Thinking about Tattoos: Decade Three

I keep trying to get people with tattoos to tell me how much it hurt and what the pain was like, I think because I am worried I would get started on a tattoo and then not be able to finish. But pain is too hard to describe, and anyway it varies so much based on where and who. Three things that have set my mind at ease recently:

1. LOTS of people get tattoos. And though I am sure it has happened, I have not yet heard someone say that they got one and will never get another because of the pain; and I have not yet heard someone say they have only a partial tattoo because the pain was too intense to complete it. …Though saying this one out loud is certainly a mistake. How at this point can anyone who HAS heard such a story keep themselves from telling it to me now, for SCIENCE? But in this case I would like to knit a little non-scientific comfort blanket to hold, so shhhhhhhh. Tell me later, AFTER I write a post about what it was like to get a tattoo. I will try to remember to specifically invite such stories at that time. For now, I am leaning on the huge number of people who go back again and again for MORE tattoos. (Go ahead and tell THOSE stories now, if you like.)

2. I can get a VERY VERY SMALL tattoo to start. I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me before. But if I wanted to I could get like ONE FRECKLE tattooed on my shoulder, just to see. I don’t think I’ll go THAT small, but I could do a teensy little flower or something. I don’t have to impress the tattoo artist with my originality, I can just pick something out of a book.

3. The cartilage piercing. I don’t want to seem to be comparing several seconds of sharp pain to the long-haul burn of tattoo pain, but that experience built a little structure in my brain, where “scared of pain” got paired up with “pleased and strutting after doing it anyway.”

I was thinking it would be fun and motivating if all of us who had been putting off tattoos could all plan to go on the same day, but the logistics of that are not workable. Plus, there’s a Right Mood, I think. Like, some days I just THINK of doing some task and my stomach lurches teeteringly into my poor throat, and other days I’m like, “Sure, let’s do it!” I feel fidgety even trying to say “Let’s aim for October!” The big hurdle for me right now isn’t even the pain, it’s the fear of going somewhere new and doing something new. That is going to take a very particular kind of mood.

Emergency Preparedness

Let’s say a person were bracing for, at best, a period of civil unrest, and at worst something more like worldwide unrest. What might a person stock up on, to prepare in a calm, reasonable way that doesn’t include building a bomb shelter or converting all our cash to gold and burying it in the yard? My usual favorite kind of emergency preparedness is to buy things we’d use ANYWAY, but get significantly ahead of the supply we’d usually have on hand. I also like to buy things that meet a variety of emergency needs: things we could use in a power outage, a serious snowstorm, a presidential candidate calling followers to riot, sudden flooding, etc.

I’ve read enough books set in the second World War to know that coffee, tea, and sugar got scarce pretty quick. Those are easy to acquire in reasonable quantities, and easy to donate or use up if they don’t turn out to be needed. Canned things are handy, of course: soups, vegetables, fruits, legumes, tuna. Peanut butter is good dense low-perishable nutrition. Dried fruits, nuts. Crackers and dry cereals last a long time. Granola bars, meal-replacement bars. Rice, dried beans. Powdered milk. Water.

Good to have flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, oil lanterns; we have those things anyway for storms. We have nightlights similar to these; they come on automatically if the power fails, and they can then be unplugged and used as already-fully-charged flashlights. Extra can-opener. We have a crank-operated radio similar to this one, that can also charge a cell phone.

In a situation where a person might fear the general public, a weapon would be nice; if a person were not comfortable with a gun, a person could purchase a few pepper spray canisters (I have two black and one pink; now that I know it exists, I’m also getting one in turquoise). It’s not going to hold off an army, but it’ll help with someone who’s gotten a bit out of hand.

I’d rather not even have to worry about toilet paper, and it’s not like we’d need to worry about using up a surplus of it if it turned out the surplus were unneeded. Plastic bags: garbage bags but also I’m going to let the little Target-sized ones build up. A jug of bleach. Baking soda, vinegar, paper towels. Wet wipes. We have a couple of boxes of disposable plastic gloves on hand anyway (Paul uses them when cutting hot peppers), and a couple pairs of reusable cleaning-type plastic gloves. Duct tape.

I’m not planning to buy extra, but I’ll be making sure we’re nowhere near about to run out of our basic medicines: ibuprofen, antihistamines, prescriptions, antibiotic ointment. Maybe I’ll get a little ahead on bottles of multivitamins, just for the comforting aspect of it. We’ve got tons of band-aids already, and some bandages.

