Monday, November 30, 2009

You can look, but you better not touch

Now that Thanksgiving’s over we’ve all taken the dreaded plunge into holiday season, which means the seasonable, yet unreasonable, requests have already been pouring in. Could I bring something to the office party, the church bake sale, the kids’ celebration at school, the “get over here and buy a candle” event that my boss forces us all to attend, the neighborhood pot-luck, and the get-together my reading club thinks I’ll be attending? Absolutely not – what do I look like, Suzy Homemaker over here? Aren’t I going to have enough hassle just getting a few basic decorations in place and maybe a present or two purchased for immediate family members without also having to feed the hungry holiday crowd? Besides, I’m kind of in an enforced period of cutting back on pretty much everything, which means providing party trays and large amounts of sweets and baked goods just isn’t going to be feasible.

However, since I like to at least appear to be participating, I purchased a few party trays featuring incredible inedibles. As I rush in with my (chilled and Saran-wrapped) plates, I’ll look like I was busily cutting cheese and vegetables, and folding meat with the best of ‘em. Then I’ll beat a hasty retreat, hoping no one really noticed who brought what, because these trays don’t contain real food. The good thing is, they’re expensive and realistic, so with a little dusting off I should be able to pawn these off on well-meaning holiday party attendees for years to come; I’m considering them investment pieces. And, as is the case with my foody erasers, I fully expect to find teeth marks on at least one or two items, which I shall chisel off before next year

Friday, November 27, 2009

Simmer down, now

You won’t find me out shopping on this, the so-called busiest shopping day of the year, because I have agoraphobia, which means basically that you all scare the hell out of me. The very idea of going out there today and having my (admittedly hugely oversized) personal space invaded by lots of strangers is enough to keep me right where I am, breathing into my paper bag and trying in vain to resemble at least a distant family member of normal, like its great aunt or something.

In fact, Black Friday is usually when I commence what I like to think of as my annual medquest/medfest. This is a process honed by years of practice, whereby I search for some type of (OTC only, folks) product to soothe my jangled mind, assuage those irrational fears, and introduce a frisson of happiness somewhere into my (very) nervous system. And I’ll admit right up front: it’s usually a medquest, not a medfest, but I have to keep trying. One doesn’t give up a quest, especially not when the reward is that eventually I might find the chill pill of my fondest fantasies.

Here’s the first line of defense in this year’s anti-stress arsenal. I liked the fact that it’s a kit, of course, and that it gives me the option of taking some pills for my stress or a little snort of anxiety relief for things like minor mood swings, stage fright, and that uncool stomach thing (to which I am particularly prone). The option also exists to for me to go hog wild and double-dose myself in four hour intervals, which is pretty much the usual game plan.

I also got, as back-up plan A, a straight shot of Anxietol 7. It works on stress, anxiety and depression, relying heavily upon two highly active ingredients, one attempting to keep me relaxed, capable of learning and free of menstrual pain (how are they so certain I’m not a guy?) and another which is an adaptogen, which, you know, basically helps with adapting. That pretty much covers all the bases, huh? Plus, they’ve finally taken care of the nasty side effects well known to users of Anxietol formulas 1-6, such as facial muscular tics and the inability to sleep with one’s eyes closed. I don’t know about you, but I am a total sucker for any product that ends with the cherished “it all” sound, because of course I want to rid myself of as much anxiety as possible.

Then it occurred to me that MoodFix might also be helpful. It improves mood fluctuation, which doesn’t really mean I’ll be in a better mood. But it does mean I’ll be in a different mood, so at least I won’t know what to expect, and sometimes a quick change is close enough, or at least better than nothing.

My sincere hope is that by the time the holidays are over I’ll feel ready to emerge from my soothing druggy cocoon. But at the moment it feels like I can’t get in there quickly enough.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The windy lights of autumn flare

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m never sure how the food aspects of the day are going to turn out, but I feel pretty cocky about my lighting choices, so there’s a load off my mind. One shouldn’t make the mistake of underestimating the importance of a well-lit holiday. Many people look back at photographs from years gone by in bewilderment, uncertain as to why their celebratory experiences didn’t quite live up to expectations. Lighting may have been one of the myriad reasons why. (Well, that and the guest list.)

And, hey, even if lighting wasn’t the culprit, no harm done by attempting to brighten your day, right? This year, in a rare burst of almost-experienced good cheer, I went out and got some holiday lights. They’re not just for Christmas any more, you know. Oh, no, they’ve come a long way, baby, as if anything hasn’t.

