Friday, January 28, 2011

Now That's Embarrassing!

Don’t get me wrong. I have had many embarrassing moments in my life. But I cannot recall a time in my life when I so blatantly put my dignity on the line.

I am taking a crazy risk on Tuesday night.

I mean, the potential level of embarrassment may be worse than the time I was substitute teaching for an 8th grade science class and didn’t understand why the class kept laughing at me. (It became all too clear when that stupid giggling girl handed me a note to tell me my zipper was down.)

And the risk-return ratio is not really in my favor. In fact, I have much more to lose than gain from this potential exploitation on Tuesday night.

In fact, I may be more embarrassed than I was the day I didn’t know I had a bright red velcro curler holding my bangs in place when I checked out of an upscale Atlanta hotel and walked into a meeting with our advertising agency.

If you are not yet convinced of the magnitude of my potential embarrassment, I offer up my infamous church organ debut. I was on summer break from college when our organist moved to Seattle. The priest scraped the bottom of the barrel and somehow came out with me as a replacement. I mean, why not? I had taken organ lessons in 2nd grade.

The organ was right next to the altar, facing the congregation. I was insanely nervous that gray morning when the priest came up to announce the hymns for the mass. In fact, I was so nervous that I didn’t know he was announcing the hymns for the mass. I thought he was actually starting Mass. When he said that the entrance hymn was going to be ‘Hail Holy Something’ I started playing the song.

But nobody was singing. I played the introduction twice (praying that someone would sing along), and then continued playing the song and finished with only about 4 or 5 wrong notes. When l looked up I saw my sisters laughing so hard they had tears running down their faces. Then the priest said “The offertory song will be Take our Bread.” He looked at me in confusion and said, ‘Would you like to practice that, too?”

Seriously. Tuesday may be even more embarrassing than that.

I’m taking an Audition class at Trustus Theatre. For fun. Our final class is a mock audition where we will be reading a monologue of our choice. The artistic director of Trustus will be evaluating us. Whereas the other students will be performing professional monologues, I’ve decided to read one of my blogs: The Corsage (July 24, 2010).

And while other students may be performing scenes from a Pulitzer prize winning play about conflict in a marriage, or post-depression racial tensions in the south, I will be talking about the day I found a piece of Kevin’s poop on my shoulder.

I hope the director has a sense of humor.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pillow Talk

I am so glad I was not born in medieval China. I'd never get a good night's sleep.

Chinese pillows were originally made out of stones. Later, some Asian marketing genius developed Pillow 2.0: The Porcelain Pillow. Looks comfy, doesn't it?

The Chinese believed that soft pillows robbed the body of vitality and were ineffective at keeping demons away.

I say, bring on the demons.

A lot has changed since the days of the Porcelain Pillow. Today you can get pillows in any size, shape, feel, or price range. I went pillow shopping the other day. 

It was completely overwhelming.  I came home with a head ache and no pillow to rest it on.

Let's start with price. At one end of the spectrum, for $3.00 I found a 'Mainstays deep pocket pillow' at Walmart.  This pillow would be particularly effective in the "minimize the number of nights you want your guest to sleep in your home" market segment.

For those who wish to invest a bit more, perhaps the Tempur-Pedic Rhapsody pillow is right for you, priced at just $240.

Maybe it's just me, but for $240 I'd expect my pillow to come complete with a nightly glass of wine and Michael Buble music to lull me to sleep.

And there are so many features: thread count, fiber, size and fill.  You can have down/feather filled, synthetic, or foam. I even found one you fill with water. (Note to self: evaluate potential product extension of adding a straw. Wine Rack Pillow?)  

My head was beginning to spin.

As part of my pillow research I discovered some very unusual pillows. Of course, you can depend on the Japanese for one of the goofiest styles.

But my personal favorite comes from the good old U.S. It looks soft enough, but I'm afraid you wouldn't get much sleep...especially if you have a roommate. The screaming might wake you up.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just an Observation

I tried out for Cheerleading 8 times in high school and never once made the squad. It was traumatic to me at the time.   I was never sure why; perhaps it was because I wasn't athletic enough...or peppy enough...or loud enough. But after years of self-therapy and a lot of wine I had an epiphany. I didn't make Cheerleading because of a counterfeit observation!  Let me explain.

The Cheerleading coach, Miss Peckrat was also my gym teacher. For you Glee fans, she was a cross between Sue Sylvester and Hannibal Lector. Only meaner.

I went to school in Buffalo where winter begins in September and ends in April.  Our school had an indoor swimming pool and Miss Peckrat strategically waited until the chill factor was below zero before beginning the 6-week swim curriculum.  (I really think Miss Peckrat liked to look at very cold teenage girls in their swimming suits if you get my drift.)

I hated everything about that swim class. Putting my skinny, pallid body into a swimsuit and jumping into an ice cold pool was torturous to me. So was standing in a line with the other girls in my entire goose-bitten body shivering uncontrollably while Miss Peckrat took attendance.