I’ll get a little ahead on cat food and cat litter, too.

I’ll plan to keep the cars fairly full of gas, rather than letting them run low. If there are things we WILL need pretty soon (socks, undies, printer paper), I’ll buy them sooner rather than later.

A clothesline is a nice multipurpose item; I got this one. Two hundred feet is enough to use it as a clothesline and still have extra to use as rope.

I already have a little survival-manual collection:

Department of Defense U.S. Army Survival Manual
The Forager’s Harvest
50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs

I have no idea if they’re any good. I’ve never opened them, let alone read them. It’s OWNING them that makes me feel better.

We have a pretty good supply of blankets and quilts already, and a sleeping bag per person I think. Actually, I think we only have enough sleeping bags for the kids. *adds “two sleeping bags” to list*

More ideas for the list?

Leftover-Pizza-Topping Scrambled Eggs; Applying for a Passport

Paul brought home nearly an entire large veggie-lovers pizza from a work event because no one else wanted it. I’d never had a veggie-lovers pizza before, so I tried a slice—and found that unfortunately the crust had gotten kind of icky and soggy. Paul wondered if it would work to scrape the toppings off into some scrambled eggs, since he knows I like vegetables in scrambled eggs. I tried that for lunch today and it was the sort of thing that made me put another tick mark on the “pro” side of the Marrying Paul pros-and-cons list.

 

I have applied for a passport, and if you’ve never done that before, perhaps you find the thought as intimidating as I did. I was worried too because I know it’s the sort of government-paperwork thing where you can get to the front of the line and find out you forgot something or did a form wrong and have to go all the way home and come back another day. It’s going to vary from person to person and from place to place, but I can give you the gist of how it went for me.

I started by thinking, “I don’t even know where to go for information on this. DMV or City Hall or something?” In the U.S., you go here: Department of State: Passports and International Travel. There is a Passport Wizard thingie to help you figure out (1) what you need to have and (2) what form you need to fill out. I’d thought this would be a waste of time, but actually it was very useful in two ways: first, because it gave me the information it said it would give me; and second, because it helped organize my mind and made the task seem manageable. Here is the list I made of things I would need for my own adult, first-timer passport:

1. certified copy of birth certificate
2. driver’s license
3. photocopy of front AND back of driver’s license
4. two copies of passport photo
5. Form DS-11, completed but NOT SIGNED
6. check for passport, made out to U.S. Department of State (name and birthdate on check)
7. check for execution fee, made out to application place
8. appointment for passport application

I found this a little overwhelming, but on the other hand was able to say, “Okay, well, I can at least go get the passport pictures taken,” or “Okay, well, I can just dig out the certified copy of my birth certificate.” I had a manilla envelope to collect the various things in.

You can do your own passport photo, but after looking at the list of requirements about backgrounds and inches and sizes and angles, I opted to spend $12.99 to have it done by someone who already knew the drill. I searched online for “passport photo” and it pulled up a bunch of places near me; I had it done at a drugstore that also has a photo-processing department. You are not allowed to smile (the site said a “natural smile” was okay, but the drugstore and postmaster agreed that the rule was NO smiles), so practice ahead of time looking alert and pleasant without smiling. I did not practice (or rather, I’d practiced a natural smile), and my photo looks like I’m exhausted and probably coming down with something. You’re allowed to wear glasses, but there was a note that as of November 1st glasses would no longer be allowed in passport photos, so I didn’t wear mine.

I gathered all my stuff together and drove half an hour to the nearest post office that does passport applications. I don’t know if I’ve gotten more nervous with age or what, but my face was hot and my hands were icy. And then everything went perfectly fine: I got a really nice clerk, and I had all the right paperwork with me, and everything was fine, and the whole thing was over in about ten minutes. They take the certified copy of your birth certificate to send in with the application, but he says they’ll send that back.

Entire cost: $140 for passport book/card, $25 for post office’s application fee, and $13 for the passport photos = $178.

Now to get six more. I started on Paul’s, but the envelope his mother labeled “birth certificate” was actually a decorative thing from the hospital where he was born, so this morning I sent off $32 to get an actual certified copy of his actual birth certificate.