I started with myself for a change. Usually I am not the kind of person who lights herself in any way. However, if you look at my spankin’ new turkey t-shirt (below) you’ll notice the forest seems to be backlit. I figure if I pin the turkey body light somewhere in the region of my right collar bone, it may appear to be the shirt’s light source. I know, I know. Pretty elaborate stuff, but really, it didn’t take as long to come up with the concept as you might think. Truth is, as soon as I read in the ad copy that I could expect extra goodies with my order, I was incapable of resistance. I am so weak that way! And I won’t ruin the surprise – I’ll just say that my extra goodies certainly lived up to the $1.99 price tag.

In the front window I just hung

a Thanksgiving window decoration that supposedly looks like a turkey. Maybe not from across the street, but once you get up close you can tell that it’s a turkey, or some kind of bird, right? Eh, it can look like abstract art for all I care; it’s too late now because getting this guy into the proper position took almost half the morning and now I’m vaguely cranky and have to get back to cooking duties. In other words, I’m leaving him there for at least a week (he’ll still be out there in February, mark my words.)

But the obvious focal point is going to be

the beautiful turkey lamp. This guy looks great—warm and welcoming, he greets your friends and family with “classic gobble grace,” whatever that means. Maybe he’ll remind them to consume their meal in a similar fashion.

Here’s to you and yours! May you all be enjoying a bright and wonderful holiday together, having a fabulous time, and making new memories that will remain eternally tinged with classic gobble grace.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back business

Threw my back out the other day, fighting with this terribly annoying woman at the store who swore she’d seen my newest holiday t-shirt moments before I did. She didn’t know who she was up against; needless to say, the shirt’s now living in my closet, excitedly awaiting its debut on Thursday. Problem is, I always seem to pay a stiff price for showing the world not to cross me, and this time was no exception.

After a couple of days I was resorting to extreme grooming techniques. I try to keep myself pulled together even during the difficult times. The back pain was becoming exquisitely unbearable, preventing me from thinking about anything else, and that was before I cut off part of my big toe.

Luckily the Sacro Wedgy came to my rescue. Kind of like a comforting (male or female) hand down the back of one’s pants, Sacro Wedgy’s there to provide just enough of a strange annoying sensation to distract you from your back pain. Then you’ll relax a little, and the pain level really will decrease. It also kind of makes you walk funny – and, of course, people will notice when the product is in use, so we’ve color coded them for both men and women, which made sense at one point in the design process. I’m already seeing and feeling the difference, and the wedgy is worth the wedgie.

The new Thanksgiving shirt was clearly worth the pain and almost any amount of monetary sacrifice, and I’m sure that woman from the store is hurting even more than I am. My facial expression may not be believable, but I’m experiencing about all the thankfulness I can muster at the moment.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I think I can, I think I can

Unwanted hair growth…it’s an under-discussed issue that plagues most of us, particularly as we age. And virtually every method of hair removal has dramatically increased in price, been noticing that? It’s not cheap to be depilated! Disposable razors have been putting some significant nicks in my hygiene budget, and I’ve heard from my Nair-using friends (and my even richer laser-removal-at-salon friends) that they, too, are making sacrifices elsewhere in order to maintain their hairlessness. And of course we’ve all seen the television commercials for new hair removal methods, with their emphasis on the danger and pain we subject ourselves to with each hair removal technique.

What if someone told you there’s yet another alternative? How about teaching your brain to balance your hormones while you sleep, therefore ridding yourself of this issue forever? And what if doing so didn’t take any particular effort on your part other than listening to a guy talk for a while? Better yet, this program works on both sexes, targeting separate problem areas based upon hormone level and content. That means smoother legs for most of you ladies, less back and ear hair for the gentlemen. Nasal hair? Not any more! Let Steve be your unwanted hair growth whisperer – you’ll be glad you did!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Keep up or fall behind

It’s getting to be that time of year again, isn’t it? You knew you were feeling busier lately than you’d been in, say, mid-July, when everything was kind of in a hazy, summery soft-serve mode. Then September arrived to pick up the pace, and you probably managed to keep in step. But it just so happens that the exact moment when people start thinking about holiday plans usually coincides precisely with an abrupt acceleration of their workloads, stress levels, and internal clock speeds. This week felt like a game of Wild Planet Hyper Dash to me; how about you? The game challenges one’s coordination, math and teamwork skills, overall speed, ability to create mnemonic devices and/or acronyms, knowledge of commercial lyrics/arcane trivia, and patience. It also leaves you a little breathless, with a rapid heartbeat, an adrenaline overload, and a healthy amount of self-doubt. If you’re going to stay on top of things in this, our modern world of today, you’ve got to be able to handle, or better yet, enjoy that sensation of being overburdened on as many levels as possible. Wild Planet Hyper Dash is only trying to help. Ready?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The real skinny on water

I had a job interview today, and when I got there my voice apparently sounded a little hoarse to the receptionist. It was probably only anxiety on my part, but she seemed to be a sweet old lady, and asked if I’d like something to drink. “Just water, thank you,” I replied, and a few minutes later she handed me what appeared to be a juice box.

