Monday, March 29, 2010

Jeepers Peepers

It happens overnight. One day you'll be reading the small print on the side of a prescription bottle and the next day you'll have to push the cereal box 6-inches behind from your bowl to read the cartoon on the back. Chances are you just turned 40. You need reading glasses.

Reading glasses work in 99% of the situations where you need to see something close up. They help you read the newspaper, the map, even the remote control. But, as I mentioned in earlier blogs, reading glasses get in the way when you are trying to see anything on or around your eyes.

For example, putting on false eyelashes is impossible to do while wearing reading glasses. Cutting your bangs also poses problems. Even applying mascara can be troublesome.

I have researched options for this conundrum. It is my pleasure to share with you what I've learned.

The first option is to use one of those magnifying mirrors commonly found in hotel rooms that pull out from the bathroom wall. You know the kind...similar to electron microscopes, zooming in on every pore, wrinkle and nano-cell on your face. You will certainly be able to see your eyes clearly.

However, I would be remiss in pointing out the associated risks of these mirrors. A couple years ago I accidentally looked in one while staying in a hotel. It took 3 glasses of wine and a Tylenol PM to fall asleep after the trauma. And I dreamt I was Betty Davis for weeks.

The second option is a bit safer: The Peepers Makeup Gasses. Basically, the Peepers are glasses with just one lens, which is hinged in the middle and swivels from side to side so that eye makeup can be applied without injury. See?

And when you finish one eye, you simply swivel the lens to the other side and finish the job. (I suspect this was invented by the same person who came up with adhesive on the back of sanitary pads, but I'm not sure.)

There are risks associated with wearing Peepers. According to a product review, the Peepers are heavy and tend to fall off the front of the user's head.

I save the best option for last: The Sylvana Belle Eyes makeup glasses. According to the advertisements, they are lightweight, comfortable, and come in a protective pouch ideal for travel. And they cost only $48.95 a pair.

I'm sorry to say that these, too, are not without risk.

Someone might see you wearing them.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What Took So Long?

The microwave was invented in 1946. Pacemakers were invented in 1959. ATMs were introduced in 1967. 

Why the heck did it take until 1970 to invent sanitary napkins with adhesive?  Were all the engineers busy helping the astronauts land on the moon in 1969?  

I can just hear the conversation in late 1969.  "We landed a man on the moon, what's next?  I guess we should move on to that stupid sanitary napkin project we've been procrastinating for 25 years." 

For those of you who have never experienced the (non tampon) alternative to sanitary napkins with adhesive, let me describe the contraption women were forced to use until 1970: the sanitary napkin belt.

It was basically an elastic belt with hooks in the front and back.  "Users” threaded the long ends that protruded from the pad through the hooks on the belt. The pad would then be suspended in proximity to the destination, not unlike a suspension bridge.

The one and only thing this contraption did was keep the pad from falling off. The problem was that the pad would never stay put on the intended destination. It would inevitably slide forward and back...especially when the woman would walk, or attempt anything more physical than sitting still. (Unlike Tampons, manufacturers did not claim these products would make figure skating and horseback riding possible.)   

And 1970... someone invented sanitary napkins with adhesive.  And needless to say, after this invention, the belts became obsolete.  Duh!

Seriously.  Why didn't someone think of sticking a strip of tape on the back of sanitary pads before 1970? Did they not conduct market research? Surely focus groups would have uncovered the issue within 5 minutes. Talk about an unmet consumer need!

I'd like to find the inventor of this product.  I've spent hours searching on the internet.  No luck so far.  I would like to nominate her for sainthood...or at least for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Or maybe just go horseback riding or ice skating with her.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I noticed my friend Tiffany had a new haircut yesterday. When I complimented her she told me that she had cut it herself.

What? Shut the front door!

I simply can’t imagine how someone cuts her own hair. I have, on numerous occasions, rather unsuccessfully attempted to cut my own bangs. And they are on the front of my face….in fact, just above my eyes.

Tiffany cut hair on the opposite side of her face, and, unless she’s like my mom, she doesn’t have eyes on the back of her head.

(When I was a kid I once cut the hair on a Barbie doll. Ken would never forgive me.)

There are numerous challenges involved in cutting my own bangs. The first is finding the right equipment: the right scissors, comb, and, or course, duct tape.

While the kitchen scissors are definitely handy, the thought of using them on my hair is unappetizing – even for me. The pair of paper scissors with the round edges have the advantage of preventing me from cutting my eyeballs out, but aren’t particularly effective on hair. My extra sharp left-handed sewing scissors are perfect for the job.

I've learned from experience that my "afro comb" (as my husband calls it), does not work for cutting bangs, since its teeth are about ½ centimeter apart. A regular comb is perfect for the job.

As for the duct tape, I must confess I've never attempted the infamous bang cutting process involving taping your bangs to your face and cutting your bangs along the top of the tape. I see a couple potential problems with this methodology:

  1. The duct tape may remove my eye brows
  2. I'd end up looking like Moe from the 3 Stooges.
Of course the biggest, most insurmountable challenge is the whole mirror thing.