Two-and-a-Half Books: Dietland; A Man Called Ove; Rich and Pretty

My last day of work is coming this week, and my supervisor continues to ask me to fill shifts and go to new clients. I wonder if this will continue even after my last day. It reminds me of my last day at my pharmacy job when, in the middle of the last-day celebration, complete with doughnuts and a box of coffee, the pharmacist pulled me aside to say he knew this was my last day but could I possibly fill in the next day 9:00-6:00. I looked at him with a mix of panic and pity and managed to say no. That was a job where I once worked 29 days in a row (that is, seven days a week, no weekends) because I was the only wage-earner at my house and I felt I couldn’t say no to offered work; I finally said no to the offer of a Day 30, because I thought I was about to have a breakdown. I would prefer to NEVER AGAIN work in a job where I am called to fill shifts.

 

I am reading Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam, and it is okay so far, but the comma situation is going to drive me berserk. (I thought of this after using rather a lot of commas in the previous paragraph.) Here is a sample:

Lulu’s hair, just like the hair on that disembodied bust of Barbie, a birthday present on which she was meant to practice the feminine arts, could be pinned up prettily, pulled over her shoulder casually, or folded into a lush, delicious chignon. Lulu wore it to her waist, once upon a time, a much younger woman, though now, in her sixties, it’s mannishly cropped, which has the effect of making her face appear even finer.

It makes me feel as if I can’t breathe on a normal rhythm.

Let’s talk about two other books.

First, Dietland, by Sarai Walker.

I found this book so absorbing that I ran a red light while thinking about it, luckily with no consequences beyond burning embarrassment and the shaky sense of a narrow and lucky escape. I was trying to think of how to describe the book to Paul, and I knew there was a word I wanted but I couldn’t find it—and then I found it on the cover of the book: “subversive.” It looks like chick-lit, but notice that cupcake on the cover is a grenade.

Reading it, I thought, “I’ll bet this is her first novel”—and it is. It’s choppy, it’s oddly-paced, it’s confusing in places: at several points the main character was reading a book, and while she was doing so I couldn’t tell whose plotline we were following, hers or that of the woman in the book she was reading. There’s a serious lack of focus: are we talking about THIS issue or are we talking about THAT issue? It’s all tangled up together in one hot absorbing spinning satisfying mess. (Can you tell I’m reluctant to use commas so soon after criticizing someone else’s usage?) It’s a dark revengeful fantasy-adventure for anyone who has felt fed-up with issues surrounding women’s bodies and the way others treat them. I found it moderately life-changing and would recommend it despite its rough spots.

Next, a radical change of tone: A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman.

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

The reviews are so mixed, you’d never think people were reading the same book. Everything from “So incredibly boring, just an old guy’s daily schedule, nothing even happens??” to “LIFE-CHANGING, THE MOST TENDER CHARMING BOOK I HAVE EVER READ, I WILL NEVER FORGET IT.” I lean heavily toward the latter, and felt similarly toward Britt-Marie Was Here. I have My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry in my library bag.

Highly-Satisfying Recent Purchases

1. Skechers Sport Neon Lights Fashion Sneaker.

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

These are not the same color combination as mine, but that combination (navy with turquoise/pink/silver accents) does not seem to be available anymore.

Different sneaker brands fit people differently, so it’s hard to recommend them to a whole group. My feet have weak arches that flatten when I’m standing; if I wear shoes with firm/high arch supports, I feel as if I have avocado pits in my shoes. And I need a size 11, so my choices are sometimes limited. I have found that Skechers consistently fit me well and feel comfortable to me; I’ve been wearing them since I bought my first pair of Skechers work boots in college (like these, but less heel). Today I am wearing my new sneakers, and I keep deliberately pressing my feet down into them to feel their comfiness. I got them for work, but have been choosing them for non-work days just to enjoy the feeling of walking around in them.

 

2. Fiske Guide to Colleges.

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

This is the book our high school guidance office recommends, and this is also the book that finally got Rob interested in the college search. He has spent literally hours looking up colleges and taking notes. He has also applied without prompting for two scholarships. It has already been completely worth the purchase price.

 

3. OPI nail polish in Madam President.

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

I think this could easily sell out. And it’s less likely than a t-shirt to provoke unwanted confrontations.