Without thinking, I took a swig. And time stood still. My eyes bulged at the effort of swallowing, while my throat demanded an immediate and quite forceful ejection of its contents, which it took almost superhuman efforts to override. Meanwhile, I could feel a warm viscosity seeming to coat my entire esophageal tract. Once I stopped sputtering and gagging, I read the label on my juice box. What had I just done to myself? I’d ingested some honey-consistency lemon-flavored thickened water, that’s what I’d done. It claims to have a true water taste that you’ll enjoy, but that’s only if you like your water roughly the consistency of nearly-gelled Jello, with a touch of lemon—which believe me, only adds to the thickness, somehow. I kept expecting to spit out pulp, or something…maybe an alien baby. Product is also available in nectar consistency, but what that means will have to remain a mystery; I’ll never be trying any.

Don’t think I’ll get the job, either. I couldn’t stop doing this involuntary shuddering and making little scraping movements with my teeth, trying to get my tongue from feeling as though its thickened water coating was permanent, a sensation I’m still trying to shake. Next time I’ll be sure to ask for the unflavored, water-consistency water.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Double take/Memory Lane #7

Lazy Sunday afternoons often find me thinking about days gone by; then, as now, there’d often be a football game droning in the background, which meant some of us were going to be very restless without alternative entertainment options. Yesterday I was doing some deep cleaning (someone tell my mother-in-law, please) and found a few of the games that used to enchant us for hours.

Which witch? was so much fun! You tried to get yourself out of the haunted house made of cardboard…it was a “real,” three-dimensional house, crafted with such intricacy that I often found myself feeling as though I were really inside. I guess I was easy that way. Our family always got a little too rough with the whammy ball down the chimney part of the game, and then arguments tended to break out, which means my cardboard mansion is kind of flattened and bent and doesn’t much resemble the cover. I treasure it nonetheless.

And who didn’t love Strolling Bowling? Much to my surprise, this game is still on the market, keeping up with all of today’s fancy electronic devices. Trust me, kids, Guitar Hero has nothing on this game. See, the ball has little feet, and it “walks” over to the pins. Talk about a fast-paced game of skill and action! Plus, get it? Strolling bowling? Great, great game. Kind of. Okay, we never really played with it.

On the other hand, we were cuckoo for Odd Ogg. You rolled one of the little balls his way, trying to aim beneath him, or at least between his hands. Hit him in the right place and he’d move forward, but if your ball gave him “the bad touch,” he’d move backward and stick out this big red tongue and give you the raspberry. The concept of a toy that would mock you when you made a mistake—why more companies didn’t follow Ideal’s lead will always be beyond me! Playing with Ogg was one of the best rehearsals for real life I ever experienced.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Walk like a man

A two-pack of personal debris removal systems! What genius came up with this idea and a half? Imagine each step a clean sweep, enabling you to walk backwards on a beach and leave no footprints, or to have the cleanest sidewalk on your street. And just picture what you could do with “the plow,” those of you in colder climates!

The best part about this product is that it’s actually an empty box, because there’s no such thing as Kleen Stride, although we fully believe there should be. And $7.99 isn’t really so bad for an empty box…although, again, we’re going to have to hit you with a large-ish shipping and handling charge, because empty boxes require twice the man-hours and effort.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Have a casual Friday

Mmm, you smell like you just got back from a beery lunch at the local sports bar, with a strong base note of stale cigarette smoke, a dash of devil-may-care insouciance (spicy, yet unobtrusive), and a slight hint of yesterday’s unwashed armpit as an unexpected clincher. After all, it’s casual Friday, at last! You may have questioned the dress code at work, unsure of what exactly was meant by “business casual,” but there’ll be no doubting your olfactory selectivity. Available soon: Couchbound Saturday, the first of our weekend scents.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

She dug her gift

Today’s my best friend’s birthday; we’ve been bosom buddies, if you will, since first grade, and we like to kid ourselves that nothing’s changed over the years. However, time’s been elapsing and we’ve been collapsing – our mirrors (and kids) tell us so, and yet we persist in our mutual delusion.

