asthma.

I’m inclined to think that such wee critters do exist. There has to be some plausible explanation for why Hub and the grandchildren become so giggly, garrulous, and gay after devouring garden carrots pulled from the soil and rubbed haphazardly on their jeans.

And then, from a science show on Intelligent Television, I learned the most surprising thing of all. That there is a relationship between the sex of the brain and the length of one’s fingers. With men, particularly, the gap between a longer ring finger and a shorter index finger, translates into the amount of male hormones present in the womb during the pre-birth of that individual.

The greater the gap the more competitive (risk takers) men are likely to be. The greater the gap, the more adept they are at science, math, and spatial-visual assessments, but at the same time they are likely to be deplete in empathy and emotional telepathy with others.

It was found that even as infants, male babies are more interested in looking at devices, while infant girls seek to look at faces.

I examined Hub’s hands and can readily see why he drives like a maniac and is so nonchalant about my emotional ups and downs. From this, I finally understand why when I cut or color my hair, Hub never notices. I now understand why I am invisible and why when my face plainly shows that my world is crumbling, Hub continues to dismantle electronic devices without distraction.

Male participants in the study admitted they have little intuition and if women expect to be understood, they need to explain in minute detail how and why they are feeling upset.

So, that’s it for this week’s lessons. These are my new convictions. I’ll cling to them for a while until they are debunked by something totally contrary which shouldn’t take long.

And so, in the meantime, if you want to see the crossbar on the “t” in “Roberta”, look up, way up – aloft, skyward.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Woman is the everlasting encumbrance
Of time, a garden, and a coiled serpent.

Insatiable in her want of warm rocks
Long conversations while listening more
Of exuberance versus stillness of thought
And seemliness of the soul

But still within her longings
Linger memories of serpentine-thoughts
Manipulation of destiny
That link to a garden and a tree.

Fangs hidden by sensuous moist lips
Crush fresh fruits from the garden
And draw sweetness where they can
It is a needful thing
And only then is she sated.

And so,
With the setting of the sun…

Eve falls.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Crimes

I wanted to give him rice cakes, but he wanted candy...

What could I do?