 

4. Sequined shoes.

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Elizabeth used to wear sequined flats every single day. I used to wish they were available in my size too. AND THEY ARE. I ordered them in black and in silver, and we’ll see how well they hold up. They are the same in price and seem similar in quality to the ones I used to buy Elizabeth at Target: i.e., more of a novelty shoe than a year-after-year kind of shoe. They seem comfortable enough, but I’ve only just tried them on and haven’t taken them on a test walk of any significant length yet. The listing photo of them is terrible: you can’t even tell if it’s glitter or sequins. But it’s sequins, and they’re MUCH less blurry in person.

Second Cartilage Piercing

I got in the shower and realized I hadn’t taken out my ponytail. I took it out and blindly tossed the ponytail elastic over the top of the shower curtain, aiming in the general direction of the sink. It landed neatly inside the core of the spare toilet paper roll sitting on the counter, with half of it sticking out just as if I’d stuffed it in there on purpose. I have had my finest moment.

My ear is reminding me I have news, which is that I liked my first cartilage piercing so much, I got one in my other ear. It’s in the same position, with the same not-great-but-fine gold stud. If you would like to see it, you can take the picture I posted before and flip it on a vertical axis. To find out how I felt about it, you can re-read that post about the first piercing, but dial back both the anxiety and the exhilaration.

My main dither this time is that eventually I think I would like multiple cartilage piercings in each ear, so I wondered if I should ask about doing two or more at once. I’d half-settled on getting two piercings in the new ear, one with a light green earring and one with a light blue earring—and then, after intending to walk into the piercing store and instead walking right past it and into a neighboring shoe store, took a minute to look at shoes I didn’t want while thinking through the piercing I did want; and as soon as I decided on a matched piercing in all ways (same position, same earring), I felt happy and relieved and walked right in and got it. I got the same nice lab-technician-looking guy as last time, but it appeared that in the interim someone told him he didn’t look like a piercing guy, because this time he had stubble and was wearing distressed jeans and a concert t-shirt.

When I got my first cartilage piercing, the woman at the counter said not to sleep on it. But I’m a side-sleeper, and I switch back and forth between sides all night long, so as soon as it mostly stopped hurting I was sleeping on it. This seems to have mashed it a bit, so that the earring angles upward and nestles into a little indentation it has pressed into my ear. This is non-ideal. I remembered Brenna commented that she has a doughnut-shaped pillow she sleeps on to deal with her piercings, so I tried using a neck pillow as if it were a doughnut pillow—and it is the best idea EVER, thank you Brenna! My new tender piercing was completely protected, and my non-tender piercing is already looking less squashed.

Quitting, and the Things I Will Miss

There’s an essay by Robert Benchley in which he says he feels he could complete any task, any task at all, if someone would just tell him the very first step. He uses bridge-building as an example: he feels he could do it, even with no training, if someone would just tell him where to START.

This is how I felt about quitting my job. I had worked through the issues and come to the final decision to quit, but my draft emails were not coming out well. I turned to Twitter friends:

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-8-10-26-am

And Twitter Friends as usual knew what to do. I think my main problem was that I’d been trying to explain WHY I was quitting, with some backstory. The boss does not need to know about that, and when it was in there it sounded like excuses/whining/defensiveness. Twitter Friends advised sticking to the basics: “I’m writing to give my two weeks notice” followed by “My last day will be ______” followed by an expression of appreciation for the job. I wrote it, I sent it.

There are a lot of things I’m not going to miss about my job. The office was run on a “Wait until something is an emergency before dealing with it” basis, so everything was always an emergency. There was tons of talk about how the most important things were doing a good job with the clients, being able to work unsupervised, filling out our paperwork, being prompt and reliable (all things I am good at)—but ALL REWARDS AND PRAISE were given for one thing and one thing only, which was filling extra shifts. The feeling was that any shifts you were scheduled to do didn’t really count as work. There was an “office staff vs. caregiving staff” dynamic that was obvious and unpleasant, especially since the owner was part of the office staff. Furthermore, my supervisor is a “doesn’t hurt to ask” type, whereas I am a “the stress of saying ‘no’ to you so many times has accumulated until now I hate the sound of your voice and sight of your name” type.

I also won’t miss all the things that I hoped would go away but never did. I still felt nervous at the beginning of every shift, and also awkward about ending every shift. I still felt spikes of out-of-proportion stress about possibly doing a task incorrectly, or handling a conversation incorrectly—though this did improve somewhat. I never did get even SOMEWHAT comfortable saying no when asked to do tasks we’re not supposed to do. I still felt way-over-the-top stress about starting with any new client, and it took me a lonnnnng time to settle in and feel more comfortable.