Moving towards my bangs from the side with my extra sharp left-handed sewing scissors is one thing. It's the front to back movement that gets me. When you move your hand closer to the image in the mirror, it’s actually moving farther away from the targeted bangs. I snip-snip-snip and either nothing falls from my bangs, or worse, I cut my eyeballs out.

So when Tiffany mentioned that she cut her own hair my chin about fell to the floor. And she cut the back of her head! If I tried to do that myself I’d need stitches and/or would have to wear a babushka for the next 6 months.

I'll stick to my bangs for now. Or better yet, I'll ask Tiffany to cut them.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Competitive Pogo Sticking

It's hard to believe that the winter Olympics have come and gone. But cheer up! We're just 2 short years away from the 2012 summer games. Actually, there are only 870 days to go until the opening ceremony. And that's plenty of time to convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to add a new competition to the line-up.

Competitive pogo sticking.

But before a sport gets added to the Olympic games, it must be "recognized" as a sport. The IOC has recognized 34 sports that are currently part of the summer games. They include bridge, chess and orienteering. I submit to you that if bridge, chess and orienteering are sports, so is pogo sticking. (And don't get me going about ribbon dancing!)

You may be wondering why an Olympic Committee would consider a card game, a board game and a map quest as sports. According to Wikpedia, a sport is an organized, competitive, and skillful physical activity requiring commitment and fair play.

Let's start with bridge. Organized? I guess. Competitive? Oh yes- those seniors take their bridge very seriously. Skillful? I can't play so it must be. But physical? How many calories do you burn refilling your drink and going to the bathroom every 30 minutes?

Then there's chess. Again, it's organized, definitely competitive and requires skill. But chess players burn one calorie every 4 hours.

As for orienteering, if you bring along your GPS it's no more physical than taking a walk.

But pogo sticking? Now that's a sport! And the opportunities are endless: endurance hopping, relay hopping, downhill hopping, ribbon hopping. In fact, one could legitimize those non-sport sports like bridge, chess and orienteering by playing them while on a pogo stick.

The games are just 870 days away.

If I'm going to get this done I'd better get hopping.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Can Down Line C

I was Atlanta today and saw men picketing on the street. I had an unpleasant flashback to my days as a scab.

It was 1983. I had landed my first professional job out of grad school. I was a Market Research Analyst at Miller Brewing Company. I wore business suits and pumps to work and carried a brief case. All that ended when the brewery workers went on strike.

Corporate workers were drafted (pun intended) to man the brewery and keep the beer flowing. I traded in my business suit for jeans and t-shirts. My pumps were replaced with steel-toe boots. My brief case held my PBJ.

My assignment: Depalletizer Operator - 2nd shift.

For those of you not familiar with a Depalletizer Machine, I will provide a very simple, albeit immature, description.

The Depalletizer Machine eats empty cans stacked on pallets one row at a time and poops them out the other end, in one continuous, very long turd which makes its way onto an assembly line. The cans then travel the assembly line high above the plant to the subsequent station(s) where they are cleaned, labeled, and filled with beer.

There were 3 Depalletizer machines in the brewery. I was on Line C.

After I fed the Depalletizer, I was to stand at the back end and make sure all the cans remained standing as they made their way onto the assembly line. I was provided a high tech tool, which was integral to the operation. It was a stick with a hook on the end of it. In theory, the cans would leave the Depalletizer in an orderly fashion and make their way onto the line. And if a can toppled over, it was my job to reach out and pick up the can using my high tech tool.

I can still remember that first day on the Depalletizer. "Wow," I thought! "This is so easy! Why the heck are those guys on strike?"

Picking up those cans was a complete breeze.
But after watching 3,000 or so cans pass by my mind started to wander....

  • "What should I do after work?"
  • "I hope the dog's doing OK alone at home.."
  • "I wonder how they make fruit cake..."
Suddenly my daydream was rudely interrupted by a booming voice from a loud speaker that was heard throughout the plant 'CAN DOWN LINE C!".

Oops. I guess I missed one.
They had to shut down line C. Someone had to locate the downed can and remove the log jam. My DB (Depalletizer Boss) reminded me how important it was to pay attention to my job.

I promise you, I'd start my shift every day focused and determined not to let any cans get past me. But those cans had a hypnotic effect on me. I'd start thinking about what I was going to have for lunch... what I needed from the grocery store... if Peeps were a fruit or a vegetable and I'd hear 'CAN DOWN LINE C'. My DB started to lose his patience.

Gradually, my inability to focus on moving cans resulted in my demotion from Depalletizer Operator to the Label Wash, which involved, not surprisingly, washing labels off of beer bottles. (The labels had been placed on the bottles up-side-down by another corporate scab working the Labeling machine.)

When I opened my paycheck the next Friday I realized that my check was larger than it had been. I realized that Miller had adjusted my pay to reflect my scabbing. Then it sunk in. Not only did Brewery workers make more than I did, they were on strike so they could earn even more. I had a Masters Degree in Applied Statistics and their jobs required a high school diploma. No fair!

Then I remembered that voice "CAN DOWN LINE C" and realized that their jobs were much, much harder than mine.

They deserved every penny.