What was even worse was getting out of the pool into the 60 degree air, taking a 1 minute shower and running to the next class smelling like chlorine. I'd have a bathing cap indentation across my forehead, along with 'bathing cap' hair. The indentation would gradually fade throughout the day, but the hair was there to stay.

There was only one way to avoid swimming: having your period. As if having a period was a humiliation to all women, Miss Peckrat required her students to use a secret code if it was 'that time of month'. The code word for period was 'observing'.

I would pray to no avail for my periods to last 7 days...even 10...15 days. And on one blustery winter morning I felt excessively brave and decided to claim I was observing, when in fact my observation had concluded the day before. 

Given my reputation as a goody-goody among teachers, I figured Miss Peckrat probably wouldn't suspect me of perjury. I was also banking on the fact that she wouldn't ask for proof. Just in case, though, I wore a pad, complete with a fake observation.

Miss Peckrat called my name:
She raised one heavy, dark eyebrow and said "This is the third class in a row you've observed"
" I have a heavy observation this month."
"You better be done observing on Thursday or you're going to the school nurse"

It felt so good to be sitting in the bleachers, 'observing', without my period. It may have been my imagination (or my guilt complex), but Miss Peckrat looked at me suspiciously off and on the entire class.

So that's my story....and I'm sticking with it! Miss Peckrat saw through my fabrication and that's the reason that I wasn't ever picked. I mean who wants a liar on the Cheerleading squad?

Either that or she thought I had serious gynecological issues that might interfere with my splits.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Japanese Parenting

I'm beginning to wonder about the parenting skills of the Japanese. Before you accuse me of prejudice (because, by definition, prejudice is belief without basis), let me give you the bases.

Let's start with the Baby Mop. Defenders of this home cleaning product claim there's no child exploitation involved. The baby is doing what he does best: crawling. But with Baby Mop he's also learning responsibility and a healthy work ethic.

I suppose. I do recall my kids making huge messes as babies, so I guess it could be considered justifiable in some warped 'get even' mentality.

I'm not so sure about the Japanese Baby Crying Contest. It's a 400 year old tradition where mothers hand their babies over to amateur Sumo wrestlers who hold and jostle them with the goal of making them cry. The thought is that the baby who cries the loudest and the longest is in the best health.

Maybe physical health. What about their mental health? Look at those pictures! The babies may be mentally scarred for life.

Now if they were a little older, perhaps teenagers, I would feel differently.

I can consider some scenarios where I would enter my teenage daughter into a Teenager Crying contest. In fact, Just the threat of entry into a Teenager Crying Contest could do wonders in shaping teen behaviors...even more so than the "I'm taking away your phone" threat.

"If you don't stop (insert negative behavior), I'm going to sign you up for the Columbia Teenager Crying Contest!"

And if the threat of having an amateur Sumo Wrestler holding and jostling you doesn't work on your teenager, we'll have to revert to Plan B.

The Teenager Dust Mop.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My New Year's Resolutions

Over the years, I've had mixed success making and keeping New Year's resolutions. This year I'm going to do it right. I did some research and found some helpful hints from Quirkology for achieving New Year's resolutions:

1. Plan ahead - Don't wait until New Year's Eve to think about your resolution.

Oops... too late for that, I guess.

2. Avoid previous resolutions –Choose something new, or approach an old problem in a new way. For example, instead of trying to lose 20 pounds, try exercising more.

I think I get it! Rather than drinking less wine, my resolution will be to have fewer hangovers.

3. Be specific – Think through exactly what you are going to do, where you are going to do it, and at what time. For example, instead of saying that you will go running two days of the week, tell yourself that you will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6pm.

OK!   I'll have fewer hangovers between 6 am and 10 am. 

And no peanut butter cups on odd days of the calendar.

4. Make it personal - Don’t run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions. Instead think about what you really want out of life, so think about finishing that novel, or learning to play an instrument, rather than just losing weight and getting to the gym.

No problem. I will master towel origami to the point that my elephant is not mistaken for a worm.

5. Go public
- Many people keep their New Year's Resolutions to themselves. Unfortunately, this makes it all too easy to simply forget about them. Instead, go public. Tell your friends, family and colleagues about your resolutions, and ask them to provide you with helpful nudges to assist you in achieving your goals.

Listen up, everyone! In 2011:

1. I will have fewer hangovers, 
2. I will eat peanut butter cups only on even days of the calendar, and
3. I will master towel origami to the point that my elephants are no longer mistaken for worms.

But I can't modify these resolutions. Case in point: a couple years ago I gave up wine for Lent. After a few days I modified it: I gave up drinking wine by myself during Lent. A couple days later it was modified again: I gave up drinking more than 1 glass of wine by myself during Lent.

And (no surprise) I made it to Easter without a problem!

I worry most about my third resolution. Keep me honest, everyone. Don't let me modify it.

Oh no. I can feel the temptation growing. Here it comes:

I will master towel origami to the point that my elephant looks like a towel. 

I think I need a nudge.