Anyway. I won’t miss any of that. Here are the things I will miss:

1. My scrubs. I did so love my scrubs. The Scrubstar Premium Flexible was my favorite by far: it was long enough; it had stretchy side panels so I could move in it; it had good pockets; and I felt CUTE and PROFESSIONAL.

2. My little notebooks. I kept a little notebook in my scrubs pocket at all times, and it was ESSENTIAL for doing my job. I would THINK I could remember an instruction such as “I’ll have a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich at 6:00, oh and can you make a small side salad?,” but by the time I got to the kitchen I’d have forgotten part of it, or feel uncertain. Or, even more often, as I was leaving the room the client would ask me to help with a sweater or bring a cup of tea, and that would overwrite what I’d been trying to remember. I felt silly writing down everything, but it was the best. Also, I’ve always been drawn to little notebooks, and it was fun having an excuse to buy them.

3. My work bag. I can use it for other things, but it was so great as a WORK bag. I would walk up the driveway wearing my scrub top and toting my work bag, and I felt PROFESSIONAL and READY. It’s the faux-leather Merona Reversible one in no-longer-available Swistle Blue, and it’s held up beautifully. Plus, I got it on clearance for $11, I think because it was supposed to be reversible but wasn’t: the paper tag said reversible, and the others were reversible to a much darker shade of blue, but on mine the inside and outside are the same color.

4. My paperclips. Oh, I know this sounds ridiculous. But every week when I turn in my paperwork, I need three or four paperclips to hold together the various related papers. And I found a clearance on pretty colored paperclips, and it gave me such a happy feeling to use them, and it was so pleasing to have found them on a good deal so I could use them without feeling that hoarding feeling. It’s not as if I can’t still use them! But it still registers as something I will miss.

5. The paperwork. I really ENJOYED the paperwork. I know I complain a lot about the children’s school paperwork, but most of that is because it’s so DUMB that we have to do it every year, and that they request the EXACT SAME INFORMATION on MULTIPLE FORMS—in one case on BOTH SIDES OF THE SAME FORM. *pant pant* ANYWAY. But if I’m being PAID to do paperwork, even if it’s similarly dumb, I very much enjoy it. I like checking the boxes of tasks I did and then writing out the long-form notes. I like the feeling of reporting in, even if no one actually reads the finished forms. I like clipping the week’s forms together with a pretty paper clip and turning them in neatly and promptly. I like alllllll that.

6. Having an answer to “What do you do?” And such a GREAT answer for garnering social approval. But I don’t miss it enough for it to be worth working this job.

7. The hope that this would be a job I would want to do, and that it would lead to wanting further education and degrees and so forth. It is valuable to have found it is a dead-end (I DON’T want a further nursing degree), but there’s that sad feeling anyway. I remember on my first shift I was scared but I felt chin-up confident: this is scary, but it is the first step toward something that may very well turn out to be something I really want. I hadn’t felt that way about any of my other jobs, ever: all the others (bakery, greenhouse, daycare, pharmacy technician) always felt like temporary things to earn money, not possible launchings of careers.

Shower Curtains

I am looking for a new shower curtain. I liked our old one very much: I got it at Target, and it was in the muted colors I like, and it had squirrels and owls and trees. I thought I had a better picture of it in a post somewhere, but this post about finding a matching valance is the best photo I can find.

Then Paul painted the bathroom bright deep yellow, despite the fact that the last time we discussed the topic it emerged that we have non-intersecting opinions about yellow: I like muted yellows with a touch of brown; he likes preschool yellows with a touch of crayon. After trying and trying and finding no yellows even close to being in common, I said, “Well, it can’t be yellow then.” Several months went by. Then, when I was away one weekend, he painted it one of his yellows. I have not discussed the new paint here before now, even though it happened back in May, because it is hard to know where to start and what to say, and also marriage sometimes seems like a really dumb concept. But anyway, the bathroom is yellow. Like a marigold yellow which is, at least, not one of the yellows I hate. And now my shower curtain looks all wrong with it. Which is okay, because I was getting a little tired of the shower curtain.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Rainbow Meditation. This one catches my eye in a “go big or go home” kind of way. Like, Paul wants bright? I’LL GIVE HIM BRIGHT.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Beautiful Mandala. Another contender in the “nice and colorful” category.