My birthday comes first, and I’m a few months older than she is, which she never fails to flaunt. On my birthday I found

in the mailbox. No note, but I knew exactly who was responsible. She thought she was so clever. Toss these “parts” in some water and they grow 600%. “Look, there’s even a new liver, just like you need,” she shrieked. “And it’s your size!” (I thought it was a brain, and that it was her size. We’re still arguing over that.)

Anyway, I figured I’d show her who had old parts!

This morning when she got in her car, the
long bra was waiting for her. No note, but she’ll know. And she’ll claim not to have tried it on the next time I see her, but she’ll be lying. It fit, too, didn’t it, birthday girl?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Worth every penny

You may have thought the days of being able to purchase anything for a penny were long over, but you were wrong, my friend. In 2004 you probably would have parted with about $13 for a bike accessory as cool as Spokey Dokes Sparky Spokes. (said it out loud, didn’t you?) The green plastic spark alone is worth at least a dime, not to mention the snazzy rhyming product name—and you haven’t even seen it in action! This baby is 16.1 pounds of fun, folks! That’s why we’re going to have to charge you $12.99 for shipping & handling. But the product itself costs only one cent, which we think is pretty tough to beat. Call within the next twenty minutes; you know we can’t do this all day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This can be opened

I wuz ridin’ home
Just a-mindin’ my own
When a gol’ darn fool
Almost made me eat chrome.
But, bein’ a man
I just opened me a can
Of Whoop Ass Peanuts
‘Twas the end of his sedan.

(insert cowboy-like theme song and product logo here)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Coming soon: moustache panache

Flair Hair = truly irresistible. My weakness for faux tresses is apparently endless, and this particular brand really appealed to my inner Guy Fieri.

Yeah, him. He heartily approved of this purchase. But if you’re not blond and into the flame thing, like me & Guy, don't worry. Flair Hair is available in a variety of colors and visor styles, as well as children’s sizes. The hairdo, however, is non-negotiable. If you’re going to wear a visor, this is de rigeur. Perfect for those days when you’re just a little short on time and taste, Flair Hair! Allow it to take you to places you’ve never even envisioned.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wonder of wonders

I’m practically beside myself with excitement, because today I learned about miracle fruit. It turns sour to sweet! “Lemons become lemonade!” trumpets the ad copy, then whispers, “Sound too good to be true? An internet search will confirm that this is for real.” Lo and behold, they’re telling the truth! Wikipedia even informs us that the fruit may work by distorting the shape of sweetness receptors on our tongues…for up to 60 minutes! This is going to be life-altering. I can’t believe no one ever told me about these beneficent berries.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Don't bobblehead me

This bobblehead doll claims to be Darla Hood. You know, Darla from Our Gang/Little Rascals, although facially it's probably equally close to Lucy Van Pelt of Peanuts fame. There’s even a hint of Natalie Green from Facts of Life, isn’t there, around the eyes and nose? And no, I did not know Natalie’s last name offhand; my brother was the big fan of that show, not me, so I gave him a mobile shout out. He’s also an excellent, practically encyclopedic, source of information if you need or want to reminisce about Full House, but he’d never admit that, and you didn’t hear it from me.

I digress, as always. This is the version of Darla they were clearly aiming for, the people at the bobblehead factory. And they at least got her outfit right…sort of. I’d never envisioned this as a teal jumper, but, hey, artistic license, whatever. Still, the doll just doesn't say "Darla," does it? She was way too cute and much too cool to end up as a cheesy bobblehead.

Right, Darla?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Surprise package

Imagine my surprise when the UPS truck drove away, the dog barked herself breathless, and then a soft, nutty smell permeated the house. Curious, I opened the front door only to find a greasy-looking box that looked like it had seen better days. For me? Actually, no, it was for the former occupants, but I often allow myself the illicit joys of playing finders-keepers with any mis-addressed postal deliveries that come my way, especially packages like this, redolent of some exotic yet oleaginous travels. Imagine my further surprise when I opened the box and found what appeared to be a big chunk of…fat? A lifetime’s worth of earwax? Maybe some kind of clay? I wasn’t sure how to react, but my gag mechanism was.

Took me a while to learn that I was the (proud) recipient of two pounds of raw shea butter. You know, shea butter, an ingredient currently being touted as an excellent moisturizer and therefore included in many products, much like its relieved precursor aloe vera. Shea butter is kind of cool to play with, because it melts instantly into your skin as soon as it becomes body temperature (which, where I live, doesn’t take long). So you can’t make little figurines out of it, but you can make it magically disappear. And now, instead of buying those pricey shea-butter-containing products, I just cut off a little chunk of this and toss it into the mix. Okay, it may be a little rancid on one edge, but since mine was free I can’t complain.