 

(image from Target.com)

(image from Target.com)

Warm Rugby Stripe. The yellow stripe pretty much exactly matches the yellow of our bathroom, but this curtain does not call out to me.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Polka-Dots. This really caught my eye, but further contemplation is not resulting in deeper desire to buy.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Periodic Table of Elements. I wish I liked this more.

 

(image from Target.com)

(image from Target.com)

Forest Friends. I wondered if black and white might look cool with the yellow, but Elizabeth was adamant than it would not.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Bluesy.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Bubbly Babies.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Miss Penelope. But the white area just above and to the right of center looks to me as if someone scribbled with the erase tool.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Jellybean Giraffes. Leaning heavily toward this. But if the yellow is wrong, it would really look bad I think.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Favorite Floral.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Paisley.

 

(image from Target.com)

(image from Target.com)

Flamingo shower curtain. There are two ways to tell if something is in style, or coming into style:

1. Suddenly you like it, even if you hadn’t given it much thought before, and yet it feels as if you are among the few to notice the appeal, and

2. it is curiously available—but not OVER-available.

So for example, if I am out shopping and I see something patterned with flamingos, and I think, “Oh!! FLAMINGOS! Cool! Unusual! Hard to find!,” and then a week or two later I see some flamingo-patterned socks, and then I have the urge to sit at my computer browsing for more flamingo things, and then I add flamingo earrings to my wish list, I can be relatively certain flamingos are coming into style and/or already in style.

Advantage to this particular flamingo shower curtain: flamingos
Disadvantage: doesn’t immediately strike me as being good with strong yellow walls

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Flamingos, second attempt. I think this one would be much better with the yellow.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Library. I would like to say two things. One, that I love this. Two, that it would have gone GREAT with the plain old white walls I wanted.

 

Something I had not realized before starting an online shower-curtain search is how much more…varied the selection is than what is available in stores. For example:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Cat eating a fish snowcone.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Christmas-icon-patterned world map, on a peach background.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Strips of floral-painted wood, overlaid with the silhouette of a deer head.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Flag ‘n’ guns.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

The kind of unusable bathroom I find in bad dreams about needing to pee.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Give Thanks. For very, very thorough seasonal decor.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Fighter cat riding a unicorn.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Director’s chair. For the movie-director-themed bathroom.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

I…what.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Arnold Schwarzenegger.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Wolf + purple lightning bolt = obvious combination.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Mini Stormtroopers with daisies.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Brazilian Carnival Costumes in Rio Samba Dance Decor Bathroom Decorations Drums and Key Holder Parrots Palms Party Masks Gifts for Dancer Women Men Shower Curtain. There is a lot going on here, which I think the shower curtain’s title accurately reflects.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Sharp Shirter Haymaker. Sharp. Shirter. Haymaker. That’s all the information we’re given.

 

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Fire-breathing walrus.

Cute Pencils, Cute Pens, and More About Underwear

Things I should be doing right now:

1. Researching/arranging more college visits.
2. Thinking about what to have for dinner tonight.
3. Cleaning anything, ANYTHING AT ALL.
4. Taking a walk to fight against inevitable decline and death.

Instead, I am looking at cute school supplies. For me, I mean. The children are all set. These are the pencils I just ordered on the encouragement of Twitter friends:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Kikkerland Woodland Pencils. I’ve had them in my Amazon cart for literally years. They’ve been $9ish, and I thought they were really cute but NINE DOLLARS FOR FOUR PENCILS ARE THEY IN FACT KIDDING ME. Plus, I kept thinking I’d see them in a store for less. Yesterday they dropped to $6ish. Today I bought three sets: one set for me, two to give as gifts. I am feeling conflicted, yet happy.

In part I was fortified by the success of these pens by the same company:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Kikkerland retro pens. My sister-in-law and sister-in-law’s sister and I were out shopping at cute gift shops when we found these cute pens. My sister-in-law and I were both wavering, because they were something like $7 and that seemed kind of pricey for what were probably inferior pens dressed up in cute exteriors. Then the clerk said, “Oh, those pens are so cute, I had to have some. And you know what, they actually write really well! I’d assumed they’d be terrible, but they weren’t!” Well, how about SOLD? And she was right: they ARE really great pens. Since then I’ve bought two more sets for myself, and two more to give as gifts. I just love them. They go up and down in price on Amazon, so I keep them in my cart and buy them in the $6-7 range.

 

I have something to add to the underwear post. First, after not being able to find the Hanes Constant Comfort in my size/cut for AGES, Target had one of those temporary cardboard displays set up with a TON of them, and in a 4-for-the-price-of-3 pack. I bought two packs, even though I am nervous about them being undersized.

Also, I found these, but in different colors, at Walmart for $10:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Fruit of the Loom Cotton Stretch Hi-Cuts (or here’s another listing for what looks like the same thing and may or may not yield a better price). Notice they claim to have a “comfort covered waistband.” So, okay, I hate to gamble $10, but if they’re good, that’s great; and if they’re not good, I paid $10 for info. That’s the way I’m looking at it.

I washed just one pair, figuring that if I hated them I could donate the rest of the package. I don’t hate them, but I don’t love them either. The fabric is indeed stretchy, in a way I can’t tell if I like or not. It IS nice not to feel as if I’m wrestling myself into them. Also, they’re plenty big, which is a nice change after the running-small Hanes that have been hurting my feelings lately. The colors/patterns are okay: my pack had solid magenta, magenta with white polka-dots, solid teal, teal with white polka-dots, black, and white (my pack didn’t have a bonus pair).

But they seem more like briefs than hi-cuts, or at least like a briefs/hi-cut hybrid. And the fabric feels very thin, not nice and cottony. I mean, it’s not slippery/satiny either, but…I don’t know. Anyway, I guess I’m keeping them. I don’t think I’m rushing out to buy more of them, either, but we’ll see. I hate this point I always seem to get to with plus-size clothing, where it’s like “Does it work AT ALL, even SORT OF?? Then I’d better STOCK UP.” But here we are.

Plus-Size Underpants (Good Morning!)

I would like suggestions for plus-sized underwear. The kind I like has been long-since discontinued, and I have cherished my remaining pairs so long I can no longer pretend the holes in the sides are sexy lace accents.

The ones I had before were Hanes, and they had the following attributes:

1. They were 100% cotton, except for the elastic. I have noticed that finding anything in 100% cotton is a bit of a challenge, so I am willing to go for a cotton-poly blend—but I would be much more reluctant to try nylon or anything slippery.

2. The elastic waistband was covered with cotton fabric. This was called a ComfortSoft waistband, I think. I really liked this, and would be drawn to similar.

3. They were the style known as hi-cut. I would be willing to try another style, I guess. But I don’t like briefs, especially in plus sizes. I suspect I would look dumb in the boy-short style, but I guess I’ve never TRIED. I used to like the bikini style, but now they bother my c-section scar; I suspect the hipster style would have the same issue.

4. They could be purchased in 3-packs for about $10. I am willing to pay more these days, but I did so appreciate being able to just pick up a pack at Target.

5. They were available in solid, non-neutral colors. I don’t like beige or white (black and grey are fine); I dislike most patterns. My favorite is if I can have an assortment of pretty colors: one pair turquoise and one pair bright pink and one pair aqua and one pair royal blue and one pair purple and one pair light green and so on.

 

I don’t know why I hate the regular Hanes hi-cuts. I’d THINK they’d be pretty much exactly like what I used to buy, except for the uncovered elastic—but no, everything about the fit is wrong. I bought a pack, threw away the pair I tried on, and donated the rest.

 

These are the ones I started buying instead, when my supply first started getting skimpy:

(image from Target.com)

(image from Target.com)

They’re Hanes, they’re a cotton-poly blend, the waistband is soft, they’re hi-cut, they can be purchased in 3-packs for about $10. Unfortunately:

1. The last, say, twenty times I’ve gone to the two Targets near me, they haven’t had them in my size/cut. I could buy them online, but then I don’t get to approve the color/pattern selection.

2. The last time I DID find them at Target, they were smaller than they had been before. It is hard to know for sure who is to blame for this (maybe they’re the same size as before but my older ones have gradually stretched?), but there are online reviews that say the brand is now running a size small. And I am buying the top size Target sells already, so I can’t just go a size up.

3. In each three-pack, there tends to be one solid-colored pair I like, one solid-colored pair I dislike (beige, for example, or taupe), and one patterned pair I wear only one week a month because I dislike them so much I don’t care if they get ruined. This feels like a waste of money. I wish I could pair up with two other women my same size, one of whom likes patterns and one of whom likes neutrals, and we could swap. As it is, I was thinking if I bought three packs at a time, I could carefully re-package the three patterned pairs into one pack and donate them.

 

So anyway, I am open to suggestions.